Saturday, January 12, 2008

Inerrantist Humanism

Nicholas Gier remarks: "As far as I am concerned, the claims of special revelation are just as human as the claims of general revelation, and these claims must be tested by the same human methods. To argue otherwise would simply be indulging in the question begging of the highest order.

This means that there is a hidden humanism in evangelical rationalism. When Lewis claims that Christian apologetics is an attempt to see how far we can go 'on their own steam,' and when other evangelicals tell with great confidence what God has said and what he intends, we are observing a Promethean self-assertion as great as anything in the history of secular humanism." (God, Reason, and the Evangelicals, p. 5)

There is a latent humanistic facet to inerrantism: a tremendous faith in human powers to determine what God has said and what he wants, and then go on to proclaim it. Even the most negative assessment of the human capacity such as that which claims that humans do not have "the moral capacity to handle truth rightly" (P. K. Helseth, "Christ-Centered, Bible-Based, and Second Rate?" WTJ 69 [2007]: 397) displays a fundamental humanistic trust in the inerrantist hermeneutical enterprise. This a very great irony that powerfully upsets the naive "what the Bible says, God says" understanding that younger evangelicals live and breathe in their churches and classrooms.