Saturday, February 9, 2008

If you really trusted God you'd be an inerrantist

Disagreeing with inerrancy is often equated with a spiritual deformity to the effect that an errantist is simply unwilling to trust God:

"The difficulty some have in accepting inerrancy is no new trend in evangelicalism, nor is disregard for the the original text. But to dismiss a belief in inerrancy or to attack the original text because God’s people today do not possess the original papyri on which the biblical writers wrote shows a great lack of confidence in the God who has given His written Word. Such doubters show distrust in the God who inspired and gave the text for His people’s benefit, to be used in various settings besides that of the original audience (cf. Col 4:16; 2 Tim 2:2). They
may be ill-informed or simply uninformed. But ignorance is not always bliss, especially when it leads one to disregard the text of sacred Scripture or question the veracity of the Bible by doubting its inerrancy. The field of textual criticism is crucial for the life of the church, both for ascertaining the original text and for affirming the inerrancy of that text." (Jason Texton,
"NT Text Criticism and Inerrancy" TMSJ 17[2006]: 51-59)

This essay concludes with the following words:

"A careful implementation of textual criticism is the answer to those who would question the value, plausibility, or practicality of a doctrine of an inerrant New Testament. Warfield’s handling of the issue many years ago pointed out that God’s role in the inspiration of Scripture guaranteed its errorless content. That factor should be more than sufficient to erase doubts that any evangelical might have regarding the issue. Historical critical concerns over whether God has chosen to preserve His inerrant Word should not shake the confidence of a Bible scholar in the Bible’s accuracy. Through application of text critical principles, one may retrieve the
original text in spite of errors in its transmission."

"Don't underestimate God"--that's what I'm hearing, as if errantists inexplicably think that inerrantists are overestimating what God has affected in the scriptures. But perhaps it's time to turn the tables on this curious judgment. Could it be that inerrantists are the ones who are underestimating God?