Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Nature of Scripture 2

(continued from The Nature of Scripture 1)

This model for the nature of scripture leads further into two pressures for its acceptance: the fear of relativism and the loss of truth. If you reject one of the details, then what is to stop you from arbitrarily picking and choosing which details suit the string you want to create, which, inevitably, will not be anything like the string you were intended to know by putting all the details together “correctly”? (Of course, this fails for numerous reasons—not the least being what exactly “correctly” means—but we'll hold off on that until the next model.) The point is that if you ignore one detail that conflicts with others, then you must be doing so in order to avoid the reality of that detail for the purposes of propping up a false string.

The model furthers this in that it treats theology like a house of cards. Remove one detail and the whole thing falls down. So you have an insistence on every single detail being required—i.e. inerrancy. If any part is not true, the whole is false, therefore every part must be true. Saying the Bible is errant in any place will destroy the entire foundation for a Christian's understanding of truth as presupposed by the traditional model. This is why so many Christians believe (rightly according to this model) that unless you believe scripture is inerrant, you have no basis for knowing truth and cannot be a Christian. And, like we said, the fear of relativism—of picking and choosing what one wants to believe—is another motivating factor to sustain the model.

But what if the nature of scripture and how we approach it was different? What if there was another model? What would it look like? How would it change the situation? I will explore this in the next post.

(to be continued)


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