Is Belief in Biblical Contradictions Consistent with Inerrancy?

From on Jul 8, 2016

Is Belief in Biblical Contradictions Consistent with Inerrancy?

Copyright © 2016 Dr. Norman L. Geisler. All rights reserved.

Since earliest times evangelicals have confessed that the Bible is inerrant or without error (see John Hannah, Inerrancy and the Church, Moody, 1984). Traditionally, this included the belief that allowing a contradiction in Scripture was inconsistent with the doctrine of inerrancy. This belief is being challenged today by some evangelicals. This raises the question of what inerrancy means. Simply put, it means without error. And a contradiction was considered a serious error.

Although in modern times some have held Limited Inerrancy to only redemptive matters, from the earliest times the term meant unlimited inerrancy (ibid.), which included all matters, redemptive, historical, and rational. The most comprehensive statements on the meaning of inerrancy were produced by the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy (ICBI) held in Chicago between 1978 and 1988. This included a council of some 300 scholars from various denominations and countries and it produced three formal statements, three commentaries, one on each statement, and books containing articles on the ICBI declarations.

The strongest challenge to this view came with the publication of Jack Rogers and Donald McKim’s book (The Authority and Inspiration of the Bible, Harper, 1979). This book occasioned the definitive and unanswered refutation by John Woodbriddge, Biblical Authority: A Critique of the Rogers/McKim Proposal (Zondervan, 1982).

Defining Inerrancy

When referring to “inerrancy” in this article, the ICBI sources will be used for many reasons: First, they were composed by the largest group of evangelicals ever amassed to speak on this issue. Second, they represented the top evangelical scholars of the time on the subject. They produced the largest number of statements, articles and books on the topic over the longest period of time (ten years). Third, their declarations were accepted as a guide for understanding inerrancy by the largest group of evangelical scholars in the world, the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS), now 3000 members strong. Fourth, many of the largest seminaries in the world and numerous other groups have also accepted their view on inerrancy, including the largest Protestant denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention. Fifth, the ICBI position is in continuity with the historic position of the Christian Church down through the centuries (Hannah, ibid.).

The ICBI statements defining inerrancy occur in the first four of their official documents. They are the result of the first two conferences, beginning with 300 of the top evangelical scholars and result in two official doctrinal statements and official commentaries on these two confessions. They are:

  • The Chicago Statement of Biblical Inerrancy (CSBI)
  • The Commentary on the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy (CCSBI)
  • The Chicago Statement on Biblical Hermeneutics (CSBH)
  • The Commentary on the Chicago Statement on Biblical Hermeneutics (CCSBH)

The Importance of Inerrancy

This is not to say that there are no other views on inerrancy held by evangelicals; there are. But by historic standards they are not orthodox views. And most of them are modern—post-Darwinian (see H.D. McDonald, Theories of Revelation, 1979). This does not mean that one cannot be saved, if he denies inerrancy. Inerrancy is not a test for evangelical authenticity, but it is a test for evangelical consistency.

ICBI made many statements on the importance of inerrancy. They insisted that [1] “we further deny that inerrancy can be rejected without grave consequences, both to the individual and to the Church” CSBI, XIX, emphasis added in all these citations). Further, “We affirm that [2] the doctrine of inerrancy has been integral to the Church’s faith throughout its history (CSBI, XVI). It adds, [3] “we [ICBI Framers] urge as a committee and as an assembly that people consider the severe consequences that may befall the individual or the church which casually and easily rejects inerrancy. We believe that history has demonstrated again and again that [4] there is all too often a close relationship between rejection of inerrancy and subsequent defection from matters of the Christian faith that are essential to salvation. For [5] “when the church loses its confidence in the authority of sacred Scripture the church inevitably looks to human opinion as its guiding light. [6] When that happens the, the purity of the church is directly threatened” (ibid.). In short, it has been called a “watershed” issue.

Unlimited Inerrancy as Embraced by ICBI

Basically, there are two broad categories of views on inerrancy: Unlimited Inerrancy (ICBI) and Limited Inerrancy. According to the former, the Bible is without error on whatever topic it discusses, whether theology or history or science. According to Limited Inerrancy, the Bible is only without error on redemptive matters, but not on historical or scientific issues. According to Limited Inerrancy, the Bible is only errorless on primary or essential doctrines but not on secondary or incidental matters. However the greatest theologian of the late Middle Ages, St. Thomas Aquinas, declared that the Bible is not only true in all that it teaches but also in all that it touches. For things “incidentally or secondarily related to the object of faith are all the contents of Scripture handed down by God.” As examples of things in the Bible not essential to faith, but nevertheless without error, Aquinas cites as the fact that Abraham had two sons and that a dead man rose when Elijah’s bones touched him (Summa Theologica 2a2ae. 2, 5; 1, 6 ad 1).

