Obviously my posts are not perfectly perspicuous–sometimes even to me (when I go back and read them)!
This is not the second installment of my multi-part review of Smith’s book. Here I just want to clarify some matters raised by some of you.
One of my points is that EVEN IF the Bible were all that biblicism claims (as Smith defines biblicism) (setting aside his tenth assumption or belief of biblicism–that the Bible is a complete handbook of answers to all of life’s questions–which I think is blatantly wrong and not really held by any serious scholar) there would be PIP.
Now, I happen to think the Bible is NOT all that biblicists claim (as Smith defines biblicism). For example, Smith includes inerrancy in biblicism. I only confess Scripture’s inerrancy if I’m allowed to define inerrancy! It’s one of those terms that has very little meaning because of such a wide range of meanings given to it by even conservative evangelicals.
Putting that caveat aside for now, my point in my first installment of my review was that EVEN IF biblicism is a correct view of the Bible, PIP would be unavoidable due to human beings’ lack of perfect perspicacity, objectivity, etc.
Secondly, I tried to make the point that I believe the Bible IS perspicuous with regard to beliefs essential or important to salvation and dealing with how to live a life pleasing to God (at least in terms of generalities) even if it IS NOT perspicuous about secondary matters.
I think my analogy of the Constitution works. Some of you objected because the Constitution can be amended. That’s beside the point. EVEN AS AMENDED the Constitution gives rise to PIP. That we have a Supreme Court to hand down authoritative interpretations based on precedents doesn’t solve anything. There’s still PIP about it. Many people disagree with the Supreme Court decisions about what the Constitution means. And what good would it do to say the Catholic Church’s magisterium is like the Supreme Court–the authoritative body for interpreting the Bible? The only thing that MIGHT accomplish (but doesn’t in today’s RCC) is to enforce conformity to its decisions. It can only enforce conformity within itself. Even there, I would argue, PIP exists. But even if you disagree (which to me just means you’re not aware of all that’s going on in the RCC worldwide) there’s the fact that not all Christians are RCC–unless you think they are. The only way to avoid PIP, it seems to me, is to have a dictatorial leader of one tightly organized church body THAT IS THE ONLY GROUP OF CHRISTIANS with the power to enforce his interpretations on everyone. Some cults think they have that and, admittedly, PIP is minimal or non-existent within them. Who wants that?