After a day of more watching than participating in (yet) another round of Scripture inerrancy debates on the internet I’m more convinced than ever that it’s an unwinnable (on either side) debate that, in the end, leaves people pretty much where they started, howbeit, likely with raised blood pressure. Since I hold to the established “all things necessary to our salvation” stance of my denomination, I lean away from the “if Creation didn’t take a literal 6 days we can’t believe anything in the Bible” approach. Still, I’m not unsympathetic to reading the great stories of the Bible as literally true.
One problem I see is that those who caution against a fundamentalist inerrant position end up pointing out what they see to be “errors” in the Bible and, frankly, there’s plenty of ammunition. It’s obvious to me that the writers of Scripture generally wrote from their own limited view of the world. The Lord gave them terrific insights into how God works in the world, but, apparently, he didn’t mind it if the writers continued in their lack of knowledge of how the world works (round and not flat, etc.).
The problem for me is that I have no interest in being the person in a debate about the Bible who is pointing out “errors.” I have a high view of Scripture and believe I find in the Bible everything I need to know to be saved.
The answer, for me, is to decline to be a part of the debate at that level. Since our denomination believes the Bible inerrantly teaches us how to be saved I insist that the measure of its validity has to be whether or not it accomplishes its task. I firmly believe it does. To say it more simply, I think the purpose of the Bible is to teach us how to be saved and I believe the Bible accomplishes that task perfectly because its divinely inspired.
This approach actually helps me find common ground with my fundamentalist friends. They too believe that the Bible “inerrantly reveals the will of God concerning us in all things necessary to our salvation.” They go farther than that, but at least we agree at this, the most important point. Who knows, maybe we can build on that and avoid squabbling about our differences and do something for God instead?