An Ecumenical Definition of Inerrency

I find this definition of inerrency to be quite helpful. I think it can accomodate both a conservative and a liberal view of Scripture — in other words, it would help reconcile the two perpetually warring clans of Christianity.

“Since therefore everything which the inspired editor or holy writer expressed is to be valued as expressed by the Holy Spirit, it is to be confessed that the books of scripture teach with certainty, fidelity, and without error the truth which God wants to have set down in the Holy Scripture for the sake of our salvation.”

[Anton Vögtle, “Die Konstitution über die Offenbarung,” quoted in Werner Harenberg, Der Spiegel on the New Testament (London: Macmillan, 1970), 55.]

This definition allows for many of the points of friction between conservative and liberal Christians to be smoothed away. Did Moses write the Pentatech or was it edited over the course of several centuries? Doesn’t matter. Does Genesis 1-3 address human origins or is it a metaphor for the human need for God or a critique of other, contemporaneous religions’ view of the divine? Doesn’t matter. Are the Gospels concerned primarily with the historical or the theological? Doesn’t matter.

In short, each group could maintain its own particular understanding of Scripture — it would be unfair, for instance, under the guise of ecumenism or Christian cooperation, to try to force a Young-Earth Creationist to give up his/her hermeneutic — while still finding common ground to accept the other side’s position as valid. Each side could then be captive both to conscience and to consensus.

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One response to “An Ecumenical Definition of Inerrency

  1. Pingback: Um… An Ecumenical Definition of Inerrency? | Unsettled Christianity

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