The Bible Made Impossible: Why Biblicism Is Not a Truly Evangelical Reading of Scripture

The Bible Made Impossible: Why Biblicism Is Not a Truly Evangelical Reading of Scripture

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by Christian Smith
     
 

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"Evangelicalism is cracking apart not because of theological drift to the left but because the only theology that can sustain a genuine evangelicalism is--to use the only word appropriate--a catholic theology. Many who were nurtured in American evangelicalism (as Christian Smith was) and now find it seriously deficient (as Christian Smith does) seem to be those

Overview

"Evangelicalism is cracking apart not because of theological drift to the left but because the only theology that can sustain a genuine evangelicalism is--to use the only word appropriate--a catholic theology. Many who were nurtured in American evangelicalism (as Christian Smith was) and now find it seriously deficient (as Christian Smith does) seem to be those on whom the light has dawned. I first saw a chapter of this book and was stunned; I've now read it all and am delighted. Here is a genuinely evangelical catholic understanding of scripture."--Scot McKnight, North Park University

"Biblicism remains one of the most entrenched and pressing problems facing the church. In his characteristically lucid, direct, and fair-minded fashion, Christian Smith asks questions about biblicism that need to be answered. Smith also begins to articulate an alternative, Christ-centered approach to biblical interpretation that is supremely constructive--a truly evangelical account of scripture. Here his words fall like water on parched ground. We may expect the church to flourish as it reads them."--Douglas A. Campbell, Duke University Divinity School

"Ever the sociologist, Smith forces readers to confront and account for the stubborn fact that not everyone who ascribes supreme authority to 'what the Bible says' hears God saying the same thing. Even those, like me, who are not persuaded by his 'truly evangelical' alternative will benefit from this strong dose of realism about the way in which evangelicals actually interpret and appeal to the Bible."--Kevin J. Vanhoozer, Wheaton College Graduate School

"I do not think that biblicism has been quite as destructive as Christian Smith describes it in this book (for example, among evangelicals there is very little 'pervasive interpretive pluralism' in understanding John 20:31). Despite this reservation, I think Smith has written an extremely valuable book. Although his account of the problems besetting biblicism is devastatingly effective, his appeal for a Christ-centered approach to scripture is wise, encouraging, and even more effective."--Mark A. Noll, University of Notre Dame

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
American evangelicalism is a textured and varied collection of believers, scholars, and students. Despite the variety of belief and practice, one idea unites them: the centrality of the Bible, and the determined appeal to sola scriptura that has defined their religious basis from earliest times. The much published Smith, a professor of sociology and director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Society at the University of Notre Dame, sets out in this finely constructed volume to question not just the wisdom but even the possibility of depending only on the Bible to define faith and practice. The "Bible only" foundational belief is so ingrained in the consciousness of evangelicalism thatasserting its irrationality and logical impossibility strikes at the very heart of what motivates and defines theevangelical community. Smith makes a persuasive case for shifting one's focus from the sole authority of the words of scripture to the one whom scripture proclaims to be "the way, the truth and the life." Such a shift, he insists, is necessary for American evangelicalism to move forward. (Aug.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781587433030
Publisher:
Baker Publishing Group
Publication date:
08/01/2011
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Christian Smith (PhD, Harvard University) is the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Sociology and director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Society at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, where he has been cited as an outstanding faculty member. He is the award-winning author or coauthor of numerous books, most recently What Is a Person? Rethinking Humanity, Social Life, and Moral Good from the Person Up and Souls in Transition: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of Emerging Adults. His research focuses primarily on religion in modernity, adolescents, American evangelicalism, and culture.

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Bible Made Impossible: Why Biblicism Is Not a Truly Evangelical Reading of Scripture 2.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Baldbarry More than 1 year ago
An excellent assessment of how scripture is often misunderstood and misapplied. Smith is on target with his Christ centered approach to the Bible. I found myself highlighting much of the text and my heart and mind were resonating with affirming "Amens" to the content of this thought provoking book. Incredible!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
iTHINKsoIMdangerous More than 1 year ago
the title is a real turn off. "Why Biblicism Is Not a Truly Evangelical Reading of Scripture"? seriously? how can reading the bible not be evangelical when being evangelical (in a Christian sense) cam from the Holy Bible? take it from a Christian that actually reads the Holy Bible: this book is flawed just from its title.