Historical Inerrantists

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It's become fairly commonplace that someone will claim that the concept of inerrancy is a relatively recent development in the history of Christianity. Some trace it back to the 19th century and then claim that anyone beforehand held some weaker view of the authority of scripture. I'm not sure how this got started, but it's been popularized by people who are otherwise good scholars, such as George Marsden. I've had it on the backburner for at least several months now to put together a post on this issue, but I haven't managed to get the impetus to do it until a commenter on this post threw this canard at me. So here is what I consider to be absolutely clear statements from some historical figures long before the 19th century holding to views that seem to me to be pretty much the same view as the inerrancy of the Chicago Statement of Biblical Inerrancy, which has become a standard account of contemporary evangelicals mean by the term.

Now I've always thought the biblical authors would be shocked at any suggestion that there were errors in any genuinely divinely-inspired scripture. I think there are reasons for thinking this in the various parts of the canon. But Jesus and the authors of the epistles very clearly saw the psalms as authoritative in a way that they would base arguments on particular words. Clearly they took the psalms seriously.

I find it extremely hard to take Psalm 119 seriously without concluding that its author held (at least what at the time was considered) God’s word to be absolutely infallible. It doesn’t take reading very far into the psalm to see that. Verse 13 says that all the laws come from God (which the Torah itself repeatedly stresses). Throughout the psalm there are statements about how trustworthy God’s word and law are, e.g. v.86 “all your commands are trustworthy”, and v.139 says they are fully trustworthy. V.89 says it’s eternal and in the heavens as if some might have thought that it was a merely humanly authored set of documents that are temporary or not fully what God would want expressed, and v.91 explains the continuance of the laws in terms of everything serving God, including the laws, which were authored under his sovereign decree. In v.118, straying in any way from God’s decrees deserves God’s rejection, which amounts to saying that God rejects any deviation from them, i.e. seeing any of them as in error. According to v.151, all of them are true, and v.172 says all of them are righteous, with v.142 tying them together: “your righteousness is everlasting and your law is true”, which in Hebrew parallelism connects the truth of the laws to the righteousness of God. The contrast of v.163 between hating falsehood but loving God’s law amounts to saying that none of the laws are false. I don't know how to accept all of that while denying inerrancy.

As for historical figures beyond the canon, let's turn first to Augustine's Letter to Jerome 82.3:

For I confess to your Charity that 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. And if in these writings I am perplexed by anything which appears to me opposed to truth, I do not hesitate to suppose that either the manuscript is faulty, or the translator has not caught the meaning of what was said, or I myself have failed to understand it. As to all other writings, in reading them, however great the superiority of the authors to myself in sanctity and learning, I do not accept their teaching as true on the mere ground of the opinion being held by them; but only because they have succeeded in convincing my judgment of its truth either by means of these canonical writings themselves, or by arguments addressed to my reason. I believe, my brother, that this is your own opinion as well as mine. I do not need to say that I do not suppose you to wish your books to be read like those of prophets or of apostles, concerning which it would be wrong to doubt that they are free from error. Far be such arrogance from that humble piety and just estimate of yourself which I know you to have, and without which assuredly you would not have said, "Would that I could receive your embrace, and that by converse we might aid each other in learning!"

Augustine generally prefers to use the term for infallibility, mainly because it's a stronger term historically. Infallibility is the inability for something to be wrong, and inerrancy is its merely turning out not to have any errors. Nothing about its nature makes it so. So inerrancy could happen by pure chance, while infallibility suggests a divine source. This isn't how these terms are now (mis)used by some theologians who take infallibility to be somehow weaker than inerrancy, but I'm not going to cater to their historical ignorance. Perhaps if someone wants to challenge me on this, I'll tackle that issue in a separate post. My point here is that even though Augustine usually uses language about infallibility, he is perfectly happy to speak in terms of there being no errors in scripture. If you find something that seems to be an error, he thinks you are the one to have made a mistake somewhere (or else the translator or manuscript copyist did). The original authors did not. So even the language of inerrancy appears in Augustine and not just the concept.

