The Journey Out Of Inerrancy

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190 Responses

  1. filbertz says:

    certainty, in the face of thousands of denominational slants, interpretations, and ‘truths’ has become a punchline to a really lousy joke. I too share the path to a faith-filled destination that is more Christo-centric than biblio-centric.

  2. Duane Arnold says:

    For our redemption, God sent us his Son… not a library. It’s about faith, not certainty.

  3. Michael says:

    Fil,
    The interesting thing to me is that as my faith in inerrancy has faltered, my faith in Jesus has grown.
    Beats me…

  4. Michael says:

    Duane,
    I agree…but I do miss that certainty.

  5. Paige says:

    How on earth did people navigate Faith before Gutenberg and Google?

    We are BLESSED to have the myriad of Bibles, translations, resources, etc… IMO, it’s an incredible gift, as any of those Bibles-for-third-world-country-stories we have heard attest. It has be “easy” for me to to put my trust in the Book rather than the One who seems to want my inexplicable trust, love and worship in the midst of the most perplexing circumstances.

    I find it to be a challenging quest to not relate to God via what I think I know or thought I knew. I plainly do not know or understand. Yet He is Present.

    This all makes the I AM statement more relevant to me.

  6. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I will begin by saying “christians” can believe anything they want. We have no control over orthodoxy any longer – we live in a theological clown world.

    I don’t trust anyone why begins his theses along the lines of when I gave up believing this doctrine or that biblical passage etc – now I am comfortable with my faith – my Jesus.

    To me, their faith is made of silly putty, to be shaped the way they want. So what is his message? If you have trouble believing Jesus, trim the fat and make a Jesus you can believe in.

    But hey, this is just my opinion and as we know here, it never goes beyond opinion.

  7. Babylon's Dread says:

    “Faith in inerrancy” is a strange phrase but I get it. Having grown up in my faith in the SBC from 74-2000 my entire life was immersed in it. I remember hearing 10 years worth of denominational sermons on the Bible. By the end that sounded queer to me. How could we be preaching the Bible as the subject rather than Christ himself? I finally decided that inerrancy had died the death of a thousand qualifications as per the Chicago Statement. In my mind a statement that requires so much explanation to be coherent simply isn’t.

    Since I never had faith in inerrancy this was easy. The Bible’s great value was not in the nature of its words but in their content. As the one repository of the record of the revelation of Jesus the Bible was of inestimable value. It did not need to pass tests that were artificially applied. In the end our insistence upon the word inerrancy diminished the confidence in it.

    We are suffering the backlash of suppressed ideas. We should have preached Jesus and him crucified. We should have preached the unerring Christ not the documents that testify. Every time you miss the point you damage the intent.

    Giving up inerrancy was not a hard journey for me as it was so clearly an errant goal. So now we pick up the pieces. What will be the price? That is uncertain because along with revelation the world is just now jettisoning science in favor of ideology. So the authority of the Bible being discarded it has somehow become easier to jettison the authority of the perceived victor over the Bible namely science.

    Postmodernity has elevated equality to the status of highest value. The ideological fray that we have inherited is inevitably headed toward real violence. Winners will be those who seize power by whatever means necessary.

    Don’t grieve inerrancy grieve humanity. The Bible as a book that reveals God’s history with mankind and his ultimate intention in his Son what we needed. We did not need a scientifically inerrant witness. We needed and need divine favor, divine redemption, divine reconciliation. We needed him not it.

  8. Michael says:

    Well said, Paige!

  9. Michael says:

    BD,
    That was a classic.
    Thank you and amen.

  10. Michael says:

    MLD,
    I have the traditional theological doctrine concerning Christ.
    I believe Jesus and believe in Jesus.
    Where do we differ?

  11. Babylon's Dread says:

    The key component of debate is veracity. Whoever stands there has the high ground. Whenever we overstate our claims we yield the best ground. Even slight exaggerations come home to haunt us. The biblical reference for veracity was two witnesses. In having four Gospels we are amply supplied with witness to our claims. In having three synoptics and John we are even more well armed.

    We defended the wrong things and over reached. The good news is that the witness to Jesus stands without our attempts to prop it up with claims that divert the focus.

    We Would See Jesus Dread

  12. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael, I was speaking of the writer to the linked article. You knew his writings were hot button controversy – that is why you spent so much time prequalifying yourself.

  13. Jean says:

    I find Mr. Byas’ conclusions errant for two principle reasons:

    1) To talk about “a literal reading of Genesis 1-3” is not the issue. The issue is whether there is an error in the text. I say “no,” while admitting that there may be different literal readings of that text. Therefore, the question for me is not, “Is the Bible errant?, but “Is my reading or understanding of a particular text errant?”

    2) When it comes to faith, things like certainty and security are gifts of the Holy Spirit, which should never be despised or looked down on, but to the contrary should be celebrated. The Bible itself defines faith as follows: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” What does “assurance” mean? Look up the definition of hypóstasis.

    Again, the author confuses faith with complete understanding of the mind of God. The Bible never promises a complete revelation of the mind of God; in fact, it does just the opposite. So, faith can coexist with mystery and paradox, but what God has revealed is truth.

  14. Michael says:

    MLD,
    I knew that… but I also asked you a direct question.
    You don’t have to answer it.

  15. Babylon's Dread says:

    Mr Byas took us on a truncated meta-narrative. He gave us Israel called to solve the Adam problem as one who discovered they carry the Adam problem. Thus those called to be the light end up in the darkness. There he pauses the narrative to tell us that we have reached the destination. He tells us to stay in the wilderness. No thank you! Our story goes on to one who preached and inaugurated a kingdom that cannot be shaken.

    Gospel preachers do not preach utopia. We do preach the kingdom and more than that we proclaim the king who is the guarantor of the kingdom. My reading of Byas is that he leads us to a narrative that ends where the narrative begins.

    Anyway, I needed to respond to it because you asked.

    Tell the Whole Story Dread

  16. Michael says:

    BD,
    I’m grateful you did.
    We need to talk about this often and with as much clarity as we can muster.

  17. Em says:

    Inerrancy vs. literal…. Are we astute enough to make any declarations about the creator of the universe, us and beyond…
    A big fish swallowed a man, then swam to the shore and spit him out? I can’t get my head around that, but i am betting it happened. There are, of course, intellectual snags way above my ability to discuss and one can go the direction of Mr. Byas and not lose his entrance into Paradise…. probably…. But…
    I suspect – dunno – that for all the times in this life as we read The Book, we say that we don’t get it…. I picture our Lord smiling up there as He says, “You’ll understand it… When you get here.”
    …. faith comes by hearing, not by mindless “amens” – IMX the more i hear, the more i believe. 🙋

  18. I don’t care if people use the term inerrancy or not. It’s a made-up word anyway.

    However, in my experience, it is the first step off the slippery slope.

    Cling to Jesus.

  19. Michael says:

    Josh,
    The slippery slope for me was to keep believing in inerrancy.
    It was destroying my faith.

  20. Well, chuck it.

    I just hope this isn’t the same story I’ve seen before, where now all doctrinal distinctions fall one -by- one until there isn’t much left of the faith at all.

    In getting rid of inerrancy, do you hope to embrace the biblical views of early Christianity, or do they too hold to things that kill your faith?

  21. Jean says:

    By the way, the theological issues that divide so-called conservative churches and traditions today do not hinge on a doctrine of inerrancy. So, there must be something more fundamental at issue.

  22. Michael says:

    Josh,

    I’ll accept the sarcasm as I know that many who are reading this thread fear discussing these matters because such is the usual response.
    I was careful to preface this article by affirming the early creeds…Anglicans pray them every day.
    Those creeds contain the basic doctrines that constituted the faith of the early church.
    I am orthodox.
    I am not apostate.
    I just am honestly struggling with how to read and interpret the Bible.
    That is a grave offense to some, but I no longer care.

