Continuing from the last post...
The Tale of the Tub was a broadside against those who did what they wanted to do and then went to the Scripture to find justification for it. Such twisting of scripture is done equally by the religious right and the religious left. This is a form of scholasticism -- we go to the scriptures to bolster our arguments about what we want to be true ("scholasticism" is a broad term and this is only part of what it covers). When Pat Robertson claims that hurricanes are a sign of God's disfavor he may run to the Bible to bring out plague and storm stories, but he doesn't check the passages that show God's faithful people caught in the middle of trials, storms, pain, and disease. He has a point and he wants to push it.
When people want to be seen as erudite and urbane, up to date in their mores and science they can find lots of stuff in the Bible that isn't there! Theistic evolution (and permission to ridicule creationists), elastic views of inspiration (and permission to ridicule those who believe in inerrancy), and so forth can be found in scripture the same way the sons in "The Tale of a Tub" found hidden permission to change their coats for every season, at every whim.
The Amish can find rules against the use of electricity or zippers. Churches of Christ (my tribe) have often found rules against hair styles, song styles, wearing crosses, etc. that change as culture changes. Examples of this abound across the denominational spectrum.
So... if everybody's doing it, is it all right? Not even a little bit. In "The Tale of the Tub" the Father's will was only examined to see if they could find a way to do what they wanted to do, when the will is there to show what the Father wanted done. While we may differ on issues here and there, we must approach scripture -- not to alter it -- but to be altered by it. That will pull us left and right to get us back into position.
An example: a recent poster indicated that changing views of women's roles in the church were due to a more enlightened view of God at work in society. In some churches that may be the case. I know that our elders at Rochester (God bless them!) studied the issue very, very deeply over a two year period. It consumed them. They brought in experts in Greek, in Church History, and in Theology. They read a ton of books. They prayed and searched the scriptures, not for permission to do what they wanted, but to find what the Lord wanted. At the end they decided they had been wrong to place some of the limits we have traditionally placed on women and those were lifted so that they would remain true to the scripture. Other limits remained in place because it seemed that was what Scripture said. It is not a closed issue as they are still studying -- willing to be altered by the Word again.
Some will search the Bible to find ways to condemn more praise centered worship. They scoff and call it "entertainment." In my searching of scripture (I'm not done!) I can find nothing against being 'entertained' by our worship. In fact, even those who rail against entertainment are, themselves, entertained by their favorite songs, favorite speaker, favorite prayers, and favorite subjects. Searching the scriptures for what we want to find breeds division. Searching it to see what God wants allows for greater diversity among us (see particularly Romans 14 and 15) and a more stable community.
If we are to be honest in our dealings with Scripture (and our history and nature) we have to approach God and His Book as students, ready to learn, ready to be rebuked, ready to repent, and ready to rejoice. Ready -- in short -- to be obedient to the will; unwilling to twist it to ours.