| Where Recherche duTemps Perdu|
---- meets Kirchliche Dogmatik
I think it is high time to return to reality. Sorry that some of you thought after the first installment of "The Absence of the Bloggist" that I was actually narrating true events. I had thought that, right from the beginning, the circumstances were too absurd to be real. They certainly turned out unbelievable (I hope), as the story progressed.
The numbers made it fairly clear that a lengthy complicated story in installments is asking a bit much of blog readers. If I may mention it once more, I've collated the entire story into a pdf file, so that, once you have time, you can read it all the way through in a coherent manner. I've also corrected a few mistakes and plugged a couple of little holes in the process. Click on the imaginary cover of the story to transport you to the alternate reality.
I learned some things about writing fiction in the process. I would suggest that it's not a good idea to write under your own name and have yourself be the main character. At least in this short experiment, I found that my own feelings and beliefs restrained the development of the plot too much. Since this was a mock blog entry, I really couldn't avoid it. But then my character had to do things that I, the author, would not have allowed to happen in my personal life, and I had to make some compromises between my two selves. You've got to let your characters become themselves without worrying whether you personally really would act that way.
The problem started right at the beginning. There are two things you might want to know:
"Page 2," as Paul Harvey used to say.
Speaking of writings, I just received a copy of a highly valuable new book. Bill Roach and Norm Geisler co-authored Defending Inerrancy: Affirming the Accuracy of Scripture for a New Generation. The book was edited by Joel Paulus, one of my many FSANF's (Former Student and Now Friend) at SES, a delightful young man who, once upon a time drove a Chevy Cavalier similar to the one we owned until recently. Bill Roach has been a friend and will be a student in an independent study for one or two more official days and will remain a good friend. I am honored to say that June and I both have been FSANF's to Norm Geisler for many, many years. I don't know exactly where this book fits into the count, but the Geislers' Christmas letter stated that Norm's eightieth birthday and eightieth book will roughly coincide. An enthusiastic foreword was provided by J. I. Packer, whom June and I will always remember for the engaging, almost mischievous, conversation we had riding together to Taylor from the Indianapolis airport. -- Hold on! Am I dropping names? Yes, of course I am. But then again, do you have any idea how much fun it is to see a new book and to be personally acquainted with everyone involved? If that doesn't say anything to you, let me add that it is good when you have direct knowledge of the passion for teaching truth and the deep-seated concern for the welfare of the church demonstrated by these scholars.
The authors raise the question of whether the understanding of biblical inerrancy, as culminated by the work of the ICBI (Internation council on Biblical Inerrancy, active for about ten years in the late seventies and eighties) is still helpful and appropriate to this new generation of evangelical scholars. Of course, it's not much of a surprise that they say "yes." The value of the book lies in the context it provides. We learn how the issue became a full-blown controversy in America when the Princetonians, B. B. Warfield and A. A. Hodges, responded to the writings of Charles Briggs of Union Seminary in New York and how, along with it penetrating Christianity in America as a whole, the lack of mandatory agreement with inerrancy at Fuller Seminary in th 1950s and 60s became particularly poignant. It proceeds to show us how Harold Lindsell's book The Battle for the Bible, became the catalyst for a fresh look at the doctrine, and how by an overwhelming consensus, the assembled "divines" at the first Chicago summit formulated what became the evangelical standard, precipitating a here-to-for unheard of revolution in the Southern Baptist Convention, among other highly positive effects. Yes, the representative in Chicago were basically hand-picked, but only a polemically inclined sophist would suggest that the doctrine should be defined by those who did not believe in it.
Norm Geisler has never hesitated mentioning names, and this book is no exception. He and Bill Roach proceed from the historical framework to show specifically how a number of people have embraced alternatives to the unlimited biblical inerrancy promoted by ICBI in favor of a more limited view and the theological and biblical problems associated with such innovations. The group is nothing, if not diverse: Clark Pinnock, Bart Ehrman, Peter Enns, Kenton Sparks, Kevin Vanhouzer, Andrew McGowan, Stanley Grenz, Brian Mclaren, Darrel Bock, and Robert Webb. You may note that the recent pseudo-debate involving Dr. Michael Licona is not on this list. It must have occurred after the manuscript was already in press.
The third section of the book is entitled "Reexamining Inerrancy," and it does so from the vantage point of our knowledge of God, truth, language, hermeneutics, and the incarnation, among other doctrines. The appendix lists the original signers of the Chicago Statement in 1979. If you look close enough, you will find the name of a youthful aspiring scholar, just having turned thirty, who is now your devoted bloggist.
I had intended to report to you about two further mostly unrelated topics: how Christmas is finding itself into our house, and how today (Tuesday) I spent much of the day in serious toilet repair, always a topic with the potential for drama and surprises, but those matters will have to wait until next time because it is getting rather late.