Re: Something must change

George Murphy (
Sun, 16 Aug 1998 14:05:06 -0400

Howard J. Van Till wrote:
> In response to some of my comments on the character and proper use of the
> biblical text, Robert L. Miller wrote:
> "... My question to you is, where is the Holy Spirit in the process? Jesus
> told his disciples that when he leaves he would send them the Holy Spirit,
> who among other things would teach them the things that he had not had time
> to teach them himself....
> " Did this work of the Holy Spirit terminate when the New Testament was
> complete, or is there an ongoing teaching process that still
> occurs?"
> HVT: I beleive it continues to occur in essentially the same way now as
> then.
> RLM: If it is still occuring how do we distinguish between teaching that is
> authentic and that which is false? There are many other questions that
> follow but I will leave it at that.
> HVT: Perhaps that is best done with the aid of communal judgment so that
> individual 'noise' is filtered out. Sounds much like the way we operate in
> the scientific community, doesn't it?

Christ is God's fundamental revelation, & Scripture is the witness on the basis
of which that revelation is proclaimed to us & is to be proclaimed by us. The principle
that Scripture is "the source and norm of Christian doctrine" means that anything which
purports to be Christian teaching must be tested by Scripture. As time goes on, the
Holy Spirit leads us into deeper understanding of Christ and leads to the church to ways
of proclaiming the gospel in new situations - including those brought about by science.
But new teachings which have no biblical basis should be regarded only as theological
opinions, not the teaching of the church.
The basic problem to which Howard's post calls our attention is not the _truth_
of Scripture but the character or genre of biblical accounts. As long as Christians
keep thinking that the Bible can be true only if it is accurate historical narrative,
the church will be bogged down in fruitless concordism. (& to forestall a common
objection, I'm not saying that biblical accounts are _in_accurate history. Some of them
are not to be read as history in the modern sense at all.)

George L. Murphy