"Some contemporary methods of reading the Scriptures fail at precisely this point: they treat them as imaginative literature without paying due attention to the way they testify to Christ. In contrast the Bible itself constantly points beyond itself to the reality of the risen Christ. No church is taking Scripture seriously if it fails to acknowledge unreservedly his unique lordship. Again, neither Christ himself nor the word God has given us which speaks of him can be separated from the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God is indeed the Spirit of Christ (Rom. 8). It is the Spirit who breaks through the stubbornness of our personal rebellion to bring to bear the gift of faith. And this same Spirit is the one who superintended the production of the Scriptures so that what we have before us is in fact what was breathed out by God (2 Tim. 3:16)."
Compare this to the slippery word tricks at The Episcopal Church's official site:
"The Scriptures emerged from the experience of a community who believed that God had been and was mysteriously, but clearly, present and active in their midst. Beginning as an oral tradition, the Hebrew people and the Church gradually gathered and developed its sacred texts and established a final, unchanging canon to be a measuring rod or standard for the Christian life of faith. These Scriptures, however, were intended to be interpreted and reinterpreted over and over again in the light of contemporary knowledge and experience within a believing and worshiping community open to the leading of God's Spirit into new truth."
These two quotes summarize the current disintegration of the Anglican Communion and The Episcopal Church. One view places the church under the authority of the Bible (the traditional view, expressed by Prof. Thompson); the other view buries the Bible's clear teaching under a pile of other "authorities" (as in the Episcopal Church site quote).
Prof. Thompson shows that the Bible is inspired by God, points always to Jesus, and provides language by which the Holy Spirit transforms our lives.
But before we can do what the Prayer Book asks, and "read, mark, learn and inwardly digest" the Holy Bible, the Episcopal Church orders us to:
- Accept that the Bible was invented through historical accidents and questionable human opinions ("a community who believed...that God had been present");
- Accept that any values ("measuring rod") in the Bible must be "interpreted and reinterpreted." Wish I could do that at the gas station. If I could "interpret and reinterpret" liquid measure, I could save a bunch of money by arriving at a new interpretation of "gallon."
- Submit the Bible to "contemporary knowledge." Anybody who has spent 5 minutes at any Episcopal Church function knows that this means pop-psychobabble, junk science and politically correct platitudes. In many Episcopal Church functions, facts are suppressed and events are managed to get a desired outcome. It is not true inquiry.
- Submit the Bible to the "experience" of the "community." That is, whatever the church bureaucracy and activist factions repeat over and over with enough volume trumps the clear language in the Bible.
- Assume that the Holy Spirit is a "free agent" who will show us something "new", working apart from, rather than in perfect relationship with, the Father and the Son as the Holy Trinity.
The Anglican choice is between Christ, revealed to us and renewing us through the word of God in the Bible, and "churchianity" that makes the Bible into a meaningless relic - the position of those who "hold a form of godliness but deny its power" (II Timothy 3:1-5).