Sunday, May 04, 2008

WTS’s Historical and Theological Field Committee (HTFC) on the Formulation of the Doctrine of Scripture, P. 3

Observation 3: Between Provisional and Absolutist Articulation of Doctrine

Such bold and unqualified statement… [All attempts to articulate the nature of Scripture are open to examination...that the Spirit of God is fully engaged in such a theological process and at the same time that our attempts to articulate what God’s word is have a necessarily provisional dimension]… seems to open up a host of theological problems. That Scripture is divine - is that open to examination? That Scripture is authoritative - is that also open to examination?” (p. 20; emphasis original)

My Response to Observation 3:

Whether Scripture is divine and authoritative is open to examination or not is irrelevant. The question here is on the ‘articulation’ of the doctrine, not the veracity of the doctrine itself. That means two things: (1) we are open to examine our explanation and understanding of the divine nature of Scripture; (2) we are not open to examine whether is the Scripture divine or not, which is a given.

And given that all our explanation and understanding of the divine reality is partial, they are inevitably provisional as well. For eg. If Warfield’s understanding of the nature of the Scripture is incomplete, then that means better understanding can be attained at one end, and his understanding can be overrode by better ones at another end.

Trouble comes when we canonize our articulation of the doctrine as a doctrine itself. For eg. WTS mistakenly canonized Warfield’s partial articulation of the divine nature of the Scripture as the objective measurement of orthodoxy. Orthodoxy should be the given fact that Scripture is divine. “How divine can we articulate it to be?” is always open to examination.

*WTS’s Hermeneutic Field Committee that sympathizes with Peter Enns’ thesis has provided a detailed and extensive reply to the HTFC report. Have a look over there.

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