I just want to make it clear to all of my readers that in asking questions such as, “Why does one have to believe in the trinity to be a Christian?” or “Where in the Bible does it claim inerrancy?”, I am not denying the trinity or the inerrancy of the Bible. Quite the contrary, I do believe in the trinity and I do affirm that the Bible is without error insofar as it is inspired by God. In fact, I believe that to properly understand who Jesus is, one must believe in the trinity in some form or another. We must even view God in a trinitarian manner to properly understand humanity (I will comment on this at a later date).
When it comes to inerrancy, while I affirm it in a sense, I do not necessarily agree with the commonly held belief of it. I do not think that it is literally inerrant. If this were so, why would 1 Samuel 13:1 say,
Saul was…years old when he began to reign, and he reigned…and two years over Israel.
And of the versions of the Bible that fill in the blanks, there are as many different “solutions” as there are translations.
In light of this, I believe the Bible to be without error in its message, but not necessarily so in its literal accuracy. This doesn’t make the Bible any less inspired by God, just inspired in a different way (I will comment more on this at a later date as well).
I know that some of what I say can be taken and twisted to sound as if I am saying something other than what I am saying. And, at times, I have lost readers over some of my comments. But I have found through experience that, when someone views faith as a launchpad rather than a destination, this is often the case. I also know that some of my comments have offended some of my readers in the past and in the present. Strangely enough, the only people to be offended, it seems, are defenders of the religious status quo. I do not say this with judgment or condemnation. It is just a statement of the facts. I don’t want to offend people. I want people to read what I say, and I want people to actually converse with me over these issues.
More on asking questions
How is it being a witness for the Gospel if, whenever someone has an honest question, one turns their back on the questioner? How is it showing maturity in the faith if you offer no answers and instead pass judgment or push the questioner away? If you truly know what you believe and why and can make a defense of it, what need do you have to be scared of questions? If you know what is true, then it should be easy to answer questions about it.
I reiterate a point I made last time, and that is that you don’t grow in your faith by constantly repeating to yourself those things that you already know. And yet, so many times, this seems to be what we do. And we may have been Christians for 30 years and yet still be immature because we have not allowed our faith and grow and mature. It makes me think of the indictment on the condition of the people of the Hebrew church:
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. (Hebrews 5:12-13 ESV)
When we are unwilling to receive questions from our brothers and sisters, this shows a lack of maturity on our part in matters of the faith. According to Peter, we are a “royal priesthood,” but if we are unwilling to hear the needs of our fellow Christians, how can we take those before God on their behalf? Or how can we give them answers or directions on how to get to the answers?
We must be willing to listen to the questions of our fellow Christians and we must also be willing to admit our own questions and our own problems that we have about our faith. All of us have them. Just because we have Jesus doesn’t mean that we are any better than the men and women who came before us. Mother Theresa, Martin Luther, Augustine, David, Job, Mary the Mother of Jesus all had struggles with their faith and questions that they desperately desired answers to. What if God had tuned them out like we so often do to those who have questions now?