The concept of inerrancy of the scriptures is the big one. It can be summed up like this:

God is without error.

The Bible is the Word of God.

God can’t make errors, so the Bible is without error.

This is so important to Southern Baptists that it’s Articles I and II of the Baptist Faith and Message. It’s the very thing they lead off with in their doctrinal statement.

There’s lots of places in the Bible where they get this from, but one example is:

All your words are true;
all your righteous laws are eternal.

Psalm 119:160 (NIV)

To a literalist, God destroying Sodom and Gomorra over homosexuality was a very real thing that actually happened.

Growing up I thought that the concept of Biblical Inerrancy was something that had been a Baptist tenant from the very start, since it was pushed so strongly on me. I was shocked to learn this isn’t actually the case.

While on my journey I’ve been doing some research and trying to learn where did the things I actually believe came from. Biblical Inerrancy is one of the first things I dove into, since it’s the basis of just about everything else.

The SBC didn’t use the term inerrant until the 1979 convention in Houston, TX. I was born in 1977, so as far as I was aware, it had been like this all along, but it really wasn’t. They’ve re-affirmed inerrancy several times since then. The most recent I can find is from 2012:

WHEREAS, Southern Baptists have affirmed historically and consistently our unshakeable belief that the Bible in its entirety has “truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter,” and is therefore “totally true and trustworthy” (The Baptist Faith and Message, Article I, “The Scriptures”); now, therefore, be it 

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, June 19–20, 2012, do hereby reaffirm our belief in and adherence to the doctrine of the inerrancy of Scripture, as set forth in the Bible itself and in Article I of The Baptist Faith and Message

On Biblical Scholarship And The Doctrine Of Inerrancy, New Orleans, 2012

It’s been so shocking to me to learn that inerrancy is a new concept in evangelical ideology. This concept that basically shaped my life for decades is… almost as old as I am, and no older. 😢

Path of despair >