Inerrancy. The recent doctrine of Biblical innerancy claims the Bible to be “without error.” But that begs the question which Bible? Which translation? Which manuscript? Even the King James, the one that most of us grew up reading and is heavily defended has its issues. In 1851 the American Bible Society compared six different editions of the King James Bible and discovered over 24,000 variations between the editions of the same Bible translation! What makes us so naive to think anything about the Bible is that simple?
Even if we could agree on one, what about all the contradictions? There are multiple versions on the same story that disagree on what happened, if the Bible were “without error” how do we know which one is correct? For example, in 2 Samuel 24:1, God incites David to take a census of the people of Israel, but when the story is retold in 1 Chronicle 21:1, Satan is the one who incites David. Then in 1 Samuel 17:50, we read the familiar story of David killing Goliath, but in 2 Samuel 21:19, we are told that a man named Elhanan killed Goliath.
All this isn’t to trash the Bible. In fact it’s the opposite, to claim that it is without disagreement and is unified in voice sells the Bible short of wonderful gift that it is for us. Let’s ditch the innerancy doctrine so the Bible can get back to being the sacred book that points beyond itself and to God.
Complementarianism. The Bible adopts enough of the patriarchal culture of its time without us actively attempting to write patriarchy into it where it doesn’t exist. Gender is a social construction. It is biologically fluid. It has varied widely through history and cultures. It is simply untrue that men and women are two rigid categories of person that complement each other. This idea owes more to a romanticized image of 1950’s America than to scripture or theology.
No question – the doctrine of eternal conscious torment in Hell. It isn’t taught in the Bible (absent eisegesis), it is morally reprehensible, it is rationally ridiculous, it is the cause of many people ditching Christianity altogether, it gives obnoxious people license to pretend that God is obnoxious too, and it isn’t even a reasonable interpretation of the Germanic mythology that gives us the word “Hell” in the first place.