I have highlighted some important questions concerning the use of the word 'canonical' in the Jerusalem Declaration. There are also some important questions about the use of another 'c' word, 'consensual'. First let's restate the sentence:
"The Bible is to be translated, read, preached, taught and obeyed in its plain and canonical sense, respectful of the church’s historic and consensual reading."
What the sentence is trying to say (IMHO) is that the church's interpretation of the Scriptures has often involved settled, widely agreed (consensual) readings which have stood the test of time (historic). Examples include understanding that ceremonial laws within the Mosaic law no longer apply to Christians, and understanding what the New Testament teaches about Jesus Christ as Son of God and Son of Man, in relationship to the Father and to the Spirit, yields the doctrines of incarnation and Trinity. Thus, as we read Scripture afresh in every generation our reading should be respectful of such understanding rather than (say) undermining of it.
But there are a number of readings of Scripture that have not gained wide consent, even among conservative evangelicals. The sharp differences, for example, between Calvinist and Arminian schools of theology, have not yielded a consensual reading on matters of salvation. Ever since Darwin's Origins of the Species, there has been debate about the compatibility of evolutionary biology and Genesis. In this case the readings of Genesis can scarcely be described as 'historic' for the debate is less than 150 years old, and there is no 'consensus', though one might venture to suggest that a strong majority of conservative evangelicals read for compatibility rather than against it.
I cannot help feeling that the sentence cited above involves some wishful thinking that it will not be too closely examined! The fact is that the sentence describes what happens most of the time when most of us read the Bible. But the issue of interpretation is not an issue about most of the readings of the Bible, it is precisely the issue of the relatively few, but greatly troubling readings of the Bible in which there is disagreement. My mind is working slowly - and not yet fruitfully - on a suggestion for a better sentence or two for the JD in respect of biblical interpretation!