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Did God Really Say? Affirming the Truthfulness and Trustworthiness of Scripture – Quotes, Chapter 4 – Inerrancy’s Complexities: Grounds for Grace in the Debate

06 Sep

Did God Really Say? Affirming the Truthfulness and Trustworthiness of Scripture – Quotes, Chapter 4 – “Inerrancy’s Complexities: Grounds for Grace in the Debate” by Robert W. Yarbrough

Inerrancy as it relates to God’s Word, the Bible, relates first of all to God who gave that Word, and then in a derivative sense to the written Word he has given. Inerrancy is a theological doctrine, having to do with the living God and not only the Book associated with his name.

Its truth value is neglected or abused when it does not lean to personal trust in the God who gave it.

Its truth value is neglected or abused when confessed Bible believers disregard its directives.

An inerrant Bible’s truth value is neglected or abused when what Scripture says is not relationally “embraced.”

Inerrancy is not an essential doctrine in the same sense as Christ’s ressurection is, or his full divinity and humanity. Yet it is barely less than essential. Inerrancy is arguably the teaching of Scripture about itself.

[John] Woodbridge’s thesis is that biblical inerrancy has been a “central teaching of the Western Christian churches, including evangelical Protestant churches,” going back at least to Augustine.

It is worth noting that Sabatier and Huxley also mention the rise of an attempt to affirm some kind of limited inerrancy view, in which Scripture would be true in some ways about some things but at the same time empirically false based on canons of current thought and convictions. Both men note the inherent contradiction of the notion of a Bible that is totally true to a certain extent. They pronounce the move ill-conceived, not because they believe in the Bible — they didn’t — but because it marked a break with historic understanding as well as logic.

Historically speaking, a view of Scripture that challenges its entire and detailed truthfulness is an innovation.

Inerrant responses will always be subject to the charge of being defensive and reactionary. Cultivating this appearance is usually part of the strategy and adds to the innovationist appeal among the like-minded.

Personally, in my more than fifteen years of involvement in pastor training in Arab Muslim contexts in Africa, “inerrancy” has never some up. The Bible’s truth and Jesus Christ’s authority in the face of rival Islamic and native African claims are simply assumed by the African churches and believers I have served.

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