Liberal Baptist: A Progressive View of the Bible
I wanted to save this blog because it is the closest to my theology I can find, and expresses it beautifully. I have to print the whole thing here.
A Progressive View of the Bible
In a recent graduate seminar dealing with baptist distinctives someone proclaimed, "liberals do not have an authority." I could not disagree with this statement more. As a baptist, I affirm the authority of the written scriptures, which is contained in the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Testament. I believe that this Bible contains a written record of God's revelation to and interaction with humanity. I also affirm that the Bible is a crucial source for instruction for the Christian and the church. Just because I differ on the nature and proper interpretive method of the Bible does not mean that its' message is not authoritative for me.
I do not believe, however, that the Bible was verbally inspired through passive humans who recorded those words with little (or no) influence from their cultural and temporal understanding. Rather, I believe that God inspired the general thoughts of these human authors within the framework of their culture and understanding. This requires much "cultural translation" if the message of the Bible is to be applicable for our day.
I also do not maintain that the stories contained in the Bible must reflect actual historical events. Rather, the biblical narratives portray traditions that were developed over a period of time and that likely had some historical basis for their origin. Such a view does not, however, weaken my faith in God or in the message the scriptures communicate.
Christians must reject the notion that the Bible is a rule book of universal, timeless absolutes. In its place, we must embrace a vision of the Bible that appreciates the cultural context in which those books were written. We must understand that our culture, and our understanding of humanity, God, and the universe have significantly improved. New insights into science, technology, psychology, etc. should be brought to the table as we attempt to interpret the message of the Bible for our day. Only then will we arrive at the true meaning of the scriptures.
posted by JC Baker @ 4:56 PM 3 comments