The Book Corner
The Bible in the Balance. By Harold Lindsell. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Publishing House, 1979. 384 pp. $9.95.
In 1976 Dr. Harold Lindsell’s book, The Battle for the Bible, was published. It wasn’t long before the book elicited national and international response which ranged from enthusiastic approval to strong opposition. In this particular book, which I read carefully and completely, the author dealt with the controversial issue of Biblical inerrancy and its historical consequences.
Of this latest book, The Bible in the Balance, Lindsell says, “I wish to address myself to the objections and questions raised by those who disagree with me. Moreover, I wish to add to the case I presented in the first book, so that even the most obdurate will have to admit there is a problem of belief regarding the trustworthiness of Scripture, not only about matters having to do with history, science and the cosmos, but also theological matters having to do with faith and practice, both directly and indirectly.”
The Bible in the Balance forthrightly relates what has transpired over the last three years since the author’s, The Battle for the Bible, was published, explaining in no uncertain terms what is at stake. Following the author’s introductory comments some of the chapters in the book are:
Reactions of the Critics — A Response to Their Questions; The Southern Baptist Convention — Moving Toward a Crisis; Fuller Theological Seminary —A Seminary at Bay; The Historical-Critical Method —The Bible’s Deadly Enemy; Who or What is an Evangelical? — An Unresolved Dilemma; Prospects for the Future — Bleak or Bright?
And what of the future? The author says, “I do not think the scenario for the immediate future is too bright. If the children of Israel could and did turn away from God in unbelief again and again, there is no reason to believe that those who now claim His name cannot or will not do the same thing. The pages of church history are replete with instances of departure from orthodoxy” (pp. 342-43).
If you are at all lacking in a knowledge of the importance and implications of the debate over Biblical inerrancy, this book is must reading. And even for those who have a good understanding of the issues involved, Lindsell’s decisive work is vital, eye-opening reading. In fact, some of the author’s disclosures may shock you. Overall, the book is highly informative, thought provoking, well-documented, easy to read, and contains an extensive index.
It is evident from his first book, The Battle for the Bible, that Lindsell believes that our Lord, in His humanity, could have sinned (p. 36). It is regrettable that a Christian leader and a man of such doctrinal perspicvity yields to this serious error. In a sense, there is a parallel between an inerrant written Word and a not-able-to-sin Incarnate Word —the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus, in some measure at least, it seems inconsistent for the author to rightly declare and maintain a firm stand on inerrancy, yet at the same time to express a less than total commitment to the impeccability of Jesus Christ.
As one might expect in a treatise of this length, there are a few minor printing errors. The major mistake, at least in my edition, is found on pages 320 and 321. Material on page 320 belongs on 321 and vice-versa.
It is unfortunate that the book is so expensive. Perhaps some day the publishers will pave the way for its wider circulation by making it available in a paperback edition.