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Thursday, June 30, 2005

Why Inerrancy Is Asinine and Demonic: Worship Jesus, Not the Bible!

I’ll admit I’m a trouble-maker, but I only harass Christians that I believe are causing others to stumble. Here’s a perfect example of why the whole inerrancy issue is demonic. Yep, I said it—demonic.

Depending on your religious tradition, the first (or second) of the Ten Commandments is to “have no other gods before me.” Why do fundamentalists insist on inerrancy? Well, if you have an inerrant Bible, then their belief about Jesus and a bunch of other important things are true! I’d say that’s putting your trust in the Bible isn’t it? Why not, say---put your trust in Jesus?

I read a post from Chris Melrose that slammed the United Church of Christ, a typical fundamentalist post that condemns others for not believing the right things, and argued that their abandonment of inerrancy had led to all sorts of bad stuff.

I commented as follows:

“Oh please. Let's take the worst case and call it the norm!
Fred Phelps challenging someone to debate inerrancy:
"Not since two of my heroes (Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan) slugged it out at the famous Scopes Monkey Trial at Dayton, Tennessee in July, 1925, has the issue of the inerrancy of the Bible been properly debated. If Farrell Till is for real, let's get it on. "Your newspaper can work out the details and send circulation off the charts. And your own involvement to date in this historic event will more than justify your otherwise pitiful existence on this earth as a wayward son of Adam. Kindest regards. Fred Phelps."
Fred Phelps is the God Hates Fags Guy”

Unbelievably, Chris responded thusly:

“I'm quite aware of who Phelps is. I've actually seen him picket a time or two. I would distance myself from him as well. But I think a key difference (and this is in NO WAY an endorsement of Phelps and his tactics) is that one of these two groups has/is abandoning the fundamental tennent of being a Christian, the other is perverting things, but still recognizes Christ as Lord.”

WHAAA? Seriously! Fred Phelps merely perverts Christianity! Picketing funerals of gays and carrying signs that say “God hates fags” is merely a perversion of Christianity? Fred has a “Perpetual Gospel Memorial to Matthew Shepard” with a picture of Matthew burning in hell on his website. Does this guy really recognize “Christ as Lord”?

Chris’s opinion represents all that fundamentalist Christianity symbolizes. It really doesn’t matter how much you hate, it really doesn’t matter what you do. Just “believe” the right things and you’re ok.

I find it very interesting that just before Jesus said, “Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say? I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.” in Luke chapter 6 he spoke of the primacy of love and warned against judging others.

10 Comments:

At 11:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fundamentalism is some dangerous shit!
Hey Chris, you're a dumbass! No wonder you don't allow anonymous posts on your blog.

 
At 12:27 PM, Blogger Greek Shadow said...

They use the word inerrant because the term infallible has been usurped by the Pope. The concept remains the same. Man claiming to speak for God with the authority of God.

 
At 3:34 PM, Blogger D.R. said...

The blog world will make you more cynical Howie and it seems it already has. You stated in one of your first blogs that you weren't as big of a jerk as Bruce Prescott, but now you are linking to him. What's up with that?

And now you are taking on inerrancy and calling it demonic. I will agree that people have done some very bad things in the name of inerrancy. I will agree that some people take the Bible and twist it to fit their agenda, but isn't that why we need to believe it is inexhaustibly true -- that every word and statement is inspired by God? Otherwise we end up believing any wind of doctrine or theological position that comes along. We have nothing but our own reason to compare it with. And even you would agree with Jeremiah that "The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?"

Also, all that we know about God comes from the Bible. We can experience God through the Holy Spirit, nature, and through worship, but how do we discern what is God and what is our own deceitfulness or what is God and what is Satan. It is through the word of God that we are able to objectify our experiences. Without the word we would be set adrift. So we need it.

And what is "inerrancy" except a word that describes the relationship of Scripture to experience. Simply stated it is the fact that what God has inspired to be written down by those who were eyewitnesses of the acts of God is true and is trustworthy. Inerrancy does not negate cultural context or hermeutical bridging. It is simply a starting point for understanding how to "rightly handle the Word of God."

Yes, inerrancy has been a divisive word, but it is demonic? Is it truly Satanic to believe that the Bible should be our very standard for judging all that can be thought about God? Is Peter being influenced by Satan when he writes that Paul's letters are Scripture and thus should be seen as holy? I don't worship the Bible and neither do any of the conservative friends whose relationship with Christ is evident in their obedience and love. But we do worship the God who inspired it and gave it to us out of love so that we might know Him and in knowing Him love Him.

I cherish the inerrancy of the Bible. It is lovely to me and a precious gift from the Father. I agree with Paul that "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work"

and with the writer of Hebrews when he says thus,

"For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart."

I think what we need in Christianity is not for men to abandon inerrancy, but to embrace the true preciousness of the Bible and to truly live it out, to truly get it, to behold it as the words of life, and to worship the God who gave it to us for our good.

I hope you will see that reverence for the Bible is an act of worship to God, not that of worship of the Bible.

 
At 7:57 PM, Blogger Howie Luvzus said...

D.R.
Prescott linked to me first. I thought that was cool of him. I think Scripture is authoritative. Well, most of it. A lot of the Old Testament stuff scares me and my kids!
Folks like Chris-still can't believe that!-use the Bible as a weapon. It's only natural since we're all depraved by nature. Luther (he didn't like James though) used the Bible to hurt others, Calvin had Servetas, Southerners used it with slavery, etc. I'm not pointing fingers here. Everybody does it. You, me, everyone.

It's a very dangerous thing. I say, why not emphasize the two greatest commands rather than trying to beat others down into a single way of intepreting everything?