  23. Duane Arnold says:

    Josh

    Just as a note, I have a very high regard for Scripture, mainly owing to how Early Christians read and interpreted the Old Testament (including the Apocrypha) and the writings of the Apostles. I think you are correct when you say that inerrancy is a “made up word”. I think the problem is more in the nature of literalism. The early Christians were not literalists in their reading of Scripture. Indeed, allegorical interpretation was normative in the early centuries. There is a breadth and depth to the writings that, I believe, is missed when we apply literalism to Scripture. I think we all agree that there are portions of Scripture that are akin to poetry. If you want to kill the power of poetry, then do a literal reading and interpretation and that’s exactly what will happen. Early Christian writers got that! Ignatius of Antioch was a skilled writer who could have described the Eucharist in pedantic terms. Instead, he described it as “the medicine of immortality”. He used a non-literal poetic phrase to communicate a deep truth. He did it, because that is also how he read the Scriptures.

    I think in these discussions, semantics let us down…

  24. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    No one takes the poetry of the Bible literally – but this is just one more step for people to go off into their theological craziness.
    “Once you follow me and get rid of this and that, my nuttiness will make sense.”

    In the case of the author of the linked article, why couldn’t he make his case against inerrancy without dumping on other scriptures or theological points? It is all slight of hand.
    The fathers and allegory? I love Origen who allegories everything except the eunoch passages which he carried out literally.

    I don’t hold to inerrancy because I think inspired and infallible cover it – and I don’t need to backtrack anything.

  25. Duane Arnold says:

    Ah, how could one dare to assail such lightning wit and profound insight? 😁

  26. I wasn’t even slightly sarcastic. If people fear commenting because of my responses, I’ll go away again. I think Duane understood my sincere question, and answered it. (Thanks Duane.)

    For Michael, it seems as if you want to put way more faith into tradition than into Scripture. You are not the first, and there is some value to tradition. Again, I’d just say cling to Jesus.

  27. Michael says:

    “In getting rid of inerrancy, do you hope to embrace the biblical views of early Christianity, or do they too hold to things that kill your faith?”

    That sounded sarcastic to me as I was careful to affirm the cardinal doctrines of the church.
    I haven’t mentioned tradition once in the conversation.
    I’m trying to define the place of Scripture in my life and faith.
    I decided to do so in front of everybody in case some others were struggling as well.

  28. Michael says:

    I would actually say that for me at this point both tradition and Scripture have some value…but what keeps me “in the faith” is a completely Christ centered focus.

  29. It was not at all sarcastic. Again, Duane answered. I’m sorry if the question wasn’t clear.

    All of the discussion has been about tradition. Creeds are tradition. Early church is tradition.

    I still don’t see the problem with inerrancy. Usually the problem is a misunderstanding of the term, as MLD has displayed above. (His misunderstanding. Of course he holds to inerrancy.) Others conflate it with strict literalism, as Duane pointed out.

    Still, Duane says God sent his son, not a library, and this is true. But would any of us know his Son if it weren’t for the library? His word is living and powerful. He still speaks as Mohler would say.

  30. “but what keeps me “in the faith” is a completely Christ centered focus.”

    And there lies the problem. If your faith was ever anything other than Christ -centered, you definitely needed to change. Inerrancy may be “an” issue for you, but being centered on anything other than Christ is the bigger problem. Good for you for recognizing that a change was needed.

  31. Duane Arnold says:

    Josh

    I’m probably more of a “traditionalist” than Michael. The point for me is that I don’t see that as being in a separate category from the Scriptures. Of course Scripture is preeminent, but it is also a part of the Tradition – in its writing, the development of the canon, the lengthy history of interpretation, the formulation of the Creeds, etc. I would not postulate an “infallible” or “literalist” approach to Tradition any more than I would apply those categories to Scripture. It is Christ and His Church. The Scripture is central to that reality as is the tradition. We don’t have to put them in opposition in any way…

  32. What does it mean for the scriptures to be preeminent if scripture and tradition are not in opposition in any way. We have to keep scripture preeminent exactly because scripture and tradition are opposed at various points. Saying that scripture is preeminent is to say that where scripture and tradition disagree, we side with scripture.

  33. Jean says:

    “I’m trying to define the place of Scripture in my life and faith.”

    If Scripture is not paramount and the exclusive rule by which all other sources of faith and practice (such as tradition) are judged, then I can not imagine anything other than either (1) its a fantasy, or (2) one is receiving special individual revelation. Is there a third possibility?

  34. Michael says:

    The third possibility is that it doesn’t fit into the categories that you say it must.
    It is primarily the revelation of Christ and as long as that remains primary I have no issues.
    It’s the other stuff…the paradoxical and inexplicable stuff … that throws me…

  35. Why would you expect to understand everything?

  36. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “I would actually say that for me at this point both tradition and Scripture have some value…but what keeps me “in the faith” is a completely Christ centered focus.”

    Wow, your sermons must be doozies. If I had your attitude, I would not preach from a source that has only SOME value. The gnostics taught from a secret source – what is your secret private source of information that has value?

    ** I will be upfront – Lutherans believe that today God speaks only through his word. Others are free to disagree.**

  37. Michael says:

    I do not expect to understand everything. In truth, I understand far less than I ever have. The depths of human suffering and senseless evil in the world juxtaposed against all the promises of divine intervention leave me numb and clinging to the little I do.
    Your mileage obviously varies.

  38. “It’s the other stuff…the paradoxical and inexplicable stuff … that throws me…”

    This was my question about understanding everything. I don’t see why paradox and such would change belief about the bible.

    I also can’t imagine why abandoning any take on the bible would alleviate human suffering. But hey, this is your walk. It doesn’t have to make sense to me.

  39. Jean says:

    The authors of the Scriptures have ways of expressing the inability of mankind to understand everything that God is doing, how and why, without abandoning the claims that the Scriptures make about the divine origin and reliability of the Scriptures.

  40. I know you are mad…

    but that was funny.

  41. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Interesting dodge. You mentioned your confessions a couple of time – I have not mentioned mine – yet mine take priority to be place in the area the sun does not shine.

    This is what I said in my very first comment – which you asked us how we would answer the writer. I said something to the effect that when the denial start the nuttiness takes over.
    When anyone denies the full value of the scriptures, claiming they are only of some value – then the nuttiness has begun.

    But as I said, others are free to disagree with me.

  42. Michael says:

    What does “reliability” mean? That every thing is true all the time or that it’s true some of the time or it’s conceptually possible some of the time or is always conceptually possible?
    Asking for all those who weren’t healed after the anointing with oil and all things didn’t work together for some recognizable good…

  43. Michael says:

    I’m dodging nothing.
    I’ve denied nothing.
    I have confessed to a deep wrestling over the issue.
    You engage with insults as usual.

  44. Michael says:

    My apologies to MLD and the readers.
    I’ll remove it when I get home.

  45. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael – I will take that to mean you disagree with me.

    You asked earlier where we disagree – I was going to stop with our differing Christology but I guess you have a longer list – like the place of scripture.
    Disagreements are much older than both of us.

  46. Michael says:

    This is obviously not a topic that can be discussed here.
    My mistake.
    I have been clear about both my orthodoxy and my wrestling with this issue.
    Being in transition means that you haven’t arrived at a conclusion yet…but that sort of uncertainty doesn’t work here.
    It’s still a reality for a lot of believers…and it’s sad that this is not something that can be discussed with any amount of grace.
    That inability will shipwreck some folks unnecessarily.

  47. Jean says:

    I think what you may be going through, Michael, is not the issue of inerrancy, but what you’ve described in the comments is an issue of faith itself. You mentioned the texts on prayer and healing as an example. I don’t think the issue is whether the human scribe did not accurately hear and convey Jesus’ words, but can those texts be believed by one in the midst of suffering? Am I framing the issue correctly? If so, that takes the discussion in a different, but still meaningful direction.

  48. Michael says:

    Jean,
    You didn’t answer the question…

  49. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael, I think you shipwrecked the article yourself. You asked how we would answer that other guy, Jerad By as. I replied to how I would answer him. You somehow took it as a challenge to you personally – asking me how I differed from you. When I told you that it was not directed at you but the other guy, you came back again, like a high schooler “let’s meet behind the gym after school” (that may be generational to my generation).

