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Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Biblical Inerrancy: Introduction

It has been respectfully pointed out that I assumed too much and detailed too little in my earlier defense of Biblical inerrancy. It is rather foolish for me to say, “If you have questions, go down to Borders and pick up this 760 page book that is fairly technical, read it, and get back to me.” As such, I am doing a series of posts on the subject.

The defense of biblical inerrancy assumes two things: that there is an omnipotent God, and that we are not Him. I think those two assumptions, while not universally held, are reasonable. The presentation will proceed as such:

1) The uniqueness of the Bible – its historical qualifications and its unique qualities that set it apart from all other written texts through history.
2) The content of the Bible – specifically, where we got the current form from, why some books were selected and other rejected.
3) Reliability of the New Testament – Overview of literary tests for authenticity, application of the tests to the NT, and archaeological finds in support.
4) Reliability of the Old Testament – Biographical tests, internal evidence tests and archaeological support.

The King James version will be used as the basis for discussion for two reasons: 1) It has been in use for almost 400 years, making it the most familiar version, and 2) there are Christians who insist that it is the only version, and no other version has such proponents.

16 Comments:

  • Your outline is still missing the most important elements of a defense of inerrancy - what it actually means, how it affects interpretation, how we *do* interpretation, how we deal with differences of interpretation, who has authority to declare the "correct" interpretation and so on. These are absolutely crucial to such a discussion. Merely showing that the Bible is authoritative (which is what you are proposing) is nowhere near enough - few Christians indeed would dispute that.

    pax et bonum

    By Anonymous John, at 6/16/2005 06:23:00 AM  

  • John,
    What you say is completely true, in that much of the disagrements in Christian theology are a function of interpretation. My aim is to establish the entire Bible as authoritative - because over here there is much disagreement as to the authority of the entire Bible as currently constructed.

    For example, the dismissal of a part of the Bible as merely "cultural " is not a different interpretation - it is rejection of Biblical authority.

    My experience leads me to believe that there are, in fact,many Christian who would dispute biblical authority, but call it interpretation.

    I agree that the intrepretive issues are in need of discussion, but I am, for this series, going to stick to the authority of the Bible. Perhaps you would like to start a section on interpretation in your blog? I'd love to be a part of the discussion!

    By Blogger Hammertime, at 6/16/2005 10:56:00 AM  

  • You misunderstand what it means to say that parts of the Bible are culturally influenced, I think. Some people indeed claim that, because it is culturally influenced, a text has nothing to teach us now. However, this is a rare and extreme position. The danger, in opposing it, is that we say that the Bible is not culturally influenced and we need not take culture into account when trying to understand it. Which is (I hope) plainly incorrect.

    Biblical authority itself is rarely an issue - the issue is what that authority *means*. Inerrancy is a novel (19th century) doctrine that takes an extreme position on Biblical authority (historically and theologically speaking). As such, when defending it, you need to be careful to address the points that are specific to inerrancy, which are those of interpretation and inculturation. All too often, "inerrancy" simply degenerates into "my personal reading of the Bible is the only true one", which is nothing more than arrogance. If we free inerrancy of the personal element (meaning that the text itself somehow possesses special qualities) then we must carefully explore what they are, because they plainly do not include the feature that believers will always read the text in the same way! That is, "inerrancy" cannot include any idea that disagreements about meaning are impossible for the believer - or, if you want to include that, you need to provide an extraordinary proof of it!

    pax et bonum

    By Anonymous John, at 6/16/2005 02:19:00 PM  

  • John wrote: If we free inerrancy of the personal element (meaning that the text itself somehow possesses special qualities) then we must carefully explore what they are, because they plainly do not include the feature that believers will always read the text in the same way! That is, "inerrancy" cannot include any idea that disagreements about meaning are impossible for the believer - or, if you want to include that, you need to provide an extraordinary proof of it!

    [Forgive me if I mischaracterize your statements.]

    Inerrancy, with respect to the Bible, is attributable to God’s perfection, rather than any “private interpretation”, as Peter said. Moreover, the Truth of Scripture is immutable, so it is incumbent upon the reader to employ proper exegesis, so that which is being communicated is not lost or corrupted.

    While disagreements about meaning arise from limited human faculties, logic and particularly the “law of non-contradiction” must not be disregarded. Christians ought to reason together in love, but not tolerate competing contradictory interpretations.

