Wednesdays are Wright (and sometimes Thursday): Authority


As I read this text, I am writing and responding.  You are getting my fresh thoughts, ones which are rather raw.  So, hopefully, this means that we will end up in conversation where we can interact over them and flesh it out a bit.  Up to this point I have been wrestling with how Wright was going to answer the Authority question.

He does so by arguing for the necessity of theology in understanding the New Testament (and really any historical work) due to theology’s central role in world view.  This then leads him into the question of authority which he answers this way:

“I am proposing a notion of ‘authority’…vested…in the creator god himself, and this god’s story with the world, seen as focused on the story of Israel and thence on the story of Jesus, as told and retold in the Old and New Testaments, and as still requiring completion. (143)”

Now that is a statement.  I am not sure if I am yet fully grasping the huge paradigmatic shift that Wright is arguing for here.  Typically authority is based on the ontological reality that the bible contains the words of God and therefore is authoritative.  However, because Wright is not starting with the assumption that the Christian ‘god’ is THE ‘god’ (it is this fact that Wright is seeking to prove) so he cannot begin with an ontological basis for authority.  He must get there in another way.  This he does by arguing that the story being told is authoritative because of the fact that it is indeed TOLD!

This seems to me to be a very interesting approach as it opens the door to conversation with those for whom the idea of a ‘god’ is ridiculous and certainly an authoritative text about this ‘god’ is even more silly.  However, if we begin with the reality that worldviews actually connect to reality and that the story held within the confines of the Old and New Testaments actually seeks to relate reality then we can engage on issues of veracity, or as Wright puts it, validation.

To be sure this feels like a leap to me.  However, I wonder is this really a semantic game?  What I mean is this: Is there actually any difference in Wright’s formulation of authority versus that of, say, the Westminster Confession?  What say you?