Thursday, June 07, 2007

Quote of the day

"The evangelical tradition at its best encourages critique from within. It sends us back to the Scripture which stands over against all traditions, our own included"

- NT Wright (here)


At 6/07/2007 11:13 PM, Anonymous Jeremy Priest said...

Once again, Wright is right! Of course, not without qualification--why comment then, right?

Question: Don't you think it might be better said that Scripture doesn't "stand over against all traditions," but many traditions? In some cases doesn't Scripture stand WITH traditions?

There are cases in which Scripture stands, not over against, but WITH traditions. If these traditions are 'traditions of the Lord,' such as those that Paul "hands on" to the Thessalonians in 2:15, and to the Corinthians in 1 Cor. 11:23--see the nice article on "tradition" in the New Dictionary of Biblical Theology (IVP 2000). Some traditions are not authoritative and so Scripture does stands over against those.

We must constantly go back to Scripture because it is the "soul of sacred theology." Yet, I think it is most helpful to go Scripture WITH these traditions, not without them. They are in a certain sense, the key to interpretation. And as Platinga, Gadamer, and others have shown, it is impossible to do otherwise.

I am a Catholic, but it seems to me that the "evangelical tradition" does not go "back to the Scripture" without its "evangelical tradition." When it is "at its best" the evangelical tradition goes back to Scripture WITH tradition as it does this "critique from within." For example, it reads the Bible with Trinitarian lenses, not without them. This is one of the reasons I love to read evangelical theology, and thus this blog!

I understand that Wright is referring mostly to critiques surrounding things like the New Perspective, etc--as they are "from within," in the sense that the interlocutors share the tradition.

At 6/08/2007 6:44 AM, Anonymous Edward T. Babinski said...

Speaking of "critiques from within"...

Our divisions should never be discussed except in the presence of those who have already come to believe that there is one God and that Jesus Christ is his only Son.

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Theology is a comprehensive, rigorous, and systematic attempt to conceal the beam in the scriptures and traditions of one’s own denomination while minutely measuring the mote in the heritages of ones’ brothers.

Walter Kaufmann, The Faith of a Heretic

Every sect, as far as reason will help them, make use of it gladly; and where it fails them, they cry out, “It is a matter of faith, and above reason.”

John Locke

At 6/08/2007 4:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Babinkski and Lady Macbeth:

"Out damned spot!"

At 6/08/2007 5:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

According to Scripture; the Church is "the pillar and foundation of the truth," (1 Tim 3:15). The traditions of the Church preceded and produced the NT. It was the Church who weighed in the balance and selected the writings we now know as Scripture. So it would seem to me, that it is only within the traditions of the Church that selected them, that Holy Scripture can be rightly understood.

So the question becomes; which Church authoritatively defined and codified what we now know as Holy Scripture? If it is -- as I believe -- the Catholic Church. Then shouldn't Her traditions take precedence?


At 6/09/2007 12:24 AM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

Hi Jeremy,
I must say, I was thinking the same thing as I posted it! But you put it so well... To be honest, I think Wright would qualify himself as you suggest as well.

Crikey Edward, blogger didn't send me your second comment - I need to read that before I comment! And thanks for those great quotes.

Hi John,
Great comment. I suppose my only thought is to suggest that these texts were recognised for the authority they already had, not given an alien (legal fiction?) authority. And as such the church put itself under their witness. In this way the church has a very concrete measure by which it can continually reform itself. Having said that, I appreictae your perspective as a Catholic on this and am well aware I have much to learn and reconsider!

At 6/09/2007 4:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

<< I suppose my only thought is to suggest that these texts were recognised for the authority they already had, not given an alien (legal fiction?) authority. >>

Hello Chris,

I agree, I think? :-)

But the authority they had was because they were accepted by the Church as coming forth from the foundation stones of the Church. The Apostles and their associates. And some of the writings that were also thought to have an authority of their own, didn't make the final cut. So once again -- to me -- the Church was, and is, the only rightful arbitrator.

Having said that, when I speak of the Church in its present tense, I'm including all of the Church(es). Protestant, Eastern Orthodox and Catholic, et al. I have learned, and continue to learn, from all of these traditions. And I'm thankful for their different perspectives and for all the insights they have to offer.

[ After all, why else would I be reading your blog every day. Or championing scholars like Richard Bauckham. Except for that one article he wrote on the family of Jesus. No good! ... just kidding. :-) ]

But at the end of the day, I have planted my staff on the Church of Rome. So of course, its interpretations are going to carry the day.

<< And as such the church put itself under their witness. In this way the church has a very concrete measure by which it can continually reform itself. >>

Here, I definitely agree.

Though I also believe that there's another side to that coin. Scripture must also be read in the light of the witness of the Church. So that we have a concrete measure to protect us from the many errant and unwarranted readings that have constantly been perpetrated on it.

Scripture and tradition go hand in hand. They are not opposed. And in a sense; they are one and the same.

At least for me.

<< Having said that, I appreciate your perspective as a Catholic ... >>

And I appreciate yours as a Protestant.


PS After all of that; I'm off to read your review of VanL's book. Cheers!


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