Over on Jesus Creed there is an interesting post (part one of two, so I await the second) apparently challenging Bible reading as being at the heart of the problem behind our multitude of divisions within Protestantism. I am not sold on what Paul T. Penley is saying so far. But I will say that there needs to be much humility in our reading of scripture. I like the thought of one the comments on the post that scripture read devotionally as opposed to formulating doctrine should be encouraged. Lectio divina comes to mind.
What is missing today among too many of us evangelicals, I’m afraid is a high regard for the church both on a local level and at large. And with that some naive understandings of the Spirit’s work in an individual’s reading of scripture. So far I doubt the writer’s proposition as I understand it at this point, that there should be less reading of scripture. But the point that our reading should be more tethered in the understanding of both our local church and the church at large would be well taken.
But that further begs the question, what about all the differences among churches themselves? There are indeed significant differences, to be sure. As one comment suggested, this is not only a Protestant thing, Catholics are divided as well. This is an ongoing issue that can’t easily be resolved short of an enforced magistrate of some sort. Do we really see Baptists, Pentecostals, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Mennonites, Methodists, etc., etc., as actually divided? Even if we don’t see such bodies as divided, in practice isn’t that virtually the case?
I for one will be watching for the follow up post.