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The Erosion of Inerrancy in Evangelicalism: Responding to New Challenges to Biblical Authority Paperback – November 4, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Confidence in the authority and inerrancy of Scripture is ebbing today, even in evangelicalism. Postmodernism and certain hermeneutical presuppositions threaten to undermine the foundations of evangelicalism. Greg Beale's sturdy, convincing, and courageous defense of the accuracy and inerrancy of Scripture bolsters our assurance that God's Word is true. Praise God for this scholarly and spirited defense of the truth of Scripture."
Thomas R. Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

"At last, a leading biblical scholar has produced a full-blown defense of biblical inerrancy in a user-friendly style. This is just what is needed in the current debate, and Beale has provided it magnificently."
Gerald Bray, Research Professor of Divinity, History, and Doctrine, Beeson Divinity School; author, God Is Love and God Has Spoken

"The nature of Scripture has been an ongoing issue of controversy in evangelicalism for decades, yet today the orthodox position of inerrancy is under severe attack as in no other period-and the attack is coming from evangelicals themselves. Beale has done a great service in attempting to bring us back to the right way of thinking about the Scriptures. They are indeed fully inerrant and fully authoritative. This book is a must-read for our generation."
John D. Currid, Carl McMurray Professor of Old Testament, Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, North Carolina

"As evangelical scholarship has come of age and evangelical scholars confidently take their place in the mainstream academy, a danger lurks that we might lose any sense of what makes us evangelical scholars. Beale's book sounds a much-needed warning against abandoning our evangelical moorings. Though he is not an Old Testament or ancient Near Eastern scholar by training, he nevertheless provides a penetrating critique of Peter Enns's challenge to evangelical notions of inerrancy, leaning on reputable OT and ANE scholarship in doing so. He also presents invaluable original analyses to bolster his case in areas of his own specialties-early Judaism, hermeneutics, and the Old Testament in the New. I highly recommend this book."
David M. Howard Jr., Professor of Old Testament, Bethel University, St. Paul, Minnesota

About the Author

G. K. Beale is professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary. In recent years he has served as President and as a member of the executive committee of the Evangelical Theological Society. He has written several books and articles on biblical studies and was the editor of Right Doctrine from Wrong Texts?

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway (November 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433502038
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433502033
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.9 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #377,919 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

G. K. Beale is professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary. In recent years he has served as President and as a member of the executive committee of the Evangelical Theological Society. He has written several books and articles on biblical studies and was the editor of Right Doctrine from Wrong Texts?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

78 of 84 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Marc Axelrod VINE VOICE on December 22, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book isn't nearly as fun and hard hitting as the title suggests that it could be. G.K Beale is a terrific New Testament scholar who has written one of the best commentaries on the book of Revelation available today. He writes this book because postmodernism and liberal/non-evangelical institutions have called into question the doctrine of biblical inerrancy.

But this book gets bogged down in the author's debate with Peter Enns. Peter has written a book challenging the traditional evangelical viewpoint on the inerrancy of the Bible. Peter believes that the first 11 chapters of Genesis are mythic, even though the authors didn't know it at the time. In fact, myth is allowed into the Bible at numerous points, and yet it is inspired by God to teach us theological and ethical points. The first four chapters of Beale's book makes challenges and replies to Enns.
Beale is concerned that evangelicals might be shaken in their faith, and so he replies strongly and straightforwardly to the claims made by Enns.

The second half of the book discusses issues related to inerrancy, such as the debate over the authorship of Isaiah. Beale feels that if we hold that Isaiah only wrote chapters 1-39, it undermines the authority of the NT writers who attributed all sections of the book to Isaiah the prophet. Beale gives a passionate defense for the unity and single authorship of Isaiah. It won't convince everyone, but it should be examined closely.

The next chapter shows that God allowed for descriptions of the earth that were less geographical and more theological. The structure of the earth mirrors the building and construction of the earthly and heavenly temples (Genesis 1, Ezekiel 1, 1 Kings 6-8, Revelation 12, etc).
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37 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Trevin Wax on March 26, 2009
Format: Paperback
Back when the Peter Enns controversy erupted at Westminster Theological Seminary, I realized that a major theological battle was taking place. After all, Westminster has been known to be a bastion of conservatism. If a professor that denied, questioned or redefined inerrancy were to remain on the faculty, the seminary could face serious accusations from its conservative supporters.

On the other hand, if a professor had to resign for simply illuminating and expounding on an existing definition of inerrancy, then there would other consequences, not least of which would include a substantial narrowing of what constitutes "evangelical orthodoxy".

After hearing about the Enns controversy, I printed out the extensive reviews of Enns' book, Inspiration and Incarnation: Evangelicals and the Problem of the Old Testament by D.A. Carson and G. K. Beale - along with Enns' responses and rejoinders, in order to understand what the controversy was all about. I summarized the issues in a brief blog post back in March.

G.K. Beale, professor of New Testament at Wheaton Graduate School and one of the strongest critics of Enns' work has compiled his reviews and added some additional essays into a new book published by Crossway, The Erosion of Inerrancy in Evangelicalism: Responding to New Challenges to Biblical Authority. In this new book, Beale makes the case that a number of evangelical scholars have begun adopting views that contradict the traditional understanding of inerrancy.

The book begins with a fictional discussion between two Bible scholars about the authorship of Isaiah. The conservative argues that Isaiah is the author of the entire work that bears his name. The progressive argues that the second part of Isaiah was written by someone else.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By R. Hayton VINE VOICE on October 23, 2009
Format: Paperback
In recent years, Evangelicalism has seen a number of challenges to the doctrine of the inerrancy of Scripture. Chief among these have been new insights into the cultural and historical background of the Old Testament provided by newly found ancient Near Eastern sources (ANE for short). A recent turmoil was raised by a professor at Westminster Theological Seminary named Peter Enns who published a controversial book Inspiration and Incarnation. Eventually he was deemed to have violated the Westminster Confession of Faith in his views and was removed from his teaching post at Westminster.

In scholarly journals, G.K. Beale responded to Enns' book and open questioning of the popular understanding of biblical inerrancy. Enns and Beale responded back and forth to each other in a series of journal articles, which in a slightly emended form make up the first four chapters of this book. I'm glad that G.K. Beale chose to put the discussion in a book for a wider Evangelical audience, as he has done us all a great favor. His book, The Erosion of Inerrancy in Evangelicalism: Responding to New Challenges to Biblical Authority addresses this issue head on and offers a confessionally faithful model of approaching ANE parallels to Scripture.

I must admit that when I began this book, I was skeptical of Beale's position and open to what Enns had to say. By the end of the book, I realized that Enns had indeed erred, and that Beale represented a careful scholarly approach worthy of consideration. Still, the objection could be raised that Beale is making a mountain out of a molehill and is just interested in muddying Enns' image, even as he threatens the scholarly Evangelical community with the same if they dare tip the sacred inerrancy cow. Such is not the case however.
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