Covenantal Reply -- By: K. Scott Oliphint

Journal: Christian Apologetics Journal
Volume: CAJ 11:2 (Fall 2013)
Article: Covenantal Reply
Author: K. Scott Oliphint

Covenantal Reply

K. Scott Oliphint

Thanks to Drs. Richard Howe and Scott Lisle for their responses. Since there is no adequate way to do justice to their responses in the space available to me, I will pick and choose a thing or two that initially stood out to me as needing some clarification.

First, let me respectfully but adamantly and forcefully reject Lisle’s explicit charge that I veer away from Scriptural authority. The issue between us has its focus, not on what Scripture is, but on what Scripture says. We both affirm that Scripture is the inerrant Word of God. This is an elementary distinction that Lisle overlooks. I should add here, though it should be obvious to anyone with eyes to see, that no one in these discussions denies the historicity of Genesis. Perhaps he was overstating for purposes of emphasis, but, if not, then his charge betrays a myopic bias that is not conducive to mutual discussion. This, I suspect, is due to the inability to extricate his view of what is “literal” from his doctrine of Scripture. I can only plead at this point for a more careful study of such things in hopes that Lisle will disabuse himself of such a serious charge. Anyone who reads current authors who hold to inerrancy and yet do not hold to the view of creation that Lisle has will be hard pressed to show that the problem is one of Scriptural authority. This is doubtless one of the reasons that discussions of this

nature do not progress. As I tried to make clear in my previous paper, the problems are biblical and exegetical. Good and orthodox people disagree on these and many other matters, and we should not impugn to them anything as detrimental to their own profession and confession as the negation of what they claim, until and unless there is clear evidence that their profession and confession is false. Lisle has not shown such restraint in his response and that is most unfortunate.

Second, there are responses—cogent, coherent, biblical responses—to each of Lisle’s points, and there are responses to those responses. There is no need to recount those here; anyone interested in looking at those responses will find them readily available. Having said that, I want also to say that Lisle’s position is, without question, a cogent, coherent, biblical explanation of the creation account. Anyone who holds Lisle’s view would be welcome in the ecclesiastical communion of which I am a part, or any other orthodox communion for that matter, and I would be the first to welcome such a person with those views. The problem that biblical scholars have faced throughout the history of the church (and not, as Lisle indicates, in the relatively recent past) is that the text of Genesis leav...

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