I believe in inerrancy. This means I believe that there are no errors in the Bible. Of course, this comes with the usual disclaimers which say that we must be talking about the original manuscripts and we must be assuming that the Bible is being interpreted correctly. In other words, none of our Bible translations are inerrant and we are not inerrant in our understanding of the text. To solve the translation problem, you could become a KJV Only advocate and believe that the King James is inerrant (but there is no warrant at all to make such a move). To solve the problem of interpretation, you could head to Rome and believe that the Pope is the infallible interpreter (but, again, no warrant – besides that, who would interpret the Pope?!). Therefore, I am left with the type of inerrancy I have. I am good with it.

However, while I believe that the Bible is inerrant, I do not believe this is the linchpin of Evangelicalism, much less Christianity. While I agree with most of the Chicago Statement of Biblical Inerrancy, I think I disagree with it when it says that one cannot deny inerrancy without incurring “grave consequences” on his or herself (XIX). “Grave” is a very strong word. Too strong, in my opinion. Nevertheless, inerrancy is important because it speaks to the nature of Scripture being in harmony with the nature of God. I have looked enough into this issue to believe that I probably won’t ever change my stance here. It is one of those issues that is pretty well settled in my theology.

However, if I were to find something that I believed was a legitimate error in the Scripture, I don’t think my faith would be affected too much. Why? Because the central truths of the Christian faith are not affected by inerrancy. I come across so many people who think that if they expose one error in the Bible, the entire Christian worldview will fall apart like the proverbial house of cards. This is simply not true.

Consider this illustration that Mike Licona gives: There were 712 survivors when the Titanic sank. These survivors were divided as to how the ship went down. Some said it broke in half, then went down. Others said it went down intact. There is a contradiction in testimony, right? So what do we do with this contradiction? Of all the options, there is no sane person out there who would say, “Well, since we don’t have consistent testimony as to what condition the Titanic was in when it sank, we have to give up our belief that it sunk altogether.” Yet that is exactly what some skeptics propose we do with the story of Christ and his resurrection. Every testimony that we have in the Gospels says that Christ died on a cross and rose from the grave. Just because we may have some conflicting accounts as to the details does not mean we abandon the consistent testimony about the main event.

Now, I believe that what most people see as conflicting accounts in the Gospels only strengthen their testimony, since the accounts show that they are looking at the same event, from different perspectives, without collaboration among the authors. However, even if they do conflict here and there, there is no rational reason to deny the resurrection of Christ any more than we would deny the sinking of the Titanic due to conflicting accounts.

I think this is a fundamental principle that inerrantists such as myself need to be more vocal in conceding in today’s world. I find many people who wear inerrancy on their sleeve just as prominently as historicity. This can get us into trouble as we tie inerrancy too closely with the Gospel. Historicity is the issue. Did the central events actually occur? If they did, Christianity is true, no matter how many angels John says were at the tomb, not matter whether Abiathar was high priest at the time of David, no matter what Pilate wrote on the sign above the cross, and no matter how Judas died. I believe in inerrancy because I believe in the historicity of the central Gospel message. I don’t believe in historicity because I believe in inerrancy. Christianity is true if Christ historically rose from the dead, period. It is false if he historically did not rise from the dead, period.

Think about this for a moment. I have argued that the central truths of Christianity are not dependent on inerrancy. But I would also say Christianity is not dependent on the inspiration of the Bible either. In other words, the Bible does not even have to be inspired for Christianity to be true. We could just think of the eyewitness accounts in what we call the New Testament as twenty-seven ancient historical documents. Being such, we could simply evaluate their truthfulness like we would any other historical document. If the document passes the tests of history, then that which it records (the resurrection of Jesus) is true. Hence, Christianity is true. No inspiration needed.

