I recently posted on the essential doctrines of Christianity, and I left out a doctrine that probably surprised many traditional Christians: inerrancy.
The reason I left this doctrine out is because I was defining an essential doctrine as one that must be true for salvation. A person does not have to believe that the Bible is inspired by God, and therefore inerrant, in order to be saved. Many people have been saved in the history of the world without ever reading a Bible and even knowing what the word inerrant means.
However, the doctrine of inerrancy is an essential doctrine in another way. If the Bible is not inerrant, then we lose our confidence in the doctrines that must be true for our salvation. The Bible teaches that Christ is God, that He died on a cross for our sins, and that He was resurrected. If the Bible has errors in it, then how can we know that these things are true?
Whenever I meet people who deny inerrancy, but they firmly believe Christ died for their sins, I ask them how they know that those verses in the Bible talking about Christ dying for their sins are true. Maybe those are the very verses that are in error! I have never heard a reasonable answer to this question.
Inerrancy provides the foundation for our knowing the revelation of God. If you don’t affirm inerrancy, you can’t be sure of the very gospel you claim to believe. Inerrancy is the firm ground we stand on to affirm everything we believe about God. Take it away, and you have two feet planted firmly in thin air.