This installment simply attempts to define the doctrine, and Jimenez has defined it well. To accomplish this, he cites the following quotations:
"If God cannot err, and the original text was breathed out by God, then it follows that the original text of the Bible is without error." ~Norman Geisler"Inspiration is the supernatural operation of the Holy Spirit, who through the different personalities and literary styles of the chosen human authors invested the very words of the original books of Holy Scripture, alone and in their entirety, as the very Word of God without error in all that they teach or imply (including history and science), and the Bible is thereby the infallible rule and final authority for faith and practice of all believers." ~Norman Geisler“There is one human characteristic the Bible does not have: errors.” ~Norman Geisler“inerrancy of Scripture means that Scripture in the original manuscripts does not affirm anything that is contrary to fact” ~Wayne Grudem
From all I’ve seen, I think you offer a good survey of the inerrantist position here. More could be said, or course, about the qualifications regarding genre, authorial intent, phenomenological language, acknowledged imprecision, etc. but you have correctly stated the core concept in my opinion. It’s always helpful to define terms.Another commenter gave a lengthy treatise describing his rejection of the doctrine. In it, he stated the following:
I think we have to determine the difference between the words fact and truth. I would say Scripture is fully true, but might not be error-free in its fact presentations.
The greatest example, of which even inerrantists (is that a word) would agree, is the idea that parables are not fact. They teach truth, no doubt. But they are not factual stories. It is a fact that Jesus told parables. But the parables, in themselves, are not fact. But they are truth.
And I think this is where modern Christians get mixed up. So we must note such a difference when we read in 2 Samuel 7:16 the report of Nathan’s prophecy to David – And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever. And then read what 1 Chronicles 17:14 reports – but I will confirm him in my house and in my kingdom forever, and his throne shall be established forever.
From a factual standpoint, one or both could be wrong. But the truth is communicated in both accounts . . .
This reasoning is absurd. First, regarding the parables, inerrancy is not the least bit threatened by an acknowledgement that parables are fictional stories. Inerrancy recognizes the use of literary genres within the Bible, and in fact demands that we interpret them accordingly. It calls us to interpret parables as parables and doesn't demand more from the text than Jesus Himself meant to put into it.
The commenter goes on to cross hermeneutical lines and apply parable logic to historical narratives. But the genre-specific rules of interpretation cannot be transferred in this way. We have to treat historical narrative as historical narrative. Dealing with parallel accounts of a historical event can be challenging, but not so challenging that we have to pretend the actual history is false or irrelevant. In the two texts, God Himself is quoted as speaking "for real," at a specific time and place in history, to a specific person, about specific events, through the prophet Nathan (who was a real historical person). It's not a parable, and it can't be treated like a parable. The two accounts may appear to contradict, but neither account can be "wrong" in any way. It is likely that Nathan the prophet uttered both statements, but each writer, guided by the Holy Spirit, included the particular statement that was most suitable to his purpose (this is a common phenomenon in Scripture - and such omissions are not errors). It is certain that the apparent contradiction between the two accounts was intentionally placed there by the Holy Spirit - the Breather of Scripture - in order to get our attention. In a very real sense, which the Holy Spirit surely wants us to recognize, the throne of Solomon is a continuation of the throne of David. The house and kingdom of David are ultimately the house an d kingdom of God, through which He will send His own Son. Problem solved, inerrancy held intact. This is a classic example of a textual paradox, which is neither contradictory nor erroneous.
Not only does the commenter's approach dismantle precious Biblical Truth and erode the authority of Scripture by its erroneous assertions, it also misses the beautiful and edifying POINT of the texts it butchers. May God keep us from fallaciously rationalizing away inerrancy in this manner. We can recognize that there are Bible difficulties without conceding that there are Bible errors. Instead of affirming errors, we should seek explanations that are consistent with the character of the Book.
Jimenez's next post in the series will attempt to trace the historical origins of the doctrine of inerrancy. While I do not expect to agree with his ultimate conclusions, and I will probably argue against them vigorously, I hope to enjoy a good education along the way.
Soli Deo Gloria!