1. Kierkegaard presents one of the most penetrating analyses of the necessity of being addressed by God personally in scripture. See especially S. Kierkegaard, "For Self-Examination," in For Self-Examination and Judge for Yourselves tr. Walter Lowrie (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1908) pp. 50-74. fie also makes this point forcefully in the Philosophical I Fragments (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1962), esp. pp. 01-07, and in the Concluding Unscientific PostScript (Princeton: Princeton Universitv Press, 1941) esp. pp. 339, 536 538.
2. For a contemporary example of the view of the authority of scripture flowing from the genius of its authors, see C.H. Dodd, Tht, Authoritu of the Bible (London: Collins, 1900), pp, 13-40, 264-274. Kierkegaard deals with this position with great insight in "The Difference Between an Apostle and a Genius," in Aiithoritv and Revelation tr. Walter Lowrie (New York: Harper and Row, 1956). Dodd significanitly modified his views on this subject in later life.
3. This chapter focuses on the question of scriptural authority. Many of the same observations might be made about the authority of Christian tradition or church authority depending on the view of the normativeness of tradition or of church bodies that one holds. The issue of Christian teaching authority, however, can be adequately discussed in terms of the authority of scripture, and will be the focus of this chapter.
4. For a helpful summary of the authority of scripture in the period of the New Testament, see R. Longenecker, Biblical I in the Apostolic Period (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975 especially for Jewish exegesis, pp. 19-20; for Jesus' Use of the Old Testament, pp. -51-78, and for the Evangelists', pp. 79-103. Important statements of the authority of scripture can be found in Theophilus of Antioch, Ad autolycum 2, 22; 3, 12, 14; Athenagoras, Apol., 7; Legatio pro Christianus 7, 9; Irenaeus, Adc. Haereses 3, 11, 18; Clement of Alexandria, Strornata 2, 2, 9; Origen, Philocalla 13; Gregory of Nvssa, Contra Eupioni. 1, 114, 126; 107; Augustine, Dt, doctrina Christiana 11, 5, 6; Aquinas, S.T. 1, 1, 8; Quodlibeta XII, 26; Council of Florence (1442) D.S. 1334; Luther, D. Martin Luthcrs Werkc, Kritische Gesamtausgabe (Weimar, 1883) 7, 315; 7, 317; 7, 453; 7, 455; 8, 108; 30", 420; 40, 119; 50, 206; Calvin, Institutes, 1, 7, 1; Council of Trent (1556) D.S. 1501; Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion (1563) IV, Second Helvetic Confession (1566) 1; Westnimstcr Confession (1646) 1, 2, 4; Twenty-Five Articles of Religion (1784) V; Abstract of Principles (18,59) 1; Second Vatican Council, (1965) Dci Verhum, 21.
5. A discussion of the normative nature of the scripture
raises a number of questions, among them the question of the kind of authority
the Old Testament has. The range of this book does not allow for a treatment
of the various issues involved. It is enough here to observe that the New
Testament books present themselves as a unity with the Old. The submission
of Christians, however, is preeminently to the New Testament. They submit
to the Old Testament as it is interpreted by the New Testament and by Christian
tradition. For this reason, the principles discussed in this book will
apply most readily and directly to the New Testament.
6. The authority of the Bible in its traditional formulation is founded in the authority of God as someone other than man, over him, and deserving of man's submission by the nature of who he is. The appropriate response to divinity is reverence and submission. The rightness of this response is not dependent upon God's use of force (although the scriptural teaching indicates that he is willing to do so), nor upon his making the rightfulness of his demands evident. It is rather primarily dependent upon the intrinsic nature of the relationship between God and man. In this sense it is analogous to the authority of a father over his children which likewise is founded in the nature of the relationship. For this same reason, even though the term "authority" is "legal," it is more than legal. It expresses an important aspect of many personal relationships.
