Theology and Hermeneutics

THE NEW HERMENEUTIC:

TOWARD THE FORMULATION OF A NEW EVANGELICAL ORTHODOXY

by Peter W. Van Kleeck, Sr.

A paper submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the course “Interpretation and Application in Expository Preaching,” Bob Jones University, March 2006

Introduction

            The multi-layered dialectic of biblical interpretation called the “new hermeneutic” properly is a radical departure from the old grammatical/historical hermeneutic that characterized pre-critical, Reformation era biblical interpretation.[1] Adopting the same hermeneutical principles designed to express the search for the historical Jesus, the Evangelical implementation of this interpretive methodology, in its present form, is presented as a scholarly interpretive improvement of what it deems the less enlightened historical/grammatical method of interpretation. Evangelicalism, at this stage of its theological and hermeneutical evolution, by accepting the new hermeneutic, displays a theological ambivalence and ambiguity that is both the expression and source of its departure from pre-critical exegesis. Historic orthodox theological formulation and grammatical/historical exegesis are inseparably connected. The churchly, exegetical rendering of the text determines the theology of the believing community and the theology of the believing community restrains the exegetical rendering of the text. The mutual reinforcement of exegesis and theology resides at the foundation of orthodox theological and exegetical codification.

Demonstrating continuity with the grammatical/historical methodology by borrowing the pre-critical template of mutual reinforcement, the historical Jesus, or the radically “this-worldly” Jesus, and the new hermeneutic are likewise inseparably connected. The historical criticism of the text determines the “theology” of its adherents, and this transcendentless search for historical Jesus sets the interpretive parameters for the new hermeneutic.[2] James M. Robinson, on the first major expression of the new hermeneutic, Hermeneutik, written in 1954 by D. Ernst Fuchs[3] remarks,

And perhaps nowhere more clearly than here does one hear the central role of language in a new theology that has its two foci in the historic Jesus and hermeneutics. For the ‘historic’ and ‘hermeneutic’ is heard not at ‘understanding in speechless profundity,’ but as ‘translation into language that speaks today.’ Thus hermeneutic is the method suited to the ‘historic Jesus,’ and the historic Jesus is the material point of departure for a recovery of valid hermeneutic.[4]

The new hermeneutic provides the correlative interpretive methodology to reflect the historical criticism’s Jesus, thus providing a post-critical parallel to the mutual reinforcement of pre-critical exegesis and interpretation.[5]

Pre- and post-critical hermeneutical discontinuity between the two methodologies is, however, manifested in the interpretive result. For the orthodox, churchly tradition, as said above, the correlative results in codified doctrine, a standard, authoritative theological statement of the exegetical findings. The confessions of the Church are specific references to this codification. The new hermeneutic, conversely, because of its design to interpret the evolving scholarly discipline of historic criticism can never provide a standard interpretation. Indeed, as will be shown, the notion of codification, for the new hermeneutic is considered an absurdity.

How one interprets the Bible depends wholly on one’s a priori acceptance of the Scripture as God’s Word or not. Scripture will be rendered in a fashion whereby the communicator is allowed to say only those things God has already said,[6] a methodology, as we will see, its advocates pejoratively call, dogmatics. Contrariwise, being freed from the confines of verbal, plenary inspiration, revelation is defined as “what every sincere religious man believes to be divine truth,” and which is “capable of as much variation as marks the life and thinking of different persons living under different conditions in various periods of history.”[7] Case succinctly encapsulates the quintessential existential factor of the new hermeneutic, the operative alternative to the historical/grammatical method. Although the full ramifications of modern hermeneutical developments have yet to be realized, revisiting the seminal factors of the present hermeneutical trajectory will give a likely indication of the condition of this kind of biblical hermeneutic when fully realized.

