Brief question about inerrancy

The question that must be asked of inerrantists is this: Is it Scripture or man’s wisdom that is the ultimate basis for Christians’ belief system?

If you answer that Scripture is the foundation of our beliefs, you must also believe that even our beliefs about the Bible should be scriptural, free from the impositions of man’s so-called wisdom. Please tell me then, inerrantists, where you can find in Scripture that the Bible, meaning the canon as canonized by the Catholic Church, is inerrant.

Experience tells me that I will be directed to 2 Timothy 3.16-17. But this won’t work for multiple reasons. Number one, it’s only talking about the OT at best, since there was no “all Scripture” apart from the OT at the time it was written. Do you want to argue (as someone I know has) that this applies to the NT because 2 Peter apparently calls Paul’s writings “scripture” (Gk. graphe)? Laying aside the fact that graphe is the typical word for “writing” in Greek and not Scripture with a capital “s”, we have the significant issue of 2 Tim. not actually saying “inerrant”, “no errors”, “perfect”, “the very words of God” or anything approaching it; therefore, “inerrancy” is man’s imposition on the actual text of Scripture. What will happen here is that the inerrantist will claim that “inspired”/”God-breathed” means “error-free”, because God cannot lie. But this is where man’s wisdom comes in: the Bible nowhere says that “God-breathed” means “God dictated”, and no one except for an unhinged Fundamentalist claims the Bible is actually divine dictation, so they then must come up with the idea that God insured the accuracy of the perceptions of those to whom He revealed truth in Scripture. This is pure human speculation. It is not in Scripture. It is an extrapolation based upon man’s wisdom that has no biblical support. Therefore, the inerrantists’ belief system is based not upon Scripture, but upon the human philosophical proposition that God wouldn’t let authors of Scripture misinterpret any truth pertaining to science, history, or theology. Sure, it’d make sense for that to be the case, but it’s just not there in the Bible, and it violates no Scripture to believe that God’s inspiration entailed something a little less extravagant.

If they can think of no other prooftexts to produce, this is the part where they will change the subject and start talking about how the world will come crashing down around us if we throw inerrancy out. “How can we know what’s true and what’s not?” “We’ll all become self-serving Hitler apologists if we don’t have an absolutely inerrant witness from God Himself.” But need I say again that what this stuff amounts to is “man’s wisdom” about Scripture rather than any claim it makes for itself? That’s not to say it’s incorrect reasoning, but it’s certainly not sola scriptura – it’s depending on man’s reasoning to invalidate man’s reasoning. And it’s bad reasoning at that, for it depends on the argumentum ad consequentiam, the appeal to consequences. However undesirable the consequences, I’m personally committed to pursuing the truth.

So how about it? Can you point me to any Scriptures that dictate outright (and it must be outright, since weaving this and that passage together by logical train of thought is the work of the wisdom of man) that the Bible is inerrant or infallible?

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  • It’s interesting that you posted this today, as I’ve been contemplating the inerrancy debate all morning, especially after reading this. Abandoning inerrancy may be a slippery slope for some, but as it’s turning out, the truth lies at the bottom of the slope, not the top. Last thing I need is to climb yet another doctrinal mountain and find only more cognitive dissonance to deal with.

    As I’ve mentioned elsewhere recently, I’m much more a proponent of “biblical adequacy” (2 Tim 3:16-17) insofar as the message of Scripture is concerned. Defending biblical inerrancy is, IMHO, only an exercise in killing more trees (or, in our day and age, bandwidth). As I come close to reading through the entire Bible in a year (for the fifth time) using the NIV One-Year Chronological Bible, the discrepancies in Scripture, especially when reading parallel passages in Samuels/Kings/Chronicles and the Gospels, are readily apparent. Some can be explained away reasonably, but many are absolutely impossible to reconcile. I’m pretty sure I can find a more inerrant text in my daughter’s fourth grade math book than the Scriptures I cherish.

    When it all comes down to it, I have no use for inerrancy. I get through life just fine basing many decisions on trustworthy and reliable, albeit errant and fallible, sources.
    .-= Mike Beidler´s last blog ..How the Discovery of Saturn’s Eighth Ring Threatens the Science of Astronomy =-.

  • It’s interesting that you posted this today, as I’ve been contemplating the inerrancy debate all morning, especially after reading this. Abandoning inerrancy may be a slippery slope for some, but as it’s turning out, the truth lies at the bottom of the slope, not the top. Last thing I need is to climb yet another doctrinal mountain and find only more cognitive dissonance to deal with.

    As I’ve mentioned elsewhere recently, I’m much more a proponent of “biblical adequacy” (2 Tim 3:16-17) insofar as the message of Scripture is concerned. Defending biblical inerrancy is, IMHO, only an exercise in killing more trees (or, in our day and age, bandwidth). As I come close to reading through the entire Bible in a year (for the fifth time) using the NIV One-Year Chronological Bible, the discrepancies in Scripture, especially when reading parallel passages in Samuels/Kings/Chronicles and the Gospels, are readily apparent. Some can be explained away reasonably, but many are absolutely impossible to reconcile. I’m pretty sure I can find a more inerrant text in my daughter’s fourth grade math book than the Scriptures I cherish.

    When it all comes down to it, I have no use for inerrancy. I get through life just fine basing many decisions on trustworthy and reliable, albeit errant and fallible, sources.
    .-= Mike Beidler´s last blog ..How the Discovery of Saturn’s Eighth Ring Threatens the Science of Astronomy =-.

  • Yes, I read that or a very similar article by Bratcher a couple months ago. Level headed analysis like his make me look long and hard at the Nazarenes; I have run into more than one who is quite reasonable on these subjects.

    When it all comes down to it, I have no use for inerrancy. I get through life just fine basing many decisions on trustworthy and reliable, albeit errant and fallible, sources.

    Well said. What could I add?

  • Yes, I read that or a very similar article by Bratcher a couple months ago. Level headed analysis like his make me look long and hard at the Nazarenes; I have run into more than one who is quite reasonable on these subjects.

    When it all comes down to it, I have no use for inerrancy. I get through life just fine basing many decisions on trustworthy and reliable, albeit errant and fallible, sources.

    Well said. What could I add?

  • You’re looking long and hard at the Nazarenes? After reading Bratcher and learning that Nazarene church members Richard Colling and Karl Giberson are evolutionists, so am I! Now to research their eschatology …
    .-= Mike Beidler´s last blog ..How the Discovery of Saturn’s Eighth Ring Threatens the Science of Astronomy =-.

  • You’re looking long and hard at the Nazarenes? After reading Bratcher and learning that Nazarene church members Richard Colling and Karl Giberson are evolutionists, so am I! Now to research their eschatology …
    .-= Mike Beidler´s last blog ..How the Discovery of Saturn’s Eighth Ring Threatens the Science of Astronomy =-.

