Tuesday, September 05, 2006,10:21 PM
the bible as a weapon
To rant - I find it really annoying when people use verses like bullets. They shoot them out you as is (or with perhaps a few random words in ALL CAPS) and just leave it at that. No follow up, no arguement, no reasoning - just the verses. I want to shake them and point out that they need to interpret the verses to get their point across. But the issue is that that type of person who would just throw verses in an argument is also the type person who holds a literal view of the bible which doesn't allow for the possibility of interpretation. They assume that there is only one right way to read the bible forver and ever amen. So hurling a verse or two makes perfect sense because everyone obviously reads those verses in exactly the same way (in every denomination, in every country, in every time period, in every language...). It just gets frustrating and its impossible to continue conversations when someone starts doing that. So since its hopeless to point out to them that the world (and all theology) does not revolve around them, I thought I would rant here...

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posted by Julie at 10:21 PM ¤ Permalink ¤


28 Comments:


  • At 9/06/2006 09:46:00 AM, Blogger gerbmom

    That's why I appreciate you and Mike.... :)

     
  • At 9/07/2006 08:53:00 AM, Blogger lydia

    ^^^Yeah, what she said. :)

     
  • At 9/08/2006 12:32:00 PM, Anonymous Jose

    Julie, Why should we use the Bible as a standard for our conversations and lifestyle?

    If one claims to be a Christian, this means one has to follow Jesus the Christ. You cannot say that you follow Jesus and live ingnoring his direct commandment.
    John 14:15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments"
    Well, you can "say"... but you would not be a true disciple of Jesus the Christ, but rather a philosopher just like the ones that the apostle Paul discoursed at the Areopagus in Acts 17.

    You see God is not unjust. He is Rightous. Let me put it this way... You are a mom. When you want to make sure that your child remains safe, you will give him/her specific instructions so that there will be no confusion in the matter you are instructing him or her. God does the same thing, He wants us to read His instruction clearly in the Bible so we will not be misguided. We live in a very confused generation, people want to know the truth, but the truth sometimes hurts. Its like the alcohol on the wound, it hurts...but it also dissinfects.

    If you take the Bible and treat it as a college text book (to make-out you own interpretation) you will be misleading many people, and maybe even leading them apart from the One True God - Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God.

    I read in your blog that you were upset with an article you read on a different blog from yours. I want you to know that the Scripture is not intended to kill anyone, like the bullet. But rather to warn poeple of their wrong ways before its too late.

    One day everyone of us will stand before the Great Judge of the Universe - Jesus the Christ - to give an account of every word, action and heart-motive of what we have done. Scripture is the Law that God will use to Judge us. Read John 12:46
    "I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48 He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day."

    In the last part of this verse, Jesus was very clear... He says that His Word will judge us in the last day.

    I pray that in that day, you will stand before the King victoriuos. Blessings!

     
  • At 9/09/2006 08:48:00 AM, Blogger Julie

    you found me, I don't know how but you found me....

    okay sorry dumb back to the future reference there... but my shock to see the very person who prompted my rant show up to post is quite amusing.

    I love the bible and find truth in it. You seem to completely miss (and prove) my point. Everything is interpreted always there is no getting around it. To assume your personal interpretation is the right one for all time ignores the great history and tradition of the church as well as shuts down conversation and truth seeking.

     
  • At 9/10/2006 04:21:00 PM, Anonymous Jose

    Hi Julie, I'm glad that you love the Bible. However, to say you find truth in it, does not make it any different than any other book... it seems to me in your sentence structure that its just another book of history, poetry and good morals. Buda, the Quran or any other religious book. You must allow God's written Word to be your absolute final say so in your life to be a follower of Jesus the Christ. The world is full of philosophers. Everybody has their own little world. But eternity is God's world and it shall be ruled by His Word, not someones own philosophy. This is why the Bible should be our absolute.
    Have a great week!

     
  • At 9/10/2006 08:46:00 PM, Blogger Charlotte Wyncoop

    Jose,
    I absolutely agree that the God's word is His final authority, however, as each of us read it we sometimes come to startlingly different conclusions.

