The direct antecedents of the current evangelical debate were: (1) Dewey M. Beegle’s book The Inspiration of Scripture (1963, enlarged and reissued as Scripture, Tradition, and Infallibility, 1973), an attack by a professed evangelical on the idea of inerrancy, (2) the view of Scripture taught (and the use of it modelled) in some professedly evangelical seminaries during the sixties and seventies, and (3) Harold Lindsell’s strident Battle for the Bible (1976), the first blast of his trumpet against what he saw as the monstrous regiment of biblical criticism in the modern evangelical world.

Representative reassertions of the mainstream Protestant and, indeed, historic Christian view of Scripture in relation to current historical, scientific, and philosophical questions can be found on a grand scale in Carl F. H. Henry’s magnum opus, God, Revelation, and Authority (six volumes, 1976-1983) and, more briefly, in the Chicago Statement and other literature produced by the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy.  Lindsell understands inerrancy as the rallying point for evangelicalism’s last stand in our time.  Similarly, Francis Schaeffer has called it “the watershed of the evangelical world.”  In their view that inerrancy is crucial, they echo the opinion of such older authorities as John Wesley, who wrote: “Will not the allowing there is any error in Scripture shake the authority of the whole?”  And, “If there be one falsehood in that book, it did not come from the God of truth.”  Some, today, dismiss the inerrancy debate as trivial, but it is arguable, to say the least, that the estimate of Lindsell, Schaeffer, and Wesley has reason and common sense on it’s side. – J. I. Packer (born in 1926), from “John Calvin and the Inerrancy of Holy Scripture,” an article originally published in 1984.

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