Monday, January 08, 2007

Close to the Heart

Tobias Haller has just posted an excellent, brief essay, Leviticus and the Anglican Deformation, well worth a close reading for anyone who is concerned about serious discussion over the biblical texts at the center of the current controversy over human sexuality. . .

. . .and, more broadly, the differing principles of interpretation that may well be close to the heart of the conflict.

At the risk of misrepresenting Tobias' scholarly approach, it seems to me in a nutshell that he is arguing that Scripture does not and cannot interpret itself, and only becomes a living document in the context of the Christian community and our application of biblical principles, lived out in tangible, incarnational ways.

This puts, I believe, Scripture back in its proper perspective: a rich set of documents containing the essential story of salvation, but only made coherent in the life of the Body of Christ. In short, Christ is at the center of Christianity, not the Bible, however much it may be revered by our shared tradition.

My English literature prof in college put it this way (quoting, if I remember correctly, a Roman Catholic priest): "Jesus left us a Church, not a book."

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