Re: BIBLE/ORIGINS: seeking feedback

From: John Burgeson (
Date: Sat Jan 25 2003 - 11:58:39 EST

  • Next message: John Burgeson: "Re: Friends, Expats, and war"

    David Campbell posted, in part(on how many OECs hold to biblical inerrancy):
    "No idea on the percentages, but there are a fair number, e.g. me. One
    issue is the suggestion that the accuracy of Scripture reflects on God's
    reliability. This argument depends on assumptions about the nature of
    inspiration. Another issue is the authority of Scripture. Do we regard it
    as authoritative, or do we regard our own judgement as a higher authority,
    or some other source of information? Inerrancy must also be carefully
    defined. The Bible includes lies, when quoting liars. It frequently uses
    figurative or phenomenological language, which is inaccurate if interpreted
    as scientific detail."

    Ten years ago I still used the word "inerrant" to refer to scriptures,
    referring to the original manuscripts of course. Gradually I moved from this
    position on the grounds that referring to something we do not have in hand
    was not a useful concept. That the versions we have now are errant seems to
    be apparent -- although I do have one long standing friend who argues that
    the KJV is inspired in its own right and, therefore, inerrant.

    A 1977 book by Stephen Davis (forward by Clark Pinnock) titled THE DEBATE
    ABOUT THE BIBLE, Inerrancy versus infallibility, came to my attention last
    fall. On page 2 of that slim volume he states ""... a book is inerrant only
    if it makes no false or misleading statements." In the case of the Bible,
    "It is to claim that the Bible contains no errors at all -- none in history,
    gewography, botany, astronomy, sociology, psychiatry, economics, geology,
    logic, mathematics, or any area whatsoever." I recommend this book for

    My own position is that I regard the Bible as infallible in matters of faith
    and practice. While open to the possibility that it may not be so (IOW that
    position is not a non-negotiable presupposition), I think that inductive
    thinking must, necessarily, leave that possibility open. In this statement,
    I find that Davis and Daniel Fuller agree.

    A belief in infallibility does not mean that I must take every biblical text
    (particularly historical stories) and either regard them as factual or draw
    moral conclusions from them. Thus I see I Sam 15 where a literal reading has
    God commanding the murder of infants as the writer's story of how Saul
    claimed God's OK in that command. Of course, nobody (here), even a
    literalist, would argue that since God apparently OKed infantcide it is OK
    for us to do it today. Yet I do not see any grounds that a literalist could
    use to argue against such a policy.

    Another issue is that of intent. In Matthew 13:31-32 Jesus is making a
    theological point, not one of botany. It is not factually true that the
    mustard seed is the smallest of seeds, but that was not the point HE was
    making. My own interpretation is that Jesus was simply using the common
    knowledge of his listeners, which happened to be incorrect. Whether He knew
    it to be incorrect or simply shared (as seems most likely to me) the
    knowledge of the day is another subject altogether.

    John W. Burgeson (Burgy)

    STOP MORE SPAM with the new MSN 8 and get 2 months FREE*

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Jan 25 2003 - 12:01:17 EST