  • This thread was an encouragement to me on both protology and eschatology.

  • This thread was an encouragement to me on both protology and eschatology.

  • Dan

    Much ink has been spilt on 2 Ti 3:16-17 as it relates to inerrancy, especially the term translated “God-breathed”, which as I understand it, only appears in scripture here. The most literal take would be to say that God literally dictated it, and as you point out, not even the most conservative theologian would buy into that. So some other less literal interpetation is required. It seems to me that the term “God-breathed” must be defined in relation to the purpose it was God-breathed, which as stated in the Timothy passage, was to make us righteous, so that we would bring grace and healing to the world around us. The purpose is not to give us inerrant scientific, historical facts that we can then use to “prove” the bible is true, or to build an indubitable edifice upon which to define absolute truths. Truth in the bible is relational first, even if the rational element is not excluded. That’s why so much of the bible is narrative and not a collection of timeless truths. And the same God who breathed those narratives into existence through a relational interaction which respected the writers’ cultural limitations, is the one who now speaks through his word in our context to breath life to the world around us.

  • Dan

    Much ink has been spilt on 2 Ti 3:16-17 as it relates to inerrancy, especially the term translated “God-breathed”, which as I understand it, only appears in scripture here. The most literal take would be to say that God literally dictated it, and as you point out, not even the most conservative theologian would buy into that. So some other less literal interpetation is required. It seems to me that the term “God-breathed” must be defined in relation to the purpose it was God-breathed, which as stated in the Timothy passage, was to make us righteous, so that we would bring grace and healing to the world around us. The purpose is not to give us inerrant scientific, historical facts that we can then use to “prove” the bible is true, or to build an indubitable edifice upon which to define absolute truths. Truth in the bible is relational first, even if the rational element is not excluded. That’s why so much of the bible is narrative and not a collection of timeless truths. And the same God who breathed those narratives into existence through a relational interaction which respected the writers’ cultural limitations, is the one who now speaks through his word in our context to breath life to the world around us.

  • Daniel Hamlin

    Yay! I am a Nazarene (you should be able to find my posts on NazNet which was linked to earlier). We are not a perfect denomination but our doctrine is quite flexible. Our doctrine on creation is that we believe God created it (and pretty much leave it at that, thus allow Evolutionary Creationists like myself and, of course YECs). Our doctrine on Scripture is that it “inerrantly reveals that which is necessary for salvation” (not that Scripture itself is inerrant but that Scripture will lead us to salvation without error). In fact, in our recent General Assembly this past summer, a resolution was proposed by the Indianapolis district to change our doctrine on inerrancy to be more fundamentalist; it got shot down. Our eschatology is that Christ will come back again (and we leave it at that).

    That’s the doctrine of our denomination, but, of course, you will find laypeople within the congregations that aren’t aware that we are this flexible. So, if you do decide to get involved in a local Nazarene congregation keep this in mind. I personally didn’t understand/appreciate our doctrine until I went through my own YEC to EC struggle several years ago.

    Sorry for plugging the Nazarenes, but it seemed relevant to the discussion. I read your blog regularly.

    • No apology necessary, Daniel! Quite relevant indeed. And yes, I imagine that the Nazarene church in my Southern area would be unlikely to hold many fellow EC’ers, or post-inerrantists like myself either. 🙂 But it does mean something to be able to appeal to the denomination’s own leadership if the local congregation were to challenge me. As it is, the nearest church is half an hour away, so we won’t be switching soon at any rate. However, I feel I can entertain some of these thoughts and retain the possibility that I might not be barred from one day attending a Nazarene church or even teaching at a Nazarene institution.

      How important is it generally considered to be to uphold the Nazarene Statement of Faith?

  • Daniel Hamlin

    Yay! I am a Nazarene (you should be able to find my posts on NazNet which was linked to earlier). We are not a perfect denomination but our doctrine is quite flexible. Our doctrine on creation is that we believe God created it (and pretty much leave it at that, thus allow Evolutionary Creationists like myself and, of course YECs). Our doctrine on Scripture is that it “inerrantly reveals that which is necessary for salvation” (not that Scripture itself is inerrant but that Scripture will lead us to salvation without error). In fact, in our recent General Assembly this past summer, a resolution was proposed by the Indianapolis district to change our doctrine on inerrancy to be more fundamentalist; it got shot down. Our eschatology is that Christ will come back again (and we leave it at that).

    That’s the doctrine of our denomination, but, of course, you will find laypeople within the congregations that aren’t aware that we are this flexible. So, if you do decide to get involved in a local Nazarene congregation keep this in mind. I personally didn’t understand/appreciate our doctrine until I went through my own YEC to EC struggle several years ago.

    Sorry for plugging the Nazarenes, but it seemed relevant to the discussion. I read your blog regularly.

    • No apology necessary, Daniel! Quite relevant indeed. And yes, I imagine that the Nazarene church in my Southern area would be unlikely to hold many fellow EC’ers, or post-inerrantists like myself either. 🙂 But it does mean something to be able to appeal to the denomination’s own leadership if the local congregation were to challenge me. As it is, the nearest church is half an hour away, so we won’t be switching soon at any rate. However, I feel I can entertain some of these thoughts and retain the possibility that I might not be barred from one day attending a Nazarene church or even teaching at a Nazarene institution.

      How important is it generally considered to be to uphold the Nazarene Statement of Faith?

  • Tim Sloan

    Very insightful question Steve. How do you respond to 2 Peter 1:20-21?

    20But (BB)know this first of all, that (BC)no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation,
    21for (BD)no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men (BE)moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

    Now the question you’re asking, as I understand it, pertains to the human authors of the Bible misunderstanding (intentionally or not) the guidance of the Holy Spirit as they were directed to write. Is that correct?

  • Tim Sloan

    Very insightful question Steve. How do you respond to 2 Peter 1:20-21?

    20But (BB)know this first of all, that (BC)no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation,
    21for (BD)no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men (BE)moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

    Now the question you’re asking, as I understand it, pertains to the human authors of the Bible misunderstanding (intentionally or not) the guidance of the Holy Spirit as they were directed to write. Is that correct?

  • Daniel Hamlin

    How important is it generally considered to be to uphold the Nazarene Statement of Faith?

    I’m not quite sure exactly what you are asking. If you could clarify I’ll do my best to respond.

  • Daniel Hamlin

    How important is it generally considered to be to uphold the Nazarene Statement of Faith?

    I’m not quite sure exactly what you are asking. If you could clarify I’ll do my best to respond.

  • Hi Tim, and welcome here!

