Biblicism might sound like a good thing…but it’s not. Biblicism is a methodology that tends to introduce confusion and mystery into the Scriptures where there isn’t any. It also tends to confuse doctrinal and theological categories such as law/gospel distinction and faith versus works. Jon and Justin consider these things and more in this episode.
Semper Reformanda: The guys discuss how biblicism is related to theonomy and unhelpful views on the nation of Israel. And, as a bonus, we get into a little bit of eschatology.
Resources:Episode: Is the whole Bible about Jesus? Episode: Is your theological system any good?Series: Covenant Theology seriesBook: “Living in God’s Two Kingdoms” by David VanDrunnen
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Jon Moffitt: Hi, this is Jon. Today on Theocast, we are going to be explaining what biblicism is. There’s a lot of theological confusion and categories and systems and theologies that have been birthed out of biblicism. We’re going to explain to you what it is, how to refrain from it, and how to spot it when you see it. Stay tuned.
Today is a podcast we probably have been needing to do for a long time and we reference it often.
Justin Perdue: We even promised to do a podcast on it multiple times.
Jon Moffitt: I know. The real estate on the podcast is very small so we have to be choosy on what we pick.
Biblicism is a word. I saw someone use it the other day, saying, “I’m a biblicist.” Someone should tell him not to say that.
Justin Perdue: It’s not a badge of honor.
Jon Moffitt: It’s a negative thing and we’re going to explain to you why. Someone may think, “Why would ‘Bible’ and ‘-ism’ be a bad thing?” Typically, “-ism” isn’t good. Not always the case; Calvinism isn’t necessarily bad—it has gotten a bad rap—which I just did an introduction to that on Ask Theocast. Check that out.
But to stay focused: biblicism. Justin, give us a quick definition of what it is. Then we are going to work through about five or six examples of what happens when you don’t use Scripture properly, or you’re a biblicist, this is what it ends up producing.
So what’s a good definition, a simple definition, of a biblicist for our listeners?
Justin Perdue: Let me define it in a simple way, and even use pop level accessible language in talking about this. You already alluded to it once when you said a person would describe themself as a Bible person. Another way that you hear this commonly presented is people will say, “no creed but Christ”, or, “no confession but the Bible”. People will say that the only thing that we need to use is Scripture and any kind of framework outside of the Bible, or any tools outside of the Bible are not useful; it’s not faithful or it’s not responsible to use such things to understand the Scripture. And so you end up getting this kind of a situation where people will say that if the text does not say it explicitly, then we cannot preach it and we cannot teach it.
Jon Moffitt: Or the reverse is true: “The text explicitly said it, therefore I’m going to preach it.”
Justin Perdue: Sure. We’re going to give illustrations of this, like you said, in broad categories