Sunday, November 20, 2005

Sunday Sermon Blogging

Here are some excerpts from Lucretia Mott's sermon "Uses and Abuses of the Bible", which she delivered in Philadelphia on November 4, 1849:

The great error in Christendom is that the Bible is is called the word, that it is taken as a whole, as a volume of plenary inspiration and in this way it has proved one of the strongest pillars to uphold ecclesiastical power and hireling priesthood. What has been the power of this book? Is it not uniformly taken among all the professors to establish their peculiar creeds, their dogmas of faith and their forms of worship, be they ever so superstitious? Is not the Bible sought from beginning to end for its isolated passages wherewith to prove the most absurd dogmas that were ever palmed off upon a credulous people; dogmas doing violence to the divine gift of reason with which man is so beautifully endowed; doing violence to all his feelings, his sense of justice and mercy with which the Most High has seen fit to clothe him?....

We find the religionist, especially those whose greater interest it is to build up sect than to establish truth and righteousness in the earth...ready to flee to the Bible for authority for all their mysteries, their nonsensical dogmas, that have been imposed as articles of belief, as essential doctrines of Christianity. But also my friends has there not been an unworthy resort to this volume to prove the rightfulness of war and slavery, and of crushing women's powers, the assumption of authority over her, and indeed of all the evils under which the earth, humanity has groaned from age to age?....Because of the veneration of the Bible, we find, even down to the present time, the overruling providence of God is claimed as giving countenance to the most barbarous and horrid wars, that are even in this day, cursing and disgracing the nations of the earth.

3 comments:

Speechless said...

Lucretia Mott's wisdom still resonates with many in Philadelphia today. She was a light that shined brightly and brought about much good work. A tireless worker for peace and justice.

Just this year in Philadelphia we had a wonderful lecture by another local celebrated woman, Elaine Paigels, talking about the gospel of Timothy, and explaining how some of the gospels of old got left out of the Bible. It's remarkable how close to the Spirit of Quakerism are those forgotten gospels, especially Timothy. It's that anarchic principle which would never work to form an institution which makes those forgotten gospels so compelling, the same spirit which informed Lucretia Mott. The consistency of that hidden wisdom over so many years is very satisfying.

Phila said...

I like Ms. Pagels a lot. Beyond Belief was a terrific book, I thought.

roger said...

amazingly modern and relevant today. the ending is chilling.