In Defense of Doctrine: Evangelicalism, Theology, and Scripture
Author: Rhyne R. Putman
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Questions surrounding the relationship of Scripture and doctrine are manifold within the Protestant tradition. How can doctrine develop over time and maintain fidelity to the sacred text, especially for communities who cling to the Reformation principle of sola scriptura? Does not an appeal to contemporary, constructive theology belie commonly held Protestant and Evangelical convictions about the sufficiency of Scripture? Does admission and acceptance of doctrinal development result in a kind of reality-denying theological relativism? And in what way can a growing, postcanonical tradition maintain a sense of continuity with the faith of the New Testament?
Written from a his own confessional evangelical perspective, Rhyne R. Putnam's In Defense of Doctrine provides a positive examination of how to understand the relationship between Scripture and theology, yielding an apologetic for the ongoing development of doctrine in Protestant and Evangelical traditions. Putnam's approach suggests that doctrinal development can be explained as a hermeneutical phenomenon and that insights from hermeneutical philosophy and the philosophy of language can aid theologians in constructing explanatory theses for particular theological problems associated with the facts of doctrinal development, namely, questions related to textual authority, reality depiction and theological identity.
Joining the recent call to theological interpretation of Scripture, Putman provides a constructive model that identifies the theological task as more Spirit-led wisdom than interpretive science, forwarding a descriptive and normative pattern for reading Scripture and theological tradition together. For pastors, scholars and seminarians, In Defense of Doctrine delivers a critical discourse, evaluating how biblical interpretation leads to the formation of doctrine.
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