Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Configuring Scripture, Criterion #3

3. The Criterion of the Rule of Faith
One of the important criteria the early Church used in discerning which writings to recognize as canonical was whether they conformed to the Rule of Faith – the teaching passed down from the Apostles. Irenaeus appealed to the Rule as the guide to right interpretation in his arguments against the interpretations of the heretics in the 2nd century.

That Rule of Faith finds its expression for us in the Creeds. Scripture and the creeds have a symbiotic relationship and cannot be read separately. Interpretations that are contrary to the Creeds are unfaithful. Charles Gore (1853 – 1932), Anglican (liberal catholic) theologian and Bishop of Oxford, insisted that more was implied by the Creed:
There are, indeed, features in the common faith, such as the belief in Atonement, in sacramental grace, in the inspiration of Scripture, which are only slightly or by implication touched on in these formulas of faith; but at least in what they contain they represent what has been universal Christianity.
The Permanent Creed and the Christian Idea of Sin

That means, as Gore also insisted, that faithful configurations will wrestle with the “whole set of ideas about sin and redemption and the Incarnation and the Trinity which belong to the Catholic Creeds and are the commonplaces of historical Christianity.”

Criterion 4. The Church's Prayer

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