In a recent blog post Roger E. Olson joined a discussion taking place across the blogosphere on the use of the word “inerrant” to describe Scripture. (To read his whole post go here. He said this word is one reason he never joined ETS which requires affirmation of this definition to be a member. He says that it has become a sort of “shibboleth” void of meaning for many who confess it while providing their own definition that would not meet the standards of classical inerrancy. Rather than inerrancy he suggest “infallibility”. Here is the quote:
I think “infallible” does a better job than “inerrant” so long as I can explain what it means. “Infallible,” to me, means the Bible never fails in its main purpose which is to identify God for us, to communicate his love and his will to us, and to lead us into salvation and a right relationship with our Creator, Savior and Lord.
Do you think this is a better definition of the trustworthiness of Scripture? Should groups like ETS welcome more of a “big tent” evangelicalism by using a word less problematic than inerrancy? If you are a pastor would you find yourself preaching or teaching the text differently if you thought of the Scriptures as “infallible” rather than “inerrant”? If you already do approach teaching and preaching from this angle do you think it has had any practical implications?