Dr. Vic Reasoner

(Dec 2011)

There has been a major shift in the Wesleyan Theological Society concerning its position on inerrancy. In the first issue of the Wesleyan Theological Journal, Kenneth Geiger, former president of the National Holiness Association, wrote that the inerrancy of the original autographs of Scripture was the official position of the National Holiness Association and “quite uniformly, the view of Wesleyan-Arminians everywhere.”[1]

In its first four journals, the doctrinal position of the WTS was stated that the Old and New Testaments were inerrant in the originals.  This statement no longer appeared after 1969.

The last journal article in support of biblical inerrancy appeared in 1981.[2]  In 1984 Kenneth Grider expressed the hope that at the Wesleyan Theological Society began its next twenty years that it would do its homework and not accept the agenda of Calvinistic evangelicalism.[3]   Inerrancy has been labeled as anachronistic to Wesley’s day, Calvinistic, and a fundamentalist doctrine.

It is anachronistic to claim that John Wesley would have been in agreement with the 1978 Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy.  However, it is also anachronistic to claim that Wesley would have adopted the biblical criticism of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries had he been living now.   For example, Joel Green states, “To read the Bible as Wesleyans is not to adopt a precritical stance with respect to the nature and interpretation of Scripture.”  Green goes on to suggest that Wesley would have embraced many developments in biblical criticism.[4]  But this is just as assumption.  Diane Leclerc wrote that “reading the Bible as a Wesleyan does not imply certain understanding about biblical inspiration and the Bible’s authority.”[5]  Thus, we are given permission to reject Wesley’s view of inspiration and authority, while still claiming to be Wesleyan.

In the latest issue of the Wesleyan Theological Journal, Stephen Gunter declared that inerrancy is not the issue for evangelical Wesleyans.[6]  Yet many evangelical Wesleyans are unwilling to abandon the doctrine.  With no desire to inflame another round of “Bible wars,” we appreciate the opportunity to clarify our convictions.

In our evaluation of the doctrine of biblical inerrancy, we must move beyond simply labeling it as a Calvinistic doctrine.  To employ the technique of guilt by association is not true scholarship.  Across the history of the Wesleyan Theological Society we have dialogued with process theology and open theism, pentecostal/charismatic theology, postmodernism, Eastern orthodoxy, feminism, and Marxism — just to name a few of our ecumenical dialogues.  In every instance we have attempted to objectively discuss areas of compatibility and incompatibility.  But have we inconsistently rejected a doctrine which we previously embraced by simply labeling it as “Calvinistic”?  Shouldn’t these issues be evaluated on their own merit and not be rejected because of guilt by association.  In order to be consistent, must we also reject the doctrines of the Trinity or the virgin birth simply because Calvinists affirm these doctrines?

While it was old Princeton Calvinists like Warfield and Hodge who developed a more detailed doctrine of inerrancy, they did so in reaction to the liberal attacks on Scripture which were beginning to come from within the church.  Prior to this era, attacks upon the integrity of Scripture had come from outside the church.  Yet Cornelius Van Til characterized the Princeton “common sense” apologetic as Arminian.[7]  Therefore, we must move beyond labels.

Inerrancy is also linked with fundamentalism.   The term “fundamental” refers to basic, rudimentary, foundational, or cardinal principles.  Any listing of primary Wesleyan doctrines could be referred to as “fundamental” Wesleyan doctrines.

Wesley wrote that the term fundamental was an ambiguous word and that there had been many warm disputes about the number of “fundamentals.”[8]  Yet he referred to justification by faith as a “fundamental doctrine of the gospel,”[9] he adds the new birth as another fundamental,[10]and Christian perfection and Christlikeness as “the fundamentals of Christianity.”[11]

 J. B. Chapman, editor of the Herald of Holiness, also wrestled with this terminology.  He stated that Nazarenes believed in the fundamentals and then proceeded to give his list of fundamental doctrines. However, if the question is raised whether Nazarenes are Fundamentalists, using the term as a proper noun, Chapman answered, “Yes, with reservations.” While Chapman had reservations about certain Calvinistic tendencies among Fundamentalists, he had no reservation, however, concerning the inerrancy of Scripture.[12]  H. C. Morrison, founder of Asbury Theological Seminary, also maintained a close relationship with the early Fundamentalists.[13]

I am not contending that Wesleyans must be Fundamentalists, with a capital F, however I am concerned that some, such as Edwin Crawford, are ready to abandon the label “evangelical” because it is also too Calvinistic.[14]   Hopefully we are not abandoning the euangelion.  Though we are not necessarily Fundamentalists, we are evangelicals.

