Sunday, September 19, 2010
Is infallibility and inerrancy even biblical?
I realized a couple of things over the years. I admit there was a time my faith demanded a literal/infallibility/inerrant view of the bible. I needed the view to keep faith. However over the many years, I found 1. There is some... major circular reasoning going in the views. 2. Not all denominations or streams of Christianity agree how far infallibility and inerrancy should go. Some say the bible is the Perfect, (A view I find offensive to Jesus) while some concede there are not original manuscripts to prove the view. 3. That translations are not infallible, or without error. Yet, for some reason, I found that the Person of Jesus taught in the bible has grown and shown Himself more and more real to me... and in His Way, proved the bible to be faithfully true. It holds authority in my life because Jesus is my Authority. Jesus gives His authority to the bible so as I trust Jesus; I trust the written word to guide me. I agree it is a confusing and frustrating book at times... it is beauty and grace, yet reveals the evil in all of us... it holds nothing back yet hides our sin... to really find the Bible in its fullness is to find the Living Christ Jesus... To find Jesus and receive the Holy Spirit, then one can begin to learn how to understand the book.
I see infallibility and inerrancy as man made modernist constructs that are imposed on the bible... These ideas are even opposed to the teachings of Jesus and of course the bible itself as John 5: 39- 41 show. Jesus does not need man's approval... nor does the written word need man's approval. The bible does not need to be proven by the scientific method; in fact I agree with atheist David Hume that using the scientific method is the wrong tool to use to prove God or other things that are faith based. Now, I find my faith allows me to not need these man made tools to prove God for me, in fact I find they get in the way of understanding what the bible teaches. I know that is very hard for some to read and grasp, and recently having watched a few friends lost faith over the years over the view the bible is infallible and inerrant, only seems to prove they are not tools of faith but hinder or destroy faith.
Romans 14:23 is talking about food, and if a man eats against his conscience, the he sins. “But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.” Here I see two things in relation to what I am saying. 1. I see that infallibility and inerrancy are built on the foundation of doubt. While these ideas are well intentioned, to even ask if they are true shows doubt as well as it shows that doubt in itself is bad.
The second thing I see in this verse is that anything not of faith is sin. These views are not based on the pure trust in Jesus at His word, let alone trusting the bible to be what it is. The ideas of infallibility and inerrancy grate against faith. Hebrews 11:1 states, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” In fact if one backs up to chapter 10, they will see the writer of Hebrews building a case for faith… that came out of the peoples experience with the Living Christ Jesus. Their salvation came through faith, and the writer of Hebrews exhorts those he or she is writing to not to base their belief on what they see, but from faith. Then he gives the definition of faith as I already quoted. From this definition the writer launches into a history lesson on faith that sums up with the writer explaining that faith was the ingredient that drove the patriarchs of the faith, even though they did not get to see what those present in the writing had seen. At one point the writer of Hebrews states “6. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Again, two things I see, 1. Faith is the only thing that pleases God. 2. One must believe that God exist to receive the reward.
If the tools of infallibility and inerrancy are contrary to faith, then they are of sin. I see that these two teachings run contrary to my conscience. In that if someone demanded me to believe in those two things now to keep my faith in God, I would lose faith entirely. However, to see them as they are, man-made constructs imposed on the bible, allows me freedom to have faith and to walk in faith. I find it easier to trust Jesus, as I no longer must contend with men to prove what I cannot. I can only be like the blind man in John 9:25 “One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!" This seems to confound the “wise” (those atheists I run into) as I agree totally with their argument, however must profess my faith so I become the fool for the sake of faith.
By the way, if I am wrong, I have no issue with that at all either. But for those who will now criticize, allow me to walk in the faith granted to me, as I allow you to hold to your view.