Over Committed to the Bible

Recently one of my favorite authors J.P. Moreland gave an address at the National ETS conference. I guess he shocked some of the listeners, and readers of this paper. But I being a Charismatic Christian had a deep appreciation for what he wrote. It is wonderful to have such a great mind, and heart for God as does JP Moreland, and to have him think about God and articulate in the manner that he does on certain positions, is a real treat for me.

One reason I am posting this is because I was reading something that ElShaddia posted at his site. It was a question regarding “is it ok to enjoy the feeling of a worship song?” JP in his paper makes a point that I think can apply here. Part of what he says is that we read about certain things in the bible but they don’t exist in the bible (i.e. demons), the exist in reality. Now he does not go into worship, but I think it can apply to the point he is making. We read about worship, we learn about worship, and we gain knowledge about what worship is from the bible, but worship does not exists in the bible, it exists in reality, with us and how we express our worship to God.

I often find myself overcome with emotion when I worship God. It draws me into His presence in way that nothings else does. There is an emotional connection during worship, after all we are created emotional people.

I am going to summarize here and encourage all of you to read his paper, and check out the other references that I will give here and maybe start a healthy dialog on what he stated. I would highly encourage you to read his paper, and the following links that I give to properly understand JP Moreland’s position before you respond to quickly.

How Evangelicals Became Over-committed to the Bible and What Can Be Done about It, was presented at the 2007 national ETS conference.

According to JP Moreland:

I am more convinced of inerrancy than at any time in my Christian life, but the charge of bibiolarty, or at least a near, if not a kissing cousin, is one I fear is hard to rebut. To be more specific, in the actual practices of the Evangelical community in North America, there is an over-commitment to Scripture in a way that is false, irrational, and harmful to the cause of Christ. And it has produced a mean-spiritedness among the over-committed that is a grotesque and often, ignorant distortion of discipleship unto the Lord Jesus.

JP acknowledges that:

“One could never be too committed to loving, obeying and promoting Holy Scripture, However, such over-commitment is ubiquitous and harmful. The sense I have in mind is the idea that the Bible is the sole source of knowledge of God, morality, and a host of related important items.”

He goes on to say that there are:

“Three areas where Over-commitment to the Bible is Harming American Evangelicals.

  1. Natural theology and moral law
  2. The realm of spirit/souls
  3. Divine guidance, prophetic revelation, words of knowledge and wisdom”

The actual paper

Kingdom Triangle Response

Blog responses to ETS Paper and Kingdom Triangle

  1. John Mark Reynolds at Biola University (here)
  2. Frank Beckwith at Baylor University (here),
  3. Melinda Penner and Brett Kunkle at Stand to Reason (here and here), and
  4. C. Michael Patton at Converse with Scholars (here).
  5. Paul Copan at Palm Beach Atlantic University and President of the Evangelical Philosophical Society (here)
  6. JP Moreland’s Response (here)
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