Greg Strand is EFCA executive director of theology and credentialing, and he serves on the Board of Ministerial Standing as well as the Spiritual Heritage Committee. He and his family are members of Northfield (Minnesota) EFC.
In the EFCA we believe “the Bible is without error in the original writings, the complete revelation of His will for salvation, and the ultimate authority by which every realm of human knowledge and endeavor should be judged.” This is the EFCA position, which is consistent with the church’s view of the Scriptures, which is also Jesus’ view of the Old Testament Scriptures.
Ligon Duncan, President of Reformed Theological Seminary, was interviewed regarding the Christian’s view of the Bible, particularly inerrancy and its importance in “Battle for the Bible: Christians must defend inerrancy or watch the church die,” AP (Summer 2013/14). When asked about the importance of inerrancy to individual Christians and the church, Duncan replied,
The importance of the doctrine of the inerrancy of Scripture is that it is methodologically essential to the health and ministry of the church. This is not a “slippery slope” argument; it’s an empirical, historically proven fact. One of the lessons of history is that wherever a church adopts a low view of Scripture it is either in the process of dying or, is in fact, dead. Churches that are thriving spiritually are churches that believe that Scripture is absolutely trustworthy and true.
The last century of church history confirms this. Wherever churches in the Protestant world have identified with theological liberalism they have diminished in size or are dying. I can’t think of a Protestant church anywhere in the world that has embraced an anti-inerrancy view that is thriving right now – they just don’t exist in the English-speaking world.
There is another issue in relation to inerrancy that is of vital importance too. What many people don’t realize is that behind your doctrine of Scripture is your doctrine of God. If you have a low view of God you will have a correspondingly low view of Scripture. Of course, the converse is true as well; a low view of Scripture will inevitably give rise to a low view of God and Christianity cannot long survive when it abandons a high view of God. So our supernaturalism and our commitment to the doctrine of God are very much tied to our fidelity to Scripture.
In response to the question of lessons Evangelicals have (or should have) learned in the past 100 years regarding these crises of biblical authority, he stated the following:
The first lesson is that defending the doctrine of Scripture is costly and demands great courage. Let’s face it; it’s painful to engage in polemics especially when many of those who hold a low view of Scripture and with whom we have to disagree are incredibly nice, cultured and intelligent people. . . . You can’t have a gospel without having an inerrant Scripture as the foundation. The gospel, if it’s to have ultimate authority, must be based on a trustworthy foundation. . . . You can’t maintain the gospel and the mission of the church with an untrustworthy Bible. A Bible with errors does sink the ship. Where inerrancy is denied, an authoritative Scripture is undermined, and then the gospel, and the church’s mission of evangelism, is destroyed.
Inerrancy is one of the important doctrines of the Scriptures. Important as it is, it is not the only importance doctrinal matter. In our Theology Conference, we will address inerrancy and other important doctrines related to the Scriptures.
Plan to join us for this important Conference as we address this vital theme: The Doctrine of the Scriptures.