They have lost interest in what amounts to a shallow, quasi-biblical expression of Christian faith, one that focuses far too much on the not yet. Ironically, in their critique they are putting their finger on something central to the Good News.
I knew back then, as I do now, that the model of biblical interpretation I had been taught was not going to cut it if I was going to try to explain how my Bible works rather than defend a Bible that doesn’t exist.
Now, I know you believe, as we all do, that the Bible, being God’s word, is perfectly consistent all the way through, meaning it doesn’t mean one thing in the Old Testament and another thing when you quote it. It goes without saying that you respect the intention of the original author more than anyone, and you’d never mistreat the Bible like that.
We tell our story to connect to anyone who feels they are no longer welcome in their church community, a house they helped build through tears, laughter, prayer, confession, breaking of bread, and week after week of showing up to serve. We want to tell a broader story that says “You belong.”
The scandal of the Evangelical mind is that doctrine determines academic conclusions. Degrees, books, papers, and other marks of prestige are valued—provided you come to predetermined conclusions.
The Old Testament models an intentionally innovative, adaptive, and contemporizing theological dynamic—a recasting of the past to speak to the changing present and for a vision for the future.
I lay much of the blame on schools who boast of their top flight PhD programs and continue to recruit students but are apparently oblivious to the fact that their graduates won’t find work in what they think they are training for: tenure track positions in colleges, universities, or seminaries.
Expanding your faith is like renovating your house. Your 120 year-old Victorian is rock solid, the envy of the neighborhood, though maybe needing a touch up here and there. Until an expert builder does a walk through—and what he finds isn’t pretty. One side of the house is resting on a badly cracked foundation. You couldn’t tell on […]
If you know how Wikipedia works, you have a good idea of how the authorship of biblical books went down: an anonymous text is added to over time, but none of the additions are screaming for individual recognition. Benjamin Sommer explains the phenomenon this way: As Walter Jackson Bate and Harold Bloom have shown, poets since […]
As I’m sitting here, the thought strikes me, “My, Pete, you do write a lot about the Bible. Aren’t you tired? Don’t you want to move on? Maybe make some money, finally?” Yes, sometimes, to all those. But what motivates me to do what I do is a spiritual/intellectual quest to answer (or at least have an answer I am […]