This thread will start from a recent discussion on CARM (generally they do not last more than a year or two, so they have a type of priority in having studies mirrored) starting with believing:

"Every single word from Genesis to Revelation." - SA

The Only Available words of God we have today - December, 2014

Quote Originally Posted by Peanut Gallery
Actually, if they set aside the bibles which contained a word, phrase, or a sentence which they thought God probably not meant to have said, they would all be left with absolutely no Bible which they could hold in their hands and claim it contained every inspired word of God.
Quote Originally Posted by Steven Avery
This is why the claim changed to having God inspiring only the original autographs, ages ago. With no tangible, readable text today living up to that inspiration, despite 2 Timothy 3:16. This shift in position came along at the same time as the Westcott-Hort text, one reason being that the Critical Text has so many hard errors and the supposed reliable manuscripts behind the CT have even more blunders.
Quote Originally Posted by Steven Avery
And I have in other writings reviewed how the textual apostasy of the late 1800s was accompanied by the well-known Benjamin Warfield (1851-1921) change of the "inerrancy" doctrine in the same period. ... Warfield specifically changed the doctrine to not refer to any specific text, in any language (a position you know as it matches your references to "preserved scripture".) It is what can be called "ethereal inerrancy". Warfield was so tricky that he even insisted that the critic of inerrancy would have to produce and prove the specific autographic text that he thought was errant! Warfield would not produce the text that he was supposedly defending.

In a sense, Warfield was the forefather of the modern writing of the author Rick Norris, as pointed out in the thread:

does The Unbound Scriptures by Rick Norris identify the preserved word of God?

Thus ethereal inerrancy is a sister doctrine to ethereal preservation.
We even had a reference to how the Reformers saw the Vulgate as corrupt:

Quote Originally Posted by Steven Avery
And this (Fulke and Whitaker) was before the excellence of English Bibles had been established and accepted. The context was the specific pure Bible text compared to another specific text.

Here is the context.
Quote Originally Posted by Steven Avery

A Disputation on Holy Scripture (1588)
William Whitaker

The Latin Vulgate is most certainly and most plainly corrupt. And the corruptions I speak of are not casual, or slight, or common errors ...

Warfield later mangled inerrancy to be ethereal inerrancy.
Similar to the Rick Norris ethereal preservation.

Note that the learned men supporting the Reformation Bible called the Vulgate a corrupt text. Yet Rick Norris claims that this is a fallacy! ie. When we point out the corruptness of the far more corrupt Alexandrian text.

Consistency, the jewel.
All this led to various challenges and harumphs and diversions by Rick Norris, you can see some on the thread.
And thus I decided to document the basics, this is a start:


Benjamin Warfield, Ethereal Inerrancy and Impossible Stipulations

Benjamin Warfield was simply a logical trickster, and he was nabbed by writers on both sides.
Warfield, with Hodge, thereby shifted the arena of discussion away from what the actual Bible said and was. They based their entire apologetic case on the inability of anyone to bring forth evidence from the nonexistent autographs. With such an unassailable, though artificial, position Warfield felt secure, Individual facts that arose from critical study could never topple the Princeton theory of inerrancy.
The Authority and Interpretation of the Bible: An Historical Approach
p. 347, 1979, Jack B. Rogers, Donald K. McKim
Rogers and McKim rip the Warfield position to shreds on p. 350:

The Authority and Interpretation of the Bible: An Historical Approach
Ch. 6 - The Defense of Reformed Scholasticism in America
Princeton Scholasticism's Resistance to Biblical Criticism:
B. B. Warfield versus C. A. Briggs
written by Jack B. Rogers, Donald K. McKim

Warfield, in his part of the article, narrowed the burden of proof to one demonstrated error. He insisted:
"A proved error in Scripture contradicts not only our doctrine, but the Scripture claims and. therefore, its inspiration in making those claims."
He removed any practical possibility of testing his claim, however, by setting up conditions that were impossible to fulfill. He qualified his claim, saying:
"We do not assert that the common text, but only that the original autographic text was inspired. No 'error' can be asserted, therefore, which cannot be proved to have been aboriginal in the text."
Although in debate the burden of proof is always with the affirmative proposal, Warfield, as part of his apologetic, asserted that all the burden rested with critics of his position. The question the critics were opening for inductive examination was what doctrine of Scripture would actually best accord with the character of the biblical data. But the Princeton theologians begged the question and assumed as proven what their opponents were challenging. Hodge and Warfield reiterated the historically false claim that their position was both primitive and perpetual in the church. Thus by their definition, inspiration had to mean scientific and historical inerrancy, and the only way for this to be disproved was for someone to prove that an error existed in the original (lost) autographa or original text of Scripture.


For those opposed to tangible inerrancy (e.g. Charles Briggs, Ernest Sandeen, Rogers and McKim) the absurd Warfield position is a duckshoot.

And the ethereal preservation of Rick Norris is akin to the ethereal inerrancy of Warfield.

For the original 1881 Warfield absurdity, with the quote above:

The Presbyterian Review, Volume 2
(April 1881)
Archibald Alexander Hodge
Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield

The part of this that is the ultimate in non-scholarship chutzpah is:
"proved to have been aboriginal"
Where the "proof" has to be supplied by the skeptic or non-believer! Thus if no text at all is proven (the Rick Norris position on preservation) the non-text becomes inerrant ... simply by the fact that no text is declared as true and defended! Reductio ad absurdum is easy when such an absurd position is taken.


I'll try to build on this in the days ahead. Including more about Warfield and the resulting Chicago Inerrancy, and looking at some of the writings of Theodore Letis.

And I plan to extract from one interesting thread a few years back:

ethereal inerrancy - no verse is sure - Matthew 27:9 - Jeremy
FFF - Feb, 2010

Facebook discussion of this topic at:

Benjamin Warfield and ethereal Inerrancy

Steven Avery