Saturday, March 8, 2014

Steve Chalke: Move along, nothing to see here

I must admit I'm not all that familiar with the work of Steve Chalke. I've come across his name once or twice, but I haven't been particularly impressed enough to research his teachings. It turns out that Chalke is a British Baptist, not an Anglican, but he apparently fashions himself somewhat in the mold of legend-in-his-own-mind John Shelby Spong, making provocative statements intended to challenge orthodox belief. I was only intrigued by this article about his latest "bold claim" because it fits rather well with the theme of this week's lectionary readings, particularly the Old Testament text.
Any claim that the Bible is "without error or contradiction – that it's 'infallible' or even 'inerrant'... is extremely misleading," he asserts. The Word of God is a person – Jesus – "not a manuscript", and Scripture is "a dynamic conversation which, rather than ending with the finalisation of the canon of the Bible, continues beyond it".

The "result of all this is that... we may sometimes come to a developed, or even different, view from some of those contained in the canon of Scripture."
Ho hum! How many times have we heard this tired old argument? If Jesus is the Word of God, the same claim cannot be made for Scripture. It is a false dichotomy which undermines the authority of both Jesus and Scripture.

To set Jesus against Scripture is an exercise in self-contradiction. How would we know that Jesus is the Word of God if the Scriptures did not say, "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us?" The incarnate Word does not override the written Word. Rather, the incarnate Word provides the definitive means through which the written Word is to be understood and interpreted.

Chalke is merely the latest version of the self-assured provocateur who has convinced himself that he has learned some "new truth" not previously revealed to the benighted souls who came before him. It is neither "new" nor "truth," of course. Move along, nothing to see here.