Monday, September 19, 2011

Is "inerrancy" a high view of Scripture?

The problem with "inerrancy" is that it leaves you nowhere to go. If the Old Testament is inerrant and if inerrancy is enough, then why do we need the New Testament? Either the New Testament is superfluous -- or inerrancy is not enough. And if inerrancy is not enough for the Old Testament to be sufficient, why should inerrancy be enough for the New Testament? Either way, if "inerrancy" is the goal, there's a problem for the New Testament. When we talk about "inerrancy", we define the good in terms of avoiding error -- and once error has been avoided, what else do you need?

There is a hazard in debating secondary issues: we can mistake them for primary ones. If the Bible did not reveal God to us, it would not be enough, even if the whole world agreed it was error-free. If the Bible does reveal God to us, then it is nothing but shenanigans to avoid hearing it on the pretext that there may be mistakes in the lengths of the reigns in the kings' lists or a pro-Israeli bias in the point of view of some ancient battles.

The question of inerrancy loses sight of knowing God. The glory of the Bible is not "inerrancy" -- it is the face of God, looking on us with favor and giving us peace. In pursuing inerrancy, there is one thing we lack: following Jesus.


Martin LaBar said...

Even if the Bible were inerrant, my interpretation of it would have errors.

Weekend Fisher said...

While that's true, I'm hoping people will look beyond "inerrant". The highest goal of religion is not to be error-free: you can be error-free and still not know God.

Take care & God bless
Anne / WF

Craig said...

Anne, while I agree with your larger point that the debate over inerrancy is majoring in the minors, I'm not sure I follow your logic here: "If the Old Testament is inerrant and if inerrancy is enough, then why do we need the New Testament?"

A set of writings could be inerrant and inerrancy deemed to be good for that set of writings (their scope / subject matter), but God could still have more to say later (the New Testament) based on historical facts (Christ and His resurrection) that His people need writings to further understand.

Weekend Fisher said...

Hi Craig

I agree with what you're saying: God could have more to say later. Which is another case in point: "inerrancy" is not enough. It doesn't make something "what you really need to know" or "the way to God" or any of that. The picture is bigger than whether a writing is inerrant.

Take care & God bless
Anne / WF