Periodical Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 131:524 (Oct 1974)
Article: Periodical Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Periodical Reviews

“Scripture as a Theological Concept,” Bernard L. Ramm, Review and Expositor, LXXI (Spring, 1974), 149–61.

This is the lead article in an issue of the Baptist theological journal published by the faculty of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky, devoted to the theme “Biblical Inspiration and Interpretation.” The issue also contains an article by Carl F. H. Henry entitled “The Interpretation of the Scriptures: Are We Doomed to Hermeneutical Nihilism?” (pp. 197-215) and a response by Harold Lindsell to an article on “The Biblical Faith and Modern Science” by Eric C. Rust.

In his first paragraph Ramm states that “the theological concept of Scripture addresses itself to the manner in which the New Testament writers appealed to the authority of a graphē which in turn became a normative theological method in the Christian Church” (p. 149). Yet he discusses only two passages of Scripture briefly (Heb 1:1–2 and 2 Tim 3:16–17) and refers in passing to only four others (Gen 1; Isa 1:1–2; 2 Tim 4:13; Heb 9:5). He makes no reference at all to the attitude of the Lord Jesus Christ to Scripture or to the manner in which He appealed to its authority.

Between one-third and one-half of the article is devoted to a discussion of “the phenomena of Scripture,” which Ramm obviously considers important but which he does not demonstrate had any significance to either the New Testament writers or the Lord Jesus Christ. Both the Lord and the apostles quote Old Testament Scripture as divinely authoritative without regard for its literary genre. This includes Genesis one, concerning which Ramm says, “What a difference it would make in the ‘Bible and science’ controversy if Genesis one were identified as the literary genre of poetry and not of descriptive prose!” (p. 151). Is Ramm suggesting that the “license” ascribed to poets allows them to deal with facts and history in an unfactual and untrue way? I trust not.

Later Ramm says, “When we add such terms as plenary or inerrant or infallible to Scripture, we may be adding terms the real meaning of which we human beings have no way of knowing. But if we functionally define the infallibility of Scripture, we then have some notion of what we are asserting…. Our intention is, keeping with the phenomena of Scripture and keeping the functional character of inspir...

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