Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sloppy Theology

The National Association of Evangelicals and Compassion International have the following in their statement of faith.
"We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God."

Really?!?! Do they really believe that? If so, I would be surprised. I've yet to meet an evangelical pastor who would deny that Jesus is the infallible, authoritative Word of God, Incarnate. To limit the infallible, authoritative Word of God to just the Bible is idolatry, Bibleolatry, if you will.

As I see it, much of this sloppiness stems from a deviation from the way creeds have been formulated for most of Christian history. For most of Christian history, creeds were viewed as minimalist statements, with negatives and words like "only" practically nonexistent. One prominent exception to this rule would be in referring to Jesus as the "only" Son of God in the Nicene and Apostles Creeds, which unlike the above statement is a quote from Scripture itself.

The Evangelical Theological Society does a much better job, stating in their "doctrinal basis" that "The Bible alone, and the Bible in its entirety, is the Word of God written and is therefore inerrant in the autographs."

What I wonder, though, is how such a prominent association of evangelicals can get away with such sloppy theological statements regarding such an obvious and important point. Taken literally, their statement is heretical. Isn't anybody in these groups paying attention?


Kevin said...

Bibleolatry. :)

Yeah, they were implicitly referring to the written word rather than Jesus or any of God's other Words (which could encompass everything!). I guess they couldn't find a good Scripture to match, which may be telling.

I agree with you: Scripture is often better than other creeds. Of course, people may still debate the translation or what it really means. :)

MamasBoy said...

Yeah, people will debate the meaning of Scripture until Christ comes again, over the mundane, the critical, and what topics belong in the mundane and critical categories.

Creeds cannot replace Scripture, but they have a great place in laying out a group's interpretation of the Scriptures in a succinct way and in noting what topics the group considers important enough to even mention.