In fact (to take this one step further), we don’t even necessarily need the Scripture at all for Christianity to be true. Think about it. What if God had not given us the twenty-seven New Testament books? Would that mean that historically, Christ did not rise from the dead? Of course not. Why? Because Christ’s advent and resurrection did not happen because the Bible says they did, the Bible says they did because historically, they happened. But what if we did not have the New Testament? Well, we would be in good company, as there have been innumerable Christians throughout the history of the church who did not have access to the New Testament. How did the earliest church receive the Gospel? Through preaching, unwritten tradition, and generally reliable hearsay. God could have used any number of means to communicate the advent, death, and resurrection of his Son other than pen and paper. Direct prophecy, dreams, angelic encounters, or even the mouths of donkeys are all possible means by which the central truths of the Christian faith could have been preserved. The point is that Christianity is not dependent upon an inerrant text.

Again, having said all of this, I do believe in the inerrancy of Scripture. I love the Scripture because I love God. But I worship Christ, not the Bible. I thank God that he gave us an inerrant Bible. I believe that having an inerrant text can make us more confident in not only the central truths, but also the details of God’s will. I do believe that inerrancy is important and that we should continue to argue with some energy that the text is true in everything it teaches. However, this energy needs to be residual energy. Our primary energy needs to focus on the primary issue: did Jesus rise from the dead historically. All dominoes fall from there.

Inerrancy is important, but not cardinal. And while it may be a defining characteristic of Evangelicalism, it is not the defining characteristic of Evangelicalism.

(However, I must admit something: I probably would never hire someone to be a fellow at Credo House who did not believe that the Bible was true in everything it teaches. Maybe this is an inconsistency. I don’t know.)


C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo House Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. He can be contacted at [email protected]

    42 replies to "Is Inerrancy the Linchpin of Evangelicalism?"

    • Mike Gantt

      Well said, and needing to be said.

      Inerrancy is not the point – the point is Christ.

    • Theodore A. Jones

      Well Patton thanks for sharing your intermost thoughts or I suppose they are. But I have a bit of difficulty that your theology only goes as far as Jesus’ resurrection. Why is it that your ‘theological’ conjecture has the missing element of his ascention into the true sancturary of his God after his resurrection. What is it? Is it that the Bible has no outside source of corroboration of the event? Or is it some sort of record in the Bible of someone’s vain imagination. To my mind, however, I tend to think that him winding up actually in the true sancturary of his God is the major factoid about him. Especially to me, and I might be the only one. This factoid about making a change to the law after his crucifixion, resurrection and ascention seems to me that him being made the high priest to his God to make a change of the law just might have been the only reason for his crucifixion in the first place.
      My friend I see things this way. Every man who has actually been born again of God is actually taught by God. They all have the same teacher. Selah.

    • C Michael Patton

      I think you misunderstood the post. Inerrancy is not necessay for Christianity to be true. This is an apologetic issue, not an issue about the Christian life.

    • Marv

      Michael, you say in response #3, the post is about “inerrancy is not necessary for Christianity to be true.” Obviously.

      Per the title, it is about “Evangelicalism” specifically, not Christianity in general.

      Now Evangelicalism means different things to different people, I suppose. Lynchpin? Who knows. But iff part of it’s “meaning” does not include as a basic assumption that the Bible is true (and as requiring further specification–that it is the kind of true that contains nothing false–a fairly obvious kind of true we have defined by the term inerrant) then it does not seem that Evangelical means much of anything.

    • C Michael Patton

      I think it is tied to authority. Though I did say that inerrancy is A defining characteristic of Evangelicalism, it is not THE defining characteristic. I would say that authority is much more of an important characteristic. As well, I would say that authority is a linchpin.

    • Mike

      As an Eastern Orthodox believer, inerrancy is a non-issue for us. All I know of evangelical beliefs come from this blog and my wife’s Southern Baptist community. It seems to me, maybe just here in Appalachian Kentucky, that inerrancy and penal substitutionary theory of atonement are the two hinges of the door of faith. This article is more about the way evangelicals would like it to be, rather than how it plays out in evangelical piety.

