Sorry for the gap in my posts. I have been away a fair bit and when I am around I'm so brain-dead by the time I am in a position to write anything I have nothing to say.
I'm currently reading Kenton Spark's controversial book God's Word in Human Words (Baker Academic). Nearly finished it. It is a thought-provoking text - one that evangelicals cannot ignore. I'm not where Sparks is at but I have some sympathy with him. He's arguing that evangelicals need to take historical-critical scholarship more seriously. One consequence of so-doing is that we need to abandon innerrancy. Inerrancy is, he believes, demonstrably false. He argues that such a non-innerrantism is compatible with accepting the inspiration and authority of the Bible.
To be honest I have never been sure what I thought about innerrancy. In part it depends on how much the term is defined and qualified. Inerrancy is compatible with far more than people often realize. Bob Gundry demonstrated years ago that one can believe in innerrancy at the same time as believing that some of the stories in Matthew's gospel are, strictly speaking, not historical events. It is also compatible with seeing non-historical myth in parts of Genesis, say.
So innerrancy never concerned me too much so long as I could qualify it as necessary. But three other comments
1) As I have mentioned before 'inerrancy' is a category that, strictly speaking, only applies to propositions and so it is not precise enough to apply to the whole Bible unless we stretch the term a bit and use it somewhat loosley. So long as we know we're doing that and how we are using the term then fair enough.
2) It has never struck me that inerrancy was an essential component of evangelicalism. Perhaps that is a British angle - we're always been less innerrancy-focused than US evangelicals. Lots of evangelicals have a high view of Scripture but one that rejects innerrancy. I'm open to that. Sparks does compel one to think very carefully about the notion.
3) For those who do embrace it I do think that innerrancy should not be such a central notion for organizing a doctrine of scripture. It needs de-centering even if we wish to continue to affirm it.
So I do recommend it along with Peter Enns' book as well as Greg Beale's response - all great books on the reopening of the innerrancy issue ion the USA.