    How can I possibly say that my conclusion is correct and yours is incorrect? God has not detailed out in the Bible ever jot and tiddle literally in my life. He has not said "Charlotte must choose this path alone in this particular circumstance or she is damned forever." Instead He has said "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself. This is the sum of the law and the prophets."

    When our cultural circumstances are not literally laid out in the scriptures, we are forced to interpret the Bible, forced to think out to the best of our ability and knowledge what God would have us choose.

    When you say that the Bible should be your absolute, you put yourself in a very small box. Do you take literally the verses that talk about stoning in Leviticus? Do you believe that a woman is unclean during her menses and should be secluded/excluded? What absolute do you hold to? Do you think that Jesus came and overturned all the old testament? He said "I have come to fulfill the law."

    I say this to challenge you to think about what you are saying about the bible as an absolute. It is very easy to spout stuff like that, and equally as easy to have never really thought it through. If you find yourself thinking "but those verses don't really apply" you have caught yourself interpreting the Bible and not applying it as an absolute.

    Feel free to offer proof to me, I am open to discussion.

    BTW, a perfect example of interpretation is in your comments to Julie--
    Quote:
    Scripture is the Law that God will use to Judge us. Read John 12:46
    "I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48 He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day."

    In the last part of this verse, Jesus was very clear... He says that His Word will judge us in the last day. "

    Actually, just reading what you chose to quote, Jesus does not say His Word will judge us in the last day. He says "I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48 He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day."

    Those who accept Christ and his words are saved, those who reject Him and his words are judged by that word on the last day.

    Quote -"In the last part of this verse, Jesus was very clear... He says that His Word will judge us in the last day." So, actually it isn't as clear as it apparently seemed, because His Word judges those who have not believed.

    I assume from the discussion previously that all of us personally consider ourselves followers of Christ, and thus not judged, but saved.

    Blessings to you my friend, I hope I have not offended! I have been accused of being a bit direct at times...

     
  • At 9/10/2006 09:03:00 PM, Blogger Julie

    thanks Char for your explainations and examples.

    Jose - I believe in God - if I apply the term absolute to anything (which I an wary of doing given its connotations), I apply the term to God. I think no less of scripture because it is a book to be interpreted, in fact once I opened my eyes to the ideas that all readings of scripture are subjective interpretations, my faith grew and God was so much bigger than the puny box I had confined him to. I follow the logos - Gods Word - which is Christ. Jesus is my savior and my hope, the bible (God's word) gives testimony to that hope and scholors/believers have spent lifetimes attempting to understand and interpret it. I refuse to make an idol out of the bible, it is not a fourth part of the trinity, it will not rule eternity, nor is it absolute.

     
  • At 9/11/2006 05:55:00 AM, Anonymous Jose

    Hello Charlotte, here are a few Scriptures that will help you understand what I mean:
    2 Peter 1:19-20
    And so we have the prophetic word confirmed (New Testaments), which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation…

    In regards to your second paragraph when you refer to the adultress woman, look at Jesus' response, that what I believe. Not in stoning women. Jesus' law is love; however, do not allow yourself to be deceived believing that people can live anyway they wish to and not be judged.

    Jesus himself said: “I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. And if anyone hears My words and does not believe,I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. John 12:46-48

    There will be a day in which we will all be judged according to His standard, not ours or the cultural relevant society, or particular beliefs.

    This applies to unsaved and saved. You see, salvation is the gift of God but there are also conditions to it. Jesus said
    "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
    John 15

    What I'm saying Charlotte is that one either lives for the Lord, or conforms to a culture relevant society with all its deception that lead one away from the Lord. As "born-again" Christians we are not to conform to the world.

    Romans 12:1
    I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world (cultural relevance), but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

    We are living in the days before the return of the Lord, Satan will try to deceive as many as he can. The important thing is not what our perverse culture demands, but rather: Am I allowing Jesus' Word to be my absolute? or Am I conforming to the world (cultural circumstance). I'm not talking about the religiosity of the Farisees. I'm talking Jesus' Word.

    Matthew 7:21
    21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

    With this said, many people who do not allow Jesus to be the Lord of their lives will be into a big surprise one day before His trone.

