December 5, 2009

Inerrancy and Tradition

I drafted this post on November 4th. Blogosphere chatter this week makes me feel like posting it now. FWIW, The passage below remains as I wrote it a month ago:
It seems like everyone who subscribes to inerrancy has to qualify it somehow. Personally, I've never looked into it. Nor do I plan to. I'm content to trust the scripture as far as I understand it. I'm happy trusting that, when I don't understand it, that the problem is with me and not with the scripture. Finally, I'm willing to trust that apparent contradictions can be explained somehow, someday whether or not I've heard a good explanation yet. Do we really need more?

Obviously, TPTB think so. We must "know how to answer". (As if that means know everything. As if "answer" means "solve".) But the effort to explain it all now implies that we can understand it all now, and God does not seem to work that way. (Or does He?) At any rate, God did not give us the scripture so we could lock it down tight, and control it, and use it to maintain our preferred religious-political status quo. So much protestant scholarship, theology and translation warfare is just the post-Catholics trying to maintain the appearance of sola scriptura, but behind the scenes and between the lines it's shoring up authoritarian dogma, pure and simple. Some animals really are more equal than others.

I've been predicting this for years. Now it's starting to happen. The more we all learn, the more Protestant institutions are going to grow into their centuries and start claiming tradition. Otherwise, they will die. The games they've been playing with scripture have long since undermined the Reformation's foundation.

But hey, Martin Luther shored up a few dogmas with fancy arguments, too, didn't he? So maybe that's okay. Or... maybe not. Either way, those of us who trust the scriptures need to simplify the way we go about handling it, and we need to start admitting more uncertainties. If we don't do this soon, we'll be sorry. The internet is starting to make the printing press look like wax tablets, and this "Reformation II" that is currently incubating has not yet begun to explode across the religious landscape.

Huss preceeded Luther by 100 years. Watch out, TPTB. Better yet, humble thyselves and simplify. You may yet do some good for those of us who will never come back.
My faith is traditional. My style's more Bohemian (Hussite) - and not just on ecclesiology. I'll go way out of my way to suspend judgment on scripture's apparent difficulties. I just don't appreciate those who stake a claim on some particular reading of those difficult passages and then compromise everything else in defending that view.

On some level, it seems like "inerrancy" (as a strategy) is most useful NOT for defending the scriptures, but for defending tradition.

6 comments:

J. L. Watts said...

Bill,

Here

I'm content to trust the scripture as far as I understand it

and here,

On some level, it seems like "inerrancy" (as a strategy) is most useful NOT for defending the scriptures, but for defending tradition.

Well said, well said, and amen, well said.

Often times, people simply cannot define inerrancy and end up stating 'if I cannot believe one part of the bible (generally in relation to Gen. 1) then I cannot believe in any of it. To me, it makes the bible an idol, not to be touched or handled.

But, amen, Bill, amen.

A. Amos Love said...

Bill

I think I understand what your saying. Yummy.

So now it’s the reformed that need to be reformed.

The persecuted have become the persecuters.

The tradition breakers
have become the tradition makers.

"The games they've been playing with scripture have long since undermined
the Reformation's foundation."

“On some level, it seems like "inerrancy"
(as a strategy) is most useful
NOT for defending the scriptures,
but for defending tradition.”

; o ) Good one. Someone please say ouch.

I've had this thought,
What if the Reformation's real foundation was Rome
and not the scriptures?

Sorry, have mercy, a long comment is on the way.

Just wondering...

Reformation.
Good, or, er,
just another Religious “alternative?”
Another Religious “form?”

Solved some problems
but created a whole bunch more.

There are now thousands of denominations
according to wikipedia.

And most look like Rome and not the scriptures.

All started by "Leaders" who thought
they had a better idea

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christian_denominations

Jesus warned us about making “the word of God”
of non effect through our traditions; Yes?
Mk 7:14

What if "The Whole Religious system,"
for the past 1700 years,
has been/is totally corrupt?

Corrupt - Dictionary

1- having or showing a willingness to act dishonestly in return for money or personal gain.

2- in a state of decay; rotten or putrid.

3- debased or made unreliable
by errors or alterations.

Don’t condemn the messenger just yet.

Why was there a reformation?
Rome was/is corrupt according to scripture. Yes?
People wanted to serve and worship Jesus in truth. Yes?
Any Popes as the head of “The Church of God”
in the Bible?

Why were there Pilgrims and the Puritans
coming to the USA?
Church of England was/is corrupt
according to scripture. Yes?

People wanted to serve and worship Jesus in truth. Yes?
Any Monarchs as the head of “The Church of God”
in the Bible?

And every denomination since, tries to tweek
Romes version of doing religion. Reform it.

Always rules and regulations to follow,
NOT found in the Bible.

Always hierarchy and Titles
NOT found in the Bible.

Oh, you can change a few “titles,”
pastors intead of priests,
suits and ties instead of collars and robes,
Presidents instead of Popes,
but basically every denomination is still Rome.
still, “Tradition of men.”

Was “the Reformation” a dangerous detour,
another tradition, leading people away from Jesus.

“Jesus being the “head” of the body, the Church,”
and “those led by the Spirit,
those are the sons of God?”

Is Religion the system, and NOT the relationship?

Did Jesus reform “the Jewish Religious Sytem”
He etablished?

Or did He leave it?

Just wondering... Or is it wandering....

P.S.
FWIW?
TPTB?
What?

Bill said...

Thanks, Joel. Amen ritbakatcha.

"not to be touched or handled"

The same thing happens in NT Chronology. Guys build arguments to defend the 'accuracy' of certain references, but don't push beyond into historical reconstruction. It's almost as if they're afraid of uncovering more contradictions.

The same thing happens with Quirinius. We've heard arguments as to why Luke might not be wrong, but WHAT THE HECK ACTUALLY HAPPENED?

The fact that nobody reconstructs the whole census causes many (I suspect) to see major hypocrisy. What "Truth" are we defending here, if the events themselves don't seem to actually matter?

Bill said...

Hey, Amos. One thing I respect most about you is you're not shy to seek information.

FWIW = "for what it's worth"

TPTB = "the powers that be"

I also appreciate your 'chains of thought' more and more as we get to know each other, but I have to ask you to shorten the length of your comments.

(1) It's hard to have a conversation with so much scrolling. (2) Your stream of consciousness responses are worthwhile and honest, but they're not easy to interact with. (3) If you try to edit your thoughts for the sake of communication, other readers might get more out of it.

You've got some great insights, brother. Please consider these options:

(1) Start a blog of your own, for longer responses. (2) Leave links to those posts as comments. (3) Try to make fewer points at the same time, in someone else's comment thread.

I trust you understand my heart about this, brother. Look at the time stamps between my two comments just now, and see how long it took me to compose this comment.

Once again: I think you're a smart guy, Amos. I just think you can be more effective in communication online if you resist the "touch keyboard, empty brain" impulse. And I absolutely want your best insights to have an influence on all of us.

Thanks for considering these things, brother. Grace & Peace.

A. Amos Love said...

Thanks for the mercy and encouragement.

Be blessed

Bill said...

Aw, now I didn't mean THAT short!

:-)

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