I have written an essay which addresses concerns expressed about the use of the term “inerrancy” in the Federation of Canadian and American Reformed Churches. In Clarion (2009) the Rev. Wes Bredenhof suggested that these objections to inerrancy were motivated by a desire for a looser interpretation of Scripture. In this essay I argue that the real reason for concern is the rationalistic distortion of inerrancy that has developed over the last decades in North America. After the introduction, I describe what the term inerrancy originally meant, how this meaning has been distorted, how this distortion shows up in the Chicago statements on the inerrancy, hermeneutics and application of the Bible, how this distortion has been evaluated, and how the distorted form of inerrancy has entered our churches. I end with a review of some of the different perspectives on inerrancy and how they issue into preferences regarding whether the term is still useful. I conclude that a continued use of the term inerrancy is a matter of strategy, not of principle provided we stick with its original meaning that Scripture is truthful and trustworthy because its Author is true and trustworthy.
The essay can be found in our “Collected Papers”; a direct link is here.