Be your own Pope: On the Tyranny of Individualism

D.H. Williams sounds a stunning warning against Free Church Protestantism and its dismissal of the church’s creedal heritage, and with it the elevation of the individual to “Pope-like” status.

“[F]or all its theological and historical importance, the Protestant Reformation should not be the sole means of identity for any Christian. It was (is) not the primary basis on which the Christian faith was founded—something the Reformers themselves knew quite well. Here I am referring to how one ‘reads’ the history of Christianity. … [T]he Protestant mind has been shaped in specific ways to think about itself as the Christian faith, not as a reform movement of Catholicism, but as a restoration of the apostolic church and therefore a dismissal of everything that followed the New Testament church and was prior to the ‘Reformation.’ In the name of rejecting ecclesiological authority as ‘hierarchy’ or ‘tradition’ as theological manipulation and bondage, we have instead created a hermeneutic of suspicion and have invested every biblically informed conscience (instead of a pope) to speak ex cathedra. It is a Pyrrhic victory for Free church Protestantism when the net effect of its teaching results in the replacing of the tyranny of the magisterium with the tyranny of individualism [Retrieving the Tradition, Renewing Evangelicalism (Eerdmans, 1999), p. 201]

I have seen the harmful effects of this tendency on more than one occasion.  I think of many Free Church believers I have known who operate under the unconscious pressure of picking up their Bible and reading it as if no one has ever read it before. With this comes the concomitant weight of sifting and weighing matters on which the Church has spoken in her creedal heritage, an interpretive weight one should never bear alone.

Perhaps, to take D.H. Williams’ point (among many other contemporary and not-so-contemporary Protestant voices), the Church’s shared creedal heritage is indispensable for the Church’s reading of her Scriptures today, even in the Free Church tradition of Protestantism. Without accepting a hierarchical ecclesiology, perhaps the Protestant Free Church tradition would be greatly served by a modest return to a self-consciously “ruled reading” of the Bible in which a community’s reading of the Scriptures is carried out together with its creedal heritage: allowing the rule of faith generally found in the Nicene Creed to consciously guide and train a community’s reading, reminding it of the heart of the Gospel, and serving its faithful proclamation.

(Postscript: This is a conversation also being had among Anglicans. See, Ephraim Radner and George Sumner, The Rule of Faith: Scripture Canon and Creed in a Critical Age (Morehouse, 1998)).

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31 thoughts on “Be your own Pope: On the Tyranny of Individualism

  1. Kent: I couldn’t agree more with this comment. “Every believer his (or her) own pope” is one of the reasons I migrated from free-church evangelicalism to the Anglican communion. This mentality is fed by revivalism, and, unfortunately, abetted by even great thinkers like Kierkegaard. Pietistic individualism is forgetful that, as Tom Oden says somewhere, the Holy Spirit has a history. I would add, however, that not only do we do well to pay attention to the historic councils and creeds (especially those produced by the united Church of the first five or six centuries), but also to the need to remain in both prayerful and critical conversation with our present sisters and brothers. R. Williams’ article: The Discipline of Scripture is helpful to me here. John McNassor

  2. What I find fascinating about Williams is that he is a baptist! Awesome. I think many falter here on a false assumption that if I can only “raise up the Bible to its highest possible level” then I can’t go wrong. And this inclination almost always leads to a specific kind of individualization as well as the belief that Christianity is inherently simple (which almost always leads to heresy). You see this same error in the post-Reformation heretics like the Socinians and Arians. Samuel Clarke, the great Arian Anglican, argues along these lines when he quotes (approvingly) Chillingworth:

    “And the excellent Mr. Chillingworth: ‘By the religion of Protestants (saith he,) I do not understand the doctrine of Luther, or Calvin, or Melanchton; nor the confession of Augusta, or Geneva; nor the catechism of Heidelberg; nor the articles of the Church of England; no, nor the harmony of Protestant confessions: but that wherein they all agree, and which they all subscribe with a greater harmony, as a perfect rule of their faith and actions; that is, the Bible. The Bible, I say, the BIBLE only, is the religion of Protestants. Whatsoever else they believe besides it, and the plain, irrefragable, indubitable consequences of it; well may they hold it as a matter of opinion: but as a matter of faith and religion, neither can they, with coherence to their own grounds, believe it themselves; nor require the belief of it of others, without most high and most schismatical presumption.’”

