Do Historical Matters Matter to Faith?: A Critical Appraisal of Modern and Postmodern Approaches to Scripture
Is historical accuracy an indispensable part of the Bible's storyline, or is Scripture only concerned with theological truths? As progressive evangelicals threaten to reduce the Bible's jurisdiction by undermining its historical claims, every Christian who cares about the integrity of Scripture must be prepared to answer this question.
Do Historical Matters Matter to Faith? offers a firm defense of Scripture's legitimacy and the theological implications of modern and postmodern approaches that teach otherwise. In this timely and timeless collection of essays, scholars from diverse areas of expertise lend strong arguments in support of the doctrine of inerrancy. Contributors explore how the specific challenges of history, authenticity, and authority are answered in the text of the Old and New Testaments as well as how the Bible is corroborated by philosophy and archaeology.
With contributions from respected scholars—including Allan Millard, Craig Blomberg, Graham Cole, Michael Haykin, Robert Yarbrough, and Darrell Bock—Do Historical Matters Matter to Faith? arms Christians with fresh insight, arguments, and language with which to defend Scripture's historical accuracy against a culture and academy skeptical of those claims.
Published February 2012
About the Editors:
James K. Hoffmeier (PhD, University of Toronto), who has taught at the undergraduate and graduate levels for more than thirty years, is now professor of Old Testament and Near Eastern archaeology at Trinity International University. Born and raised in Egypt, he has been a refugee from war and an alien in two different countries, making him sensitive to immigration issues.
Dennis R. Magary (PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison) is chair of the department and associate professor of Old Testament and Semitic languages at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
About the Contributors:
Richard E. Averbeck (PhD, Dropsie College/Annenberg Research Institute), Professor of Old Testament and Semitic Languages, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Robert D. Bergen (PhD, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary), Professor of Old Testament and Biblical Languages; Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Hannibal-LaGrange University
Craig L. Blomberg (PhD, Aberdeen University, Scotland), Distinguished Professor of New Testament, Denver Seminary
Darrell L. Bock (PhD, Aberdeen University, Scotland), Research Professor of New Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary
Graham A. Cole (ThD, Australian College of Theology), Anglican Professor of Divinity, Beeson Theological School
Robert B. Chisholm Jr. (PhD, Dallas Theological Seminary), Professor of Old Testament, Dallas Theological Seminary
Thomas W. Davis (PhD, University of Arizona), Associate Professor of Archaeology and Biblical Backgrounds, Southwestern Theological Seminary
Michael G. Hasel (PhD, University of Arizona), Professor of Near Eastern Studies and Archaeology, Southern Adventist University
Michael A. G. Haykin (PhD, University of Toronto), Professor of Church HistoryandBiblicalSpirituality,TheSouthernBaptistTheologicalSeminary
Richard S. Hess (PhD, Hebrew Union College), Earl S. Kalland Professor of Old Testament and Semitic Languages, Denver Seminary
John W. Hilber (PhD, Cambridge University), Associate Professor of Old Testament, Dallas Theological Seminary
James K. Hoffmeier (PhD, University of Toronto), Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology and Old Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Jens Bruun Kofoed (PhD, University of Aarhus), Copenhagen Lutheran School of Theology
Dennis R. Magary (PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison), Associate Professor of Old Testament and Semitic Languages, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Thomas H. McCall (PhD, Calvin Theological Seminary), Associate Professor of Biblical and Systematic Theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Alan R. Millard (MPhil, Oxford; MA, University of London), Emeritus Rankin Professor of Hebrew and Semitic Studies, University of Liverpool
John M. Monson (PhD, Harvard University), Associate Professor of Old Testament and Semitic Languages, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Steven M. Ortiz (PhD, University of Arizona), Associate Professor of Archaeology and Biblical Backgrounds, Southwestern Theological Seminary
Eckhard J. Schnabel (PhD, Aberdeen University, Scotland), Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Richard L. Schultz (PhD, Yale University), Carl Armerding and Hudson T. Armerding Professor of Biblical Studies/Professor of Old Testament, Wheaton College
Jason Stanghelle (PhD candidate, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) Mark D. Thompson (DPhil, Oxford University), Head of Department ofTheology, Philosophy and Ethics, Moore Theological College, Australia
Willem A. VanGemeren (PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison), Professor of Old Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Robert W. Yarbrough (PhD, Aberdeen University, Scotland), Professor of New Testament, Covenant Theological Seminary
Publisher: Crossway/Good News Publishers
Publication Date: February 2012
ISBN 10: 1433525712
ISBN 13: 9781433525711
"Standing athwart the tide of strident voices currently demanding that we abandon confidence in the truthfulness and reliability of the Bible, the chapters in this volume constitute a defense of historic Christian confessionalism on the nature of Scripture. Mercifully, however, they are not mere regurgitations of past positions. Rather, they are informed, competent, and sometimes creative contributions that urgently deserve the widest circulation. In months and years to come, I shall repeatedly refer students and pastors to this collection."
