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Reading the Bible Critically in the Church

Peter Enns took part in a panel discussion on the topic of “Reading the Bible in the 21st Century” at the Society of Biblical Literature meeting last week in San Diego. His ten-minute opening remarks are well worth your time. Here is his conclusion:

If I can put this in Christian terms, scripture bears witness to the acts of God and most supremely to the act of God in Christ. But scripture bears witness in culturally and contextually meaningful ways. This is where historical criticism comes into the picture—not as an enemy to be guarded against or plundered, and not as an awkward relative you don’t know what to do with, but as a companion, a means of understanding and embracing the complex actualizing dynamic of the Bible as a whole.

This is what I am aiming for in The Bible Tells Me So, albeit at a popular level, because that is where this discussion needs to be—with those who feel they have to chose between accepting academic insights or maintaining faith. I don’t believe that is a choice that has to be made, and miss out on a lot when we feel we need to.

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Pete Enns Is a Genius

He may or may not be an evil genius (I’ve never met him). He is a genius at helping you see things from a different point of view:

In a recent statement from his Creation Museum office, Ken Ham blasted God for “not taking the Bible seriously and undermining its authority.”

“Only someone with liberal leanings would write a Bible like this,” Ham exploded. “Placing next to each other in the Old Testament two blatantly contradictory histories of Israel [1 Samuel-2 Kingsand 1 and 2 Chronicles] is nothing less than an all-out attack on the integrity of God’s inerrant word.”

“Think about it. The transition of power from David to Solmon can’t be filled with political conspiracy and be smooth as silk, yet there we have it, clear as day.” [1 Kings 1-2; 1 Chronicles 23:1]

“We can harmonize some of this, but not all. And that’s a problem. Only a God willing to compromise on God’s word would write something like this.”

Best Book Excerpt Ever

Peter Enns’s new book (coming out in August) looks like a winner, not least because of this riveting excerpt:

The book is just over 65,000 words long, and I am proud of each and every one of them. All that remains for me now is to arrange them in the right order and make sentences out of them (at which time I will give an exerpt or two).

Until then, here are some of the words that will appear in the book, some more than once.

  • the
  • a
  • Jesus
  • dipwad
  • Alexander Graham Bell
  • New Jersey
  • Kansas
  • Bible
  • Megatron
  • Yankees
  • Balrog
  • God
  • went
  • lawyer
  • iPhone 17
  • tube socks
  • Klingon
  • Red Sox
  • Herman Munster
  • White Russian
  • moron
  • Screen Actors Guild
  • have
  • dagnabbit 
  • Justin Bieber
  • of
  • cagefighting

That’s the first paragraph.

I can’t wait!