Inerrancy Discussed



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  • Inerrancy Discussed

    The teaching on the principle of Sola scriptura (Latin ablative, "by scripture alone") is the doctrine that the Bible is the only inspired and authoritative word of God, that it contains all knowledge necessary for salvation and holiness. Additionally, Sola scriptura demands that no doctrine is to be admitted or confessed that is not found directly or logically within Scripture. Sola scriptura was a foundational doctrinal principle of the Protestant Reformation held by the Reformers and is a formal principle of Protestantism today. It was sometime later, that inerrancy was loosely appended to the otherwise flawless position.

    For the majority of Christians, the argument of inerrancy sounds quite convincing because many evangelicals lack knowledgeable historicity about the development of Scripture. They merely accept "inerrancy" because this is what they have been taught, and do not research to confirm details otherwise. A larger part of some tenets of Christianity is merely the "parroting" of what is taught, without any tangible research or knowledge to substantiate it. Clergy with 30-60 years in the pulpit will sometimes hold tenaciously to the traditions of the church based on what they have read or adapted to, maybe never to realize it was not cohesive with fact.

    The insurmountable problem facing the inerrant position is the fact that scripture itself does not testify to its own exclusive authority. Many of the Scripture Fundamentalists quote, claiming that Jesus affirmed inerrancy, such as Mt. 4:4, 7, 10; Mt. 5:17-18, Jn. 10:35; Mt. 15:3, 5; Mt. 12:40; 24:37-38; Mt. 19:4-5; Jn. 3:12; Mt. 22:39; Jn. 17:17 do not once claim inerrancy, but divine authority, infallibility, supremacy, and reliability which are true. Combine that with Scripture’s own lack of a table of contents (canon) and you have an inability for those of that position to extra ecclesiam know what is Scripture, in precise limits. And, thirdly, once a Christian claims a certain set of texts as scripture, he still knows of his fallibility; thus, how can the fallible individual claim to know his Canon of Scripture is indeed Scripture?

    In addition to this position, there are religious bodies that assert that it is the authority within their ecclesiastical institutions and traditions which establish what books are canonical in the Bible. In various forms, these groups include but are not limited to Roman Catholicism, various forms of Eastern Orthodoxy, and other unorthodox groups like the Mormons and Seven Day Adventists. In essence, they claim their 'true Church’ is the infallible source that answers the question of the canon. That without the sole magisterial authority of their organization, they argue that there will be theological disorder not only concerning the Canon but other theological areas as well.

    One position esteems the Scripture free from any possible scribal error, and the other, that only their religious organization can properly decipher what is true. Both promote an implacable prostilization of error that has a history going back to the first and second century when the Manichaean’s and Ebonites promoted their own type of Gnostic heresies, which by today's standards seem divisive.

    The Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church met in 25 sessions which made up the Council of Trent in 1545-1563. One of the over-arching topics was to define that the church's interpretation of the Bible was final. Any Christian who substituted his or her own interpretation was a heretic. Also, the Bible and Church Tradition (not mere customs but the ancient tradition that made up part of the Catholic faith) were equally authoritative. Few realize this same position in which Martin Luther protested, is now consistent within Protestant epistemology, lauding the ecclesiastical interpretation to be final, and traditions to be of equal authority.

    My preamble is as follows, the Scriptures are indeed inspired by God, sufficient as a guide for life, but not wholly grammatically, factually or technically inerrant due to mankind's fallible involvement. To take any other stance is simply "Pirates Eye" apologetics, meaning to look at things with one good eye while the other is intellectually disabled. One cannot be an objective student of the Scriptures and come away with the view that it is inerrant. It simply is not possible. A little research reveals that the internet is rife with efforts to discount the evidence of textual problems, but the arguments in defense are often more flawed than the errors themselves.

    Personally, I was raised with a closed-minded view of theology and biblical history. My understanding was limited to what mainstream teachers taught and I simply accepted their word for many years without asking questions. However, as Paul admonished the church to emulate the Bereans (Acts 17:11), we are to study to see if what is spoken is true. It takes a degree of boldness not to take every teacher's word as fact, even if backed by years of tradition. Conversely, in as much as Protestants may judge Catholics regarding their beliefs steeped in rigorous tradition, one can find similar fallacies in the Protestant church regarding long-held myths that fail simple tests of authenticity.

    Man authored religion seduces while God's truth liberates.

    A student can easily become lost in endless details of interpretation and subtle questions about translation. The claim of scriptural inerrancy puts the Christian in the position of not just claiming that the original Bible was free of error but that their modern translations of the Bible are the end result of an error-free history of copying and translation beginning with the originals. If one is prepared to allow for the possibility of translator or transcriber errors, then the claim of Biblical inerrancy is immediately undermined since no originals exist to serve as a benchmark against which to identify the errors.

