Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Book Review: The Battle for the Bible

Genre:  Religion & Spirituality
Author: Harold Lindsell
Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars

In reviews of several books now I have repeatedly said that the veracity of Christianity rises and falls not on evolution but on weather Adam was a historical figure and whether it could honestly be said that he, Adam, was created by God and whether it could be said in any context that he was the first man. I will even concede that 'first man' does not have to mean first hominid but simply the first man to have consciousness.

If Adam did not exist and if he was not the first man than not only is the Bible a lie at worst and a fable at best but it also eliminates the claim by Christ and his deciles that he was God because Jesus spoke of the historical Adam. Without Adam there is no truth and no historicity to the Bible and I cannot stress that enough. This is the issue that those who claim to be Christian's must face up to and it demands rigorous intellectual honesty. If one takes the position that Adam is supposed to be taken as an allegory than Christ himself is a liar.

Higher criticism and the liberal theological movement in the United States at the turn of the last century did not, apparently, think their liberal conclusion through to it's logical end. The modified Bible they argued for left no room to find any truth and left a weakened and broken Christ.

Harold Lindsell, former vice-president of Fuller Theological Seminary, rightly understood the battle has it had been fought and correctly understood that error anywhere within the Bible made the entire Bible unreliable as a document of history and faith. In The Battle for the Bible Lindsell drew a line in the sand against liberal theology and scholarship and argued for the complete infallibility and inerrency of the Bible. This book, as the title page states, rocked the evangelical world when it appeared in print in 1976 and may have had a major impact on the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrency written two years later by 200 of the world's leading conservative theological scholars.

This book makes fascinating reading with its history of the liberal movement and the conservative response. I note that this book was reissued and reprinted within the last year indicating the importance of this issue to conservative Christianity.

Conservatives have rightly defined the battle Christianity faces but I think that evolution has cost them the war. The first man, Adam, cannot be spiritualized away. He is essential to Christian theology and evolution has destroyed the historicity of Adam in all but a remnant.

(Originally posted to Multiply January 15, 2009)

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