This almost deserves to be my favorite quote of this year so far. I think it sums up so much of my frustrations in my conversations with other Christians. It is also something that I have really learned to do a lot better since attending a secular university. TallSkinniKiwi quotes Dan Wallace from an interview here on textual critisism:
“What I tell my students every year is that it is imperative that they pursue truth rather than protect their presuppositions.”
To pursue truth rather than protect our presuppositions. That is beautiful yet at times seems impossible. When you do that, you can guarentee that most Christians will tell you that you are postmodern because you have spine. But in search for a spine is exactly what it is, it’s just admitting that we don’t have it all together. Here are some other sniplets. Click here though if you want to read the whole thing (it’s quite long).
When they place more peripheral doctrines such as inerrancy and verbal inspiration at the core, then when belief in these doctrines start to erode, it creates a domino effect: One falls down, they all fall down.
The irony is that those who frontload their critical investigation of the text of the Bible with bibliological presuppositions often speak of a ‘slippery slope’ on which all theological convictions are tied to inerrancy. Their view is that if inerrancy goes, everything else begins to erode. I would say that if inerrancy is elevated to the status of a prime doctrine, that’s when one gets on a slippery slope. But if a student views doctrines as concentric circles, with the cardinal doctrines occupying the center, then if the more peripheral doctrines are challenged, this does not have an effect on the core.
At bottom, theology and faith do have a place in biblical studies. They can function as sort of a quality control on our exegesis. But they cannot be used as a trump card that allows us to ignore the data. Such a view does not honor Christ.