Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Learning from Past Mistakes in Defending the Faith

And whoever is so bold that he ventures to accuse God of fraud and deception in a single word and does so willfully again and again after he has been warned and instructed once or twice will likewise certainly venture to accuse God of fraud and deception in all His words.
— Martin Luther

In a previous brilliant article (oops, almost forgot that this is not the "with attitude, in-character" Weblog), I discussed Fundamentalism and anti-intellectualism, and the errors made regarding the defense of the faith. Now I have learned something else that runs parallel.

One of the fundamentals of Fundamentalism is the inerrancy of Scripture. (I am not a Fundamentalist, but I hold to this position, as do many other non-Fundamentalist Christians.) Although Christians had been instrumental in the development of sciences through the years, we surrendered to the secularists. The Bible came under assault from Darwinists, uniformitarianism and "Higher Criticism". Instead of adhering to their presuppositions that God's Word is true, they traded for the presuppositions of secular science philosophies. When people are enamored with "science" and impressed with the results of practical science, it becomes difficult for many people to resist the allure of historical science philosophies: "The world is billions of years old, science proves it". Actually, the opposite is true, but that is beyond the scope of this Weblog.
William Jennings Bryan

Although Fundamentalists in the 19th and early 20th Centuries generally did not compromise on evolution, they did compromise on the plain teachings of Genesis. That meant fanciful "explanations" like Lucifer's Flood and the Gap Theory. They wanted to believe the Bible, but were unskilled at refuting the science philosophies. By compromising and adding "deep time" to Genesis (including nature or "general revelation"), they actually hurt their own position on the inerrancy of Scripture.

The following article is a bit long and it's not "fluff", but extremely informative and (to me) very interesting:
The Christian fundamentalist movement in America played a key role in defending and promoting the importance of biblical inerrancy. While often ridiculed and mocked, early American fundamentalists withstood the tide of theological liberalism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Nevertheless, many of these staunch advocates of biblical inerrancy failed to understand the importance of defending the traditional view of Genesis. This mistake led to some of the movement’s greatest failures, and ultimately contradicted the central doctrine for which fundamentalists so fervently stood. This article will survey the history of Christian fundamentalism in America along with its strengths and weaknesses, victories and defeats. The significance of the doctrine of biblical inerrancy will also be examined.
I hope you finish reading "The Rise and Fall of Inerrancy in the American Fundamentalist Movement", here.