Scripture is God’s Word in human language – a truth reflected over 2000years of Church history. Without this truth, proper knowledge of God is impossible. All human efforts to come to a true and meaningful understanding of God, lead to a variety of religious “isms.” The pluralism, post-modernism and post-Christian society of the 21st century, brings its own challenges. Words mean nothing and truth is relative. There are, however, unique resemblances with the pluralism, pre-modern and pre-Christian society of the patristic. From a historical-theological perspective, the researcher points out that these resemblances could shed light on the current burning issue around the authority of Scripture. This historic continuity with the patristic and apostolic tradition is addressed in relation to Tertullian and Augustine. Both these Church Fathers had to give Biblical answer to the burning issues of their day that sought to undermine the authority of Scripture. The patristic’s emphasis on the authority of Scripture, stems from the unique unity between the Old and New Testament. It finds expression in the Apostolic preaching – regula fidei – the rule by which sound theology and godly living is guaranteed. Their historical-literal method of Biblical exegesis reflects a Christian worldview in contrast to the secular worldview of their day. In conclusion the researcher points out the relevance of this study for Southern-Africa. The confusion within the ranks of society, and the disillusionment of hundreds of thousands in Africa concerning the role of the Church, ask for clear direction and uncompromising answers on the fundamentals of the Christian faith with the framework of the authority of Scripture.
Dissertation (MA (Church History))--University of Pretoria, 2007.