December 14, 2017

We thought he was such a nice boy…and then we found out he didn’t believe in….Inerrancy!!

Dear Sir: What a total disappointment.

I do like your wisdom and passion. However, you have become too smart.

May God have mercy on you regarding your responsibility to adhere to the inerrancy of scripture

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The discussion on inerrancy at the BHT and here at IM always fills my mailbox with mail that I can’t answer. All I can do is make an attempt to say what I believe is a reasonable approach to Christian scripture. That approach doesn’t do well with those who need perfection in their hands before they can say they have truth in their minds. I am not an inerrantist. It’s costing me friends, and it makes me uncomfortable. Here’s some of my thoughts. I know they will make a lot of you unhappy, but I’m nailing it to the door anyway. We need to articulate what we believe about scripture in a way that comports with the real nature of the Biblical texts, not inerrant, perfect autographs no one will ever have.

When I first wrote about Why I Am Not A Young Earth Creationist, I knew that eventually I would have to write more on scripture itself. So I have, here and here.

There is a lot more to be said, and I am really not up to saying it, but comments like these over at the Boar’s Head illustrate the problem well. (Three different writers, btw.)

One reason inerrancy is so important is that if we give it up in part the logical outcome will be the eventual giving up of the Gospel(not that you would of course). This is so is because the gospel is inextricably tied to history. Undermine the historical details of the Gospel and we undermine the Gospel itself.

God, through the Holy Spirit, has written and preserved the Scriptures…If we don’t believe that, then why don’t we just toss it out the window, really…Do we believe in a literal six-day creation? I certainly hope so. Or do we try to turn some/all of the Bible stories into “allegories”?

What you are asking is the same as saying: “Since different people are reading the compass and their interpretation of true north may vary, then it doesn’t matter whether the compass is broken or not!” I disagree. KNOWING the compass is right is at least a starting point.

I could cite so many more things. I am constantly getting mail about my view of scripture, which really puzzles me. I obviously believe in the essentials of the Gospel and preach them out of the Bible. I teach the Bible to high school students, and have never been accused of being a liberal. I am a confessional Christian who enthusiastically embrace the Westminster Confession on the subject of scripture.

The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture.

…our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit, bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.

The authority of the holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed and obeyed, dependeth not upon the testimony of any man or Church, but wholly upon God (who is truth itself), the Author thereof; and therefore it is to be received, because it is the Word of God.

…it pleased the Lord, at sundry times, and in divers manners, to reveal himself, and to declare that his will unto his Church; and afterward for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the Church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing; which maketh the holy Scripture to be most necessary..

Amen!

The problem? I don’t believe in inerrancy, a view of how scripture is inspired that means well, but just can’t get traction with me. My problems with inerrancy have been going on for a very long time, and I’ve heard it presented and taught by the best. It’s never sat well with me, probably because I have a lot of literary interest in the text of scripture, plus I don’t like to be bullied. I get a rash.

1. What the heck is it? It takes a major document to describe inerrancy.

2. The document in question contains the following paragraph (Chicago Statement on Inerrancy XIII):

We deny that it is proper to evaluate Scripture according to standards of truth and error that are alien to its usage or purpose. We further deny that inerrancy is negated by Biblical phenomena such as a lack of modern technical precision, irregularities of grammar or spelling, observational descriptions of nature, the reporting of falsehoods, the use of hyperbole and round numbers, the topical arrangement of material, variant selections of material in parallel accounts, or the use of free citations

Excuse me, but did I just read that I am off the inerrancy hook if I can assert that the passage in question did not intend to come up to a particular standard of truth?

OK….I don’t believe the Bible was ever intended to be true in comparison to contemporary science, history, astronomy, geology, medicine, anatomy, psychology or the Bill James Baseball Abstract. Can I go to lunch now?

3. Inerrancy is asserted for the original autographs.

We don’t have them.

4. While the Bible is supposedly inerrant, none of those who interpret it are inerrant interpreters. That’s a problem. If there is a perfect compass, and you give it to a chimp, what have you got? A chimp with a compass.

5. Inerrancy is almost always tied up with things that really bother me: Young earth creationism, of course. Spiritual warfarism, where people with problem kids and screwed up marriages thing that Satan is in the house and/or in their head. Secret knowledge schemes, like What did Jesus eat? Diets. Conspiracy theories. Bible only Christian education. Lunacy like the Bible Codes. It goes on and on. Magic Bookies run amuck.

