Liberal Biblical Scholarship?

This post is probably going to be a little rambling, so bear with me.

It’s getting later and later in the evening, and I still can’t manage to get to bed. It’s this time of night where my brain either shuts down or goes into fifth gear; tonight, it seems that fifth gear is what it’s going to be.

I’m more than a little bit old fashioned; one of my relatives has told me more than once that I was born 50 years too late. Among some of my more old fashioned habits is that I still believe in the centrality of family worship (there will be a post on that much later), and I still have my own private devotional exercises every evening – in Greek. I know that seems terribly academic, but it helps me keep my Greek from getting rusty (at best) or completely disappearing (at worst). Yet, as seemingly academic as it is, without a solid knowledge of Greek, pastors are forced to be second-handers for the rest of their careers, never able to check the work of the latest Greek “scholar”.

Which thought leads me to this:

Why is it that it seems that the latest scholastic wünderkind is completely ignorant?

A little over a year and a half ago, I got to sit in on a New Testament lecture at a rather prestigious and well-known liberal seminary. The experience was eye-opening, and nothing was more so than hearing the New Testament professor answer a question about the Bible’s view of homosexuality. The professor proceed to give an excellent, textually based answer, cogently showing that the uniform testimony of Scripture was decidedly on the side of heterosexual normativity, and that homosexuality was an abomination that perverts the created order. As he answered, I could watch the student he was replying to become more and more frustrated, until he finally burst out, “Surely the professor doesn’t believe this fundamentalist nonsense!”

The professor’s reply was stunning. He said, “Of course not! But it is what the Bible teaches; I simply believe it to be wrong.”

My respect for the professor, at that moment, was immense. Unlike scholars such as Jennifer Wright Knust or Bart Ehrman, he was at least honest in his handling of the text of Scripture. I have more respect for the man, or woman, who straightforwardly says, “I believe the Bible to be wrong”, than I do for the individual who engages in exegetical gymnastics in order to make the Bible say something it doesn’t.

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One thought on “Liberal Biblical Scholarship?

  1. “I have more respect for the man, or woman, who straightforwardly says, “I believe the Bible to be wrong”, than I do for the individual who engages in exegetical gymnastics in order to make the Bible say something it doesn’t.”

    Best line I’ve heard all day. Great post!

"I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naïve." (Romans 16:17-18) Please read "The Comments Policy."

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