Seminaries and Bible Colleges have been teaching us pastors how to defend the historical view of scripture for quite some time. The need for this I am sure is great, especially in the face of the last century's liberal textual criticisms of scripture - particularly the Jesus Seminar.
Yet I can not help but wonder if we have often focused upon technical issues, and lost the heart of the matter at times. Stories of mythic proportions such as the parting of the Red Sea, floating axe heads, and prophets marrying prostitutes to model God's heart for his people carry far more power than being true events. They carry us to places in the spirit, which model life, and guide our intentions, and our dreams. They cause us to reach for the stars, and imagine things beyond our temporal existence with its urges for silly desires. Great stories help build dreams in great people.
My life is different, because I read about Paul's message on Mars Hill, and considered Jeremiah the weeping prophet holding out in Jerusalem until the end. Barnabas' faithfulness to keep training Mark after Paul refused to take him on a mission journey guides my soul, as does Jesus' defense of sinners in the face of legalistic religion.
These are more than true stories to me. They carry the power of myth. They call my soul to greater things. Could this be what people need more than they need a way to defend the faith against the rising tide of textual criticism, and excessively liberal theology. Could it be that people need the the scriptures to live, before those same words can live in them?
I am not suggesting we give up the fight for defending the veracity of the Bible, but I am suggesting we find ways to make the stories live in our hearts.