Thursday, June 08, 2006

Does the Bible Contain Errors?

A note about the following. It's a letter written early in 2006 in response to a man (a former LCMS pastor, I'm sorry to say) who challenged me after I wrote a piece in a local newspaper defending the veracity of the scriptures. I was not surprised to receive no response, save a note in which the man accused me of being "hostile." Others will have to judge whether I was being hostile; I have decided that unbelievers such as this individual must be challenged to put up, or shut up.

"I did not start this current exchange. You -- for reasons known only to you -- seem to feel compelled to keep it going. When you wrote me in December, I answered you kindly, because I feel genuine compassion for you. But when you make the blasphemous assertions you made in your letter, be assured that I will answer you. I am sorry that you cannot admit the sad and soul-damning errors which you have promulgated throughout the time you’ve spent in various congregations. But be assured that -- with God as my helper -- I will rather die than renounce the faith he has given me. I am a most unworthy sinner. I am not worthy to hold, much less defend the truths he has given in his word. But with the blessed Apostle (cf. II Timothy 3.16), I confess clearly that all scripture is theopneustos. And as such, that holy Word is profitable. That you feel somehow compelled to deny this reveals nothing about the word; it only reveals something about you. People who are “free” -- as you describe yourself -- don’t jump like Pavlov’s dogs just because someone happens to publicly defend the Bible. But -- as I expected -- your letter arrived, and here we are.

"A challenge for you. You opine that “The Bible, with all its historical, geographical, and grammatical errors, along with many words that have been mistranslated in various translations …” Instead of painting with a broad and fallacious brush, why don’t you list those “errors” of which you allude? I would like specific, detailed, tangible, verse-by-verse listings of the “errors” which you allege that God has put in his word, complete with the intra- and extra-biblical historical, geographical and grammatical information (and specific paginated listings of source note bibliographical information, of course) needed to substantiate your assertions. A list, likewise, of the substantive “mistranslations” you allege in English Bibles would be good, too. Especially ones -- and detailed information from the Greek, Hebrew, or -- when needed, Aramaic -- would be helpful here -- that supposedly change the doctrinal teachings of catholic Christianity. I am intrigued when people allege mistranslations in English Bibles, especially when folks who are able to read Greek and Hebrew don’t find the same “errors.” But you have claimed that they are there, so I am assuming that you can give me such a detailed list. No photocopies, no broad assertions, no suggesting I read something else: a detailed list, pure and simple, of the “errors” will work just fine.

"You frequently made vague assertions about the “errors” that supposedly abounded in the scriptures; now I’m offering you the chance to give -- in exact detail -- what those “errors” are. Since you say that the “errors” are so “numerous,“ a list of 50 to start off with would not be amiss. And since I’m giving numbers, let’s go with 50 substantive “mistranslations” (in my published piece, I didn’t deny that there are insubstantial ones) to which you allude. If I don’t receive such a list, I’ll know what I’ve suspected for a long time: you are unable to even substantiate what has been the very basis for your sad and pathetic reign of error. In other words, it’s all been a bluff. I’ll be waiting."

1 comment:

Dave Lester said...

well stated---may you continue in a strong defense of the verbal and plenary inspiration of the scriptures.