Over the summer I slogged my way through Bart D. Ehrman's two best -sellers, Misquoting Jesus and Jesus, Interrupted. In the latter, Ehrman acknowledges a devolution in his Christian faith, from an Evangelical Christian when he was an undergraduate at Moody Bible Institute, to an agnostic today despite being a Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Although he proverbially stood on his head in Jesus, Interrupted to deny that his seminary education at Princeton--and his immersion there into the historical-critical method of biblical analysis--contributed to his loss of faith, I was left wondering whether he just hasn't wanted to face the truth. A seminary eduction robbed Ehrman of his confidence in the bible, and that began his progressive slide into apostasy.
Why shouldn't this serve as a cautionary tale to any sincere believer considering seminary eduction? What, do you think, are the realistic dangers of buying into the historical-critical study of the bible?
Biblical textual criticism, in general, has been operating under the constraints of classical scholarship; under the canons of classical textual criticism, and as a result the field is stagnant. Many modern critics appear as drunken men wandering aimlessly amidst floating bubbles of pretty colors, a landscape of transitory values and endless bubbles. The whole field has floundered over issues not germane to the task at hand. Trifling diversions, useless investigations and extravagant theories have plagued the efforts to really contribute to biblical textual criticism.
Years of this kind of aimless intellectual pursuits has left, nay robbed the present generation of useful results. Instead of a sense of trustworthiness today's Bible readers are left with a vacuum, empty like the fruits of nihilism. Instead of a sense of affirmation or validation today's Bible students are told that the texts and the multitude of Bible translations are all uncertain. What a fine foundation to base a life upon, or from which one may view supposed truth about life, death, resurrection, healing, guidance and glorious transcendent examples of morals and truths.
- Gary Dykes