Here is another from another letter to Jerome:

For it seems to me that most disastrous consequences must follow upon our believing that anything false is found in the sacred books: that is to say, that the men by whom the Scripture has been given to us, and committed to writing, did put down in these books anything false. It is one question whether it may be at any time the duty of a good man to deceive; but it is another question whether it can have been the duty of a writer of Holy Scripture to deceive: nay, it is not another question—it is no question at all. For if you once admit into such a high sanctuary of authority one false statement as made in the way of duty, there will not be left a single sentence of those books which, if appearing to any one difficult in practice or hard to believe, may not by the same fatal rule be explained away, as a statement in which, intentionally, and under a sense of duty, the author declared what was not true. [Augustine, Letter to Jerome 28.3]

I don't know how to read this in a way that's consistent with the view that some attribute to Augustine, i.e. that the scriptures are infallible only in "matters of faith and practice". It just doesn't square with what Augustine says. There are lots of other statements by Augustine saying the same thing. Jollyblogger has some here.

Martin Luther very clearly wrote that scripture never errs:

I do not reject them. But everyone, indeed, knows that at times they have erred, as men will; therefore, I am ready to trust them only when they give me evidence for their opinions from Scripture, which has never erred. [LW 32.11, as cited here

So again, while Marsden may be right that Luther and anyone else before the 19th century would have preferred to use infallibility-language in many cases, it's simply not true that they didn't speak inerrancy-language also, and Luther clearly did believe that the Bible is without error.

Calvin, to my knowledge, didn't ever address the issue of errors in that kind of language, but it's very hard for me to see how he could say all the things he did say while accepting the view some have attributed to him, that the Bible is only free of error in matters of faith and practice. The issues with Calvin are more involved, but I think John Murray's "Calvin's Doctrine of Scripture" is a pretty good handling of what he says and why it's best to take Calvin's view to be of a piece with what we now call inerrantism.

Now there's a very revealing conversation at the above-linked Jollyblogger post. In the face of these quotes from Augustine, Jack Rogers, who claims in published work that Augustine was not an inerrantist, refused to recant his claim that Augustine was not an inerrantist. He simply insisted that he's using the word differently from how his critics (e.g. John Woodbridge) use it. But that's tantamount to admitting that he's not using the word 'inerrantist' the way inerrantists use it! He's thus not giving them the benefit of the doubt to give an account of what their view actually amounts to. Rogers basically admitted that Woodbridge is correct in attributing to Augustine the same view that Woodbridge holds, which is the same view inerrantists in general hold, the view affirmed in the Chicago Statement.

This has led me to conclude that Marsden and company are really just shooting down a straw man and are attributing to modern inerrantists a position that no one but extreme fundamentalists might hold. I have not encountered someone yet who, when faced with this evidence, can support the claim that Augustine and the Reformers holds a different view from what contemporary inerrantists hold. As far as I can tell the so-called modern view of inerrantism is simply the historic view of the church.

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Jeremy Pierce of Parableman has an excellent post refuting the claim that the doctrine of inerrancy was invented in the 19th century as a response to theological liberals. I intend someday to get back to my long-stalled Why Believe the Bible? series, a... Read More

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13 Comments

I used to think the Bible was inerrant. But then I looked specifically at certain sections of the Gospels.

1) The Birth Narratives of Matthew and Luke do not reconcile well at all. Between where Jesus' family originated (Nazareth or Bethlehem?), whether or not they returned straightway, or went to Egypt?

2) The denials of Peter are taken in different order and different people are accusatory.

3) The Synoptics make clear that Jesus ate Passover before his crucifixtion, while the Gospel of John states he died at the same time the Passover did.

However, I do believe the Bible to be authoritative and in force. But, I don't believe it was to be passed down as inerrant historical record. So, I feel fine to say that the Bible teaches inerrantly about God and his purposes, while it contains a degree, albeit very small, of historical inaccurracy.

Thoughts?

Jeremy, I know you read my blog and so presumably my posting Was Calvin really an inerrantist? from just over a week ago. Therefore presumably I am one of those you had in mind when you wrote "the view some have attributed to [Calvin], that the Bible is only free of error in matters of faith and practice". So I find it strange that you have not linked to my post, but only to posts and other documents which you agree with. Don't you think you should provide at least some links to the other side of the matter, so that your readers can check that you are presenting the opposing view accurately?

I don't have time to look at these issues just now, but intend to later.

