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Scripture & the Danger of Biblicism

An interesting quote about the Bible from W. A. Visser’t Hooft in The Kingship of Christ: An Interpretation of Recent European Theology (1948), pp. 142-43:

Does the Bible then contain all things necessary for the Christian life in the world?  It does, in the sense that it gives us the basic insights concerning God’s design for man, for society, for the state which we need to arrive at Christian decisions in these realms.  That does not mean that the Bible presents us with ready-made recipes.  The picking and choosing of single texts and the literal application of such texts is a denial of the unity and historicity of the revelation.  If I isolate a Bible text from the whole, I act as master rather than as servant of God’s Word.  And if I copy the actions of Biblical persons, I deny that God’s Word is a living Word, which reaches me here and now.  The danger of biblicism in its various forms is that the specific historical situations in the Bible are absolutized and become a wall between God and ourselves instead of a window through which we see God’s work among men.


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