So the Anglican Communion has set itself upon a three-year course to study and report on how Anglicans worldwide read and interpret Scripture.
“We can no longer be content to drop random texts into arguments, imagining that the point is thereby proved, or indeed to sweep away sections of the New Testament as irrelevant to today’s world, imagining that problems are thereby solved,” a provision in the 2004 Windsor Report states. “We need mature study, wise and prayerful discussion, and a joint commitment to hearing and obeying God as he speaks in scripture, to discovering more of the Jesus Christ to whom all authority is committed, and to being open to the fresh wind of the Spirit who inspired scripture in the first place.
“If our present difficulties force us to read and learn together from scripture in new ways, they will not have been without profit.”
Biblical scholars, clergy, and laity will participate.
While you always wonder if such an enterprise is just an exercise in doctrinal revisionism, I don’t believe that’s the agenda here. I eagerly await reports from the “Bible in the Life of the Church” project. If anything, it looks as if this is an attempt to place Scripture back at the center of theological discourse, as opposed to social, cultural, and political imperatives.
I hope I’m not wrong. As I have written here and elsewhere, there have been many powerful Anglican witnesses to the Christian faith, and it would be a terrible shame and an incalculable loss if the Communion were to fragment into irrelevancy.