Return to the Shadows?

Let it be stipulated that the Gospel is a cosmopolitan thing, not a provincial thing. The Gospel transcends cultures by breaking down the walls between them and bringing everyone without distinction into Christ (Galatians 3:28).

A certain variety of sola Scriptura prominent in Reformed circles never tires of proclaiming the necessity of holding a radical “antithesis” between two types of culture, “Greek” and “Hebraic.” We have to dump whatever is “Greek,” say advocates of this position, and get back to all things that are “Hebrew.” The Hebraic is pure, unadulterated divine culture; everything else is demonic deception of one degree or another, and the only proper approach to demons is to exorcise them.

Hand in hand with this view is the view of Scripture that says it is ithe only reliable source of truth, and that since Scripture speaks something to everything in our experience, there is no need to consult other sources to find truth. All other sources should be treated as guilty until proven innocent – that is, almost certainly false unless they happen to “agree with the Bible.” Of course, questions of interpretation of the Bible are generally glossed over: the Bible is, after all, “self-interpreting,” and so long as one claims up front to be “more consistent” than other Christians, all will be well with one’s worldview. One’s worldview will be “Hebraic,” and therefore, right.

I have been wondering of late if this version of sola Scriptura with all its assumptions and implications isn’t another form of the error Paul combated in which the Old Testament types and shadows were routinely allowed to overpower New Testament fulfillments, and all in the name of superior fidelity to the Scriptures.

For what is the idea that one particular localized culture (“the Hebraic” one) is intrinsically more godly, and so, superior, to all others if not a recapitulation of the Old Testament’s theme that God had chosen one nation to be His representative to all the others? Everyone else is, alas, distributed out on a spectrum of idolatry. Everyone else is, alas, stuck outside the camp, bearing the shame of their willful disobedience against God’s clear and encyclopedic revelation in the One Special Culture.

Advocates of this position likely would not state their view so baldly, but it does seem relevant to my point here that from such folks come the radicalisms of Theonomy, Van Tilianism, Exclusive Psalmody, and what for lack of a better term I would call “Old Testament Repristinationism.” Is all of this just a return to the types and shadows, a piously well-meant, but disastrously wrong, reversal of the old adage “The New is in the Old concealed; the Old is in the New revealed”?

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One Response to Return to the Shadows?

  1. kepha says:

    The Word made Flesh (New Covenant)transcends the Word made Text (Old Covenant)?

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