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Posts Tagged ‘The Inerrancy Summit’

John_Frame_HS

As many of you are aware, The Inerrancy Summit was fairly recent.  Many Christian leaders came together in solidarity concerning the doctrine of inerrancy.  Many years ago, on October 1978, more than 200 evangelical Christian leaders with many different stripes of theology (i.e. Arminians, Calvinists, etc.) came together to sign the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy to protect us from the cancer of liberalism.  They defended us to the heart and teeth.  Brethren, we are living in dangerous times where the Word of God is being attacked not only by the unbelieving world, but by those who still carry the Christian heritage.  Since the topic of inerrancy is still resonating with many in the evangelical circle, we wanted to get another voice from a Christian leader.  Many of our contributers here at Veritas have been tremendously blessed by Dr. Frame.  Currently, we have been quoting from his books systematically each day on our Facebook wall.  To get more updates and words of edification from Veritas, please feel free to visit our Facebook or Twitter page:

Dr. Frame has contributed many significant works related to theology, apologetics, and philosophy.  He has interacted with many apologists and we have much to learn from him.  He is committed to the inerrant, infallible, and inspired Word of God and believes we need to subscribe to them in order to able to withstand the attacks of the unbelieving worldview.  In addition, here are some more details surrounding Dr. Frame’s biography which I got from RTS.  He is currently the J. D. Trimble Professor of Systematic Theology and Philosophy.

Princeton University, A.B.
Westminster Theological Seminary, B.D.
Yale University, M.A., M.Phil.
Belhaven College, D.D.

Bio

Dr. John Frame joined RTS Orlando in 2002 and serves as J.D. Trimble Professor of Systematic Theology and Philosophy. Dr. Frame teaches core courses on systematic theology, apologetics, ethics and philosophy.

Dr. Frame’s research interests include theology proper (the doctrine of God), the doctrine of scripture, ethics and epistemology (the theory of knowledge). Dr. Frame began his teaching career on the faculty of Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia before serving as a founding faculty member at Westminster Seminary California for more than 20 years. He is best known for his prolific writings, particularly his four-volume Theology of Lordship series. The second volume in this series (The Doctrine of God) won the 2003 Gold Medallion Award from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association in the category of theology/doctrine.

An ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in America, Dr. Frame is deeply committed to the work of ministry and to training pastors. Students appreciate Dr. Frame’s wealth of insight and his ability to communicate complex issues simply and clearly. Students also value Dr. Frame’s practical definition of theology as “the application of God’s revelation to all of life.”

Dr. Frame is a talented pianist and organist as well as a discerning media critic. He and his wife Mary have multiple children.

Publications

ONLINE RESOURCES

BOOKS

SELECT ARTICLES

  • “The Road to Generous Orthodoxy,” in Reformation & Revival 14:3 (2005), 97-105.
  • “Salvation and Theological Pedagogy,” in Reformation & Revival 14:1 (2005), 57-70.
  • “Johnson on Van Til: A Rejoiner,” in Evangelical Quarterly 76:3 (2004), 227-239.
  • “Reply to Don Collett on Transcendental Argument,” Westminster Theological Journal65:2 (2003), 307-309.
  • “Studying Theology as a Servant of Christ,” in Reformation & Revival 11:1 (2002), 45-69.
  • “In Defense of Something Close to Biblicism: Reflections on Sola Scriptura and History in Theological Method,” in Westminster Theological Journal 59:2 (1997), 269-291.
  • “Scripture and the Apologetic Task,” in Journal of Biblical Counseling 13:2 (1995), 9-12.
  • “Van Til on Antithesis,” in Westminster Theological Journal 57:1 (1995), 81-102.
  • “Men and Women in the Image of God,” in John Piper and Wayne Grudem, eds.,Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. Wheaton: Crossway Books (1991), 228-236.
  • “Christianity and Contemporary Epistemology,” in Westminster Theological Journal 52:1 (1990), 131-141.
  • “Toward a Theology of the State,” in Westminster Theological Journal 51:2 (1989), 199-226.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

We will now move onto the interview portion of this post:

Hello Dr. Frame,

Thank you for doing this interview with us.  We are blessed by your service to God and His inspired, inerrant, infallible, and the sufficient Word of God.  Here are some questions I have for you.

