Responding to the New Attacks on Scripture
This is Dr. David Farnell’s lecture given at the Veritas Evangelical Seminary 2014 National Apologetics Conference on Nov. 8, 2014 titled “The Battle for the Bible: Responding to the New Attacks on Scripture.” The full video can be watched below:
Dr. Norman Geisler’s lecture is also available here.
It’s getting very bad out there in evangelicalism. Today the term “inerrancy” is used but there are critical evangelical scholars who are attempting to redefine what they mean by that. You can trust the Bible. But here’s the question: can you trust this new group of evangelical critical scholars that are attempting to redefine inerrancy?
Denying the Account of the Resurrection of the Saints
Let’s read Matthew 27:45–56. First, notice “and… and… and… and…” Everything is connected here. It’s a complete story. Certain scholars though are saying that part of this story didn’t actually happen. In particular, Dr. Michael Licona, says that the account of the resurrection of the saints is a strange little story and without any real proof, attempts to remove it, claiming it didn’t really happen historically.
Evangelical seminaries are now following this kind of thinking. And it’s having a devastating effect on some pastors. Licona says, “It seems best to regard this difficult text in Matthew a poetic device.” In other words, the resurrection of the saints, Licona says, didn’t happen historically.
Not A New Battle
This battle is not new. This same thing was happening in the 70s in evangelicalism. Scholars from all denominations travelled to Chicago and created a statement affirming the Bible. (You can find the full text of the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy here: http://defendinginerrancy.com/chicago-statements/) The CSBI doesn’t just represent a few people, but hundreds of evangelical scholars.
Then there was the battle for the Bible at the turn of the 20th century. At that time Lyman and Milton Stewart funded, produced and shipped free of charge The Fundamentals which was instrumental in protecting the church at that time.
Scholars Who Are Departing
(Playing a clip where speaker is denying the account of the resurrection of the saints.)
William Lane Craig. Craig also supports taking a critical view. He says he doesn’t know what to think about this passage but that it could be taken as apocalyptic symbolism. When asked his opinion on whether there were guards at the tomb, Lane says he can’t think of anybody who would defend whether there were really guards at the tombs. Quite shocking to hear Craig say these things (full clips are in the video). Farnell admits that he might be misinterpreting what Craig is saying.
Robert Gundry. Gundry just recently said Matthew presents Peter as an apostate who lost his salvation. You can watch Gundry’s lecture here. It’s pretty shocking: http://defendinginerrancy.com/robert-gundry-declares-peter-apostate/
Michael Bird. Bird says we should reinstate Gundry. The reason is because the Evangelical Theological Society is getting comfortable with biblical criticism.
Craig Blomberg. Blomberg agrees with Gundry saying we should allow that kind of interpretation. Blomberg says we shouldn’t see the story of Jesus telling Peter to find the coin in the fishes mouth as historical. Also says we should accept Gundry back, that his method of biblical interpretation is perfectly legitimate, that his view of three Isaiah’s is fine, that a Pauline imitator wrote books instead of Paul.
More Schocking Examples
It’s hard to tell the difference between liberal and evangelical scholars anymore. These “evangelical” critical scholars say the Sermon on the Mount didn’t actually happen. They say that people just collected Jesus’ sayings and put them together. These “evangelical” critical scholars say the negative portrayal of the Pharisees in the Gospel is not accurate. These “evangelical” critical scholars say the geneologies of Matthew and Luke are fiction. These “evangelical” critical scholars say the visit of the magi is fiction. But they ALL sign inerrancy statements!
Now we have a generation of scholars saying that all we have in the Gospels are the surviving traces of Jesus’ life. So we need to apply criteria to see which parts of the Gospels may have happened historically. They say all we have is a scale of probability on any given passage. But what does that do to the resurrection?
What Will Become Of Us?
There is no perfect seminary. But even the early seminaries who initially split from liberal theology over inerrancy are giving into this. They are trying to redefine inerrancy to inerrancy that allows for errors.
* Note: These notes are compiled from the NAC 2014 LiveBlog. They were written in “real time” and are given here merely as an aid to the viewer. It is not a transcription. Therefore, these notes contain omissions and may not entirely represent the view of Dr. Farnell. Readers are encouraged to watch the video for themselves.