Why are progressive Christians accused of not taking the Bible seriously?

July 11, 2013

“Do I love the Bible?  It’s complicated.”
Ellen Painter Dollar says, “Christians like me, who lean left on political and social issues, are often accused of failing to honor the Bible as an authoritative source.”  She explains why such an accusation is simplistic and inaccurate. But at the same time she wants us to know that her relationship with the Bible is complicated.  Read this post on her blog at Patheos to see what she says about how some passages of the Bible affect her one way, and other passages other ways. Some parts of the Bible give her chills because of their imagery and poetic language; other parts comfort her; and still others leave her “exasperated and confused, because they seem to contradict other scriptures, or are just plain hard to read.”   And see how she answers her title question about whether or not she can honestly say she loves the Bible—and why she answers as she does.

Letha Dawson Scanzoni
Letha Dawson Scanzoni (1935-2024) was an independent scholar, writer, and editor, and the author or coauthor of nine books. In 1978, she and Virginia Ramey Mollenkott wrote Is the Homosexual My Neighbor?, one of the earliest books urging evangelical Christians to rethink their views on homosexuality (updated edition, 1994, HarperOne). More recently, Letha coauthored (with social psychologist David G. Myers) What God Has Joined Together: The Christian Case for Gay Marriage (HarperOne, 2005 and 2006). Another of Letha’s most well-known books is All We’re Meant to Be: Biblical Feminism for Today, coauthored with Nancy A. Hardesty (Word Books, 1974; revised edition, Abingdon, 1986; updated and expanded edition, Eerdmans, 1992). Letha served as editor of Christian Feminism Today in both its former print edition (EEWC Update) and its website for 19 years until her retirement in December 2013.


  1. Thanks, Ellen, for calling attention to the danger of what I call bibliolatry, i.e. making an idol out of Scripture. People with lives similar to ours, with all our idiosyncracies, limitations, life experience, personalities, woundedness put down the words which have come down to us in that collection of writings we call the Bible. Woe unto anyone who doesn’t engage one’s brain, personal experience & Spirit-led wisdom to question & discern truth where it can be found for our lives today, or can’t!


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