First to seek GAFCON Bible teaching through my new Ask Father Christian facility is none other than the First Episcopal Canine Bishop of Pittsburgh, the Right Reverend Clumber, who writes:
Why doesn't the Bible like dogs? There seems to be a fairly negative view throughout, with even Jesus naming those he does not like as "dogs". I'm confused, as the first Canine Bishop on the Episcopal Church, as to what I should be teaching the good people of my diocese, Pittsburgh.
Dear Bishop Clumber,
May I begin by saying how honored I am to find myself in a position to clarify matters for one of your prestige, who is not only an important Episcopal leader, but should also by rights would have been crowned America’s Greatest Dog were it not for obvious foul play on the part of Pittsburgh’s former incumbent. Having deserted his Sacred Commission only to find you so capably filling his empty slippers he clearly sought revenge by vindictively fixing the judging.
Now regarding your question: when approaching the Scriptures one must always remember something that many of the Communion’s more outspoken Clergy find extremely disturbing: the difficult truth that the Bible was written by foreigners.
I say this not to offend, nor out of any desire to weaken my brothers’ faith, but simply because it is the truth, regrettably or otherwise. Personally I see it as inspiring that the One who can summon the stones to praise Him (Luke 19:40) can even speak through heathen tongues.
Having coming to us through such imperfect vessels we must realise that Scripture also reflects the culture of its original time and place, as well as speaking into our own. This is why we must no longer exclude men with spots or testicular defects from our congregations (Lev 19:20), but are instead free to include and ridicule them – because these sort of foreign phobias need no longer concern us.
Now in my experience most foreigners don’t like dogs, probably because dogs are loyal, faithful and discerning – all qualities which foreigners are famous for lacking. In the process of recording Bible truth a lot of nasty foreign preconceptions about dogs which we all now know are completely untrue were included: unfortunately that was inevitable given the people to whom the task of writing the Scriptures was entrusted However please don’t take it personally. You should hear what some of the Church Fathers said about ferrets, and we all know how much bad press pigs have had since day one.
Sadly in their desire to escape from the loathsome presence of liberals (who are sort of like the foreigners of god’s Kingdom) a great many members of the Communion have begun reading the Bible as if they are Baptists, which is hardly any better. Consequently there are those who even argue that the apparent criticisms of creatures such as yourself justifies their own foolish specism.
Yet this shows how little they actually understand about the fine art of misapplying Scripture to suit ones own ends. Just because it can extremely useful to use the Scriptures in order to justify one’s dislike of menstruating women (Levitcus 15:19) or sodomites doesn’t mean the Bible actually is intended by god to be read in such a way. Correctly applied the Bible can be a wonderful weapon against those whom we wish to alienate, and it can in the right hands be a powerful tool. Yet let no man, not even one as wise as myself, be deluded into thinking we can ever be the Scriptures’ master. Just because we find it handy to misuse the texts according to our whims doesn’t automatically mean our interpretations carry any divine authority.
It is one thing to be a corrupt old scoundrel like myself, but believing one’s own mischief is just foolishness. Just ask your predecessor.
I’m Father Christian and I teach the Bible.