Inerrancy — Lessons from History (2)

12 October 2009 by Wes Bredenhof

Inerrancy was a big subject of debate in the 1970s.  While the debate did not rage within the Canadian Reformed Churches, it was taken note of, as was the stand of the CanRC.  In the October 20, 1979 issue of Clarion, J. Visscher noted Harold Lindsell’s observation that the CRC had been, to put it mildly, “indifferent” towards inerrancy up to that point in time.  In the following issue (November 3, 1979), Visscher outlined what he called “the Reformed Position” on inerrancy.  What he wrote there is worth quoting at length:

Now at this point you might be asking: What exactly is our position in the midst of this swirling controversy?  It should be one of whole-hearted support for the doctrine of inerrancy and those who promote it.  The Scriptural passages that have been mentioned, especially 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20,21; John 10:35; are quite clearly asserting that the Bible is inspired, infallible and inerrant.  The whole attitude of the Lord Jesus to the Scriptures is exactly in this line.  In addition, although the confessions of the church do not say too much on this subject, mostly because it was never an issue in those days, yet they do say enough.  The Belgic Confession states in article 5, “We receive all these books, and these only, as holy and canonical, for the regulation, foundation, and confirmation of our faith; believing without any doubt all things contained in them.”  Article 7 states, “We believe that those Holy Scriptures fully contain the will of God, and that whatsoever man ought to believe unto salvation is sufficiently taught therein…therefore we reject with all our hearts whatsoever does not agree with this infallible rule.”

Surely the above makes it clear where we stand in this debate.  On the basis of Scripture and Confession our calling is to promote the inerrancy of the Scriptures.  As such, we too, must be vigilant for the truth, and be on guard against those who would undermine our faith and rob us of our heritage.  The Church can only be the “pillar and bulwark of the Truth” (1 Tim. 3:15) when she stands square on the truth of God’s Word.  Let us continue to insist that among our professors of theology, our ministers of the Word, our elders and deacons, and our members in the pew, there must be a faithful adherence to the Word of God in all that it teaches.  (471)

That same call still needs to be issued today.  Inerrancy is still part of the Reformed doctrine of Scripture.

3 responses to “Inerrancy — Lessons from History (2)”

  1. Interestingly, Lindell had to re-interpret the gospels significantly to save inerrancy. See for details.

  2. Do you approve of Lindell’s approach to inerrancy? Why or why not?

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