Today the problem with a “fundamentalist” approach to Scripture is said to be their belief in propositional infallibility.   Here again, we must define our terms.  A proposition is a statement which is open to either verification or negation.  Propositional truth is a statement in which a predicate or object is affirmed or denied regarding a subject.   Thus, when Gunter asserts that one cannot be consistently both a Wesleyan and a Fundamentalist, he is making a propositional statement.  We all make propositional statements.

The real problem is when our faith is reduced to a set of propositions to be affirmed.  It is claimed that propositional truth leads to bibliolatry.  According to James 2:19, even the demons affirm the proposition that God exists.  Yet the affirmation of that proposition has not saved them.  Wesleyan theology believes there must be an existential moment and a transformed life.

According to the majority evangelical view of Romans 7, the Holy Spirit can produce a manuscript without error but not an apostle without sin.

However, Wesleyans do not necessarily reject the validity of  propositional truth.  The issue of propositional v. existential truth is not either/or but both/and.  We are affirming propositional truth every time we recite the Apostles’ Creed or affirm our Articles of Religion.  Any listing of non-negotiables would be a list of propositions.   However, faith must go beyond propositions.

According to 1 John 5:10 those who truly believe have the direct testimony or assurance of God through his Spirit.  But how do we know that we are not deceived?  The epistle of 1 John also teaches that if we have the Spirit, we will also affirm the proposition that Jesus is the Christ.

If propositional truth alone may lead to legalism, existential truth alone may lead to antinomianism.  The biblical teaching is that everything is established by a dual witness.  Wesley taught a direct and indirect witness.  Existential truth must be affirmed by propositional truth.

To deny this cuts scripture off from any objective, external verification.  Jesus asked, “If I speak to you concerning earthly things, and you do not believe me, how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?” (John 3:12).

One of the propositional truths of Scripture is it’s self-claim to inerrancy.  If it is wrong about that the nature of its inspiration, it may be wrong about the doctrine of salvation.  The Bible cannot be compartmentalized.  To negate a part is to destroy the authority of the whole. [[see McGrathXX]]

According to Proverbs 30:5 every word of God is flawless.  Here ___ (sarap) is used in the context of refined gold.   It is devoid of foreign elements.  What God says is completely reliable since it has been refined.  The emphasis is on the purity of God’s Word, devoid of error.

The process of refining gold is also used of God’s word in Psalm 18:30; 119:140.  In 2 Samuel 22:31 and Psalm 18:30 the way of God is perfect and the word of God is flawless.  Here the word  ____ (tamim) is used of God’s attributes and the word sarap is used of God’s revelation.  Tamim is used of animals without blemish.  It also describes “what is complete, entirely in accord with truth and fact.”[15]  Joseph Benson said the word of the Lord is free from deceit as gold refined by fire.[16]

Because of the nature of Hebrew parallelism, the two descriptive words, tamim and sarap, are being used as synonyms.  Two verses later, in both passages,  David declared that God made his way perfect (tamim).  Sarap is also used in Deuteronomy 32:4 to describe the works of God.  Thus, his works and his words are pure and free from any mixture of error.

In Psalm 12:6 “flawless” (____ – tahor) is used of pure gold without alloy.  The emphasis here is on the product.  These metaphors borrowed from the refining process and focusing on the pure product are meant to convey the concept that all Scripture is without error.

A literal translation of the Hebrew text of Psalm 138:2 reads, “For you have exalted above all your name your word.”   In the culture of the Old Testament people already understood that the “name” of God was exalted above all things. On the other hand, to say that God exalted his Word above his very name or equal to his name would be understood as an amazing claim for Scripture.

