Tag: Church History

Reacquaint Yourself with the Trinity

How familiar are you with the Trinity? I’m not asking whether you believe that God is Triune. I’m asking how often you ponder and delight in the reality that your Creator and Savior is One God in three Persons. For many of us, the doctrine of the Trinity appears too lofty and complex for us to engage. We believe it, but we’ve never sought to think carefully through the theological nuances and practical implications of this biblical teaching. In this brief article, I want to reintroduce you to the Trinity and help you see how glorious and practical this doctrine is. Let’s start in the Old Testament. Continue reading “Reacquaint Yourself with the Trinity”

Is Inerrancy a Recent Theological Invention?

It is sometimes argued by evangelical non-inerrantists that the doctrine of inerrancy is a recent theological innovation that finds little to no precedent in the church.  The early church fathers, Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, Bavink, and Kuyper, they claim, all held to a view of Scripture that was far different than what inerrantists advance today.  Furthermore, it isn’t until we come to B. B. Warfield and the Princeton theologians in the early to late 19th century that we begin to find concentrated efforts to write on the doctrine of Scripture. Continue reading “Is Inerrancy a Recent Theological Invention?”

Inerrancy and Church History: The Post-Reformation and Modern Period

As I noted briefly in the last two articles, the church has always, generally speaking, held to the idea of an error-free Bible.  This was true during the early church, the middle ages, and the Reformation. In the early 1600s, however, significant changes began to take shape in Western intellectual culture. Developments in philosophy would dislodge Christian presuppositions from their preeminent epistemological status, and reason would increasingly stand in judgment over Scripture rather than Scripture serving as an authority over reason. With these significant changes would come an approach to biblical studies that undermined the historical and scientific reliability of the Bible while introducing hermeneutical theories that challenged long-held beliefs about God’s supernatural action in the world. Continue reading “Inerrancy and Church History: The Post-Reformation and Modern Period”

Inerrancy and Church History: Calvin and Luther

Both Martin Luther and John Calvin spoke often of their view of Scripture. Luther’s understanding of biblical inerrancy, like his predecessors (in the early church and middle ages), grew from his belief in the divine inspiration of Scripture. As Lutheran historian Robert Preus summarizes, “Luther’s notion of biblical infallibility arose from his firm belief that the Bible is the Word of God and that God spoke to him there powerfully and authoritatively” (Preus, “Luther and Biblical Infallibility,” in Inerrancy and the Church, 110). Continue reading “Inerrancy and Church History: Calvin and Luther”

Inerrancy and Church History: The Early Fathers

Since 1978 and the release of Rogers and McKim’s massive The Authority and Interpretation of the Bible, it has been a strategy among evangelicals who dislike the doctrine of inerrancy to suggest that the doctrine itself has a recent origin.  Why some evangelical non-inerrantists continue to hold this line is baffling, however, for it is widely acknowledged that Rogers and McKim’s thesis–that conservative efforts to uphold the doctrine of inerrancy are grounded in theological innovation rather than historical precedent–was soundly and definitively refuted by John Woodbridge’s Biblical Authority: A Critique of the Rogers/McKim Proposal.  The church has always believed in an error-free Bible. Continue reading “Inerrancy and Church History: The Early Fathers”