It’s old news now – Mark Driscoll, founding pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, tweeted about President Obama during the Inauguration.
I’ve stared at this tweet off and on, not knowing how to respond. Not knowing if I should respond. “Some thoughts are better left unexpressed,” I’ve told myself. “Better to keep your mouth closed and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt,” advice I obviously have not followed in the past.
News came to me this week, however, that made the tweet personal. Driscoll lobbed a bomb at the President. The pastor, along with all Americans, has a right to criticize our leaders and their policies. It’s the American way. No problem there. Driscoll’s tweet though was the delivery of a spiritual slam.
“…who today will place his hands on a Bible he does not believe to take an oath to a God he likely does not know.”
Several months ago a message began circulating that “Phillip doesn’t believe the Bible.” Like the Energizer Bunny the message keeps going and going. I heard it again this week. I thought, “Really?”
The charge came as a result of a teaching I gave in September 2012. I’ve listened to the audio of that teaching three times – I never said what was said I said.
And I said the following in response to an earlier comment from another teacher at the same seminar concerning inerrancy: “Every inerrantist I know, or have read, believes that only the original manuscripts are inerrant. So if you base your trust in the Bible on its inerrancy then you won’t be able to trust this book (the one I’m holding in my hand), because the Bible you have right here is not the original manuscript. And if you base your trust in the Bible on whether or not it is inerrant then you can’t trust what you have here…”
The claim is made by those who hold an inerrantist view, that the trustworthiness of the Bible stands or falls with inerrancy. If the Bible contains any real errors it cannot be trusted. Then there is the admission that every Bible that exists probably contains errors. Only the original manuscripts can be considered perfectly inerrant.
So…think along with me…if the Bible’s trustworthiness is based on inerrancy- as defined as “without error” – and only the original manuscripts – which no one has – are inerrant, then that does not bode well for the trustworthiness of the Bible we do have.
That is why I like and hold the definition of inerrancy given by John Piper – “Perfect with regard to purpose.” The Bible’s main purpose is transformation, not information (2 Timothy 3:16), and it’s unfortunate that so many people spend their time arguing over the “information” part. The Bible is absolutely trustworthy to do what it is intended to do.
Back to the tweet.
I do not know why the President is accused by Driscoll of not believing the Bible. I do know that in the words of Edward R. Murrow, the pioneer of television news reporting, “Accusation is not proof.”
Yeah, it’s a bit personal.