If you blog long enough, someone will eventually call you a heretic. Self-appointed orthodoxy watchdogs plague the internet almost as much as porn. Say something outside their particular theological tradition and they’ll damn your soul to an eternity in hell as fast as you can click “publish” on your blog post.
My latest accusation of heresy came last week on Twitter. My theological crime? I don’t believe in Biblical inerrancy. I tried pointing out to my inquisitor that Biblical inerrancy is a 20th century fundamentalist invention, not something which is actually intrinsic to the Christian tradition, but things like “facts” and church history are but minor inconveniences to the religious zealot….
Biblical inerrancy is certainty grounded in fear and the need for control. Allow for any “error” in the Bible, so the inerrantists claim, and how can you trust any of it? The answer to this supposedly challenging question is actually quite simple.
The word might not have been thrown at me but I have been called a heretic several times in my life as being a follower of Christ and the primary reason is biblical inerrancy. Over my ten year diligent study of theology I have come to understand, as Zach Hunt in the quote above, that inerrancy is grounded in fear and the need for control and that it is very much a 20th century invention. Scientific findings, among many other things, have been invading theological thought too much to be comfortable to many.
Biblical inerrancy has come to mean that if you don’t interpret the Bible the same as I do then you are simply wrong. Being that there are more than 40,000 versions of Christianity around today there are also 40,000+ versions of biblical thought. Each claims to have the truth but which is the correct one? After my study I can say probably none of them. They each take a verse or two out of that document and form their beliefs around those few words. They, like Martin Luther who grabbed Ephesians 8-9 as the reason to treat Christianity as a something for nothing religion, find a particular verse that totally aligns with their view of God and cling to it with almost total ignorance of everything else.
In reality everyone of us who claims to be Christian is a heretic to others who don’t believe as we do. I have been in a very reflective, maybe even melancholy, mood lately. In some ways I am just not sure of my purpose for continuing on with this blog with any seriousness. Looking over this decade long search for the “truth” has led me to some basic conclusions about our search for God. I will be presenting them in the coming posts. Since I am just starting this particular line of thought I really don’t know how long this series will last but I am sure that I will be called a heretic by some for even bringing up the questions and thoughts that I have on this topic. As is typical of me I will not hold back because of that threat….