Following my series on the Introduction to the T4G statement (see 42: A4G: Summary of Introduction) I am now starting on the individual articles. So here are my thoughts on Article I of the T4G statement.
T4G Article I
We affirm that the sole authority for the Church is the Bible, verbally inspired, inerrant, infallible, and totally sufficient and trustworthy.
We deny that the Bible is a mere witness to the divine revelation, or that any portion of Scripture is marked by error or the effects of human sinfulness.
I want to start by comparing this to other statements on the authority of the Bible.
The divine inspiration and supreme authority of the Old and New Testament Scriptures, which are the written Word of God—fully trustworthy for faith and conduct.
Roman Catholic Church
134 "All Sacred Scripture is but one book, and that one book is Christ, because all divine Scripture speaks of Christ, and all divine Scripture is fulfilled in Christ" (Hugh of St. Victor, De arca Noe 2, 8: PL 176, 642).
135 "The Sacred Scriptures contain the Word of God and, because they are inspired, they are truly the Word of God" (DV 24).
136 God is the author of Sacred Scripture because he inspired its human authors; he acts in them and by means of them. He thus gives assurance that their writings teach without error his saving truth (cf DV 11).
137 Interpretation of the inspired Scripture must be attentive above all to what God wants to reveal through the sacred authors for our salvation. What comes from the Spirit is not fully "understood except by the Spirit's action' (cf. Origen, Hom. in Ex. 4, 5: PG 12, 320).
From part of the Catechism.
As we look at the spectrums of both Christianity and Evangelicalism over history it appears to me that the T4G statement is an attempt by fundamentalist groups to redefine the authority of scripture to exclude other views. In the first paragraph the phrase "verbally inspired, inerrant, infallible" is problematical, especially given that the newly updated Evangelical Alliance statement of faith does not include any of these.
Claims that a belief in inerrancy are a problem. I linked to discussions on this before (see 42: Series on Inerrancy). I have no problem if some Christians wish to believe this. However, I have a huge problem with saying that this is a required belief.
The first half of the second paragraph "We deny that the Bible is a mere witness to the divine revelation" is fine, no problem with that.
But the second part "or that any portion of Scripture is marked by error or the effects of human sinfulness." seems to be repeating the inerrant view. But what Bible is it talking about? Without any original orthographs this can never be proved so it seems odd to state it as a requirement. The statement by the Evangelical Alliance is far better here "fully trustworthy for faith and conduct".
So for the Altogether for the Gospel version of this statement I am personally happy to accept the statement from the Evangelical Alliance, rather than inventing my own. So my Article I becomes
We affirm the divine inspiration and supreme authority of the Old and New Testament Scriptures, which are the written Word of God—fully trustworthy for faith and conduct.
I would particularly welcome feedback from a variety of traditions including Roman Catholic and Orthodox on the acceptability of this statement.