BREAKING: Radical Cultural Subjectivism Promoted By Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
“There is a cancer in our convention, and if we don’t wake up soon it’ll be too late,” Dr. Tom Buck warned. Buck is pastor of First Baptist Church of Lindale, Texas and Director of G3 Expository Workshops. Buck holds a doctorate from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS).
The cancer? The way so-called inerrantists are handling the Bible at the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS). In a symposium available online from SEBTS, these hermeneutical principles were taught:
“African readers of the Bible face the challenge that most of the modern methods of Bible interpretation are rooted in Western context… I propose a contextualized, African, intercultural approach of Bible study.”
And, “People sometimes think of hermeneutics as if it has principles set in stone. But is hermeneutics static or dynamic in the sense that it can change as methods of interpretation adapt to different cultural contexts.”
Also, “Hermeneutics must be connected to a particular place. If our hermeneutical models are all from the West, how can we direct practical applications in an African context?”
This conflicts with what most Biblical interpreters are trying to accomplish—get to the plain meaning of the text. According to one textbook on Biblical interpretation by Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart, “The aim of good interpretation is simple: to get at the ‘plain meaning of the text.’” The question then is does the plain meaning of the text change if one is in Cairo or New York, Cape Town or L.A., Monrovia or Atlanta?
Conservatives would say no. The meaning of the text is the meaning of the text. Specifically, they would argue something like Fee and Stuart, “Exegesis is the careful, systematic study of the Scripture to discover the original, intended meaning.”
Wayne Grudem quoted Jerome to make this point. According to Grudem, “Jerome championed in a stronger way biblical interpretation that focused on the authorial intention of Scripture: ‘My fixed purpose was not to bend the Scriptures to my own wishes but simply to say what I took to be their meaning. A commentator has no business to impose his own views; his duty is to make plain the meaning of the author whom he professes to interpret.’”
Strong Conservative Reaction
Nathaniel Jolly is a missionary moving to Africa. He was outraged at this. He said, “As a missionary moving to Africa, this is atrocious. My hermeneutic does not change because I will be living in Africa. God’s word says what it says, period. Not only that, but I will oppose any other missionary with this mindset of cultural hermeneutics.”
Michael O’Fallon of Sovereign Nations explained the danger of this approach: radical subjectivism.
“Radical subjectivism by utilizing the principles of standpoint epistemology is the problem,” he said. “Those of you that claim to be Christians need to understand that institutions that have claimed to be ‘conservative’ are forwarding radical subjectivism and standpoint epistemology.”
Dr. Buck explained why all this is important. He said, “There is far more to being conservative than being an inerrantist. How you handle the Scriptures are equally important.”
Is it any shock that this is being promoted at Daniel Akin’s Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary? Akin’s former Provost as the seminary insulted conservatives in a deranged verbal attack on a fellow Southern Baptist. Akin still employs a professor who bragged to the New York Times that he secretly works into his presentations the teachings of James Cone—you know the black liberation heretic.
Now Akin’s seminary is teaching a type of Biblical heremenutic that is culturally relativistic.
You can watch the entire presentation on YouTube.