I am having this discussion with Greg, primarily, at From the Salmon, and yes, it includes that blow-up I spoke about in my previous entry (blushing). I just wanted to share it, anyway.
Greg, I like the way you think…I can’t really argue with you. You are right we have choices which have to be made about to whom (or what) we give authority. You are also right when you suspect (I think?) that I believe that the Bible is inerrant. I absolutely do. Because I’m simple-minded? Is that why fundamentalists believe that way, because it’s easy? You think? I find nothing easy about the Bible, myself. I find a new revelation each and every time I pick it up, but what is amazing is that more than 40 different men were used by God to write it, men with different perspectives just like you and I and yet they did, indeed, reach a level of agreement, in all their different writing styles with all their different up-bringings and baggage from life they managed to find consensus throughout the entire Bible which, if one really thinks about it, is often not even matched by a single writer of a book from front cover to back, especially when dealing with such philosophical subjects. That is inspiration.
Where the “pickle” comes in with me is in this argument that God still communicates with man, and yes, I believe he does, therefore that must mean that there is “new” wisdom and “new” understanding? Certainly you are correct that the Bible was written during certain periods of time and reflects the language and situations of those times but that language and those situations can be applied to our time, as well.
I once asked a progressive Christian who does not believe in the Bible’s inerrancy, on another blog, what book he believed was an equal to the Bible, what book did he feel was more authoritative, was more brilliantly written, was richer and wiser in its philosophy or its wisdom, he never replied to that very specific question.
This is the crux of my problem with not believing in the Bible as God’s inerrant Word:
Many question its authority because it was written by mere men, but in that questioning they trust what other mere men are telling them, this is where their questions spring from, from other men.
In my heart of hearts I believe that the Bible is God’s Word, but I’ll tell you this, if it hasn’t been kept from blemish? If God’s power somehow was not enough to keep it pure, to keep it on track? It is still the best guide that we have for understanding God, aside from our Savior and Lord and what he speaks to our heart, and much of what He speaks to our heart is garnered from and verified in that very Bible which some question. It reveals more about God than any other book available to us and contains more wisdom than I will likely understand in my lifetime, so, you see, to me it is about having faith in God that He is able to keep his Word pure. I’m trying really hard to articulate this just right because I have been accused of worshipping the Bible in the past by some Progressive Christians INSTEAD of God, that isn’t it at all, though if the Bible is, as it claims to be “The Word” and “The Word” IS Jesus Christ and “The Word” IS living and active, just as it claims to be, then it does require a level of faith when it is accepted as the authority.
All I am saying is this, in a nutshell: IF I am going to put my faith in the Words of a book, in words written by men, then I believe this Book, which has survived and been passed on for thousands of years, which claims to have been inspired by God Himself is more worthy of that faith than any other Book on the planet. Some of my favorite scripture, and I have far too much of it to pinpoint a single scripture and call it my favorite, comes from the Book of Job, please indulge me:
Job 40:1-14 (NIV)
"1 The LORD said to Job:
2 “Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him?Let him who accuses God answer him!”
3 Then Job answered the LORD :
4 “I am unworthy—how can I reply to you?I put my hand over my mouth.
5 I spoke once, but I have no answer—twice, but I will say no more.”
6 Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm:
7 “Brace yourself like a man;I will question you,and you shall answer me.
8 “Would you discredit my justice?Would you condemn me to justify yourself?
9 Do you have an arm like God’s,and can your voice thunder like his?
10 Then adorn yourself with glory and splendor,and clothe yourself in honor and majesty.
11 Unleash the fury of your wrath,look at every proud man and bring him low,
12 look at every proud man and humble him,crush the wicked where they stand.
13 Bury them all in the dust together;shroud their faces in the grave.
14 Then I myself will admit to youthat your own right hand can save you."
Man can do no better and can do much worse than retaining a belief in the Bible.