Is it OK to Doubt the Bible?

An interesting conversation between Tom Thatcher, professor at Cincinnati Christian University, and Tyler McKenzie, teaching pastor at Northeast Christian Church. Whatever you think of some of the details of the conversation, it reflects a dialectic approach that progressive Christians can embrace: On the one hand, recognizing that doubting and even disbelieving the Bible is not only acceptable but part of a normal, healthy response to the Bible that takes its contents seriously (i.e. in a way that Al Mohler doesn’t). On the other hand, keeping the Bible as a conversation-partner (in fact, multiple conversation partners!) in an effort to jolt oneself into reflecting on whether we adopt the views and conclusions that we do because the evidence has driven us there, or because we prefer what our own worldview offers to some alternatives. If we cannot treat the assumptions of the Biblical authors about the cosmos as essential, we need something that forces us to ask whether our own assumptions are better, and if so why.

On related subjects, see Fred Clark on the “biblical worldview,” Kendall Beachey on culturally relevant imagery, and Bruce Gerencser on Satan’s Alexandrian manuscripts.

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  • BB

    Is my first name Edmund, James? :) B-r-u-c-e

    • James F. McGrath

      Sorry. Brain freeze moment, apparently. I’ll fix it… :-(

    • Pseudonym

      Insert Blackadder joke here.

  • Rebecca Trotter

    What I have found helpful is to hold the fact that God is good, loving and is at all times working out the redemption of creation foremost in my head and then ask myself if there is a way that the scripture can be understood that is consistent with that. I have found this approach to be very productive myself.

  • LHD

    That IS the tricky part. But I certainly don’t know how anyone could read the Bible and not doubt it. Genocides. Not doubt, really?

  • Sabio Lantz

    Thanx for sharing the video.

    Well, when I listened their talk on doubt and faith, I knew they talking about something really different than many progressive Christians feel. Then I looked up Northeast Christian Church’ faith statement which feels God chose the people who wrote the Bible and the Bible is the final authority and only Jesus offers salvation. It seems this is a mega-Evangelical church.

    Yep, I was right. I wonder if they are the kind of folks who are eager to preach, “The Bible says …“?

  • Mike Gantt

    The theme of the New Testament is, of course, that Jesus Christ is alive, and is the unifying theme of the Old Testament. It amazes me therefore how many conversations about the Bible, including this one, take place without any apparent reflection on this central idea.

  • BrotherRog

    Answer: Does the pope wear a funny hat?