Wednesday, 14 September 2005

Friedrich Gogarten on the authority of the Bible

I have suggested that the Bible’s authority derives from its message, i.e., from the gospel. Friedrich Gogarten sums up this approach to biblical authority in his little book Demythologizing and History (London: SCM, 1955), p. 12. He writes: “what the Bible says is said by men and does not derive its authority from the fact that it is written in the Bible. It is rather the Bible which derives its authority simply and solely from what is said in it.”

Gogarten thus continues that “reliance upon [the Bible’s] testimony can be justified only by belief in what it testifies to.”

2 Comments:

eddie said...

Hi Ben,

Because the scriptural testimony is the only one we have to the gospel, do not believing the gospel and believing the testimony amount to the same thing?

I say this in response to the second quote.

Ben Myers said...

Good point, Eddie. I would agree that believing the Bible's testimony is exactly the same as believing the gospel. And I think Gogarten's point is that we believe in the trustworthiness of the Bible because we have been already grasped by the gospel -- not that we believe in the gospel because of a prior commitment to the trustworthiness (or inspiration, etc.) of the Bible.

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