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Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

John Frame: Redefining Inerrancy and Infallibility



John Frame does not really believe in biblical infallibility or inerrancy because he equivocates on the doctrine by saying that the Bible is not literally true:

Shall we speak today of biblical "inerrancy?" The term does, to be sure, produce confusion in some circles. Some theologians have gone far astray from the dictionary meaning of "inerrant." James Orr, for example, defined "inerrant" as "hard and fast literality in minute matters of historical, geographical, and scientific detail."5 Well, if "inerrancy" requires literalism, then we should renounce inerrancy; for the Bible is not always to be interpreted literally. Certainly there are important questions of Bible interpretation that one bypasses if he accepts biblical inerrancy in this sense. 

"Is the Bible Inerrant?", by John Frame


Here Frame is equivocating because he says that the Bible overall is not literally true. He fails to say that the historical narratives are literally true while the parables have a literal and propositional meaning behind them. Of course, the Bible contains different genres of material, including history, gospel, poetry, parable, apocalytic material, etc. But to say that that all the Scriptures are not literally true is misleading and an equivocation. In short, Frame rejects the inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture while at the same time saying that he does believe in that doctrine. The problem is Frame is redefining the doctrine to fit with his departure from the classical definition of infallibility and inerrancy. James Orr, for example, taught a literal creation account, not that creation is an undefined truth beyond human comprehension.



I am not sure what Frame means by his statement that "the Bible is true" since Frame never defines what he means by his proposition that the Bible is true.


 
Now what is our alternative? Even "accuracy" and "reliability" have been distorted by theological pre-emption. "Correctness" seems too trivial to express what we want to say. So, although the term is overly technical and subject to some misunderstanding, I intend to keep the word "inerrant" as a description of God's Word, and I hope that my readers will do the same. The idea, of course, is more important than the word. If I can find better language that expresses the biblical doctrine to modern hearers, I will be happy to use that and drop "inerrancy." But at this moment, "inerrancy" has no adequate replacement. To drop the term in the present situation, then, can involve compromising the doctrine, and that we dare not do. God will not accept or tolerate negative human judgments concerning his holy Word. So I conclude: yes, the Bible is inerrant.


If the idea is more important than the word, why is John Frame redefining the word to mean something other than what the word has meant to Evangelicals and Calvinists since at least the time of the Protestant Reformation?

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