Friday, December 16, 2011

Bultmannia

I ran into a local acquaintance the other day, a very conservative Presbyterian certain that his denomination is going down the tubes because it no longer respects the authority of scripture.  What it’s really about is homosexuality.  It’s a sin.  He’s against it.  The Church should not tolerate it.  It’s been a driving issue in his conversation for at least ten years.  His arguments were tightly formed, legally impressive, academically well researched and morally certain, at least to him.  I say were because the tide of theological opinion seems to be turning against him, and I’m guessing that a tide that is turning, in spite of his unassailable arguments, must be driven by heretics.
Indeed, said he, a majority of the Presbyterian leadership are followers of Bultmann.  They all studied him in seminary, and now they are following him down the path of extreme demythologizing to the point of denying the Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.  Bultmannia has consumed the Presbyterian Church.  It’s not really about homosexuality, it’s about the authority of scripture, and this is the proof.
I had no idea Bultmann was a Presbyterian, or even a Scot for that matter.  We Episcopalians certainly read bits and pieces of Bultmann in seminary, but I don’t recall him being the center of our studies.  I guess Princeton was different.  Oh well, I hear much the same from some Anglicans.  It’s not about homosexuality, it’s about the authority of scripture.  
I asked my acquaintance if it could be that the other side takes the authority of scripture just as seriously as he does, but hears the Spirit speaking through it in different ways.  Not if you’re following Bultmann was his reply.  
We wished each other a blessed and merry Christmas as we said goodbye.

5 comments:

Country Parson said...

Dr. B. I know you are a regular reader and may know this person, so in the interest of not causing him any local embarrassment, no names please.
CP

Anonymous said...

OK, CP. I will use no names if I comment on "Bultmannain", or any local person's name on other matters. I do have a copy of "Primitive Christianity in Its Contemporary Setting," and have actually read it all! The irritating mannerism Prof. Bultmann has is to say the most unusual or controversial things without any explanation, as though to say, "Of course, as I have said before and don't need to explain." On p. 90, for example, he states "He (Jesus) does not, for instance, proclaim himself as Messiah. In fact, he points to the Messiah...the Coming One distinct from himself." This is easy to take if you are a reader familiar with all his argument, but shocking to some coming suddenly to just this part, etc. I have mentioned this point of Bultmann's several times in our study group, and have been just ignored, not even a comment! I did not take that as "ho,hum.so what else is new?" No one even wants to discuss it! Dr. B

Country Parson said...

So let's have coffee and discuss
CP

Country Parson said...

I ran across a quote from Tony De Mello that reads in part: "...[A]nd words become what they were always meant to be: the score, not the music; the menu, not the food; the signpost, not journey's end."

Anonymous said...

CP, I just gave that quote from Bultmann as an example of his type of statement that bothers some readers who are not familiar with him. I just assume that I got no comment in the study group because nobody knew how to respond (or cared to!), and had enough to discuss already in the lessons for that day without going off on a perhaps time consuming tangent. Dr.B