I’ve been meaning to come back to one of my “theophilosophistic” themes on doctrine and dogma, especially committed to exploring the etymology and currency of the word bibliolatry. Truthfully, I had never seen this word in my life until I did a Google search this very day, but I knew the term existed to the point that I have been using it fairly regularly for the past year or so to describe the extremely religious devotion (i.e., bible worship) that orthodox denominationalists commit to their belief in the sanctity of the scriptural canon.That key word search led me to several sources, one of which got to the heart of the issue fairly quickly. The name of the website, “newreformation.org,” suggests the person that posted the following may have his or her own axe of dogma to grind, but in fairness, not knowing enough about “New Reformation” to be fer ’em or agin’ ’em, I only admit that the following excerpt from their website frames this issue perfectly. Otherwise, I neither endorse nor renounce them.   Anyway, here’s the illustration I found at their website:

On page 2 of the May 14, 1996 issue of the Western Recorder, a local Kentucky Baptist periodical, is a report of comments made by Morris Chapman, president of the SBC Executive Committee at a gathering of Baptists from across North America. Another denomination’s top executive asked him to state an “irreducible minimum for an evangelical theology.” In response, Chapman is reported as saying, “I would have to say the word of God is absolute truth and . . . Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the Savior of the world.”

This is a very “tell tale” comment. Chapman lists his commitment to inerrancy before his belief in Jesus Christ. If Chapman had been in the prison at Phillippi with Paul when the jailer cried, “What must I do to be saved?” would he have responded, “Affirm inerrancy, and believe in the Lord Jesus?” When I read that piece, I almost jumped out of my seat. “That’s the perfect illustration!” I concluded, so I post it here for the consumption of this blog’s readership.

Some of the painfully orthodox will certainly condemn me for the suggestions implied in this post. While I don’t really feel any need to defend myself against them (Let’s hear it for the priesthood of the believer!!), or much less argue to “reassure” them that I’m really “O.K.,” let me simply say that I have as much reverence and respect for God’s word as the most ardent of the orthodox. I just think they need to back off the exaltation a few notches, acknowledge that God’s word is manifest outside of and apart from the canon, and allow God to take care of defending His own word. He really doesn’t need our help!

One final suggestion: How scandalous (among the dogmatists) would it register if I suggested that the extreme inerrantists’ religious devotion to canonical scripture is comparable to devout Roman Catholics’ devotion to Mary? Yikes! “Mais, ca mettrait les mouches apres moi!” (That’s an old Cajun idiom meaning roughly, “That would set the angry bees in pursuit of me.”)