How we read and understand the Bible has great implications for how we view the Christian faith. Those who read the Bible as literal history (those who consider themselves to be fundamentalist Christians) will take away very different meaning from the stories in the Bible than those of us who understand that these stories are in part human theological reflections on who God is and what God wants for Godâ€™s creation.
(You might choose to distinguish these two positions differently. Between those who read the Bible properly and horrid apostates like Chuck — and me — for example :))
I agree with Chuck and others that it is this division over Biblical interpretation that lies at the root of many ongoing controversies in the church. Unless that division can be bridged there is little prospect of reconciliation, but I see no sign of that happening any time soon. Those who hold the view that the Bible is “infallible” cannot easily accommodate an alternative view and keep their integrity. As a minister who reads the Bible with the utmost seriousness I have a problem with this. I’m convinced it is a relatively simple matter to demonstrate that the Bible is plainly and unequivocally not infallible, at least by any sensible use of the word. But the attempt to make that demonstration is seen by those who hold it as an assault upon their faith, the very last thing I would want to do.
I wish I thought there could be an easy answer to this problem. Prayer, fellowship and continuing conversation would provide a route, but without settling this issue it is exactly these 3 things which are most difficult