Friday, May 4, 2012

A return to the Enlightenment - reinterpreting the Bible

There is a powerful reminder over at The Colossian Forum about man's endeavour to be his own arbiter of Truth. In a critique of The Evolution of Adam: What the Bible Does and Doesn’t Say about Human Origins by Peter Enns. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2012.

James K A Smith brings back our attention to what really is at issue in so much of the Theology of Today. Just who is revealing Himself in the Bible. Is it merely man's opinions - in which case they may have some interesting things to say but we would take it with a bar of salt, or is it God himself? The Bible for starters explicitly declares the latter. The history of Christianity declares the latter.
If there is a critique that gets to the heart of so much modern scholarship it is seen in that of James K A Smith. It is a must read to awaken us from our slumber and laziness of thinking about what so many books and articles are saying these days. See what Smith has to say about Enns and Walton. He points
out that Enns’

project is very similar to John Walton’s proposal in The Lost World of Genesis One, situating Genesis as a book that reflects an ancient Near Eastern cosmology.
I for one found Walton's methodology disturbing in that is is a return to Enlightenment days where Christianity was to be studied as just another religion among many and it's character and meaning were decided upon by what was common to all religions. Such was the approach of autonomous mind, where REASON turned from being a tool to a legislative Authority in the hands of mankind.

Consider again Smith's drawing our attention to meaning and ( authorial ) Intention in understanding Scripture, something often remote from our own minds when reading such books as Enns.

While Enns affirms the inspiration and authority of Scripture, this sort of hermeneutical approach functionally naturalizes biblical interpretation. [3]  Because this sort of account of biblical meaning is tethered to the intent of human authors, there is no functional role for divine authorship in determining meaning—which is precisely why Enns treats these books and letters as discrete entities rather than parts of a whole canon (more on this below).

I find Smiths critique a wake up call. Go on Christian read it and be informed and ponder and ask questions and Think! What guys like Enns and Walton are doing is removing the supernatural from the bible. One day it will merely be a religion without Authority where every man does what is right in his own eyes, and it will also be a religion without power. Power to save, power to transform and power to live the life God offers.
This book by Enns, a guy who no doubt is winsome and captivating is being endorsed to some extent by the likes of Scot McKnight and Tremper Longman III. Of course the latter has some reservations, he wouldn't endorse all that Enns is saying, however he doesn't address the problems. At least we have the critique of James K A Smith to help us with the subtle error of the book.

God Bless

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