BIG QUESTIONS: THE BIBLE
Have you ever wondered what it is about the Bible that causes normally nice people to get snarly over interpretations? Why does a 2000 (and plus) year old book cause so much conflict today?
The Battle over the Bible began in the 1880s in the United States. It started over scholarship -- as biblical scholars began to learn more about the circumstances in which the documents that comprise the Bible were written and transmitted. As scholars looked at the sources behind the texts that we have, questioned the accuracy of some accounts as well as their authorship, and looked at evidence to help date the manuscripts -- some Christians were angered. The thought that what they had been taught might not actually be the truth of the matter threw their faith into question, which began a reaction we call fundamentalism. Fundamentalism insisted that the Bible could not be subjected to higher criticism like other ancient manuscripts. It was, they declared, fully inspired by God with the words placed int he minds of the authors by God's Spirit (verbal, plenary inspiration). This was also the development of the idea that the Bible was inerrent, meaning without error, since God had actually authored it. Of course, this was said to apply only the the original manuscripts, none of which still exist.
So what do we do with the Bible? How do we understand it and its role in our lives today? Those are BIG QUESTIONS that we will deal with on June 30!