Bonevac: the incoherence of liberalism
Feast of Chad, Abbot of Lastingham, Bishop of Lichfield, Missionary, 672
When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them. A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. When they had rowed three or three and a half miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were terrified. But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.
—John 6:16-21 (NIV)
I remember my Anthropology of Religion professor... urging us to ask not whether Jesus walked on water but what the gospel writer wanted to communicate by writing that Jesus walked on water... The professor’s answer, that the writer wanted to convey Jesus’ mastery over nature, and the dependence of the world of nature on something beyond it, seemed to conflict with his dismissal of Jesus’ actually walking on water. If Jesus didn’t, or couldn’t, walk on water, then what are we to make of the symbolic claim that nature depends on something beyond it? To maintain the dependence of nature in the face of Jesus’ inability to walk on water, command the wind and the waves, heal the sick, etc., is not contradictory, but it is epistemically undercutting in the sense that it involves asserting a thesis while denying the possibility of any evidence for it. That epistemic incoherence lies at the heart of the naturalistic, sy! mbolic interpretation of Christianity that many leaders of the _____ Church currently embrace.
... Daniel A. Bonevac, from “Are You a Religious Extremist? Religion and the Academy,” in The Truth That Makes Them Free, Donald G. Davis, Jr., ed., Austin, Texas: Christian Faculty Network: 2011, p. 34 (see the book)
See also John 6:16-21; Ps. 107:28-29; Matt. 8:24-27; 12:39-40; 14:22-33; 28:18; Mark 1:27; 4:37-41; 6:45-52; John 5:37-40; 10:25-26; 12:37
Quiet time reflection:
Lord, am I too susceptible to the futile thinking of this age?
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