    In that age, belief in the Trinity was quickly thrown out the window. One has to wonder what the heresy of our biblicism will be?

    • Yes, and Williams does an excellent job introducing the reader to the many Patristic voices (e.g. Tertullian) who believed, really believed, that the Bible alone was wholly inadequate for the church because in the early conflicts over right teaching both sides marshalled Scripture on their behalf. The regula fidei was necessary in every case to break the stalemate of Bible vs. Bible.

    • I think that’s a fascinating question, Kyle. As a pesky classical theist, I think one of the huge losses of our day lies in the sphere of theology proper. Because of the sway of biblicism, it’s really easy to miss out on what the likes of Augustine, Aquinas, Owen, Turretin, Bavinck, Charnock, and a host of others have to say about the divine attributes.

  3. Well: you say 1) we are no longer to follow God, as He is discovered by us individually reading, following the Bible itself. Instead, we are told to follow 2) the Bible – and its God – but now primarily as interpreted to us, by church authorities. Like the Catholic Church, or its various creeds, like the Nicean.

    But 3) if so, then after all, God is now being defined, not by us and the Bible, but by churches. While 4) many sociologists and others, would say therefore, that since churches are now defining God, in effect, churches have now interpolated themselves as our religious leaders; as our God. (From Berger and Luckmann’s book, The Social Construction of Reality).

    Presenting themselves as the sole authorized/authoritative agency through which we know God, in effect, churches present themselves, AS God.

    This of course, is a bad thing.

  4. Brett:

    1 and 2. I am not suggesting that Christians follow the catholic church rather than God. Instead, I am suggesting that the Free Church Tradition consider trusting God’s work through the Holy Spirit in and through the Christian Church’s creedal heritage. Rather than downplaying trust in God, I am suggesting a greater trust in God’s work not only in the present but in the past as well.

    3. I would not make such a strong distinction between “us and the Bible” and “by churches.” I am writing to the Free Church tradition who would assume themselves to be both the church and the interpreters of the Bible.

    4. I don’t have such a pessimistic view of God’s capacity to work through the Body of Christ, nor did Paul, or Peter, or the rest of the early apostles of the Church. The Free Church tradition of Protestantism doesn’t see themselves as defining God; they see themselves as seeking God through the Scriptures, the medium through which they believe God mediates knowledge of himself by the work of the Holy Spirit.

    Finally, I am not suggesting that the Free Church Protestant tradition present itself as “the sole authorized/authoritative agency through we know God.” Your worry presumes that knowledge of God is unmediated (either through the church’s ministries or through Christian scriptures), and this has not been predominant view of the Church throughout its history.

  5. Following the Free Church tradition, I am indeed reading the Bible differently than the core traditions are presenting it. I’m reading it specifically, as NOT urging confidence in churches, and other mediating agencies and credos. In my reading, the Bible often warned about false things in our religion; and in our churches; and even in the highest disciples. So that we should not follow their ruled readings of scripture too faithfully.

    There are at least a hundred references in the Bible, to sins in each and every aspect of institutional Christianity. Including sins in churches; in even angels; and even in disciples like Peter and Paul.

    1) For example, consider “angels.” After God warned of sins in generally, “all” – “all have sinned” – note specific warnings from God about, specifically, bad things in angels, whose name means, significantly, “messengers” from God. Note that even our messengers from heaven itself, sinned:  “Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they were defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven” (Rev. 12.7-8 Revised Standard Version); “Even his angels he charges with error” (Job 4.18); “all the host of heaven will rot away” (Isa. 34.4); and “God did not spare the angels when they sinned” (2 Peter 2.4); “To what angel has he ever said, “Sit at my right hand’?” (Heb. 2.5).  “It was not to angels that God subjected the world” (Heb. 2.5). Satan in fact, was an angel; and to this day, “Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Corin. 11.14). The Bible therefore advocating “Neither death, nor life, nor angels” (Rom. 8.38). When someone bows down to an angel, this happens:  “Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, ‘You must not do that!  I am a fellow servant with you and your comrades…. Worship God!” (Rev. 19.10 NRSV).

    2) This warning extended to warnings about churches: “To the angel of the church … I have not found your works perfect in the sight of my God” (Rev. 3.2, also 2.4, 2.13-14-16, 2.18-20; 3.14-19).

