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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Evangelical warns other Evangelicals of being "over-committed to the Bible"

Ted Olsen at the Christianity Today blog posts about J. P. Moreland warning against "Bibliolatry".

  The problem, he said, is “the idea that the Bible is the sole source of knowledge of God, morality, and a host of related important items. Accordingly, the Bible is taken to be the sole authority for faith and practice.”

Being a Catholic doesn't mean that I would entertain triumphalism here, for Catholics are often guilty of a different sort of extreme: ritualism. Whereas Mr. Moreland warns against over-commitment to the Bible as restricting revelation and growth, the same could be said against over-commitment to rituals.

Both extremes are obviously limiting, whereas our Father wants nothing less than fruitfulness. For this reason, he also gracefully grants us the fullness of faith, in the complete deposit of faith which is both oral and written. But some entrenchments are hard to overcome. Sola Scriptura is still the premise for most Evangelical/Protestant minds. To them, there is no possibility of revelation outside of Scripture, and so many would shun anything else, particularly Sacred Tradition and the Church Fathers.

This movement, which I pray goes beyond a handful of individuals, is critically important. I've often been at a loss as to how an Evangelical might imagine conversing with a committed atheist or religionist of another faith, when there is no common regard for the Bible. St. Paul was not shy to start his conversation with the Greeks based on reason and perception of the natural universe. Neither should we. Our conversations today are not with Greeks who have no religion, but with secularists who are increasingly rejecting religion. Two things, of course, are invaluable here: the witness of our Christian lives and, if necessary, our preaching the gospel to them. It just doesn't strike me as realistic to begin our dialogue with them by citing chapter and verse to anti-Christian secularists.

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