7. Barr, in The Bible in the Modern World, pp. 23-29, criticizes the use of the term "authority" for describing the status of the Bible. Much of the critique is centered upon the way in which the term is unacceptable to many modern thinkers because of their dislike of authority. He does not observe with the same clarity that the reality claimed by those who use the word is, in fact what is disliked and not just the word itself. The issue is fundamentally an issue about how God and the things of God are to be approached.
8. Augustine states the practical application of the authority of scripture by saving: "If I do find anything in these books which seems contrary to t truth, I decide that either the text is corrupt, or the translator did not follow what was really said, or that I failed to understand it" (Epistle 82, 1, 3 (PL 33, 277)).
9. The Sumerian root of the Greek kanon has as its primary meaning "reed" (see, e.g., I Kgs 14:15; Job 40:21). In Greek it can mean a straight rod or bar, staves which preserve the shape of a shield, the line which carpenters and masons use, or metaphorically, a rule, standard, model or paradigm. In the KI New Testament it occurs as "rule," (Phil 3:16; Gal 6:16) and in the RSV as "limit" (2 Cor 10: 13). It is first used in reference to scripture by Athanasius. For good summary descriptions of the concept, see R. It. Pfeiffer, "Canon of the Old Testament," IDB 1, p. 499; Brown, "Canonicitv," Jerome Biblical Commentary, p. 518.
10. In various formulations this traditional understanding of the nature of scripture is shared by many contemporary theologians. Among those who reflect this approach are: Pierre Benoit, "Inspiration and Revelation," in The Human RcaliLij of Sacred Scriphirc, eds. P. Benoit, R. E. Murphy, B. van lersel, Concilium 10, (New York: Paulist Press, 1965) pp. 6-24; Louis Bouver, The Meaning of Sacred Scriptim, (Notre Dame: Universitv of Notre Dame Press, 1958): Yves Congar, The Revelation of God (New York: Herder and Herder, 1968) pp. 20-23 ; J. Norval Geldenhuvs, "Authority and the Bible," in Revelation and the Bible, ed. Carl F. IT. Henry (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1969) pp. 371-386; Rene Latourelle, Thcology of Revelation (New York: Alba House, 1966) p. 444; Paul S. Minear, Commands of Christ (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1972) pp. 12-21; Anders Nvgren, The Significance of the Bible for the Chtirch (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1963); Karl Rahner, "Scripture and Theolop," in Theological Investigation ', vol. 0 (New York: Seaburv Press, 1974) pp. 89-93; Herman Ridderbos, Stialics in Scripttire and its Arithorittl (St. Catherine's: Paideia Press, 1978) pp. 20-36; Karl Hermann Schelkle, "Sacred Scripture and Word of God," in Dogmatic vs. Biblical Theologil, ed. Ti. Vorgrimler (London: Burns and Oates, 1964) pp. 11-30, Luis Alonso Schokel, The Inspired Word (New York: Herder and Herder, 1965).
11. Two other terms are also commonly used for referring to scripture's origin from God: (1) revelation, (2) the Word of God. The scripture contains revelation, but not all of it originally came to man through revelation (much of what is related in scripture could have been known through experience, e.g., the historical narrative); therefore, the term "inspiration" is better than "revelation" for characterizing in an overall way how scripture comes from God. The result of inspiration is that the scripture is the Word of God, but there is some ambiguity here, in that certain parts of scripture could be said to contain the Word of God in a more direct sense. Prophecy or the gospel message, for instance, are sometimes described in scripture as the Word of God, while genealogies and annals never seem to be. Hence, "inspiration" is the word used here for an overall characterization of scripture, but the other two words are acceptable. The above comments should not be confused with the view that the scripture contains the Word of God or revelation but is not the Word of God or revelation.
12. For good discussions of this and related issues, see Carl F. 11. Henry (ed.), Revelation and the Bible; J. Baillie, The Idea of Revelation in Recent Thought (London: Oxford University Press, 1965); K. Rahner, Inspiration in the Bible (New York: Herder and Herder, 1961); K. Rahner and J. Ratzinger, Revelation and Tradition (New York: Herder and Herder, 1966); J. T. Burtchaell, Catholic Theories of Biblical Inspiration Since 1810 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1969).
