Sent: Tuesday, February 21, 2006 10:33 PM

Roger Olsen was hired by Truett Baptist Theological Seminary, located on the Baylor University campus at Waco, Texas, a few years ago to teach theology.

In a recent issue of the eroding Baptist General Convention of Texas' magazine, Baptist Standard, Professor Olsen contributed an article in the 'Opinion' column, entitled, "Why 'inerrancy' doesn't matter." [Baptist Standard, February 6, 2006]. See this link:


Professor Olsen expresses the usual condemnatory view on "inerrancy" as disseminated by the current leadership of the Baptist General Convention of Texas denominational machine in their opposition to the historical view of Baptists on Holy Spirit-inspired Scripture.

The word "inerrancy" is a taboo word in BGCT leadership circles when referring to Holy Spirit-inspired Scripture. It has become the "shibboleth" by means of which the BGCT leadership can decipher friends and foes. If you confess that the Holy Spirit inspired the original writings by prophets and apostles which comprise Scripture, then you are the "enemy," branded with the "F" word, and you are akin in your disposition to a Muslim fundamentalist -- maybe even worse.

If you dare use "inerrant" in application to the writings of those who wrote Scripture under the Divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit, you are branded by the BGCT leaders as a "fundamentalist," and usually with one or more deprecating invectives accompanying -- such as "extremist, fanatical . . . narrow, self-righteous, smug, judgmental, rigid, angry, combative, negative, critical, sanctimonious, and hypocritical" -- according to Paul Powell, current president of Truett, and Russell Dilday who is quoted by Powell in a booklet entitled, "This we believe," which was  recently mailed to churches throughout Texas.

Both Powell and Dilday are longtime chums of BGCT power-broker, Houston multi-millionaire John Baugh. It has often been widely publicized that Baugh donated millions of dollars to help establish and build the Truett Seminary in the effort to counteract "fundamentalism" in Baptist theological education in Texas.

For years, Baugh and his close associate, Herbert Reynolds, have been devoted to "protecting" the BGCT from "fundamentalism." In the recent past, when the Baylor Board of Regents failed to remove Baylor president Robert Sloan  -- who evidently was too conservative for Baugh -- Baugh strongly intimated that he wanted the multi-millions of dollars returned which he had donated to Baylor. It wasn't long afterwards that Sloan presented his resignation.

According to the Baptist Standard of July 23, 2004:
"In spite of boasts by his opponents that they had the votes to unseat him, Baylor University regents took no vote on embattled President Robert Sloan, other than affirming the long-range plan that has become the centerpiece of his presidency. . .

Regents responded last September by affirming Sloan by a 31-4 vote. But at the board’s May meeting, he came within one vote of losing his job. During a closed-door session, a motion to ask for Sloan’s resignation failed by an 18-17 secret ballot.

At that same meeting, John Baugh, a major Baylor benefactor from Houston, warned he would ask the university to repay loans and return financial gifts he made if the board failed to rescue Baylor from “the paralyzing quagmire in which it currently is ensnared.”

Sloan announced in early 2005 that he would resign as president of Baylor.

If Truett's hiring of Olsen and Olsen's article about "inerrancy" are indicative of the direction of the Truett Seminary and the BGCT, it is evident that these Baptists are still on the same downgrade which has cost the BGCT the loss of a great numbers of pastors and churches which formed the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention which was formed by inerrantists a few years ago.

The BGCT is now apparently attempting to recover its numerical and financial status by making a special inclusive effort toward the black Baptists and Latino Baptists. This effort may prove to be a costly move, however, since most black Baptists and Latino Baptists with whom I am acquainted believe in the inerrancy of Holy Spirit-inspired Scripture.

BGCT leadership continues to wage verbal warfare against the historical Baptist belief that the prophets and apostles were so inspired by the Holy Spirit in what they wrote that they did not make any errors. And as long as men such as Olsen teach at Truett, the BGCT need have no fears about anyone's being infected with "inerrantism" at the Seminary.

Olsen accuses the apostle Paul of an "error" in First Corinthians 10:8 where Paul says 23,000 fell in one day. Olsen believes this is an an error since Moses referred to 24,000 dying in the plague of Numbers 25:1-9. In addition, Olsen takes some potshots at those who have advocated the inerrancy of Holy Spirit-inspired Scripture -- such as Princeton theologians Archibald Alexander, Charles Hodge, A. A. Hodge, B. B. Warfield and J. Gresham Machen. He also is critical of Harold Lindsell's book, The Battle for the Bible, in which Lindsell contends for the inerrancy view which Olsen rejects.

This incongruency of 23,000 by Paul and 24,000 by Moses is an error, all right -- but it was not Paul's. It is Olsen's.

As Gleason Archer Jr. shows in his book, Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulities (pages 141, 401), Paul is not referring to the same plague as Moses referred to, but Paul refers to the deaths which resulted from the idolatrous incident of the golden calf in Exodus 32.

One might assume that Olsen should know this, considering his reported extensive theological education [].

But if Vice President Cheney is capable of mistaking a lawyer for a quail, I suppose Olsen is capable of also firing at the wrong target in regard to biblical interpretation.

Despite the fact Olsen does not believe in the inerrancy of Holy Spirit-inspired Scripture, he nevertheless says he does believe the Bible is "authoritative, supernaturally inspired, and infallible," notwithstanding the fact that the orginal writers lacked inerrancy in what they wrote.

This might make one wonder which time the Bible is authoritative, supernaturally inspired, and infallible -- (1) Paul's 23,000 or (2) Moses' 24,000?

Since Olsen alleges it was Paul who made the "error," I assume only Moses' 24,000 could be the authoritative, supernaturally inspired, infallible number. Unless, of course, Olsen has some way to explain how an "error" can also be authorittive, supernaturally inspired and infallible.

-- Bob L. Ross

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