Sunday, March 9, 2008

Regarding the darkness

I thought it might help to say more about the darkness that I mentioned at the end of yesterday's post. There are many students who feel it quite acutely. It's for these Christians that I keep writing the posts. We don't need any more Edward Carnells.

"Although there is seldom a single, simple cause for psychological difficulties, a careful examination of the facts suggests that an important element of the problem was cognitive dissonance. Carnell's intensive and meticulous study of philosophy, theology, and Scripture had gradually uncovered problems that seemed incompatible with conventional evangelical ideas about the Bible, especially with the doctrine of inerrancy. This presented Carnell with obvious difficulties, since his entire life and identity were firmly situated within an evangelical world that was not very enthused about his new ideas. Although Carnell's public persona continued to reflect an evangelical identity, inside he struggled with the cognitive dissonance between the evangelical he wanted to preserve and his private, theological perspectives...[Fuller's Seminary's board chairman] Ockenga's message was clear: although he privately supported Carnell, he also wanted Carnell to avoid publishing materials that were a threat to the more conservative, fundamentalist elements of fuller's constituency....[Carnell] was often angry at the rigidity of creedal and moral codes in which he was trapped by his connection with Fuller Theological Seminary." (K. Sparks, God's Word in Human Words. [Baker, 2008], 368-369, containing a quote from Nelson's The Making and Unmaking of an Evangelical Mind.)

Trapped by the darkness--no thank you. God bless the non-inerrantists who still maneuver in these circles; I don't know how they do it. The fundamentalist and evangelical darkness of which I speak infiltrates the core of one's person and strangulates the soul.