The blindness of prejudice

A favourite excerpt of mine on the Sacred Scriptures is a writing by John Henry Newman, who was a convert from Protestantism to Catholicism. He brings into focus how so many people can come up with erroneous interpretations of Holy Scripture.   Here’s a brief extract: 

solascriptura
“The Church of Christ walks the earth now, as Christ did in the days of His flesh, and as our Lord fulfilled the Scriptures in what was and what He did then, so the Church fulfils the Scriptures in what she is and what she does now; as Christ was promised, predicted, in the Scriptures as He was then, so is the Church promised, predicted, in the Scriptures in what she is now. Yet the people of this day, though they read the Scriptures and think they understand them, like the Jews then, who read the Scriptures and thought they understood them, do not understand them. Why? Because like the Jews then, they have been taught badly; they have received false traditions, as the Jews had received the traditions of the Pharisees, and are blind when they think they see, and are prejudiced against the truth, and shocked and offended when they are told it. 

 And, as the Jews then passed over passages in Scripture, which ought to have set them right, so do Christians now pass over passages, which would, if dwelt on, extricate them from their error. For example, the Jews passed over the texts: “They pierced my hands and my feet,” “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” “He was rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief,” which speak of Christ. And men nowadays pass over such passages as the following which speak of the Church: “Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted to them”; “Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church”; “Anointing them with oil in the Name of the Lord”; “The Church the pillar and foundation of the truth”; and the like. They are so certain that the doctrine of the one Holy Catholic Church is not true, that they will not give their mind to these passages, they pass them over. They cannot tell you what they mean, but they are quite sure they do not mean what Catholics say they mean, because Catholicism is not true. In fact a deep prejudice is on their minds, or what Scripture calls blindness. They cannot tell what these passages and many others mean, but they do not care. They say that after all they are not important which is just begging the question and when they are urged and forced to give them a meaning, they say any thing that comes uppermost, merely to satisfy or to perplex the questioner, wishing nothing more than to get rid of what they think a troublesome, but idle, question.
 
Now is it not strange that persons who act in this way, who skip over things in Scripture, and go by their prejudices, and by the bad teaching they have received in Scripture, should yet boast that they are scriptural and go by Scripture, and use their private judgement? No, they do not judge, they do not examine, they do not go by Scripture; but they take just so much of Scripture as suits them, and leave the rest. They go, not by their private judgement, but their private prejudice, and by their private liking”.
  

 (Taken from Sermon 4. Prejudice and Faith Quinquagesima, 5th March 1848)

JesusintheTemple
 

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