Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Biblicism: a definition

On Facebook Stephen Dancer of Doggie's Breakfast, asked for a definition of "biblicism", a much used but seldom defined word. Here's my stab at it:
An attitude to the Bible that downplays the witness of the Spirit, sidelines the theological inheritance of the church, denies that truth may be rightly deduced from Scripture, and tends to a wooden, literalistic interpretation of God's Word.
Fair enough, or what?

10 comments:

Martin Downes said...

Do you need something about disallowing deduction? Hard core Biblicists give the game away when they start talking about thr trinity.

Exiled Preacher said...

Yes,

"The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man's salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture" WCF I:VI.

I'll update my definition.

Martin Downes said...

Hey I was thinking of the WCF, but then again I often do

Exiled Preacher said...

Happy now?

How's your wrist doing? Will you be going to Banner?

Martin Downes said...

Lovely. I've booked in for the Banner. And you?

I have a red cast on my left arm. Swelling has gone down but still lots of bruising.

Exiled Preacher said...

Glad you're on the mend. Yes, I've booked for Banner. Should be good gathering of the Taffia with Derek Thomas in da house.

James Vandenberg said...

Ìsn't the term and concept of "biblicism" a straw man?

Exiled Preacher said...

Maybe it is, but there are some people out there whose views more or less reflect my little definition.

The Wanderer said...

Hello, Guy. I was surprised at the negativity of your definition. To me, Biblicism has always been a positive concept, building on 2 Timothy 3.16-17, and reflecting the theology of the opening chapter of the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith (as per the WCF), denying mere rationalism, pragmatism, traditionalism and fatalism in favour of the abiding authority of the Word of God, breathed out by God, and illuminated for fallen men by his gracious Spirit.

Am I missing something?

Exiled Preacher said...

I would say that the WCF/1689 tradition is biblical in accordance with 1 Tim 3:16-17 etc. But biblicism is usually a pejorative term denoting a more Fundamentalist attitude to the Bible, which denies or downplays some of the things that the Reformed Faith affirms, like deduction, the witness of the Spirit, etc. Fundamentalism often pays scant respect to the theological heritage of the church and encourages a rather individualistic "me and my Bible" approach. Fundies also have a rather wooden hermeneutic that tends to ride roughshod over the different biblical genres.

While Calvinists have a lot in common with Fundamentalists, there are some very real theological differences, even when it comes to the Bible.