Innerancy Posts and Responses

I have taken this from my blogging friend Derek Ashton’s ThEOparadox blog as a summation of the posts that my blogging friend Robert Jiminez posted in a series titled Has inerrancy outlived its usefulness? and Derek’s responses.

While I strongly affirm the innerancy of Scripture, I wanted to put up links to these posts from my two friends so that people who are unfamiliar with this concept and want a starting point can read them and make decisions for themselves. There are a lot of comments to read also.

I believe Robert’s first post is his strongest and Derek’s last is his.

The things that bother me the most about those who believe the Bible is errant is that “the Bible doesn’t speak about itself” and the apparent contradictions that are accusatory in a way, instead of apologetic towards Scripture. Derek addresses both of these in his last post.

Although Derek doesn’t know Robert, I can vouch for Robert’s sincerity and genuineness as a Christian and brother in Christ. I’m very thankful to have these two as my blogging friends. x

9 Responses to “Innerancy Posts and Responses”

  1. 1 Robert Jimenez

    Jeff, what’s interesting is that I do believe that the bible is inerrant. It is inerrant in what teaches us about God, that’s why I can say that it is trustworthy, inspired, and truthful. But to take it further and say it is inerrant in matters of science or mathematical exactness is stretching the term to include things that the bible was never intended to communicate. Yes I believe that God is the creator of the universe, was it created in 6 days, 6 years, 6 million years, I think misses the point of the Genesis narrative. Just using that as an example don’t care to debate old vs young earth.

    I just think that term inerrant requires a lot of qualifiers, and most only attribute it to the originals which is an argument from silence. So I ask has it outlived it’s usefulness, and are there better terms we can use?

  2. 2 Scripture Zealot

    I see what you’re saying. But I think that changing the terms can actually be more confusing. Different people pick different terms and nobody knows what anyone is talking about anymore. All because they are afraid of or don’t like the traditional terms because they care too much about what others think.

    I think some are looking for ‘mistakes’ instead of trying to defend the Bible in those areas and in fact many of those apparent contradictions can be explained.

    I guess I don’t think the term innerant needs as many qualifiers as others.

  3. 3 Robert Jimenez

    Jeff, but it does need qualifiers, I don’t even know what you mean by inerrancy? Also if by traditional, you mean the last couple of hundred years, right? Prior to that the term was not used.

  4. 4 Derek Ashton

    Jeff, thanks for posting these links.

    “thEOparado” ??? LOL

    I’ve enjoyed Brother Jimenez’ writings and the conversations they have prompted, including the fascinating exchange with Scott Lencke. It’s always helpful to define exactly what we mean by the terms we use, and to consider challenges to our stances. And I can understand why some very astute people believe inerrancy is not a helpful term. But when I look at the alternatives, I can’t find one that doesn’t completely dismantle the doctrine of inspiration and diminish the authority and sufficiency of Scripture.

    Perhaps a good replacement for the term “inerrancy” (if we must have one) would be to affirm that the original autographs were “entirely factual.” But that is the very point that non-inerrantists seem to be getting at. They don’t believe the original autographs were entirely factual. I believe the Holy Spirit’s role as the inspirer, ever-present guide, and ultimate filter of the text precludes this possibility. I have yet to read an account of non-inerrancy that explains how the Holy Spirit could truly function as the sanctioning “editor” of the Scriptures, and somehow fail to prevent counter-factual statements from getting into the text. Also, how and why did the Holy Spirit guard the text from one kind of error (theological) and not another (historical/scientific/factual). Surely the human authors didn’t have a perfect systematic theology theology, any more than they had a perfect understanding of science or history.

    Claiming that the doctrine of inerrancy is relatively new is akin to asking if Paul believed in the Trinity. Of course he did, but there wasn’t a term for it yet. I’d bet if we could bring back Clement, Tertullian, Chrysostom, Jerome, Ambrose, Augustine, Bernard, Aquinas, Hus, Wyclif, Luther, Calvin, Owen, Newton, Baxter, and Edwards, they would all gladly add their names to the hundreds who signed the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy. I think they would collectively rebuke Evangelical scholars like Longman and Enns, who have questioned or denied the factuality of the original texts – and I don’t think most of them would be very nice about it. Obviously, I’m speculating. But do non-inerrantists really believe any of those stalwarts would deny inerrancy? There are better reasons to doubt that than to doubt inerrancy itself.


