What is the proper order? Do we believe in Scripture because we believe in Christ — as a result of preaching and the illumination of the Spirit? Or, do we believe in Christ because we believe in the Scriptures? Did you — tell the truth — believe in Christ because you believed in the Bible or did you come to believe in the Bible because you had already learned to trust in Christ?
In J. Holcomb’s (editor) book, Christian Theologies of Scripture, J. Hensley presents the theory of Scripture in Friedrich Schleiermacher, the architect of Protestant Liberalism.
According to Schleiermacher, Scripture is the product of the Spirit’s inspiration; is the treasured testimony about Christ for the Church’s well-being; but faith in Christ gave rise to Scripture. That is, God’s presence in Christ and the Spirit evoked faith in Christ and that faith in Christ, along with the Spirit’s presence in the Church, gave rise to the Scriptures as the norm of the Christian faith.
The Spirit guided the Church to the canonical decisions; Scriptures guide the Christian life normatively and Christian theology normatively.
Scripture, thus, shares in the wider movement of the Spirit in the fellowship of the Christian community.
By the way, Schleiermacher did not think the OT should be normative because they did not share in the same Spirit, do not constitute Christian piety, and it does not function as a critical norm.
Still, even if we disagree with Schleiermacher, he asks a thoroughly-Protestant question: Is the authority of Scripture because it witnesses to the Spirit’s truth or is do we come to believe in the Spirit’s truth because of Scripture?
What is the difference between Schleiermacher and those who think the authority of Scripture is actually the authority of God expressed in Scripture?