Bret James Stewart's Reviews > Defending Inerrancy: Affirming the Accuracy of Scripture for a New Generation

Defending Inerrancy by Norman L. Geisler
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Geisler and Roach have done a nice job with this book. It is laid out well, attractive, and nearly complete with appendices, a notes chapter, and a bibliography. I deduct one star for the lack of an index, which is a no-no, in my opinion, for a non-fiction text, especially one used by academics. I also take away one star due to the authors including tenets of/support from the Roman Catholic religion as if it were Christian since they should know better, especially in a tome devoted to the inerrancy of the Bible as this religion feels free to alter or ignore the Bible at will.

As the subtitle implies, the authors are dealing with recent challenges to biblical inerrancy. Much of the book is spent dealing with the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy (ICBI) and recent scholarship by theologians who hold to and promote various types of non-inerrancy (this is a strange, if fitting, term). This is handled in an argument and counter-argument method in which the authors give an overview of the other scholars' premises and comment upon them.

The first portion of the book provides the need for and history of the ICBI. This is interesting as it provides a framework for inerrancy in Christian thought. This statement is helpful as an overview and apology for biblical inerrancy that many hold to whether or not they support or even know about this particular iteration of the doctrine. Many individuals and organizations (e.g. Southern Baptists) do officially adhere to this document, though, so many people are exposed to it indirectly.

The second portion of the book grapples with the most important works refuting, at various levels, the concept of inerrancy. In more or less chronological order, the authors deal with challenges to the doctrine from the 1960s forward. They supply the basic arguments made by the individual author and comment on both areas of agreement and disagreement, providing refutations of the latter. This section is, of course, more interesting if one has read the text/author in question, but the arguments of these scholars is explained sufficiently to allow both the arguments and the counter-arguments to make sense. The scholars/theologians covered are Clark Pinnock, media darling Bart Ehrman, Peter Enns, Kenton Sparks, Kevin Vanhoozer, Andrew McGowan, Stanley Grenz and Brian McLaren, and Darrell Bock and Robert Webb. The last two sets of authors have similar arguments and are treated together.

The third portion of the book provides a treatment of inerrancy in general and argues for the legitimacy of the concept. Some answers are provided for the reader to refute the most common objections to the doctrine. If one is not very familiar with inerrancy, this segment might be the best place to begin. I personally believe that this section should have been first in the book, but I understand that the focus of the text is not a general argument for the concept but, rather, a specific refutation of the authors from part two and (to a lesser degree) the general promotion of the ICBI from part one.

Overall, I think this book adequate. I am disappointed by the omission of an index and the commission of the inclusion of non-Christian material, both of which are readily correctable, and which would greatly increase the value of the text for students as well as general readers. This book would appeal predominantly to those seeking information regarding the counter-arguments of the theologians in section two and/or those seeking to learn more about the ICBI.

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September 8, 2015 – Shelved

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