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Thursday, May 3, 2007

Biblical Inerrancy Pt. 3 (sorta)

I've had a more difficult time on this posting than the first two, partly because motivations are more complex than arguments, and partly because positive suggestions require more ingenuity than criticizing the ideas of others. So instead of posting either of the two overly long bad blogs I've halfway-written I will wait to conclude this topic until I can lay out my thoughts more coherently.

Instead I'll just make a couple quick comments. First, as I noted earlier, a major motivation for accepting this doctrine is to preserve doctrinal orthodoxy. But why should the Christian care? It makes sense to worry about doctrinal orthodoxy when you can do something about it. But heresy is just so much more boring than it used to be. In fact, my guess is that most people who begin to believe heretical doctrine leave the evangelical church before they can even be properly excommunicated anyway. After all, why stick around? More than likely there is another church down the block that you will find perfectly congenial to your new "heretical" beliefs. And anyway, acceptance of a heretical doctrine will generally be accompanied by a rejection of the Inerrancy doctrine--again making it seem there is little reason for the Christian to emphasize this issue.

After all, when there is only one or maybe two churches you can attend, or if you live in a society where atheism is not even a live option for even the secular then there are clear negatives to the pronouncements of heresy from the pulpit. But that is not the America that most people live in.

Finally, I find it somewhat ironic that the Inerrancy doctrine is primarily used by its adherents to defend not the theological, but moral and scientific claims of the Bible. After all, the Inerrancy doctrine is rarely useful in resolving long-standing theological disputes such as the Calvinism/Arminianism debate, or eschatological debates. Rather, it is used to argue that evolution is wrong, or that homosexuality is evil, or that women should submit to their husbands. It is within the Evangelical's rights to believe these doctrines, but they do seem removed from the core notions of personal salvation and relationship with God through being born again which forms the core of Evangelical practice and belief. So why is it such a big deal?


Miss B said...

Have you seen Jesus Camp yet? Jess and i watched it last night. would love to discuss. xo

Sabina's hat said...

No, I haven't seen it, but it sounds interesting, and oddly for a movie with that subject, even-handed. I've read reviews by both evangelicals and non-Christians that were approving.