    Nevertheless, today is the day we have to live for God and preach the Gospel of the Lord Jesus and disciple people, not according to a culture relevance, but renewing their mind according to the Word of God.

     
  • At 9/11/2006 06:07:00 AM, Anonymous Jose

    Julie and Charlotte, my previous comment published ahead of time. Please don't think I'm offended at you. I do feel that it's important to point out these Scriptures that will help you understand why the Bible should be our absolute truth. I believe Jesus loves and has a wonderful plan for your lives, He paid a very high price for you. God bless you!

     
  • At 9/11/2006 08:14:00 AM, Blogger Julie

    Jose - do you assume that we are not christians because we don't interpret the bible in the same way you do? Is your point here to get us saved? I'm relly not sure what you mean because you just threw out verses out of context without much commentary.

     
  • At 9/11/2006 02:44:00 PM, Anonymous Jose

    Julie, I am not your judge. Salvation is between you and the Lord. In regards to interpretation, the Scripture is very clear. "...knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation..." 2 Peter 1:20b

    If you read the whole chapter you will better understand the context. My response here is not to show you what "I" think. But rather what the Bible reads.

    That's the only thing that counts.

    After all is said and done on this earth, we all will give an account of our words, actions and motives.

    God is a good and gracious God. Nevertheless, we must guard ourselves to uphold His Word as our absolute and fundamental belief system in our hearts. This does not mean the we are the "perfect ones", but at least we are willing to submit to His Lordship.

    If we allow His Word to be our absolute, then we have a promise:
    ...This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:8-9

    This is the greatest reward that you and your family can enjoy forever!

     
  • At 9/11/2006 06:09:00 PM, Blogger Julie

    Jose - I really don't want to get into concepts of biblical scholarship nor of the philosophy of knowledge with you (you would likely ignore them anyway). Just a couple of elementary examples to show that the bible is always interpreted.

    1 Timothy 2:15 "But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety."

    If I literally take what the bible says here thenn as a women I am not saved unless I bear a child. That seems to contridict the concept of salvation by grace, since childbearing is most certainly work. But not even the strongest literalists interpret it that way. Instead many say the tranlators choose a wrong word (interpreted the language) and it should be "preserved" and not "saved". Now is that preserved in a spiritual sense or a physical sense? I guess we need to use interpretation to figure it out. But then still others interpret this passage as refering to the childbirth of Jesus from Mary - meaning that in a sense we are all saved through childbearing. But since it is not clearly stated, we must interpret the passage to mean that. And I'm not even getting into the various connotations of "saved". It meant something very different to first century jewish audiences than it does to american evangelicals today. language is just soo relative.

    or how about Matthew 26:26 "While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body."

    reading that passage literally one must assume that the bread is Jesus' body broken then and there that he wanted the disciples to eat. in fact canibalism was a common charge against the early christian. but any good protestant wont stand for that Catholic interpretation even though it is the most literal. Instead we interpret the passage to have Jesus say that the bread is a symbol of his body that he knew will be broken in the future. we also interpret Jesus' words to the disciples to be meant for us today as we take, eat, and remenber him.

    and the list could go on and on. the mere nature of tranlation and language adds many more layer of interpretation as well. I've heard of team translators on popular bible translation talk about how the majority opinion on a certain passages translation was overruled by a more powerful big name persons opinion. or about the number of times in translating that they just had to take a guess because no one really knew what certain words meant.

    it is a very complex issue. so when you throw verses at me please do not assume I read them the same as you. We have different backgrounds, education, church experience. we've read different books, heard different sermons, and lived as different people. the lenses through which I see scripture (and have been taught about scripture) are different than yours. There is a lot we have in common, but we are not the same. Nor is our reading of scripture the same. You can either blindly deny that we interpret scripture differently, you can admit the difference and assume anyone not like you is wrong, or we can try to learn from each other and use our differences to continue to seek the truth.

     
  • At 9/11/2006 09:51:00 PM, Blogger Charlotte Wyncoop

    Jose,
    I'm not offended, I really enjoy people who disagree.

    What I am attempting to show you is that everything we think, do and imagine is to some degree or another culturally relevent. Our perspectives are warped, we are not yet fully redeemed and cleansed, but rather, we are in process. Because of that pair of cultural eyeglasses we wear, every word, phrase and nuance of scripture is seen through them and God, with our permission, is constantly scrubbing away all that cultural grime.

