Nothing, that’s what.
David from Through a Glass Darkly responded to my article on Sola Scriptura here, along with notes about Jollyblogger’s comments about my article here. He thinks I offer a “caricature” of the Emergent church, which seems to always be the case anytime anyone criticizes the Emergent Church. David from Jollyblogger says this is because the Emerging Church is in flux, and therefore not easily categorized. And he’s right, but he’s also right when he says “though the postmodern/emergent movement is in flux, it has been pretty unified and consistent in criticizing earlier forms of doing theology and doing church.”
This is the point of my article. If you criticize “Sola Scriptura”, you do so because you think some other doctrine is more suitable. If “Sola Scriptura” teaches that the Scriptures are the supreme authority on any matter on which it speaks, then a movement away from that doctrine is to make it less of such a supreme authority, in some sense. And if Scripture’s not the authority, something else must be.
David talks about a book called Beyond Foundationalism which I have not read. But they feel the need to posit a different doctrine of Scripture than the Sola Scriptura. Why are they doing that? David at first tries to make the case that this book’s idea of a “norming norm” is not really all that different than “Sola Scriptura”. But if that’s the case, why the need for a new doctrine? Just so these guys can get their name attached to it? Or perhaps it really is somewhat different:
This isn’t to say the concept of a “norming norm” is necessarily the same thing as “sola scriptura.” The authors of Beyond Foundationalism seem at some points to suggest that the community not only interprets and applies the existing norms of scripture, but also creates the norms through the act of interpreting and applying scripture. Actually, the book is a bit dense on this point, and I’m not sure if I’m representing the authors’ views accurately. So, there may be some points of departure from classical doctrine which might be subject to criticism.
Well, either it’s not a departure from the classical doctrine, in which case it’s totally pointless to come up with some new name for a doctrine that’s already well-known by another, or it is a departure from the classical doctrine, in which case you better believe it’s “subject to criticism”. And the reason that it’s subject to criticism is because it’s an attempt to set up a different authority in competition with, or in place of, Scripture. And if Scripture isn’t an absolute authority, then you’re stuck in relativism. That’s why Postmodernism and all versions of Christianity which ascribe to it are always called relativistic- because they ARE relativistic. They become relativistic by the very process which makes them Postmodern. If you reject, in any sense at all, the idea that the word of God is not an absolute, and universally applicable authority on all subjects to which it speaks, then you’re stuck only with opinion and speculation. I know which one of those options I’d rather rest the fate of my eternal soul. The concept of a “norming norm” just doesn’t really inspire me with confidence.