    • Nick

      “Because Christ’s advent and resurrection did not happen because the Bible says they did, the Bible says they did because they, historically, happened.”

      I have been saying this for a long time. I think the same is true of moral statements in the Bible. X is not wrong because the Bible says it is wrong. The Bible says X is wrong because it is wrong. We Christians need to get past when arguing with non-believers on such issues just saying “Well the Bible says.” Approach the text in the case of the resurrection like a historian and be willing to grant as much to your opponent as you can. In moral issues, I don’t even quote the Bible to an unbeliever, unless I’m defending something in it like the Canaanite wars. Instead, study some philosophy and ethics then.

      I fear we have dumbed down Christians far far far too much.

    • Rick

      Good post. There are many evangelicals who are not inerrantists… they believe that the Bible is infallible and authoratative. In the end, it kind of comes down to a silly argument over vocab and semantics.

      I never understood why so many people got so upset over the word inerrancy.

    • Rick

      Reminds me of a story that Dr. Mark Young once told me about a doctoral student he had at DTS. The guy came to the conclusion that he wasn’t really an inerrantist anymore. Young and other profs talked to him, and found that his definition and understanding of the veracity and authority of the Bible was well within the scope of the definition of inerrancy. Still the guy didn’t want to call himself a inerrantist, so he had to leave DTS and start his doctoral work over at another institution.

      Kind of silly.

    • Mike Gantt

      @Rick,

      Yes, “inerrantist” is not so much a theological position, but more a social identity – and a polarizing one at that. It’s a badge of honor to some and a badge of shame to others.

      Christ would have us forget our identity with others and be more concerned about our current identity with Him.

    • Doc Pagala

      Mike Gantt hit it on the head here. What is your position on Christology? Who do you say Christ is? This issue is far more important than polemics over inerrancy. Good post CMP, good point worth pondering.

    • ScottL

      The main problem with inerrancy might just be that it seems (at least to me) that God does not hold to inerrancy of Scripture as espoused by most regarding the originals.

      1) God did not see fit to preserve the originals.
      2) The New Testament writers did not quote from the Hebrew originals and they even quoted from a translation of the originals (the Septuagint).
      3) We do not have the originals.

      I think we make a bigger deal about the ‘inerrancy of the originals’ than God and the Scripture writers do.

    • Saskia

      Thanks for the post, Michael.
      I have a question – is there a distinction between believing in “inerrancy” and believing that “the bible is true in everything it teaches”?
      I must admit I am struggling with the idea of strict inerrancy at the moment, however I would never deny that the bible is true in everything it teaches. For me they seem different, but you seem to make no distinction?
      Probably the distinction in my mind hinges on what the bible is trying to teach vs what we draw from it, and I specifically would never try to draw scientific fact from the bible as I believe that is not its purpose, hence, I believe that the bible may contain scientific errors because the writers had that particular understanding of the universe and God wasn’t pleased to reveal any different to them – who knows why, maybe because He wanted us to work it out ourselves.
      Any thoughts you have on this would be super helpful.
      Thanks
      Saskia

    • ScottL

      Marv –

      But iff part of it’s “meaning” does not include as a basic assumption that the Bible is true (and as requiring further specification–that it is the kind of true that contains nothing false–a fairly obvious kind of true we have defined by the term inerrant) then it does not seem that Evangelical means much of anything.

      As we have discussed on Theologica, when God speaks it is true. But we have to lay out what true is and how that plays out in Scripture, especially a very ancient document. For example, the Gospels are biographies of Jesus, but they are not modern biographies by any means, but ancient ones (though there are some similar factors). So, the Psalms are true, but not all of them speak actual empirical fact. That’s easy, but alas, this becomes fun when we discuss the early chapters of Genesis, or even Jonah, as Scot McKnight did this week on his blog.

