Biblicism – friend or foe?

Scot McKnight summarises in a recent post on his blog the main argument in Christian Smith’s book called Bible Made Impossible, The: Why Biblicism Is Not a Truly Evangelical Reading of Scripture, which he describes as ‘the biggest challenge evangelicalism has to face’ because the author ‘argues that what we believe about the Bible (biblicism) is undermined by how we actually read the Bible and how we practice the Bible’.Quite an indictment, isn’t it?

Here is the gest of the argument, accoding to McKnight:

1. He sees biblicism in evangelicalism (not all of it) and in most charismatic and Pentecostal Christianity.
2. Biblicism involves belief in the Bible’s exclusive authority, infallibility, perspicuity, self-sufficiency, internal consistency, self-evident meaning, and universal applicability.
3. Liberalism is the corrosion of historic orthodoxy and is intellectually naive and susceptible to some reprehensible social and political expressions, but opposing liberalism — which Smith does — does not lead to or require biblicism. There are other alternatives.
4. What ultimately defeats biblicism is “pervasive interpretive pluralism.” The Bible says and teaches different things — if you listen to biblicists carefully — about most significant topics. It is, he argues, meaningless to talk about the inerrancy of the text if the interpretation of that text is up for grabs.
5. His goal is to become more evangelical, not less, in approach to Scripture.
6. Christian Smith, a notable Christian sociologist, has become a Roman Catholic, but he wrote this book before that move took place. He had these problems with evangelicalism before he became Catholic, but these problems are part of the reason he became Catholic.



Author: DanutM

Anglican theologian. Former Director for Faith and Development Middle East and Eastern Europe Region of World Vision International

2 thoughts on “Biblicism – friend or foe?”

  1. Scott McKnight -sper ca nu gresesc- a pus deja o provocare la evanghelicalism: trecind de la Evanghelia dupa Pavel la cea dupa Hristos. A trecut prea putin timp de-atunci ca sa fie digerata chestia asta. Ma rog, Tzon a preluat-o.
    Ma tem ca dinsul, Scott, are el insusi neintelegeri cu Sfinta Scriptura inainte de-a ni le clarifica pe-ale noastre. Personal, n-am digerat inca prima lui convertire de la ev. lui P. la cea a lui Iisus ca sa ma ocup cu cea de-a doua. Sunt de-acord cu un lucru; diferitele interpretari ale Bibliei stirbesc pretentia evanghelicilor ca sunt biblici. Ramien ca timpul sa certifice si chestiile astea care ele insele nu fac decit sa repete pacatele pe care le condamna. Adica aduc interpretari noi ca si cind n-ar fi de-ajuns deja cite sunt. Desi-s economist mi-e greu insa sa le tin inventarul (interpretarilor/curentelor) PoMo. Multumesc pt aritcol.


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