The Philosophical Basis for the New Hermeneutic

            Robert L. Thomas’ book Evangelical Hermeneutics sets the trajectory of modern hermeneutics away from the traditional hermeneutic, which is exegetically based grammatical/historical method of interpretation based upon a high view of Scripture’s verbal, plenary inspiration. Though written for a popular readership, Thomas briefly references the philosophical factors that generated the conceptual platform for the new hermeneutic. Being overly careful not to lay a summative template over the contemporary hermeneutical environment, Thomas raises key issues and concerns regarding the course of modern methods of biblical interpretation.

Thomas succinctly introduces the foundational philosophical underpinnings of the new hermeneutic and correctly identifies the writings of Immanuel Kant as the source.[8] The residual results of Kantian hermeneutics trickling down into Evangelicalism and the interpretation of Scripture distinctively and decisively separate pre-critical exegesis and the grammatical/historical interpretation of Scripture from the new hermeneutic. Thomas, however, does not take up the polemic against historic orthodoxy of this radically a-theistic groundwork. Consequently, a little more insight into the writings of new hermeneutic’s progenitor, Immanuel Kant, seems obligatory.

For the purposes of this paper, “The elusive quest to define the Enlightenment”[9] will find its measure in the writings of Kant. Kant rejects the historic, orthodox, churchly exegetical conclusions and theology as the basis for his hermeneutic. This a-theistic premise since Kant’s pronouncement has not changed though the philosophical expressions of this presupposition have.

In his three Critiques, [10] Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) worked out the matter of hermeneutics with “great care” and provided four rules of this interpretation. His first rule speaks “of human consciousness as sufficient in itself and therefore the source of the categories to be employed to determine what can and cannot exist in fact, must be taken as basic for the reinterpretation of any teaching of Scripture.”[11] Rule number one reflects the core principle of the Enlightenment: homo mensura; “man is the measure.”

Kant’s second rule states, “nothing is to be believed on the authority of Scripture as such; the standard of faith is what man’s practical reason regards as morally profitable.” [12] In keeping with the first rule, man’s practical reason will affirm those “concepts without which moral experience would be unintelligible or impossible” (the concept of “the highest good”) while also restraining “dogmatism and fanaticism that claim on moral grounds to have insights into ultimate metaphysical realities.”[13] Kant wholly rejected the authority of Scripture, traditionally accepted as the inspired revelation of God.

Moving beyond bibliology to theology proper, Kant’s third rule states that the idea of a “higher enabling power must be rejected.”[14] For Kant, God exists by “rational faith [faith derived from reason], and not in the form of a claim to metaphysical knowledge of the nature of ourselves and of the being of God.” [15] Kant argued that by making the subject’s perspective an intricate factor of the interpretive process, an unknowing projection of the subject’s perceptual template over the object was avoided.[16] Kant held that metaphysics, including the study of God, was the result of this unknowing projectionism. By refocusing philosophy on the pure and practical reason of man beginning with his own reason, Kant sought to free mankind from the authority of God’s Word.

Once God and God’s revelation to man was removed from the hermeneutic and replaced with reason, what man can know of Scripture can only be known within the limitations of history.[17] Inside this closed causal continuum, “He who observes these four hermeneutical rules may make the message of the New Testament acceptable to modern man. He can interpret Christianity to make it practicable and useful. He can interpret it so that it can be help to him in his desire to lead a true moral life. He has had revelation speak to us through the concepts of our understanding.” [18]

Observing the link from Kant to those that followed his philosophy, Van Til explains the,

reinterpretation of historic Christianity which Kant offers in terms of his hermeneutical rules is, accordingly, largely similar to that which recent philosophers of religion and recent theologians offer. A glance at the teachings of Barth, Bultmann and their followers (who seek to go beyond them) show that their program of an existential interpretation of Scripture follows closely in the direction suggested by Kant.” [19]

Beginning from a radically this-worldly perspective, the new hermeneutic’s purpose is to convey the text’s transcendentless of God’s Word. Once the Scripture is confined to a closed, causal, historic context, a suitable methodology to interpret such a text became necessary and thus the formulation of the new hermeneutic began.

