Some parts are too hot, some too cold, but loving your's just right.

In the last couple years I have read many articles, books, and blog posts that speak about Scripture as not only not inerrant/infallible, but in some sense not even truthful or trustworthy. These are not from your usual skeptic, but rather from people who claim to be Christians. For many of us it was one thing to have an atheist criticize Scripture, but a sibling in Christ? Now that is difficult.

I have no intention of trying to go into combat with such folk. Even if I was right, they are so excited about their view points and their outlined arguments that it would be a waste of time. What I want to say here is simple: If Scripture is not trustworthy where it bothers you then why assume it is trustworthy where it does not?

If YHWH God seems angry and vindictive, they assume that Scripture is wrong. If there are passages that use language that makes us feel a bit of uneasy in our modern, scientific world-view, they assume Scripture is wrong. If there are passages that present eschatological statements that seem confusing and/or cryptic, they assume Scripture is wrong. If we read passages where Jesus is seen as cosmic judge, they assume Scripture is wrong.

If Jesus says love your neighbor, Scripture is obviously right then. If it condemns those who do not take care of the orphan and the widow, then the ethics of Scripture make sense as do threats of judgment. If it says God is love, well, we like that so it must be right.

I am not going to deny that some parts of Scripture bother my modern sensibilities. Do I feel tension as I wrestle with God destroying Sodom and Gommorah in the Book of Genesis, or commanding what may seem to be genocide in the Book of Joshua, or language that is very confusing about the Parousia in the Gospel of Matthew or the Apostle Paul’s language about women or slaves in some of his epistles? Yes, I do.

But one thing I cannot justify that I see many of my peers doing in academia is a picking and a choosing of what part of the canon says what they think it should say about God and what parts they discard. I know the accusation that comes in a response: I do the same thing when I seek to interpret Scripture in a way that allows me to go to bed at night assuming its truthfulness. Maybe, but here is the difference.

I start from the presupposition that the Triune God speaks; that this God is sovereign; that this God will reveal Himself to whom He will reveal Himself; and that while He allowed His story to be told in human voices He secured the forming and canonization of Scripture in such a way that as a holistic, founding document for His people we can assume that (1) we are not being mislead by Scripture and (2) that it is OK to come to passages of Scripture that confront us while maintaining the assumption that God has not led us astray and that it is OK to suspend judgment on a text while waiting for more information.

So was there a literal Adam and Eve? Scripture seems to say so. Did Adam live multiple centuries? Scripture seems to say so. Did Noah build an ark, put animals on it, and survive a seemingly global flood? Scripture seems to say so. Did Jesus resurrect from the dead and ascend into heaven? Scripture seems to say so. Of course, we must be careful to avoid reading Scripture as saying what we think it says as we also must be careful disregarding Scripture where it seems hard to swallow.

So yes, these passages are easily explained with the simple statement “Scripture is wrong.” Fine, but I don’t see any justification for someone going from this premise toward a “Christianity” that they reconstruct out of pieces that they really like. If it helps you maintain faith in Christ, so be it. But overall you’re as willing as I am to blindly trust that God has preserved his truth in Scripture, you just pick and choose which parts.