    3) Regarding say, Peter and Paul? God often warned about false “apostles,” plural; more than a) Judas (John 21.20-24).  Shockingly, shatteringly, God warned about bad things in the Twelve Apostles by name. For example: b) St. Peter, the first Pope, the “rock” of the Church, once told Jesus that Jesus was wrong in something, “rebuking” Jesus (Mat. 16.22). And c) then, therefore, Jesus revoked his endorsement of Peter; Jesus calling St. Peter “Satan,” in Mat. 16.23:  “He turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan!  You are a hindrance [“stumbling block”] to me; for you are not on the side of God, but of men.’”  In fact, d) the Apostle St. James admitted, of himself and other apostles no doubt:  “we all make many mistakes” (James 2.2).  Then e) St. Paul admitted himself, at the time when he wrote his part of the Bible, was “not … perfect” (Php. 3.12).   Confirming Jesus – who called Peter “Satan,” and noted he would “deny” him many times -  Paul too noted problems with St. Peter or  “‘Cephas’ (which means Peter)” (John 1.42): “When Cephas [Peter] came to Antioch I opposed him to his face, because he … acted insincerely” (Gal. 2.11, 13).  

    In my Free Church reading of the Bible, we are warned constantly about all mediating agencies between man and scripture, or God; including not only angels or “messengers” from God; but also essentially all churches; and apostles. Including specifically, Peter and Paul. Indeed, Paul condemns Peter at times. (While there are also enough warnings about “false spirits” to suggest that even the “inspiration” of the “Holy Spirit” could be faked, and was often unreliable, in correcting Apostolic and Ecclesiastical sins and errors.)

    Are you urging me to give up these and other open/independent readings, and follow your theologians here; and/or the documents of early theologians they follow? Like Nicea?

    Most priests and churches today claim that we should follow them and their more traditional readings of scripture, as defined by the Church, or then classic Protestant churches. But the Bible often warned about churches in general, their doctrines and creeds and oaths; telling us finally “do not trust in these deceptive words, ‘This is the temple of the LORD’” (Jer. 7.4).

    I feel I might support the Free Church therefore; there are many indications in the Bible that strict religion, stricter, proper churches – including classic Protestant churches and their classic creeds – are unreliable. So that following their “ruled” readings, would be just to follow them, into longstanding sin and error.

    • Brett, being as charitable as I possibly can, I can only say that there are more misunderstandings here of what I am trying to suggest than I have time to respond to. I am fully aware these misunderstands may be my fault and not yours, but the fact still remains I don’t have the luxury of time to try and clear them all up.

      Instead, let me ask an honest question: what is your underlying worry or argument that funds so many of your comments here on TF? Your comments are quite often highly polemical and appear only as foils for some deeper argument you are trying to get across. Said differently, you rarely seem to really interact with the content of our posts, instead rolling out arguments that seem vaguely connected to the topic at hand. But, always just below the surface I detect some seething discontent that boils over, bubbling up into your expansive, disgruntled comments.

      So I just have to wonder: what is it that drives your comments here? Can you just put it on the table so we can actually discuss the points and topics that our posts are trying to address? I mean this sincerely.

  6. great post…i wanted to mention something related to Williams and Baptist life. There are a growing number of Baptists wrestling with many of these same questions regarding ecclesiology and individualism by looking to earlier Baptist history and that of the catholic faith for direction and reform. The Baptist Manifesto, now 12 years old, set a new course for a group of scholars (listed at the end of the document).

    Read the Baptist Manifesto here…

    http://www.divinity.duke.edu/docs/faculty/freeman/ReenvisioningBaptistIdentity.pdf

    • Ryan, many thanks for this. I will read with great interest. From your own experience, how have you seen these issues play out in church settings? (I am more interested in this post in church readings of Scripture via preaching and bible study both individual and communal)

      • that is a good question kent. one of things that struck me during seminary was what appeared to be a rising interest in the church calendar, higher liturgical forms and the lectionary among free church folk. it seems many had experiences that brought them away from trying to “recreate” the weekly sunday experience. others wanted to connect with the church catholic in their sunday worship…perhaps seeking Christian unity. still others took a middle position as a way of avoiding the potential “soapbox” preaching topics. but i would say all have potential roots within contemporary distortions brought about by individualism.

        as a side note…one of the things that struck me back in those days as I studied liturgical traditions (interpretive methodologies aside) was the amount of scripture actually being read from pulpit far outweighed that being read by any Baptist church that i had ever been too.

