Sunday, July 13, 2014

On Latitudinarianism

During the seventeenth century,
a number of Anglican divines
sought to combine faith and reason
into a comprehensive doctirne.

They were pilloried for having
too wide a latitude in their search,
going back to Plato's philosophy,
hence the term, "latitudinarianism."

While forgotten today as a movement,
that struggle permeates theology today.
The bible simply does not provide
a guide for all of life's vicissitudes.

In the drive to abolish slavery,
Wilberforce and company had to
counter the acceptance of that
evil in recorded biblical times.

Their ultimate argument rested
upon the great commandment
to do under others as you would
have them do unto you.

Unfortunately, such a simple order
fails to resolve those social issues
in which it may be used by both
sides to support their positions.

Some Christian denominations
have built their theology entirely
around a hard and fast doctrine
that brooks no exception.

And yet we all stand up in
church and recite the creeds
together without question as
to their validity and application.

Why can't we all be latter day
latitudinarians, and accept the
differences among us on issues
for which the bible is silent?