Kevin DeYoung has a great post today on the concept of inerrancy in the lives of ordinary believers.
There are a number of theologians who deny inerrancy today for one reason or another. There was even a brief time in my life when I thought the term “inerrancy” was too burdensome to carry around. But with further thought about what the term actually means, as well as more years of ministry experience under my belt, I have been a firm proponent of inerrancy for a number of years now.
The problem for those who deny inerrancy is that they are saddled with the problem of saying that the Bible is authoritative, but it also makes mistakes. How can these two things go together? In what sense is it authoritative for our faith if we have the prerogative to sit in judgment over it and decide which parts are trustworthy and which parts are not? As DeYoung points out, the average Christian, likely because he has not been exposed to all the sophisticated subterfuges that theologians employ to get around the idea of inerrancy, simply assumes that the Bible, in all that it affirms, it completely true and free from error. If people do not believe wholeheartedly that the Bible will never lead them astray, how will they be able to trust it as normative for faith and practice?
My concern is not so much that everyone should approve of the term “inerrancy.” I think it is a convenient term, one that still communicates the concept in an age when other terms (even one as strong as “infallibility”) have been watered-down in some quarters. But even if someone has never heard the term “inerrancy,” so long as he believes that the Bible is completely trustworthy in all that it affirms, no matter what area of knowledge it touches (doctrine, history, science, etc.), then he has a solid understanding of the authority of Scripture. Take away that understanding of Scripture, and you are left with an authority that can be questioned at any and every point. In other words, you are left with the subordination of the Bible’s authority to that of the individual.