Have Christians Missed This Fact?

William Lane Craig Interview

A writer says Christians have missed an important fact. Dr. Craig checks it out.

Kevin Harris: The one fact almost all Christians miss. I, as a Christian, would like to know what that is. Welcome to Reasonable Faith with Dr. William Lane Craig. I’m Kevin Harris. Dr. Craig, Dr. James Lindsay has written a book that has a foreword by Vic Stenger. He’s also got a blog, and he says there is one fact that almost all Christians miss.[1] He says, “So far as I can tell, there is at least one fact that nearly all believing Christians miss–a very simple fact. That fact is every reading of the Bible is an interpretation.”

Dr. Craig: That is unbelievable that this man actually thinks that Christians are unaware of the fact that when you read the Bible you are giving an interpretation to the text. I wonder if he is at all aware of the whole discipline known as hermeneutics which is the science of interpretation. Every student in seminary will take a class in hermeneutics in which he will learn the proper ways to interpret different types of literature and to apply these hermeneutical principles to the Bible. So it is astonishing that this man would think that Christians are unaware that whenever you read the Bible you are interpreting this piece of literature. I think any reflective Christian is aware of this.

Kevin Harris: This often results in a relativistic mish-mash when people say this, Bill. “Everything is subject to interpretation,” “That’s just your interpretation,” and so on. I could take this article – “The one fact almost all Christians miss” – and say, “Oh, look, this is an article on raising hamsters.” That’s my interpretation.

Dr. Craig: That’s exactly right, Kevin. As we’ll see as the blog proceeds, he gets into this post-modernist nonsense about texts having no objective meaning, and this whole thing is so self-refuting. As you say, if what he is saying is true then this very blog is subject to these same deficits. This is not something that would be unique to the Bible. Any text, when you read it, has an interpretation, including Lindsay’s blog. So as you say, this is about the breeding and raising of hamsters. That’s what this really is, and Lindsay has really helped us to see. But actually, Kevin, I interpret it differently. I think here he is using irony and satire to emphasize how objective and true the Bible is. Really he wants to strengthen people’s confidence and faith in the Bible. That’s my interpretation of the blog.

Kevin Harris: He says,

Whether we’re looking at hyper-liberal Anglicanism, evangelical Protestantism, mega-fundamentalist literalism, Christian-Left Catholicism, C.S. Lewis’s creedal “mere” Christianity, or anything between or beyond, every one of them requires a reading of the Bible that is an interpretation of the Bible.

When I say “almost all” and “nearly all believing” Christians miss this fact, what I am saying is that to take one’s own take on Christianity, however nebulous or strict, as being the truth, one has to miss the fact that it is based upon an interpretation of the Bible.

Dr. Craig: Now how does that follow? Doesn’t he think that there might be a correct interpretation? That there is an interpretation that is true that reflects the meaning that the author actually had in mind? This is an enormous non sequitur to think that because, when we read text and we interpret them, that therefore there is no truth. If that were true then his own blog has no truth…

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Have Christians Missed This Fact? | Reasonable Faith