If you believe in ‘inerrancy’ you have to pretend that all the other people who believe in ‘inerrancy’ do not exist

"That other guy is lying. I alone have the one, true, inerrant Word of God."

Inerrancy, in other words, is said to be the only way to avoid a bewildering diversity of opinions and interpretations and the only way of adjudicating decisively between competing views. That’s an excellent argument and it makes biblical inerrancy seem very appealing. The problem is that, in practice, biblical inerrancy itself produces a bewildering diversity of opinions and interpretations while offering now way of adjudicating decisively between competing views. [Read more...]

Hell and soteriology Part 1: Bill O’Reilly’s accidental insight

Camel-and-needle

Candida Moss does not euphemize or equivocate about what the text says that Jesus said or that Jesus said this as a direct assertion of fact. Jesus said that if you don’t give away your wealth to help the poor, then you will go to Hell. Period. As Keith wrote, Bill O’Reilly’s reaction was typical of “almost all readers of this story … surely that’s not what he really meant.” [Read more...]

The parable of the shrewd Goodwill cashier

goodwill

The same week thousands of congregations heard sermons on a parable in which Jesus praises a “shrewd manager” for handing out unauthorized discounts, Goodwill Industries sought grand theft charges against a cashier who handed out unauthorized discounts. [Read more...]

Today’s TV show, tomorrow’s ‘everybody knows’

Katrina Van Tassel might have had second thoughts if this were Ichabod Crane.

I’m not trying to write a TV review here. What I’m interested in here is not the way that a TV show like “Sleepy Hollow” reprocesses the raw material of literature, scripture and history, but rather the way that our understanding of literature, scripture and history can be reshaped even by a weird little TV show like “Sleepy Hollow.” [Read more...]

‘Dracula’ and the Bible

FirstEdition

When Bram Stoker wrote of “Dracula” and “vampires” and “Transylvania” he did not and could not have meant all the things that I cannot help but take those words to mean, to imply, to connote. It would require enormous effort on my part — not just willpower, but extensive research and scholarship — to encounter Stoker’s words and symbols without all that extra and extraneous meaning those words and symbols have since collected and accreted. I’m not sure that project could ever be wholly successful. [Read more...]

Slavery, segregation and biblical literalism (cont’d.)

OrlandoBloom

The white evangelical abolitionists started with the same approach used by the white evangelical defenders of slavery: citing proof-texts and clobber texts they regarded as definitive. For every “slaves obey your masters” quoted by slavery’s defenders, the abolitionists could recite an opposite “break every yoke” and “let the oppressed go free.” [Read more...]

Three strikes against white evangelical theology

Norris

This may seem like an intramural theological dispute between factions of white Protestants and, therefore, the very definition of a parochial matter. But here in America, white Protestant disputes over the Bible, what it means and how to read it, are never confined to pulpits and seminaries. These disputes tend to spill over into the broader culture, reshaping all of American politics. That was true, as Noll shows, in the 19th Century. That was true, as Dupont shows, during the civil rights movement. And it is true today, as our politics is now shaped by reaction against the advances of the civil rights movement and by a pervasive anti-feminism. [Read more...]

The Power of Gay is more than more than conquerors

SupesHulk

The Power of Gayness is more powerful than death. It is more powerful than life. It is more powerful than angels, rulers, things present or things to come. It is more powerful than powers — more powerful than height, and depth, and everything in all creation. That’s what a lot of Christians keep telling me, anyway, because they keep saying that just being gay or lesbian, bisexual or transgender, somehow separates people from the love of God. [Read more...]


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