Saturday, June 9, 2012

Roger Olson, "Inerrancy"

What does “inerrancy” actually do?

During this week’s brouhaha over possible semi-Pelagianism among Southern Baptist theologians (see the previous two posts and the comments here), one response has stuck in my mind and given me reason to worry. It worries me more than the possibility of semi-Pelagianism in the ranks of the theologians.

I confess that throughout this budding controversy I have occasionally broken a personal policy. Normally I do not go to other blogs to see what others are saying about the subjects we talk about here. But the policy isn’t iron clad; it’s not a rule, just a rule of thumb to protect my time. If I went to every blog someone recommends I read, I’d never get anything else done. So, normally, I only go if the blog is by someone I respect or whose opinions I consider influential and the subject is directly relevant to a matter I’m working on here.

This week I followed a link one commenter provided to a blog containing quotes by leading Baptist theologians about this issue of possible semi-Pelagianism among non-Calvinist Southern Baptist theologians. One of those quotes was from a Southern Baptist seminary president’s blog. (Don’t try to drag a name out of me or even mention possible ones; I’m not interested in personalities here. I’m talking about ideas.)

The well-known seminary president began this particular blog post by congratulating the Southern Baptist theologians he was about to criticize for at least believing in the inerrancy of the Bible. He said he was glad to be having this conversation with them (over grace and free will) because at least they and he agree on biblical inerrancy.

Two things caught my attention about that and made me worry. First, why didn’t the seminary president begin by saying at least he and his debate partners agree about Jesus Christ or salvation by grace? Why jump immediately and directly to the Bible—and a particular theory about the Bible?
For the rest, click  HERE.



  1. Paul in Romans 9 quotes from the Apocryphal book of Wisdom when he says the Potter has the right to make out of the same lump of clay two different types of vessels. This isn't actually true since the Potter must make things with respect to the QUALITY of the clay.

    Jeremiah shows this. God sends Jeremiah to OBSERVE the potter (neither the apocryphal author of Wisdom nor Paul ever OBSERVED a potter) -- and Jeremiah sees the clay marred in the potter's hands. He changes his intention due to the quality of the clay. God says as the potter has done so he will do. If I had said I will destroy a nation, but it repents, I will not destroy it but build it up, and vice versa.

    This disproves inerrancy, for it show that Paul was wrong. Paul took his cue from the apocrypha rather than Jeremiah! And Paul screwed up Christianity forever more by doing it because Calvinists continue to rely on that mistake Paul made for their doctrinal system!


  2. mr anonymous,

    you make assertions but fail to provide the evidence for those assertions, and also fail to make the concluding point. a few questions:

    1) which apocryphal book of wisdom does paul quote from?
    2) can you prove that he's not referring to jeremiah?
    3) can you prove that when one person references and rephrases words uttered by another person, that this always means the former person is in error?

    paul is in fact, referring to jeremiah, but not quoting. Saying that this proves your point doesn't really prove anything, for you've failed to reflect on the authors intended message.

    paul is simply referring to jeremiah with the intent of showing god's sovereignty.

    1. does jeremiah's message show god's sovereignty? yes.
    2. does paul's message show god's sovereignty? yes.

    just because he doesn't quote jeremiah "verbatim" doesn't make the scriptures false.

    as an example, i could rephrase endless words uttered by you, mr anonymous, and still be able to convey the message you intended, even if i didn't quote you "verbatim".

    and this is precisely what happens when paul is referring and rephrasing the words uttered by jeremiah. paul doesn't have to quote the words "verbatim" from scripture, for paul and the scriptures to be "inerrant". he simply has to convey the general message, which he did amply and sufficiently.