Four years ago Christian Smith wrote a book that caught the eye of many evangelical thinkers. It was called The Bible Made Impossible: Why Biblicism is Not a Truly Evangelical Reading of Scripture. It stunned some evangelicals because Smith aimed at something very near and dear to the heart of evangelicals: biblical authority. He created waves when he explored what he called biblicism.
By “biblicism” I mean a theory about the Bible that emphasizes together its exclusive authority, infallibility, perspicuity, self-sufficiency, internal consistency, self-evident meaning, and universal applicability. Different communities within American evangelicalism emphasize various combinations of these points differently. But all together they form a constellation of assumptions and beliefs that define a particular theory and practice.
Bible Made Impossible
Read that carefully. Smith is referring to a specific reading of the Bible's authority that includes clarity with convictions like "the Bible says," or "the Bible clearly says," with universal applicability--meaning this has authoritative power for all people, in all cities, in all nations. Smith explores biblicism and theories about how the Bible functions as authority in our everyday lives.