    In the final analysis, the Bible articulates a set of Truths; some are readily accessible and some are extremely esoteric. Nevertheless, the “serious student” is tasked with understanding eternal verities, even if many “main-stream” sects presently fail to do so. The Scriptures are not necessarily partisan, but they are, like facts,…stubborn.

    By Blogger Robert, at 6/16/2005 10:20:00 PM  

  • John,
    I'm not sure if things are better in the UK or if you are simply not aware of the state of "Churchianity" in the US, but the authority of the Bible IS an issue very often here. The dismissal due to culture is a regular one, and only one of many reasons that professing Christians use to ignore Biblical guidelines.

    Cultural constraints should be considered when reading scripture, but only after first acknowledging that if it is God-inspired, that its worth is unchanging, and after considering the scriptural constraints first.

    By Blogger Hammertime, at 6/17/2005 01:12:00 AM  

  • Robert,
    "While disagreements about meaning arise from limited human faculties, logic and particularly the “law of non-contradiction” must not be disregarded. Christians ought to reason together in love, but not tolerate competing contradictory interpretations."

    OK, we have a few problems here. First, many disagreement will, of course, arise from our limited understanding and wisdom. And we ought to reason together in love. However, the problem are, first, in your "law of non-contradiction". I'd love to know exactly what you mean by this, and where you get it from. Because there are plainly many places in the Bible that *do* contradict one another, forcing us to elevate one reading above another.

    Second, and more seriously, your idea that we must "not tolerate competing contradictory interpretations". Even if this was our ideal, how is it possible? If two parties are both convinced that they are right (or, at least, are not convinced that they are wrong, which is hopefully a more likely state), how are we to decide which is the "right" interpretation and thus the one that we must force on everyone? We cannot simply say "mine" (from any faction of the church) because that assumes that we have full insight into God.

    Hammer,
    Fair enough. All I'd ask, then, is that you say clearly what you're doing. Don't say you're defending Biblical inerrancy when you're actually defending Biblical authority. That'll just get us confused :-) By all means, first establish Biblical authority. Then we'll set forth into inerrancy and see where we get.

    pax et bonum

    By Anonymous John, at 6/17/2005 05:33:00 AM  

  • John,

    However, the problem are, first, in your "law of non-contradiction". I'd love to know exactly what you mean by this, and where you get it from. Because there are plainly many places in the Bible that *do* contradict one another, forcing us to elevate one reading above another.

    The law of non-contradiction is one of the more basic principles of logic. It states that two opposing concepts cannot be simultaneously true, in the same circumstance and/or the same relationship (X is X and cannot be non-X). With respect to exegesis and hermeneutics, logic and the tools of literary interpretation (e.g. context, author’s intent, style, word usage, etc.) are determinative. Moreover, II Peter 2:19-21 clearly teaches that there can be no competing “private interpretations” of God’s Word. Therefore, if there were “plainly many places in the Bible that *do* contradict one another”, the entirety of the text would be unreliable. That said, I would invite you to produce any alleged contradictions.

    If two parties are both convinced that they are right (or, at least, are not convinced that they are wrong, which is hopefully a more likely state), how are we to decide which is the "right" interpretation and thus the one that we must force on everyone? We cannot simply say "mine" (from any faction of the church) because that assumes that we have full insight into God.

    Again, proper exegesis and hermeneutics are the mechanisms for the resolution of theological and doctrinal disputes…the operative word being “proper”. This does not suggest that the correct interpretation of Scripture is “mine” or “yours”, but the Truth, delivered by the Holy Spirit (and Christ) to the Prophets and Apostles, is eternal, immutable and unchanging. The believer is charged with “rightly dividing the Word of Truth”. The Truth of the Word is a constant, rather than amorphous, so an understanding of the text is not an impossible feat, nor is it unreasonable to expect such from self-described Christians.

    For the record, I think that most, if not all of the “main-line” modern denominations err in their doctrinal positions, so I’m not affiliated with any of them. Regardless of the fact that I’m not a member of any congregation, my limited faculties are assisted by an internal witness of the Holy Spirit, who has regenerated, justified and is in the process of sanctifying my spirit. I only mention that to point out that John 14:26 promises such guidance from the Spirit. Thus, human fallability is no excuse for variations of truth, even if “two parties are both convinced that they are right”. The prescribed solution is for us “to reason together” deductively, to eliminate interpretations that run counter to well established Truths in Scripture. It’s really as simple as beginning from foundational premises and then “building precept upon precept” to arrive at correct conclusions, thereby gleaning the intended message.

