If You Do Not Believe the Scriptures to be Inerrant or Even Authoritative…

Then why appeal to them at all?

This has something that has always ruffled the feathers a bit. I have never understood why/how logically a person can hold that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments were put together by men with an agenda and sometimes men with no real purpose (other than of course to make conservatives look foolish 20 centuries in the future) and yet still when asked why they believe x,y, or z they appeal to the Scriptures as if they have authority.

For example.

Person A is in a discussion with Person B.

Person A is a person arguing for a religious solution from a liberal perspective.

Person B is a person who holds a contrary position.

Let us say they are discussing feeding the poor.

Person A says the Civil Magistrate should redistribute wealth in order to pay for feeding homeless person A and needy person B.

Person A cites Isaiah 1:17 in defense of their position.

Person A believes “Isaiah” was written by as many as 4 different persons (or more) and certainly is post-exilic and was definitely not written by some “prophet” named “Isaiah”. Person A may even believe “Isaiah” was a partisan-piece written for Israelite zealots.

So the question is how can Person A cite Isaiah as in any sense authoritative in making their argument?


5 thoughts on “If You Do Not Believe the Scriptures to be Inerrant or Even Authoritative…

  1. It’s called pick-and-choose buffet-style Christianity, and it’s not the sole purview of liberalism. That kind of thinking has also infiltrated much of modern evangelicalism. When we don’t like what the word has to say, we find loopholes to get around it. But that’s a modern notion, either; the Pharisees did the same thing.

  2. Much agreed.

    The above was an actual conversation I had recently.

    When “Person B” asked the last question (concerning Person A’s belief of the authorship of Isaiah) Person A could not fathom why that was a problem.

  3. That is both absurd and hilarious. I had never considered that level of gross inconsistency before. Thanks for pointing it out!

  4. “So the question is how can Person A cite Isaiah as in any sense authoritative in making their argument?”

    I don’t believe they are. I think its use serves 2 rhetorical purposes.

    1. their opponent (person B) believes the Scripture, and they are implying inconsistency on his or her part.

    2. they tend to use the Bible as a source book for pithy sayings, much as some pastors use books of “sermon illustrations” to punch up their speaking.

    In the words of one PC(USA) pastor of our acquaintance, Paul had some interesting things to say, but not everything was a keeper. I think that mentality elevates person a to a point higher than Scripture in terms of authority. Person A is the singular one who can evaluate the Scripture and determine whether or not it is true based on person A’s preference. It is authoritative because they imagine (usually falsely) that they agree with it, and their imagined agreement gives it all the authority they need.

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