Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Nazarenes and Inerrancy (David Brush)

My friend David Brush was asked to reflect on the Church of the Nazarene's recent decision to maintain a middle-ground stance on Biblical inspiration as  a guest post on a big evangelical blog (Patheos, hosted by Scott McKnight).

Within the evangelical protestant movement there is a pull to increase the contrast within our articles of faith (statements of belief) so that there is little room left for nuance along the edges. In most protestant and evangelical denominations there is a clearly defined article regarding scripture, and specifically the inerrancy of scripture. The fervor over these kinds of clearly bounded definitions is continuing to rise as conservative and fundamentalist ideals react to the loss of influence in the western cultural arena. The struggle and contention within the protestant mind, and regarding the inerrancy of scripture specifically, is in how we qualify the word inerrant.
In 2009 a group put forward a resolution at the General Assembly of the Church of the Nazarene that would alter their article of faith by changing the statement on inerrancy from, “inerrantly revealing the will of God concerning us in all things necessary to our salvation,” to, “inerrant throughout, and the supreme authority on everything the Scriptures teach.” The assembly referred the motion for change to the scripture study committee in order to provide a response and recommendation at the 2013 assembly of the denomination. The committee released the report and recommendation ahead of the June 2013 assembly. In the report the committee recommended that the article of faith on Holy Scripture remain unchanged, and in it they also responded specifically to why it should remain so.
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