This morning I read Peter Enns’ posting at his blog titled, “what would the apostle Paul think about evangelicals and the conflict in Palestine?” There he points to an article by Stephen Taylor at Biblical Theological Seminary. He is a part of the chorus of voices questioning the state of Israel’s place in conservative Evangelical thought.
I am sympathetic to those who question this. However, I would think that in light of all the stir Enns is creating, he would spare some of his ammunition rather than looking for opportunities to poke Evangelicals in the eye at every turn. They are already buzzing and stinging. Why would he want to lay it on thicker rather than focus on his essential ideas?
For many this will simply be proof that Enns will go the way of Rob Bell, Brian McLaren and company and other “Red Letter” Christians. Enns is perhaps just becoming another parable for what happens when people lose a higher view of the Bible. (I hesitate to use the word “higher,” for this is a prejudicial word. What I really want is just the truth, higher, lower or whatever).
I think Enns, if he wants to make a lasting contribution to conservative Christianity, should focus, focus, focus. Otherwise, he will become just another fading voice who will be remembered for questioning the Bible even as conservative seminaries move on to train another generation of Pastors and scholars in classic models of inspiration. I remember when Bell, McLaren, et al., were part of the Evangelical conversation. Now they aren’t even mentioned. They are off the board. Liberals don’t need them and conservatives moved on. I was hoping Enns would add to the conversation and help us develop a more robust hermeneutic. He instead has become a byword. It’s sad.
By the way, I am a fan of the state of Israel. Our commitment to Israel is a commitment worth keeping. I am not talking theology here but geo-political. I am saddened to find it faddish for Evangelicals to diminish such a commitment. View Simon Schama’s “The Story of the Jews,” (which Enns recommends) and you will get some serious context for the existence of the state of Israel. He is critical of the settlements and is not a blind Zionist. Go here for some of his thoughts.