Re: Inerrancy and writing style

From: Edgar M. Krentz (
Date: Tue Feb 18 1997 - 17:19:57 EST

Randy Leedy wrote in response to Carl:

>Now we're back to the assumptions again: we cannot approach the
>Scripture without them. Either we assume that the Bible is free of
>error or we assume that it is not. Since it clearly claims the
>former, fairness would seem to demand that we start with that
>assumption and continue to operate with it until it fails to answer
>to the whole body of evidence as well as the errantist assumption
>does. Based on clear teaching of Scripture, I can confidently
>maintain that those who start with the assumption of Scripture's
>inerrancy, coupled with the fear of the Lord that is the beginning of
>wisdom, will encounter no reason to abandon it but will rather find
>it constantly confirmed in ways that overwhelm any minor points
>tending to discredit it. God has seen fit to give people enough rope
>to hang themselves if that is what they insist on doing. (Apologies
>to the strong Calvinists.)
>Of course I don't expect everyone to agree, as much as I wish
>otherwise. And I trust that those who will allow Carl the liberty to
>disparage the Scripture (by contradicting its claims) while
>unnecessarily dragging the issue of inerrancy into a discussion of
>writing style will also allow me the liberty to defend the Scripture
>in the process of trying to pull the two issues apart again.
>With due respect and regard to all,

I am respopnding to this off-the b-greek discussion group because I do not
think it belongs there. I appreciate the friendly tone of both of you--and
hope mine is equally pacific.

I agree with Randy that we come to the Bible with assumptions. I come with
the assumption that the Bible "neither goes astray or leads astray," but
not that it is inerrant. It does not, IMHO, clearly claim inerrancy. I was
raised in a church that taught a form of inerrancy, but the more I read the
Scriptures, the more I found the claim impossible to maintain in matters of
history, geography, science, medicine, and the like. Certainly the N T does
not cite the OT accurately in many places. Compare Eph 4:8 and Ps 68:19 for
one example.

That does not mean that one makes fun of the Bible, regards it as a poor
guide, etc. I do find that my appreciation of what the wrtiers of the NT
did in their world goes up as I anchor them more firmly there.

I don't erpect you two to agree with me. In the sense described above I can
speak of the Scriptures doing what God wants them to do, saying what he
wants them to say, descrbe them as infallible in their proclamation of law
and gospel, as the pure and true fountain of Israel--and recognize errors
in them.

I do not write this to put anyone else's opinion down. I do write it to say
that one can value the Bible as Word of God, revelation, without holding

Edgar Krentz, New Testament OR HOME:
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
1100 East 55th Street
TEL.: 773-256-0752 FAX: 773-256-0782

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