A Pastor and a Philosopher Walk into a Bar

The Only God Ordained Podcast Episode on the Internet: An Interview with Pete Enns

July 28, 2021 Randy Knie, Kyle Whitaker Season 2 Episode 1
A Pastor and a Philosopher Walk into a Bar
The Only God Ordained Podcast Episode on the Internet: An Interview with Pete Enns
Show Notes Transcript

We got to talk about the Bible with Pete Enns. This podcast thing can be a pretty good gig.

Pete is a biblical scholar, Old Testament teacher and expert, a host of The Bible for Normal People podcast, and (unfortunately) a Yankees fan.

We talk about what it means that the Bible is inspired, what it means that the Scriptures are authoritative, contradictions within the Bible, the universal work of the Spirit, and other light and easy topics.

The whiskey we tasted is Woodford Reserve's Wheat Whiskey. Get it in liquor stores everywhere.

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/apastorandaphilosopher)

NOTE: This transcript is for the unedited video version of this conversation, so what you see here will not match the audio-only podcast version. For the video version, see here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAb9Ro8iL0s

00:02

[Music]

00:05

well hello friends and welcome to

00:06

another

00:06

installment of a pastor and a

00:08

philosopher walking to a bar

00:10

we're happy to have you here excited to

00:11

share this time with you and

00:13

really really excited about our guest

00:14

today we get the treat of hearing from

00:17

uh pete ends who is an old testament

00:20

scholar

00:20

he teaches at eastern university he's

00:23

written numerous books

00:24

if you've listened to a pastor in

00:26

philosopher walk into a bar you've heard

00:28

his name particularly

00:29

in the bible uh bible episodes i

00:32

recommend

00:32

pretty much all his books and he is the

00:35

co-host of a

00:36

huge podcast that we love called the

00:38

bible for normal people so exciting

00:40

times

00:41

yeah in some ways they might have been

00:43

the inspiration for us to even start a

00:44

podcast jared was one of the first

00:46

people we talked to when we were

00:47

thinking of maybe doing this so

00:49

it's really exciting to have pete on

00:50

yeah super fun

00:52

and we have a fun we're kind of going

00:55

old school here with our tasting we did

00:56

woodford reserve i think for our first

00:58

tasting right

00:59

it was one of the early ones for sure

01:02

yeah and we are coming back around for

01:03

one of the variations so tell us about

01:05

it kyle

01:06

yeah so this is a wheat whiskey i've not

01:08

had this in fact i just saw it on the

01:10

shelf for the first time a little while

01:11

ago and decided to grab it just for the

01:13

podcast

01:14

so i don't know what to expect this is

01:16

not a bourbon it's not like anything

01:18

else we've had

01:20

according to the woodford website it's

01:22

52 wheat

01:24

followed by uh 20 barley 20

01:27

corn and eight percent rice so yeah we

01:30

tend to be sweeter i love weeded

01:32

bourbons

01:32

i've never had a wheat whiskey

01:38

smells mellow smells a little bit less

01:40

hot than their

01:41

bourbon i might say darker color than i

01:44

would expect for

01:45

i guess wheat i would just associate

01:46

with a light color because of wheat beer

01:48

but um

01:54

toasty sweet

01:59

mm-hmm yeah it tastes good

02:02

oak but it doesn't have as much

02:06

complexity as their bourbon i don't

02:07

think

02:07

no it's it tastes like a sweet cereal to

02:09

me with

02:10

a little bit of a barrel presence but

02:12

not as much as the bourbon

02:14

is it a low abv uh not as low as

02:18

i would have thought so this comes in at

02:20

45.2

02:22

okay i've had this before and this was

02:24

the same experience i had i had it

02:26

recently

02:27

and i was trying to come in as a blank

02:29

slate but um

02:30

i said i would say this is like a a

02:33

lesser

02:34

you know sibling of the actual woodford

02:36

bourbon personally

02:37

yeah it's a very different drink though

02:39

i don't know if it

02:40

you can hear that i'm gonna wear it to

02:42

bourbon

02:44

it's light and nutty and almost uh

02:48

nutty sure i get a little bit of banana

02:52

on the end i know i

02:53

find banana and everything but

02:56

more like banana peel this time it feels

02:59

almost sparkling

03:00

look at it it's effervescent sure yeah

03:02

there's a flavored

03:03

profile in there that i can't put a word

03:05

on i can't find it but um

03:06

it's it's in between like barn uh

03:09

library those are

03:10

go-to's for me but it's kind of flat on

03:12

my tongue do you know what i mean

03:14

it's not it's just not very complex

03:17

yeah flat is a fine word yeah i guess i

03:20

think i have to agree with you i'm a

03:21

little disappointed woodford

03:23

i mean i would still drink this happily

03:26

this is a good

03:27

burp or whiskey to have around a fire

03:29

with a cigar that you don't have to

03:30

worry about working

03:32

and not tasting everything you know but

03:34

not for

03:35

i want to show off a little bit yeah it

03:37

has almost no finish just kind of

03:39

falls off absolutely yep it's easy

03:41

drinking i would if you're going to try

03:42

this

03:43

friends try it neat and start there and

03:45

go

03:46

go from there probably when you say that

03:48

i'm probably going to mix the rest of

03:49

this bottle

03:50

i think it may be a great one and had an

03:52

old fashioned that kind of feel yeah

03:54

sure yeah i think i actually like it

03:55

more than you guys do it's it's a

03:57

different enough flavor

03:58

it would be one of those i'd grab for a

03:59

bit of variety if i was just sick of my

04:01

go-to's

04:02

all right one more time kyle what is it

04:04

this is the woodford reserve wheat

04:06

whiskey

04:06

and elliot you can have the rest of it

04:12

so over at our patreon page one of the

04:14

perks of being a top shelf

04:16

supporter is that you get name dropped

04:18

on the podcast occasionally

04:19

so we're going to start that with this

04:21

episode and we're going to name drop one

04:23

of our

04:23

top shelf supporters if you want to know

04:25

more about what that means head over to

04:27

our patreon page

04:28

and look at all the awesome perks that

04:30

you can get from that

04:31

but right now we want to thank

04:32

personally jake decitels for being

04:35

a dedicated top shelf supporter we

04:37

couldn't do this without you

04:39

thanks so much

04:43

so pete the the podcast is a pastor and

04:46

a philosopher walk into a bar

04:48

i'm the pastor i'm randy kyle

04:51

the hairy guy the g that's the

04:53

philosopher

04:54

okay and that's putin

04:56

[Laughter]

04:59

producer okay great yeah wonderful nice

05:02

to meet you guys

05:03

yeah you as well yeah absolutely just

05:06

say that

05:07

your podcast was probably the main

05:08

inspiration for us wanting to start a

05:10

podcast so we owe a lot of it to you

05:13

so competition huh i think i think

05:16

you're okay

05:18

there's not room enough on the internet

05:19

for both of us

05:21

are you guys you claiming to be god

05:23

ordained too like we are or uh

05:24

no there is only one god ordained

05:27

podcast it's the only one it says it

05:28

right there

05:30

yeah um you know how many people have

05:34

come to us and said

05:37

i mean you know what percentage of our

05:38

listeners i don't know but like

05:40

well i really like your podcast do you

05:42

really think you're the only

05:43

doctor so i just know how to answer that

05:48

because tell him yes

05:49

tell him yes you have to just lean into

05:51

it at that point

05:52

yes just have fun with that right yeah

05:54

didn't you read that in in uh

05:56

jonah 3 16.

