Growing up Baptist, justification was a really big deal. Because like good Protestants (even though we weren’t always sure we were Protestants… long story) our teaching emphasized salvation by grace through faith alone.
But I have to confess that ever since I started seminary (5 years ago) I’ve had another kind of justification on the brain. This kind of justification is where you have to defend yourself to other people. I’m not just talking apologetics, although this definitely has application there. I’m talking about defending whole fields of inquiry and their use in biblical studies.
See, as a Baptist, I was taught to just focus on the Bible. Church history was something like “then the apostles died and the Catholics took over, and darkness reigned until Luther got saved. And then came us.” Philosophy was totally off the radar; I somehow had the idea it was like an atheist conspiracy where people talk you out of believing in things, but without the science. Then I came to a non-denominational seminary and found out both are utterly fantastic.
Of course, they don’t replace the Bible, and they shouldn’t. But what role should they play? Is there room in our churches for these things? In a great many churches, there already is. But I wonder: for those churches that still see them as irrelevant or threatening, how can we justify the time spent in these fields?
I know how I came to accept them. Maybe I’ll share those reasons sometime. But what are yours? Or why are you convinced they should be rejected?