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Baptists and the Bible Paperback – June 1, 1999

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Tom J. Nettles is professor of Historical Theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and he currently resides in Louisville, Kentucky.

Russ Bush is Academic Dean at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he teaches theology and philosophy of religion. Bush lives in Wake Forest, North Carolina.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: B&H Academic; Rev Exp Su edition (June 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805418326
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805418323
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #924,120 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Jacob Aitken I on December 20, 2002
Format: Paperback
Again Drs. Nettles and Bush write in an authoritarian manner by going to primary sources for their information. Liberals may not like this book due to the fact that the majority of Baptists have always held a high view of the inspiration of Scripture. Some would naturally discredit this book but Nettles and Bush anticipate that by going to the primary sources (some dating even to the 1600's), as opposed to the secondary sources so often used by people today. For those interested in the documentary hypothesis and its detrimental effect on scripture, chapter eight will be of imdespensable value. Nettles and Bush evaluate the impact of German philosphy on the Higher Critical movement. This book should be on the shelf of all historians of Church and Scripure.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Trevin Wax on October 2, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Southern Baptist have recently gone through a period of tumult over the question of biblical authority, and more specifically, biblical inerrancy.

Does the Bible have errors in any field of reality? Does the Bible contain errors when it comes to science or history?

Conservatives within the Southern Baptist Convention chose to face this question head on. Today, the inerrantist view of Scripture has become the prominent position of most everyone in Baptist leadership.

Baptists and the Bible (Broadman & Holman, 1999) by Russ Bush and Tom Nettles, was very influential during the early years of the Southern Baptist debate over inerrancy. It first was released in 1980, right at the time when the political battle over theology was beginning in Baptist life.

Baptists and the Bible was instrumental in that it makes a strong case for Baptist continuity between contemporary inerrantists and the forefathers of the Baptist heritage. Bush and Nettles argue that inerrancy is not something new in Baptist life. Historical documentation establishes a wide consensus on this issue in the past.

Baptists and the Bible is not primarily about the controversy in the Southern Baptist Convention during the last decades of the last century. It is a book of history and theology. With meticulous historical detail, the book outlines a Baptist theology of the Word of God through the centuries, asking such potent questions as:

How is the Bible authoritative?
How is the Bible inerrant?
How is the Bible both a message from God and from man?
This influential book made the case that inerrancy is not an innovation, but rather the historic doctrine of Baptists throughout history.
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22 of 28 people found the following review helpful By James W. Shaver on May 1, 1999
Format: Paperback
If you missed the original edition of this book in the 1980's then you have a great reading experience ahead of you. Dr. Bush and Dr. Nettles explain in this book why Baptists have changed their view of the Bible over the years.
If you don't understand why there are so many opinions and disagreements among Southern Baptists today then read this book and your eyes will be opened and your mind will be stretched as you follow the history of Baptists and their view of the Bible from the 1600's to the present day.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey C. Reynolds on July 2, 2012
Format: Paperback
I have read the newer version of this book. Its focus seems to be on the Southern Baptists, but it extends to other groups as well. Its purpose is to show throughout Baptist history the default is that all of Scripture is inspired by God (2 Tim. 3:16-17) and is the standard we should live. The reason Baptists as a whole are not credal is primarily because the standard is the inerrant and infallible Word of God (Scripture), not the words of man (i.e. a creed).

This is a deep and for me a difficult read. It goes into a lot of Baptist history, but as stated the focus is on what individuals and groups believed about Scripture. It does show that there are variations on issues such as the predestination/free will debate, but that those on both sides have the common ground in the Scripture.

Bush and Nettles also point out that the questioning of Scripture is not historically Baptist but crept in from worldly philosophies. That brings the focus on the book: Is the default characteristic of the Baptist movement the soul liberty which allows variation on this and other issues among Baptists, or is it a foundation of the Bible being inerrant and the ultimate authority? When I took a class on Baptist distinctives at Bible college, both were listed, but the one on the Scripture being the only authority for the believer was the first and foundational one.

I echo the reviewers who believe every pastor should have this book. While I can argue that every believer should read the book, the unfortunate reality is that most believers would find this a little too boring and wouldn't finish it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By C. Lee on November 2, 2007
Format: Paperback
Drs. Bush & Nettles provide an eye-opening historical presentation of the alterations in the Baptist view of the inerrancy of Scripture over roughly 4 centuries. It is an immaculate, surgical dissection of the progressive decline of the most fundamental of positions Baptists can hold: the veracity and accuracy of the one document establishing their faith, and the faith of all true Christians: the Bible.

While examining other issues within the framework of Baptist theology, all issues of difference among Baptists devolve to the fundamental principles of whether the Bible addresses those issues directly or indirectly; and can we trust what it says. If it is truly the word of God and has been passed through history without error, as Baptists have historically believed, then all matters of life and practice must ultimately be ruled by the Biblical view.

Theirs is a powerful call back to the key, first issue - the first presuppositional commitment - Baptists and all true Christians must finally decide; that is, what and who their authority will be. This is also a glimpse into the seminal thought processes of Dr. Thomas J. Nettles as he, with others in the Southern Baptist and Reformed Baptist community, developed a strategy to return modern-day Southern Baptists to their historical theological roots in the doctrines of grace, or Calvinism. That strategy has been to pray, to open the Bible to many, to tell the truth about the historic faith regardless of personal cost, and to teach all who would listen, all who have ears to hear.

(That in itself is an incredible story of a significant level of success, from all outward appearances at least, in returning a denomination to doctrinal soundness.
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