Monday, November 21, 2011

Another hack at the concept of inerrancy...

Titus 1:12 has an interesting problem for the inerrancy crowd. Here Paul quotes Epimenides the Cretan to demonstrate that the men of Crete would need a special level of severity in the correction and admonishment expected of Titus.

  • "One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” This testimony is true. For this reason reprove them severely so that they may be sound in the faith...

I will ignore the apparent contradiction, well documented on the web, that Paul is in for here by affirming the word of a Cretan who has just said that he, as part of the group of all Cretans, is actually a liar. That's just silly. Hyperbole is hyperbole and not to be made to walk on all fours. 

No, what bothers me or rather would bother me were I an inerrancy follower is that Paul says this kind of thing at all. It's blatant ethnocentrism, racial profiling and clearly wrong. I unashamedly use the modern terms. Recently light has fallen on those evils and we now have language for them and just because they weren't evidently wrong to Paul doesn't exonerate them in any age. But, stop me if I'm wrong, but inerrancy would forbid me from making a judgment like that against any part of the text of the New Testament. And that's also just silly.

For Paul is a human. A great teacher, a true apostle, sent out to spread the gospel as best as he knows how, largely unequalled in his influence, his insight, etc. etc. And still a human. His writings are inspired by God's Spirit and recognized as authoritative by God's Church . But inerrant? 

Hmm. Curve ball for you...
Maybe if I accept inerrancy, I should also accept the infallibility of the Pope.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Getting our Doctrine Right

A friend of mine put me on to this presentation by John Piper. It's a wonderful tribute to one of my very favorite authors, C.S. Lewis. But Piper's passion for certain cherished doctrines causes him to list off at the beginning by way of a disclaimer all the flaws in Lewis' message, so that he could clarify the ways in which he is not influenced by Lewis -- so that he can assure everyone that his doctrine is completely right despite also finding great inspiration in Lewis' life and writings.

Raises a question with me. How did we get to a place where having our doctrine, -- our theory -- exact to such a degree, is of such towering importance? Isn't our central call to repent, believe, love and obey Jesus? Good theory will come, it has to come, but isn't it a by-product of our pilgrimage?