When the Good Book Isn’t Good

Eric Seibert has written a guest post on Pete Enns’ blog in which he says things like this:

[I]f we are going to keep the Bible from harming others, we need to learn to have problems with it. We need to protest what is objectionable and condemn what is immoral. Otherwise, we run the risk of perpetuating the violent legacy of Scripture by making the “good book” behave in very bad ways.

The conservative Evangelical reaction against what Seibert wrote has already begun. But note the basis for the response I linked to from Owen Strachan. Seibert has violated the statement of faith of Messiah College.

Conservative Evangelicals elevate their doctrines about the Bible above the Bible itself, so that it is not allowed to say what it says, but only what they have determined in advance it is allowed to say.

How long can this be kept up, and people still believe that the conservatives are the defenders of Scripture, rather than a group that has taken the Bible hostage and keeps it under guard? But take heart. The Bible is in fact not constrained by their prison cells, because it has never had the size and shape they insist it does, and so it has never fit within the walls of their prison.

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  • Val

    Go, gatekeepers, go. Keep driving away the very people you need to be listening to the most and then wonder why it is that so many young people are leaving with them.

  • Herro

    Well, it’s not as if only “conservative Evangelicals” do this. You have loads of liberal Christians who try to maintain the bible’s status as “the good book” by saying that ‘properly interpreted’ the parts about genocide, the oppression of women and homophobia really aren’t bad at all.

    • http://divinesalve.blogspot.com/ David Miller

      Herro, could you point me to some instances of this? Thank you.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionprof/ James F. McGrath

        Indeed, I was wondering who says that sort of thing, too.

        • http://divinesalve.blogspot.com/ David Miller

          The “liberal Christians” I read and associate with call these “texts of terror,” quite the opposite of saying they “really aren’t bad at all.” Granted, I don’t read and associate with every liberal Christian who exists. I’m therefore open to learning about these “loads of liberal Christians,” but I confess that I am skeptical of their existence.

  • http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/ed_babinski/babinski-bio.html EdwardTBabinski

    On the Rationalizations Christian Use to Support Their Unproven Hypothesis of the Bible’s “Inspiration”


    I mention Peter’s “conventions of its day” approach.

  • Kaz

    I think that your album has a scratch in it, because I keep hearing the same old part of the same old song.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionprof/ James F. McGrath

      I don’t think many people listen to albums on vinyl any more. What do you mean [click] mean [click] mean … :-)

      • Kaz

        :-) Yeah, that and the static, pops, etc. Still, I love vinyl, which, all protestations notwithstanding, is still superior to digital, IMO. Now if I could just save enough to get a new Rega Planer III, life would be complete;-)

        I was surprised and pleased to find that some artists are releasing on vinyl again, like Norah Jones, for example. I guess there’s still just enough of a market for us audio snobs.