    Before I proceed any further, I will make it clear. One should not become consumed with the letter but with the meaning. One can express a thought in any number of ways, but the meaning does not change. I would like to propose, as many have through the centuries, that the Word of God is infallible in meaning and spirit as authored by the Holy Spirit. But where the hand of man moves, it will always be daunted with inaccuracy. To again state this differently as to reflect on the same thought, human kinds ability to organize and relay details is always subject to a margin of error, but the essence of God's truth revealed is pure and perfect. God does preserve his Truth whereas his precepts are unchanging.

    To point out a few examples, there is the matter of translations from one language to another or transliteration. This aspect in the study of scriptural authenticity has been the center of heated controversy from the time of the early church. Below are a couple of examples.
    • The NIV translates Luke 17:21 to say "nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is within you." In some out-of-context bible translations, the Greek word "entos" is translated to say "within". The NASB for one properly translates "in your midst". When used in conjunction with a plural noun, entos means "among" or "in the midst of." In Luke 17:21, entos is used with "you," and from the context, we can see that Jesus was speaking to a crowd of Pharisees, who had come to question Him about the kingdom of God (verse 20). "You," then, is plural. "The kingdom of God is among you" is the best translation. This one mistranslation has been proof doctrine for many Gnostic and New Age thinkers today, whereas it coincides with "The Gospel of Thomas" which is heretical Gnostic writing.
    • The NIV translates Matthew 19:24 to say "And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." This passage is also found in Mark 10:25 and Luke 18:25. For two centuries it has been common teaching that there is a gate in Jerusalem called the eye of the needle through which a camel could not pass unless it stooped and first had all its baggage first removed. The Greek word kamilos ('camel') should really be kamêlos, meaning 'cable, rope', as some late New Testament manuscripts print. Since some rope was made of camel hair, this confusion of word usage is easier to understand. However, despite the actual word intended, the same meaning is translated to the hearer thus rendering the argument moot.

    The list below is a number of varied collaborations that are commonly overlooked or excused when clearly the storyline simply does not agree. Since there were some 30-35 years before some aspects of the New Testament scripture were actually written, oral accounts had already suffered some degradation, aiding in the discrepancies of accounts.
    • In the Gospel of Matthew, Luke, and John, Jesus warns Peter that all three of his denials will take place before the cock crows once. The Gospel of Mark has a different account, it is written that he will deny Christ three times before the cock crows twice. Predictions: Matthew 26:31-35 / Mark 14:27-31 / Luke 22:34 / John 13:31-38 Peter's Denials: Matthew 26:69-75 / Mark 14:66-72 / Luke 22:54-62 / John 18:15-17,25-27. Since Mark is the first Gospel, is it right and the other three in error?
    • Another conflict is about the story of Jarius' daughter and when she died. In Matthew 9:18, she had already died. In Mark 5:23, she was in the process of dying. It can't be both ways! The results will vary depending on what version you read. Newer translation like the ESV has corrected this.
    • Matthew, Mark, Luke, Jesus overturns tables of the money changes and cleanses his Father's house right at the end of his ministry, and the leader decides to kill him. In the Gospel of John, chapter 2:13-19, Jesus does this act at the beginning of his ministry. Did Christ cleanse the temple more than once? Also, Matthew places the cursing of the fig tree after the cleansing of the temple. Conversely, Mark places the cursing before the temple was cleansed. It cannot be both, which is correct?
    • In the Gospel of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus is to put to death on the day of Passover at 9 am. In John 19:14, this account has Jesus dying a day before the other gospels, the day of Preparation of Passover, just afternoon. This is a discrepancy that can't be reconciled.
    • In the Gospel of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus refuses to show signs and miracles as evidence of his authority and message preached. Even saying such is sacrilege, testing God. In the Gospel of John, Christ takes a different position and promotes signs and miracles as evidence.
    • Another Old Testament error appears in 2 Samuel 24:13, God's wrath came as a multiple-choice, and it was proposed that 7 years famine was one choice of several. However, in 1 Chronicles 21:11-13, It was written like 3 years of punishment. Scholars still agree on this as an unresolved conflict.

    These are only examples to show that the Canon of Scripture is not a composite of contextual or grammar perfection as held in a concept known as the inerrancy of the autographa. Stepping outside the box of tradition and mainstream thinking presents a challenge to those who want to play it safe. There are a great number of website authors and scholars who strain in an attempt to explain away some of these conflicting passages. Some arguments may even have merit, however several of the above-listed conflicts are irrefutable and no manner of denial will make them disappear. Many Fundamentalists and Conservatives cannot face the stark reality that they could be subjugated to a false premise, but rather reject the possibilities and instead seek ecclesiastical cover behind the traditional teachings of the institution.

    The Bible itself nowhere claims that it is inerrant (free of factual errors of any sort). One of the few verses in the Bible that even speaks about the character of Scripture defines its inspiration in these terms: “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17, NRSV). Calling Scripture “useful” is considerably different than calling it inerrant. The fact of the matter is that no early Church council ever debated the issue of inerrancy, let alone pronounced favor of it. No ecumenical creed even addresses the topic—not the Apostle’s Creed, not the Nicene Creed, nor the Athanasian Creed.

