Theology -- By: Roger R. Nicole

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 09:2 (Spring 1966)
Article: Theology
Author: Roger R. Nicole


Roger Nicole

I would like to call your attention very briefly to issues that are vitally relevant, that are the object of numerous discussions at present, and that may well be indicative of a major trend. In that sense they are issues that are of immediate importance for us. Therefore I am not dealing with the whole scope of the theological scene, but I am remaining within the scope of the evangelical outlook and I call attention to certain areas in which it behooves us as evangelicals to be particularly abreast of developments and alive to the issues.

The first of these issues may be termed

or basic. It deals with the source of our authority. The very presence of a panel on the inerrancy of Scripture on our program, the able and learned paper which we have heard this afternoon from Dr. Pinnock, and the amount of discussion which is carried on on this topic in book form and in published articles make it quite plain that the doctrine of inerrancy is an area in which it behooves us as evangelicals to be very careful in our thinking, and perhaps more explicit in our definitions. It is a very fine approach to say that we believe that the Bible is inerrant. Such a statement represents a basic attitude toward Scripture, an attitude of obedience and submission which is characteristic of the whole historic approach of the Church and particularly of the Lord Jesus Christ and his apostles. But the question remains,
    what precisely is meant by “error”?
And this is the area in which, in my opinion, further discussion may well be possible and a further analysis of the full implications of the evangelical view may well be achieved. In attempting this one could become unduly involved in minor matters. In fact, if the discussion degenerates into an elaborate consideration of minutiae, we are likely to “major in the minors” and to becloud that which is major, which is our total commitment to the Scripture in humble submission to the Word of God. At the same time we should clearly perceive that the implementation of our doctrine of Scripture may demand at times rather a painstaking awl extensive discussion of particular alleged discrepancies and we ought not to be reluctant to engage in this on occasion. It is unfortunate, however, if the whole line of discussion is carried on at this level, as Dr. Pinnock so very ably pointed out this afternoon.

The second area to which I would call attention may well be termed “central”; I am referring to the redeeming, atoning work of Jesus Christ. A good deal of discussion is going on here. There are some phenomena which are encouraging for the evangelicals. It may be noted, for instance, that recently Vincent Taylor seems in some respects to

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