05:59

yeah well we are so excited to welcome

06:02

you pete ends to the

06:03

podcast to a pastor and philosopher walk

06:05

into a bar thank you so much for joining

06:06

us pete

06:08

thanks so much i appreciate it good to

06:09

be here so pete for the 14 listeners

06:12

of ours who don't know who you are just

06:14

give a little bit of background as to

06:16

who you are um and here's here's one

06:19

little detail i'd love to know i haven't

06:20

heard i've listened to

06:21

you a lot i've read a number of your

06:23

books really enjoy a lot of stuff

06:25

and haven't heard anything blasphemous

06:27

so far but i'm looking on your shirt and

06:29

i see something blasphemous on your

06:30

shirt so also tell us why you

06:32

love the evil empire of the new york

06:34

movie

06:35

well he can't help what tribe you're

06:37

born into you know that's just it and i

06:40

grew up in new jersey

06:41

and um i when i was my parents were

06:45

immigrants when i was a kid

06:46

i was flipping channels i became a

06:49

baseball fan all my home and i was like

06:51

eight years old and i was flipping

06:52

channels

06:53

and i flipped onto channel 11 wpix and i

06:56

was watching a yankee game and i became

06:58

a yankee fan and i

06:59

always shudder to think what had

07:00

happened if i had stopped the channel

07:02

nine i would have become a mets fan that

07:04

would have been horrible

07:04

so um another moment of grace in my life

07:08

but yeah so that's well

07:10

all right you're freaking out and you

07:10

grew up in it okay yeah i can't help it

07:13

you know it's like you know when i lived

07:15

in boston for five years

07:17

i had sympathy for red sox fans i didn't

07:19

hate them i just felt so

07:21

bad for them you know and just they got

07:24

back with me anyway that's a long story

07:26

but um

07:26

so yeah i teach at eastern university

07:28

which is a christian

07:30

college outside of philadelphia and i i

07:33

also taught in a seminary for about 14

07:35

years

07:36

and um yeah i just got into this whole

07:39

field just because i'm very curious

07:40

and i wanted to know

07:44

more about what i said i believed in so

07:47

uh that got me into seminary and then

07:49

graduate school

07:50

and uh so we have a podcast and i write

07:53

some books and i teach and i

07:55

i do this sort of stuff too fun fun

07:58

so let's start out just going at some

08:00

hot button uh words

08:02

these are softballs for you but i think

08:03

they're going to be interesting for our

08:04

listeners

08:05

you're a full-blown scholar you've given

08:08

your adult life to the study of the

08:10

scriptures and

08:11

thinking about the scriptures talking

08:13

about the scriptures teaching the

08:14

scriptures

08:15

so i'm just going to ask you and can you

08:17

give me just a yes or no answer

08:19

do you believe that the bible is

08:24

inspired ask

08:26

ask somebody who's thought about this um

08:30

yes it depends on what you mean by

08:31

inspired okay so we've got a yes

08:34

no no i want you to qualify yes so i

08:37

mean because

08:38

can i it's a dumb question okay that's

08:39

what i'm saying it's just a really

08:40

really dumb question to open with that

08:42

makes no sense

08:43

it has to be so-called you know what i

08:46

mean

08:47

so uh so fine okay so now so we gotta

08:50

yeah

08:51

hating me on both sides

08:58

[Laughter]

09:00

please qualify and tell us what you mean

09:02

by you think the bible is inspired

09:04

well inspired meaning you know i i have

09:07

a view on that

09:08

where to be inspired doesn't mean it's

09:12

sort of

09:13

top-down dictation it's more

09:16

the mystery of god engaging humanity

09:19

in imperceptible ways so i think a bible

09:23

that

09:23

is at points contradictory or certainly

09:27

in tension with each other

09:28

where there are different portraits of

09:30

god different portraits of israel

09:31

different portraits of jesus

09:33

you can call that inspired meaning god's

09:37

presence

09:37

is in and with the text and people are

09:40

still connecting with

09:41

it people are struggling with it too but

09:43

it still works right so

09:45

i'd say it's more of a functional view

09:48

of

09:48

inspiration than let's say

09:52

a deeply like metaphysical or something

09:54

of you i just don't go for that because

09:55

it doesn't make any sense to me

09:57

yeah so that's as long as you allow me

09:59

to define my terms i can be very happy

10:01

with the whole

10:02

can you define the term functional yes

10:04

yeah what i mean is that it's

10:06

it we i i believe the writings

10:10

themselves were composed by people of

10:12

faith

10:14

who were

10:17

struggling with their relationship with

10:20

their god

10:20

relationship's a very modern word but

10:23

they're articulating their faith in god

10:25

and that works well and has worked well

10:30

for the history of scripture

10:31

both before christianity and after to

10:34

[Music]

10:36

function as a means of grace i think for

10:38

the church

10:40

so that's not like an ontological view

10:43

you know

10:43

of inspiration which to me is just too

10:46

abstract

10:46

and and all these abstract definitions i

10:50

think they sort of

10:51

wind up like crashing against the rocks

10:54

of the actual data of scripture

10:56

themselves which are very uncompromising

10:58

and not at all

11:00

um able to be accommodated i think

11:02

easily

11:03

to rather ethereal notions of

11:05

inspiration so

11:07

i guess i could say i have a very

11:08

anthropological kind of view of

11:09

inspiration it's sort of a bottom-up

11:11

thing

11:11

but god is a part of it and i don't know

11:15

how

11:16

but i know that it's working yeah so

11:18

maybe it implies

11:19

that there is an ontology we're just not

11:22

really confident about how to spell it

11:23

out would that be fair that could be

11:25

yeah that could be and and i might add

11:27

and without trying to be like snarky or

11:29

anything

11:30

i don't have a huge interest in trying

11:31

to figure that out but i'm glad other

11:33

people do

11:34

right so that's that's that that's their

11:35

interest and i just don't have an

11:37

interest

11:37

it's not your job you're a biblical

11:39

scholar i know i'm just a lowly biblical

11:41

scholar

11:42

so let me just scare me by the way i'll

11:45

try it i'll try not to

11:46

so one quick follow-up would you say

11:49

that

11:49

another sacred text like say the quran

11:52

or the bhagavad-gita could be inspired

11:54

in the same way

11:55

yeah we've inspired in the same way yeah

11:57

and i

11:58

i can't see why i can't say that but you

12:02

know what i mean i just i can't get out

12:03

of that

12:04

and i don't really want to get out of it

12:05

i think i think the world religions have

12:08

sacred texts and traditions

12:10

that i think god is behind all those as

12:12

well

12:13

and they kicked you out of

12:14

evangelicalism no

12:16

i left

12:17

[Laughter]