    I agree that we must seek and study God's Word, that it is inspired, that it does have a timelessness and relevance that will not pass away or be overturned except when the time of fulfillment has come. HOWEVER, we study it with grimy glasses and to assume that WE know what's really meant, especially to hold onto what We think it really means... to the exclusion of attempts by God to clean away that particular piece of grime obscuring our vision, is the sin called pride.

    Knowing Julie as I do, we share a common vision. We are infinitely fallible beings before an infinitely more glorious God than our grimy glasses allow us to think or imagine.

    The Bible isn't the problem, it's us. You've quoted scripture as though it is the work by which we are saved. Yet grace hems us in behind and before. David argued passionately with God, he was not blindly obedient to the dictates of his time and scripture. Yet, God calls him a "man after his own heart."

    I feel that the true challenge is to see beyond the grime on my glasses to the truth of what God is really trying to say. I think that's why your comments get me so riled up - from what you've written it seems that you just read it and assume that there is nothing beyond the surface. What a world of wonder you miss if you never ask questions of the Living Word! Why would Paul say women must remain silent in church, yet in other letters talk about women talking in church? Why in the New Testament would women be excluded seemingly from leadership, but God put Deborah in charge of Israel?

    Jose, why use scripture as a simple answer book? Why not use it as a trampoline that sends you flying closer to the Almighty?

     
  • At 9/12/2006 01:42:00 PM, Anonymous Jose

    Hello Charlotte and Julie,

    The message of the Gospel has been the same message for 2000 years, and Christians throughout centuries have held fast to the "absolute truths" of the Word of God. It is obvious that God does not tell us when we should eat, sleep and work. However, there are parameters set for us to follow.
    However, when these type of argunments are interjected (that the Bible doesn't say everything about our lives) in a conversation, its obvious that God's Word is seen as nothing more than a great textbook, and although the is a degree of recognition, the bottom line reads that there are also other reasonings that could play a more important role in decision making.

    As you read blogs and books about people from the "emerging" or "emergent" sect, you will find, (and you can look it up in a study) that its geared toward an "absolute tolerace" of accepted cultural ideas. For example, nobody can ansewer simple and direct questions about morality (homosexuals, lesbians, only one way to heaven). It's like those TV shows when people are interviewed they never give the direct answer because they need to be politically correct or else face the consecuences of being rejected by certain sectors that view those things differently.

    Do you know why? Very simple. If you've gone to college you will remember what the philosophy teacher use to drill in the mind of the students, "there are no absulutes" "What is true for one person, may not be for the other." Using some of the most ridiculous examples like allegy medicine (everybody is different), etc...

    Jesus is very strong in his statement to the Church of the end time. Rev 3:16

    So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot,[a] I will vomit you out of My mouth.

    We are either on God's side or the devil's. There is no in-between.

    False Teachers and Their Destruction

    But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.

    Again, I did not write the Bible. I'm just quoting it to make the clear point it is stating.

     
  • At 9/12/2006 02:45:00 PM, Blogger gerbmom

    Jose,
    Would you please share the "study" with me? I am interested in the data and how it was arrived at.
    Also, how do you determine which absolutes you follow, and which are not applicable? That would be an interpretation. Are you saying the narrative of the Bible, the complexity, the culture, the context is of no value? Are you saying that the Bible is nothing but a rulebook? A set of propositions? Let me ask you also - why are you so sure your truth is the truth? I mean no disrespect. I'm just curious as to your reasoning.
    I also find it frustrating that many do not understand the "relevance" issue. It's not what they assume it to be. Yes, there is a danger in relevance - it's a fine line. It's not "absolute tolerance of accepted cultural ideas”, but it is listening before speaking, wanting to understand where others are coming from, and believing that we might learn something from those that are not like we are. It's loving people, because God loved them, its following Jesus example, the way he lived and interacted with sinners. It's a missional, incarnational life. Yes, there is one God, one truth, and that truth is being revealed to us as God chooses to do so. For now we see through a glass darkly.... No one except God himself can claim to have or know absolute truth.
    When you get past the Bible as being merely as a book of rules and propositional truth, (and by the same token, past the fact that our churches are built on rules that have been handed down for ages with out anyone ever stopping to ask why we follow them -why are we so afraid of questions?) and start to explore the nuances, the stories, the deeper meanings, the scripture comes alive, and so much bigger and more meaningful, so much more powerful and amazing than when we lock it into our little rigid interpretation. Don’t forget that we are to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.
    God gave us a mind, I believe he intends us to use it to learn the way of Christ and to ask questions, search out mysteries, to dig deep into the scriptures and mine them for all he intended us to see.

