First Things: Laying the Foundation for Biblical Analysis of the Emergent Church

After collecting data at various ONE Project sessions including, the Gathering, the Advance Conference, and the Create Conference, as well as two interviews with Pastors Sam Leonor and Terry Swenson, I felt I had a good amount of data to build a framework which I could use to analyze and interpret the results while I waited for the other founders to reply to my written questions.

I placed calls to two theologians on the Compass Magazine theological advisory board. Dr. John Markovic, is an Associate Professor of Modern European and Church History at Andrews University.  He discussed with me at length the mystical aspects of Catholic Dogma and the Emergent Church. His feedback for my framework was insightful. I also reached out to Dr. Fernando Canale, Professor Emeritus of Theology and Philosophy, also at Andrews University. I read his four-part series on the Emergent Church in the Journal of Adventist Theological Society around 2011-13 during my initial research into the Emergent Church.[i]

In response to a highly-charged debate over a published book on Adventist hermeneutics, Dr. Canale published a new model for Revelation-Inspiration in the mid-nineties. I found his model to have the analytical rigor and explanatory power that I needed for my data so I decided to adopt his model for Revelation-Inspiration as a framework for this project. I briefly outline his model in this article and use his definitions throughout this series.[ii]

I also draw extensively from Dr. Norman R. Gulley’s Systematic Theology (Prolegomena). Gulley wrote his Systematic Theology using Canale’s model for Revelation-Inspiration and the concept of the Great Controversy, a biblical metanarrative that is familiar to most Adventists. Later in the series, I will contrast Gulley’s System and Canale’s model with those of other Adventist theologians to demonstrate the deep divisions and suggest ways to overcome these divisions in doctrine, mission, and practice.

A Basic Assumption I Make About You

For this series, I assume that you, the reader, are a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. I am also assuming, at minimum, that you’ve read through the Bible at least once and have a good grasp of our fundamental beliefs. Understanding this article, or the rest of this series on the ONE Project, requires no advanced theological knowledge. Most if not all the building blocks for the framework for theological analysis here will be defined and described in sufficient detail for your comprehension. The building blocks that are a part of the framework for evaluation are abstract. In the beginning, this may be a little difficult to follow, but I promise that if you persevere you will love the Bible more and see Jesus’ leading in our church.

I will do my best to explain a concept and describe its relevancy to the overall model we are building for our framework for evaluation. As concepts are introduced, I will give precise and/or workable labels and definitions, which will later help you integrate concepts quickly in your mind as we progress through the series.

The key to getting the most out of this series is understanding the interrelationship (inner logic) between the various ideologies described and, our own conceptual framework. Later in the series, we will use the model developed here to compare the Emergent Church with the ONE Project. We will then determine the correct classification of The ONE Project and identify the implications for the Seventh-day Adventist Church going forward. If you need a clarification of some point, please post your comment and I, or our team at Compass will respond.

Eternal Existence of God and Divine Authorship of the Bible

For the purposes of our study, we assume[iii] the existence of a Triune God, as expressed in the co-Eternal Personhoods of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. We define ‘Scripture’ as the Bible of the Protestant canon containing: 39 Old Testament Books and 27 New Testament Books. [iv] We assume that the Bible is true and that the Bible was authored by God and written by human writers, from a diverse range of backgrounds using different literary forms and styles exploring a broad range of human experience in the context of God’s interaction with humanity, under the influence of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 1:2, 2 Tim. 3:15, Rom. 3:2; Heb. 5:12, Isa 1:1; Amos 1:1; Micah 1:1, Hab. 1:1; Jer. 38:21, Neh. 9:30; Zech. 7:12, 2 Sam:2, Acts 28:25, 1 Pet. 1:10, 11; 2 Pet. 1:21, 1 Tim. 4:1, Rev. 1:10).[v]

Distinguishing Sola Scriptura from Prima Scriptura

Sola Scriptura was one of the five founding principles of the Protestant Reformation. It is a Christian theological doctrine, which holds that the Christian Scriptures are the sole infallible rule of faith and practice. Most Protestant Christian denominations today hold to the principle of Sola Scriptura, which incidentally does raise some interesting questions:

  • Since all Protestants read from the same source of data (the protestant Bible) why do they disagree on theology, worship, practice, eschatology, and soteriology among themselves?
  • Why have protestant denominations divided in the past and why are they still dividing today?

