Disclaimer: About This Blog

THIS BLOG IS: my personal journey of how I am rethinking some of my spiritual beliefs.
THIS BLOG IS NOT: intended to point fingers at people who I think are wrong.
I do not believe the final judgement will be based on how many correct answers we get on a theology exam. I believe many people throughout history have had genuine relationships with our Lord and Saviour Jesus, despite holding questionable beliefs and practices. I make no claim to having it all figured out or being your judge. If we end up disagreeing over these topics I pray we can find a way to demonstrate grace.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Infallibility

I'm having a few thoughts on infallibility.

Most protestants take issue with the idea that the Pope is infallible when he gives official teachings on faith and morals.

Yet most protestants have no issue with the idea that the writers of our Bible where infallible while they were writing their specific books.

But isn't that pretty much the same belief?

Add to that the fact that we don't even know who some of the authors were. But we are pretty sure they wrote with 100% accuracy on matters of history, science, morals, doctrines, and faith.

I should mention, before some of you judge me.  There is NOT a specific verse or passage of Scripture I am trying to ignore.  I am NOT questioning this because I don't want to believe what the Bible says.  I actually hope it is 100% accurate.

I just don't see the Bible teaching that its' authors were infallible, even while they wrote.


So here is the dilemma that I see:
  • It doesn't seem Jesus made an effort to write a book for us.
  • The Bible does not claim "This collection of 66 books is written by God, it is 100% fact."
  • The western (catholic) church of the 4th century helped put together our New Testament canon. 
  • At some point after the 4th century some Christian tradition made the claim that these 66 books are infallible.
  • If you believe those who made this claim were infallible, then yes you must believe in the infallibility of the Bible.
  • If you question the infallibility of these church leaders, you are free to question the infallibility of the Bible. 

I believe there is a difference between being inspired and being infallible.  God can speak through someone without making that person perfect.  God can also speak through the Scriptures even if they are not perfect.

God can even speak through you and I, yes, even though we are not perfect.

So all of this may be wrong. The pope may be infallible. I'd love it if the Bible was infallible.  But I sure felt inspired to write about it this.  I trust God will still speak to you either way. :)

Related Posts:

6 comments:

Tim A said...

While the pope and the biblical writers were both men, the comparison stops there. The pope is selected by men for a duty and hold power not given by God. Biblical writers were selected by God for a task driven and empowered by Him.

For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. 2 Peter 1:21

Is God incapable of working an innerent message through men to His people?
If there are errors, who gets to say which things are errors?
On what basis to you suggest an error is such?

I know there are translation errors, but this is not the same as errors from the authors.

Jonathan said...

Thanks Tim. How do we know 2 Peter 1:21 is talking about the authors of the 66 books we have, and only these books?

Weren't these books selected by men in a similar way that the popes are selected by men?

Tim A said...

You did not answer my questions but I will answer yours.

Again you are assuming that because men are involved in two different processes that the basis, process, goals and power are the same between the two.

If you have less than full confidence in the selection of the books of scripture, then you have the freedom and the duty to re-research it out. To ignore this duty and freedom and merely throw out your doubt to others and have confidence that there is merit in your doubt, then you are modeling very low diligence in your faith. To take your doubt and then rest on it with zero research and examination is to start your spiritual downward spiral into shallow minded skepticism. You will continue to apply this shallow method to every element of your faith.

Paul has given us a more noble pattern for faith development.

Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. Acts 17:11

To "examine" is to re-research the issue. I came to a place in my spiritual life where I was thinking the whole system if institutionalized church was wrong. I did not want to just throw out accusations against it with shallow basis. I asked God to show me what was wrong and how to fix it. He did exactly that. He opened my eyes to see scripture I had known all my life actually pointed to a radically different form, function, and faith. The power of God's Word is now the foundation for my faith, not mere skepticism or "problems with authority", or "personality issues". I don't have mere doubts. I have "new and living way" proof.

My answer to your question is no. God has reasons for wanting His Word to be totally true. He has no reasons for wanting one man to be a top dog in His household of faith. With this in mind, why would you think the process would be the same?

The answer to this issue has more to do with your view of God, not your view of history. If your view of God is lacking, your view of history will be warped. There are many who would love to help you warp it, including your own flesh driven self.

Will you answer my questions? I added one more on this post.

Jonathan said...

Tim, Thank you for the dialog, I appreciate it. I recognize this is a delicate topic, most Christians will simply right me off for even asking these questions.

Yes sorry, I skipped your questions as I responded first to your quote of 2 Peter 1:21. Did you answer my question regarding that?

I'll try to answer some of your questions:
1) Yes of course God would be capable of making the Bible innerent. But how do we know that was His plan. Did Jesus say he would make sure our book turned out good when he left?

I believe God would also be capable of writting a complete catechism for those who like to have a complete system of beliefs. But I don't believe he did that.

Do we assume the Bible should give us answers on all issues, God could have written a book for that too if He wanted.

2) If there are errors who gets to decide?

Each of us, or the Pope I guess?

Maybe it doesn't matter. Maybe the goal isn't that we have a complete systematic theology, or learn every fact of history and science from the Bible.

3) (I'm not sure what you are asking regarding on what basis to you suggest an error is such). I'm not looking to find errors. I'm simply questioning why we believe in the infallibility of the Bible.

FYI: I have been researching. And it seems we don't know for sure when, where, why, whom made the final decisions for selecting the books we have. Or even who wrote some of them. I must conclude we are placing a lot of trust on this process that we know very little about. Yet I'm sure there is more I could research.

I hope you don't fear I am tossing out the Bible along with other traditions. I still love the Bible very much... it is #1 of all books. My reasons for loving it have simply changed.

http://jonjourney.blogspot.ca/2012/02/loving-bible-for-what-it-is-not-what-i.html

Jonathan said...

BTW: As I've studied this topic my view of God has not decreased but increased. I agree with N.T. Wright who makes the point that Scripture reveals that God is the final authority. Sometimes Christians make the reverse claim... that God has said the Bible is the final authority.

Lysa Humildad said...

Bravo Jonathan!