Jonathan Merritt’s excellent interview with Greg Boyd is here, and you can read the whole at that link, but here’s a clip:
JM: In Benefit of the Doubt, you advise people to believe in the Bible because they believe in Jesus, not the other way around. What do you mean by this, and why do you feel it is important?
GB: The number one reason young people today are abandoning the Christian faith and why other people can’t take the Christian faith seriously has to do with problems they have with the Bible. For example, as most freshmen taking a course in “The Bible as Literature” at a secular college learn, the historical accuracy of some biblical stories are questioned by many scholars, and it’s hard to deny that the Bible contains some apparent contradictions and some material that seems to fly in the face of modern science. In Benefit of the Doubt, I argue that if we structured our faith the way the earliest Christians did, these problems with the Bible would pose no threat to our confidence in Jesus being Lord and even to our confidence that the Bible is the inspired Word of God.
The earliest disciples didn’t believe in Jesus because their scripture (Old Testament) proved to them that he was the Son of God. They were rather convinced by Jesus’ claims, his unique life of love, his distinctive authority, his unprecedented miracles, his self-sacrificial death, and especially his resurrection. Once they believed in Jesus, they looked for him and found him in their scripture. But they never would have been convinced that Jesus was Lord had they started with scripture alone.
Unfortunately, most evangelicals today are taught to do the opposite. They base their faith in Jesus’ Lordship (as well as everything else) on their belief that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. This is “unfortunate” because this way of structuring our faith leverages everything on the perfection of this book, forcing the Bible to carry more weight than it was ever meant to carry. Every single problem people find with scripture now threatens to undermine their faith.
As I flesh out in my book, I eventually came to the conclusion that the things about Jesus that convinced the earliest disciples that he was Lord continue to be compelling enough to convince open-minded people today that Jesus is Lord, and they do not presuppose the view that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. Once I was persuaded on the basis of historical, philosophical and personal arguments that Jesus was Lord, I was motivated to also embrace the Bible as God’s Word, for (among other things) this was clearly Jesus’ own view and it’s very hard to confess Jesus to be one’s Lord while correcting his theology, especially on such a fundamental matter. But notice, my reasons for believing in Scripture are now based entirely on my faith in Jesus, which is why my faith need not be threatened any longer by any historical inaccuracies or contradictions or scientific inaccuracies I may find in it.
I’m convinced that if young people today would structure their faith this way, we’d see far fewer loosing their faith.