    By Blogger Robert, at 6/17/2005 04:04:00 PM  

  • Robert,
    If you want contradictions, look no further that the first three chapters of Genesis - two mutually contradictory and incompatible Creation stories. Of course, we can *make* them compatible by taking aspects of one story or the other and combining them by ignoring the missing or contradictory elements, but that doesn't remove the contradiction in the stories. Or how about the OT identification of wealth as the blessing of God, and the NT (specifically, Jesus') identification of wealth as a great hindrance to entering the Kingdom of God?

    There are any number of these things. We don't tend to see them as contradictions (or to remember them) because we are familiar with the logic used to resolve the contradiction, but that doesn't remove the fact that the texts themselves are contradictory on their faces. The problem with the law of non-contradiction is that it's a law of logic. There's nothing anywhere to say that it applies to the Bible - a collection of literature written over centuries in many different styles. We can say that our logical theologies should not contradict, but cannot require that the texts not contradict - all we can do is attempt to deal with the contradictions as best we can. Ignoring the contradictions or, worse, simply taking whichever reading we prefer without defending it is not acceptable, especially when discussing with others.

    As for your final paragraph, I'd merely ask why you believe that you are specially gifted with the Holy Spirit above all other believers? Because that's effectively what you're saying here - that you are somehow able to discern the "true" meaning of the Bible by the Spirit, when other believers (whether mainstream or not) err. If it was "really as simple as beginning from foundational premises and then “building precept upon precept” to arrive at correct conclusions, thereby gleaning the intended message", there would be little disagreement among Christians. The problem is, in the real world, that it is NOT that simple. Every one of the steps you identify is full of possibilities for legitimate disagreement - differing premises, differing interpretations of the precepts and their relative significances, and hence difference conclusions and different ideas about the "intended message". And none of these steps can be conclusively demonstrated based solely on the Bible - foundational principles, for example, are precisely those things that we bring *to* our reading of the Bible, not things we derive from it (although we hopefully are open to our principles being challenged by God).

    Differences in interpretation are not (or should not be, at least) fatal to Christian faith or mutual love. There are many reasons for this - God is far too great for any of us to understand properly; we should love one another despite our differences or it is no love at all; who are we to condemn another's servant? Rather, differences should enrich us as we learn from one another the things that we cannot see ourselves - or, at least, we should respect the insights of other people as God's children even where we aren't sure they are right. This doesn't mean that we accept everything but it does mean that we should be slow to condemn.

    pax et bonum

    By Anonymous John, at 6/18/2005 03:27:00 AM  

  • John,
    I'll let Robert answer before I attempt to do so for him - but your examples of contradictions are, simply, not.

    If you ascribe a timeline to the text that is not specified, then the first three chapters are contradictions. Simply put, the common assertion of the beasts being formed and brought to Adam, who was already present, is only true if you substitute the word "Then" for "and" in the 19th verse of chapter two. It isn't there. (I am using the KJV - I can't speak for the verbage in whatever you may reference. Bible versions is a though for another series in the future, so let's just use that one).

    Also, I fail to see a contradiction in the status of wealth as a blessing and a hinderance to salvation. Logically it can certainly be both. Now, if it was called a blessing from God, then called a curse from God, there would be a possible contradiction.

    By Blogger Hammertime, at 6/18/2005 11:40:00 PM  

  • That's my point, though, Hammer - you are applying logic to resolve contradictions in the text! Whether or not the text says "then" in Gen 3, the clear implication is that the creatures were formed later, in order to be help meets for the man. To say anything else is to interpret the text in a non-literal fashion. That is, although there's no separate timeline laid out, the story is still told in a certain logical order with clear implications to be drawn from that - if we were to derive timelines from the two stories independently, they would be different! (It so happens that I totally agree with you that this interpretive approach is the correct approach to take in starting to understand this!)

    Again, the two attitudes towards money (a plain-faced blessing to the righteous, and a hardship that must be shed if we are to enter the Kingdom and *become* righteous) are contradictory on their faces - only by interpretation can we see how they fit within a consistent story and with a consistent God.

