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  1. Dread says:

    Michael Bird is like many Brits as he looks at the strange way we handle inerrancy.

    The Chicago Statement essentially takes every passage that calls inerrancy into question and denies it that function.

    Inerrancy is not a useless expression but it is misleading.

    Authority is something OTHER than inerrancy — and it is derived from God himself not from the text alone.

  2. Officerhoppy says:

    Question for you: How can scripture have authority without inerrancy?

  3. Dread says:


    It’s a good question given my phrasing. Scripture is the record of God’s self revelation. It is not authoritative by virtue of scientific or mathematic precision. The number of angels in a text does not give the text authority. The authority is the weight of the one revealed. Jesus himself had authority. The scribes often had inerrant dictums but lacked what Jesus carried.

    We seek the one beyond the page not the mere letter of it.

    Inerrancy is a word that works in math and science but it does not mean God-breathed.

  4. Dread says:

    Inerrancy conveys information. Inspiration conveys power.

    I think there are errant texts that are authoritative

    This is why the Chicago Statement bore so many qualifications. They know the text can be imprecise.

  5. Officerhoppy says:

    Seeking clarification, my friend. Given what you said in both posts, why/how can one rely on scripture. And maybe you can clarify this statement: “ We seek the one beyond the page not the mere letter of it.” That sounds pretty subjective to me. Is there such a thing as objective truth? Or better, can a person misunderstand Jesus or incorrectly misinterpret Him? Does our interpretation of Him change with culture?

  6. Michael says:


    What does it mean to “rely” on Scripture?
    I do not hold to inerrancy, but I recognize the authority of God in the Scriptures.

    The “objective truth” canard is useless when speaking of a translation of a translation that is interpreted thousands of different ways.

    The Bible contains some objective truths…but is not an objective truth itself…

  7. Dread says:


    The scriptures were produced by the church which was produced by the Christ. That is why God is always beyond the scriptures. God created them when he acted in history by his son to reconcile all things.

    So scripture is the product before it becomes the producer. We rely on the God of our salvation and we benefit from the scriptures he inspired and the church gathered.

    Objective truth is not the test of revelatory knowledge. Many objectively true things have zero revelatory value.

    Church history teaches us that subjective and objective forces are always colliding and sometimes these are the processes that render orthodoxy. One needs only to examine the Christological conflicts that yielded our creedal faith.

  8. Officerhoppy says:

    Don’t know that i understand all that but you’ve given me some things to contemplate

  9. Dread says:

    Perhaps it is useful to attempt another response about inerrancy. Clark Pinnock noted that most evangelicals, indeed most Bible Christians hold to a kind of ‘simple inerrancy.’ That is, we believe the Bible is true. There is where I find my home. For some the word inerrancy protects that claim. From my perspective it imperils it.

    To be inerrant implies mathematical or scientific precision in measurable calculations. The Bible isn’t that sort of communication. The Bible is witness to divine self-revelation. The Bible is a record of the revelations of God to man. That is not calculable like a theorem. We are not fully privy to the encounters it entails. Yes, there are many ways to validate common claims such as historical or geographic matters attested to elsewhere, and those processes go on and help. But the Bible’s authority is not established upon such notions. Those may explain but they do not authorize the matters at hand.

    Thus I would say the Bible is true and that the truth it relates is authoritative. But the true authority lies in the one revealed. Thus the writer of Hebrews attests to us that God spoke most authoritatively and definitively when he sent forth his son. In the son we have the final and unerring revealing of Father. In the son we have both power and authority. In the son we have uncreated life incarnate.

    Overstating the claim weakens the point. That is a cardinal foundation of debate. Inerrancy of scripture overstates the claim and grants all the critics of scripture the access they need to put it to death with a thousand cuts. Authority is his unveiled presence.

    The Bible merely records it and conveys it but it is not equal to it. We treasure our Bibles and worship the king that is testified in its pages with unique clarity.

  10. Michael says:


    Well said…though I doubt it will answer the questions many have…because it is not a simple doctrine that makes people feel secure.

