Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The joys of (not believing in) inerrancy

OK, I confess that I've never been a fan of inerrancy, going all the way back to the original Battle for the Bible, always seeing it as a distraction from really grappling with what the text is saying. For one thing, everyone defines it differently. And my experience over the years is that the proverbial person in the pew thinks it means oral dictation, which it definitely is not—and that's about the only thing inerrantists will agree on! So, this little excerpt from I Still Believe was refreshing:
It is a liberating experience for a biblical scholar to be free of the a priori affirmation of inerrancy. Not only do a host of problems dissolve, but new options become available and at the same time the Scriptures become more alive. Without having to hide or ignore something, one can enjoy the feeling of honesty.—I Still Believe, page 111
<idle musing>
Several years ago I was reading Greek with another person just for the fun of it. We would take a book in the New Testament and spend about an hour just sight-reading it. If we got stuck, we'd pull out the lexicon. After we had been doing this for several weeks, the person I was reading with told me how freeing it was to let the text just speak without coming to it looking to confirm a belief! I have to admit that I was somewhat surprised, as I have rarely (I wish I could say never) come to scripture that way. I don't believe in inerrancy, but I certainly do believe in inspiration, and to use scripture as a weapon to prove a presupposed belief is to me a form of heresy! But on reflection, it helped me understand the approach to scripture among some people.

Lord keep me from that attitude! May I ever come at scripture with an open heart and mind, seeing what you have for me that day!
</idle musing>

No comments: