Biblical Authority after Babel: Retrieving the Solas in the Spirit of Mere Protestant Christianity - eBook
Biblical Authority after Babel: Retrieving the Solas in the Spirit of Mere Protestant Christianity - eBook  -     By: Kevin J. Vanhoozer
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Biblical Authority after Babel: Retrieving the Solas in the Spirit of Mere Protestant Christianity - eBook

Brazos Press / 2016 / ePub

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Product Information

Format: DRM Protected ePub
Vendor: Brazos Press
Publication Date: 2016
ISBN: 9781493405909
ISBN-13: 9781493405909

Publisher's Description

How the Five Solas Can Renew Biblical Interpretation

In recent years, notable scholars have argued that the Protestant Reformation unleashed interpretive anarchy on the church. Is it time to consider the Reformation to be a 500-year experiment gone wrong?

World-renowned evangelical theologian Kevin Vanhoozer thinks not. While he sees recent critiques as legitimate, he argues that retrieving the Reformation's core principles offers an answer to critics of Protestant biblical interpretation. Vanhoozer explores how a proper reappropriation of the five solas--sola gratia (grace alone), sola fide (faith alone), sola scriptura (Scripture alone), solus Christus (in Christ alone), and sola Deo gloria (for the glory of God alone)--offers the tools to constrain biblical interpretation and establish interpretive authority. He offers a positive assessment of the Reformation, showing how a retrieval of "mere Protestant Christianity" has the potential to reform contemporary Christian belief and practice.

This provocative response and statement from a top theologian is accessibly written for pastors and church leaders.

Author Bio

Kevin J. Vanhoozer (PhD, University of Cambridge), one of the world's top theologians, is research professor of systematic theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. He previously taught at Wheaton College and the University of Edinburgh. He is the author, coauthor, or editor of numerous books, including The Pastor as Public Theologian, Everyday Theology, The Drama of Doctrine, Is There a Meaning in This Text?, and the award-winning Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible.

Editorial Reviews

"The Reformation was about countering what was wrong in Catholicism, but its central principles, the five solas, are not only negations. Reformational Protestantism is also about being for something. The solas are therefore principles for shaping a robust theology. It is this constructive task that Vanhoozer has undertaken in this book, and he has done so with rigor, vigor, and an infectious enthusiasm."

David F. Wells, Distinguished Senior Research Professor, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

"In a season of Reformation remembrances, here comes a fresh appraisal of the core principles of historic Protestant Christianity. Written with conviction, nuance, and wisdom, this is Kevin Vanhoozer at his best--a treasure."

Timothy George, founding dean, Beeson Divinity School, Samford University; general editor, Reformation Commentary on Scripture

"Kevin Vanhoozer properly calls for a Protestant ressourcement, encouraging us to rediscover some of the best wisdom from the early Reformers (think solas taken together) even as he challenges us to disentangle ourselves from some of the deeply problematic misunderstandings and outcomes that later arose in Protestant circles. He accomplishes what he sets out to do: look back creatively in order to move forward faithfully. If you are a Protestant and you love Scripture and the church, please read this book!"

Kelly M. Kapic, professor of theology, Covenant College

"At a time when the terms 'evangelical' and 'catholic' both face bewildering internal and external pressures, Kevin Vanhoozer helps to shine Scripture's light on an authentically Protestant path forward. Amid newfound interest in the Reformation solas, this book's distinctive contribution lies in discerning their hermeneutical import. This approach challenged me to think afresh about the gospel, Scripture, and the church at several points."

Daniel J. Treier, Blanchard Professor of Theology, Wheaton College Graduate School

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  1. Butch
    Florida
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    3 Stars Out Of 5
    A Provocative Difficult Book with Promising Theses that Without a Follow Up Book Is Without A Coherent Solution to the Problem
    July 31, 2017
    Butch
    Florida
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 3
    The author's theses are thought provoking and gave me hope that he would propose some desperately needed solutions to the babel of modern day Christianity, but the conclusion did not deliver on the promise. The problem is articulated well but in the final chapter the correspondence drawn between the five solas and the five distinguishing marks of evangelicalism seems forced. Mere Protestant Christianity (Catholic Christianity) does not exist and a return to the five solas of the reformation is not enough to bring visible unity to the invisible church. I do think the author is right when he identifies Acts 15 as the model to solve the problem of interpretive authority in a pluralistic church, but when we have more local churches than the early church had disciples how is the Acts 15 model applied to today's church? It is one thing to describe mere Protestant Christianity as a dedication to understanding Scripture in conference to hold one another mutually accountable, and another thing to propose a way to do this. In the end all of the authors complex, logical, persuasive, scholarly, well illustrated arguments are only wind taking us to I Corinthians 15 and Acts 15, but we never arrive at the promised destination of a solution to the problem of "Biblical Authority After Babel." I hope there is a follow up book that applies Acts 15 to the 21st century church, and if published I will be happy to make an advanced purchase.
  2. bookwomanjoan
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: Female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Retrieving the solas for biblical interpretation
    October 30, 2016
    bookwomanjoan
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: Female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Some say the Reformation loosed interpretive anarchy upon the world. The priesthood of every believer means lay individuals interpret Scripture just as theologians do. Is that a good idea? How do Christians judge when interpretations differ?

    Vanhoozer contends that retrieving the five Reformation solas will help address the issue of interpretive pluralism. They provide a pattern for reading Scripture theologically that enables Protestant unanimity on theological essentials...

    He begins with grace. To misunderstand grace means we'll go wrong everywhere else. In exploring faith, he investigates the Spirit's work in the believer and the principle of authority. He continues by looking at Scripture along in the context of the other solas and tradition. He explores the meaning of Christ alone and ends with the concept of all to God's glory alone.

    Vanhoozer concludes that the answer to the variety of biblical interpretations is not found in a supreme church authority. Rather, he has given a framework within which Protestant churches can negotiate interpretive disagreements and even benefit from them. This can lead to a peaceful unity-in-diversity experience.

    I really like his positive attitude about denominations. Just like there are four gospels to give a fuller picture of Christ on earth, perhaps there are various Protestant traditions to witness to Jesus in a variety of ways. No one Protestant church exhausts the richness of the gospel.

    I recommend this book to those interested in ecumenism or promoting community among Protestant churches. It would be a good book for city pastor groups to read and discuss. It's also a good book for anyone wanting to review their practices of biblical interpretation.

    I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.
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