More on SBL’s Alleged Lack Of Friendliness to Evangelicals

In my round-up of SBL blogging, I mentioned the comment that was made by Bill Mounce about SBL, of various organizations he mentioned, being the “least friendly to Evangelicals”. My comment was that there is an irony about this, since there are plenty of not only Evangelicals but conservative Evangelicals in SBL, and they present all the time. Yet if one is not the “right sort” of Evangelical, then ETS (for instance) suddenly becomes an unfriendly place. And so I asked what makes SBL “less friendly”. Is it the failure to protect conservatives from questions by those who don’t share their assumptions? Is it the failure to kick out people who do not accept the Bible as Scripture, or do so but understand it in a different way than conservative Evangelicals? It sounds to me much like the sort of statement some American Christians make about the United States as a “hostile environment” when in fact it provides a remarkable degree of freedom of expression, and protection for that freedom, at the price of allowing one’s critics to also have the right to express themselves.

I’ve tried several times to get my point across to Roger Pearse, who posted a “response” to me and Jim West. I’m not sure why my attempts at communication are failing. Perhaps some kind soul can take a look and see whether he is assuming I meant something other than I intended, or whether I’ve failed to understand his point, or whether we’re both talking past one another.

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  • PamBG

    I think he’s accused you of dismissing him and his position out of hand and he’s pretty much told you why you didn’t connect: It sounded to him as if you said that you and your lot study the bible and his lot don’t, that you and your lot think critically and him and his lot don’t.Which is what your language does sound like to this non-inerrantist. If an inerrantist said to me what you said to him, I’d be pretty angry too. It’s really hard (impossible perhaps?) to talk across paradigms. I’ve given up myself.

  • James F. McGrath

    Thanks for giving an outsider’s opinion on this! Hopefully you can see why I didn’t think that was what I said. My point all along was only that it seemed ironic for a group that is more exclusive than SBL to characterize is as “less friendly”, when its “less friendliness” seems to consist only in the welcoming of others! :)I think a major problem in the communication process may simply be my warped sense of irony…