The ICBI framers agreed with Unlimited Inerrancy, affirming, “Holy Scripture, being God’s own Word…is of infallible divine authority in all matters upon which it touches: it is to be believed, as God’s instruction, in all that it affirms…” (CSBI, “A Short Statement.” Emphasis added in all these quotes). That is to say, “We deny that the inspiration of Scripture can rightly be affirmed of the whole without the parts, or of some parts but not the whole” CSBI, VI). Also, “We affirm that inspiration…guaranteed true and trustworthy utterances on all matters on which the Biblical authors were moved to speak and write” (CSBI IX). Further, “We affirm that Scripture…is infallible, so that, far from misleading us, it is true and reliable in all matters it addresses” (CSBI, XI). Also, “We deny that Biblical infallibility and inerrancy are limited to spiritual, religious or redemptive themes, exclusive of assertions in the fields of history and science.” We further deny that scientific hypotheses about earth history may properly be used to overturn the teaching of Scripture on creation and the flood” (CSBI, XII). Also, “We affirm that since God is the author of all truth, biblical and extra-biblical, are consistent and cohere. The Bible speaks truth when it touches upon matters pertaining to nature, history, or anything else” (CSBH, XX).

Unlimited Inerrancy and Contradictions

Further, the ICBI statements explicitly excluded belief in contradictions as compatible with inerrancy. They declared: “We affirm the unity and internal consistency of Scripture” (CSBI, XIV, emphasis added in these citations). And “We deny that later revelations, which may fulfill earlier revelation, ever corrects or contradicts it” (CSBI, Article V). Further, in the official ICBI statement on hermeneutics, they confessed that “We affirm the unity, harmony, and consistency of Scripture” (CSBH, XVII). And “We affirm that since God is the author of all truth, all truth, biblical and extrabiblical, are consistent and cohere…” (CSBH, XX). Also, “We affirm the harmony of special with general revelation and therefore of biblical teaching with the facts of nature. We deny that any genuine scientific facts are inconsistent with the true meaning of any passage of Scripture” (CSBH, XXI). Further, “We affirm that Genesis 111 is factual, as is the rest of the book. We deny that the teachings of Genesis 1-11 are mythical and that scientific hypotheses about earth history of the origin of humanity may be invoked to overthrow what Scripture teaches about creation” (CSBH XXII). In short, as the official ICBI commentary on CSBI Article XVIIII declares, “Any interpretation of a passage that yields a meaning in direct contradiction to another portion of Scripture is disallowed” (emphasis added).

Denying Inerrancy by Allowing Contradictions

There are at least three reasons for disallowing contradictions in the Bible: Scripture, logic, and official statements on inerrancy such as those of ICBI. The Bible speaks explicitly against contradictions. Paul exhorted Timothy to “avoid… contradictions (Gk: antitheseis) (1 Tim. 6:20). A similar sentiment rejecting opposites was expressed by Jesus when He declared, “Let what you say be simply Yes or No.’ Anything more than this comes from evil” (Matt. 5:37). Paul implied the same when he said we should say Yes or No, not Yes and No (2 Cor. 1:19). Indeed, all of God’s revelation is consistent, not contradictory truth as opposed to error (1 John 4:6). It is not and cannot be both truth and false at the same time and in the same sense.

Further, logic demands, via the Law of non-contradiction, that opposites cannot both be true. And one cannot deny the basic logical law of non-contradiction without using it. For the, denial of the law of non-contradiction is self-defeating. For it affirms that its position (that denies the law of non-contradiction) is the opposite of its denial. And allowing for contradictions in Scripture is a violation of the law of non-contradiction

