- The modern inerrantist tends to equate 'being faithful to Scripture' to 'affirming inerrancy'.
- As a consequence, any attempt to critically analyse the inerrancy of Scripture is automatically pitted against faithfulness. Those who deny any truth in the Bible are blatantly unfaithful to it, while those who hold to inerrancy but define 'errors' slightly differently are being mildly unfaithful to it.
- This is demonstrated nicely in the straight-line graph, where faithfulness decreased as historical criticism increases.
- Actually, we all accept a degree of 'historical criticism' as being necessary for 'faithfulness'. For example, we may accept that a complete lack of awareness of historical context may result in slight errors of interpretation. Hence the most literal straightforward 'inerrant' interpretation may actually be mildy unfaithful to the Scriptures as they were intended to be read.
- Hence the first paradigm is wrong. Faithfulness actually maximises at a specific degree of critical analysis.
- This is demonstrated nicely by the curved graph. Only after a certain point does faithfulness start decreasing with more critical analysis.
- Once we accept this more accurate paradigm, we can begin discussing things a little more meaningfully. Where exactly does the point of maximal 'faithfulness' occur? What makes us decide 'thus far and no further' when it comes to our optimal degree of critical analysis? These are useful and important things to discuss, rather than dismissing and ignoring them as 'unfaithful' questions.
P.S. For those who worry, I certainly don't agree with everything this author writes. But I think he's refreshingly genuine and honest (more than many evangelical bloggers) when it comes to faithfully approaching Scripture...