Anti-Intellectualism: An Explanation

Apparently I wrote this last post so badly that some folk took issue with it
and thought I was bashing scholars.  This post is written mostly to
explain the last post, since apparently I asked the question so
horrendously that people thought I was raising the anti-intellectual
banner.

Thing is, I’m not raising that banner against Biblical Scholarship.
Mind you, I’m capitalizing Biblical Scholarship for the purpose of
specifying a category of people who are raising the concerns about
Anti-Intellectualism in Evangelical circles. This doesn’t mean that the
category Biblical Scholarship is merely confined to academia nor does
it mean that Anti-Intellectualism is something happening only in
churches. In fact, I use the term to mean the Group That Is Most
Qualified To Raise The Concern And Has Done So. In my last post I
called this group “Anti-‘Anti-Intellectualism”-ists but that title is
way too bulky and apparently no one got it. I did have a quibble with
the term Anti-Intellectualism since the mindset seems to be more
anti-scholarship but that’s a minor quibble.

A personal concern of mine is that Anti-Intellectualism is also
occurring in the universities and perhaps even the seminaries. As I’ve
grown older, I’ve looked back at my schooling with some sadness that I
never got a chance to get Biblical training. I sort of envy the folk
who do get that opportunity and I get pretty shaken when they don’t
take advantage of that and go all the way. You can only teach yourself
a small amount of Greek when you have a toddler pulling at your
pant-legs and a baby screaming in the background. That opportunity and
access to that education is invaluable and if you get the chance at it,
jump for it.

Unfortunately, I know a bit too many people who have gone to get
Biblical training but they don’t maximize their education and then walk
around deriding higher-learning of the original languages. Horrendous.
In fact, some time ago I remember seeing some letter on Dallas’
Seminary site regarding anti-intellectualism in campus and that’s a sad
sad thing.

So when I wrote that post I wasn’t defending evangelical
anti-intellectualism. In fact, I was trying to paint a picture of how
it likely arose and some of the misconceptions that may be found in the
practice. I then purposefully highlighted examples of information leak
and showed how Biblical Scholarship is not like those things. I then
went to Biblical Scholarship’s counterpoint and underscored the
illustration and analogies they use and that’s where I had a problem.
The problem was that the group uses these analogies with secular and
natural professions to justify their profession—but they don’t need
those weak analogies as a defense. The problem with the analogies is
that the fields they cite are influenced by a great many external
variables whereas theological scholarship is affected by a celestial
variable and even a supernatural event in the heart of theologian. It’s
a concern because there are unbelievers who view theological
scholarship as just another career choice when, in reality, it isn’t.

Now at the close of my post I asked some questions that some took as
being argumentative. The questions were honest and not exasperated
rhetoric. I wanted to know what Biblical Scholarship would like to see
panning out in the evangelical circles that would get rid of
Anti-Intellectualism. Is there an offered solution? It wasn’t a
challenge or a thrown gauntlet it was an invitation to dialogue. Mike
had a great post that highlighted his concerns and it proved very helpful as well.

I hope this makes sense to you all and if you need some more
clarification let me know. Ignore the typos because I posted this in
haste after seeing some concerns by my brother in Christ. If I offended any of you, I deeply and truly apologize.

-r-

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