The conspicuous heterodoxy of the new hermeneutic’s beginning raises or should raise some concerns as to the future of Evangelicalism.[20] For Thomas to write with such nuanced caution of Evangelical hermeneutics, warning of the new hermeneutic’s impact on Evangelicalism, says two things, both of which are regrettable. Evangelicalism is embracing a heterodox interpretive scheme and thus in this interpretive practice is heterodox, and its embracing appears to be welcomed by Evangelicalism.

Following Robinson’s definition, Van Til observes,

The method of the new hermeneutic is, accordingly, all comprehensive. Christian faith stands or falls with the historic Jesus. But we cannot know the historic Jesus except as a correlative to the method of the new hermeneutic. This interdependence of the historical Jesus and the new hermeneutic is built upon the presupposition that all reality is historic (Geschichtlich]).”[21]

Therefore, the question remains as to the degree this critical, transcendentless hermeneutic affects Evangelicalism.[22]

Thomas, throughout Evangelical Hermeneutics comes to one telling conclusion relating to the new hermeneutic that has direct significance upon the modern Evangelical tradition, a tradition that purports to hold to a high view of Scripture and in particular Scripture’s inspiration. Thomas concludes the new hermeneutic and verbal inspiration are incompatible with each other. He accents the demise of the churchly definition of plenary inspiration by advocates of the new hermeneutic and emphasizes the need to return to this pre-critical presupposition of the nature of the biblical text. He leans heavily upon the unifying character of verbal inspiration[23] as a backdrop for the hermeneutical discontinuity of the New Hermeneutic.[24] Thomas’ connection between the New Hermeneutic and the rejection of verbal inspiration is forcefully stated by Robert Funk in his article “The Hermeneutical Problem and Historical Criticism.” Supplying the critical basis for the popular expression of the new hermeneutic, Funk explains, “Biblical theology [historical criticism] began by having to challenge the very basis on which it rested, viz., the orthodox doctrine of verbal inspiration. The challenge was necessitated by the desire to break the effective control of dogmatics over the interpretation of Scripture and to establish biblical theology as a historical discipline.”[25] From positions both critical and accepting of the new hermeneutic, verbal, plenary inspiration is either the solution to implement or the problem to overcome. Either way, what one believes about verbal, plenary inspiration is at the crux of the hermeneutical question.[26]

Thomas is unquestionably correct when discussing the demise of inspiration at the hands of the new hermeneutic. He has identified the essential feature of Evangelical biblical interpretation, which is to say a departure from historic orthodoxy to embracing post-critical heterodoxy.

The Composition of the New Hermeneutic

Succinctly stated, three elements comprise the core of the new hermeneutic. The first is that of herald or spokesman, where

the language is itself interpretation and not just the object of interpretation. Hence, hermeneia can mean “linguistic formulation” or “expression” and it can be used to designate a work on logical formulation or artistic elocution, the discipline we today call “speech.” [27]

The second factor is that of transferring meaning, a distinctive of the new hermeneutic that “understand[s] its task of translating meaning from one culture to another, from one situation to the other.” [28] The third element of the new hermeneutic is that of commentary, “where no foreign language was involved but where the obscurity of an utterance or text called for some clarification.” [29]

Lest one think that this threefold hermeneutic reflects only the radical perspective of the historic critic, note the corresponding “fundamental sets of priorities” developed by the father of modern translation technique, Eugene Nida. For linguistic formulation or speech, Nida’s third priority is that, “the aural (heard) form of the language has priority over the written form.” Addressing the matter of translation, Nida’s first priority is that “contextual consistency has priority over verbal consistency (or word-for-word concordance).” Furthermore, the new hermeneutics emphasis upon the rendering also being commentary is reflected in Nida’s second fundamental priority: “dynamic equivalence has priority over formal correspondence.”[30] Of dynamic equivalence Thomas hedges, “Perhaps commentary is too strong a word to describe a D.E. product, but it seems that something such as ‘cultural translation’ or ‘interpretive translation’ would be more in keeping with the principles espoused by linguistic authorities.”[31] Dressed in Evangelical vestments, historic criticism and its surrogate, the new hermeneutic, has adopted a kinder, gentler, easier-to-read look. The goal, therefore, of the new hermeneutic is to replace the exegesis of an inspired text using a grammatical/historical hermeneutic with a self-proclaimed superior, more comprehensive, three-fold hermeneutic (speech, translation, commentary) of a radically this-worldly Scripture,[32] and which necessarily incorporates the receptor’s thought content into the interpretation.

