Two Thoughts on Critical Scholarship

Why is it important for evangelicals to become familiar with critical approaches to the Pentateuch?

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When I hear about critical approaches to the Pentateuch, I really have kind of a double mind on this. One is that I think that evangelical Christians need to know what is being taught, and many times this is being taught in university or religious studies classes, and some of our young people from our churches will be there and we need to help them as they work through the details of this higher criticism. On the other hand, I think we need to be careful to deal with this with great discernment. Many times these higher critical approaches have developed from people who don't have a high view of inspiration, don't have a high view of inerrancy within Scripture, often not even a high view of the divine authorship and the continuity that that gives throughout a book and throughout the Scriptures. So I think when we come to higher criticism, we need to be aware of what's going on but not accept it uncritically. We need to be discerning and saying, is this in keeping with the nature of Scripture that God has given to us?

Answer by Dr. Stephen J. Bramer

Dr. Stephen Bramer is Professor and Department Chair of Bible Exposition at Dallas Theological Seminary