    It went downhill after that. I may have been the only one today who answered the way you directed… But now I have a big book sticking out my butt.

  50. Always true, all the time…in the way that it’s intended to be true. The bible didn’t intend that oil would be a magic cure all potion.

    All things DO always work together for the good of those who believe. Sometimes we dig the mouse turd out of a pile of gold.

  51. Michael says:

    MLD,
    It’s the personal insults that shipwreck this place.
    I let you get to me.
    My responsibility.

  52. Jean says:

    I look at the Scriptures and I see the stories of people like Abraham and Sarah, Joseph, the Hebrews in Egypt, who spent many years before the received the blessing promised them. Recall what Jacob endured in house of Laban before he was able to leave with Rachel. God is faithful, but His timetable is not accessible to us.

  53. Brian Gonzales says:

    Am I missing Jared’s point? His article was not about inerrancy per se, but about coming to terms with our inability to be certain. I become more uncertain about a lot of things as I grow. But because I’m uncertain and can not reconcile my perception about a passage’s meaning with what my perception of reality is, that does not support or nullify inerrancy. It merely confirms my finiteness and leads me to be less dogmatic about my understandings of passages which do not seem to correspond to reality. I must hold a position that I am errant in some way, not the scriptures…even though I may not understand how my understanding of reality is in error or my understanding of the Scripture. I cannot be certain that my construct is accurate. I cannot be certain that I have an accurate perspective on reality OR on God’s truth. My default position as the years go on is, “I don’t know…” acknowledging my absolute inability to make sense of every facet of my existence in God’s complex world. It seems wiser to me to assume the Scriptures inerrant. God is able to preserve and convey his truth

  54. Duane Arnold says:

    Josh

    Scripture is part of the tradition… you know that…

  55. Michael says:

    Josh,
    The Bible makes a clear promise in James.
    When people stay sick, how do you explain that in light of an inerrant word?
    All things do work together eschatologically for good…at least that is our hope.
    In this life however, some bad things stay bad until the eschatology comes.

  56. Duane, of course it is, but even you said it was preeminent. So there is something different.

    Michael, my understanding is that you misunderstood the promise. Do you expect every Christian to live forever?

  57. Michael says:

    Josh,
    Clarify the promise for me.
    Seems pretty straightforward…
    I don’t expect anyone to live forever…I expect that at least many would receive a measure of healing according to the promise…

  58. Babylon's Dread says:

    I am a believer that some things do constitute a slippery slope. Having never been fond of defending inerrancy, that one has never caused me any angst. It has never been a source of change of beliefs that I am aware. Now over the years a few things have changed but never in the direction of rejecting Biblical authority. More in the area of interpretation which usually means understanding things differently, i.e. gifts, eschatology, eternal conscious torment and women’s ministry limits.

    Unless the belief has exegetical basis there is no foundation anyway. So many things simply have no foundational merit those are easy to change.

  59. Michael – I would guess that BD would tell you that many HAVE received a measure of healing according to the promise.

    I could give lots of explanations that work for me, but probably don’t for you. Truthfully, I don’t know. But I do know that some get sick and everyone eventually dies. One popular option is that James was speaking to a particular audience during the apostolic period, and that supernatural healings ceased after that. I don’t buy that so much, but its an option.

  60. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    It’s time to admit Luther was right about the book of James – can’t trust it.

  61. JoelG says:

    “Asking for all those who weren’t healed after the anointing with oil and all things didn’t work together for some recognizable good…”

    Perhaps the asking for “all those”, being present with “all those”, comforting “all those” is the point. I would never try to explain pain and suffering to anyone experiencing it. But perhaps “healing” comes as we bear each other’s burdens even when suffering continues.

    God knew these questions would arise. The paradoxes. The doubts. Why does he allow it? Who knows? But if we can help each other through these things perhaps the “answer” lies there somewhere.

    “The moon and sun are travelers through eternity. Even the years wander on. Whether drifting through life on a boat or climbing toward old age leading a horse, each day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.“

    -Matsuo Basho

  62. Duane Arnold says:

    Healing will come… in this life or the next…

  63. Michael says:

    Well done, Joel.

    Our small town just got rocked…someone decided to die by suicide in front of the stores in our little strip mall.

    I’ll be out the rest of the night.

  64. Here’s the deal – Michael, I love you brother. I’m sorry you’ve been struggling for such a long time. Find what is good and think on those things.

  65. Martin Luther's Disciples says:

    I know that I am an insensitive swine at times, but I need an explanation of how the broken, the hurt and the downtrodden are helped in anyway by being taught that the scriptures contain errors? Somebody please.

    This is why we have universalism. The Bible is clear some go to heaven and some go to hell – but because there are hurt people with relatives headed to hell, we comfort them with lies.
    Help me please.

  66. Nathan Priddis says:

    It is my understanding that the Inerancy debate emerged from Princeton circa 1880’s. If my memory is correct, it was co-mingled with the agenda promoted during the Niagara Bible conferences.

    I am curious how Reform Leaders would feel about adopting a position associated with Pre-Mil Dispensationism?

  67. Kgnikon says:

    Wow..talk about an amazingly thought-provoking comment section! So much to think and pray through. Michael what other blog posts walk through your journey away from Inerrancy? Thanks all for sharing!

  68. Em says:

    MLD @ 7:54 … Question not addressed to me, but if it were…
    I’d say that most of us who believe in the unspeakable gift – God’s provision for mans redemption – have a very feeble understanding of how really great God is, His absolute, infinite holy character…. we think we affirm the fact, but we’re not very focused on it …
    At least that’s how it looks from up here in the mountains…. 🙆

  69. Michael says:

    Josh,

    Thank you…you are loved here.

  70. j2theperson says:

    I can’t read the article you’ve linked to. It sends up a request to allow notifications and says I need to click “allow” in order to confirm I’m not a robot.

  71. Michael says:

    “I know that I am an insensitive swine at times, but I need an explanation of how the broken, the hurt and the downtrodden are helped in anyway by being taught that the scriptures contain errors? ”

    I affirm the first statement…
    I don’t tell people the Bible has errors.
    I do tell people that you can’t “proof text” God or demand every promise be always true for you.
    We’re dealing with mystery…that leaves me reliant not on Scripture (though it informs us of much) but on the living Christ and relationship with Him.

  72. Michael says:

    j2,

    I just clicked right through…not sure what’s going on at your end.

  73. Michael says:

    Kgnikon,

    I haven’t really written on this before…and you can see why in the comments… 🙂

  74. j2theperson says:

    Michael, I tried accessing it from your facebook page and it just redirected to a webpage full of ads.

  75. Michael says:

    j2,

    The link on Facebook does redirect to junk…I deleted that post. The link here still works.

  76. j2theperson says:

    The link here is also redirecting for me. I’ve also tried to go to the main site directly and it loads for a moment then redirects to trash. I don’t think it’s a problem on my end.

  77. Michael says:

    It isn’t working for me either, now. Looks like he’s been hacked.

  78. Em says:

    Maybe God hacked it … Could happen. 😇

    From where we are God looks arbitrary at times, but maybe the commerce of the universe just has to be accepted… How many here have prayed for Michael’s healing? Most i’d guess…. I’ m reading the book of Job at present … God kind, sorta tells Job and his friends to “shut up.” 😉

  79. directambiguity says:

    Paul wasn’t healed…

  80. JoelG says:

    Em, I think Jesus coming down among us to suffer more than any person has or ever will is God’s answer to suffering. He is Present with us in our suffering and has compassion for us, although He doesn’t always stop it. That’s hard to understand but His Presence is always a comfort.

    There is a woman who started a ministry to poor people living in downtown Portland. She visits with them every week in their apartments. I was there when she and a pastor anointed someone with oil and prayed for healing. I don’t know what became of the illness, but the fact that she comes back every week to visit, pray with and bring food and hygiene products to these folks who struggle with mental illness and addiction is a miracle in itself.

    Maybe this being with those who suffer… like Jesus is with us in our pain… is how God wants us to respond to suffering.

