Clark Pinnock And Inerrancy: A Change In Truth Theory? -- By: Rex A. Koivisto

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 24:2 (Jun 1981)
Article: Clark Pinnock And Inerrancy: A Change In Truth Theory?
Author: Rex A. Koivisto

Clark Pinnock And Inerrancy: A Change In Truth Theory?

Rex A. Koivisto*

I am taking on this evaluation of Clark Pinnock’s truth theory as a concerned recipient of his past ministry. As a young believer in 1970 I became convinced of the necessity of inerrancy epistemologically through a reading of Pinnock’s 1966 lectureship on Biblical infallibility1 and was thus rescued by him from equivocating to a limited inerrancy position. In the fall of 1971 it was again Clark Pinnock who enabled me to see the value of graduate theological training during a guest lectureship at the University of California in Berkeley. Because of this early influence on my own theological upbringing I have had a high regard for Pinnock’s work—at least until recently.

In his more current publications Pinnock appears to be changing his stance on the very view of inerrancy that he so staunchly defended in his earlier works.2 Even more alarming is what appears to be an epistemological shift in his writings that Pinnock himself had warned against as so critical to sound theology.3 In view of this apparent shift, and particularly due to Pinnock’s failure to address the issue in print, it is the purpose of this article to display the evidence of a shift in Pinnock’s position on inerrancy, suggest a reason for this shift on epistemological grounds, and suggest a latent factor in his original position that may have led to the shift.

I. Evidence Of Pinnock’s Change

Although Pinnock does not acknowledge any fundamental shift in his posi-

*Rex Koivisto is instructor in Bible and theology at Multnomah School of the Bible in Portland, Oregon.

tion,4 a reading of his writings after 1974 does in fact show a marked change.5 These changes will now be set forth briefly, comparing his current objections to inerrancy with the earlier responses he gave to those very objections. The shift will be shown by examining seven of the objections that Pinnock has recently used against inerrancy.

1. lnerrancy is Divisive. Pinnock has repeatedly pleaded in his recent writings for a unified front in the evangelical coalition. This unity, he feels, is threatened by the inerrancy issue:

It [evangelical dispute over inerrancy] is a sad spectacle when one considers the strength of the liberal challenge to any version at all of an evangelical concept of Scripture. We ought instead to be answering those scholars...

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