13. For a good discussion of this concept see C. K. Barrett, "Paul and the 'Pillar' Apostles," in Studia Paulina in hon. J. DeZivann, ed. W. C. van Unnik and G. Sevenster, (Haarlem: E. F. Bohn, 1953), pp. 1-19. See also, Rahner, Inspiration in the Bible, pp. 26-28.
14. 1 Clem. 42.
15. The Second Vatican Council clearly enunciates the Catholic principle that all that the Catholia Church teaches must be measured by scripture. See Second Vatican Council, Dei Verbum 11, 10, in Austin Flannery, O.P. (ed.), Vatican Council 11 (Northpoint: Costello, 1975), p. 756. On the relationship between the authority of the church and that of scripture in Catholic theology, see K. Rahner, Inspiration in the Bible, p. 77. See also, footnotes Chapter Twelve, p. 284.
16. Second Vatican Council, Dei Verburn 111, 11 in Flannery, pp. 756-757.
17. The canon has currently received a great deal of
discussion. The issue is not only the formation of the original canon and
its finality (see David L. Dungan, "The New Testament Canon in Recent Study,"
Interpretation 29 (1975), pp. 339-351, for a good survey of this area),
but more importantly calling into question scriptural material already
received as canonical. Some researchers would consider significant portions
of the New Testament as non-canonical in fact. Their approach would logically
call for a new New Testament. One reason that a new canon constructed along
these lines has not been published is the fact that the criterion of selection
differs from scholar to scholar. There would be little agreement among
them as to what should be considered canonical and what not.
There are also many who simply deny the authority of scripture, yet claim to be presenting a Christian approach. For an example of a straightforward denial of the authority of scripture see Robin Scroggs, "Tradition, Freedom and the Abyss," in New Theology No. 8, ed. Martin E. Marty and Dean G. Peerman (New York: Macmillan, 1971), pp. 86-87. He states, "Neither from a theological nor from a historical point of view can there be the slightest hope of claiming the New Testament as canon" (p. 92). Others would accept the New Testament as the canon, but in fact deny it any normativeness other than that which each Christian reader gives it. Ernst Kasemann presents such an approach in "The Canon of the New Testament and the Unity of the Church" in Essays on New Testament Themes (London: SCM, 1964), pp. 95-107. Dennis Nineham in The Use and the Abuse of the Scripture (London: Macmillan, 1976) presents a more fully developed view of such an approach. Gregory Baum in "The Bible as Norm" in New Horizons (New York: Paulist, 1972) provides a Catholic example. Barr in The Bible works to reestablish a concept of canonicity that would be acceptable to most modern scholars He expounds the view that the scripture contains the classical model for the Christian faith and asserts that faith must "relate itself to classically-expressed models" in order to be Christian (p. 118). He recognizes the chaos that Christianity would be in without any canon, but is unable to provide it with enough authority to effectively function as a norm. His article "The Authority of Scripture," The Ecumenical Review, 21 (April 1969), pp. 135-166, provides a good synopsis of current challenges to scriptural authority.
Neoorthodoxy is more difficult to locate in relation to these issues. It attempted to bridge the gap between the traditional and Liberal interpretations of scripture by accommodating the modern critical approach of the Liberals to a more traditional understanding of scripture. Its champions held that, although scripture could be said to contain God's word and revelation, not all of scripture was God's word. This attempted accommodation was ultimately unsuccessful. For good critiques of this attempt see Langdon Gilkey, Naming the Whirlwind (New York: Bobbs-Merrill, 1969), pp. 80-101; Childs, pp. 103-104; Barr, Fundamentalism, pp. 213ff.