    • C Michael Patton

      Saskia,

      I like the definition of inerrancy to be “the Bible is true in everything it teaches.” Why? Because that lays the burden on our hermeneutic. We have to find out what the Bible actually teaches through our interpretation. Inerrancy does not necessarily assume any hermeneutic. Therefore, it is a naked confession…important, but naked. It cannot tell what is being taught. It is just an assumption about nature of Scripture.

    • […] I wish all inerrantists were as reasonable, charitable and just all-round great as Michael Patton when he asks, “Is inerrancy the linchpin of Christianity?” […]

    • Steve Martin

      The finite contains the infinite.

      I find it odd that we all believe God works through the imperfections of the sinner, but that He needs a perfect and inerrant book to do the same with respect to His printed Word.

      Even our Lord was fuuly man, and yet fully God.

      No…I won’t buy into a Southern Baptist doctrine of the Word. it’s not necessary and leads to biblicism, and that leads to less than the freedom that Christ died to give us.

    • Steve Martin

      The finite contains the infinite.

      That is how God works in this world.

    • CH

      “I believe in inerrancy because I believe in the historicity of the central Gospel message.”

      I don’t follow… How does the historicity of one small part of scripture ensure the inerrancy of the remainder?

    • ScottL

      CH –

      We must remember that the gospel is not ‘one small part of scripture’, as in something spoken about in Jesus’ life or sometimes Paul referred to it. The gospel-evangel is the big picture, bigger than Scripture itself, if I can say that. It is about God coming to reign amongst His people and amongst the nations, making all things new in His Son, and doing all this in the most unique of ways – through the humiliating death and then the victorious resurrection of His Son.

      This is more than just ‘one small part’. It is the central part of God’s work, of which Scripture testifies to.

    • Dave Z

      I see what CH is saying. It does not follow logically that if the Bible is historically accurate on one point, it is therefore accurate on all points. I don’t think it was an attempt to describe the Gospel as a minor point.

    • Theodore A. Jones

      RE Scott
      Isn’t it the broad way into hell? Why endorse it?

    • Theodore A. Jones

      RE Marv
      If the “Christianity” Patton refers to is actually Christianity.
      Evangelicalism, a religious amalgamation, and are limbs that bad fruit is evidentiary exculpatory.

    • Jeff Ayers

      I couldn’t disagree more with you CMP— even more than I disagree with your 5 point TULIP theology
      1 Samuel 3:21 And the LORD appeared again in Shiloh: for the LORD revealed himself to Samuel in Shiloh BY THE WORD OF THE LORD.
      Your patronizing and appeasing statements that you” believe in inerrancy in the originals” is akin to the liberal, Muslim or post-modernist who claims Christ was a good man and a prophet but not God manifest in the flesh.
      CS Lewis ultimatum about Christ is either a liar, lunatic or God himself is apropos in this discussion of inerrancy.
      Either God preserved his work in every jot and tittle just like he said, or it is at best man’s words or Christians opinions of what they think of God!
      Inerrancy is the only biblical option since:
      1. God chose to reveal himself through his words.
      2. Once he obligated himself through (and to) this medium (i.e. written word) he no longer allowed the option for a book that may or may not be his very words, inerrant and infallible in every respect.
      3. He claimed in his word that he would preserve his word
      4. He claimed in his word that every word was perfect, pure and incorruptible
      5. He claimed in his word that his words would endure till his return and until the great white throne judgment when Jesus will judge people by the WORDS HE HAS SPOKEN!!!
      Yes, God COULD have chosen to not use the Scriptures to reveal Himself, His gospel and His Christ. But once he DID choose to reveal himself through his word, then INERRANCY is not only necessary but essential and the essence of everything we know about God, Christ, the gospel and his plan.
      Inerrancy as defined by the word of God itself: John 10:35 … and the scripture cannot be broken;2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God…
      Inerrancy is necessary for the following reasons:
      1. We have God’s word perfect and without error to know who He is
      2. God said he revealed himself through his WORD
      3. We cannot get saved without an inerrant WORD
      4. We cannot live without an INERRANT WORD (but by EVERY word that proceeds out of the mouth of God)
      5. We will be judged by the words that Jesus has spoken
      6. We will be judged our stewardship of the mysteries, which must be spelled out without error, to be able stewards of them.
      7. We are born again by the incorruptible word of God
      8. We cannot KNOW God apart from inerrant words that accurately reveal who He is
      If the word of God is not inerrant then he failed in His promise to preserve them, which goes directly to the heart of His integrity and the veracity of any of His statements to man.
      In summary, it is folly to think we can:
      1. Know who God Is and what his attributes are
      2. Know the Gospel and how we can be saved
      3. Know what God expects us to do after we get saved
      without the word of God being preserved inerrant and infallible just like he said he would
      Lastly, a belief that the originals are inerrant takes NO faith whatsoever, since the originals are gone and we don’t have them. It is sad that God was powerful enough to give us His word inerrantly the first time, but too impotent to preserve them EXACTLY WORD FOR WORD for us today.

