The Idolatry of Inerrancy

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To live lightly.  To dance as light rays on water and be carried by something, Someone so much bigger than ourselves.  Inspiration.  To breathe in and become in the breathing more of the message we are created to be.  To live inscribed, us on Love’s hands and God’s love on our hearts.

I think sometimes we get consumed by boxes we were never created for.  Boxes of doctrine and stream and affiliation and denomination and theology and words and law and right and wrong and the very boxes He died to free us from, we fight to find our identity in and define our worth by. 

What if the systems we’ve created and define ourselves by, are just boxes we’ve decorated and celebrated and bowed down before?  Even the boxes we’ve created in His name.

Inspiration is like water, like breath… the longer and harder we fight to define it, hold onto it, control it, the more it slips between and escapes through our grasp.  IN • SPIRE Literally to breathe into. Not grab the pen or paintbrush or hands or voice of and force a particular product or outcome. But to breathe in.

Inspiration cannot happen apart from trust.

God trusts us to bring all we are to the process.  We trust Him to receive all that He offers.  And together, He and us, we weave and create something that carries both of us.  It is sacred space this becoming.

The focus is not on a flawless end product, but the dance of maturing relationshipThe ultimate goal is not inerrancy, but intimacy.  Our trust is not in the product of the inspiration, but in the process of deepening interdependence that created it.

There’s no way to say this but to say it.  And some of you may disagree and that is OK.

Church, in many places of brick and mortar Christendom, we have turned the inerrancy of Scripture into an idol.   We trust more in our various interpretations of a book deemed inerrant, than we do in the leading of the Spirit of the One Who inspired it.  In some cases, the Bible is virtually elevated to the third person of the Trinity.  Father, Son & Holy Bible.

Now please hear me out friends.  I am not saying the Bible is not important, inspired, or deserving of our attention.  I am not saying it isn’t given as a light to our journey.  It most assuredly is.

But it is given to reveal God, not to contain Him.

And while the Bible includes the words of God (the prophecies, the words Jesus spoke when He walked the earth for instance), Jesus alone is the Word of God.  We can never hope to correctly understand, interpret and apply the written word without an ongoing, deepening relationship with Him Who is the Living Word. 

We must interpret the written word though the character and person of Who Jesus is as the Living Word.

Why do I call inerrancy idolatry?  Anything we elevate above Who God is, that obstructs or subverts or distorts our view of Him, anything apart from Him that supersedes Him is, in short, an idol.

Idolatry is opposite of intimacy.  Idolatry bows before a form of an image of “god” and robs us of relationship with Who God really is, the very relationship for which we have been created.

The English Bible translations I read are far from inerrant.  There are factual discrepancies and conflicting details.  Some versions are more accurate than others.  Anyone who has ever learned another language and tried to translate concepts from one language and cultural context into another, knows that translation is as much art as it is an inexact science. 

All translation is ultimately interpretation.  We cannot divorce who we are from the process no matter how precise and removed we attempt to be.  The English versions we read reflect the worldviews, theologies, lexical schools of thought and bias of the translators who created them.

Far from weakening Scripture, that reality is beautiful.  It reflects the ongoing, unfolding dance of relationship with the living Word Himself, Jesus.  It allows Scripture to inspire and show us more about God’s heart, as well as our own.  It gives space for honest questions and grace for agreeing to disagree while still being in community.

What about right and wrong, truth and deception?  I hear you.  I know this pushes the black and white we are so comfortable with into shades of nuanced tonality.  It shifts the question from “who’s right” to “how are we related”.   It leads us away from leaning into our own control and our own understanding, to trusting in Holy Spirit, Who is our Teacher.  It makes space for being, not-knowing and not having to figure everything out.

Some of the arguably most dedicated, well-trained, fundamental, religious leaders of Jesus’ day missed Him.  They not only failed to see Him as He was, they crucified Him for not coming in the form they expected.

Having the law and the prophets, the right doctrinal education, careful systems and organizational accolades did nothing to keep the religious leaders of Jesus’ day from missing the living breathing incarnation of the God they worshiped Who was walking in their midst.

Beloved, at its deepest, holiest reality Truth is not a debate platform.  Or a doctrinal position.  Or a political party.  Truth is a Person.  And that Person is Jesus.

When He becomes the lens through which we interact with Scripture, everything else finds it place.  May we live lightly, inscribed by His love and carried by His grace.