Ken Ham, Andrew Lloyd Weber and lazy KJV-only monoglots

Via Patheos blogger and New Testament professor James McGrath, I learn that Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis has dismissed both of us as "secularists." I'm a Baptist, and our core belief in "believer's Baptism" stands in stark opposition to the practice of involuntary baptism into the state church. That makes all of us Baptists -- in doctrine, at least -- advocates of secular government. Somehow I doubt that's what Ham meant. Maybe he's still upset that I suggested he must be Austrian rather … [Read more...]

Loving the Bible too much to ‘literally’ ignore what it says

Here are a couple of recent items on a recurring theme around here. The first is from Greg Carey at the Huffington Post and the second is from Kenton L. Sparks' introduction to God's Word in Human Words. Here's Carey on "Where 'Liberal' Bible Scholars Come From": Biblical scholarship is an academic discipline, taught and studied at universities, colleges and divinity schools all around the world. So it should be no surprise that biblical scholars run in all shapes, sizes, colors and … [Read more...]

Bildad the Shuhite and Todd Akin the Republican

Moralism is an expression of self-righteous pride. That's where it always winds up. Always. But it doesn't always start there. Sometimes it starts in fear. Think back to those archetypal moralists: Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite. Job's three friends, it is often noted, are good friends to him right up until the point when they start talking. Then things go downhill pretty fast and they make themselves out to be such fools that thousands of years later … [Read more...]

Culture warriors produce a new, improved Bible

bible cover

Fundamentalist Christians are fond of the final verses of the book of Revelation: The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. No, not that one, of course. They don't tend to think of "grace" as a defining characteristic of the Lord Jesus. Nor do they believe such grace should be extended to all the saints (at least not to all the people who claim to be among the saints -- certainly not to the egalitarians, liberals, homosexuals, Episcopalians, papists, peaceniks, etc.). No, they're … [Read more...]

‘Inerrancy’ is not a victimless crime

The doctrine of "inerrancy" is often referred to as a "high view of scripture." It is not. It's a low-down dirty trick to play on the Bible and on anyone who tries to read it. Inerrancy is not a victimless crime. It chases some people away from the Bible and prevents others from reading it intelligently. I respect that this idea comes from a place of respect, but that is not where it leads. It leads to a profound disrespect for the Bible, and for those who seek to read it honestly. And, … [Read more...]

Ken Ham’s biblical exegesis is just as sound as his science

Let me step back and explain where I'm coming from with today's odd burst of posts. I've been butting heads with young-earth creationists for most of my life. This goes back more than 30 years, to the middle-school "science" classes wherein I was first, unsuccessfully, indoctrinated in "scientific creationism." We studied "the controversy" -- but in our case that meant learning about the "gap theory" and the "day-age theory." These were treated as the primary alternative views, as though … [Read more...]

Genre matters: The Bible and the Dewey Decimal system

The Bible is a book. It's a bunch of books, actually, a bunch of different books written at different times by different people for different purposes. A bunch of different books in different genres. The Dewey Decimal system acknowledges this, offering a classification for the Bible as a whole (220) and for a (somewhat inadequate) series of sub-categories, numbered 221-229. But if you didn't know that the books of the Bible were the books of the Bible, the Dewey Decimal system would … [Read more...]

Second verse, same as the first …

This is no laughing matter. Your problem is a lack of faith. We are commanded to love the Lord our God with all our minds. That means we must submit all of our intellect and accept the authority of the text. You've got it backwards. All that book learning has convinced you that your intellect should be applied to the text, when really it's the other way around. And that is why you refuse to accept what the text plainly teaches: gorillas can talk. It's right there, plain as day. You … [Read more...]