    It's sometimes hard to see when we are doing this interpretation, especially when they are so familiar, but we are still doing interpretation - it's just subconscious and hence all the more dangerous unless we ackowledge it.

    pax et bonum

    By Anonymous John, at 6/19/2005 08:54:00 AM  

  • John, there are a few things that I’d like to address.

    …two mutually contradictory and incompatible Creation stories.

    I would suggest re-reading the account carefully, because it clearly does not reflect your criticism.

    Or how about the OT identification of wealth as the blessing of God, and the NT (specifically, Jesus') identification of wealth as a great hindrance to entering the Kingdom of God?

    Perhaps you are referring to Malachi 3:10 and Matthew 19:23-24. In the context of the former, the blessing is a response to obedience of the Law with respect to the tithe. The latter was an object lesson, in which Jesus demonstrated that non-believers are reluctant to sacrifice themselves to God (figuratively in this case). The “rich man” was not willing to divest himself of his wealth in order to follow Christ. In other words, his lifestyle was more important to him than becoming a disciple and inheriting the Kingdom (also note that salvation is not attained by becoming materially poor, but by grace through faith…Ephesians 2:8-10…more on this later). Thus, wealth is not bad in and of itself, it just happened to be this particular man’s priority.

    The problem with the law of non-contradiction is that it's a law of logic. There's nothing anywhere to say that it applies to the Bible - a collection of literature written over centuries in many different styles. We can say that our logical theologies should not contradict, but cannot require that the texts not contradict - all we can do is attempt to deal with the contradictions as best we can.

    The laws of logic are neither secular nor religious. Non-contradiction in particular doesn’t prove Truth, but simply eliminates falsity. If the Bible were to actually contradict itself, if would be demonstrably false because opposing concepts cancel one another out, because both cannot be true. The two examples you mentioned are not contradictory at all. It seems that you’ve compared apples with oranges, which gave the impression of contradiction. That said, if you have others, I would be willing to discuss them.

    There's nothing anywhere to say that it applies to the Bible - a collection of literature written over centuries in many different styles.

    This may be the root of the issue. While the Scriptures were indeed written over time, by mere mortals that are as imperfect as you or I, the author of the text was God himself. Therefore, the veracity and inerrancy of the Bible is attributable to His perfection, rather than various and sundry fallible men. One of a great many verifications for this is II Timothy 3:16.

    As for your final paragraph, I'd merely ask why you believe that you are specially gifted with the Holy Spirit above all other believers? Because that's effectively what you're saying here - that you are somehow able to discern the "true" meaning of the Bible by the Spirit, when other believers (whether mainstream or not) err.

    Actually, I’ve made no such claim. What I did say was that I’ve been regenerated by the Holy Spirit (John 3:5-8), which facilitates understanding of the Scriptures (Luke 24: 45-49…II Timothy 2:7…Colossians 1:9). The Spirit that caused imperfect men to write exactly what He intended, is also the Spirit that illuminates the spirits of imperfect men so that the message of Truth is effectively communicated and understood by the believer.

    I’ll mention one final thought (with two related parts) on the logical consistency and reliability of Scripture. In Acts 17:10-15, we see that the those at Berea “were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” With those healthily skeptical Bereans in mind, Paul exhorts the church at Thessalonica to “not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast to that which is true.” (II Thess. 1:20-21). For the Bereans (or anyone else for that matter) to be able to verify Paul’s teachings, the source text must be immutable and consistent. Therefore, the accurate interpretation of the Bible (again, II Peter 2:19-21) is attainable and can be apprehended only through the Holy Spirit. This is the Biblical description of regeneration, with the result being eternal salvation. This is certainly not unique to me, but rather it is the promise of the Father to all of the Shepherd’s sheep (John 22-30). Also, the entire 17th chapter of John’s gospel is particularly revelatory with respect to this issue.

    By Blogger Robert, at 6/19/2005 05:38:00 PM  

  • Robert,
    You're not quite getting what I'm saying. The TEXTS contradict - the INTERPRETATIONS do not. If you don't see that then you are simply not reading them - you are allowing your assumptions to over-ride what your eyes are telling you. The two Creation stories, read in the simplest, most basic fashion, contradict in the way they describe God creating the world - try writing down the sequences of events the stories describe in the order they actually happen in the story; don't change a single thing. Then compare the two sequences - they are quite different. I totally agree that they can easily be read together into a coherent account, but this requires interpretation, which was my point.

