I respect the dedication, zeal and knowledge of what the scriptures say of fundamentalists and biblical literalists. But I can’t believe that those who wrote the Scriptures were God’s inerrant stenographers, recording His words exactly as He spoke them. This is making a claim for the Bible that the Bible doesn’t make for itself.
Paul wrote that all scripture was inspired. But when he wrote this the Old Testament would not be canonized for several decades and much of the New Testament was not yet written and wouldn’t be canonized for over two hundred years. To what scripture was Paul referring?
The scriptures generally reflect the context in which they were written. In New Testament times, for instance, sickness was frequently seen as God’s punishment and mental illness as demon possession. Few believe that today, and rightly so. And if God spoke directly to the Old Testament scribes, why didn’t He inform them that the world was a globe, an oblate spheroid. They generally wrote from a flat–world, geocentric perspective. I could continue but it shouldn’t be necessary.
Rigid fundamentalism forces us to cling to doctrines, dogma, institutions and a narrow understanding of Christianity that are fast becoming irrelevant, leaving our beliefs almost devoid of meaning in view of the realities of today’s world.
From its very beginnings Christianity was never a static faith and shouldn’t be today. We must try to understand the Jesus reality in light of the ever-changing reality of human experience, including science.
An endemic rigidity and a failure to meet people’s needs in a changing world have made the Christian church in Europe, long bound by dogma and convention, a dying institution. With our traditions of religious and academic freedom we have the wherewithal to keep that from happening here.
George B. Reed, Jr., Fort Oglethorpe