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December 9, 2008

The Inspiration of Scripture

   My friend Matt Coulter and I had a conversation concerning the authority of scripture and possible conflicts within scripture.  Matt wrote a blog about it here and I really think you should all read it.  Here's the thoughts I've posted about it.  I just hope more people are willing to think about and dialogue through this.



This is such a hard topic to understand, but you did an incredible job fleshing it out. A lot of ideas at the youth conference and in books I've been reading talk about students graduating from their faith when they graduate from youth group. These issues you outline are the exact reason students fail. I love where you said that Christians have to be right or correct because that is what the Church tends to be teaching. Next thing, a student gets to college with some professor who is ready to "shake their faith" and they can't explain why there are these issues in scripture that simply cannot be explained away.

I completely agree that we have to focus on the intent of the scripture and perhaps cannot take it all completely literally. Saying this will probably make me a heretic in many peoples eyes. I love the Rob Bell example of Christianity as being a trampoline and the springs being our theology. The idea explained to me is that we can take out one or more of the springs, test it, stretch it, etc., and the bottom will not drop out of the trampoline.

There are some things that if taken out would cause faith to collapse. If Jesus was not born of the Holy Spirit but was the son of a common Jewish guy, that changes a lot! If Mary went to the tomb by herself or took 15 friends with her, that doesn't change the fact that Jesus wasn't there. I really feel it is almost naive to look at passages like that and say it doesn't contradict, which is right on the point of having to be "right" rather than realistic. 

Say that two friends are sitting in a coffee shop chatting and a robbery takes place. Difference in perspective for the eyewitness accounts would say that the robber was tall while the other says short. If one person says they wore a blue coat and one says red...one of them is wrong! It doesn't change the fact that someone came in and robbed the place. I feel that is the same with looking at passages like this from scripture. The issue of whether or not it was one man or two men getting their site back is unimportant when the point is to show how Jesus loves them and can heal them! 

In the end, I have to conclude that "Scripture is inerrant in the things it sets out to be inerrant in..." My faith will not be rocked by those little details that are not correct. I might even go as far as to say that those slight differences add credence and validity because the writers didn't go out of the way to make it look right. Admitting that we don't have all the answers or even being willing to wrestle with the theological "springs" of our faith doesn't make us heretics. It shows a desire to really understand and draw closer to who God really is and what it is that He wants us to understand from His word and the result of that is going to be stronger faith. If we aren't willing to wrestle with this is a Church, people (especially college age) will not be able to stand strong in their faith when challenges come.

1 comments:

Jon Kelly said...

I realize after reading this that perhaps I should clarify it more. I read it again and it doesn't seem to line up with my beliefs and ideas surrounding the intent of the post itself. Specifically in the third paragraph, when talking about scripture, I state "perhaps cannot take it all completely literally."

The problem is that I do believe it all. My struggle has been with the details. There's something about Laramie...the kids, the college students, the professionals where they look to the details to validate their lack of belief. I don't discount my belief because of them, but want a good answer for those people. Ultimately, that is my struggle. I don't want to accept it because it's always been taught, or give the simple answer of faith and perspective...even if it can be explained away from perspective. I felt that needed clarification. Sorry if the idea came across wrong.