Inerrant or Just Flat Wrong?

Initial Letter of Genesis, The Wenceslas Bible c. 1389In the past, I’ve spent considerable time trying to show that the Bible doesn’t condemn LGBT relationships with exegesis, interpretation, historical context and just about any other way you can think of. In reality, I’ve been dancing around what I really feel: the Bible is wrong when it comes to this subject. Just flat wrong. And, I’m through defending it. A few years ago, I saw Jay Bakker speak at the Big Tent Christianity conference in Raleigh N.C. where he basically said that he worshiped Jesus, not the Bible and if the Bible got in the way of loving people, he  would throw it out. Then, he tossed it over his shoulder onto the stage behind him. At the time, I thought that was a bit radical. Today, I’m tossing it over my shoulder, too.

I can hear it now. You’re thinking “How can the Bible be wrong? It’s the inspired, inerrant, infallible word of God. I refuse to believe the Bible is wrong in any way!” Actually, you do believe that. Everyday, in a multitude of ways, we all say the Bible is wrong. No way, you say. I don’t do anything that contradicts the Bible. Really? Do you eat shellfish? Or pork? Or any of the other proscribed foods listed in the Old Testament? I thought so. How about your clothes? Wearing anything that’s a poly/cotton blend? Or even a cotton shirt and wool pants? Uh huh, Leviticus 19:19 says that’s a sin. Do you believe slavery is acceptable? The Bible condones slavery in numerous places, going so far as to give instructions on slaves are to be treated. In the Epistle to Philemon, Paul sends a runaway slave back to his owner. Not exactly a condemnation of the practice, is it? And, in Matthew, Mark and Luke we read,

“Then the Pharisees met together to find a way to trap Jesus in his words. They sent their disciples, along with the supporters of Herod, to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are genuine and that you teach God’s way as it really is. We know that you are not swayed by people’s opinions, because you don’t show favoritism.  So tell us what you think: Does the Law allow people to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”

Knowing their evil motives, Jesus replied, “Why do you test me, you hypocrites?  Show me the coin used to pay the tax.” And they brought him a denarion. “Whose image and inscription is this?” he asked.

“Caesar’s,” they replied.

Then he said, “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” When they heard this they were astonished, and they departed.”

Which means that taxes are not the unjust government intrusion some of us believe.  Still think the Bible is never wrong?

I went the long way around to make a point. And, that is that while the Bible may be the inspired word of God, it is not inerrant and it is not infallible. Does that diminish it’s impact and importance in any way? Not for me. The Bible has tons of useful information on how to live. It can be a source of great comfort and it contains some of the world’s most beautiful poetry. Used properly, it is, quite possibly, the most important book you’ll ever read. Used improperly, it is, without a doubt, one of the most damaging things on the planet.