Thursday, November 22, 2007

Bosch on Epistemological priority of the Scripture

Contrary to natural sciences, theology relates not only the present and the future, but also to the past, to tradition, to God’s primary witness to humans. Theology must undoubtedly always relevant and contextual, but this may never be pursued at the expense of God’s revelation in and through the history of Israel and, supremely, the event of Jesus Christ. Christians take seriously the epistemological priority of their classical text, the Scripture.

I realize that in, stating the above, I have hardly solved any problems. Scripture comes to us in the shape of human words, which are already “contextual” (in the sense of being written for every specific historical contexts) and are, moreover, open to different interpretations. In making the affirmation above I am, however, suggesting a “point of orientation” all Christians (should) share and on the basis of which dialogue between them becomes possible. No individual or group has a monopoly here. So, the Christian church should function as an “international hermeneutical community” in which Christians (and theologians) from different contexts challenge one another’s cultural, social and ideological biases. This presupposes, however, that we see fellow-Christians not as rivals or opponents but as partners even if we may be passionately convinced that their views are in need of major corrections.

David J. Bosch, Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission, 187.

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