I recently came across an article on Patheos by Baptist Pastor Chuck Queen. He argues that, because there are horrifying, violent, and tragic verses in the Old Testament, God’s Word, The Bible, is erroneous and full of mistakes. He thinks that these painful verses – these terrible stories – couldn’t possibly be what a Loving God intended to write down.
The historic and Biblical Christian view is that the Bible is inerrant (without error). Pastor Queen thinks he’s being a “progressive” Christian, but actually his logic unravels the entire point, purpose, and meaning of Christianity. He may call himself a Christian (and I hope he is) but he’s pedaling a heresy that actually debunks Christianity at its very foundation.
If God Can’t Even Write A Book, He’s Not God
If God can’t even write a book, how can he possibly save your soul? If God is so weak and powerless that he can’t preserve the integrity of his own correspondence, how can he guarantee Heaven? If God isn’t capable of guiding the hands of men, how can he possibly guide their souls? If God can’t get his thoughts down on paper … well … what can he do exactly?
If the Bible is riddled with errors, then God is not sovereign. If God is not sovereign, Christ’s death on the cross was pointless, his resurrection meaningless, and the entire religion of Christianity is an idiotic farce.
If God isn’t sovereign, he can’t guarantee anyone’s salvation.
With heresies like this plaguing the Church, it’s no wonder many people are pulling further and further away from her. What’s the point of worshiping a god who can’t even control paper and ink? That’s not a god at all. At best, it’s a meddling spirit who occasionally dabbles in the affairs of men, but isn’t potent enough to actually do anything meaningful.
But that’s not what the Bible says about God. In order to prove his doctrine of Biblical errancy, Queen would have to practically cut words and phrases out of the True Bible, and glue stick them into a new book, similar to how kidnappers used to write ransom notes. Like kidnapping, Queen’s heretical doctrines are a crime; a crime against God and anyone who falls for them.
The Bible Says It’s Inerrant
“… no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” 2 Peter 1:20b-21
“The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.” Psalms 12:6
“Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens.” Psalms 119:89
“Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.” Proverbs 30:5-6
“For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” Matthew 5:18
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
“Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.” 1 Corinthians 2:12-13
These are but a small fraction of the verses interwoven throughout the Bible that swear to its inerrancy. I’m sure “progressives” have ways of explaining all of these away. They could, I suppose, just claim those verses were all in error. Anything less would require some serious logical acrobatics. Perhaps they just cut their Bibles into itty bitty pieces, I don’t know, but they certainly aren’t applying themselves in actually reading it.
Also note that when we say the Bible was “inspired” by God, we’re not talking about a vague or whimsical whim. I can be inspired by the Bible to write a song. I can be inspired by Mary Poppins to clean my bedroom. That is not divine inspiration.
Moses had one-on-one conversations with God, as a man speaks with his friend (Exodus 33:11, 34:29). Timothy says in the verse above, Scripture is “breathed out” by God. It’s dictated. It’s narrated. It’s clearly spelled out. Peter describes divine inspiration as being “carried along by the Holy Spirit.” There is no room for human error or worldly contamination when God is dictating to his prophets and apostles.
Then Why Are There Horrible Verses In The Old Testament?
Because people are horrible. It’s as simple as that. The Bible, specifically the Old Testament, is the horror story of humanity. It’s also the salvation story of Jesus Christ. The Old Testament prophets recorded over and over and over ad nauseam that people are sick, people are evil, people are hopeless, and people need a Savior. You’ve heard the phrase, “beating a dead horse?” Well, the Old Testament beats the option of human goodness out of our hope for salvation.
For example, Genesis 18 tells the story of Lot’s escape from Sodom. When the vile men of the city ask Lot to give them the angels of God so they can rape them, Lot replies, “Behold, I have two daughters who have not known any man. Let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please. Only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof.”
How can Lot make such a horrifying offer? How could any father offer his daughters to rapists? Well, put bluntly, Lot is a wicked man who is terrified and desperate. His offer was perverse and unGodly. So what happened? The angels of God struck the would-be-rapists with blindness, and protected Lot’s daughters even when their own father would not. Read the news and you’ll find a horrifying assortment of modern fathers who are just as cruel to their kids, and under no such duress.
This is just one example. Any time you find a disturbing verse in the Old Testament, you must understand that the point is to demonstrate the depravity of humanity, and the utter holiness of God.
The Old Testament isn’t an outdated collection of random Hebrew folk stories. Each tale – each tiny verse – is one stroke of paint in a grand artistic masterpiece; one music note in an epic symphony; one puzzle piece in the universe’s most expansive jigsaw puzzle.
And the big picture is grace.
Sure, when you divorce the story of Noah & The Flood from the rest of Scripture, it’s an odd tale, and it’s hard to understand its relevance. However, once you’ve realized that Noah is a type (a prefiguration – a backwards echo in time) of Jesus Christ himself, you’re stunned and awed by the depth and profundity of the story.
Like Christ, Noah created a way to save his people from God’s wrath. Like Christ, Noah protected his family. Like Christ, Noah reached out to the people of the world. Like Christ, Noah was mocked and derided as a fool. However, unlike Christ, Noah was sinful.
Thus, the epic suspense of the Old Testament’s search for a Savior continues.
Will it be Moses? No, Moses frequently didn’t trust God and had a bad temper. Will it be David? No, after wowing us with Goliath, David committed adultery and even murder. Will it be Solomon? No, the wisest man God ever created fell into sin too.
Hope after hope, disappointment after disappointment, evil after evil, horror after horror; the Old Testament is a giant arrow, blackened with sin, that points us dramatically straight toward Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God.
If you lose the Old Testament, you lose Jesus.
If you lose the inerrancy of the Scripture, you lose God.
“I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.” Revelation 22:18-19
I hate to tell you this but if the bible is as inerrant as you claim your entire article is a violation of scripture.
Your not supposed to be teaching or trying to exercise spiritual authority over a man. Yet here you re rebuking Pastor Queen.
Of course I personally think you can say what you want to who you want, pastoral epistles not withstanding. Because they are generally considered pseudoepigraphies by leading textual critics.
So you are in a pickle. Practice what you preach and be quiet as Paul commanded or speak freely but recognize that the same problems with the pastoral epistles that restrict your speech are magnified greatly among many Old Testament claims about Gods actions.