The result of the denial of the authority of scripture among many modern scholars is the loss of a consensus about the substance of Christianity. Their sources of authority are no longer in Christian revelation, but elsewhere. Hence, beyond agreement about historical views of the scripture and of Christianitv, they are unable to agree upon or even present a statement of faith in Christ.
Childs, pp. 99-107, gives an excellent analysis of the weakness caused to Christian Biblical studies by a failure to accept the authority of the canon as well as a very helpful exposition of the role of an authoritative scripture.
At root, the issue is one of which authority people will accept for their lives. Occasionally this issue comes to clarity of expression among some who do not accept scripture as having authority. Baum, in "The Bible as Norm," expresses his own personal choice this way, "I prefer to think that man may not submit to an authority outside of himself: the ground on which he builds his life must be within him. He must stand on his own feet" (p. 49).
18. The word hypotage is here used for submission to teaching. The term "submission" as used in the text is an English equivalent of a Biblical usage and expresses another aspect of the concept of "subordination" described earlier.
19. For an accurate reflection of the role of personal freedom in modern secular thought, see Gilkey, pp. 365-397. The locus classicus for modern man's abhorrence of authority is Adorno, et al., The Authoritarian Personality (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1950). See also the critique of H. H. Wyman and P. B. Sheatsley, "The Authoritarian Personality," in Studies in the Scope and Method of 'The Authoritarian Personality' (Glencoe: Free Press, 1954). A good example of reading this modern notion of freedom back into the scriptural texts is found in Rudolf Pesch, "Jesus, a Free Man," in Jesus Christ and Human Freedom, ed. E. Schillebeeckx and B. van lersal, Concilium 93, (New York: Herder and Herder, 1974) pp. 56-70.
20. Paul, "the apostle of freedom," uses the vocabulary of slavery almost twice as much as he does that of freedom. See David Stanley, "Freedom and Slavery in Pauline Usage," The Way, 15, 2 (April, 1975) p. 94.
21. In the New Testament, freedom (eleutheria) is never presented as personal autonomy. Rather, it is presented as freedom from sin (Rom 6:18-23; Jn 8:31-36), freedom from access to God only through the performance of the Law (Rom 7:3f; 8:2; 10:4; Gal 2:4; 4:21-31; 5:1, 13; but, see also Rom 2:25; 7:12; 8:7; Gal 5:3; 6:13), and freedom from death (Rom 6:21f; 8:21). For helpful summaries of the New Testament view of freedom, see, Schlier, TDNT, 11, pp. 487-502 and Kleinknecht, Gutbrod, TDNT, vol. IV, pp. 1022-1090. See also Stanislaus Lyonnet, "Christian Freedom and the Law of the Spirit According to St. Paul," in Stanislaus Lyonnet and Ignace de la Potterie, The Christian Lives by the Spirit (New York: Alba House, 1971), pp. 145-174.
22. The "law" (nomos) can refer either to the obligations imposed by the Old Covenant (the "Mosaic Law") or to the standard and judgment of God. Paul states that the law of the obligations of the Old Covenant is fulfilled and superseded in Christ and in the New Covenant. Thus he says: "Christ is the end of the law in its connection with righteousness to all who believe" (Rom 10:4). However, in Romans 2 and elsewhere he stands by the law as the continuing standard and judgment of God. The ethical prescriptions of both the Old and New Covenant are not abrogated in Christ. For helpful presentations of Paul's approach to freedom from the law, see, R. Longenecker, Paul: Apostle of Liberty (New York: Harper and Row, 1964) pp. 144-147; C.E.B. Cranfield, "St. Paul and the Law," in New Testament Issues, ed. Richard Batey (New York: Harper, 1970), pp. 148-172; C.A.A. Scott, Christianity According to Paul (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1927) p. 42; and C. H. Dodd, "Ennomos Christou," in Studia Paulina, p. 110, where Dodd changes from his earlier view found in his The Meaning of Paul (Manchester: John Rylands Library, 1934), pp. 146-148. See also the discussion in Chapter Six, p. 140.