    Wealth - almost the whole OT assumes that wealth is a blessing. Look at the book of Job, or the discussions about the patriarchs and their wealth. Jesus takes quite a different view - the rich young man or the parable of the camel and the eye of a needle, for example. These are contradictory on their face and require interpretation to reconcile. Again, I completely agree that such a compatible interpretation is possible - but it's still an interpretation!

    That is, I am comparing two texts or two ideas contained within the texts that are contradictory on their face. We may decide, when interpreting them, that they are actually not talking about the same thing (be apples and oranges, as you say) or that they teach a more profound truth in different contexts (like wealth and God's blessing, perhaps). However, we are still doing interpretation when we do this. There is a step between reading and making sense of the text that we must be aware of if we are talking on this level about inerrancy and Biblical interpretation, otherwise we will talk nonsense.

    "While the Scriptures were indeed written over time, by mere mortals that are as imperfect as you or I, the author of the text was God himself. Therefore, the veracity and inerrancy of the Bible is attributable to His perfection"

    Why? Neither of the crucial steps in that logical series is justifiable from the Bible or traditional Christian understanding. God is not the author of the text in the sense that inerrancy requires - God did not dictate the text or over-ride the humanity of the human writers - the different voices in the Bible are wonderfully diverse. And the alleged "inerrancy" of the Bible is in no way required by God's perfection (this "step" is a doozy!). God is perfect - nothing else at all is perfect, not the Bible, not the angels, not the saints. Nothing is perfect save God alone. When we finally see God face to face and heaven and Earth are remade, we will be made perfect but, until then, God alone is perfect.

    "What I did say was that I’ve been regenerated by the Holy Spirit (John 3:5-8), which facilitates understanding of the Scriptures"

    Yes - but so have the rest of the church, and we still don't agree! So, there's nothing that we can use to privilege your interpretation above anyone else's.

    pax et bonum

    By Anonymous John, at 6/20/2005 05:42:00 AM  

  • John,
    God is not the author of the text in the sense that inerrancy requires - God did not dictate the text or over-ride the humanity of the human writers - the different voices in the Bible are wonderfully diverse. And the alleged "inerrancy" of the Bible is in no way required by God's perfection (this "step" is a doozy!).

    With all respect, your view of the Scriptures is reminiscent of 19th Century ”higher criticism”, which is wildly divergent from the claims made in the Bible.

    Yes - but so have the rest of the church, and we still don't agree! So, there's nothing that we can use to privilege your interpretation above anyone else's.

    You seem to use the phrase “your interpretation” in the sense that it is possible for one (perhaps me) to come to an individual conclusion concerning the meaning of a particular passage than would another (perhaps yourself). As I’ve tried to point out in this discussion, if the Bible is to be believed (and I argue that II Peter 1:19-21 is clear and unambiguous), your usage of “interpretation” is inappropriate, in the context of Scripture. That is, “interpretive dance” or an interpretation of a piece of art is altogether different from the interpretation of Biblical texts.

    The two items that I’ve raised are interrelated. The fact that God’s sovereignty insured that “thus says the Lord” was recorded precisely as He intended and that the selfsame sovereignty guides the believer to a proper understanding, via correct interpretation (gleaning from the text what it actually teaches, not a private judgment of its meaning). The reasonable conclusion is that the textual contradictions that you allege are a product of a misreading or a misapprehension on your part, or “anyone else’s”.

    I don’t write this with malice, but from an apologetic stance which is born of love for all believers. The love of which I speak requires that I defend the Truth, as well as the nature and origin of God’s word. My intent here is similar Paul’s, when he had to correct Peter in the presence of the Jews…Galatians 2:11-21 (please understand that I am no way comparing myself to Paul, but rather simply pointing to an example of disagreement between believers—Apostles no less—wherein the singular and proper interpretation of Scripture was the final arbiter, instead of each remaining content to hold “private interpretations”).

    By the way, I'm enjoying this discourse!

    By Blogger Robert, at 6/20/2005 03:17:00 PM  

  • Robert,
    I'm not a fan of "higher criticism" at all - it's deeply Modernist and a flawed approach. The problem, though, is that inerrantism is also a thoroughly Modernist, 19th-century way of approaching the Bible that does great violence to the text.

