The term "biblicism" has been floating around for quite some time. What is it, and is it really bad?
In this light, I have recently finished a book review of Christian Smith's book attacking "biblicism." Entitled The Bible Made Impossible: Why Biblicism is not truly an Evangelical Reading of Scripture, Smith thinks that biblicism is wrong and not a biblical hermeneutic. If Smith is true, then evangelicalism has been reading the Bible wrongly for a long time, but is that so? I would assert not. In the process of my review, I addressed the issue of "biblicism" in some detail. An excerpt of the review is here given:
How should a person read the Bible? In the Reformation, the emphasis was on placing the Bible in the hands of the laity, so that God’s people can read God’s Word for themselves. Whatever one can say about the Reformation, one must be able to say that putting the Bible into the hands of the laity, into “untrained hands” as it were, is a good thing. But is that really the case?
Sociologist Christian Smith, in his new book, demurred against this approach. Smith’s central thesis is that a plain reading of the Bible is impossible, and that one has to approach the Bible differently from that “biblicist” approach. Smith does not advocate for removing the Bible from the hands of the laity, but he thinks the typical approach they take in reading it is not correct. Given that the “biblicist” approach is the approach of the unwashed masses, what Smith’s argument implies is that, while the laity can have the Bible, they cannot read it for themselves, because they will otherwise read it with a “biblicist” and hence wrong hermeneutic. Rather, they must be taught to read it differently from what they have been doing by default.