March 10, 2015

Recapping the Summit on Inerrancy

by Nathan Busenitz

Note: I posted this yesterday on Preachers and Preachingthe new blog of The Master’s Seminary. I’ve duplicated it here at the Cripplegate, to make sure as many people as possible know about the resources available from the Summit on Biblical Inerrancy.

Summit_Session

It’s hard to believe the 2015 Summit on Biblical Inerrancy is over. With 16 guest speakers and 18 general sessions, it was a power-packed week celebrating our common commitment to the absolute truth of God’s Word.

In case you missed any of general sessions, you can find summaries of each session below. Videos for the sessions can be found here and also here.

In session 1, John MacArthur opened the conference by listing four reasons why a summit on biblical inerrancy is needed. Those who love God and His Word are called to defend it. Click here for a full summary.

In session 2, Alistair Begg exposited 2 Tim. 4:1-5, emphasizing the divine charge to preach the Word in the midst of a culture that does not want to hear the truth. Click here for a full summary. 

In session 3, R. C. Sproul provided an apologetic argument for defending the doctrine of inerrancy when speaking to theological liberals and others who deny the absolute truth of God’s Word. Click here for a full summary.

In session 4, Stephen Nichols used 1 Thess. 2:13 to answer the question, How did we get here? He traced American history in the 19th and 20th centuries to help explain the current theological landscape. Click here for a full summary.

In session 5, Ligon Duncan addressed 2 Timothy 3:14-17. From these verses, he showed what the Bible is (plenary verbal inspiration), what the Bible is for (correction and training), and what the Bible does (by bringing salvation and sanctification). Click here for a full summary.

In session 6, Miguel Nuñez showed that the Great Commission (Matt. 28:16-20) requires an inerrant Bible. Such a monumental message needed an unshakable authority, which is what Christ gave the disciples in His Word. Click here for the full summary.

In session 7, Carl Trueman surveyed the Reformers’ commitment to the doctrine of inerrancy. He specifically focused on the views of Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Heinrich Bullinger. Click here for the full summary.

In session 8, Ian Hamilton preached John 10:22-39, focusing specifically on the phrase, “Scripture cannot be broken.” Hamilton reminded us that a true commitment to biblical inerrancy will reveal itself in a Christ-like lifestyle. Click here for the full summary.

In session 9, Mark Dever covered Psalm 119 in a single sermon. From this passage, he focused on what God’s Word is like, what it does, and how we should respond. Click here for the full summary.

In session 10, Steve Lawson looked at several passages (Heb. 4:12-13; James 1:23; 1 Pet. 1:23; 2:2-3; Ps. 119:105; Jer. 23:29) to demonstrate the invincible power of the inerrant Word of God. Click here to read the full summary.

In session 11, Gregory Beale showed that Matthew’s use of Hosea 11:1 (in Matthew 2:15) is not a haphazard misquoting of the Old Testament. Rather, Matthew is carefully considering Hosea’s argument based on Numbers 23-24. Click here to read the full summary.

Session 12 featured a panel Q&A with John MacArthur, Al Mohler, Ligon Duncan, Mark Dever, and Kevin DeYoung. (There was no liveblog of the Q&A.)

In session 13, Derek Thomas addressed 2 Peter 1:16-21, to show that the Bible describes itself as the perfect Word of God written through human instrumentation. Click here to read the full summary.

In session 14, Al Mohler discussed the inseparable relationship between inerrancy and hermeneutics. He articulated twelve principles of hermeneutics for pastors who affirm inerrancy. Click here to read the full summary.

In session 15, Sinclair Ferguson focused on passages from the Upper Room Discourse (John 13-17) in order to show the relationship between inerrancy and the Holy Spirit. Click here to read the full summary. 

In session 16, Iain Murray took us on a tour of late 19th-century British history, to warn us of the subtle ways in which the church’s commitment to Scripture can be undermined. Click here to read the full summary.

In session 17, Kevin DeYoung looked at Mathew 5:17-19, showing how Christ viewed the Old Testament, and how His example establishes a pattern for our commitment to inerrancy. Click here to read the full summary.

In session 18, John MacArthur concluded the conference by looking at Matthew 22:23-33. In that passage, Christ affirms biblical inerrancy by making a significant theological point about the resurrection based simply on the tense of a verb. Click here to read the summary.

Nathan Busenitz

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Nathan serves on the pastoral staff of Grace Church and teaches theology at The Master's Seminary in Los Angeles.
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  • Richard

    Nathan, thank you for the summaries of the Summit sessions. Do you know when they will be available for MP3 audio downloads?

