Plenary Verbal Inspiration and its Problems

There are 8 Comments

TylerR's picture

Editor

At the end of the article, Bird explains that he'll follow-up by advocating for dynamic inspiration, not verbal.

I'm teaching a "bible doctrines" class by way of Q&A at my church on Wednesday evenings (these are short, 30 min. teaching sessions). On Monday, I re-read all of Erickson's work on the doctrine of Scripture from his systematic. It's well, well worth your time. I'm more and more convinced Erickson is the safest, most balanced choice for conservative Baptists who want a good systematic theology for reference. More up to date and conservative than Strong, more balanced and even-handed than some others, too. Yes, Erickson argued for verbal inspiration!

I've read in three reviews that his 3rd ed. isn't really worth upgrading to. Any thoughts on this? I have the 2nd, and will probably stick with it. 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Andrew R.'s picture

Bird starts by acknowledging that verbal inspiration and dictation are "not strictly the same," but then he essentially says he can't really see a difference--and next presents arguments that apply only to dictation and not to verbal inspiration. (Sigh)

Jay's picture

First, it is not all that clear exactly how it differs from dictation theory. While dictation theory and verbal theory are not strictly the same, the difference is one of degree rather than mode of inspiration. For instance, Millard Erickson suggests that the Holy Spirit directs the thoughts of the Scripture writers, but the direction is quite precise and extends to the very choice of words in the author’s vocabulary: “By creating the thought and stimulating the understanding of the Scripture writer, the Spirit will lead him in effect to use one particular word rather than another.”  I submit that directing an author’s mind to a specific word is merely dictation at a subconscious level.

I know that this area is one that I struggled with when I was in theology classes back in the day, and to be honest, I suspect many Christians believe this is how inspiration works.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

TimNT's picture

What is the title of the systematic theology of Millard Erickson are you referring to?  I count six listed on Amazon?  Thanks

TylerR's picture

Editor

Christian Theology. The latest is the 3rd edition.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Paul Henebury's picture

Tyler,

In my view the second edition of Erickson is good enough.  The third has some stuff on third world theology which you don't need.  I agree that Erickson is the best Systematic Theology.  Frame is better than Grudem, but he is hog-tied to covenant theology, which he just takes for granted.  Erickson is more balanced.

 

Dr. Paul Henebury

I am Founder of Telos Ministries, and Senior Pastor at Agape Bible Church in N. Ca.

TylerR's picture

Editor

Bird's follow-up article is here.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?