Finally, the history of the church reveals that whatever was contradictory was considered false. Both premises of opposites cannot be true. This is affirmed in principle and in practice. From the earlies times theologians attempted to harmonize opposing statements. The first harmony of the Gospels (Tatian’s Diatessaron, 2nd cent A. D.) was constructed on this principle. So was St. Augustine’s Harmony of the Gospels, 4th cent. A.D.). St. Augustine argued that there is “the most perfect agreement in them” [the Scriptures], and he rejected the view of those who in their error think that the two Testaments in the Old and New Books are contrary to each other; that so we should think that there is any contradiction here” (Sermons on New Testament Lessons 32.8). Thomas Aquinas added, it is heretical to say that any falsehood whatsoever is contained either in the gospels or in any canonical Scripture (Commentary on the book of Job 13, 1). The Reformers followed suit, Calvin affirming that “We owe to Scripture the same reverence which we owe to God; because it has proceeded from Him alone, and has nothing belonging to man mixed with it. . .” (Urquhart, Inspiration, 179-180). However, for things not explicitly sated in Scripture, The Westminster Confession of Faith spoke of things logically “deduced from Scripture” by “good and necessary consequence” (I, vi) which clearly implies the use of logic and the Law of Non-contradiction.

Indeed, the whole theological enterprise down through the centuries was based on building a consistent(i., e., non-contradictory)system. And, as shown above, ICBI was insistent on the fact that God could not contradict Himself in Scripture or anywhere else.

Evangelical New Testament Scholar Admitting Contradiction in Scripture

In view of the foregoing, it comes as a shock to those familiar with the history of thought and theology that some evangelical New Testament (NT) scholars who confess to believe in inerrancy would admit to believing there can be contradictions in Scripture. But as contrary to Scripture and reason as this is, it is precisely what is happening today.

One scholar boldly affirms that (in John 19:14) John “altered” the day on which Jesus was crucified from Friday to Thursday. Mike Licona said, “I think that John probably altered the day [of Jesus’s crucifixion] in order for a theological—to make a theological point there” (in a debate with Bart Ehrman at Southern Evangelical Seminary, Spring, 2009). This was repeated in the more recent “Best Schools” web debate (April, 2016). There are two serious errors here, namely, that: 1) One Gospel gives the wrong day for Jesus’ crucifixion, and 2) that there is a contradiction in the Bible (between Mark 14:12 and John 19:14).

Contradictions are Inconsistent with Inerrancy

As demonstrated above, claiming a contradiction in the Bible is inconsistent with the historic view of Unlimited Inerrancy. For evangelicals have always held that the Bible is the Word of God, and God cannot contradict Himself. Indeed, it is impossible that God can err (Heb. 6:18).

Finally, as for ICBI’s statements applying to Licona’s position on inerrancy, all three living framers of the ICBI position are on record as explicitly rejecting the compatibility of his views with inerrancy. For example:

R. C. Sproul wrote: “As the former and only president of ICBI during its tenure and as the original framer of the Affirmations and Denials of the Chicago Statement on Inerrancy, I can say categorically that Mr. Michael Licona’s views are not even remotely compatible with the unified Statement of ICBI” (Letter May 22, 2012, emphasis added).

J. I. Packer wrote: “As a framer of the ICBI statement on biblical inerrancy who once studied Greco-Roman literature at advanced level, I judge Mike Licona’s view that, because the Gospels are semi-biographical, details of their narratives may be regarded as legendary and factually erroneous, to be both academically and theologically unsound” (Letter May 8, 2014. Emphasis added).

Norman L. Geisler: As general editor of the ICBI books and a framer of its doctrinal statements, I can say without equivocation that Mike Licona’s Greco-Roman Genre views, like Robert Gundry’s Hebrew Midrash views (for which he was asked to resign from ETS), are clearly incompatible with ICBI statements on inerrancy (January 2, 2016).

In spite of all this, Licona claims to believe in inerrancy, albeit, only in some undefined general sense. He asserts: “I think the Chicago Statement has a fairly good, though imperfect definition of what biblical inerrancy is and is not.” But “even those who penned the statement…don’t always agree on how it’s to be properly interpreted.” However, his claim that it is a “fairly good” definition of inerrancy is not clear and it falls short of an acceptance of the ICBI statement. Indeed, as just noted, the original framer of the ICBI statements on inerrancy declared, “Licona’s views are not even remotely compatible with the unified Statement of ICBI.” Further, contrary to Licona’s claim, the above quotes clearly indicate that on all essentials there is complete agreement among ICBI framers that Licona’s claim about disagreement among them is clearly false. Whatever areas of disagreement existed were minor, and they were never made part of ICBI statements. On the actual statements made by the ICBI, there was total agreement. So, the official statements, such as “the Chicago Statement,” reflect only areas of agreement. The few who disagreed did not sign the statements.

