Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Nazarenes and "Detailed Inerrancy"

The Nazarenes voted today to keep their Statement of Faith the same in a couple regards.  First, they voted to keep the current wording that describes the Bible as "inerrantly revealing the will of God."  Then they declined adding the word "meritorious" to their wording on atonement. You can see the report of their Scripture study commission here.

I personally think it is best not to adjust the faith statements of a denomination unless you've really, really thought it through.  Some Nazarenes wanted to adjust the statement on inerrancy to a more thoroughgoing wording along the lines of the 1970s debates.  The committee concluded that the fundamentalist sense of inerrancy, which they termed "detailed inerrancy," was not Wesleyan but Calvinist in origin, that Wesleyan theological giants like H. Orton Wiley didn't jump on that bandwagon (the classic Wesleyan systematic theology author), and that it would create a massive split in the denomination (with most of its leaders in every area having to leave).  And, after all, you can still believe in the fundamentalist version with the current wording.

Keith Drury had this to say in his Facebook blow by blow: "This report on Scripture would probably be embraced by virtually all Bible scholars in The Wesleyan Church... I suspect neither denomination is going to change their statements on scripture--though in practice both denominations have about the same functional position. The report lays down the gauntlet arguing that 'detailed inerrancy' is a Calvinist fetish and not truly Wesleyan."

I've argued here before that the Wesleyan Church operates with a broad rather than restrictive understanding of inerrancy.  God has not erred in any truth he has revealed in Scripture. The real task is to work together to determine exactly what he has said and is saying.

On the other issue, the Nazarene church opted not to single out penal substitution as a more central or important perspective on atonement than any other.  Again, the pressure is coming from Calvino-fundamentalist influences on the Church of the Nazarene.

Very interesting...

1 comment:

thecommonlanguage.com/wordpress2 said...

I understand the wisdom in prayer and prayerful reflection, based on a hunger for our walks with God to reflect Scriptural truths, but outside of that I don't understand the degree of caution you are advocating in adjusting denominational faith statements. In that no faith statement is 100 percent truth filled (because that won't occur prior to our glorification), it seems if each denomination is not willing to adjust their doctrine at least a little, then we will stay apart and divisive towards one another, instead of giving evidence of being of one body. Is this not true: that a Christian grows (is sanctified), therefore the Church, which is made up of Christian people, will grow, too? It seems to me Christ is emphatic when He says this, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another" (John 13:34-35). How are we to show this love in this denominational context? Susan