Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Edwards on scripture

Conrad Cherry writes (1990, p. 47)

‘[t]he Scriptures … become the Word of God only through the power of God’s Spirit.’

In other words, Cherry argues that there is some sense in which Edwards' believed the Scriptures are a dead letter without the Spirit. The problem with this view is Edwards' understanding of verbal inspiration - it is one thing to say the Scriptures are ineffective without the Spirit's illumination; it is quite another to say that the 'human words of Scripture ... become God's word.' (p.48)



Blogger Ariel said...

This seems like a rare miscue, given Edwards' typical precision. It would have been simple enough to say that the reader apprehends "the Word of God only through the power of God's Spirit."

I wonder if Edwards wandered into overstatement here to make his case, or if he simply got this point wrong.

6:51 pm  
Blogger Michael McClenahan said...

Thanks Ariel. Apprehends is a good word to describe Edwards' view - he uses apprehension a lot to develop his new sense of the heart.

Let me clarify the post: Cherry is arguing that this is Edwards' doctrine of Scripture - I am suggesting that he is incorrect.

7:21 pm  
Anonymous Nick said...

Agreed...whether or not he was careful with this phrase, Edwards was no Barthian--and if he knew the controversy over Karl Barth's doctrine of Scripture, no doubt he would have strongly disagreed and worded this differently!

10:14 pm  
Blogger Michael McClenahan said...


‘[t]he Scriptures … become the Word of God only through the power of God’s Spirit.’

- this is Cherry not Edwards; but I agree with your comment.

10:36 pm  

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