  11. Officerhoppy says:

    Thanks for taking more time for my questions. I am not resonating with you—not because you’re wrong—but because I’ve never been introduced to this line of thinking before. So, I’m having to think deeper. The truth is, I just don’t get your logic. For instance your statement “ Thus I would say the Bible is true and that the truth it relates is authoritative. But the true authority lies in the one revealed”. Although you’ve made that point before, I still don’t understand how that solves the issue of authority. It sounds like you are saying, the proof of scriptures reliability is that it points to and authenticates a crucified and risen lord and nothing more. If that is the case, then why even study scripture? 2 Timothy 3 “ All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

    I respect you D-man. So I ask questions in an effort to learn.

  12. Dread says:

    Thanks for working hard that we understand…

    What I am definitely avoiding is the idea that we can believe in Christ because the Bible is reliable. That makes something other than the proclamation of Jesus central. So let me give a tightly packed response and I will be interested if it is reasonable for you.

    I think the matter is summed up in the question of letter vs Spirit. “28 And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, 29 for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.” Mt 7:28–29. The hearers bore witness to the authoritative witness.

    The scribes had a very high view of the text but lacked authority. Jesus had authority and his words became text. Note that Jesus was teaching… the Bible is reliable teaching but apart from Christ it was impossible to fully comprehend or follow.

    Reliability is not reliable because we can prove it by extra means… reliability is rooted in the the Godhead who stands behind it and as 2 Timothy tells us … it is breathed by GOD … Inspired is not Inerrant though they would have touchpoints. A God-breathed text is useful for all.

    The “nothing more” statement is not at all my point. The final stamp of authority on the text is the Spirit’s witness to the church and through the church to the world.

  13. Michael says:

    ” 2 Timothy 3 “ All Scripture is inspired by God ‘ … understanding that in that moment only the OT would be considered scripture.

    I’m working my way way slowly and painfully through a massive set of Anglican dogmatics written a hundred years ago…the word ‘inerrant” is found nowhere in 3000 pages…

  14. Dread says:

    Yes Michael but the learning curve feels like rejecting truth.

  15. Michael says:


    I get that…the strange thing to me is that rejecting wooden inerrancy actually saved my faith and helped me grasp the authority of God in the scriptures.

    You once said it and it took me years to get it…inerrancy asks too much of the scriptures.

    there are obvious mistakes and contradictions through the text…but those no longer faze me…the narrative is consistent and awesome…

  16. Dread says:

    Our Gospel is not in word only but power

  17. Officerhoppy says:

    But if I can’t trust the scriptures what can I trust? I mean no disrespect but why even study it? Sounds like I might get more information from the phone book or a Hallmark card.

    You seem to minimize the impact of the Bible.

    I know that not to be true so I must be misunderstanding something

  18. Officerhoppy says:

    I’m not able to follow the reasoning. I can’t connect the dots to your thinking. You may be taking me to a place my years of study and instruction will not allow me to go.

  19. Dread says:


    I do think the Bible is reliable — but that’s not why I believe. God in Christ acted to redeem. His action preceded the record and produced that record. The pure Gospel came first, it produced a church which produced a reliable record. But the authority is not the record. The authority is the living God that produced it.

    It is the act of pure grace upon our souls that makes the record powerful. I love the holy scriptures and find my Lord portrayed there as nowhere else. But that is not why I believe them reliable. I believe them reliable because of his gracious action poured out by the Spirit upon me.

    The Bible is the servant and the sacrament of his pure love that is why I pour over it to find him revealed in greater clarity. But inerrancy interests me not at all. It is like one who stands too close to a master painting analyzing the strokes and missing the image.

    Grace and peace

  20. Duane Arnold says:


    I have followed this thread with interest. In the main, I tend to agree with the position outlined by Dread. Part of the problem in formulating a view of scripture is that there are so many moving parts. By this I mean we have to look at the text, but we also have to look at the acceptance of the text by the church and the journey in time which that entailed. Added to this, is the fact that we approach a text very differently than most of our fellow believers did in the first three centuries. For the most part, they approach the text by hearing rather than by reading. Then of course there is the transmission of the text over the course of centuries. Perhaps it is enough to say that the gospel is not the same as the text, although the text contains the gospel.

