The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, reaffirmed by the summit on inerrancy in southern California, does not reflect a scriptural bibliology. It synthesized a biblical position with what men believed they could defend with what they reasoned as evidence outside of scripture. But men fiddle with what the Bible teaches because they don't see biblical truth as fact. They don't take the Bible as true like they do gravity, which is to accept, buy into, or at least be influenced by a worldly two truth system that divides the sacred from the secular, and a reason why I point out music at the southern California summit on inerrancy. Music can't be judged because it is not in that lower story of fact, but in the upper story, the subjective realm of values and religion and beauty and aesthetics. It isn't scientific. It isn't fact.
Since music isn't fact in this new two tiered view of truth, everyone's beauty is beautiful, everyone's goodness is good, and everyone's truth is true. When you corrupt or diminish any one of beauty, goodness, and truth, you are also corrupting or diminishing the other, because you are relegating the objective to the subjective. God now is Who you want Him to be. This is why music is the gateway to the Charismatic movement, because beauty is already relegated to a subjective, personal realm, not on the same plane as fact. Your God is now the one Who accepts what you want to offer Him, because you like it -- it's your taste. Truly, He's your God too, different than the God of the Bible. Our God is how we worship Him. You can deny this all you want, but it is true.
Professing Christians adopted elements of classical philosophy, even though the Greek thinkers were pagan, who had drawn a dichotomy between matter and spirit, the material realm as though it were less valuable than the spiritual realm. Moral ideals, beauty, and creativity are not subject to scientific investigation. This is how we get to amoral music. Nothing in the upper story is moral, so neither is marriage. And all this relates to inerrancy.
Warfield, educated in the German universities that John MacArthur referenced as the resurrection of the dead Germans, bridged the gap between theology, the upper realm, and science, the lower realm with the term, "inerrancy." By doing so, he could save Christianity from its 'sure demise' at the hands of scientific evidence. I think it's worthwhile knowing that Warfield also believed in evolution and attempted to bridge that to the Bible.
On p. 433 of Richard A. Muller's Post Reformation Reformed Dogmatics, Volume 2, Holy Scripture: The Cognitive Foundation of Theology, he writes:
By "original and authentic" text, the Protestant orthodox do not mean the autographa which no one can possess but the apographa in the original tongue which are the source of all versions. . . . It is important to note that the Reformed orthodox insistence on the identification of the Hebrew and Greek texts as alone authentic does not demand direct reference to autographa in those languages; the "original and authentic text" of Scripture means, beyond the autograph copies, the legitimate tradition of Hebrew and Greek apographa.
At the end of that page he writes:
The case for Scripture as an infallible rule of faith and practice . . . . rests on an examination of the apographa and does not seek the infinite regress of the lost autographa as a prop for textual infallibility. . . . A rather sharp contrast must be drawn, therefore, between the Protestant orthodox arguments concerning the autographa and the views of Archibald Alexander Hodge and Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield. . . . Those who claim an errant text, against the orthodox consensus to the contrary, must prove their case. To claim errors in the scribal copies, the apographa, is hardly a proof. The claim must be proven true of the autographa. The point made by Hodge and Warfield is a logical leap, a rhetorical flourish, a conundrum designed to confound the critics---who can only prove their case for genuine errancy by recourse to a text they do not (and surely cannot) have.
Warfield invented an extra-biblical and non-historical standard for the Bible that now stands as "inerrancy."
The apex of Warfield's designed inerrancy can be found in the fourth and fifth propositions of the short edition of the Chicago statement in 1978:
4. Being wholly and verbally God-given, Scripture is without error or fault in all its teaching, no less in what it states about God's acts in creation, about the events of world history, and about its own literary origins under God, than in its witness to God's saving grace in individual lives.
5. The authority of Scripture is inescapably impaired if this total divine inerrancy is in any way limited or disregarded, or made relative to a view of truth contrary to the Bible's own; and such lapses bring serious loss to both the individual and the Church.
What's wrong with that? There's nothing wrong with it in itself, but it is akin to what Kevin DeYoung talked about in the first Q and A, led by Albert Mohler. The former statements, which represented biblical teaching, were replaced by more ambiguous and arbitrary statements of the Chicago statement that would conform to the spirit of the age. The Chicago statement would aid in preserving the coalition, not so high that they would lose their academic institutions. This is now considered a conservative position, but it is one where two tiers of truth still remain, the scientific lower story and the subjective upper.
