Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Friend's Conversion

Last Saturday, Stephen, one of the owner of a local Christian bookshop messaged me:

"I accept the bible is not inerrant..."

Of course, he didn't convert out of vacuum. I was talking to him two days before about why am I not an inerrantist. And after that, I forwarded a short article by Roger Olson to him. What happened thereafter is, of course (!), the working of the Holy Spirit in and on him.

It was not I who convert him since no one able to convert anyone without God's prompting. It is the Holy Spirit. Alleluia~ All glory to God~

4 comments:

Augustinian Successor said...

Dear Joshua,

I take it although you do not believe in inerrancy, you believe in an infallible Bible?

"Inerrancy" as a technical term to describe an inspired Bible may be novel when set against Protestant tradition. But the idea is that the Bible is free from errors because it is the Word of God. Inerrancy is sometimes ascribed to the original texts only (i.e. the autographa) rather than the extant (i.e. existing apographa). Sometimes, it is applied also to the extant texts, i.e. the Majority Text, of which the Textus Receptus is an off-shoot.

I believe only in the absolute inerrancy of the autographa whereas you do not. But if the Bible is to be the Word of God, it has to be "inerrant". Or else the Bible and by the extension, the Bible in our hands today, is not THE Word of God, a but only A Word of God. For errancy destroys the self-sufficiency and uniqueness of the Bible to the sole source of divine revelation.

Furthermore, errancy destroys or must ultimately denude or deprive Christianity - as a revealed religion - of its "historicity". Since there is no distinction in the Bible, as it witnesses to itself, between "historical facts" and "doctrine", the denial of inerrancy of the one category must necessarily lead to the loss of confidence in the integrity or authenticity of the other.

The central event of the Gospel which is the crucifixion is itself an intensely and exclusively historical. The authenticity of the crucifixion is not disputed by Christians, as being central to their faith although they base their faith solely on divine revelation and therefore not on empirical evidence. There is no "neutral" evidence for or against the crucifixion and by extension, resurrection of Jesus.

So, why must other events of the Bible which ultimately have their reference point in the history of salvation be discriminated? If they are discriminated on the basis of e.g. archaeological evidence, it means the Bible as whole is discredited, as the bible as a whole is a unity - one singular Book though composed by different people at different times.

Then cultural arguments can be bolstered by scientific discoveries which undermines morals such e.g. homosexuality which is argued by some scientists as genetic and hence to be exempted from moral culpability.

Science and by inclusion archaeology is a useful discipline but it cannot prove or disprove the Bible because it can never provide "fool-proof" evidence of the supposed hypothesis. That is, science itself has to be taken as a faith claim, because it is never a stable body of knowledge.

It never has the last word. There is no guarantee that there would not be another discovery which debunks the previous thesis. And so the process goes on and on.

So, the issue is whether which claim one wishes to stake his faith upon: the Bible as the infallible Word of GOD or science which is the fallible word of MEN?

Joshua Woo Sze Zeng said...

Dear Jason,

I understand your concern:

1)For errancy destroys the self-sufficiency and uniqueness of the Bible to the sole source of divine revelation.

2) Furthermore, errancy destroys or must ultimately denude or deprive Christianity - as a revealed religion - of its "historicity".

Both are not a problem to me. I am preparing a series of posts on Inerrancy. So, stay tuned and we can discuss over those posts which will be more focus on particular issues you have raised.

Augustinian Successor said...

OK, Joshua :-)

You said you want to be a theologian, so when are you entering seminary? ;-)

Joshua Woo Sze Zeng said...

Soon if God willing, Jason :-)