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Pete Enns & The Bible for Normal People

Evangelicals Critiquing other Evangelicals for Shoddy Scholarship

The Bible for Normal People

Pete Enns, Ph.D.

Peter Enns (Ph.D., Harvard University) is Abram S. Clemens professor of biblical studies at Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania. He has written numerous books, including The Bible Tells Me So, The Sin of Certainty, and How the Bible Actually Works. Tweets at @peteenns.

Over on his blog Brick by Brick, David Williams is engaging a great question:

Should evangelicals expend so much energy critiquing other evangelicals or should they focus more on defending the faith against movements hostile to Christianity, like secularism or scientism?

I think that’s a great question, one I ask myself periodically.

Williams has given this issue serious thought and has concluded that critiquing evangelicalism remains an important task, because, “there are a number of Evangelical intellectual habits and material positions that are serious liabilities for us as we try to faithfully engage the academy and the wider culture.”

As many of you may remember from previous posts here, Williams is a campus minister at NC State and Meredith College, so you can have some sympathy for why he is focused on this issue.

Put another way, evangelicals too often pose bad arguments that hamper serious intellectual engagement, and Williams feels it is important to expose these problems from the inside.

I couldn’t agree more. From my little corner of the world, it is a recurring problem in evangelical books “defending” the Bible, but I digress (though not really).

Anyway, Williams makes four substantive points to support his position. I think he nails it:

1. Evangelicals have tended to opt out of the peer review process that is central to academic discourse.

2. When criticized, evangelicals tend to circle the wagons.

3. Mark Noll’s thesis of The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind persists.

4. The loudest voices among evangelicals tend to be guilty of 1, 2, and 3, and are unchallenged.

Check our David’s post to fill in the details.

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