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Five Views on Biblical Inerrancy (Counterpoints)

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The inerrancy of the Bible is a current and often contentious topic among evangelicals. Five Views on Biblical Inerrancy represents a timely contribution by showcasing the spectrum of evangelical positions on inerrancy, facilitating understanding of these perspectives, particularly where and why they diverge. Each essay in this volume considers the present context and the viability and relevance for the contemporary evangelical Christian witness and whether and to what extent Scripture teaches its own inerrancy. Five Views on Biblical Inerrancy serves not only as a single-volume resource for surveying the current debate, but also as a catalyst for understanding and advancing the conversation.

Save more when you purchase this book as part of the Zondervan Counterpoint Series.

Resource Experts
  • Provides numerous perspectives on inerrancy
  • Compares and critique multiple distinct views
  • Includes contributions from a diverse assortment of distinguished scholars and theologians
  • “When the Bible Speaks, God Speaks: The Classic Doctrine of Biblical Inerrancy” by R. Albert Mohler Jr.
  • “Inerrancy, However Defined, Does Not Describe What the Bible Does” by Peter Enns
  • “Inerrancy Is Not Necessary for Evangelicalism outside the USA” by Michael F. Bird
  • “Augustinian Inerrancy: Literary Meaning, Literal Truth, and Literate Interpretation in the Economy of Biblical Discourse” by Kevin J. Vanhoozer
  • “Recasting Inerrancy: The Bible As Witness to Missional Plurality” by John R. Franke
  • “Conclusion: Opening Lines of Communication” by Stephen M. Garrett and J. Merrick

Top Highlights

“To anticipate: inerrancy means that God’s authoritative Word is wholly true and trustworthy in everything it claims about what was, what is, and what will be.” (Page 202)

“The point is that I do not allow any line of evidence from outside the Bible to nullify to the slightest degree the truthfulness of any text in all that the text asserts and claims.” (Page 51)

“Without inerrancy, the evangelical movement will inevitably become dissolute and indistinct in its faith and doctrines and increasingly confused about the very nature and authority of its message.” (Page 30)

“Yet, as we have already intimated, inerrancy is not merely a statement of fact but also a posture toward the Bible—a way of reading the Bible, a criterion for what counts as faithful interpretation. Critical interpretations are often ruled out by inerrancy not always because the evidence to the contrary is compelling but also because such interpretations seem to exhibit a lack of confidence in God and the Bible.” (Page 11)

“The implication is self-evident: inerrancy means, first of all, that literalism is the default hermeneutic of the CSBI, and second, that no appeal to the study of ancient history or scientific discoveries can be allowed to overturn what the Bible so plainly (that is, literally, dehistoricized) says about creation and the flood. Taken at face value, this means that any comparison of Genesis with other ancient Near Eastern origins stories that results in drawing non-CSBI-style-inerrantist conclusions about how to interpret Genesis is ruled out of bounds.” (Page 88)

James R.A. Merrick is an Anglican minister who earned his MA in Christian thought and ThM in church history from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

Stephen M. Garrett is associate professor of the philosophy of religion at Lithuania University of Educational Sciences.


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  1. Patrick



    This is my second book in the "Counterpoints" series and in a subject that is also very interesting to me. Overall, this was a good book with interesting points and my favorite thing to do is definately read the side and pick it apart (or try to) and then pick apart the responses. It's one of the reasons why a deeper dive into this series takes a longer time to read - it's best to set it down after a part and respond and then pick it back up after a short period of time. There are some flaws with the book in general. I really missed the part that the "Apologetics" book had with each author doing a quick response to the responses to their article in a last ditch effort and to "get the last word" for their side. I really wish this had it. As for the five authors, I think who they got was good and varied but not all held a vastly different view. Mohler (Historical approach) would likely use some points of Vanhoozer (Systematic approach) and vice versa. Each author also relies on the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy (CSBI) as a means to defend or to attack it. And while this has some merit and would have been disappointed not to have the views interact with the CSBI - some of the writers seemed to focus too much on attacking it or defending it. I'm going to offer just a few observation of my takes on the individual authors with the understanding that they hold a lot more substance that just what I state here. Mohler is Mohler. That is - he is articulate, relevant, interesting, logical, smart without being too smart, and just on point. I'm sad that he had to stay solely in the confines of the Historical approach but he knows his stuff to be sure. I think he could have probably taken the Historical and the Systematic approach by himself but it was good to get a historical only approach as well. Then you have Enns. After reading what Enns writes, I don't know how anyone, let alone himself, can call himself a Christian. He writes with such disdain for the Bible that I had to keep reminding myself that he wasn't an atheist writing against inerrancy completely. Even one of the author calls him out for still being miffed at his dismissal from his previous job and that seems to ring true with boogeymen inerrantists keeping scholars shackled in fear and hardships of the inerrancy doctrine. Enns has his own position that he teases but never fully articulates just so he can only attack inerrancy. No one is able to attack his alternative system for inerrancy because he never has to state one. It is cheap and cowardly and something that not even Franke does. Bird is hilarious. He's seriously one of the most entertaining writers in the book. I feel that he cries too much over CSBI and not having a world wide coalition to discuss and lay down a definition of inerrancy. However, he fails to realize that the reason it is western driven is because inerrancy is attacked most in the west. He says that he wishes to have a definition that is positive in nature which I think it really interesting - but he doesn't do the hard work and say in what dramatic ways it would change the discussion or what it would somewhat look like. Vanhoozer is just great. His approach really hits home for me in that it is very philosophy driven while still rooting his position in the Bible. He is careful to define terms or call for defining terms. He has some good presuppositional positions and arguments that I don't know if he knows they are presuppositional in nature or not - but they are good. He gets a little weak in his application and wanting to include more people. He fails to answer the question "but why doesn't that mean that claim people have if that happens" a bit too many times for me to fully get behind him. Franke is a pluralist and a borderline post-modernist. He has a love for Barth if that tells you anything for you theology geeks. He states his position is not a free-for-all but his argumentation doesn't really define the boarder of "why not?". His response writings tend to be more "this isn't my view, I talk about it like this" rather than really responding to the argument. Franke really doesn't have anything different that the 20th century liberal, post-modern viewpoints you've heard over and over towards the late 20th/early 21st century. They hold about as much water to me as a spaghetti strainer. I really thought Franke would have been my least favorite, but Enns takes that prize. Franke seems honest and straightforward about his position, Enns - not so much. If I can offer one piece of advice for reading this would be that after you read Mohler and Enns - do some research on answers for the three challenges each author must write about - specifically Jericho and the two accounts of Paul's conversion. Enns makes it all seem like the typical Christian scholar is lying about their position. Both have answers that will satisfy a traditional inerrantist if some research is done on the topics. Overall, a fun and interesting book and topic. While it didn't really move me more towards my traditional inerrantist position (with maybe respect to the historical information), I didn't really pick up any good points to the other side. Final Grade - B+
  2. Josh Watford

    Josh Watford


  3. Benjamin Allen
    This was an excellent lay of the land book, Al Mohler didn't seem to get any love by anyone in his view. Vanhoozer by far gave me a better understanding and better language with which to tackle this subject. I am not ready to get rid of this term in light of historical criticism like Peter Enns does, and we must be aware of what evidence for or against our views are. This made me aware of Vanhoozer and I am happy to learn about him.
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Regular price: $22.99
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