Something I have thought of re. "Inerrancy"

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Speedpass, May 13, 2003.

  1. Speedpass

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    Fundamentalists, Calvinists, and Arminians all claim "inerrancy" as part of their doctrine. But I've been thinking: doesn't "inerrancy" mean different things to each of these groups? eg. To a Fundamentalist, "inerrancy" means KJVO and a premil-dispy view of eschatology. To a Calvinist, "inerrancy" means "double election". And to an Arminian, "inerrancy" means that a Christian can become apostate and lose his/her salvation.

    Something else: Doesn't "inerrancy" imply that congregational government with a Pastor as under-shepherd and Deacons as servant leaders as the only legitimate form of church government to one group of Believers; while to another group of Believers "inerrancy" implies that an Elder board which makes decisions for a local church--with the Senior Pastor as Ruling Elder--is the only legitimate form of church government ?!? :confused:
     
  2. Baptist Believer

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    People confuse belief in the Bible with belief in an interpretation of the Bible all the time.

    It's a major source of conflict amount Christians and has lately been focused around the so-called doctrine of "inerrancy" in Baptist life in recent history.
     
  3. USN2Pulpit

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    In other words, BB, the Bible is inerrant, but we are not! God give us wisdom to be correct!
     
  4. Pastor Larry

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    Orthodox believers always have, but don't neatly fit into these categories. You have mistaken intepretation of the Bible for inerrancy. Inerrancy means it has no errors. That is not the same as clarity. All parts are without error; all parts are not equally clear to the modern mind.

    Inerrancy has been rejected, in some measure, over this idea of clarity. Many have approached the Scriptures and found something they don't understand. So they claim it is an error. That does not follow at all. The fact that I don't understand something does not mean it is in error; it means that I don't understand it. We must maintain that difference. Otherwise we end up with the non sequitur that you have put forth here.

    Not at all. Fundamentalism as never been KJVO and never will be. KJVO is contradictory to historic fundamentalism and the early fundamentalists repudiated the view that they hold. Eschatology as well has a wide range of views among fundamentalists. Not all are dispensationalists (premill dispy is a redundancy).

    As a dispensational calvinist, this one doesn't follow either. Calvinists do not all believe in double election (though it is usually called double predestination). That is a matter of interpretation.

    Not all arminians believe this. Like Calvinism, arminianism cuts a wide swath in the theological spectrum.

    Again, you are mistaking inerrancy with clarity. Additionally, you have now brought in the idea of historical precedent. While being a committed Baptist who believes in the principle of congregational government with a strong pastoral leader, people who do it differently can still believe in inerrancy because it is not a matter of explicit revelation.

    In the bottom line of this, as I have shown, you have confused inerrancy as a doctrine (which it is) with clarity of Scripture. Differences of opinion on interpretational matters do not mean that two groups cannot both believe inerrancy.
     
  5. Baptist Believer

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    Amen, amen and amen!
     
  6. mesly

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  7. Kiffin

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    Inerrancy has nothing to do with Calvinism, Arminianism, Fundamentalism, Charistmatic movement etc....It just simply means that the original manuscripts were infallible and without error.
     
  8. Pastor Larry

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    Yes ... However, it is an easy shot for those who disagree with a certain person or belief to blow it off with "That's only your interpretation." Let's face it, there are many parts of Scripture that are explicit and many that are reasonably clear. For instance, there should be no real debate about whether or not the KJVO position is biblical. It most certainly is not. You have to overlook the basics of the doctrine of bibliology to come up with that one. However, at the same time, there is no real doubt about the doctrine of inspiration and inerrancy. Those who reject it do so in spite of the evidence and the teaching of Scripture, not because of it.

    So we must be careful not to use "interpretation" as an excuse for unbelief.
     
  9. Speedpass

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    maybe this will clear up the intent of my starting this thread: I hypothesize that many subgroups of Christianity espousing inerrancy define "inerrancy" according to how they interpret the Bible.
     
  10. Johnv

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    I think it means that the MESSAGE contained in the manuscripts are infallible and without error.
     
  11. Baptist Believer

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    I think it means that the MESSAGE contained in the manuscripts are infallible and without error. </font>[/QUOTE]Actually John, I think Kiffin is exactly right about inerrancy. The classic view of inerrancy is concerned about the texts themselves. Your view (and mine) is concerned about the message itself – what I consider to be the true written word of God.

    In Southern Baptist life the view you hold has been explicitly rejected by the leadership (you’ll hear things like “the Bible does not contain the word of God, it is the word of God!”).

