Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Utter Absurdity of Inerrency @JohnPiper

On October 15, I saw someone retweet something John Piper tweeted: "The prophets give no evidence of ever using "um" or "ah". These are weak, learned fillers and can be unlearned for Christ."

Now, I'm hoping this was satirical, but I don't know. I haven't seen anyone else write about this post, so maybe it was humorous. However, I'm sure someone somewhere believes it. And it demonstrates the absurdity of an extreme inerrency model of the Bible.

For those unfamiliar with interpretation terms, inerrency is the view that the Bible is completely true in every word. The pure form of inerrency holds that it was dictated from God. Therefore, each word (in the original texts) is holy.

If the words really were dictated by God, then this makes sense. However, there is absolutely no evidence of this nor does it even make sense why God would approach Scripture this way.

In contrast, infallibility holds that the message of the Scriptures is true, while certain elements, like exact history or science, do not have to be completely accurate.

Of course, these are gross generalizations of each form, but for summary purposes, there you are.

Back to Piper's tweet. It takes the idea of the Bible being dictated absolutely literally. If it's dictated, and the prophets are the voice of God at the time, then the lack of "um" or "ah" would indicate they were not used by these holy people. However, there are a few problems with this. Most of the writings about the prophets are clearly not meant to be transcripts of their prophecies. Further, even modern transcripts, which would likely be more accurate than ancient ones just due to our ability to record and listen again, rarely include filler words and sounds. The transcript can be accurate and still leave things out.

And then just the judgment that they are weak is absurd. Since Moses had a speech problem, did that make him weak?

When we start worshiping the Bible rather than the Living God, we very quickly lose sight of the message of the Scripture and focus on debating such worthless things as filler words. And dedicate whole blog posts to them...

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