This morning a member of our lectionary study group said that he is not interested in orthodoxy but truth, and it seemed to me, as the conversation went on, that any of us who wanted to proclaim the truth of God in Jesus Christ were dismissed as orthodox and therefore not true seekers of the truth. Moreover, any appeal to scripture as revealing truth is suspect on the grounds that it is only self justifying and, in that regard, no more reliable than scripture from any other religious tradition. As I tried to listen I also got the impression that he was as ironclad in his religious ideology as are the “far right” fundamentalists.
I have not yet decided whether or how to respond, and you know from the tone of some of my posts that it is not hard for the curmudgeon to come out of hiding. I’d like to avoid that.
Here is my sense of my own orthodoxy. I am convinced that the Christian faith as framed by (but not limited to) the Nicene Creed follows in the path of God’s eternal truth.
I have no doubt whatsoever that God is the creator and sustainer of all that is, but that does not keep me from rejoicing in all that science and philosophy are able to discover about God’s ways. And on a curmudgeonly aside, people who keep attacking or defending Darwin are no different than those who would turn to the Wright Brothers for the last word in aeronautics or Thomas for the last word in theology.
I have no doubt that God was manifested, incarnated, in Jesus of Nazareth in a way that is utterly unique, and that we have the most limited of human words to express what is ultimately a holy mystery. But that does not keep me from rejoicing in the many others through whom God has spoken and in whom the light of God’s love shines.
I have no doubt that the resurrection of Jesus was a bodily resurrection through which his full divinity was revealed to some significant numbers of his followers. But that does not keep me from rejoicing in the power of a wholly spiritual resurrection that continues to be with us through many channels.
Therefore, I have no doubt that what Jesus said and did was as full a revelation in human form of what God desires and expects of us, and, that in a most mysterious way, his life, death and resurrection are both signs and means of our own paths to eternal life in God’s presence.
Everything else is provisional.
As an Anglican I do not have to believe in the literal historicity or inerrancy of the bible to believe that everything in it has something to say to us about God’s truth. When we say that the bible is the Word of God we mean that everything in it reveals, illuminates and informs us about God’s truth. Since I believe that, in truth, it is inspired by God (not dictated) I also believe that it is not fragile and does not need to be protected. Every tool of lower and higher criticism can be brought to bear without fear of damaging it.
It also means that our understanding of God’s truth will change as we mature in faith, experience and wisdom.
That’s not only what I believe but it is that on which I stake my life. And don’t give me that bs about whether non-believers are saved. You know very well that’s a straw man. Oops, sorry, curmudgeon sneaking out.
What about you?