  81. Em says:

    JoelG, a very good ponder, indeed!
    Thinking…. 🙋

  82. UnCCed says:

    can’t believe how long I traded the simplicity of following Jesus and making Him-only my focus for bitter old men with traditions of men, 20th century tassels, many words, all amounting to nothing.
    there’s going to be a lot of disappointed “leaders” in the next life when, whether they like it or not, JESUS will be the only focus. Luther, Calvin, etc., who?
    Could be that way now, but, yea, i’ve wasted enough time online.

  83. ( |o )====::: says:

    Joel,
    “Maybe this being with those who suffer… like Jesus is with us in our pain… is how God wants us to respond to suffering.”
    I can’t agree enough!!!

    UnCCed,
    “…the simplicity of following Jesus and making Him-only my focus…”
    Yes!!!

  84. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael @ 11:48 – “I do tell people that you can’t “proof text” God or demand every promise be always true for you.”

    This is such a straw man. No one “proof texts” God (whatever that means) and only the Bethel people and others from the Word Faith movement demand all biblical promises be for them. You are the one having the meltdown because you can’t figure out why the James healing promise is not for everyone. (think on that!)

    To the point of proof texting in general – Paul complemented the Bereans for proof texting his claims. For my part, I proof text the Creeds.

    Since you hold the scriptures as secondary to personal experience and some form of special knowledge, can you tell me something, anything, that you know about Jesus Christ that is not in the Bible?

    BTW, 3 ex lax later, I have passed the Book of Concord. 🙂

  85. Muff Potter says:

    I affirm the tenets and especially the supernatural components of The Apostle’s Creed.
    Beyond that I don’t know.
    I will say this though, The Bible has no equal on the planet so far as holy books go.
    I trust in the very literal and bodily person of Jesus of Nazareth, and in nothing more.

  86. Duane Arnold says:

    “Since you hold the scriptures as secondary to personal experience and some form of special knowledge…”

    Michael, of course, has never said this…

  87. pstrmike says:

    Interesting discussion.

    I don’t get “having faith in book” and I’ve spent my life in SBC, CC, and a half hearted attempt at atheism about 31 years ago. There is much in the Bible that I don’t have a sufficient understanding of to give me comfort, but I am learning to continue to listen to the still small voice. For me, inerrancy is secondary to inspiration.

    Byas has his inconsistencies. He rejects a literal reading of Genesis 1-3. Fair enough. I’ve studied enough textual criticism to understand the argument. But then he wants to appeal to a more or less literal reading of the calling of Abraham, and the history of Israel at least as far as it serves making his point, using convenient word usage such as ” according to the biblical account . . .” that provides him the necessary wiggle room to remain in the gelatin state an avoid being nailed to wall. I get it, I did the same in some of my writing submissions and do so in sermons periodically. I guess I am still much easier irritated with other’s inconsistencies than my own, but I’ll also trust my own instincts, accompanying by doubts and my continued scholarship rather than his.

    Interestingly enough, a colleague of mine who rejects inerrancy and a literal reading of Genesis 1-3 still wants to plant his battle flag for full inclusion on the Imago Dei, but I digress.

    I live in the desert, both literally and figuratively. It’s not glorious. It is difficult.The desert was a forty year funeral march, or a forty day time of severe physical denial. It is a harsh place that can consume your body and your soul. There is nothing romantic about the monasticism that requires isolation and sacrifice. Go spend some lengthy time in the desert and then come talk to me. A Benedictine monk drove that point home to me a few years ago during Lent.

    The dichotomy between loving the book and loving Jesus is not always a correct distinction. Excess criticism often opens a door for spiritual pride. God grant us the balance that can only be attained by Your favor.

    The same people who advocate for an inerrant Holy Writ may also desire to have a deeper relationship with Christ. Yes, they may not understand things like mystery and the times, such as in Pentecostal circles, when God appears to leave the map. But last I checked, the inspired word still tells me that God looks not on the outward appearance, but upon the heart. Peace

  88. Promised Land says:

    There is a temptation is to question the Word of God when our experiences don’t line up with it. We all hear the whisper of the enemy. It’s just a lie. It doesn’t change the truth. We don’t always see the manifestation of healing. I can allow that to hinder me from praying for people to be healed but it just reveals my unbelief. What I believe will always be revealed in my actions not my words.

  89. Stephen in Acts seemed to take Abraham literally (does he?), even if modern scholars seem to agree that the Jewish scriptures weren’t written until the Jews were taken to Babylon.

  90. Martin Luther's Disciples says:

    Duane you can deny it all you want but he said the scriptures are only of some value, he said he uses scripture but does not depend on them and relies on the experience of his personal relationship with Jesus.
    This is why I made the comment about how his sermons must be doozies if he preaches from a book he proclaims has only some value, that he states he does not depend on (check his very words throughout the comments) – that leaves his preaching tool to be his experience.
    Check it out.

  91. Martin Luther's Disciples says:

    I don’t think inerrancy lessens mystery at all. All inerrancy says is that the mystery is true and was not a misstatement by the writer.
    The same is true of paradoxes and dichotomies – they are there intentionally and purposefully – not in error. – but they are still mysteries.
    To be clear I said yesterday I don’t associate with the term inerrancy. I am satisfied with inspired and infallible. Both suggest no errors. The Chicago guys are just fellows with great insecurities.

  92. Michael says:

    “Since you hold the scriptures as secondary to personal experience and some form of special knowledge, can you tell me something, anything, that you know about Jesus Christ that is not in the Bible?”

    I said nothing even close to that.
    Can you ever have an honest discussion without lying about others beliefs?
    Ever?

  93. Michael says:

    pstrmike,

    A number of good points.
    I would quibble some with your comment about this with “faith in the Book”…I see a lot of bibliodolatry on these pages…

  94. Michael says:

    The Scriptures are the primary source of theology, doctrine, and practice.
    They are informed by reason, tradition, and experience.
    That is an orthodox statement of faith.

    The problem with folks and their inerrant bibles is that they all have inerrant interpretations that differ…a lot…

  95. pstrmike says:

    thanks Michael. As we have talked about, the problem isn’t the book, the problem is the hermeneutic. I’m at the point to believe that they all have their strengths but also their weaknesses. I think the Jewish Midrash stemmed from the understanding that we all have our hermeneutical inadequacies and was attempt to compensate through group discussion.

  96. Michael says:

    pstrtmike,

    There’s another possibility and we’ve talked about it at length.
    God may reveal himself in diverse ways to diverse people order to bring the most folks home.
    God is too all glorious to be contained in simple theology…though he may reveal himself to simple folks in that fashion.

  97. Jean says:

    “God may reveal himself in diverse ways to diverse people order to bring the most folks home.”

    Michael,

    Is this your discovery, or has this been proposed somewhere else you’d care to share?

    Is there a limit to such diversity? If so, where do you draw the limit?

  98. Martin Luther's Disciples says:

    Michael, I am sorry that you think I misrepresent your position. It is not my intent. However there may be something else in play – that you misrepresent your own position and do not choose your words and phrases carefully enough. In your mind you may know what you mean, but you type something different.
    Your comment 3/21 @ 11:48am followed several similar statements the last 2 days. “…that leaves me reliant not on scripture (though it informs us of much) but on the living Christ and relationship with him.”
    Prior to that -3/20 2:37pm, you relegated the word of God to “having some value”.

    I found it odd that in your claim to “not being an apostate” that you called upon the authority of the Creeds which if nothing else calls for the screwing down of the scriptures themselves to their position of prominence and priority.

  99. Martin Luther's Disciples says:

    I had asked earlier – is there anything you know about Jesus from “a personal relationship” that is not already found in scripture?

    I also think you have a category error about inerrancy. It has nothing to do with a person’s inerrant interpretation of the Bible. Inerrancy is a statement about the word of God itself.

  100. j2theperson says:

    Finally was able to read the article (glad they got the hacking issue sorted out), and I read all the comments.

    I’m not sure exactly what everybody means when they use the term “inerrancy”.

    Is it synonymous with “true” or does it mean something else?