  • RD2_7

    Richard: the mp3’s are available click the session then click Download MP3 http://www.tms.edu/resources/media/

  • Dave

    Do you have any summaries of the messages as well as the minute-by-minutes? Thanks in advance!

  • KBinIowa

    I viewed many of the sessions during the week online. This was a great event. I hope all sessions will be on the GTY website.

  • Craig Giddens

    … but which Bible are they referring to? ….

    • To the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments.

      • Craig Giddens

        Can I get a copy of the 66 books of the Old and New Testament that I can hold in my hand and say this book I’m holding in my hand is the
        inerrant Bible? What’s the use of having an inerrancy conference if
        you’re not going to tell people which versions are inerrant Bibles? Are
        they all inerrant? Tomorrow morning thousands (at least I hope) are
        going to get up and meet the day with Bible study and devotional time. We deserve to know which versions qualify as the inerrant word of God.

        • I imagine you’re just being obtuse, but I suppose it’s well enough to respond.

          Anyone familiar with the discussions of inerrancy knows that, strictly speaking, inerrancy applies to the original autographs, since it was those original writings of Scripture — and not the copies or the translations — that were supernaturally inspired by God. 2 Timothy 3:16 says all Scripture, not all translations (nor, as I suspect you’re hinting at, any particular translation), is God-breathed.

          But it is just as widely recognized that to the degree that any copy or translation accurately reflects the original, to that degree it is the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God. The science of textual criticism has made it virtually certain that we possess the original readings in more than 99% of cases, with no textual variant altering any doctrine of the faith or even significantly altering the meaning of any particular text.

          Article X of the Chicago Statement speaks to this issue:

          We affirm that inspiration, strictly speaking, applies only to the autographic text of Scripture, which in the providence of God can be ascertained from available manuscripts with great accuracy. We further affirm that copies and translations of Scripture are the Word of God to the extent that they faithfully represent the original.

          We deny that any essential element of the Christian faith is affected by the absence of the autographs. We further deny that this absence renders the assertion of Biblical inerrancy invalid or irrelevant.

          So you see, God has preserved the original text; not in the original manuscripts or in any supposed inspired translation, but rather through the ordinary workings of His meticulous providence through the centuries. And this in no way takes away from the proper and historical understanding of the doctrine of inerrancy.

          • Craig Giddens

            Sir. I am not being obtuse. I am dead serious. In 1
            Timothy 4:13 Paul says to give attention to reading and in the context he is referring to the word of God. Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 2:15 to rightly divide the word of truth. Later on after telling us how scripture equips the believer
            (2 Timothy 3:16-17) there is the command to preach the word (2 Timothy 4:2). These are commands to the church so it is imperative that churches use only those versions that most accurately reflect the original readings. There is certainly value in discussing the original languages, manuscript evidence and such, but possessing an actual book so that you can actually read and study the word of God is where the rubber meets the road. If God has, as you say, preserved the original text then please give guidance to the churches as to which versions best reflect the preserved text because people read and study versions.

          • Well, we can conclude one of three things. First, the men at this conference know that people read different translations of Scripture, but they’re too intellectually inept to see how it impacts the issue, so they left it out. Second, they know that people read different translations, and they’re smart enough to know that it affects this issue of inerrancy, but they intentionally said nothing about it in order to be malicious. Or, third, they’re aware of the issue of differing versions, but don’t believe that it affects inerrancy, because each of the main translations used today (e.g., NASB, ESV, HCSB, KJV, NKJV, ASV, NIV84, NET, etc.) accurately represents the original in a way that does not bring what is being affirmed by the doctrine of inerrancy into question.

            I think the most charitable of those possibilities is the third one. The only reason I can see for rejecting it is if one believes one translation (for example, the KJV) is especially inspired or is more accurate in principle than all the rest. Usually, people who ask the question you originally asked (i.e., “Which Bible?”) are KJV Onlyists (or unbelievers who don’t know the first thing about bibliology, textual criticism, and manuscript transmission). Rather than assuming, though, I should have asked you plainly. And so I do it now: Are you a KJV Onlyist, Craig? If not, I apologize and ask for your forgiveness. If so, it’s hard for me to read your follow-up comment in any other way than being intentionally obtuse for the purpose of making the point that inerrancy doesn’t matter unless you have an inerrant translation.

            Thanks in advance for your clarification.

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