Rawlings School of Divinity
Doctor of Philosophy
Richard Alan Fuhr
Black Liberation Theology, Scriptural authority and inspiration, hermeneutical methods
Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion
Bagley, Raleigh M. III, "Undercutting the Biblical Inspiration and Authority Debate: The Hermeneutic of 2 Timothy 3:16-17 in Postmodernism against Black Liberation Theology" (2023). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 4360.
A resurgence of Black Liberation Theology has recently occurred in America, especially among proponents of Karl Barth and his contemporaries, James Cone, Robert McAfee Brown, and J. Deotis Roberts, to name a few. Black Liberation Theology and its concepts have been embraced in American culture via political, social, and economic media capable of bridging the divide between postmodernism and the church. Indeed, the avowal by certain prominent liberation theologians has been so widespread that their proposed theories have become synonymous with biblical truth among specific audiences. However, on the central issue of the denial of the authority and inspiration of Scripture, these liberation theologians’ interpretations have placed them in opposition to evangelicalism. Thus, Scripture is only “inspired” when God periodically speaks to individuals, whereas one must be suitable to Scripture— we are not masters of it but only objects of it. This inadequate belief devaluates the propositional revelatory essence of Scripture. Believing that another knowledge of God is possible, James Cone, whose Ph.D. dissertation was based on Barthian theology, proposed a “black theology,” a new concept that has taken flight as a global reconsideration of theological reflection that continues to this day. Using a thorough exegesis of 2 Timothy 3:16-17, this dissertation will argue that its components reinforce the doctrine of inspiration and authority of Scripture and undercut the hermeneutical perspective of postmodernism’s Black Liberation Theology. In addition, one will call on the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy to support this doctrinal position including diverse perspectives of inspiration from selected Scriptural and historical perspectives. The investigation will determine future dialog concerning various models that have shaped critical thinking over time.