    I almost responded preemptively to this passage in the post above, as it is the most commonly cited alternative. The problems with using this passage are numerous.

    First, it refers specifically to prophecies. Any biblical literature that is not prophecy cannot be referred to in the text. I happen to hold that the prophecies of the OT are generally among the most faithful representation of divine revelation in the Bible. However, as I stated in my question, we’re looking for a Scripture that claims inerrancy for the canon itself, and the obvious, twice repeated referent here is prophecy.

    Personally, I find it hard to take the claim for inerrancy of even just prophecy at face value. A prophecy, insofar as it is an actual prophecy, is by nature not from man’s impulse, so this alone fulfills the author’s point, namely that what is revealed by God is accurate and going to come to pass, without reading more into the lines. That the impulse is from God is one thing, but that it cannot be misinterpreted or misrepresented by its recipient is manifestly false: if the whole of Scripture is indeed divine revelation, this would mean that no one ever misinterpreted Scripture! Besides this, the authorship of 2 Peter is quite dubious, so I’m careful about putting much weight on it.

    Now the question you’re asking, as I understand it, pertains to the human authors of the Bible misunderstanding (intentionally or not) the guidance of the Holy Spirit as they were directed to write. Is that correct?

    Almost, but I’d take it further. I don’t think we have reason to believe that everything in Scripture was written under the “guidance” of the Holy Spirit in an overt sense. Sure, actual revelation underlies much of it, but we are getting a lot of it second or third hand (Jesus’ words in the Gospels, for instance).

  • Hi Tim, and welcome here!

    I almost responded preemptively to this passage in the post above, as it is the most commonly cited alternative. The problems with using this passage are numerous.

    First, it refers specifically to prophecies. Any biblical literature that is not prophecy cannot be referred to in the text. I happen to hold that the prophecies of the OT are generally among the most faithful representation of divine revelation in the Bible. However, as I stated in my question, we’re looking for a Scripture that claims inerrancy for the canon itself, and the obvious, twice repeated referent here is prophecy.

    Personally, I find it hard to take the claim for inerrancy of even just prophecy at face value. A prophecy, insofar as it is an actual prophecy, is by nature not from man’s impulse, so this alone fulfills the author’s point, namely that what is revealed by God is accurate and going to come to pass, without reading more into the lines. That the impulse is from God is one thing, but that it cannot be misinterpreted or misrepresented by its recipient is manifestly false: if the whole of Scripture is indeed divine revelation, this would mean that no one ever misinterpreted Scripture! Besides this, the authorship of 2 Peter is quite dubious, so I’m careful about putting much weight on it.

    Now the question you’re asking, as I understand it, pertains to the human authors of the Bible misunderstanding (intentionally or not) the guidance of the Holy Spirit as they were directed to write. Is that correct?

    Almost, but I’d take it further. I don’t think we have reason to believe that everything in Scripture was written under the “guidance” of the Holy Spirit in an overt sense. Sure, actual revelation underlies much of it, but we are getting a lot of it second or third hand (Jesus’ words in the Gospels, for instance).

  • Daniel,
    Sorry to be vague. I mean for things like membership, leadership, etc. I’d like to know if you’ve seen instances of people bucking or questioning a point or two of accepted doctrine and, if so, how leadership handled it. Some denominations will throw you out or make you a second class member if you even questioning some of their points if doctrine, while some very few take their own statement of faith so informally that it’s more of a suggestion or starting point than a creed.

  • Daniel,
    Sorry to be vague. I mean for things like membership, leadership, etc. I’d like to know if you’ve seen instances of people bucking or questioning a point or two of accepted doctrine and, if so, how leadership handled it. Some denominations will throw you out or make you a second class member if you even questioning some of their points if doctrine, while some very few take their own statement of faith so informally that it’s more of a suggestion or starting point than a creed.

  • Tim Sloan

    Do you question the inspirational basis for the Bible on a book-by-book basis? If so, it seems your question would relate more to the canonization process. Otherwise, if what you propose is true, there is a widespread misunderstanding of the nature of the Bible.

  • Tim Sloan

    Do you question the inspirational basis for the Bible on a book-by-book basis? If so, it seems your question would relate more to the canonization process. Otherwise, if what you propose is true, there is a widespread misunderstanding of the nature of the Bible.

  • Daniel Hamlin

    I realize there are doctrinal disagreements between denominations, but the emphasis in the Nazarene church is on holiness, holy living, and evangelism. The doctrine that gets the most attention is entire sanctification. We believe that the Holy Spirit performs a second work of grace (subsequent to salvation) in which He empowers the individual to live a sin-free life (in which sin is defined in Wesleyan terms: intentional transgression against a known law of God). We believe that the Holy Spirit can remove the sin nature (the desire to sin) from the life of a believer. This may happen as a another “crisis” experience (a trip to the altar, for example) or it may be through a slow process of growing in grace and gradually surrendering every part of your life to the lordship of Christ.

    In the past, holy living has been viewed in terms of obeying a set of rules (previously called the “Covenant of Christian Conduct”). While we still have a set of standards (no alcohol, for example) the denomination seems to be shifting away from legalism. I’ve been Nazarene all of my life and we are MUCH less legalistic now than in the past (at least in my area).

    All that to say, agreeing with the Articles of Faith is important. However, most sermons you hear will not touch on the more controversial topics (evolution, inerrancy, rapture, etc). When the denomination was founded in 1909 the emphasis was on unity and allowing a “big tent”, which is why we don’t really take a stand on protology or eschatology. That being said, though, the problems Richard Colling experienced were caused by a couple of District Superintendents who felt that evolution should not be taught at our universities, so there are exceptions to the rule. However, as I mentioned, our elected representatives at our quadrennial General Assembly last summer shot down two proposed changes to the Articles of Faith that would have moved us in a slightly more fundamentalist direction (one proposal regarding Creation, and one regarding Scripture).

    Dennis Bratcher does an excellent job explaining our view on Inerrancy (which I know has been linked to earlier) and you may be interested in this open letter written by a Nazarene professor regarding Inerrancy. It explains the Nazarene position on Scripture.
    http://www.naznet.com/inerrant.htm

    Even though our doctrine is accepting of evolution, I know that as an evolutionary creationist I’m in the minority in my local congregation, and I know from experience that many people who attend (even the members) probably aren’t aware that the Nazarene doctrine has no problem with evolution and that we don’t necessarily subscribe to a pre-millennial rapture.

    By the way, although NazNet is primarily Nazarene, it’s open to everyone (we’ve even had an atheist join in conversation). The only stipulation is that people use their real names. The community is very accepting and (generally) open-minded. Feel free to join!

