Objectivity under attack! Understanding the Bible requires getting perspectives across Time & Space say Baptist professors.
Pronoun hospitality. Hermeneutical Humility. These are the new slogans of the Woke Southern Baptists leading the denomination into a postmodern nightmare.
For example, objective truth is under assault. But, it is under assault in a particularly dangerous way. These Southern Baptist professors claim that truth is objective, but humility requires us to listen to other perspectives. For example, Luke Stamps and Malcolm Yarnell tweeted:
Stamps: “The truth is objective but our apprehension is always shaped by our subjectivities. That’s why it’s important to hear from a multiplicity of perspectives, both ancient and modern, across time, space, gender, and ethnicity. This isn’t postmodernism. It’s hermeneutical humility.”
Such extreme objectivism has a basis in modernist epistemology, but it is also reminiscent of a certain Eunomius, whom the Cappadocian fathers whet their theological knives on. If this keeps up, one might discover their parallels with both modernist liberalism and ancient heresy.
— Malcolm Yarnell (@myarnell) February 6, 2020
Wait. Across time and space?
But, our interpretation isn’t important. What is important to any hermeneutical study of the Bible is the author’s intent. Can that be determined? Or, must we consult the Intersectional pyramid to arrive at the proper understanding of the Bible?
Does hermeneutical humility require us to consult a black lesbian Muslim’s perspective? What about an albino dwarf genderfluid?
Time and space?
What about the Klingons?
Well, you get the point.
Either one can understand and interpret the Scriptures and know its truth or not. If not, what does that do to the perspicuity of Scripture?
But, that’s only part of the assault on the Bible.
Yarnell replied: “Such extreme objectivism has a basis in modernist epistemology, but it is also reminiscent of a certain Eunomius, whom the Cappadocian fathers whet their theological knives on. If this keeps up, one might discover their parallels with both modernist liberalism and ancient heresy.”
This is dangerous too.
As William Lane Craig and J.P. Moreland said in Philosophical Foundations of a Christian Worldview: “If bias made rational objectivity impossible, then no teacher—atheist, Christian, or whatever— could responsibly teach any view the teacher believed on any subject! Nor could the teacher teach opposing viewpoints, because he or she would be biased against them!”
In the forward of a book on Objectivity and Biblical Interpretation, Dr. Norman Geisler warned: “Biblical interpretation is facing a crisis of objectivity. More and more authors are surrendering to the postmodern influence of relativism in interpretation.”
Then, the author of the book bearing Geisler’s forward demonstrates the absurdity of these dangerous trends in evangelicalism. Dr. Thomas A. Howe writes, “Indeed, the denial of objectivity is self-defeating because it ultimately reduces to a violation of the law of non-contradiction. The possibility of objectivity assures the possibility of adjudicating between truth claims and even between perspectives and world views.”
Howe goes on to admit people have their own unique framework for viewing the world—perspective—but that this does not eliminate one’s ability to rationally evaluate truth. He writes, “The fact that there are transcendental presuppositions, such as the law of non-contradiction, the law of excluded middle, etc., demonstrate that there are presuppositions that are common to all humans as part of the nature of humanity.”
Howe holds his Ph.D. form Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. His book is very good, and it seems important given this dangerous Intersectional trend in the Southern Baptist Convention.
One last thing to consider in this debate, something it appears both Stamps and Yarenll embrace—listening to different modern perspectives on the text to better understand it. Doesn’t this conflict with the historical-grammatical hermeneutic? The author’s intent is what matters—not what some random oppressed modern reader thinks about the text.
If we abandoned a commitment to objective biblical interpretation, then the Bible becomes a tool instead of the standard.
Pretending this is hermeneutical humility is sophistry. There is either truth and it is knowable for all of us—or it is not. If only some of us have access to that truth because of our special perspective, then we are nearing some sort of Intersectional Gnosticism.