Would any of you clergy types out there include this soundbite in your Sunday sermon, "We Do Not Believe in the Bible."? Would any of you pewsitters have a problem with it?
The soundbite was part of a longer rant by our self admitted liberal rector on why he is upset when people quote scripture to him to defend "prejudice" by daring to deny ordination to any of the baptized, in particular non-celibate homosexuals. Our rector launched his sermon from Mark 7:1-8,14-15,21-23 (see the missing verses at the bottom of this post). Today's Gospel provided the perfect segue for the horrendous liberal assault that spewed forth from the pulpit today using a classic liberal tactic to label conservatives as modern day Pharisees and hypocrites. Our rector twisted the Gospel message into a sermon supporting the decisions of first the Episcopal church and then the ELCA (of whom he is soooo proud) to accept non-celibate homosexuals into the ranks of ordained ministry. Included in this particularly odious piece of finger pointing oratory were important looks into the pernicious undermining of God's Word by those sworn to uphold it.
Number one is how the claims of "justice" trump scripture. This starts with a mistaken idea that the recommendations of scripture are burdensome, discriminatory rules. To the liberal mind, such rules are meant to be broken as Jesus' disciples did when they ate without washing their hands, and Jesus backed them up. Sorry Charlie, you can't use the Bible to justify throwing out the Bible.
Number two is the way the liberal preacher must cover his ears and shake his head vigorously when anyone uses scriptural sources to discuss the issues of marriage or qualifications for ordained ministry. Our rector spells the liberal technique out in total clarity, he refuses to listen.
Number three is to use the dog collar and the pulpit to accuse the world of being close minded finger waggers. You know the old, "You can't do that because that is not what the Bible says" type of finger wagging. Those people are bad. The rector got incredibly animated today and on numerous occasions shook his finger at the crowd to demonstrate this point. Sorry Charlie, don't wag your finger when complaining about finger waggers.
Number four is to call people names or mock those opposed to your personal desires. This rector desires to perform same sex blessings. There are people who would oppose this and the ordination of active homosexuals on Biblical grounds. Lacking a Biblical basis himself, the liberal preacher must indirectly call those opposed to his personal feelings Pharisees, hypocrites, and prejudiced.
Number five is to reject the authority of scripture by casting doubt on Biblical truths, and then confuse the congregation by saying that you believe in the living word. The liberal preacher may think but should never, never say out loud, "We Don't Believe in the Bible," because even if he tries to contextualize it by saying that he believes in the living word, he will still lose a good portion of the congregation. Of course, the liberal preacher should not concern himself with parishioners who vote with their feet. To the liberal preacher, the church is a better place without those Bible thumpers.
Today's ravings from the pulpit came before a crowd of visitors and guests who were present to witness a double baptism. There will be repercussions. The conservative fraction of the church will continue to be driven out. Next year's budget will proportionately decrease. Today, a mild family of pewsitters told me that something had to be done. I am afraid that nothing will happen, and the rector will have a free reign to continue in this cattle drive because he knows we are under the rule of a lame duck bishop, and that he has the support of those who gave him a loud "Amen" at the end of today's sermon. I, for one, will remain constant in prayer, and when I pass the Holy Book sitting on the back of the large brass eagle in the front of the church, I will say out loud, "I believe!" Will there be anyone left who will change that "I believe" into a "We believe!"?
In the recent profile of the Diocese of Upper South Carolina the question of whether or not we believe in the Bible was not included. If it had been, I wonder how people would have responded. As I recall, there was one question in the survey that was similar.
#18. I believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and
New Testaments to be the Word of God, and to
contain all things necessary for salvation.
62 % Strongly Agree
24 % Somewhat Agree
4 % No Opinion
7 % Somewhat Disagree
3 % Strongly Disagree
I pray that today's sermon from our rector did nothing to sway the 86% who agree.
9 Then he said to them, ‘You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition! 10 For Moses said, “Honour your father and your mother”; and, “Whoever speaks evil of father or mother must surely die.” 11 But you say that if anyone tells father or mother, “Whatever support you might have had from me is Corban” (that is, an offering to God)— 12 then you no longer permit doing anything for a father or mother, 13 thus making void the word of God through your tradition that you have handed on. And you do many things like this.’
17 When he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about the parable. 18 He said to them, ‘Then do you also fail to understand? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile, 19 since it enters, not the heart but the stomach, and goes out into the sewer?’ (Thus he declared all foods clean.) 20 And he said, ‘It is what comes out of a person that defiles.