It is becoming more and more popular to hold to the doctrine of the “inspiration, but not inerrancy” of Scripture.
This stance has the appearance of intellectual tension. But the tension is so tight on this one that the doctrine snaps. W.G.T. Shedd explains why:
“The primary and the secondary matter in Scripture, such as doctrine and history, are so indissolubly connected with each other that uncertainty in respect to the latter casts uncertainty upon the former. If, for example, the history of the residence of the Israelites in Egypt and of their exodus and wanderings is mythical and exaggerated like the early history of Assyria and Babylon, this throws discredit upon the Decalogue as having been received from the lips of God on Sinai.
If the history, geography, and chronology, in the middle of which the doctrinal elements of the Pentateuch are embedded, contain fictions and contradictions, these doctrinal elements will not be accepted as an infallible revelation from God.
The same reasoning applies to the history and chronology of the New Testament. If the narrative by the four evangelists of the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ is more or less legendary, it will be impossible to secure for the doctrines of Christ that undoubting belief which the church in every age has exercised in regard to them…
To say that if the doctrines of Scripture are held to be infallible it is of no consequence whether the history and geography of Scripture are free from error is like Schenkel’s assertion that if the spirit of Christ is with the church it is of no consequence whether his body rose from the grave. It would be impossible for the church to believe that the spirit of Christ dwells and operates in his people if the church at the same time were denying or doubting that Christ rose from the tomb.
The primary and the secondary, the doctrinal and the historical elements of Scripture stand or fall together” (Dogmatic Theology 92-93).
You are familiar with the phrase “the end justifies the means.” Well, to hold to the “inspiration, but not inerrancy” view of Scripture is a case of “the end marginalizes the means.” That is to say, as long as you have the goal, it doesn’t matter how you get there.
But it does matter how you get there. This is why cyclists and college sports teams lose their championships if they’re caught cheating.