6. Inerrancy looks, smells and feels remarkably like a philosophical imposition on the Bible, going beyond what the Bible CAN say about itself, and forcing those of us who believe in the authority and truthfulness of the Bible to take a “loyalty oath” that goes beyond what should be said. Typical of evangelical attempts to show they are really really really really really right. Catholics do it with the Pope. Pentecostals with experience. Evangelicals with inerrancy.

It’s like a philosophical security system to keep everything safe. It’s been called Protestant Scholasticism, and I agree.

7. No major confession requires that you use the word “inerrancy”. Even the Southern Baptist Convention’s Faith and Message Statement avoids the exact word, and doesn’t harp on the concept. Reformation confessions don’t use it at all. We can live without it. Read what my friend Alex Arnold said about inerrancy. He’s totally on target. Or consider BHT commenter Myron Marston.

I’ve got news for you….but the Bible may be wrong on the resurrection. It may be wrong on lots of things. I don’t really have any way to inerrantly prove it one way or the other. And neither do you. At some point, you’ve got to accept it on faith, as do I. Accepting or not accepting the idea of inerrancy has little to do with whether or not I place my faith in Christ. In fact, I think inerrancy has a tendency to get in the way of our trusting Christ. We spend so much time sweating all these little inerrant details and trying to scientifically/historically “prove” the Bible that we can miss out on the entire point of the whole thing: Christ. Isn’t Christ enough? Why does it have to be Christ and inerrancy? Call me crazy, but I’m THANKFUL that the Bible doesn’t line up factually or theologically 100%. It would make it too easy to “stand pat” with my current understanding rather than having to spend a lifetime wrestling with scripture.

I could expand this list but I won’t. I want to say something about the comments quoted at the beginning of the post.

Defenders of inerrancy send me lots of false dilemmas. Thing like: If we don’t believe in inerrancy, the Bible must go out the window. Shred it. Go ahead. Shred Grandma’s KJV because you don’t believe in inerrancy so YOU JUST DON’T BELIEVE THE BIBLE ANY MORE YOU OVER-EDUCATED KNOW IT ALL.

Or this one. If you don’t buy the six day, young earth creationist view of Genesis, then you are saying it’s all an allegory. And that’s stupid. So it’s literal history with Ken Hamm or it’s allegories with all the devils of hell.

That’s it? Those are my choices? Ken Hamm or “allegory?” The great thing about that one is I’m pretty sure the author doesn’t know what an allegory is.

Or the Bible is a perfect compass. Or a perfect map. Or a perfect book. Because God is perfect. And if God said it, it must be perfect. It’s perfect. Really, really really perfect. Not just true. Not just a book that brings us Christ and the Gospel. Perfect. And if you don’t come out and walk around saying the Bible is perfect, then you reject the Bible.

And of course, without inerrancy, we lose history, and we lose the resurrection, and we lose the Gospel. The only way we know that the Gospels are telling the truth is the doctrine of inerrancy, modern version. Without it, we float off on a cloud of mythology. Or so I keep hearing. Why this doesn’t seem to be applying to N.T. Wright hasn’t been explained.

You will have to forgive me, readers, but this all just amazes me. I mean, it really amazes me, because it simply isn’t so.

The Bible is, first of all, not a book at all. IT IS NOT A BOOK AT ALL. It is 66 books, from a very long time ago. A wide selection of literature in the human conversation. The church selected these books because it believes that God speaks through those books to tell us the truth of the Gospel, and to tell us about Jesus and our salvation by the mediator. Therefore, the church asserts that these 66 books are a message from God. Since the Bible doesn’t know the “Christian Bible as canon” exists, it doesn’t have a word for itself beyond the New Testament calling the Old “scripture.”

Confessions like the WCF do a good job of saying God revealed himself, the church wrote down not only what was revealed about the Gospel, but a lot of other things surrounding the Gospel that make it understandable. The church selected a canon, and the church endorses that canon as scripture. God didn’t pick these books. We did. Christians will discover, on their own, that the Spirit speaks through those books and brings us to a saving knowledge of Jesus. They do a good job of this without talking about science, anthropology, anatomy, the latest issue of Biblical Archeology or any other standard of modern “truth.” The Bible is historical, but nowhere do I read a claim that it is perfect history. It’s “here’s the story from the God-point of view, where all kinds of strange things are more important than what you learned in school.”

