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FRIDAY, JUNE 06, 2008Printer-Friendly
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Please, Oh Please, Call Us Scholars!
AUDIO BROADCAST: Please, Oh Please, Call Us Scholars
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

For years the intelligentsia has looked down on evangelical believers as mentally challenged. They have charged them with being anti-intellectual obscurantists, people of pretty low intelligence whose views are a holdover from primitive, pre-scientific past. No doubt the description has fitted many ordinary people who knew little of the wisdom of the world but had enough instruction and intelligence to accept God's revelation and build their lives on it. But Bible-believing Christianity has never lacked its scholars, men and women of immense intellect who have made major contributions in almost every area of the arts and sciences. Despite this, the stereotype has persisted. The academic world has arbitrarily adopted as axiomatic the fallacy that anyone who believes the Bible to be the inspired and infallible word of God must be of limited intelligence or suffering from some form of derangement.

Now a researcher from Boston University has set about proving the stereotype wrong. Evangelical scholarship has come a long way, according to sociologist Peter Berger, who is a liberal Lutheran. Berger has joined forces with Timothy Shah, a professedly evangelical political scienctist at the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. Shah is documenting the history of the evangelical movement, including its historical hostility to higher learning, a revival of scholarship, and the minds and ideas it has since produced.

It all sounds so beneficial for the public image of evangelical Christianity but it is far from it. No matter how scholarly, nobody who takes the Bible for what it is and believes what it says need apply for recognition. A belief in evolution (guided by God, of course) is a given. So all those Creation Scientists-people of high academic achievement who use their immense scholarship to expound and defend the Bible-are not welcome under this tent. Another Boston sociologist, Alan Wolfe, is skeptical of the attempt to give evangelical scholars acceptance. According to him, evangelicals in the academy too often aren't open to truly engaging those who disagree. He points to things like "faith statements" at evangelical colleges, which require professors to proclaim Christian belief, and said that a prospering intellectual culture wouldn't make that requirement and shut other views out.

That sound rather hypocritical coming from an academic when all across America Universities have made belief in Darwinism their faith statement! This statement, however, tells us what is really going on in the struggle of many evangelicals to gain acceptance in academia. To gain it they have started down a path that must destroy all genuinely Christian education. It seems that some "evangelical scholars" cannot abide the thought of not being recognized by the ungodly academy. "Please, oh please, call us scholars! We'll not knock Darwin or insist on taking the plain meaning of the Bible literally. Just accept us as scholars." That seems to be their position.

We must repudiate all such compromise. God does not put a premium on ignorance, so we must continue to pursue deep, Biblical scholarship in every area. Let the world accept it or reject it, we must remain true to God's word. Scholarship divorced from Scripture can never be sanctified to the glory of God. It may produce "science falsely so called" but it has no place in evangelical Christianity. The reason is simple: God's word is truth and it enlightens the mind. All that contradicts it is a lie. That is the basis of all real scholarship-scholarship that God accepts. All other scholarship misuses the data God has revealed and exemplifies the statement of the Lord Jesus, "If the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!"

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