Which came first?
On the contrary, Christianity is not a “religion of a book,” but rather a religion of a Person. It propounds for our acceptance Jesus Christ, and as the revealer of the Father. The test question of the Church has never been “Dost thou believe the Bible,” but “Dost thou believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God? The Bible thus ought to be viewed as not a revelation in and of itself, but a record of the proclaiming and receiving of a revelation.-Charles Gore (1853-1932) in Lux MundiI do think of Christianity, as well as Judaism, as religion of the book. But is the book primary? This may sound like theological hairsplitting, but it makes a difference in how you determine the sources of your faith and give weight to each.
Speaking about The Good Book is certainly a primary part of proclaiming the Good News here in South Georgia where Christianity is both Jesus and Bible centered in most churches. Not that this emphasis is bad, but it is not the only way to express the Christian faith.
For example, within the Orthodox tradition—definitive for a good percentage of Christendom during the past millennium—Christianity is centered in the Trinity and worship. The act of worship is primary theology for Orthodox Christians, for it is there that one stands before God (hopefully) with pretension stripped away.
At the level of history, it is clear that God came first and the Bible later, which makes scripture an important, but not primary source for knowing God. At the level of theology, many believe that scripture, as the inspired Word of God, is the way to come to know Jesus and through Him, the Father and is therefore primary.
Perhaps it is the Pentecostal tradition in which I was raised which leaves open the door to me for direct revelation from God, knowing God in my heart by the power of the Holy Spirit. This direct revelation still seems primary to me, though it must be balanced with what has already been revealed in scripture. Or to make my answer as down-the-middle Anglican as I can, any revelation of God is looked at in light of scripture, tradition and reason.
What do you think?
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church