Sunny evening, 6 June 2018

Friday, 2 September 2011

Scriptural interpretation

A minister in the Free Church of Scotland has written to his Presbytery to resign as a minister and to be deleted from the register of retired ministers. Why? Because the Free Church recently proposed to introduce hymns into the service. Until recently, hymns and musical instruments were not permitted. The Reverend Macdonald is seriously upset that, after 47 years, he feels he is forced to this move. Introducing hymns is, in his view, unscriptural and sinful. More on this link.

I respect everybody's religious convictions, and am also prepared to acknowledge that different people have different forms of worship, and that some forms may be repugnant to other people, for quite genuine reasons.

I resent, however, the fact that people are condemning each other because of differing interpretations of the Bible, which is what happens a lot. Don't forget that the Bible has been translated several times, has come down over literally thousands of years. More to the point, who on Earth does anyone think they are when they claim know exactly what was meant by our Deity when He commanded whoever to write down His Word? It is the job of a Minister of the Church to interpret the Scriptures to the best of his ability and conscience, in order that his congregation can best be helped in dealing with the major (and minor) issues of life. The form of worship, with all respect to the Reverend Macdonald, is a minor side issue to that.

The Protestant Church is infamous for its multitudes of splits and schisms, brought about by differing interpretations, and each faction defending to the hilt the notion that they have it right, and when someone doesn't agree, they are wrong. I am all for a healthy discussion. I am strongly opposed to rigidly imposed dogma - something that both Protestant and Catholic Churches are very good at.

Some 30 years ago, I was invited to a meeting, hosted by the Opus Dei organisation. They were trying to convert young students to the Roman Catholic faith, and possibly recruit them into their organisation. They did a good job at convincing me that I could not do so. I do not accept certain tenets of the RC faith (that's a personal opinion), but I have a great respect for that Church nonetheless. Some of my best friends over the years have been Orthodox Roman Catholics. But it would appear to me that the rigid dogma of the RC Church has been copied by certain sections of the Free Church of Scotland - a comparison that will not sit very well with certain members of that Church.


  1. I always figured that the reason we have so many different churches is that the good Lord didn't want anyone to be left out. I am firmly a member of one church and wouldn't change for the world, but I also would never put down anyone other church.

  2. There is a difference between Catholic and Protestant. As you stated, there have been many schisms in the Protestant religion. If we looked it up, I imagine there would be hundreds of thousands by now. I know there were tens of thousands several years ago.

    In the Roman Catholic Church, whether you are Eastern or Western rite, if you are united to the Pope (which makes you Roman Catholic) -- you are not schismed. There is only one set of dogma for you. There is reason for this, and it is bc Jesus established it this way. I won't go into all of this right now. I studied for perhaps 16 years and was enlightened to this fact. It was hard to accept, bc we live in a subjective society, but there are some absolute truths.

    I am not here to convert you right now. I am just getting you to think in another way, and to help you to understand how Catholics believe also.

    Catholics have one set of dogma for their church, and one set alone. But within this dogma (teaching) there is a large room for individuality and having a personal relationship w the Lord. There are just CERTAIN things the Church tells you are definite bc they are told to the Church by the Holy Spirit (then handed down to the people). As you stated (if I didn't misunderstand you), there are many personal interpretations of passages in the Bible, and we all can't have our own. Again that's too subjective. Catholics go with what the Church tells them. But they're not told EVERYTHING, and are encouraged to read the Bible daily and interpret themselves via the Holy Spirit. Catholics just know that they MUST believe the things on FAITH and MORALS that they are told they MUST believe.

    Now, to say you can never have music, I think is EXTREMELY LEGALISTIC. Of course it is ridiculous to make a rule like that. But I would not call that "rigidly imposed dogma" like you called Catholic Teachings. As I stated earlier, Catholic Dogma are very serious items, and are on faith and morals. Our Church would never say something like "you can't have music." I'm sorry yours did. From the Bible and history we can know there was music in religious worship. But I wouldn't condemn those who were for it or those who wouldn't. That to me is just plain silly. But that is not what Catholic doctrine does. Besides, you must understand that Catholics know that their teaching is from the Holy Spirit. It is not for each pastor to dictate. This is a very serious matter, so I am glad you let me shed light on it, and post in your blog.

    Thanks again, Guido. I appeared here coincidentally, going through my Google Reader. I hope you don't mind that I stopped by and left a comment!

    krissy knox

  3. Krissy, I really appreciate your comments to this post. I am grateful for your balanced insights, from a RC church perspective.

  4. Thank you very much, Guido for allowing me to present to you the RC perspective. I know that this subject is sometimes hard to discuss, but is very important for everyone.

    Thanks again, and have a pleasant time as we enter the coming fall season.

    God bless and take care, krissy :)

  5. Surprise, Guido! I actually took the time to sign on and read some today. It hurts me and I suspect it certainly hurts our Savior when we see churches bicker and split over things as simple as the color of the carpet. Hurts our testimony to a lost and dying world. They can't see or hear past all the arguing the truth that we agree on far more than we disagree upon. Many saints will be surprised to see some absent in Heaven, and many more will likely be just as surprised at who is there with them.