Our competence as readers–as witnesses who attest to "what we have seen and heard"; as jury members seeking to do justice to the evidence–is what is on trial every time we interpret the Bible. For we attest what we believe–about texts, about God, about ourselves–in each and every one of our interpretations. The trial of interpretation ultimately concerns not the text but the interpreter: Will the readers respond to the word of the Lord appropriately or not?

Doctrine helps the people of God to participate fittingly in the drama of redemption, and so to be true and faithful witnesses to God's incarnate wisdom. . . Viewed against this backdrop, the church is less the cradle of Christian theology than its crucible: the place where the community's understanding of faith is lived, tested, and reformed.

Vanhoozer, The Drama of Doctrine, 21, 25.