In the words of Dr. James Renihan:
What is Biblicism?
D.B. Riker provides a helpful definition: “biblicism is the rejection of everything not explicitly stated in the Bible, and the concomitant dismissal of all non-biblical witnesses (Fathers, Creeds, Medieval Doctors, Councils, etc.)”
What are the results? Effectively, they are idiosyncratic interpretations of Scripture. The strange reality of all of these attempts to interact with the pure Word of God is that when the results are compared and contrasted, you almost never get the same conclusions. There is an unending stream of doctrines promoted under this rubric: the Jehovah’s Witnesses use it to deny the deity of Christ (following the same method as Arius long ago), the Campellites use it to teach their form of baptismal regeneration. Heretics have always employed this message. More sober men likewise use it, and produce strange results. Someone, somewhere studies Scripture, draws out a system of doctrine, and teaches it to others. A new movement begins. But sadly, personal interpretation almost always ends in conclusions different from everyone else. Yet, the product is claimed as the teaching of the Word of God. And in reality, though it may be startling to say so, these are basically new revelations. Since the claim is made that the doctrines taught are those of Scripture, they must be equated with Scripture. It is impossible to separate one from the other.
…But here is the problem: This whole method is based upon a form of personal independence, or even self-confidence. Doesn’t it ever cross anyone’s mind that they aren’t necessarily the wisest theologian, the best exegete and most insightful commentator? Don’t they stop to think about God and His purposes? Has the Lord chosen me to know truth that has been hidden from others? Such self-confidence is really arrogance-unbridled and oftentimes evil. It misleads self and others. Is the Christian faith reduced to my conclusions? What right do I have, alone and unaided to think that my reading and study perfectly meshes with the mind of God? Jesus and me with a Bible under a tree-perhaps a romantic notion, but a dangerous and potentially damning notion.*
*Richard Barcellos (ed.), The Southern California Reformed Baptist Pastors’ Conference Papers (Palmdale, CA: Reformed Baptist Academic Press, 2013), 114-115,119.