(Part II will appear in the next issue)
No theme is more worthy than the Word, whether the Incarnate Word or the Inspired Word. And surely renewed interest in special revelation is timely and necessary for our befuddled world of thought and action. We are all aware that in this century speculative idealism has passed its prime, naturalism has gained ascendancy, and Communism incorporates into modern history a world-life view resolutely anti-supernatural. It is indeed the good providence of God that we are once again permitted, even forced to, the biblical heritage of Western culture.
Emil Brunner has said, and I think rightly, that “the fate of the Bible is the fate of Christianity.” When we interpret such expressions, we are all concerned to avoid both understatements and overstatements of the significance of the Bible. How shall we properly relate the Bible to divine revelation? This question continues to be a fundamental issue in modern theology. Karl Barth, for example, in The Doctrine of the Word of God, speaks of doing the Bible “a poor honor” by identifying revelation with the Book. On the other hand, evangelical Protestantism believes that despite the new emphasis on the Bible as “witness” to special revelation neither Barth nor Brunner nor neo-orthodox theologians generally honor Scripture as they ought. Meantime evangelicals are charged with exaggerating the role of the Bible—with making it a “paper Pope,” with worshipping it, with allowing it to crowd out the authority of God, the authority of Jesus Christ. What shall we think and say of these matters?
We dare allow only one final authority in the Christian life. We dare acknowledge the authority of no other god than the living God who made heaven and earth and man ...1
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