The Bible is truthful, but it’s approach to truth is clearly something like this: God told us the truth in Jesus. Believe him. The Biblical story leading us to Jesus is true in that it leads us to Jesus. This seems to work without reference to large epistemological tomes on the nature of truth or the real “facts” of science. It’s actually quite amazing. For example:

Romans 5 says sin entered the world through one man. No history book in the world agrees with this, but Bible-believers know its true. We don’t need to worry that it is laughable to the world. This is our story.

Romans 5 says the death of one man made up for that sin for all who believe the Gospel. This also doesn’t match up with any history anywhere, and won’t be verified, so I don’t really get what’s going on. (I mean, you can historically conclude that Jesus was executed, but the meaning of it all is off the meter.) The only way you get ahold of this event, and what it means, is by faith and the Spirit. The church tells you the story in its canon of scripture, and you believe it by the illumination of the Spirit.

We also discover that the Bible’s approach to truth comes through an amazingly diverse grid of various literary types. Most all were literary forms common in prescientific cultures that thought the earth was the center of the universe, stars were angels, the blue sky was water, the moon gave light and so on. God didn’t seem to care about the limitations of prescientific accounts. Inerrantists worry about them endlessly. God actually seems to prefer them over modern “historical and scientific” accounts, as they keep the main thing the main thing. (If the Bible were being written today it would be larger than Spurgeon’s collected works. 30 times as large. Easily.)

Literary genre is the great ignored fact of the Bible that inerrantists seem unable to feel good about. They toss out “allegory” as a straw man, but if we were more accurate, the list would include EVERY kind of literary genre in the book: proverb, drama, journal, lament, imprecation, praise song, parable, didactic, story of origin, genealogy, poetry, apocalyptic, novella, and on and on and on. For some reason, the “truthfulness” of anything other than “flat” narration or eyewitness reporting really bugs a lot of inerrantists.

They remind me of people who, when asked by a four year old chide where babies come from, get out a college biology text or a video from human development class. Why? Well, allegory, story, poetry, etc. would just be abandoning the truth. (This is crazy!) So if I say the story of Adam and Eve is true, but it is prescientific, mythic, and more story than history, I’m a heretic. I will just say this once: I’m an English teacher, and you people get an F. Truth comes in all kinds of literary forms, and insisting that Genesis must produce a scientifically correct view of the universe is being brutally shallow in your appreciation of the literary nature of the material that makes up scripture.

This just in, and I have lots more like this.

History in the Bible must be perfect if it is to be trustworthy and if it is to be breathed out by God. If not, then the historical detail about the resurrection of Christ may not be true at all. And then our faith would be futile.

I respect my brothers and sisters with this view, but I cannot understand why they have come to the conclusion that Jesus and the Gospel must depend on a perfect book for “truth.” I thought if it really happened, it was true, and if God chooses to tell us what really happened in a book of poetry, symbol, music, apocalyptic, parable, prophecy, lament, proverb, saying and so forth, that doesn’t stop anything from “really” being true.

Creation “really” happened. That I am told by God about creation in a three thousand year old liturgical, poetic, prescientific story meant to assert Hebrew ideas over pagan ideas during the Babylonian captivity doesn’t take one thing away from the truth of Creation. Not one thing. Telling me I have to become a young earth creationist in order to actually “believe” this account is absurd. Saying that if I don’t become a young earth creationist, I disbelieve this account is simply unacceptable. Stronger words are really needed.

I want to say more, but I am weary from saying this much. I love and respect my inerrantist friends. When they tell me I am rejecting the resurrection by rejecting “inerrancy,” I am hurt and puzzled. But so I will remain, because the quests to insure that modernistic assertions about the Bible precede and protect the Gospel are not about to end. Denominations will split. Friendships will end. Seminarians and pastors will be shown the door. Christians will reject their brothers and sisters. It is needless, and a ridiculous waste of unity.

(For a thorough response to this article, read the Jollyblogger, David Wayne. Excellent post and totally an honor to be fisked by the best.)

Comments

  1. Myron,
    I couldn’t agree more. It is like being asked to buy into some kind of “wink and nod” club, where we can talk to one another about “no errors,” all the while having secret explanations for all errors. (You can buy the books. I have some of them!)

