We need to avoid the vain illusion that our spiritually crippled age can apply historical methods to recover the so-called real Bible. Each and every aspect of our inherited tradition is not always correct, and a great deal of traditional doctrine and theology has become entirely disconnected from a living exegetical practice. For this reason, traditional views need to be constantly tested, and reinvested with scriptural content...
However, our inherited traditions are themselves strikingly sophisticated and textually sensitive projects. They were developed to answer the single most difficult and central exegetical question of all: how can the Bible be read as a document that can be affirmed as true? Because we face the very same question today, we ignore our dogmatic, ecclesiastical, liturgical, and spiritual traditions at our peril.
From the novel South of Broad by Pat Conroy:
“It is the martini’s job to bring me closer to God,” the monsignor says, then sips with satisfaction. “It brings me halfway to God, then I must rely on the awesome power of prayer to take me to the summit.” “Then you must teach me how to pray in the proper manner, Monsignor.” A man’s voice comes from the doorway, and I look up to see Chad Rutledge putting his briefcase on a bench. “The Anglicans teach that drinking is the fastest way to approach God. Charlestonians think it’s the only way. What’s wrong with our theology?”