Matthew W. Bates:
Accordingly, despite the I-am-merely-a-historian claim offered by some working in this field, I am grateful that we live in an era in which it is increasingly recognized that there is no neutral, objective, independent ground that is unsullied by prior commitments and worldviews upon which any historian might stand when examining these matters. With respect to the study of anything, Christian origins included, everyone is equally intellectually positioned while undertaking the task–those outside, inside, on the fence, self-avowedly neutral, bitter, “in love with Jesus,” intrigued, congenial, hostile. Yet, this inescapable perspectivalism when doing historical theology must not become an excuse for lack of fair-mindedness or intellectual rigor in seeking the truth. The best we can do is to try to be honest with ourselves and with others about the lenses that we bring, exercise a healthy self-suspicion, and then to pursue the truth wherever it might lead.