    THEN it becomes a matter of will you accept EVERY ONE of these explanations, no matter how outlandish or logically ridiculous. It is a specialized Occam’s Razor: The explanation that most preserves inerrancy is always to be chosen.

    So if you are willing to join the club, adopt the specialized vocabulary, accept all the explanations and the scholarship that produced them, and of course, reject any literary nonsense that might question whether propositionalizing is the only way to communicate, then you are a “Bible believing” Christian.

    And if you won’t make this leap….read my mail.

  2. imonk, I for one would never want to throw you out of the club for not using the word inerrancy. In fact I am myself teetering on the edge but, still have some issues to resolve.

    It is unfortunate that Christians cannot discuss an issue that is not crystal clear in scripture and not essential to the gospel.

    Let me if I can re-phrase the problem another way, I think I am beginning to understand your viewpoit.

    1) We can safely say that God had a body of information He wanted to communicate to Man (no offense meant to the women in the audience).
    2) He chose to do it by working with and through human (sinful) authors and by sending Jesus Christ.
    3) Now hears the trick, we believe that all necessary information God wished to communicate is contained in the Scriptures.
    4) Where we sometimes differ as Christians is on which information God wished to communicate and which is human contamination (best word I can find without saying, “error.”
    5) Does that sort of capture your thought on the Bible, if not my apologies, I’m still thinking this through.
    6) This does raise the issue of figuring out which is the correct information and which is not, doesn’t it.

    Don’t pop a fuseover your critics who are cruel, it is not worth that much effort.

  3. >contamination?

    No. I would say that the human element- which is necessarily “errant”- is totally and completely part of what God wanted to say. We hear the human voice as much as the divine in the scripture. (Read Job!)

    The nature of inspiration is that with the human elements of language, culture, storytelling forms, and 50 other things, what God wanted to communicate came to us in a way that, when looked at through the church’s process of canonization, we see Jesus and the Gospel, and our own story as well.

    And this raises a wonderful issue. Bibles please:

    Psalm 137:1-9 SV Psalm 137:1 By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion. 2 On the willows there we hung up our lyres. 3 For there our captors required of us songs, and our tormentors, mirth, saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” 4 How shall we sing the LORD’s song in a foreign land? 5 If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill! 6 Let my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember you, if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy! 7 Remember, O LORD, against the Edomites the day of Jerusalem, how they said, “Lay it bare, lay it bare, down to its foundations!” 8 O daughter of Babylon, doomed to be destroyed, blessed shall he be who repays you with what you have done to us! 9 Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!

    How is this Psalm inerrant? If that 8th verse isn’t “errant” what the heck am I reading?

    Listen…I know I will get an answer from some of you folks who can’t stand it. But if I can read vs 8 and say it is God’s perfect inerrant word just like John 3:16, then I want whatever medication you are taking.

  4. My former lockstep view of inerrancy fell apart yesterday in my OT intro class at my conservative, reformed seminary. It did so exactly 24 hours before I read your essay, interestingly enough.

    The moment happened when the prof pointed out that the author of Samuel says that Nathan the pophet said to David that David’s kingdom would last forever, but the author of Chronicles says that Nathan said, in the exact same speech, that God’s kingdom would last forever. An inerrantist or literalist is stuck with a dilemma here. Both seem to be “literal” reports of the same conversation. They are not poetic in genre, just simple historical narrative. But in each report, Nathan says two very different things. Both are in the Word of God. So, if you approach from the literalist/inerrantist POV, what did Nathan actually say?

    Most readers of the Christian Bible would never see this, because following the LXX we have Chronicles right after Samuel/Kings, we skip over Chronicles because, well, we just read Samuel/Kings, right? But in the Hebrew Bible, Chronicles was placed as the last book. It was written much later than Samuel/Kings and for a different purpose…to comfort and assure post-exilic Jews who now had no king, no temple (or at least not none in the neighborhood, if they were among the diasporized), and no land of their own. Where they still God’s people? Chronicles has Nathan assure them that they are, because even if there is no Davidic king currently on the throne, God himself remains their king.

    I’m thinking that I can no longer use the word “inerrant” to describe my position, though I do believe in this kind of inerrancy: The Scriptures are sometimes messy, and even the way we got them is somewhat messy, and it is that way because that’s exactly how God wanted it to be. If God wanted us to have an “inerrant” Bible in the way that most evangelicals mean inerrant, we would have the original manuscripts and they would’ve been carefully edited to remove all metaphor, allegory, and pre-scientific boners currently included.

