The Inerrancy Heresy

What follows are some thoughts I captured after a troubling experience with a Christian School some time ago...I welcome your comments.

The doctrine of Scriptural inerrancy, and the popular misconception (both in the church and outside of it) that inerrancy is THE Christian doctrine of Scripture, is one of the greatest hindrances to contemporary Christian ministry. As such, it could be called a heresy -- especially when it lifts Scripture to the level of divinity, subtly making it the fourth member of the trinity and perpetuating Bibliolatry. By denying inerrancy, I do not wish to imply that Scripture contains errors, but that if and when we read Scripture as at all points historical, factual and literal, our erring approach will lead us to find errors there.

 Scripture faithfully and sufficiently communicates what it’s authors intended, namely the truth about who God is, who we are, and what God has done, preeminently in Jesus Christ. The flaw of inerrancy is that it ties the credibility of the truth claims of Scripture to a modernistic understanding of truth, which is limited to fact. Facts are important but they are not everything--they aren't even the most important thing. The Creation account does not have to be factually, historically accurate for it to be true in the deepest sense. One of the enlightening meanings of Jesus statement “I am the truth” is that truth does not reside in facts, but in a person. Jesus is the truth about God, and the truth about humanity, because he is the God-man. He shows us God’s love for us. He shows us what it means to be truly human.

Inerrancy goes hand in hand with the idea that Scripture was written by human hands but, ostensibly, without human minds. It imagines that the authors may well have been writing in a spirit induced trance. And that what they transcribed was the timeless will of God for humankind at every time in every place. But this is not a Christian doctrine, it is (as far as I understand Islam) a Muslim one. Muslim’s accept the Koran as essentially lowered from Heaven. All it’s cultural teachings indicate that culture ought always to be as it was at the time the Koran was received. This is not how we understand the Bible. We believe in an incarnation, the true Word of God came first and foremost in human flesh. Jesus is the Word of God – the image of the invisible God, the one who makes God known to us. Scripture is God’s word when it effectively leads us to God’s Word, Jesus. It is the doctrine of infallibility that teaches us that Scripture is faithful to lead us to the Word of God, Jesus.


  1. Hello! I agree completely. I posted something on this a week or so ago. I hope all is well in northern california.

  2. I agree. The commitment to inerrancy is even more frustrating and inadequate when it is tied back to some original manuscripts that we don't have any access to.

  3. Then how does one decide which parts are in error and which parts are not? It seems like we're walking on a slippery slope when we say the Bible has errors, no? Why can't the entire NY be full of errors? Why can't Christ be a myth, then? I'm asking an honest question.