Schreiner Critiques McKnight’s The Blue Parakeet

A couple of weeks ago Tom Schreiner contacted The Journal for Biblical Manhood & Womanhood (for which I am the editor) and expressed interest in writing a review of Scot McKnight’s new book The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible. We were delighted to let him write the review for us and plan on publishing the review in the Spring 2009 issue of the journal. In advance of its publication in JBMW, the review essay will appear next week on the Gender Blog of the Council for Biblical Manhood & Womanhood.

I interviewed Tom last week for a new podcast that we have launched at Boyce College (where I am Dean), and we discussed McKnight’s book in particular and the gender debate in general. Tom’s contribution to the evangelical discussion on gender has been substantial, and we were honored to have him as a guest. Among other things, he wrote the article on 1 Corinthians 11 for the book Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and edited the watershed work titled Women in the Church: A Fresh Analysis of I Timothy 2:9-15.

Tom’s assessment of The Blue Parakeet is very critical and spot-on. So after listening to this podcast, you’ll want to be sure to read Tom’s review on the Gender Blog next week.

27 Responses to Schreiner Critiques McKnight’s The Blue Parakeet

  1. Don Johnson November 6, 2008 at 5:22 am #

    I have not read the Blue Parakeet but did listen to the review.

    Tom says he wanted to become egal while at Fuller, but it would have been by “leaping” over some Scripture; I agree that would be the wrong reason, at least as he presents it. The very reason I am egal is because of Scripture, not by ignoring it or skipping some part I do not like.

    Tom makes a point that one needs to be courageous against the tide, which is true. It takes courage to be egal in places of non-egal culture (such as Boyce college); just as it takes courage to be non-egal in places of egal culture (such as the pagan secular West).

  2. Don Johnson November 6, 2008 at 3:27 pm #

    This may surprise you if you have not seen it, but I have seen egals disrespected in open forums by non-egals. In THOSE places, it takes a lot of courage to stand for egalism.

    1. Yes, it seems from the review that it was best to think of 2 parts of the book, as the 2nd part did not follow from the first.

    2. and 3. A popular book can at best serve as an intro, so the pro-side is not well represented and neither is the anti-side.

    My take is that a proponent of one side cannot be expected to get the anti-side totally right (for whatever “side” means), as they do not agree with it. So it requires studying both sides anyway.

    On trajectory hermeneutics, ALL believers have to do this in some sense. For example, we need to somehow make a trajectory from the NT church letters to our church across time, space and culture. Treating 1 Cor as if it were written to our church personally is a way to make big exegetical mistakes, I call this teleportation exegesis and it is surprising how often it is done.

    IMO, it is always a 2 step process, what did it originally mean and then (and only then) how to apply that today.

  3. Darius Teichroew November 6, 2008 at 4:42 pm #

    ??

  4. Don Johnson November 6, 2008 at 5:58 pm #

    I am egal not because of what the world says but because of what the Bible proclaims for the new covenant. I agree those outside the church do not care what the Bible says and they are some inside who are egal in response to the world and not the Bible, but that is not me.

    Webb does not use his method (called TH by some) to negate what Scripture says about homosexuality, he uses it to confirm it. I am not saying that Traj. Herm. cannot be misused, but so can transporter hermeneutics that takes the letters out of context.

    The divine right of kings was thought to be Biblical and some said if one denied it, they denied the Bible’s clear teaching. (How can one honor the king if there is none?) Few think this today. The same with slavery just 160 years ago. It took a Civil War to decide.

  5. Ali November 6, 2008 at 6:56 pm #

    Hi Denny,

    Maybe this is an admission of my IT ignorance, but is it possible to download that interview as an MP3 file?

  6. John Holmberg November 6, 2008 at 7:03 pm #

    Denny, what happened to annihilating all the posts when the commenter leaves no last name? Or was that just for election day?

  7. Paul November 6, 2008 at 7:49 pm #

    Greg,

    did you come from a long line of anonymous trolls?

    Paul (like Madonna, only without the Kaballah)

  8. Darius Teichroew November 6, 2008 at 10:14 pm #

    I believe it’s spelled maelstrom, but malestrom might be more accurate. 🙂

  9. Don Johnson November 6, 2008 at 11:13 pm #

    Webb in his book shows that there IS no trajectory on homosexuality, there is a consistent Biblical witness everywhere it is discussed.