The methodology for formulating this transcendentless text is based in historic criticism. “The rise of historical criticism brought with it the acknowledgment of the contingency of the word, and therefore of the relativity of the expression of every word. It is this proposition which must be affirmed over against theologies of transcendence which emphasize the giveness [intrinsic meaning] of the word.”[33] Funk plainly states his case:

As an antidote to the tyranny of dogmatic theology, historical criticism held up the dogmatic appropriation of the text against the integrity of the text and found the former wanting. As a result, dogmatics was denied the right, at least in principle, to base its claims on the text.[34]

Indeed, the sense of liberty the critical school maintains, having disposed of inspiration and dogmatic projections of the metaphysical, is by them considered a noble venture. What was once for the critic mere exegesis has, with the new hermeneutic, blossomed into a more proficient methodology for relaying meaning. Robinson, building on Funks analysis, adds, “The profound implication that these three functions belong together as interrelated aspects of a single hermeneutic was lost in traditional hermeneutics, which was the theory of but one aspect of hermeneia, exegesis,”and that,

This narrowing of the concept may suggest that some of the dimensions of the hermeneutical task had been lost from sight. Thus the rather explicit return to the breadth of hermeneia on the part of the new hermeneutic is to be seen not an etymological pedantry, but rather as a new grasp of the proportions and nature of the hermeneutical task. [35]

The new hermeneutic links together historical criticism, a reader/receptor conceptual translation technique and an optimistic spirit of making the hermeneutical task a genuinely utilitarian enterprise. This contemporary perspective of the benefits of the new hermeneutic casts the pre-critical grammatical/historical exegesis of orthodoxy in a uniformed, obstructionistic, light.

Having confined Scripture to a closed causal continuum, the new hermeneutic is designed to express the text within this radically historic context. Thus, authentic faith,

is therefore compelled to accept the full historicity of the word since it denies to itself any extrinsic basis. For this reason “faith is at the mercy of the complete questionableness and ambiguity of the historical.”[36]

Furthermore,

If the historian or exegete is engaged in the ruthless exposure of the text as a human word, he is opening the way for a fresh appropriation of the intention of the text because he is helping to let faith be what it is by exposing human pretension in all forms, and also because he is directing his criticism against the text from a locus occupied by himself…If it is understood that the church must renew its life at its source, historical criticism in this sense is not an option but a necessity.[37]

            The new hermeneutic is considered more honest, not projectionistic, and genuine because the critic, in criticizing the text, is criticizing himself, thus keeping both the text and his own preunderstanding in check. This straightforward openness, it is argued, will bring renewal to the church, but only if a radically historic text, conveying a radically historic Jesus is interpreted by critics committed to a radically historic hermeneutic that involves the critics thoughts as necessarily intrinsic to the rendering.

Conclusion

The theologian and statesman Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920), in commenting on the authority of Scripture, penned these words: “If Satan has brought us to the point where we are arguing about the infallibility of Scripture, then we are already out from under the authority of Scripture.”[38] As shown, this kind of pre-critical dogmatism is foreign to and rejected by the proponents of the new hermeneutic. Indeed, it could be argued that Evangelicals who uncritically espouse the principles of the new hermeneutic would agree with Kuyper. The synthesis of the new hermeneutic and pre-critical dogmatic theological confession highlights the noetic ambivalence of modern Evangelicalism.

