[ref001] Silence In Fantasyland [ref002] Silence in Fantasyland On October 26-28, 1978, th
Silence In Fantasyland
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
featuring 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
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 consequences [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
minister "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 [ref003]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 respond. Each time he has refused, as he did this time
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 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
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