12:20

when you think aside i mean i know

12:23

evangelicals who will talk like that

12:24

right because i think people are coming

12:26

to grips with a shrinking world

12:28

and you know the more we have contact

12:31

with people we've never met before

12:32

and and the more we realize that you

12:34

know we're very much a product of where

12:36

we happen to be born

12:38

i think there are a lot of people having

12:39

conversations like that

12:41

and uh they just can't do it very openly

12:43

and you know i'm very glad that i'm

12:45

in a place just both professionally and

12:47

personally where

12:49

you know i can talk out loud and think

12:51

out loud about that i don't have

12:53

full conclusions on these things but if

12:55

you can't even utter the issue

12:57

or utter the question what are we doing

13:00

this for

13:01

right we're just playing a game at that

13:02

point and i just don't want to do that

13:04

so that's

13:04

i mean kyle that's where i am at this

13:06

point you know i'm happy to have my mind

13:08

changed at some point but

13:09

um you know that's where i am good so

13:12

pete when you say

13:13

um yes other sacred texts could be

13:16

inspired and you think

13:18

you said god mike could be behind them

13:20

explain that for

13:21

listeners so the people who have their

13:23

brains exploding out of their heads

13:25

right now

13:25

i know um explain that why did we start

13:28

with this this is what you end with this

13:30

is good

13:30

everybody's happy and they like me and

13:32

all that kind of stuff

13:34

yeah i guess what i mean by that i mean

13:36

what god is behind it

13:38

is i think any language i try to use to

13:41

explain that's going to be equally

13:43

inadequate i just think

13:44

the presence of god is fundamentally

13:47

spirit

13:48

that pervades everyone and everything

13:51

that's what i believe about god i don't

13:53

believe i can point to a place in the

13:55

sky and say that's where god is

13:56

i think god is fundamentally spirit

14:00

and um i hope

14:03

can handle the cosmos that we live in

14:07

right and and when i think of our tiny

14:09

little pale blue dot

14:10

planet as carl sagan says and the

14:13

different kinds of humans that live on

14:15

it

14:15

i i hope that god doesn't have a special

14:19

group

14:20

to the exclusion of everyone else right

14:23

so

14:23

so that's meaning god is you know c.s

14:26

lewis talked like this at the end of the

14:28

last battle of people who have read the

14:30

chronicles of narnia where

14:32

you know he um is talking to a soldier

14:35

of this god tash who's clearly a muslim

14:38

figure in the book

14:40

but he was convinced of you know the

14:43

truth of who aslan is and he was like

14:45

feeling really bad about not

14:47

following aslan and and aslan says

14:50

whatever you've done for tosh you've

14:51

done for me

14:53

and reading that in my early twenties

14:55

like okay i can live with this this is a

14:57

really interesting way of thinking about

14:58

it

14:59

and of course your next question should

15:01

be and if it's not it really should be

15:02

is what makes christianity unique

15:04

and all that sort of stuff and i think

15:06

all religions are unique

15:08

they're all they all have their

15:09

distinctive elements um

15:12

of course this is a five-hour answer

15:13

right i mean this is a big topic but

15:15

for me it really is the kind of story

15:18

that it tells about the way god shows up

15:20

with humanity

15:21

which is in a crucified humiliated

15:26

messiah and so to me that's a very

15:29

important element it's not the only

15:31

thing but it's a thing that i've latched

15:32

on to for a few years that

15:34

the whole honor and shame dynamic that

15:36

you have in antiquity

15:37

and certainly in the hebrew scriptures

15:39

and in greco-roman religion

15:42

that's just completely just obliterated

15:44

in the cross

15:45

where god willingly aligns

15:48

with humiliation which is what

15:50

crucifixion is

15:52

right it's not just it's not just a way

15:54

of dying it's it's humiliating it's

15:56

shameful

15:57

and you know if you want to start a

15:59

religion in the first century

16:01

your lead is not your founder was

16:03

crucified by the romans that that is

16:06

um rather absurd and so you know paul in

16:09

romans

16:09

has to say things like i'm not ashamed

16:11

of the gospel of christ it's the power

16:13

of god for salvation

16:15

why would he be ashamed well because of

16:17

how it started but he's saying that is

16:19

the power of god

16:21

that's the paradox and i think that's a

16:22

beautiful paradox to just sort of sit

16:24

with

16:24

and meditate with and and that's i mean

16:27

i would

16:28

so i would start with something like

16:30

that for understanding the

16:31

distinctiveness of christianity

16:34

but that the distinctiveness is the

16:36

mystery

16:37

right so we're sort of stuck there and

16:39

we can't really articulate it much

16:40

better so

16:40

that's great yeah i mean richard rohr

16:42

said if it's true somewhere it's true

16:44

anywhere

16:44

and if something is true it's of the

16:46

spirit and

16:47

the spirit is pursuing all people at all

16:49

times whether that's through their

16:51

sacred texts or

16:52

the stars or whatever yeah yeah i agree

16:55

with that yeah

16:56

i've got another i've got here's a the

16:58

lights flashing

16:59

obnoxious question coming okay another

17:02

one

17:02

um do you is the bible would you

17:05

consider the bible authoritative in your

17:07

life

17:09

it depends on what you mean by authority

17:12

yeah yeah i just

17:13

i know we'll qualify it in a second but

17:16

would you say yes or no to that

17:18

uh yes okay i would say definitely yes

17:21

to that

17:21

okay okay let's explain that

17:25

i think you know the way authority is

17:27

usually

17:28

assumed to be the case and let's say

17:30

popular christianity

17:32

is i would call it illegal authority

17:35

um here are the rules and it tells you

17:38

what to do and what to think i think the

17:39

bible's too diverse to handle that kind

17:41

of a model of authority

17:45

john goldengate for example he had

17:47

models of

17:48

um i think it's models of authority

17:50

actually the book is called something

17:52

like

17:52

30 years ago but you know there's also a

17:54

prophetic kind of authority

17:57

which is um calling for justice and

17:59

envisioning a new reality

18:02

vaguely just in in in um in a sketched

18:05

out sort of form well that's

18:07

that's a different kind of authority um

18:10

i think the bible's authoritative for

18:12

this in the sense that

18:14

when i think about god and when i think

18:17

about the nature of the christian faith

18:18

when i think about the gospel

18:20

i can't i don't make a move without

18:23

engaging

18:25

scripture the biblical tradition and how

18:27

the biblical tradition has been handled

18:30

so again we sort of come to let's say

18:32

functionally it certainly acts as an

18:34

author

18:34

authority and i i'm very much at peace

18:38

with that you know i

18:39

i think that's actually you can't you

18:42

can't

18:42

do this and say okay let's have a

18:45

christian conversation

18:46

well who cares about the bible you might

18:49

hate the bible but you can't

18:50

ignore it it's just it is what it is

18:52

with all its great stuff and all its

18:54

weird problems

18:56

in that sense it's acting as an

18:57

authority but it's an authority that

19:00

is not a um as i'd like to say a rule

19:04

book

19:04

authority it's more it sets a context

19:08

within which

19:10

we have this means of grace for um

19:14

engaging and experiencing the spirit

19:19

see that won't fly in like a tweet nope

19:22

right

19:22

good and i know and i won't but again

19:25

welcome to

19:26

being an adult and being in the

19:28

christian world and engaging

19:30

exceedingly complicated and

19:32

multi-layered answers

19:34

and um most of which aren't even a

19:36

handle that man i wish we had four hours

19:39

this is incredible uh yeah i'll go ahead

19:42

if you got any follow-ups or the next

19:43

one

19:44

well yeah so i personally wouldn't call

19:46

that authority

19:47

but again the word is super complicated

19:50

would it be fair to some other viewers

19:51

saying that

19:52

if you're going to make a decision as a

19:54

christian the bible will always be

19:56

relevant to that decision

20:00

yes um but i would say be careful and

20:04

i know you're not saying this but i

20:05

would say very careful not on the proof

20:07

texting level

20:08

sure but on let's say the metanarratival

20:11

level the big picture of scripture

20:14

taking into account debates within

20:16

scripture about very interesting issues

20:18

all that kind of stuff

20:20

yeah so yeah i mean i would i would say

20:21

that yeah so one more follow-up

20:24

um you just mentioned debates within

20:26

scripture just give us the the

20:28

three-minute version of like

20:29

wait there's debates within scripture

20:32

what do you mean yeah i mean there are

20:33

differences of opinion and i think the

20:35

classic

20:36

new testament example is that peter and

20:38

paul

20:39

and probably james clearly did not get

20:41

along

20:42

you know they had a very significant

20:44

debate

20:45

that you know paul says was eventually

20:47

settled the book of acts sort of papers

20:50

over it a little bit

20:51

but galatians doesn't and james

20:53

certainly doesn't because

20:54

james is essentially arguing the

20:57

opposite of what paul argues

20:59

