It is commonplace for an apologist of the non-reformed camp to maintain that inerrancy is not essential to apologetics. This is because they are arguing for something called “Mere Christianity”. This they believe reduces to the Gospel. I think that is ironic as they usually don’t even argue for that as they don’t include the issue of works salvation as a corruption of the Gospel. They collaborate with Catholics and Eastern Orthodox. It seems that “mere Christianity” doesn’t seem to even account for what Paul thought was essential to the Gospel.
The other point presented is to distinguish between theology and apologetics. That is because in theology you take the truth of the Bible for granted. The issue is they need to talk with theological liberals. The issue in my mind is that general historical reliability doesn’t guarantee the truth of the historical account. We may have a historical account that isn’t true. How do you know the theological truths that are worthy of defending? Well, the only source of a revealed religion is revelation itself. It is also my understanding that we are using apologetics to defends these theological truths we have gathered from revelation.
The limitation of our ability to defend a theological truth doesn’t entail that it is optional. The fact of the matter is that the Bible’s truth isn’t optional. Everyone ought to believe it all. Christianity is a package deal with no refund. If you want to believe in Christ, then you need to believe his teachings. He clearly maintained the authority of the OT. It certainly isn’t dispensable. The fact we don’t start off with Genesis 1-2, the Flood, or the Tower of Babel is because they aren’t our talking points. That doesn’t mean they are optional, but they aren’t how we present an argument for the faith.
Even if you think that general historical reliability is the goal to set yourself for you will still have to deal with contradictions. Unbelievers use those to undermine both the truth and reliability of the Bible. Defending the historicity of Jesus entails you defend the historicity of the NT.
We are simply to argue for the Christian faith and not reduce it to the point in which individuals decide that some parts are optional. Are we also giving individuals a poorly misinformed Christian worldview and hoping they make an ill-informed choice to become Christian? Does this not just increase the problem of Christians being ill-informed that build into the great apostasy of Christian children going to college?
This is also very incompatible with the Presuppositionalist method that maintains you argue from Christianity. It is ultimately incompatible with the fundamental principles of the Christian worldview that grounds in truth and meaning in the authority of God. That isn’t optional and rejecting it is a very dangerous deed. This reductionist Christianity is only a disservice to its defenders and its popularizers.