Let’s finish our discernment about what Baptimergents believe by looking at an “Identity” statement from a “baptist” family of faith’s third paragraph. Here we finally get to a statement about the Bible, however, the source of authority becomes even more murky!
“From our beginnings, Baptists have self-identified as “people of the book.” This has been a longstanding confession of our commitment to the Bible as a trustworthy source for understanding who we are in relationship to God. We read the Bible prayerfully, and seek to discern its meaning together through what Jesus revealed about God. The stories, liturgies, songs, apocalypses, and parables that make up the Bible have made their way through centuries of translations and interpretations. We trust what we have, and embrace our part in that long ongoing tradition of interpretation and application.”
Reparsing their wording carefully, we again note: From our beginnings…self-identified…“people of the book”…longstanding confession…our commitment…who we…We read…We trust what we have…embrace our part…long ongoing tradition of interpretation and application. Where is authority? Apparently, our tradition of interpretation and application is the authority!
Notice carefully how the Bible becomes the Word of God: Our commitment to the Bible as a trustworthy source [Is there another source?] for understanding who we are in relationship to God [Does the Bible tell us about Who God is?]. We read the Bible prayerfully, and seek to discern its meaning [Would it be the Word of God if we didn’t do this?] together through what Jesus revealed about God. The stories [Are these not the testimonies of eye-witnesses?], liturgies, songs, apocalypses, and parables that make up the Bible have made their way through centuries of translations and interpretations [Were these not in the original manuscripts?]. We trust what we have, [How wonderful and irrational!] and embrace our part [How Martyr-like!] in that long ongoing tradition of interpretation and application.
In other words, the Bible is a source for understanding who we are! This is the fable of Barthian neo-orthodoxy. God does not reveal Himself but only gives revelations. God's Word suddenly comes to us and the magic happens by praying and seeking what Jesus has revealed about God. Thus, God's Word is contained in the Bible but it does not become God's Word until we experience it! Of course, we still have to plow through all those liturgies, songs, apocalypses, parables, centuries of translations, and interpretations to get to what Jesus actually revealed about God. But with much praying and seeking you eventually get to some real gems [amongst all the added noise of man]. Such crosses we must bear as “We trust what we have, and embrace our part!”
Therefore, Baptimergents final authority is not “Sola Scriptura” or “Scriptures Alone” (2 Tim 3:15-17; 1:12-14; Col 1:4-6; I Cor 2:13) but whatever they believe God has experientially revealed to them from the Bible! In contrast, historic confessional Baptists believe, "The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience."
The London Baptist Confession of 1689