We do not read alone

Brad East offers a rigorous argument for the ecclesial context of scripture.

How does our doctrine of scripture relate to what we believe about the church? And how does what we believe about the church shape how we think about and interpret scripture? Theologian Brad East takes up these questions in his two most recent books, which he considers companion volumes.

In The Church’s Book, East explores how two cornerstone doctrines, the doctrines of scripture and of the church, interact with each other. His premise is simple: our theological understanding of the church shapes and informs our understanding of what the Bible is—and, it follows, of how to read the Bible. While this premise is presumably a given for most people who stop to think about it, the details of how a person’s theology of the church relates to their understanding of scripture are anything but simple.

To explore his premise, East invites us into a conversation with three influential theologians: John Webster, Robert Jenson, and John Howard Yoder. (Readers might flinch at the inclusion of Yoder—a choice which East devotes an entire chapter to explaining, in which he acknowledges that it might be the wrong choice. We leave that judgment to the reader.)