Thursday, April 17, 2008

Is Inerrancy Unbiblical, Rationalistic and Presumptuous? Examining McGowan's proposal (part 4)


McGowan's reasons for rejecting inerrancy are bound up with his doctrine of God. Ultimately the burden of his argument does not rest upon the textual details that errantists and inerrantists seek to account for in formulating their respective views of Scripture. It is the relationship between the divine spiration of Scripture and the character and will of God that differentiates McGowan's approach from that of the Hodges, Warfield, and Packer. McGowan operates from the basis that the truthfulness of the autographs should not be inferred from God's unchangeable nature and attribute of truthfulness. Rather he is “free to act according to his will” and must not be assumed to be bound to breathing out only inerrant autographs. Furthermore McGowan builds his case by forbidding inerrancy to be arrived at as an implication of inspiration, and by treating inerrancy as a deduction based on the character of God as if this were not part of the data of Scripture from which we inductively build the doctrine. As we have indicated, this move is questionable hermeneutically and theologically.

Perhaps the most devastating challenge to McGowan's thesis is his relocation of divine veracity from God's nature to his will. I conclude that the strongest point of his argument (from his perspective) against the inerrantists, that they assume that God's character leads to the divine spiration of error free autographa, is at the same time the weakest point of his own theological position. And although inerrantists are faulted for their appeal to God's character as the guarantor of the inerrant autographa, McGowan posits an approach to truth based on the freedom of the divine will. Let us be clear, he is doing this without providing any exegetical evidence. In fact the evidence in Scripture is contrary to his proposal. His argument, ironically, is an unbiblical, rationalistic, presumption. God cannot lie. This is his nature, not an effect of his will. McGowan argues that it is an effect of his will and is not secured by his nature. For this reason, above all, his proposal ought to be firmly rejected.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How distressing to read McGowan's denial of inerrancy and then discover that he has been teaching at both Reformed Theological Seminary and Westminster Theological Seminary in the USA. It would appear that more stringent faculty monitoring is in order.