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Christian Smith The Bible Made Impossible 1

Interpretative disagreement is a historical, global, and cross-denominational phenomenon. This is perhaps why the Roman Catholic Church has written out very clear statements on its position on issues like the ordination of women and modes of baptism. They affirm both the divine inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture [see The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Article 3.

Fourth, positing a Christocentric hermeneutic is neither novel nor sufficient in overcoming diverse understandings of Scripture.

There are an abundance of books, conferences, and seminars written by evangelicals that claim the gospel for the central point of reference. Nobody disagrees with this.

The Bible Made Impossible: Why Biblicism Is Not a Truly Evangelical Reading of Scripture

But this hermeneutic alone is not enough to dissolve interpretative pluralism. There is a small mountain of other problems as well. One must decide, for example, if you will baptize by immersion, sprinkling or something in between. Humility in debatable issues is wise; epistemological suspension, however, hinders pastoral leadership.

We could go on about his dubious suggestion of a canon inside a canon p. To be fair, the book has several strengths. Pervasive interpretative pluralism is a problem, as any seminary student who has puzzled over contradictory biblical interpretations knows.

The Bible Made Impossible | Grace Evangelical Society

Introducing a variety of voices to a formerly clear mental landscape can indeed lead to a crisis of faith p. We too have our biases and occupy a specific place and time in history. This should temper potentially arrogant conclusions and provide us with robust charity for the whole family of God. About Back.

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Contact Us! Current Students Here you will find one-stop shop for students to get connected to activities that will feed your spiritual and social life as well as equip you with resources to jump-start your academic career. Library About the Carey S. Any authority source — whether the Bible or the Pope or human reason or the U.

Smith offers a Christo-centric and narrative approach to the interpretation of Scripture as an alternative to biblicism. This was one of the main emphases of my seminary education, which took place at an institution Covenant Seminary in St.

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That would have been a more fruitful dialogue, in my opinion, and would have pushed the issues at stake in our doctrine of Scripture in more helpful avenues of thought. Perhaps he has a legitimate complaint about the simplistic and moralistic way some evangelicals and fundamentalists use the Bible in their practice.

But the complaint, in my opinion, is made too clumsily and applied unfairly. It could have been made almost as well, it seems to me, by a Protestant observing certain Roman Catholics, as a Roman Catholic observing certain Protestants. It seems to me that the authoritative rulings of the Church are at least sometimes clearer than the biblical data. The Nicene Creed, for instance, pretty clearly rules out Arianism as a viable Christian option. The heart of the issue seems to me to be what we mean when we say that the Church is authoritative. When a catholic Christian either Roman Catholic, Orthodox, or Anglo-Catholic says that the Church is authoritative, he means that the Church has the inherent power to bind consciences in matters pertaining to doctrine and morals.

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If the Church has this kind of authority, then it would be very difficult to rule out beliefs such as apostolic succession, the trifold ministry, baptismal regeneration, the physical presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Catholic Christians would be obligated to believe these things. I know some more historically-minded Protestants want to say that the Church has some sort of relative authority. Sola scriptura is sometimes given a gloss that makes it distinct from what is often called nuda scriptura.

But I think this distinction ultimately breaks down.

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