UCC Devotional: Bible Not "Divinely Inspired, Inerrant Document"

UCC Devotional: Bible Not “Divinely Inspired, Inerrant Document”

on February 22, 2016

The United Church of Christ (UCC) believes that “God is still speaking,” as the denomination asserts in one of its slogans, apparently just not through the entire Bible.

John Edgerton, who serves as Associate Pastor at Old South Church in Boston, Massachusetts, wrote the UCC’s daily devotional last Friday. Ironically, he encouraged study of the Bible while challenging its inerrancy and divine inspiration.

“To its earliest readers, the Bible was not a divinely inspired, inerrant document,” Edgerton said. “All we need to do is read the Bible to know that.”

In the very next paragraph, Edgerton wrote that he believed “Bible study is the best medicine for fundamentalism.” The obvious implication was that so-called fundamentalists – ostensibly Christians who believe the Bible is divinely inspired and inerrant – fail to read the Bible thoughtfully and widely enough.

Edgerton said the objective of Bible study during Lent was to lead to a “deeper relationship with the Word of God,” meaning Jesus but not the Bible. He then further developed this dichotomy between Christ and Scripture:

If the Bible becomes an object of worship, then we replace the living Christ with dead letters. And without the living Christ, it is possible to wind up with a faith that denigrates the poor, the unorthodox, the outsider, women, sexual minorities, and hungry children. You know, all the people Jesus loved to be around.

On Sunday, the UCC tweeted a graphic of this quote and Edgerton’s comment about fundamentalism:

The UCC tweeted these quotes from Pastor John Edgerton on February 21

Of course, Edgerton gets it right that the Bible isn’t God. That much is true. But there are plenty of Christians who take the Bible seriously while still loving Jesus and advancing the Church’s social witness.

While orthodox Christians will dispute Edgerton and the UCC over scriptural authority, we can at least agree on one thing: Christians and unbelievers alike should take time during Lent to study the Bible. This should ultimately point them to a greater love and appreciation of Jesus Christ.

  1. Comment by Eternity Matters on February 22, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    What do you expect from the UCC (Unitarians Counterfeiting Christ)?

    His claim that the Bible isn’t God is a straw-man. I don’t know a single Christian who ever said that or acted like he thought it.

    These people say that “God is still speaking;” but they didn’t believe him the first time. Why are they the only ones getting these new “revelations” that contradict the Bible? (Pro-abortion extremism, pro-LGBTQX perversions, etc.)

  2. Comment by Mikey R on February 22, 2016 at 4:38 pm

    Thus the continuing downfall of mainline Protestantism. Believing the Bible is divinely inspired and inerrant is not the same as fundamentalism. He oversimplifies the topic. Inerrancy does not mean every word is to be taken as history or science. Another Protestant denomination buying into 21st century liberalism.

  3. Comment by AlHam on February 22, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    This kind of theological pabulum is unfortunately not unique to the UCC, although they’ve had more practice than the later-breaking Presbyterians and Episcopal mainline denominations.

  4. Comment by Joseph Daniels on February 22, 2016 at 5:25 pm

    This man is nothing but blasphemer a wolf in sheep clothing. Jesus came to call the sinner to forgive their sins only those who are chosen by God before the beginning of time. But those who refuse the accept the authority of God and continue in sin and say it is not sin, Jesus did not come for them. John 8:39-46. Reference need permission of publisher therefore cannot append here.

  5. Comment by Patrick98 on February 23, 2016 at 11:52 am

    Compare his words with these from the Presbyterian Heritage Daily Devotional, February 14 selection: “The Bible is necessary, indispensable, and irreplaceable when it comes to knowing God.” The prayer for that day is: “O Lord: May I never see the day when I think I can life without either you, or your Word. Stir within my heart so that I desire you and the guidance of the Bible. Help me to partake and enjoy both. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

  6. Comment by Mark Bell on February 23, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    The UCC stopped requiring that their clergy subscribe to belief in the Trinity as Father, Son, and Spirit – they only have to affirm believe in the “Triune God.” After all, “Father” and “Son” are sexist, so don’t let that silly old Bible affect your theology, right?

  7. Comment by K.Goodman on February 23, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    How do we know what Jesus is like except for the Bible? Is the Bible wrong about Him?

  8. Comment by The_Physetor on April 2, 2016 at 11:25 am

    Liberals create a Jesus who looks suspicious like themselves.

  9. Comment by The_Physetor on April 2, 2016 at 11:14 am

    Polls show that the lower your view of the Bible, the less likely you are to read it on your own time. Episcopalians seldom read the Bible outside of church, Southern Baptists and Assemblies of God people read it often. If the Bible isn’t divinely inspired, it’s just an old book with little value to someone in 2016.

  10. Comment by Dianne Hummert on April 5, 2019 at 2:30 pm

    I understand the Bible even The King James. The Bible is what our faith is based on, and it breaks my hearth to accept that the UCC is on board with this. It seems as if the left believes that they can change or discredit the Bible if it does not fit their views on society. I took classes on Philosophy of religion, Sociology of religion, and Psychology of religion, so have studied all aspects of religion and I believe that the Bible is the Word of God.

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