    I just read 99 comments on this and I feel like people have different interpretations of what this term means.

  101. Duane Arnold says:

    j2theperson

    It is a matter of semantics… which lets us down in discussion.

  102. Michael says:

    “Is this your discovery, or has this been proposed somewhere else you’d care to share?”

    There are literally tens of thousands of groups that fit under the broad umbrella of orthodoxy.
    We differ on everything from eschatology to baptism to communion and on and on.

    Either God intended this for a purpose or most of “the church” is deceived.

  103. Michael says:

    “Is there a limit to such diversity? If so, where do you draw the limit?”

    Beats me.
    I arbitrarily draw a line that demands affirmation of the creeds…I don’t know for sure where God draws it.

  104. Michael says:

    MLD,

    I know what inerrancy is.
    It just seems to me that arguing over inerrancy is a moot point because even if the Bible is, there is no single interpretation of those inerrant words…we end up in the same places.

  105. Martin Luther's Disciples says:

    Michael – I don’t argue inerrancy. As I stated a couple of times, it is a made up category with no useful purpose. It is similar to the false categories of “Bible believing Christian” or “Born again Christian.”

    As far as arguing about inerrancy, you wrote the article – inerrancy was not on my radar before that morning 🙂

  106. Jean says:

    If the Bible is inerrant and there are more than one interpretation of a text, then one of two things must be true: (1) either one interpretation is wrong, or (2) both interpretations are wrong.

    If the Bible is errant, then no interpretation is trustworthy because it may be based on an error.

    Do we end up in the same places?

  107. j2theperson says:

    It seems to me that, if when a person says “I no longer believe in inerrancy” they mean, “I believe there are parts of the Bible that I do not merely not understand and that are not simply open to interpretation and a non-literal understanding but are, in fact, objectively and categorically false” then they are starting a journey that will end in them not being a Christian.

    If you’re saying something else when you say, “I no longer believe in inerrancy”, then it could be fine. Everybody has questions and doubt and things they struggle with; that’s frequently just part of trying to maintain a coherent world-view (faith-based or otherwise).

  108. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I think the simpler means are to just call it God’s word. That in itself should mean it is true and without error.

  109. Duane Arnold says:

    Jean

    I guess that I’d better burn all those sets of commentaries as soon as I find the one that is absolutely, 100% correct… then there are all those Church Fathers with different views and interpretations… then there’s that critical apparatus for my Greek NT with variant mss. and readings… I don’t know that I have an incinerator large enough…😁

  110. Jean says:

    Duane,

    If you’re looking for trustworthy commentaries, send me a private inquiry and I’ll be happy to share the titles of many.

    Regarding the critical apparatus, I understand that none of the variants create any uncertainty over, or call into question, any material doctrine of the Christian faith. That’s what I’ve been taught by many sources. Am I correct?

  111. Duane Arnold says:

    Jean

    Golly… thanks so much! 😂

    On the critical apparatus, it’s debatable. There are sections of the Gospel of John for instance… but you could go through the entire NT. It is just part of the process of interpretation of a compiled text. Every serious scholar knows that…

  112. Michael says:

    A lot of this is again determining “how” the Bible is “true”.
    I believe it is the true story of the Creator setting out to save and restore his creation through Jesus Christ and the people given to Him.
    Everything in the Scriptures points to Jesus and all that He has done and will do.
    Everything else resides inside that meta narrative…and has been and will be debated until His return.

  113. Michael says:

    “If the Bible is errant, then no interpretation is trustworthy because it may be based on an error.”
    That would depend on both the definition of errant and where it is errant.

    I hold almost all interpretation loosely outside the creedal affirmations…you have certainty that a given set of interpretations is correct.
    I reject many of those interpretations as errant.
    Others, though orthodox, would say we’re both wrong, though we all claim the support of the Scriptures.
    You would fence me from the table…deny me the “medicine of immortality” as Ignatius called the Eucharist… over those differences, effectively denying my salvation.
    That…is an act of unbelievable hubris to me…just as my objections are to you.
    My certainty is not in my ability to discern all the doctrines of the church or in every word of our holy book, but in the mission of Christ to seek and save the lost, driven by love eternal and unfathomable.

  114. j2theperson says:

    ***I believe it is the true story of the Creator setting out to save and restore his creation through Jesus Christ and the people given to Him.
    Everything in the Scriptures points to Jesus and all that He has done and will do.***

    I guess I’m just super sensitive to this right now, because our previous rector (who was, in my opinion, on the verge of destroying our church and making it be completely irrelevant) could easily have affirmed those things. His belief that the Bible is the story of God restoring his creation through Christ led him to complete Universalism and, as far as I could tell, a belief that the only real sin a person could commit was to view Christianity as more valid/true than other religions and to believe that individuals could actually sin in any meaningful way that might separate them, perhaps even permanently, from God. (And, maybe I’m mischaracterizing his beliefs, but they sure came off that way to me.)

  115. Michael says:

    j2,

    I’m not going to receive the sins of your former rector because we both happen to believe what most Christians have believed in all places at all times.
    It sounds like he rejected not just biblical authority (which I do not) but 2000 years of the moral authority of the church…which I do not.
    One of the guardrails we use in determining sound doctrine is what the church universal has discerned through the centuries…and I value that tradition and guidance immensly.
    However, we must acknowledge that people filled with the Holy Spirit over the centuries have also differed in interpretations…so we approach all these things with a deep humility and openness to correction along with grace and charity toward those who differ.

  116. j2theperson says:

    ***I’m not going to receive the sins of your former rector because we both happen to believe what most Christians have believed in all places at all times.***

    I’m not asking you to, and I apologize if it came off as that. I’m just trying to explain where I’m coming from and why some of what you are saying makes me nervous, and I’m also trying to get a better understanding of what exactly it is you’re rejecting and what you still adhere to.

  117. Jean says:

    Michael,

    “You would fence me from the table…deny me the “medicine of immortality” as Ignatius called the Eucharist… over those differences, effectively denying my salvation.
    That…is an act of unbelievable hubris to me…just as my objections are to you.”

    First, I don’t consider your objections hubris. I appreciate your honesty and desire more agreement between us.

    Second, Holy Communion is not an earthly fellowship meal; it is a Holy, divinely instituted, meal. Therefore, to use picture language, the legs of the table, its surface, what is served on it, who the Host of the meal is, and what the purpose of the meal is, are all revealed, taught, instituted and commanded in the Scriptures.

    If you say, “I reject many of those [Lutheran] interpretations as errant,” then in essence that means that we are talking about not one, but different tables, because these tables and everything associated with them are built on Scriptural interpretations. In other words, Holy Communion does not exist apart from the Word of God.

    So, not sharing the Lord’s Supper together, is not an act of hubris on anyone’s part, but an honest recognition and acknowledgement that we do not share the same table spiritually, because our interpretations of Scripture on material points of theology are different.

    At the same time, the Roman Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox also practice closed Communion. The majority of the Christian world practices closed Communion. Lutherans cannot Commune at Catholic and Orthodox churches which hold to their official teaching. I don’t consider that hubris on the part of Catholics and Orthodox.

    Please don’t consider it hubris on the part of Lutherans for being honest.

  118. Michael says:

    j2,

    I tried to be clear about that.
    I affirm the early creeds and confessions of the church and the 39 Articles of the Church of England.
    Completely orthodox.
    I also believe that the scriptures are the primary vehicle through which we understand God..but that we also use tradition, reason, and experience to construct our faith.

  119. j2theperson says:

    When you describe it like that, Michael, it doesn’t actually sound like you don’t believe in inerrancy. Or are there specific parts of the Bible that you don’t actually believe anymore?

  120. Duane Arnold says:

    Jean

    For what it is worth, you would be welcomed at any altar I served at any time. I know that in your thinking that cannot be reciprocated… even though this last week I was invited to do exactly that by a LCMS pastor. I demurred…

  121. Michael says:

    j2,

    Those who hold to inerrancy usually agree that this perfection only resides in the “original autographs”…which are lost to the ages.
    We know that there are scribal errors and possibly historical errors in the documents we have.
    That doesn’t concern me.

