Archive for the ‘Kenton Sparks’ Category

Albert Mohler on Inerrancy

August 16, 2010

I see that Albert Mohler has provided an article updating the battle over innerancy, and mentioning the work of Peter Enns and Kenton Sparks, who stand opposed to the Biblical and historical doctrine of innerancy. (link to article) It’s an interesting article to read. The one thing I don’t like is that one might get the idea that the battle over innerancy is only 50 years old. It goes much farther back, with folks like the Manichaeans alleging errors in the Old Testament Scriptures.

You can sense some irritation in Augustine’s response:

If the Manichees were willing to discuss the hidden meaning of these words in a spirit of reverent inquiry rather than of captious fault-finding, then they would of course not be Manichees, but as they asked it would be given them, as they sought they would find, as they knocked it would be opened up to them. The fact is, you see, people who have a genuine religious interest in learning put far more questions about this text than these irrelegious wretches; but the difference between them is that the former seek in order to find, while the latter are at no pains at all to do anything except not to find what they are seeking.

– Augustine, On Genesis: A Refutation of the Manichees, Book II, Chapter 2, Section 3

The same applies to the irreligious wretches who today seek to find fault. The Manichaeans came and went, and Biologos will come and go as well. But there will always be those who will seek to find fault with the Word of God. We must always be ready to give an answer to them.


A Second Anathema Against Biologos

July 27, 2010

Another – and independent – reason that I do not consider Biologos “one of us,” (see the first anathema here) is its policy of permitting and promoting articles that deny inerrancy, such as the work of Kenton Sparks. Again, I realize that true believers can be misled by false teachers, but it is a serious departure from the fundamentals of the faith to deny that Scripture – in the original autographs – is inerrant. To deny that is, in effect, to reject the Word of God.

Sparks goes so far as to say:

The factual contradictions within Scripture or between Scripture and extrabiblical sources cited in my previous blog are not, in my view, the most serious difficulties that Christians face in the Bible. More troublesome are those cases where a biblical text espouses ethical values that not only contradict other biblical texts but strike us as down-right sinister or evil.


The idea that there are true factual contradictions within Scripture (in the original autographs) is a serious error. Many folks, however, who hold to such an opinion stop there. They allege that there are trivial factual errors and nothing more. This is still a serious error: Scripture is the Word of God, and God does not make even trivial factual errors.

Scripture tells us that the hairs of our head are numbered.

Matthew 10:30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

Luke 12:7 But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.

God does not just have infinite cognitive power, he’s attentive to details.

And that also extends to the Word of God:

Matthew 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

Luke 16:17 And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.

Likewise, and perhaps most critically, God’s word cannot be broken, thus we can rely on it:

John 10:35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;

Similarly we see that God’s word is pure:

Psalm 119:140 Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.

Proverbs 30:5 Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.

Psalm 18:30 As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.

In that last verse, “tried,” has the sense of “refined,” something without any impurities.

Nevertheless, while claims that there were trivial factual errors (to be clear, things like using round numbers are not errors) in the original is a serious error, to allege that the original Scriptures contradict one another with respect to moral teaching is essentially heretical.

Scripture itself plainly teaches:

2 Timothy 3:16-17
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

Sparks concludes the portion of his article to which I’ve linked above with the claim: “Even more in our day than his, it is clear that Biblicistic inerrancy is an intellectual disaster.” May I respectfully but strenuously insist that it is clear that the rejection of inerrancy is a spiritual disaster.

I also don’t agree with Sparks that inerrancy is an intellectual disaster. I’m not one of those people who say, in tones that sound pious, that we must sacrifice the intellect to maintain the faith. The use of the intellect is perfectly compatible with the doctrine of inerrancy. In fact, on the contrary, the attitude that Sparks displays in his article of refusing to let “Evangelicals” explain why apparent contradictions are only apparent contradictions, and not actual contradictions, is one of intellectual laziness – a true intellectual disaster. The result is that Sparks is making shipwreck both of the faith he apparently professes and of his own intellect.


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