“Correct Thinking” versus “Trust in God”

Peter Enns’ The Sin of Certainty is not for the lighthearted.  I’m reading it right now.  It has raised some worthy questions–questions I never thought of (perhaps the sign of a good book?).

For the last two decades or so, Mr. Enns has been on a faith-journey.  He has published the results of such a journey.  In fact, one such publication, Inspiration and Incarnationgot him suspended.

For Mr. Enns this journey has been about the difference between “correct thinking” and “Trust in God.”  For him, they are not one and the same thing.

Working out what we believe is worthy of serious time and effort in our lives of faith.  But our pursuit of having the right beliefs and locking them up in a vault are not the center of faith.  Trust in God is.  When holding to correct thinking becomes the center, we have shrunk faith in God to an intellectual exercise, a human enterprise, where differences need to be settled through debate first before faith can get off the ground.

I’m guilty as charged.

I’ve found myself over the years to have “shrunk faith in God to an intellectual exercise, a human enterprise, concluding that a set of correct beliefs in God is what I truly need rather than simple trust in God.

You know, like fitting God in a box of my own intellectual exercises and clever arguments.

Mr. Enns says this is what biblical faith is.  In his book he demonstrates this thesis over and over.  But I do have some questions for Mr. Enns.  More to follow…

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7 Responses to “Correct Thinking” versus “Trust in God”

  1. Jon Hughes says:


    Peter Enns has certainly been of tremendous help to many believers struggling within the evangelical fold. He’s also courageous. I can’t help thinking that a number of other seminary professors (not to mention pastors) are not brave enough to do what Enns has done, despite holding similar views privately, and merely carry on writing books and preaching – espousing positions to the right of what they actually believe – lest they lose their livelihoods. And we the sheep will be expected to continue to hold to this ‘sound doctrine’ despite the inevitability that Jericho’s walls will soon come crashing down. It’s a fine mess.

    • TC Robinson says:

      I believe you’re correct about other seminary profs and pastors. Now when the Jericho walls of evangelicalism comes crashing down, question: what will it all look like?

      • Jon Hughes says:


        It will look like the word of God contains the Word of God, which has always been the case, except without the tortuous adherence to inerrancy and its byproducts. Then we’ll be able to read our Bibles without the shackles on, and (ironically) be more faithful to Scripture.

  2. TC Robinson says:

    What Enns and others are saying is nothing new. We’ve seen this before, and the outcome is always that same, some on the left and some on the right, with a few in the middle.

    But I do like what Enns has to say about what really matters in the end.

    In some camps, yes, adherence to inerrancy can be “tortuous.” But I still like John Frame, a PCA guy, definition of inerrancy (it’s the one I adhere to):

    “Inerrancy, therefore, means that the Bible is true, not that it is maximally precise. To the extent that precision is necessary for truth, the Bible is sufficiently precise. But it does not always have the amount of precision that some readers demand of it. It has a level of precision sufficient for its own purposes, not for the purposes for which some readers might employ it…

    “When we say that the Bible is inerrant, we mean that the Bible makes good on its claims.”

  3. Colin says:

    In his book “Engaging the Written Word of God”, Jim Packer seems to follow a broadly similar view on inerrancy to John Frame. In essence he defines it in terms of the text saying inerrantly exactly what the author intended the readers to be told – which may not answer all the questions we bring to the text 2000 years later.

  4. TC Robinson says:

    Not at all! And in his recent systematic theology, it’s there too.

    That’s encouraging. It’s called letting the biblical writers speak, not us. It’s respecting their world.

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