    Have you ever heard someone describe poetry as “inerrant”?

    There are multiple genres in Scripture and the book is full of poetry and symbolic and apocalyptic writings.
    It is also intensely cultural…how do we know which bits applied to a particular time and culture and which are universal?
    Read through the Proverbs or get one of those “Bible Promises” books…are they always true, all the time, in every instance?

    We use tradition and reason to try to discern these things…which is not a rejection of the Scriptures, but a way of viewing them through a larger narrative.

    I believe that Dr. Packer is correct that Genesis 1-3 is written as prose poetry…not as literal history.
    That alone removes me from the ranks of the inerrantists even though Packer literally wrote the book on the subject.

  122. Michael says:

    Jean,

    I believe that what the Scriptures teach is that the Eucharist is a family meal where we gather to feast on Christ.
    I will exclude none of the family…even Lutherans.

  123. j2theperson says:

    Thanks Michael, I understand better what you mean. Like I said in my post at 5:51; I wasn’t sure what the various people here meant when they used the word inerrancy. But I have a better understanding now of what you mean. I guess I probably wouldn’t be considered to believe in it either. I don’t know.

    Honestly, I have a hard time understanding what many christianity-specific theological terms mean.

  124. Nathan Priddis says:

    As I stated before, Inerrency did not exist prior to 1850s, and was part of the Niagara Bible Conference platform.

    I don’t believe it’s creation was positive in any way, nor was an improvement in the understanding of Scripture. The debate itself was a regression and fraud in my mind. It has sown confusion and likely has resulted in many leaving the Faith.

    The argument does not represent faith, but a lack of confidence in the very Scriptures allegedly being defended. I am convinced the initiators of the debate where reacting to 1800s science, and declining clergy influence in Western Society.

    The argument is nonsensical because none of the original text were preserved. Nor do we read them as originally delivered. At best, we have a fascimily.

  125. Jean says:

    Nathan,

    I think you are on the right track. However, I think the largest part of the reaction was to the application of science to the study of Scripture, in the form of various forms of criticism. When put through the scientific methods of the enlightenment, the liberal bible scholars called into question the historicity and truth of large swaths of the Scriptures (e.g., the search for the historical Jesus).

    At the root of the matter is the fact that science cannot prove miracles and faith cannot prove phenomena. One has to believe that the Scriptures are true, or not.
    If the text says God breathed, then the words are from His breath. That is a matter of faith. Everything that Christianity promises depends on His Word and breath.

  126. Em says:

    If we have straight in our conceptualization – as best a human can – the nature of God and we read a passage of scripture from a scientific perspective coming to the conclusion the passage is inaccurate…. ?
    IMV – one of two things is the problem: our science is off or we do not understand the scripture in question… Could the truth have been lost in the transcibing? That is a very remote chance… IMV… 🙋
    For my part, i am stunned by the continuity Genesis to Revelation – it could not be a human compilation, but some teachers (and preachers) have done us a disservice by ignoring cintext… IMNSHO

  127. Jean says:

    Em,

    Science is incapable of authenticating miracles, because, by their nature, miracles defy the laws of nature. But, that is not a defect of science. Miracles are not phenomena susceptible to empirical testing and reproduction.

    That’s why the Scriptures describe faith in this way: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” And “for we walk by faith, not by sight.”

    We can’t prove by the scientific method that a virgin conceived, that water was transformed into wine, that a dead man was resurrected, that Christ’s body and blood are offered in Holy Communion for the forgiveness of your sins. But this is not a defect in science or the empirical method. Faith is a different genre of truth, but no less truth.

    Does that help?

  128. Em says:

    Thank you, Jean, point taken.. my reference to conflicts between what the Book relates and science was not with regard to recorded miracles such as water to wine, things not testable…. rather the question of a 6 day creation, a universal flood…. Events that are questionable with what science can test today…
    Faith does come by hearing, yes … but is outside the testable, for the most part – a heart response perhaps?

  129. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    What is a heart response? My heart if full of sin and cholesterol and not reliable for much.

  130. Josh the Baptist says:

    For the record, you can completely affirm Michael’s 9:34am and still be an inerrantist. His particular argument in that comment is against strict literalism.
    I’m sure Michael recognizes that, I’m just pointing it out for those confused by the terms.

  131. Nathan Priddis says:

    There has been a longstanding assumption that science and Scripture contradict. This is a substantial driver behind the rise of Inerrency in the latter 1800s. My assertion is Science emerges, the Church resist, or turns to Psuedo Science such as Creationism.

    The problem is not the text. Nor is it Science. It is retention of antiquated interpretation, based on tradition.

    Example: As a child I had a Golden Series book on dinosaurs.
    1. The first several pages where redacted because it stated evolution of species and timeframes. This is resistance, not an actual attempt to explain a perceived variance.
    2. I was verbally informed the Serpent had legs but lost them as a result of the Curse. And, resulting in all latter snakes as well. This is Psuedo, or outright fraud.

    The text and Science do not contradict. Technology has not advanced enough to fully grasp the text, but is improving. It is the fault of the Church for not desiring to see technology advance.

    The Church does not want knowledge. It wants continuity with tradition.

  132. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    How can we say that there is a divide between science and faith when all the great scientist of old were Christians, Jews and Muslims of great faith?

  133. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    My issue with this article (Michael’s and the other writer) stems from my distrust of people making statements of change.
    I have no issue with churches that do not have a cross – to me, no harm no foul. However, when a church starts removing all their crosses (and I was a part of a church that did this) I start looking for the nuttiness that is to follow — and it usually does soon after.

    So, when I see some make a declaration out of the blue saying they no longer stand on the word of God, I scratch my head and wonder – how long until the nuttiness begins?
    ***The is not just directed at this article – in today’s modern American take on religion and spirituality, we see this all over.***

  134. Nathan Priddis says:

    I’m not sure I understand your question.

    Islam had examples of advanced thinkers at a time when the West was in the Dark Age. But Islam was hostile, with it’s foundation of no Allah but Allah.

    Newton was a believer, but his Laws only date to about 1687. I would have no idea what rate of absorption they met. They would have been a sorta contemporary to Usher’s dating.

    I would say Usher is more representative of the Church’s product then a Newton.

    Post Newton, it was a long way to Einstein. I believe the Church was distracted by its Modernist-Fundamentalist war, and failed to grasp what he said.

  135. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I lead a Friday morning men’s breakfast Bible study. It’s really great this time of year as we have around 40 men who show up each week for 90 mins. In the group are 2 retired pastors, 2 seminary trained deacons and a pastor from the town down the river. I brought up the inerrancy question and got very little recognition or response. When I asked if they thought the Bible was true through and through, everyone said yes. But heck, they are all Lutherans, they are guided by scripture and the Book of Concord.

    1.) “I and my neighbor and, in short, all people may err and deceive. But God’s Word cannot err.” Large Catechism 4, 57
    2.) In the Preface to the Book of Concord we read the confession of the Lutheran Church that God’s Word is “pure and unchangeable.” Preface to the Book of Concord, 16
    3.) “God’s Word is not false or deceitful.” Epitome 7, 13

    Here is the issue – one may respond by saying something like, “Well, of course God’s Word cannot err, but the reformers aren’t saying that about the Bible. Look at it this way my friend, the Bible only contains God’s Word. But it is not in its entirety God’s Word. It’s a book written by fallible men!” Believe me when I say many have argued this way throughout the years… and they still do today.

    I wish I could make one of those Facebook memes that make that statement and says – Prove me wrong! 🙂

  136. Michael says:

    That’s sad.
    I carefully began the article by declaring my fidelity to the creeds (which don’t mention any sort of view of the Scriptures) and my fidelity to the confession of my tradition.
    I even acknowledged our confession says that the Bible contains all things necessary for salvation.
    I did not say what or where I was transitioning to…this is a process…and the process may lead back to some version of where I started.
    I do not fear challenge and faith is a living thing centered on a living God and not a book.
    Some need absolute certainty in all things…I have learned to live without much certainty or security at all.
    I fear more the kind of wooden literalism that reduces God to paper and faith in a living God to a set of doctrines to fight over.
    Even more fearsome than that is a religion that doesn’t allow doubt or questions and reduces the human heart to Jeremiah 17:9…as if that’s all the Bible has to say about our hearts…

  137. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael – I was trying to make an over arching point, but you did make clear that you used to, or in the past you stood on the word of God – that was your certainty. The implication would go directly to, you no longer stand on the word of God.

