By Eric Blauer
Scholarly passioned people don’t have to abandon the Bible as Scripture or toss it into the irrelevant, untrustworthy pile of mere literature. The liberal handling of the Bible is the root of a host of developing alternative views of morality, theology and spirituality that us conservatives claim undermine confidence and faith in the Bible as Scripture.
Since I was recently singled out as a “cherry picker and verse lifter” on SpokaneFAVS, I figured I needed to respond to the charges. I’ll keep my defense fairly short, below is an article that I think pinpoints the central issue between liberal and conservative bible scholars. The unwillingness to believe in the supernatural requires liberals to produce alternative views that explain away the spiritual with the natural. This is at the root of the multiple lines of authors, dates, Y(j) E, etc. The challenge against the authority of the Bible is at the center of almost all my engagements on this site.
The defense of the Bible as God’s word is under attack from every angle today. Authority in every sphere is continually mocked, undermined and challenged from the classroom, to the pulpit, to the living room. If the Bible can be dethroned from its place of authority in our cultural mind, it removes the central compass for truth, opening up the way for what the prophets called “lawlessness.” On all fronts we still hear that Edenic second guess that echoes throughout human history with the serpentine challenge of: “Did God really Say…?”
I am not opposed to good or challenging scholarship, but I do oppose scholarship that’s premise is unbelief that encourage further ungodliness and idolatry. These old Bible words simply describe when people enshrine themselves as God. This temptation is at the primordial root of all rebellion, the desire to be God, vs the gift of sanctification which enables us to become more like God through grace, community, word and spirit.
At the end of this short paper I reference, is a bibliography of evangelical scholar’s works if someone desires to read deeper into the conservative position. Here are are a few important quotes from the paper:
- “Attempts to date the synoptic Gospel’s after 70 are based on the a priori denial of predictive prophecy (i.e. the predictions of the fall of the temple must have been written after the fact).
- “Liberal scholars assume that the Bible is merely another piece of human literature that is the product of the evolution of religious thought and that this idea is the product of Hegelian (ie the rational alone is real) views of thesis, anti-thesis and synthesis.”
-Archer, A survey of Old Testament Introduction
- “The possibility of Scripture being inspired and infallible is rejected a priori, and as Archer notes “even to suggest an investigation of these evidences is absolutely unthinkable in the minds of the liberal establishment. “
Young makes a similar point when he states that everyone who studies the Bible is influenced by foundational presuppositions which determine the in result of the research.
While higher-critical scholars do not think of themselves as being biased, Young points out that their conclusions are affected by Darwinistic and non-theistic presuppositions which a priori rule out the possibility of the Bible being the word of God.” (A Brief Survey of Contemporary Evangelical Responses to Historical Criticism of the Bible)
The Apostle Paul warned a young pastor named Timothy about the challenges and dangers connected to learning, teaching and passing on the apostolic faith, we’d do well to heed:
1 Timothy 3:10-17
“You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
I stand firmly on the “sacred writings” and the historical examples of those men and women who lived lives worthy of emulating. I also believe they were used by God to write to us words breathed upon by God that can trusted as scripture be they the cherries or the pie.
I encourage you to read, meditate, sing, write, pray and build your faith on and in Jesus, the Christ, who is the Word of God and whom the sacred writings proclaim and point us to in faith.
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