A critical question that penetrates to the heart of the starting-point issue (see part 1 and part 2 of the series) is this:
What’s the main authority in a person’s life?
If it’s Scripture, she’ll be standing on firm ground. This is my position.
But if it’s culture or personal experience, the ground is constantly shifting: cultural norms are in continuous flux, personal experience is highly subjective.
Neither are reliable guides in the long run.
Now a critic might object that Scripture is not the reliable guide it was once thought to be. Scriptural “justice” is actually unjust, Scriptural morality immoral.
I hear this objection often on campus.
1. The critic’s objection still begs the question of how the shifting standards of culture and experience rightly judge Scripture.
Which culture? Whose experience?
2. Many critics of Scripture don’t know the Bible very well (though some do — but even they can forget).
They fail to take into account historical context, authorial intent, the history of interpretation in the church, and the broad sweep of biblical ethics from beginning to end — that is, from Genesis to Revelation.
Instead, they “proof text” their way to unwarranted conclusions using isolated passages. You can make the Bible say almost anything, using this method.
* * *
Stepping back, when I think of the two choices before me in which to place my trust: the enduring stability of the Bible or the constant changes of secular culture, I’ll take my chances on terra firma scriptura.
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