Rigid application of New Testament rules is not in itself sufficient to meet life's problems, the primate of the Anglican Church of Canada says in the December issue of The Canadian Churchman.
Most Rev. Howard H. Clark, in a Christmas message to 1,350,000 Anglicans in the church's national newspaper, says the Christian Church should be eagerly receiving fresh insights to add to ancient knowledge and sometimes to correct it.
Christmas is a time "to be with it," he suggests.
Archbishop Clark says that some Christians regard the whole Christmas story as legend and others seem locked up in the past by their belief.
"They pine for the good old days, for the age of faith. The moral life is no adventure to them. They meet life's problems by a wooden and rigid application to the rules they find in the New Testament."
The moral questions of our day, such as war, divorce and abortion are not closed and settled just because of what Christians have said in the past, he says.
"The church will always be learning. It should be the most open of all societies."
The archbishop relates the story of a young man who came to him with a problem. "I failed him. All I did was remind him of the church's rule and so I left him crippled. I do not mean the rule was wrong, but I applied it in a routine way and therefore an inhuman way."