One potential inconsistency in evangelical hermeneutics is that it differs from New Testament hermeneutics. So evangelical hermeneutics, following the canons of modernism, at least claims to be "inductive." Indiana Wesleyan, like countless other evangelical schools, has a "methods" or "skills" course of inductive Bible study in its curriculum.
And it seems completely appropriate for a Protestant institution to have these. The idea is to listen to the biblical text in context, to listen to what Paul or Isaiah was actually trying to say by looking at the historical and literary contexts of their words. If we are to look to the Bible as the source of our thinking, then surely listening to its words for what they meant originally would be the way to this source, right?
But this is not how NT authors read the OT. And we get into potentially sticky, even hermeneutically deconstructive wickets when our inductive listenings to the text come up with different interpretations than the NT authors had. One such place is with NT attributions of authorship.
For example, no inductive interpreter would conclude that Moses was the author of the Pentateuch. His name is nowhere mentioned in Genesis. Exodus through Deuteronomy talk about Moses in the third person--he did this, he said that--but are not worded as "I, Moses, wrote this..." The narration of Moses' death in Deuteronomy poignantly makes the point. Certainly God could have inspired Moses to write about his death... but if we read inductively and listen to the text, it just doesn't read like this. It reads as if someone is writing about Moses' death.
So what's the big deal? The big deal is that the NT speaks of Moses as the author of the Pentateuch. Now, I should point out that almost all the references Jesus makes in this regard are to Mosaic material within the Pentateuch rather than to Moses as the author of the whole Pentateuch. Most of the arguments I've read using Jesus to argue for Mosaic authorship fail to make this very important distinction. But there are a couple places where Jesus references the Pentateuch apparently in a way that connects the whole Pentateuch to Moses (Luke 24:27).
There are a number of possible explanations:
1. Somehow our inductive sense of the Pentateuch's authorship is wrong.
2. Jesus' and the NT attributions of authorship are simply ways of referencing the OT--the point is what they are saying by way of the Scripture rather than the author.
3. These are the assumptions of the gospel writers as they paraphrase Jesus rather than the way Jesus literally referred to the OT.
4. Jesus either was speaking in an incarnated way--using the categories of his audiences--or since he limited his omniscience while on earth, perhaps he was not aware that he was speaking culturally rather than historically.
Number 2 seems the most palatable all around. But let me end with a particularly difficult one.
If I approach Psalm 110:1 inductively, remembering, for example, that it is historically unlikely that David, the first king in his dynasty, looked to a time when Israel would long for a king. There do not seem to be any passages in the OT that, read inductively, expect a divine Messiah. Indeed the Jewish literature immediately prior to Christ seems to look mainly to a human Messiah rather than one from heaven.
In any case, Psalm 110 never mentions David. Inductively, an anonymous voice speaks of the LORD's appointment of a king, a Lord, to rule as God's representative on earth. Psalm 110 reads as a blueprint of military victory over the king's enemies. He is a priest like Melchizedek, who is not from the line of Levi.
Now at the time of Christ, authorship of this psalm was assigned to David, even though the psalm itself does not mention David (the titles are later and usually not considered inspired). So Jesus uses this Psalm to stump his detractors in Mark 12 and parallels. We have no substantial reason to question the historicity of this debate.
When you take David as the author of the psalm, the LORD can no longer speak to a king like David as Lord. Rather, Jesus takes the second Lord of the psalm to be the Messiah. He stumps his debaters by asking them how the Messiah can be David's son when David calls him Lord.
This is quite a sticky one from an inductive standpoint. Here are a couple options I can come up with:
1. The inductive interpretation of Psalm 110 simply isn't what God had in mind--whether David was speaking prophetically in ways even he couldn't understand or whether God simply wasn't concerned that the ancients read the psalm in context.
2. Jesus was winking. He was interpreting the psalm within the worldview of his audiences and having a little fun with them.
What do you think?