            The remedy to maintaining the continuity of this contradictory set of principles is a return to a “Reformational philosophy and theology”and the “self-attesting Christ of the Scripture,”[39] but this change is not likely. Silva is correct when he says, “The development of biblical hermeneutics during the past two centuries cannot possibly be separated from the application of critical tools to the biblical text.”[40]

            Accepting the validity of Silva’s assessment, the only conclusion that remains is to admit Evangelicalism’s normative noetic ambivalence evidenced by the synthesis of the two contradictory factors: dogmatic, theological confessions and new hermeneutical practices. That theology and hermeneutic are correlative and given that the hermeneutical trajectory is away from the grammatical/historical exegesis of an inspired, sacred text, the presumption that Evangelicalism will become more secularized is not unwarranted, and without a return to pre-critical exegetical and interpretive methods, inevitable.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Carson, D. A, Woodbridge, John D., eds. Hermeneutics, Authority, and Canon. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1986.

Case, S. J. The Christian Philosophy of History. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1943.

Ebeling, Gerhard. “Word of God and Hermeneutic,” The New Hermeneutic, in New Frontiers in Theology, vol. 2. James M. Robinson and John B. Cobb, Jr., eds. (New York: Harper and Row, 1964).

Funk, Robert W. “The Hermeneutical Problem and Historical Criticism,” The New Hermeneutic in New Frontiers in Theology, vol. 2.James M. Robinson and John B. Cobb, Jr., eds. New York: Harper and Row, 1964.

Gaffin, Richard B. “Old Amsterdam and Inerrancy?.” Westminster Theological Journal 44 (1982).

Kant, Immanuel. The Critique of Practical Reason. Translated by Lewis White Beck. Third edition. New York: MacMillan, 1993.

Linnemann, Eta. Historical Criticism of the Bible. Translated by Robert W. Yarbrough. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1990.

Mayers, Ronald B. Religious Ministry in a Transcendentless Culture. Washington, D.C.: University Press of America, Inc., 1980.

Nida, Eugene A. and Taber, Charles R. The Theory and Practice of Translation. Leiden, E. J. Brill, 1974.

Nida, Eugene A. God’s Word in Man’s Language. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1952.

Robinson, James M. and Cobb, John B., eds. The New Hermeneutic in New Frontiers in Theology, vol. 2. New York: Harper and Row, 1964.

Robinson, James M. “Hermeneutics Since Barth,” The New Hermeneutic in New Frontiers in Theology,vol. 2. James M. Robinson and John B. Cobb, Jr., eds. New York: Harper and Row, 1964.

Silva, Moises. Has the Church Misread the Bible? Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1987.

Thomas, Robert L. Evangelical Hermeneutics. Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2002.

Van Till, Cornelius. The New Hermeneutic. Phillipsburg: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, 1974.


[1] James M. Robinson, “Hermeneutics Since Barth,” The New Hermeneutic in New Frontiers in Theology, James M. Robinson and John B. Cobb, Jr., eds (New York: Harper and Row, 1964), 2-5.

[2] For the broader significance of the omission of the transcendent, see Ronald B. Mayers, Religious Ministry in a Transcendentless Culture (Washington, D.C.: University Press of America, Inc., 1980).

[3] Cornelius Van Til, The New Hermeneutic (Phillipsburg: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, 1974), 7.

[4] James M. Robinson, “Hermeneutics Since Barth,” The New Hermeneutic in New Frontiers in Theology, vol. 2,eds. James M. Robinson and John B. Cobb, Jr. (New York: Harper and Row, 1964), 61.

[5] Van Til, The New Hermeneutic, 12.

[6] Moises Silva, Has the Church Misread the Bible? (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1987), 35: “…we can hardly claim to have developed a satisfactory approach if our exegesis is in essence incompatible with the way God’s people have read the Scriptures throughout the centuries.” [Italics in original]

[7] S. J. Case, The Christian Philosophy of History (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1943), 170 as cited by Robert W. Funk, “The Hermeneutical Problem and Historical Criticism,” The New Hermeneutic in New Frontiers in Theology, vol. 2, eds.James M. Robinson and John B. Cobb, Jr. (New York: Harper and Row, 1964), 195.

