Thursday, September 20, 2007
Inerrancy! Until It's Inconvenient
It's amazing to me how certain, ultra conservative groups, will shout about Biblical inerrancy until it interferes with their theology. Right now I'm reading "Victory Over The Darkness" by Neil Anderson. It really is a pretty good book, and we have used it for one-on-one discipleship for sometime.
However, as I'm reading through chapter 2 - ironically entitled "The Whole Gospel" I find that the author has taken leave of his commitment to Biblical inerrancy in favor of his eternal security theology.
He quotes James 5:19-20 "My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins".
Then he writes, "(these verses) appear to have a similar reference to unbelievers. The ‘sinner’ is to be turned ‘from the error of his way’ and be thus saved from ‘death’. Because this is most likely spiritual death, it suggests that the person was not a believer. In both of these uses of ‘sinner’, James is using the term as it was used among the Jews for those who disregarded the law of God and flouted standards of morality. The fact that these ‘sinners’ are among those addressed by James does not necessarily mean they are believers, for Scripture teaches that unbelievers can be among the saints (see 1 John 2:19).
His arguments have merit, but only if you disregard what the verses are actually saying. First of all, it talks of one who "wanders from the truth" not one who has never accepted it. The word for "wander" is "planao". It is only translated once as "wander". The most common translation by far is "deceive" or "deceived". Sounds very much like what happened to Adam and Eve when they "wandered" from the truth.
The verse also uses the phrase, "bring him back". To bring someone or something back, the logical understanding would be that they or it must have left the point of origin in the first place. The original language uses the word, "epistrepho" which is most commonly translated "convert" from their "error" which is a form of the same word "planay" used earlier.
I see many scriptures that support the security of the believer throughout the Bible. I also see several (like this one) that indicate one can choose to forfeit or abnegate their relationship with Christ. However, that is not my argument here...(I’ll save that one for later). What is really cheesing me off today are those who hold themselves up as defenders of the faith and then intentionally mishandle God’s Word to defend their preconceived notions.
Bottom Line: I believe in the inerrancy of the Scripture. I just don’t believe in the inerrancy of your interpretation of the Scripture. Or mine, for that matter.