- D. A. Carson, Research Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
"Few Christian convictions are of as pervasive importance as the absolute perfection of Scripture—and few convictions fall under more perennial criticism. Hence the need for this volume, which seeks to defend the evangelical doctrine of biblical inerrancy against scholars who argue that in accommodating his truth to human understanding, God has made his Word susceptible to error. Here James Hoffmeier, Dennis Magary, and a broad range of learned colleagues take seriously the self-witness of Scripture and respond to some of the latest, hardest objections to inerrancy by providing clear, comprehensive, persuasive, and charitable answers. Do Historical Matters Matter to Faith? is an invaluable resource for any student of Scripture who doubts the doctrine of inerrancy or has serious questions about the historical reliability of the Bible."
- Philip Graham Ryken, President, Wheaton College
"In recent decades evangelicals have felt increasing pressure to abandon their high views of Scripture—a pressure that comes not only from scholars outside their circles, but also from some inside. This volume represents a welcome response to both, but especially to the latter. The contributors represent evangelical scholarship at its best as they address critical challenges with clarity and conviction, even while keeping their tone civil and charitable. This book will serve as a handy reference tool for students, pastors, and scholars who need a fair and responsible treatment of the evidence and clear declaration of their conclusions."
- Daniel I. Block, Gunther H. Knoedler Professor of Old Testament, Wheaton College; author of The Gospel According to Moses: Theological and Ethical Reflections on the Book of Deuteronomy
"This is a book that has been sorely needed. The Bible has long been under attack from those outside evangelical faith, and now more recently from those supposedly inside. Here in one volume the questions are addressed in a comprehensive way, including theological, historical-critical, and archaeological issues. Written with an irenic tone—and yet confronting the questions directly—this book will surely take a prominent place on the shelves of all those who love the Bible and look for solid answers to give to its detractors. The editors are to be commended for bringing the book to fruition and for their breadth of vision in organizing it."
- John Oswalt , Distinguished Professor of Old Testament, Asbury Theological Seminary
"Here is a collection of first-rate essays written by an international team of scholars, each affirming what must be called the historic Christian view of Holy Scripture—that the Bible, God’s Word written, is trustworthy and totally true in all that it affirms. Rather than simply rehearsing platitudes of the past, this volume advances the argument in the light of current debate and recent challenges. A magisterial undertaking to be reckoned with."
- Timothy George, Founding Dean, Beeson Divinity School; General Editor of The Reformation Commentary on Scripture
"To scholars unconvinced of the classical Christian doctrine of Holy Scripture, Do Historical Matters Matter to Faith? offers a challenge both substantive in its argumentation and respectful in its tone. To scholars convinced of this doctrine, this volume models how to advance the argument on a multidisciplinary, evidentialist basis. We owe the editors and authors a debt of gratitude."
- Raymond C. Ortlund Jr., Lead Pastor, Immanuel Church, Nashville, Tennessee
"How evangelicals view the Bible has been, and continues to be, under attack. This volume effectively defends the Bible’s historicity and adeptly explains why it matters. Any pastor or person teaching and defending the Bible will be greatly helped by this book."
- Alistair Begg, Senior Pastor, Parkside Church, Cleveland, Ohio
"Whether in a university open forum or in the church, I am consistently asked about the trustworthiness and authority of Scripture. I am therefore delighted that the authors have engaged the critics’ challenge as well as the Bible afresh and met the arguments head-on with insightful scholarship and the historicity of Scripture. I commend this unique and timely volume and believe it will be an important work for decades to come."
- Ravi Zacharias, Founder and President, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries; author of Jesus Among Other Gods
"The debate over biblical inerrancy is a crucial issue for evangelicals. Do Historical Matters Matter to Faith? is an important response to this challenge, and its essays, written by leading evangelical scholars, present a robust defense of the reliability of the historical narratives of the Bible. The book makes a compelling case that holding to inerrancy does not mean one must avoid examining the issues raised by critical scholarship, but rather the accuracy of Scripture can itself be the conclusion of a reasoned and critical examination of the evidence."
- Michelle Lee-Barnewall, Associate Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies, Biola University; author of Paul, the Stoics, and the Body of Christ
"James Hoffmeier and Dennis Magary have assembled a first-rate team of evangelical writers to join them in exploring the historical issues related to the interpretation of Holy Scripture and the formation of Christian theology. Each chapter makes a significant contribution to this comprehensive and focused volume—which both affirms and defends the complete truthfulness and full authority of the Bible while fully engaging the questions and challenges raised by modern and postmodern approaches to biblical interpretation. Informative and winsome, this impressive work will be immensely helpful for a generation of students, pastors, and scholars alike."
- David S. Dockery, President, Union University
"Today, some so-called evangelicals have questioned and outright denied the full extent of the inerrancy, authority, and trustworthiness of God’s Word, claiming it may apply to faith and practice but not to history and science. As disturbing as these claims are against the Scriptures, I give thanks to God that they have prompted an excellent response, so that we now have a much stronger foundation for affirming the inerrancy of God’s Word, including matters of history. Do Historical Matters Matter to Faith? is one of the best and most thorough treatments in defense of the Bible as completely true and trustworthy in the realm of history. It is a much-needed antidote to some so-called evangelicals’ unhealthy (and inaccurate) view of inerrancy. In matters relating to the doctrine of the Scriptures, this will be the book I recommend to pastors and leaders. It will serve them and the church well, and deserves the highest of commendations!"
