The following letter was a response to an article by Bishop Chane in the May 2003 edition of the Washington Diocese (as of June 2003, renamed the Washington Window). Chane was taking "fundamentalists" to task. He has a desire, however, to have honest conversation. He has invited Christ Church, Accokeek, Maryland, back into the diocese after the previous bishop staged an assault on the tiny parish, and has asked them to present their conservative case. The ball is in the conservatives' court. My letter is an attempt to make some intelligent response to his challenge.
May 20, 2003
To the Editor:
Bishop Chane (May Washington Window) rightly wants Christians to come to terms with change.
The two crown jewels of Western Civ. are the rise of science and the development of due process in civil law. Both are about truth-seeking. Both arose from the Biblical worldview, and logically could not have arisen from secularism or paganism. Only the Biblical worldview pictures an ordered universe producing cosmic and moral order. In secularism and paganism, order is imposed, not found, often by force of arms.
Being a truth-seeker is prior to being a Christian -- without truth-seeking there is no way to distinguish a true from a false God. Science and due process are part of God's tools for our doing that, and thus foundational to Judeo-Christian civilization. As in, "Come, let us reason together...." (Isaiah 1:18, 43:8-12; John 8:31-2; & I John 1:5-9.)
Without a common commitment to fact and logic (God's way of reasoning together), we cannot resolve issues of Iraq, sexuality, personal salvation, or social justice.
Bishop Chane refers to "venomous campaigns". How do we distinguish vipers from friends? Vipers cannot flourish in the light. So, I submit, the distinction begins with finding out who is (or is not) willing to test his agenda in open discussion -- science and due process. Who, were he wrong, would want (or not want) to know? Who is willing to live in the light?
Under those terms, honest liberalism and honest conservatism can work together. God has nothing to offer but truth. So when truth wins, everybody wins.
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