The Master’s Academy International has self-published this excellent volume on the challenges facing biblical inerrancy globally. There are 18 Master’s Academies in 17 countries today. Leaders of the academies each wrote a chapter discussing the unique implication of inerrancy in their respective countries and cultures. In most situations inerrancy is outwardly affirmed, at least by the evangelical community, but, in reality, and in practice, inerrancy is denied or revised to mean something different from the official definition. Inerrancy as defined by Paul Feinberg is, “When all the facts are known, the Scriptures in their original autographs and properly interpreted will be shown to be wholly true in everything that they affirm whether that has to do with doctrine or morality or with the social, physical or life sciences” (p. 182). In addition, R. C. Sproul draws a distinction between infallibility, in which the Scriptures are unable to make a mistake or to err, and with inerrancy, in which, in fact, the Scriptures do not err (p. 219). This book details the extent to which inerrancy, by these definitions, is being embraced around the world and the numerous ways it is being challenged, revised and even denied by those claiming to believe in the inspiration of Scripture. This collection provides convincing, and disturbing evidence that there has been a gradual abandonment of inerrancy since the publication of the “Chicago Statement on Inerrancy” in 1978 (pp. ix, 46).
Some of the specific culprits that are identified as leading to the erosion of belief in inerrancy include: claims of corruption of the biblical manuscripts (pp. 27, 235-264), development and spread of the historical-critical methodology (pp. 54-58), popularity of egalitarianism (pp. 67-76, 149-151), abuse of contextualization (pp. 77-80), an evolving and revised Roman Catholic understanding which could be called “limited inerrancy” (pp. 88-102), the growth and influence of the prosperity gospel and Pentecostal theology (pp. 112-123), including their “hermeneutic of the Spirit” which begins with Scripture but adds additional revelation (pp. 126-131), integration of secular psychology (p. 148), increased acceptance of syncretism (pp. 152-157, 207-210), Barthian neo-orthodoxy (pp. 193-202), existentialism (pp. 193, 229), oral traditions trumping the written Word (pp. 204-205), and adoption of evolutionary theory (pp. 265-266).
Each of these challenges is refuted with solid biblical arguments. The result is an essential volume clearly demonstrating the dangers related to inerrancy and scriptural solutions. This is a must read for all Christians concerned with the validity of the Bible and the issues facing inerrancy in the evangelical world today.
The Implication of Inerrancy for the Global Church edited by Mark Tatlock (Xulon: 2015) 312 pp, paper $16.99
Reviewed by Gary E. Gilley, Pastor-teacher, Southern View Chapel