From: George Murphy (email@example.com)
Date: Fri Sep 05 2003 - 11:06:23 EDT
Howard J. Van Till wrote:
> >From: "Terry M. Gray" <firstname.lastname@example.org>...........................
> > Theology that goes beyond the Bible is mere speculation.
> Show me a theology that does not contain any speculative elements that go
> beyond what is explicitly stated in the canon. :)
It's true that one can't really insist on a strict /sola scriptura/ position in
which we'd do absolutely nothing but read the Bible & try to draw conclusions from it.
We wouldn't even be able to read the Bible if we couldn't learn about Hebrew & Greek
from extra-biblical sources. We also need such sources to make sense of the geography
&c of biblical accounts. & more generally, most of us on this list think that
scientific knowledge of the world needs to be taken into account in interpreting
There is also a need to take seriously (which is not to say "accept
uncritically") the ways in which the church has interprted scripture in the past.
(Note, e.g., in the passages I quoted from Aquinas, that he doesn't simply cite verses
from Genesis & Proverbs but appeals to "the Catholic faith."
But if what the Christian church has accepted as the canon of scripture doesn't
play some kind of normative role for theology, it's hard for me to see how there can be
any assurance that that theology is Christian. This doesn't mean that it can't contain
any speculative elements or "theological opinions," but its hard core needs to have
fairly robust biblical support. I would take this as the irreducible requirement in the
Formula of Concord's statement that "the Word of God, and none other, shall establish
articles of faith."
George L. Murphy
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