Why New Testament Scholarship should be Viewed with Skepticism

Imagine waking up and reading the following headline in tomorrow’s newspaper:

“Public university biology professor fired for publishing research that contradicts his university’s Faith Statement”

Professor John Doe was relieved of his position as chairman of the Biology Dept. of his public university yesterday for violating his signed agreement not to publish research which contradicts or calls into question the beliefs of his university

Now, imagine that a significant percentage of the world’s biologists work for universities which have similar policies.  Just how reliable and accurate could we assume biological research to be?

Thank goodness that is not how biological research works.  Researchers working for public universities are allowed to publish research based on what they discover, not based on “faith statements”.

So just how accurate is New Testament scholarship and claims of “New Testament scholarly consensus” or even “majority opinion” when a significant number of New Testament scholars work for institutions which require them to sign Faith Statements; Faith Statements which forbid them from publishing or teaching positions on the New Testament which contradict the beliefs of the institution and the Christian denomination that owns the institution?  How trustworthy is research conducted under the threat of loss of employment/destruction of one’s career for publishing “heretical” findings?

Should we trust consensus positions by a group of experts when a significant percentage of them conduct their research and scholarly studies “with their hands tied”??

 
Evangelical Christian New Testament scholar, Mike Licona
 

As reported by Christianity Today (see here), New Testament scholar Michael Licona has apparently lost both his job as research professor of New Testament at Southern Evangelical Seminary and been ousted as apologetics coordinator for the North America Mission Board (NAMB).

Why? In his 700-page book defending the historicity of Jesus’ resurrection, Licona proposed that the story of the resurrection of the saints described in Matthew 27 might be metaphorical rather than literal history. Why is this a problem? As a result of Licona’s questioning of Matthew 27, apparently some evangelical scholars, most notably Norman Geisler, accused Licona of denying the full inerrancy of the Bible.

Source:  here

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