Does ICBI = Inerrancy?

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. I’ve been looking lately at the Geisler/Licona debate and I begun pondering this point yesterday that I’m sure many have thought of but needs to be stated plainly for the sake of the discussion.

We need to realize that if one rejects or goes against ICBI, that does not mean that they are going against or rejecting Inerrancy.

For instance, there are some Christians out there who have a strange allergy to creeds. They don’t want to talk about the Nicene Creed and they would prefer to always use biblical language. They will not say they affirm the Trinity but will say they affirm the Godhead. Now if you ask them if Jesus, the Father, and the Holy Spirit are each God and if each of them are distinct persons but yet one God, they would say yes. In other words, they affirm the concept that is taught in the Trinity, but they would prefer to not use that term.

Okay. I think that’s a bit odd, but it’s not unorthodox. As long as they have the content, it’s fine.

Now I have spoken about concerns with the ICBI statement and I do plan on reviewing it greatly in the near future. We have also seen in this debate that Geisler accuses Licona of going against what the ICBI framer intended (Even though I highly question that) with the implication that that would mean denying Inerrancy.

Just a question. Could it be, for the sake of argument, that the framers had a bad definition?

Let’s suppose that they did. Can Licona say that and say “I fully believe Matthew intended this to be interpreted as an apocalyptic event and that there are valid reasons for doing so.” I do not think someone could be consistently an anti-Christian type like Mary Baker Eddy and study the Scriptures in a consistent manner. Inerrancy would entail that all of Scripture would cohere together. Coherency is not sufficient for truth, but it is necessary for it.

I answer then that Licona can say what he said and could hypothetically think the framers are wrong. I am not saying he is saying that, but he could, and he could still be an Inerrantist. Even though I am related to Licona, this is not a statement he has in any way made or endorsed. I will be upfront about that. I’m speaking on my own behalf.

My only point is to say that Licona can say this and believe that the Bible did not error in any of its teachings, but that what it is teaching has to be properly understood. I think we should all agree to that part. If the authors intended something and we can find that, then we should accept if we believe in Inerrancy that what they intended to say is true.

ICBI put forward an important statement, and it will always be one, but as shown throughout history, it will be up to the future leaders of the church to help clarify the statement in their own times. We can look at an interpretation like Licona’s and say “Whoa. Even if I don’t agree, I can’t say he’s denying Inerrancy. If according to ICBI he is, then we need to redefine Inerrancy.”

That’s also not to disrespect the framers. They got things started. We carry on the torch and we look at what they did as a sort of opening statement and say “That was good. What more can we do to clarify this?” It’s apparent right now at least that what the framers meant is unclear. After all, you have Geisler saying one thing, and Moreland and Yamauchi saying another.

As I have stated before, to my fellow young evangelicals, let us not throw out the baby with the bathwater. We can tend to think in extremes. It can be that when you reject part of one system, you end up rejecting all of it. Hence, some I identify as fundy atheists reject one part of Christianity while Christians and then end up just throwing out everything. Not a good idea.

Do we agree or disagree with ICBI? Well let’s be fair and study the doctrine and see what we can. Of course, there has been a lot written and it’s doubtful an exhaustive look can be done, but let us see what can be done. Let us try to see what Inerrancy does mean and doesn’t mean.

In many ways, I think Inerrancy could be like beauty for some evangelicals. We say we believe it, but it is just really difficult to define. (I do believe beauty is that which pleases when seen, but even that raises some questions.) Perhaps this is the time where we follow the path of Credo Ut Intelligum. To pluralize it, we believe that we may understand.

Let’s begin to understand.

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4 Responses to “Does ICBI = Inerrancy?”

  1. Brooks R. Says:

    Inerrancy is a perplexing issue I go back and forth in my mind with. While infallibility/inspiration of the Scriptures is what I believe to be a no-brainer for Christian acceptance; inerrancy is not quite so obvious. For example, I believe I read on Roger Olson’s blog that it is not necessary to accept inerrancy in order to be Evangelical, while it would be necessary to accept inspiration/infallibility of the Scripture. If I’m not mistaken, I do not believe the Catholic and Orthodox Churches accept the doctrine of inerrancy (as the Chicago Statement was signed by Evangelicals), but they hold the Scriptures to be infallible and inspired.

  2. J. P. Holding Says:

    I’ve just finished the Ls in my survey of the ICBI members and only 15 assuredly had qualifications in NT studies that MIGHT render them competent to judge Licona’s thesis.

    In terms of actual scholars, the list continues to be top-heavy with people whose degrees are in theology, which I find disturbing. It also continues to be top-heavy with pastors (who are frequently among the least competent at Biblical exegesis) and has several people who should never have been there (like Hal Lindsey!).

    Still, the verdict would be for me that we came out with a fairly decent result in the Chicago Statement, so that their definition was OK, if lacking in some specifics…it’s just that some like Geisler may not understand how that worked out in spite of his reputed efforts to exclude certain things.

  3. Bryan Says:

    Do you know if Mike is still on staff with Southern Evangelical Seminary? He isn’t listed on their website or catalog? But I noticed he is still speaking at the conference… ?

  4. apologianick Says:

    He has resigned, but he is still speaking at the conference.

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