    Having said all that, I stand with you, iMonk, in remaining perfectly comfortable in describing myself as fully adherent to WCT Section I.

    Mark T

  5. My doom is now sealed! 🙂

  6. My choice of “contamination” is perhaps a poor one. I only meant that there is perhaps an element of human thought and will mixed in with and interwoven with God’s thought and will.

    God wanted us to learn certain information about Himself and his dealings with men, primarily about salvation and Christ, and he chose to communicate that through the human authors of scripture. Maybe we cannot go far beyond that, and it must remain somewhat of a mystery.

    On verse Psalm 137:8, call me a dolt but, why would this cause a problem with inerrency. This only shows the agony and the spirit of the psalmist in calling down a curse on Babylon. Actually blessing on the one who repays Babylon. Are you having trouble with this statement of hate as opposed to the love shown in John 3:16?

  7. I just want to hear how my view that literary understanding stands before our categories of “error” effects the way we read “error” in scripture? Then I want to know why, if we can agree that Psalm 137:8 teaches truth using one kind of variation on human language, Genesis 1 wouldn’t also be capable of teaching truth through another variant on language, i.e. pre-scientific narrative?

  8. I am assuming that we are defining inerrancy as exemption from error in other words synonymous with infallible.

    Inerrancy is to presume translations of the Bibles (plural) are 100% agreed to the original articles. Until they are dug up from the desert somewhere I would doubt this could ever be proved.

    Having said that, that in of itself would not necessarily prove inerrancy.

    We also have to assume that the 66 books that make up our canon of scripture was an inspired choice amongst several other books that did not make it into the canon.

    We are also to further believe that God would have had to dictate to the respective authors of each of the canonical books for this to be the case, or the authors were not susceptible to the possibility of human error.

    Since most of the Gospel texts were not eyewitness accounts by the authors they had to trust someone to give them 100% accurate information, especially Luke and Mark.

    If tradition is correct about Matthew and John, then these two authors were a little more privy to what was going on, but even then they are commenting on things that happened when they were much younger and would have had to rely on 100% recollection of events, and comparing sources of other writers.

    Since the language that most of us read the bible in was translated from several Greek texts this further muddyÂ’s the waters. Which texts do we use? Hort and Wescott? The Received Text?

    Does the texts that have stories in them that others do not have more or less inerrant?

    I really feel this is a serious stretch of faith, as if it is not hard enough already, to accept such a claim. There are several passages that come to mind, but this one will suffice;

    21 And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them.
    22 And the people gave a shout, saying, it is the voice of a god, and not of a man.
    23 And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.

    History just doesn’t support Herod dying quite this way. I suppose one could argue that History is wrong and the bible is right, but I would not think this would hold much weight in this case. It is debated on what exactly caused Herod’s death, gangrene of the genitalia or complications of gonorrhea. In either case, he did not die immediately by being struck by an angel. It seems to me poetic license is being utilized here.

    Does this make the bible invalid because of discrepancies like this? No. There is a message behind the words of the bible. It was never intended to be a history book, science book, or any other book. It is what it is, a spiritual book.

    We have to be careful about judging one’s Christian walk based on man made dogmas. As far as I can tell the only criteria to becoming a Christian is to repent and accept Jesus sacrifice on the cross for our remission of sins. I must have missed the part, or my bible is missing some pages regarding the “so called” list of creeds we must avow in order to be classified as a Christian.

    Romans 14:1-3

    Owen

  9. To answer the aussie’s question, it is my understanding that a movement occurred in the ’70’s to view scripture through a process called “higher criticism.” Using this liberal view of scripture, events such as the virgin birth and resurrection of Christ were considered to be something other than literal truth. The “inerrancy” doctrine is probably a response to that. I am not a scholar on theological history, so feel free to correct me if my facts are errant.

    iMonk-
    I’ll steer away from the old/new earth thing, but I’ve got a couple of nagging questions. Pardon me if you’ve addressed these elsewhere, but I haven’t read everything you’ve ever written.

    Was Jesus fathered by a mortal human, or was Mary a virgin?

    Did Jesus rise from the dead and ascend to Heaven, or do his bones lie (lay?) here on earth somewhere?

