The “Biblical witnesses” – Biblical authority in the UCA
This is the issue behind many of the other issues, not just in the Uniting Church in Australia, but in the worldwide church of today. While the Basis of Union declares that the Church’s preaching of Jesus Christ is “controlled by the Biblical witnesses” (para. 5), this Biblical authority is diminished in practice by resort to what the Basis says about “scholarly interpreters” (para. 11). In recent times, some advocating policies which clearly depart from the Biblical witnesses have even misquoted and sought support from that Biblical stalwart, John Wesley.
Reclaiming the Bible for the Uniting Church, paper by Peter Blackburn at National Evangelical Summit, Vision Valley, 21 August 1997.
Word and Spirit – Authority in the Uniting Church in Australia, paper by Peter Blackburn presented at the biennial Council of the National Fellowship for Revival, Belgrave Heights, Victoria, 14-17 August 1995.
What is the so-called Wesleyan Quadrilateral? John Wesley described himself as homo unios libri – “a man of one book”, viz. the Bible. Albert Outler in the 1960s identified tradition, reason and experience as elements alongside, but secondary to, the Bible. Ernest W Durbin II concludes this study, “Those utilizing Wesley’s name in application of the four authorities of the quadrilateral should remain faithful to his unyielding affirmation that Scripture is primary among the four, always subordinating the other three authorities.”