Scot McKnight on Mike Bird’s Inerrancy Essay

Scot McKnight on Mike Bird’s Inerrancy Essay August 13, 2014

Over at Jesus Creed, Scot McKnight gives a summary and evaluation of my contribution to the book Biblical Inerrancy: Five Views.

I think Scot mostly gets where I’m coming from. My own “veracity” view can be correlated with a nuanced and generous view of inerrancy.

Scot thinks I may have over played my card about inerrancy being an “American thing” citing the examples of James Barr vs. J.I. Packer. Let me say that the idea of the Bible as inerrant/infallible, conceptually at least, has a long pedigree in the historical and global church and extends outside of America. No surprise here since all Christians believe that the Bible tells the truth. However, the whole inerrancy discussion as it takes place in the USA, has a very distinctive feel about, as something very Americano. No country besides the USA had a “Battle for the Bible,” the word “inerrancy” is rarely used outside the USA, and no organization would ever make the Trinity and the CSBI the only thing you had to believe in order to be a member. While Christians all around the world believe in the Bible, the inerrancy debates in American evangelicalism do sound a bit like people arguing about what flavor of coffee they prefer at Star Bucks.

Yes, Scot, silly as it may be, I really do enjoy taking pot shots at Joel Osteen and the Left Behind series. My point was that if inerrancy is such a vaccine for poor theology, then why do American inerrantists have so many weird interpretations of the Bible that gain large followings.

Scot doesn’t like where I place the doctrine of Scripture between Church and Spirit. I might try convince him of that one day.

Scot gives a good affirmation on one point: “I like this word of Bird: “I trust God the Father, I trust his Son, the Spirit leads me to that truth, so I trust God’s Holy Book” (165). This is not unlike NT Wright’s understanding of the authority of Scripture as the authority of God first.


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