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Tag: Inspiration of the KJV

Worldly Knowledge vs. Biblical Knowledge

benjamin rush quote on knowledge

“I believe the Bible is the Word of God,” millions of Evangelicals say. “I believe the Bible is inerrant and infallible. I believe every word in the Bible is true. Whatever the Bible says, no matter how silly or irrational, I believe it is true. When worldly human knowledge contradicts the Bible, I am going to believe the Bible every time. When science contradicts the Bible, I am going to believe the Bible. When history, archeology, cosmology, biology, physics, chemistry, botany, zoology, medicine, psychiatry, psychology, astronomy, and genetics contradict the Bible, I am doing to believe the Bible.”

According to one Evangelical who has no formal science training:

The unbelieving world is famous for demanding physical evidence for biblical content. They refuse to believe because of the ‘God did it’ factor or for other reasons. This is done regardless of the fact that there are scores of physical evidence from various scientific and other sources proving the validity of the biblical content.

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We demand that the unbeliever produce verifiable and real physical evidence for each stage of their Big Bang Theory. If they can’t provide any or just offer excuses, then they need to be silent on the universe’s origins.

They cannot prove their theory so it is not true and not a viable option to the creation account. The existence of stars, planets, comets, etc., does not provide any evidence for the alleged processes unbelievers claim took place.

The existence of the universe and its contents does not exclude the biblical account of creation nor any other alternative to it.

….

The unbeliever needs to provide verifiable, real physical evidence proving the source of gravity as well as the development of this field.

With the Bible, we have the answers to these questions– God and his power. Yes, God did it and science cannot produce any physical evidence for any of the alternative theories it proposes.

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All science can do is offer an alternative explanation for what they observe in the present. When science and scientists omit God, then they have no possible avenue to produce one shred of evidence to support their theories.

The so-called evidence they claim that proves their theories correct is not real evidence. Scientists have no hope of proving those alleged items are real evidence because they do not know if they played a role in the origin of the universe or life or not.

They are merely guessing and have no clue how the universe came to be. So-called background radiation is not evidence for anything except for the presence of background radiation.

Looking at something in the present means one has to guess at how it came to be if they have no written information proving it is evidence for origins. The only document that has written evidence for our origins is the Bible.

When scientists toss that then they are left with nothing. Nothing they claim in their theories leads them closer to the truth. The reason this is so is because they cannot produce one shred of physical evidence for every step of the Big Bang or life’s formation, etc.

Yes, they can say they have evidence, but upon closer scrutiny, their claims remain unproven and simple guesswork.

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How do they know it was an ‘explosion’ and not God’s power that did it? They need to provide real verifiable physical evidence to prove it was an ‘explosion’ and not a supernatural act.

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Where is the real verifiable physical evidence for this event? Saying it took place or saying ‘I believe…’ or ‘we believe…’ is not physical evidence. That is just propaganda.

There is just so much in the Big Bang Theory that lacks any supporting physical evidence. Under the unbelievers’ rules, it did not happen unless they can produce the real, verifiable physical evidence to prove that it did.

Everything that science says about origins must be taken by faith, something the unbeliever finds anathema to do when it comes to God and the Bible. Yet, we have more real verifiable physical evidence for God and the Bible than all the scientists in the world have for their origin theories.

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No matter what scientists do, they cannot compete with or disprove the Bible or God.

This particular unaccredited Bible college-trained preacher’s beliefs are typical among Evangelical pastors, though better educated men and women know that the claims they make for the Bible are not true; that although the Bible might be faithful and reliable and sufficient, it is not inerrant, nor is it infallible. Inerrancy and infallibility cannot be rationally sustained, as any of Dr. Bart Ehrman’s books make clear. Countless books have been written by scholars to disabuse Evangelicals of the notion that the Bible is some sort of supernatural book written by a supernatural God, without error. Some Evangelicals, knowing their position on the Bible is absurd, appeal to inerrant originals. No, the English Bible is not inerrant, but the manuscripts from which the Bible was translated were, pious preachers say. Of course, said inerrant originals do not exist, so we have to take their word for it. Other Evangelical preachers go to the other extreme, saying that a particular translation of the English Bible — the King James Version (KJV) — is inerrant and infallible. Some even believe that the italicized helper words added by translators to aid with reading, and for which there is no correlation in the Greek and Hebrew manuscripts, are inspired by God and without error. The aforementioned preacher believes the KJV, NKJV, NASB, and NIV are all inerrant and infallible, even though they differ in thousands of places.