    • Theodore A. Jones

      “Do not add to my words and do not subtract from my words.” Hummmmmmmmmm……….did a historical authority say this? I think I also read somewhere that he says “Do not make my words mean less than what I meant by saying them.”
      But as CMP says “I can twist my way out of anything.”
      There is going to be a lot of theologians twisting in the wind.

    • Carrie Hunter

      Jeff Ayers, then what do you do with scribal additions and manuscript variants?

    • […] Patton has written a post arguing that inerrancy is not the linchpin of evangelicalism. This post should make me happy, and indeed I am glad that someone is making this claim. Further, […]

    • Jeff Ayers

      There is enough scholarly study out there to identify the Textus Receptus (your choice- Scriveners, Beza’s 4th edition or Stephanus’ 1551 edition will do) as the line of preserved text. Men such as Burgon, Hills, Pickering etc. have exposed the inaccuracies and unreliability of the eclectic texts of Aleph, B, A P75 etc.

      The translation method (including formal equivalence) is well documented and unnecessary to explain it superiority in this post.

      So the issue comes down to the fact that there is no PROVEN error in the King James Bible 1769.

      Its veracity has been proved by its use and fruitfulness over 400 years.

      To speak directly to your question about variants and conflations:

      1. After hundreds of years of textural criticism, the best that people who hold to CMP’s position (and sounds like your’s as well) have come up with, is that “generally we have a reasonably accurate text that is close to the originals, and it does not have variants on any major doctrine of scripture”. How does this match with inspiration and preservation clearly codified in the books of the Bible?

      2. That position of “we are close, but we do not have the word of God without error” is not likely to change. (ever)

      3. Variants and conflations among various MSS have not “proven” an error in the TR, Masoretic and KJB.

      4. The illogical position by anti-KJB people says “the King James is a generally reliable translation but it is filled with errors; and no translation is without error”. When asked, they claim that they know where all the errors are in the KJB. Then the obvious solution is to take the “generally accurate” KJB and fix all the ‘errors’ in it. Then you will have a translation without error. Strange how this has never been accomplished.

      In summary, what good comes of the position “Since there are textual variants and scribal conflations, we will never know with a scientific certainty that any given text exactly matches the autogrpahas. So, I will sound orthodox and say the originals are perfect” ( knowing full well that we do not have the originals.)

      Whereas there is much good that comes from a conviction based on evidence, scholarship and (yes) ultimately faith, that the Book that I hold in my hands is the word of God without error.

      A clichéd and maligned question by the “no MSS or bible is perfect” crowd does not negate the poignancy and clarity the following question posits: Where is your final authority? Is it lost with the wind and you cannot hold it in your hands? Or is it the Book that God has used and honored for 400 years and by which I was saved?

