Gloucester Cathedral in England (courtesy Pixabay)

Gloucester Cathedral in England (courtesy Pixabay)

A minister of the Church of England has scolded a former bishop who dismissed Jesus as no more than a “spiritual and prophetic genius” and called the New Testament an “untidy bundle of writings.”

Rev. Robin Weekes of Emmanuel Church in Wimbledon, England, reprimanded Richard Holloway, the former bishop of Edinburgh, who made the comments in the Spectator magazine, said the Christian Institute.

Weekes pointed out to Holloway that the churches that preach the Bible “are the ones that are growing” in the United Kingdom.

The institute said Holloway, who led the Anglican church in Scotland in the 1980s, was reviewing a book on the history of the Bible by academic John Barton.

Holloway himself acknowledged that growing churches are “usually those that take a conservative approach to the interpretation of the Bible.”

But he suggested people should “settle for” a casual faith.

“After all, which of us really knows what’s going on?” he wrote.

Weekes, in a response letter to the Spectator, said the bishop’s opinion was disturbing.

He pointed out that as a school boy, he was confirmed by Holloway and was a student under Barton.

“So I was intrigued to read Holloway’s review of Barton’s latest book, ‘A History of the Bible’ (30 March), and disturbed by their conclusions. Indeed, both the book and the review go a long way to explaining why the median size of a Church of England congregation is 28, and why numbers are at an all-time low,” Weekes wrote.

“One doesn’t have to be an anti-intellectual fundamentalist to believe in orthodox biblical Christianity, or to realize that being a disciple of Christ means one cannot have a lower view of the Bible than he did. Jesus consistently upheld the Old Testament (including the early chapters of Genesis) as the word of God, and made provision for the authoritative New Testament (which Holloway dismisses as ‘an untidy bundle of writings’).

“Of course the Bible must be read and interpreted carefully. Emptying it of its historicity, reliability and authority in favor of ‘a tolerant and ecumenical attitude’ will inevitably lead to Holloway’s depressing conclusion: ‘Which of us really knows what’s going on?’ Preaching like that empties churches. Churches like the one I serve, which seek to preach the Bible in line with the historic Christian creeds and the formularies of the Church of England, are the ones that are growing.”

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