Saturday, July 18, 2015

Adam, inerrancy, and Arminianism

Here's part of a review of Walton's new book by a prominent Arminian site:

The suggestion that Adam and Eve could have existed as two advanced hominids in a long evolutionary chain will seem compromising to some…But, for the vast majority of Christians who think the whole science-religion war is an unnecessary war with far too many casualties, Walton presents a middle way forward. His book, no doubt because of both his scholarly credentials and his obvious evangelical conviction, will be well received amongst the majority of those who want a thoughtful and, yet, traditional approach towards science and the Bible.
On a related note, take this review at a prominent Arminian site:
I’ll go a little further … Not only is the gospel clear, but the historical Adam isn’t important to it at any level. It is Jesus Christ who assures us that we are justified before God. It is Jesus Christ who advances the missionary work of the church. It is Jesus Christ who secures our hope in the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. A Christian who never hears about Adam, but is taught the life, death, and resurrection of Christ lacks nothing. Getting our priorities straight does matter.

On a related note:

There has been a major shift within the Wesleyan Theological Society concerning its position on inerrancy. In the first issue of the Wesleyan Theological Journal, Kenneth Geiger, former president of the National holiness Association, wrote that the inerrancy of the original autographs of Scripture was the official position of the National Holiness Association and “quite uniformly the view of Wesleyan-Arminians everywhere.”[1]
In its first four journals, the doctrinal position of the Wesleyan Theological Society stated that the Old and New Testaments were inerrant in the originals. This statement no longer appeared after 1969. However at least nine Wesleyan scholars signed the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy on January 1, 1979: Allan Coppedge, Wilbur T. Dayton, Ralph Earle, Eldon R. Fuhrman, Dennis F. Kinlaw, Daryl McCarthy, James Earl Massey, A. Skevington Wood, and Laurence W. Wood.[2] [Emphasis added by editor]
The last Wesleyan Theological Journal article in support of biblical inerrancy appeared in 1981.[3] In 1984, Kenneth Gilder expressed the hope that as the Wesleyan Theological Society began its next twenty years that it would do its homework and not accept the agenda of Calvinistic evangelicalism.[4] Since then the doctrine of biblical inerrancy has been labeled as anachronistic to Wesley’s day, Calvinistic, and a fundamentalist doctrine. 
In the Fall 2011 issue of the Wesleyan Theological Journal, Stephen Gunter declared that inerrancy is not the issue for evangelical Wesleyans.

These examples illustrate a point I've made from time to time: the Arminian center of gravity is to the left of Calvinism. 

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