Bruce, surely it shouldn’t be hard to convince Evangelicals that the Bible is not inerrant or infallible. Just show them evidence that contradicts their beliefs or get them to read a couple of books. Isn’t this enough to persuade them that their beliefs are false? I wish it were that simple, but since these sincere followers of Jesus weren’t argued into their beliefs, they won’t be argued out of them. Years of deep indoctrination and conditioning have made them impervious to evidence and facts (and the same can be said for all of us when it comes to beliefs we hold dear). That’s why I don’t argue with Evangelicals about Bible inerrancy and infallibility. I write articles challenging these beliefs, hoping that something I say might cause a chink in their Bible armor or I recommend books I hope will disabuse them of their irrational beliefs. I know, however, that until Evangelicals, at the very least, ponder that they could be wrong, they are unreachable. Certainty breeds arrogance, and arrogance precludes someone from gaining a better understanding of his or her beliefs. Humility leads us to consider that we could be wrong or that our beliefs are lacking or that our teachers, well-intentioned or not, might have been lacking in their own knowledge about the Bible. As long as “the Bible says” (or better put, “as I interpret the Bible”) is the final answer to every question, Evangelicals will continue to ignorantly believe sixty-six books of the Protestant Bible are without error and infallible in ALL that it teaches and says.

Suppose the Bible said 1+1=5. Mathematics tells us this is false; that 1+1=2. If the Bible is inerrant and infallible, the Evangelical is forced to say, with shouts of praise to the one true God, 1+1=5. Absurd? Sure, but no more so than believing that the universe is 6, 027 years old; that the earth was created in six twenty-four days; that snakes walked on two legs and spoke a language understood by humans, and that a donkey talked in the same voice with a man; that the entire earth was covered in flood water 4,000 or so years ago; that millions of Israelites spend forty years walking the 432 miles between Egypt and Canaan — a trip that should have taken roughly three weeks; that demonic angels of large size had sex with human women, leading to the birth of part angel, part human children; that the earth stopped its rotation for twenty-four hours … shall I go on?

If you believe that the Bible is inerrant and infallible, you must believe that all the above things are true. No evidence will be forthcoming outside of proof texts from the Bible. So if the Bible said 1+1=5, Evangelicals have no choice but to accept that what “God” said is true; that no matter what mathematicians say, they are wrong, and the Word of God is right.

Bruce, this is insane. Yep, but I believed this way for most of my life, as did many of the readers of this blog. The only hope I see for 1+1=5 believers is this: when they balance their checkbook and add up 1+1, do they write down a 5? Nope. They know empirically that 1+1=2. Believing otherwise would cause all sorts of problems in their lives. Suppose an Evangelical homeschooling family has a daughter who wants to be an engineer and a son who wants to be a physician. Their math instruction teaches them, as billions and billions of people know to be true, that 1+1=2. Should their parents teach them, instead, that 1+1=5; that what the Bible says is right and their math book is wrong? Of course not. The parents KNOW that 1+1=2 and that teaching their children otherwise would be disastrous for them when they go to college to train to be an engineer and a doctor. They would flunk out of college in their first semester, mocked and ridiculed for stupidly believing 1+1=5.

Thus, the homeschooling Evangelical parents live with cognitive dissonance — the mental discomfort that results from holding two conflicting beliefs, values, or attitudes. There’s no way to square 1+1=5 with 1+1=2, so the parents are forced to have one set of beliefs at church and another at home. They are forced to affirm beliefs that they KNOW in the depths of their minds cannot be reconciled. And it is this cognitive dissonance that provides a path by which Evangelicals can be reached. Doubts, questions, and irreconcilable beliefs can and do lead to reconstruction — the rethinking and reevaluation of beliefs and practices. While this process does not necessarily or even usually lead to atheism or agnosticism, it can and does lead people to expressions of faith that put knowledge, facts, and evidence above the words of 2,000-4,000-year-old pre-science authors who had little to no understanding of how the world really works. They were products of their time, so I don’t fault them for what they wrote, but here we are in 2024 and we have millions and millions of Americans who still think the year is 4,000 BCE.

1+1=2, and no matter how many words will be expended saying that what I wrote in this post is wrong, the fact remains that the Bible is not inerrant or infallible. Whatever one might, by faith, believe the Bible is, all the extant evidence tells us that it is a manmade book, littered with errors, contradictions, and mistakes. Evangelicals are free to ‘splain away these inconvenient truths any way they can, but the fact remains that all a critic needs to show is one error, contradiction, or mistake in the Bible to bring inerrancy crashing to the ground.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen 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.