The answer to these questions lies in the multiplicity of sources they take into consideration when determining how to interpret Scripture. These sources include, culture, tradition, science, personal experience, faith community, and human philosophy among others.

Both Prima Scriptura and Sola Scriptura are contrasted in a general way here:

Prima scriptura is sometimes contrasted to sola scriptura which literally translates “by the scripture alone”. The former doctrine as understood by many Protestants—particularly Evangelicals—is that the Scriptures are the sole infallible rule of faith and practice, but that the Scriptures’ meaning can be mediated through many kinds of secondary authorities, such as the ordinary teaching offices of the Church, antiquity, the councils of the Christian Church, reason, and experience.

However, sola scriptura rejects any original infallible authority other than the Bible. In this view, all secondary authority is derived from the authority of the Scriptures and is therefore subject to reform when compared to the teaching of the Bible. Church councils, preachers, Bible commentators, private revelation, or even a message allegedly from an angel or an apostle are not an original authority alongside the Bible in the sola scriptura approach.[vi]

Historically, we Seventh-day Adventists have long maintained in our fundamental beliefs that:

‘…The Holy Scriptures are the infallible revelation of His will. They are the standard of character, the test of experience, the authoritative revealer of doctrines, and the trustworthy record of God’s acts in history.’

Therefore, any framework for theological or doctrinal evaluation must be built with the Bible as the only authority. I will, throughout this series, highlight the importance of basing one’s beliefs and judgments on the Bible.

Choice of Discipline & Methodology

Sound theological analysis requires that we take statements of belief apart and examine each of the core concepts or foundational pillars upon which they stand and then compare them with Scripture. To do that, we need to choose a discipline and use its tools for analysis in a consistent way.

There are many different specialties or disciplines in Christian theology, Dr. Canale, writes,

‘The study of Christian theology is complex and involves a range of disciplines such as textual criticism, literary criticism, biblical exegesis, biblical theology, archaeology, history of antiquity, history of the church, history of theology, and systematic theology.’[viii]

I suggest we use the discipline of Systematic Theology since we are evaluating both a whole movement, namely The Emergent Church, and also an entire ministry, namely The ONE Project ministry.

A standard definition of Systematic theology states,

‘Systematic theology draws from sacred texts while simultaneously investigating the development of Christian doctrine over the course of history, particularly through philosophy, science and ethics. It covers ten basic areas or categories: Theology proper [the study of the character of God], Angelology [the study of angels], Biblical theology [the study of the bible], Christology [the study of Christ], Ecclesiology [the study of the church], Eschatology [the study of the end times], Harmartiology [the study of sin], Pneumatology [the study of the Holy Spirit], Soteriology [the study of salvation], and Theological anthropology [the study of the nature of humanity].’[ix]

We specifically cover the area of Theology proper when looking at concepts of Revelation-Inspiration to build our conceptual framework. We will also cover interrelated concepts in the areas of Biblical theology, Ecclesiology, Eschatology, Soteriology, and Pneumatology.

Among other procedures, chiefly we will use the methodology of deconstruction.[x]

Canale defines deconstruction,

‘[A]s the methodological procedure by which we analyze the systems of biblical interpretation and doctrinal construction. Beginning from the totality of their claims, deconstruction follows the inner logic of traditional positions to identify the basic elements on which they stand. If these basic elements are biblical, we can retrieve them for theological use in the church. If they stand on philosophical, scientific and/or cultural constructions, Christians need to reject them, building, in their place, new conceptions from basic biblical ideas. Theologians working from the sola scriptura matrix should deconstruct all theological traditions including their own. Deconstruction isn’t an end in and of itself but the necessary step leading to biblical interpretation and biblical constructions.’ [Italics mine][xi]

If we can see how other Christians (in our case the Emergent Church) view Scripture and derive their beliefs from it, we can do several things: 1) Understand the inner logic of the structure of their belief system, 2) Make accurate judgments regarding the ‘transportability’ of their beliefs into our Church 3) Accept what is biblical and reject what is not 4) Contrast their system against that of The ONE Project, 5) Evaluate whether, or not The ONE Project is emergent.

