Saturday, August 18, 2012

Scripture must not suffer at the Hands of Bible Criticism or the Present Scientific Consensus

My Response to Dr. Peter Enns:

I must apologize for my response – not having read your book or even Madueme’s response to it. So let me just confine my remarks to your first critique of Madueme:

“(1) An underestimation, devaluing, and/or minimizing of the impact of biblical studies and/or the mainstream scientific consensus on evolution for an evangelical theology of Scripture.”

While you claim that “an evangelical theology of Scripture” must be informed by evolution and bible criticism, the entire Bible, implicitly and explicitly, requires that we put God’s Word above all other words:
  • Let God be true, and every man a liar. As it is written: "So that you may be proved right when you speak and prevail when you judge." (Romans 3:4)
  • Now, brothers, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, "Do not go beyond what is written." Then you will not take pride in one man over against another. (1 Cor. 4:6)
  • To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn. (Isaiah 8:20)
Even more explicitly, we are instructed to subject all truth claims to the scrutiny of Scripture:

  • The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Cor. 10:4-5)
Everything must be judged in light of Scripture. Meanwhile, it would seem that you prefer to subject Scripture to “the impact of [critical] biblical studies and/or the mainstream scientific consensus on evolution.”

This is a strategy – compromising the Faith in accordance with the day’s “consensus” -that has led the Christian faith down many tragic foxholes. In “Bonhoeffer,” Eric Metaxas gives several illustrations of how tragic this strategy has been:

  • Even worse, another church publication, “Junge Kirche,” once an organ of truth and theological orthodoxy, had gone over to the dark side, painting Hitler in brightly messianic collars: “It has today become evident to everyone without exception that the figure of the Fuhrer, powerfully fighting his way through old worlds, seeing with his minds eye what is new and compelling…The figure of the Fuhrer has brought a new obligation for the church too.” (325)
What the eye sees can be very misleading, along with your emphasis on the “mainstream scientific consensus.” However, to be fair to you, it always has been very seductive to the church. We latched onto the “steady-state theory” because this was the consensus view. To our great shame, we also adopted the prevailing consensus racism. You former colleague, Karl Giberson, issued a poignant warning about the scientific consensus:

  • How shocking it is today to acknowledge that virtually every educated person in the Western culture at the time …shared Haeckel’s [racist] ideas. Countless atrocities around the globe were rationalized by the belief that superior races were improving the planet by exterminating defective elements…there can be little doubt that such viewpoints muted voices that would otherwise have been raised in protest. (Saving Darwin)
The pressure to keep step with the “mainstream scientific consensus” has long been present. It has led the church to embrace geocentrism and even greater idiocies:

  • A church that does not keep step with modern scientific knowledge is doomed. It may take quite a while, but it is bound finally to happen. Anybody who is firmly rooted in daily life and who can only faintly imagine the mystic secrets of nature, will naturally be extremely modest about the universe. The clerics, however, who have not caught a breath of such modesty, evidence a sovereign opinionated attitude toward questions of the universe. (A record of Hitler’s thoughts from the Diary of Joseph Goebels – Quoted in “Bonhoeffer,” 166)



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