    I agree that a trajectory MIGHT go off into space and be entirely a figment of someone’s imagination. But so can transporter being a figment of someone’s imagination.

  10. Denny Burk November 7, 2008 at 1:19 am #

    Hello, everyone. I’ve been busy and haven’t kept up with comment moderation until now. Yes, all commenters need to include first and last name and a valid e-mail address. Thanks.

  11. Suzanne McCarthy November 8, 2008 at 1:24 pm #

    First, I think it is important to be open about Schreiner’s views when it comes to gender. He writes,

    “Satan approached the woman first not only because of the order of creation, but also because of the different inclinations present in Adam and Eve. Generally speaking, women are more relational and nurturing and men are more given to rational analysis and objectivity.”

    This makes it doubly odd that he did not check the details of Scott Baldwin’s authentein study with the same academic rigour that Linda Belleville offers. I refer explicitly to the fact that the Philodemus fragment does not support the notion that authentein means “in authority” and thus leaves this notion without supporting evidence. If Schreiner does, in fact, write that it is not evidence then I would be happy to be corrected on this point.

    On courage, I am personally aware of the courage of the translators of the TNIV in the face of the censure and boycott of the Statement of Concern against the TNIV. This is an ongoing reality, an ongoing cause of deep pain in the Christian community. I laud the courage of the translators of the TNIV and NLT. I am not aware of why the NLT is endorsed by some of those who signed the statement of concern against the TNIV, but I must attribute it to the arbitrary nature of this issue.

  12. Suzanne McCarthy November 8, 2008 at 1:25 pm #

    First, I think it is important to be open about Schreiner’s views when it comes to gender. He writes,

    “Satan approached the woman first not only because of the order of creation, but also because of the different inclinations present in Adam and Eve. Generally speaking, women are more relational and nurturing and men are more given to rational analysis and objectivity.”

    On courage, I am personally aware of the courage of the translators of the TNIV in the face of the censure and boycott of the Statement of Concern against the TNIV. This is an ongoing reality, an ongoing cause of deep pain in the Christian community. I laud the courage of the translators of the TNIV and NLT. I am not aware of why the NLT is endorsed by some of those who signed the statement of concern against the TNIV, but I must attribute it to the arbitrary nature of this issue.

    Here is hoping that this one will pass.

  13. Kathy November 10, 2008 at 8:50 pm #

    ‘First, I think it is important to be open about Schreiner’s views when it comes to gender. He writes,

    “Satan approached the woman first not only because of the order of creation, but also because of the different inclinations present in Adam and Eve. Generally speaking, women are more relational and nurturing and men are more given to rational analysis and objectivity.”’

    What do you mean by open? Can he even prove that Eve was aware of the command given to Adam before she was created, the very one the serpent twisted? He says ‘because this and that’ but where is the scriptural proof? So why the doctrine?

  14. Kathy November 10, 2008 at 8:51 pm #

    Why be open to doctrine on which it’s foundation cannot be proven?

  15. Suzanne McCarthy November 10, 2008 at 9:00 pm #

    Kathy,

    I said it is important to be open about Schreiner’s assessment of women, not open to his assessment of women. Naturally I cannot agree that women are less given to rational analysis and objectivity.

  16. Kathy November 10, 2008 at 10:09 pm #

    LOL! Oops!

    I totaly agree. 🙂 It was an important distinction you made that I missed. I must be mixed up in postmodernism…

  17. Suzanne McCarthy November 11, 2008 at 12:32 am #

    Hey, this is really weird. You are allowed to comment without your last name, but I am not. Too funny!

  18. Brian Krieger November 11, 2008 at 6:10 pm #

    Sue, Kathy, etc.:

    I think that Dr. Burk has a new policy (last name for commenters), but doesn’t programmatically enforce it. Hence why commenters can post with single names as long as it isn’t “seen”. Not a singling-out issue, I would say! But I’m going on observable data, not any personal contact (so anyone feel free to contradict!).

  19. Suzanne McCarthy November 12, 2008 at 1:57 am #

    No complaints here. I think it is a good policy.

  20. Michael Metts November 12, 2008 at 10:35 am #

    Has anyone been keeping up with the Gender blog series on McKnight’s new book? I believe Schreiner is evaluating it. There are some fantastic statements quoted.