  7. Kent, great post. A couple of quick thoughts. First, I find it interesting that this is the very criticism that Luther’s interlocutor’s raised at Worms. If Luther can appeal to “conscience” and personal interpretation against the teaching authority of the church, then so can anyone. From this perspective, we are simply reaping what we sowed.

    That, of course, is not necessarily the case. A robust doctrine of the priesthood of all believers, but one that is divorced from an unhealthy individualism, and the ongoing work of the Spirit, should lead to a greater emphasis on the church in interpretation without needing a magisterium.

    Anyway, I mostly wanted to add to Ryan’s comment about how this is developing in baptistic circles (my tradition). Although I would agree that this has been on the rise in the seminaries, I can’t say that I’m seeing much in the churches yet. I still see mostly an unhealthy reliance on the pastor (a different kind of pope) or the individualism of “what it means to me.” It seems to me that we’re still a long way from a healthy, ecclesial reading of Scripture in our churches.

  8. Kent:

    Well, fair enough. It seems clear to me from your own comments, that neither of us has understood the other well enough. So by way of clarification:

    My objection to the present post, is to this specific entry, but also to several related ideas, expressed in several other posts. Expressed not just by Kent, but by several persons – like Kent and Kyle, and quoted authors. My objection would be to a general theme that I have seen emerging in this blog, over a month or so. Which, though apparently voiced by Protestants, seems to follow the classic attacks by the Catholic Church, against Protestantism. As Marc Cortez began to note above too.

    The theme I see emerging on this blog, seems to be to suggest that often, a) Christians rely too much just on the Bible itself, and their own thinking. Thus they b) ignore too much useful, conventional church and “creed”al and conventional “dogmatic,” “theological” guidance. And it is claimed by Kyle, c) they end up committing the alleged sin of “biblicism”; focusing too much on just the Bible. Or it it sometimes suggested, d) they end up with their own, often “individualistic” and eccentric, untutored interpretations of it. While ignoring useful contextualizations and commentaries and clarifications, by the early church fathers, or later major churches, and so forth. One e) case in point, recently mentioned elsewhere on this blog, would be the notion that the Bible presents in effect, a “Trinity”; a concept never explicitly named, in the Bible itself, and therefore sometimes not supported by Bible enthusiasts; but widely held by many to be a good example, of a useful guiding concept, offered by later church leadership. After the Bible was completed.

    The longstanding blog post theme that I see here, therefore f) urges the “retrieval” of classic church “creed”al guidance and “systematic dogmatics,” more respect for churches, their guidance and “creeds.”

    My objection would be that all this, in effect, as Marc began to note, tries to replay – and reverse – the Protestant Reformation. Attacking “solus scriptura”; while even repeating the old Catholic complaint about Protestantism, word for word: “every man his own Pope.” While stressing in effect, the church; those bodies which after the writing of the Bible, present themselves as useful authority, with their creeds and so forth.

    But the present attack on the Free Church, and individualist biblicism, merely attempts to revive a variation of the old, classic Catholic attacks the on core of Protestantism. (Though here a return to specifically, the Catholic Church is not the goal; just classic Protestant churches?). And therefore, this blog theme, can be responded to, answered, by the classic Protestant responses to Catholicism. Among them: noting corruption, bad things, even in the churches and creeds and ruled readings, we are supposed to submit to.

    The assertion seems to be that the Bible and the individual reader, are not enough; indeed, they never really existed. Rather, the Bible and individual readers, and their readings, were always to some extent formed by external churches, creeds, after all. And thus finally, maverick individual readers, those who protest against church authority, need to more consciously submit their readings of the Bible, to correction by established churches and their classic concepts. Especially “creeds.” Like Nicea. Particularly – as suggested elsewhere in this blog – we should all obey the rule of concepts, like the “Trinity” and so forth. The word “Trinity” not being found in the Bible itself; but being a classic example, of an allegedly irreplaceable concept adduced or clarified later on, outside the Bible; by later churches and commentators.

