Thursday, August 5, 2010

Does Inerrancy Matter?

Does it make a difference that the Bible is inerrant? Can't we just go ahead and believe in Christianity anyway, even if the Bible has a few errors here and there? Now I should note I am here speaking to those who claim to be Christians. To prove inerrancy to the sceptic is to prove Christianity, which is beyond the scope of this post. Rather, I am speaking to those who want to have things both ways. Some would even claim it is better to hold this view because it will make it easier for people to become Christians.

I am hesitant to even speak about what the Bible says about itself because, if the Bible has errors, this could be one of the errors. But it is important to look at what the Bible does claim before deciding if we should believe it. The Bible says that truth is part of God's nature (Romans 3:4; Titus 1:2; 1 John 5:20; Numbers 23:19) and that there is a distinction between truth and falsehood (1 John 2:21; 2 Timothy 4:4; Romans 1:25; John 8:44). Therefore, the Scriptures, being produced by God (2 Timothy 3:16,17, 2 Peter 1:20,21; 1 Corinthians 2:10-13; 1 Thessalonians 2:13), are true (John 17:17; 2 Timothy 2:15; Psalms 119:160; 19:9-10). Should we accept this claim?

The issue is that the only objective source for the basic truths of the Christian faith is the Bible. If the Bible is in error in other areas, why should we believe it in these. I suspect part of the problem here is we see God as being like ourselves, willing to shade the truth where it happens to be convenient. But if God is like that, how can we trust anything He tells us? Also, if God is God, we owe Him the duty of obedience. Part of that obedience is believing what He tells us. If we cannot do this, we need to ask if we really can believe in God. But to believe and rebel is inconsistent.

The real basis for this logically untenable position is subjective experience. The only reason for believing some parts of the Bible are true while rejecting other parts is because I feel it is so. But feelings are unreliable and are not an adequate basis for truth. Many people have conflicting subjective experiences which they base their beliefs on. When I was an unbeliever, I would not have considered the claim that here is a book full of errors but I should believe it anyway. The truth of God will always conflict with what the world holds (1 Corinthians 1:18-31; 2:1-5; 2 Corinthians 4:2-5). And if we water it down to make conversion easy, we risk making false converts. We do, of course, have to deal with the various problems sceptics bring up regarding the Bible. But it makes a considerable difference whether we are willing to give the Scriptures the benefit of the doubt or whether we conclude any minor problem must be a contradiction.

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