"Bovell raises some important objections to inerrancy with the rather modest aim of challenging the way it is often equated with orthodoxy which, in turn, places an intolerable psychological burden upon doubting younger evangelicals. It is a thoroughly reasonable objective..."
-- Evangelical Quarterly
"Carlos Bovell has written a thoughtful book on the challenges, both intellectual and spiritual, faced by a new generation of evangelicals as they engage the question of inerrancy. While one possibility would be to simply abandon this doctrine, another course of action is preferable: to subject this important idea to critical scrutiny with the intention of reconstructing it for the contemporary setting. I believe that this is an imperative task and that Bovell's work deserves careful attention from those of us who continue to affirm this doctrine. We ignore these questions at our peril."
--John R. Franke, Professor of Theology, Biblical Seminary
"Here are the 'recognitions' of a young evangelical scholar whose spiritual formation was stifled, not to say arrested, because he had been led to believe that the only acceptably orthodox way was a belief in biblical inerrancy. The author argues that the dogma of inerrancy left him woefully unprepared for engagement with modernist and postmodern biblical scholarship and plunged him into a fundamental spiritual crisis. This book should be a welcome read for anyone who, like the author, can no longer make sense of the evangelical inerrancy credo."
--James H. Olthuis, Emeritus Professor of Philosophical Theology, Institute for Christian Studies, Toronto
"Bovell knows the evangelical world inside out, and speaks on behalf of younger evangelicals‚ who cannot, or do not wish to, reconcile themselves to the doctrine of inerrancy. He calls biblical teachers to account, and campaigns for candour in facing up to the unsoundness of the doctrine. His argument is both scholarly and personally engaging, and should be read by students and tutors alike, especially those involved in ministerial training."
--Rev. Dr. Harriet A. Harris, University of Oxford, author of Fundamentalism and Evangelicals
"Carlos Bovell has exposed one of the guilty secrets of the Evangelical Tradition, that is, its ironic ability to provoke theological and spiritual rebellion in its own ranks. Those who want to arrest this tragic development should begin by reading this book and facing squarely the challenge it presents."
--William J. Abraham, Albert Cook Outler Professor of Wesley Studies, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University
As the title indicates, Bovell is concerned for the spiritual formation of the next generation of evangelical Christians. His concern comes from the fact that evangelical leaders, institutions, and scholarly organizations like the Evangelical Theological Society and the Evangelical Philosophical Society continue to push the doctrine of inerrancy as an absolutely necessary component of orthodoxy. The commitment to inerrancy, says Bovell, handicaps the capacity of young evangelicals to fully engage critical questions regarding Scripture by placing them in an unnecessary and awkward "all-or-none" position: either inerrancy is true or Christianity is false. He recommends that the "dogmas of inerrancy should only be promulgated if those bits and pieces of historical and biblical data that do not necessarily cohere with the inerrancy dogma are considered with integrity and not explained away." Written for Evangelical teachers and leaders, Bovell's book considers a very important topic. There are an increasing number of evangelicals who, for a variety of reasons, are raising similar points. The fundamental question in this debate-a matter Bovell mentions, but does not discuss in sufficient depth-concerns the role of control beliefs. If one starts with the findings of critical biblical scholarship, then one is given a reason to move away from a strict formulation of inerrancy. But if one accepts the inerrancy of Scripture, then one has a reason to distrust the "received findings" of critical scholarship. Nonetheless, this is a very interesting volume. It is collegelevel appropriate and is must-read for students at Evangelical seminaries.
-James Beilby, Bethel University
(As reviewed in Volume 35 Issue 1, Pages 35 of the Religious Studies Review)