Monday, April 1, 2013

Biblical Theology & the Westminster Confession of Faith

Todd Braye made me aware of the helpfull discussion on the relationship between Biblical Theology & the Confession:

'After all, from my viewpoint, the definition and understanding of Biblical Theology lies within the parameters of the analogy of Scripture found in the Westminster Confession of Faith, i.e., "the infallible rule of the interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself (I:ix)."2 In my judgment, the Confession's statement on the "infallible rule" of Biblical hermeneutics is an essential component of Biblical Theology. For this reason, Biblical Theology has a favorable and positive disposition in the heart of the Reformed confessional tradition.'

'The Westminster Confession's statement that "the infallible interpretation of Scripture is Scripture itself" (I:9) is not a platitude of Reformed piety that is declared in order to impress our constituency or those outside our constituency with our high view of Scripture and method of interpretation. Rather, it must be a principle at work in the Reformed exegete. Specifically, the exegete must engage constantly in critical self-examination as to whether his method of Biblical interpretation is in compliance with the authority of Scripture, or to put it another way, is in compliance with the infallible Scripture interpreting the infallible Scripture. This critical analysis has been at the heart of Reformed Biblical Theology and its redemptive-historical hermeneutic; after all, in my judgment, the Westminster Confession's rule of interpreting Scripture is redemptive-historical—it is Biblical theological.'
This reminds us offcourse of the 'Kamper tradition' as explained by Wim van der Schee here. In his article William Dennison states:
'at this point, it is crucial to understand that the redemptive-historical hermeneutic is connected organically with the historic Reformed view of Scripture'
which reminds me of Herman Bavinck's statement in the introduction of his Reformed Dogmatics:
"Not just the believer, but also the dogmatician has to confess the communion of Saints. Only with all the saints can he understand, what the width and length and depth and height is and confess the love of Christ, that surpasses all knowledge. First in and by their communion does he understand the dogma, in which Christian faith expresses itself."
The work of Biblical Theology reminds me of the wisdom of the crowd principle and Google's way of calculating authority based on linking. At the same, as Origen's observes, 'stumbling block(s)' in revelation is/are at the heart of the biblical narrative as well. Just read this sermon on Matthew 2. Or as it is written in Zecharia 12:3:
'On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves.'

No comments: