Monday, November 28, 2005

Thoughts on Biblical Authority

I linked to an interesting post at Scot McKnight's blog that has created a ton of discussion. In it Scot suggests, "that authority does not sufficiently describe our relationship to Scripture" and further that "'identity' might say more (without dismissing authority or the term)."

Len asked what I think, so I'll throw a few thoughts out there. First off, anytime you even come close to suggesting that God might be more important than the Bible, people get bent out of shape. Now I've purposely stated that in an inflammatory way for a reason. You see, the Bible is very important to Christians, incredibly important and rightly so. Yet, I don't think anyone would say that the Bible is more important than the Triune God, yet many Christians act as if it is without really realizing it. (And this gets into tricky stuff that I've touched on in other posts and that is that when people appeal to biblical authority they often are appealing to their own authority without realizing it. To say something is or isn't biblical is really saying, it is or isn't biblical as I understand and interpret scripture.) And this is no new revelation and it is one reason why Christians have attempted to articulate via creeds and such the things we mostly agree on.

Next, I'm a big fan of Scot's. While I've only read The Jesus Creed(so far) and his blog on a regular basis, I find him to be very insightful, so my bias will be in his favor. (Just figured I'd mention that.)

Third, I like what NT Wright has to say about biblical authority.

Taking all these things together, I'll say that I think Scot is right on.
Identity think is a better word than authority because it authority is contained with in it. Now that may sound strange, but if I am a Boston Bruin, there are certain things I do and don't do because of my identity. I will pass to my teammates, but not to my opponents. (Okay, maybe that's a bad example given the state of the Bruins these days, but I think you can see what I mean.) The reason for all the controversy in the comments has less to do with the actual content of what Scot has articulated and more to do with fear. That fear is that we can just jettison the bible unless we understand it as a source of authority. Scot is not suggesting that we do that, but anytime you suggest there may be a better word than authority, folks will get nervous. Again, though, I find NT Wright's article especially helpful.


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