Are inerrantists basketcases? Well, according to Greg Wills…

“The doctrine of Scripture is like a continental divide,” Greg Wills, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s dean of theology, said during a panel discussion.

“Your doctrine of Scripture is not like one doctrine in a basket full of doctrines,” Wills said. “It’s the doctrine that determines which basket full of doctrines you have.”

via BRnow.org – Inerrancy ‘drift’ festers in Christian academia.

And this is why Evangelicals are wrong. If the doctrine of inerrancy is your first go-to doctrine, you are doing Christianity wrong. For other posts related to inerrancy, click the link at the bottom of the post. But to sum up, their first doctrine is not Jesus, nor the Trinity, but a doctrine created recently and used as a means to validate faith.

Some people need to read Barth. Or the Church Fathers. Heck, even Calvin.

Post By Joel Watts (10,072 Posts)

Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

Website: → Unsettled Christianity

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18 thoughts on Are inerrantists basketcases? Well, according to Greg Wills…

  1. “White agreed, saying, “A college or university that calls itself Christian but is not one is the worst kind of poison.””
    “Wills said. “Academic freedom, as it has developed in the American university system, is one that was designed deliberately for the toleration of leftward views on the faculty of all sorts.”
    ““The doctrine of Scripture is like a continental divide,” Greg Wills”

    On the final quote, I would modify to ““The doctrine of Scripture is like a continental breakfast. Some choose toast and black coffee. Some donuts with white frosting and nuts. Some fruit loops. Some just nuts.” I don’t have to say what group I think these people fall into.

  2. “It affects how we do sociology; it affects how we do biology; it affects how we do psychology. If you don’t have that, then you’ll find in certain areas that you creep away from a biblical worldview because you’re not tied to a standard.”

    What about following the evidence where it leads, but also keeping in mind the current consensus opinion and previous research? It’s been working fine for my research at least.
    If you constantly find that the only way to maintain your “biblical” worldview is to assume that it is correct and make everything else fit these preconceived ideas, perhaps it is time to wonder if it’s not your assumptions that are wrong rather than the results of your scientific research before? If it’s so obvious that your worldview is the correct one, then why don’t you naturally gravitate toward it if you use the best tools available?

    “The most important decision any president makes is who he puts on the faculty”

    Is it typical for presidents to take such a hands-on approach to hiring and firing faculty? It seems to me that, in most universities, this is done at the department level and always by committees.

    Also, what is the point of having a “panel” entirely composed of people who see eye-to-eye. Well, I guess that when you already know that you have the Truth, why bother listening to people who are wrong?

  3. I can understand disagreeing with having inerrancy as your first go to doctrine, but it is still one of the basic tenets of Christian Fundamentalism. And even with that belief, how one interprets the Bible is not predestined. There are variations in the hermeneutics of Christian Fundamentalists.

    But why appeal to Barth when he described the resurrection of Christ as both happening and not happening?

    • It is one of the basic tenets of Fundamentalism, which is, among the myriad reasons, why I am not a fundamentalist. Barth is, I’m afraid, misunderstood. But, it is take on Scripture and how inerrancy corrupts it that is worth noting.

      • Joel,
        I don’t think that Barth is misunderstood. Rather, I think he is most difficult to understand and thus it is difficult to tell which side interprets him correctly. But regardless, we should see red flags raised when the actual physical resurrection of Christ is not put forth clearly. I say this as someone who understands the spirit of neo-orthodoxy but fear that its basic objection raised to Biblical understandings of history and science is problematic for the preaching of the Gospel.

        BTW, it doesn’t matter whether you are a fundamentalist or not with regards to inerrancy, just realize that acceptance of inerrancy does not imply the same hermeneutical principles in its adherents.

        • I disagree completely with your characterization of Uncle Karl. His view of the resurrection is his foundation of his theology, and rightly so.

          I think we are going to disagree over any understanding of Science Scripture may have it (it does not) and maybe even History.

          No, I realize the stated position is that “if I accept inerrancy, I am still not as literalist as that person.”

          • Sorry, but I am going by what I read in his commentary on Romans. Not sure if I still have that commentary but there was definitely a part that stated that the resurrection did not occur in history as opposed to geschichte. If he further clarified or reversed his position into accepting the bodily resurrection as being a part of literal history, then I would be happy. Barth showed us an example of courage for the stands he took during WWII and before.

          • Again, I don’t think you are taking him as the reformed scholar and theologian than he was.

            http://books.google.ca/books?id=3vch1lzDgAQC

            I would argue that the crucifixion of Christ and his resurrection occurred outside of history because it is the penultimate point in history. I would argue equally that I understand Barth to say something similar.

            Barth is, at the heart, a Reformed theologian.

          • One more thing, Curt… I would argue as well for the ahistorical reality of the resurrection because history cannot record it.

          • Joel,
            I have to respond by clicking the reply button to my own comment. The question I have for you is, does the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ being the penultimate point in history also mean that it happened literally in history or not?

          • I’m going to say no, it is not happen in history, although it is an event afforded a place on the calendar. I realize you may think this is a goose chase, but I like the conciseness of the language here.

            Do I think Jesus was actually crucified, died, descended into the Grave, and arose the 3rd day? Yes. The Historical Person of Jesus? Yes. That guy.

            Do I think it happened in history? No.

          • Joel,
            Then what is the difference between what you are saying and what Christian Fundamentalists are saying when they that it happened in literal history?

          • First, your explanation was nothing more than an overgeneralization on Fundamentalists. Could easily show the different the hermeneutics of Fundamentalists who take inerrancy to mean that the Bible was dictated virtually without human agency vs those who recognize quite a bit of human agency.

            Second, all you really did in your last reply was to target fundamentalist and that was unnecessary because the question was how do you distinguish your view that Jesus was physically crucified and risen from the dead from the view that says that Jesus’s crucifixion and resurrection were events that happened in literal history.

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