One point that I thought was interesting was that, according to the results, amongst people who consider themselves committed believers, only about half scored the Bible as having high “authority”. It made me think about the many ways that one could interpret that result.
First, I do not remember much from the survey on biblical authority, but I do remember a lot being said about inerrancy. To me, that shows a huge bias. To the writers of the survey, it seems that anyone who subscribes to biblical inerrancy gives the bible high authority; whereas anyone who does not must give it low authority. I do not believe in biblical inerrancy, so I must have gotten low marks on biblical authority.
However, I often find the opposite to be true. Many people I know who would give a resounding YES to biblical inerrancy often have very weak biblical justifications for the points of theology that they hold. Usually, they believe this or that based on a preacher they have heard or a book they have read or what their church teaches. I see this as giving high authority to people or institutions, but low authority to scripture.
I probably scored low on biblical authority, yet on pretty much everything I believe – orthodox or not – I have a biblical justification as to why I believe it. People may think I hold some wrong views, but those are views I hold while looking through the lens of scripture. In that light, I think I give the scriptures high authority in my life.
I think biblical authority should be measured by how an individual uses scripture to guide their theology, not by their position on inerrancy.