1)  Just for the sake of clarity for our audience, what is the difference between inerrancy and infallibility?  Different authors define these terms in different ways. I try to stick with the dictionary, in which either the two terms are synonymous, or infallibility is the stronger term. Inerrancy means there are no errors. Infallibility means that there can be no errors, that there is no possibility of error.

2)  What role does hermeneutics play in our defense of inerrancy?  Many objections to inerrancy are based on false interpretations of Scripture. That is, they are hermeneutical issues rather than issues of truthfulness.

3)  What apologetic method is most biblical in defending inerrancy?  Well, I’m a presuppositionalist, and I think that method is generally biblical. (See, for example, Cowan, ed.,  Five Views of Apologetics.) So I think it is the best method for debates about inerrancy, as well as debates about other aspects of the Christian faith. Presuppositionalism means being honest about the Christian’s ultimate criterion of truth, and showing that other proposed criteria collapse upon themselves. See, for example, my Apologetics to the Glory of God.

4)  What are your thoughts on the Classical defense for inerrancyThe Classical defense of Scripture was published in the Expositor magazine; a publication of OnePassion Ministries. You are evidently referring to a particular article, and I don’t have time to look that up and evaluate it. When I think of “classical defense,” I think of Sproul, Gerstner, and Lindsley,Classical Apologetics. My replay to them can be found in several places, particularly www.frame-poythress.org. TheClassical book says that we should assume at the outset that Scripture is “generally reliable,” but not inerrant, then work from there. In brief, (1) the serious critics of inerrancy don’t believe the Bible is generally reliable. (2) The classicists fail to give an account of how general reliability can be assessed.

5)  Does modern scholarship have any negative implications upon the doctrine of inerrancy? If you think modern scholarship (the anti-inerrantist part of modern scholarship) is completely trustworthy, then you cannot believe in inerrancy. But I think defenders of inerrancy have raised legitimate questions about these modern attempts to undermine inerrancy. See myDoctrine of the Word of God.

6)  Are those who hold onto limited inerrancy, still evangelical? Some of them clearly are not, because they not only limit inerrancy but also deny many of Jesus’ miracles, the blood atonement, etc. Others limit inerrancy to “matters of faith and practice” but maintain belief in miracles, the blood atonement, the resurrection, etc. I think this view is inconsistent, and its view of biblical authority is less than the Bible claims for itself. But I don’t worry too much about labels. Many of these people try to follow an evangelical heritage. Evangelicalism does not have a precise definition, and if limited inerrantists want to adopt the term I have no strong objections.

7)  What are the top three books you would recommend on the doctrine of inerrancy? Warfield, The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible; Kline, The Structure of Biblical Authority; Frame, The Doctrine of the Word of God.

8)  Did you watch The Inerrancy Summit? If so, what is your analysis on it? Sorry, but I did not.

9)  Why are seminaries and academicians who associate themselves in the evangelical circle, denying inerrancy? Because they want to be academically respectable, so they think they have to align themselves with the mainstream liberal positions. Of course, they have arguments for their positions, and those ought to be assessed.

10)  Please let me know if I am missing any other questions that you think are pertinent for this interview. Well, there are many questions, that have filled many books. But I think the above questions are sufficient for this kind of format. As I see it, the main issue is that we should believe what the Bible teaches about itself, just as we must believe what the Bible says about any other doctrine.

 

Blessings,

John M. Frame

 

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r-albert-mohler-jr-427jf100110

Here are some rough notes from last evening’s message.  Some notes were added by me to further explain or illustrate a point.

