In this episode John and Gregg discuss Chapter 8 of Darin Hufford’s The Misunderstood God. John notes Hufford’s lack of scriptural references is both refreshing and problematic (as Hufford globalizes his own experience to his readers). Gregg replies that, in contrast to Kyle Idleman’s Not a Fan (where Gregg and John were able to evaluate Idleman’s views based on the scriptural texts from which he drew them and how Idleman interpreted them). The validity of Hufford’s positions (on God and Christianity) are harder to evaluate because they aren’t based on biblical texts and the only sources cited to establish their validity are Hufford’s experiences.
Gregg notes in Chapter 7 how, in contrast to the notion that God created humans to “worship God and enjoy God forever,” he finds Hufford’s notion far more compelling: God created humanity “because love requires expression” (p. 76). In other words, we are created to be in a love relationship with God. John resonates with Hufford’s comments about being far more deeply complimented / appreciated by those who know him best. For Gregg this co-incides with his own personal emphasis on truth and love being at the core of one’s relationship with God where one is truly known and deeply loved.
Yet John hesitates between two options. On the one hand, because Hufford does not back up his view with biblical texts this sounds to John’s ears like merely Hufford’s opinion (based on on what, we have no idea). On the other hand, John finds some agreement with Hufford’s notion that Christians have stopped questioning whatever seems to be supported by biblical texts. Instead, John wants a balance between accessibility and credibility, with a goal of having clarity about the topic.
Gregg cites the need for inter-reliance among Christians in order to strike this balance such that, while some Christians are capable and interested in deeply examining the Bible yet others have abilities that are more practically oriented, and both are required. In Gregg’s view Hufford is communicating his experiences and insights about God, however by insisting that they be framed within 1 Corinthians 13, Hufford ends up twisting the text to fit his experiences and views. In other words, it appears he has let the format of his communication drive the the content. This is problematic.
Gregg believes the reason for this is the tendency of evangelicals to be weak in two key areas: idea formulation and deeper dialogue. Specifically, Gregg notes that by globalizing his own experiences Hufford doesn’t invite reader into a dialogue with him (e.g., “Could matters be as I’ve suggested? If so, how might this how you view God?”). Instead the presentation has a tone of take-it-or-leave-it. And not only is this an innately unsuccessful mode of interaction, but it is at odds with the very view of God that Hufford is presenting (where God is generous, open, inviting, etc.)!