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My First Steps Towards Believing the Bible Was Not Inerrant

bible inspired word of god

I grew up in a religious faith that taught me the Bible was the inspired, inerrant, and infallible Word of God. The word “inspired” meant that the Bible was the word of God; that holy men of old who wrote the Bible were told by the Holy Spirit exactly what to write. Some of my pastors and professors believed in the dictation theory. The authors of the Bible were mere automatons who wrote what God dictated to them. Other pastors believed that men wrote the Bible, thus their writing reflects their personality and culture. God, through some sort of unknown supernatural means, made sure that human influence on the Bible was in every way perfect and aligned with what he wanted to say.

Inspiration gets complicated when dealing with the question of WHAT, exactly, is inspired. Were the original manuscripts alone inspired? If so, there’s no such thing as the “inspired” Word of God because the original manuscripts do not exist. Are the extant manuscripts inspired? Some Evangelical pastors believe that the totality of existing manuscripts make up the inspired Word of God, and some pastors believe that certain translations — namely the King James Version — are the inspired Word of God. Regardless of how they answer the WHAT question, all of them believe that God supernaturally preserves his Word down through the ages, and the Bibles we hold in our hands is the very Words of God.

The word “inerrant” means “without mistake, contradiction, or error.” Some Evangelical pastors, knowing that every Bible translation has errors and mistakes, say they believe the original manuscripts are inerrant, and modern translations are faithful, reliable, and can be depended on in matters of faith, practice, morality, and anything else the Bible addresses. Of course, these men are arguing for the inerrancy of a text they had never seen Whatever the “original” manuscripts might have been, their exact wording and content are lost, likely never to be found.

The word “infallible” means incapable of error in every matter the Bible addresses. Thus, when the Bible speaks about matters of science and history, it is always true, and without error. No matter what scientists and historians say about a particular matter, what the Bible says is the final authority. That’s why almost half of Americans believe the Christian God created the universe sometime in the past 10,000 years.

At the age of nineteen, I enrolled in classes at Midwestern Baptist College in Pontiac, Michigan. Midwestern was an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) institution that prided itself in turning out hellfire and brimstone preacher boys. My three years at Midwestern reinforced everything I had been taught as a youth. Every professor and chapel speaker believed the King James Bible was the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God. I was a seedling and Midwestern was a controlled-environment hothouse. Is it any wonder that I grew up to be a Bible thumper; believing that EVERY word in the Bible was straight from the mouth of God? If ever someone was a product of his environment, it was Bruce Gerencser.

I left Midwestern in 1979 and embarked on a ministerial career that took me to churches in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. I stood before thousands of people with Bible held high and declared, THUS SAITH THE LORD! For many years, I preached only from the King James Bible. I believed it was the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God for English-speaking people. Towards the end of my ministerial career, I started using the New American Standard Bible (NASB), and after that, I began using the English Standard Version (ESV).

Many of my former colleagues in the ministry and congregants trace the beginning of my unbelief back to my voracious reading habit and my abandonment of the King James Bible. One woman, after hearing of my loss of faith. wrote to me and said that I should stop reading books and only read the B-I-B-L-E. She just knew that if I would stop reading non-Biblical books, my doubts would magically disappear. In other words, ignorance is bliss.

As I ponder my past and what ultimately led to my loss of faith, two things stand out: a book on alleged Bible contradictions and a list of the differences between the 1611 and 1769 editions of the King James Bible.

As I studied for my sermons, I would often come across verses or passages of Scripture that didn’t make sense to me. I would consult various commentaries and grammatical aids, and, usually, I was able to reconcile whatever it was that was giving me difficulty. Sometimes, however, I ran into what could only be described as contradictions – competing passages of Scripture. In these times, I consulted the book on alleged contradictions in the Bible. Often, my confusion would dissipate, but over time I began to think that the explanations and resolutions the book gave were shallow, not on point, or downright nonsensical. Finally, I quit reading this book and decided to just trust God, believing that he would never give us a Bible with errors, mistakes, and contradictions. I decided, as many Evangelicals do, to “faith” it.

For many years, the only Bible translation I used was the 1769 edition of the King James Bible. I had been taught as a child and in college that the original version — 1611 — of the King James Version and the 1769 version were identical. I later found out they were not; and that there were numerous differences between the two editions. (Please read the Wikipedia article on the 1769 King James Bible for more information on this subject.)