    The individual and the Bible “alone,” are not enough, it has been constantly implied on this blog by many writers; that is “biblicism.” Which leads in turn, to unguided, untheological, unchurchly, rebellious, eccentric readings: exaggerated “individualism.” To fix this, it is asserted, we need the guidance of later, post-Apostolic fathers, thinkers, theologians; to clarify things that the Bible had implied, but had not nailed down. Or the things, concepts, that some readers missed in their “individualistic” eccentricities.

    But my main objection to this, here, has been that this line of thinking, is essentially a replay of the Catholic attack on Protestantism; it attempts to reverse the Protestant Reformation. Asking us to give up on being individualistic Protestants, and follow the central authority of at least, classic (and even “The”) churches. But if so, then the current line of thinking can be objected to, in terms of the classic Protestant objections to Catholicism. And key among those objections, is that the central church institutions themselves, and their creeds, were themselves, corrupt and wrong. So that obedience to THEM, was no great virtue. (For example: though some Protestants accepted the Nicene creed, others did not; or they re-wrote it).

    And this counterargument, I supported from the Bible itself; noting all the times the Bible itself warned of sins and errors, in essentially every major element of institutional religion, “churches.” The fact is, there are problems even with the standard, institutionally-approved doctrines, “dogmatics,” and “creeds,” or “oaths,” that are constantly supported on this blog. The Bible itself warned of major problems with, sins in, the highest religious authorities. So that obedience to them, is no great virtue.

    That summarizes my objection to this specific blog theme. To be sure though, as Kent properly intuits, many of my objections on TF, stem from a more general idea or discontent of mine; a discontent with, as it turns out, nearly all conventional theology, and all existing churches and creeds. And with almost all religious authorities, aside from the Bible itself. A discontent whose basis I might explicate in a later post.

    Briefly though, I in general follow an orientation, that is seemingly attacked here: that in point of fact, the Bible in itself remains the most reliable (if selfdeconstructive) reference to God. And especially I believe that later and current churches – and their creeds, their dogmatics – got the Bible, and God, all wrong. So that in effect, by the way, the bulk of churches today, are ruled by false theology; including a false vision of Christ; a false Christ.

    Should we trust even our Protestant churches? In my larger view, the Bible warned that already in the time of Christ himself, many “false” things were already entering the new Christian tradition. In my opinion, this means that false things were already dominating Christianity and its institutions; entering angels and prophets and apostles and their sayings and creeds, from the very earliest moments of the formation of our religion. So that historical, conventional, institutional Christianity, is full of sins and errors and false doctrines, from the start; and to this very day.

    Which means that most longstanding and current theologies and churches and creeds, need to be rigorously critiqued and even opposed; not lovingly or dogmatically supported.

    • Brett, thanks for the clarification. Now that we have this on the table, I hope we can actually have interaction on the topics at hand, and not more veiled critiques motivated by your underlying worries over authoritarianism, the Catholic Church, and the magisterium.

      I am not going to go point by point down your list here. Blogging just isn’t the medium for this; its better for impromptu, exploratory interaction; its bad for trying to write exhaustively or conclusively. The later is better done in printed literature (journals, etc.) or in person when miscommunications and clarifications can be carried out quickly.

      I will say this: I am entirely for Sola Scriptura as I believe it was intended by the Reformers, but not the contemporary caricature as it is often paraded about, nuda Scriptura.

    • You do realize that Protestantism and Rome are not the only two options, right? There are also several flavors of Eastern Christianity to choose from (Eastern “Byzantine” Orthodoxy, Oriental “Coptic/Armenian/Ethiopian” Orthodoxy, plus the Assyrian Church of the East).

  9. I think of many Free Church believers I have known who operate under the unconscious pressure of picking up their Bible and reading it as if no one has ever read it before.

    Hi Kent, this is such a super piece and sadly I frequently witness folk throwing out with abandon, our creedal heritage.

    I would like to request permission to not only re-post on our blog with all due acknowledgments and links to you, but also on a Christian forum for debate and consumption.

