A Brief Book Summary from Books At a Glance
Editor’s Note: Today we continue our series of “bonus” summaries covering all thirty-six chapters of the monumental volume, The Enduring Authority of the Christian Scriptures (D.A. Carson, ed.).
Chapter 24: May We Go Beyond What is Written After All? The Pattern of Theological Authority and The Problem of Doctrinal Development
by Kevin J. Vanhoozer
(Summarized by Nathan Sundt)
Kevin Vanhoozer’s epigraph sets the tone for the chapter in scriptural key: “And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent” (Philippians 1:9-10a, emphasis added). Vanhoozer highlights the “disturbance concerning the Way” (Acts 19:23), both ancient and modern, that arises from the non-controversial fact that Christians must order a great deal of their lives, personally and collectively, without chapter and verse of scripture to cite.
To aid us, Vanhoozer commends (1) the “Protestant principle” (sola scriptura), which envisions a life of discipleship constantly resourced by the Bible; (2) the “Puritan principle,” insisting on the necessity of a well-formed Christian conscience; (3) the “Philippian principle,” highlighting the term phroneo — “to think, judge, or give one’s mind to” – connecting it to way in which that epistle shows believers how to “walk the way of Christ in new situations.”
Citing Athanasius, he affirms that the scripture is a sufficient foundation for all doctrine, for the “exposition of the truth,” and then offers this formulation:
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Scripture is the divinely appointed means by which God generates and governs the church’s understanding of who he is and what he has done in the Son and Spirit for us and our salvation. Scripture is sufficient to serve as the church’s covenant charger, constitution, and critical principal. It is sufficient to guide. . .
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The Enduring Authority of the Christian Scriptures