Faith and Tradition

Alister E. McGrath

in The Oxford Handbook of Evangelical Theology

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780195369441
Published online January 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Faith and Tradition

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Evangelicals have long recognized that an emphasis upon the authority of Scripture needs to be supplemented by attentiveness to the question of its proper interpretation. Evangelicalism, having affirmed the supreme authority of Scripture, finds itself without any meta-authority by which the correct interpretation of Scripture could be determined. This difficulty concerning the authority and interpretation of Scripture is not solved through an appeal to the principle that Scripture interprets itself. This still requires adjudication of the issue of which of a range of interpretations of Scripture is to be regarded as the most biblical—and this requires agreement on the authority by which this issue of biblical interpretation is to be resolved. Evangelicalism's multifaceted evaluation and use of the notion of “tradition” reflects its complex historical and ideological relationship with the sixteenth-century Reformation on the one hand, and the eighteenth-century Enlightenment on the other. The evidence suggests that evangelical theology is coming to view the theological heritage of the past as a resource and stimulus for its own reflections.

Keywords: Reformation; Enlightenment; evangelical theology; evangelicalism; tradition; Scripture; authority; biblical interpretation

Article.  6553 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Philosophy of Religion ; Christianity

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