Saturday, 25 March 2017

The Inerrancy of the Bible, by Johnson Philip and Saneesh Cherian

This is one of those self-published books you can read for free on Amazon Kindle Unlimited. It presents an apologetic case for the doctrine of the Inerrancy of Scripture, which is a worthy goal.

The bulk of the book is taken up with an history of views of the authority of Scripture. It is at times something of a 'straw man' history, not necessarily always offering a fair presentation of the issues. In particular, Karl Barth and Neo-Orthodoxy is treated as a poisonous heresy that corresponds to Eastern mysticism. I disagree with much that Karl Barth and other Neo-Orthodox theologians taught, but I don't think their views are accurately characterised in this book. It also attacks the Gap Theory, Old Earth Creationism and Theistic Evolution as erroneous. Amusingly, the book also praises the Fundamentals, a series of Evangelical publications from the early Twentieth Century (from which we get the word fundamentalist), which was authored by men who mostly advocated some form of Old Earth creation. The author fails to acknowledge that C.H. Spurgeon held to the Gap Theory, Charles Hodges was an Old Earth Creationist and Benjamin Warfield was a Theistic Evolutionist. Nor do the authors make any attempt to explain how they would make a case for a Young Earth Creation in the light of the scientific evidence for the antiquity of the Earth. There is a little anti-Catholicism in one or too places.

On the positive side, the book does make some good points. It explains that the Bible is a revelation and not a witness to revelation (as Karl Barth and the Neo-Orthodox theologians claimed). It defends the fitness of human language to communicate divine revelation. It also explains the concept of progressive revelation and acknowledges that the Bible may at times be flexible in how it reports statements of speech and at times uses round numbers. Most importantly, it maintains that Inerrancy of Scripture is a doctrine that really does matter.

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