    Victor Tununensis, a sixth-century African Bishop related in his Chronicle (566 AD) that when Messala was consul at Constantinople (506 AD), he “censored and corrected” the Gentile Gospels written by persons considered illiterate by the Emperor Anastasius. The implication was that they were altered to conform to sixth-century Christianity which differed from the Christianity of previous centuries. These “corrections” were by no means confined to the first centuries after Christ.

    Sir Higgins who wrote "History of Christianity in the light of Modern knowledge," says: “It is impossible to deny that the Bendictine Monks of St. Maur, as far as Latin and Greek language went, were very learned and talented, as well as numerous body of men. In Cleland’s ‘Life of Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury’, is the following passage: ‘Lanfranc, a Benedictine Monk, Archbishop of Canterbury, having found the Scriptures much corrupted by copyists, applied himself to correct them, as also the writings of the fathers, agreeably to the orthodox faith, secundum fidem orthodoxam.”

    In other words, the Christian scriptures were modified in certain places in order to conform to the doctrines of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, and even the writings of the early church fathers were “corrected” so that the changes would not be discovered. Sir Higgins goes on to say, “The same Protestant divine has this remarkable passage: ‘Impartiality exacts from me the confession, that the orthodox have in some places altered the Gospels’.”

    I might interject a question here, if the apostles were asleep, who heard the prayer and saw the angel in order to write it down? In Luke 22:41-45 we are told Jesus "withdrew about a stone's throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground." About a stone’s cast is fifty or sixty feet, between 15 to 18 meters. Even if the disciples were drifting in and out to accurately hear prayers at that distance, who would sleep if an angel was seen manifested? There is no quantifiable answer to this question, even though desperate speculations are made.

    People today generally believe that there is only one Bible, and one version of any given verse of the Bible. This is far from true. All Bibles in our possession today (Such as the KJV, the NRSV, the NAB, NIV,...etc.) are the result of extensive cutting and pasting from these various manuscripts with no single one being the definitive reference. There are countless cases where a paragraph shows up in one “ancient manuscript” but is totally missing from many others. For instance, Mark 16:8-20 (twelve whole verses) is completely missing from the most ancient manuscripts available today (such as the Sinaitic Manuscript, the Vatican #1209, and the Armenian version) but shows up in more recent “ancient manuscripts.” There are also many documented cases where even geographical locations are completely different from one ancient manuscript to the next. For instance, in the “Samaritan Pentateuch manuscript,” Deuteronomy 27:4 speaks of “mount Gerizim,” while in the “Hebrew manuscript” the exact same verse speaks of “mount Ebal.” From Deuteronomy 27:12-13 we can see that these are two distinctly different locations. Similarly, Luke 4:44 in some “ancient manuscripts” mentions “Synagogues of Judea,” others mention “Synagogues of Galilee.” This is only a sampling, a comprehensive listing would require a book of its own.

    More recent translations of the Bible are now beginning to be a little more honest and forthcoming in this regard to questionable content. For example, the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, by Oxford Press, has adopted an extremely subtle system of bracketing the most glaring examples of such questionable verses with double square brackets ([[ ]]). It is highly unlikely that the casual reader will realize the true function these brackets serve. They are there to tell the informed reader that the enclosed verses are of a highly questionable nature. Examples of this are the story of the “woman taken in adultery” in John 8:1-11, as well as Mark 16:9-20 (Jesus’ resurrection and return), and Luke 23:34 (which, interestingly enough, is included to confirm the prophecy of Isaiah 53:12).

    Dr. Lobegott Friedrich Konstantin Von Tischendorf was one of the most eminent conservative Biblical Scholars of the nineteenth century. He was also the staunchest, most adamant defender of the “Trinity” that history has known. One of his greatest lifelong achievements was the discovery of the oldest known Biblical Manuscript know, the “Codex Sinaiticus,” from Saint Catherine’s Monastery in Mount Sinai. From this came the devastating discovery that the Gospel of Mark originally ended at verses 16:8 and not at verse 16:20 as it does today. In other words, the last 12 verses (Mark 16:9 through Mark 16:20) were “injected” by the church into the Bible sometime after the 4th century. Clement of Alexandria and Origen never quoted these verses. Later on, it was also discovered that the said 12 verses, wherein lies the account of “the resurrection of Jesus,” do not appear in codices Syriacus, Vaticanus, and Bobiensis. Originally, the “Gospel of Mark” contained no mention of the “resurrection of Jesus” (Mark 16:9-20). At least four hundred years (if not more) after the departure of Jesus, the Church received divine “inspiration” to add the story of the resurrection to the end of this Gospel. Since Mark is the oldest Gospel and most likely the undefined "Q" document used as the model for the other three gospels, this was a substantial problem.

