Rachel Held Evans on Inspiration and Incarnation

Rachel Held Evans has begun a five-week series discussing my book Inspiration and Incarnation: Evangelicals and the Problem of the Old Testament.

Some of you may remember that I&I got a bit of attention after it came out in 2005 and eventually led to some, let us say, “employment challenges.” I am very happy to see Rachel blogging about the book, because it was written with a simliar audience in mind as her Evolving in Monkey Town: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask the Questions

Like Rachel, I am not to trying convince gatekeepers but to start a conversation among those who want to have it. Many Christians (namely Evangelicals) sense a lot of cognitive dissonance between how they were raised to think about the Bible and some important (and undeniable) developments in modern biblical scholarship—particularly the Old Testament—over the past 150 years.

My primary audience is those readers who find it difficult to maintain their faith in God because conventional evangelical approaches often mishandle the challenges raised by modern biblical scholarship–particularly because they commonly take a defensive posture to ideas that challenge the system.

Defensive approaches are exercises in special pleading, attempts to hold on to comfortable idea despite evidence that makes such ideas problematic. It is precisely the ineffectiveness of certain ways of thinking about the Bible that can sometimes be spiritually discouraging for Christians who love and want to hold on to their Bible, but who also feel the weight of certain kinds of evidence.

I will try to chime in now and then on Rachel’s blog and add to the discussion. I hope you have a chance to visit Rachel’s site and share your thoughts.