    If you want to clarify or edit that statement, it is fine with me.

  138. Michael says:

    “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.”
    (James 5:14–16 ESV)

    Inerrancy says that the Bible is always true at all times.
    We all have followed the prescription above and many are not healed.
    What failed?
    Reason allows space for hypothetical answers…but a literal interpretation of the text and your doctrine demands that we “stand on the Word” even though it is often at times not “literally” true.
    Now, I’ve been clear that I’m not rejecting the Scriptures…simply seeking a way to embrace them while making allowances for reality and reason.

  139. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Inerrancy says that the Bible stands with no error – NOT that all scripture is directed to all people of all times.
    When Paul asked Timothy to bring him his coat and his books, was he telling me in the 21st century to bring him his coat and books? No! but it is a true and correct scriptural statement without error.

    But I guess you force my hand to ask – since you think this passage may be in error or inserted by man for his purpose, are you then are one who believes the Bible is not the word of God – but only contains they word of God? ***perhaps you are just looking to transition to that position.***
    That is a fully accepted position – it is held by the ELCA and branches of the Episcopal Church among many.

  140. Michael says:

    MLD,

    That was weak.
    Are you going to try and sell the the line that we are no longer supposed to anoint and pray for the sick.
    Was that only for the people and times James was writing to?
    Really?
    Inform us of the rest of scriptural imperatives that no longer apply…

  141. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I said this the other day – when and the way you speak of inerrancy, you have a category error. If your problem is with people taking the Bible literally then work against that.
    But if you are lobbying that the James 5 passage is in error – then I must call you out.

    btw, there are many scriptural imperatives that do not apply today.

  142. Nathan Priddis says:

    I think MLD you pointed out the damage caused by the emergence of the Inerrency
    bebate.

    I am not Reform but am confident that the Remormist would all gladly suffer for the Scriptures. I believe it never entered their minds to defend Scripture from unbelievers, because it stood secure as given by God.

    But insecurity and embarrassment crept in. The nature of Faith began to change, because it was necessary to also hold to the “Fundamenrals.” And Inerrency was one. But it came at the price of adopting the World’s intellectualism.

    Inerrency had no way of dealing with it’s original text flaw. And it is an admission that interpretation is a requirement for God’s Word to remain pure. I say the Chicago Statement continues in the history.

    It is God’s responsibility to keep and perform all he has said.

  143. Michael says:

    You’re ducking the question.
    If people do not get healed…what failed?

  144. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Healed of what? You seem to be ignoring how the passage blends in sin and forgiveness in the same act. Is your position that we are talking the same instantaneous healing as we saw in apostolic times? I think the passage is speaking of the thing that is making the people sick.
    But I can’t go any further than that – in a similar case I do not understand how baptism saves, but heck the Bible says so.

    I took my shot, now you need to belly up. Is the Bible in error?

  145. Michael says:

    MLD,

    The passage clearly teaches physical healing and a spiritual healing that accompanies it.
    We know that at least in the case of physical healing that doesn’t always happen.
    We also know that sometimes…it does.
    Therefore we do not reject the Scripture as being false, but as being in a different category from true or false completely.
    I do not have a name for that category other than mystery.
    A lot of Scripture falls in that category…we cannot always declare that everything is an absolute, nor can we deny that there is truth in it.
    There is great tension and ambiguity in the text…and my certainty doesn’t go far past the creeds I confess.
    That makes me very uncomfortable…but maybe I’m supposed to be…

  146. Jean says:

    Michael,

    “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.”

    And from James:

    “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.”

    What John writes explicitly, James implies by “in the name of the Lord.” Prayer, even by Jesus at Gethsemane, always submits to the will of God. Why? Because God’s will for his people is wise and perfect. Our will is imperfect, corrupted by sin and limited as creatures.

    Jesus did not heal Paul’s thorn. He may not heal our sickness or disease, during our life. However, His Word doesn’t fail or err. His will is done.

  147. Michael says:

    Nathan,

    I don’t have an issue with the “word’s intellectualism”.
    All truth is God’s truth and not all of it is recorded in Scripture…

  148. Michael says:

    Jean,

    That’s one way out of the conundrum.
    I commend it to you if it works for you…

  149. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael – Wow! you say “All truth is God’s truth and not all of it is recorded in Scripture…”

    That may be true, but let me just say, scripture is all we get no matter how much pixie dust you sprinkle on yourself. The theologian of glory seeks after the secret things of God – the theologian of the cross sees things as they are.

    “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” Deut 29:29

    I think you may be looking for love in all the wrong places as Johnny Lee once said. 🙂

  150. Nathan Priddis says:

    Michael.

    I would say yes to truth outside of Scripture. The Signs where the first revelation.

    “… Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.”…
    The Signs made known the Godhead, but man

    …”changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts..”..

  151. Jean says:

    “That’s one way out of the conundrum.
    I commend it to you if it works for you…”

    Is it a way out, or what Scripture teaches?

    Moreover, it doesn’t require anyone to hold that Scripture fails or is errant. If one lets doubt or the father of lies in at one place, will it or he remain there, or will he sow doubt elsewhere, until faith clings to swiss cheese? Be careful.

  152. Michael says:

    Jean,

    My faith clings to Jesus…or Jesus clings to me… depending on my theological mood of the day.

  153. Duane Arnold says:

    Friends,

    Context, context, context… Look at the entire book of James and not just “proof texts”. This is written to those who are suffering want, injustice and, likely, persecution. It is about a Christian community caring for each other. The word “sick” here is elsewhere translated “weakness”. It is not meant to be a “proof text” for healing, it’s much more about a loving and caring order in a small, suffering, body of believers who want some assurance of justice and restoration. We need to read it for what it is, not what we want it to say… At least, that is my opinion. Literalism, inerrancy, infallibility is, as Nathan pointed out, just so much 19th century sophistry.

  154. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Nathan – God spoke through nature early on, and then through the prophets – but now???
    “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.”

    Raise your hand if you hear from Jesus outside of the written word.

  155. Michael says:

    “Raise your hand if you hear from Jesus outside of the written word.”
    All the time…

  156. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I gave that up when the 90 foot Jesus appeared to Oral Roberts 30 years ago.

  157. Duane Arnold says:

    “Raise your hand if you hear from Jesus outside of the written word.”

    I sure hope so, otherwise prayer is a one-sided conversation…

  158. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Duane & Michael – context, context, context. Are you receiving new revelation as was implied by the Hebrews passage?

  159. Mud Man says:

    Michael:
    “Inerrancy says that the Bible is always true at all times.”

    MLD:
    “Inerrancy says that the Bible stands with no error – NOT that all scripture is directed to all people of all times.”

    These two statements show the difficulty of defining “inerrancy.”

    Does the definition mean:
    There are zero errors in the text, grammar, spelling, historical, locations, who, what, where, when, stories… (some hold the originals, autographs, are without error, but since we don’t have them any more a pass is granted with the current text, I think that is a “copping out answer”).

    Or does it mean there is no error in the teachings of the texts?

    I hold closer to what Michael wrote, there is zero error in the truths being taught and exclaimed in the texts and they are applicable to all. However, now one must define what it means to be applicable to all. When the debate starts definitions should always be a part of trying to understand what each of us mean and something so seemingly simple grows into a huge tree.

    Now the problem is whose interpretation of these truths is the most inerrant one? I submit that is really the debate between the two I posted above.

    The debate rages for millennium and won’t be answered here on PP. It just makes people crazy and light the ember of hate and violence inter hearts.

  160. Michael says:

    “Are you receiving new revelation as was implied by the Hebrews passage?”

