A commenter (Rhys) on an earlier post about Jesus and Scripture asks, “does ‘the book of truth authorized by Jesus Christ’ hint sufficiently at the dynamic quality you want?”
Perhaps not. A book, for example, is not as dynamic as, say, a ‘vision’ or ‘manifesto’. Yet Scripture is a book, and I am loathe to give away the concept of truth, static though it may seem in post-modernist shaped contexts. Grace and truth come from Jesus Christ, as John the Evangelist tells us (John 1:17). Of course for the Evangelist ‘truth’ is dynamic in the sense that it has power to lead to belief which leads to eternal life, even when written down (20:31). And, maybe ‘authorised’ sounds a bit heavy.
Perhaps then I could say, ‘Scripture is life-giving truth, communicated through Jesus Christ’.
What do you think?
I think the definition works well for a sympathetic audience, but a hostile audience will raise all sorts of questions about literal truths of history, about ethical truths, truths of wisdom, of dogma and so on. I suppose these are actually hermeneutic issues.
I think we should not forget the brilliant pieces by Oliver O'Donovan, the fulcrum sermons, which seem to me a wonderfully sustained and largely unanswered orthodox view of the issues in the Windsor Report. He describes scripture there (perhaps more cumbrously than usual); "Scripture is, we may say, God's administration of his self-announcement, the record he has authorised to it and the seal he has set on it to confirm that it is true".
That is a bit cumbersome of Oliver O' Donovan's, Rhys!
The issues a hostile audience could raise are not readily dealt with in a one sentence definition ... but need careful working through, issue by issue.
Well it does come at the close of a closely argued line of thinking!
I don't think we can construct a summary statement without a sense of its potential audience, friendly and hostile, and there is a challenge to contain within it the principles which will unfold to deal with the hostility.
For this reason I think it needs to hint at a solution to the two testaments hermeneutical issues.
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