Apologia on Reading the Bible, 3

This is the third of a three-part essay. The Literary Reader As a conclusion to this essay, I want to make some observations that grow out of C. S. Lewis’s remarkable Experiment in Criticism, mentioned in an earlier installment. What Lewis is interested in doing is coming up with a way to distinguish good literature from bad, or inferior literature. He suggests that the best way to […]

Apologia on Reading the Bible, 2

This is the second portion of a three-part essay. Learning to Read Learning to read the Bible is easier said than done, of course. There are several reasons for this, and they all have to do with the art of reading. Reading is an art and not a science, and there is no quick formula for learning it. I can, though, give some pointers. First, not everybody […]

Apologia on Reading the Bible, 1

What does it mean to read the Bible as inspired literature? The method is not new nor is it uncommon in Dutch Reformed circles. Exegesis must be Christocentric, plenary (all the text serves a theological purpose), respect the context in God’s redemptive plan, and plumb the full literary depth of the writing. I have written numerous books of Biblical exposition. Because of some noise that […]

Protestantism’s Lost Soul

D. G. Hart’s The Lost Soul of American Protestantism vividly clarifies the differences between evangelical and Confessional Protestantism. In part the book is a manifesto for historians of American religion. Hart argues that historians of American Protestantism have operated with a simplistic binary contrast of evangelical/conservative v. liberal/progressive. At best, historians refine this binary scheme by distinguishing between fundamentalism, that literalistic, vulgar, and anti-intellectual brand […]

The Idiot and the Limits of Compassion

Dostoyevsky’s novel, The Idiot, like his other major works, is a complex evaluation of the human condition—a juxtaposition of the innate goodness and innate evil that resides within every human heart. There is much one can say about The Idiot. I am no specialist of Russian literature, or Dostoyevsky. I enjoy his writing, laborious and confusing as it sometimes is. His insight into human nature, […]