For full reports and exact statements of the denomination's position on a particular issue, the reader should look to the references provided.

Position

Scripture, the saving revelation of God in Jesus Christ, addresses us with full divine authority in its total extent and in all its parts, and therefore the CRC speaks of the Bible as the inspired and infallible Word of God. The authority of Scripture is inseparable from the historical reality of the events recorded in it. Interpreted historical events are presented in Scripture not simply as isolated events but for their revelational meaning. Scripture is self-authenticating; it is not dependent on the findings of science, but these findings may lead to a better understanding of Scripture and must be developed within a Christian community faithful to the authority of Scripture.

Biblical studies must be done carefully, with emphasis on what Scripture itself says and without the use of interpretive methods that exclude or question the event character or revelational intent of biblical history and thereby compromise the full authority of the Word of God. Freedom of interpretation within the bounds of Scripture and of the creeds is to be respected. The authority of Scripture is to be believed and confessed as an article of faith and is to be consistently applied and practiced in the life and ministry of the church.

History

The issue of biblical authority was raised because of theological unrest in the Netherlands in 1969 and the influence of that unrest on the CRC. The initial overtures on this subject, to Synod 1969, were concerned about CRC seminarians going to study at the Free University of Amsterdam, where professors were teaching new methods of interpreting Scripture, especially the first chapters of Genesis. Synod 1968 denied the overtures to look into the matter because they concerned teachings of men from another denomination. However, the following year, synod agreed that the issue was also affecting the CRC and therefore commissioned a study committee. In 1971 the report of that study committee was referred to the churches and to the Reformed Ecumenical Synod. In 1972 seven recommendations from the report were adopted, and the report was published for further study under the title "The Nature and Extent of Biblical Authority." Objections to the report in subsequent years were not sustained by synod.

References to Agendas and Acts of Synod

Acts of Synod 1968, pp. 93-95, 574-77, 584, 588
Acts of Synod 1969, pp. 101, 501-4
Acts of Synod 1970, pp. 53, 240
Acts of Synod 1971, pp. 102-3, 106, 128, 459-95, 664-65
Acts of Synod 1972, pp. 66-69, 493-546, 627-28, 641, 644-47
Acts of Synod 1973, pp. 33-34, 46, 717, 731-33
Acts of Synod 1974, pp. 105, 644-45
Acts of Synod 1977, pp. 98-101, 682-84, 699