Anglicans need deep learning not cheap victory | Ekklesia

Religion / Science

Wonderful article in Ecclesia this morning.

According to the quotes from Lambeth resolutions that accompany the beginning of the article, Anglicanism has a long history of properly understanding the full meaning of biblical truths in terms of newly discerned knowledge. The article points out that this traditional understanding is being called into question by some in Anglicanism today:

“Until quite recently in this denomination, the quest for knowledge tended to be rated highly. Even if there was vigorous disagreement on particular matters, there was some measure of trust that the church, if open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, would be led towards truth and justice. Yet some leaders now not only refuse to consider scholarship which does not conform to their own perspective but also demand the right to prohibit others from acting on the fruits of study.

This is a sharp break with mainstream Anglicanism. ‘It is no part of the purpose of the Scriptures to give information on those themes which are the proper subject matter of scientific enquiry, nor is the Bible a collection of separate oracles, each containing a final declaration of truth. The doctrine of God is the centre of its teaching,’ bishops from different parts of the world agreed at the 1930 Lambeth Conference. ‘We believe that the work of our Lord Jesus Christ is continued by the Holy Spirit, who not only interpreted him to the Apostles, but has in every generation inspired and guided those who seek truth.’ And ‘We recognize in the modern discoveries of science – whereby the boundaries of knowledge are extended, the needs of men are satisfied and their sufferings alleviated – veritable gifts of God, to be used with thankfulness to him, and with that sense of responsibility which such thankfulness must create.’

In 1958, the Lambeth Conference gratefully acknowledged ‘our debt to the host of devoted scholars who, worshipping the God of Truth, have enriched and deepened our understanding of the Bible, not least by facing with intellectual integrity the questions raised by modern knowledge and modern criticism’, and ‘the work of scientists in increasing man’s knowledge of the universe, wherein is seen the majesty of God in his creative activity. It therefore calls upon Christian people both to learn reverently from every new disclosure of truth, and at the same time to bear witness to the biblical message of a God and Saviour apart from whom no gift can be rightly used.’”

Read the rest here.

The Author

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...