    As it happens, Friedrich Tischendorf also discovered that the “Gospel of John” has been heavily reworked by the Church over the ages. For example, It was found that the verses starting from John 7:53 to 8:11 (the story of the woman taken in adultery) are not to be found in the most ancient copies of the Bible available to Christianity today, specifically, codices Sinaiticus or Vaticanus. It was also found that John 21:25 was a later insertion and that a verse from the gospel of Luke (24:12) that speaks of Peter discovering an empty tomb of Jesus is not to be found in the ancient manuscripts. Much of the discoveries of Dr. Tischendorf regarding the continuous and unrelenting tampering with the text of the Bible over the ages has been verified by twentieth-century science. For example, a study of the Codex Sinaiticus under ultraviolet light has revealed that the “Gospel of John” originally ended at verse 21:24 and was followed by a small tailpiece and then the words “The Gospel according to John.” However, sometime later, a completely different “inspired” individual took pen in hand, erased the text following verse 24, and then added in the “inspired” text of John 21:25 which we find in our Bibles today.

    None of the Reformed confessions that Calvinism adheres to asserts Scripture’s inerrancy, but rather its “sufficiency.” The great theologians of the Church, including Protestant Reformers like Luther and Calvin, had the highest regard for Scripture’s inspiration, authority, and truthfulness, and at times they used words like “infallible” and even “unerring” when affirming its truth claims. But they also acknowledged factual discrepancies and other problems in the Bible and recognized the cultural limitations of its human authors. The current insistence on inerrancy in some quarters of Protestant evangelicalism has its origins in the late 19th- and early 20th-century, an overreaction to modernism.

    Indeed, the insistence on inerrancy represents a capitulation to the modernist framing of the debate, born of an all-or-nothing mentality in which the Bible is either completely accurate in every factual detail or completely untrustworthy in all of its theological claims to truth. This is a false dichotomy that many thoughtful Christians refuse to accept, and rightly so. In its report on “The Nature and Extent of Biblical Authority,” the Christian Reformed Church makes clear that it does not support the notion of inerrancy (Acts of Synod 1972).

    When today’s Christians turn to the historical narratives in the Bible, they see ancient authors who wrote according to the methods and cultures of their own day. By those standards, which involved the use of a variety of sometimes conflicting oral and written traditions. Nevertheless, they were very good historians. However, they made occasional errors of fact in areas like geography, chronology, and political history. To acknowledge this is not to demean Scripture but to accept it as it is. The errors don’t threaten the foundations of the faith or the assurance of salvation. And they needn’t undermine our confidence in the truth of the Bible. What they do is show that an infallible God-inspired fallible human beings to reveal his will in a manner able to lead people to faith and salvation.

    Once again, despite these presented conflicts and any other possible contained errors, we are not to become consumed with the intellectual detail of how it is written, but rather what is written. It is evident that we are all in a fallen condition prone to error, never to realize perfection until we leave this physical realm and enter into the light of God's presence. It is true that we can live a lifetime in a vacuum of erroneous thinking and not be enlightened to realize it, even a devote Christian. Although in time, the Word of God can illuminate a confused or deceived mind, at the same time it can be bound by traditions taught by man superfluous of genuine truth. However, despite our error-prone and sometimes mislead position, anyone who has been touched by the hand of God cannot deny that the Scripture is indeed profound, a torch of light, THE inspired book of the ages.

    "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12 KJV).

    B.C. Goodpasture, the distinguished editor of the Gospel Advocate for almost forty years (1939-1977), wrote: "The nature and contents of the Bible are such that the rank and file of its readers in all generations have recognized God as its author. Man would not have written such a book if he could; and could not, if he would. It moves on a superhuman plane in design, in nature, and in teaching. It caters not to worldly desire and ambition. It condemns much which men in the flesh highly prize, and commends much which they despise. Its thought are not the thoughts of men (1970, p. 54)."

    “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

  • #2
    What did Christ mean when He stated: "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." Matthew 5:17-18


    • #3
      Jot or Tittle

      In verse 18, Jesus refers to two separate letters in the Old Testament canon, the ‘jot’ or ‘yohd’, which is the smallest consonant in Hebrew, and the ‘tittle’ or ‘keraia’, which is the smallest vocalisation letter or sign. The Greek 'keraia' was the Hebrew 'Hiriq.'

      The comment was not in reference to the inerrancy of Scripture. Jesus was making a point by using contrast. “I am not come to destroy the law, but to fulfil”. Not one iota or stroke of a letter will pass from the law till all be fulfilled. Christ did not come to nullify the law, or to overthrow it. The Jews held this view of his mission. Christ came to express how the new covenant fulfilled and superseded the shadow by realizing all its goals and purposes.

      Fulfillment of prophecy and obedience to its commands does not break or abrogate the law, it establishes it in the way that is impossible for either delay, non-fulfillment or destruction could ever do.


      • #4
        Not Inspired?

        Are you saying that all scripture is not inspired and the writers were not writing based on what was given to them from the leadership of the Holy Spirit???

        When first read, I was of the opinion that the scriptures were written by different men to the different churches which has the opinion that the scriptures are humanized and not used to learn how to worship in spirit and truth. To me the scriptures are written directly to me, and others of course, and they were written in other languages and that the word was to be kept from Col. 2:8.

