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Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Martin, Aug 1, 2006.
Good commentary by Dr Al Mohler.
Mohler is right in pointing out that all of us come to scholarship issues with a point of view and can seldom if ever escape it. I am reminded of the attempts in 19th Century historiography to write history "wie es eigentlich gewesen" (as it actually happened), without understanding that the very selection of what to report and what to omit is an act fraught with value choices -- in other words, with "faith".
To the original question, "Can believers be scholars?", I would say that not only can they, they must. Belief without a knowledge component is at best naivete and at worst superstition. Maybe the question that is really being asked is the converse, "Can scholars be believers?"
Part of the Great commission is to "teach". The believers that are taught are scholars... we all are. It is to what extent that is the question.
this just needed to be said again
CAN believers be scholars? Of course, yes!
MUST they be? Not at all. The deaf ladies I worked with loved the Lord and could not read English (or any other language) beyond a second grade level. But they were more my sisters in Christ than a lot of others who were highly educated, and who therefore often depended on their own logic and brains rather than the simple 'trust and obey' of my deaf friends.
There are plenty of believers who are not scholars, but out of whose lives the Holy Spirit shines in simplicity and truth. We could all learn a lot from them.
It would be great is all scholars were Believers. I get so tired of "scholars" who don't believe the Bible in the first place making public statements tearing down the Bible. It seems like every time the media is looking for a "Biblical scholar" they choose one of these guys instead of someone who believe the Bible is true.
Faith without study is blind faith, it is not strong enough to endure doubt and trial. Remember I Pet 3:15 “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you.”
Why do we have hope, because we have faith and belief based on knowledge. The command of God is to study. All believers may not be scholars, but all should study and be in the process of learning.
Depends upon your definitions and the character of the individual.
There are many 'scholars' in the study of the Word that do let faith get in the way - and their commentaries are not worth the money that they charge. On the other hand, without faith - you cannot understand what the Word is saying in order to comment on it.
I have found that I often need to read a scholarly commentary and then do the faith part myself - too many of the commentaries by modern believers are devoid of the depth that comes with so many 'critical' commentaries.
When preparing to preach from Genesis, I found there to be a terrible gulf between reason (critical exegesis) and faith (conservative exegesis).
We need conservative Christian scholars that will do the work of a scholar, and yet still believe what the Word teaches. There are so, so, so, so few IMHO. Oh I know, there is a list of a couple hundred that are 'approved' and make their living as conservative Christian scholars. But, what I read of their work is just lacking in the depth of the critical scholars.
Maybe we could pray for a revival among the scholars?
What ever happened to the Christian community? It used to be that the brightest students went on to become great scholars. Whether you like their theology or not: Luther, Calvin, Bishop Lightfoot, and so many more really did yield so much to the community of faith.
I mentioned Lightfoot one time, and the comment made to me was, "His work is so old, you must get a couple of modern commentaries to balance out what he says." OK, then where are the really great modern commentators for the faith?
==I agree with your assessment of modern evangelical commentaries/Bible studies (etc). Many of them are heavy on fluff and light on substance. The result is a modern evangelical church that is heavy on fluff and light on substance. What Christian "scholars" do you think lack depth and which ones do you think have depth?
i am gonna try not to open that can of worms.
We need to rethink, too, the word "scholar". When I used it in my post I did not mean the technical critic or the trained linguist, etc. I meant a person who desires to study and to know and who works at it. The deaf ladies with a second grade reading level can be scholars under this definition if they are interested in knowing more about the Lord, the Bible, their faith, etc.
Can non-believers be scholars? Since a scholar is suppossed to be someone who is a bit of an expert in the field and a non-believer is by definition someone who is NOT accurate in their study of things Christian, it just seems to me that they cannot be scholars in any field related to God.
Many Christians will not spend their money on great books but on fluff. Many Americans spend more on entertainment than on the education of their children and then wonder why their kids wanty to have fun instead of learn. A few days ago I talked with a senator and asked him about education in America and he told me that the majority of students are taking the easy road.
The simple fact is that many great books are not in print very long because they do not sell. Publishing companies must make money to survive. If books do not sell they cannot continue to publish.