Bible and Contemporary Theology

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An honest appraisal of much biblical material must admit that in terms of its perspectives of nature and the universe, cultural mores, moral sensitivity, and understanding of God, there are factual errors and considerable irrelevance for the contemporary world. Thus the claim of infallibility is simply false. Does this mean that the Bible must be abandoned as useless? Can it be shown that in its major and essential themes, there is no necessary contradiction with the proven facts of our world and that such themes are relevant in any age?

The views of several modern theologians who seek relevance for the biblical material are described and evaluated. It is concluded that the theologies of Reinhold Niebuhr and the Process Theologians serve best to preserve the major biblical themes as meaningful in the contemporary world. Interpreted in this way, the Bible can make a contribution to the faith and life of contemporaries.


“A seasoned scholar, creative pedagogue, and person of deep faith, Dr. Robert Ayers examines the Bible and contemporary theology, insisting that we should pursue the study of both with a commitment to truth and in confidence that each has relevance for the contemporary world. This important work makes a very valuable contribution to helping thoughtful persons deal with the continuing tensions between faith and reason ... This work is a good study for the inquisitive layperson, as well as clergyperson, who wishes a more nuanced understanding of biblical studies and how it relates to theology or the formal expression of religious thought ...” – (from the Foreword) Professor Sandy Dwayne Martin, University of Georgia

“This is a well-written book exploring the various uses of the bible in contemporary theology. The book deserves publication. It has been a long time since I have read a piece of scholarship such as this that is clearly articulated and written for both the scholar and layperson ... Dr. Ayers argues that Niebuhr’s theology, in conjunction with process thought, gives perhaps the best insight into how the bible can and should be used in modern theology.” – George Howard, Professor Emeritus, University of Georgia

“Dr. Ayers has provided us with a clearly written and insightful work on the Bible and contemporary theology. Without skirting the profound historical, hermeneutical, and philosophical problems of understanding the contents of the Bible, he guides the reader with most of the issues pertaining to the truth and relevance of what can be found within this major sourcebook of Judaism and Christianity. In short, he deals deftly with the credibility of the worldview or worldviews and the way of life or ways of life as they are presented and justified within contemporary theology ...” – Professor William L. Power, University of Georgia

Table of Contents

Foreword by Sandy Dwayne Martin
I. Problems with the Bible in Today’s World
II. What can we do with the Bible?
III. Relevant Old Testament Themes
IV. Relevant New Testament Themes
V. The View of the Bible and its Function in Various Theologies
VI. The Bible in Reinhold Niebuhr’s Christian Realism and in Process Theology

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