Back in the 1970’s, there was a debate that centered around the inerrancy of the Bible. It hashed and rehashed most every question that could be raised about the Bible, whether it is factually true, in what sense is it inerrant, and how to apply the belief. The issue raged in many places, including the largest protestant denomination in the US, the Southern Baptists. It also resulted in emotional discussions between seminary professors, pastors, and scholars. Gospel writer Luke might have described it as ‘no small discussion’ about the issue, which means it was an extremely large discussion. No area of the doctrine was undiscussed. The result was finalized among Christian leaders and the questions died down.
Which is why it is so frustrating that the same issue has arisen again so soon after it was settled. Christian author Michael Licona, perhaps too young to have been cognizant of the inerrancy discussions a generation ago, has once again brought the question to the forefront. This is sad, for Licona’s positions have already been dealt with years ago.
Seminary professor Richard Howe, a strong inerrantist, makes note that almost all of the issues about inerrancy were dealt with in a series of eight books that were published by those who were in the center of the debate years ago. So here I provide the list of the works that were published. For anyone who wants to step away from the current emotion-laden debate and do the research on the issues, I provide the following list. Again, these eight volumes present the unified position of conservative scholarship a generation ago on the doctrine of inerrancy. Thanks to Richard Howe for the list. The eight volumes (in order of publication) are:
Boice, James Montgomery, ed. The Foundation of Biblical Authority. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1978.
Radmacher, Earl D., ed. Can We Trust the Bible? Leading Theologians Speak Out on Biblical Inerrancy. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1979.
Geisler, Norman L., ed. Inerrancy. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1979.
Geisler, Norman L., ed. Biblical Errancy: An Analysis of Its Philosophical Roots. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1981.
Lewis, Gordon and Bruce Demarest, eds. Challenges to Inerrancy: A Theological Response. Chicago: Moody, 1984.
Hanna, John, ed. Inerrancy and the Church. Chicago: Moody Press, 1984.
Radmacher, Earl D. and Robert D. Preus, eds. Hermeneutics, Inerrancy & the Bible: Papers from ICBI Summit II. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, Academie, 1984.
Kantzer, Kenneth, ed. Applying the Scripture: Papers from ICBI Summit III. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, Academie, 1987.
(for a readable history of how the issue played out in the Southern Baptist Convention, see A Hill On Which to Die, by Paul Pressler.)