Saturday, June 16, 2012

Graham Twelftree on the priority of experience over Scripture

I came across this stimulating quote while evaluating Graham Twelftree's People of the Spirit  as a potential textbook:
"[T]he contemporary preoccupation with Scripture would probably puzzle Luke. He would be surprised that most twenty-first-century Christians see themselves essentially as people of the book, seeking guidance and their identity through reading sacred texts. Luke would argue that, even though Scriptures are important in developing Christian theology and practice, we do not find God in, or our initial identity through, reading Scripture. Scripture explains what God has already done and what we have already experienced of him. ... [I]n privileging event or experience over Scripture, Luke would affirm to us that knowledge of God and his guidance comes through the Spirit enabling inspired speech, and in providing dreams, visions and also prophets who predict the future, teach, encourage and influence, as well as providing the direction of Spirit-filled leaders. Nevertheless...Luke would also encourage us to see that texts...have their place to guide understanding and determine behaviour." - Graham H. Twelftree, People of the Spirit: Exploring Luke's View of the Church (Grand Rapids: BakerAcademic, 2009), 212-213.

I'm tempted to say, "read my colleague, Susan Wendel's book, Scriptural Interpretation and Community Self-Definition in Luke-Acts and the Writings of Justin Martyr (Leiden: Brill, 2011), and discuss. But comments are welcome even if you haven't completed all the assigned reading.

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