  • Daniel Hamlin

    I realize there are doctrinal disagreements between denominations, but the emphasis in the Nazarene church is on holiness, holy living, and evangelism. The doctrine that gets the most attention is entire sanctification. We believe that the Holy Spirit performs a second work of grace (subsequent to salvation) in which He empowers the individual to live a sin-free life (in which sin is defined in Wesleyan terms: intentional transgression against a known law of God). We believe that the Holy Spirit can remove the sin nature (the desire to sin) from the life of a believer. This may happen as a another “crisis” experience (a trip to the altar, for example) or it may be through a slow process of growing in grace and gradually surrendering every part of your life to the lordship of Christ.

    In the past, holy living has been viewed in terms of obeying a set of rules (previously called the “Covenant of Christian Conduct”). While we still have a set of standards (no alcohol, for example) the denomination seems to be shifting away from legalism. I’ve been Nazarene all of my life and we are MUCH less legalistic now than in the past (at least in my area).

    All that to say, agreeing with the Articles of Faith is important. However, most sermons you hear will not touch on the more controversial topics (evolution, inerrancy, rapture, etc). When the denomination was founded in 1909 the emphasis was on unity and allowing a “big tent”, which is why we don’t really take a stand on protology or eschatology. That being said, though, the problems Richard Colling experienced were caused by a couple of District Superintendents who felt that evolution should not be taught at our universities, so there are exceptions to the rule. However, as I mentioned, our elected representatives at our quadrennial General Assembly last summer shot down two proposed changes to the Articles of Faith that would have moved us in a slightly more fundamentalist direction (one proposal regarding Creation, and one regarding Scripture).

    Dennis Bratcher does an excellent job explaining our view on Inerrancy (which I know has been linked to earlier) and you may be interested in this open letter written by a Nazarene professor regarding Inerrancy. It explains the Nazarene position on Scripture.
    http://www.naznet.com/inerrant.htm

    Even though our doctrine is accepting of evolution, I know that as an evolutionary creationist I’m in the minority in my local congregation, and I know from experience that many people who attend (even the members) probably aren’t aware that the Nazarene doctrine has no problem with evolution and that we don’t necessarily subscribe to a pre-millennial rapture.

    By the way, although NazNet is primarily Nazarene, it’s open to everyone (we’ve even had an atheist join in conversation). The only stipulation is that people use their real names. The community is very accepting and (generally) open-minded. Feel free to join!

  • Tim Sloan

    In my devotional reading this morning I came across John 6:41-58, in which Jesus seems to claim one must eat his flesh and drink his blood in order to have eternal life. Could the traditional interpretation(s) of this text — that eating Jesus’ flesh and drinking his blood are metaphors for hearing and receiving the word of God, or that eating Jesus’ flesh and drinking his blood are pointing towards communion via the Last Supper — be examples of us imposing our own wisdom on the interpretation of the passage and disregarding the literal interpretation because it seems ridiculous or might contradict other Scriptures?

  • Tim Sloan

    In my devotional reading this morning I came across John 6:41-58, in which Jesus seems to claim one must eat his flesh and drink his blood in order to have eternal life. Could the traditional interpretation(s) of this text — that eating Jesus’ flesh and drinking his blood are metaphors for hearing and receiving the word of God, or that eating Jesus’ flesh and drinking his blood are pointing towards communion via the Last Supper — be examples of us imposing our own wisdom on the interpretation of the passage and disregarding the literal interpretation because it seems ridiculous or might contradict other Scriptures?

  • Hi again, Tim. Travis reminds that we’ve conversed once before. 🙂

    I’m not questioning its inspiration as much as I am arguing that inerrantists have aHi again, Tim. Travis reminds that we’ve conversed once before. 🙂

    I’m not questioning its inspiration as much as I am arguing that inerrantists have a misplaced expectation of inspiration. To say “God-breathed”, even if we extend its provenance over the whole canon (again I emphasize, this not biblical), we are not necessarily claiming divinen inaccurate definition of and misplaced expectation of inspiration. When we say Scripture is “God-breathed”, even if we extend its provenance over the whole canon (again I emphasize, this not biblical), we’re not saying that this inspiration corrected everything, such that we can clearly differentiate what’s accurate and what’s not as the dividing line between what’s inspired and not. So I don’t bother trying to mark out “inspired”, “not inspired”, etc.

    As for the John passage, sure, one can make such a supposition, but how likely is that reading? Who among that Gospel’s earliest readers took that view? How useful would such a criterion for salvation be for “the world” that “God so loved” (also in John)? How confident should we be that the Fourth Gospel is quoting Jesus rather than putting a teaching in his mouth that they believed represented his beliefs? That’s where serious biblical criticism comes in. 🙂

  • Hi again, Tim. Travis reminds that we’ve conversed once before. 🙂

    I’m not questioning its inspiration as much as I am arguing that inerrantists have aHi again, Tim. Travis reminds that we’ve conversed once before. 🙂

    I’m not questioning its inspiration as much as I am arguing that inerrantists have a misplaced expectation of inspiration. To say “God-breathed”, even if we extend its provenance over the whole canon (again I emphasize, this not biblical), we are not necessarily claiming divinen inaccurate definition of and misplaced expectation of inspiration. When we say Scripture is “God-breathed”, even if we extend its provenance over the whole canon (again I emphasize, this not biblical), we’re not saying that this inspiration corrected everything, such that we can clearly differentiate what’s accurate and what’s not as the dividing line between what’s inspired and not. So I don’t bother trying to mark out “inspired”, “not inspired”, etc.

    As for the John passage, sure, one can make such a supposition, but how likely is that reading? Who among that Gospel’s earliest readers took that view? How useful would such a criterion for salvation be for “the world” that “God so loved” (also in John)? How confident should we be that the Fourth Gospel is quoting Jesus rather than putting a teaching in his mouth that they believed represented his beliefs? That’s where serious biblical criticism comes in. 🙂

  • So this question Stephen is a little of topic, but I have been made curious about this question. You seem very driven to tear down certain things that may or may not have been wrongly standing as truth for a very long time. This is an admirable goal as long as your led by God as far as I’m concerned. My question is that if you are successful in getting a lot of people to throw away their misconceptions of the Bible, what do you want to put in it’s place. In your mind, what should be our purpose, what should we strive for as Christians? What should our focus be?

  • So this question Stephen is a little of topic, but I have been made curious about this question. You seem very driven to tear down certain things that may or may not have been wrongly standing as truth for a very long time. This is an admirable goal as long as your led by God as far as I’m concerned. My question is that if you are successful in getting a lot of people to throw away their misconceptions of the Bible, what do you want to put in it’s place. In your mind, what should be our purpose, what should we strive for as Christians? What should our focus be?

