Inerrancy and Hermeneutic

(Posted by Paige)

In our recent thread on inerrancy, some titles were mentioned as worthwhile reads for those who wanted to learn more on the topic. I was curious about this one, a collection of essays by Westminster East faculty published in 1988. Despite the extremely low-budget cover, it is no cheap paperback; but if you are eking out a seminaryish education by hook or by crook, you should count Inerrancy and Hermeneutic as pretty inexpensive tuition. Here’s a brief rundown of what you will find inside:

A Historical Prologue: Inerrancy, Hermeneutic, and Westminster (Harvie Conn)
Both a historical survey and an introduction to the book, this chapter traces trends in hermeneutics and Westminster’s creative responses to them.

Inerrancy and Westminster Calvinism (Clair Davis)
A treatise on the submission of the believing scholar to the limits of the Word.

How does the Bible Look at Itself? (Sinclair Ferguson)
“We subscribe to biblical infallibility not on the grounds of our ability to prove it, but because of the persuasiveness of its testimony to be God’s own Word.” (64)

Old Princeton, Westminster, and Inerrancy (Moises Silva)
A helpfully nuanced discussion of the doctrine of inerrancy.

What does God Say Through Human Authors? (Vern Poythress)
A look at the issue of dual authorship from a canonical perspective.

The NT’s Use of the OT (Dan McCartney)
An examination of the NT authors’ Christological approach to OT texts, and a critique of an exclusively grammatical-historical method that neglects the authoritative guidance of special revelation.

Oral Tradition (Bruce Waltke – remember, this is 1988)
A survey of ANE & other societies where oral recitation plays a part, concluding that as long as writing has existed, even oral compositions have been preserved in permanent form (as opposed to, say, the material in Genesis gradually accruing new features over a long period of oral transmission).

Storytellers and Poets in the Bible: Can Literary Artifice be True? (Tremper Longman III)
A helpful discussion of fiction, nonfiction, and the deliberately crafted “literariness” of the Scriptures.

Harmonization: A Help and a Hindrance (Raymond Dillard)
The pros and cons of harmonistic exegesis.

The NT as Canon (Dick Gaffin)
My favorite of the more technical pieces: the canon is closed because God’s pattern is one of redemptive acts followed by verbal revelation, and the redemptive acts are done for now.

Normativity, Relevance, and Relativism (Harvie Conn)
I admit to being completely baffled by this one, lost somewhere in the hermeneutical spiral. Our horizons did not fuse. Am I to consider myself too culturally embedded to understand the Bible at all, or only able to understand it because I am culturally embedded? Not sure.

The Use of the Bible in Ethics (David Clowney)
This is a fine piece on living in Christian love and wisdom, receiving the commands of the Lord from the inerrant Scriptures and learning to work them out in creative and godly ways.

Bible Authority: When Christians Disagree (George Fuller & Sam Logan)
I read this one first, and I can cheerfully attest that it will not please everybody. The authors acknowledge that even true Christians can be inconsistent in their views of Scripture, and they promote cordiality in discussion, though they do not shy away from the responsibility of speaking words of correction and rebuke.

Evangelicals and the Bible: A Bibliographic Postscript (John Muether)
The librarian of WTS offers an annotated bibliography on inerrancy and hermeneutics, grouping the references by time periods.



  1. Andrew McCallum said,

    May 11, 2011 at 7:00 pm


    As soon as I saw Waltke’s name associated with this topic my heart skipped a beat, so thanks for the caveat! This looks like a really good addition to my library – thanks for recommending it.

    I’m in the process of updating my a one quarter class for some of our younger folks in our church on the the Doctrine of Scripture. My feeling is that we need to start young with this subject to get our youth grounded so they will be ready for all of the attacks on the Scriptures they will undoubtedly experience. Unfortunately too many of these attacks are coming from nominally Evangelical sources.

  2. paigebritton said,

    May 11, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    Nice! They are really blessed to have you teaching them. Hey, if you are interested, I found it necessary to translate the CSBI (affirmations & denials part) for a lay audience awhile back, and I have those cliff notes if you think they might come in handy for your group. (There are a lot of allusions to different veins of thought that will be unfamiliar to newbies.) You can email me (it’s paige, then a dot, then britton, and it’s a gmail address) if you’d like to see that.

  3. John Thomson said,

    May 24, 2011 at 3:52 am

    Read it years ago and it greatly helped to shape my convictions. That and a few others in the series.

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