Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Canonical Principle

Chapter 1 “The Canonical Principle” pp. 9-34

The Reformation was driven by the Bible. As the Word of God was placed into the hands of many of the laity God’s Spirit ignited the flames of the Reformation. Theology in the Middle Ages, though it was based on Scripture, was treated differently by the Reformers than by their opponents. Luther and his followers developed their theology based on the authority of the Gospel content, rather than the authority of canonical history. This content-based view of the authority of Scripture immediately short-circuits arguments against the Bible based on its history, manuscripts, or means of inspiration. The Bible is to be believed because it presents Christ faithfully. Scripture, then, is rightly interpreted historically and philologically, not in an allegorical manner.

Over against more recent scholarship, the Lutheran Reformation viewed the Bible as a reliable and cohesive set of documents which faithfully record God’s work in Christ. Later theologians and critics tend to reject this view. Lutheran theology, by and large, is still based on God’s Word, read publicly and treated as authoritative based on the gospel content. This guards against both fundamentalism and liberalism.

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