Spirituality

“…Moses Supposes Erroneously”….??

I have largely ignored the question of biblical errancy or inerrancy in this blog. It’s one of those touchy issues about which people can get pretty rabid and is central to many theologies. However, it has been on my mind and I’ve decided to use this post to tentatively feel my way around. I wish that I had a feeling of real conviction about these kinds of matters, but I honestly do not. Actually, scratch that; I guess I do. I have a feeling of conviction that none of us have it exactly right. I’ve heard lots of arguments to defend various viewpoints – the two most common being that (1) the Bible is divinely inspired and preserved and (2) that it is a compilation of histories written by fallible men.

My inclination is to agree with both takes, but I’m perfectly happy to accept that I might be wrong. My thought process goes something like this:

~God reveals himself in different ways to different people.

~The Bible is written by people who each had unique experiences of God.

~I believe the Bible is divinely inspired, but the fact remains that many sincere and honest seekers and believers interpret it differently. There are perhaps more different ways to understand the Word of God than there are strains of Christianity. Whyever should I presume that the interpretation I was taught is absolutely correct? For me, to say that the Bible is divinely inspired in no way means that my understanding is. Perhaps we all get glimpses. If that’s true, doesn’t it follow that all should have respect for the views of others? Maybe God has revealed Himself to them in ways that He hasn’t revealed Himself to you. This general idea is well-presented in the book If God is Love. While I don’t feel there is enough objective support for every conclusion the authors make, I agree passionately with their effort to treat every person as a beloved child of God.

~ Luke 2:52 reads: “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” If Jesus, who was equally God and man could stand to improve, then certainly the apostles, even with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, could as well. So when we read advice from the apostles, perhaps we should focus primarily on the spirit of their words. Apart from that, the New Testament addressed the issues of specific people who were facing a specific set of problems in a specific social and political climate. That isn’t to say teachings aren’t applicable or relevant today, I think they absolutely are, but should be considered very carefully. Although, I am aware that there are a number of verses that indicate that the teachings of the apostles were from God, so maybe I’m off-base.

~ And finally, I’m veering off topic a little here, but it seems to me sometimes that we’ve given the counsel of these men of the New Testament godlike status… or like people have a hard time separating divinely-inspired from absolutely correct. To clarify, I would think that a divinely-preserved, true account of events would include mistakes and blunders that occurred… and maybe wouldn’t always tell us when we’re looking at a bad call. To clarify further, I think many people could say that they have prayed earnestly to God for guidance and still have made mistakes.

Feel free to point out any perceived flaws in my ramblings! Thanks for reading!

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2 thoughts on ““…Moses Supposes Erroneously”….??

  1. You said perceived flaws, so here goes… 😉

    An underlying assumption here seems to be that spiritual truth is different than actual truth. If God’s divinely inspired word isn’t actually true, what sort of true is it?

    If you really want to wrestle with this, you need to get a good book on both of the main views. What I offer below is just some general thoughts that inform my view.

    The folks who wrote the New Testament were writing history…and commentary on history. They held it out as an exclusive truth that others needed to know and that they themselves were willing to die for. They condemned those who taught “any other gospel”.

    They were convinced of the uniqueness and exclusiveness of the truth their writings contained. It was confrontational and unyielding and they were unwilling to fudge. Most were taught directly by Jesus. Paul is so sure of the divine origin of his writings that he feels the need to qualify when he’s stating his own opinion or practice. Jesus gives his stamp of approval to the entire OT, down to the smallest letter.

    There are many ways to interpret history (any history), some of them correct and some incorrect, but if the history itself is incorrect, the exercise is pointless. What actually occurred and the actual affects of it are foundational to any interpretation. Personal application is another matter. It says, “this is true, so this is how it looks in my life.” Because people are unique and have unique experiences with God does not mean that truth is flexible.

    It is one thing to respect others’ right to have an opinion. It is another thing entirely to say that two mutually exclusive views are equally valid.

    Don’t mean to sound blunt or arrogant – just trying to write concisely. Hope it gives you something to weigh… 🙂

  2. Thanks Crystal! You don’t sound blunt or arrogant. 🙂 My questions aren’t so much surrounding the truth of scripture, but more the different ways people take it. I think some views are more valid than others, but I don’t feel qualified to say that one is correct and another incorrect (well – most of the time ;)). Many estalished theologies are well-supported. Your views, for example, are quite different from the views of one of my other commenters, but you’re both convicted, extremely well-read critical thinkers who have taken lots of time and energy to develop your perspectives. I just think that some of us have gleaned bits of truth others of us haven’t and some of us have mistakenly interpreted passages that others of us have understood. I’m not using my confusion as an excuse to stop searching, but it’s easy for me to get overwhelmed. I’m starting to think I’m probably always going to have a somewhat flexible stance. Any objective reads you could recommend? Thank you!!

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