June 15th, 2009
Nichols, Stephen J. and Eric T. Brandt. Ancient Word, Changing Worlds: The Doctrine of Scripture in the Modern Age. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2009. 176 pp. $15.99.
The Southern Baptists fought for the doctrine of Inerrancy back in the 1980’s. Some believed this was a needless battle. Time has shown that this was not the case. In recent years, we have watched various Christian denominations redefine many passages of Scripture claiming that the Bible needs to be reinterpreted since it was written in a different time and age. Somehow God’s Word no longer applies to every human being regardless of time and location. In the post-everything world we live in today, we are being confronted with challenge after challenge from across the spectrum as to the doctrine of Scripture.
Nichols and Brandt offer a compelling historical analysis of the doctrine of Scripture. In Ancient Word, Changing Worlds, they look at the three major components of this doctrine: Inspiration, Inerrancy, and Interpretation. They offer two chapters on each element. The first chapter is an apologetic on how the modern age is challenging each component individually. The second chapter of each component is a compilation of select documents throughout the history of the church.
At the end of the book, the authors offer three appendices: 1) Doctrinal statements on Scripture, 2) Key Biblical texts on the doctrine of Scripture, and 3) A guide for further reading. The appendices are worth the price of the book alone since it seems that the issue of the doctrine of Scripture will always be challenged. Unfortunately, as is shown in this book, the challenge not only comes from the so-called liberal denominations. The challenge is also coming from many conservative and even Reformed churches and denominations.
We are indebted to the scholarship of both Nichols and Brandt. Ancient Words, Changing Worlds is a resource that should be on the shelf of every minister, every Sunday School teacher, and every seminary student. If you are in a position of leadership within your church, you need to be familiar with the arguments against the doctrine of Scripture. More importantly, you need to know how to answer those arguments. Nichols and Brandt provide just that. Without a healthy doctrine of Scripture, our faith in Christ and what He accomplished on the Cross is made meaningless. Recommend this book highly.