Inerrancy or Error?
Because of our western enlightenment certainty and the embrace of dualistic thinking, good or evil, right or wrong; when I suggest literally inerrancy is a flawed way to approach scripture, many of my brothers and sisters conclude I must then think the bible is in error.
It makes sense. In a good or evil, right or wrong world, the opposite of inerrancy is error.
And, if while reading scripture, the only option is inerrancy or error, well then logically, Jason is on a slippery slope into error and all that it implies – such as agnosticism, progressivism, atheism…
When inerrancy or error are the only options, then Jason’s thoughts are dangerously undermining scripture.
But, when I write about literal inerrancy, I am not juxtaposing inerrancy with error, I am juxtaposing inerrancy with sacrificial love and resurrection life, with Jesus. I’m not playing the game of good or evil, right or wrong, inerrant or in error; I’m simply writing about the authority of sovereign love.
To me, the bible isn’t inerrant, but neither is it in error. The bible is a God-inspired invitation to know Jesus and through Him what it means to be truly human. And that’s the point I’m trying to make. The only thing I’m interested in.
Inerrancy or error are transactional approaches to an inspired book that is meant to empower relational trust.
In my opinion, literal inerrancy is a devotion to the wrong certainty, it’s misplaced faith.
My faith is not in the certainty of inerrancy, it’s in the nature of sacrificial love and resurrection life, Jesus.
That’s my hermeneutic. I don’t hide it or suggest it’s negotiable. Because I too have a certainty. God is Love, His Love is always good, looks like Jesus, and we are growing ever sure.
My certainty isn’t in right or wrong; my certainty is Love.
And Love is the only certainty that I believe to be true. It doesn’t promise an easy life, it includes the cross and then also resurrection. It doesn’t mean we won’t experience rejection, confusion, disappointment, disillusionment, and loss, but it promises inclusion, revelation, intimacy, joy, hope, and everlasting life.
Love is sovereign, love has all authority, love wins. And it is why I love and value scripture more today than at any other point in my life!
You see, inerrancy makes scripture about error.
Jesus, cruciform resurrection love, makes scripture about everlasting life! (See John 5:39)
To me, the bible isn’t in error unless we approach it through the lens of literal inerrancy. Then, there’s literally errors everywhere, historical, cultural, natural, scientific, linguistic, intellectual; through the lens of literal inerrancy, the bible is so full of error that countless books have been written not to further reveal the sovereignty of God’s love, but to argue and defend the sovereignty of literal inerrancy.
I encourage you to read scripture in search of a love so good, so complete, so offensive, so inclusive, so much like Jesus, that you can hardly believe it. And then I encourage you to read scripture like you believe it.
Jason Clark is a writer, producer, speaker, and lead communicator at A Family Story ministries. His mission is to encourage sons and daughters to grow sure in the love of an always-good heavenly Father. He and his wife, Karen, live in North Carolina with their three children, Madeleine, Ethan, and Eva.