Friday, December 09, 2011

Purple Shirts Proof-texting in Public

How not to read the Bible courtesy of the Episcopacy

am always encouraged when Christians choose to measure their actions by the Word of God. When making a decision, it is helpful to measure it against Scripture and even to be able to justify the action with a passage or a verse. As an Anglican Christian and an Episcopalian, I am even more encouraged when our leaders seek to live biblically. This does not always happen. Unfortunately, this week in church news was not a good week for the untrained to learn from Anglican bishops how to read the Scriptures properly. Our bishops, if you are not aware, generally wear purple shirts as a sign of their office. What we witnessed this week in two separate cases is Purple Shirts Proof-texting in Public (warning: do not say this three times fast with five saltine crackers in your mouth).

There is an inherent danger in reading the Bible to find a verse or text to prove your point. This error is known as proof-texting, and all trained theologians are warned against this isolationist tendency. As I was taught in seminary, "a text without a context is a pretext." The discipline of receiving godly instruction from God's Word includes the study and consideration of the fullness of any piece of Scripture that we would choose to quote. There were two notable examples of proof-texting this week by Anglican bishops. To read more, click here.

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