Archives for September 2011

Third installment of review of Christian Smith’s The Bible Made Impossible

Now I turn to Chapters 5 and 6--both great chapters with which I mostly agree.  I think Chapter 5 especially is extremely helpful and all evangelicals should consider Smith's (not entirely original) proposal.  It won't fix the problem of PIP, but it will go a long way toward resolving numerous difficulties we run into when we try to treat the Bible as a flat terrain without highs and lows (not of inspiration but of authority for belief and life).Chapter 5 is entitled "The Christocentric H … [Read more...]

Brief interlude (in discussion of The Bible Made Impossible): more on states’ illegal immigration laws

Last May I stirred up a huge controversy here by condemning newly minted state laws that criminalize Christian behavior.  The provisions to which I objected were those that criminalized (actually made felonies) knowingly transporting illegal immigrants and sheltering them.Several people here objected, claiming that these laws exempted humanitarian transportation and shelter.  As it turned out, however, those qualifications applied only to emergency service workers, hospitals and s … [Read more...]

Part 2 of the Review of Christian Smith’s The Bible Made Impossible

Now I turn to Chapters 3 and 4 of The Bible Made Impossible.  Chapter 3 is entitled Some Relevant History, Sociology and Psychology and Chapter 4 is Subsidiary Problems with Biblicism.First, let me say that, contrary to the impression some have gotten, I am not at all dismissive of Smith's overall argument; I happen to think it is worthy of serious consideration.  Otherwise I would not be engaging it in such detail.  Nor do I disagree with it entirely; I have qualms about some parts of it … [Read more...]

Addendum to my first review of Smith’s The Bible Made Impossible

Obviously my posts are not perfectly perspicuous--sometimes even to me (when I go back and read them)!This is not the second installment of my multi-part review of Smith's book.  Here I just want to clarify some matters raised by some of you.One of my points is that EVEN IF the Bible were all that biblicism claims (as Smith defines biblicism) (setting aside his tenth assumption or belief of biblicism--that the Bible is a complete handbook of answers to all of life's questions--which I … [Read more...]

First installment of review of Smith, The Bible Made Impossible

Christian Smith, The Bible Made Impossible, Chapters 1 & 2It is necessary to understand three concepts in order to understand Smith’s argument in this book: 1) biblicism, 2) pervasive interpretive pluralism, and 3) impossible.  There may be others, but these are necessary and sufficient for now.The gist of Smith’s argument in this book is that biblicism, as he defines it, literally makes it impossible for the Bible to function as the church’s sole, ultimate authority for faith and pra … [Read more...]

Finally arrived–Against Calvinism!

I hold in my grubby little hands the first ever copy of Against Calvinism (outside the publisher's warehouse).  I received my author's advance copy yesterday.You know, when you've worked on a book for two years (and actually longer if one includes the years of preparing to write such a book) and gone through the ordeal of reading the edited manuscript and answering editors' questions and making revisions and reading page proofs, etc., etc., the arrival of the book itself is kind of … [Read more...]

Preview of my discussion of The Bible Made Impossible

Like some of you I'm very much looking forward to our conversations here about Christian Smith's The Bible Made Impossible.  Christian sent me an autographed copy and expressed a wish that he would hear what my students think of the book.  Well, I won't be using it as a text anytime very soon, but perhaps Christian will listen in here and find out what I and you think about the book.Christian sent me a manuscript of the book about a year ago and asked for my feedback which I gladly gave h … [Read more...]