On Biblical Interpretation (and much more…)


“In speaking of sola Scriptura I wish to appeal to my colleague, Dr. Bradley Nassif, who is both Eastern Orthodox and Evangelical – which is no easy road to walk. In his new book, Three Views on Eastern Orthodoxy and Evangelicalism, Brad calls Evangelicals to task. He asks us to consider again what the Reformers meant by sola Scriptura and what we mean by it. We can either choose the method of the Radical Reformation, which I think most Evangelicals today do choose, or we can choose the Magisterial Reformers, which I think we think we choose. Let me explain: the Radical Reformation put the Bible in the hands of the individual’s conscience and thereby spawned Pietism. Individuals become directly accountable to God for determining what to believe. The Reformers, however, saw the creeds as valuable guides and gave to them fundamental respect, even if they shied away from them as ‘authoritative.’ Tradition was valuable as long it was not abused.

The key issue, as I see it, may be this: who will have final authority is a necessary correlation to the question of what will have final authority? That is, the what is clearly the Bible: it has final authority. But, who interprets the Bible? Is it the individual or is the catholic body, whichever ‘catholic’ body one dwells in. I chase this question down with this one: Was it individuals who decided which books were to be included in the canon?

In other words, sola Scriptura is always set in the context of communio sanctorum, the communion of the saints. The question thus becomes not if we will embrace the confessional tradition, but which tradition will we embrace, or better yet, which tradition will embrace us.”

Read the whole article: “The Gospel of Niggle 3”

(Via Jesus Creed.)

The Author

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...