Thursday, October 7, 2010
Book or Person
There is a mode of reasoning which one had hoped had vanished from "educated circles" forever - that, namely, which regards Christianity as a 'religion of a book' in such a sense that it is suppose to propose for men's acceptance a volume to be received in all its parts as on the same level, and as in the same sense, divine. on the contrary, Christianity is a religioin of a Person. It propounds for our acceptance Jesus Christ, as the revealer of the Father. The test question of the church...has never been, "Dost thou believe the Bible?" but, "Dost thou believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God?"... The Bible thus "ought to be viewed not as a revelationitself, but a record of the proclaiming and receiving of a revelation, by a body that is still existant, and which propounds the revelation to us; namely, the body of Christians commonly called the Church."
By Charles Gore from the preface to his book Lux Mundi
This quote resonates with me because I see the Bible as belonging to the Church, not the Church belonging to the Bible. Yet the two are so infused with each other that it would be like trying to take the tea out of the water after the teabag has been soaking in it. Thus the Bible belongs with in and entirely throughout what the Orthodox call Holy Tradition. Ever since the Reformation there has been a tendency among groups and individuals within Anglicanism to 'fundamentalize' the Bible, to pull it out of the visible church and to tacitly claim it to be above, and even the source of the true church invisible. This logic uses Biblical rationalizations to put forth one's opinions, and to discount the ancient rituals and worship of the Church. It also reduces the Church to be a book with a people, rather than a people with a book. These differences may seem small, but the approach to worship and spirituality of the Christian witness is greatly affected by this understanding.
I welcome your comments.
LORD have mercy, Brian+