Why I’ve Given Up on Biblical Inerrancy: Final thoughts (for now)

-The following is from the opening of the preface to the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy.

The authority of Scripture is a key issue for the Christian Church in this and every age.   Those who profess faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior are called to show the reality of their discipleship by humbly and faithfully obeying God’s written Word. To stray from Scripture in faith or conduct is disloyalty to our Master. Recognition of the total truth and trustworthiness of Holy Scripture is essential to a full grasp and adequate confession of its authority. 

To anyone who has been concerned regarding my commitments to the authority and trustworthiness  of the Holy Scriptures, let me begin by saying that I affirm the above statement.  I believe the Scriptures to be true, that is to say, in alignment with reality.  More specifically, I believe the Scriptures to give a trustworthy account of God’s historically observable redemptive acts amidst a fallen people who are, apart from His salvation, lost.  It is important however, to state that the Bible is first and foremost a theological document and not a history textbook , instruction manual, self-help book, or any other type of literature that tempts comparison. The Bible is unique in its composition and purpose and is consistent where it necessarily determines to be consistent.  Page after page I read of the same God, who is unfolding his redemptive plan culminating the Christ’s death and resurrection.  Not to be dismissive, but I have little concern about who first saw the empty tomb, I am however, deeply invested in the fact that the tomb was empty.

As I have mentioned previously, some accounts of the same event(s) vary in both the Old and New testaments.  What we should take note of , is the fact that these historical “inconsistencies” have not been removed from the text, but rather preserved.  I think this points us to the fact that the early church fathers who finalized the canon weren’t concerned with these issues because their framework for the reliability and trustworthiness of the Bible didn’t demand concern.  They seemed to hold to a framework of reliability and trustworthiness that would be echoed several centuries later in the Second Baptist Confession of 1677: “The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith and obedience…”

The trouble is, that many people would read the above confession and demand more qualifying statements as if to assure the Bible’s right place amongst other writings.  It’s these sorts of arguments that prove to be ultimately unhelpful and lead to people like me ridding themselves of “inerrancy language” all together.


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