We can also 1) Evaluate theological trends in our own Church, 2) Build models to predict the impact of those theological trends, 3) Measure the impact of solutions being offered to problems in our Church, 4) Evaluate the sources of those solutions: biblical, or not 5) Affirm what is biblical and reject what is not and know the reasons why 6) Build theological consensus for action, and finally, 7), Stand together united in Truth.

 Four Concepts to Build Our Framework

We will now use four key concepts from Canale’s Revelation-Inspiration books, “The Basic Christian Elements” and “The Cognitive Principle” to build our framework for evaluation. This part is abstract, so it is worth working through each concept slowly. I’ve included a ‘why this concept matters’ subsection for each concept to help you integrate it into the larger framework.

Concept 1: Sources of Theological Knowledge

According to Canale, the study of God is not limited to Christians only, as other religions have notions of a deity or deities. Atheists are those individuals who do not believe in a God or the concept of a deity. Throughout history, Christians have embarked on several paths to know God. Here are some of the major paths people take to understand God:[xii]

Atheism

Atheism is the conviction that there is no God. Just because they don’t believe in a God, does not mean that they don’t have to deal with the positive and negative effects of others who believe in one. Because sensory perception does not give us information about God, nor can reasoning prove the existence of what religious people call God, atheists conclude that He is simply inaccessible. To an atheist, God is a name without a reality behind it. For atheists, there is only philosophical and scientific understanding of themselves, the world and the future. Atheists explicitly and implicitly presuppose that there is no divine reality and therefore no need for theology. This way of thinking to understand reality without God is called naturalism and nihilism.

Philosophy

Besides devising rational arguments to prove the existence of God, philosophers have attempted to know God’s nature by contemplating nature and history. In philosophy, the sources to know God are the everyday data we find in our natural environment and historical events. Aristotle was the first philosopher to develop an idea of God by contemplating nature. In the next article, ‘Beware of Greeks Bearing Gifts’ we will explore more fully the impact of Greek thought on Christianity and its view of God.

Theism

During the middle ages, philosophers continued to develop a ‘natural’ knowledge of God. They conceived the nature of God by negating all imperfections and evil characteristics we find in nature and history (way of negation); by affirming all the good characteristics we find in reality (way of affirmation); and, by claiming God possesses them in an infinitely perfect mode (way of eminence). These three ways (negation, affirmation, eminence) to know the nature of God produce the notion of a personal timeless God usually labeled as theism.

Pantheism & Panentheism

This way [approach] to know[ing] God blurs the distinction between God and the world. For all practical purposes, the world and God are the same. In modern times, (18th-20th centuries AD), philosophers placed God outside of the cause-and-effect line of the space-time continuum. They no longer conceive of God as a person with characteristics similar to humans but as something that exists beyond the limits of our creatureliness. The concept of God becomes associated with mostly energy pervading and leading nature and history. Later in the series we will take a more careful look at panentheism  and Christian mysticism.

Natural Theology

According to the internet encyclopedia of philosophy, ‘Natural theology is a program of inquiry into the existence and attributes of God without referring or appealing to any divine revelation. In natural theology, one asks what the word “God” means, whether and how names can be applied to God, whether God exists, whether God knows the future free choices of creatures, and so forth. The aim is to answer those questions without using any claims drawn from any sacred texts or divine revelation, even though one may hold such claims.’ [xiii]

 Why This Concept Matters:

Different Christian denominations stand on different theological foundations depending on their sources for theology. Most denominations take it as fact that multiple sources apart from Scripture are required to deduce God’s Will for us. Multiple sources lead to differences in views about God and the nature of His relationship with human beings. Each foundation gives rise to differences in biblical hermeneutics (the science of interpretation). Differences in biblical hermeneutics give rise to differences in theology. Differences in theology give rise to differences in eschatology which in turn give rise to differences in soteriology, ecclesiology, education, worship, and every practice of beliefs. When these differences exist within a denomination, then other irreconcilable differences emerge; confusion over identity and mission results, and factions within the denomination appear.

