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An Errant Inerrant Bible

inerrancy

Wander into your neighborhood Evangelical church on a Sunday . . .

You will likely find the pastor preaching from the Bible.

Pastor, is the Bible the Word of God?

Yes.

Pastor, is the Bible the truth?

Yes.

Pastor, are there any errors in the Bible?

No.

Pastor, is the Bible inspired by God?

Yes.

Hundreds of millions of Christians believe the Bible (translations) they hold in their hands or hear preached from on Sunday is THE Word of God. They believe every word is true because God inspired (breathed out) the words. Not one time have their pastors told them differently.

Come Monday, Evangelical pastors gather with fellow clergy and talk a different line. No one really believes the Bible is inerrant.

Come Tuesday, and throughout the week, Evangelical pastors prepare their sermons, consult commentaries, lexicons, and the like, hoping to find answers to the discrepancies, errors, and contradictions in the text. They say to themselves, how can we best explain this so church members will still believe the Bible is inerrant? Should we tell them the truth about the text?

All of a sudden, the Bible is not quite as perfect as these pastors lead everyone to believe on Sundays.

In other words, they lie.

Why do these pastors lie?

To tell the truth would bring down the Evangelical house of cards. The entire movement is predicated on an inerrant infallible Bible.

An inerrant Bible must be maintained at all costs.

So they obfuscate by playing word games. What do you mean by the word error? What do you mean by the word Bible? What is a “mistake?”

As Bart Ehrman showed in his debate with William Lane Craig, the basic question remains . . . are there any errors in the Bible?

Honest pastors must, privately, in whispering voices, say YES. In public however, they lie and tell their congregations, YES, the Bible is without error; the Bible is the inerrant, inspired Word of God; every word of the Bible is true. And all God’s people said AMEN!

If Evangelical pastors can’t be trusted to tell the truth about inerrancy, why should he be trusted to tell the truth about anything?

Bruce Gerencser, 63, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 42 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen awesome grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

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10 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Gene Stephens

    Where did the bulletpoints at the top of this post come from? Are they part of a PowerPoint presentation that went along with a church sermon?

  2. Avatar
    Kerry

    Yes I know this whole conversation well. My late father, a fundamentalist pastor, used to say that the Bible was inspired and inerrant in the “original autograph” or the text that were first written by Matthew, Mark , etc. Well in those days, I did not have the good sense to ask the follow up questions…How do you know, since no one has ever seen the “originals?” Of course that response would have been the mental gymnastics, or theological masturbation, about how carefully God “kept” his word pure through all the ages and we can have EVERY confidence that what we have is what HE intended…blah blah blah. And so it goes…round and round and round with no empirical evidence to demonstrate the truth of the belief.

  3. Avatar
    Lynn123

    Bruce,

    How can letters that Paul wrote to churches be considered God’s Holy Word? I’ve never understood that. Also, I recently read Philemon. That’s a letter from Paul to a particular man about his slave. How is that Holy Scripture?

  4. Avatar
    dale m

    It’s a little like a gov’t program that gets so large that it takes on a life of its own. As for the clergy, I suspect they really don’t care. It pays the bills. It’s like playing Santa Claus. Do U really have to believe in it to have fun AND get paid doing it for a living? What clergy R, as I once said B 4, R failed actors. I’ve known clergy personally to know this, though some find it’s the best way to provide social services to people in need. Some churches have huge amounts of $$$. It’s also understood that religion is a good way to bring in a stable income to these social services. One hand washes the other. U do this 4 us …. we’ll do this 4 U. Lots of unscrupulous people take advantage of this solely 4 profit. I suspect many feel that as long as they teach “love and kindness”, it eases their gilt. It’s a human thing.

  5. Avatar
    Karen the rock whisperer

    “So they obfuscate by playing word games. What do you mean by the word error? What do you mean by the word Bible? What is a “mistake?””

    But it wasn’t okay when Bill Clinton did it… (sorry, just had to throw that out there. 🙂 )

  6. Avatar
    Karen the rock whisperer

    All of the Christians I know, even the Evangelical ones, believe they have two-way conversations with God or Jesus in some way. Not that one of them shows up with a pie or a bottle of good wine and stays to chat, of course, or even that prayer is a real-time conversation. But as a result of their prayers, God blesses them or warns them or puts a burden on their heart, or what have you.

    People who believe in these relationships probably don’t care whether the Bible is inerrant. Most Christians don’t read much of it anyhow. To them, God/Jesus is absolutely real, spiritual revelation is a real thing, and so if there were any serious problems with the Bible, God would have fixed it in the second translation or let them know about it long ago or something.

    Now, this may not be quite what they tell their preacher. Christians know what the right words are to say in whatever sect they’re part of. But I think a belief that one has sensed the presence of God and self-reassurance that he is working in their lives is the core of their day-to-day faith.

    Ultimately, I deconverted because I never did sense the presence of God, or see some validation that he was working in my life. It was a long road, but without that perceived lack of a deity in my life, I’m not sure I would have walked that road.

  7. Avatar
    ObstacleChick

    Bruce, what about all these evangelical colleges that have listed in their core beliefs that the bible is inerrant, inspired word of God and make their professors sign a statement of beliefs that this is so? Don’t those professors believe it to be true, or do they just sign it because they want a job?

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      Many of these schools take the “inerrant in the originals” approach — a position that is unsupportable intellectually. All inerrancy positions are faith claims, not backed by facts. I suspect “enlightened” professors play the game so they can keep their jobs, benefits, retirement funds, etc.

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