Shelf Life Book Review: Five Views on Biblical Inerrancy

Elliot Ritzema

Five Views on Biblical Inerrancy
Zondervan, 2013

The doctrine of inerrancy has long played an important role in American evangelicalism, even giving rise to the “Battle for the Bible” in the 1970s, which resulted in the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy (CSBI). Even after the CSBI, however, debates have continued regarding what it means for the Bible to be without error, and whether the doctrine accurately reflects what the Bible does.

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In this book, James Merrick and Stephen M. Garrett gather five contributors for a conversation about inerrancy. Albert Mohler argues that the CSBI articulates well what inerrancy is and the role it should play within evangelicalism. Peter Enns argues that inerrancy does not describe what the Bible does, and the term should be abandoned. Michael F. Bird argues that debates about inerrancy are rooted in historical developments within American evangelicalism, and the term is unnecessary in non-American and non-Western contexts. Kevin J. Vanhoozer argues for keeping the term, which he says means that “the authors speak the truth in all things they affirm (when they make affirmations), and will eventually be seen to have spoken truly (when right readers read rightly)” (207, italics original). John R. Franke argues that the CSBI’S form of inerrancy is not sufficient and argues for an approach that better accounts for the plurality of the biblical writings.

Each author responds to the others, and Garrett and Merrick sum up the debate and present ideas for moving forward. This book illustrates just how much more work must be done in crafting a doc-trine of Scripture that captures what the Bible is, but it is a good first step.

Article courtesy of Bible Study Magazine published by Faithlife Corporation. Originally published in print, Vol. 6 No. 4