As this is my first time to write a post as a response to someone else’s post I’m a little nervous to do so. Nathan Roach is a friend, brother, and fellow Misfit. And I respect the Hell out of him. He has a passion for God that is lacking in much of the church. Although he and I disagree on much we share a lot of common ground. I am confident in his love for God, in his desire to be faithful to Christ, and in his passion to be Spirit filled. All of this makes it hard to write a response as much of it will be a critique. In our current age, critique is often seen as a negative response making it uncomfortable to tell even our friends how and why we disagree with them. And our culture’s downward spiral of polarization seems to be making any sort of dialogue impossible. Instead everything has become a shouting match during recess in which children scream, “I’m right and your wrong!” And that’s about as far into dialogue and conversation as we get.
So please don’t misunderstand what I’m doing here. I hope I do not come off as someone saying, “This is the way it is, and you just have to deal with that.” I’ve known people with that attitude, especially in the church. And trust me, neither do I like that attitude, nor do I think it’s very Christ like. Ultimately I think this attitude is arrogant, because it makes ourselves out to be infallible. It says, “I know what’s right, and your wrong.” It doesn’t admit a possibility of being wrong. But in order to have this infallible knowledge to prevent such a possibility of being wrong we have to have omniscience, or in other words we have to know all that can be known. This I think is a state that can only be attributed to God. Only God can know all things, and therefore have certainty without the possibility of being wrong.
As Austin Fischer in his book “Young, Restless, No Longer Reformed” states, “Certainty is not possible when the finite is bumping up against the infinite. It’s not possible when a person is trying to know another person. If you want to treat God like God and like a personal God at that, you have to let certainty go.” (found on pg. 17, I encourage to read the book) Or in other words, God is infinite, we are finite, and because of that great “chasm” we will always have the possibility of being wrong. All that to say I could in fact be wrong. This of course should grant, what is often too seldom granted, a stance of humility that leads to thoughtful respectful dialogue containing both agreement and disagreement. My response, although most likely long (I do apologize) will contain both questions to you Nathan, as well as commentary regarding the material itself (both affirmations of what you have said as well as noted disagreements), and my own thoughts. As much of my thoughts will overlap with what I’ve already written extensively elsewhere, when appropriate I will provide a link to said written material. So let’s begin.
“The days of clearly defined morality and truth in our culture seems to be utterly long gone now. There is no longer right or wrong, there is simply opinion and speculation. There is a grayness to just about every subject under the sun these days. This has become part of our world around us, and it has made its way into the church.”
 You’re statement is a beautiful yet sad observation of our current culture here in the West. This impending flood of moral relativism that we seem to be drowning in is sweeping away any notion of objective or absolute truth. Everything has become a “choice” for the individual to decide what is moral based on their preferences. Of course this is hyper-individualism at its worst. But then again do moral relativists really exist? Who on God’s green earth really believes the Holocaust was not evil? I dare that person (if they exist) to tell their opinion to a holocaust survivor. Or who believes that slavery as practiced in the America’s is not inherently evil for all times and places? I dare that person to confront an African American and share their “enlightened” perspective with them. I think there is a lack of consistency with so those who claim to be moral relativists and their deepest convictions and intuitions regarding the reality of evil and injustice.
I disagree with you in the connection you seem to make between moral relativism as a shift away from biblical authority. Or in other words you seem to equate “what is right and wrong,” with “of what is Scriptural.”  “I see them every Sunday struggle with the definitive truth of Scripture.” In your view is Scripture itself Truth? From reading your post this is the impression I received. Although I respect you for standing up for your conviction I ultimately do not think your solution solves the problem of moral relativism. Inerrancy argues that scripture teaches one theology, one morality, versus teaching a plurality of theologies, and moralities. According to the Chicago Statement of Inerrancy there is only one legitimate meaning for Scripture and that is always the historical-grammatical interpretation. The problem with both of these claims is that scripture clearing teaches different theologies and moralities unless one is willing to accept that the historical-grammatical interpretation is not the only or even the primary meaning of any given text.
