Inerrancy and Relativism
At our consistory meetings, we’re working our way through John R. Sittema’s With A Shepherd’s Heart. This is an excellent book that I can highly recommend. Last night, we discussed chapter 6, “The Wolf’s Teeth – Relativism.” Sittema ably lays out the problem, but then also gives a few suggestions for elders and pastors to combat this deadly poison. His first point is especially worth noting:
Make clear, both from the pulpit in your local church and in personal pastoral meetings with the members of the flock under your care, that your church holds firmly to the Bible as the infallible and inerrant Word of God. Teach clearly what these terms mean. Declare loudly and often, both in principle and in practice, that you consider the Bible to be the absolute and infallible standard for both doctrine and life. (64)
Sittema has a footnote right behind “infallible and inerrant Word of God” and those words are also worth quoting:
I deliberately use both terms “infallible” and “inerrant,” since one of the interesting breaches in the high view of Scripture in recent decades has come as a result of the work of so-called evangelicals who argue in favor of biblical infallibility, but consider inerrancy to be a modern rationalistic term, inconsistent with the Bible’s view of itself. I reject the distinction as a dangerous semantic game. (64)
It’s too bad that Sittema doesn’t work this out further. However, I agree with what he states. Remember: when Sittema wrote this book he was still a Christian Reformed pastor (he later became PCA) and he had seen first hand what the rejection of inerrancy does to a church and its doctrine. Biblical inerrancy is a powerful anti-venom for the poison of relativism.