      Lastly, anecdotally, the position I hold is the position that is intellectually honest. The pastor or teacher who holds up his bible in the pulpit and says “This is the inerrant, infallible word of God without error. It can be trusted in every jot and tittle.” And then in the classroom or in private says “no translation is perfect and only the [lost] originals are perfect”. He is at best confused, and probably a liar. I look my children in the eye (without any equivocation) and say “the Bible I hold in my hand is the inerrant, infallible and the very word of God – and be completely honest!!!!!! Can you?

    • Theodore A. Jones

      RE: “and by which I was saved”.
      Exactly what is it that you have believed and obeyed in order to be declared righteous by God?

    • Jeff Ayers

      Theodore,

      God bless you for that softball question: The answer is contained in a nutshell given by Paul in Ephesians 1:13 (which is also my life verse):

      Ephesians 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

      I first, heard the gospel of my salvation:
      How that Christ died for my sins… and was raised again for my justification (1 Cor 15:3,4 and Rom 4:21-25)

      Then, having heard the gospel as the basis for being declared righteous (i.e. the reason WHY I can be declared righteous/ justified) I now turn my trust to the PERSON who imparts eternal life to all who SIMPLY BELIEVE ON HIM.
      Which is why Paul said IN WHOM (a person- not a doctrine, creed or dogma) ye also trusted.

      Paul then tells me in Eph. 1:13, that trusting HIM is a synonym for BELIEVING. This is why Paul answers the question (asked once and only once in the entire Bible) of “What must I do to be saved”, with ONE ANSWER: Namely: Acts 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

      Compare Christ’s simple clarity of how one obtains eternal life with Paul’s statement:
      John 6:47 Verily, verily, I (Jesus) say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
      1 Timothy 1:16… (Paul, a pattern) to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.

      I have eternal life by believing on Christ, after I heard the word of truth… I now am sealed by the holy Spirit until the day of redemption…. because I have been declared righteous (justified) by believing (Acts 13:39)

      Notice the close correlation of 2 Cor. 5:18-21 of not having my sins imputed to me and being made the righteousness of God in him with Rom. 4:1-8 Romans 4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

      I was declared righteous by God (justified with imputed righteousness) by believing in a person, Jesus Christ. He gave me eternal life apart from works by simply believing on him. (without works before, during or after…. without turning from my sin, forsaking my sin, committing to follow Him or continuing to be faithful afterward…. without enduring, holding out, avoiding sins or proving myself.)

      Paul said it as succinctly as I could ever say it:

      Romans 3:24-26 Being JUSTIFIED (i.e. declared righteous) FREELY BY HIS GRACE through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the JUSTIFIER of him which BELIEVETH in Jesus.

    • Theodore A. Jones

      Thanks Jeff. But in regard to your prior statement that there is not a proven error in the KJV, and I do agree with you, yet I have some problem with your conjecture that described why you have been declared righteous. Is it only proper belief or is it the belief in using something? Jesus says that it is necessary for the individual to have the faith to use what he describes as a small narrow gate to enter God’s kingdom, and he also says that there are only a few people who find what this gate is. So allow me, if you will, to show that there might be a more excelent Way that must be used to be declared righteous by God.
      (For not the hearers of the law are justified before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.)
      or
      “It is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.”
      So Jeff it is true that I fully agree that there a not errors in the scripture, and especially in describing what the Way is that a person must have the faith to use to be saved. But Jeff it looks to me like you might have been mislead in thinking that it is not fully necessary to obey something first in order to become declared righteous by God.

    • Carrie

      Oh, ok. The KJV only solution.

      That is all you needed to say.

      Thanks.

    • Theodore A. Jones

      Carrie,
      To whom is your retort addressed?

    • Carrie

      To the person who responded to my question.

    • Jeff Ayers

      That is the danger (I face) of providing a thorough (i.e. long) response.

      People either speed read the post or don’t read the response at all.

      Carrie, I dealt with YOUR question, you then go to the dark side of sarcasm and did not deal with MY response. Sadly, that type of response is far too common with people who do not believe you can hold a perfect Bible IN THEIR HANDS. Please deal with what i wrote and provide a cogent rebuttal rather than rhetoric and sarcasm.