and they're both in scripture and i

21:00

think you know paul won that argument i

21:02

guess

21:04

but at a loss for the kinds of things

21:06

that i think james was saying about

21:09

works and faith and the relationship

21:10

between those two things so you have

21:12

that

21:12

and in the old testament um you know the

21:15

book of job very briefly

21:18

uh he's having a bad day right things

21:20

are not working out and his friends are

21:22

sad for him but they say listen you're

21:24

suffering what did you do to deserve

21:26

that

21:28

um because you know the the righteous

21:30

are blessed and the work that are cursed

21:32

you're clearly cursed job what did you

21:33

do

21:34

and his friends are really espousing a

21:37

very

21:37

orthodox theology that you find you know

21:40

prevalent

21:41

and not all over the not everywhere but

21:43

prevalent in the old testament

21:45

of sort of a retributive justice kind of

21:47

theory

21:48

and yeah like deuteronomy is huge the

21:51

deuteronomistic history which is you

21:52

know first and second kings and first

21:54

and second samuel they

21:55

that's very much the case proverbs sort

21:57

of sits there

21:59

some psalms sit there you know psalm 1

22:01

there are two kinds of people the

22:02

righteous and the wicked the righteous

22:04

be planted the wicked will be driven

22:05

away like jeff

22:07

so they're not saying anything like you

22:09

can't look at job's friends and say

22:12

you've got horrible theology no they

22:13

have really good biblical theology

22:15

and that's probably something that job

22:17

espoused himself

22:19

because he had a lot of stuff he was

22:22

well off and he was like

22:23

super hyper worshiper of god you know

22:25

sacrificing for his children and stuff

22:27

like that

22:28

but then he starts suffering and

22:31

his friends say you know what did you do

22:33

to deserve that and job says

22:35

i didn't do anything and they said yeah

22:37

you did and he goes

22:38

i didn't and they said yeah you did and

22:41

job says

22:42

i didn't it goes on for like 30 chapters

22:43

like that

22:46

and then at the end the beautiful end of

22:48

job where

22:49

um god appears and sort of settles the

22:52

debate if it were only that easy

22:55

and he looks at one of job's three

22:57

friends and he said my wrath is kindled

22:59

against you

23:00

for you have not spoken rightly of me as

23:03

my servant job has

23:06

job is maintaining his innocence he was

23:08

he was

23:09

cutting off the classic

23:13

you know blessings come because you're

23:17

righteous

23:17

and and cursing doesn't and so you have

23:20

the book of job the climax of the story

23:24

not sitting well with you know

23:28

deuteronomy and other places and i and

23:31

the thing is that you know when the

23:32

bible was put together

23:35

probably after the babylonian exile and

23:37

who knows how much long after

23:38

but the those who were responsible for

23:41

making these kinds of decisions

23:43

were not idiots they knew what they were

23:46

reading

23:47

but all of it encompasses the experience

23:50

of israel

23:51

yeah and that's a good thing for us to

23:53

remember too

23:55

you know there's not just the triumph

23:56

there's also the pain and

23:58

and see having that debate i think gives

24:01

us permission

24:02

to to say okay

24:07

how am i perceiving god at this moment

24:09

and

24:10

and to be honest about that right and i

24:13

think scripture

24:14

scripture gives us that permission back

24:16

to authority in that sense there's an

24:18

authoritative

24:19

dimension even if you know kyle we might

24:21

want to use another word for that which

24:22

i'm fine with you know um

24:24

but that's how i think it works yeah so

24:26

like on any really simplistic view of

24:28

authority that you might find in a kind

24:30

of fundamentalism

24:31

you've got a problem here because the

24:32

authority is itself deeply internally

24:34

conflicted

24:36

yes exactly the authoritative text

24:39

is not on the same page and

24:42

you cannot have that right with certain

24:45

models

24:46

of see not just biblical authority but i

24:48

think actually certain models of what

24:50

god is like

24:50

i think it's that deep of an issue it's

24:52

not just the bible

24:54

it's the fact that the bible has to be a

24:55

certain way to protect god being a

24:57

certain way

24:58

and i just love how the bible just um

25:02

it keeps um

25:05

challenging theological systems

25:08

including my own

25:09

right not just the bad guys but it's

25:11

just it's not it's not an easily

25:12

systematized

25:14

collection of writings yeah and just

25:16

just to add on for our listeners you

25:17

might be wondering

25:18

you would agree that it's not an

25:20

accident that there is debate within the

25:22

bible correct pete

25:24

not at all i think it's again even just

25:26

from an anthropological human

25:28

point of view this is valued you know

25:30

when you have psalms that are like god's

25:32

the best

25:33

the other ones are saying uh you're

25:35

never around when we need you

25:37

you know and even psalm 89 which

25:40

basically calls god a liar

25:42

for sending the judahites into

25:44

babylonian exile because you

25:46

promised this would never happen you

25:47

said there would always be somebody

25:49

sitting on the throne one of david's

25:51

sons

25:51

and it hasn't happened right so

25:54

challenging god

25:56

is part of the scriptural tradition and

26:00

part of the life of faith and i think

26:01

the israelites in their wisdom

26:04

which let's call it an inspired wisdom

26:06

right in their wisdom

26:09

all of this belongs and you can't get

26:11

rid of it to smooth it over

26:13

yeah i think to me that's the beauty of

26:15

the bible that's what makes it worth

26:16

reading

26:17

sometimes you see these things and we

26:19

recognize our own struggles with it both

26:21

maybe collectively

26:23

but also individually there's something

26:25

there for everybody

26:26

yeah that's really great for listeners

26:29

that are wondering the

26:30

my preferred take on it as the

26:32

philosopher that's here in the podcast

26:34

is uh

26:34

the bible is evidence about what god is

26:36

like and

26:38

there's lots of different kinds of

26:39

evidence about what god is like and it

26:41

has

26:41

you know there are different methods of

26:42

assessing evidence that are appropriate

26:44

to the specific kind of evidence you

26:45

have but

26:46

we wouldn't consider that authority

26:48

because it doesn't have any more claim

26:50

on our attention than any other type of

26:52

evidence at least not

26:53

you know essentially so yeah

26:56

that simplifies the whole thing for me

26:59

philosophers are allergic to authority

27:01

it's like in our dna to buck against it

27:03

so

27:03

but we love evidence how about this how

27:05

about this not to make it even more

27:06

complicated but how about adding a

27:08

wrinkle to that

27:09

it's it's evidence right of

27:12

of god that's what you're saying

27:16

maybe a step before that it's evidence

27:19

of how people understood god given to a

27:21

certain context

27:22

yes but i would also add to the i would

27:24

also add to the story that there isn't

27:25

anything else

27:28

like so so one of one of my assumptions

27:30

is that how people have understood what

27:32

god is

27:33

is all there is to what god is

27:37

yeah i actually i think that's if i can

27:39

compliment you i think it's a very

27:40

profound and important point that you're

27:41

making because

27:43

it ensures that we not trap god

27:46

into a system of our own making you know

27:48

creating god in our own image

27:50

yeah i think i think that protects the

27:52

mystery of god which

27:53

in my life over the past 15 years has

27:55

become

27:57

not an escape route but just a

27:59

realization

28:00

that um like aquinas you know when he

28:04

died supposedly i mean you might have

28:05

better than i do

28:07

basically he said what the heck what was

28:10

that all about

28:12

i wish i had written all that stuff you

28:13

know and i think that's true

28:15

you know um well even but even when he

28:18

was

28:19

yeah even when he was writing the stuff

28:21

though like so

28:22

and lest a listener think oh my god this

28:25

is off the deep end liberal

28:26

this is squarely orthodox

28:30

philosophy he was very clear before his

28:33

revelation at the end of his life

28:35

that everything we've said about god is

28:37

an analogy

28:39

right the whole thing is a metaphor

28:42

and what that does is it might be scary

28:45

for people

28:45

to hear that but what that absolutely

28:48

protects is that no one can co-opt god

28:50

yes no one can attain god so to speak

28:53

and

28:54

and um be the ones who divvy god out to

28:58

others

28:59

right so pastors are freaking out all

29:02

over the country right now

29:03

and by the way however many two dozen

29:05

listeners you have i don't know what's

29:06

going on

29:07

yeah on a good day now but but like by

29:09

the way also

29:10

aquinas since he's you know we're

29:13

considering his view here loved muslim

29:16

philosophy

29:17

so let it be known oh that aquinas well

29:20

that was the age wasn't it that was the

29:21

age when there was a lot of maybe

29:23

engagement between

29:24

yeah you know christian catholic

29:26

philosophers and muslim

29:28

and and jewish philosophers too right

29:30

that was like the good old days where

29:32

people got along they weren't trying to

29:33

kill each other

29:34

[Music]

