My eye was caught by a review, in the latest (Summer 2012) number of The Reader, of a recent book by Marcus J. Borg.
Marcus Borg is well-known as a radical New Testament scholar. He is a member of the notorious Jesus Seminar and is deeply sceptical about the historicity of the biblical record of Jesus of Nazareth.
What particularly struck me in Derek Wood’s review of Speaking Christian were the following words:-
Borg sees a twin-track Christianity, travelled by those who see the Bible as a literal and inerrant source of truth, and those who follow what he calls the historical metaphorical approach, understanding the culture from which the Bible books were written and looking for the meaning behind the text.
So, either we take the Bible as a ‘literal and inerrant source of truth’ or we adopt this ‘historical metaphorical approach’ (which presumably implies radical scepticism). This is astonishing. It is an example of ‘the fallacy of the excluded middle’ writ large. Even in the US, where the proportion of Christians comfortable with the term ‘inerrancy’ is probably much higher than here in the UK, you would be hard-pressed to find many believers who would commit themselves to the Bible as a ‘literal’ source of truth.
Polarisation of this kind is very silly. We do not have to choose between one extreme position or its opposite. The truth may well be found somewhere between the extremes. And it will still be quite radical enough, thankyou very much.