    While there are a number of good books out there that touch on this subject, I recently read ‘Lost Christianities’ by Ehrman and found it of interest and well written…

  21. pstrmike says:

    Good discussion.

    “It is the act of pure grace upon our souls that makes the record powerful.”

    I became a Christian you in life, after spending almost every Sunday for about 5-6 years in Sunday School. I didn’t know much about the Bible, even less about any systematic theology.

    Some of the modernist apologetic thinking have really done the church a disservice as the prefer an orderly sequence of logic to establish the faith rather than the mysterious move of the Spirit. For me it feels more like control than experience. “The wind blows where it wishes. . . ” (John 3:8).

  22. Officerhoppy says:

    I think i am beginning to understand your line of thinking. At least the “pieces of the puzzle are out of the box and turned over”.

    One of my challenges as a maturing believer is accepting the mysteriousness of God coupled with the subjectivity of spirituality. I am just not comfortable with either. What you and Duane both describe, pushes me well beyond my comfortable zone.

    Admittedly, I need to grow in these areas which means I need to be able to work thru some firmly held beliefs.

    Using a rock climbing analogy, my faith and belief are the harness and the rope. But what they are anchored to are the clear meaning and understanding of scripture. With out either, i could go splat

    I appreciate the discussion

  23. Michael says:


    You used some loaded words…can you “rely” on Scripture?
    Can it be” trusted’?

    It depends on the sense of what you mean by those words.

    If you want to trust that the Bible is like a schematic signed off on by God, that will fall apart pretty quickly under close observation.

    If you want to believe that every word must be literally true, it’s no wonder that you have limited joy in the faith these days.

    That was one of the paths that led me to “deconstruction”…

    I believe the Bible is reliable and true , that it contains everything necessary for salvation.

    I also know that it is a book of relational revelation and myth become reality that lives in the power of the Spirit…not a textbook of any sort…

  24. Duane Arnold says:

    It is interesting that scripture is not mentioned in the earliest creeds of the Christian Church. You will not find it in the Apostles creed, nor will you find it in the Nicene creed of 325. Scripture is mentioned in the revision of the Nicene creed done in Constantinople in 381: “and the third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures”. Here, however, the scriptures referred to are most likely those referenced by Paul, that is, the LXX version of the Hebrew scriptures.

    The power of the scripture is in the message that the scripture proclaims. In modern evangelicalism we have reversed the process…

  25. Officerhoppy says:

    “I also know that it is a book of relational revelation and myth become reality that lives in the power of the Spirit…not a textbook of any sort…”

    I get the “not a textbook concept”. But when you use and heavily emphasize the term “power of the Spirit” I get nervous. It sounds like license to deconstruct in any direction one wants. Are there any boundaries to “the power of the Spirit”? Any safe guideline from misuse. While i believe in the power of the Spirit, it cohabitates with my flesh which is also powerful and deceptive.

    While there is no mention of the scriptures in the creeds, the early councils had to deal with issues of authorship, and inspiration as well as heresy.

    The Westminster Confession of Faith (1.6) says, “The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His glory, man’s salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men.”

    A great self-validation of the Word of God than Hebrews 4:12: “For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart”

    Just my thoughts

  26. Michael says:

    The Westminster was composed in the 1600’s…

    The guardrails are the early creeds and confessions and the witness of the catholic church…

  27. Michael says:


    “A great self-validation of the Word of God than Hebrews 4:12: “For the Word of God is living…”

    All notable theologians of the early church and medieval centuries save one identified the “word of God” as Jesus in this passage…

  28. Duane Arnold says:

    “Barth offers a carefully thought-out alternative to the rigidly dogmatic way so many have professed inerrancy: he at once highly-regards the Bible as normative for all theology, yet he does not have to deem it perfect to do so.

    His reasons are clear: the Bible is not the Son of God. It is a human book. As a human book, it is vulnerable to the errors of human, historical limitations. It is not a divine oracle sent down from heaven. However, it bears witness to the Word of God, and it is thus an indirect form of the Word by the Holy Spirit. In other words, the Bible points beyond itself to the Word of God; it does not contain within itself the Word. The Word of God is not bound to a book, yet this human book becomes God’s Word in its witness. We depend on the faithfulness of the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth, not on the ‘perfection’ of a book.”

