Sunday, July 31, 2005

'The pattern of biblical truth' (First Things)

Timothy George, in his article The Pattern of Biblical Truth argues that, despite the claims of various Christian college's to integrate faith and learning, it is really 'has become little more than a rhetorical gesture'. The way we use the Scriptures has led to Christians construing 'its authority as a kind of divine reference book, a sort of inspired manual, that can be understood quite apart from the Christian heritage of Bible-based theology and wisdom across the centuries.'

As Christians who accept the Church's regula fidei and who stand Sunday after Sunday to recite the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed, we are not free to view the Bible as though we had it at our disposal, as though we ourselves were not claimed by its story, as though we had already mastered this ancient document and could now move on to other bodies of knowledge without the discernment we have learned from Scripture.

The answer to this is to truly understand the development and importance of Christian doctrine down through the centuries and, in particular, the response of the Church to heresy. Despite the negative connnotations that are associated with the term heresy,

... there is a positive side to heresy as well—in the sense that the history of heresy is the shadow side of the development of doctrine. In the light of its corruption, we can see, retrospectively, the splendor and beauty of the divine revelation embedded in Holy Scripture. In its confrontation with heresiarchs, the Church learned to read the Scriptures in a way that should still inform us today.

Read the whole article here.

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