Biblical Inerrancy And The Theology Of The Cross -- By: Erling T. Teigen

Journal: Reformation and Revival
Volume: RAR 07:4 (Fall 1998)
Article: Biblical Inerrancy And The Theology Of The Cross
Author: Erling T. Teigen


Biblical Inerrancy And The Theology Of The Cross

Erling T. Teigen

I begin with the thesis: “Inerrancy is not enough.” I propose further that if we wish to preserve the Holy Scriptures as the sole fount, source and norm for all faith and life, it is decidedly not enough to engage in an empiric defense of the infallibility and inerrancy of God’s Word, but that we need to return our attention to a sadly neglected doctrine of the Lutheran Reformation—the theology of the cross. It will be our thesis that this principle, established by Scripture itself, stands alongside law and gospel as the Bible’s own interpretive principle.

For Lutheran confessional theology, i.e., for faith and life under the pure gospel, answers to questions about faith and reason and about revelation and interpretation do not belong under topics dealing with the intellect or the nature of man, or under a quasi-philosophic study of “Christian epistemology.” Answers to questions about faith and reason rather are to be sought under the heading “The Theology of the Cross.”

This theology of the cross is not merely an idiosyncrasy of Luther, of curious, historical interest and tantalizing to the Luther scholar, but of no practical import or significance for the Christian in the pew or the parish hall. Rather, this theology of the cross stands alongside law and gospel as the divinely given hermeneutical guide for the teaching and proclaiming mission of the church.

T. S. Eliot, in a much overlooked and neglected essay,

“Christianity and Culture,” wrote:

The purpose of a Christian Education would not be merely to make men and women pious Christians; a system which aimed too rigidly at this end alone would become only obscurantist. A Christian Education would primarily train people to be able to think in Christian categories.1

Educational philosophers, both within and without the church, have all too often deprived both children and older learners by failing to offer a concrete quantity of knowledge. But just as often, educational systems, including those used in the church, have failed because they have offered a concrete quantity of facts and data, and little else by way of thinking processes. And so we have often, I fear, thought we were offering a good Christian education to the young and old when we filled them with Bible stories and taught them to play “Bible Trivia,” but have failed to teach them to think in Christian categories.

In this century, the great attacks on Holy Scripture were not so bad, i.e., one hardly needed to take them seriously, any mo...

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