Monday, February 15, 2010

The Next Reformation

"What today we call the hermeneutics of Scripture - the invocation of a precise theoretical method to decode the biblical text - was never really on the table during the Reformation. The Reformation - both the so-called Radical and Magisterial Reformations - adhere to the conviction that the Holy Spirit could guide each believer (or the church community as a whole, on Calvin's view) to a patent understanding of the meaning of Scripture.

From a theological vantage point, that really signified that there can be no "hermeneutical," or even "theological," skewing of Scripture in the late-modern sense. The power of God to reveal himself through his Word was taken as a given, not as a conundrum.

The Word had authority because it could speak directly to the heart of the justified sinner. The Word of God was intimate and divine communication, not an impersonal ontological benchmark reinforced by a secondary calculus that correlated between text and the order of existence. The latter "methodology" was elaborated by post-Enlightenment philosophers who happened to be enamored with experimental science. For the most part, it was an "inductive" version of Scholasticism, which the Reformers had repudiated. It was a stance totally foreign to those who staked their lives and careers on the authority of Scripture.

In their own way the Reformers maintained what we now term a "dialogical" reading of biblical authority. God does not simply speak through the Bible; God speaks to us. Just as Christ, as Luther put it, is always "pro me (for me)," so also is God's word." Amen.

Carl Rashcke The Next Reformation Why Evangelicals Must Embrace Postmodernity

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