Piet Naudé on why being a ‘Reformed’ systematician or biblical scholar matters

Piet NaudeWhile writing a paper on the historical and theological significance that the Latin phrase Ecclesia reformata semper reformanda secundum verbum Dei seeks to capture, I came across these share-worthy sentences from Piet Naudé on the contribution that ‘Reformed’ theologians and bible scholars make:

[F]rom the view of confessions … being a ‘Reformed’ systematician or biblical scholar does matter, not only because confessions are by their very nature a specific hermeneutical decision about reading the text of Scripture today, but also … because the continued struggle to heal schismatic tendencies among Reformed churches places a responsibility on us to be serious about the ethics of our own reading and academic activities.

Being Reformed really matters if we call for a repentance of our ‘hermeneutical diseases’ manifesting themselves inter alia in a narcissistic obsession with methodologies or a lame acceptance of differences prompted by a cynical postmodern arbitrariness. Put in a positive manner, being Reformed really matters if we recommit ourselves to ongoing conversation (Tracy) and true convivendi (Joerns), because interpretative conflicts and deadlocks are not merely between hermeneutical systems, but between living Christians in a world desperate for signs of reconciliation.

– Piet J. Naudé, ‘Reformed Confessions as Hermeneutical Problem: A Case Study of the Belhar Confession’, in Reformed Theology: Identity and Ecumenicity II: Biblical Interpretation in the Reformed Tradition, ed. Wallace M. Alston Jr. and Michael Welker (Grand Rapids/Cambridge: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2007), 260.

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