  • German liberal scholarship brought upon disastrous effects in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  One of her most influential planners is most notably Schleiermacher.  He asserted “that religion is primarily not a matter of doctrine but rather of feeling, intuition and experience” (Iain H. Murray, Evangelicalism Divided: a Record of Crucial Change in the Years 1950 to 2000, 5).  Consequently, this substituted personal subjective thinking for God’s divinely revealed Word.  This man did not believe in verbal plenary inerrancy.  As Evangelicals, we believe every Word is inerrant.
  • We believe in verbal plenary inspiration of the Word of God.  The church believed in Sola Scriptura.  The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy affirms the doctrine of inerrancy.  To stray away from Scripture in Word and in deed is to depart from our Master.
  • It is not only the affirmation of inerrancy that is important, but as B.B. Warfield mentioned, the church’s doctrine of inerrancy is important too.  Belief in inerrancy is what makes up the church, the living organism.  Warfield states, “This church-doctrine of inspiration differs from the theories that would fain supplant it, in that it is not the invention nor the property of an individual, but the settled faith of the universal church of God; in that it is not the growth of yesterday, but the assured persuasion of the people of God from the first planting of the church until to-day; in that it is not a protean shape, varying its affirmations to fit every new change in the ever-shifting thought of men, but from the beginning has been the church’s constant and abiding conviction as to the divinity of the Scriptures committed to her keeping” (Benjamin B. Warfield, The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible, 106).
  • There is no one untouched by this modern crisis.  The air is polluted with Higher Criticism.  They want to redefine the Bible and treat it the same as other ancient books.  Some academians and preachers are ashamed to affirm inerrancy.
  • Does inerrancy entail a hermenutic?  Inerrancy and hermeneutics are inseparable.  When we think about inerrancy and hermeneutics, we need to think about the relationship between two.
  • If the Word of God is inspired, then we must be committed to a historical grammatical mode of interpretation.
  • It was not coincidental that ‘The Chicago Statement on Inerrancy’ was followed just a short while later by ‘The Chicago Statement on Heremeneutics.’  The most important state comes from the statement on inerrancy.
  • 2 Timothy 2:15 — “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”
  • Here are the twelve principles of hermeneutics for inerrantists:
    1. When the Bible speaks, God speaks.  That means that the Scripture is an oracular book (“Whatever it says, God says” [B.B. Warfield, The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible, 106]).  Our task is to hear God’s voice.  This is our presupposition.  Hermeneutics of submission is our belief.  We do not submit to a hermeneutic of suspicion.  Hermeneutic of submission stands upon verbal plenary (entire Scripture) understanding of inerrancy.
    2. Biblical text determines the boundaries/limits of its own interpretation.  We take the text as it is given to us.  We are given different forms of literature, but what we have received is given by God.  We do not look or wait for a meaning after the text.  The text determines the meaning.  There is no hidden meaning.  There is no Bible code.
    3. Scripture is to be interpreted by Scripture (Analogy of Faith).  This means of course that there is no contradiction whatsoever.  Brian McLaren, a prolific figure in the emerging church movement, who subscribes to postmodernism says we have different interpretations because each community determines that.  That goes against Scripture.  Different communities provides different interpretations, but God only has one interpretation.