(This is something that requires much more fleshing out, more than I am even qualified for, I’ll reference some books at the end. I’ll do my best, but unfortunately my best will be limited by the purposes and size of this post) For example, If we take the historical-grammatical interpretation at least to a degree (if we took the full historical-grammatical interpretation of the book of Joshua we might have to conclude that the book’s genre is not modern history, and therefore probably did not happen historically. The archeological evidence would concur with this interpretation. However, depending on your flavor of Inerrancy this would not inherently count as an error if you take genre into effect. Again that depends on how you define inerrancy.)  into consideration while at the same time exempting genre then we have to say that Yahweh not only condones genocide as taught inerrantly in the book of Joshua, as well as on a number of other occasions, but that genocide is not inherently evil at least in certain circumstances. But that would follow that in certain circumstances even today genocide could be acceptable. Otherwise this leads us to fall into moral relativism. I think this immediately becomes dangerous and is opposed to the full revelation of God in Christ.
However, if we take the approach and hermeneutic of the some of the early Christians such as Origen then we can avoid these pitfalls. However if you define inerrancy according to the Chicago statement of Inerrancy then you can’tfollow the approach of Origen and some of the early Christians because they did not always and even rarely interpreted scripture according to a historical-grammatical hermeneutic. Especially in regards to the conquest narratives. Origen stated interpreted it in this way, “As for the command given to the Jews to slay their enemies, it may be answered that anyone who looks carefully into the meaning of the passage will find that it is impossible to interpret it literally (Cels. 7.19) and “unless those carnal wars were a symbol of spiritual wars, I do not think that the Jewish historical books would ever have been passed down by the apostles to be read by Christ’s followers in their churches” (Hom. Ios. 15.1).
If your not able to take this allegorical approach then you will begin to not only run into the moral problem of the Canaanite conquest but also into the contradicting theology of Jesus. For despite all efforts to somehow harmonize Jesus theology that we find on the sermon on the mount with the understanding of God found in the conquest narratives they ultimately fail. A theology of turning the other cheek and loving your enemy is not conducive to killing your enemies in any situation, especially genocide. I’d rather say that all peoples including ourselves understand and interpret God from our place in time and culture. God never changes but our understanding of God does. I believe that our understandings of God as having changed and developed can be historically verified. (for a further exposition on this see my footnotes)
“the Bible makes it clear that God defines what is true”
Here I want to comment that I do not think God defines what is true as that would make morality arbitrary and actually leads logically to moral relativism, but that God’s very self is Truth. This concept that God’s-self is truth although accused of being post-modern is actually very old. The author of John’s witness to the gospel, records Jesus as saying this Himself. The author also makes this statement themselves. John 14:6, “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 1:17, “The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” This verse states that truth came through Christ, not the Torah, and the previous verse claims that Christ is Himself Truth. The author of the Epistle to Diognetus (written between 120-200 A.D.) also makes a similar claim, “The Almighty Himself, the Creator of the universe, the God whom no eye can discern, has sent down His very own Truth from heaven, His own holy and incomprehensible Word, to plant it among men and ground it in their hearts.” In the context of this the author is clearly referring to Jesus as the Word. Here he calls Jesus Truth. Again this claim is made in the fourth century by Gregory of Nyssa in his book “The Life of Moses,” “This truth, which was then manifested by the ineffable and mysterious illumination which came to Moses, is God.” It is this idea that God, or Christ Himself is the conduit of truth and is Truth Himself that seems to be the prevailing view. As far as I have come across (and granted that’s not very much) I’ve never seen the Bible as defined as Truth.
Your statement that “either the Bible is authoritative or it’s not” does not necessarily hold true. Although I believe in objective truth, that does not necessarily entail that there isn’t such thing as grey in the world. There are things that are inherently good, inherently evil, inherently neutral, good or bad depending on the context and situation, and somethings that are both and. Even if we grant that in this particular situation “it is an either or” there is still the question of what do we mean by “authoritative.” (For my definition of authority see the footnote at the bottom of the post)
Furthermore I believe there are more nuanced ways to think about “biblical authority.” N.T. Wright doesn’t go quite as far as I do but I think his point still remains valid on this topic. In his book Surprised By Scripture, (great book by the way) regarding “biblical authority” he says, “In the Bible all authority belongs to God and is then delegated to Jesus. The risen Jesus doesn’t say, ‘All authority in heaven and earth is given to…the books you chaps are going to go and write.’ He says, ‘All authority has been given to me.’ The phrase authorityof scripture can only, at its best, be a shorthand for the authority of God in Jesus, mediated through scripture.”I think we ought to be careful ascribing authority to the Bible, for ironically even the witness of the authors of scripture do not claim authority in the Bible but in Christ.