The Scriptures are holy because they come from a holy God.  The Scriptures are also true because they come from the God of truth.  The Scripture is perfect and its goal is to prepare or equip us completely and perfectly, according to 2 Timothy 3:15-17.   Eta Linnemann wrote that if the Holy Scriptures contain error of falsehood, it can hardly be said that

all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”  Error and falsehood could not serve such a purpose.  How can we dare to allege that there are errors in God’s Word in some area of natural science, or history, or some other discipline — we, whose scientific findings of yesterday and the day before are already outdated today?  Woe to us if we possess such audacity!  Should we not be thoroughly ashamed to say, “Here is an error in God’s Word?”  How do we intend to endure the flaming eyes of Jesus one day when our learned books which propagate such things are consumed like chaff?[17]

Too often, however, fundamentalism has contended for the perfection of the Word and the sinfulness of the believer.  But why should we contend for Christian perfection and then look for mistakes in the Holy Word of God?  The Word is active in our sanctification (Psalm19:7-9).  Jesus declared that the word of God is truth and that we are sanctified or made holy by that truth (John 17:17).  And we maintain that purity by living according to the word (Psalm 119:9).

The teaching of Jesus Christ in Matthew 5:18 also implies inerrancy.  Clarke concluded that “the words of God, which point out his designs, are as unchangeable as his nature itself.”[18]

Yet the Word of God came through humanity.  According to 1 Peter 1:11 the prophets of old were borne along by the Spirit of God as the wind in the sails moves a boat along the water. They did not write under their own impulse, but were impelled by the Holy Spirit.  Typically those who hold to a more liberal theology have emphasized the Scriptures as a human production, while those who are more conservative have contended that the Scriptures were divinely inspired.  Thus, the “Bible wars” could be characterized as ships that pass in the night.  Both sides have contended for half of an axial theme and each side needs the other for balance.

Just as the living Word, the logos, must be understood theologically within the tension of the hypostatic union, so the written Word must also be understood within the tension of the human and the divine.  But to be human does not demand sin.  That is gnosticism and not Wesleyan theology.  The doctrine of inspiration also means that the Spirit so superintended the process of revelation that humanity was elevated beyond error.  The same Spirit who overshadowed the virgin Mary so that the living Word was conceived without Adam’s sin also overshadowed Luke so that his word became the written Word of God without error.  Why should that be hard for us to accept since we believe that the indwelling Spirit can also keep us from sin?   Since Wesleyan theology has given a greater emphasis to the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit, can we not say that the Holy Spirit temporarily perfected the human authors and superintended the canon of Scripture so that we have the infallible Word of God?  The same Holy Spirit now uses the Word of God to perfect the Church of God.

Pseudepigriphal writings were never regarded as divinely inspired because they were in error regarding the true human authorship.  It did not matter if the text contained truth.  It was inconceivable that the Word of God would even contain incidental error.  The canonical books were regarded as inerrant.

Logically, the original autographs had to be perfect and without error if they came from an infallible God and were inspired by the Holy Spirit.  God providentially has also preserved the his Word across the centuries.  But the nearly 7500 New Testament manuscripts we now possess are not necessarily inerrant copies.  The objection is raised that if the doctrine of inerrancy extends only to the original autographs and they apparently no longer exist, then we are contending for the inerrancy of a text we have never seen.

However, just because we have not seen them does not mean that they have never existed.  Through textual analysis we can reconstruct the original text to over 99% accuracy.  The Bible we have comports with the original autographs so that we do have the Word of God insofar as it has been accurately copied.  Thus, the concern about an errant text has been greatly exaggerated.

The Scripture, though propositional, is encountered by humans existentially.  We come to know it is the Word of God through the testimonium Spiritus sancti.  Calvin applied the doctrine of the witness of the Spirit to the internal testimony of the Spirit persuading the regenerate that God is the author of Scripture.  The Wesleyan doctrine of the witness of the Spirit is directed toward personal assurance of justification and adoption.  But both applications of the doctrine are existential.

However, Mormons also claim that we can know the book of Mormon is from God through a “burning in the bosom.”  Yet we know that the book of Mormon contains anachronisms and historical inaccuracies.[19]  Therefore, our subjective experience must be affirmed through objective verification.   If existential realities have no basis in propositional truth, they cannot be valid.   There is something about the Word of God, in and of itself, that makes it the Word of God.  It does not depend upon our encounter to make it the word of God.

