Thursday, June 02, 2005

Silly Shellfish alert!

[sirens wailing in the background--whooo-whoooo-whoooo] Stand back, stand back.

Shrimp here: We had a silly shellfish sighting over at Anglican Journal in the Letters to the Editor dept., but they took care of it themselves. Carry on.

"Sad that interpretation of Bible divides the church" [sad, but oh, so true]

Dear editor,
Re: Loss of focus (April letters). This letter affirms the authority of the Word of God as the basis of our faith – that the Bible is the enduring Word of God. This view has been stated repeatedly in letters opposing the blessing of same-sex unions. With few exceptions, every major university-based seminary and department of religious studies in Europe and North America has, for more than a century, been teaching a more nuanced view of the authority of the Bible.
This view argues that the documents which make up the Bible are human constructions, deeply influenced by the cultural contexts in which they were written. Many of these documents are of continuing value only to scholars and students of religious history, and the parts which have enduring spiritual worth will often be distorted if read literally.
The true value of biblical texts resides in their proven ability to occasion, in every generation, the living Word of God in the hearts and minds of readers. This living Word is a gift of the Spirit. It is always astonishing; it reveals things previously unseen, things not known before. One cannot quote the living Word of God literally; it is always a mysterious event, which, in coming quietly, requires careful interpretation and faithful application within the community of faith. This means that no text can be quoted to prove anything.
The Bible is not a sledgehammer to be used by true believers to demolish their adversaries. It is a beautiful gift from our spiritual forefathers and foremothers, to be used gently and thoughtfully. It is sad that interpretation of the Bible divides the church but, since this situation has been true ever since the first words were penned, it is not likely to change any time soon.
Robert Wild
Salt Spring Island, B.C.

Universal moral law
Dear editor,
As letter writers Colin Proud-man and Sheila Welbergen (May letters) should both know, the apostles themselves ruled that Old Testament dietary and dress laws are not binding on Christians (Acts 15).
Some Biblical precepts are indeed responses to cultural conditions. For instance, in a society where slavery was universal and backed up by law, St. Paul rightly assumed it would continue and framed his advice accordingly. In ancient Judea, where the Jews had no hope of driving out their Roman oppressors, our Lord wisely told them to practise non-resistance. Obviously, these precepts do not imply that slavery or colonial oppression are good.
St. Paul’s condemnation of homosexual activity in Romans 1, 26-27 and I Corinthians 6, 9 is quite another matter. There, he clearly meant to state a universal moral law.
The stance that traditional Anglicans take on this issue rests on that historic Christian consensus and on St. Paul’s stature as the Lord’s chosen messenger, not on crude Biblical literalism. Shallow arguments do nothing to resolve the controversy; indeed by insulting the other side’s intelligence, they only fan the flames.
William Cooke

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