Nijay Gupta on D.A. Carson

Nijay Gupta has a brief response to Carson’s new fat edited book on Scripture:

Truth be told, when I was in seminary, I held Dr. DA Carson in the highest of admiration – he was a reputable biblical scholar, a man of the church, and intrepid defender of evangelicalism. I don’t know if he has changed, or if I have changed (probably the latter), but I was profoundly disappointed with his recent work The Enduring Authority of the Christian Scriptures – an edited volume that boasts a veritable “who’s who” of Gospel Coalition scholars such as Paul Helm, Daniel Doriani, and Douglas Moo (Eerdmans, 2016). In seminary, I would have been delighted with such a book, steadfastly defending the inerrancy of Scripture. To be honest, I don’t really have a desire to spend much time on this book- I have read enough.

Now, to be fair, there are a number of contributors in here that I have a lot of respect for as honest, searching, “always reforming” scholars – Craig Blomberg and Kevin Vanhoozer also impress me. But the volume as a whole seems to come across as entrenchment scholarship – protect the Bible at all costs! Now, I actually consider myself someone that could sign a statement of inerrancy (as articulated by folks like Ben Witherington, Kevin Vanhoozer, and Mike Bird), but what seems to be problematic about this book is the assumption of the problem of “doubt.” As far as I can tell, there is no room for ambiguity, mystery, and aporiai. There seems to be a compulsion (esp on the part of Carson) to tidy up all so-called “problems” and paint a neat and perfect picture of inerrancy. Firstly, I am not sure that is all that necessary, and, secondly, it has the drawback of putting Christian assurance primarily in a text(“the Bible”) rather than a relationship with God in Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit. Again, I believe in the wholeness and trustworthiness of Scripture, but only insofar as it serves as a conduit and platform of a covenantal relationship with God.

[SMcK: I received a copy of this book and spent some good long reads in it, and it impressed me as a Battle for the Bible Redivivus rather than a response to newer trends and challenges, especially among evangelicals, in Scripture interpretation.]

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than fifty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.