29:35

he loved the pagans he loved aristotle

29:37

he loved all of it and he

29:38

he found just as much truth in those

29:40

traditions as in his own

29:42

and hence is trying to synthesize these

29:44

right and and um

29:46

yeah boy we've we've definitely lost

29:49

that

29:49

haven't we i mean not not entirely but

29:52

it's not

29:54

yeah that's just not the way christians

29:55

are supposed to be you know that's

29:57

what's heretically

29:58

i think yeah yeah so so let's uh let's

30:02

roll this into

30:03

a brief discussion about exodus if we

30:06

can because you just wrote a book on

30:07

exodus came out earlier this year

30:09

exodus for normal people uh so

30:12

right off the bat in that book you lay

30:15

out some basics

30:16

about exodus that i want to ask you

30:18

about so you say

30:20

wasn't written by moses compiled

30:23

centuries after the events it describes

30:25

we don't know who compiled it

30:27

there's almost no evidence that any of

30:29

it happened at least as described in the

30:30

book

30:32

just kind of lay out this stuff right at

30:33

the beginning

30:35

so so given that given these facts

30:39

what do you think the significance of

30:40

that book is for modern christians why

30:42

does it matter

30:44

yeah i think you know they're probably

30:50

potentially very different answers to

30:51

that question and

30:53

um one is

30:56

i i i think the theology of a book

30:59

and let's say the truth of the theology

31:02

can actually transcend the history

31:05

or be a side of the history so um

31:08

you know i love the story of exodus and

31:11

this is how ancient israelites

31:14

understood god to be very genuinely very

31:18

authentically and it's stuck

31:19

you know it's like the core narrative

31:22

the whole sinai exodus thing is the core

31:24

narrative of the hebrew scriptures

31:26

for us today it really depends on who

31:28

the us is

31:29

um i used to have problems with

31:33

liberation theology's appropriation of

31:35

the exodus story because it's not really

31:37

sticking to what it originally meant but

31:39

that was many years ago i don't think

31:40

that way anymore i think

31:42

i think people have found oppressed

31:45

peoples have found

31:47

tremendous solace in the book of exodus

31:50

that

31:50

god ultimately champions the oppressed

31:55

and you know we can discuss the nuances

31:57

of that

31:58

and you know if god champions the

32:00

oppressed why is it okay to have slaves

32:02

you know later on in exodus i understand

32:04

that that's one of the many theological

32:07

conundrums in exodus but still in

32:09

principle i think it's a good idea

32:11

um i think you know for christians

32:13

there's the

32:14

broader like biblical theological

32:17

engagement with the text where like the

32:20

book of

32:21

hebrews does you know like jesus is

32:24

moses 2.0

32:25

and bringing us out of slavery into new

32:28

life

32:29

so i think it's it's that's a different

32:31

kind of appropriation more

32:34

what we often do with the old testament

32:36

which is not really stick to what the

32:38

story is but sort of take it to another

32:40

direction

32:42

and for me i mean again i think this is

32:46

sort of a more nerdy kind of answer

32:48

but i really want to understand

32:54

ancient hebrew israelite theology i want

32:57

to understand how they thought

32:59

even if i look at that and say

33:02

i just this doesn't make sense to me it

33:05

doesn't jive with

33:06

my experience of god it doesn't jive for

33:09

me very well with

33:10

certain things i read elsewhere in the

33:12

bible but

33:14

at one point in time this was an

33:16

authentic articulation of faith

33:18

and to struggle with that even if i then

33:21

say well

33:22

okay i i do think differently as do

33:24

other christians think differently

33:27

but i've done the hard work of

33:28

respecting the story and not just

33:30

glancing over it

33:31

and i think what that does ultimately is

33:33

it makes for a much richer

33:35

and much more nuanced theology we don't

33:38

just paper over these stories and make

33:39

them say whatever you want them to say

33:42

so follow-up question that pete i a

33:45

couple of years ago you had a scholar on

33:46

talking about

33:47

the reality that there's no

33:48

archaeological evidence that the exodus

33:50

actually happened um

33:52

and i talked to a family member that

33:54

evening and it kind of short circuited

33:56

things you know i got one of those

33:57

delicious emails where they're

33:58

questioning my faith because i

34:00

said you know the accidents might not

34:01

have happened you want to start doing

34:03

that by the way you need to

34:04

stop doing that but anyway that's

34:07

another

34:07

it wound up really wonderful it's great

34:09

okay um

34:11

however i think that person summed up a

34:14

lot of

34:14

christendom you know modern

34:16

christendom's question which is

34:17

basically

34:19

the bible is told us that the exodus

34:21

actually happened

34:22

which if you think of inspiration in

34:24

that certain simplistic way that means

34:25

that god

34:26

told us the exodus actually happened

34:28

that means that if it didn't actually

34:29

happen

34:29

god might be lying to us or the bible

34:31

isn't true and trustworthy

34:33

and then you can put other old testament

34:35

events in there whether or not jonah was

34:36

actually swallowed by a great fish or

34:38

whether or not a

34:39

global flood actually did happen or so

34:41

on and so forth

34:42

so can you tell us tell our listeners

34:44

why

34:46

exodus might be useful even if there's a

34:48

possibility that it didn't happen

34:51

well i think um there i think there are

34:55

some larger questions behind that that i

34:57

think

34:58

you can't get to that right without

35:01

clearing some

35:02

ground um i mean you said before and i

35:05

appreciate this the uh you know the

35:06

bible says it actually happened

35:08

the bible doesn't say anything people

35:11

interpret what the bible says

35:13

and that's that's again that's a subtle

35:15

point

35:16

and perhaps far too subtle for some and

35:19

i understand that and my job isn't to

35:20

get them to understand that subtlety i'm

35:22

just saying that for me

35:25

um you know the joke about the professor

35:28

who you know um is engaging a student

35:33

in seminary and the student says well

35:35

the bible says

35:36

he goes okay open open the bible to that

35:39

page

35:40

and don't say anything right so he sits

35:43

there for five

35:44

minutes and he goes well you know the

35:46

professor goes well and he goes well

35:47

what

35:48

what's it saying it's not saying you

35:51

have to read it and interpret it and

35:53

that's the hermeneutical

35:54

reality of the bible it always has to be

35:57

interpretive so

35:58

so you know those places where you know

36:01

exodus

36:02

is claimed as history well

36:05

see now we get into the genre issue

36:07

right we have to understand these texts

36:09

according to genre

36:11

and the problem is you know what kind of

36:13

literature is it

36:14

right um a historical narrative is

36:16

different than a poem is different than

36:19

a mythic retelling of something and the

36:21

question is

36:22

okay well what is the genre of exodus

36:25

good question

36:27

welcome to the conversation welcome to

36:29

the the um

36:31

the debate you know and and what most

36:33

scholars say

36:34

i mean i really do mean most scholars

36:36

say something like this

36:38

you have clearly a historical something

36:41

in this story it's things like

36:43

you're not going to make this up you

36:45

know

36:46

but the evidence makes the history very

36:49

complicated the evidence that we do have

36:51

even within the bible itself means that

36:54

whatever happened

36:55

probably doesn't line up with the story

36:57

itself the story is as i say in the book

37:00

it's mythicized history it's history

37:04

but it's given a layer of theological

37:07

meaning

37:08

in antiquity which is often expressed in

37:11

mythological terms which we get to find

37:13

that too but i don't mean

37:15

i don't mean fairy tale i mean just the

37:17

way ancient people thought about the

37:18

divine realm and how the divine realm

37:20

connects with the human wrong

37:22

so it complicates that question it would

37:24

be very hard for me

37:27

to to just answer that question let's

37:30

say in a tweet

37:32

