Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Qualifying inerrancy 2

My position on inerrancy is probably similar to the Chicago Statement on inerrancy. Some complain and quibble that it is pedantic, or leads to twisting Scripture, or has a loose definition of errancy.

Part of the problem comes from living in a world which is committed to accuracy, precision, and verbatim quotes. Having a somewhat low context society where much is expected to be spelled out does not help this problem either.

But the essence of inerrancy is the claim that the Bible is without error. Specifically it means no errors of fact. The qualifications of inerrancy are around what constitutes a fact.

Facts need to be read the way they are intended.

One cannot complain that a recorded fact is errant when the author did not make a claim the reader is imposing. We cannot complain that a quote is not verbatim when the author never intended it to be so—which incidentally will almost always be the case when we are translating a quote into a different language. A quote is meant to convey the meaning, exact words are not always necessary.

Nor can we complain that a fact lacks precision when the author was not being precise. Approximate details are approximate.

Also, just because exceptions and qualifications are not mentioned we cannot assert that there are none; the higher the context the discussion, the more that is assumed.

Further, we cannot argue that failure to mention an event means the author denies it happened.

My defending of inerrancy is not quibbling, it may be denying your assumptions about the nature of the text.

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