I enjoy reading Imprimis, a monthly newsletter of Hillsdale College. I just read the February 2019 issue, entitled, “Shall We Defend Our Common History?” by Roger Kimball.
I found parallels between modern political correctness and the way in which many seminaries discuss the writings of the authors of the New Testament.
Kimball gives example after example of cases in which political correctness is rewriting American history. Statues are being removed all over the United States in what he calls “the monument controversy.”
Why remove monuments from the past? “It is an attack,” Kimball says, “on the past for failing to live up to our contemporary notions of virtue” (p. 2).
Who is more enlightened, modern political correctness warriors at our leading colleges and universities, or the Apostle Paul?
I’d say the Apostle Paul. Wouldn’t you?
Yet many seminaries today say that the Apostle Paul was a misogynist. We of the modern enlightened times know, for example, that women should be elders in local churches just as men should. Paul was wrong to limit eldership to men.
Likewise, Paul was wrong when he said that women should keep silent in the churches. He just wasn’t enlightened. His ideas were fine for the first century. They were even cutting edge in many ways. But history has shown that Paul needs updating.
And what about Paul’s writings concerning homosexuality? He certainly evidences a very unenlightened view on the subject. Many modern theologians are correcting Paul on that subject too.
I find the same sort of thinking pervades New Testament studies on the four Gospels. Even at historically conservative seminaries, it is now widely taught that the Gospel writers used the antiquated practices of Thucydides when they reported on what Jesus said. At times, we are told, the Gospel writers changed the meaning of what He said. They also sometimes put words in His mouth. Sometimes they chronologically moved events. For example, many scholars today believe that Jesus only cleansed the temple once, at the end of His ministry. In their view John moved the cleansing of the temple to the very start of Jesus’ ministry.
How can conservative Bible scholars say such things? Because we live in such enlightened times! The Gospel writers wrote during a time when such inaccurate practices were considered acceptable. If this sort of historical reporting were done today, we’d say that the writing was filled with errors. But most conservative Bible scholars today don’t say that about the Gospel writers. Instead, they say that their writings are without error if evaluated as the work of a flawed ancient view of historiography.
Is it possible that the political correctness that has taken over our secular colleges and universities is also making inroads into our Christian colleges and seminaries?
Is it possible that Paul and the Gospel writers got it right and that many Bible scholars today are getting it wrong?
The answer is obvious if we believe that the Bible is the Word of God.