Saturday, February 14, 2009

Point to ponder

I have been reading and pondering Hebrews for a few years and I found this comment in the middle of S M Baugh's review of Sparks' God's Word in Human Words worth reflecting on:
The view of Scripture itself in Hebrews is most striking. For Hebrews, God speaks to us directly and personally (Heb. 1:1-2) in promises (12:26) and comfort (13:5) with divine testimony (10:15) to and through the great "cloud of witnesses" of OT revelation (see 12:1 which refers to the inscripturated testimonies of Hebrews 11). In Scripture, the Father speaks to the Son (1:5-6; 5:5), the Son to the Father (2:11-12; 10:5) and the Holy Spirit to us (3:7; 10:15-16). This speaking of God in the words of Scripture has the character of testimony which has been legally validated (2:1-4; so Greek bebaios in v. 2) which one ignores to his peril (4:12-13; 12:25). This immediate identification of the biblical text with God's speech (cf. Gal. 3:8, 22) is hard to jibe with the reputed feebleness of the biblical authors.

The highlighted part intrigues me, and I've posted it here, hoping I'll be able to find it again.

Concerning Sparks' book, Baugh shows decisively that we can trust the Bible. It is written in human words, but these were superintended by the Holy Spirit. The Bible does have unity and is not a mishmash of human fallible ideas.


Kent Sparks said...

Prof. Baugh's review is really a poor one, since he doesn't come close to fairly representing my views. I had an undergraduate clase of honors students read my book and his review. Though half of the students disagree with my book, all of them agreed that Baugh either didn't read it or didn't read it carefully.

As for his arguments about Hebrews, there's simply no question that it uses platonic philosophy as a interpretive method. Baugh counters this by pointing out how Hebrews differs from platonism, but I already admit that in the book when I point out that the Hebrew writer (like August) was a CHRISTIAN platonist and not a pagan platonist.

For purposes of clarity, I should add that my book (God's Word in Human Words) DOES defend a version of inerrancy, but it distinguishes between divine errors (which I take as impossible, by definition) and human errors (which I take as inevitable, by definition). My approach is based on insights gleaned from classical Christian sources (patristics and Calvin) as well as from modern philosophy (especially, postmodern practical realism).

Under no circumstances do I allow that God errs in Scripture.

(BTW, it is customary [in my experience] for GLW Johnson to show up at this point and argue that Calvin said no such thing. This is because he badly misreads Calvin, in a way that is foreign to Calvin and to scholars who know his work well. Read Calvin for yourself in his Genesis commentary).

David McKay said...

G'day Kent.
But you seem to be agreeing with him that you are saying in your book that there are mistakes in the Bible.

What do you think of the other reviews of your book? Do you think they were fair?