Perfectly Communicating Error?

In “Seeking Clarity with Bruxy Cavey” (Sept 10, 2018), Paul Carter asks: “So you believe that the words of the Apostle Paul are authoritative and inspired?” The response comes as follows:

Yes, I see Paul’s writings as authoritative in that normative Protestant sense. Paul might not be perfect – only Jesus is! – but God has inspired Scripture to perfectly communicate what God wants it to say (ibid).

Of course, the issue in all of this was never whether Paul (the man) was perfect or sinless. No one ever argued, so far as I know, that for Paul to author Scripture, he must be as perfect and flawless as the Scripture he writes. He’s a sinner just like the rest of us. Even so, the thing to see is that it doesn’t follow from Paul’s being imperfect that what he wrote as he “spoke from God” while being “carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20-21) is factually errant. Indeed, if it is the graphé that are inspired (as 2 Timothy 3:16 teaches), then to affirm

(1)        Scripture (all of it) is inspired

and

(2)        Scripture (some of it) is in error

is actually incoherent. (For argument, see here.) But Bruxy is on record as affirming (2). See, e.g., his seminary teaching here as well as this recent blog post. It seems to me, therefore, that he is in precisely the same position he charges the Great Apostle with being in Titus 1:12-13–namely, “caught up in a logical paradox.” For if (1) is true, (2) is false. And if (2) is true, (1) is false. But Bruxy, it appears, believes both. Yet if they’re contradictory, one of those beliefs will have to go.

Since he thinks of it as a bad thing (or at least terribly unfortunate) for Paul to have been “caught up in a logical paradox,” we can assume Bruxy won’t think it’s good for him to be similarly ensnared. But then if he’s settled on (2)–and wants ordinary Christians to believe Scripture is in error as well–he can be expected to provide an intelligible account of how “God has inspired Scripture to perfectly communicate what God wants it to say,” and yet Scripture contains perfectly erroneous communications.

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2 comments on “Perfectly Communicating Error?

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