Ian et al.,

I personally have no problem with Feinberg’s version of inerrancy. But I think a few things need to be kept in mind by people who do agree with inerrancy:

1) We aren’t holding to this doctrine because it has been established empirically (i.e., by independently verifying every assertion in scripture). We hold to it, if we do at all, based on revelation: on the revelation of God’s character and/or scripture’s self-wintess;

2) apropos 1), this doctrine often has to be held on faith, like many matters of revelation. God has without doubt given us a Bible that appears to be in tension at points; if we believe inerrancy, we believe that the tensions can be harmonized; if we don’t, we don’t. But this is a doctrine believed in faith.

3) I think there are important implications to believing or disbelieving this doctrine, but I also think there are many issues that are more important than inerrancy (in the abstract).

4) I’ve yet to be satisfied by the reasons why inerrancy is absolutely essential to sincere faith; I think it’s important and true, but I think people can be faithful Christians without it.

I also have a lot of things I’d like to say to people who don’t believe in inerrancy, but these points are less made by people who do believe in it, so I think it’s more appropriate for our (ecumenical) context right now…