On the other hand, the theology of Phoebe Palmer tended to emphasize a propositional syllogism without the direct existential witness.  Christian perfection was to be claimed on the basis of a naked or bare faith without any assurance.

The new trend in contemporary Wesleyan theology is to abandon full inerrancy in favor of soteriological inerrancy. In his monthly column “Words of Faith” for Herald of Holiness, Staples wrote on “Inerrancy” in June 1998.  He rejected “epistemological inerrancy” and opted for “soteriological inerrancy.”[20]

Epistemology deals with the nature, limits, and validity of knowledge.  The most basic question in theology is, “What is the source of knowledge?”  Only after the source of knowledge and truth has been established as reliable, can we go on to discuss other matters, such as salvation.  Since the Bible is epistemologically inerrant, everything it says on any subject must be true and we can trust its message of salvation.

But Staples rejected this approach, declaring that Wesleyan theology works differently.  For Wesleyanism, Staples said the most basic theological question is, “What must I do to be saved?”  “In Wesleyan theology, salvation is truth.  Truth is determined by what salvation is, not the other way around.”  Yet we are expected to accept this paradigm on the authority of Staples.  He does not demonstrate that Wesley ever held such an epistemology.  There are many answers to the question, “What must I do to be saved?” Why would we regard the biblical answer as inerrant and reject the answers of tradition, reason, experience, and even other religions?  Thus, we place ourselves in a difficult situation when we try to subjectively determine the limits and ramifications of soteriological inerrancy.  This is a form of reductionism.

To support his position, Staples quoted John Wesley’s statement, “I want to know one thing, the way to heaven; how to land safe on that happy shore.”  Staples quoted from Wesley’s preface to his sermons.  Yet in this preface Wesley continued, “God himself has condescended to teach the way: for this very end he came from heaven.  He hath written it down in a book.  O give me that book!  At any price give me the Book of God!  I have it.  Here is knowledge enough for me.  Let me be homo unius libri [a man of one book].”

Does it matter whether this Book is inerrant?  Does revelation from an omniscient God demand inerrancy?   Staples dismissed full inerrancy by arguing that all that matters is salvation.  But one cannot argue that the “one thing” Wesley wanted to know was only salvation any more than one can argue that Wesley only read one book.

Ironically, Staples then makes this disclaimer, “This does not mean that we can separate the Bible’s teaching about salvation from its statements about other matters and claim that the latter may contain errors, while those texts that speak of salvation do not.  That would be a precarious position.  Who is to decide how to separate the two kinds of texts?  Who is to say whether a text does, or does not, relate to salvation?”

Staples has just pinpointed the weakness of his own position.  Klug explained

If scholars themselves determine what the Word or “message” is, then plainly they are responsible for establishing whatever is canonical about the canon.  Obviously this can be a very subjective exercise.  With each exegete or Bible scholar conceiving it to be his task to locate the “canon in the canon,” there can be no guarantee of that message, or the Word.[21]

The message of Scripture is set in “time and space.” Would Dr. Staples argue that the Jewish exodus from Egypt depicts salvation, but the actual historical setting is unimportant? The Mormon scriptures also depict a plan of salvation, but evangelicals reject these books because they contain anachronisms and historical inaccuracies. Shall we simply focus on the salvation message in the books of Mormonism and ignore these inaccuracies as unimportant details?

That is why early Methodism held to the concept of full or plenary inerrancy.  John Wesley wrote concerning the Holy Scriptures

This is that word of God which remaineth for ever: of which, though heaven and earth pass away, one jot or tittle shall not pass away.  The Scripture therefore of the Old and New Testament, is a most solid and precious system of Divine truth.  Every part thereof is worthy of God; and all together are one entire body, wherein is no defect, no excess.[22]

Richard Watson declared,

But their plenary inspiration consisted in this, that they were kept from all lapses of memory, or inadequate conceptions, even on these [historical] subjects; and on all others the degree of communication and influence, both as to doctrines, facts, and the terms in which they were to be recorded for the edification of the Church, was proportioned to the necessity of the case, but so that the whole was authenticated or dictated by the Holy Spirit, with so full an influence, that it became truth without mixture of error, expressed in such terms as he himself ruled or suggested.[23]

Adam Clarke concluded, “Men may err, but the Scriptures cannot; for it is the Word of God himself, who can neither mistake, deceive, nor be deceived.”[24]

As early as 1862 Samuel Wakefield anticipated the weakness of limited inerrancy.

