Fred wrote:You know, maybe I'm missing something, but I think most of you are arguing against something that nobody is arguing for. I think this is because it stems from phlegm's use of the words "historical Jesus", and the connotations that particular phrasing has. I could be wrong, but I don't think that when he says that Biblical inerrancy is irrelevant, and that his relationship is with the "historical" Jesus, that he is setting up a confrontation or contrast between the Bible and "extra-Biblical sources", then siding with the "extra-Biblical sources" that tell us what Jesus is really like.
I think his point is merely that when we say that we have a relationship with Jesus, we have a relationship with the ACTUAL Jesus who lived and walked and breathed, not with a character which we know from the Bible. I think that this is something that should be relatively uncontroversial, actually, when you think about it. The people who became followers of Jesus in the days and months that followed his resurrection, for instance, didn't have to believe anything in particular about what is laid out in the Gospel accounts to become Christians. So it stands to reason that a particular belief about what is laid out in the Gospels is not a prerequisite to becoming a Christian, but rather a belief in the person of Jesus, the "historical" person, if you like. Another example is that of Paul, who wrote most of the New Testament. I'm not sure whether which of the Gospel accounts he was aware of, if he was aware of any of them, but it seems like he, too, didn't need to believe anything in particular about those accounts, either.
The upshot of all of this to me (and I think phlegm, although we don't see eye to eye on all of this) is that an particular belief about the "inerrancy" of Scripture is not necessary to become a Christian. I personally believe that the Bible does not contradict itself, and where we see contradictions, it is the fault of human understanding, not of God or of Scripture (which is, I think, the right position, and the one that many people here seem to hold).
My original beef is with phlegm's assertion that Biblical inerrancy is irrelevant. I vehemently disagree about that. It is absolutely and totally relevant. I know I have gotten off-topic and digressed at times, but that's my issue and I've more than explained why. There is no other way to know who Jesus was and about Him other than through the Bible. Any other way is false, as far as I'm concerned. The scripture that states that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God pretty well backs that up.