Concept 2: Two Types of Divine Revelation: General & Special

When Christians speak of how humans come to know God and His will, they refer to two avenues: nature and Scripture. Consequently, they have traditionally accepted two forms of divine revelation: general and special. General Revelation refers to the revelatory activity of God by means other than Scripture, while Special Revelation refers to the disclosure of God and His will through Scripture. General Revelation refers to the activity of God that is broad and less specific than Scripture such as His created works in the heavens and on Earth. Those works do not ‘testify’ of Him like Scripture does specifically, but rather in a general sense according to Ps. 19:1,

“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows the work of His hands.”

In this passage, David is writing about General Revelation as he describes that it  produces no ‘speech, no words, no sound…’ (verse 3). General revelation is also known as ‘natural revelation’ because nature provides much of the objective data. The reason why many theologians call this ‘natural’ is because it is their belief that human beings are capable of comprehending God’s message through the natural processes of their minds, without supernatural (God’s) help. This notion, however, comes from classical philosophy rather than Scripture with profound implications for Christian theology. [xiv]

Why This Concept Matters:

The problem with natural revelation is that it cannot be done safely and infallibly after the Fall due to the presence of sin in nature. While the Bible does refer to the laws in nature such as the law of sowing and reaping (harvest principle), one can also derive a naturalist view from nature and trend toward theistic evolution and other anti-biblical concepts. If your view of Scripture its creation process is distorted, your entire foundation for theology can lead you in many directions away from God.

Concept 3: Revelation – Inspiration: How did Scripture Originate?

We will define Revelation as the process by which God authored Scripture, or placed the contents of Scripture in the mind of the prophets. By Inspiration we mean the process by which the Scripture was written, or, by which God brought the contents of Scripture from the mind of the prophets to its written form. This two-part process by which Scripture came to be the ‘Bible’ as we now know it, is collectively defined as ‘Revelation-Inspiration’ (R-I).[xv] [xvi][xvii] Note: General Revelation is not to be confused with Revelation-Inspiration. R-I deals with how God brought Scripture into being while General Revelation is what God reveals through nature: rocks, trees, mountains, space, stars, etc. and His providential guiding in history.

Why This Concept Matters:

Understanding who God is, and who we are as humans matters greatly. Distortions here lead to views of an impersonal God removed from space and time, non-biblical views of the soul and the body, and un-scriptural methods and sources used for doing theology. The Revelation-Inspiration process has implications in every area of theology and the practice of biblical living.

Concept 4: Knowledge

The Revelation-Inspiration process is Cognitive in nature and so is the process in which we acquire knowledge. Scripture is comprised of words that represent thoughts. These thoughts and ideas originate in the cognitive activity between God and the Bible writers. Thus, the issues which revelation-inspiration considers are directly related to the broader question of knowledge, because the process of revelation-inspiration is cognitive.

Human cognition can be described as a subject-object relationship. The subject is the human being, while the object is anything that enters the scope of human consciousness. Knowledge takes place when, through the activity of the subject, a connection with the object is established. This description applies to all human knowledge.

How knowledge takes place in the subject-object relationship has been interpreted in three main ways: The Classical View, The Modern View, and the Post-Modern (hermeneutical) View.

The Classical View (objective position)

This view maintains that knowledge is determined by the object and passively received by the subject.

An analogy to help you visualize this theory is the function of a video camera. According to the classical position, the cognitive subject—mind of the person—operates like the SD Card in the camera. As the SD Card passively receives what is imprinted on it from external objects by way of the lens, the cognitive subject receives the knowledge and stores it in its brain from external objects by way of sensory perception. As the camera does not contribute to the content of the picture, neither does the cognitive subject contribute to the content of knowledge.