    It is this distinction that causes quite a bit of controversy in Southern Baptist life. Those who reject inerrancy for a higher view of scripture are considered “neo-orthodox” and are alleged not to “believe the Bible”.
     
  12. mesly

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    I think I am following you, but could you give a specific example? For instance in your hypothesis, how would I as a dispensationalist define inerrancy? I use my own position here so that I am not accused of picking on another position. If that is to broad, then can you select a sub group that you have in mind? I find this topic very interesting.
     
  13. Speedpass

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    Okay--suppose I am a Fundamentalist. I would say that an inerrant Bible implies a dispy-premil view on eschatology. Or if I were a Calvinist. I would say that an inerrant Bible implies double predestination, Elders "running" the churches, and an Amilennial view of eschatology.
     
  14. mesly

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    To carry this further and for my clarification, are you stating that my interpretation of the inerrant scriptures becomes inerrant in and of itself? An example might be because I am dispensational, the separation between Israel and the Church is an inerrant doctrine (for me)?

    Or do you have any specific translation in mind that was translated with theological bias and considered inerrant because of that bias? For example the JW's would say that the NWT is inerrant because it down-plays Jesus' deity. Could that be said for other translations (i.e. is one translation more Calvanistic than another)?

    I am sorry for coming across so dense here - just trying to understand your hypothesis.
     
  15. Speedpass

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    I think this position jives with what I am hypothesizing.
     
  16. Pastor Larry

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    We would not disagree with this, but we would point out the obvious ... that the message is conveyed in words and therefore of necessity means that the words are inerrant as well.

    I understand that when people use "message" as you do, it is usually an attempt to disclaim the historical portions, or comments on other matters. However, the doctrine of inerrancy can withstand no such division, IMO
     
  17. Tim

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    Pastor Larry and I disagree on a lot, but I think we agree 100% on inerrancy. It's clarity that we disagree on.
    We know God's Word is without error.
    We like to think we are pretty close to error-free in our understanding of it.
    But we know that others who disagree with us are FULL of error.

    Isn't that the way it works?

    In Christ,

    Tim
     
  18. Baptist Believer

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    We would not disagree with this, but we would point out the obvious ... that the message is conveyed in words and therefore of necessity means that the words are inerrant as well. </font>[/QUOTE]God's word is contained in the context of words... Words by themselves do not carry all the meaning by themselves, but the context of the words joined together form the concepts and meaning which is the word of God.

    Think of it this way, I can put every word in this post in alphabetical order, but it wouldn't make that much sense. But by placing words in a certain acceptable order, meaning is transmitted which goes beyond the words themselves.

    While the texts we have may have errors here and there, the meaning of the message is not in error.
     
  19. Pastor Larry

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    I agree with all of that, but none of it is the point with respect to inerrancy. The words, in their context, are the words that God inspired and are therefore inerrant with respect to anything they talk about. The discussions of inerrancy do not center on hermeneutics (such as you are discussing here) but rather on theology. This is an issue of theology, whether or not the Bible is true in what it says. The liberal/moderate position is qualified on that ... that the Bible is true when it speaks to matters of faith and doctrine, but not necessarily true when it speaks to other matters, such as history, scientific issues, etc. The conservative position is that the Bible is true in whatever it talks about, that it tells the actual state of affairs. This latter is the biblical position. That is what the discussion is about.'

    Your last line is true only in respect ot copyist/scribal errors. The original documents from the pen of the author were without error in teh whole and in the part.
     
  20. Artimaeus

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    The plenary, verbal, inspiration of the scriptures is a clear cut definition. Every letter in every word in every book in the entire Bible (in the original languages) is exactly the letter, word, book, and Bible that God intended. Inerrancy doesn't mean that God got the gist of what He wanted, the main point, or the useful "message" across. I have never heard any of the groups we are talking about claim that inerrancy means their doctrine is right. They usually claim their doctrine is right because they say this is what the Bible 'means". Inerrancy itself does NOT mean that the "MESSAGE" is without error, it means that the words (even the letters) are without error. Now if the words are without error then the "message" is also without error. You CANNOT have one without the other.

    Originally posted by Baptist Believer:
    God's word is contained in the context of words... Words by themselves do not carry all the meaning by themselves, but the context of the words joined together form the concepts and meaning which is the word of God.

    The concept that God inspired the "message" and the words aren't also inspired is a denial of the inspiration of scripture. Paul made a big deal about whether a word was plural or not.

    Gal 3:16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.

    Without the message the words are meaningless but, without the words, the message is meaningless also because I can say it means anything I want to, just as many are doing with the word inerrancy.
     

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