23. For descriptions of the development of the notion of "human rights," see W. G. Andrews, Constitutions and Constitutionalism (Princeton: Van Nostrand, 1968); Richard P. Claude "The Classical Model of Human Rights Development," in Comparative Human Rights, ed. Richard P. Claude (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976), pp. 650; Maurice Cranston, "Some Aspects of the History of Freedom," in Theory and Politics, ed. Klaus von Beyme (Haag: Martinus Nijhoff, 1971) pp. 18-35; C. H. McIlwain, Constitutionalism Ancient and Modern (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1940).
24. In relation to God, we have no rights. This is not meant to deny, however, that many speak about human rights in a way consonant with scriptural teaching. God did create the human race according to his purposes, and even sovereign states are not free to treat human beings in whatever way they wish. This fact can be expressed in terms of "rights." The discussion in this chapter is elaborated in the context of the authority of scripture, not in the context of constitutional rights and modern states. To import terms from the latter discussion into discussions about the life of the Christian people leads to a subtle attitude of unsubmissiveness, and leads to calling God or the scripture to account.
25. For helpful treatments of the Israelite constitution see John Bright, History of Israel, pp. 140ff; Adolphe Lods, "The Religion of Israel: Origins" in Record and Revelation, ed. H. Wheeler Robinson (Oxford: Oxford Universitv Press, 1968), pp. 187-215; Albrecht Alt, "The Origins of Israelite Law" in Essays on Old Testament History and Religion (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1966), pp. 81-132, see especially pp. 122-126, 129-132.
26. There is an approach held by some theologians in the last 60 years that holds that scriptural revelation is not propositional. The real revelation of God is "the Christ event" (e.g., L. Thornton, P. Tillich, R. Bultmann) or God's acts (e.g., G. E. Wright, W. ParmenDerg), or something similar. The position as a whole goes beyond the scope of this book to discuss. Chapter Eleven of this book contains the developed alternate understanding. There are many ways in which viewing scripture as primarily "propositional" is distorting, but the non- propositional view of scriptural revelation cannot be pushed to the point Dt leaving no role for the teaching in scripture without being seriously at odds with what the writers of scripture understood themselves to be doing. Barr makes a very helpful contribution to the discussion in The Bible, pp. 122-126.
27. The patristic distinction was between fides (faith) and mores (sometimes translated "morals"). Mores, however, meant more than what recently has been covered in moral or ethical theology. Mores referred to a whole way of life and included matters of social structure and community order. The scripture and the Fathers understood Christian revelation to include all of those matters. In recent centuries, the term "discipline" has been used by some theological traditions to refer to those matters of church life which have not explicitly been made a matter of revelation, but which are subject to disciplinary regulation by Christian authorities. If such a distinction is used, all matters of order cannot automatically be classified as disciplinary. See Congar, Tradition and the Traditions (London: Burnes and Oates, 1966), p. 10, for a good discussion of this.
28. On this point see Bartlet, Church Life and Church Order During the First Four Centuries (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1943) p. 32; E. Schweizer, Church Order in the New Testament (London: SCM Press, 1961), pp. 12, 28e, 28f.
29. See, for example, Schweizer; W. D. Davies, "A Normative Pattern of Church Life in the New Testament?" in Christian Origins and Judaism (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1962) pp. 199-229; R. Brown, "Unity and Diversity in New Testament Ecclesiology," in New Testament Essays (Milwaukee: Bruce, 1965) pp. 36-47; J.D.G. Dunn, Unity and Diveriity in the Neu, Testament (London: SCM Press, 1978) p. 103-123. This concern reflects a more general approach taken by some theologians to the diversity within the New Testament in general. This approach is related to the issues surrounding the "canon within the canon" and the "new quest for the historical Jesus." For some examples see Dunn; Misemann, "The Canon"; and G. Ebeling, "The New Testament and the Multiplicity of Confessions" in The Word of God and Traditions (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1968) pp. 148-160.
