On Divine Inspiration, Inerrancy & Authority of Scripture

Regarding the inspiration, inerrancy and the authority of the Bible, Lamb’s Harbinger (LH) takes a conservative-leaning, yet moderate view.

A moderate view of the inspiration and authority of the Bible might say Divine Revelation is limited to only the redemptive concepts, special themes and overarching message present within the Bible. LH would rather say,

Special, Divine Revelation is more than the words but not without (or, apart from) the specific words.”

By this, LH means not to lose the proverbial forest, while scrutinizing the trees (as Fundamentalists & Conservative Evangelicals do… and liberal text critics); but also, not to degrade the Bible to the level of subjective testimony as do progressive and liberal theology. The Bible is a collection of human-divine books that form the Divine Book for humanity; and it must be approached and interpreted as such.

One must concede the humans who wrote were Divine spokespersons, yet not Divinely inspired in their personhood (ex. omniscient, infallible or inerrant). Only some of their messages are Divinely inspired, which messages are inexorable from the writers’ own Sitz im Leben. In other words, their understanding of God was limited to what He revealed in the course of progressive revelation. The texts occasionally reflect this phenomenon and must be accounted for by responsible interpretation (see below). However, the phenomenon being thus acknowledged, said limitation is surpassed by the Divine breath, propelling the authors/editors thoughts and intents into recorded oration and text… even sometimes in ways they themselves do not fully comprehend.

These things being held, LH does not affirm any notion of direct dictation in inspiration, unless indicated in the text, (ex. “This says the LORD”), …but neither does LH affirm any concept of inspiration that refuses to note the real, human-sourced scribal discrepancies (from copying), factual inconsistencies (due to separate curation if oral tradition evident in the originals) or even theological contradictions (paradoxical or not) present in the texts by appealing to the originals (autographs, as represented in the majority of extant manuscripts).

Similarly, LH sees intellectual dishonesty in rejecting the phenomenon of redaction / editor revision or compilation. The work of a compiling / collating editor can be just as inspired as the original autograph(s); and just as the Hebrew Scriptures were compiled and approved, even so, representatives from the churches similarly trusted the Spirit to superintend the closing of the Canon of Scripture at Nicaea (325 A.D.). The Holy Spirit is the Authority of Scripture and the Church, and He does not lead these 2 into conflict. The Scripture was settled by consent of the Church, as directed by the Spirit. Having submitted itself thereto, The Church should not contradict itself by asserting itself to be above Scripture or discarding (as secondary) the Scriptures it once hailed. So, LH upholds the supreme Authority of the Bible for informing one’s faith life, the Soul Liberty (of each believing Conscience), and the priesthood of the believer.

Interpretation should not be confused with inspiration. Conservatives in the doctrine of Divine Inspiration will say the Bible is authoritative in all matters to which it speaks (ex. The Chicago Statement, article XII on Creation and the Flood or other matters of scientific evidence), and while that is technically true, one cannot and must not assume the Bible speaks specifically, exhaustively or exclusively to a current-day matter of scientific discovery. Such assumptions are often made by fundamentalists and conservative evangelical Protestants, while they disregard the passages’ contexts, particularly the context of genre (which indicates purpose and demands appropriate interpretation approach). A Bible passage must be understood by recognizing and bowing to all its contexts and to the presence of literary devices & contours of the text!

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