The Modern View (subjective position)

This view maintains that knowledge is determined by the activity of the subject, who projects contents of knowledge into a passive object. The human intellect does not draw its laws out of nature, but reads them into nature; so objects of nature ‘must in some sense conform themselves to the mind.’

An analogy to help visualize this theory of knowledge is watching a movie  on a screen from a movie projector. In this view, the act of knowledge is a person projecting their view of reality unto an otherwise blank canvass.

The Post-Modern (Hermeneutical View)

This view builds on the strengths of the previous two views: knowledge is determined by contributions of both the subject and the object. [xviii] Essentially, this is less like a camera that only receives data or a projector that projects data, but more like a computer where data is imputed, processed, and returned to the user through back and forth interaction.

To visualize this theory of how knowledge is integrated, think of two sets of students (a group of theology majors, and a group of microbiology majors) lined up to look at a cell under a microscope.  They each see the same cell but come up with significantly different descriptions of that cell. The data is the same, but the experience is very different. The different background (training) that each student brought to the event formed a part of the knowledge they gained from the event. This shows the active and conditioning role prior beliefs or presuppositions play in the generation of knowledge.

Why This Concept Matters:

In the process of acquiring knowledge, human beings process the same data (object) with different presuppositions or background knowledge/beliefs and achieve different results. For example, if you come to the Bible already ’knowing’ that God doesn’t exist, you will get out of your study of the Bible something very different than a person who comes to it believing that He does. Presuppositions matter a great deal in theology; knowing what yours are, is important.

Using the four concepts above, let’s now put it all together to understand the different models of Revelation-Inspiration and why they profoundly impact Christian theology. This is where things start to get interesting.

 Models for Revelation-Inspiration

There are different ways to classify the phenomenon of Revelation-Inspiration. Canale classifies them as the Classical Model, The Modern Model, The Evangelical Model, and then he offers his own Historical-Cognitive Model. We will explore the classical, modern, and evangelical models in the next article. For now, we will focus on Canale’s model so that you can see how Western Philosophy has affected Christian theology.

In a subsequent article, I will demonstrate how Christian Theology in turn, has radically departed from Scripture. Emergent Church theologians borrow heavily from earlier Christian theologians as well as radically re-interpret Scripture. In this series we will find out why they believe what they believe, and how they ground their beliefs in relation to Scripture. We will then run those findings against the data I have acquired on The ONE Project.

Historical-Cognitive Model

According to Gulley, Canale’s doctoral dissertation, ‘A Criticism of Theological Reason’ shows the indebtedness Christian theology owes to Western Philosophy. Canale argues that philosophical presuppositions about Heaven, God, God’s inability to act or not act in our time and space, God’s inability to reach down to communicate with human prophets, are all diametrically opposed to the Scripture’s view. Scripture views God as being active (Ex. 25:8), communicating with Prophets, at times even correcting prophets, as he did with Nathan’s advice to David. The incarnation especially shows that God is very much active in time and space. The failure of philosophers and Christian Medieval theologians to realize how their own cognitive biases or presuppositions are actually borrowed from Greek philosophical thought, has given rise to many movements, denominations and errors regarding who God is and what He wants to accomplish with humans. This has profound implications for how God communicates with us, whether His Word is our standard of character, for how we are saved or lost, for whether God is coming back or not, for whether or not divine miracles are possible, for what our own bodies are, what happens to us after we die, etc.

A Tentative Roadmap for this Series*

We have two goals:

One: We need to define what the Emergent Church is, and why it is not compatible with the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Two: If the ONE Project isn’t Emergent, then what is it?

To accomplish goal Number One. We first need to develop some concepts that are foundational to the discussion over the Emergent Church and then proceed to an in-depth look at its theological foundations.