  • Travis,
    First off, I hope no one thinks that this blog is meant to prescribe a full and accurate summation of the Christian faith. Its purpose is primarily to wrestle with stuff that I think needs to be wrestled with, not serve as a complete model of our faith as I see it.

    That said, it shouldn’t be hard to find where I make my points about what the faith is about. Actually, I have made the point that fundamentalists and evangelicals have thrown up barriers to a real faith, which is really quite astounding in its simplicity. My very recent post “My love affair with theology” (which I think you even commented on) as well as the category “Kingdom Living” sums up what our faith in action should be about.

    To reiterate from my “love affair” post, Jesus showed his central concerns in the parable of the Sheep and the Goats (I was hungry, was thirsty, was a stranger, needed clothes, was sick, was in prison). “Do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.” James 1.27 says “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress [social concern] and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world [personal holiness].”

    My eschatology, which I have written quite a bit about, is focused on caring for the world God gave us as an inheritance rather than just holding on until Jesus’ comes back and scraps the whole project.

    But as I said, primarily I use this blog to try to reevaluate matters that have the potential to make a difference in how effectively we live out our faith and maintain a place of influence in our culture. As far as I am aware, I have stayed away from “angels on the head of a pin” discussions that are needlessly divisive.

    Does this help?

  • Travis,
    First off, I hope no one thinks that this blog is meant to prescribe a full and accurate summation of the Christian faith. Its purpose is primarily to wrestle with stuff that I think needs to be wrestled with, not serve as a complete model of our faith as I see it.

    That said, it shouldn’t be hard to find where I make my points about what the faith is about. Actually, I have made the point that fundamentalists and evangelicals have thrown up barriers to a real faith, which is really quite astounding in its simplicity. My very recent post “My love affair with theology” (which I think you even commented on) as well as the category “Kingdom Living” sums up what our faith in action should be about.

    To reiterate from my “love affair” post, Jesus showed his central concerns in the parable of the Sheep and the Goats (I was hungry, was thirsty, was a stranger, needed clothes, was sick, was in prison). “Do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.” James 1.27 says “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress [social concern] and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world [personal holiness].”

    My eschatology, which I have written quite a bit about, is focused on caring for the world God gave us as an inheritance rather than just holding on until Jesus’ comes back and scraps the whole project.

    But as I said, primarily I use this blog to try to reevaluate matters that have the potential to make a difference in how effectively we live out our faith and maintain a place of influence in our culture. As far as I am aware, I have stayed away from “angels on the head of a pin” discussions that are needlessly divisive.

    Does this help?

  • I was fairly certain of your response Steve, but I was asking for the benefit of someone else. My other question that relates to this one is, how do you think your work here translates to the end goals you see for Christianity? I have a lot of reasons why I think they do or can translate, but I am curious about your ideas specifically.
    .-= Travis Jacobs´s last blog ..LFA Radio 49: Shades of Grey =-.

  • I was fairly certain of your response Steve, but I was asking for the benefit of someone else. My other question that relates to this one is, how do you think your work here translates to the end goals you see for Christianity? I have a lot of reasons why I think they do or can translate, but I am curious about your ideas specifically.
    .-= Travis Jacobs´s last blog ..LFA Radio 49: Shades of Grey =-.

  • Travis, I have adapted some comments on an old post and turned them into a page called Statement of Purpose. Maybe this will help.

  • Travis, I have adapted some comments on an old post and turned them into a page called Statement of Purpose. Maybe this will help.

  • Doug Moody

    Steve,

    I have to ask a fundamental (sorry for the pun) question…

    If you cannot believe that scripture is “correct” in all it says, then by what means do you decide if something (especially that which is supernatural) is correct, or not? Can you base your life, and the assumptions you might make about how to live your life, without any mooring on something that is unchanging?

    I DO understand your arguments, and I am not necessarily in disagreement with them. But you have demolished one argument, only to start another (that is, what then SHALL we believe?)

  • Doug Moody

    Steve,

    I have to ask a fundamental (sorry for the pun) question…

    If you cannot believe that scripture is “correct” in all it says, then by what means do you decide if something (especially that which is supernatural) is correct, or not? Can you base your life, and the assumptions you might make about how to live your life, without any mooring on something that is unchanging?

    I DO understand your arguments, and I am not necessarily in disagreement with them. But you have demolished one argument, only to start another (that is, what then SHALL we believe?)

  • Doug,
    This is, of course, the most commonly asked question related to my position. You said, “Can you base your life, and the assumptions you might make about how to live your life, without any mooring on something that is unchanging?” I believe that I am moored on something that is unchanging, and that is my relationship with God. It is that upon which I base my life; the Bible is icing on the cake. I’d like to quote the first comment above (from Mike Beidler) to summarize my thoughts: “When it all comes down to it, I have no use for inerrancy. I get through life just fine basing many decisions on trustworthy and reliable, albeit errant and fallible, sources.”

    And regardless, believing the Bible has no mistakes, even if there weren’t overwhelming evidence to the contrary, requires as much faith as believing that we can live by the principles recorded in the fallible testimony of the ancient writers of Scripture. The difference between the two “faiths”, in my opinion, is the subject: the inerrantist tends to live as though his faith is based in the inerrancy of Scripture, and proves this by insisting that full acceptance or full rejection of the faith depends solely on acceptance or rejection of inerrancy; my faith is solidly and solely in the One it imperfectly but adequately testifies to.

    Could I be wrong? Is it possible that I am deluding myself and the Bible is actually worthless? Sure – but “I know Whom” – not what– “I have believed…” We can’t, as the inerrantist would prefer, prove anything by Scripture. But we depend on fallible sources to believe everything else we believe, including life or death matters such as our seatbelts’ ability to restrain us in an accident. I see no reason why we can’t depend on what proves helpful in Scripture even while acknowledging that some of it isn’t as reliable.

  • Doug,
    This is, of course, the most commonly asked question related to my position. You said, “Can you base your life, and the assumptions you might make about how to live your life, without any mooring on something that is unchanging?” I believe that I am moored on something that is unchanging, and that is my relationship with God. It is that upon which I base my life; the Bible is icing on the cake. I’d like to quote the first comment above (from Mike Beidler) to summarize my thoughts: “When it all comes down to it, I have no use for inerrancy. I get through life just fine basing many decisions on trustworthy and reliable, albeit errant and fallible, sources.”

    And regardless, believing the Bible has no mistakes, even if there weren’t overwhelming evidence to the contrary, requires as much faith as believing that we can live by the principles recorded in the fallible testimony of the ancient writers of Scripture. The difference between the two “faiths”, in my opinion, is the subject: the inerrantist tends to live as though his faith is based in the inerrancy of Scripture, and proves this by insisting that full acceptance or full rejection of the faith depends solely on acceptance or rejection of inerrancy; my faith is solidly and solely in the One it imperfectly but adequately testifies to.

