It’s refreshing to hear such criticism coming from within the evangelical academy.
Ted Olsen describes how theologian J.P. Moreland challenged the Evangelical Theological Society with a session called: "How Evangelicals Became Over-Committed to the Bible and What Can Be Done About It." (Am I the only one that’s surprised he wasn’t burnt at the evangelical stake for the title alone?)
Nope. But I am also, like Ryan, encouraged by the increase in such observations by evangelicals associated with the more conservative elements.
…[the most] provocative [point] was Moreland’s argument about why evangelicals became over-committed to the Bible. Rather than developing a robust epistemology in response to secularism, he said, evangelicals reacted and retreated. Now evangelical theologians aren’t allowed to come to any new conclusions about the truths in Scripture, and they’re not allowed to find truths outside of Scripture. As a result, he said, they’re engaged in “private language games and increasingly detailed minutia” and “we’re not seeing work on broad cultural themes.”
There are, quite frankly, a number of papers here that reflect private language games and increasingly detailed minutia. There will be in a few days, too, at the joint meeting of the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature. And there are at just about every other major academic conference I’ve ever attended.
I am first and foremost a Christian. I worship, follow, and seek to imitate Christ. I am not a Biblian. I do not worship the Bible, even though it is a reliable and authoritative witness to the person of Jesus Christ, the living Word of God. It is not a question of choosing one over and against the other, but a question of priority, emphasis, and ultimate allegiance.
Ryan Rodrick Beiler is the web editor for Sojourners
For me, much of the blame, from a sociological view, is the evangelical captivity (or of SOME or maybe even MOST evangelicals) to the supremacy of TEXT over COMMUNITY; TEXTUAL AUTHORITY OVER (and often to the exclusion of) ecclesia (here, ecclesia being the living with Scripture as a people called to be a model of life as God calls forth).