I'm going to open a can of worms here...
What's your take on Biblical Inerrancy?
Biblical Inerrancy: The beliefe that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are inspired of God, are without error in the original writings, and are the supreme and final authority for faith and life.
So what do you think? Also, just for fun tell us what your educational background is.
As I have said several times on this thread, I have no problem with the idea of scripture being authoritative. I'm happy to consider it as being, on the whole, historically accurate (though, there are contradictions which mean it can't be completely so, and I don't know what status to grant to all the stories in, for example, the book of Jonah, or - if I'm feeling like stirring up trouble - the first eleven chapters of Genesis). I am happy to base points and arguments on scripture. But none of these things equate to "inerrancy". Inerrant is a really strong statement.
Stevo: you have given, above, many very good reasons to trust in scripture as being reliable. These reasons stand on their own - they do not need the doctrine of inerrancy for them to be convincing. Maybe it is a statistical thing for me.
The point of the question is this: if scripture is both authoritative and inerrant, then I suggest that scripture should clearly tell us that it is inerrant. If scripture doesn't tell us this, then the doctrine of inerrancy must come from somewhere else, such as church tradition (I can think of many examples of other doctrines that you would class as merely church tradition and therefore dismiss - how is it any different to these?).
Furthermore, if scripture doesn't tell us that it is inerrant, then perhaps "inerrancy" isn't the best model for understanding scriptural authority.
If scripture doesn't tell us that it is inerrant, then it is not even a self-consistent doctrine.
So, if you believe in Biblical inerrancy, you should be able to answer the question I asked: where does the Bible tell us that it is inerrant?
(this is not a trick question)
Not to stur up the pot, but some things depend on our faith. I don't argue the scriptures because the scriptures tell me not to, besides they stand on their own. If I were witnessing to a nonbeliever then I would try to show the Bible does not contradict itself and use it that way to bring them to the Lord.
Do you believe in Jesus as your Lord and Savior? If so where do you get it from? The Bible.
Take this in reverse, if you don't believe in inerrancy, how can you base your belief in Jesus from the Bible? How can you witness to people from the Bible and tell them to believe if you don't believe it all yourself? Sometimes I think people dig too deep on things and that is what will get you in trouble. The Bible was writen in a way that the simpelist of minds can get what they need from it and the smartest can never really figure it all out untill we get home with our Lord.
You talk about Jonah and Genesis as if you don't believe they are acounts of things that really happened, instead just nice stories, we can not pick what we want and throw out what we don't, you either Believe or you don't.
If you don't believe in inerrancy, how can you base your belief in Jesus from the Bible
Very easily, in fact. The Bible doesn't need to be inerrant for me to believe that what is written about Jesus is a fair reflection of the life he led, the death he died, and of his resurrection. I can construct a good historical argument for this. One good way is to ask what sort of a set of events might lead to the rise of the early church from the Judaism of the time.... the description of Jesus in the gospels fits very well with this, leading to confidence in its historical accuracy.
(if you want a nice long read, I can recommend Jesus through Middle Eastern Eyes by Kenneth Bailey, or especially Jesus and the Victory of God by NT Wright.... both great books, sensitive to culture and history).
For the record, I don't believe in people being swallowed by a fish for three days and regurgitated. Nor do I believe in seven day creation. The story of Noah is problematic for me - my feeling is that the lions and tigers would have eaten a fair number of the other animals. This isn't arbitrary picking and choosing - you have to be sensitive to the type of literature you are looking at, and remember that you have been given the ability to think. But I don't believe they are "just nice stories" either. There are other options.
Though, I fear these statements will distract from the question I asked, which as yet hasn't been answered.
How can you witness to people from the Bible and tell them to believe if you don't believe it all yourself?
In my experience, people tend to repect your beliefs more if you can show them that you have thought it through, that you have good reasons to believe and not simple, blind, unquestioning faith.
And, I do believe, very much, in the messages and worldview the Bible was written to convey. Not all of it was intended as history.
That's my point, you can show them you have thought it through by reading and believing what you are reading is all true in the Bible. But in some sence it has to be blind faith, you have to have faith to believe and you have to have faith to believe the Bible is true. We have been saved by Grace through Faith. You cannot leave faith out of it. You must have faith to believe in One you cannot see and only read about in a book, the Bible and have faith that the Bible is the truth. Sorry for being repetative but faith is so important in all of this, it cannot be left out!
There is no need to be sorry for repeating, I like what you are saying about faith.
Even those who accept materialistic science as their main source of information accept sensible-sounding data (hypothesis) as something to operate with until a clearer picture is revealed (sometimes destroying the hypothesis).
In claiming inerrancy, we claim that the Bible is about a real God, real people, real events, real trials, real sins, real victories, a real Resurrection, and that the doctrines it teaches will not be washed away by some superior discovery or better religion. At the same time, we acknowledge we "see through a glass darkly", that there are aspects of life we will never understand during our lifetimes, even with the aid of this marvelous printed text God has inspired.
I was being facetious...ha ha. But you are absolutely insisting on a circular thing. If we quote from scripture to show you our point, how do we know those aren't areas that are incorrect as to their facts? You're asking us to make a proof from something that may or may not be that which we quote!
For instance, maybe Jesus didn't actually say "for God so loved the world...". Maybe John just got it wrong. Maybe Jesus said, "Gosh, I love to go eat felafel. I love this world." But maybe John wasn't paying attention that day, so he inserted the other to make his point. That would be an error that crept in from the beginning and we would have no idea.
So I think you must be more or less statistically based, treating it as "mostly correct in areas that would affect faith". But I don't think that is the Biblical view - events are treated as historical fact even if they have little to no affect on our faith. It is very clear what Jesus thought about scripture. He thought it was trustworthy enough to base his teachings on it by treating the following as historical fact:
• Adam (Matt. 19:5-6)
• Abel (Lk. 11:51)
• Noah and the flood (Matt. 24:37-39)
• Sodom and Gomorrah (Matt. 10:15)
• Lot (Lk. 17:28-32)
• The manna in the wilderness (John 6:31)
• Elijah and his miracles (Lk. 4:25-26)
• Jonah and the great fish (Matt. 12:39-41
Also, Old Testament writers also quoted from the Old Testament stories in various places as if they were historically accurate in the same way as Jesus. For me, treating it as historically accurate implies an assumption of inerrancy to whatever degree.
So the doctrine of inerrancy is exactly like that of Trinity. It is not directly taught anywhere. But unlike Trinity which is completely inductively derived, it is overtly assumed by the very writers and characters in the Biblical narrative. And because they believe that the events are correctly related, they base their teachings on it. And because of that, they find it authoritative.
I think, from what I remember you saying, you're willing to accept the Bible as mostly correct and accurate, especially in areas where the doctrines of faith are concerned. That is still a form of inerrancy - you accept that Jesus said "For God so loved the world", so you believe it. It sure is a good thing, I would hate to have been hoodwinked by a silly felafel ball all these years.
Very well put!!
Yes, very well put - but having tasted felafel, I can't imagine even Jesus liking it. Felawful.
I think he would love it it along with Indian food. He he he.