The Word & the Words by David Mills

The Word & the Words

Conservative Christians often say that the brutal conflicts in their churches over sexual and doctrinal issues reflect the fundamental division over the authority of Scripture, but I don’t think this is true any more. The notorious Bishop John Spong gamely—and in a way, rather pathetically—keeps old-fashioned skepticism alive, but few of his allies join him in rejecting Scripture so thoroughly.

Almost everyone believes in the authority of Scripture these days. Almost everyone believes in the Resurrection and other doctrines Spong dismisses as primitive myths and outdated metaphors. The gap between liberal and conservative is, or seems, smaller than it was, and many conservatives have seen this as a sign of the death of liberalism and the beginning of a revival.

The gap seems smaller because the real division is now subtler than it was: the Churches are divided between those who believe that “the Word” is separable from the words of Scripture and those who believe that the words of the Word are inspired and binding. At times, the two will sound very much alike—which is to say, that men committed to the most radical doctrinal and moral innovations will speak, especially when among more orthodox men, as do Pope John Paul II and Billy Graham.

THIS ARTICLE ONLY AVAILABLE TO SUBSCRIBERS.
FOR QUICK ACCESS:


David Mills has been editor of Touchstone and executive editor of First Things.

Print &
Online Subscription

Get six issues (one year) of Touchstone PLUS full online access including pdf downloads for only $39.95. That's only $3.34 per month!

Online
Subscription

Get a one-year full-access subscription to the Touchstone online archives for only $19.95. That's only $1.66 per month!

bulk subscriptions

Order Touchstone subscriptions in bulk and save $10 per sub! Each subscription includes 6 issues of Touchstone plus full online access to touchstonemag.com—including archives, videos, and pdf downloads of recent issues for only $29.95 each! Great for churches or study groups.

Transactions will be processed on a secure server.


more from the online archives

26.1—Jan/Feb 2013

Scarborough Needs Men

Manly Chastity, Hedonism & the Law of Non-contradiction by Anthony Esolen

26.1—Jan/Feb 2013

Lost & Found in the Cosmos

The Alternate & Alternative Worlds of H. P. Lovecraft & C. S. Lewis by C. R. Wiley

31.2—March/April 2018

Watchful Dragons

Neil Gaiman’s Brush with Narnia Lingers by Russell D. Moore

calling all readers

Please Donate

"There are magazines worth reading but few worth saving . . . Touchstone is just such a magazine."
—Alice von Hildebrand

"Here we do not concede one square millimeter of territory to falsehood, folly, contemporary sentimentality, or fashion. We speak the truth, and let God be our judge. . . . Touchstone is the one committedly Christian conservative journal."
—Anthony Esolen, Touchstone senior editor

Support Touchstone

00