A retired UMC Elder writes in regards to bringing the canon of the UMC up to standard. He does an admirable job, although he bases it more on removing the stench of anti-Catholicism that we have otherwise amended. He suggest two ways to officially do this:
The disconnect between our publications and Article V needs to be resolved. This could be done by modifying Article V to permit United Methodists who desire to do so to accept a more extensive definition of biblical content. The process is not easy, since it involves amending our Constitution to make a restrictive rule more flexible (Paragraphs 17 and 59, 2012 Book of Discipline). There are two options to consider: one approach would expand the article; another would shorten it.
via Commentary: Would a bigger Bible be better? – The United Methodist Church.
I am in full agreement with this; however, I believe that it should be in part to do away with Luther’s legacy but also because the early Church made use of these books. Why not use, or rather officially allow the use of these improperly excluded books, in our litanies and liturgies?
“The doctrine of Scripture is like a continental divide,” Greg Wills, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s dean of theology, said during a panel discussion.
“Your doctrine of Scripture is not like one doctrine in a basket full of doctrines,” Wills said. “It’s the doctrine that determines which basket full of doctrines you have.”
via BRnow.org – Inerrancy ‘drift’ festers in Christian academia.
And this is why Evangelicals are wrong. If the doctrine of inerrancy is your first go-to doctrine, you are doing Christianity wrong. For other posts related to inerrancy, click the link at the bottom of the post. But to sum up, their first doctrine is not Jesus, nor the Trinity, but a doctrine created recently and used as a means to validate faith.
Some people need to read Barth. Or the Church Fathers. Heck, even Calvin.
Matthew Parker, Archbisop of Canterbury, former chaplin of Anne Boleyn (Photo credit: lisby1)
For background, you can visit the Bible Gateway’s record of their live blogging of the event, here:
5 Views on Biblical Inerrancy (A Live Discussion from ETS) | Bible Gateway Blog.
The Evangelical Theological Society met to discuss inerrancy, part of a confession statement one must sign in order to be a member of the ETS. This among other reasons is why I will never be a part of ETS.
Inerrancy is a great motivator to sell bibles. Why? Because inerrancy has made Scripture the ideal, the center of Christianity. Suddenly, the bible is the most important part of our faith, rather than Christ or the Apostolic word. Because Scripture is inerrant all you need is it and you are done. Inerrancy thus excludes serious study, critical thinking skills, and any meaningful theological development.
Inerrancy is nuanced. Some believe only the original autographs are inerrant, without error. To accomplish this, they must dismiss redaction criticism (and historical criticism in general) and assert an unprovable tenant, that there were original autographs. Textual Criticism is no more. Real archaeology is chided as the devil’s work and science is dismissed as witchcraft. Others believe the bible is inerrant in what it teaches. Even this is nuanced. What does the bible teach? We go from polytheism to henotheism to monotheism. Women are near-slaves. Rape is sometimes okay. I could go on, but you get the picture. Some simply state the bible is inerrant in what it teaches about salvation, not that this picture is any clearer.
I have written about my stances before, but let me encourage you to read Henry Neufeld’s "When People Speak for God" and Edward Vick’s "From Inspiration to Understanding: Reading the Bible Seriously and Faithfully" for some rather deep insight into better views. I hold to an inspired view of Scripture with just enough nuance to escape any serious challenge to my position. Scripture is not the revelation of God; it is a human response/record to God’s revelation of himself either in word, deed, or creation. This may include records, poems, songs, or rampant and ill-conceived speculation. God uses this clay to bring about his ultimate reality while having had incarnated it and enlivened in the only inerrant and infallible Word, Jesus “Logos” Christ. Thus, Scripture becomes.
The Chicago Statement of Inerrancy is a farce, leaving me wonder what Luther with his creation of sola scriptura would have said about it.
Carlson notes an early battle between allegoricalists and those who would rather a more honest source in critiquing the Torah.
For [the Scripture] are set out like many diverse typecasts. Each person, then, having his own predisposition [at the outset], then examines the Scriptures, and, once he finds everything in them, he impresses upon them his own predisposition — which (as I said) is like wax — and he forges whatever sort of God he so desires. (as quoted from the Homilies, pg 23.)
The Pseudo-Clementine homilist takes to task those who force external meanings on Scripture, surrendering Scripture to allegory rather than any meaningful sense. Generally, the author speaks against the legendary Simon Magus (i.e., gnostic?) who treats the Torah as a text to be twisted and interpreted to mean the God of the Old Testament is somehow inferior to the God of the New.
There is more to this, however, as our Homilist believes there are segments of the Torah redacted with foul material.
It is interesting this early textual criticism as well as a need to discover what the Text meant and now what it can be read as.
Lots of good stuff in Carlson’s book as well as, it looks like, the Pseudo-Clementine Homilies.
There are 39 Articles of Faith for the Anglican Church. One in particular is my focus this week:
Article VI. Of the sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for Salvation
Holy Scriptures containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation…
It goes on to list the books of Scripture, including to so-called Apocrypha (something Wesley edited).
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My first answer is no. This is remarkably similar to my second answer, which is something like “sure, why not, but it means little to nothing to say you’ve read Holy Writ from Genesis to Revelation.”
