Evangelicals And Biblical Criticism: The Continuing Saga -- By: John Warwick Montgomery
Evangelicals And Biblical Criticism:
The Continuing Saga
The first paragraph contains the explanation for this additional essay which is not previously mentioned in this volume of GJCT.
In the latest issue of the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (June 1999) to reach me here in England, Grant Osborne of the Trinity Evangelical Divinity School continues to advocate an evangelical variety of “historical”, i.e., higher, criticism and to dismiss, directly or indirectly, those such as myself who regard such methodology as inherently faulty and entirely inconsistent with the profession of biblical inerrancy.
During the height of the Robert Gundry problem, in 1978 (ultimately resolved by Gundry’s voluntary resignation from Evangelical Theological Society), Professor Osborne declared his own support for an evangelical higher criticism of a more chastened sort. I then exchanged letters with my former Dean at the Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Kenneth Kantzer, who defended Osborne’s approach. What follows is a portion of my (until now unpublished) communication to Dean Kantzer. Its relevance to Osborne’s latest article should make it of more than routine interest to evangelical readers. The fact that its publication was rejected by the new editor of the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (Dr Andreas Köstenberger of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary) makes its dissemination particularly important.
Communication In Re Evangelical Use Of Redaction Criticism
You [Kantzer] write: “You [Montgomery] fail to distinguish between those who seek to avail themselves of certain aspects of redaction criticism and yet safeguard the full inerrancy of Scripture (e.g., Grant Osborne) and those who do so without such unequivocal and careful commitment to inerrancy.” But there is simply no way to employ such critical techniques and “yet safeguard the full inerrancy of Scripture.” All that Osborne (or Gundry, for that matter) does is to assert fideistically that the final product of the redaction process is inerrant regardless of what his form critical technique has come up with. Inerrancy becomes a totally plastic concept at the mercy of the critical hermeneutic. (See the final chapter of my Faith Founded on Fact for an analysis of what this does to the very concept of inerrancy; in brief, it renders it technically meaningless.) The evangelical committed to the inerrancy of Scripture must do just the reverse of what Osborne does: he must allow the overall biblical concept of truth (truth as correspondence) to give him his concept of inerrancy; that concept of inerrancy will create the hermeneutic limits for his handling of particular scriptural problems.1 Hermene...
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