An Interview with Christian Smith on “The Bible Made Impossible”

For those of you who have been faithful followers of my blog, I wanted to let you know that I’m finishing up a grad degree this coming May. Most of my more recent posts have been longer additions in the form of academic papers. You can find them by clicking on the “Essays” tab. (I still have a couple more papers coming!) In the future, I’ll be archiving other posts.

Beginning this summer I plan on writing shorter blog posts a few times a month. I’m a busy guy, as I’m sure you can relate. I don’t want to be pumping out stuff daily or even weekly if I don’t feel like I have something to share that is worth my time and yours. I’m not doing this for blog ratings. I could be acting on the “strategery” (to borrow a term from George W. Bush) of the big time bloggers, but I don’t want to overwhelm you or myself. So, for now, if you’re looking for a few good posts a month, please consider subscribing to the blog by e-mail.

I like to reserve my blog for meaty stuff and edifying discussion. I like to use Facebook for everything else. So, I’ll begin posting more regularly in the coming weeks. I would like to begin sharing more frequently on issues that are especially timely and relevant to both the academy and the church. Have you read about the purpose of my blog? I will continue posting book reviews, sharing about my personal journey, and stirring up some good conversation as we all stumble forward in Christ together.

In the meantime, my good friend Frank Viola recently did an interview with Christian Smith, author of “The Bible Made Impossible: Why Biblicism Is Not a Truly Evangelical Reading of Scripture.” The title of Smith’s book is provocative enough! I own the book, and will be reading it soon. I may even review it here on the blog. I encourage you to check out the interview at Frank’s blog, “Beyond Evangelical.” And tell him I said “Hellooooo!” He likes that.

Read the complete interview with Christian Smith on “The Bible Made Impossible.”


About David D. Flowers

David received a B.A. in Religion from East Texas Baptist University and a M.T.S. in Biblical Studies from Houston Graduate School of Theology. David has over 20 years experience as a pastor and teacher in and outside the church. He currently pastors an Anabaptist congregation in Pennsylvania. View all posts by David D. Flowers

13 responses to “An Interview with Christian Smith on “The Bible Made Impossible”

  • Wayne

    So …

    Do you really believe that the Bible is no longer authoritative?



  • billbenninghoff


    (I commented on Frank’s blog so I will also share that comment here).

    Thanks for sharing Frank’s interview with Christian Smith here. When I first read the interview back in February I picked up a copy of Christian’s book and read it with interest.

    I now understand what he means by “biblicism” and “pervasive interpretive pluralism.” I must confess that I have been guilty of treating the Bible as a handbook of God’s wisdom on every subject that it touches on, rather than reading it as a testimony of Jesus Christ that centers on the Kingdom and Reconciliation that He came to bring through His life, death, resurrection and ascension.

    I really like the “Jesus Lens” hermeneutic that Christian Smith suggests. It makes sense to understand all of Scripture through the lens of the teachings of Jesus as recorded in the four canonical gospels. It took some humility to read this book, because I needed to lay aside some old ideas about the Bible that I had been very attached to. However in the light of Christian Smith’s insightful writings I found that my own interpretations could no longer hold water.

    I am hopeful that other scholars will continue this work and will help to develop the “Jesus Lens” hermeneutic.

    Bill Benninghoff

  • Bill Benninghoff


    I read Christian Smith’s book on “Why the Bible is Impossible” last month. Wow! What an eye-opening book! I have to agree with Christian that the abundance of different interpretations of so many Bible passages among many devout, scholarly believers leads one to conclude that something is wrong with our basic interpretive approach to the Bible. I really like his suggestion of reading the Bible through the “Jesus Lens.” Since Jesus is the fullest representation of the Father God according to John 1 and Hebrews 1 (and other places as well) then we can best learn from the four canonical gospels the purposes of God and what His heart and nature is really like.


  • Wayne


    I am only responding through the lens of Christ.

    You know the one you referenced in your review?

    If I wasn’t watching it, I would ask why your friend would interview a preacher of the Catholic Church and not ask him, “If you are using the lens of Christ, does that mean that you have rejected the supremacy of papal authority?”

    Then again, if I interpret Frank’s words as he wrote them, I would assume he was subject to papal authority.

    But, he never writes what he means to say ….



    • David D. Flowers

      Hey Wayne, I’m aware of Smith’s trek from house churches to Catholicism, but I don’t know how he has come to his present beliefs. I’m just as curious as you are. I’m sure Frank did not see that this particular interview was the right time to ask about that sort of thing.

      • Wayne

        rofl! That was smooth. But, are you really sure he thought of that question?

        • David D. Flowers

          What was smooth? I don’t follow you.
          Wayne, I know Frank enough to testify to his character, and a good deal about his thoughts on this issue. Don’t mistake graciousness as backing down or ignoring questions that you feel are of first importance. Frank is very personable. You should comment at his blog or message him on facebook.

        • Wayne

          Like I said. That was smooth.

          And having been down that road, I think I was blessed to see some things you have not been so privileged by, I do believe.

          Back to the smooth. It was a good and smooth answer. Sometimes you have a way of saying things well.

          I think you worry when you say things so well. I am not sure were that comes from, but you do say things in a remarkable way at times.


  • Bill Benninghoff

    sorry about the double post earlier David. I thought the first one did not go through so I added the second one.

  • Gabriel (G²)

    If someone were to wish to see things through the eyes of Christ, would it matter whether or not they’re Catholic? Minus the fact that not all Catholics have ever agreed as it concerns things like Papal supremacy, I’m always interested to see how it is that people (such as Smith) are automatically viewed with suspicion when in many ways even people within an Organic/Simple Church mindset do the same things…simply by putting thier own perspectives on what Christ said as that focus, just as others do when they interpret what Christ said through the eyes of another.

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