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Mike Heiser

Yes, the TC thing does need to be addressed (I've thought about that since adding that note in my post).

The canon issue was actually the topic I wanted to do next - basically blogging through your posts on the canon with the goal of formulating something to add to the Bellingham Statement. Had not thought of the other two (ethics and response).

If you and Chris want to be co-formulators of something that can live on the Web as the kind of reference point for people I noted in my post, please have at it!

JohnFH

Mike,

I look forward, then, to future posts on TC and canon. That's great.

I'll see what Chris has to say. I don't know whether he wants to revisit this.

Dan Martin

Hi John,

Found you from Mike's post by way of comments on Scot McKnight's blog...roundabout I know.

I am troubled in this post by the fact that you (common in this debate) conflate the terms "Word of God" and "scripture" or "holy scripture." The unquestioning conflation of these terms allows a great deal of scripture to be brought to bear on the inerrancy question that may not belong there (I realize most will consider this a heterodox claim, but think about it).

I go into this in more detail on my own blog if you want to have a look, but the issue of assuming that all the "word of God" verses are actually talking about our canon is one that IMHO needs a whole lot more foundation than it is usually given. Without addressing this foundational question, it seems to me that the inerrancy debate is missing a leg, in that precisely WHAT is inerrant is not properly defined.

Peace,

Dan

Dan Martin

I see hyperlinking is turned off...no worries, if you want to chase down the article to which I alluded, just follow my name and choose the "Biblical Inspiration" tag.

JohnFH

Hi Dan,

My, you have a fine blog.

Hyperlinking is done without html, just bare URLs.

I looked over your biblical inspiration posts, including:

http://nailtothedoor.blogspot.com/2008/07/biblical-inspiration-part-4-rightly.html

I would say this. The classical understanding of the Word of God in the Reformation tradition still has a lot going for it.

On that understanding, the Word of God is threefold:

(1) The Word of God as in the Word made flesh, and dwelt among us (John 1), to which the following are witnesses:

(2) The Word of God inscripturated = Scripture, and:

(3) The Word of God preached

Note that the words of Jesus as such do not have a privileged position in this understanding. This is based on a concept of the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of believers and Jesus' words in John 14. That ministry and those words are not limited in scope in terms of efficacy to the NT writers, but, guided by the Holy Spirit, the Church has seen fit to establish a canon (the Old and New Testaments) against which to measure the validity of all examples of the Word of God preached.

Furthermore, an understanding of the Word of God made flesh that does not comport with what the Word of God inscripturated has to say (the Gospels, Paul, Peter, John, James, John the seer, etc., but also David and all the other prophets of the old covenant) thereby disqualifies itself.

The semi-Marcionite position consists of limiting the Word of God as applied to the Old Testament to citations and allusions in the New Testament. But I don't see you wanting to do that.

I'm not sure what your differences are with the classical understanding. Perhaps it bothers you that - in my tradition and many others - after reading Psalm 137, or Acts 5, or what have you, it is said: "This is the word of the LORD." "Praise be to God."

It bothers me, too, but in a good way. I really don't want a Bible with all the icky parts removed.

It is a confession of faith, not a literary genre identification, to say that God speaks to me and possibly to you through the reading of the biblical text.

I hope this helps.

I would love to back and forth on the openness of God question. But if we do that, I will be appealing to scripture.

Dan Martin

John, I appreciate your comments. Wow, a lot to clarify. First of all, I like the threefold definition you list. . .a great deal. I accept that there IS the Word of God incarnated, inscripturated, and proclaimed. Where I have an issue is with the implicit jump (and forgive me if I am putting words into your mouth) that all of our canonical scripture is, in fact, the inscripturated Word of God. I contend that it's in there, but it's not all that's in there (and I suggest that the scriptural text itself never makes the claim that all of it is God's word).

Hence my proposal that we need to look at the various texts for what they self-represent, and elevate those that self-represent as God speaking...which as I said in the post you link, gives a preeminence to the words of Jesus and to the "thus saith the LORD" of the prophets.

Your statement that the canonical text becomes the yardstick by which any other "understanding of the Word of God made flesh" must be measured, is (I believe) a fair summary of what "Sola Scriptura" means, and I endorse it unreservedly. I would contend that not only understandings of the incarnate Word, but in fact ALL doctrine/dogma must be submitted to this yardstick, and it is precisely that metric where, I believe, the doctrines of inspiration and infallibility fail the test.

You are right in differentiating my position from Marcionism or it's semis; I agree that I'm not there.

What bothers me (and I discuss this a bit more in my "Why it matters" post http://nailtothedoor.blogspot.com/2008/07/why-it-matters.html), is that a blanket claim that the entire canon is the Word of God has been the catalyst and/or foundation of a great deal of (in my judgment) error and controversy in that it permits the elevation of peripheral or even tangential subjects to doctrinal/dogmatic importance.

Yes, I do believe that labeling the Psalms in general, and the imprecatory ones in particular with "This is the Word of the LORD" is inappropriate--incorrect at best and idolatrous at worst. Not because they are "icky" but because they are so clearly in opposition to the will and character of the LORD as he has portrayed himself throughout the whole of scripture.

So yes, I welcome your dialog (here or on my blog--hopefully both). I, too, will appeal to scripture. It is my contention that when we let the texts speak for themselves, instead of superimposing upon them the doctrinal filters of the ages--whether Catholic, Reformed, Fundamentalist, whatever--we find that they tell us both more and less than we thought.

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