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 every generation, the Word of God will be questioned. The age-old question asked by the deceiver at the beginning of time is the question asked afresh in and by every generation: Did God really say (Gen. 3:1b)? And the temptation of every generation is, like Adam and Eve, to believe the lie over against God and His Word.
Contrary to the words of the deceiver are the words of the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ who stated “Thy word is truth” (Jn. 17:17). This is the foundation to the unified voice of all Christians everywhere and the church across time that has been that God and His Word are true. Christians in every generation must affirm and reaffirm the doctrine of the inerrancy and authority of the Scriptures, and live by its truth.
One of the works that does that has just been published: Peter A. Lillback and Richard B. Gaffin Jr., Thy Word Is Still Truth: Essential Writings on the Doctrine of Scripture from the Reformation To Today (Phillipsburg: P & R, 2013). This is a great resource in which the editors have compiled major and significant statements, creeds, and beliefs of the Christian church on the doctrine of the Scriptures since the time of the Reformation.
D. A. Carson, Research Professor of New Testament , TEDS, writes that this volume is a strong statement affirming God’s Word, which is the view of the church and not a nineteenth century invention.
Against those who think a ‘high’ view of Scripture was the creation of nineteenth-century Princetonians, and against those who think such a view of Scripture amounts to a defensive posture devoid of profound theological reflection, this excellent volume is a much-needed resource. It stands as a bulwark against every form of the question, ‘Did God really say?’ The excerpts and essays drawn from Martin Luther to the present represent an immense reservoir of diverse reflections – from Calvin’s Institutes to Monod’s Farewell, from Owen, Turretin, Gaussen, and Edwards to Spurgeon, Hengstenberg, and Machen, from Reformed confessions to the advent of contemporary biblical theology. . . . its strength is not its coverage of the last half-century but its ample demonstration that today’s Reformed Christians find themselves, on this subject, within a heritage rich in theological reflection and powerful synthesis. To lose sight of this heritage or to stand aloof from it is to impoverish our souls and to distance ourselves from the God who ‘looks’ to those who are contrite and humble in spirit and who tremble at his Word.
Robert W. Yarbrough, Professor of New Testament, Covenant Theological Seminary, and former professor at TEDS, speaks highly of this text and includes those who ought to be required to have their own copy
Can the church in the West find its bearings and return to God? Only if it finds the grace to dethrone the Zeitgeist and re-enthrone the Lord and Holy Scripture, which reveals him. This volume is a manual for that enterprise. It is a sourcebook, history review, theology course, and exegesis guide all rolled into one. It should be required for seminary students, acquired by all pastors, and desired by anyone seeking to walk in the steps of the One who modeled and taught reverence for what we call the Bible as the foundation for valid knowledge as well as saving faith (John 17:17; I John 2:6).
The book consists of sixty-four chapters and 1300 pages. It is chronologically arranged and includes some of the most important writings on the truth of God’s Word over the years. It focuses on those in the Reformed tradition. This work primarily serves as a statement of the truthfulness of God’s Word as affirmed in one tradition of the Christian church and as a historical theology reference. This serves an invaluable purpose, but it is limited in its scope. There is, however, much those outside this tradition will gain from it as many in this stream of the Christian church have been giants in defending the inerrancy and authority of the Scriptures.
You will not read of contemporary responses to those who deny inerrancy. You will have to read elsewhere to find that. This gives me an opportunity to mention a forthcoming work that will do just that. D. A. Carson has compiled an international list of authors to write 17 essays that will be published in a 2 volume work entitled, The Enduring Authority of the Christian Scriptures (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, forthcoming). I eagerly await their publication. These volumes will be an excellent resource and will, Lord willing, serve this generation with a strong affirmation of the inerrancy and authority of the Scriptures, along with a secondary reason, that of responding to objectors and objections of those who deny it.
In conclusion, though it is not likely you would read Thy Word Is Still Truth from cover to cover, it would serve as an invaluable resource to consult regarding the doctrine of Scripture that affirms its inspiration, inerrancy, authority and sufficiency from the time of the Reformation until now. And though these are affirmations made by one family in the Christian church, that family’s commitment is reflective of the Church’s belief in and commitment to the Scriptures. This is also true of the family of which we are a part, the EFCA, a family that also whole-heartedly affirms and to which we are committed to the inspiration, inerrancy, authority and sufficiency of the Scriptures, and we do so in lips and life.