Inerrancy is an issue of vital importance in the life of the Christian Church. The denial of such leads to grave theological derailment in a variety of doctrinal convictions. Inerrancy is at the epicenter of Christian persuasion concerning the nature of God and the inspiration of the Bible. Still, the issues that loom around biblical inerrancy have continued to stir disagreement and debate for the better part of the past two centuries. Vital Issues in the Inerrancy Debate edited by F. David Farnell, Norman L. Geisler, Joseph M. Holden, William C. Roach, and Phil Fernandes looks to provide a definition and defense of biblical inerrancy amid some of the contemporary criticisms being lobbed in its direction.
Vital Issues in the Inerrancy Debate is divided into two major sections: (1) Inerrancy Defined and (2) Inerrancy Defended. The opening section is primarily orienting the reader towards the historical evangelical convictions surrounding the issues of biblical inerrancy. This section is an appropriate place to start and the authors do an excellent job to position the reader for the major thrust of the book found in the second section. This section was slightly over 100-pages and comprised a total of 8 chapters, which I think could have been shorter to avoid some of the redundancy. However, for the reader who is just now being concerned with the issues related to biblical inerrancy, these opening chapters will prove to be invaluable.
The second section of the book contains the bulk of the material. It is here that the editors have arranged an onslaught of articles relating to the various challenges biblical inerrancy witnessed over the last two centuries. Still, while the articles certainly address some of the past issues such as Barth and Neo-Orthodoxy, the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy, ETS and Robert H. Gundry, the primary focus is centered on more contemporary issues. These issues include recent interactions with publications from Craig Blomberg, John Walton, Michael Licona, Robert H. Gundry, and more. Phil Fernandes also has a very interesting and somewhat provocative chapter dedicated to the (re)dating of the Four Gospels where he argues for a mid-fifties date for the Gospel of John. This second section is overflowing with helpful and respectful disagreement with recent scholarship and trends and will be the heart of the book for most readers.
Inerrancy is absolutely vital to the health and wellbeing of the Christian Church. This is not only shown theoretically in this volume but also practically. The level interaction that is found here is something that needs to be warmly embraced, regardless of personal agreement or disagreement with the authors therein. This is a timely book that warrants a keen ear. If you are looking for a fresh engagement with the contemporary landscape of biblical scholarship on the issues that surround the inerrancy of the Bible, then Vital Issues in the Inerrancy Debate edited by F. David Farnell, Norman L. Geisler, Joseph M. Holden, William C. Roach, and Phil Fernandes is a resource well worth the investment. It comes highly recommended!
I received a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.