A few months ago I drew an analogy between Scripture and the navigational charts used by seafarers. I also pointed out that in the U.S. Navy, your charts are only part of the information you're expected to use to get where you're going -- and that commanding officers are accountable for the safety of their ships and cannot abdicate that responsibility to the chartmakers.
A tragic recent incident illustrates the point. The USS San Francisco, a nuclear-powered submarine, struck an uncharted mountain in the Pacific Ocean while traveling submerged at high speed. One sailor was killed and 98 others injured; the cost of repairing the damage to the boat could reach $100 million.
Yesterday's New York Times reported that the commanding officer and other officers apparently relied too heavily on a chart that proved to be inaccurate:
[Navy] officials said crew members .... should have checked the water depth more frequently and should not have been traveling at high speed ....
The Navy has said the mountain was not marked on the charts, but investigators found that several charts showed other possible hazards and had inconsistencies that should have made officers more cautious. * * *
[A Navy spokesman] said the Navy had briefed the rest of its submarine captains on maintaining "a skeptical attitude" about the charts.
We would be well-advised to take the same attitude about Scripture.