womanist theological perspectives: biblical inerrancy

“Scripture is authoritative and inerrant in the sense that it is a witness to the infinite and inerrant nature of God and to the finite and fallible nature of human beings.  Scripture witness to God who is truth. […] We who interpret scripture are fallible.  Many have used biblical texts to rationalize their own errant desires and lust for power, sometimes fully convinced they were following God.  Yet, others have more rightly interpreted its authoritative guidance for authentic participation in divine goodness.  Biblical literature is as much about human imperfection, sin, and preferred cultural practices as it is about divine power, goodness, righteousness, love, relationships, and justice.”- Karen Baker-Fletcher, Dancing With God: The Trinity from a Womanist Perspective, page 26.


“The doctrine of biblical infallibility reinforced and was reinforced by the need for social legitimization of slavery. Thus, racial slavery was accepted as the necessary fulfillment of the curse of Ham. This had the effect of placing the truthfulness of God’s self-revelation on the same level as Black slavery and White supremacy. The institutional framework that required Black men, women, and children to be treated as chattel, as possessions rather than human beings, was understood to be consistent with the spirit, genius, and precepts of the Christian faith.”- Katie Geneva Cannon, Katie’s Canon: Womanism and the Soul of the Black Community, page 41

I think that without a reference to Christ as our inerrant Rabbi/Priest/Teacher, definitions of biblical inerrancy/infallibility fall flat. Without Christocentrism, inerrancy becomes a cover for Christians who want to view their interpretation of the Bible as perfect. I argued this in the 2011 post: Katie’s Canonnization: Problems With The Chicago Statement. That was my position then as it is now. I was more apt to referring to Scripture as fully trustworthy, but I am open to using the language of inerrancy with the appropriate qualification: Christology.

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  1. Pingback: Following up: Further Reflections on Al Mohler, Racism, Inerrancy, and Theological Education | Learning from a Great Cloud of Witnesses

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