[8] Robert L. Thomas, Evangelical Hermeneutics (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 2002), 425: “Post-Kantian thinkers immediately dismiss this latter option [grammatical/historical hermeneutics]. We cannot, they say, return to pre-Kantian thinking and to a Descartes assumption regarding hermeneutics. They feel that humanity has ‘come of age’ with the advent of Kant’s dualistic philosophy and that to regress to how people thought before Kant would be a drastic mistake.”  Also see pages 41, 44, 53, 69, 124, and 128.

[9] John D. Woodbridge, “The Impact of the ‘Enlightenment’ on Scripture,” Hermeneutics, Authority, and Canon, eds.,D. A. Carson and John D. Woodbridge, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1986), 246.

[10] Critique of Pure Reason, 1787; Critique of Practical Reason, 1788; Critique of Judgment, 1790.

[11] Cornelius Van Til, The New Hermeneutic (Phillipsburg: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1974), 58. Three of the four rules are cited. Kant’s fourth rule rings with hollow anticipation of the future as he prognosticates, “inasmuch as man is obviously unable to attain to the realization of his moral ideals, he may in faith expect their realization after this life.”

[12] Van Til, The New Hermeneutic, 58.

[13] Immanuel Kant: The Critique of Practical Reason, 3rd ed, trans.Lewis White Beck (New York: MacMillan, 1993), xix.

[14] Van Til, The New Hermeneutic, 58.

[15] Kant: The Critique of Practical Reason, xviii.

[16] Kant: The Critique of Practical Reason, xviii.  Note the presence of the seminal dialectic of modern reader-oriented hermeneutics already present in the late 18th c.

[17] Robert W. Funk, “The Hermeneutical Problem and Historical Criticism,” The New Hermeneutic in New Frontiers in Theology, vol. 2,ed. James M. Robinson and John B. Cobb, Jr., (New York: Harper and Row, 1964), 185.  Rudolph Bultmann’s repeated emphasis was on history as a “closed causal continuum as the presupposition for the historical method.”

[18] Van Til, The New Hermeneutic, 58-59.

[19] Van Til, The New Hermeneutic, 59.

[20] Van Til, The New Hermeneutic, 196, 198.  Van Til analyzed the philosophical/theological underpinnings of the new hermeneutic in light of the application of Kant’s ethical dualism and his “sharp antithesis between the world of science” and the “world of freedom and contingency.”  In summary, he concluded that what the adherents of the new hermeneutic must do is “to dispose of orthodox content and retain unorthodox content.  The orthodox teaching with respect to God’s miraculous redemptive work in history must be excluded.”

[21] Cornelius Van Til, The New Hermeneutic, 12.  Geschichtlich: the all reality is historic.

[22] Silva, Has the Church Misread the Bible?, 42-43: “The development of biblical hermeneutics during the past two centuries cannot possibly be separated from the application of critical tools to the biblical text.  This factor raises a series of major problems.  In the first place, the interpretation of the Bible now appears to require expertise in a number of highly specialized subdisciplines.  Does this qualification put the Scriptures out of reach of most believers?  Can we possibly claim that the Bible is clear? [Italics in original]

[23] Thomas never refers to the traditional formula of verbal plenary inspiration throughout the length of his volume. This may be due to his own evolutionary notion of the text of Scripture as noted on p. 438: “The more evidence we have, the higher the degree of probability we can attain for our interpretations. The practice of exegesis, therefore, is a continual search for greater probability and a more refined understanding of the Bible.”

[24] Thomas, New Hermeneutics, 252, 275, 287, 304, 326, 328, 363, 380, 388, 392, 412, 426, 481-82, 509. Thomas questions Eugene Nida’s and Moises Silva’s adherence to inspiration as the unifying nature of Scripture on pages 210 and 211.  Of Nida, Thomas surprisely writes, “Who would dare to say that words written by divine inspiration would show the same redundancy that allegedly characterizes modern communication?” 

