What The Gungor Controversy Tells Us About The American Church

In case you are one of the few people who are even less aware of what is happening inside the glass walls of the American Church than I am, there is a major controversy currently over comments made by the worship band and Dove award winner Gungor (Here is an excellent article from the Christian Post for summary).  First, there was the Ken Ham article wherein he challenged the scientific nature of Gungor’s assertions about the reliability of the Genesis accounts and then highlighted the philosophical implications of those assertions – spoiler: Faith in a non-literal Bible is a not Biblical Faith (Read Ken Ham’s article here).  Then there are blog post responses like the one from Tyler Francke at God of Evolution which insists that it is Ken Ham’s theology which is actually the problem – spoiler: A literal Bible is unreasonable and reasonable people reject such archaic thinking (Read Tyler Francke’s article here).  And so, lines are being drawn and redrawn as the American Church wrestles with this newest revelation that many who call themselves Christians are not Biblical literalists while the rest struggle with the sudden awareness that there are more Literalists out there then they realized.

As I have read through comment after comment on this, I am struck by one recurring issue regardless of which side of this people take:  That by and large the American Church is woefully ignorant of the Philosophical Foundations of a Biblical Worldview, of the impact of Biblical Theology on their choices and actions, and most disappointingly of the actual content of the Bible itself.

Many Literalists are only such because they have embraced the assumptions of Christian Existentialism, namely that the facts don’t matter as long as they believe enough.  Thus they eschew any challenge to the Bible, egregiously misquoting Paul’s assertion – “Let God be right and every man a liar” (Romans 3:4).  For these, doubt and dissent are dangerous, not to be trifled with lest they cause one to fall away.  In reality, they fear the scrutiny of the Bible because they don’t really know if it would hold up under investigation and would prefer the blissful slavery of that than to be free in the wilderness of  skepticism.  As I have written about in a previous essay on Skepticism, a faith that cannot be tested is a Faith that cannot be trusted (Read my essay on Skepticism here).

On the other hand, many non-Literalists are only such because they have embraced the assumptions of Christian Humanism, namely that the Christian religion is a human institution which reflects human frailty in its orthodoxy because of its over-reliance on a book that reveals things about God.  For these, the Bible is more the words of God rather than the Word of God.  Thus they embrace the idea that faith lived like Jesus matters more than Theological propositions about Jesus, egregiously misquoting James’ assertion that “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:26).  For these, a literal understanding of the text is unreasonable, not to be considered by any rational individual.  In reality, however, these individuals are guilty of the same fear as the majority of so-called Literalists; for instead of seeking out those whose views challenge their own they prefer the blissful slavery of ignorance to the freedom of questioning their own assumptions about the nature of reality and truth and faith. (Read my essay on Faith here).

In the end, what the Gungor controversy tells us most about the American Church is that it is not interested nearly so much in Truth as in feeling good about itself.  The problem is that Jesus said very plainly that a Life not built on His words was a life that lacked structural integrity (Matthew 7:24-27).  So while the so-called Literalists and the non-Literals argue about what Christianity is, they both suffer from the danger of a structurally unstable life and while it may look good to those within their respective communities when the storms come they will Fall Away.

That is the heartbreaking outcome of an untested faith, of an unquestioning mind, of ignorance.

Post Script:

One last thing on this.  After almost an entire life spent looking for the errors, I have found that every error I thought I saw in the scripture was actually my own.  I am a Biblical Literalist and I have yet to find an actual contradiction in the Scripture or anything even remotely unreasonable.  If you have questions you need to ask them, your Life depends on it.  If those around you discourage this sort of thing that you need to find new people to be around.