    Did we evolve from monkeys?

    Was there a flood that destroyed the entire human race, save for one family?

    The last two questions there may be room for debate about, but it seems that with regards to the virgin birth and bodily resurrection, they must both be literally true or all of christianity becomes a big hoax.

    Did humans evolve from monkeys?

  10. Sorry, didn’t mean to ask the monkey question twice. My comment was not inerrant.

  11. First of all, since the post is about why I don’t plan to ever use the word inerrancy to describe what I believe about scripture, I find it interesting that you are asking me questions about evolution and creationism. I have a group of inerrantists telling me the word has nothing to do with these beliefs and I can use the word and be an old earther.

    HA HA HA.

    I addressed questions about creationism in this essay http://www.internetmonk.com/creation.html that was linked in this post. There is an FAQ at the end.

    Higher Criticism isn’t conservative or liberal. It has no theological presuppositions. That is a complete distortion, used by fundamentalists to mischaracterize scholarly study of the Bible. If the Bible isn’t a “magic book” (see previous post) then why not study it rigorously? Ever read N.T. Wright? You might be surprised.

    Your attempt to get me to confess to various apostate liberal notions is insulting. Read my work and decide for yourself. I say the Apostle’s Creed every Lord’s Day at my church, and I believe it. Equating the resurrection and the virgin birth with “evolving from monkeys” is bizarre.

    Here’s what I believe about scripture:

    http://www.boarsheadtavern.com/archives/2005/02/19/15027225.html

  12. Jim Gieseke says:

    Mr. Spencer now gives us an example of a bible verse which he thinks will belie inerrancy. The verse is Psalm 137:8:

    “O daughter of Babylon, O destroyed one! Blessed is he who will repay to you your reward which you rewarded to us. “

    Where is the problem here? Is the problem with the immediately following verse?

    “Blessed is he who seizes and dashes your little ones against the stones. “

    Some observations:

    1. If you have a problem believing that this verse belongs in the bible, then you have a major problem with large portions of the Old and the New Testaments. Do we remove, or disregard, all portions of the Bible which deal with God judging entire nations, including the slaughter of children? Ultimately, which parts of the Bible are you going to keep? (I think I know which ones …)

    2. If you have a problem with this verse, you ultimately have a problem with God Himself. Even if you remove every such passage from the Word of God, you are still going to pick up tomorrow’s newspaper and discover a world in which little one’s are slaughtered – by war, by tsunamis, by famine. Unless you are positing a weak or negligent God, you will then have a problem with Him.

    3. If you have a problem with this verse, I suspect you have a real problem with certain orthodox concepts such as a literal hell, a concept plainly taught in scripture, but which is “unpleasant” to nearly all who would contemplate it.

    Is it pleasant to confront these passages? No one would say it is, but then neither do these passages do anything to the concept of inerrancy. Much better to stand back in awe, perhaps looking at passages such as Luke 13:1-9 for what explanation they might give.

    This following passage, equally offensive as the one you cite, occurs in the book of Jeremiah:

    Therefore deliver up their sons to the famine, and give them over to the hand of the sword. And let their wives be bereaved, and widows, and their men be slain of death; let their young men be struck by the sword in battle.

    Matthew Henry comments:

    Now this is not written for our imitation. Jeremiah was a prophet, and by the impulse of the spirit of prophecy, in the foresight of the ruin certainly coming upon his persecutors, might pray such prayers as we may not; and, if we think by this example to justify ourselves in such imprecations, we know not what manner of spirit we are of; our Master has taught us, by his precept and pattern, to bless those that curse us and pray for those that despitefully use us. Yet it is written for our instruction, and is of use to teach us, [1.] That those who have forfeited the benefit of the prayers of God’s prophets for them may justly expect to have their prayers against them. [2.] That persecution is a sin that fills the measure of a people’s iniquity very fast, and will bring as sure and sore a destruction upon them as any thing. [3.] Those who will not be won upon by the kindness of God and his prophets will certainly at length feel the just resentments of both.

    If the alternative is to remove large portions of the scripture, and indeed entire components of orthodox theology, then I will have to cast my lot with the weak brained, heavily medicated, simple folk who believe in inerrancy and whom you deride.

