Why I Can’t Work With a Mission That Denies Inerrancy
This post is part of a string of posts on inerrancy. Please read my first post in this series before reading this one. This post accurately conveys my starting point, before beginning a week of study on my beliefs on inerrancy.
The decision is made, and it’s non-negotiable: I cannot work for a mission without a firm stance on inerrancy.
It comes down to two things: the authority of Scriptures, and the slippery slope. The two are connected.
At the end of the day, Christianity is about the Bible. If that goes, it all falls apart. Or, more likely, some other belief system or god or petty tyrant will come in and set up shop. An idol to Baal will be placed inside the sanctuary. Or the “traditions of the elders” will be elevated above Scriptures. Or the word of a bishop, pope, pastor or dictator will be placed above Scriptures.
When Scriptures alone are not allowed to speak finally and ultimately, God alone is not allowed to speak: and that is – I believe – always the precursor to God removing His lampstand from a church (Rev. 2:5).
As much as people say that it is possible to honor the Scriptures as God’s word without holding to inerrancy, I just don’t see it happening. Perhaps if I could be shown an organization which had abandoned the infalibility of Scriptures say, fifty or a hundred years ago but was still otherwise conservative and “solid,” I would be convinced. As it is, even missions and teachers who abandoned inerrancy mere decades ago seem already to be slipping.
It’s not a salvation issue: you can be saved and not believe in inerrancy. However, when I think about pouring my life out with some mission, church or denomination, the one thing I am concerned with is permanence. How long will my contribution last? I don’t want to pour out my life into some seminary, for example, only to have my efforts be turned in the next generation into the next Harvard, Yale or Stanford – centers of learning, yes, but bastions of humanism. High places, raised up against the knowledge of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5). Failures. A complete betrayal of the intentions and sacrifices of the founders.
Therefore, as much as I have many questions unanswered about the doctrine of inerrancy, I am still committed to it. I want to build with costly stones and gold, not straw and wood – I want my work to last through the ages (1 Cor. 3:11-14). The doctrine of inerrancy seems key to ensuring permanence.
Therefore, in searching for a place to call my own and use my gifts, I am consciously dismissing out of hand any church, mission or denomination which does not take a hard stand on inerrancy.