This past week was the annual west coast meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society in San Diego. I didn’t attend, but have been hearing more and more about a paper that BIOLA professor J.P. Moreland presented, entitled “How Evangelicals Became Over-Committed to the Bible and What can be Done about It.” Now Moreland is someone that I highly respect. He’s a giant in the apologetics field and has written some of the best works available today, including “Love Your God with All Your Mind” and “Scaling the Secular City”. When I first saw the title of the presentation, I figured he was just trying to catch someone’s eyes and cause a double take. But as I have investigated further, I’ve discovered that he’s serious.
Moreland’s main objective was to say that the Bible is not the sole source of authority for believers today. Todd Bolen, who was in the room, had this to say:
“He gave an analogy from archaeology that made sense. But it faltered when it got to psychology and fell apart when he started talking about learning about demons from sources outside the Bible. (Did he really say that if you command a demon in the name of Jesus to tell the truth that they will be bound to do so?) He’s so concerned about this issue because of the damage that is being done to American evangelicals (but he made it clear that such problems lie primarily with Americans and not those outside).”
Moreland had this to say
“In the actual practices of the Evangelical community in North America, there is an over-commitment to Scripture in a way that is false, irrational, and harmful to the cause of Christ, and it has produced a mean-spiritedness among the over-committed that is a grotesque and often ignorant distortion of discipleship unto the Lord Jesus.”
Another concern of Moreland’s was that evangelical theology has become so defined that there is no room for new thought. He says that people are not allowed to find new truths outside the Bible.
To read the paper yourself, you can get the .pdf paper here.
It will be interesting to track the growth of this story.