Implications of Biblical Inerrancy (Part 2)

The second general position on inerrancy within Protestantism is the middle position, the one that states that while the Bible may not be inerrant in a technical sense, it is infallible in its message. This is probably the most prominent position regarding the Bible within the world of Protestantism. Many may not claim this publicly, but in practice one can see that this is the case.

The main advantage, and also the biggest fault, to holding to this position on the Bible is that one is free to step outside the boundaries of the historicity of the Book and focus solely on the meaning within the text. You can find that perfect allegory or that perfect illustration of the Christian walk or you can focus on how different passages, not just verses, point to the coming Messiah.

The problem with this is that one can tend to over-emphasize the allegorical to the neglect of the literal. The story of David and Goliath ceases to be an event in history and becomes solely a picture of each individual’s “giants” that they must face each and every day. While this is a good lesson to learn from the story, one must also be willing to acknowledge the fact that it actually happened, for this is important for defending our faith.

Anyone can live life by a lesson learned from a story. Life is full of stories. When you go to the theater and watch Dan in Real Life or Atonement or Never Back Down, it is very easy to see the lesson to be learned or the allegories to live by.

But the Bible is more than this.

And the middle position on Biblical inerrancy seeks to point this idea out. The emphasis turns from the Bible having happened to the fact that God inspired it and endowed it with the authority to teach and reprove and encourage in the faith. But its inspiration lies in its message and not in it’s technical accuracy.

Another problem with this position, though, is, just like the all-or-nothing approach, it tends to create a cherry-picker mentality. Only this time, rather than picking out individual verses, whole passages are pulled from their root and passages that are deemed “less inspired” are tossed aside. Jesus says to love our enemies and turn the other cheek, so we inadvertently allow evil to persist and say nothing against it. We will separate from no one but embrace all, and not in the Gospel way.

Needless to say, while this is the position that I adhere to, I do understand that it is weak in some areas. But so are the other views. And this leaves us with one more set of implications to consider: the implications of outright denying the inerrancy of Scripture completely.

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