Story Part 2: How to Read the Biblical Story

Rick Mattson Apologetics 0 Comments

A few years ago when I read the famous book pictured at left, it changed the way I approach the Bible. Robert Alter taught me to pay closer attention to the story of Scripture, that is, to the author’s intended literary elements, such as: “the minute choice of words and reported details, the pace of narration, the small movements of dialogue, …

Story Part 1: Jesus Used Stories. So Should We.

Rick Mattson Apologetics 3 Comments

In his fine book Reimagining Evangelism, Prof. Rick Richardson of Wheaton College and the Billy Graham Center reminds us of the power of story: “Jesus taught truth by telling stories and his stories still reverberate in our souls centuries later: the prodigal son, the sower, the parables of the kingdom. Jesus knew how to lodge truth not just in our heads but …

Bible Interpretation Part 5: The Justice Objection 2

Rick Mattson Bible 2 Comments

So far in this set of posts regarding Bible interpretation, I’ve replied to four different objections to a traditional reading: the naturalistic, the literalistic, the pluralistic and the “justice” objection. This is part two of the justice objection, and can be summarized as follows: Whenever a traditional interpretation of the Bible doesn’t account for racial, sexual and gender justice, it must be …

Bible Interpretation Part 4: The Justice Objection 1

Rick Mattson Bible 0 Comments

In my prior three posts I responded to 1) the naturalistic objection to Bible interpretation, 2) the literalistic objection and 3) the pluralistic objection. This post is about the “justice” objection, which has various forms but perhaps can be summarized as follows: It would be unjust of God to reveal himself primarily in only one religious tradition such as Christianity …

Bible Interpretation Part 3: The Pluralist Objection

Rick Mattson Bible 0 Comments

In the prior two posts, I responded to the naturalistic and literalistic objections to Bible interpretation. The “pluralist” objection is third, and goes something like this: The Bible is just one revelation among many of the Divine. Any interpretation of the Bible that excludes other religious traditions or somehow invalidates them cannot be accepted. Two Replies:  1. Excluding exclusivism: the pluralist …

Bible Interpretation Part 2: The Literalistic Objection

Rick Mattson Bible 0 Comments

In my prior post I replied to the naturalistic objection to Bible interpretation. In this post I’d like to respond to the literalistic objection, which goes something like this: The Bible is the inerrant Word of God and must be read literally, “as is.” You don’t “interpret” Scripture, you just read it and apply it to your life. I agree …

Bible Interpretation Part 1: The Naturalistic Objection

Rick Mattson Bible 0 Comments

College students of varying backgrounds often raise objections to traditional interpretations of the Bible. Here are three types of objections I hear regularly: Naturalistic Literalistic Pluralistic Naturalistic objections are critical of anything that is miraculous or otherwise “fanciful” in the Bible. Thus the supernatural elements found in the Gospels, Exodus and numerous other places in Scripture are automatically rejected — …

Religious Reciprocity: Part 3

Rick Mattson Apologetics, Religious Pluralism 2 Comments

Is it fair for me to expect a “satisfied” adherent of another religion to investigate Christianity, while I am not necessarily motivated to pursue their religion? The short answer is this: only if Christianity is true. This answer, however, begs the question of whether Christianity is actually true, and how a person could possibly know this if they’ve never thoroughly investigated all …

Religious Reciprocity: Part 1

Rick Mattson Apologetics, Religious Pluralism 1 Comment

What happens to persons who’ve never taken the time and trouble to pursue Christianity as a possible “true religion”? Perhaps they feel satisfied with their own views, whether religious or not. Is that wrong? Will God punish them? One person put it this way in an email: What if sincere Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and other non-Christians did not here a clear, …

Religious Reciprocity: Part 2

Rick Mattson Apologetics, Religious Pluralism 2 Comments

A question from my prior post is this: What happens to those who’ve never heard a detailed, quality presentation of the gospel message, and feel satisfied with their own religion or worldview? The implied question is whether God will accept this person on the day of judgment, given that the person had no compelling reason to investigate Christianity. My response is that …