Monday, March 06, 2006

Reading the Bible IV: What is Scripture For?

1 Lent
8 Hilary
(2 days before my birthday)

An official Anglican perspective:
"The Church is not 'over' the Holy Scriptures, but 'under' them, in the sense that the process of canonization was not one whereby the Church conferred authority on the books but one whereby the Church acknowledged them to possess authority. And why? The books were recognized as giving the witness of the Apostles to the life, teaching, death, and resurrection of the Lord and the interpretation by the Apostles of these events. To that apostolic authority the Church must ever bow."

- The Lambeth Conference 1958, II.5, London: SPCK)
If we're going to talk about the authority of Scripture, we have to consider just what Scripture has in mind to do, and what it actually does. We cannot decide, "this is the kind of authority I'd like" and project that onto the Canon, whether we imagine it to be "basic instructions before leaving earth" or a collection of interesting religious propostions. It really is neither of those things.

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4 comments:

Bryan said...

I like this series of posts Kyle. After growing up in churches with theologies that spouted "inerrancy" and never gave a thought to Tradition, it's good to read some things that are more balanced about the Bible and its authority.
So, when are you quoting NT Wright. :-)

-mike- said...

In Bible College, one of my profs always said, "The canonical books weren't given authority to be recognized, but recognized as having authority from the Holy Spirit."

Although I disagreed with this guy in other places, I liked this statement a lot.

(I just wish he'd give more place to tradition)

Kyle said...

Thanks, Bryan. I might get to Bishop Tom soon...

Mike, I feel your pain. The unspoken, obvious truth that follows the statement is that the recognition itself, the determination of what "seemed good to the Holy Spirit and us" is itself Tradition.

Funny, that.

-mike- said...

NO, the SBC doesn't believe in the traditions of men! It is the principal and final crystalization of the common faith handed down once to all the saints, as long as the dip, not sprinkle!