me talking about the Bible and such and indirectly about Bart Ehrman (podcast interview with Randal Rauser)

Over at The Tentative Apologist, Randal Rauser posted a podcast interview with me that, frankly, I forgot I did. But then I remembered.

Actually, it’s the second part of an interview we did last November at the annual Bible scholar nerd fest (Society of Biblical Literature) in Baltimore. You can listen to part 1 here, the topic of which was evolution.

This podcast is about inerrancy, and follows on the panel discussion at the Evangelical Theological Society earlier that week over the book Five Views on Biblical Inerrancy to which I along with 4 others contributed. (My view is the right one, by the way.)

It’s a great podcast, mainly because Randal asked me questions and let me ramble. I hope you listen anyway. Rauser prefaces the interview by recounting the spiritual journey of Bart Ehrman, which then leads to our discussion about ways of approaching the Bible that don’t lead to an either/or mentality.

In the interview I channel some of what I said in the book mentioned above and also Inspiration and Incarnation. A bit of my next book also finds its way in there (I was writing it at the time): The Bible Tells Me So: Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read It.

And just to make sure you are paying attention, see if you can catch which of the following I actually say in the interview (could be more than one answer).

  1. “At the end of the day, I don’t think Al Mohler and I are that far apart.”
  2. “At the end of the day, I don’t think Richard Dawkins and I are that far apart.”
  3. “Inerrancy gives me leg cramps.”
  4. “We came from monkeys.”
  5. “Sometimes I wonder if Paul’s mind was wandering when he wrote.”
  6. “I’m not undermining the Bible. I’m undermining you.”


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  • Pierre

    I’ma go with #6

  • Craig Wright

    I heard you say, “I’m not undermining the Bible, I’m undermining you.” And I would like to borrow that phrase in some of the discussions that I have.

    • peteenns

      Royalties, please.

  • Ross

    I think 4 and 6. can’t comment on 5 as my mind was wandering!

    I like your use of “sufficiency”, as it’s a word I tend to think of in relation to the bible, though I think we need other things in addition, such as tradition, others and experience etc, which may make its sufficiency conditional.

  • Brant Clements

    At the end of the day I don’t think Al Mohlet and Richard Dawkins are that far apart.

    • Caleb G

      “Al Mohlet.” Now I understand why he is stuck back in the 80′s.

      • Brant Clements

        Oops! I made a typo.

        Of course I meant Al Mohler…who is stuck in a more distant decade than the 80s, I think.

        • Agni Ashwin

          1980s? I think you’re thinking of Al Pre-Mohler.

  • Chris White

    Really enjoyed this one and I definitely heard #4 and #6…

  • Wayne Ferguson

    Door # 6 — definitely door number six! Apropos of which:

    “Those who are inordinately attached to their beliefs– those who feel
    threatened by free and open inquiry –should bear in mind that, in the
    gospels, Jesus is not out to promote religious doctrines or beliefs, per se.
    Rather he is inviting us to take up our cross and to follow Him; to
    enter into His life–the new, abundant life of the Kingdom which is
    always at hand; within us; among us (cf. Luke 9:23; Matthew 16:24-25; Matthew 3:2; Luke 17:20-21).
    “When Jesus asks us to take up our cross, he is asking us to die before we die–to
    be willing to die. In part, this means that we must come to terms with
    the physical suffering and death which is our destiny, one an all. But
    it also means to leave the past behind and to place our future in God’s
    hands. It means to die to our particular points of view; to
    die, perhaps, to that in which we are personally invested–that to which
    we are personally attached (cf. Luke 14:26-27; Matthew 10:37-39). And
    it is well documented that this sometimes means we must reconsider our
    most cherished beliefs and be willing to forgo many of our personal
    preferences (cf. Acts 10:9-15). The Apostle Paul testifies to this as

    “Whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as
    loss because of Christ. More than that, I regard everything as loss
    because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord”
    (Philippians 3:7-8).

    “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live,
    but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I
    live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me”
    (Galatians 2:19-20).

  • Beau Quilter

    I’m just glad you didn’t say, “I don’t think Al Mohler and Richard Dawkins are that far apart.”

  • EdwardTBabinski

    Peter Enns quotations from his podcast interview with Randal:

    I’m not sure how to determine what the bible is claiming and what truth is.

    Inerrancy is very much a socio cultural phenomenon

    On ancient biblical texts: The further back you go you find flexibility, diversity.
    We don’t know what the first century Jewish collection of holy writings looked like exactly, or what the psalter looked like. At the crowning moment of redemptive history the bible is in translation, and not always the best translation and gods fine with that.

    I love the bible, I am convicted by it.

    Sufficiency is a wonderful word. The bible has a narratival authority

    An authoritative trajectory in scripture from tribalism and exclusivism to…

    None of us has certainty,we have trust, faith.

    …how creative the New Testament authors were in handling OT texts, and how much a part of the first century world that way of handling a text was. They were not locked into what an original author might have meant. NT authors were regularly much more creative in how they handled the text. Which is part of the culture but also because they were convinced that jesus was the culmination of Israel’s story.

    The hermeneutical challenge being that the OT does not leave a clear provision for a messiah who doesn’t fight, who dies at the hands of Romans and then rises from the dead. That’s not in the brochure, that’s not how it’s supposed to work. And yo use this wonderful struggle between continuity and discontinuity between the old and New Testament that the NT writers bring out, they DuPont have a choices almost, they have to be creative. They have to use the language of The OT which is not fully prepared to handle the gospel, in retrospect maybe, but on its own terms the OT is not talking about Jesus. They are using the language of Israelis story and transforming it , transposing it, sometimes subverting it, sometimes even ignoring? It, but whatever it takes to get to the goal we know is really the heart and soul of what Israel’s god is doing, this crucified messiah.

    Jesus and Paul are not evangelical in how they handle the bible, they are ancients

    What we hold onto dearly, not just intellectually, but what has meant something to us on a deeply spiritual level, maybe we could be excused for thinking that’s just the way it is for everybody, but I have had many valid spiritual experiences in my life, that I don’t think that way any more. God meets you where you are. That’s where your head space is at the time, that’s another illustration of this narratival developmental view not just of the bible, but gods presence in the world, in our churches and denominations, He is always on the move. If I learned anything from Jesus it’s that ideas we think about God that are certain often times are not, He’s often not as enamored of our descriptions of Him as we think He is, and He doesn’t just happen to agree with us on all our doctrinal points,

    One positive aspect of historical criticism is that it may push people more to realize there is an idol dimension to inerrancy, or any way of thinking, as in ” I have now captured the essence of God, I will not be moved.”

    Randal’s end comment: Same thing with different orthodoxies that become interpretive grids on the tradition.

  • G. W. Brown

    Fascinating discussion. As an evangelical Anglican with scholarly interests, I find this perspective on inerrancy compelling because of its attempt to be honest with the evidence and careful with the proper expectations of biblical genre. Anybody interested in reading more about genre theory should consult E. D. Hirsch’s Validity in Interpretation. Lots in there for Bible scholars to benefit from… I also highly recommend Enns’s book, which I read many years ago now. I wonder how Enns would agree or disagree with a careful OT scholar like John Walton.