Friday, May 22, 2009

Take and read: O'Donovan on reading Scripture

"No collective spiritual exercise, no sacrament, no act of praise or prayer is so primary to the catholic identity of the church gathered as the reading and recitation of Scripture."

- Oliver O'Donovan, "The Reading Church:
Scriptural Authority in Practice"

This morning I had a supervision meeting with Professor O'Donovan that was (largely due to his graciousness) not the train-wreck I had been somewhat anxiously anticipating (this in itself was quite ironic, since the topic at hand was some of my work on, well, anxiety - more on that soon).

During the course of our meeting, he mentioned somewhat dismissively a lecture he gave recently, and which I had heard about, but not read. It is a lecture reflecting upon the "Scripture" clause of the recent Jerusalem Declaration delivered at GAFCON (and partially composed by some of my former teachers at MTC):
We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God written and to contain all things necessary for salvation. The Bible is to be translated, read, preached, taught and obeyed in its plain and canonical sense, respectful of the church’s historic and consensual reading.
The lecture is itself an exercise in careful attention to this text, but becomes far more than simply another comment on a recent highly publicised declaration. Having now read his lecture, I can assure you that his estimation of its worth is as far off the mark as my anticipation of our meeting this morning. Take and read. Not just the lecture, but, of course, the Scriptures which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
NB Reading will take time, but that is the point: "Acts of reading that refuse the text patience invariably miscarry."


michael jensen said...

the Funniest thing about the lecture is the way he says that the framers are influenced by the 'Yale School'. This was found HIGHLY AMUSING by the guys who wrote it! But it is an excellent piece. A landmark.

Matthew Moffitt said...

What did he mean by saying that the framers were influenced by the Yale School (Brevard Childs)?

michael jensen said...

He meant that instead of talking about properties like 'inerrancy' they talked about the community in relation to scripture.

Mark Thompson WAS rather surprised to be counted among Hans Frei!!

Anonymous said...

horay your meeting wasn't bad! Billxxx

Matthew Moffitt said...

Ha ha ha, I bet MDT was rather surprised by that.

Matheson said...

Byron, thanks for this beautiful post. Having now read the piece, I think MPJ's assessment is perhaps not far from the mark. I'm feeling rather thankful to God right now for O'D's ministry as a theologian and Church leader!

Drew said...

not the train-wreck I had been somewhat anxiously anticipating The humbling experience of PhD candidature: I routinely thank God for gracious supervisors!

bigdog said...

Hello Byron

Just read O'D's lecture. Very edifying and helpful. Thank you.

byron smith said...

Hey Victor, good to hear from you and glad you enjoyed it.