Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Waltke on Theological Positions

Part One of Waltke and Yu's An Old Testament Theology: An Exegetical, Canonical, and Thematic Approach is given over to introductory matters relating the study of OT theology, Biblical theology, and hermeneutics. I found the closing section of chapter two to be particularly helpful. The sections is titled "CHRISTIAN" ATTITUDES TOWARD THE BIBLE (pp. 73-77).

Granted, the authors describe their categories as "simplistic" and a "cartoonish presentation;" however, these broad definitions are very helpful in that they provide a clear, and I think accurate, view of each theological position in relation to the others.

I have tried to identify the theological positions of authors for the TheoSource book lists and have found this to be a difficult task. Cyril Barber and John Glynn have also attempted to label authors according to their most obvious theological position, and sometimes I have to disagree with them. Sometimes their assessments disagree with each other. All in all, this is a difficult and some times dangerous task. But, we must attempt to determine the theological positions of the authors we read. As I said, I think that Waltke offers some very good help in this matter. Here is an outline of his view of the various theological positions:

  • Liberal Theologians Stand above the Bible
"...those who put reason above revelation and...embrace historical criticism..."
  • Neoorthodox Theologians Stand before the Bible
"These...[expect] that through preaching of the words of the Bible will become the word of God as the Bible's audience encounters them in the written "witness" to Jesus Christ."
  • Traditionalists Place Traditions/Confessions alongside the Bible
"...find their authority in both the text and in the tradition that accompanies it."
  • Fundamentalists Stand on the Bible
"...those who presume the Bible does not stray from their standards of accuracy, especially in matters of science and historiography. They presume their interpretive horizon represents truth and that the biblical writers...will not stray from the "accuracy" of their modern horizon."
  • Evangelicals Stand under the Bible
"...accept[s] the inerrancy of Scripture as to its Source and its infallibility as to its authority." "[He] consider[s] the Bible utterly trustworthy, and [he] commit[s] [his] life to it, but [he] do[es] not presume to know beforehand the exact nature of its parts. With this posture, [he] continue[s] to learn and allow [himself] to be taught and corrected by the Bible."


What follows is my attempt to graphically display these labels.

Waltke, Bruce and Charles Yu. An Old Testament Theology: An Exegetical, Canonical, and Thematic Approach. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007. Hardcover, 1024 pages.

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