1. What is your general religious background? Cathepiscobaptilutheran.
2. Have you read the Bible in its entirety? I probably have come close if I haven’t already.
3. Do you think it is absolutely necessary for a Christian to have read the entire Bible? Why?Â I think every Christian should but I think it’s a lifetime goal kind of thing.
4. Do you think it is necessary for a Christian to memorize scriptures? Why? I think one should know key verses and what they say as a means of apologetics.
5. Do you personally enjoy the New Testament or Old Testament more? There are parts of both that I enjoy though I have to admit that I’m much more familiar with the New Testament.
Christians: (Your questions are hard; I am such a mean person. Good luck.)
1. What branch and/or denomination do you affiliate yourself with? ELCA — Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (the hippie Lutherans)
2. Do you regularly memorize Scripture? Depends on the Scripture
â€“ Do you memorize well-known verses or anything at all?Â Yes… if only because I used to force my Confirmation kids to do it.
3. Are you familiar enough with the Bible to find something if you need to, or point someone to what they need?Â I’m so good that parishioners just stare at me.
4. Do you know the general differences between orthodox and evangelical Christianity? (I use the terms fairly loosely in this context, but Protestant vs. Roman Catholic, or Non-denominational vs. mainstream Protestant, for example.)Â I know them intimately enough to nitpick when one tries to kvetch about how the other isn’t Christian enough.
5. Are you familiar with scriptural texts that may not be included in your personal Bible? (i.e. apocryphal or deuterocanonical books.)Â Probably not as familiar as I should be, given my theological education.
â€“ Should they be in your Bible?Â Yes.
â€“ Did you know the criteria for Biblical canon centered around two main categoriesâ€“ whether the book was inspired by God or whether it was useful to the church? So, in theory, some books may have been inspired by God, but were found useless, so not included in canon. Does this fact bother you?Â In terms of the Apocrypha, no.Â In terms of the Gnostic gospels, I feel that they didn’t pass the litmus test because the Holy Spirit hasn’t used them for the last 1950 years to enlighten and guide the church, not to mention many of them have some doctrinal issues.
6. Do you trust that your personal Bible is sufficient for study, either based upon translation, or based upon trusting the people who put together canon? (If youâ€™re Protestant, you have less books than Catholic or Eastern Orthodox churches. Do you trust that? If youâ€™re Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant, you have books in your Bible that were not accepted by the early church. Do you trust this?)Â I do.Â Again, my belief is that the Holy Spirit has used the canon to guide and illuminate the Church for 1950 years and I can deal with that.
â€“ Letâ€™s use Luther as a symbol for a moment. Luther was key to the Protestant Reformation and is credited as a symbol of Protestantism today. He, along with others, changed the Church. Luther questioned the authenticity of Hebrews, (absolutely crucial toward understanding current evangelical belief system) James, Jude and Revelations, probably because they were not accepted as canon by the early church. What do you think of this?Â That he was trying to be faithful and discern what was necessary and what was adiaphora.
â€“ How about the fact that Luther believed in the real presence of the Eucharist/Communion/Lordâ€™s Supper? (And much of Protestantism does not.)Â Given that the Lutheran Church did not magically descend from heaven in 1517 and we have a history with the ROMAN Church (sorry… I’m a small “c” Catholic because I’m all about the universal Church of Christ on earth), I’m chill that he believed that.Â Luther was originally a Catholic priest and he DID pray the rosary daily.
7. Do you know the differences between modern English translations of the Bible?Â Enough to nitpick.Â
â€“ What translation(s) of the Bible do you use?Â It depends on what I’m doing.Â To read Psalms, I love the KJV.Â For most Scripture quotes, I use the NKJV or the NASB.Â The Bible I have for study is the NRSV that I have left over from seminary.
8. Do you participate in liturgy? What do you think of Church Tradition compared to Scripture?Â I LOVE liturgy and wish that Jon’s current parish was more liturgical.Â Given that all parts of liturgy are based on Scripture and said Church tradition refers to the Didache which is seriously EARLY Church, I’m down with it.Â Â With regard to tradition, it depends on what the background of the tradition is.
9. Do you believe Christians today should study Church history?Â YES –Â both Eastern and Western Church History.Â (Can you tell that I’m a Church historian at heart?)