There are no Proven Contradictions in the Gospels

Evangelical biblical scholars have been aware for centuries of alleged contradictions, like the one mentioned by Licona (see Geisler and Howe, The Big Book of Bible Difficulties, Baker), but few have ever, until recently, held them to be real contradictions. St. Augustine summarized the historic view well, “If we are perplexed by any apparent contradiction in Scripture, it is not allowable to say, The author of this book is mistaken; but either: [1] the manuscript is faulty, or [2] the translation is wrong, or [3] you have not understood” (Augustine, Reply to Faustus 11.5, emphasis added).

Contrary to Licona’s contention, a careful examination of John 19:14 reveals no contradiction with Mark 14:12. Noted New Testament scholars make this clear. A. T. Robertson affirmed that the phrase “day of the preparation of the Passover” in Jn. 19:14 means ”Friday” (Nisan 15), the day before the Sabbath in the Passover week (see Jn. 19:31, 42; Mk 15:42; Mt. 27:62; Lk. 23:54). This harmonizes with the other Gospels (cf. Mark 14:12). Ellicott’s Commentaries presents the same view (in “Excursus F” by Prof. Plumptre, Vol. 6, 560-561): “[It] does not mean more on any strict interpretation than the ‘Passover Friday,’ the Friday in Passover week….” Both Western and Eastern Churches adopted it as a synonym for Friday (see Robertson, ibid., vol. 4, 299 and Word Pictures, vol. 1, 207 and in his Harmony of Gospels, 279-284). New Testament expert D. A. Carson confirms the same view, saying, “(‘Preparation’) regularly refers to Friday—i.e. the Preparation of the Sabbath is Friday” (The Gospel According to John, 603).

Understanding the text, as these top New Testament scholars do, completely undermines Licona’s view. For if there is no contradiction between Mark and John about the day of the crucifixion, then there is no need to make the questionable appeal to Greek genre to solve non-existent problems. To do so is to propose a solution to a problem that does not exist.

Appeal to Extra-Biblical Genre is Contrary to Inerrancy

In fact, the ICBI framers rejected this kind of appeal to extra-biblical sources for determine the meaning of biblical texts. They affirmed emphatically that “Scripture is to interpret Scripture” (CSBI, XVIII), not extra-biblical sources. That is, “we are to take account of the literary forms and devices that are found within the Scriptures themselves” (CCSBI, Article XVIII, emphasis added). As The Westminster Confession declared, “The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture, is the Scripture itself; and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any scripture (which is not manifold but one), it may be searched and known by other places [in Scripture] that speak more clearly” (I, ix)

Thus, the rule of interpretation of Scripture is: “a verb is to be interpreted as a verb; a noun as a noun; a parable as a parable, didactic literature as didactic literature, narrative history as narrative history, poetry as poetry, and the like” (ibid.). No extra-biblical sources or genre are to be used to deny the historicity of a biblical text. For “When the quest for sources produces a dehistoricizing of the Bible…it has trespassed beyond its proper limits” (ibid). The “Chicago Statement” declares emphatically, “We deny the legitimacy of any treatment of the text of quest for sources lying behind it that leads to relativizing, dehistoricizing, or discounting its teaching, or rejecting its claim to authorship” (CSBI, Article XVIII). What is more, “any interpretation of a passage that yields a meaning in direct contradiction to another portion of Scripture is disallowed” (CCSBI, XVIII, emphasis added in all these citations).

In short, no appeal to genre outside the Bible is hermeneutically determinative of the meaning of a text inside the Bible. Rather, “Scripture is to be interpreted therefore in terms not only of its immediate context but also of the whole context of the Word of God” (CCSBI, XVIII). There is a role for extra-biblical written sources, but it is not hermeneutically determinative of the meaning of a biblical text. The proper role for the use of external sources is illustrated by the following comparison:

Use Of Extra-Biblical Data And Genre
Legitimate Use Illegitimate Use
A Material Cause A Formal Cause
Provide Parts Determine The Whole
Illuminate Significance Determine Meaning

For example, the understanding of a word can be illuminated by its use in extra-biblical usage, particularly if it is used only rarely or once (hapax legomena) in the NT. But no Bible doctrine is determined by extra-biblical usage of any Greek term or practice. Of course, the sense and significance of many Greek terms are illuminated by a study of their use outside New Testament (see Gustav Deissmann, Light from the Ancient East, Harper, 1923). But Bible doctrines are based on biblical teaching not on the extra-biblical use of a single term. Likewise, an extra-biblical cultural practice can be used to understand a biblical event, but not to determine what the Bible is teaching on the matter. For example, the cultural practice of sacrificing one’s virgin daughters to the angry mob helps us understand how committed they were to protect even strangers who came under their roof, but it does not justify the act of giving one’s virgin daughters to gratify raging sexual predators (Gen. 19).