JohnO,

Inerrancy by no means requires that every account in every biblical book is in chronological order. Certainly the gospels cannot be. Inerrantists do not usually take the early accounts of David in I Samuel to be arranged chronologically. Biblical narratives often telescope, so that something is said about a general period of time, including a summary that gives details about the end of that time, and then you get a more detailed telling of what led up to that event. You also have some narratives arranged more topically or in a chiastic form. It is contrary to the spirit of inerrantism to apply standards of modern novel-writing or modern historical reportage to biblical narratives.

Your assertion about John is incorrect. John never says he died when the Passover lambs died if by that you mean the lambs eaten on Passover day. He says he died when lambs were being killed during the overall Passover feast, in particular for the Passover Sabbath. He very clearly says that it was the Friday night before the high Sabbath of the Passover week when he discusses Jesus' bones not being broken. That's the day after the Passover feast itself, which John makes clear had already taken place in chs.13-17.

Leaving out a detail does not amount to denying it. For theological reasons, some gospels focus on some things and leave out others. I'm not sure I have a view about why the Egyptian journey is in Matthew but not Luke beyond just that Luke's concerns didn't require including it while Matthew's did. I don't see how that is even remotely a challenge to inerrancy any more than the fact that Jesus' childhood is largely left out of the gospels would be. We have virtually nothing in Luke between his dedication at the temple and his return to Jerusalem as a child except a summary of his growing and maturing. Luke wasn't interested in any more details of what he did as a child, while Matthew thinks those details serve a purpose he cares much more to make clear. But how does that constitute an error or a mistake in reporting facts? It just doesn't. Both accounts can be true even if one gives more specificity about a set of information that another pretty much leaves out.

As for Jesus' family, I'm not sure what you're getting at. In what sense is Jesus' family said to be from Bethlehem in a way that contradicts their being from Nazareth? It's very clear that Bethlehem is the ancestral home of their family, and possibly that's more than just from being descended from David (but I see no clear indication that it's more than that). But how can that possibly contradict their being from Nazareth in the sense that they actually live in Nazareth and may well have done so for a few generations (or maybe not for all that long)?

Actually, Peter, I'd completely forgotten about your post, since it didn't seem to be to be interacting with any of Calvin's claims that were relevant to the issue. Adrian's excerpt of Calvin, as you noted, does not establish that Calvin held to an inerrantist view. But you don't argue positively in your post that Calvin denied inerrancy, either, and so I didn't really register your post as offering any arguments I needed to respond to. When this came up here from the commenter who spurred me to put this post together, it didn't even occur to me to connect it up with your post. I'd completely forgotten about that until you just reminded me. I wasn't responding to you at all.

Now as for linking, I linked to one piece because John Murray has done a far better job than I could with one particular figure. It's not as if I linked to seven people who agree with me and then concluded that since everyone agrees with me it must be true. I've simply deferred to Murray's work on an issue he's done a more competent job working through. All the other links were basically the equivalent of citation of sources.

I want to mention something in passing, based on a comment that you make at KenP's blog once, that related to this issue.

As I understand it ... the term "inerran(t/cy)" is fairly recent.

The term that was used historically was infallibility. When you see some historical figure using the term infallible, you can fairly safely deduce or induce that they mean inerrant. I cant think of any names off of the top of my head.

What happened later esp. the last century is that liberals started using the term infallible to mean partial inerrancy(i.e. there are errors in matters of history and science). See for example Stephen T. Davis' book - The Debate about the Bible.

Anyway, this newer usage of infallible has created a lot of confusion, because by nature we tend to think that infallible means something like "incapable of error". Definately in conversations on the net, I see this confusion.

God Bless,
Raj

Dr. Woodbridge is my advisor, BTW. Great guy !!!

Using the term "canard" to describe the position of one's dialogue partner seems awfully uncharitable. Do you really want to be that dismissive? It's one thing to say that you understand the situation/terminology differently, its another thing to describe an opposed postion as false and deliberately misleading.

In any event, whatever earlier scholars may have said and thought, the current debate over "innerancy" is quite often conducted in and around the thoughts of the conservative/liberal debate of the early 20th C, as was mentioned. I'm not sure how you read out of that that earlier thinkers are alleged to have a "weaker" view of innerancy, unless "weaker" somehow means "different in any way".

I would think a helpful way forward might be to see how many types of "errors" there are alleged to be in the scriptures and try to categorize and analyze them. E.g. numerical rounding, exaggeration, spelling or grammar mistakes, fictious stories divisible into those easily understood as fictious and those which have been taken as factual, etc.

