At last week’s American Baptist Biennial there was an excellent conference on "Biblical Authority." I picked up a couple of worthwhile quotes from the participants. The first has to do with the primacy of Jesus over scripture. We believe in scripture because it points us to Jesus. We do not believe in Jesus because we believe in scripture. The second has to do with the importance of maintaining the tension between the Spirit and the written Word.
The first was from David Bartlett:
...the first and fundamental claim is a claim about Jesus Christ [not the Bible]. He is the one Word whom we must trust and obey. Of course, we cannot talk about him without talking scripture because scripture, is where we find him... It is, as Luther said, “the manger where the Christ child is laid. Time and again we come to the manger because we find him there, but we worship the Child and not the manger.’"
If we have the Spirit alone we are in a morass of subjectivism. If we base our appeal on the Bible alone, apart from the work of the Spirit and the history of the people of God, we are in danger of reducing the message of faith to axioms of logic that can provide the basis for a rational system but are woefully inadequate for leading us into a personal relationship with the Living Christ.