Friday, April 20, 2007

Sola Scriptura

I'm still plodding through The Drama of Doctrine and loving every minute of it. Granted, I can go several pages at a time withouth knowing what Vanhoozer's saying, but when I hit the occaisional page I do understand, it makes it all worth while. He has some interesting things to say about the idea of sola scriptura, particularly as it relates to authorial intention (i.e. the intention of the reformers who coined [Luther] and used the phrase).

"Sola scriptura is not the answer to the question 'How many sources should one use in doing theology?'" (p. 232).


"Sola scriptura is the answer to the question 'Where can we find the supreme norm by which to measure Christian deeds and Christian doctrine?' Construed positively, sola scriptura indicates how the church is to practice divine authority. Stated negatively , 'sola scriptura is the statement that the church can err'" (p. 232-233).

"Sola scriptura is not a protest against tradition as such, but against the presumption of coincidence between church teaching and tradition" (ibid).

"The Reformation emphasis on the priesthood of all believers has mutated in modernity into the notion that individuals can interpret the Bible for themselves, without the benefit of church tradition. The danger in such individualism, however is pride, yet another 'presumption of coincidence,' this time between one's own interpretation and the word of God. What one discovers in tradition is that Christianity is far rich than one's own personal and ecclesiastical experience" (ibid).

"The Reformation was not a matter of Scripture versus tradition but of reclaiming the ancient tradition as a correct interpretation of Scripture versus later distortions of that tradition. The Reformers regarded the early church councils by and large as true because they agreed with Scripture, not because they had authority in and of themselves" (ibid).

The last two quotes in particular still ring true today in somewhat of a parallel scenario. One could substitute Calvinism in for 'tradition' and the false dilemma masquerading in the name of Biblicism could be equally undone by Vanhoozer's critique. I hope I haven't worded that too subtly.

1 comment:

smlogan said...

just barely, you subtle fiend...
though for my part, i'm still waiting for a manuscripted post on the phone call i heard about regarding j. vernon mcgee (your esteemed bible teacher of old).