We understand that some strands of Baptist and evangelical life have not typically learned the habit of creedal thinking but have tended to emphasize independent Biblicism and personal exegesis. Perhaps that lies at the root of much of this dispute. But this is not to say that the debate is to be understood as taking place between those who take the Bible alone as the authority and those who add to the Bible a separate stream of authoritative tradition. It is rather to say that it is between those who submit to the Bible on the basis of private judgment alone and those who wish to submit to the Bible in the context of the communion of the saints throughout the ages.
As DGH would say, “Ding, ding, ding…”
It has always seemed to me that a major part of everything from the Baptists tp farther out on the “theological Left” [appropriate term?] has been independent biblicism and personal exegesis.
This is a great response to the kind of ‘false dichotomy’ sometimes posited between the Word of God and the word of man. We tend to forget that the majority of the Bible was written to the community of faith and not merely to individuals. Paul, for instance, wrote the majority of his letters to the entire church and expected them to be read and understood in that context. It is only our highly individualized cultural milieu that leads us to think otherwise. I love John Webster’s phrase: it is in communion with the “church’s exegetical fellowship” that we learn “how to give ear to the gospel.”