  • The Authority and Role of Scripture: How did the Bible come to be and why it should be the sole authority for doctrine and practice. We look at an Adventist model of Revelation-Inspiration and affirm the Word of God as the sole foundation for every test of doctrine. (Current Article)
  • The Effects of Human Philosophy on the Interpretation of Scripture and Doctrinal Development: Tracing the effects of Greek Thought on Christianity (Article 3).
  • The impact of Christian Medieval Theologians on doctrinal development and their impact on Christian movements such as the Emergent Church. (Article 4).
  • We will also look at Panentheism and Christian Mysticism and how these concepts are central to some of Christianity’s greatest theologians of the 20th (Article 5).
  • The History of the Emergent Church: We will introduce the most influential voices in this movement and begin our analysis of their claims about Scripture, doctrine, and how we should live. (Article 6)
  • Stanley Grenz: This influential late theologian rejected systematic theology but ended up writing what could be termed as his systematic exposition of emergent thought (Article 7). We will examine his claims in-depth because they are central to Emergent Thought.
  • Brian McLaren: He has been called the ‘Martin Luther’ of the Emergent Church movement. I analyze his books and share my interview with him in which he discusses the Remnant concept of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. (Article 7)

This should be sufficient to determine why the Emergent Church is not compatible with the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s message, and mission. It will, I hope simultaneously help people see why The ONE Project cannot be classified as Emergent.

We then turn our attention to The ONE Project. Please Note: This Series below is available at Compass Magazine.

  • Interviews of the Founders and Analysis.
  • The Framework: We put all the concepts developed in the first 8 articles to now look at The ONE Project evaluating their use of Scripture, their claims to history, and their views on what the Seventh-day Adventist Church is, and can be.
  • The Create Conference in Context: In this conference at the Gathering, The ONE Project founders take a fresh look at Adventist Structure and Organization, Adventist ecclesiology, Adventist Education, and Adventist Young Adults. We explore these ideas in-depth and determine the correct classification of The One Project is.
  • Where to go from here: We take a sweeping look at the Adventist Church and see where things are and where they need to be and how best to get there.

 Conclusion:

As we consider various systems of belief from the Greeks, to the early Christians, to post-modern theologians, and the Emergent Church, it is helpful to have a key reference point in mind. That reference point is Scripture. Pay careful attention not only to what people say but how they say it in relation to Scripture and the way their reasoning process affects their interpretation of the text. It is not enough to merely go to the text and derive what it is saying, and go find all the other texts that speak to the topic (the discipline of biblical exegesis). We need to integrate those texts along with the rest of the Bible into a system of belief and apply those beliefs in a consistent way (the discipline of systematic theology). We need to let Scripture interpret itself, and display its own inner logic, and integrate those findings into our lives.

Seventh-day Adventist’s are known as People of the Book. We see Jesus after He rose from the dead, starting with Moses and the Prophets, and engaging his followers in a cognitive biblical discussion regarding God’s acts in history. We see our founders rising from the ashes of the Great Disappointment determined to let Scripture have its say and building from it a coherent system. And lastly, we, as a Church, uphold Scripture above every other source of knowledge, classifying all extra-biblical sources as subordinate to the Bible. Our safety, as we engage with Emergent theology and any questionable ministry within our faith community, lies in that concept both in theory and in practice.

Please NOTE: *This Series is co-produced with Compass Magazine. You can follow the series on both sites. Each is covering a special component of the topics.

This Series Author: Adrian Zahid

Sources & End Notes:

[i]Canale, Fernando. “History of the Emergent Church Part 1.” Accessed Here: http://www.atsjats.org/publication/view/389 Journal of Adventist Theological Society Online Archive.

[ii]For members, I highly recommend his book, “Basic Elements of Christian Theology ” for members who consider themselves novices when it comes to theology. “The

Cognitive Principle…” for the intermediate theology lay member reader. And for an advanced treatment of the subject of reason and revelation inspiration, I recommend his doctoral dissertation and “Back to Revelation-Inspiration: Searching for the Cognitive Foundation of Christian Theology in a Post-Modern World.

[iii] These assumptions, in and of themselves, should not be problematic from the perspective of a baptized member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church because they are a part of our statement of Fundamental Beliefs. However, one must be aware that when discussing these concepts, there is a significant variance among the larger Christian faith community on these topics and increasingly within the Seventh-day Adventist Church. I adopt an approach that dispassionately evaluates the underlying ideas and theological contributions without disparaging individuals, movements, or denominations.

