Gatherings of the worldwide Anglican Communion have been contentious events in recent years. On one occasion, two bishops were participating in a Bible study, one from Africa, the other from the U.S. As the hours went by, tempers frayed as the African expressed his confidence in the clear words of scripture, while the American stressed the need to interpret the Bible in the light of modern scholarship and contemporary mores. Eventually, the African bishop asked in exasperation, “If you don’t believe the scripture, why did you bring it to us in the first place?”
Philip Jenkins teaches at Penn State and is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University. He is the author of The Great and Holy War and The Many Faces of Christ.