I remember finding a list of the differences between the two editions and sharing it with my best friend — who was also an IFB pastor. He dismissed the differences out of hand, telling me that even if I could show him an error in the King James Bible, he would still, by faith, believe the KJV was inerrant! Over the next few months, he would repeat this mantra to me again and again. He, to this day, believes the King James Bible is inerrant. I, on the other hand, couldn’t do so. Learning that there were differences between the editions forced me to alter my beliefs, at least inwardly. It would be another decade before I could admit that the Bible was not inerrant. But even then, I downplayed the errors, mistakes, and contradictions. I continued to read about the nature of the Biblical text, but I kept that knowledge to myself. It was not until I left the ministry that I finally could see that the Bible was NOT what my pastors and professors said it was; that it was not what I told countless congregants it was. Once the Bible lost its authority, I was then free to question other aspects of my faith, leading, ultimately, to where I am today. My journey away from Evangelicalism to atheism began and ended with the Bible.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen 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.

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Is the Bible Inerrant?

inerrancy

Evangelicals believe that the Protestant Christian Bible is their God’s inspired, inerrant, and infallible words. “Inspired” is a faith claim for which there is no evidence. Either you believe the Bible is inspired by God or you don’t. “Inerrant” and “infallible” are claims, however, that can be investigated by Christians and non-Christians alike. Is the Bible actually without error? Is the Bible really infallible (incapable of error)?

As a student at Midwestern Baptist College in Pontiac, Michigan in the 1970s, I was taught the transcription theory. Holy men of old, as they were moved by the Holy Spirit, wrote down, word for word in Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic, the words of God. Some professors believed that the inspired writers of the Bible fell into a trance as they put pen to paper, writing down the exact words of God. Other professors and chapel speakers were uncertain as to the actual transmission process. They just knew that the end product was the very words of God.

I was also taught at Midwestern that inspiration, inerrancy, and infallibility applied to translations too. Well, actually one translation: the King James Version (either the 1611 edition or the 1769 revision). While there was some behind-the-scenes debate over whether the KJV was “inspired,” there was no debate over whether the KJV was inerrant and infallible.

Peruse the websites of churches pastored by Midwestern grads and you will typically find a sentence that says “_______ Baptist Church only uses the King James Version.” Some churches proudly advertise in their printed materials and on their signs their fealty to the KJV.

Some Midwestern pastors take a different approach. Take First Baptist Church in Milford, Ohio (pastored for many years by my best man, Bill Duttry). Their doctrinal statement states:

We believe in the authority of Scripture. We believe that the Bible is the plenarily and verbally inspired, inerrant, living Word of God. We believe that God has divinely and faithfully preserved His Word for all people today in the Hebrew Masoretic text and the Greek Textus Receptus. We use only the Authorized King James Bible for faith and practice in English.

According to this statement, what is inspired, inerrant, and infallible is the Masoretic text (Old Testament) and the Greek Textus Receptus (New Testament), not the King James Bible. Does that mean that First Baptist of Milford believes the KJV is errant and fallible? No. Note carefully the words “God has divinely and faithfully preserved his Word.” Many Evangelicals believe that God has somehow, some way, over the past 2,000 years preserved his Words in the thousands of Hebrew and Greek manuscripts and subsequent translations. Not all translations, of course, just those that were translated from certain manuscripts. Typically, such churches and pastors accept translations based on what is called the Received Text — a family of Greek manuscripts that were used to translate the King James Bible. They reject the Alexandrian (Wescott and Hort) line of manuscripts, believing translations that were translated from these manuscripts are inferior or even Satanic.

inerrancy test

First Baptist Church in Bryan, Ohio, pastored by John MacFarlane, believes:

We believe in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament as verbally inspired of God, inerrant in the original writing and of supreme and final authority in faith and life. II Timothy 3:16-17.

We accept only the King James version for public instruction in the church.

First Baptist has an article on its site written by Pastor Michael Bates titled Why Do We Use the KJV?

The English translation issue has caused no small stir among conservatives and evangelicals today.  It is not our desire to be contentious about this issue, but we do desire to preach and teach with clarity.

It is our conviction that the whole translation debate hinges on three basic questions that must be answered in the following order:

1. Has God preserved His inspired Word? In fact, has He even promised to do so?  If God has not promised to preserve His words—and all of them, then all discussions regarding which Hebrew & Aramaic or Greek Text is superior and which translation is best is all academic, at best.