30. This position is developed by R. E. Brown, "The Ordination of Women" in his Crises Facing the Church (New York: Paulist Press, 1975) pp. 52-55.
31. This position is, of course, denied by the advocates of a "charismatic church order" in Pauline churches. The issue is treated in Chapter Five, footnote, p. 128.
32. The most developed treatment of the question of diversity in the New Testament, Dunn's Unity and Diversity, finds only one unifying factor: "Christ," "the unity between Jesus the man and Jesus the exalted one" (p. 371). He observes that there are others, such as love of neighbor, but avers that they can all be "narrowed back down to" the one unifying strand. The book is valuable as the most complete study of the area available. His methodology, however, makes his view of the unity in the New Testament too narrow. The principles he uses that are most relevant to our subject are a tendency to assume diversity and expect unity to be proved, a tendency to assert diversity on the basis of difference in formulation when the realities being asserted could be identical, a tendency to neglect the unity that is not distinctive of Christianity irk relationship to other groups, especially Judaism, and a failure to consider fully the stream of ethical teaching in the New Testament which provides some other strands of unity which are less tractable to his form of gospel reductionism. Finally, and most significantly, his methodology does not allow for combining the New Testament teaching into a synthesis, where all the elements of the synthesis are not presented by all the authors of the New Testament (an approach that someone who looks on the New Testament as a whole as a teaching authority would instinctivelv adopt). There is much diversity in the New Testament, but the New Testament approach to roles of men and women contains some important areas of uniformity.
33. Barr's critique of related approaches in The Bible, p. 77, is perceptive and helpful.
34. As, for example, in A. Kosnick, et al., Hunian Sexuality (New York: Paulist Press, 1977), pp. 86, 151-152.
35. The formulation here sounds much like Lutheran theology. This is somewhat unavoidable in that Lutheran theology has been the origin of much of the modern theological concern to avoid legalism and to avoid turning the gospel into law. However, traditional Lutheranism and the best in modern Lutheran theology have by no means fallen into lawlessness or the neglect of obedience. The traditional Lutheran concept of the "third use" of the law, the use which instructs us how to live in a godly way as distinguished from the use of the law in civil society and the use of the law to accuse and lead to grace, would be the locus of concern for this paragraph. To summarize the point in terms of the traditional Lutheran distinction, avoiding legalism does not mean eliminating the third use of the law. On the other hand, there are clearly currents in modern Lutheranism which would follow precisely the pattern of thought referred to in this section. However, their approach is only superficially Lutheran. Rather than representing a traditional Lutheran approach, or Luther's approach, they instead are representing in Lutheran guise a modern desire to find freedom from standards other than self-chosen ones. Moreover, this phraseology is not limited to Lutherans. For an example from Catholic and Anglican writing, see, S. Brown and R. Corney, "Responsible Use of the Scriptures," in Pro and Con on the Ordination of Women (New York: Seabury Press, 1976), pp. 48-49. The debate within Lutheranism is exemplified in the exchange between Theodore R. Jungkuntz and William H. Lazareth on the "Third Use of the Law" in Confession and Congregation (Valparaiso: Valparaiso University Press, 1978), pp. 12-15, 48-56, 57-59. Further clarification is found in an exposition of the Lutheran confessional position by Jungkuntz entitled "The 'Third Use of the Law': Looking for Light on the Heat" in Lutheran Forum, Vol. 12, 4 (Advent 1978), pp. 10-12.
