Inadvertently renovating a house of cards with new cards

NOTE: The video which is the subject of this post is no longer available.

  We affirm that a confession of the full authority, infallibility and inerrancy of Scripture is vital to a sound understanding of the whole of the Christian faith. We further affirm that such confession should lead to increasing conformity to the image of Christ.
     We deny that such confession is necessary for salvation. However, we further deny that inerrancy can be rejected without grave consequences, both to the individual and to the Church.                                                                                         The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, art. XIX [emphasis added]

(ht: Here I Blog)

Yesterday (or the day before?) I was having a back-and-forth with a good friend on a Carl Trueman article which takes Stanley to task for “erroneous thinking” on the relationship between culture & Christian ministry. Today someone passed along the link to the video you see above. Some brief remarks on the video:

1. Affirming the inerrancy/infallibility of Scripture is not necessary for salvation. Denying that the Bible is without error won’t keep you out of the kingdom but it will affect your seating in the kingdom. {relax, that last bit is a joke}

2. Adherence to young earth creationism is not necessary for salvation [nor is it necessary to uphold the inerrancy of Scripture]. I fully expect to see theistic evolutionists in glory although I suspect it’ll be hard to spot them so far back in the crowd. {again, a joke}

3. I think Stanley is right on his basic premise: our faith is about dealing with Jesus Christ not the infallibility of Scripture. However, his explanation of the premise seems to create more problems than it resolves. My friend, who is far more familiar with Stanley than I am, says that this is consistent with Stanley’s apologetic approach to skeptics: start w/ Jesus’ death/burial/resurrection & allow faith in Christ to clear any other hurdles in Scripture. All fine and good. The game plan is good as far as that goes but the details of the execution strike me as odd:

(a) Believe in Adam & Eve not because it says so in the Bible but because Jesus talks about A & E in the gospels. This is self-contradicting unless you see a distinction between the gospels and the rest of the Bible. Are the gospel books (of the Bible) more reliable than the other 62 books (of the Bible)? [Even if Stanley just meant to contrast the gospels to Genesis the question still stands–why are the gospels any more trustworthy than Genesis?]

(b) Believe in Adam & Eve not because Genesis states their existence but because Jesus believed they existed. But didn’t Jesus believed the Genesis account–and he did (Mat 19:4-5)–shouldn’t I believe it, too?

(c) If Jesus can predict his own death & resurrection and pull it off, he can be trusted when he speaks about A & E. But how do I know Jesus predicted his death/resurrection? Isn’t it because it’s recorded in the Bible? How do I trust Jesus without trusting the Bible?

Whether or not Stanley has successfully cut the Gordian knot on this one you can decide for yourself. Like Jesus, I think Stanley isn’t keen on entertaining pointless arguments that obscure the heart issue. I get that. I’m uncomfortable with the explanations more than the approach. I just want to be careful to cut through the fog without fraying the tie between Christ & the Scriptures (Luke 24:25-27, 44-46; Jn 5:39; 1Cor 15:3-4).

No, our faith doesn’t stand on the doctrine of biblical inerrancy. But we can be too clever for our own good. Even when we try to set Jesus above his Word.

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