Thursday, February 02, 2017

Subtle Ways to Abandon the Authority of Scripture in Our Lives

Recently Eerdmans published The Authority of the Christian Scriptures.1 It is a rather big book, with about thirty-five contributors, all of them experts in their fields. The hope and prayer that guided the project were that this volume of essays would be used by God to stabilize worldwide evangelicalism—and not only evangelicals, but all who hold to confessional Christianity. More recently, however, I have been pondering the fact that many Christians slide away from full confidence in the trustworthiness of Scripture for reasons that are not so much intellectual as broadly cultural. I am not now thinking of the college student brought up in a confessional home who goes to university and is for the first time confronted with informed and charming intellectuals whose reasoning calls into question the structure and fabric of his or her Christian belief. Clearly that student needs a lot more information; the period of doubt is often a rite of passage. No, in these jottings I’m reflecting on subtle ways in which we may reduce Scripture’s authority in our lives—and the “we” refers to many Christians in the world, especially the Western world, and not least pastors and scholars. If they then introduce intellectual and cognitive objections to the authority of Scripture in order to bolster the move toward skepticism that they have already begun, a focus on such intellectual and cognitive objections, however necessary, is in danger of addressing symptoms without diagnosing the problem.

It might be useful to try to identify some of these subtr/>le factors. Read More

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