    4. Biblical text addresses in sentences (words, grammar, syntax, proposition).  Words are actual conveyors of truth.  We who are made in the image of God were made to collaborate with words.  We are creatures who understand words and propositional truth claims.  Karl Barth (leading figure as well as Emil Brunner who espoused neo-orthodoxy–a movement that came after World War I, differs from the original orthodoxy concerning bibliology and biblical anthropology).  Barth was against this.  He contradicts himself because he writes with meaning that have propositional claims (i.e. I love my wife has a subject, verb, and period at the end).  I can’t speak of a relationship without a proposition,  Words and propositions are necessary.
    5. The canon establishes the limits of God’s Word.  We need all of it until Jesus comes.  It limits where we look (2 Tim. 3:16).  Canon is not an accident, nor is it arbitrary.  God built the canon.  Bart Ehrman is wrong.  He thinks the church built the canon (Please see excellent book, “Challenging the Status Quo in the New Testament Debate: The Question of Canon” by Michael J. Kruger).  As for Jesus Seminar, this far, far left group who believed that doing a historical investigation on the Bible is possible.  They took all the sayings of Jesus from the Synoptic Gospels to see if they were the words of Jesus.  They voted on it with different colored marbles.  They cut out many of Jesus words that did not subscribe to their theological expectation.  They denied the supernatural works of Jesus.  This group fell apart.  They lost all their marbles.  We are limited to the canon and we need the canon.
    6. Hermeneutical principle necessitates that all forms of biblical literature of Scripture are given as the divine author intended.  The forms of different literature are from God.  They are essential to us.  We are not to teach anything than what was intended.  A parable is a parable.  Poetry is poetry.
    7. No extended authority can correct the Word of God.  Archaeology cannot be used to put God on trial. Can Scripture be put to the test by modern archaeologists?  Nothing can correct God’s Word.  No form of knowledge can.  Nor can science do it either. Modern science has no absolute assured results.  Opponents against inerrancy say we need to get with their program.  We cannot do abject theological surrender.  Norma, norma–The Roman Catholic Church can’t norm Scripture.  Scripture is the norm that can’t be normed.  Peter Enns says that Scripture is not tenable anymore when faced with modern archeology.  But Scripture can’t be normed.
    8. Holy Scripture which operates in the history of the space-time continuum are to be believed and taught as having actually happened in the space-time continuum.  What the Bible says happened, happened.  There is no such thing as “history-like.”  The Bible does not says once upon a time, but it says, “In the Beginning…”  Our salvation depends on the space-time continuum.
    9. Holy Scripture is to be read as a story that presents a story.  It has a meta-narrative.  We not only affirm historical-grammatical hermeneutics, but we also affirm the redemptive story.
    10. Scripture is Unbroken.  He has promises that have been fulfilled and more that are awaiting fulfillment.
    11. Our study and interpretation is dependent upon the the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit makes the voice of God’s Word heard clearly (perspecuity).
    12. Our study and interpretation is not an end to itself.  Teaching must be done.  The end of hermeneutic is not hermeneutic.  Hermeneutics leads to a homelitic.  Homelitics leads to a changed life.  Preachers have a unavoidable task.  The task is to proclaim His truths.  The supreme court judges have much at stake in their chambers concerning same-sex marriage, but the stakes are higher when you stand behind your pulpit.  Jeremiah 23:28, “The prophet who has a dream may relate his dream, but let him who has My word speak My word in truth. What does straw have in common with grain?” declares the Lord.