for someone and i would try to i would i

37:35

would try not to go

37:36

into all this kind of stuff and maybe

37:37

ask some questions about

37:40

you know what kind of literature is

37:42

exodus well it's it's clearly historical

37:45

literature well

37:46

it there's much more going on there than

37:48

that than just historical

37:50

you know what we mean by historical

37:53

literature the ancient

37:54

israelites probably didn't right yeah

37:57

i'm not sure if they had a word for

37:58

historical literature

37:59

um and i'm not sure if they made

38:02

such a sharp division the way modern

38:04

people do

38:06

between history and

38:09

um creative engagement with

38:13

their own context you know i mean i'm

38:15

trying not to say myth again because

38:17

it's

38:17

i know it's a trigger word but myth

38:19

doesn't mean not

38:20

true in antiquity it means

38:24

deeply true in ways that transcend the

38:27

accidents of history so to speak

38:29

yeah and and you know but that's a hard

38:31

thing to wrap your head around because

38:33

you really have to spend time

38:35

to see that and to accept it and it's

38:38

not easy i don't i don't expect people

38:39

just oh yeah that's fine i get that

38:41

you know yep i mean it kind of fits with

38:43

a god who

38:44

incarnates and you know god comes in the

38:47

flesh and then just

38:48

starts telling stories that maybe might

38:51

might not have happened

38:52

seems consistent that's trying to con

38:54

communicate the deepest truths

38:56

human beings can ever wrap our heads

38:58

around and and

39:00

not just any human beings but the

39:01

ancient human beings

39:03

and who already had a world

39:08

and their their religious faith

39:11

is understood within the context of what

39:13

their understanding of everything else

39:15

right so you have genesis 1 which is

39:19

a wonderful story of creation of the

39:21

cosmos which

39:23

is really very fruitfully understood

39:25

within the context of ancient

39:27

you know babylonian and canaanite

39:29

stories

39:30

and because that's their world

39:33

right um we have assumptions too about

39:38

the nature of reality whether it's you

39:39

know

39:40

economic realities we don't have a

39:42

barter system anymore you know we

39:44

we think in terms of cash and credit and

39:46

we don't question that and

39:48

you know we use metaphors all the time

39:51

for talking about god

39:52

that makes sense you know god's the ceo

39:55

or something like that or you know

39:56

even you know god is deeply concerned

39:58

with family values

40:00

right that's that's bringing our own

40:03

values

40:03

into our discussion of god which is i

40:06

think

40:07

unavoidable right to to um

40:10

to create god in our own image i think

40:12

is part of doing theology you have to

40:14

hold it lightly

40:15

and let that be critiqued and and ready

40:18

to change but

40:20

you know kyle like you're saying our

40:21

language of god is always metaphorical

40:23

it's analogical or something it's not

40:25

direct we're we're just people and

40:29

you know then how do you know that you

40:31

know any of this is real

40:33

i don't know but there is the mystery of

40:34

incarnation too where god is deeply

40:37

embedded in humanity

40:38

so maybe these things have a truth to

40:41

them because

40:42

of its humanity and not despite it

40:46

you know it's good yeah let me ask you a

40:49

theological question i know you're a

40:50

biblical scholar but i know you also

40:52

have thoughts about this particular

40:53

question so

40:54

okay uh just from like a cursory read of

40:57

exodus the god of exodus

40:59

does not come off as what you might call

41:02

even tempered

41:04

so how do we square what we find in a

41:06

book like exodus with what we find

41:08

in the new testament teaching of god as

41:12

the kind of god who expects you to love

41:13

your enemies

41:15

yeah i mean um

41:19

first i mean just i agree with the fact

41:22

that that is a legitimate dilemma

41:24

um you do have the ananias and sapphira

41:27

story in the book of acts

41:30

and there's a lot of blood in the book

41:31

of revelation so you do have moments

41:33

right although some people would say

41:35

well those writers didn't get god either

41:37

but they have this view of god that

41:39

doesn't work which i think is a pretty

41:40

good argument but

41:41

um but yeah how do we square that and

41:45

for me again you're asking me for my

41:47

opinion um

41:49

i simply chalk that up to

41:53

watching the i don't want to use the

41:56

word progress but more just the

41:59

developing even evolving views of god in

42:02

scripture

42:03

where in a context that's fundamentally

42:07

tribalistic

42:09

where like the gods one of the gods

42:12

chief functions the head gods she

42:14

functions is to basically go to war

42:17

you know either with other gods up there

42:20

which is part of the flood uh

42:22

the um the plague narratives in exodus

42:25

there's a lot of that going on there

42:27

um but even you know with with um

42:31

with you know other gods like um

42:35

uh actually what i'm actually trying to

42:37

say is that the the warrior mentality

42:40

is your god is going out not just to

42:42

beat up other gods but to

42:43

beat up other people and your god is

42:47

great

42:48

by virtue of how successful god is

42:50

militarily

42:51

and i i will say without qualification i

42:55

do not believe that describes the way

42:57

god

42:58

is what did i just say a mouthful what i

43:01

know about god is but i don't believe

43:03

that

43:04

but i know that they did because if i

43:06

were living

43:07

in the iron age i would be thinking the

43:10

same thing so it's not a condescension

43:13

it's not even a disrespect it's to say

43:16

that the bible keeps moving

43:19

and god's always sort of out ahead of

43:20

people i think in the bible there's

43:22

always something

43:22

else there's always a surprise that god

43:25

is doing

43:26

that sort of critiques or even in some

43:30

cases shatters

43:31

other views of looking at god and i

43:33

think that's

43:34

that's not a new testament verses old

43:36

testament thing that's happening within

43:38

the old testament itself

43:40

and it's certainly happening in the new

43:42

where i think it's actually taken up a

43:43

notch

43:44

where there's very little in the gospel

43:47

story that you would really actually get

43:49

from reading the old testament story

43:51

there's something always being turned

43:53

around and flipped around and

43:56

even the honor and shame thing we talked

43:57

about before that's that's a totally

43:59

different kind of

44:01

um uh you know uh way of looking at god

44:05

that's

44:05

just changing i think in the new

44:07

testament so i would sort of look at it

44:09

as basically i mean i don't

44:11

i don't really like the term too much

44:13

it's fine but um

44:15

progressive revelation yeah that's not

44:18

anthropological enough for me

44:20

the way i think about the development of

44:22

the bible but there is

44:23

a progressiveness within the bible

44:26

itself

44:26

and that's how i basically look at that

44:28

and say

44:31

you don't have to you don't have to take

44:33

everything in the bible and make it all

44:35

fit and here's your picture of god sort

44:37

of a frankenstein that you've stitched

44:38

together

44:40

it's it's different i think it's more um

44:44

showing us that change is inevitable in

44:47

how we think about god and

44:49

i'm not sure if that just sort of

44:50

magically stopped at the end of the new

44:52

testament either yeah

44:54

yep brian zahn when we talked to him he

44:56

put it this way that i really enjoyed he

44:57

said

44:58

the bible seems to be on a journey of

44:59

discovery along with us

45:01

moving towards the incarnation and that

45:03

helped me

45:04

yeah yeah i would add though that even

45:06

with the incarnation

45:08

things have kept moving and kept

45:10

changing and developing right

45:11

because um the new testament has its own

45:14

context

45:15

right um but and fundamentally i agree

45:18

with that but

45:19

um the incarnate

45:22

the the mystery of incarnation hasn't

45:24

stopped yeah

45:26

it's just like the volume was turned up

45:29

you know in the new testament but it's

45:31

it's still going

45:32

and my my proof text for that is the

45:35

entire history of christianity

45:36

which has had philosophical movements

45:39

and changes and adaptations

