What Happens After Sola Scriptura?
So, admitting the immanent end of Sola Scriptura is not a categorical rejection of Scripture as much; rather, it is a coming to terms with our own limitations and finitude as human beings and adopting a certain humility about our readings. I seriously doubt whether the Bible is infallible since it was written by pre-modern men (yes, they were men). But that doesn’t mean I don’t think the Bible is authoritative or instructional. It merely means that I believe our ability as humans to fully understand the Bible is severely limited. The history of hermeneutics is indicative of this. We can very quickly identify points today where we believe our theological ancestors were absolutely wrong in their interpretation of Scripture (slavery, subjugation of women, etc.). I’m sure 50-100 years from now our grandchildren will say the same about us. We know things today that we didn’t know in the past and we don’t know things now that we will in the future. That deeply affects out readings. We are fallible, broken people. We need to hold our hemeneutical lenses loosely.
But how do we avoid simply throwing out the baby with the bathwater? Here is what I propose: let’s use a new word, a word that still retains a deep sense of respect and affection for the Scriptures and the history of God’s salvific action in history with God’s people. A word that doesn’t allow the spirit of the Reformation (and the Enlightenment) to crust over into static dogma. I like the word prima. Prima Scriptura. Scripture is without a doubt our primary authority and primary source for theological reflection, but is not and cannot be our sole source. We are more complex than that. Scripture is our prime witness to God’s interaction with God’s people, beckoning them/us to join in God’s divine endeavor of restoration and renewal. It seems to me that opting for a phrase such as this preserves our identity as Christians whose story and history is told in the Bible, but at the same admits our limitations, approaching divine revelation with deep humility, and understanding that we get it wrong all the time so we mustn’t hold our readings so tightly because they are fallible. What better way to remain open and attentive to the movement and dynamism of the Spirit? A Spirit that no matter how limited and broken we have become, meets us exactly where we are pushes us — and our readings of Scripture — toward continual transformation and revision.
Let us celebrate the end of Sola Scriptura. But let’s not stop there. Let’s provide a healthy alternative, something that still places its trust in the Holy Writ as the primary source for revelation and yet is still open to continual revision and divine redaction. Let us embrace Prima Scriptura.
Why is this person trying to downplay the role Scripture to mere a role (though a primary one), instead of the source for us? Why is he unwilling to say that Scripture is infallible? A bit of diggin on his own site, which he links to on the EV blog above, probably shows why.
“Thoughts on Homosexuality.”
I am confident that 50, maybe 75 years from now we will have resolved the “gay issue”
as some call it. We will have reached a consensus and moved on. It will be a non-issue,
instead we as a church will likely be splintering over another hot button issue. In fact, I
imagine my grandchildren and great-children will look back on my generation with the
same sort of wide-eyed amazement and disbelief that I feel when I look back on my
ancestors who participated in slavery, denied women the right to vote, and promoted
white supremacy. They will wonder why in the world it took us so long to shake free
from our oppressive self-imposed myopia of denying the reality that God uses all persons
even those of different sexual orientations. They will wonder, like many have since
Constantine officiated the wedding of the church and the nation-state, why the church,
who should always be the first to decry injustice and oppression, once again remained
silently and paralytically complacent with the diseased status quo.
One of my favorite passages in the New Testament is Galatians 3:28 where Paul conveys
this message most explicitly, “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or
free, there is no longer male or female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Because I
believe that Christianity is inherently contextual–indeed, that is the very essence of the
incarnation–and because I believe it is the task of the church and of the Christian to
interpret and re-interpret the scriptures within their contemporary worlds, I can’t help but
wonder how Paul might write that verse were he here today. Perhaps it might be
something like this, “There is no longer graced or ungraced, there is no longer gay or
straight, there is no long heterosexual or homosexual; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
I could go on and talk about Jesus’ life and his welcoming the unwelcomed, accepting the
unaccepted, and loving the unloved, enabling the disenfranchised, but I won’t. We know
the story. At least I think we do. Perhaps we know the story, we just don’t believe it.
Perhaps we need to be converted to the true essence of the gospel, to our high and noble
calling to re-imagine the world, acknowledging that all persons, regardless of sexual
orientation, are invited to respond to grace and to participate in God’s work in/with/to the
world nurturing this alternative reality called the kingdom of God.
Amazing, isn't it, how for these emergents, it all comes back to sex.
There is an agenda behind their attempts to diminish Scripture--Scripture simply doesn't support their positions, so they must find ways to work around it while saying they're not abandoning it.