The parables Jesus told are an obvious example of narratives that aren't meant to be taken as historical accounts. That doesn't lessen the theological impact of them. (Bill)Yet if the telling of these parables did not actually happen—if Jesus did not tell them—does that not change their significance?
I think the earliest stories in the Bible (let's say Genesis 1-11 for the sake of this discussion) are probably not history, the way we think of history. Barth liked the word 'saga,' which he differentiated from 'myth.' …
I realize you may not agree with me, but I don't feel the need to accept those accounts as historical in order for them to have meaning. (Bill)
At face value, these accounts historically locate God as Creator, Judge, and Savior. Is God actually Creator, Judge, and Savior? If so, could he not exercise these roles in time? I honestly do not understand the motivation behind considering these as myth or saga (despite the fact that I adore Barth).
...not free from error (from a Modern standpoint) (Bill)
Honestly, I am uncertain what is meant by this. How are you defining the “Modern standpoint”?
1. scriptureI agree with the quadrilateral, but do hold the bible as a trump card (no surprise). The bible is the most stable of the four and it is widely recognized as such (despite text critical issues). The other three vary dramatically. On the other hand, hold in the bible as the trump card is arrived at via tradition, reason, and experience (I’m feeling a bit finite right now ;-).
I don't think anyone should reflect theologically without all of those components and I don't think of the Bible as a ‘trump card.’ (Bill)
Bill quoted Ballard as saying, “Why can't we say that God's inspiration of the writers was as far as was necessary to reliably communicate God's message?” (Bill)
Yes, but the bible seems to claim that creation, Eden, the flood, and Babel as historical. If they are not historical, then how can we claim the bible as dependable or infallible? I cannot wrap my brain around this.
Possibly, but does Jesus’ alleged (yes, I am hedging) allegorical interpretation call into question historicity? I guess I err toward historicity.
I don't think that Jesus was necessarily making any statement about the historicity of the Jonah story, to use one of your examples. Please note that the writers of the NT sometimes referred back to the OT, but treated the stories as allegorical. (Bill)
I would say that we shouldn't try to depend on it while excluding the other three. (Bill)
I think anyone honestly claiming this is not sufficiently self-reflective (sorry for any toes that just got stepped on). We all use all four, whether we are aware nor not. The question is not whether all four means are used. The question is, when there is conflict, what decides? (as Deborah asked). I believe the stability of the bible supports its use as the “trump card.” (NOTE: the Bible itself, not our all too unstable understandings…once again, feeling rather finite).
I agree with Deborah’s statements on the documentary errors. In my studies, inerrancy has only referred to the original manuscripts (another issue altogether, since we have no original mss). We do have an incredible number of copies, which do have scribal errors of all sorts. I have not studied nearly enough of these scribal errors to make any lofty claims, but I have investigated a goodly number. So far all can be explained as ‘trick of the eye’ or other common scribal error. Such errors (and culturally allowed ‘rounding’) do not negate inerrancy. Inerrancy is not 21st century scientific accuracy, but Ancient Middle Eastern historical accuracy, and that is an entirely different matter.
My point is that I don't need to call the Bible on the table next to me inerrant. (Deborah)Oddly, I agree (some of my Talbot buddies just gasped…). Even though I hold to inerrancy, too often discussions about inerrancy are too much like the useless controversies that Paul warns Timothy about in Second Timothy. I absolutely believe that historical reliability is critical. However, I think that recognizing the Bible as the reliable, written revelation of God is even more critical.