This of course coincides with later Christian witness as found in Ignatius (writing from probably 107 A.D.) ,an early Apostolic Father, from his letter to the Philadelphians in response to possible Jewish Christians stating that the “gospel” must be proven from the Hebrew Scriptures. In other words, for them the Hebrew Scriptures, which served as the “Bible” of the early church, was their primary authority. What they called their “charters,” or “ancient records,” depending on the translation. Ignatius responds, “But to me the charters are Jesus Christ, the inviolable charter is his cross, and death, and resurrection, and the faith which is through him.” (Quoted from a previous article, for a further exposition of this please see the latest edition of this essay) 
My heart is that I wholeheartedly acknowledge my own biases and assumptions and positions that I bring into Scripture. I am not arrogant enough to believe that my opinion on all matters is wholly in line with God, but I will humbly stand on the belief that the Scriptures drive my beliefsand I will not back down from them.”What if the belief that the Bible is the Inerrant Word of God, and that the Scriptures should drive your beliefs is a false assumption that you are actually imposing onto the Scriptures? You seem to assume this is the case without feeling the need to justify this assumption. “I believe that God speaks to us through His Word.” On this I can wholeheartedly agree with you. However, what we identify God’s Word as is different. Yours is respectively the Bible. My current understanding is that Jesus is God’s Word. I believe that you fail to justify your assumption that the Bible is in and of itself God’s Word. I would be interested for you to make an argument for that assumption. But not primarily from Scripture as any argument for Scripture by Scripture is circular reasoning. And I think we can both agree that God is not illogical, God can’t make a rock too big for himself to carry, God cannot make 2 plus 2 equal 10, God can’t make a stick longer than itself. If the Bible is in fact His Word then a non-circular argument should be able to be made regarding the nature of Scripture. Granted I realize this may be extremely difficult. And thus far in my life I’ve never seen it done. Wayne Grudem and Al Mohler for instance use so much circular reasoning in these regards that its hard to take their argument seriously.
I would also like to affirm our common affirmation that “all scripture points to Jesus.” As I am already up to over 2,700 words I think it best to refrain for now. If this continues as a conversation, as I hope it will, I can flesh that out then.
Theres a lot here, and I hope that through it all you did not feel attacked but felt as if a brother was beginning a friendly conversation with you. Below I will place links to all my articles that further flesh out some of the topics I discussed here.
Blessings Brother Nathan.
Christological vs. Biblical 
God’s Goodness
Inspiration and Modern Authorship 
Recommended Readings: James Kugel’s How to Read The Bible, Peter Enn’s The Bible Tells me So, The Sin of Certainty, Inspiration and Incarnation, The Five Views of Inerrancy, James Kugel and Rowan Greer’s Early Biblical Interpretation, Brian Zahnd’s Sinners in the Hands of A Loving God, John Collin’s The Bible after Bible, Michael Grave’s The Inspiration and Early Interpretation of Scripture, Thom Stark’s The Human Faces of God.
(My footnote explaining my tentative definition of Authority) “I believe Authority to be best understood when we frame the concept within a Theology Of God that says God’s very nature is Uncontrolling Love. Any other Theology I think too quickly departs from this pinnacle of Christian Theology. And makes God out to be a controlling figure that ultimately for too many Christians becomes our justification for having a controlling and dictatorial understanding of authority. It gives us permission to have unjust churches and political systems that perpetuate the oppression of the weak, poor, the immigrant, the ostracized, the heretics (whom we deal with by the heresy of killing them, or in modern times socially killing them) and the killing of others whom we choose to consider our enemies. We excuse ourselves by saying, “they went against the authority set up by God!” Of course this is all predicated on a false, particular, assuming, and unquestioned definition of what Authority is, and what the very nature of God is; and what that Authority is derived from in the first place. This is I believe to be the worst of definitions regarding both God’s very nature and the authority that depends on that nature. The God we see in Jesus (Jesus being the Full Revelation Of God, showing us what God is like and has always been like) is not some authoritarian dictator ruling in the clouds like Zeus “over and above” earthly subjects. God is actually Incarnational coming down not to rule over us like a (worldly) king, but to live “among” and beside us as a friend. Being a God who’s very nature isn’t coercive but leads by Loving persuasion. With the advent of the Incarnation we can never again affirm an “over and above” God or concept of Authority, but as Jesus shows us in the Incarnation the reality of God and God’s Authority is a “side-by-side” and “among” kind of nature and authority.”