Van Til Tool

Using the Van Til Perspective as the tool to discover what life means and how it ought to be lived.

Monday, June 04, 2012


An In-Depth Examination of Scriptural Inerrancy:

Truth In The Context of The Personal Nature of God and His Creation

A review of

Vern Poythress Inerrancy and Worldview (Crossway, 2012)
                       $17.99   272 pp   ISBN-13: 978-1-4335-2387-8   ISBN-10: 1-4335-2387

Reviewer:  Forrest W. Schultz

     Vern Poythress by now has become known for his in-depth studies of all kinds of things.  His latest triumph is his treatment of Biblical inerrancy, which is sorely needed due to the great confusion which still exists about this all-important subject.  I concur with John Frame who states that Poythress "gets deeper into the question of inerrancy than any other book that I know."  His secret is His premiss, which can be easily stated: the personal nature of God must be regarded as the context of the truth which He reveals to man in His Word.

     This is so obvious, yet has usually not been taken into account.  There are two and only two orders of reality:  God and His creation.  God is a person (in fact the supreme Person and the very standard and source of personhood); and His creation was planned and produced and is ruled over by a person, God.  Therefore all of reality is personal.  Therefore all truth about reality is personal, because it is truth about a Person and His creation.  Therefore truth must be handled accordingly, i.e. in a personal context.  This is what Poythress does in this book, and he contrasts it with the impersonalistic views found in the modern challengers of Scriptural inerrancy.  The result is a good and very helpful read!  All kinds of confusion are straightened out when this personal context is taken into account.  The Biblical worldview is rightly seen to be sophisticated in contrast with the simplistic impersonalistic treatments by the modern worldviews!




    Poythress is also sophisticated in his handling of the modern notions.  For example, his discussion of the "historical-critical" method is the best I have ever seen, and it too gets down to the depth of the matter, the foundational principles of the thing.

     Fortunately, there is one thing which makes it easier to gain a general audience for the discussion of deep stuff (which is actually philosophy) and that is the term "worldview", which Poythress wisely uses in his title, rather than philosophy, which most people think of as something abstruse and impractical, in contrast to worldview, which is considered as dealing with important stuff about practical daily life.  In fact, the term was originally called "world-and-life view".  Poythress also writes in language easy to understand, and he is quite personal in doing so.  For instance, he talks about a typical modern man named "Bob", who thinks this way and that.  So, Poythress is not only personal in his philosophy and epistemology, but also in his writing style.

     The next book Poythress will be publishing deals with Inerrancy specifically in reference to the harmony of the Gospels matter.  It is expected to be out in October.  I am planning on reading and reviewing it also.     




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