    Could I be wrong? Is it possible that I am deluding myself and the Bible is actually worthless? Sure – but “I know Whom” – not what– “I have believed…” We can’t, as the inerrantist would prefer, prove anything by Scripture. But we depend on fallible sources to believe everything else we believe, including life or death matters such as our seatbelts’ ability to restrain us in an accident. I see no reason why we can’t depend on what proves helpful in Scripture even while acknowledging that some of it isn’t as reliable.

  • Doug Moody

    “I see no reason why we can’t depend on what proves helpful in Scripture even while acknowledging that some of it isn’t as reliable.”

    You’ll get no argument from me there. And, I supposed you would answer as you did. That is, you don’t rely on the “what” but on the “who”, as we all should.

    So then, that being said, how is it possible for this world to have so many divisions about “who” that God really is? I mean, your statement, on its face, sounds perfectly fine. In fact, it is even “scriptural” (LOL for the irony)

    But God is unseen, is He not? If you or I cannot see Him, then is there something SEEN in this world that testifies about Him? And, is that something of enough value that it will lead an unbeliever to the true God?
    That is, if you hold to the view that the something upon which you are moored is God, can anyone else come along for the ride with you? Is it all about you and God alone? I think your view leads to that conclusion. If you cannot show an unbeliever some “thing” in this world, point to it, and tell him that he should believe in God because of it, then how is your witness as a Christian any different than the witness of, say, a Buddhist or a Taoist?

  • Doug Moody

    “I see no reason why we can’t depend on what proves helpful in Scripture even while acknowledging that some of it isn’t as reliable.”

    You’ll get no argument from me there. And, I supposed you would answer as you did. That is, you don’t rely on the “what” but on the “who”, as we all should.

    So then, that being said, how is it possible for this world to have so many divisions about “who” that God really is? I mean, your statement, on its face, sounds perfectly fine. In fact, it is even “scriptural” (LOL for the irony)

    But God is unseen, is He not? If you or I cannot see Him, then is there something SEEN in this world that testifies about Him? And, is that something of enough value that it will lead an unbeliever to the true God?
    That is, if you hold to the view that the something upon which you are moored is God, can anyone else come along for the ride with you? Is it all about you and God alone? I think your view leads to that conclusion. If you cannot show an unbeliever some “thing” in this world, point to it, and tell him that he should believe in God because of it, then how is your witness as a Christian any different than the witness of, say, a Buddhist or a Taoist?

  • If you or I cannot see Him, then is there something SEEN in this world that testifies about Him? And, is that something of enough value that it will lead an unbeliever to the true God?

    I tend to agree with Paul in Romans 1 and 2, where he seemed to think that there was something about natural revelation that was sufficient both to condemn and to effect a natural process of justification.

    That is, if you hold to the view that the something upon which you are moored is God, can anyone else come along for the ride with you? Is it all about you and God alone?

    Isn’t our faith acquired on a personal basis? I’m not sure I understand the question. Anyone who is moored to God is along for the ride, it would seem, and this would in effect preclude “you and God alone” isolationism. The Church is a community of believers who have shared an experience with, a mooring upon, God. Am I missing your point?

  • If you or I cannot see Him, then is there something SEEN in this world that testifies about Him? And, is that something of enough value that it will lead an unbeliever to the true God?

    I tend to agree with Paul in Romans 1 and 2, where he seemed to think that there was something about natural revelation that was sufficient both to condemn and to effect a natural process of justification.

    That is, if you hold to the view that the something upon which you are moored is God, can anyone else come along for the ride with you? Is it all about you and God alone?

    Isn’t our faith acquired on a personal basis? I’m not sure I understand the question. Anyone who is moored to God is along for the ride, it would seem, and this would in effect preclude “you and God alone” isolationism. The Church is a community of believers who have shared an experience with, a mooring upon, God. Am I missing your point?

  • Doug Moody

    Steve,
    Well, I don’t guess you understood the meat of my question. Sure, natural revelation is sufficient to point to a “higher power”. I mean, one has only to look at most religions to understand that they see god in their own systems as a “naturally revealed” being. But I don’t think Paul was saying anything in Romans about this natural revelation as being sufficient to save. The only thing he was saying is that nature reveals that there is a creator, but not the nature of such a creator.
    This discussion is above that. We are discussing the BIBLE as a revelatory source, not nature.
    My point is that most every religion CLAIMS to have its holy writings as God’s revelation to them. But we claim the bible as our source of revelation. Without it (our bible) can we confidently walk up to a non-believer and ask him to believe our own personal faith in God without showing him something that he can see that points to that God? Can we simply try to reason out of nature? It seems tome that doing that would have no more authority than any other religion’s claims. What then commends christianity over anything else?

  • Doug Moody

    Steve,
    Well, I don’t guess you understood the meat of my question. Sure, natural revelation is sufficient to point to a “higher power”. I mean, one has only to look at most religions to understand that they see god in their own systems as a “naturally revealed” being. But I don’t think Paul was saying anything in Romans about this natural revelation as being sufficient to save. The only thing he was saying is that nature reveals that there is a creator, but not the nature of such a creator.
    This discussion is above that. We are discussing the BIBLE as a revelatory source, not nature.
    My point is that most every religion CLAIMS to have its holy writings as God’s revelation to them. But we claim the bible as our source of revelation. Without it (our bible) can we confidently walk up to a non-believer and ask him to believe our own personal faith in God without showing him something that he can see that points to that God? Can we simply try to reason out of nature? It seems tome that doing that would have no more authority than any other religion’s claims. What then commends christianity over anything else?

  • Re: the essay at the naznet link posted by Dan (comm# 13 above). Note text and footnote:

    Most Wesleyan denominations, like the great family of churches from the first century until 1881,[*] have avoided ascribing inerrancy to the Scriptures on those matters that do not pertain to the essential core of Scriptural truth for a number of good reasons. I will mention only a few.

    [*] Benjamin Warfield and A.A. Hodges, Calvinistic Princeton Theological Seminary theologians, introduced inerrancy as an “article of faith” into the Presbyterian Confession of Faith in 1881. This was the first time in Church history in which such an article had been articulated and adopted by any denomination. Later that same Presbyterian Church removed ‘inerrancy’ language from its Articles of Faith, precipitating a major split in the denomination.

    Q: If “inerrancy” is of such recent origin, what was the pre-scriptural, or any outlying a-scriptural, group/church using for guidance?

    I am not well read, but have come across excerpts from the Clarkian perspective at pret sites and recently a new “Reformed” discussion site: Theology Explained where there is a FEATURED ARTICLE about Clark’s argument for logic, inerrancy and against Neo-Orthodoxy.

