The Doctrine Of Inspiration Since The Reformation, Part Ii: Changing Climates Of Opinion -- By: William E. Nix
Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 27:4 (Dec 1984)
Article: The Doctrine Of Inspiration Since The Reformation, Part Ii: Changing Climates Of Opinion
Author: William E. Nix
JETS 27:4 (December 1984) p. 439
The Doctrine Of Inspiration Since The Reformation, Part Ii:
Changing Climates Of Opinion
A previous study of one facet of this topic surveyed the more-or-less official and formal expressions of the teachings on the inspiration and authority of Scripture from each of the major traditions within the Christian Church. It reflected the orthodox Christian position on the doctrine of the inspiration and authority of Scripture as it entered the twentieth century.1 The present investigation will trace the emergence of the various challenges to that traditional teaching of the Church, which ultimately led to the bold confrontation of religious authority by proponents of modern science and scientific method as they developed an antithetical position to that of the mainstream of traditional orthodox Christian thought on the subject.
In his study of the confrontation between religion and science in the modern world, H. D. McDonald chose the year 1860 as the turning point in that conflict. For him the period before 1860 “was concerned with specific problems of a special revelation, while the latter was concerned with the serious question whether there was any revelation at all.”2 He sets forth two influences that brought these two periods into such a sharp contrast. The first influence was Darwin’s Origin of Species, which made its appearance in November 1859. The second was the introduction of the so-called historical method. 3 McDonald states that “just as Darwin was thought to have given to evolution basis in scientific fact, so the introduction of the so-called historical method was held to justify the criticisms which the deists maintained against the Bible.”4 With this frame of reference, the following discussion will look into the changing climates of opinion as they developed attitudes and methods that have come to be reflected in modern views of revelation, inspiration and the authority of Scripture.
*William Nix is consultant to New Mexico Christian College in Albuquerque.
JETS 27:4 (December 1984) p. 440
Although the seeds of the rejection of Biblical authority were already present in the experimentalism of Roger Bacon (c. 1214-c. 1292) and the material skepticism of William Ockham (c. 1285–1347), it was during the post-Reformation period that the first major deviations from the orthodox doctrine of inspiration of the Scriptures, both OT and NT, made their appearance. Previous discussion has shown that these deviations were not universal. Nevertheless some major deviation...
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