Thursday, February 7, 2013
We must all agree??
I am leading a Bible Study where people come from different churches and backgrounds, and someone lamented that it does not seem right that the Holy Spirit would not lead everyone to the same understanding of scripture. I have been leading Bible studies and attending them for a long time and I can sympathize with the hope, but find the reality quite different.
The Catholic church used to believe and practice that the common man was too ignorant to interpret the scriptures correctly and thus needed the church to be the final authority in matters of belief.
The reformation believed in the priesthood of all believers, and placed translations of the scriptures into the hand of everyone eventually, and....we have developed many different denominations, traditions, theologies, and disparencies in our understanding of the Bible.
I am certain is is quite comforting to sit with a group of folks who all were taught the same thing in the same way and can amen each other as they all see the same meaning in each passage. I know that because once I was in a group that had all the truths worked out and encoded in a confession that we all were expected to endorse.
Once I left that world I found widely different methods of reading, interpreting and understanding the Bible and have encountered many less than harmonious discussions of the meaning of this or that truth.
Once I began to read and study other folks ideas about God and the Gospel more widely my own understandings have been expanded and have changed, and the very discussion of those changes makes folks used to sweet and harmonious agreement on all things are suddenly not having as much fun.
For someone whose basic personality is geared toward peaceful agreement I find discussing and debating different views at times less than pleasant. Disagreement leads to disunity and to breaking of fellowship with people who have always assumed there way is the only way to see things. This whole process of struggling with understanding is really what "reformation" is all about. Truth is reached in discussion, and sometimes disagreement. It is easier to quit a bible study that to stick around till more understanding is reached these days.