Drinking Deeply

Wednesday, April 02, 2008 at 11:40 PM

Don't be afraid of Scripture!

Due in part to getting into a rather interesting discussion of Peter Enns' book (Incarnation and Inspiration) with someone, I've been following the happenings at Westminster and the general response in the blogosphere regarding Peter Enns and his book. Justin Taylor's blog seems to contain a number of good links, though you have to scroll through his history, since he's been putting them up as he's received them. Another good resource has been this blog.

But for those who aren't familiar with the book, all the book is about is a challenge to orthodox Christians to look critically at their doctrine of Scripture. While not explicitly challenging the traditional formulation, Enns seems to hint that it's not optimal. But enough about the book, as I only read a few chapters. (I am in much agreement with Douglas Wilson's review)

The thing that struck me about the book was how we shouldn't be afraid of what Scripture says. Now, this could be applied at an inspiration angle (the Bible can look like it poses issues for a believer), it could be applied from a Calvinist angle (what do we do with the "all" passages?), it could be applied from a Protestant angle (James 2?).

While each of these problems can (easily) be resolved simply by examining the context of the texts, one solution that I've always found unsatisfying has been the "actually, that word may be better translated as ____.... which just so happens to make the whole passage a lot simpler."

While I do commend the desire on the parts of the people who suggest such solutions to be systematic and have things fit together nicely, I don't really think that retranslation really will solve our problems. After all, to engage in such retranslation would amount to saying "well, this team of bible translators got it wrong here" (which is not to say that the translators are infallible). But why would they get it wrong if the theological issue is easily resolved if it were actually something else?

I know for a fact that in textual criticism (of the form "which manuscript is most accurate" type, not the "what did Jesus really say" type) will, when faced between two possible variants, often take the more difficult reading because it is far more likely that the easier reading arose out of a (sincere) desire to fix what was seen as a difficulty rather than a more difficult reading arose out of... something.

I think we should do the same thing. Calvinists shouldn't be afraid when the Bible says "choose today whom you will serve" and try to reinterpret the word "choose" somehow. Protestants shouldn't be afraid when the Bible says, "We are his household if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope." There's nothing to be afraid of, and we don't need to engage in some translational revision in order to answer the questions that are raised by such questions. The answers are there if we would just stop and think.

Let's take Scripture as Scripture, God at His Word.

Soli Deo Gloria

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Blogger E! said...

Hey Mick! Well writ. Bobby called today and you came up in convo. How are you? How is your The Reason for God sg going? Hope you are well. Will you stop in Naperville this summer?  

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