45:41

and um some of them probably not great

45:44

but many of them probably fantastic and

45:47

inevitable

45:48

you know yeah on that theme of the bible

45:51

meaning different things now maybe than

45:52

it

45:53

used to given changes in context a very

45:55

recent application of

45:57

the book of exodus happened at that

45:59

conservative committee conference

46:01

earlier this year and back in february

46:03

you may know where i'm going with this

46:05

where they repeat it yeah i'm not sure

46:07

so this is the cpac conference i think

46:09

and somebody brought in

46:10

a giant golden statue of donald trump

46:14

and then christian twitter went crazy

46:16

through the comparisons to the golden

46:18

calf the next

46:19

now who knows if whoever made that

46:21

statue had actually

46:22

read exodus or intended that to be a

46:24

reference or not

46:25

not going to speculate on that but can

46:27

you maybe comment on the meaning of the

46:29

golden calf story and explain what if

46:32

anything you think it might have to say

46:34

about our current political climate

46:37

um well i guess let's take the second

46:40

one first um

46:43

people say why can't i apply the bible

46:45

this way

46:47

well i think this is where the the broad

46:50

prophetic tradition of the bible can

46:52

come in really handy because

46:55

when it's about self-aggrandizement and

46:57

power and political power it's critiqued

47:00

right so this is not something that is

47:03

for the let's say

47:07

the the movement of the gospel

47:10

speaking as christians it's

47:13

to baptize a political party

47:16

or one political figure and using

47:20

the bible in a biblical story perhaps to

47:22

do that

47:24

and um that's so much

47:28

that is so i think that is so

47:29

fundamentally contradictory

47:32

to the biblical witness whether it's for

47:35

the prophetic voice

47:36

or whether it's you know jesus in the

47:39

sermon on the mount or whether it's

47:40

paul calling jesus lord when there was

47:43

already somebody occupying that title

47:45

politically caesar

47:47

um so i mean i would look at that that

47:49

way but

47:51

the other one we know what is the golden

47:53

calf story about that's a really good

47:55

question um

47:57

basically it's with the absence you know

48:01

dad goes away

48:03

moses and he's off talking to god and

48:06

what the israelites do

48:07

is simply collapse into the natural way

48:11

in which people um

48:15

come into the presence of the gods which

48:17

is through some sort of a symbol an idol

48:19

we call it an idol something carved it

48:22

could be stone it could be wood

48:24

right it could be clay something and

48:27

they're doing what comes

48:29

sort of naturally to them as ancient

48:31

people

48:32

and it's that very thing that is so

48:34

roundly condemned by god

48:36

that see this is the thing god's out

48:39

ahead of them

48:40

right you don't worship me the way

48:43

other peoples worship their gods you

48:45

don't do this even though it's like the

48:47

most natural thing

48:48

you know relatively innocent really from

48:51

an ancient point of view

48:52

um but i think to me that's one of the

48:55

points at least of the

48:56

uh of the golden calf story which

49:00

um you know moses

49:04

has to calm god down after that

49:07

and that's one of those uh you know

49:10

sort of imbalanced deity kinds of things

49:12

like i'm just gonna kill everybody

49:14

moses says don't do that because the

49:15

nations will say what kind of a god are

49:17

you

49:17

dragging him into the desert just to let

49:19

him die god says you know you're right

49:21

but i want to still want some people to

49:23

die so they go through the camp and kill

49:24

three thousand israelites you know um

49:26

the levites go through and kill three

49:28

thousand israelites okay that's weird

49:31

but i can bracket that stuff

49:34

from other things in the story that i

49:36

think

49:37

has let's say more abiding value for us

49:40

to think through

49:41

and you know people will say well you're

49:43

just picking and choosing you don't

49:44

write on picking and choosing that's the

49:46

history of christian thought we pick and

49:48

choose

49:49

not all of the bible is equally ultimate

49:51

right we pick and choose

49:53

um the entire old testament isn't

49:56

alluded to in the new testament you know

49:58

the writers are picking and choosing

49:59

there too yeah yeah

50:01

yeah jesus did that jesus picked and

50:03

choose jesus didn't

50:05

cite all the all the old testament

50:07

scriptures the hebrew scriptures so

50:09

we started out this time with asking

50:11

those annoying questions

50:13

um i got another one for you all right

50:15

um

50:17

can you tell us where in the bible what

50:20

does the bible have to say

50:21

there's millions of people who believe

50:22

in biblical inerrancy millions of

50:25

christians

50:26

what does the bible have to say about

50:27

biblical inerrancy

50:30

um nothing

50:35

in my opinion i mean inerrancy is

50:39

i mean even like augustine talked about

50:41

how the bible doesn't have errors

50:43

but he didn't mean anything like what

50:45

has meant in the past say a couple

50:46

hundred years by the term it's really to

50:48

protect against

50:51

german higher criticism and the fact

50:54

that darwin's wrong

50:56

and the fact that archaeology can't

50:58

relativize the bible we're going to

50:59

protect it by this word inerrancy

51:02

and in doing so you're protecting god

51:04

right that's that's sort of what it's

51:06

about so

51:07

i don't think there's anything in the

51:08

bible that really

51:10

can be used to defend that i mean and

51:12

all scripture is

51:13

god breathed and all that and the thing

51:16

is i understand that

51:18

and anyone who thinks that that's a

51:20

proof text for inerrancy

51:22

all i can say is i mean gently read

51:26

read what how commentaries sort of

51:28

understand that and not because they

51:29

hate

51:30

jesus but because that's not really

51:32

saying

51:34

you know everything the bible says is

51:36

historically accurate

51:38

where there are no contradictions it's

51:39

not saying that at all and

51:42

whatever proof text you can find you

51:45

have to match that up

51:47

with the data you know how the bible

51:51

behaves you can make abstract

51:53

points out of a verse taken out of

51:55

context but when you watch what it's

51:57

doing you know the bible begins with two

51:59

creation stories you can't reconcile

52:01

yes you know you have four gospels

52:03

you've got two histories of israel

52:05

you've got

52:06

you've got laws in exodus leviticus

52:08

numbers and deuteronomy that are clearly

52:10

about the same thing but they don't

52:11

agree

52:12

you know what do you do with that if you

52:14

want to say inerrancy

52:16

and accept those things and that's fine

52:18

but you've really just redefined an

52:20

errand scene in a way that

52:22

it just renders null and void the reason

52:24

why the term was used in the first place

52:27

which is to protect the bible against

52:28

having those kinds of problems

52:30

which it clearly has right so i just

52:32

it's so

52:33

it's so flies in the face of it and a

52:36

face of the bible and

52:38

you know the way it's been said to me

52:39

like so p you think there are errors in

52:41

the bible

52:42

that makes you an errantist and my

52:45

answer is like

52:46

no the whole thing's a category mistake

52:49

those are not the words we use to

52:51

describe

52:52

this beautifully diverse very messy

52:55

disruptive collection of texts that

52:58

defies

52:59

our little taglines which are really not

53:02

meant to protect the bible frankly

53:04

they're meant to protect our theological

53:05

systems right because that's really what

53:08

it comes down to it's it's

53:10

there's one meaning it's true and by the

53:12

way we have it

53:13

that church down the street they don't

53:16

right

53:16

and it becomes more a combative thing

53:19

than

53:19

actually descriptive of the bible it

53:21

creates trauma for people

53:23

when you know they're 25 years old and

53:25

they sort of say i don't really have

53:26

anything to do with christianity

53:28

because i don't believe the bible's an

53:29

errand like well most christians don't

53:32

not the way you were raised there are so

53:34

many other ways of thinking

53:35

about this yep yeah and for those who

53:39

