Nashville church says Bible isn’t the Word of God, then draws ire

Pastor Josh Scott preaches at GracePointe Church in Nashville, Tennessee.
Pastor Josh Scott preaches at GracePointe Church in Nashville, Tennessee. | Facebook/GracePointe Church

A progressive Nashville church has drawn the ire of the internet after sharing a message on social media declaring the Bible isn’t the Word of God, inerrant or infallible.

Two Sundays ago, GracePointe Church, led by Pastor Josh Scott, shared a recap of the day’s message on Facebook, discussing the Bible and the question: “What Is Progressive Christianity?

“As Progressive Christians, we're open to the tensions and inconsistencies in the Bible. We know that it can't live up to impossible, modern standards. We strive to more clearly articulate what Scripture is and isn't,” the church noted before stating what the Bible is and isn’t.

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"The Bible," the church said, "isn’t: the Word of God, self-interpreting, a science book, an answer/rule book, inerrant or infallible." Rather, it is: "a product of community, a library of texts, multi-vocal, a human response to God, living and dynamic."

As of Wednesday evening, the post had attracted more than 1,200 emoji reactions along with 1,800 comments. Of the 1,200 emojis, more than half were angry faces, just over 300 were laughing emojis while more than 100 were sad faces. Just 157 reactions approved of the post.

When asked about the reactions to his sermon and if he felt it was a good conversation to start online, Scott, who grew up Southern Baptist, told The Christian Post in an interview that he believes it is a necessary one to have.

“You know, my intent really was, this is a conversation that we’re having in our community. So yeah, I do think it’s a good conversation and I think it’s a conversation that needs to happen within that sort of the broader Christian culture,” he said.

GracePointe Church Lead Pastor Josh Scott preaches on 'The Bible: What Is Progressive Christianity?' on February 7, 2021.
GracePointe Church Lead Pastor Josh Scott preaches on "The Bible: What Is Progressive Christianity?" on February 7, 2021. | YouTube/GracePoint Church

“I think we definitely have a tendency to treat the Bible almost as an idol. And in doing so, we fail, I think, to see the real call, which is never for us just to read something but always for us to read it, wrestle with it and then embody the rest of it the way we live our lives in the world,” he explained.

“If there are any sort of conversations that are off limits in the Christian tradition then it probably just means we are afraid of them. We’re probably afraid to engage them because we are afraid of being labeled heretics, we’re afraid of people saying hateful things. In reality, these are important conversations. So yeah, I feel like it’s something that needs to be talked about."

In explaining his statement that the Bible can’t live up to modern standards, Scott noted that the problem isn’t “the fault of the Bible.”

“That’s our fault. I’m not saying the Bible has some sort of flaw in it,” he said.

“I think one of the greatest challenges that happens with the Bible is we bring expectations to it that it just isn’t intended to bear and can’t bear. Because if we go to the Bible and we’re looking for really up to date information on how the cosmos works, we’re not going to find it because I don’t think the Bible is a book trying to tell how things change. I think the Bible is trying to say to us why. The Bible isn’t necessarily the source of the how, the Bible is the source of why do we exist, why is there a world, what does it mean to be a human being in the world, how do we live our lives in the best way possible. I think those are more of the questions the Bible is trying to get at.”

While his church has been “completely shocked” by the reactions to the message, Scott said he wants people to see the Bible in a fresh light.

“I actually want to try to help people hear the story of the Bible, hear the stories and letters and poems in a fresh way, but a way that honors where that came from and the people that produced it,” he noted, while arguing that while parts of the Bible can be considered the “Word of God,” not all of it is.

He pointed to Old Testament prophets like Amos and Jeremiah who would preface messages from God with “the Lord came to Amos, or the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah.”

“There is stuff in there (Bible) that I think really goes against the character of God. There are genocides that have been divinely sanctioned in the Bible. People have used the text in the Bible, plain readings of the text at times to support white supremacy, to defend slavery, to defend segregation,” he noted. “Saying the Bible is inerrant and infallible, it absolves us of our responsibility to do what our ancestors did, which is to wrestle.”

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