Someone was reading one of my Chinese books and noticed that I proposed a view (commonly held by many scholars) on the composition of the Pentateuch that does not adhere to his church’s teaching. He remarked that in his country, I would be considered “liberal.”
The information I shared in my book is really no big deal but it becomes a big deal, like everything else, when it runs head-on into certain dearly held evangelical doctrines of Scriptures. The reader proceeded to say that among Chinese evangelical scholars, I was the only one who dared to voice this out. I do not know if this is a fact, but this may be quite true in certain Chinese communities that are hijacked by fundamentalists. This particular phenomenon gets to the bottom of the real issue.
If the facts I stated about the Hebrew language in my book were true (and scholarly consensus seems to agree), then people are either afraid of telling the truth because the truth hurts popular religious imaginations or people prefer to live as ostriches with their heads in the sand. At the end of the day, if our love for tradition trumps our love for truth, and if our care for people’s opinions trumps our care for God’s, evangelicalism and all that it stands for has become an idol to the church. Perhaps, truth has never been the problem. Idolatry is!