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The Insufficiency of “Creedal Hermeneutics”

A little over a year ago, I pointed out a summary of Thomas Buchan’s lecture on Nicaea at the Ancient Evangelical Future Conference. A reader has just written in to direct me to the audio of that conference which is available here.

I’ve only listened to Dr. Buchan’s presentation, a response actually, and it is quite good. His main point is that the creeds, particularly the Nicene Creed, cannot consistently be argued as necessary hermeneutical lenses for the otherwise difficult-to-interpret Scripture for a host of historical reasons. The most prominent of these is the confidence and outrage exhibited by the orthodox fathers who could find no other explanation for how the heretics could have gotten things wrong other than evil or madness. At no point was the argument one of sympathy, conceding the murkiness of the matter. Instead it was assumed that the true gospel was plain, known, and easy to find in the Scriptures.

As such, placing the early creeds prior to the Bible is exactly backwards, at least for “patristic” hermeneutics.

By Steven Wedgeworth

Steven Wedgeworth is the associate pastor of Faith Presbyterian Church in Vancouver, British Columbia. He writes about theology, history, and political theory, and he has taught Jr. High and High School. He is the founder and general editor of The Calvinist International, an online journal of Christian Humanism and political theology, and a Director for the Davenant Institute.

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