In a Q&A for online chapel at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) the seminary president Daniel Akin appeared to embrace a radical postmodern hermeneutical approach to the Bible. In the Q&A session, Akin defended Resolution 9 (the SBC’s move to approve the use of Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality) and one postmodern expert said it appeared Akin embraced postmodern standpoint epistemology.
James Lindsay, a secular scholar and famous exposer of the grievance study racket, said, “Came across this very Southern religious guy talking about biblical interpretation, and it’s probably one of the most confused things I’ve ever heard because he’s mashing together his own views of ‘innerancy’ with Wokeness and some common sense…
“He mixes the influences of what he has learned and read with who he is (standpoint epistemology), white male versus black lesbian, then kind of suggests his interpretation must be right because his understanding might turn the black lesbian’s upside-down (LOL that’s colonialism)… He falls into, or uses(?), the typical motte and bailey in all woke and postmodern epistemology. *Bong hit* (probably not him, tho!) Whoa, like, we all have biases, so like so do I! Therefore… we need to import racial knowledge (as its called) and critical feminism? This is the spawn of standpoint epistemology (a radical feminist idea) as it mated with critical race Theory’s interpretation of Foucault’s postmodern ideas about how dominant discourses and various contingencies shape truth, mixed with biblical inerrancy. LOL. Yikes.”
Lindsay then explained that Akin is mostly using standpoint epistemology
“The reason it’s mostly yes is that the only relevant experiential knowledge and bias of being a white male in the Deep South is internalized dominance. The only relevant black lesbian experiential knowledge is of intersecting systemic oppressions.”
The relevant segment of the video can be viewed here. This is what Akin said that promoted Lindsay’s reaction.
Akin said, “I’ve been teaching in either a Bible College or Seminary now for over thirty years I’ve taught theology. I’ve taught preaching. I’ve taught hermeneutics. When I teach hermeneutics, in particular, one of the things I will point out is that none of us is a blank slate when it comes to interpreting the Bible. We all come to the Bible with a particular perspective, presuppositions, and a particular worldview.”
Akin then described his particular perspective invoking his identity as a white Southerern male. He explained, “I will say something like this, ‘Danny Akin cannot help the fact that he comes to the Bible as a white male married who comes from the deep south who has rock-solid convictions and commitments about the supernatural worldview about the inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible and who is committed to Orthodox Christianity.”
Akin then rattled off his list of confessional committments including the Chicago Statement, the Danvers Statement and the Nashville Statement along with the Baptist Faith & Message and the Abstract of Principles.
Akin contrasted his white Southern married male approach to the Bible to other approaches such as that of a lesbian woman.
“I suspect that I read the Bible differently than say a lesbian woman of a different ethnicity who lives up in the northwest and is committed to a pantheistic worldview way of thinking,” Akin said.
Akin then goes on to explain this approach to teaching pre-dated Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality.
“None of that has anything to do with critical theory or intersectionality or cultural Marxism,” Akin said. “It simply has to do with a recognition that when it comes to the interpretive process yes there’s an author yes there’s a text and there’s also a reader and readers do come to the text with certain ways of already thinking.”
In the Q&A, Akin also took time to criticize blogs urging everyone to go to the original sources.
We’ve included a video link and several quotes. Hopefully, that meets with Akin’s approval.
So, is this postmodernism run amok in our SBC seminary? Or, is this only hermeneutical humility?