This past week, our Anglican brothers and sisters have gathered together to determine the path forward and how to be the inclusive Church in a diverse world.
One of the points of contention being thrown around is what constitutes biblical fidelity (following the bible’s teachings directly) and biblical idolatry (holding the words in the bible above the continuing revelation of God). While most of us can imagine what biblical fidelity is, I found this letter to the editor by Bishop Gene Robinson outlining biblical idolatry in layperson terms to be very succinct and powerful. An excerpt: (inclusive language is in brackets, emphasis mine)
Jesus says a remarkable thing to his disciples at his last supper with them: “There is more that I would teach you, but you cannot bear it right now. So I will send the Holy Spirit who will lead you into all truth.” Could it be that God revealed in Jesus Christ everything possible in a first-century Palestine setting to a ragtag band of fishermen and working men? Could it have been God’s plan all along to reveal more and more of [God’s]self and [God’s] will as the church grew and matured?
God, of course, was not and is not changing – but our ability to apprehend and comprehend God’s will for us is. Through the leading of the Holy Spirit, the church was led to permit eating things proscribed by Leviticus, to oppose slavery (after centuries of using scripture to defend it), and to permit and bless remarriage after divorce (despite Jesus’ calling it adultery).
And now, by the leading of that same Spirit, we are beginning to welcome those who have heretofore been marginalised or excluded altogether: people of colour, women, the physically challenged, and God’s children who happen to be gay.
This is the God I know in my life – who loves me, interacts with me, teaches and summons me closer and closer to God’s truth. This God is alive and well and active in the church – not locked up in scripture 2,000 years ago, having said everything that needed to be said, but rather still interacting with us, calling us to love one another as [God] loves us.
Thoughts? I’ll write more on this in coming weeks, but thought this would be a good kick-start to it.