In a recent Christianity Today interview with Ken Collins, a professor of theology at Asbury Theological Seminary, we read the following:
[CT] But isn’t this a question of who the dialogue partner is? For the champions of inerrancy, certainly the dialogue partners were modernist theologians who were undermining the authority of Scripture. But at the same time within their own community, do they not expect the Word to speak sacramentally, just as Wesleyans do?
[KC] That’s an important insight. German higher criticism hasn’t been the dialogue partner for the Wesleyan community in the same way it has been for the Reformed community.
We have different paradigms, but I think we get to the same place.
I think I understand what Collins is getting at, but this is not a good way to put it. First, the reason the “Wesleyan community” hasn’t had “German higher criticism” as a dialogue partner in the same way as the Reformed community is that for the most part the Wesleyans – at least as far as United Methodists go, have simply capitulated, retreating into pietism, moralism, institutionalism, or atheism. Though I’d like to avoid a theory of inerrancy based on foundationalist epistemology, I’d also like to avoid the exuberant errancy of so much of the old Methodist approach to scripture.