Noteworthy Book: The Erosion of Inerrancy by G.K. Beale

When it comes to the doctrine of Scripture, one of the aspects most consistently attacked is inerrancy. As helpfully summarized in the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, it indicates that the Bible is “free from all falsehood or mistake and so safeguards the truth that Holy Scripture is entirely true and trustworthy in all its assertions.” While attacks on inerrancy have been common for quite some time, within the past 10-15 years some who identify themselves as evangelicals have joined the ranks of those questioning this important doctrine.

In an effort to defend the inerrancy of Scripture against some of these common attacks, G.K. Beale has written a helpful book entitled The Erosion of Inerrancy in Evangelicalism: Responding to New Challenges to Biblical Authority. He singles out three common attacks: (1) recent developments in OT studies undermine inerrancy; (2) recent developments in the study of the OT in the NT undermine inerrancy; (3) modern scientific cosmology makes inerrancy untenable.

Each of these charges receives two chapters of treatment, which accounts for six of the seven chapters. An additional chapter addresses the issue of whether the NT claim that the prophet Isaiah wrote the whole book of Isaiah must be taken at face value. Three appendices are also included: (1) Postmodernity and its bearing on authorial intent, epistemology, and presuppositions in regards to study of the OT in the NT; (2) Text of the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy; (3) Selected Quotations from Barth’s Church Dogmatics on the Fallibility of Scripture.

While perhaps less well-known than some of Beale’s other works, this is a valuable contribution to the doctrine of Scripture. Perhaps its most unique contribution is to deal with some of the more recent angles of attack against Scripture. Although this is not a full-scale defense of inerrancy, it is a very important contribution to the discussion and should not be overlooked.

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