I have included here a sampling of some emails I have gotten over the past couple of years concerning Inspiration and Incarnation: Evangelicals and the Problem of the Old Testament (I&I). I gave this some thought, since it could easily be misconstrued as an attempt at self-justification—although, I think even my harshest critics can fathom that, had self-justification been on my mind, I would not have waited quite this long.
My reason for including these emails here, which, again, are just a very small sampling, is to put into proper perspective a commonly articulated criticism of I&I, that it leads the poor, simple reader astray, and so is dangerous for their faith, and how this fact, if anything, is sufficient condemnation of the book.
I certainly understand how ill-advised arguments from anecdotal evidence can be, but it should not escape our notice that the above-mentioned charge is every bit as anecdotal as what I have collected here—perhaps more so, since the charge seems to rest on what some think could be a possible result for the great unwashed masses if they ever have the misfortune of reading my very dangerous and subversive little book.
I have secured permission from all those who wrote the emails represented here. Even though most all of them were very clear that they would be proud to have their names attached (even if some fallout could have resulted), I have chosen to keep most of them anonymous (with the exception of a few who insisted on being named), and to change one or two details that seemed unnecessary to me (bracketed and in caps).
I have been very encouraged by these and other communications over the past couple of years. I do not deny that I&I is challenging to some readers in difficult ways. That was not my goal. I do think, however, that some of the responsibility for such a reaction should rest with those who may have either mishandled these issues, or have shielded or otherwise insulated these people from the kinds of things addressed in I&I.
One anecdote will illustrate this. Not long after I&I came out, it was the topic of a faculty discussion in an evangelical seminary I will not name here. One faculty member, a systematic theologian related to me one particular segment of a dialogue.
It seems another member of the faculty, an Old Testament scholar (whom I wish to say, even though I am not mentioning names, is a truly wonderful Christian gentleman) remarked at one point that “Enns really isn’t saying anything new here.” The specific point concerned the state of Hebrew in the 2nd millennium BC, and how no one living at that time (i.e., Moses) could have written the Pentateuch as we know it, as it reflects a state of Hebrew that did not develop until the 1st millennium.
The theologian remarked, “Nothing new? Then why haven’t I heard of any of this before?” (Keep in mind, this is a seminary faculty member, who has both an MDiv and PhD.) The OT scholar responded, “It is our job to protect you from this sort of thing” (and I will admit this is a paraphrase, albeit a nearly verbatim and fully faithful representation).
I&I is founded on the opposite notion, that people deserve better than this. They need their leaders to have thought through the unique challenges before us and present a paradigm that will neither brush aside evidence nor jettison Scripture. The emails attached here bear some modest witness to the fact that, at least for some readers, I&I is bearing fruit.
NOTE: I will be publishing these testimonials one-at-a-time every few days. Each new one I put up will also be linked in a blog post on my home page, so if you subscribe to this site by RSS feed, you’ll be alerted to each new one. In the list below, the newest testimonial published will always be at the top.
“Your book was not written in vain…” >>>Read the entire testimonial>>>
“As a medical doctor who has struggled with the issues in your book…” >>>Read the entire testimonial>>>
“Your book is changing my life….” >>>Read the entire testimonial >>>
“Your work has greatly strengthened my faith…” >>> Read the entire testimonial >>>
“You have united faith and intellectual integrity in a way that is immensely helpful…” >>> Read the entire testimonial>>>
“…this was the first book that seemed to acknowledge the problems in scripture honestly…” >>>Read the entire testimonial>>>