Sunday, May 17, 2009

Objection to Biblical Inerrancy #6

Continued from: Objection to Biblical Inerrancy #5

A sixth objection
is that inerrancy’s exaltation of the Word of God denigrates the real Word Himself, Jesus Christ. The point comes from the idea of Schleiermacher, father of modern liberal theology, of a personal encounter with the living Word, Jesus Christ. Pinning God down to a written revelation is said to imprison God and deny his sovereignty. It comes with an accusation that the inerrantist is exalting the written Word over the living Word – thus bibliolatry.

Daniel Day of First Baptist Church, Raleigh, NC, calls it just that. “Bibliolatry is a departure from true faith, but it’s all the more insidious because it deceitfully wraps itself in the robes of piety even while it replaces the living God with a god of paper and ink. . . . God isn’t trapped within the covers of a book. God is living and free. To equate God’s book with God’s own self is idolatry.”[1]

This argument often easily derails most inerrantists on the basis of emotion, not of a superior position. It is based on a false comparison, pitting the written Word against the living Word.

No inerrantist wants to denigrate their Lord at the expense of exalting the Bible, and neither does the text of the Bible. God has the freedom to communicate in any way he wants. He is sovereign after all, but since most human beings communicate through speech most of the time, God has chosen to use that form of communication to exalt and glorify the Living Word, Jesus Christ.

When one comes to know the Living Word, his speech becomes that much more precious.[2] “Lord, to whom shall we go?” Peter said. “Thou hast the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). The disciples of Christ personally encountered the person of Christ through infallible words recorded in historical time. There is no reason to expect a different process of encounter today.[3]


[1] Daniel.Day, “The Errors of Inerrancy and the Glories of Scripture” (sermon preached at First Baptist Church, Raleigh, NC.) Macon, GA: Mercer University Center for Baptist Studies. available from http://www.centerforbaptiststudies.org/sermons/dayinerrancy.doc; Internet; accessed 25 November 2008. See also Claude E. Howe, Jr., “Doing Authority Baptist Style: The Bible,” (Brentwood, TN: Baptist History and Heritage Society and the William H. Whitsitt Baptist Heritage Society). Available from http://www.centerforbaptiststudies.org/pamphlets/style/bible.htm; Internet; accessed 25 November 2008; and Charles W. Deweese, “Doing Freedom Baptist Style: Liberty of Conscience,” (Brentwood, TN: Baptist History and Heritage Society and the William H. Whitsitt Baptist Heritage Society). Available from http://www.centerforbaptiststudies.org/pamphlets/style/liberty.htm; Internet; accessed 25 November 2008.

[2] “Biblical inerrancy is above all important because it undergirds our conviction that the words and promises of God which tell us of our salvation in Christ are absolutely reliable. If it were not for the constant attacks that are made on the Scriptures and the repeated charges that it contains mistakes, we probably would not emphasize the doctrine of biblical inerrancy to the extent that this has been done in recent times, and it is the opposition to biblical inerrancy that must in large measure bear the blame if the central doctrines of the Gospel are sometimes crowded into the background.” Siegbert W. Becker, “Luther and Inerrancy.” Joint Conference of the North and South Metropolitan Circuits of the Southeastern Wisconsin District, Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, November 15, 1982. Accessed November 25, 2008; available from http://66.102.1.104/scholar?hl=en&lr=&safe=off&q=cache:5daGW0Ut6s4J:www.wlsessays.net/authors/B/BeckerLuther/BeckerLuther.PDF+related:wtY1hR5ZtlsJ:scholar.google.com/

[3] Saucy, 22.

Continue to Objection to Biblical Inerrancy #7

Also on Sunday in the South:
Objections to Biblical Inerrancy #1 & #2, #3 & #4, #5