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I'm teaching a lesson to our youth next week, and we're discussing the Bible's infallibility and inerrancy. I found the CRC position on infallibility but I only found one discussion (see Banner article How Should We Read the Bible?) on the Bible being inerrant. Anyone have any ideas? I don't want to teach the wrong things! 


Can I say, though, that I do really like Vos's description of the decision to shy away from the term "inerrant" here:  

Synod 1959 of the Christian Reformed Church appointed me, among others, to the Committee on Infallibility. The committee discussed at some length the usefulness of the word inerrant to describe the Bible. We concluded that it is not the most felicitous term to express the unique character of the Scriptures. We agreed that infallible and trustworthy fit the nature of the Bible more appropriately.

What’s wrong with inerrant? Well, it tends to characterize the Bible as an encyclopedia of unassailable facts on which we can build a case in any field of learning. Inerrant also tends to lead to an interminable discussion on the apparent “discrepancies” in Scripture. Finally, the term emphasizes the accuracy or exactitude of the Bible, while the Scriptures themselves emphasize the power of the word—Isaiah 55:10, for example: “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return until they have watered the earth . . . so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it” (NRSV).

    I did a research project under Prof. John Bolt at Calvin Seminary on this topic. The long and short of what I found was that the Christian Reformed Church has historically included the concept of 'inerrancy' under the topic of the Scripture's infallibility (cf. Belgic Confession, Art. 7). In doing this, the CRCNA was simply carrying on the traditional understanding of Scripture that had been handed down from the Protestant Reformation (cf., Matthew Barret's new book on Sola Scriptura, entitled, 'God's Word Alone,' for more info.) This position was widely assumed in the denomination and was clearly restated by the CRCNA in 1961. In 1972, however, things began to change. In that year, Synod 1972 adopted a report on "The Nature and Extent of Biblical Authority." That report significantly muddied the waters about what the CRCNA believes about the infallibility of Scripture. Some, like John Frame at RTS - Orlando, have argued that the 1972 report and the 1961 report are compatible documents. So, the argument goes, we should assume that the CRCNA still confesses the concept of 'inerrancy' under her confession of Scripture's infallibility. Nevertheless, those who did not like the earlier understanding of the confessional position hailed the 1972 report as giving them the room they needed to deny Scriptural 'inerrancy.' This confused situation has remained with us down to this day, although I'm inclined to think that the non-inerrantists are in the ascendant.  

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