The doctrine of Scripture is in need of defense in every generation. In our day the challenge is presented by those who want to say that the idea of inerrancy arose out of a corruption of Christian theology by Greek and modern philosophy, and that the Bible’s testimony about itself is much more chastened regarding its certainty. In two weeks at the Evangelical Theological Society annual meeting in Baltimore, academic heavyweights such as Al Mohler, Peter Enns, John Franke and others will debate this issue in what could amount to a showdown. In addition, hundreds of papers will be presented on this issue.
Thy Word is Still Truth, edited by Peter Lillback and Richard Gaffin will prove, I believe, to be an important resource in the present “Battle for the Bible.” A critical issue in the debate is which position, inerrancy or non-inerrancy, has historical pedigree. Lillback and Gaffin, president and professor of NT theology, respectively, of Westminster Theological Seminary, have assembled almost 1,400 pages of historical writings on the doctrine of Scripture from the Reformation to today. This volume includes confessions, creeds, sermons, and key passages by orthodox theologians. In the process they establish quite clearly that orthodox theology has always held to the belief that the Scripture is without error in all it affirms, and that it stands as the starting point and authority for all human knowledge. This is a personal matter for Lillback and Gaffin as they explain in the introduction:
In recent years , this understanding of God’s Word has been repeatedly challenged–not simply by those in the liberal Protestant tradition, but also by those in the broad evangelical perspective. In fact, in the past few years, Westminster addressed related issues in its own theological crisis, which was motivated by differing hermeneutical perspectives and broader understandings of confessional boundaries. Resolving the conflict required an extensive and often painful process of theological clarification, historical reappraisal, and financial risks, because the debate impacted friends of the seminary who took varying perspectives on the issues raised.
I was a student at Westminster when this was happening in the mid-2000’s, so I know that this historical study became a critical foundation upon which the defense of the historic doctrine of Scripture stands. Thy Word is Still Truth is an invaluable resource for those who believe historical theology still matters.