Difference between revisions of "Biblical inerrancy"

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== Versions of inerrancy ==
 
== Versions of inerrancy ==
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=== Inerrant in original manuscripts ===
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Evangalical Christians believe that the original biblical manuscripts, as opposed to translations or later versions, were inerrant.<ref>[http://www.religioustolerance.org/inerrant0.htm Introduction to Biblical inerrancy, infallibility, and authority]</ref>
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This view was supported by nearly 300 evangelical scholars who signed the ''[[Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy]]'' in 1978.
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These scholars included [[James Boice]], [[Norman Geisler]], [[John Gerstner]], [[Carl F. H. Henry]], [[Kenneth Kantzer]], [[Harold Lindsell]], [[John Warwick Montgomery]], [[Roger Nicole]], [[J. I. Packer]], [[Robert Preus]], [[Earl Radmacher]], [[Francis Schaeffer]], [[R. C. Sproul]], and [[John Wenham]].
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=== Inerrant in English translation ===
  
 
Some Christians<ref>[http://www.chick.com/information/bibleversions/decision.asp Your decision]</ref> take that position one step further and believe that God has preserved His word, so that there is an inerrant Bible today.  The latter view is based on the following: (i) God has promised to preserve His word in Psalm 12:6-7, and (ii) inerrancy only in the original manuscripts, which are lost to us, would do modern Christians no good.
 
Some Christians<ref>[http://www.chick.com/information/bibleversions/decision.asp Your decision]</ref> take that position one step further and believe that God has preserved His word, so that there is an inerrant Bible today.  The latter view is based on the following: (i) God has promised to preserve His word in Psalm 12:6-7, and (ii) inerrancy only in the original manuscripts, which are lost to us, would do modern Christians no good.
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=== Inerrant in matters of spiritual truth ===
  
 
The belief can be divided into two schools of thought. The first is that the Bible is without flaw or error with regards to History, Science, and Spiritual truth, also called [[Biblical literalism]]. The second is that the Bible is inerrant as a source of spiritual truth, but is more appropriately interpreted as metaphor or allegory in certain places (eg, the six day creation). Both views are supported by the idea that the Bible is the message from God to mankind, and therefore cannot be [[Alleged Bible contradictions|in error]]. The former view is popular among [[Young Earth Creationists]] and [[Evangelical Christians]], while the latter is the official stance of the [[Roman Catholic Church]].  Books on Divine Action&mdash;''[[Divine Action and Modern Science]]'' ([[Oxford University]] Press, 2002) and the Vatican Observatory-sponsored ''[[Scientific Perspectives on Divine Action]]''&mdash;also presuppose a [[Religious right|conservative]] biblical authority over science, which is inherent in the doctrine of inerrancy.
 
The belief can be divided into two schools of thought. The first is that the Bible is without flaw or error with regards to History, Science, and Spiritual truth, also called [[Biblical literalism]]. The second is that the Bible is inerrant as a source of spiritual truth, but is more appropriately interpreted as metaphor or allegory in certain places (eg, the six day creation). Both views are supported by the idea that the Bible is the message from God to mankind, and therefore cannot be [[Alleged Bible contradictions|in error]]. The former view is popular among [[Young Earth Creationists]] and [[Evangelical Christians]], while the latter is the official stance of the [[Roman Catholic Church]].  Books on Divine Action&mdash;''[[Divine Action and Modern Science]]'' ([[Oxford University]] Press, 2002) and the Vatican Observatory-sponsored ''[[Scientific Perspectives on Divine Action]]''&mdash;also presuppose a [[Religious right|conservative]] biblical authority over science, which is inherent in the doctrine of inerrancy.

Revision as of 13:29, 14 March 2009

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Biblical inerrancy is the doctrinal position that the Bible is without flaw or error.

There are differing views on inerrancy, ranging from it applying only to the Bible's spiritual teaching to it applying to the English-language Authorised (King James) version. Evangelicals hold that it applies to the original manuscripts.

Versions of inerrancy

Inerrant in original manuscripts

Evangalical Christians believe that the original biblical manuscripts, as opposed to translations or later versions, were inerrant.[1]

This view was supported by nearly 300 evangelical scholars who signed the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy in 1978. These scholars included James Boice, Norman Geisler, John Gerstner, Carl F. H. Henry, Kenneth Kantzer, Harold Lindsell, John Warwick Montgomery, Roger Nicole, J. I. Packer, Robert Preus, Earl Radmacher, Francis Schaeffer, R. C. Sproul, and John Wenham.

Inerrant in English translation

Some Christians[2] take that position one step further and believe that God has preserved His word, so that there is an inerrant Bible today. The latter view is based on the following: (i) God has promised to preserve His word in Psalm 12:6-7, and (ii) inerrancy only in the original manuscripts, which are lost to us, would do modern Christians no good.

Inerrant in matters of spiritual truth

The belief can be divided into two schools of thought. The first is that the Bible is without flaw or error with regards to History, Science, and Spiritual truth, also called Biblical literalism. The second is that the Bible is inerrant as a source of spiritual truth, but is more appropriately interpreted as metaphor or allegory in certain places (eg, the six day creation). Both views are supported by the idea that the Bible is the message from God to mankind, and therefore cannot be in error. The former view is popular among Young Earth Creationists and Evangelical Christians, while the latter is the official stance of the Roman Catholic Church. Books on Divine Action—Divine Action and Modern Science (Oxford University Press, 2002) and the Vatican Observatory-sponsored Scientific Perspectives on Divine Action—also presuppose a conservative biblical authority over science, which is inherent in the doctrine of inerrancy.

As many as one third of Americans hold this position[3].

Liberal Christianity and Biblical Inerrancy

In general, Liberal Christians tend to reject Biblical inerrancy in both forms, since certain passages[4] clash with their liberal ideology regarding things like Homosexuality and the role of women. What they fail to realize is that if one is allowed to toss aside those passages which disagree with their personal politics, the document quickly loses any relevance as a guide to morality and Christian behavior. After all, how can any of it be sacred if one arbitrarily decides that some of it isn't? Also, how can someone who does not take the Bible seriously as God's preserved word call on others to do so?

Some argue that if the Bible cannot be proven inerrant, then the claim within it would be irrelevant.[5]

Seventies debate

Two books in 1976 sparked a firestorm of books and papers amongst religious studies scholars. These were Harold Lindsell's The Battle for the Bible and James Barr's Fundamentalism. Lindsell's book is sympathetic towards conservative Christianity, while Barr's is hostile. Despite this key difference, both were in remarkable agreement that biblical inerrancy provides the "first line of defense" and demarks the "proverbial line in the sand" between liberal and conservative christianity. [6]

External Links

Notes

  1. Introduction to Biblical inerrancy, infallibility, and authority
  2. Your decision
  3. http://www.gallup.com/poll/27682/OneThird-Americans-Believe-Bible-Literally-True.aspx
  4. http://bible.cc/leviticus/18-22.htm
  5. Geisler & Nix (1986). A General Introduction to the Bible. Moody Press, Chicago. ISBN 0-8024-2916-5
  6. "Evangelicals, Biblical Scholarship, and the Politics of the Modern American Academy" in Evangelicals and science in Historical Perspective, David N. Livingstone, D. G. Hart, Mark A. Noll (Editors), Oxford University Press, 1999, p.306-326