Monday, April 01, 2013

The Night Of Doom

Dude, are you gonna do it? [No.--ed.] So, you're Reformed? [No. I'm gonna stay in RCIA. I'll go through it again.--ed.] Take all the time you need. What are you stuck on? [I don't know.--ed.] I thought we didn't need 100% certainty to go forward in faith? [Let me paraphrase you slightly: You don't throw the inerrant character of revelation under the bus for the sake of hermeneutical humility.--ed.] I couldn't have said it better myself. Eat that, Newbigin! It was pride, anyway.

This provokes all sorts of irritated reactions in me. It seems all you have to do is know the right people, throw in a few stock phrases about 'loving people,' 'this world is not our home,' etc. while insisting you're an evangelical who's 'just asking questions,' and you can believe whatever you want. You'll probably get a book deal.

Or maybe...The Bible was never meant to be used this way. I know, crazy. Sooner or later, someone will have to face the real implications of Sola Scriptura. Well, we are facing them. But its adherents would rather argue politics than deal with the fact that they can't answer their own questions.

I could hear myself saying, I could be completely wrong. There is no reason to prefer Reformed theology exegetically over any other one. My education is supposed to be the basis for my authority to tell people what the Bible says? Why? I'm not even good at interpreting it. Besides, methods and expertise didn't help Bultmann.

What's wrong with people like Bart Ehrman and your garden-variety fundamentalist is not the level of epistemological certainty, but its location, and a failure to recognize the ecclesial and social implications of that certainty. Ehrman has given up; others have closed ranks. And to be an ecclesial Christian in order to avoid both errors only gives the question of history (and the nature of the Church) all the more salience.

On a personal level, it's quite true that I may lack a certain circumspection at times. That doesn't relieve any of you from the responsibility of saying why you believe what you do. I read that somewhere.

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