The new position, called inerrancy, is a change in belief on the historic, Christian, biblical position. I can be happy about something that is true, but is less than the whole truth. It is still true, and I celebrate that. In that sense, I am a supporter of the summit on inerrancy. I say that, because men act like your opposition denies the truths they do tell. They tell truths, but they are carefully crafted ones to dodge what the Bible actually teaches and what Christians have believed before the enlightenment.
You can't ultimately defend a doctrine that isn't the whole truth. If there is something left short, because the purveyors are ashamed or unbelieving, it is still lacking in sustaining faith. When we're talking about the Bible, we've got to get what we believe about it from the Bible.
In the same Q and A to which I referred, John MacArthur talked about Fuller Theological Seminary leaving what we understand is the Warfieldian position. He said that Peter Wagner brought students from his church growth class over to see what a growing church looked like, but then he stopped, and when he did, he told MacArthur. MacArthur said that Fuller did not depart from inerrancy based upon an intellectual basis, but based upon a pragmatic one. There is a strong similarity between Fuller and the folks at this summit on inerrancy. What am I talking about?
They departed from scriptural, objective beauty, not based on intellect, but based on pragmatism. They welcome a breathy, intimate, sultry song being sung as worship, not on an academic level, but on the level of worldly lust. This, by the way, is how doctrine changes the most anyway, as Peter reported in 2 Peter 2-3. Men deny the Word of God, because it clashes with their own lust. Doctrinal statements are not left, primarily because of a wrong doctrinal position, but because of a wrong affection toward God (read Jonathan Edwards's Treatise).
I don't know where to put this, so I'm going to include it here, rather than as an aside. Some reading this would marginalize it as the 'rant' of a KJVO. Actually, KJVO, as they would understand it, I'm convinced is a product of their own confiscation of a scriptural bibliology. Left without a perfect, authentic original-language apographa, based upon fact, that is, biblical truth, men filled the vacuum with a mythical perfect English that is as much a denial of objective, biblical fact as Warfield's invention of inerrancy. Warfield was warding off what he saw as future apostasy due to the existence of textual variants. The KJVO, which does not include me, embrace a perfect English translation that is as much a pendulum swing to avert mass departures.
John MacArthur, either with a lack of discernment or out of pragmatism himself, gave credit to the Jesus movement, aka the movement of Lonnie Frisbee, to be a genuine revival. That movement gave him a lot of people, so perhaps it was difficult to call it a fraud. He nibbles all around it to call everything, but that, a strange fire. And that movement is the birth of Christian rock as well. MacArthur was at the front door of accepting this ugliness that defiled the affections of those professing to be God's people. And he continues with the Gettys. There will be no woman out front, singing in a sensual voice, in the kingdom of Jesus Christ. This is not God's will on earth as it is in heaven. This is man's will, false worship, producing a lack of understanding about Who God is, Who the Holy Spirit is, and how He works. It is acceptable to the world and confusing to them about the nature of Jesus Christ.
Evangelicals and now fundamentalists will say this "music issue" isn't a gospel issue. It is. If you don't have a biblical Jesus, you don't have Jesus. If you don't repent, you don't believe in Jesus. It mistakes the nature of grace to a cheap grace, even using MacArthur's own words. Cursed are those who don't love Jesus. And this is not love. This is flesh. I believe MacArthur himself knows this. And then if Jesus is Lord, He's Lord of the music too. If He is Lord of everything but the music, because the music is an idol, that's a gospel issue.
You either have a consistent Christian worldview or you don't. God is one, so only the one beauty, goodness, and truth can be defended. Holes exist any other way, holes that are patched with fiction, with imagination, with myth, which, by the way, exalt themselves against the knowledge of God. When you start picking and choosing what you will believe and what you will not believe, you have moved truth into that upper, spiritual, subjective realm. You can now make up your own view of beauty. You can make up your own view of the nature of God's Word. There is no wonder that men are making up their own view of marriage too. And you will not have any real, objective basis to stop it.
Let God be true and every man a liar. That's kind of what the Warfieldians say they believe. I'm saying they don't -- not with this point of view.