    I wish I had not set L. Ron’s volumes out on the curb 40+ years ago. They would not only be possible collectors’ items, but could serve as comparative study on logic and the objective reality of mind, spirit and matter. Will Clark assist me in better discernment of the authentic over the mimic? Or was it not sufficient at that time to have been reading the Bible also and deciding that God should be my “auditor” rather than a Dianetics practitioner with an E-meter?

    I have found the Bible to be much more profound than urban legend.
    Christianity isn’t just some fanciful Santa Claus religion.
    Is there something more that would require “inerrancy”?
    The more I read, the more I see how easy it can be to get out of my depth.
    I have just read ch 37, an excerpt of Victor Stenger’s from “God: The Failed Hypothesis, Cosmic Evidence”, in The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Non-Believer – Wikipedia OK. From Stenger’s sense of math, physics and cosmology, existence of something over nothing at all is a perfectly natural state without a creator/God. Hmm … why does that resonate with a time in my youth when I briefly dabbled in “Zen” thought?

    So is it the primal case for existence or the primary case for God that will take precedence?
    “The one who states his case first seems right,
    until the other comes and examines him.” Proverbs 18:17

    Wind

    …………………..
    .-= Windpressor´s last blog ..The Smith-Suprynowicz Test =-.

  • Re: the essay at the naznet link posted by Dan (comm# 13 above). Note text and footnote:

    Most Wesleyan denominations, like the great family of churches from the first century until 1881,[*] have avoided ascribing inerrancy to the Scriptures on those matters that do not pertain to the essential core of Scriptural truth for a number of good reasons. I will mention only a few.

    [*] Benjamin Warfield and A.A. Hodges, Calvinistic Princeton Theological Seminary theologians, introduced inerrancy as an “article of faith” into the Presbyterian Confession of Faith in 1881. This was the first time in Church history in which such an article had been articulated and adopted by any denomination. Later that same Presbyterian Church removed ‘inerrancy’ language from its Articles of Faith, precipitating a major split in the denomination.

    Q: If “inerrancy” is of such recent origin, what was the pre-scriptural, or any outlying a-scriptural, group/church using for guidance?

    I am not well read, but have come across excerpts from the Clarkian perspective at pret sites and recently a new “Reformed” discussion site: Theology Explained where there is a FEATURED ARTICLE about Clark’s argument for logic, inerrancy and against Neo-Orthodoxy.

    I wish I had not set L. Ron’s volumes out on the curb 40+ years ago. They would not only be possible collectors’ items, but could serve as comparative study on logic and the objective reality of mind, spirit and matter. Will Clark assist me in better discernment of the authentic over the mimic? Or was it not sufficient at that time to have been reading the Bible also and deciding that God should be my “auditor” rather than a Dianetics practitioner with an E-meter?

    I have found the Bible to be much more profound than urban legend.
    Christianity isn’t just some fanciful Santa Claus religion.
    Is there something more that would require “inerrancy”?
    The more I read, the more I see how easy it can be to get out of my depth.
    I have just read ch 37, an excerpt of Victor Stenger’s from “God: The Failed Hypothesis, Cosmic Evidence”, in The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Non-Believer – Wikipedia OK. From Stenger’s sense of math, physics and cosmology, existence of something over nothing at all is a perfectly natural state without a creator/God. Hmm … why does that resonate with a time in my youth when I briefly dabbled in “Zen” thought?

    So is it the primal case for existence or the primary case for God that will take precedence?
    “The one who states his case first seems right,
    until the other comes and examines him.” Proverbs 18:17

    Wind

    …………………..
    .-= Windpressor´s last blog ..The Smith-Suprynowicz Test =-.

  • But I don’t think Paul was saying anything in Romans about this natural revelation as being sufficient to save.

    I must differ here. Look at Rom 2.12-15:
    “All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.)”

    I’ll be responding to the rest of your comment in a separate post. Don’t you feel honored? 😉

  • But I don’t think Paul was saying anything in Romans about this natural revelation as being sufficient to save.

    I must differ here. Look at Rom 2.12-15:
    “All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.)”

    I’ll be responding to the rest of your comment in a separate post. Don’t you feel honored? 😉

  • Doug Moody

    Steve,
    The “prooftext” you cited is not validation of your view of salvation. This text is talking about judgment, not salvation. Notice the points being made here: (not original, but I agree with them)

    1. Both those under the Law and those without the Law will be judged. Namely, the Jews and the Gentiles. The basis of judgment will be sin, having the Law or not having the Law will have no bearing.

    2. Those without the Law (Gentiles) will be judged by their own consciences. The Jews however must be doers of the Law to be acceptable (accounted for righteousness)

    a. They know by instinct the difference between right and wrong. Gentiles must be doers of the natural law (moral instinct). This instinct was put in their hearts by God.

    b. Their conscience will bear witness as to their guilt on the judgment day. Both Jew and Gentile will be judged by Christ. See Acts 10:48; 17:30,31; 1 Cot. 4:5.

    When God judges teh hearts of man, we know what the outcome for ALL humans will be “guilty”, because ALL have sinned, and ALL have come short of the glory of God. We should not be talking about degrees of sin, as though a more heinous sin is less salvificm and a lesser sin is more salvific. Sin is sin, and all sin cuts us off from God.

    Therefore, judgment is for the purpose of convicting, not punishing. The punishment comes from the knowledge one has about the sin and what they do with such knowledge. The gift of God is forgiveness from the punishment and a reward based on works.

    So, all I can conclude about the inerrancy of scripture is that it is indeed not “error free”, but that it DOES have value as a physical bridge to the supernatural. Other bridges, such as the Quran, etc., are impostor documents posing as holy writ. Might they have some value in human wisdom? Absolutely. But they have no value in salvation. Salvation is granted based on one’s relationship with God through the propitiation God provided. Any other “method” of salvation is inadequate.
    So might I then conclude that I can throw away scripture because it is not inerrant? To do so is to deny that God left us anything physical in order to point to the spiritual. History is FULL of physical things and “witnesses” that draw us to the spiritual. In fact, I think that is how God primarily communicates (giving us spiritual lessons via the physical). Should I then sniff at those physical lessons and objects as valueless? Worse yet, should I include ALL physical things as having value to lead us to the spirit? I don’t think so. All things have some value, but not all things tend to edification.

  • Doug Moody

    Steve,
    The “prooftext” you cited is not validation of your view of salvation. This text is talking about judgment, not salvation. Notice the points being made here: (not original, but I agree with them)

    1. Both those under the Law and those without the Law will be judged. Namely, the Jews and the Gentiles. The basis of judgment will be sin, having the Law or not having the Law will have no bearing.

