Front Page: winter 1992 SILENCE IN FANTASYLAND On October 26-28, 1978, the International C

Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

Front Page: winter 1992 SILENCE IN FANTASYLAND On October 26-28, 1978, the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy (ICBI) met in Chicago to begin a ten-year project designed to define and defend the biblical inerrancy doctrine. In this issue of TSR, we are featur- ing an article by Dr. Robert H. Countess, who was present at the Chicago ICBI summit. Dr. Countess did not sign "The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy" that was released to the press at the close of the summit. In the article we are publishing, he discusses a single "case in point" that will explain why he could not conscientiously sign a document that proclaimed total inerrancy in all matters that biblical authors "were moved to speak and write about." In the article, Dr. Countess quoted a comment about his "case in point" that Dr. Gleason Archer, the noted inerrancy defender, made in a personal letter. We wrote to Dr. Archer several times and offered him equal space to reply to Dr. Countess's article. In response, we finally received a letter from Dr. Archer in which he listed and discussed three "sinister conse- quences [that] logically ensue from the assumption that the Bible is not what it purports to be, namely, the inspired Word of God, revealed to fallen man for his salvation." We regret to say that none of his three points addressed or even mentioned the "case in point" that Dr. Countess discussed in his article. For that reason, we are not publishing Dr. Archer's letter. Our policy is to print only materials that pertain directly to the issue of Bible inerrancy, and in Dr. Archer's letter, we saw nothing that related to the issue except passing mention that he made of "predictive prophecies" that prove divine inspiration. He made no attempt to explicate any alleged prophecy to prove the merit of his point. Because of Dr. Archer's reputation, however, we will gladly send a copy of his letter to anyone who requests it. Please include with the request a self-addressed, stamped business envelope. Dr. Countess has described himself as a conservative Presbyterian minis- ter "who holds a high view of Scriptures." By this, he means that one "should say on the scholarly-historical-critical basis NO MORE and NO LESS for the Scriptures than one would say UPON CAREFUL EXAMINATION of any other collection of ancient writings." In a letter to us, he said this about his approach to biblical interpretation: I seek to CONSERVE a document's historical, philosophical, social, physical character. To me, this is the "high view" of Scripture.... In my opinion, a Gleason Archer does NOT hold to a high view when he twists a text's error factor and seeks to make unilaterally an error into truth. We are delighted to feature a writer with Dr. Countess's credentials. His "case in point" is simple but persuasive enough to destroy the illusion of Bible inerrancy. In this issue, we are also publishing another article about the "sons of God/ daughters of men" myth referred to in Genesis 6:1-4. This one is a response to an article that Wayne Jackson, a prominent Church-of-Christ preacher, published on the same subject in Christian Courier, a monthly fundamentalist paper that he edits. We have quoted Mr. Jackson's articles many times in TSR, and each time we have offered him equal space to re- spond. Each time he has refused, as he did this time too. We have often said that lay people who believe in Bible inerrancy are living in a fantasyland, but we are not so sure that the same is true of preachers who proclaim the doctrine so loudly in one-sided situations. The silence of men like Archer and Jackson when they are offered publishing space to defend their belief in inerrancy only deepens our suspicion that they know enough to realize their position cannot survive close public (See SI- LENCE, P. 16) scrutiny. So when they are offered the chance to defend Bible inerrancy in any kind of forum where they will be confronted by an informed opposition, they refuse it. They prefer to confine their efforts to captive pulpit audiences and one-sided religious journals. They prefer silence in fantasyland to open examination of what they preach. ******************************** FREE SUBSCRIPTION: A free one-year subscription to The Skeptical Review can be obtained by writing to P. O. Box 617, Canton, IL 61520-0617.


E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank