Vos Study #3

Vos study #3 was posted on Valentine’s Day; this review is a few weeks late, but I had time to listen to the podcast twice!

The assigned reading is the back half of chapter 1, covering the infallible nature of inspiration/revelation, the relation of BT to other disciplines (ST, etc), Vos objections to the term “Biblical Theology”, and practical uses of BT.

All that is great, but rather than reiterate what is in the book, I want to highlight two parts of this podcast that were especially helpful in bringing in outside material.

First, at about 12 minutes in, Tipton explains some of the competing perspectives that were in the background that Vos is opposing. First off, the liberal view of inspiration is exemplified by Schleiermacher, who views scripture as a record of human feeling (“gefühl”), so the words of scripture are a “dispensable doctrinal husk”, and BT becomes a study of religious history, in which studying Isaiah is no different than studying Augustine. On the other hand, the neo-orthodox (Barth) view is that scripture is an errant, human witness (inspired by God only in some vague, indirect way), which God chooses after the fact to quicken to his purposes.

Later in the podcast (about 44 min), when discussing the relation of BT to “Biblical Introduction” (author, audience, occasion, historical context, etc.), Tipton provides concrete examples of two approaches to this. First off, there is Peter Enns, who in the introduction to his book Inspiration and Incarnation, says “my aim is to allow the collective [extra-biblical] evidence to affect not just how we understand a biblical passage or story here and there within the parameters of early doctrinal formulations; rather I want to move beyond that and allow the evidence to affect how we think about what scripture as a whole is” (Enns’ own emphasis). That’s bad, m’kay. As a better example, they offer OHS MGK and his use of suzerain-vassal treaty structure to provide informative, not normative context to our understanding of God’s covenantal dealings with his people.

Great stuff, stay tuned for study #4!

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