December 7, 2009

Seminarians on History and the Gospels

Dan Wallace's recent post at Parchment & Pen (still growing, with upwards of 500 comments) has now generated at least one YouTube response, which led me to some other videos related to Dallas Theological Seminary, which led me to this video featuring Dr. Dwight Pentecost, of the DTS "Biblical Exposition" Department. At the 2:20 mark, the professor says:
The Gospels were not viewed as History, but rather as means of teaching truths to believers. While the Gospel [writer]s are often referred to as the evangelists, they were written primarily to provide a foundation for the faith of those who had already believed.
The professor goes on to contrast the needs of those early believers against the need of winning unbelievers to the faith. Is it me, or does this not imply that the only reason to get into "History" would be for the sake of soul-winning and apologetics?

As it so happens, certain DTS persons in Dan's comment thread suggested the BE department may be part of what gives the NT Department's graduates a bad name around Universities. Purportedly, the BE department doesn't "engage with the world of critical scholarship" (or something like that) - at least, not like the NT and OT departments do. From what I can tell, that seems to be very true. But I'm curious. In what ways are they similar?

IMHO, Dr. Pentecost's false dichotomy was presented with bald-faced, almost stunning clarity. The question is, do the scholars in DTS' NT department engage with the critical literature for the sake of pursuing truth and knowledge, or do they engage for the purpose of soul-winning and (partly defensive) apologetics? I've complained about Darrell Bock's approach before, stating that as far as I can tell, it's 'Do just enough work to defend, then go back to what preaches.' Blaugh. Blech. Excuse me again, Dr. Bock and company, but I keep waiting to be proven wrong.

I ain't got no problem with engagement. Or evangelism. Or even with preaching, necessarily.

I'm simply frustrated (an emotion Dan Wallace can surely relate to) that so many of Christendom's experts seem content to leave History in the hands of the World.

PS: Yes, I've read the book "Words and Works of Jesus Christ", by Dr. Pentecost. I have no comment on that at this time.


steph said...

Appalling. I couldn't bear to watch it all.

Bill Heroman said...

Hey, Steph. You mean academically, I presume?

aspire2 said...

Perhaps this YouTube video would leave you feeling better.

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