        I have to believe that the Bible is without error and inspired by the Holy Spirit. If there is error they the whole thing becomes corrupted. Anyway thank you for all your hard work and studies


        • #5
          Oh no... not at all. God's Spirit was genuinely involved. The historical TRUTHS and FACTS about the absolution of canon is an amazing journey, and when one transverses the corridors of time, they realize quickly that some of the traditions of the Church are little more than mystical beliefs. For example, the Catholic church claiming to have absolute unction of interpretation and authorship over scripture. As I pointed out in another outline, the scriptures were fully written before the Councils. They merely approved them.

          We do differ on the inerrancy position. The Spirit of truth is without error, but whatever is of this realm is subject to the depreciative sin nature of the fallen realm. Calling the Scripture inerrant because the Holy Spirit authored it would be like saying all women and men are perfect because God created them. We were at one time perfect, but whatever is subject to this fallen realm is not perfect.

          It is a tough subject to digest for who have been steep in rigorous traditions of fundamentalism.


          • #6
            Doubts Rising Up

            When I read your writing I get the feeling you really don't believe the Bible is the Word of God nor that it is without error. Am I wrong in thinking you believe that different men wrote letters to another person or another church and we get to read their letters?

            I have not been able to sleep for several nights because I find myself trying to understand what you are saying. It makes me begin to doubt the Bible as being "The Word of God". I of course put that out of my mind but it still causes me concern. Everything I believe in is based on the Bible and it being the Word of God and I take my everyday situations and compare them to God’s Word to make sure I am doing the right thing according to the Word and not man. Even though I still mess up.

            Reading your philosophy and trying to discern what your philosophy is saying causes me to have a check in my spirit because I start to entertain mental doubts about the Word of God. Those doubts do not set well with my spirit. By adapting what I think your philosophy is, I would not be able to read the bible and believe in my heart that Jesus wrote to me and will speak to me thru the Word. I just wanted you to know what you say and believe has made some doubts rise up.

            I have studied the dead sea scrolls, the Aramaic bible (scrolls), the Pes.hitta Aramaic bible (scrolls), the Greek bible, the Hebrew bible and as far as I can tell they have all lined up and do not contradict each other. The different versions of the original King James do not line up however. The book of Enoch does have a few verses that do not line up but it is very interesting reading. Jesus made mention of the book of Enoch so I went looking and found the scrolls and read them.

            Based on what you say I do not know what to do now! So---- I wrote here to you and I am going to go back and start some studies on the topics you mentioned. I have been reading the Bible every day since 1978. I can count on both hands the number of days I missed reading. In 1981 I started to study the bible and for the first 10 years I would fast for many days and read 2-4 hours a day. My studies have a purpose to receive a message from Jesus for someone coming into my path of life tomorrow. I would always try to be prepared to give that message to the person that the Lord would send to me, it has been amazing. In all the years I read until the Lord speaks to me and gives me a message. Almost always he has given me a message or speaks to me in a way that I knew it was him speaking. Almost always the message would come to me while reading the Bible.

            I believe the Bible is true and man's philosophy is to be questioned and use the Bible to see if the philosophy is true or not.. I am confident that the Lord's still small voice will keep speaking to me. There is much power in the reading of the Bible. I personally believe that the Father, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and Lords heavenly hosts were involved in inspiring and speaking to the different authors at the various times that were used to bring the heavenly words to the world. They would tell them what to write so there would be no errors. I believe Jesus himself put together the different people that organized the writings that were previously written into one book called the Bible.

            I am reminded that in the times before Jesus came to earth that the scribes would not be able to write the name of Almighty God with their pen without dying. Almighty God is so powerful and holy that before Jesus became our propitiation, his name was not allowed to be signed by only one person. It took 3 different people to write his holy name. I have been struggling with different spiritual battle that work on stealing the joy of my salvation. It has been an everyday struggle and I learned to quote Jesus out of the Bible when he told Satan - "The Lord Rebuke thee Satan". When I do the mind seems to quit meditating on problems and the negatives that come with living in this world. I learned that from the Bible. I try to do what Jesus did or what he said to do that was written in the bible.

            I am not sure what you are trying to learn or teach but whatever it is I will pray for you to be able to understand and teach it clearly. Teaching has made me very careful with what I say because I read that teachers are held to a different judgment that those that are not.

            Did you hear the catholic priest on TV the other day talking about the book of Jesus the child. The book describes how Jesus sinned. He killed a boy and when accused of killing him Jesus spoke to the dead kid and he came back alive. The book describes happenings that were direct sins he committed. The book said he performed miracles and one writing about how he made sparrows out of clay and he was accused of working on the Sabbath so he clapped his hands and told the sparrows to fly away. Interesting nonsense. I have a lot of trouble with the Catholic structure and way of doing things. "Call no man father" "come unto me" not Mary. The different ways of getting forgiveness, salvation, baptism etc...

