A friend of mine is struggling with the issue of inerrancy. No, it’s not me. I am very sure of where I stand on the matter and what I think of it. He has come to some conclusions as well, but he is having a hard time with those in light of how people are interpreting his beliefs on the issue. To quote my friend:
So I’ve found myself in a bind by stating that I don’t believe in the inerrancy scripture… people seem to misunderstand what that means…for some reason it’s viewed as an attack on the authority of scripture…
So, in an attempt to address some of the questions posed by my friend, I am writing this series. The specific questions I will be addressing are:
- Why is it important to believe the Bible is inerrant?
- What impact does this perspective bring (positive and negative)?
- What does it mean when someone claims that the Bible is inerrant?
- Can the Bible have authority without being inerrant?
- What is my personal belief regarding the doctrine of inerrancy?
This is by no means all of the questions that I will be asking, but this covers the basic premise for this series of posts.
I know that my writing this is probably going to do nothing more than get a fellow blogger riled up. That is not my intention. In fact, were it not for the fact that a friend of mine specifically requested that I write about this, I would never have assumed the task of doing so.
Let me preface this whole series by making a few statements in my defense.
- I do not deny the inerrancy of the Bible.
- I do not deny the authority of the Bible.
- I do not deny the inspiration of the Bible.
- Anyone who thinks that I do is wrong, and if they make any claim that I deny it they either do not actually listen to what I say or just plain don’t care about what I am actually saying and are doing nothing more than sowing division.
On that last note, I want to make a comment that may be off topic, but I do not really think that it is.
In recent days, there has been what seem to be some nasty things said about myself and a lot of other Christians by the fellow blogger linked to above. I believe this attitude to be a sad representation of the Jesus who this man claims to believe in. Calling other Christians “demon-possessed” is bordering on the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. And remember what Jesus said?
And so I tell you, people will be forgiven every sin and blasphemy. But blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. (Matthew 12:31-32 TNIV)
I would be very careful in calling something that other true believers in the Jesus of the Bible are doing something from the Devil.
I would also be careful spreading lies about what fellow Christians believe. Proverbs has a few things listed that God hates. Here is that list:
There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up dissension in the community. (Proverbs 16:16-19 TNIV Emphasis mine)
Remember, Jesus equaled simple name-calling to murder, and God has commanded against that. He is detested especially by those who “shed innocent blood.” That is, those who kill people who have really done nothing wrong. He is detested by those who bear false witness against others within the community.
How does this tie in to the inerrancy of Scripture? If the Bible is completely perfect with no errors within, and therefore has ultimate authority, than we have no right to cherry-pick a few verses and ideas here and there and live our lives only by those. The doctrine of separation from others must be tempered by the doctrine of Christian unity for we are called to both within Scripture. In fact, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18 TNIV).
I am not judging my brother in Christ. I am not saying that God detests him. I am just passing a warning to all of us, especially those with a vehement conviction regarding the inerrancy of Scripture, that we must be careful let we find ourselves in some deep trouble with God resulting from our words and actions.
So be prepared for the coming days when we will dig into this prized doctrine and seek to better understand this wonderful book known as The Bible.