Featured Article

The Gods of Liberalism Revisited


The lie hasn't changed, and we still fall for it as easily as ever.  But how can we escape the snare?



Thursday, July 31, 2008

Anglicans Disagree Over Biblical Authority

Reprinted by permission of The Christian Post

By Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter
Thu, Jul. 31 2008 06:12 PM EDT

Before entering talks on human sexuality on Thursday, Anglican leaders took a deep look at the issue underlying the ongoing and highly publicized gay debate – the Bible.

"The issue of homosexuality comes down to an issue about the Bible," said the Most Rev. David Moxon, Archbishop of New Zealand, according to VirtueOnline, a conservative Anglican publication. "Underneath all the discussions and debates is how do we view the Bible?"

Archbishop Phillip Aspinall, primate of the Anglican Church of Australia, said a lot of the division in the Anglican Communion "has to do with the Bible."

Bishops attending the once-a-decade Lambeth Conference in Canterbury, England, this week spent Wednesday in conversations under the theme "Living Under Scripture: the Bishop and the Bible in Mission."

"Everyone in the Anglican Communion has their own process of making sense of the Bible. People who claim that their way of making sense is taking the Bible more seriously than someone else are just trying to talk more loudly or stamp their foot more firmly," said Prof. Gerald West, Professor of Old Testament at the University of Kwazulu-Natal in South Africa and coordinator of the Bible Studies at Lambeth, according to VirtueOnline.

While noting that he doesn't believe there are wide differences in the Anglican Communion over biblical authority, West said Anglicans maintain a "common commitment" to Scripture, as reported by VirtueOnline.

During the discussions, bishops were asked to look at the way they view details of Scripture from various perspectives and to discuss whether the theme of homosexuality is in the Old and New Testaments in the same way that it exists for marriage, polygamy and rape, according to the Anglican Journal.

"Is there such a thing as homosexuality in the ancient world? Did it exist then?” West explained. He also said bishops looked at the context in which Scripture is engaged.

In most cases, according to West, "what you think is important in your context shapes the way you see Scripture."

Weeks before the Lambeth Conference, renowned evangelical theologian Dr. James Innell Packer affirmed that homosexual behavior is sin and that those who affirm such behavior "are understanding the Bible in a very different way from that in which the rest of us think that it asks to be understood."

"God uses language to tell us things, and the Bible is the language that He's used," he said. "The Bible is personal communication from the Creator to us creatures, and in personal communication you speak and write to be understood. You don't communicate in code; you don't say one thing in a way which is intended to be understood as meaning its opposite."

"God is, we believe, straight forward; the Bible, in that sense, is straight forward, and Paul in 1st Corinthians is straight forward."

Packer left the Anglican Church of Canada earlier this year, citing "poisonous liberalism" and arguing that top leaders in the Canadian church body have changed their interpretation of Christianity.

"I'm simply being an old-fashioned mainstream Anglican," Packer said.

The Anglican Communion has been wracked by divisions, particularly since the 2003 consecration of openly gay bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire and the blessing of same-sex unions in the British Columbia diocese of New Westminster.

Conservative Anglicans have argued that The Episcopal Church in the United States and the Anglican Church of Canada have departed from Scripture and Christian orthodoxy.

According to Moxon, Wednesday was the first time Anglican bishops together discussed the question of "how do we use the Bible?" He added that the intent of the discussions was to simply ask "What’s the high common ground when we approach the Bible?"

Copyright 2008 The Christian Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Clicky Web Analytics