Saturday, January 17, 2009

Exegetical Fallacies: D.A. Carson's Passion for Truth

I recently received this book as a gift. Three pages into the first chapter I thought (with tongue in cheek), "I hope my students never read this." Carson's straight talk about the common exegetical fallacies (and, take heart, he does mean common) will make any teacher of the word swallow hard. But, for the teacher of scripture who seeks to honor God, I would consider this a "must read."

First, as Carson points out, exegetical fallacies happen in all facets of doctrinal realms. Calvinists are no more immune than Arminians. Baptists no more immune than Presbyterians. As we struggle to understand the grammar, vocabulary, and syntax of two ancient languages, the margin for error is great. However, the cost of error is even greater.

Exegetical fallacy can mean the difference between a trial from God and a temptation from God. It can be the difference between a virgin birth and the pregnancy of a young woman. It can be the difference between giving God the glory He is due and defaming His name with exegetical fallacy.

The stakes are high. Doctrinal wars and the wide dispersion of Christian denominations create increasing skepticism in the world today. And yet, for those of us passionate about seeing truth proclaimed, certain debates are worth the effort. If you, however, seek the wisdom and illumination in Scripture to both know that line—that threshold of the utmost theological importance—as well as the side on which you stand, I highly recommend D.A. Carson's "Exegetical Fallacies."

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