Video from The Masters Seminary
John MacArthur's Recent Conference on Inerrancy (2015)
The recent Conference on Inerrancy hosted by John MacArthur and The Master’s Seminary (March 3-8, 2015) was an important event in the life of contemporary evangelicalism. Evangelical leaders from around the country and the world convened upon Los Angeles, California to discuss the importance of the famous “Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy” for twentieth century evangelicalism and the church international. Unashamedly the speakers made one point clear: If evangelicalism is going to have a continued effect for Christ in our lives, we must remain whole heartedly committed to the inerrancy of Scripture and unashamed to preach the Bible as God’s Holy Word. The conference adds a significant second voice to a reaffirmation of this historic statement. Joining with DefendingInerrancy.com, which has already collected nearly 50,000 names in support of the total inerrancy of Scripture, a powerful voice is now being raised for this generation in defense of Holy Scripture.
Following events of this significance always calls for reflection. The watching world and church sometimes needs to be reminded of the importance of the event and the details of the issue. With that caveat in place, the following I am going to very briefly lay out five of the most pressing issues facing the inerrancy of Scripture, and how this movement for Inerrancy is a much needed event in the life of evangelicalism.
1. AUTHORITY AND TRADITION
Simply put, the Bible is first and foremost a divine book. God is the primary cause of Scripture and for that reason, the Bible carries with it divine authority. The framers of the Chicago Statement sought to articulate a thoroughgoing Protestant declaration on the nature of the Scriptures. The official commentary states, “This article, as well as Article II, makes the statement clearly a Protestant one. Thought it is true that that Roman Catholic Church has consistently and historically maintained a high view of the inspiration of Holy Scripture, there remains the unresolved problem of the uniqueness and sufficiency of biblical authority for the church.” Therefore, they claim, “We affirm that the Holy Scriptures are to be received as the authoritative Word of God. We deny that the Scriptures receive their authority from the church, tradition, or any other human source.”
Immediately, one should contrast the two sources: divine versus human. The reason evangelicals affirm the sole authority of the Scriptures is because the Bible, and the Bible alone, has divine origin; hence, it has divine authority and is able to bind the conscience in matters of faith and practice. Tradition, in contra-distinction to Catholic claims, has a human origin; consequently, it does not have the absolute authority to bind the conscience in matters of faith and practice. Roman Catholics believe both the Scriptures and tradition are able to bind the conscience. But in making that claim, they are by necessity admitting the Scriptures are not the supreme written norm, and denying that the church is subordinate to the Scriptures. On the other hand, Protestants are clear that Scripture and Scripture alone, is the supreme written norm that binds the conscience.
Evangelicals need to be clear to address the fact that we are not Roman Catholics, nor should we try to act like there is some sort of ecumenical unity between Protestants and Catholics on this matter (or a host of other matters). The absolute authority and sufficiency of Scripture was the formal cause of the Reformation, and now is not the time for Protestants to quit protesting against Rome’s claims about the theoretical equal authority of tradition and Scripture, and the practical authority tradition takes over Scripture in their system. Indeed, we still stand with the Reformed churches, who claim that tradition has ministerial authority over the body of Christ, not magisterial authority.
2. REVELATION AND THE INERRANCY OF THE WHOLE
The Scriptures are a revelation given to us by God. The Scriptures are not a witness to revelation, nor do they require response to become revelation, nor do they merely contain revelation. Instead, they are revelation. Several theologians throughout the years have denied that the Bible is objectively given revelation. They claim revelation requires the written Scriptures plus something else (e.g., dynamic response, perlocutionary effect, and so forth). These views have commonly been labeled as existential or neo-Orthodox approaches to Scriptures.
The Chicago Statement thoroughly sought to withstand these types of claims, maintaining, “We deny that the Bible is merely a witness to revelation, or only becomes revelation in encounter, or depends on the responses of men for its validity.” Consequently, they stated, “We affirm that the written Word in its entirety is revelation given by God.”.." from the article: JOHN MACARTHUR’S RECENT CONFERENCE ON INERRANCY