36. With regard to submitting to scriptural teaching, there are two questions which regularly arise:
1. Does submitting to scriptural teaching in the area of men-women roles mean that Christian women have to wear headcoverings in worship? The answer depends on giving an answer to yet another question: Is the headcovering itself the point of the passage, or is it more likely some kind of external expression of men-women order? To put it another way, when Paul laid down the rule about headcoverings, was he mainly concerned with headcoverings as the only proper expression of men-women roles, or was he primarily concerned about men-women roles and order being properly expressed and would he accept a different expression that was culturally the proper one in that society? The question itself is difficult, as the discussion in Chapter Seven showed, but insofar as the question of submission to scripture is concerned, it would be easier to believe that somebody's concern was the intent of the passage if that person was working to find an expression that was suitable to our culture than if that person was simply content to leave the whole passage aside claiming uncertainty This point is posed well in R. C. Sproul, "Controversy at Culture Gap," Eternity, May 1976, pp. 13-15, 40.
2. How does a Christian submit to the Old Testament? It is not enough to say that we are no longer obligated to follow the Old Testament. Jesus approached the Old Testament as his authority, as did Paul and every other New Testament author, as well as the early Fathers. The Old Testament is likewise inspired, canonical teaching that is God's message to us. However, a Christian cannot approach the Old Testament the same way a Jew would, either now or in the time just before the birth of Jesus. There is a Christian interpretation of the Old Testament that allows us to know which things were for a stage of God's dealing with man and which things are for the times after the coming of the Messiah. For example, divorce was given according to the law of Moses for hardness of heart, but a Christian would not approach divorce the same way a Jew following the law of Moses would, because followers of the Messiah would approach it according to what was established by God from the beginning (see Mt 19:3-9).
37. James Barr, in an appendix to his Old and New in Interpretation (London: SCM Press, 1966), proposed that we view Fundamentalists primarily in terms of their holding to traditional doctrinal orthodoxy. This has some merit in explaining the ensemble of opinions that the original Fundamentalists came up with as the fundamentals. They were certainly traditional Protestant Evangelicals and today's Fundamentalists are likewise. However, such a view misses the thrust of the anti-Modernist movement. The Fundamentalists have not been strong on tradition, not even their own. Their reaction was more on the basis that the Modernists were jettisoning Christian realities that were essential to a living Christian faith. Their commitment was more to the content of the fundamentals than to their own tradition. Barr's recent book Fundamentalism (London: SCM Press, 1977) takes up the discussion in a different and more developed way. He focuses, however, more on the approach of current Fundamentalists (and Evangelicals) to scripture interpretation. The issue of the origin of Fundamentalism in a response to Modernism-Liberalism, however, is not focused on in the book, perhaps as C.F.H. Henry points out in his review of Barr's book "Those Incomprehensible British Fundamentalists" in Christianity Today, 22, 1978, pp. 1092-1096, 1146-1150, 1205-1208, because Barr himself takes very much of the Modernist-Liberal position. Barr's emphasis on the doctrine of inerrancy in analyzing Fundamentalism is perceptive and helpful, but the doctrine of inerrancy was more part of the intellectual underpinning of an attempt to defend what was seen as the essentials of the Christian faith.
For a good short summary of the history of Fundamentalism, see Sidney Ahlstrom, A Religious History of the American People, (New Haven: Yale Universitv Press, 1972) pp. 808-816, 909-915, 956-960.
38. A good summary of the fundamentals is found in William Bell Rilev's "The Faith of the Fundamentalists" Current History, XXVI, (June, 1927), p. 434-5. He writes:
Fundamentalism undertakes to reaffirm the greater Christian doctrines .... It does not attempt to set forth every Christian doctrine. It has never known the elaboration that characterizes the great denominational confessions. But it did lay them side by side, and, out of their extensive statements, elect nine points upon which to rest its claims to Christian attention. They were and are as follows:Bell's premillenialism was by no means universal throughout the Fundamentalist movement. Premillenialists draw upon certain New Testament passages (especially Rv 20:4-6) to support the historicity of Christ's 1000-year reign with certain martyrs as an interregnum at the end of time. Premillenialists understand Christ's return to precede this reign, while postmillenarianists argue that his coming follows upon the millenium.1. We believe in the scriptures of the Old and New Testament as verbally inspired by God, and inerrant in the original writings, and that they are of supreme and final authority in faith and life.