            I get intimidated writing to you because I am not as good as you are with the different formal words of speech but I do know the same Jesus and his voice. I'm just a plain ole country boy from Indiana save by grace and a child of the King of Kings.

            Your friend


            • #7
              The Error of Man Does Not Compromise Truth

              Thanks for your insight and thought put into your comments. I do want to point out, that none of what I write is my personal philosophy, which implies a unique and biased position, but rather it is all based on indisputable facts of historical Christianity which can be studied by anyone who seeks the whole truth, unbraided by Church traditions.

              I recall the first time I studied historical biblical Christianity, it threw me into a spiritual tail spin for a time. Some of the facts I discovered are a far cry from what I was taught by those subjugated to tradition. The Protestant persuasion has a number of superstitions as do the Catholics, who adhere to traditional myths as if for their very souls depend on it. Equally, the Muslims are blinded by their overt dedication to the Qur'an and in their error, commit horrible atrocities in the name of Allah! The human condition is persuaded to hold to tradition over revelation. Furthermore, the later the curtains are pulled back in life to reveal truth, the harder it is to process and accept it.

              I purposely repeated an important point several times throughout my first exposition, that the Scripture ARE divinely inspired, it is absolutely God's revelation to mankind. That critical point is never contested, nor shall it ever be by myself. However, the historical truth about the composition of Scripture is sometimes slightly skewed from what we were taught in Sunday School. The self-defeating position that if one letter in Scripture can be questioned then it all can be questioned is more about bondage than truth.

              Despite that certain errors do exist in the compiled book of scripture, it still is the book of books, a revelation of God's mind and heart through the sometimes defective transit of mankind. Anything on this depreciative sphere is subject to error, even if divinely imbued. A genuine Christian is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, but do we always speak perfectly or write perfectly? Are we to say the pseudonymous writers of the different books of scripture are somehow super saints and wrote everything perfectly? Even if they did, we don't have the original manuscripts, only copies of copies. Additionally, there has been a great number of copyist and scribal modifications throughout the centuries. Even our modern translations are a scholarly piecemeal compilation from over 500 different fragments and codices... not from one single authorized and divinely inspired perfect manuscript. Despite all those facts, undeniable facts, the Word of Truth still speaks loudly and clearly, leaving no doubt who the original author was.

              For one to say that the Bible is not inerrant in composition does not at all imply that the revelation of God's heart is somehow compromised. This is where people often become confused. It is difficult to fully delineate the difference between man's involvement and God's authorship. Once a person can properly discern these distinct differences, they find the authorship and divinity of Christ are not challenged, but rather the Glory of God is manifest to an even greater degree. For it is not by the wisdom and skill of men, but the truth of God that we find our salvation through grace. God's personal revelation is not dependent on the perfection of his creation, as to relay his heart and plan. Despite our fallen condition, the preeminence of His counsel is not subdued.

              Nothing in my outline had anything to say about contradiction in regards to spiritual truth, but there are distinct errors regarding details which are outlined and easily identified by any student willing to research them. However, the reader must be reassured, that all the said errors in content (not grammar) can be contained on one page, and none of these content errors change the gospel message or ANY precept given to us by the Spirit. This is quite amazing, over 300,000 errors are defined when grammar and punctuation are included, but none of these factors modify any part of the message!

              In truth, most people, if not nearly all people, are happy to consume what is fed them without any effort to examine what they are being fed. We are inherently lazy and submit as to puppeteers. Lucifer does not have to attack the church without, whereas he is allowed freedom to move about easily within. We know he is cloaked as an angel of light and even the most devout are easily deceived. Yet even the seasoned Saints are easily beguiled by his devices even while they profess they can see clearly. I for one am a committed Berean and seek diligently for the truth, taking no man's voice as the authority. I swallow only if proven and then not without serious reflection. I spent half my life as a gullible puppet, submitting to the institution of man, and later returned to the pillars of spiritual truth in the power of Christ.

              As Peter boldly claimed to have an unwavering dedication to Christ, one test proved fatal to his confession and he realized his heart's passions were nothing more than a corrupt aim for goodness. Once freed from his concept of personal attainment by works, he realized that agape love was the hallmark of everything God stood for. "Peter, do you love me, feed my sheep." Three times the Savior entreated Peter to realize that love it the standard, not passion or human standards. The Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox passion's for traditions cloud's the true nature of the Christian purpose. The Creator would have us come from out under our religious canopies and march under the banner of the Christ's love, whose mercy and grace is fully manifest by His life. As religious polity seeks to seduce the heart, the love of God offers to liberate the soul.


              • #8
                Mikes Comments

                Please forgive my writing if it does not make all that much sense, I am writing this as my two year old competes for my attention

                Each of the writers of scripture was made up of different people with different backgrounds (social, political, maybe even gender) and had often entirely different literary backgrounds. The fact that the Bible exists, and has throughout the centuries, is a true miracle to say the least. Not to mention the fact that writing was an extremely expensive and time-consuming process.

