Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
03/18/2005 - James WhiteTim Enloe has written on his blog for March 16:
Especially as I read some of White's recent blog posts, I find it exceedingly difficult to imagine having to retract many things I have said about his views on this point. I believe that James White is defending what he honestly believes to be true on this point, but at the same time I honestly believe that White's view of sola Scriptura bears almost no relation to the principle and practice of the Protestant Reformers themselves but is instead better described as nuda Scriptura. This view of "naked texts" subsequently affects his view of hermeneutics and the nature and prospects of the exegetical task, and how he approaches and tries to reason with the members of other Christian denominations. Similarly, my view of sola Scriptura affects my thinking and practice on those points.
I honestly haven't a clue what "naked texts" are. What is the inspired Word "clothed" in for Mr. Enloe, or anyone else? Is tradition the "clothing" for the qeo,pneustoj (God-breathed) Word? If so, whose tradition? When did it become the clothing for the Word? When the Word was given, was it "naked" then, and has become more and more "clothed" as time has passed? As I read those who wish to somehow join the ultimate authority of Scripture to something else, for whatever reasons, I am always left wondering just how the resultant system is supposed to "work."
I note Mr. Enloe speaks to the fact that his views impact his hermeneutics as well. And indeed, such is a vital point. How does his view of "tradition" impact the exegesis of the text of Scripture? For example, how should Irenaeus' comments on the age of Jesus in John 8, in his battling against the Gnostics, impact my exegesis of that text today? Just a few weeks ago I preached through John 8 at PRBC: as I read the text, should my reading have been somehow influeced by Irenaeus' views? If so, how? How about anyone else in church history? Should I need to know how Augustine viewed the text? Jerome? Gregory? Wycliffe? Who? Does the text change in its meaning over those centuries and generations? Since I have often and repeatedly said there is everything good about learning from those of the past, surely the complaint is not that I ignore church history or the insights of those of the past. But I clearly do not believe everyone's interpretation is equally valid, nor do I believe the meaning of the text is in any sense altered by, or enslaved by, a "tradition" that develops over time. So, when I approach the text with my first desire to be to understand it as it was written by the original author is this what nuda scriptura is supposed to mean? When Calvin approached the text and rejected the interpretations offered in his day, was he engaging in nuda scriptura as well? I can't say, since I have not found a consistent usage of this terminology, and have never found anyone willing to offer the only kind of example that would be meaningful here: specifically, an exegesis of a text using Mr. Enloe's version of sola scriptura contrasted with the exegesis of a text I have offered, allegedly following nuda scriptura. I have published numerous works in which I offer an exegetical interpretation of a passage of Scripture. Surely there would be a suitable example from all of my published work whereby such a contrast could be offered. Possibly my recent sermons on John 8 would be useful? Perhaps it could be shown how, in my examination and application of these texts, I engaged in nuda scriptura? Given that I went into the Mishnah and provided the background to the texts, and then applied them to how we live our lives today, etc., this might be difficult, but I assume that if this is what I do on a regular basis, the contrast really should not be that difficult to draw. I would really like to see how these passages are interpreted via the "true" sola scriptura over against my own practice.