A redated post.
I have recently read Don Williams essay in the Lewis encyclopedia on
Reflections on the Psalms and find it interesting. Lewis, as we know,
rejected what he called "fundamentalism. " I think what he called
fundamentalism exists in the real world (found, for example, in the
insistence on Young Earth Creationism as the only doctrine acceptable
to Bible-believing Christians). I have often struggled with the whole
issue of inerrancy because I think that the word is just a shibboleth
until we spell out what hermeneutical constraints follow from it. I
could use the word inerrancy if I wanted to and be a Bultmannian,
(that would require some doublethink, to be sure), or I could use it
and insist that literal six-day creation follows from it. The Chicago
Statement is a helpful tool to understand the doctrine as it is
currently defended, and Don is right in saying that Lewis was not
familiar with more nuanced explications of the doctrine.
But how do you answer questions like:
Can you reject Young Earth Creationism and still be an inerrantist.
(as prestigious a preacher as John McArthur has insisted that you can't):
http://www.amazon. com/Battle- Beginning- John-MacArthur/ dp/0849916259
Can you describe the Psalmists as expressing sinful passions and still
be an inerrantist.
Can you believe that Ruth is fictional and be an inerrantist? (I am not saying you couldn't have other reasons for thinking that Ruth is historical, but the question is whether inerrancy requires that it be historical).
Can you beileve that Darius was a Persian, not a Mede, and be an
Some of the moves Lewis makes with respect to Scripture probably could
be accepted by your typical present-day inerrantist. Others, I
suspect, would not be acceptable.
I think that sensible inerrancy does mean that quick scripture-to-doctrine moves have to be considered a little suspect.