Saturday, January 30, 2010

Gaffin and Old Amsterdam

There has, over the years, been debate over the position of Dutch Reformed theologians on the doctrine of scripture (eg. Rogers and McKim, and more recently McGowan). Some have argued recently, on the basis of work by Gaffin (published in two WTJ articles in 1983), that Dutch Reformed theology 'supports' the idea of inerrancy. However, it seems to me that the case is overstated. Readers of the works of Bavinck, Kuyper and Ridderbos cannot fail to notice the relative absence of references to inerrancy, or semantic equivalents.

Even Gaffin admits, with reference to a single quotation from Reformed Dogmatics where Bavinck writes of the scriptures as being 'without defect' that:
As far as I can discover, nowhere else than here does Bavinck address more directly the issue of error in Scripture, 'Old Amsterdam Pt II', WTJ 45/2 (1983), 248.
Gaffin also writes:

Admittedly Bavinck has little to say about the issue of error in relation to Scripture or its infallibility, at least in his development of the doctrine of inspiration. This is all the more remarkable in view of the times in which he was writing, 'Old Amsterdam Pt II', WTJ 45/2 (1983), 249, emphasis added.