John Hobbins is again correcting the rest of us regarding the meaning of the word inerrancy. The interesting thing here is that I can affirm everything he says about inspiration in his post.
Now I’m going to be brief (don’t laugh!). Michael Heiser and C. Michael Patton aren’t idiots. I don’t mean here to imply that John Hobbins says they are. But a point I have made previously about inerrancy in response to John is that the common usage of the word “inerrancy” does not agree with the way John uses it.
That doesn’t make Heiser and Patton more right about the inerrancy of scripture, but my observation is that their view accords with the more common understanding of what inerrancy means. Maybe people ought to mean something different, but they don’t. But I’m of the school of thought that suggests the meaning of words is to be determined by their usage, and by that standard, calling Hobbins’ view “inerrancy” is misleading. Most readers, at least non-academic readers, will understanding him to believe something different than he does.
People in the pews tend to believe someone who claims to accept biblical inerrancy would be concerned with discussing whether Jacob bought or conquered Shechem (as Heiser does), or the details of gospel stories (as Patton does).
But Hobbins says:
Now, if you believe that it is part of the Holy Spirit’s teaching office to reveal to us that Jesus (say) healed two blind men at Jericho, not one; that Jacob (say) bought Shechem and then conquered it at a later time, you are claiming that the Holy Spirit speaks, not through Scripture, but through harmonizing exegetes. I oppose such outlandish claims.
But if I ignore the vocabulary, I find I can affirm, indeed that I really like many of the phrases that Hobbins uses in regard to scripture and inspiration. I like to say that when we discover the message God has for us in scripture (always through the power of the Spirit), it is always true. Recently I have had to add the affirmation that we can discover that message. We have no need to walk in darkness.
So why not use another term, such as simply stating that one has a high view of scripture?