Wednesday, January 01, 2020

In praise of circularity!

Fred Sanders is always worth listening to. In his introduction to the Logos Bible Software course on The History of the Doctrine of the Trinity, he reminds us that the Bible is the highest authority over all other authorities and all other sources of insight into the things God has revealed.

In the light of this truth, why bother studying what folk have said about Christian doctrine? He says that it is worthwhile to examine the riches of two thousand years of historical resources concerning the trinity, even though all of these are subordinate to the authority of the Bible. Affirming sola Scriptura in total ignorance of all that has gone on since the Bible was written is not very smart! He calls the first approach "resourced sola Scriptura" and the other "underresourced s S."

He goes on to say that accessing the writings of Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, Calvin, Wesley and others should not be thought of as a linear barrier of two thousand years between us and God's Word, but as a circle, where Scripture is in the middle, and Chriatians of all ages are gathered around it, looking to the Word of God and sharing with each other what we are seeing and hearing in it.

We don't have to jump over two thousand years of theologians and interpreters to get back to the Bible. We always have immediate access to the Bible, as did the Reformers, the medievals and the patristic writers.