    Stephen Morrison

  29. Dread says:


    I was a graduate of a school with inerrancy in the doctrinal statement. I was not forced to sign such and I don’t know if I would have at 25 but I doubt it. My conservatism was obvious to all at my next stop – a Southern Baptist moderate bastion at the time.

    I was embroiled in the 10 year war in our denomination to unseat the moderate hegemony and I was zealous for the cause. That is until I saw the carnage and misrepresentation of Christ in the whole mess. More than that I watched the near displacement of Christ in favor of a faith centered upon an inerrant text.

    In the end I jumped ship and cast my loyalty with the the other side. Mostly it was because the hundreds of sermons about the Bible failed to elevate my already sufficiently high view of the text as revelation. My soul was badly damaged by the unnecessary destruction of so many bonds. There was definitely unorthodoxy among us but we had neither the spiritual authority nor the moral courage to deal with it directly and effectively.

    Strangely I was glad the conservatives prevailed and equally glad I had not stayed among them to finish it. The blood was too deep for my sensibilities. Nor am I surprised the SBC is back at full tilt ready for another fracture.

    Those days made me think, pray and seek the God of heaven — and I did. I don’t imagine my insights are infallible but they have kept me centered upon the Word made flesh.

    Thank you for such a deferential and open conversation.

  30. Officerhoppy says:

    “ It is not a divine oracle sent down from heaven. However, it bears witness to the Word of God, and it is thus an indirect form of the Word by the Holy Spirit. In other words, the Bible points beyond itself to the Word of God; it does not contain within itself the Word. ”

    Now I’m really confused. I’m going to have to gracefully back out of this conversation and do some more thinking and research. I know you guys are doing your best to explain yourselves but I am totally lost. Sounds like I cannot trust the scriptures; that it’s all about Jesus. But if I can’t rely on the scriptures, how do I know they point to Jesus? What else beside scripture does that?

    I am totally lost. There is a piece to what you guys are saying that I am missing and unable to grasp. It sounds like you guys are saying “anything goes”.

    How am I to interpret and apply Jesus in the gospels? Do you put the writings of Matthew, Luke and John in a different category than Paul, or James?

  31. Dread says:

    I don’t know where you lost the plot but I’ve tried very hard to connect the text in full to the Logos, it’s author and defender. The text is trustworthy but only God is inerrant. Everything touched by man will be less.

  32. Michael says:

    ” It sounds like you guys are saying “anything goes”.”
    Actually, no one here is even close to saying that.
    We’re all pretty conservative theologically.

    “Do you put the writings of Matthew, Luke and John in a different category than Paul, or James?”

    Speaking for myself…I do.
    I used to let Paul interpret the Gospels…now I have reversed the order.

    However, it all bears the authority of the Word by the Spirit…

  33. Officerhoppy says:

    It’s me not you. I am not connecting the dots.

    It’s all good my friend

    I just need to step away to process

  34. Reuben says:

    Brittney Grindr…

    Listening to sports talk shows today that went political all day long. I learned about sports commentators personal politics all damned day. I honestly have to say, while this is a political mess for this administration, it ain’t a political issue.

    I fall hard to one side on this. She took hash oil into a country that has insanely strict drug policy. As in zero tolerance. Suffering the consequences is pretty much mandatory. There literally can’t rationally be discussions about prisoner trades. Russia holds all the cards on multiple fronts now. So because she is MURICA does not mean we can wave our flags right into Russia and bust her out of prison. No. A big nope. The fact that she has negative views on America really doesn’t matter either. She messed up, consequences are going to need to be a reality here.

    It’s likely nothing will come of this for a long time. Let the administration tip toe around this as they see fit, but there must be consequences.

  35. Dread says:


    She checks all the intersectional boxes so Biden must help her and seem her innocent.

    It’s a nasty conundrum and she’s likely done it many times making this entirely political but we’ll see

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