Chapter 27 » 27.30

Friends and the Christian church

The Bible

As a book containing foundation documents of both the Jewish and Christian religions, the Bible has, of course, unique historical value, both faiths having contributed richly to the world’s culture and public life. Again, our Quaker forerunners’ use of the Bible to nurture and check the working of Light Within was both wise and profitable. So it is for us. Yet the Bible’s supreme value resides in the power of its finest passages as expressions of vital religion which is both personally and socially transforming.

What kind of approach to the Bible leads to that discovery? An intelligent analytical and critical approach has its rightful place. We then stand over the Bible as subjects investigating an object. An inversion of this subject–object relationship is, however, possible. We then approach the Bible not mainly to criticise, but to listen; not merely to question, but to be challenged, and to open our lives penitentially both to its judgments and to its liberating gospel.

Pathways to God are many and varied. Friends, however, along with a great company of other seekers, have been able to testify that this receptive personal response to the biblical message, and especially to the call of Jesus, leads to joyous self-fulfilling life, and to a redemptive awareness of the love and glory of God.

George Boobyer, 1988

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