- Gregory C. Strand, Director of Biblical Theology and Credentialing, Evangelical Free Church of America
"Twenty-first-century hubris insists on immediate answers from a Book of great antiquity that is fundamentally about God’s intervention in human history. Yet even with advances in scientific archaeological method and modern scholarship, there is still much to learn about the Bible’s ancient setting, language, history, and sociopolitical context. This book engages honestly with a number of thorny issues concerning the history and evidence for key biblical narratives. Its propositions are robustly defended in a clear yet scholarly fashion, making it accessible to informed lay and academic readers alike. I commend it to anyone seeking an orthodox evangelical perspective on the flash points in current debates about the historicity of the Scriptures."
- Karin Sowada, CEO, Anglican Deaconess Ministries Ltd.; Hon. Research Associate, Macquarie University
"Singapore Bible College was founded in 1952 to uphold the authority of God’s Word at the time when the Scriptures were under severe attack from the liberals of that era. Today, we are a living testimony to the effectiveness and authority of God’s Word as we expound a Bible-based theological education. The mocking of the Word of God did not liberate people from what the liberals claimed to be superstition or outdated scholarship. But it did destroy the faith of many poorly grounded believers, confused the church concerning her mission and purpose, created tension in the mission field, and set the church backward on many fronts in Asia and elsewhere. James Hoffmeier and Dennis Magary have assembled an able team of evangelical scholars to address and defend the issues of the authority of God’s Word from the theological, biblical, and archaeological perspectives. They are not afraid to face the issues head-on in a comprehensive and thorough manner, yet with the right spirit. I hope this book will help many students of the Scriptures to have a deeper conviction of the authoritative and inerrant Word of God."
- Albert Ting, Principal, Singapore Bible College
"This volume well documents the analysis and evidence integral to understanding the role of historical data in biblical understanding. The authors are to be congratulated for writing a book that would withstand rigorous cross-examination!"
- Mark Lanier, President, Christian Trial Lawyers Association; author of numerous legal books and articles; owner, Lanier Theological Library
"To the credit of its editors and authors, this book is not so much a reaction to the recent statements of Peter Enns and Kenton Sparks on biblical inerrancy, which called it forth, but an apologetic response to their works. To that effect, it is not a monument to the doctrine, but rather an advancement of its method and intent."
- C. Hassell Bullock, Pastor, Warren Park Presbyterian Church, Cicero, Illinois; Franklin S. Dyrness Professor of Biblical Studies Emeritus, Wheaton College
"This is a timely work, both in the sense that it addresses an emerging issue—a loss of confidence in the historicity of the Bible—and in the sense that its authors are conversant in the current state of the debate. The topics discussed include all the essentials: the foundational theological issues, the major source-critical and historical-critical questions, and matters arising from archaeology. This book will be a valuable resource for both scholars and students."
- Duane A. Garrett, Professor of Old Testament, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; author of A Modern Grammar for Biblical Hebrew and Amos: A Handbook on the Hebrew Text
"This is a brilliant response to evangelical skeptics such as Peter Enns and Kenton Sparks, and, in a broader sense, also to mainstream skeptics such as Philip Davies, Keith Whitelam, or Robert Coote. The list of contributors is a stellar lineup of first-rate scholars in their disciplines who defend the traditional, orthodox view of Scripture as historically reliable in sophisticated and convincing ways. Even those who might remain unconvinced of the book’s main argument will have to rethink their positions. I highly recommend this work."
- David M. Howard Jr., Professor of Old Testament, Bethel University, St. Paul, Minnesota
"This book takes us to the front lines of many of the contemporary confrontations in critical scholarship, addressing the skeptics head-on. A host of able defenders contend for the trustworthiness of the Bible in the face of critical challenges and fairly criticize some of the ‘assured results’ of biblical criticism—opening the way for a more confident faith. Only the Holy Spirit himself can fully confirm the truth of God’s Word, but he can use books like this to confound the doubter and affirm the faithful."
- Bill Kynes, Senior Pastor, Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church, Annandale, Virginia; author of A Christology of Solidarity
"This is a thoughtful and heartening response to Sparks and other progressive evangelicals who believe the time has come to move beyond what they perceive to be an outdated view of Scripture’s inerrancy. Those seeking to rightly handle the word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15) will find here methodological, philosophical, theological, archaeological, and geographical resources for navigating the historical context of Scripture that call attention to its divine origins. Hoffmeier and Magary have provided a great service to the academy and church in this scholarly compilation of evangelical writers who conserve the tradition of the plenary inspiration and inerrancy of the Old and New Testament Scriptures. Soli Deo gloria."
- Laura C. Miguélez, Adjunct Professor of Theology, Wheaton College