    What we need to to move beyond 19th-century ways of thought. We now know some of the problems with that approach (the twin, opposed errors of liberalism and fundamentalism) so continuing in those modes is to continue in something we know to be false. Better to acknowledge those flaws and learn new ways to understand our experiences of God (both as a community and individually).

    "the selfsame sovereignty guides the believer to a proper understanding, via correct interpretation"

    The problem here is that your logic falls completely apart on the evidence. Believers do not share a common understanding of all things. Indeed, they differ quite extensively on a range of issues. This leaves you with only two possibilities. First, there are "true" believers, who have the single correct understanding of the Bible, God and everything - but how do we identify this select group? The severe danger here is that we simply say that they are those with whom we agree, which is tremendous arrogance. Second, that there is no single understanding of the Bible - contra your assertion above. God does not limit Godself to a single, literalistic meaning in a piece of writing, preferring a more poetical, narrative, independent and creative approach. Needless to say, I believe that the second of these is true, based simply on the evidence that not all believers agree.

    "the textual contradictions that you allege are a product of a misreading or a misapprehension on your part"

    My point, though, is that the texts unquestionably disagree! The meanings of those texts need not, but establishing this requires interpretation / discernment / whatever. There is a second step there beyond the pure text itself. As I've said, there is no "external" reality of the text that we can grasp; if there is such a thing, it is known to God alone. All we can know as human beings is what we understand the text to mean - our interpretation of it.

    I suspect that you have some problem with the word "interpretation", seeing it as some private, internal activity that one engages in in an attempt to escape the external reality of the plain meaning of the text. However, that is in no way what I mean. "Interpretation" is the task of discerning the meanings of a text - and I use that plural deliberately. Many, many texts in the Bible have multiple meanings - especially the prophecies, but also the poetry and even the history. Discovering these added meanings enriches our understanding of the Bible and of God, and often clarifies matters that would otherwise be obscure. Focusing on a single meaning thus actively prevents us from grasping the wealth of what God is saying in the Bible. Thus, interpretation is both an essential and a positive task.

    However, interpretation is always carried out by limited human beings, with their own biases and failings. Even when guided by the Holy Spirit, we are not guaranteed to be free from error. That is why we need each other as a community of believers to enlighten and correct one another in love and respect. Nowhere in the Bible are we promised perfect understanding this side of heaven (quite the reverse, in fact); however, we are promised love and grace, which are even more important!

    pax et bonum

    By Anonymous John, at 6/21/2005 06:28:00 AM  

  • In case anyone is interested, I’ve posted a response of sorts at my place.

    By Blogger Robert, at 6/22/2005 07:49:00 PM  

  • I believe that both sides here are making a mistake, and that mistake is coloring the whole conversation. For an innerantist, lack of contradiction in the Scriptures is not a conclusion, it is a presupposition. The perfect God perfectly communicated his perfect word to us inerrantly. Given that chain, there can be no contradictions.
    Thus if we are faced with (an apparent) contradiction, we know that the fault lies not in the text, but in us. We may be ignorant, or we may be sinful, but the fault lies in us.
    Indeed, the ignorance that leads us to misunderstand Scripture often has its roots in sin. In Romans 1 we find:
    8For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 24Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness …
    So we see how their knowledge was deliberately destroyed by their sin.
    And again, when Jesus confronted the Pharisees, he held it as sin for them that they lacked knowledge of Scriptures.
    One may say with some justification that the ‘inerrantist’ position is a new one. But that is only because it is a ‘reactionary’ position… it is a reaction to challenges to what was always a cornerstone of the faith. Jesus and Paul didn’t define or defend inerrancy, they assumed it. When Jesus said ‘it is written’, he did not follow it with, ‘and I personally think that what was written is a jolly good idea.’ He, his followers, and his opponents all knew that when he said ‘it is written’ that what was meant was ‘and it is infallibly, innerrantly, absolutely, etc. true’.
    Never in Scripture does a Biblical authority quote Scripture and then follow it with, “now this passage is no longer relevant for our life today’, or ‘we must remember that Daniel was influenced by his culture and so didn’t understand what we know now to be true’.
    For them, as for us, innerancy by whatever name was a presupposition.

    By Blogger von, at 9/09/2006 02:19:00 PM  

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