Some who advocate the doctrine of Divine inspiration limit it to the prophetical parts of Scripture; while others extend it to the doctrinal parts also, but not to the historical. There are many who maintain that the inspiration of the sacred writers was only occasional; that they were not always under that immediate and plenary [full] influence of the Holy Spirit which renders their writings the unerring word of God; and that consequently, as they were sometimes left to themselves, they then thought and reasoned like ordinary men. According to this notion, an intermixture of human infirmity and error is by no means excluded from the Sacred Scriptures. But if it is once granted that they are in the least degree alloyed with error, an opening is made for every imaginable corruption. And to admit that the sacred writers were only occasionally inspired, would involve us in the greatest perplexity; because, not knowing when they were or were not inspired, we could not determine what parts of their writings should be regarded as the infallible word of God. To tell us, therefore, that they were inspired only on certain occasions, while we have no means of ascertaining what those occasions were, is the same as to say that they were not inspired at all.[25]

In the Fall 1998 issue of The Arminian Magazine I wrote a short article expressing my concerns with soteriological inerrancy, as articulated by Dr. Staples.[26]   I then received a four-page letter from Dr. Staples.  His main concern was that I did not understand the difference between “limited inerrancy” and “soteriological inerrancy.”[27]

According to Staples soteriological inerrancy is expressed in the sentence, “The entire Bible is inerrant for salvation.”  Limited inerrancy is expressed in the sentence, “The parts of the Bible that deal with salvation are inerrant while the other parts may contain errors.”  Staples gave me a second example of limited inerrancy, “The Bible is inerrant only in those parts that deal with salvation.”

Staples wrote, “I have never yet met a Fundamentalist who did not try to tar the “soteriological inerrantists” with the “limited inerrantist” brush, even when the difference is as obvious as the nose on my face.”[28]  Perhaps that is because both terms amount to the same thing.

As I compare the two positions, the difference I see is that the first statement expresses only the positive proposition.  It does not deal with the negative implications.  But if the entire Bible is inerrant only for salvation, then it seems that soteriological inerrancy is also limited inerrancy.  I can only conclude that Staples does not accept full inerrancy when he says in his article on inerrancy that divisiveness occurs whenever the issue of inerrancy “has reared it’s ugly head.”

It seems that the difference between soteriological inerrancy and limited inerrancy is that in the first case you merely state the positive proposition and hope that no one asks about the negative implications.  If they do ask, you then claim you are being misunderstood.  In spite of semantic gymnastics, there seems to be no practical difference between soteriological and limited inerrancy.

This reminds me of the Calvinists who uphold limited election, but cry “foul” if you try to pin “double predestination” on them.  They want to affirm the position that God elects some to salvation, but they reject the logical corollary that the non-elect are thus predestined to damnation.

In his letter Staples declared, “I have never claimed that there were errors (either minor or major) in the Scriptures.  I have no proof that such exists.”  But Staples continued to say that if there were that I would either have to throw away my faith in Scripture and hence in salvation or explain away the discrepancies.  Staples continued, “We true Wesleyans do not have to worry about the former, nor waste time and effort on the latter.”  Staples gave this illustration.

When I lived in the San Francisco area, years ago, I often crossed the Golden Gate Bridge.  I never questioned the structure of the bridge.  I never wondered if there were some rusty bolts or weak cables in the structure, or if the sea water might have weakened the piers underneath.  Now there may have been some weaknesses, but I had no proof of such, although I did see them painting the structure from time to time, to prevent rust.  But even if such weaknesses existed, the purpose of the bridge, and my purpose in crossing it, were to get me to the other side.   I trusted the engineers and the inspectors to keep it safe for cars to cross.  If I had known there was a rusty bolt on the bridge, or one hairline crack in one of the girders, and had been a “fundamentalist motorist” (to coin a term) I would have had to refuse to cross the bridge, considering it unreliable.  If a few minor defects had shown up (and I never knew about it if they did) it would not have affected my determination to get to the other side, and it did not cause me to refuse to use the bridge for the crossing.  Thus the bridge was perfect, infallible, (“inerrant”), for the purpose for which it was built.  And that applies to the whole bridge, not just to the “transportational” (read “salvational”) parts of it.  The bridge, the whole bridge, not just parts of it, not just the pavement on which my tires rolled, was absolutely inerrant for getting me to the other side.[29]

