There is a narrower as well as a broader sense in which the statement in the title of this blog post is true. In the narrower sense we can see very clearly how inerrancy comes up even today when anyone dares to suggest that slavery is inherently wrong. The response that it is accepted in the Bible and thus cannot be inherently evil is not just an ad hoc response. Inerrancy was developed by groups like the Southern Baptists (who split from the American Baptists over this issue) precisely with this end in mind, namely to defend slavery.
In the broader sense, as I emphasized to my Sunday school class recently, a conservative approach to Christianity provides a sense of security to many of its adherents. But it is a false sense of security. It is the sense of security the Israelites had when they had the golden calf’s reassuring presence. It is the sense of security some had in Jesus’ time when they said it would have been fine to heal on the Sabbath if only God hadn’t prohibited work from taking place.
‘Inerrancy’ is just Round 2 of the Bible-battle over slavery
You’ll find a meme made from a quote of mine from a while back below. I’m looking forward to teaching a course next academic year on the Bible and justice, in which I’ll have the opportunity to assign Ovid Butler’s own words as reading for my students at the university named after him, and specifically things that he said arguing against slavery and against conservative Christian defenders of slavery.