    2. Those without the Law (Gentiles) will be judged by their own consciences. The Jews however must be doers of the Law to be acceptable (accounted for righteousness)

    a. They know by instinct the difference between right and wrong. Gentiles must be doers of the natural law (moral instinct). This instinct was put in their hearts by God.

    b. Their conscience will bear witness as to their guilt on the judgment day. Both Jew and Gentile will be judged by Christ. See Acts 10:48; 17:30,31; 1 Cot. 4:5.

    When God judges teh hearts of man, we know what the outcome for ALL humans will be “guilty”, because ALL have sinned, and ALL have come short of the glory of God. We should not be talking about degrees of sin, as though a more heinous sin is less salvificm and a lesser sin is more salvific. Sin is sin, and all sin cuts us off from God.

    Therefore, judgment is for the purpose of convicting, not punishing. The punishment comes from the knowledge one has about the sin and what they do with such knowledge. The gift of God is forgiveness from the punishment and a reward based on works.

    So, all I can conclude about the inerrancy of scripture is that it is indeed not “error free”, but that it DOES have value as a physical bridge to the supernatural. Other bridges, such as the Quran, etc., are impostor documents posing as holy writ. Might they have some value in human wisdom? Absolutely. But they have no value in salvation. Salvation is granted based on one’s relationship with God through the propitiation God provided. Any other “method” of salvation is inadequate.
    So might I then conclude that I can throw away scripture because it is not inerrant? To do so is to deny that God left us anything physical in order to point to the spiritual. History is FULL of physical things and “witnesses” that draw us to the spiritual. In fact, I think that is how God primarily communicates (giving us spiritual lessons via the physical). Should I then sniff at those physical lessons and objects as valueless? Worse yet, should I include ALL physical things as having value to lead us to the spirit? I don’t think so. All things have some value, but not all things tend to edification.

  • Doug, I agree well with the second half of your comment. But the first half is decidedly weak and based upon an exclusivist presupposition. The context very clearly says that justification (“declared righteous”) takes place based upon adherence to whatever law is available, and that in this immediate context, judgment of Jews and Gentiles is implied to be based upon how well they uphold their own law. How superfluous would “even defending” be if the verdict was going to be inexorably against them anyway? “I’ll see evidence from all sides, then condemn them all anyway.”

    I somehow doubt this will convince you otherwise, but regardless, I was not using it as “proof text” (one passage in the Bible can’t prove anything) but as an “evidence text”, particularly interesting because it sticks out like a sore thumb; I’ve never once heard a sermon about this passage, particularly because it’s so problematic for strict exclusivism.

  • Doug, I agree well with the second half of your comment. But the first half is decidedly weak and based upon an exclusivist presupposition. The context very clearly says that justification (“declared righteous”) takes place based upon adherence to whatever law is available, and that in this immediate context, judgment of Jews and Gentiles is implied to be based upon how well they uphold their own law. How superfluous would “even defending” be if the verdict was going to be inexorably against them anyway? “I’ll see evidence from all sides, then condemn them all anyway.”

    I somehow doubt this will convince you otherwise, but regardless, I was not using it as “proof text” (one passage in the Bible can’t prove anything) but as an “evidence text”, particularly interesting because it sticks out like a sore thumb; I’ve never once heard a sermon about this passage, particularly because it’s so problematic for strict exclusivism.

  • Wind,

    I wish I had not set L. Ron’s volumes out on the curb 40+ years ago. They would not only be possible collectors’ items, but could serve as comparative study on logic and the objective reality of mind, spirit and matter. Will Clark assist me in better discernment of the authentic over the mimic? Or was it not sufficient at that time to have been reading the Bible also and deciding that God should be my “auditor” rather than a Dianetics practitioner with an E-meter?

    I wish I had written that. Or better, that I had the insight necessary to come up with it. Brilliant, my friend.

  • Wind,

    I wish I had not set L. Ron’s volumes out on the curb 40+ years ago. They would not only be possible collectors’ items, but could serve as comparative study on logic and the objective reality of mind, spirit and matter. Will Clark assist me in better discernment of the authentic over the mimic? Or was it not sufficient at that time to have been reading the Bible also and deciding that God should be my “auditor” rather than a Dianetics practitioner with an E-meter?

    I wish I had written that. Or better, that I had the insight necessary to come up with it. Brilliant, my friend.

  • Dan

    Steve,
    I like your inclusivistic take on Ro 2 and on theology in general. I myself lean in that direction. NT Wright’s commentary on the passage is especially helpful where he argues that Ro 2:13 is not some sort of hypothetical statement that can never be obtained. On inclusivism in general I found John Sander’s No Other Name to be helpful too.
    Dan

  • Dan

    Steve,
    I like your inclusivistic take on Ro 2 and on theology in general. I myself lean in that direction. NT Wright’s commentary on the passage is especially helpful where he argues that Ro 2:13 is not some sort of hypothetical statement that can never be obtained. On inclusivism in general I found John Sander’s No Other Name to be helpful too.
    Dan

  • Dan,
    Interesting! I’m somewhat surprised that Wright would lean that closely towards inclusivism, or at least away from strict restrictivism. Readers take note: inclusivism is not the same things as “universalism”. It is God’s prerogative to redeem people apart from knowledge of Christianity, but I certainly don’t know that He’s going to redeem everyone. It’s something worth hoping for, though.

    Thanks also for the recommendation of Sanders.

  • Dan,
    Interesting! I’m somewhat surprised that Wright would lean that closely towards inclusivism, or at least away from strict restrictivism. Readers take note: inclusivism is not the same things as “universalism”. It is God’s prerogative to redeem people apart from knowledge of Christianity, but I certainly don’t know that He’s going to redeem everyone. It’s something worth hoping for, though.

    Thanks also for the recommendation of Sanders.

  • Dan

    Just to be clear, Wright’s discussion in Ro 2 is not an endorsement of inclusivism. (I doubt Wright is a Restrictivist, but he is not here explicitly addressing the topic.) The comments he makes simply takes the first step toward inclusivism by denying that this is only hypothetical statement of positive judgment according to works which Paul later demantles in 3:19-20. Wright actually applies 2:15 to Christian Gentiles although his explanation of “their thoughts now accusing” is wanting. Makes better sense to me of saved and unsaved Gentiles.

  • Dan

    Just to be clear, Wright’s discussion in Ro 2 is not an endorsement of inclusivism. (I doubt Wright is a Restrictivist, but he is not here explicitly addressing the topic.) The comments he makes simply takes the first step toward inclusivism by denying that this is only hypothetical statement of positive judgment according to works which Paul later demantles in 3:19-20. Wright actually applies 2:15 to Christian Gentiles although his explanation of “their thoughts now accusing” is wanting. Makes better sense to me of saved and unsaved Gentiles.