I'm not so concerned about whether assenting that some portion of those are contained in scripture disqualifies one as an innerantist, but whether acknowledging some of those is consonant with being a faithful christian scholar.

On this issue, yes, I do want to be that dismissive. I consider this issue on the order of those who think the United States is on the road to theocracy, those who say teleological arguments for an intelligent designer are religious dogma, or those who deny the Holocaust. It's deliberate revisionism, and in this case we even have an admission by one of its perpetrators that the historical figures they're talking about hold the same view as people who today call themselves inerrantists. So why insist on saying this anyway? I don't consider that merely an honest disagreement over what the terms mean. I consider it unwillingness to accept the testimony of actual inerrantists as to what they mean by the term. There are surely some people who believe this deliberately false story because they've been told it and don't know better, but the scholars who are doing this should know better. As far as I can tell, the motivation is to make evangelicalism appear more palatable to mainstream scholarship, but it's a deceptive way to do it. Instead of simply clarifying the mainstream evangelical view on this for those who misunderstand it because of (what some consider) its misleading name, these figures would rather distance themselves from people whose views are no more extreme than Calvin, Luther, or Augustine by portraying them as much closer to uncritical fundamentalism on an order more extreme than Bob Jones Sr.

Inerrantists do not consider numerical rounding to constitute an error. Exaggeration is not an error if the fact that it is exaggeration would have been plain to the reader. Spelling and grammar "errors" are usually just variations from some norm in spelling and grammar, sometimes as a result of a different dialect from one most of our sources reflect and sometimes as a result of language change across time. Not conforming to a rule in spelling or grammar isn't an error in what is said, however, and since inerrantists have always been clear about inerrancy applying to what is said then those aren't errors. Fictions are also absolutely fine if it's obvious that they're fictions. They're probably fine unless there's some positive reason to take them as historical accounts. Among the issues you raise, that's the only one that I think inerrantists might disagree on.

Here are some excerpts from the Chicago Statement on these issues:

We deny that it is proper to evaluate Scripture according to standards of truth and error that are alien to its usage or purpose. We further deny that inerrancy is negated by Biblical phenomena such as a lack of modern technical precision, irregularities of grammar or spelling, observational descriptions of nature, the reporting of falsehoods, the use of hyperbole and round numbers, the topical arrangement of material, variant selections of material in parallel accounts, or the use of free citations. [from Article XIII]

On the issue of fictions, there are several statements that are relevant:

We affirm that Scripture in its entirety is inerrant, being free from all falsehood, fraud, or deceit. [from Article XII]
We affirm that the text of Scripture is to be interpreted by grammatico-historicaI exegesis, taking account of its literary forms and devices, and that Scripture is to interpret Scripture.

We deny the legitimacy of any treatment of the text or quest for sources lying behind it that leads to relativizing, dehistoricizlng, or discounting its teaching, or rejecting its claims to authorship.[Article XVIII]

The Article XII quote means that no pious frauds occur, e.g. misleading people into thinking a letter is from Paul when it's not. It doesn't rule out the possibility that no deceit occurs if an apostle's name is attached to a letter that no one would have thought was written by that apostle. I think such a scenario is extremely unlikely, because it wouldn't have been accepted as genuine, but I'll grant that if such a letter would have been accepted as genuine even if the audience knew it wasn't by who it says it's by (because of some unknown genre of first-century pseudonymous epistles) then it wouldn't violate inerrancy as defined in the Chicago Statement. The Article XVIII quote guarantees that.

The same goes for whether Jonah is a parable. I don't think there's any evidence whatsoever that the original audience wouldn't have taken it as a parable. It comes across in a way very similar to other OT narrative that treats itself as historical. The presence of miracles doesn't make it differ from Exodus, for instance. But suppose the original audience would have recognized it as a parable. Then if it is a parable, it doesn't violate inerrancy. Therefore Leslie Allen's view of Jonah as a parable does not necessarily violate inerrancy. It just requires an unfounded assumption to maintain that.

I note the use of 'dehistoricizing' in Article XVIII. You can't dehistoricize a parable. If it wasn't written as a historical account, then it isn't dehistoricizing it to treat it as a parable. If it is written as a historical account, then it is dehistoricizing it to treat it as a parable.

