March 28, 2017
Haven’t touched this blog in awhile. I was recently encouraged by someone close to me to write, so here goes. If I’m being honest, my life has been an incredible roller coaster ride as of late. It has had its ups and downs, but like the late Roman Catholic Saint Augustine reminds me, I have the power to suffer differently because of the hope of my salvation. It’s funny, throughout the past few weeks, I have experienced many great highs through a pure and beautiful enjoyment of the Lord; however, I have also experienced some lows. And while they have not been near the lowest I have been, they do pain me all the same. These different struggles that I’ve bumped into have come to me through a variety of avenues, be it through relationships, school, personal beliefs, and the list goes on.
Thinking back, I’ve found that the past few years have been a very difficult yet rewarding time in my life. I am often reminiscent of high school, the simple life and simple faith I had then. There was nothing wrong with that season of life and neither is there anything wrong with this. It is clear to me, that as I grow older, I question things more and I grow far more curious. I almost feel like a child, constantly asking, “Why?” to his parents, never truly satisfied with any answer given to me. I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with that, and I don’t expect to grow out of my fascination with this world and this life. And while this constant state of inquiry has its benefits, it also has its downfalls.
I often find myself asking questions that scare some of my friends. Questions that often challenge ideas that they cling to with their whole life. A big question that I have been wrestling with that seems to terrify the evangelical crowd I spend most of my time with, is the question of Biblical inerrancy (in other words, the Bible contains perfect words from God Himself). I find it difficult to reconcile seemingly conflicting ideas, concepts and passages within the Bible’s 66-book canon, and when I express my concerns, I’m often softly berated or criticized and told that the Bible HAS to be inerrant and IS. I apologize if this is the view you currently hold, and I don’t mean for you to think otherwise. Frankly, as far as I’m concerned, I would rather hold no view on this matter (it would definitely save me a lot of time and stress), but when I hear the God of Love, seen through the example of Jesus, preached in the pulpit, I tend to question why would that same God command the handful of genocides we read about in the Old Testament, and this isn’t where my questions stop, its just an easy example to use to make my point. Often times, the answers I get are unsatisfactory and disappointing, so I’m stuck here wondering what to believe.
This line of thinking resurfaced this week when I was having a conversation with a professor after class, and to my surprise, she told me that Biblical inerrancy was NOT a commonly held view in Roman Catholicism and Mainline Protestantism. This knocked me off my feet because the place I had grown up spiritually had taught me that the Bible is the “Word of God” and that’s a scary thought considering how messy that collection of books is. I mean, think about it, the “Word of God,” that’s an incredibly nuanced thing to say – it has so many layers in that 3-word phrase. What it says to me is: the Bible is perfect, it cannot be questioned, you worship its Truth. And while this may feel settling to many people, it has the opposite affect on me.
I’m not claiming to be right on this subject, but I’d encourage you wherever you may fall on your standard for what is true, dig a little deep and maybe consider alternative views (not saying you ought to adopt them, but consider them, you might learn something) before you condemn them outright. No clue how you all feel about the subject, but that’s a process that the Lord has faithfully and patiently been guiding me through. Ultimately, if the Lord reveals to me that the Bible is in fact inerrant, then so be it. Who am I to question God? For now, I’ll keep asking questions just as the numerous followers of God have throughout the many books in the Bible.
With all that said, it is of the utmost importance for those of you that claim to be followers of Jesus, not to have the right belief on matters of theology (the church has never agreed on these things), but to have the right practice and right trust (i.e. the two things the church shares). Let your legacy be known by your trust in the true God and your faithful commitment to Jesus’ practices.