Saturday, January 10, 2009

Are the Writings the Word? Check out this Passage

In college I had many long conversations about whether the Writings are the Word or not and spent many hours reading different passages and arguments about it. After all that I ended up being happy with calling the Writings the Word (with a few qualifications) but not thinking that it was directly taught anywhere.

But when we were discussing this question in a theological school class yesterday, Rev. Grant Odhner showed us a passage (that a lay person showed him) that gets pretty darn close to saying that the Writings are the Word directly. And it's not buried somewhere in the depths of Apocalypse Explained, it's right at the beginning of True Christian Religion:
... From these words it is clear that without the Lord's coming into the world no one could have been saved. It is the same today; and therefore without the Lord's coming again into the world in Divine truth, which is the Word, no one can be saved. (True Christian Religion 3)
Does it do it for you or is a leap still required?

2 comments:

Eli said...

Nope, doesn't do it! Most of the Writings clarify and reveal the truth of the Word (the old and new testaments). The Lord's second coming could be simply the truth of that clarification, as well as any truths revealed in the rest of the the Writings. But nothing in the statement means that all of "the Writings" is the Word. So I think there is still a leap. What have you decided? Anything?

Malcolm said...

I'm still willing to have my mind changed but where I am right now is that I'm fine with calling the Writings "the Word" as a way of expressing that they are Divine revelation. I'm not comfortable, however, with applying everything said about the Word (in the Writings) to the Writings themselves.

It's clear to me that the Writings mostly use "the Word" to mean the Old and New Testaments. They also seem to use it more broadly sometimes—e.g. "What the Divine has revealed, is with us the Word" (New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Doctrine 251). Recently, though, I've read some pretty good arguments that whenever the Writings talk about "the Word" they're talking about just the Old and New Testaments.

The important thing, to me, is to see the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Writings as different kinds of Divine revelation—all authoritative, but authoritative in different ways. There may be some difficult things to deal with in the Writings but I see everything in them as being there for a reason and therefore necessary to take into account in some way.

I'm also becoming increasingly convinced of the Grant Odhner school of thought in approaching the Writings which is, in a nutshell, to approach everything in the Writings in the light of the genuine truths or principle doctrines of the church.