To start, if you read “the bible” as a single book, you are doing a grave injustice to it. First, “the bible” is a disastrous name for it. It is rather the holy writings or some such thing. While we have put it in a box as one book (hence the singular, bible), it is a group of writings written by different people (I would say at least one woman and maybe even a Gentile) over a course of centuries. It has been redacted, edited, copied, and closed. To read Genesis as if it precedes Exodus and so on and so forth is to dismiss the books likely written before it such as Isaiah, or at least some of Isaiah. To then proclaim that you have the mystery of the faith because you have read the bible straight through is to first deny the character of the writings and second, to claim to have read something that simply doesn’t exist.
And of course, there is part two. What does reading Scripture ever do for anyone? I mean, people read Daniel and Revelation, look around, and assume that these two books are speaking directly to our times. The Young Earther reads Genesis and believes that God is nothing more than a Loki-like deity. The husband who seeks control looks at Ephesians 4 and believes it gives him the right to own, in every sense of the word, his wife. John Piper reads Romans and believes he is suddenly God and King. Reading does little, unless it is for pure devotional or a spiritual discipline. To study, however, to study Scripture is to take Scripture at what it said and to see what it says.
Of course, what ever gives you comfort in attempting to gain some measure of spiritual authority over someone else I guess is alright. Right?
Here is an example: Your original language point. Since we do not have the original mss. we do not know what language God had His authors use to pen His words. Thus your restriction to the Hebrew language is only a guess at best, based upon assumption. For all we know Moses used Egyptian, given that he was educated by the Pharaoh and that the original people he was writing to understood Egyptian and didn’t die off until after Sinai.
Then since you cannot construct the original context for biblical books but subscribe to the idea that the OT was written in the 4-6th centuries BC by a bunch of ‘elites’ who had hopes of making a free people captive again you really have no argument since the OT and NT change lives outside of that original context throughout the world.
In a discussion about science and creation, etc… a follower and apologist for the latest cult guru, Little Honey Tee Tee, who also said “God didn’t use science to create” said the above.
This was in response to my discussion on his proposed use of Hebrews 11.3 to promote creationism. I suggest that the word was more like ages (aeons). This was his response.
I know I’m supposed to be nice, but this is just stupid.
The logical conclusion to his summation of why to only use the KJV is because the British King was more inspired than the original authors/editors/redactors/compilers. So, since we have no real clue as to what Scripture says, we should all be British or worse, Ussherites.
- Dot King Does Rock, Joel. She Sure Does (zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com)
- If I Go Missing… (zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com)
Therefore, as soon as all the peoples heard the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, drum, and entire musical ensemble, all the peoples, nations, and languages fell down and worshipped the golden statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. (Daniel 3.7 NRSV)
A friend of mine brought this up the other day.
Say… where was Daniel in all of this? Remember, if Scripture is supposed to be infallible, historically trustworthy, filled with nothing but facts and poetic facts… then we have a problem.
This story plainly states that of all of the Babylonian empire, only three people withstood the King’s command. Where was Daniel?
If you are using Daniel as a patriotic image of Americans, or even in any sort of eschatological sense — STOP IT. You are doing it wrong.
Speaking as a biblical scholar, inerrancy is a high-maintenance doctrine. It takes much energy to “hold on to” and produces much cognitive dissonance. I am hardly alone. Over the last twenty years or so, I have crossed paths with more than a few biblical scholars with evangelical roots, even teaching in inerrantist schools, who nervously tread delicate paths re-defining, nuancing, and adjusting their definition of inerrancy to accommodate the complicating factors that greet us at every turn in the historical study of Scripture.
via Inerrancy: I think someone forgot to tell the Bible.
It is, you know… The mental gymnastics would even impress McKayla Maroney!
Give it a read!
Both… sometimes… none… sometimes…
The principle of “scripture interprets scripture” is a logical fallacy. This is the idea of sola scriptura, that all we need is the good book… except, that is not all we have. We have the canon, formulated over centuries. This canon is a two-fold issue. First, the books are sometimes redacted, meaning in such cases as Isaiah and Zechariah, we have a tradition combining various writings under one heading. Second, we have to consider the manuscript. I remember reading somewhere in one of F.F. Bruce’s writings on this issue. If you are Orthodox, then you know full well what I mean. You accept the Byzantine New Testament while the West usually (unless the KJVO crowd) goes with a more critical text. Even the order of the books are issues among the faith communities. Essentially, I mean this: Even the index is by tradition, meaning you do not start with Scripture, but with Tradition.
At times, Scripture does interpret Scripture, but I would maintain in just a few instances. To understand Creation inside of Temple theology, you must start with Deutero-Isaiah and then read Genesis 1, forgetting Genesis 2-3. Job’s creation stories aren’t exactly the same thing and should not find themselves forced into that situation, although Job does comport well with First Isaiah. The Deuteronomistic books do help interpret one another, as do the priestly books. The prophets are okay, but sometimes, not the same thing. I mean, the idea of the Day or the Lord changes from start to finish. And the New Testament… no. It reads and applies the Old Testament (usually the Septuagint) to Christ and the Christian community, but it does not interpret. It interprets Jesus by the Old Testament. Different stuff there.
But, and I know a certain person not yet convinced with this (J.S. – I miss you. Come back from the cabin), Scripture does at times argue with Scripture. Ruth and Jonah battle Ezra-Nehemiah. Deuteronomy battles Leviticus, especially in Paul. Revelation would dispense with the rest of the books. Indeed, the prophets are constantly arguing with the Law.
And of course… Paul, James, and Luther…