[iv] Fundamental Beliefs, 1, Seventh-day Adventists Believe… Pg. 4. Adventists believe that,

“The Holy Scriptures, Old and New Testaments, are the written Word of God, given by divine inspiration through holy men of God who spoke and wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. In this Word, God has committed to man the knowledge necessary for salvation. The Holy Scriptures are the infallible revelation of His will. They are the standard of character, the test of experience, the authoritative revealer of doctrines, and the trustworthy record of God’s acts in history.”

[v] Seventh-day Adventists Believe…“Authorship of the Scriptures” A Biblical Exposition of Fundamental Doctrines pg. 7. Published 1988. Ministerial Assoc. General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists

[vi] Prima Scriptura. Wikipedia definition. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prima_scriptura

[vii] Prima Scriptura, is a concept that in theory sounds good but in practice is difficult to follow. We develop this concept later in the series when dealing with the Tradition and Community ‘input’ into theological interpretation. For another view on Sola vs Prima Scriptura, please see Dr. Nick Miller’s article: https://thecompassmagazine.com/blog/scriptural-authority

and  https://thecompassmagazine.com/blog/scriptural-authority-solo-versus-sola-scriptura-part-2. He argues that reason, experience, and witness of history, should be ‘formative norms’ while Scripture should be ‘the base of all doctrine and normative norm’. The precise role of these other ‘formative norms’ in relation to Scripture is debated.

[viii] Canale, Fernando, ‘Understanding Revelation-Inspiration in a Postmodern World’. Pg 9. 2001

[ix] Systematic Theology. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Systematic_theology Wikipedia

[x] Canale uses the term deconstruction in a different way from Jacques Derrida. For more on Derrida’s method, you can start here: http://www.iep.utm.edu/derrida/

[xi] Canale, Fernando, ‘Basic Elements of Christian Theology.’ Pg 23

[xii] Ibid. 14-15.

[xiii] Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. ‘Natural Theology.’ http://www.iep.utm.edu/theo-nat/

[xiv] Canale, Fernando. “The Cognitive Principle.” This section partially quoted & paraphrased from Pg. 28. Published 2001

[xv] Ibid. Pg 11.

[xvi] The Biblical Research Institute. Issues in Revelation-Inspiration: https://www.adventistbiblicalresearch.org/materials/bible/issues-revelation-and-inspiration

[xvii] Timm, Alberto. ‘A history of Seventh-day Adventist views on Biblical and Prophetic Inspiration’ and ‘History of Inspiration in the Seventh-day Adventist Church.’ Before and since the inception of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Adventists have discussed the concepts behind the process of Revelation-Inspiration. Alberto R. Timm, Director of the Brazilian Ellen G. White Research Center, defines the terminology Adventists have used to describe the process of Revelation-Inspiration in an definitive chronological history of Adventist views on Biblical and Prophetic Inspiration,[xvii] Timm defines the specific terms related to the issues of Prophetic-Inspiration as Adventists have generally used them: Mechanical Inspiration: It is usually associated with the theory that all words of Scripture, even down to the Hebrew vowel points, were actually dictated by the Holy Spirit. This theory virtually negates the human element of Scripture. Verbal Inspiration: Is understood by its advocates to mean the Holy Spirit guided the writers not only in receiving a divine message but also in communicating it, without completely eliminating the personality and the style of the writers. The emphasis, however, is on the end-product of the whole inspiration process, namely, on the words of Scripture. Plenary Inspiration: It points out that Scripture is its entirety inspired, making no distinction between alleged inspired and non-inspired words. Some authors prefer this term in order to distinguish their positions from any mechanical understanding of inspiration, which may at times be associated with the term verbal inspiration. Thought Inspiration: It understood by others to indicate that it is the writer who is inspired, the Holy Spirit thereby transmitting God’s thoughts to the writer, who then chooses the proper words to express those thoughts under the continued guidance of the Spirit. For the complete article. Please see JATS Archive: http://www.atsjats.org/publication/1?page=1&search=timm&search_type=&author=&volume=&number=&season=&year

[xviii] Ibid. This section is quoted & paraphrased from pg 85

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