In 2006 Dr. Staples sent me an email stating that he had been asked to collect his papers for the Nazarene Archives.  In the process he came across his 1998 letter to me.  After showing that letter to a number of people, their conclusion was that his letter contained the best exposition of the Wesleyan view of Scripture they had ever seen because it “clearly shows how we differ from both Liberals and Fundamentalists.”

Staples closed, “I have you to thank for eliciting that letter out of me, so I am writing to do so now, belatedly as it may be.”[30]  And yet I am not as impressed with his exposition.   To cross a bridge without the knowledge that it contains structural damage is presumption.  Would Staples cross the same bridge if he knew it was in a weakened condition?  Bridges can collapse.

On August 1, 2007 the I-35W Mississippi River bridge (officially known as Bridge 9340) was an eight-lane, steel truss arch bridge that carried Interstate 35W across the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. During the evening rush hour  it suddenly collapsed, killing 13 people and injuring 145. The bridge was Minnesota’s fifth busiest, carrying 140,000 vehicles daily. The National Transportation Safety Board cited a design flaw as the likely cause of the collapse.

Staples’ analogy of an inanimate, decaying bridge is inadequate.  Scripture was not only God-breathed, but the God-breathing is ongoing as God continues to speak through his written Word.  Is modern Wesleyanism afraid that science will discredit the Scriptures?   If the Bible is described in terms of a bridge, then the good news is that it is solid and in no danger of collapse.

Yet the ultimate issue for evangelical Wesleyans is not inerrancy.  It is authority.  Authority is the logical conclusion of divine inspiration.  The purpose of inspiration was to convey truth. Therefore, inspiration demands inerrancy.   But if the work of the Holy Spirit was to transmit revelation to the human authors and to superintend their writings, then a Bible with historical and scientific errors reflects on the ability of the Holy Spirit.

It also implies that only the intellectual elite are equipped to determine what parts of Scripture are correct.  Thus, authority is an inescapable concept.  The only question up for debate regards who or what will be our final authority.

According to William Abraham,

For Wesley, Scripture was the Word of God, dictated by God, authored by God even as it was written by human authors.  To speak of Scripture was to speak of God; more accurately, it was to speak aptly and rightly of God, for Scripture gives us access to God.  More abruptly, to refer to Scripture was to refer to the foundations of theology, the touchstone of theology; to invoke Scripture was to speak from and for God; it was to exercise the vocation of the theologian.[31]

While Abraham proceeds to reject this epistemological construal of Scripture as a dead-end, the question is how much of Wesleyan theology can be rejected while still being considered “Wesleyan.”  This is a more relevant question than whether one can be Wesleyan and affirm full biblical inerrancy.  In light of the multiplied statements of early Wesleyan theologians regarding the nature of inspiration, how is it that those of us who echo the sentiments of those early theologians are somehow accused of not being Wesleyan?

[1]Geiger, “The Biblical Basis for the Doctrine of Holiness,” Wesleyan Theological Journal 1:1 (Spring 1966) 43.

[2]Daryl McCarthy, “Early Wesleyan Views of Scripture,” Wesleyan Theological Journal 16:2 (Fall 1981) 95-105.

[3]Grider, “Wesleyanism and the Inerrancy Issue,” Wesleyan Theological Journal 19:2 (Fall 1984) 60.

[4]Green, “Is There a Contemporary Wesleyan Hermeneutic?”  in Reading the Bible in Wesleyan Ways, Barry L. Callen and Richard P. Thompson, eds.  (Kansas City: Beacon Hill, 2004), 125.

[5]Leclerc, Discovering Christian Holiness (Kansas City: Beacon Hill, 2010), 37.