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Steve Lawson

Here are some rough notes from Dr. Steve Lawson.  I did not capture every word from the message, but tried to note down all the main points from the message.  It also has some notes whereby it was expanded by me.

[Proposition]: Seven symbols set before you

  1. The Word of God is a sword that pierces (Hebrew 4:12-13)
    1.  “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” (NASB).
      • The Word of God is not a Q-Tip that tickles. It is a sword that pierces. It is not a feather. It is a sword. And if the Word of God is not a sword in your hand, you are not preaching the Word of God.
      • What the Bible is
        • It is the Divine Word.  It is, “the word of God.” It is not the word of man, of society, of tradition, or of religion. It has come down to us from above. It has not originated with us or in this world; it has come down from the throne of God above.
        • His Word is living.  It is not dead.  It is not paralyzed.  Please note the verb tense in Hebrews 3:7, “Just as the Holy Spirit says.”  And then he quotes from Psalm 95:7. Not “said,” past tense, but, “. . . what the Spirit says,” present tense. This book is alive.
        • The Word is active.  “Energēs,” from which we get the word energetic. The Bible is full of energy.  The Word never runs out of energy.  I may get tired, but the Word never gets tired.
        • The Bible “pierces soul and spirit” and “judges the thoughts.” (v. 12)
  2. The Word of God is a mirror that reveals (James 1:23)
    1. “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror.”
      • The Word of God reads your heart.  It does not cheer you or flatter your sins.  It shows you who you are so you can be ushered into the beauty of His grace.  The Word reveals yourself to yourself.  No one can be saved, unless he knows his true condition.
  3. The Word of God is a seed that germinates, regenerates, and reproduces (1 Peter 1:23)
    1. “For you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.”
      1. Salvation is a monergistic work of God.  Heaven comes to us even before we come to Heaven.  A supernatural work from God in your life brings about a supernatural life.  It is a life that germinates a new life in Christ.
      2. Here is what is true about your ministry: you reap what you sow. If you sow a worldly message you will reap a worldly church. If you sow secular humanism and pop psychology and philosophical thoughts and personal experiences and political commentary, you will reap an unconverted church. But if you sow the living and enduring Word of God under the auspices of the sovereignty of God who can cause that seed to germinate, you will have a regenerate church.
      3. Spurgeon said, “I would rather preach five words out of this book than 50,000 words of the philosophers. If we want revivals, we must revive our reverence for the Word of God. And if we want conversion, we should put more of God’s Word in our sermons.” Less of you, more of God.
  4. The Word of God is milk that nourishes (1 Peter 2:2-3)
    1. “Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.”
      • Ordinary means of grace for Christians is the Word of God that sanctifies (“so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation…”)
      • See the parallel between Deuteronomy 8:3 and Matthew 4:4
        • Deut.: “He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.”
        • Matt.: “But He answered and said, ‘It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’”
  5. The Word of God is a lamp that shines (Psalm 119:5)
    1. “Oh that my ways may be established
      To keep Your statutes!”

      • We live in a very dark world.  Many travelers have suffered much on their way to glory.  We need the Word to show us the dangers.  The Word is the necessary lamp for every believer’s travel.  The lamp shines the brightest in the darkest part of the hour.
        • Psalm 19:8, “The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
          The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.”
        • 2 Peter 1:19, “So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.”
      • The inerrant Word gives infallible guidance.  Your ministry needs to shine brightly.
  6. The Word of God is a fire that consumes (Jeremiah 23:29)
    1.  “’Is not My word like fire?’ declares the Lord, ‘and like a hammer which shatters a rock?'”
      1. God is the speaker and Jeremiah is the secretary.  God uses a rhetorical question that is not meant to be answered by anyone because it is already functioning as a statement.  The answer is so obvious that God won’t even answer it.
      2. Fire can be used in a negative or positive sense.  Here fire is used in a negative sense.  It will consume anyone who resists His Word (vv., 26, 27, 28, 30, 31, 32, 34).
        1. Jeremiah 5:15 (context indicates false prophets are at play): Fire will consume all unbelief.  This timeless principle of judgment is also part of our message today.  The message we preach blesses and curses.  People will either be on fire for God or will be in the fire by God.  This is a red hot book my friend.  It is the hottest message.  When  you are called to preach, you are playing with fire.
  7. The Word of God is a hammer (Jeremiah 23:29)
    1. “’Is not My word like fire?’ declares the Lord, ‘and like a hammer which shatters a rock?'”
      1. Little weak men stand in a pulpit with a sledgehammer.  It smashes pride, self-righteousness, etc.  How will people be brought low?  It is the Word of God.  This hammer is harder than the hardest heart, thickest forehead, the stoniest soul, the most rock-like unbelief. It is this hammer that administers the death blow to self and smashes self-trust and brings a man or a woman to a place of humility before God, to call upon His name for the grace and mercy that he needs.
      2. I call you this day to wield the sword, spread the flame, swing the hammer.  And stop with the secular wisdom in the pulpit!  Cancel the entertainment in the church!  Fire the drama team!  Get rid of the shtick!  Unplug the colored lights!  Put the pulpit back in the center of the building!  Stand up like a man, open the Bible, lift it up, let it out, and let it fly!  It is the invincible power of the inerrant Word.

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