Some Important Aspects of Biblical Inerrancy -- By: Charles C. Ryrie

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 136:541 (Jan 1979)
Article: Some Important Aspects of Biblical Inerrancy
Author: Charles C. Ryrie

Some Important Aspects of Biblical Inerrancy

Charles C. Ryrie

[Charles C. Ryrie, Professor of Systematic Theology, Dallas Theological Seminary.]

Harold Lindsell’s significant book, The Battle for the Bible,1 has itself provoked a battle! The importance of that book lies in at least three areas: theology, history, and prediction. Inspiration and inerrancy, which underlie the doctrine of the authority of the Bible, are basic to theology. Lindsell’s studies in history relative to what has happened to denominations and schools that compromised inerrancy provide significant perspective on the contemporary ecclesiastical scene. And those same historical observations give a basis for predicting what may happen to other groups in the future.

The reactions to the book have been almost as interesting and significant as the book itself. Some agreed wholeheartedly with its theses and warnings.2 Others, named in the book, have challenged the charge that they have departed from a belief in inerrancy. To accomplish this, however, they have (a) substituted the word infallible or inspired for the word inerrant, or (b) qualified inerrancy by eliminating accuracy from its meaning, or (c) redefined it by allowing it to mean that there can be errors in nonsoteriological areas of biblical revelation.3 Still others, while claiming to hold the view of inerrancy stated in the book, bemoan the furor and division it has generated.4 Either they consider inerrancy not to be the high

priority doctrine Lindsell judges it to be, or they assume that divisions are to be avoided at all costs.

One should recognize that Lindsell does not claim that inerrancy is the watershed doctrine of the Christian faith, but he insists that to be properly called an evangelical one must hold to that doctrine. This has probably grated most on those who do not hold inerrancy but who want the label evangelical. However, agreement or disagreement with Lindsell’s or anyone else’s definition of the term evangelical must never obscure the fact that inerrancy is a crucial doctrine whose importance must not be eclipsed in the name of Christian unity or by the sleight of hand of redefinition.

Inerrancy and the Truthfulness of God

A standard deductive argument for inerrancy is this: God is true (Rom 3:4); the Scriptures were breathed out by God (2 Tim 3:1...

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