Karl Barth said, “I take the Bible too seriously to read it literally.”
Proof-texting, literalism or fundamentalism, the same rose by different names, is not a helpful way to understand Scripture. Clergy in the LCA, upon ordination, are forced to declare the Scripture as inerrant and infallible. The alternative is exclusion from ordination, which is hardly an option after many years of study. Those clergy who are uncomfortable with such narrow thinking are forced to metaphorically cross their fingers while the oath is taken.
About a third of the American populace takes everything the Bible says at face value, reading as they would a history or science textbook. I don’t read the Bible this way, and can’t imagine doing so. Here are four reasons why: Ref 4 Good Reasons Not to Read the Bible Literally. (David Lose from Huffington Post)
1) Nowhere does the Bible claim to be inerrant. … (read more)
2) Reading the Bible literally distorts its witness. … (read more)
3) Most Christians across history have not read the Bible literally. … (read more)
4) Reading the Bible literally undermines a chief confession of the Bible about God. … (read more)
Perhaps literalism is the biggest sin the LCA needs to confess. Unless responded to with vigour it may mean that the Church will have virtually disappeared in 50 years time. According to the current downturn in membership that is not such an absurd proposition.
Women’s ordination will arrive to the LCA. The alternative is unthinkable. At that time members, leaders and congregations will discover the gentle joy of female pastoral care and begin to apologise for the way they kept women on the margins of the Church.