      Theo, if you read the clear Pauline statements about faith alone in Christ alone for eternal life that I wrote, you would not be inclined to think that I am mislead into “thinking that it is not fully necessary to obey something first in order to become declared righteous by God.” Please deal first with the issues raised in the post; and then I will be more than glad to respond to the Matt 7 and Romans 2 passages you brought up.

      Jeff

      P.S. (the topic BTW is inerrancy.)

    • Carrie Hunter

      Jeff, I have no rebuttal.

      I asked a question. You answered.

      That was sufficent for me.

    • Francis

      “We don’t even necessarily need the Scripture at all for Christianity to be true.”

      On one hand, I believe this to be true. Our faith didn’t start with the Bible and end with the Bible. It starts with Christ and ends with Christ. Chrst is the Word incarnate. Our Bible is a testimony of the Word incarnate.

      On the other hand, without the document that is the Bible, the account of Jesus the Christ would be incredibly inaccurate. Just think Ramayana or Mahabharata. That’s what happens when there is no authoritative version of a story — it gets longer and more fantastical.

    • Mike Gantt

      I can easily see how Christianity is true even without the New Testament – because it actually was true for the people we read about in the book of Acts who experienced resurrection truth before any of the NT was written.

      However, it is less clear to me how Christianity stands without the Old Testament since it was the resurrection happening “according to the Scriptures’ (1 Cor 15 and elsewhere) that was dispositive for book of Acts believers. That someone was raised from the dead and had ascended into heaven would certainly have been an attention-grabber, but that the one who achieved this was the long-promised Messiah of Scripture was what compelled faith from the faithful.

    • […] – to what extant is the text free from errors, contradictions, and inaccuracies? if the text is free from these problems, is that across all matters including historical, […]

    • James-the-lesser

      Problem is no one seems to have taken the time to explain what inerrancy means. In a sense everything spoken about is in error. Words are approximates only. Concepts may or may not be inherent-like for instance, 2+2=4, but try and define what 2 is and you are either left with a concept or an approximate that we call a word. So, yes, the sinking of the Titanic can be described but not completely since any description is limited to words. Even a film of the event would not be the real thing, but only an approximate since it consists of only images on a piece of celluloid. In any event only God has perfect knowledge since he is complete, there is no shadow of turning in Him. (James 1:17)

    • David

      Great discussion. Just one more bit to add. In my experience and this is supported by the Word itself, one of the main problems in experiencing the Bible is pre-suppositions. If your pre-supposition is that God does not exist or that the Christian faith is false, then no matter what you read or don’t read into the Bible, the thing will seem untrue.
      Our prayer is that ‘the eyes of our hearts can be opened’ and it’s not until they are that the Bible can actually speak its truth to us. Anything else is semantics and human argument.
      In other words, the truth of the Bible is perceived by the supernatural interception of God in our hearts. Once we have that, it all makes sense on a level transcends all other considerations.

    • […] Die eerste opmerking om te maak is dat selfs al is daar sulke teenstrydighede in die details oor ʼn gebeurtenis, dui dit nie, veral vanuit ʼn juristiese sowel as geskiedkundige oogpunt, summier daarop dat die gebeurtenis opsigself nie gebeur het nie. Neem die drie verklarings oor die motorongeluk as voorbeeld. Die polisiebeampte wat by hierdie drie persone die verklarings afgeneem het, sou heel waarskynlik geen van die agtergrondkennis gehad het om die teenstrydighede te harmoniseer nie. Sou dit daarom redelik wees as hy tot die gevolgtrekking kom dat omdat die getuies so drasties verskil oor die details van die ongeluk, en selfs al was daar werklik onversoenbare teenstrydige in wat hulle vertel het, dat die motorongeluk as sulks daarom nie gebeur het nie? Natuurlik nie. (Sien bv. Is Inerrancy the Linchpin of Evangelicalism?) […]

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