have been in that faith crisis

53:40

of needing being told that if the bible

53:44

isn't

53:44

inerrant it's not legitimate you can't

53:46

trust it

53:47

just welcome to this spacious place

53:49

where you don't have to have that tight

53:51

little theology that

53:52

where it's like a jenga tower and you

53:54

pull one thing out and it all crumbles

53:56

it's way more spacious way more

53:58

enjoyable way more delightful and

54:00

complex than that

54:01

and what if god enjoys that space yes

54:04

with us

54:05

right that's the thing is because i

54:06

think the the trauma is like god's gonna

54:08

be mad at me

54:11

and we're told not to be flipped but

54:16

then why did god give us this bible like

54:18

this

54:19

right i mean it's like

54:22

the problem is one of our own creation

54:25

it doesn't come from the bible it

54:27

doesn't come from biblical teaching

54:29

it comes from ways of reading the bible

54:31

within certain historical contexts

54:34

that

54:37

will work until i mean forgive me it'll

54:40

work until you start reading the bible

54:41

carefully

54:42

yes and really taking the details

54:44

seriously and then you see

54:45

this doesn't fit with that you know it

54:48

just doesn't fit

54:50

you know so look quick time check-in i

54:54

just realized you're on eastern time

54:55

right so you probably just have a few

54:56

minutes left

54:58

yeah i mean i can i can be a couple

55:00

minutes late so if

55:01

we can sort of maybe buy one o'clock my

55:04

time

55:04

like maybe another eight or nine minutes

55:06

or something like that all right

55:08

i'll ask one more question and then

55:10

whatever you have randy

55:11

um so your podcast the bible for normal

55:14

people has been super influential

55:16

amongst progressive christians including

55:18

us and a major strength of it

55:20

is that it introduces listeners to

55:22

non-christian biblical scholarship

55:25

which in many cases turns out to be

55:27

maybe better

55:29

christian biblical scholarship maybe

55:31

because they're not working

55:32

within some of the same kind of limiting

55:34

assumptions that christian scholars

55:36

particularly evangelical scholars

55:38

sometimes are

55:39

so you guys have this strong ecumenical

55:41

strong interfaith

55:42

you know aspect here to your podcast so

55:45

let me put the question to you this way

55:47

as a biblical scholar who runs a podcast

55:49

like that

55:50

somebody that's still a christian do you

55:52

think that christians have any special

55:54

insight

55:55

into understanding their own sacred text

56:01

um yeah i think they do

56:04

you know but i think others do as well

56:07

including

56:08

you know jews reading the new testament

56:10

you know especially jewish scholars

56:12

reading the new testament can give us

56:13

jewish background but you know i

56:15

certainly do and

56:17

you know i'd say most of the people we

56:19

have on the podcast

56:21

are christian of some variety although

56:23

we have many jews we've had one or two

56:25

atheists as well but

56:26

um but i think all of them can have

56:29

insights you know

56:30

into this text and sometimes we get you

56:32

know so close to it

56:34

that um as somebody once said we're so

56:38

committed to

56:40

having the truth that when the truth

56:43

actually shows

56:44

up we don't recognize that we don't see

56:45

it right and sometimes we need help

56:47

from outside of um our own

56:50

tribe to sort of see that but um yeah i

56:53

mean

56:54

the rich history of christian thinking

56:57

you know the history of christian

56:58

thought is

57:01

quite a beautiful and complex thing to

57:03

say that you know

57:04

those are devoid of insights even if

57:07

they're insights that people move

57:08

past there's still insights you know

57:12

and and we need to make our mistakes and

57:14

our missteps to

57:15

to keep moving on so yep

57:18

so pete last question then um i know

57:20

that there

57:21

we get messages from people who say my

57:23

faith was hanging on by a thread and

57:25

you know the conversations that you guys

57:26

open up have have saved that in some

57:29

ways so we know that there's some

57:30

people who are in the middle of

57:31

deconstruction maybe um our their faith

57:34

is or literally hanging on by thread

57:35

maybe they just said i

57:36

i don't identify as a price follower

57:38

anymore because of the bible because of

57:41

christians because of

57:42

the church because of all sorts of

57:43

things i love your take and your

57:46

perspective

57:46

what would you just have to say to to

57:49

listeners

57:50

in that place in their life and their

57:51

faith journey right now

57:54

um i think

57:57

as counter-intuitive as it might feel

57:59

i'd say you have to

58:01

be authentic in what you're thinking and

58:05

feeling

58:05

and i think god honors that and um

58:09

it's also okay and normal

58:12

to be in a place of being

58:16

disassembled you know spiritually

58:19

because

58:20

um you know i guess

58:23

what i've learned in my life from others

58:25

is that

58:27

you know when you see your your faith in

58:30

god sort of slipping away

58:32

it's it's really more maybe

58:36

how you've understood god to be which

58:39

has worked

58:40

great but there's always something

58:42

beyond that

58:43

and so you're not really abandoning god

58:47

again whatever we mean by that term

58:49

that's a whole of the risk

58:52

but um you may be more needing to get

58:55

past

58:56

equating our thoughts with god with god

58:59

and our thoughts are helpful

59:00

they're metaphors you know they're ways

59:02

of understanding god of communion with

59:04

god

59:05

but when we lock god into those words

59:07

and into those ideas that we hold so

59:09

closely

59:10

then then our ideas of god get in the

59:13

way and i think

59:14

it's actually a mercy of god

59:18

that we go through very dry times you

59:20

know because it's sort of hitting me set

59:22

a little bit that's why i look at it i

59:24

don't say that lightly because it's not

59:25

fun

59:26

you know it's it's very difficult you

59:27

know so

59:29

welcome to faith you know so yeah i

59:33

it feels like an obligatory question to

59:34

ask like where to find you but i feel

59:36

like if someone's listening to a podcast

59:38

they already know how to operate on the

59:39

internet so they know where to find pete

59:41

ends his books right and all the stuff

59:42

but

59:43

where can people find you pete we got to

59:44

ask well we have the bible for

59:47

normalpeople.com

59:49

which is our webs so

59:52

i told you you can find it with

59:52

petence.com as well but everything's

59:54

there you know we have like

59:55

classes we offer you know the books like

59:57

speaking stuff and the podcast you can

59:59

get there too

60:00

that's really it you know i mean i'm on

60:02

facebook and

60:03

also um twitter and instagram

60:08

because then i have a cat who's pretty

60:09

much the star of instagram right now but

60:11

anyway

60:12

uh who's not here she's always in my

60:15

face with her butt

60:16

right in my face because i'm doing these

60:17

things because she senses it so

60:19

anyway but one more thing if i can add

60:21

this this is very important

60:23

um it's been bugging me for like the

60:25

past half hour but now i get it

60:27

kyle i have something to say to you

60:30

um you look like paul mccartney in the

60:33

abbey road not the abbey road but more

60:36

you're more um let it be yeah yeah let

60:39

it be that's sort of where i was gonna

60:40

say maybe

60:41

maybe a little white album-ish too but

60:43

kudos to you

60:44

but i'm i'm googling as we speak you

60:47

need the lazy eye

60:48

a little bit but uh i'll work on that if

60:50

you play bass or piano or anything

60:52

because that'd be really guitar piano

60:54

yeah

60:54

are you left-handed no no well

60:58

maybe you were anyway so anyway that's a

61:01

compliment by the way

61:03

but i appreciate it okay good

61:07

excellent that's the most important

61:08

thing that happened today for me i just

61:09

i still feel like absolutely

61:12

what you're gonna that's how you're

61:13

gonna think of us now i know i will

61:16

well thank you so much for your time so

61:19

wonderful to talk to you

61:20

really excited about what you have next

61:22

on the bible for normal people but

61:23

you're going to write next

61:24

we're fans i appreciate that it's good

61:27

to be here guys

61:40

[Music]