Christian Smith’s The Bible Made Impossible: Why Biblicism is Not a Truly Evangelical Reading of Scripture was released back in August of last year. Immediately Roger Olson and Scot McKnight called it one of the most important books of the year and began a series of posts discussing each chapter in detail. A few months later, Natalie Burris and I began a series of posts exploring some of the issues Smith raised, using them as springboards to dive into deeper parts of the theological pool. My own pet project has been to try and flesh out exactly how regular Joe and Mary church-goer would sit down and read their Bible using what Smith calls a “Christocentric hermeneutic” after they’ve been told to read it as a “manual” for 30 years. (I extend an open invitation to anyone who wants to help me with this project.)
I hadn’t heard any rumblings about this subject for a few months so I resigned myself to the fact that I would once again be the crazy person in the church atrium screaming “The Bible is NOT an instruction manual” while everyone else walked past me to hear a sermon called “How the Bible can fix your marriage and improve your bottom line.”
But glory be! Rachel Held Evans, Daniel Kirk, and James McGrath all had posts this week with titles like “If You Can’t Have the Bible You’d Love, Love the Bible You Have.” Daniel Kirk has predicted (if that’s the right word) that one of the three or four major conversations in evangelicalism this year will be “what the Bible is.” I am hopeful that the fires of Bible suffrage have been stoked once again.
Maybe this will finally be the year when evangelicals across the country open their windows, stick their heads out, and yell “I’m mad as Hell and I’m going to read “The Blue Parakeet!”
One can only hope.