  5. 5 Robert Jimenez

    Derek, let me clarify what I meant by “…last couple of hundred years”. I meant the use of the actual term “inerrancy”, it is a rather new term and not one that was used by Calvin, or the church fathers. Yes the idea is there just not sure 100% if what they meant is Norman Geisler meant.

    I don’t honestly know if there is a better term? Again I am by no means some liberal Christian, such as the likes of Schleiemacher.

    But you will admin that when one says they believe in the “Doctrine of Inerrancy” they do have to qualify what they mean, right? It’s not a cut and dry understanding as say the “Trinity”. We don’t need qualifiers when we say we believe in the Trinity.

  6. 6 Scripture Zealot

    I agree with Derek who is a smarter version of me.

    I guess I just don’t have a problem with the idea or the term innerancy. It has always been a simple idea to me. But I’ve never had much problem with terms and have never really been into labels or modifying them (or knowing what some of them are). I believe the entire Bible is truth with no errors as God inspired the original authors. I don’t question it, only defend it, seeing it as complete authority.

    Derek, sorry I left out the x. Duh. Thanks for letting me know.

    ‘In the early church Augustine writes, “I have learned to yield this respect and honour only to the canonical books of Scripture: of these alone do I most firmly believe that the authors were completely free from error.”

    The two great Reformers, Luther and Calvin, bear testimony to biblical infallibility. Luther says, “But everyone, indeed, knows that at times they (the fathers) have erred as men will; therefore I am ready to trust them only when they prove their opinions from Scripture, which has never erred.” While Calvin does not use the phrase “without error,” there can be little question that he embraced inerrancy. Of the writers of the Gospels he comments, “The Spirit of God . . . appears purposely to have regulated their style in such a manner, that they all wrote one and the same history, with the most perfect agreement, but in different ways.”‘

  7. 7 Scripture Zealot

    This is the quote I was looking for:

    St. Augustine writing to St. Jerome: “For, I admit to your Charity that it is from those book alone of the Scriptures, which are now called canonical, that I have learned to pay them such honor and respect as to believe most firmly that not one of their authors has erred in writing anything at all. If I do find anything in those books which seems contrary to truth, I decide that either the text [particular copy] is corrupt, or the translator did not follow what was really said, or that I failed to understand it.”
    (Willis, The Teachings of the Church Fathers; Ignatius Press, 2002)


  8. 8 Derek Ashton


    I greatly appreciate the fact that you are not a liberal on the line of Schleiermacher. That is part of the reason I decided to interact with your arguments. You have enough evident respect for Scripture, from a practical standpoint, that your move away from inerrancy probably won’t take you down some slippery slope, and enough respect for Scripture that the type of arguments I make might just have some appeal.

    Just as affirmation of inerrancy has different meanings for different people, so the denial of it can have radically different meanings. I challenged you in order to find out exactly what you mean, and what direction you are moving, with the goal of uncovering the deeper implications of the move, and asking the questions, “Are you sure you really want to affirm these things?” and “How do you answer the negative implications?” Sometimes I can come on strong as I attempt to get down to the core issues and cut through the surface terminology. I’ll probably turn out curmudgeonly when I get older, but by God’s grace I hope not. There was no intent to harm, but a desire to engage in an uncluttered discussion. I don’t know anything about your walk with God, and I would tend to assume the best of it. Heresy hunting is not my game.

    You’ve made a good point that the word “Inerrancy” isn’t quite as clear as “Trinity.” All theological terms, however, are subject to misapprehension and can get twisted over time. I prefer to straighten them out rather than discard them. But you have your reasons, and I respect them even if I disagree deeply.

    Thanks for responding with grace and humility.


  9. 9 Derek Ashton

    Jeff, thanks for fixing my blog name 🙂

    “A smarter version of me.” Ha! Okay, if you say so. But I think you might be smarter because you ask more questions. Or maybe you’re just a more humble version of me?

    Those are great quotes from antiquity you’ve dug up. I love Augustine, even more now.

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