C. S. Lewis on Inerrancy

I do believe that the doctrine of ‘Biblical inerrancy’ – that everything written in the Bible is 100% factually and historically correct – is incorrect.

In this quote, the great C. S. Lewis explains his standpoint on the Inerrancy idea:

” “My own position is not Fundamentalist, if Fundamentalism means accepting as a point of faith at the outset the proposition ‘Every statement in the Bible is completely true in the literal, historical sense’. That would break down at once on the parables. All the same commonsense and general understanding of literary kinds which would forbid anyone to take the parables as historical statements, carried a very little further, would force us to distinguish between (1.) Books like Acts or the account of David’s reign, which are everywhere dovetailed into a known history, geography, and genealogies, (2.) Books like Esther, or Jonah or Job which deal with otherwise unknown characters living in unspecified periods, and pretty well proclaim themselves to be sacred fiction.
Such distinctions are not new. Calvin left the historicity of Job an open question and from earlier, St. Jerome said that the whole Mosaic account of creation was done ‘after the method of a popular poet’. Of course I believe the composition, presentation, and selection for inclusion in the Bible, of all books to have been guided by the Holy Ghost. But I think he meant us to have sacred myth and sacred fiction as well as sacred history.”
— C.S. Lewis, in a letter dated 5 October 1955

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4 thoughts on “C. S. Lewis on Inerrancy

  1. I just finished reading a critique of Lewis’ “shortcomings”, particularly his qualifications of inerrancy. The presumption of his critics would be amusing if it weren’t so destructive of evangelical credibility. How many of us came back to Christianity through his writings, who were less than convinced by the Source Document? How many of his critics possess an intellect a tenth as commanding? I always thought our particular religion valued humility–which apparently some religiously correct authorities do not. I predict that Lewis and his shortcomings will outlive them all.

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