    As an aside, there is an interesting article at the Trinity Foundation web site on the propositional nature of truth which I think may be helpful. It is at:
    http://www.trinityfoundation.org/latest.php

    In it, John Robbins writes:

    In the propositions of Scripture we have the very thoughts of God. Believing Jesus is believing his words. Believing in Jesus is believing his words. Christ made this very clear in John 5:46-47: “For if you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?” Believing Moses is believing his written propositions. Believing Jesus is believing his (at that time) spoken propositions. There is no non-propositional something behind the text that we must “get through to” or “sense.”

    Jim Gieseke
    Houston, Texas

  13. >1. If you have a problem believing that this verse belongs in the bible

    You are really off to the races now, aren’t you Jim? False premise in hand, you will nail me to the wall. I have NO PROBLEM with this verse in the Bible. I want to know how it fits in with inerrancy, since killing babies is clearly wrong.

    If you believe Jesus endorses killing babies, tell us.

    Then you try to drag me- by way of my refusal to say the Bible is inerrant in science, etc but authoritative in the Gospel and Jesus- into denying the character of God and a literal hell. You have absolutely no right or cause to do either. You are throwing me in with the worst kinds of liberals, and trying to smear me as one.

    This kind of shoddy character assassination of those who don’t use the word inerrancy- but have full confidence in and devotion to the Bible, Jesus and the Gospel, is the reason I loathe being an evangelical. They are, without a doubt, the most slanderous and accusatory people I talk to.

  14. Jim….

    Does the sentence “affirms Westminster Confession” not mean a damn thing to you, or are you just a troll who doesn’t give a rip about what I say that interferes with your crusade to get me into the apostate camp?

  15. If inerrancy is the answer, we are both asking and answering the wrong questions.

    >>>Kevin

  16. Jim,
    Unreal dude! Does the Tyranny of the majority mean anything to you? I am with Michael, how does anything of what you said have anything to do with “inerrancy”? And of course your follow-up post utilizing the word “damn thing” really makes your argument that much more valid. It is loving and compassionate people like that has people running into Jesus’ arms everyday. Takes some spiritual prozac dude, sounds like you need it.

    Owen

  17. Jim Gieseke says:

    It was Mr. Spencer, not I, who used “damn thing”, so your ire is misdirected, Owen.

    Reductio ad absurdem (following an argument to its logical conclusion)is a legitimate form of argument.

    And by the way, I also disagree with Michael in that I prefer CSI Las Vegas to CSI Miami.

    Now, let me see if I can raid my brother-in-laws medications for that Prozac you want me to take. =:-0

    Jim Gieseke
    Houston, Texas

  18. >Reductio ad absurdem (following an argument to its logical conclusion)is a legitimate form of argument.

    Well, here’s an argument you can follow out: Troll yourself somewhere else. You’re history here.

  19. Is it not the wrong question to be asking, is the bible inerrant or not? Can it be inerrant if my brother believes in young creation and I believe in old, who is to say whose view is correct? All of a sudden inerrancy means something different then intended. One has made it subjective. It can be inerrant without your understanding. Lets face it, we only see a portion of the truth of it. We all could tear holes in the young and old creationists. That is an issue. I have difficulty with Gen 1 to Rev. Does it apply to me now? Yes and No. It could be an allegory for me and it could be eternal which is outside my dimension, in which my physical body exists, but my spirit is eternal is it not? So, then Revelation does apply to me now, I just do not see the whole picture yet. It still remains absolute. My perspective or enlightenment does not change the facts. Lets go back to Gen. for a moment, oops we can’t do that, we just fell into history. It has been proven that these characters have lived, as we know Adam s part of the family. Some of his ancestors, like himself have lived rather foolishly, as I myself have at times, BUT the point is the bible can be taken historically, allegorical, literally, absolutely and spiritually. We who know the living God are Spiritual because we received the Spirit of truth.
    Jim Geiseke, had said some very good comments, though I did not agree with it all, he presented well.

  20. Since imonk responded to my query with his example from Psalm 137, I feel a little obligated to respond to Jim. Jim, you are jumping on imonk a bit too quickly, he never has talked about ripping parts of the Bible out that we may consider unpleasant.

    We were trying to determine how inerrancy fits with a literary interpretation of scripture, imonk only raised an example.

    I should also point out that althought the Bible is God’s message to us, it is not always God’s command or his words that are recorded. Sometimes he shares what others experience…God takes no joy in the death of the wicked.