The Illegitimate Use of Greek Genre for Interpreting New Testament Events

To apply this principle to the issue at hand, the practice of Greek writers in biographies of their day (like Plutarch’s writing on Caesar) are not definitive for New Testament writers. Such use of Greek genre to understand the NT is illegitimate for many reasons:

First, it is questionable to assume that the Gospels should be understood in like manner the way Greeks understood biography, as Richard Burridge suggested (see What Are the Gospels, Eerdmans, 2004). But why should they? Even Burridge admits that the Gospels may be a genre of their own and that genre is not determinative in interpreting a NT text (121). Even Rudolph Bultmann, father of NT criticism, asserted that a consensus of modern critical scholars claimed the NT may have its own genre (Burridge, ibid., 11, 270).

Second, the NT writers were Jewish in orientation, and the Old Testament (OT) was their background. There is an occasional citing of Greek writers in the NT, but two of the three are in one sermon given by Paul to Greek philosophers (Acts 17:28; Titus 1:12). Yet the pages of the New Testament are peppered with citations from the Old Testament (OT). Roger Nicole (Harvard, Ph.D.) noted that: “If clear allusions are taken into consideration [along with direct citations], the figures are much higher [than several hundred]: C.H. Toy lists 613 such instances, Wilhelm Ditmar goes as high as 1640, while Eugen Huehn indicates 4105 passages reminiscent of Old Testament Scripture. It can therefore be asserted, without exaggeration, that more than 10 per cent of the New Testament text is made up of citations or direct allusions to the Old Testament” (Roger Nicole, “New Testament Use of the Old Testament” in Carl F.H. Henry, Revelation and the Bible, Baker, 1958). In short, there is no real evidence of a NT dependence on extra-biblical Greek sources or genre for the meaning of their affirmations.

Third, the Greeks did not believe in the physical resurrection of the body. In fact, for them salvation was from the body, not in the body, as it was for Christians. The Greeks mocked the apostle Paul for proclaiming the resurrection (Acts 17:32). Yet it is the heart of the Christian message (1 Cor. 15:1-7, 12-19). For Paul declared: “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins” (1 Cor. 15:17). But clearly the NT did not adopt Greek beliefs to understand the phenomenon of the resurrection. So, adopting Greek genre to understand the NT is contrary to the heart of the NT Christian Gospel message of the death and resurrection of Christ.

Fourth, the Greek genre view overlooks the clear statements of Luke 1:1-4 that NT writers had a keen interest in historical accuracy. Luke speaks of writing an “orderly account” based on “eyewitnesses” and having himself “followed all things closely for some time” so that his reader cold “have certainty” concerning the events of which he spoke. This does not speak of someone who is creating the events, but who is recording them—accurately. And both Mathew and Mark are parallel to Luke in their record of events and words of Jesus. That is why the three are called synoptic (same-view) Gospels. Even Burridge claimed that Luke’s declaration of reliability should be taken seriously (Burridge, 209). This does not mean that the Greek NT always gives the exact words (ipsissima verba), though it sometimes does, but that it always gives the same voice or meaning (ipsissima vox).

Fifth, the author of the Gospel of Luke has proven to be an accurate historian, and Mathew and Luke give the same basic message, often in the same words. So, the historical accuracy of Luke speaks of the accuracy of Matthew and Mark as well. Indeed, some noted Roman historians, who deal with the same period of time, offer words of praise for the NT. A. N. Sherwin-White wrote, “So it is astonishing that while Greco-Roman historians have been growing confidence, the twentieth-century study of the gospel narratives, starting from no less promising material, have taken so gloomy a turn in the development of form-criticism…that the historical Christ is unknowable and the history of his mission cannot be written. This seems very curious” (187). He calls the mythological view “unbelievable” (189) (A. N. Sherwin-White, Roman Society and Roman Law in the NT). Sir William Ramsay affirmed similar support for Luke’s accuracy (see his St. Paul the Traveler and Roman Citizen, Putnam 1896; Reprint 1960).

