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Is it idolatry to use the Bible to dictate thoughts and opinions?

29 March 2018

Write, if you have any answers to the questions listed at the end of this section, or to add to the answer given below


Your answers: 

Some Christians use (parts of) the Bible to dictate their thinking and opinions. Isn’t that idolatry? [Answers, 9 March]

Mr Belben is too harsh on those, like me, for whom the Bible is the Word of God, a reliable guide of faith to serving God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (but not to be worshipped in itself). It would be better to say that some, while thinking they are adhering exactly to the Bible, have misread it, as those who take a more “liberal” position also can.

The Theories of Relativity provide an object lesson. Their findings seem so bizarre. Yet they have been confirmed again and again by observa­tion and experiment. We err in our understanding of the universe because our heads are stacked full of everyday assumptions, some of which, terrifyingly, are wrong.

So we do spiritually. Somebody (St Bonaventure?) has said: “If you find two truths in the Bible that seem to contradict, pray until you find the third and greater truth that unites the two.” I extend this principle to apparent clashes between the Bible and other facts that we know. Relativity theories explain why the Wave Theory of Light and the Particle Theory of Light are compatible (which was thought impossible). I suspect that, in some contemporary church controversies, both sides have got the same underlying, mistaken, assumptions, which lead to false conflict.

We all need to read the Bible with a due realisation that our minds can be clouded, and that any apparent error will not be the Bible’s, but ours.

Jonathan Goll
Halesowen, West Midlands


Your questions: 

Why does the lectionary omit the story of Shiphrah and Puah, the Hebrew midwives who played a key part in our salvation history (Exodus 1.15-end)?

R. N.


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