….From where I stand, slavish, ritualistic belief in a set of rigid propositions strikes me as much more a “religion” than a “relationship” (to evoke a phrase I have always despised).
Commenting on some remarks from a well-spoken non-inerrantist that sound very much in line with some of my beliefs on Scripture, Kidder says:
This is the start of the “slippery slope” argument that is soundly resisted by most purveyors of the YEC model—Genesis must be read literally or else there is no barometer for how we should read scripture at all.
If I had a dime for every time I’ve encountered this objection, I’d be one wealthy son of a gun. But in the end, it’s simply a fear-based, not a faith-based (much less an evidence-based) approach to the issue….
I believe that a part of the the belief which drives people headlong, without question, into biblical inerrancy, and further, into literalism and fundamentalism, is quite simply fear (not all of them, mind you – I don’t want to generalize). I say this, because of the people who are so deeply into inerrancy, find a problem, and then lose all faith in a short time. If it is fear, then fear will hold and grasp the mind so long before it dissipates.
What if the bible contains an error? Well, of course it doesn’t, right? To many, this requires that one translation be held as the only inspired word of God. To others, everything in the bible must be literal. Why? Because, they have their faith founded on the pages of the bible – not found in the pages of the Scripture. The bible is not inerrant – the Scriptures are because the Scriptures contain the Message.
I am an inerrantist – although this comes more by logic and assumption than Scriptural proof and is really not found until lately. By logic, and starting with faith. First, I point to Paul’s assertion,
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 2 Timothy 3:16 NASB
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 2 Timothy 3:16
We know that this means that all Scripture is breathed out by God – along the same lines as Adam’s soul, among other things. By faith, I assent first that there is a God, that it is the God of the Bible, and that Paul was a man of God. By logic, if the Scripture came from God, it is Inerrant as it is very much as extensionof Him. By history, we know that while in the same way, Creation came from God, the bible can be corrupted. Thus, the lower criticism which we label textual. Further, by logic, I know that I cannot possibly know the deep things of God and thus, while things were given by God to the prophets, I may not sitting in the 21st century know everything as they wrote it. So, by faith, I realize that there are somethings written which may not be ‘true’ by my understanding. Prophecy. Genesis 1. Simply because I don’t understand it, or empirical evidence says something else, doesn’t make the Scriptures untrue, just my understanding faulty. Further, it is the the Message of the Scriptures which is the most important.
Further, I don’t accept the Scriptures as a document which is flat – however, it is united – but one which details the progressive revelation between God and Humanity in ways which we don’t understand, yet. I believe that cultural contexts plays into it greatly – not ours, but theirs. Further, I do not believe that the Scriptures were written to explain every small detail in the known universe. I do believe, however, that the Scriptures were handed to us as a theological document. It is not a science book; it is a book of theology.
I do believe, however, that we can place the bible in such a way as to take away from the Living Christ. We look for the Spirit, not the letter. The Spirit of Christianity is not bondage and enslavement, but liberty and freedom. If we would measure our doctrine and practice by that of the complete bible, we might find ourselves a little unChristian in certain areas. If we would measure our doctrine by Christ, what then would we find? For me, I want a relationship with Christ – one which binds, a religion if you will – not one with a book. Without Christ, the book is a flawless paper idol.
Anyway, that’s my continuing position and brief thoughts. I am an inerrantist or maybe I just believe that all Scripture is inspired and because of that, regardless of any ‘error’ I find, I consider the Ultimate Source. Beyond that, let the discussion ensue. I have no problem trying to dig deeper into this, so please, engage.