It also depends on what aspects of the account are historical to begin with. Most scholars today do not think the periods of time in Genesis 1 are historical, given the genre of the passage, the use of the time periods as structuring devices, and the internal evidence that the account isn't even chronological. But those who think Genesis 1 was intended to be a chronological account of creation with deliberate chronological devices meant to capture how long it actually took cannot endorse our current scientific understanding of creation without denying inerrancy. Since I think that view of the passage gets it way wrong, I don't see why there's any problem accepting our best science on the issues of the origin of the universe while affirming inerrancy.

I don't think a Christian scholar is being faithful to the text in every way without accepting inerrancy, since I think the biblical texts themselves require it. So I wouldn't separate faithful Christian biblical scholarship and inerrancy. Some may be faithful in many matters without being faithful in this one, of course, but that's not faithfulness in every respect.

I am not in the business of arguing for the "errancy" of the Bible, as if the Bible should be a different book than it is. On the contrary, I believe it to be the work of God (albeit through free human agents) and that it is precisely the Bible he wants us to have. So I'm not at all in the interest of doing a Jeffersonian "pick-and-choose" scheme - discarding parts I find troubling or incredible, and keeping the parts I like.

But I do take issue with any hermeneutic that defends the inerrancy of scripture by disengaging it. I have problems when, come across with an obvious tension or contradiction, people reconcile it by making the Bible out to be saying something its not. I think it far better to then ask the question, "What is God trying to say to us through this contradiction?", and a slavish loyalty to inerrancy as a doctrine makes that question unaskable.

Take, for instance, the notion that God "will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation." My argument is that we need not suppress the idea that punishing someone for something his parents did is unjust. And lo and behold, the Bible agrees! "What do you mean by repeating this proverb concerning the land of Israel, ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge’? As I live, declares the Lord God, this proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel. Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die." My contention is that we shouldn't blunt either passage by trying to make it say something less than it is, but rather be asking what God wants to teach us through this tension.

Basically, I am arguing that, though the Bible is the inspired word of God, we cannot always assume we know what God is doing with any particular passage. Our best bet is to read the entire thing, and suppress quick-fix answers to troubling parts, opting instead to wrestle with it head on. I am convinced that we will be doing exactly what God wants us to do with his word.

Ah, but isn't it better to be charitable in interpreting something? For example, a more charitable (and I have to say more natural) interpretation of "I will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation." is that God will not visit merely the punishment for parents' sins on children but rather what the passage says. Parents' sin will affect children, and children will often continue it for generations.

I'm of course not going to abandon the long-standing practice among inerrantists to let scripture interpret scripture. The Reformers called this the analogy of faith. What I won't concede is that you need to give up inerrancy to do that.

I haven't before seen the Chicago Statement docs, so I'm glad to see that they addressed such issues. I can, of course, point out that numerous people who call themselves "innerantists" do not trouble to deal with those issues in any intelligible way.

My charge of uncharitability still staands though. What standing do you have to tell one of prof. Enns' students that he doesn't know what he's talking about on the subject of Peter Enns and innerancy? Is it beyond you to think that he might know something additional to what you know? Do you really want to disdain an offer of dialogue from a scholar of a different opinion? It may very well be the case that his opinion is wrong, poorly reasoned, historically deficient or any of a number of other problems, but it just sounds defensive on your part to not wish to find out.

Good discussion! 2 points.

1) I say this as an adherent to the Chicago Statement (albeit loosely). I’m afraid that inerrancy for the evangelical may become what methodological naturalism is to the present scientist. Is it logically possible that God created the world? I believe that most people (at least they should) would respond yes to this question. Yet if I were to adopt methodological naturalism as a nonnegotiable principle for seeking the truth, if God did indeed create the world, this presupposition in my methodology would prevent me from ever discovering it. I would simply use my intellect to come up with the best hypothesis of how the world came about in purely naturalistic terms.

Evangelicals believe that the Septuagint which the early church used and the present Greek Orthodox Church uses is both errant and fallible as a translation and contains errant and fallible books. The Roman Catholic canon includes, (from an evangelical view), books that are errant and fallible. Thus, out of the world’s genuine Christians, there are bound to be some who either 1) believe books or translations of books to be inspired, but are really not (and thus contain errors) or 2) do not include inspired texts in their canon.

Thus, I think it’s fair to assert that it is possible that the evangelical canon contains books that are not inspired (and thus contain errors) or is lacking books that are. However, if we adhere rigidly to inerrancy doctrine, and it is the case that our canon contains errors, would we ever correct this problem? Or would we, like the methodological naturalist, assert bizarre theories like an infinite multitude of universes simply to help us hold on to our presupposition?

