Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Legacy of the Reformation

In light of Reformation Day, I thought this word from Childs was helpful and appropriate:

I am critical of any theological method which speaks of the Bible as a type of literary or symbolic construct (e.g. narrative, realistic novel, classic), but does not feel constrained to engage in continuous exegesis of the Bible itself as the indispensable ground for all Christian theological reflection.

For a variety of theological reasons I find it basically unsatisfactory to assign the Bible a subordinate role within the creative imagination of the church where it functions merely as a source of imagery without a determinate meaning.

If there is anything still left of the legacy of the Reformation for the church, it lies in the insistence that the enterprise of Christian theology must be carried on in an intensive wrestling with the Scriptures, without which it can be neither true nor faithful. 
—Brevard Childs, New Testament as Canon: An Introduction, pp. 545-46.

I like how Childs describes the legacy of the Reformation as "an intensive wrestling with the Scriptures." This is a helpful articulation of the concept of Sola Scriptura.  The reason to wrestle with the meaning and implication of the Scripture is because you recognize and submit to its authority as the very Word of God to his people.

Thus, one partakes in the legacy of the Reformation by understanding the Bible as "the indispensable ground for all Christian theological reflection" and refusing to assign it a subordinate role "within the creative imagination of the church."

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