Sat | Jan 16, 2021

Even scholars can learn, Rev Roper

Published:Thursday | August 3, 2017 | 12:00 AM


According to the Rev Dr Garnett Roper, Alvin Bailey is in no position to counsel him, as he is "several years his senior in terms of ministry and considerably more well trained". (Sunday Gleaner, July 30, 2017))

Which is of greater significance in any rational discourse, who says what or what is said? Is it more about personalities or should the principles expressed have the greater value?

Was Rev Roper, a prominent clergyman and president of the Jamaica Theological Seminary, guided by fundamental biblical principles when he reportedly made certain utterances? Or was he misquoted, misunderstood or maybe misguided?

Rev Roper exercised his democratic rights and publicly declared his position on the very controversial issue of homosexuality. What was, however, unfortunate was his irrational and intemperate outburst when reacting to another clergyman, Bishop Alvin Bailey, who expressed contrary views.

People naturally have various views on any subject and I have listened to a few sermons by Rev Roper where he expounded on virtues like humility and respect for others. Respect, it is reasonable to conclude, would also include respect for those who differ, and Roper's reaction to Bailey was not in keeping with his own sermons.

Rev Roper may consider himself an intellectual giant and among Jamaica's brightest theologians, but this does not mean he cannot learn something meaningful from those whom he considers to be lowly placed, whether intellectually or morally.