Are you Biblical?
"The Bible says...."
"Are you a Bible-believing Christian?"
"But if you follow the Bible..."
This happens a lot. Try explaining '"The Bible says..." is problematic. Different approaches begin with different suppositions regarding the answers that they are going to find'. Try saying, 'Well, I practice a .... hermeneutic', or even 'together with the Church of England, it would appear that the Bible might ....' and it could be that you will lose people.
Stendhal, who foreshadows the New Perspective, describes biblical theology in terms of its meaning in the past which we excavate. But doesn't the theology come first in so much as we read with faith and come with presuppositions. Is the excavation polluted? I wonder about Stendhal, I need to read his work. Is he aware that as we excavate, we are adding our own ingredients to this earth that we are digging through; we are pulling out a precious treasure that has had its hue changed by what else has fallen down the archaeologist's hole?
We consider Kelsey's overview of the way that the Bible is used in theological argumentation. Propositional truths are revelation for someone like BB Warfield. For GE Wright the archaeology is important for meaning. For Tillich, the symbolism of the Bible is revelatory. Barth's is an emphasis that examines the narrative disclosure of God's ascendancy in the text: his agency. All would agree that God speaks through scripture. In community the church decides its meaning so that living in the light of scripture is transformative. There is more besides, meriting a separate entry and probably developing ideas in-keeping with Barth.
Perhaps we need to hold numerous approaches in tension. There are numerous approaches.
Key to all of this is a self-consciousness: what do we mean when we say we are biblical? We need to actually articulate our starting points and admit that we are flawed and influenced; that we are not neutral; that our starting point is not clean. This is not post-modern nonsense. Interpretation is inescapable. The Bible itself interprets the Bible.
DA Carson is dedicated to exploring Biblical inerrancy. It is interesting that the footage we watch of Carson presents him as open to the variety and the complexity, hinting at the superintendence of the Spirit, in presenting everything that should be there as it is and the final picture of the Bible culminating in what it is, exactly as God would have it be. But I know that within that, he practises a particular hermeneutic, particularly of the problem texts for women. Unfortunately, when I hear Carson, I am coloured in my appreciation of what he has to say, however valid, by the hermeneutic he practises with which I disagree. I try to listen. If I were freer of my presuppositions, I would hear more clearly. It is not easy. Is my awareness of the difficulty at least something? I am not sure.
This blog has investigated before the 'plain reading fallacy' that I feel can so infect us all. I understand now that 'plain reading' is an approach all in itself and what is often plain about it is often only its predictable trajectory. But then I come to make that statement because of my presuppositions!
Ordained Anglican. Thinking out loud about church.