Another historian of the Hellenic period, Colin Hemer, wrote a book detailing how accurate Luke was in his description of events of that time. These include: 1. Minute geographical details known to the readers. 2. Specialized details known only to special groups. 3. Specifics of not widely known routes, places, and officials. 4. Correlation of dates in Acts with general history. 5. Details appropriate to that period but not others. 6. Events which reflects a sense of “immediacy.” 7. Idioms and culture that bespeak of a first-hand awareness. 8. Verification of numerous details of times, people, and events of that period best known by contemporaries (Hemer, The Book of Acts in the Setting of Hellenic History, Eisenbrauns, 1990). In more than 80 instances Luke was proven to be completely accurate historically.

Sixth, the NT writers condemns non-historical legends and “myths” (1 Tim. 1:4; 2 Tim. 4:4; Titus 1:14), warning against some who are “wandering off into myths” (2 Tim. 4:4.) And when the NT speaks of OT figures they refer to them as literal persons such as, Adam, Moses (Rom. 5:12-14; 1 Tim. 2:13); Noah (Matt. 24:37-38), David (Matt. 12:3), Abraham (Heb. 11:8-19), and many others. So, to allow the belief in legends or myths in the NT is contrary to both principle and practice of NT writers. Thus, Licona’s claim is clearly unfounded when he declares that in the NT “it is often difficult to determine when history ends and legend begins” (Licona, The Resurrection of Jesus, 34).

Seventh, the Greek genre view wrongly assumes that NT biography has poetical content in the narrative. For example, Robert Gundry’s use of Aristotle to allowed contradictions to prove his point. Aristotle (Poetics, chap 25, 1460), but this was only for poetry, but not for non-poetic narratives. But even so, Aristotle urged that even in poetry the use of contradictions be avoided as much as possible (ibid.). So even if Aristotle were the model for NT Gospels, it begs the question to assume that the Gospels are poetry. Luke clearly describes his Gospel as accurate history, not poetry or myth (see point Three above).

Eighth, Licona’s view that some NT texts may be legends is contrary to the fundamental rule of interpretation which demands a text be understood in its historical-grammatical context. As the ICBI framers affirmed, “Scripture is to be interpreted therefore in terms not only of its immediate context but also of the whole context of the Word of God” (CCSBI, XVIII). ICBI declared: “We deny that generic categories which negate historicity may rightly be imposed on biblical narratives which present themselves as factual” (CSBH, Article XIII. Emphasis added). In fact, it is self-defeating to deny this hermeneutical principle that texts should be interpreted in the light of their literal, historical context. For the denial itself implies that others should take this denial in its literal, historical context as the author of the denial meant it.

Proper hermeneutics implies a presumption of a literal, historical sense of the Gospel narratives, unless there is evidence in the biblical texts to indicate the contrary. In popular language, the literal method of interpretation means that one should take the literal sense of the Gospels, unless it results in nonsense (logically, morally, or physically). Such would be the case where we are exhorted to “pluck” our eye out if we were having a problem with lust (Matt. 5:29) or our right hand if it causes us to sin (Matt. 5:30).

Summary and Conclusion

1. Historically, the most definitive and widely accepted view of inerrancy held by evangelicals is Unlimited Inerrancy as spelled out by ICBI.

2. ICBI defined Unlimited Inerrancy as that in which every topic, whether about redemption, history, or science, on which the Bible speaks is without error. For it is God’s Word, and God cannot err on any topic.

3. Unlimited Inerrancy, such as that expressed by ICBI, is contrary to the belief that there are contradiction in the Bible.

4. Being sourced in an omniscient (all-knowing) God, all that the Scripture affirms is consistent and non-contradictory.

5. The contention of some contemporary NT scholars that there are contradictions in Scripture is both illogical and unbiblical.

6. Appealing to extra-biblical Greek genre to solve alleged contradictions in the Bible is both textually unnecessary and hermeneutically unfounded. It is unnecessary, since (1) alleged contradictions in the NT have not been proven to be real contradictions. And (2) it is contrary to ICBI and proper hermeneutics to appeal to any extra-biblical data or genre as hermeneutically definitive. The proper interpreter of the Bible is the Bible. Extra-biblical sources have no interpretive authority over the biblical text.

7. Therefore, the Greek genre view of Mike Licona, which enables him to allow for contradictions in the Gospels, is contrary to sound hermeneutics and to the historical evangelical view of inerrancy expressed by ICBI.

8. As such, a Licona-type view can have grave and serious consequences on the individual and the church, affecting its purity, and even provoking some to defect from matters of the Christian faith that are essential to salvation (as mentioned above by the ICBI fathers, CSBI, XIX, XVI).