    I will completely understand if you’d rather not allow this, and will provide a snippet / intro and link to this anyway, however, I feel I would spoil this if I commented too much…

  10. Pingback: Be your own Pope: On the Tyranny of Individualism | eChurch Christian Blog

  11. Here is a quote from Alister McGrath that hits upon this very issue:

    Evangelicalism celebrates and proclaims the supreme spiritual, moral, and theological authority of Scripture. At the Diet of Worms (18 April 1521), Martin Luther famously declared: “My conscience is captive to the word of God.” This powerful and bold statement resonates throughout evangelical history — a principled intention to listen attentively and obediently to Scripture, and to respond faithfully in our beliefs and actions. Yet evangelicals are aware that an emphasis upon the authority of Scripture cannot be uncoupled from the question of its proper interpretation. One of the major theological weaknesses of the “Battle for the Bible” within American evangelicalism during the 1980s was an apparent reluctance to accept that an infallible text was open to fallible interpretation. To assert the supreme authority of Scripture does not resolve how it is to be understood.

    This familiar problem is often cited as the Achilles’ heel of contemporary evangelicalism. How can the validity of competing interpretations of Scripture be determined without appealing to some ground of authority that ultimately lies beyond Scripture itself? Evangelicalism, having affirmed the supreme authority of Scripture, finds itself without any meta-authority by which the correct interpretation of Scripture can be determined. This question is usually resolved politically, rather than theologically, by committees or organizations laying down how certain texts are to be interpreted. Yet this is not a new problem, nor one that is unique to evangelicalism. It has been an issue for the Protestant theological tradition as a whole. How can conflict over biblical interpretation be resolved without ultimately acknowledging certain criteria or agencies as standing above Scripture? To place any means of adjudication above Scripture is ultimately to compromise its unique authority. This realization has led to a growing appreciation of the role that engagement with the past might play in contemporary evangelical biblical interpretation and systematic theology. . . . (Alister McGrath quoted from, “John Calvin And Evangelical Theology,” ed. Sung Wook Chung, ix-x)

    Sorry it’s a little long, but I think it at least addresses the related issues of how Protestants think of the Bible; and then further the mess it can lead to if we don’t indeed pay attention to how our forbears understood it (throughout church history). Sola Scriptura is different from Solo Scriptura.

  12. My main objection is this: should we trust the various ecclesiastical agencies that present themselves as the proper interpreters? More specifically, what I see advocated here, are established Protestant church traditions, with their “creeds.” Like the Nicene. But such ecclesiastical appeals, among other problems, seem too allied to or reminiscent of “The” Church, after all; which formulated the Nicene creed that even Protestants use, for example. And the appeal of Protestant churches, to their own authority today, seems all too reminiscent of the claims of the Catholic Church.

    Personally, far more than to churches and their traditions and interpretations, I relate to the freer explorations, of NONDENOMINTIONAL, ACADEMIC Theology. Which, at its best I assert, is not tied to any particular church, Protestant or otherwise. But which relies on more impartial, objective method. With NO committment to the “dead hand of the past”; old denominational doctrines.

    For this reason, I am attracted to the Free Church in some ways. Which oddly enough, at first seems like a merely naive, native approach to the Bible. But whose “free” approach to the Bible, reminds me of the freedom of academic, nondenominational, scholarly theology, and biblical criticism. Which indeed, normally reads the Bible in a way quite separate from earlier denominational committments.

    In a strange way, the supposedly naive Free Church, is arguably the true and best heir, of the Protestant tradition; 1)maintaining suspicion about all established churches, including not only the Catholic Church, but also the newer Protestant churches as well. While 2) it is oddly close to what I see as true academic theology; which has no denominational committments; and reads the Bible independently of all accepted ecclesiastical traditions.

    Indeed in a sense, I suggest, all good academic theologians are honorary members of the Free Church. While your complaint about lack of compliance to the Nicene Creed, about the Free Church, is probably, deeper down, a complaint about modern biblical criticism.

    So I’d like to tentatively defend the “Free Church.” In the name, in part, of academic freedom.

    (Incidentally, the original use of the term “Free Church” referred to those early Protestant churches that did not choose to ally themselves to the government, as the only official and legal church; like the Free Church of Scotland, as opposed to the Church of England).

  13. Great article, great discussion. In fine Protestant form, you all know how to comb through the theological fine points in precise detail.

    Just throwing out a suggestion: have you ever read Evangelical is not Enough by Thomas Howard? Fascinating book, a huge stepping stone on my spiritual journey. Howard is a great writer (formed greatly by C.S. Lewis) with a Shakespearean vocabulary, and he is also the brother of Evangelical writer Elisabeth Elliott.

    Peace,
    JL

  14. Pingback: The tyranny of individualism in interpretation | Everyday Theology

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