                The text that Norm mentioned in his post comes from a text called The Lost Bible, I have read some of it and have it in my collection unfortunately I cannot locate it at the moment. Norm’s comment brings about a very important point that, I believe, may be the heart of the issue. It is a documented fact that not all of the early writings where included in the Bible, why would that be so? Just as today, there were a multitude of false teachers and Jesus warned his disciples of this fact.

                Matthew 7:15-20, “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”

                Some ancient works were not saved through neglect, some were not powerful enough to outsmart the forces of destruction that was prevalent in the time and some writings were purposely and deliberately excluded. I believe that the Holy Spirit and Jesus are and were every bit as involved in the exclusion of texts from the Bible as they were in the inclusion of the inspired texts of the Bible. The early church had a multitude of challenges and one of them was the competing, false, texts. Many of these texts (Gnostic texts) were written along side the authentic texts, with respect to the canonical Gospels. That said it would be fascinating to go back through time to see how the texts were included in the Bible to see if what I have studied in my history books lines up with actual history.

                To combat the problem of the false texts a group of people (actually two groups) formed and called themselves the orthodox, a word made up of Greek words for “straight” and “praise” or “worship”. They also took on the name “catholic” meaning “universal” despite the fact that there was no universal version of Christianity. They were the ones claiming to get God’s worship straight, in the proper way. They emerged as the dominant body of the church. As history shows, they also eventually became the two great branches of the Medieval church. This is the group who ratified the canon and was responsible for preserving the text we have today. This was an amazing feat of accomplishment when we consider the fact that these two groups are known for their corruption particularly during the middle ages. This goes to show that God more often than not moves in this world in spite of us rather than through our cooperation. God is bigger than our corruption and our mistakes. Because of the immensity of God there is no way, at least in my mind that the Bible is not the inspired word of God – in fact it is a miracle that it even exists and is a Testament of the wonder of God!


                • #9
                  I read your essay and I am not persuaded that you supported the claim that the pastoral epistles are written by pseudonymous writers. I have heard it said that Paul wrote differently to different audiences. Also, I am not comfortable with canonical books that are deceptive about the authorship. A simple reference to my ESV study bible draws on scholarship which estimates the time of authorship to be mid 60s. I think you make absolute statements where there is not surety and much conjecture bordering on defamation of the Pauline authorship. Paul, having a particular Apostolic authority to establish doctrine. (though the argument breaks down with Luke, Marc, James and Jude too)

                  By questioning the authorship, you undermine the reliability of scripture as inspired anchorpoints. (Unless you are correct, the tactic could be construed as Satanic, along the lines of Genesis 3 "Did God say..." I don't suppose it helps that the verse about 'scripture is God-breathed' is in the Timothy letters. It's all very serious stuff. Thanks for sharing it. You've got me thinking...

                  I take your point, I considered that inerrancy was not about literary perfection, but effectiveness in hitting the mark. Also I don't accept that older manuscripts are necessarily more correct. I am a bible scholar and an imperfect vessel. I don't view sound doctrine as a denominational vestige. So would not say that I keep "the doctrines of Calvary Chapel". Just studying to show myself approved, center-left between fascists and commies; Pharisees and Zealots. This on THAT:
                  How Scotland Lost Its Hold of the Bible1 was first published in The Banner of Truth magazine, No. 623-624 (Aug-Sep 2015). The article can be downloaded as a 28-page print-ready pdf here, and may be freely printed and distributed. Man is now thinking out a Bible for himself; framing a religion in harmony with the […]


                  • #10
                    Quite a panorama on aspects of Church history

                    "In a sermon, ‘Revelation and Inspiration’ (1877) he had presented the view that an acceptance of inaccuracies in the Old Testament need not affect the substance of the faith." Absolutely!

                    "The early chapters of Genesis were not historical but composed ‘from the raw material of Babylonian myth and legend’. ‘The god of early Israel was a tribal god.’" A liberal and agnostic view to be certain.

                    "...the Bible helps, ‘as sign posts help a traveler on the road’, and it could be praised as ‘an exceptional, a divine book’. A reduced view of Scripture was not to be seen as loss, it was a spiritual gain." The Word Faith movement and Emergent Church, departure from the truth, a subtle but powerful apostasy.

                    "Scripture is ‘infallible’, these teachers said, but not everywhere infallible." Incorrect position, but held by some of the more liberal tenants. The whole of Scripture is God breathed and infallible in truth, but scribal errors are denied only by those unaware of the proven historical facts or for lack of skills in Paleography. Regarding Scripture as having been transcribed flawlessly is classic solipsism. There's Ptolemaic Cosmogony, demonic possession theory of mental illness, flat earth absolutionism and the cosmology where the earth is center of the universe. These were held by the narrow minded leaders of an egocentric Church as immutable where any other view was heresy. People can skillfully hold tenaciously to traditions and false propositions for the duration of their lifetime. Catholics, Protestant, Muslim, no religion is without its errant traditions and deceptions. I doubt there is any limit to this capacity of perpetrated delusion, due to unfettered freedom of the fallen nature.

