"Ancient Word, Changing Worlds" (1)

I have begun reading Stephen Nichols' latest offering: Ancient Word, Changing Worlds. So far it is outstanding. I have a deep appreciation for Dr. Nichols. He is perhaps the most readable church historian I have ever read. In the days ahead I am planning to blog my way through his newest book which is an examination of the doctrine of Scripture and its historical development. I would encourage you to pick up a copy and read along with me.

Phil Ryken offers this impressive endorsement:

The best, clearest, and most reliable historical overview of the doctrine of Scripture for a contemporary audience. As careful historians, Nichols and Brandt show what the church has always believed about the Bible as the Word of God, and also how our understanding of the inspiration, inerrancy, and interpretation of Scripture has grown through the centuries. The authors let scholars and theologians on all sides of the age-old battle for the Bible speak in their own words, giving us the historical context and theological framework we need to accept the Bible's own witness to its beauty, perfection, and divine authority.

Attacks against the reliability of Scripture are heating up again within the ever loosening boundaries of evangelicalism. It is important therefore for God's people to once again assert their confidence is the Bible as God's Word.

The perennially declining denominations (PCUSA, Disciples of Christ, UMC, etc) all have in common a weak doctrine of Scripture. It seems to be inevitable that as your doctrine of Scripture goes so goes your doctrine of God, of Christ, of the atonement, of divine judgment, and the gospel itself.

The Reformation's recovery of both Scripture and the apostolic teaching produced the Reformation solas of sola scriptura (Scripture alone), sola fide and sola gratia (salvation and justification by faith alone and by grace alone), solus Christus (Christ alone), and soli Deo gloria (for the glory of God alone). And so it is in the modern age. The challenge to supernatural revelation, the challenge to the Bible, has been met with deeper reflection on and clearer expression of the doctrines of Scripture. The doctrines orbit around three words, words that have received a great deal of attention in the nineteenth, twentieth, and now into the twenty-first century. These three words are inspiration, inerrancy, and interpretation. This book tells the story of how these words were developed in these last few centuries. It is the story of how the ancient word of God speaks to and in our changing world.

- From the Introduction