Says who?

I found an old book. I happened to know a local Christian congregation that had a library that could use it. Maybe they'd want it. The congregation had just finished a series on a related subject, and the library had little to follow the appetizer. I got it, real cheap, and I maybe got what I paid for.

I was just thumbing through it, and I gotta get this off my chest.

There is a difference in saying the Bible is the final authority in faith and practice and in saying it is the only authority in faith and practice. Please. Please. Please, get this. Final-authority speak usually involves having things like creeds or people as defining Christian faith and practice. In my experience, these less-than-final authorities are not said to be only expert-authorities but rather authorities whose weights norm what to believe and behave. Practically, a teaching goes as normative (as expected, with ought-value, as required belief, with say-so) even if the Bible doesn't inform the matter, even if the bible contradicts the opinion. (Such petty details don't surface as quick when people get in the habit of consulting the final authority last because the other ones are allegedly reliable.)

Only-speak involves seeing only the bible as having that "authority in faith and practice" quality about it. It figures that
(1) What God says goes, even in belief and behavior, and the Bible is his word
(2) As much is less than obvious regarding merely human words
(3) Giving God a trump card doesn't change (2).

The two approaches are vastly different.

My opinion......

To see merely human words as having this norming aspect, whether on purpose or just accidentally in practice, is scary. And baseless. If God endorsed the merely human words as 100% true except where they contradicted the Bible, ok, but even then the authority is really God's say-so, and the point is moot because final-authority-folk don't believe God endorsed their works.... but anyway. Putting an unendorsed merely human work even that close to what God breathed seems extremely presumptuous and a real disservice to how the Bible feels about things like the traditions of men.

But, however you feel on the matter, please don't conflate the two concepts. Don't get it twisted when someone says "final" and then uses a quote that affirms the stronger view. (Like the book I got did.) Please, don't let someone bait you with a talk about expert-authority where something is probably true if so and so says so, only to switch to norming authority, where something is expected belief/behavior if so and so says so.

EDIT: This post was rattled out at 2am. I cleaned it up a bit, but I still hope to do more later.

Almost wrote a new post.

Penjammin here. It has been so busy recently that I haven't even had to- I don't really have time to write this post actually. And the semester is about to start. *sighs* But I guess that is to be expected with newborn twins! Yep. I don't know if we announced them here or not but they have arrived and are healthy and are demanding.

More news later I guess, but I have to go tend to the 2yo.