‘Induction over the history of science suggests that the best theories we have today will prove more or less untrue at the latest by tomorrow afternoon.’ Fodor, J. ‘Why Pigs don’t have wings,’ London Review of Books, 18th Oct 2007

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Liberals again - Steve Chalke challenges biblical inerrancy

I want to think that Steve Chalke is really a nice guy committed to building the Evangelical wing of the Christian Church, of which he is a pastor. But he seems determined to force through his own liberal agenda and challenge charitable opinions of him. But being charitable, I question whether he really knows where his theology comes from, and where it will lead if not challenged. His latest controversy can be read here.

He questions bits of the Old Testament he doesn't like, not just in terms of meaning, but in terms of original content and seeks a conversation. Of course, many conservatives seek to get to the heart of the revealed message by reading it and understanding it in context and asking searching questions about the meaning of difficult texts. Of course we need to read Scripture accurately by digging deeper, but he takes it further and questions biblical inerrancy itself. So bits of the Bible he doesn't like or understand are not really seen as God's word, but may contain error in the original revelation. But he likes Jesus.
Steve's desire for an endless conversation in theology sounds remarkably like the theology of the liberal Protestant Friedrich Schleiermacher, who also liked Jesus, but not much of the Old Testament. Schleiermacher was a product of the Enlightenment with its Greek commitment to dialogue in opposition to the revealed text of the Hebrew Bible. Authority in then placed subjectively in man and not in God, and the progressive humanistic mindset turns away from the need for divine grace.
But where do you stop if you start chopping and changing through endless dialogue? Liberalism leads us towards muddle and incoherence, where even the concept of love may lose meaning, as was found with the rise of fascism in Germany. Schleiermacher was one influence in the rise of fascism because it undermined faith in God's word. By seeking to understand Scripture through a form of Greek dialogue concepts may change their meaning until objectivity is lost. Steve's approach is a recipe to undermine faith in God's revelation to mankind, and ultimately even to undermine a commitment to Jesus' command to love one another. Steve needs to think deeper about where his theology has come from and where it will lead. He needs to change track.

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