To this question we answer in the strongest affirmative possible.

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2. If it is preserved, where is it preserved?  Is it preserved in any specific Text or in all the texts or in only the so-called “oldest and best manuscripts?”  One should expect to locate God’s words if they are preserved.

We believe that those texts often referred to as the Traditional Text, known more commonly as the Ben Chayyim Masoretic text of the Old Testament and the Textus Receptus of the New Testament, hold those preserved words.

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3. Do the Lord’s churches in the English-speaking world have a faithful, accurate translation of that preserved Word that they can call reliable?

The last English translation of the Hebrew and Greek texts listed above was done in the seventeenth century by the translators of what has come to be called the King James Version of the Bible (known also as the Authorized Version), first published in 1611.  Most, if not all, of the modern versions have been translated out of a different Greek text in the New Testament called the Eclectic Text or the Critical Text.  We reject these texts as only containing the Word of God. Furthermore, the Hebrew text underlying these modern versions is different from that used by the KJV.

Therefore, a local church must make a decision guided by the Scripture as to which translation is in fact God’s words in their language based upon its underlying text.  We recognize that God did not breathe out English words, but the inspired words He did breathe out have been accurately and correctly translated into our language in the King James Version.

Once you move beyond King James-only churches, you find Evangelical congregations and pastors who believe certain English translations are faithful and reliable, not inerrant and infallible. These churches and pastors believe that it was the original manuscripts that were inspired, inerrant, and infallible. Of course, the glaring problem with this position is the fact that these manuscripts do not exist. All we have are copies of copies of copies, some of which dates centuries after their recorded events.

A Biblical Archeology Society article titled Dating the Oldest New Testament Christian Manuscripts states:

The New Testament that we read today in many different translations is not based on one single manuscript of the original Greek text. Why? There simply is no such thing as a complete text of the New Testament that we could date to the apostolic times, or even two or three centuries after the last of the apostles. Extant manuscripts containing the entire Christian Bible are the work of medieval monks. The modern scholarly editions of the original Greek text draw on readings from many different ancient manuscripts. As a result, the New Testament presented in any of our Bibles does not correspond to a single, authoritative ancient manuscript.

The oldest surviving examples of the New Testament come to us, instead, as fragments and scraps of papyrus excavated (mostly) in Egypt. How old are the oldest of these biblical fragments, and why does it matter whether they were written in the first or the fourth century?

At best, the extant manuscripts are errant, fallible approximations of the original manuscripts. If the manuscripts are errant and fallible, then the translations made from them are too.

Evangelicals preachers and professors who say the Bible is inerrant and infallible are either uneducated or deliberately misleading people. In my case, I was uneducated. I was thirty years old before I learned that the King James Bible was not inerrant. It would take many more years of study before I concluded that the Bible — both at the translation and manuscript level — contained errors, mistakes, and contradictions. While I still believed the Bible was the Word of God, I came to see and understand its human nature and fallibility.

Most educated Evangelical preachers know the Bible is not inerrant or infallible. Anyone who carefully studies the Bible, both in its original languages and in English — knows that there are textual problems that cannot be explained away. They also know that there are internal conflicts and contradictions that cannot be harmonized. Why, then, do Evangelical preachers not share these things with their flocks? Why do they hide the fallible human nature of the Bible?

the bible rock of gibraltar

Most Evangelical laypeople believe that the Bible they carry to church on Sundays and read during the week is without error. No one has ever told them the truth about the nature and history of the Biblical text. Evangelical preachers pride themselves on being truth-tellers. Why don’t they tell church members the truth about the Bible? One word: fear. They fear that if they did people would lose faith in God, the church, and the Bible. Imagine being called on to account for hiding the truth from their churches. People would leave, offerings would drop, and many preachers would end up looking for new employment. Not wanting turmoil and controversy, pastors, instead, try to maintain the status quo. This, of course, is getting harder to do thanks to the Internet. Evangelicals can easily find articles and books that challenge their beliefs about the Bible. Dr. Bart Ehrman’s books, in particular, have forced countless Evangelicals to rethink what they believe about the history and nature of the Bible. If you have not read any of Ehrman’s books, I encourage you to do so:

The Triumph of Christianity: How a Forbidden Religion Swept the World

Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why

How Jesus Became God: the Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee

Jesus Before the Gospels: How the Earliest Christians Remembered, Changed, and Invented Their Stories of the Savior

Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don’t Know About Them)

Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth

Forged: Writing in the Name of God–Why the Bible’s Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are

God’s Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question — Why We Suffer

I am confident that if Evangelicals will openly and honestly read Ehrman’s books, they will be disabused of the notion that the Bible is inerrant and infallible. Of course, there will always be Evangelicals who are so closed-minded that there is no hope of reaching them. Dr. David Tee, whose real name is Derrick Thomas Thiessen, is a case in point. Thiessen recently wrote a blog post titled The Bible is Inerrant and Infallible:

If one wants to question the Bible, then they are questioning its author. There is no way to separate the two. Many unbelievers will say that science has disproven the Bible many times over. That has never been done.

What the people ignore or miss when making that statement is that there is no one or no thing in history that has appointed science to be an authority over the Bible and its content. Neither God nor Jesus has made that appointment or taught anywhere that the Bible is submissive to science, or any research field.

There are no other supernatural beings that can make that appointment either. Science is subject to the Bible and not its lord. No matter what scientific method you use, especially bible criticism, historical-critical thinking, and so on, these methods do not get to the truth nor are they superior to God and his word.

God does not make mistakes, he does not lie, he does not perform magic, he does not play games, and he does not mislead. What he has written in the Bible is without error and it is accurate and true.

In the book, Dr. Lindsell mentions that some of those who hold to the errancy and fallibility of the bible will also clarify their comments by adding that the Bible is inerrant and infallible when it comes to salvation but it is not when it comes to history and science.

But those people are trying to have their cake and eat it too. of course, they will say the parts about salvation are infallible, etc., because they want to go to heaven and not end up in hell. The Bible is either infallible and inerrant in all of its content or it is not.

There is no middle ground and all Christians have to make a choice here. That argument claiming only salvation is inerrant, etc., is like saying your wife is a little bit pregnant. Either she is or she isn’t. There is no middle ground.

You either believe God or you don’t.

Thiessen is a hardcore Fundamentalist — proudly so. He is certain that his beliefs are 100 percent right. His beliefs are every bit as inspired (by the Holy Spirit), inerrant, and infallible as the Bible itself. I have been reading Thiessen’s writing for several years now. I have yet to see him admit that he was wrong; that he made a mistake. Instead, he spends his time pointing out how wrong other people are — atheists and Christians alike.

There are lots of Thiessen-like preachers in the world; men who are either uneducated or who believe that it is more important to protect sectarian dogma than it is to tell people the truth. Thiessen began his post by mentioning Harold Lindsell’s 1976 book, The Battle for the Bible. Lindsell was an Evangelical author and scholar, one of the founders of Fuller Theological Seminary. Lindsell’s seminal book played an instrumental part in the battle for the soul of the Southern Baptist Convention. I read and re-read The Battle for the Bible several times in the late 1970s and 1980s, not because I doubted the Bible, but because I wanted to know how “liberals” viewed the Bible. At the time, I believed liberals were apostates or false Christians; tools of Satan who were destroying the faith of Evangelicals. I viewed these scholars as enemies of God. What I didn’t do is read their books. I had lots of books in my library that promoted and reinforced the Evangelical view on the inspiration, inerrancy, and infallibility of the Bible. It would take decades of study — including reading the books of authors I had previously deemed false prophets — before I finally saw the light. The only way to reach Derrick Thiessen and countless other inerrantists is to get them to read books that challenge their sincerely held beliefs. I remember asking Thiessen if he had ever read any of Bart Ehrman’s books. Thiessen tried to intimate that he had “read” Ehrman, but when pressed on the issue, I found out he had read articles and blog posts about Ehrman’s books, not the actual books themselves. Thiessen is hardly alone in this matter. Evangelical preachers are notorious for their opposition to all sorts of things without ever actually doing their homework. They just regurgitate what one of their preacher friends or favorite authors have said in their books or on their blogs.

Nothing in this life is without error, and that includes the Bible. One can still believe in God and be a Christian without an inerrant Bible. Sixteen centuries of followers of Jesus didn’t have an inerrant, infallible Bible. Were they True Christians? Of course, they were. I double-dog dare you to argue that salvation requires the right beliefs about the Bible. Oh, please, make my day by claiming that someone can’t be born again unless they hold to a certain viewpoint about the Bible. 🙂

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen 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.

Connect with me on social media:

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Bruce Gerencser