Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Evangelicals 'over-committed to the Bible'

Ted Olsen writes about a talk by Biola's J.P. Moreland at the Evangelical Theological Society meeting in San Diego:

In short, to accuse evangelicals of over-commitment to the Bible at ETS would be like accusing environmentalists of talking too much about climate change at a Sierra Club meeting. But Moreland, who has gained some prominence as a philosopher and apologist, wasn’t pulling any punches.

“In the actual practices of the Evangelical community in North America, there is an over-commitment to Scripture in a way that is false, irrational, and harmful to the cause of Christ,” he said. “And it has produced a mean-spiritedness among the over-committed that is a grotesque and often ignorant distortion of discipleship unto the Lord Jesus.”

The problem, he said, is “the idea that the Bible is the sole source of knowledge of God, morality, and a host of related important items. Accordingly, the Bible is taken to be the sole authority for faith and practice.”

Suppose an archaeologist discovered a portion of the ancient city of Jerusalem that was specifically described in the Old Testament, Moreland said:

Could the archaeologist have discovered the site without the use of the Old Testament? Once discovered, could the archaeologist learn things about the site that went beyond what was in the Old Testament? Clearly the answer is yes to both questions. Why? Because the site actually exists in the real world. It does not exist in the Bible. It is only described in the Bible and the biblical description in partial.

Likewise, Moreland argued, “because the human soul/spirit and demons/angels are real, it is possible, and, in fact, actual that extra-biblical knowledge can be gained about these spiritual entities. … Demons do not exist in the Bible. They exist in reality.”


Anonymous said...

"Demons do not exist in the Bible. They exist in reality.”

Doesn't he have that exactly backwards?

MAN, Christians sure live in a down-is-up, black-is-white, sane-is-crazy and crazy-is-really-frigging-crazy world from the one I live in.

"Demons exist in reality??!?" It's like Halloween 365 with these people. Better not look under the bed!


"You got long ass balls, Larry" said...

Mr. Siamang,
let me break this down for you because apparently this concept is much too complicated for you. The bible merely describes places/events/people but does not actually physically contain any objects other than ink and paper.

What this article was explaining was that people regard the bible as the sole source of information when they should be supplementing their research with information in the real world.
For example, in the bible demons exist only as blobs of ink on the pages which form words describing their existence. You can't see and study a demon in the bible beyond what what the bible tells you. However, if we were capable of catching and studying demons in real life our knowledge of them would surpass the information given to us from the bible.

Moral of the story, look to the bible as the basis of your information and beliefs but don't let it become the be all and the end all.