Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Of Text-Critical Scholars and Evolutionists

Most of us are so entrenched in our particular theological tradition that we are rarely able to understand why certain words and phrases deserve excision from the Biblical text. A textual-critical philosophy that did not remain theologically neutral could not retain it's integrity for long. Unfortunately, theological neutrality is anathema for many protestant fundamentalists.
Textual criticism is a science. It's authority rests on theories that are vindicated by empirical evidence. In this way, textual critics and evolutionists are one of a piece, because they engage in cold, hard, unflinching empiricism. If you've got a problem with one, why not have a problem with the other. Why should any portion of our faith be subject to science? Why not stand for the "faith once delivered to the saints?" Truly this is the thinking of the KJVO. And this is the thinking of literal 6-day creationists. You are willing to chalk up conflicting evidence to a lack of knowledge, rather than come to the conclusion that the Bible, as you perceive it, is in error.
What these controversies both have in common is that they challenge our perspective of Scripture. Here is the million dollar question: instead of saying, the Bible is right, we are just misinterpreting the evidence; why not simply say, science is right, we are just misinterpreting the Bible? Neither perspective challenges the validity of science or Scripture, but the latter forces us to re-evaluate our basic assumptions concerning Scripture, something the evangelical world has opaquely resisted since the dawn of Christian modernism.
What if God desires to drive us self-styled "Bible believers" to our knees in humility and our hearts and minds to a renewed understanding of how God manifests Himself, including His truth, through the community of believers, the ekklesia?


Luke said...

Here is the million dollar question: instead of saying, the Bible is right, we are just misinterpreting the evidence; why not simply say, science is right, we are just misinterpreting the Bible? ... RIGHT ON.

Damien said...

do you think it's possible to deny KJVO and embrace creation science?

At the risk of sounding like the fundamenalists about which you're writing, I would answer the million dollar question with "no, the Bible is always right.

The problem is the evidence changes, science changes. Textbooks are out of date within 5-10 years, and I'd hate to rearrange what I thought about the Bible as a result of grasping on to evidence that is subject to change.

I do see what you're saying, bro, and I agree to an extent. But I'm equally thankful that there have been a lot of well qualified, credible, level-headed Christians on the side of creationism that do not employ the same tactics as KJVOs.

David T. said...

The first thing to do is allow the Bible to be true. Now, and here is the kicker, we may or may not recognize or understand the truth, but we believe that the Bible is true. So with Gen 1/2, for example, we recognize the different theories (YEC, OEC, TE, DoP) while not being dogmatic on the issue, and not yielding to those who would write it off as allegory or myth. (Personally, I am OEC/Gap Theory.) This allows us to be flexible, not in terms of the Bible being true, but in terms of our understanding of it. Coming to blows over interpretations of Genesis 1/2 takes our focus away from what is the really important truth, that God had a personal agency in forming this world and the universe.
Too many people in fundamentalist conservative ev. circles are very dogmatic about YEC, to the point of ignoring evidence to the contrary. Perhaps this is what I was reaching at in making a comparison to KJVOs.

Bob Hayton said...

I think you have a good point, David T. We need to be careful about allowing our particular interpretation of the Bible on any number of points to be held in equal esteem with the Bible itself. I tend toward an OEC view at this point, but have respect for other veiws.