2. We believe in one God, eternally existing in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
3. We believe that Jesus Christ was begotten by the Holy Spirit, and born of the Virgin Mary, and is true God and true man.
4. We believe that man was created in the image of God, that he sinned and thereby incurred not only physical death, but also that spiritual death which is from God; and that all human beings are born with a sinful nature, and, in the case of those who reach moral responsibility, become sinners in thought, word and deed.
5. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, as a representative and substitutionary sacrifice; and that all that believe in him are justified on the ground of his shed blood.
6. We believe in the resurrection of the crucified body of our Lord, in his ascension into Heaven, and in his present life there for us, as High Priest and Advocate.
7. We believe in "that blessed hope," the personal, premillienial, and imminent return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
8. We believe that all who receive by faith the Lord Jesus Christ, are born again of the Holy Spirit and thereby become children of God.
9. We believe in the bodily resurrection of the just and the unjust, the everlasting felicity of the saved, and the everlasting conscious suffering of the lost.
39. See, Lamentabili, The Holy Office, 1907, and the encyclical letter of Pius X, Pascendi, of the same year for a statement of the official Catholic position.
40. The term "Fundamentalism" is used more in the United States and perhaps British commonwealth countries for these approaches to questions of scriptural interpretation. European Protestant scholars might be more inclined to use the term "Biblicism." Since this term does not involve using a name of an existing group for an approach to scriptural interpretation that is not clearly coextensive with the group in question, it is much preferable.
41. See footnotes, p. 654. See also Vinson Synan, The Holiness-Pentecostal Movement in the United States (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1971) p. 188.
42. Those who hold what is often called a "dictation view" of inspiration (the view that the exact words of the text were given to the human author by the Holy Spirit) will also often be termed Fundamentalists by those who hold a different view. This, however, is not as common a concern as it once was and does not come into the scope of this book.
43. It is a measure of the prejudice against Fundamentalists that it is not recognized that Fundamentalist churches often contain scholars. They rarely obtain academic recognition outside of their own circles, because of a refusal to accept the dominant principles of scriptural interpretation. Their refusal, however, is often a thoughtful and educated refusal. The statement in the text is especially true if one includes scholars who would prefer the title Evangelical to that of Fundamentalist, but who likewise reject many of the principles in much of modern Biblical criticism.
44. The phrase "reading/interpreting the scriptures
literally" is an unfortunate one, however, as it is beset with unclarities.
It could be understood to refer to those who favor interpreting scripture
solely in the literal sense, as contrasted with the spiritual senses or
"fuller senses" (sensus pleniores) of theological exegesis, or perhaps
as contrasted with accommodation. Yet those who are against "Fundamentalism"
(and who define a Fundamentalist as one who interprets the scripture literally)
are themselves generally in favor of interpreting the scriptures in the
literal sense (as contrasted with the other senses mentioned above). More
commonly "reading the scriptures literally" seems to be a more shorthand
way of defining Fundamentalists as those who take some of the above approaches
to the interpretation of scripture (see e.g., Gregory Baum, in "The Bible
as Norm" in New Horizons. (New York: Paulist, 1972), p. 36, for such a
definition). Historically, however, this definition is also somewhat inaccurate,
since Catholic, Orthodox, and Liberal writers can also often take passages
out of context, ignore the intention of the author and manifest other critical
failings. In fact, one of the most widespread incidences of disregard in
exegesis for the intention of the author is to be found among those who
practice "liberationist" exegesis. The term "interpret the scriptures literally"
is also very inexact and confusing as a description between Fundamentalists
and others. James Barr takes issue well with the "literalist" stereotype
in The Bible, pp. 171ff, and Fundamentalism, (Philadelphia: Westminster,
1978), pp. 40ff, observing that real Fundamentalists frequently do not
"take scripture literally," especially in comparison with Biblical critics.
Moreover, many are ready to find spiritual meanings in the text and move
beyond the literal sense.
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