A Brief Book Summary from Books At a Glance
Editor’s Note: Today we continue our series of “bonus” summaries covering all thirty-six chapters of the monumental volume, The Enduring Authority of the Christian Scriptures (D.A. Carson, ed.).
Chapter 13: Ehrman’s Equivocation and the Inerrancy of the Original Text
by Peter Williams
(Summarized by Mark Coppenger)
Since his “deconversion” from the inerrantist perspective of his early schools, Moody and Wheaton (and under the later influence of Princeton Seminary study), Bart Ehrman has become a celebrated foe of biblical authority. “His message can summarized as follows: many Christians hold to the absolute authority of the original text of the Bible, but this is lost and they are therefore left with no absolute authority. Or to put it more succinctly: Christians follow something they do not have.”
Williams argues that Ehrman succeeds only if we fall prey to an equivocation over the terms ‘Bible,’ ‘text,’ and ‘original.’ Ehrman gains advantage (if only in the unreflective mind) if we allow him to treat those three expressions as merely material descriptors – the book one can hold in his hand, the written word on the page, and the piece of papyrus (or other material) touched by the pen of the prophet, apostle, or secretary. Williams urges, instead, that we respectively use the alternative terms ‘Scriptures,’ ‘wording,’ and ‘authorial’ – a practice more in tune with early references to these authoritative teachings.
The problem is physicality, and one can avoid this apologetical cul de sac by focusing on the verbal revelation itself – the propositions rather than the. . .
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