Let's lift JESUS up! Sure, all we know about Jesus comes from Scripture. I'm not arguing against that. All I want is for folks to look to Jesus as their example of how to live the Christian life. You simply can't say I think the Bible is inerrant and treat other people like crap. But for many in that movement it's ok. Belief in the Bible is more important than loving one's neighbor.

 
At 10:44 AM, Blogger D.R. said...

In the end, my complaint with your blog is not that you have not described the disease or have not indicated what problems continuing to ingnore the disease will bring about, but rather I think you have called the disease by the wrong name and have prescribed the wrong treatment.

I don't think we need to lower any Scripture or teach that it has errors. We don't need to ignore the Bible passages that we find "scary", but rather we need to preach and teach the whole counsel of God. We need to see the Bible as the revelation of God of as the history of God's redemption of His people. We need to teach and train, not ignore and call things demonic. I just think taking what we like from the Bible and giving back what we don't approve of does a disservice to the God who inspired it. People are depraved, people are sinful, and a great deal of people who say they are, ARE NOT indeed Christians.

I think much of what you have hightlighted is the "worst case scenario" issues, but what about the millions upon billions of Christians who have believed, taught, and defended the whole Bible to the praise and Glory of God throughout the nations? What about men like Tyndale and the followers of Wyclif who gave their lives so that we can read all of the Bible? We should cherish all of it and seek to use it to change our world.

 
At 11:07 PM, Anonymous Dave Trowbridge said...

AFAIC, FWIW, the Bible is not God speaking to humankind, but humankind talking about God. Believing in inerrancy just requires tying yourselves in too many knots trying to explain away the inconsistencies, and it smacks of idolatry (bibliolatry), as well. The Light is in every man, and Scripture can't be read to any profit except that your mind is illumined by that Light.

 
At 8:34 PM, Blogger D.R. said...

Dave,

first of all I have no clue what AFAIC or FWIW mean, but I think your argument is flawed in at least a couple of ways. First of all, the writers of Scripture not only claim to speak truth about God, they actually claim to speak the very words of God. Numerous authors, prophets, and eyewitnesses claim this. So, either we have to believe them or reject them as liars. It they are right, then we still don't have to explain away every inconsistancy in order to believe the Bible is literally true (by the way inerrancy does not necessarily mean that every single word of what we have in the Bible exactly corresponds to what we know is true -- see the Chicago Statement of Inerrancy). All we have to do is believe the Bible and seek to systematize its truth to the best of our ability with the ultimate aid of the Holy Spirit.

Also, the Light (whether that be of God or Christ -- or even a possibly light, which is not an actual light) is not in every person. Christ made this clear to not a few people, including some who claimed to believe in Him (see the Gospel of John). By the way, how do you make this statement? By what authority can you claim any view of God? Is is by your own authority or on the basis of others? You see the Bible provides for us our authority in reasonable, understandable form. As I said above, it is a blessing from God that we do not have to guess about God and follow our own sinful tendencies to place God in our own comfortable box. The Bible gives us a multifaceted view of God because He Himself cannot fit in a box.

I encourage you to read "Revelation and Authority" by Carl F.H. Henry. Al Mohler was a liberal who completely denied inerrancy until he met Henry and realized that his fundamental thinking on the Bible was indeed flawed. Believing the Bible as completely true is freeing. I do not feel like I am in a knot.

 
At 1:30 AM, Blogger mrclm said...

I'm glad you have enjoyed my blog so much, though you have my name incorrect (no "L" in my last name, it's an "I").

For the record, I think what Fred Phelps promotes is deplorable. But that wasn't the issue of my post. My post was a lament on a once good denomination gone very, very bad. Thankfully neither you nor I are the judge, so we don't get to choose whether Phelps will be in heaven.

You said:
in Luke chapter 6 he spoke of the primacy of love and warned against judging others.

But apparently it's completely fine for you to have judged Phelps and his clan. Interesting. Log - eye.

Flame on.

Big Chris
Because I said so

 
At 9:47 PM, Anonymous Dave Trowbridge said...

D.R., I reject your arguments on two grounds.

First, the fallacy of the excluded middle. You write "...the writers of Scripture not only claim to speak truth about God, they actually claim to speak the very words of God. Numerous authors, prophets, and eyewitnesses claim this. So, either we have to believe them or reject them as liars."

There's a third alternative: they were mistaken. Sometimes that's obvious, as in those writers who claim that God commanded the various acts of genocide recorded in the Old Testament. Sorry, God doesn't do genocide: I don't worship a monster. Other times it's less obvious, requiring more discernment.

Secondly, as for the Light in all men, as a Quaker, I will direct you to the gospel of John, 1:9: "The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world." For over 350 years we have witnessed to the world, "answering that of God in every man," and insisting, as George Fox said, that the Holy Spirit, the Light within all men, is that "by which the holy men of God gave forth the Scriptures, whereby opinions, religions, and judgements were to be tried; for it led into all Truth, and so gave the knowledge of all Truth." It is that same spirit "who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not in a written code but in the Spirit; for the written code kills, but the Spirit gives life."

The Bible is indeed a valuable guide, but only useful as illuminated by the Spirit. Read without that light, it is highly toxic.

I will check out your references, though; thanks.

 
At 10:18 PM, Anonymous Dave Trowbridge said...

BTW, D.R., I have read the Chicago Statement of Inerrancy (not the exposition). I disagree with virtually every assertion in it. You are trying to build a cage around the Spirit, but in the end, the Spirit, like the wind, flows through the bars, leaving you imprisoned.

 

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