Hearing Christ Speak Through Scripture And the Problem of Biblical Fundamentalism

Authored by Dr. Andrew L. Minto in Issue #30.4 of The Sower

In our previous article we examined how the Patristic tradition helps us to understand how a personal ‘hearing’ of Christ through the Scriptures may be theologically explained and legitimated. The Holy Spirit who indwells the sacred text, the Church, and the reader-interpreter is active in mediating the living voice of Christ in the Scriptures. The occasion of hearing Christ’s voice is an action of grace that is deeply personal, yet never private, since the Spirit works likewise in and through the entire community of faith, mediating the Paschal mystery throughout the whole life of the Church. Yet experience has taught us that a fundamentalist tendency may creep in that attempts to privatize this meaning to the exclusion of other authentic voices emanating from the Church. The Pontifical Biblical Commission has stated this view well:

‘The Spirit is, assuredly, also given to individual Christians, [emphasis theirs] so that their hearts can ‘burn within them’ (Luke 24:32), as they pray and prayerfully study the Scripture within the context of their own personal lives. This is why the Second Vatican Council insisted that access to Scripture be facilitated in every possible way (Dei Verbum, 22; 25). This kind of reading, it should be noted, is never completely private, for the believer always reads and interprets Scripture within the faith of the Church and then brings back to the community the fruit of that reading, for the enrichment of the common faith.’[i]

But how is this authentic experience of grace appropriated without the negative side effect of disaffection from communion with the Roman Catholic Church and casting one’s hermeneutical loyalty in the arena of biblical fundamentalism? The answer is to be found in the early Patristic practice of uniting the spiritual sense, a highly personalized appropriation of the biblical message, with the living tradition of the community of faith.[ii] We shall begin by first noting some of the features of fundamentalism, both biblical fundamentalism and a peculiar manifestation of fundamentalism among Catholics.

The rest of this online article is available for current subscribers.

Start your subscription today!


This article is from The Sower and may be copied for catechetical purposes only. It may not be reprinted in another published work without the permission of Maryvale Institute. Contact sower@maryvale.ac.uk

Articles from the Most Recent Issue

Editor's Reflections: Kerygmatic Catechesis and the New Directory
By Dr. James Pauley
Free The much-anticipated Directory for Catechesis is finally here! So many of us involved in the work of catechetical renewal have eagerly awaited its publication. This directory is the third of its kind, following 1971 and 1997 directories that each proposed a vision for catechesis intended to prepare Catholics to live in the modern world as well-... Read more
An Invitation to a Faithful, Dynamic Renewal of Catechesis
By Jem Sullivan
Free This article explores c hapters 1-2 of the new Directory for Catechesis. The publication of a Directory for Catechesis by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization could not have arrived at a more providential moment as the universal Church seeks a renewal of Christian faith in local churches struggling through the effects... Read more
Becoming Windows for the Light of the Living God
By Brad Bursa
This article explores chapters 3-4 of the Directory for Catechesis. O ne could liken c hapters t hree (The Catechist) and f our (The Formation of Catechists) of the new Directory for Catechesis to a meditation on windows and how they are made. Identity and Vocation of the Catechist In the early Church, those who followed the Way were often called... Read more

Pages

Watch Tutorial Videos

We've put together several quick and easy tutorial videos to show you how to use this website.

Watch Now