Where Do ‘Liberal’ Bible Scholars Come From?

In public conversations such asĀ The Huffington Post, it’s common to see people deriding “liberal” biblical scholars, as if the world is just full of people whose dearest wish is to undermine the Bible and turn Jesus into nothing but a symbol for a bizarre mushroom cult.

(And by the way, that Jesus-mushroom thing? It was actually proposed.)

Biblical scholarship is an academic discipline, taught and studied at universities, colleges and divinity schools all around the world. So it should be no surprise that biblical scholars run in all shapes, sizes, colors and denominations. What would surprise many people, though, is that a very large number of us love Jesus and the church, and we spend hours upon hours communicating the love and wonder we experience with the Bible. Indeed, some of our secular colleagues justifiably complain there are too many of us in the field. More surprising might be this one fact: many of us have our roots in fundamentalist and evangelical Christianity. The best way for conservative churches to produce “liberal” biblical scholars is to keep encouraging young people to read the Bible.

That’s how it worked for me. I didn’t grow up in church, but I found Jesus and was baptized in an Alabama Baptist church just before my 15th birthday. Our pastor and youth director encouraged me to read the Bible, so I did: I got an affordable new Bible and read the Gospel of John. And I loved it! I felt that I knew Jesus more intimately and understood my faith better.

Continued at the Huffington Post.

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