An Evaluation of McGowen’s View on the Inspiration of Scripture -- By: Norman L. Geisler

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 167:665 (Jan 2010)
Article: An Evaluation of McGowen’s View on the Inspiration of Scripture
Author: Norman L. Geisler


An Evaluation of McGowen’s View on the Inspiration of Scripture

Norman L. Geisler

Norman L. Geisler is distinguished professor of theology and apologetics, Veritas Evangelical Seminary, Murrieta, California.

In his book The Divine Authenticity of Scripture1 Scottish Reformed theologian A. T. B. McGowen provides a thought-provoking evaluation of the ongoing debate between the non-inerrantist and the inerrantist positions. A careful reading of his proposal reveals many positive contributions.

The Positive Contributions Of Mcgowen’s Work

This book has many commendable features that are well worth noting. McGowen rightly says this is a “watershed issue.”2 He observes that θεόπνυεστος in 2 Timothy 3:16 should be translated “spiration,” or “breathing out.” McGowen also affirms the value of the word “infallible.”3 And he adds that the term “inerrancy” alone is insufficient. After all, he says, there can be inerrant phone books—with no errors—but they do not thereby have divine authority. He also says the ICBI (International Council on Biblical Inerrancy) Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy is a “most significant” statement,4 and he would choose it over the errancy view

of Rogers and McKim.5 Likewise McGowen would choose the views of B. B. Warfield over those of Jack Rogers of Fuller Seminary.6 McGowen even cites favorably John Woodbridge’s critique of Rogers and McKim7 as well as that of Donald Bloesch.8 Nor does McGowen deny that God can, if He chooses, produce an inerrant text,9 as inerrantists have long held that He must. Furthermore he even says the Bible is a “co-authored” book by both God and human beings.10 His definition of “inspiration” focuses on important keynotes of the doctrine when he affirms that “the Holy Spirit caused men to write books and his supervisory action was such that although these books are truly the work of human beings, they are also the Word of God.”You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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