Holy Scripture -- By: Gordon H. Clark

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 006:1 (Winter 1963)
Article: Holy Scripture
Author: Gordon H. Clark


Holy Scripture

Gordon H. Clark

For the philosophic problem of the knowledge of God, for the construction of a theology, and as well for religious stability, a view of the Bible as revelation is most important. Currently many authors both in Europe and America are trying to meet the need.

In the December 24, 1962 issue of The Presbyterian Outlook four southern professors join forces to propagate a particular view. The four are: Dr. Kenneth J. Foreman, professor emeritus of doctrinal theology at Louisville Presbyterian Seminary; Dr. James H. Gailey, Jr., professor of Old Testament at Columbia Seminary; Dr. James L. Mays, professor of biblical interpretation at Union Seminary (Virginia); and Dr. John F. Jansen, professor of New Testament interpretation at Austin Presbyterian Seminary. They write under the general title Do We Need an Infallible Bible?

The four articles are part of the wide-spread contemporary attack on the truthfulness of the Bible, It is instructive to see how their arguments are constructed.

Dr. Foreman in the first article addresses himself mainly to the question of the (alleged) need of an infallible Bible. He asks, “Do I need an infallible Bible to convict me of sin?” In all plausibility the answer is No. Of course, a man may be convicted of sin without ever having seen a Bible: he may simply hear an evangelist and the Holy Spirit may convict him. Such a consideration indicates that the initial question is not quite the correct question to ask, if we are interested in the truthfulness of the Bible.

After a few more slightly irrelevant questions Dr. Foreman asks, “Is it necessary for the Bible’s geography to be above reproach before I can put my trust in the God of the Bible?” The series of irrelevant questions with their plausible negative answers has supposedly conditioned the reader to continue with a negative here also. But if the question is examined a little, the negative is not so plausible. If the Bible is mistaken on geography, which ought to have been easy for the writers to put down correctly, it might very well be mistaken on theology, which is much more difficult than geography. To this question an affirmative answer is at least as plausible as the negative answer was to the first question.

There is another part of this first article that depends more on innuendo than on logic. The author writes concerning (alleged) discrepancies in the Scriptures that “Many believers in this theory (of inerrancy) about the Bible, when such discrepancies are pointed out as they cannot explain without arguments that sound suspiciously twisted, resort to the proposition, that whatever errors may be found in our Bibles, there was none in the original manuscripts. This aff...

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