John MacArthur’s New Fight: Biblical Inerrancy

If last Fall’s Strange Fire wasn’t enough, noted author and pastor John MacArthur has planned the Biblical Inerrancy Summit, concluding that

“Current publications demonstrate that the true doctrine of inerrancy is under attack.  Some of these attacks are subtle while others are more blatant, but anything that undermines the absolute inerrancy of Scripture destroys the foundation of all Christian faith… In every generation, pastors and teachers are accountable to God for defending the authority and inspiration of Scripture.  Trusting God’s Word is directly connected to trusting His person…” Read Full Article >>

What’s the big deal?  Can’t one deny biblical inerrancy as so framed while maintaing both the the authority and inspiration of Scripture?  Is a denial of biblical inerrancy as aso framed tantamount to a distrust in God?  Is a denial of biblical inerranncy as so framed tantamount to a destruction of the foundation of all Christian faith?

Or are we engaging in bibliolatry here?

I thought Christ was the foundation of all Christian faith?

Or I am missing something here?

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13 Responses to John MacArthur’s New Fight: Biblical Inerrancy

  1. Lon says:

    ummm…

    I think, no, not sure, probably, doubt it, He is, maybe. In that order. Hope you’ll smile at this.

  2. David Beirne says:

    TC, do you feel your definition of inerrancy and John Mac’s are the same (not verbatim, but..) For instance, I have little problem with inerrancy because the Bible doesn’t speak of a flat earth although it does refer to four corners (a literary device to be sure). I don’t stress over the numbers of years between kings in the OT because you have overlapping reigns, child kings, and would they count (for example) Sept-Dec as one year and every year thereafter is a full year.

    • TC Robinson says:

      David, I just rather the biblical absolutism of a Doug Wilson, which affirms both the authority and inspiration of Scripture, without getting distracted with the issues of biblical inerrancy as framed by MacArthur and so on. For example, MacArthur has already committed the fellows of biologos to hell, because they’re not committed to 6 literal days of creation.

  3. Jon Hughes says:

    Defending a strict inerrancy stretches things to breaking point. Yes, there’s a danger of ‘bibliolatry’ here. Books defending inerrancy are often tortuous reads; the theological equivalent of watching paint dry. The most incredulous notion of all is that of inerrant original autographs. What’s the point in inerrant original autographs that no longer exist? It’s an exercise in convenience, but of no practical significance whatsoever.

    It’s the incarnation, life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ that counts – not whether Luke got it right about the timing of the Census of Quirinius, or how many angels there were at the tomb, etc. It’s a colossal waste of time getting bogged down in minutiae.

    • Jon Hughes says:

      John MacArthur is a product of modernism, just as theological liberals are. He’s going to be viewed as very dated indeed by evangelicals in fifty years time.

      • Simon says:

        Concur completely with your comments. We don’t need to subscribe to Chicago to hold the Scriptures in the utmost esteem.

        Your point about MacArthur being a product of modernism is particularly insightful. Liberals and MacArthur are different sides of the same coin.

  4. Simon says:

    I’m kinda surprised to see Carl Trueman speaking at this conference. He is just about the most sensible guy out of the line up. He has argued for a strong church polity and for the importance of creeds. He disparages “para-church” establishments akin to MacArthur’s Grace to You. This doesn’t necessarily lend itself to where John MacArthur is at. I can’t imagine he’d want to associate himself with MacArthur too closely. But obviously not. Perhaps the cause of Biblical Inerrancy as defined by conservative evangelicals has brought them together. The obvious remark for someone who rejects inerrancy is this: Look at the speakers. You have some Baptists, other Presbyterians. They can’t agree on Baptism. They can’t agree on polity and governance. They can’t even agree on eschatology. What does this say about Biblical inerrancy? Talk about pluralism in the secular world. Go to this conference and you’ve got pluralism right there.

    • TC Robinson says:

      Simon, I’m so used to various denominal leaders working together that these secondary and tertiary matters are not an issue for me.

      But I’m not surprised at Trueman in the mix of things, given that he has to subscribe to the WCF and so on.

      • Simon says:

        I’m not surprised either if I think about it. For all his talk of creedal imperatives and so on, he still is part of the Reformed establishment which includes para-churches like MacArthur’s Grace to You.

        I’m not sure that you can call these thing secondary or tertiary. If you’re going to argue for Biblical Inerrancy and then disagree on the sacraments etc, then I really think it undermines the very thing you are arguing for.

  5. Jon Hughes says:

    Simon,

    How about having someone call an urgent summit to bring to the attention of the Church the connection between John MacArthur and liberalism? It would be a brilliant outflanking manoeuvre, and would make a much needed point 😉

  6. TC Robinson says:

    “I’m not sure that you can call these thing secondary or tertiary. If you’re going to argue for Biblical Inerrancy and then disagree on the sacraments etc, then I really think it undermines the very thing you are arguing for.”

    Simon, among us evangelicals, we can, and I just did. 🙂

    No undermining as these matters are processed and channeled by evangelicals. Remember, we are not Orthodox. 😉

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