The “Analogy Of Faith” And Exegetical Methodology: A Preliminary Discussion On Relationships -- By: H. Wayne Johnson
Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 31:1 (Mar 1988)
Article: The “Analogy Of Faith” And Exegetical Methodology: A Preliminary Discussion On Relationships
Author: H. Wayne Johnson
JETS 31:1 (March 1988) p. 69
The “Analogy Of Faith”
And Exegetical Methodology:
A Preliminary Discussion On Relationships
In evangelical hermeneutics today there is a continuing struggle to define the relationship between the “analogy of faith” and exegetical methodology.1 Many are aware of the ease with which dogmatics may dominate and manipulate exegesis for its own purposes. There is also a general consensus that bringing the Scriptures to any external “rule” for harmonization ultimately subverts their final authority. On the other hand it is generally acknowledged that there is a certain harmony of fundamental doctrine that pervades the entire Scriptures and that this harmony should play some role in the exegesis of individual passages.
Dialogue between the various branches of evangelicalism depends closely upon a working consensus regarding exegetical methodology. Yet it is precisely in the exegetical application of the analogy of faith that theological disagreements often come to an impasse. It is therefore crucial that we attempt to define the role played by the analogy of faith in grammatico-historical exegesis.
The analogy of faith has been defined in modern hermeneutics as the “general harmony of fundamental doctrine that pervades the entire Scriptures.”2 Two closely related principles, the “rule of faith” 3 and the “analogy of Scripture,” help to define what we mean by the analogy of faith.
Historically, the rule of faith was first identified as the faith confessed by the apostolic Church and considered simultaneously to be the compendium of true Biblical teaching.4 Later this rule became an ecclesiastical tool with
*H. Wayne Johnson is a doctoral candidate at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
JETS 31:1 (March 1988) p. 70
which to control exegesis and guarantee harmonization with Catholic orthodoxy.5 In the Reformation the rule of faith continued as an important interpretive principle, but its source and content was radically modified.6 With a new emphasis on sola Scriptura the rule was defined as the compendium of what Scripture and Scripture alone teaches. As a result exegesis under the Reformation rule was to be in harmony with the rest of the Scriptures rather than Catholic orthodoxy.
Because of the frequent association of the rule of faith with Catholic abuses, some...
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