The sad reality with the church today is that so many are turning away from the Bible. Long viewed as a key book in the life of the Christian, now it has become almost irrelevant to many. And this has nothing to do with a particular theological position; both Liberals and Conservatives alike, value the Bible, and both camps are leaving it in droves. Our new way of thinking is suspicious of anything that purports to be authoritative, and so the Bible is devalued and just becomes another tool to assist us in our attempts at living a good life. And once located here it is very easy to ignore it.
What might surprise some is that the Foundations of the Anglican Church include a profound respect for the Holy Scriptures. In 1533, Thomas Cranmer became Archbishop of Canterbury and took on the major role of shaping the Anglican Church out of the Reformation. A central part of this was his love of the Bible which he believed was the living word of God to every person, and that it comes with huge power when not clouded by human comment. Cranmer worked hard to make the Bible available to all within the Anglican Church.
The sad state of Bible reading in the Western World is a crisis facing the church. We need to recapture Cranmer’s vision and work towards every Christian recognizing the authority and power of the Bible and falling in love with it again. The Bible needs to return to the center of the Christian’s life.
Arkin Ariantho/Mark Brown
Leader of the Anglican Community in SL/CEO of The Bible Society in New Zealand.