What Biblical Scholars Do

Bob Cargill wrote on Facebook, “I’m a biblical scholar. One of my jobs is to show people evidence from the book they supposedly revere that certain claims they make aren’t possible because of what it says in the text they supposedly revere.” He then added the challenge, “Meme THAT,” and several people did. The above [Read More...]

Genesis 1 (Fixed It For You)

So-called “literal” interpreters of Genesis are often blind to the things they read into the text. And so I thought that this image I came across deserved to be shared. It is an attempt to “fix” the text so that it says what young-earth creationists – and others who deny that it reflects an ancient view [Read More...]

Fundamentalism Is Less Interesting Than Reality

There have been times when I thought the opposite – when the world filled with angels and demons and a cosmic spiritual battle waging across it has seemed so much more exciting than the world most of us inhabit. But then Fred Clark comes along and writes something like this: I often criticize fundamentalism and inerrantism [Read More...]

Was Jesus Wrong on Purpose?

Mike Skinner shared some interesting thoughts on Mark 2:25-26 from the late Bill Placher: “Is this all a joke? A mistake? By Jesus? By Mark? Mark so rarely misremembers texts that I doubt he is doing so here. I infer, then, that the point of his reply is to show that these Pharisees, eager to [Read More...]

Using Texts to Argue Against the Spirit

Conservative Christians often claim to be the most faithful interpreters of Scripture. But it seems to me that if we have ears to hear what the Spirit was saying to the churches down the ages, it will become clear that focusing on written words and using them to argue against what the Spirit is doing often [Read More...]

Translations of Translations

I am disappointed whenever a student of mine includes in an assignment the profoundly mistaken notion that the Bible we have today is “a translation of a translation of a translation.” But it is all the more disappointing that we find the same idea in Kurt Eichenwald’s Newsweek article which is titled “The Bible: So Misunderstood It’s a Sin.” [Read More...]

Literalists Have a Choice

If the biblical account of creation is literally true, then the creator is maliciously lying in the great book of nature, which plainly says otherwise. If it is not literally true, then literalists are in error in their hermeneutics. So literalists have a choice; admit their hermeneutics are mistaken, or call God a malicious liar. [Read More...]

How to Treat the Bible

The quote from Gregory C. Jenks comes from an article on the Progressive Christianity website, written back in 2011, “Taking the Bible Seriously but Not Literally.” Click through to read it. Neither the Bible nor God is well served by any tactics that seek to protect the Bible from scrutiny. We must, therefore, resist any [Read More...]

Deifying the Bible

In an article about 6 popular Christian sayings that aren’t true, David Schell points out the problems with saying that the Bible is the “Word of God.” He writes: Neither the Bible, nor the Nicene Creed, nor the Apostle’s Creed says this. 2 Timothy 3:16 says all scripture is inspired by God, but “inspired” ≠ [Read More...]

The Big Lie

In a blog comment, Brooke Lester made the comment that I’ve shared here: It’s never really about a “literal” interpretation, but about controlling interpretation. In every interview, every Facebook comment, every conversation, you have to take the word “literally” away from them. That their interpretation is “literal” is the Big Lie that makes all the little lies possible. This image [Read More...]

Certainty is Doubt

I love teaching the first year seminar class “Faith, Doubt, and Reason.” Reading Clifford and Tillich, the Bible and Hume, all in one semester makes for great conversations. In Monday’s class we talked about the meaning of faith. Clifford famously discussed the moral implications of accepting claims on insufficient evidence. When Tillich was brought into the [Read More...]


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