Having Two Legs
The Blog of Toby J Sumpter
“The only way the Holy Spirit works to regenerate lost men and women is by the Bible. Peter said, ‘you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God’ (1 Pet. 1:23).” – J.M. Boice
Could you explain why the Logos there is the Bible, and not Christ? It has an entirely different meaning if we read the verse “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Logos of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”
Indeed the passage from Isaiah which Peter goes on to quote is referring to either the Torah, or the word of the Prophet. But the New Covenant continuation of the Torah and of the word of the Prophet is not the New Testament, but Jesus Christ, our King and our God. This passage is not about the Scriptures, but about Jesus Christ.
Hi Matt, thanks for your replies.
The short answer to your questions/points is that I do not see such a stark dichotomy between the Logos who is Jesus Christ and His words in Scripture.
To say that the NC continuation of the Torah/word of the Prophet is not the NT is to divorce the Speaker from His own words. The New Testament (and all of Scripture) is the word of Christ, the word of the Word by the powerful working of the same Holy Spirit in both instances (1 Pet. 1:10-12, 2 Pet. 1:17-21).
The Pharisees divorced the words from the Word in one direction (Jn. 5:39), but the same divorce can occur in the other direction as well, as some of Barth’s (supposed) devotees have done. But the Spirit holds them together when the Bible is read, preached, sung, and taught as Peter makes clear (1 Pet. 1:25) And Paul agrees (cf. Rom. 10:14-18, 2 Cor. 3-4:6).
But first, he seems to be putting Christ and His Church under the Bible–thus old pastors look to Psalm 119 to find the glory of the Bible; not to find the glory of the Torah, or the glory of the Logos of the Father. The latter two are legitimate readings of Pslam 119, the first is not. The Scriptures are about Christ, and have meaning thereby, but are not themselves “a light unto my feet and a lamp unto my path.” We can use them to illumine our path, but only because the Logos shines through them. While we should revere the Scriptures, we are not bibliolaters, for that is a form of idolatry; we are logolaters. And Psalm 119 is a form of worship for the Word of God.
And Second, the Scripture is not the only thing which testifies to the Word. Even from a good Reformed or Lutheran perspective this quote here, with his definition of the Word of God as the Bible, is wrong. Does not the Holy Spirit use Baptism to regenerate?
It would be more accurate to say that the only thing which the Holy Spirit uses to regenerate is The Logos of the Father, actively present in the life of His Bride, the Church, the Fullness of Him who fills all and is in all. That life necessarily includes the Scriptures, but is not limited to the Scriptures.
But even with that said, there are exegetical issues with how he uses that text. Even if his conclusion is correct, he is playing fast and loose with the Scriptures.
I’m confused by your verse citations. I am not trying to separate the preaching of Christ from Christ, I am trying to give them their proper place, as a part of the live of the Church, and in subordination to the Logos. Though the Scriptures are important in revealing the Logos of the Father, they are not themselves the Logos. They do not endure forever, the Eternal Logos does. Preaching Christ is important, but preaching Christ is not exactly the same thing as the Scriptures.
The same thing holds for the Romans passage. Preaching is important, I don’t deny that. But it isn’t the Logos, it carries the Logos. If it receives veneration it should be the same sort of veneration the Theotokos receives, for it is precisely the “God bearer”. (Though less than the Theotokos because by the Divine Will, she was active in forming the Logos, whereas the preacher only reveals the Logos who already has come into the world, and only a part of the Logos, rather than the whole Person.)
I’m not sure what the point of the Corinthians passage is. It when it uses “New Testament” it isn’t referring to the Scriptures any more than Christ was when He said “This is the New Testament in my blood.”
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Word made Flesh