Monday, August 15, 2011

Good Stuff to Read


If I am about anything, it is the proposition that you do not have to shut off your brain to be a Christian. You do not need to ignore the plain evidence in front of your eyes to be a faithful follower of Christ. You do not need to swallow intellectual camels and strain at doctrinal gnats. You don’t, in other words, have to buy into a doctrine of biblical inerrancy.

Of course, the biblical inerrantists will tell you otherwise. If, however, you find the idea that the Bible contains neither errors of fact nor contradictions untenable, then you can still be a Christian--my kind of Christian.

For your consideration, here are some recent posts from other blogs refuting the doctrine of inerrancy. 

First, the estimable Dr. David Lose gives “Four Good Reasons Not to Read the Bible Literally.” Among them is number 3:

“Most Christians across history have not read the Bible literally.
We tend to think of anything that is labeled "conservative" as being older and more traditional. Oddly enough, however, the doctrine of inerrancy that literalists aim to conserve is only about a century and a half old. Not only did many of the Christian Church's brightest theologians not subscribe to anything like inerrancy, many adamantly opposed such a notion....”

Read all four reasons here.  

Next up, and somewhat heavier reading, is Dr. Tim Henderson’s three-part review of Christian Smith’s book The Bible Made Impossible: Why Biblicism Is Not a Truly Evangelical Reading of Scripture. I don’t have a pull quote, but part one of the series can be found here, part two here and part three here.

Peter Rollins has a pointed essay on “How to Cut Up the Bible Without Anyone Noticing.” He says:

“For large numbers of churchgoers it is presented as a clean, coherent and cohesive text, an image that we tend to adopt for ourselves. Then, depending upon what we think the message of the text is, we simply refuse to see anything that might contradict our reading. We thus treat those parts of the text that might contradict our interpretation as taboo. In other words we see them without acknowledging them, we look at them in much the same way as a cow gazes at a passing car. When we are confronted with the broken nature of the text and the way in which we have repressed some parts of it at the expense of others we can often be shocked.”

Read it all here. (A tip of the blogger’s bonnet to both Rachel Held Evans and James McGrath for pointing this post out).

And finally, Dr. James McGrath gives us his take on “Brickical Literalism.”

“Fortunately for most Biblical literalists, they are persuaded that the text can’t possibly mean something that they don’t want to believe to be the case. And that’s why, in practice, there are no true Biblical literalists. But an exploration of what consistent Biblical literalism might look like makes clear why there shouldn’t be any Biblical literalists, and why we are perhaps fortunate that there really aren’t any.”

The whole article can be found here.

I hope, in the next few days, to write a post considering the question: "If the Bible is not inerrant, what is it?"

No comments:

Post a Comment