It is only 2005 and I am willing to stick my neck out and announce the best book on Scripture for the new century. Kevin Vanhoozer, The Drama of Doctrine, has captured the modern discussions about propositionalist, expressivist, and the cultural-linguistic models of Scripture and community and tradition, and has deftly tied them into a Theo-dramatic model that makes a bucket load of sense. His model for thinking is drama.
It is a longish book, and I do hope he writes a small one for lay folks, but here is a summary of a key part of the book. (I’ll probably post more comments over the next week or so.)
In sum: the directive [as in a stage director] theory of doctrines contributes to a theo-dramatic understanding, and this in two ways: (1) doctrines seeks to bear faithful witness to Scripture by clarifying the plot and the dramatis personae of Scripture; (2) doctrine enables contemporary readers of Scripture to be faithful witnesses by participating in and continuing the theo-drama in ever-new cultural contexts (p. 108).
This book deserves careful reading, and I do hope many can see that it can take us beyond the propositional view that the Bible is a download of divine information, beyond the expressivist view that Scripture is nothing but human experience of God, beyond the cultural-linguistic view that Scripture and community are inseparable with more emphasis on local communities making meaning, to a canonical-linguistic model where drama — God as person, Scripture as God’s speech-action, and Church as performing the script as spirited by God’s Spirit — can serve us with a more holistic model of how Scripture works.
Whether or not Kevin finds themes of value in the emerging movement or not is not my point: what we find here is the sort of discussion emerging thinkers need to consider as they come to terms with Scripture in our day and for our times.