[6]Gunter, “Beyond the Bible Wars: Why Inerrancy is not the Issue for Evangelical Wesleyans,” Wesleyan Theological Journal46:2 (Fall 2011) 56-69.

[7]Van Til, The Defense of the Faith (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1967), 279.

[8]Wesley, “On the Trinity,” Sermon #55, §2.

[9]Wesley, “The Lord Our Righteousness,” Sermon #20, § 5.

[10]Wesley, “The New Birth,” Sermon #45, 1-2.

[11]Wesley, “Upon our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount, Discourse the Third,” Sermon #23, IV.  See also Wesley, “On God’s Vineyard,” Sermon #107, 5.5.

[12]Chapman, “What is Fundamentalism?” Herald of Holiness (6 Oct 1916).

[13]Kenneth Kinghorn, The Story of Asbury Theological Seminary (Lexington, KY: Emeth, 2010).

[14]Leclerc, Discovering Christian Holiness, 301.  As early as 1988 Donald Dayton refused to be called an evangelical [Dayton, “The Holiness Witness in the Ecumenical Church,” Wesleyan Theological Journal 23:1-2 (Spring-Fall 1988) 98].

[15]Francis Brown, S. R. Driver, and Charles A. Briggs, Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament (Oxford: Claredon, 1907), 1071.

[16]Benson, The Holy Bible, with Notes, All the Marginal Readings, Summaries, and the Date of Every Transaction. 1811-1818.  Rpt. (New York: Carlton & Phillips, 1856), 2:708.

[17]Eta Linnemann, Historical Criticism of the Bible: Methodology or Ideology? Reflections of a Bultmannian Turned Evangelical,translated by Robert Yarbrough (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1990), 147-148.

[18]Clarke, The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments: The Text Carefully Printed from the Most Correct Copies of the Present Authorized Translations, Including the Marginal reading and Parallel Texts; with a Commentary and Critical Notes, Designed as a help to a Better Understanding of the Sacred Writings.  1811-1825.  Rpt. (Nashville: Abingdon, n. d.), 5:70.

Ralph Earle observed, “Jesus used very strong language here to assert the authority of God’s Word” [Word Meanings in the New Testament (Kansas City: Beacon Hill, 1980), 1:20].

[19]Gleason L. Archer, Jr, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction (Chicago: Moody, 1974), 501-504.

[20]Rob L. Staples, “Inerrancy,” Herald of Holiness (June 1998): 5.  This became part of Staples, Words of Faith (Kansas City: Beacon Hill, 2001), 21-22.

[21]Eugene F. Klug, “Foreword,” in Gerhard Maier, The End of the Historical-Critical Method (1977; rpt. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2001), 9.

[22]Preface to Explanatory Notes upon the New Testament (1754; rpt. Salem, OH: Schmul, 1976), ¶ 10, p. 5.

[23]Richard Watson, Conversations for the Young: Designed to Promote the Profitable Reading of the Holy Scriptures (London: John Mason, 1830), 14-15.  See also Watson, Theological Institutes (1823-1829; rpt. New York: Hunt & Eaton, 1889), 1:248.

[24]The Miscellaneous Works of Adam Clarke, James Everett, ed. (London: T. Tegg, 1836-1837), 12:132, see also Clarke, Commentary, 5:11.

[25]A Complete System of Christian Theology (1862; rpt. Salem, OH: Schmul, 1985), 77-78.

[26]Vic Reasoner, “Defending Biblical Inerrancy,” The Arminian Magazine 16:2 (Fall 1998): 6-8.

[27]At one point in the letter Staples accused me of libel in misrepresentation of his position.  Because that is a serious allegation, I submitted myself to the judgment of my peers.  After reading both sides their conclusion was that the dog which yelps is the one that got hit.

[28]Rob L. Staples, Letter to Vic Reasoner, 26 October 1998.

[29]Rob L. Staples, Letter to Vic Reasoner, 26 October 1998.

[30]Rob L. Staples, “On Scripture,” email 8/15/2006

[31]Abraham, “The Future of Scripture: In Search of a Theology of Scripture,” Wesleyan Theological Journal 46:1 (Spring 2011) 11.