                    "Christ taught that not one ‘jot or tittle’ of the law would fail; that his life and death had been according to ‘all that the prophets have spoken’ (Luke 24:25), for ‘the Scripture must be fulfilled’." Absolutely, but He and the prophets spoke of the perfect law, the perfect truth, in the perfect spirit. Matthew 5:18 states "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled" (KJV). Using this as proof text is evidence that this writer does not have a firm understanding of this scripture.

                    Whether we take this reference literally, that the jot represents the smallest Hebrew letter and the tittle the minor stroke that distinguishes one letter from another, or figuratively, that the jot and tittle represent the particles of Scripture, the force is the same. Jesus thought of the Scriptures as being consequential even in their slightest detail. If Jesus did not believe in full inspiration and the quality of inerrancy, the force of His argument is lost. If this could be taken literally, then the statement would refer to the original autographs which we don't have. While the science of textual criticism assures us of trustworthy text, inerrancy can be claimed only for the original writings (Jeremiah 36:2).

                    There were some persons among Jesus' time, who made it their business to search into the meaning of every letter, and of every one of these little horns, or pricks (Jews call "crowns" and "spikes") that were upon the top of them. In the time of the prophets there were such who very diligently searched every letter in the law, and explained every letter by itself; and do not wonder at this that they should expound every letter by itself, for they commented, upon every one of the tops of each letter. They become utterly consumed by the letter, they failed to comprehend the Spirit in the Word. Mankind has not changed any regarding the bent toward superficial pursuits while missing the purpose.

                    Inerrancy as meaning “exempt from error” and infallibility as a near synonym meaning “incapable of error, certain.” If there is any difference in the shade of meaning between the two terms, inerrancy emphasizes the truthfulness of Scripture, while infallibility emphasizes the trustworthiness of Scripture. Such inerrancy and infallibility apply to all of Scripture and include both revelation inerrancy and factual inerrancy. It is truth (2 Samuel 7:28; Psalm 119:43,160; John 17:17,19; Colossians 1:5). But inerrancy as a claim that it is free of errors throughout all its history would be a misappropriation of the meaning which the shared article seems to contend.

                    During the medieval or scholastic period, the Bible became a mere source book for disputations instead of the living Word of God. As might be expected, the period was unproductive in respect to definitive statements on inspiration. Much more attention was given to the status of the Bible in its relationship to other authorities within the church. Although Abelard and Aquinas emphasized the human element in the transmission of God's revelation, there is no evidence to suggest that a less high doctrine of inspiration was necessitated by the mood of the Middle Ages.

                    The age of rationalism leveled its attack against the application of inspiration to the minutia of the Bible. In the spirit of the Renaissance, linguistic and textual studies flourished. The rationalistic approach suggested that if errors could be demonstrated to exist in the text of Scripture, the whole doctrine of inspiration would crumble. This kind of thinking ignited a rash of claims that the Bible was full of errors, its critics hoping thereby to destroy the whole doctrine of inspiration.

                    Unfortunately, orthodoxy countered with the same appeal to rationalization. They argued that since the Bible is without error, it is thereby inspired. This does not mean that we should accept a lower view of inspiration, nor that we should reject the doctrine of inerrancy; it only suggests that our appeal must arise from the claims of Scripture alone. The Scriptures are inerrant because they are inspired of God-not inspired because they are inerrant. The first approach is biblical and leads to a correct view of inspiration and errancy; the second approach is rationalistic and opens the door to human speculations.

                    "He said, ‘Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass way’ (Matt. 24:35), but this had to be corrected to say that only ‘some’ of his words would not pass away." There should be no denial that all that is spoken of Jesus was absolute truth, but we have evidence that scribes were not always accurate at transcribing those words. I would label much of the ongoing effort of the article a straw man, which requires that the audience be ignorant or uninformed of the original argument. The article slides deeper and deeper into a verisimilitude of weaker arguments and demagogue.

                    Having been bound at one time, I realized later that the some Fundamentalist views are at times Orwellian in nature. A draconian control by propaganda by exaltation of the letter instead of the author, misinformation to hold sway those caught in its brand of theosophy, denial of truth when facts are undeniable including physical evidence which is in abundance, and manipulation of the past as to cover up anything that would prove otherwise. While this is my experience personally, I am sure each person has had an different experience.

                    However not all conservatives are easily beguiled by the inerrancy (flawless text) insistence, where Got Questions, who is widely trusted as an authoritative source shares their understanding of infallibility. “As meticulous as scribes were with the replication of the Scriptures, no one is perfect. As a result, minor differences arose in the various copies of the Scriptures. However, any unbiased document scholar will agree that the Bible has been remarkably well-preserved over the centuries. Again, the question, can we trust the Bible? Absolutely! God has preserved His Word despite the unintentional failings and intentional attacks of human beings."

                    This is the gist of my Discerning the Truth outline as a whole, repeated many times throughout. The Bible is indeed the ultimate authority on God and the revelation of His heart and truth regarding His holiness, human kind’s participation in the grand design and time ever after. Thanks for the share!


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