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More from 2007

The Bible's Authority: Faith on Unchanging Terms

J.I. Packer's short review of Who Owns the Bible.
2007This article is part of CT's digital archives. Subscribers have access to all current and past issues, dating back to 1956.

Who Owns the Bible? Toward the Recovery of a Christian Hermeneutic
Karl Paul Donfried • Herder & Herder
176 pages • $19.95

To own the Bible means, for this veteran Lutheran scholar, to be effectively owned by it—that is, to be the community it addresses, namely the Christian church, which must acknowledge its God-given authority and read it in terms of the faith it teaches. The church must reject any method or frame of interpretation that results in adding to, taking from, qualifying, or relativizing what it has to say.

Donfried comes down like a ton of bricks on what he sees as the foreshortening fundamentalisms of the rigid Right and the loony Left. The heart of his book is its hammering away at hermeneutically unsound arguments to justify overriding Scripture's consistent teaching on the ethic of sex and marriage and the impropriety in God's eyes of homosexual behavior. Surely he is on the side of the angels in all this.

While critiquing liberal Protestants, Donfried expresses appreciation for some Roman Catholics, most of all the present pope, who speaks the book's final sentences.

Fair enough, for this is the first of a new ecumenical series with a Protestant editor and a Catholic publisher called "Companions to the New Testament."



Related Elsewhere:

Who Owns the Bible? is available from Amazon.com and other retailers. The Crossroad Publishing Company has an excerpt and other information on the book in the "look inside" section.

Karl Donfried's other books include several others on the New Testament.

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