When I was in college I used to get so perturbed by my Bible professors because they all seemed so annoyingly liberal. It was a shock to my system, since I grew up Southern Baptist and since the school I was attending was a Baptist college as well. Our religion professors were far more liberal than any of the students, most of whom had chosen this college precisely because they wanted a conservative Christian education. Our English professors were practically fundies compared to our Bible professors, and at first I thought that owed mostly to an interesting quirk in our denominational history.
Back in the late ’70s and early ’80s, theological conservatives in the Southern Baptist convention organized themselves and flushed out the bulk of their seminary faculties because they felt so many of them had drifted too far leftward, assimilating neo-orthodox theology into their curriculum. The ousted professors didn’t have anywhere else to turn, so they sought out teaching positions at the undergraduate level, finding therein a more welcoming environment in which they could ply their trade. This is at least part of why the religion faculty at a conservative Baptist college could look far more liberal than any other department at an otherwise textbook evangelical school.
But time and experience have shown me that there is another reason my religion professors were so much more liberal than all us “preacher boys” looking to earn our bonafides before climbing into the pulpit: It turns out that anyone who takes up the formal study of the Bible will soon learn that things are not as they were told by the people they trusted. There is this sweet spot of biblical studiousness wherein you love it just enough to learn a lot about the world of the Bible, but not so much that you begin to figure out how much of it really doesn’t add up.
An interesting read