    Such a dry old canard.
    I simply contend that the Holy Spirit has not been muted by Gutenberg and God still speaks in myriad ways to His people.
    You disagree.
    I don’t care.

  161. Michael says:

    MM,

    I concur that definitions are an issue in these discussions…

  162. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Duane, I forgot to acknowledge you affirmation of my 9:47 am with your 10:51 am.

  163. Jean says:

    I find the attempt to separate the Spirit from the Word to be anti-Trinitarian. I think one should consider carefully how the Bible presents one God in 3 persons, the procession of the Spirit from the Father through the Son, and the pneumatology in the Gospel of John. Word and breath go together, beginning in the first chapter of Genesis.

  164. Michael says:

    “I find the attempt to separate the Spirit from the Word to be anti-Trinitarian.”

    I’ve already been accused of being a Gnostic so being an anti-Trinitarian heretic is just another badge on the coat of my shame.
    You guys think you’ve got it all nailed down…

  165. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael – we have run this to the ground. Look, you state you no longer stand on the word of God (in your article) or that you are transitioning away from it – you do stand on the creeds which are man made and not God breathed and you get personal revelation directly from Jesus.
    You can do your Christianity anyway you want, but remember earlier when I said the nuttiness soon follows?

    I am running out to a friend of mine, actually one who is part of my Bible class, who is being ordained and installed as the pastor at a church down river 40 min. These are always times of great celebration. Blessings to all.

  166. Michael says:

    Does the Spirit speak through the Scriptures?
    Of course.
    Is he limited to the Scriptures?
    Hell, no.

  167. Michael says:

    MLD,

    You are so skilled at removing the nuance from my statements that it looks like I’m a heretic and you’re not a liar.
    Well played.

  168. Jean says:

    Michael,

    I never used the word “heretic,” and I don’t think you’re a heretic. I think your point of view is shared by a large percentage of Christians worldwide.

    I don’t agree with you on this point, and I don’t think anyone is saved or helped by their belief in private revelation, but so long as their faith is founded solely on the written promises of God in the Holy Scriptures, I would never question yours or anyone else’s salvation. I would not ever counsel someone to rely on any inward witness or personal revelation for assurance that they’re saved; I would direct them to the external written promises of God for their assurance.

    I wish you only God’s peace and assurance as you wrestle with these issues.

  169. Duane Arnold says:

    Jean

    At 11:39, the Eastern Orthodox would disagree… big time.

  170. Em says:

    I think 😇 a case can be made for an inverse ratio of miraculous physical mercies from God as man uses his God given brain and becomes more self sufficient…
    And… is there scripture that says something to the effect, God has mercy upon whom He chooses ?

  171. Michael says:

    Jean,

    My faith is founded on a personal relationship with Christ that I’ve had since I was at least 4 years old.

    I have no issues about either my salvation or the assurance of it.

    None.

    God speaks through prayer, circumstances, fellow Christians, and cats… just to name some ways He communicates with me.

    Your mileage may vary…

  172. Duane Arnold says:

    “I don’t think anyone is saved or helped by their belief in private revelation…”

    Stephen
    The Apostle Paul
    John the Divine
    Antony of the Desert
    Francis of Assisi
    Julian of Norwich
    Catherine of Sienna
    Teresa of Avila…

  173. Michael says:

    These discussions always end up in the same place…where one side thinks they are defending God and the Scriptures and the other side defending themselves from something they are not doing.

    Questions, doubts, and honest wrestling are made to be the enemies of God.

    They’re not.

  174. Duane Arnold says:

    Michael

    Could not agree more…

  175. Em says:

    Michael @ 12:16 … Amen… We are meant to ponder and search and increase in knowledge of eternal things, but there is more amazing treasure than we can exhaust in a lifetime… combined with humility and, maybe wonder, continual spiritual discernment and growth is good 🙆. IMO

  176. Michael says:

    Once you adopt a confession all the pondering and questions must cease and all those energies go into defending the system you’ve adopted.

    Been there, done that, went to Geneva.

    It’s safe, it’s secure, and you can stay there a lifetime.

    It’s just too expensive for me…

  177. Duane Arnold says:

    Michael

    But, did you buy the T-Shirt?

  178. Michael says:

    Duane,

    No, I bought the coffee cup and a Calvin labeled bottle of booze… 🙂

  179. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I did the pondering before accepting the confessions – this is why I was able to accept them.

  180. Nathan Priddis says:

    MLD.
    God spoke to mankind first with Signs, not nature in general. The message predated the foundation of our World. The message was corrupted and lost. Small pieces are left and are still valid today. Mostly these are just names, but the names explain words in the Scriptures that have no source. It’s because the source is older and mostly lost.
    Example:
    The Branch
    The Good Shephard
    The Woman
    The Dragon
    Ect..

  181. Jean says:

    Duane,

    Regarding your list at 12:14 pm,

    Stephen and Paul fall within this passage:

    “It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.”

    I don’t know the others, but stand by my earlier statement, with due respect to your position.

    I haven’t ascribed to anyone here emnity with God. I hope we are wrestling together on these issues with the best of intentions.

  182. Michael says:

    My final thought.

    I have no issues with those who fully subscribe to a confession of faith.
    If that’s the way God has provided for your faith to sustain you, then bless him for it.
    I’ll commune the lot of you…

  183. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael – so I had an afterthought. Since you are so critical of my adherence to the Lutheran Confessions as “all the pondering and questions must cease and all those energies go into defending the system you’ve adopted…”

    Can the same charge be leveled against you or have you already bailed on The Book of Common Prayer and all contained within? How is you buying into your confession different than mine?

  184. Michael says:

    MLD,

    The Book of Common Prayer is a worship book, not a confession.
    It is also my favorite book of all books, as I’m sure Duane is tired of hearing. 🙂
    Our confession is the 39 Articles of the Church of England which I already said that I affirm.
    I’m able to affirm it because we’re allowed to ask questions about each position and even moderate or modify a position if we’re in general agreement.
    Thus, Duane can be Anglo Catholic and Dr. Packer can be Reformed and both can be fully Anglican.
    We are expected to think and ask questions, then embrace those we may differ with as we engage in “common worship”.
    I couldn’t be more at home…

  185. Duane Arnold says:

    Jean

    Read the others…

  186. Em says:

    I hear the Lutheran say “my heart is incurably wicked…” seeming to say that Redemption is just something they affirm as true, but making no change in their personal values. .. Seeming to say that their standing with God is ritual dependent – obedience to outward ceremonies gives a mystic standing with the Eternal God? Is this correct? …?… 🙋

  187. Martin Luther's Disciples says:

    Em, do you still sin? If so your heart is also wicked. Welcome to the club. So what exactly is a heart response?

  188. Jean says:

    I was reading Matthew Chapter Six with some evangelicals last week. Basically, there are 3 readings: (1) you massage Jesus’ words so that you are able to do them; (2) they don’t apply as normative to New Testament Christians, or (3) you uphold Jesus’ words and acknowledge that you do not have a righteousness that exceeds that of the pharisees, and therefore, you have not access to the kingdom of Heaven based on your works.

    Changing your values is upholding God’s law, but that doesn’t translate into doing God’s law by your own strength, commitment or will. God works in a Christian to will and to work for his good pleasure. But if it is God at work, then it’s not the Christian making a change. Ritual dependent? Humans are ritual creatures. God works through rituals. He always has. It only takes a cursory reading of Scripture to see ritual all throughout the Bible.

    And don’t get the impression that evangelicals are not ritualistic. They are, but have different rituals.

  189. Em says:

    Perhaps we snag our logic on the concept of a new (spiritual) birth… The war within us, Paul’s body of death in Romans 7(7:18-25 in particular) which we seem to read differently

    “massaging” is not what i’d call it, however… 😏

    There may be some schooling ahead of us all in the next life… Probably will be… And more than likely neither the evangelical nor the Lute will be teaching…. DUnno, though, do i? 😇

  190. Em says:

    I forgot to than k MLD and Jean for indulging me with thoughtful responses to my quandry….
    God keeo

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