  21. Michael Metts November 13, 2008 at 1:19 pm #

    No takers??

  22. Suzanne McCarthy November 13, 2008 at 11:04 pm #

    You could quote some of what you find to be fantastic.

  23. Michael Metts November 14, 2008 at 1:35 pm #

    “McKnight affirms that “the secret to reading the Bible” is found in the saying “that was then and this is now” (p. 57).

    “”The story of the Bible aims at Galatians 3:28” (p. 75). The ultimate goal of the entire Bible is the unity we enjoy and will enjoy in Christ Jesus. The fundamental purpose of Pentecost is to “create oneness” in “the covenant community” (p. 77). Believers are united with God, but “the focus of this oneness in the Bible is oneness with others” (p. 78).”

    These are excerpts from Schreiner’s review.

    It seems to me only to be another attempt of McKnight at controversy. Of course, you would have to read McKnight’s book for yourself before you could be too critical.

  24. David (Not Adrian's Son) Rogers November 14, 2008 at 2:32 pm #

    Could you define “fantastic”?

    For some, “fantastic” might connote silliness, or hard-to-believe, or superficially entertaining, etc.

    For others, “fantastic” might connote full of wonder, evoking a world of thought, excited affirmation, etc.

  25. Michael Metts November 14, 2008 at 3:03 pm #

    Fantastic = Absurd

  26. John Holmberg November 14, 2008 at 4:41 pm #

    I enjoyed Schreiner’s review, though I did think at times he was being a little too critical (that was to be expected though). I did not think McKnight’s statements were “absurd” though, I thought they were helpful. As Schreiner seemed to indicate, it’s not as if they’re wrong and completely anti-Bible, it’s just that they may be a little incomplete. The book is aimed at the lay level and McKnight does not want to be too technical (hence the cliches and short statements). That’s why I thought Schreiner went a little over the top at times, since he was reading it with his scholar lens on reviewing it like it was a dissertation or academic work.

    Like I said, I don’t think McKnight is wrong, he’s just incomplete. I don’t know what you mean by “another attempt of McKnight at controversy.” When has he ever attempted to stir controversy? McKnight is one of the most civil scholars I have ever encountered, always calling his students and blog readers to the same level of civility. Does he strive to be fresh? Of course, but that’s needed. All should agree that we shouldn’t be happy with our current state of affairs in the church, and we need reform and fresh thinking and formulation. McKnight has a wonderful ministry going and has wonderful emphases (missional et al) that have helped others tremendously. So I don’t think it’s helpful to call some of his statements absurd, but maybe just incomplete. But maybe what he says is what the lay people need to hear.

    What I appreciated about Schreiner is he gave credit where credit was due. He didn’t look at it as “absurd,” but really highlighted the positive parts of the book that can be really helpful. To realize that we all have “blue parakeet” verses in our systems and lives is a powerful realization and helps remind us that none of us have the perfect theology or system, and we must be always reforming (a reformation phrase largely ignored in the conservative world, hence the title “conservative”). I think Schreiner didn’t like the fact that McKnight took a swipe at systematic theology a time or two (which, IMO, is much needed). I admire Schreiner for being so positive about systematics, but the systematics we have today need reforming and criticizing (Vanhoozer has wonderful thoughts about this type of post-enlightenment systematics that started with the likes of Hodge and Warfield; I like to call it ‘proof-text theology’), and there is a great divide in the academy between systematics and exegesis. This book and Schreiner’s reaction just goes to show you how deep that divide is, and we’re nowhere close to a solution. Exegetes either need to shutup and stick to grammar and syntax and let the systematic guys do all the theological dialog (like it was done before 30 years ago), or systematic guys need to listen to the exegetes and come more up-to-date with their exegetical skills and methods, because working together isn’t going to happen any time soon. You have one side who is content with letting church history and the fathers tell you what to believe and imposing a modern western post-enlightenment hermeneutic on the text, and another examining the text anew and letting it speak for itself without the dictative lens of historical or systematic theology. The exegesis guys are the ones in the text every single day, and exegetical and hermeneutical skills have increased drastically in the past 30 years. The rise of biblical theology has become a threat to systematics and their theologians instead of having a complementary function. I think I know who I will trust. The divide is great indeed.

  27. Michael Metts December 20, 2008 at 11:49 pm #

    Absurd was not the right word.

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