Anglican Samizdat

May 13, 2009

Anglicans synthesising muddle from the Bible

Canadian Bishop Sue Moxley had this to say about bible study at ACC-14:

We began this morning with Morning Prayer as we were to have a closing Eucharist at 4pm. The Bible Study focus was Mark 16: 1-8. One question was “If you were Mark, would you have ended with verse 8, or would you have ended the Gospel differently?” That was a nonstarter as some members refused to even think about tampering with the Gospel. The last question was “What will you be taking home to share in your churches about the Gospel of Mark or how Anglicans read the Scripture?” That discussion included the realization that Anglicans with different views of Scripture can read and share ideas together as long as no one thinks they have the only truth of the reading.

This approach to reading the bible is symptomatic of the muddle we find ourselves. It treats the bible as a thesis whose meaning is in question. Then, in using what appears to be a Hegelian dialectic of discussing thesis and antithesis, we come to a synthesis – an Anglican middle ground.

The problem is, the bible does not present a truth which changes depending on who perceives it or the culture in which it is read: it is a statement by a person – God – who had something particular in mind when he caused it to be written. When Bishop Sue says “as long as no one thinks they have the only truth of the reading” she is making at least two mistakes:

The first is that a reader of scripture can have a “truth of the reading”. It is the writer that has the truth of the reading and it is the reader’s job to understand that truth.

The second is the implication that if a reader firmly claims to have understood the truth that the writer was conveying, he is necessarily wrong. He could be mistaken, of course, but the purpose of discussing a reading is not to come to a middle ground of dissenting views, but to determine what meaning the writer intended.

Rowan Williams and most of the Western Anglican church is determined to find reconciliation through this kind of synthesising to a middle ground. It isn’t going to work.



  1. Reconciliation within the Anglican Communion is of no importance compared to reconciliation with God. When we reject the Gospel we spit on God’s gracious attempt to allow us back into the Garden.
    Truly the snakes are still at work.

    Comment by Jim Muirhead — May 13, 2009 @ 3:09 pm

  2. Many years ago I took my mother to “Meet-the-Teacher-Night” and desparately wanted her to make a good impression on my “awesome” English teacher, Miss Muckle. Not being good a remembering names, she said, in her lovely, gentle Britsh voice, “I’ll remember her name, dear. Every mickle makes a muckle”….and proceeded to say “Good evening Miss Mickle”.
    So, now we find ourselves in the middle of a muddle, or is it middling in the middle….or muddling in the muddle????
    I’m so glad that Jesus has the answer to all our confusing conditions, and that the Gospel is very clear to those who have never “muddled up” his name, or his position.

    Comment by Jennifer — May 13, 2009 @ 3:30 pm

  3. I agree with Jennifer and would like to add that I am very glad that His thoughts are higher than our thoughts and His ways different from our ways and that He is the way and the truth and the life and knows our hearts.

    Comment by Eva — May 21, 2009 @ 9:07 pm

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