Thursday, February 17, 2011

Inspiration and Authority of Scripture

In prior segments of this discourse, I referred to several Latin terms (Sola gratia, Sola fide, Solo Christo, and Soli Deo Gloria), now, I turn my attention to the last of the terms, known as the “Five Solas,” Sola scriptura. In line with John Calvin and other Reformers, the Church is subject to the authority of Scripture. As a Biblical Scholar, what this means for me is that theology originates from Scripture and is determined by the interpretation of Scripture. Presumably, most Fundamentalists and Evangelicals might say, I have a loose definition of Sola scriptura and, the inspiration and authority of Scripture. In truth, I probably do maintain a loose, but informed, definition of Sola scriptura. This notwithstanding, I do believe in the divine inspiration and authority of Scripture. The following two paragraphs summarize my view and interpretive lens on Scripture from a college paper of mine (Inspired Beyond Fallibility).

The body of Scripture, according to the position held herein, refers to the Old Testament; additionally, both the New Testament and Old Testament were canonized by church fathers. I believe that both the Old and New Testaments are the result of divine inspiration. Personally, I contend that the view of Inerrancy (original biblical manuscripts are free of error and all information they possess is accurate), and the theory of Dictation (God said it; humans wrote it) disregard context. “For instance, if the writers of biblical texts are, indeed, human, they bring their humanity, culture, attitudes, and opinions with them to the text…. Frankly, the notion that any text made it from: oration, to scribe, to audience, to editor (redactor), to translation – without alteration or error – is na├»ve” (Tim Kellogg, Inspired Beyond Fallibility).

Moreover, human beings are fallible; thankfully, this does not interfere with the authority of Scripture. Alternatively, it intensifies the authority of Scripture – because God transcends human fallibility. Arguably, most orthodox Christians believe that Jesus was simultaneously God and human; if one can accept the humanity of Jesus, why shouldn’t we be able to accept the human elements of Scripture? I unequivocally accept Scripture through a lens of humanity. Likewise, I affirm that Scripture is “God inspired” text (it was overseen by and is safeguarded by God). As a result, Scripture is a sacred and divine text, while possessing fallible human elements. “Scripture is divine revelation from God to humans that uses human circumstances, fallacies, and problems to convey a message that is, ultimately, divine…. Thus, Scripture is, both, divinely inspired and humanly fallible; yet, it remains a, relevant, transcendent revelation of God” (Kellogg, Inspired). Not to mention, it’s an important part of my life and Biblical Scholarship has radically reshaped how I read Scripture and inform my theological ideas.

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