Hi everyone, I’ve been reading this forum for a while now, but this is my first time posting.
I’ve been on a bit of journey around the subject of Evolution and Christianity, but that is for another time perhaps.
Hi Reggie, you make an excellent observation about the rise of Anti-Intellectualism (Anti-I). I can’t speak for Jews or Atheists, but in my little corner of Christianity, there are certainly some who are extremely sceptical of all science. This is especially true of church leaders.
However, I would contend that Sola Scripture, properly understood, shouldn’t contribute to the rise of anti-i. The issue the reformers were trying to settle with Sola Scripture was ‘What is the final court of appeal in matters of Christian doctrine?’. The Catholic church at the time answered Scripture and tradition. The Reformers answered, Scripture alone.
This is reflected in the way many historic creeds speak about the sufficiency of scripture. They argued that Scripture alone is sufficient for a saving knowledge of God and what he required. For example:
Belgic Confession ArticleVII:
“We believe that those Holy Scriptures fully contain the will of God, and that whatsoever man ought to believe unto salvation is sufficiently taught therein.”
Question 22: What is then necessary for a Christian to believe?
All things promised us in the gospel, which the articles of our catholic undoubted Christian faith briefly teach us [in the Apostles’ Creed].
Westminster Shorter Catechism
Question 2: What rule hath God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him?
The Word of God, which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him.
Question 3: What do the scriptures principally teach?
The Scriptures principally teach what man is to believe concerning God, and what duty God requires of man.
.The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture…
All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all: (2 Pet. 3:16) yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation, are so clearly propounded, and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.
The issue at hand (in my opinion) and the one that contributes to the rise of Anti-I in the church is not Sola Scriptura, but biblicism. John Frame outlines four forms of Biblicism, I wonder if any of these chimes with your experiences:
[Biblicism] is commonly applied to (1) someone who has no appreciation for the importance of extrabiblical truth in theology, who denies the value of general or natural revelation, (2) those suspected of believing that Scripture is a “textbook” of science, or philosophy, politics, ethics, economics, aesthetics, church government, etc., (3) those who have no respect for confessions, creeds, and past theologians, who insist on ignoring these and going back to the Bible to build up their doctrinal formulations from scratch, (4) those who employ a “proof texting” method, rather than trying to see Scripture texts in their historical, cultural, logical, and literary contexts. (“In Defence of Something Close to Biblicism” in John Frame, The Collected Shorter Theological Writings (Logos Edition), 2008)
Certainly, I’d say that belief in Sola Scriptura and the Sufficiency of Scripture requires a soft biblicism of sorts since the bible has the final say on matters of faith and doctrine. However, it is, in my opinion, the hard biblicism that Frame describes above which is the most dangerous root of Anti-Intellectualism in our churches.
I hope that helps you in your thinking.
(sorry for all the typos, I think I got them all. Dyslexia is a pig. Thankful for the edit button!)