2) The historical examples are not so clear cut for many reasons.
- Justin Martyr - I remember reading him defending the inspiration of the Septuagint. (I know you didn’t list him though).
- Augustine - I can’t cite this but remember clearly my professor at Wheaton recounting this story: When Jerome translated the Latin Vulgate he used the Hebrew Bible, but the early church had been in the habit of using the LXX. So when Augustine first saw it, he freaked and pressured Jerome to include the other books. So, when Augustine is claiming that “diastrous consequences follow from believing that anything false is found in the sacred books” he is referring to, at least in part, some ‘sacred’ books which evangelicals indeed do believe contain falsehoods, or at least capable of error. What were the diastrous consequences that followed? We don’t believe in purgatory based on 2 Maccabbees?
- Luther - It’s hard for me to see how Luther could be an inerrantist in the evangelical sense of the term when he believed there were contradictions in some of the NT books (James) and thus demoted them to apocrypha status. (See Metzger’s Canon of the NT)


Chip, it doesn't follow from something's not being inspired that it contains errors. Perhaps it's overwhelmingly likely, but I don't accept the inference as a "and thus it contains errors". I would accept "and thus it might contain errors".

Those are important epistemological issues, however. I maintain a distinction between epistemology and metaphysics. Inerrancy claims that the books of the actual canon are inspired in a way that they are infallible and thus inerrant. It does not claim that we have absolute certainty on such matters or that we have absolute certainty about which books are in the canon or what the original manuscripts said in all details.

But that's epistemological uncertainty, not metaphysical uncertainty. Something can be true without our being able to prove it with absolute certainty, and someone can know something without having absolute certainty about why they know it or about why alternative possibilities are wrong. Similarly, I maintain that someone could hold both the following claims:

1. It's epistemically possible that I am wrong about which books are in the canon or whether the books of the canon are inspired in such a way that they are infallible (and thus inerrant).
2. It's metaphysically impossible for books that are in fact infallible to contain errors.

The second claim follows from the definition of 'infallible'.) The first is a claim about our state of uncertainty, which tells us nothing about the state of what was actually inspired or whether it could actually have failed to preserve what God wanted given that it was inspired.

Luther's view of James is more complicated than that. I don't have the time to address it fully, but what I've seen on Luther on James suggests to me that he didn't understand James and thus was having a hard time accepting it as fully inspired but that he wasn't willing to insist that he was right on the matter. He seems not to have taken the strong position he expressed at times in every writing of his on the matter. But even if you're right, it would show that he didn't hold inerrancy to apply to the same books that evangelicals today do, which would put him in the same category as Augustine. It wouldn't show that he wasn't an inerrantist, just that the scope of the doctrine didn't apply to the same books in his view as it does among evangelicals today. It's a disagreement about which books are in the canon, not a disagreement about which things are true of the canon.

I should mention one thing on all the issues you raise. The Chicago Statement itself insists on our epistemic uncertainty on many of these matters, most directly the following statements:

We claim no personal infallibility for the witness we bear, and for any help which enables us to strengthen this testimony to God's Word we shall be grateful. [from the preface]
We deny that the Scriptures receive their authority from the Church, tradition, or any other human source. [from Article I]

Paul:

What standing do you have to tell one of prof. Enns' students that he doesn't know what he's talking about on the subject of Peter Enns and innerancy?

I have no such standing, which is why I didn't tell him that he doesn't know what he's talking about but simply presented my reasoning (which he had asked for) in order to engage in further dialogue with him if his statement about such a dialogue was genuinely meant.

Do you really want to disdain an offer of dialogue from a scholar of a different opinion?

Of course not, which is why I presented the reasoning that he asked for and am now awaiting his response.

It may very well be the case that his opinion is wrong, poorly reasoned, historically deficient or any of a number of other problems, but it just sounds defensive on your part to not wish to find out.

I suppose it would if I had expressed anything even remotely close to a wish not to find out. But of course I didn't.

Paul, I really have no idea where you're coming from on this. I read your comment and thought you must have been responding to some post I've never written or something. It's as if I've stepped into an alternate reality to find that my counterpart in this reality has written the exact opposite of what I've written, and you are thus attributing his words to me.

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