Sisters and Brothers
As you know, for the past two weeks, I have been completing another course for my Doctoral (DMin) program through Phillips Theological Seminary. Before our class time began we were required to write a paper on how we understand the authority of scripture.
In class we explored the various ways Christians view the Bible. Many of us grew up in traditions that held to the belief that the bible is the literal Word of God without. As Anglo-Catholics, we tend to adhere to the more “ancient” approach which understands that while scripture is divinely inspired, it is not without error. I would argue this is the more appropriate way to understand the Bible. In fact, all of us, no matter what strain of Christianity, read the Bible selectively. And we read scripture using our own hermeneutics (view/interpretation/approach).
What I gleaned from my discussions with my classmates is that most of them take seriously the importance of reading scripture on a regular basis. And while everyone one of us self-identified as being “liberal” and “progressive” almost all of us considered ourselves “orthodox” in our adherents to the tenants of the Christian faith. We all affirmed a belief in such things as the divinity of Jesus and his resurrection from the dead.
Many liberals and progressives seem a bit too willing to throw the baby out with the bathwater! What I mean by that is they relinquish their orthodoxy when they take “reason” to is ultimate conclusion and reject anything that doesn’t square with what you or I could experience in our daily lives. For some liberals and progressives, own experiences are to be the basis from which God is defined and thus one’s rational senses trump mystery. If this is so, then I have to wonder what kind of faith are we left with. What kind of Jesus is it that we proclaim?
I’d like to challenge all of us to consider the importance we place upon scripture (and tradition and reason). What authority do we give God in our lives? And, what mysteries, what teachings remain important?
We do ourselves a grave disservice when we forget our place in the grand scheme of God’s amazing dominion. Lets let God reign rather than be constrained by the limitations of our own understanding.
To read more: Around the Parish 1/18/2018