John Richardson left a comment on my Jeffrey John post arguing that JJ “teaches a position contrary to Scripture”. I don’t believe this to be true – or, rather, I believe that this way of characterising the debate begs the question at issue.
Take the eating of shellfish, which is described as an abomination in Leviticus 11. This prohibition is overturned in the New Testament, most especially through Peter’s vision and the subsequent discussion in Jerusalem (Acts 11).
Does this change represent a change of detail or a change of method? That is, is this simply a case of amending a law code, leaving everything else as it stands – and, therefore, the ‘structure of righteousness’ as it stands? Or is this a demonstration of a new kind of authority, ie accepting ‘it seems good to the Holy Spirit and to us’ as of higher authority than the written law? So the gathered church has the authority to determine what is acceptable to God and what is not?
To say that JJ’s teaching is ‘contrary to Scripture’ is to assume the first to be the case. That is, at the very least, a debatable point – but what I want to emphasise here is that arguing in the way that JJ does is NOT ‘contrary to Scripture’, it is to interpret Scripture in a different way, one which is at least as grounded in the long Christian tradition as the post-Reformation emphases. Does anyone else find it odd that the Christian tradition that has most emphasised ‘sola gratia’ is the one that is most insistent on a legalistic understanding of Scripture in this debate?