Inerrancy vs. Liberalism

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July 28, 2010 Tags: Biblical Authority

Today's video features Joel Hunter. Please note the views expressed here are those of the author, not necessarily of The BioLogos Foundation. You can read more about what we believe here.

In this video Conversation, Joel Hunter explains why it is important that we decouple the view of scripture from the “either or” mentality, which stems from the culture’s polarization and politicization of the interpretation of scripture.

Hunter suggests that a view of scripture as the “inerrant Word of God” does not mean that the Bible should be read literally, but rather, it means that God is inerrant. Further, while scripture itself is revelatory, that does not imply that the person interpreting it is inerrant. The disconnect between the view of inerrancy and the liberal low view of scripture is a spectrum rather than a choice.

One can have both the highest view of scripture and a humble understanding of people searching for the best way to interpret the depths of what that scripture actually says more than the literal or “one plane” understanding of that scripture, says Hunter.

The same superintendent spirit of the writers of scripture should be in us when we learn more about how to best interpret the text—only then can God make those same words reveal even more to us. Once we have a more complete sense of the context in which scripture was produced and the context in which we should understand the text today, it will allow us to speak greater truths because the inerrancy will grow with our interpretation.

Commentary written by the BioLogos editorial team.


Joel Hunter is senior pastor at Northland, A Church Distributed in Longwood, Fla. Hunter is also a board member of the World Evangelical Alliance and author of the book A New Kind of Conservative.


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JKnott - #23835

July 29th 2010

Biophilos—-

Thanks for articulating your thoughts, which seem to be more or less my own.  And without naming names, you’ll find here on BioLogos (which I assume you are relatively new to) that there are certain people who like to dominate the discussions and are not really worth trying to engage with.  Sad but true.


Headless Unicorn Guy - #23849

July 29th 2010

Conrad—There’s this key called “Caps Lock”.  Turn it off.

Because nothing says “kook rant” like ALL CAPS SPRINKLED THROUGH YOUR POSTING, ENDING IN EXCLAMATION POINT! or RHETORICAL QUESTION MARK?.


Biophilos - #23855

July 29th 2010

Hi JKnott,

I think I’ve realized that now. I’ve been an active reader but not much of a participant before on BioLogos (I commented once or twice before as A. A. Lyrae) so I had some guess about which people I should’ve avoided. Still I found the discussion a useful exercise in helping to articulate my thoughts. I hope to participate more often!


conrad - #23946

July 29th 2010

Headless Unicorn Guy

I am taking your advice and giving attention to decorum, so that I can have maximum effectiveness.

  I think caps are the equivalent of shouting.
I only intend to use them when I am saying something so important,...... that I would be raising my voice to you,... if we were talking in my living room.

But when I deal with THIS material ,....I find that it is ,......ALL SO IMPORTANT ....  THAT IN A FACE-TO-FACE ENCOUNTER,.... I WOULD NOT ONLY RAISE MY VOICE,.......I WOULD PROBABLY POKE YOU IN THE CHEST WITH MY FOREFINGER…..... AND POSSIBLY SIEZE YOUR COLLAR AND PUSH YOU INTO A CORNER TO MAKE YOU LISTEN TO ME.

[But I would do this in a respectful way.]

  None the less your advice is spot on.
Caps are the equivalent of shouting.
I am a shouter.
  But thank you for the well meant advice.


Greystone - #25840

August 17th 2010

Wow! This blog is a real trip! The confusion regarding the simple doctrine of biblical inerrancy in the church is far deeper and more widespread than I imagined! Either you believe that the Bible is without error regarding matters spiritual AND scientific AND historical, or you do not. Simple. A child can grasp it. While the former does not guarantee you safe passage into heaven, the latter guarantees you hell, if you do not repent of it. If you do not start with absolute inerrancy, it is no use for you to try to interpret Scripture. Might as well just go to a ballgame or to a movie. It seems that Daniel Fuller’s “modified” version of inerrancy has done more damage than I thought. The Bible does NOT need cosmology or any other ology as a handmaiden. It is axiomatic to all knowledge. (Ps. 36:9) Long before anyone discovered other galaxies the psalmists and prophets were proclaiming that “God stretched out the heavens.” Those who teach these versions of inerrancy, are trafficking through what could be the most undiscerning generation of Christians since the Protestant Reformation, and they fine well know it.  Is this harsh? or hateful? How sad that such a solid ground warning would be considered so.


Jon Garvey - #25849

August 17th 2010

If inerrancy is as simple as that, you’d have to say John Calvin was a liberal, because he taught that certain passages of Scriptures were written to accommodate to the minds of simple men (specifically, for example, the astronomical features of Genesis 1). He based his opinion on the findings of the new astronomy.


greystone - #26724

August 23rd 2010

I don’t care if the whole bible was written for simple men to understand, that does NOT change the true meaning of inerrancy. No mistakes at all! All scripture is God breathed therefore it is without error. They communicate in different modes (IE poetry, history,epistles, metaphoric language etc.) , but still have NO MISTAKES. Whether the scriptures teach expressly or by necessary consequence it does not diminish their total, ironclad inerrancy.


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