... this profound point conveyed by Baby Blue, repeating an article published in 2006, in which she reports on a conversation with Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali:
"A highlight for me was how Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali characterized our current crisis as one about revelation (which is different from how it is usually characterized as being about the authority of scripture).
I found that quite compelling - how do we discern revelation in the church? It is clear that the Christian faith is a living faith which finds its identity not in the law but in the risen Lord Jesus Christ. This means that our faith is personal - not private - but personal, which means the Holy Spirit is speaking. Bishop Michael said that the Holy Spirit does not contradict Himself but aligns Himself with Christ - and so He will not contradict Scripture. The Gospel of John, he said, makes this very clear. If God is a new thing, He will not contradict what He has all ready done and said. The Scriptures are quite clear about what it means to live a holy life, as well as what the sacrament of marriage means not only to men and women, but as the primary illustration of God's relationship to His people."
I myself do a bit of thinking about Scripture in relation to evangelical theology and to the life of the church, and am both inspired and challenged by the distinction Bishop Nazir-Ali makes between 'revelation' and the 'authority of Scripture' and the way in which he draws us to consider which is more pertinent to current Anglican difficulties. (It happens to tie in with some reading I am doing at the moment in a book of essays entitled Canonical Theism, edited by William Abraham who himself has written on the relationship between revelation and Scripture).
What I like about the emphasis on 'revelation' is that it is impossible to escape the link to God who is the Revealer; whereas with the 'authority of Scripture' its possible to bog discussion down by raising the question of 'what Scripture means?' and making the link to the cacophany of human interpreting voices. Of course the authority of Scripture can be understood as 'the authority of this text which the church has valued for a long time' but it is in fact 'the authority of the Revealer whose revelation is conveyed to us in Scripture'. Attending to 'revelation', arguably, gets us to the Revealer quicker than 'the authority of Scripture', but also reminds us that God's revelation does not cease with nor is bounded by Scripture (e.g. God guides us), and thus we must reckon with the Living Voice speaking to the church, and not just with a text which can be diminished by adjectives such as 'ancient' or 'dry'! Yet, the good Bishop reminds us, God's revelation beyond Scripture never contradicts Scripture.
Food for thought ...