[25] Funk, “The Hermeneutical Problem and Historical Criticism,” 193.

[26] See Eta Linnemann, Historical Criticism of the Bible, trans. Robert W. Yarbrough (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1990), 142-149.

[27] James M. Robinson, “Hermeneutics Since Barth,” The New Hermeneutic in New Frontiers in Theology, eds. James M. Robinson and John B. Cobb, Jr. (New York: Harper and Row, 1964), 2-3.  Gerhard Ebeling holds that “in actual preaching God liberates himself from the fixed, presentable, objectified text of the past;” Gerhard Ebeling, “Word of God and Hermeneutic,” The New Hermeneutic, in New Frontiers in Theology, vol. 2,ed. James M. Robinson and John B. Cobb, Jr., (New York: Harper and Row, 1964), 109: Thus the text by means of sermon becomes a hermeneutical aid in the understanding of the present experience. [italics in original]

[28] Robinson, “Hermeneutics Since Barth,” 4.

[29] Robinson, “Hermeneutics Since Barth,” 5.

[30] Eugene A. Nida, Charles R. Taber, The Theory and Practice of Translation, (Leiden, E. J. Brill, 1974), 14.  Nida provides examples of these translational applications of these fundamental priorities in God’s Word in Man’s Language (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1952), 23: John 14:1, “Do not shiver in your livers; you believe in God, believe also in me”; 140-141: “The Eskimos in Barrow, Alaska, describe reconciliation in the simple terms of ‘making friends again.’  That is to say ‘God was in Christ making friends again with the world.’” 152: “In the Kabba-Laka language meekness consists in ‘having the inner being of a child.’”

[31] Thomas, Evangelical Hermeneutics, 95.  Italics in original.

[32] Funk, “The Hermeneutical Problem and Historical Criticism,” 182-183: “…it is necessary to recognize a basic premise without which the historical method is simply irrelevant.  The premise is the radical historicity of the word of God…Only if the word is regarded as fully human and therefore historically conditioned word can historical criticism be of service.”

[33] Funk, “The Hermeneutical Problem and Historical Criticism,” 182.

[34] Funk, “The Hermeneutical Problem and Historical Criticism,” 184.

[35] Robinson, “Hermeneutics Since Barth,” 6.

[36] Funk, “The Hermeneutical Problem and Historical Criticism,” 185-86.

[37] Funk, “The Hermeneutical Problem and Historical Criticism,” 186.

[38] Richard B. Gaffin, “Old Amsterdam and Inerrancy?,” Westminster Theological Journal 44 (1982), 271-272.

[39] Van Til, The New Hermeneutic, Preface.

[40] Silva, Has the Church Misread the Bible?, 42

Published by Dr. Peter Van Kleeck, Sr.

Dr. Peter William Van Kleeck, Sr. : B.A., Grand Rapids Baptist College, 1986; M.A.R., Westminster Theological Seminary, 1990; Th.M., Calvin Theological Seminary, 1998; D. Min, Bob Jones University, 2013. Dr. Van Kleeck was formerly the Director of the Institute for Biblical Textual Studies, Grand Rapids, MI, (1990-1994) lecturing, researching and writing in the defense of the Masoretic Hebrew text, Greek Received Text and King James Bible. His published works include, "Fundamentalism’s Folly?: A Bible Version Debate Case Study" (Grand Rapids: Institute for Biblical Textual Studies, 1998); “We have seen the future and we are not in it,” Trinity Review, (Mar. 99); “Andrew Willet (1562-1621: Reformed Interpretation of Scripture,” The Banner of Truth, (Mar. 99); "A Primer for the Public Preaching of the Song of Songs" (Outskirts Press, 2015). Dr. Van Kleeck is the pastor of the Providence Baptist Church in Manassas, VA where he has ministered for the past twenty-one years. He is married to his wife of 43 years, Annette, and has three married sons, one daughter and eighteen grandchildren.

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