     
  • At 9/12/2006 05:35:00 PM, Blogger peter lumpkins

    Julie,

    Thank you for allowing me to comment here. Though much too late, I'm quite sure, to get in on the conversation, I believe you are quite right in insisting on personal subjective filters we all bring to the interpretive process. That does not of course mean we cannot glean the "objective" truth of a particular subject. Rather it does mean we should definitively be more humble when we enter the interpretive arena.

    I too have experienced the tactics of those believers like Jose who seem to insist that the only one who is in danger of reading into communciative mediums--especially Biblical revelation--is the "other side." I feel your frustration.

    Have a gracious evening with your family. With that, i am...

    Peter

     
  • At 9/12/2006 09:37:00 PM, Blogger Julie

    Jose - thanks for your reply. there are a fw things you mentioned in your post that I need to point out. You say that "The message of the Gospel has been the same message for 2000 years, and Christians throughout centuries have held fast to the "absolute truths" of the Word of God." I would strongly argue that if you gathered in a room a 1st century christian, an early church father or mother, a medieval monk, a celtic christian, a renaissance catholic, an english puritian, a hussite, an early calvinist, a coptic believer, an Orthodox priest, an anglican bishop, an anabaptist, a quaker, a methodist circut rider, a 1920's pentecostal snake handler, a fundamentalist, an evangelical, a neo-evangelical, and an emergent -- they wouldn't all give the same answer as to what is the gospel. In fact when I read scripture the answer Jesus gives to that question is way different that the 4 Spiritual Laws...

    You said - "As you read blogs and books about people from the "emerging" or "emergent" sect, you will find, (and you can look it up in a study) that its geared toward an "absolute tolerace" of accepted cultural ideas." I find this incredibly amusing. As Gerbmom asked - what study? Perhaps you might have better luch listening and reading emerging authors instead of quoting studies about them. Just a thought.

    You said - "For example, nobody can ansewer simple and direct questions about morality (homosexuals, lesbians, only one way to heaven)." Yes some of the leaders will not answer those questions for the same reason Jesus wouldn't answer certain questions asked of him - they are meant as a trap. Whatever answer is given will piss someone off if they don't hear what they want to hear. Form whatever conclusion you want from that.

    You said - "Do you know why? Very simple. If you've gone to college you will remember what the philosophy teacher use to drill in the mind of the students, "there are no absulutes" "What is true for one person, may not be for the other." This made me laugh - oh the evils of those philosophers! I'll have to share that with my husband who was a philosophy and ministry double major in college. Sorry I have to agree with the philosophers here. I went to college and grad school(a very conservative christian college), I studied literature, history, philosophy, art, linguistics, and missions. You can make fun of the way people think or you could try to engage them.

    but this really gets me....
    You said - "esus is very strong in his statement to the Church of the end time. Rev 3:16
    So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot,[a] I will vomit you out of My mouth.
    We are either on God's side or the devil's. There is no in-between." Interesting interpretation of that passage. I've always heard that in Laodicea (to which that pasage was written) they had both cold and hot spring - both useful in their own ways. what wasn't useful to them was lukewarm water that was neither hot nor cold. So the church there is told to be useful, serve a purpose - not to be useless and lukewarm. But I guess we just interpret it differently.

    oh and what's your point with the false teacher thingy? Are you calling me a false teacher? my friends here? the emergent leaders? yourself? your pastor? Who are you pointing the finger at and calling false? Just wondering. You threw that out there like I should realize exactly whome you were trying to criticize, but I couldn't figure it out.

     
  • At 9/12/2006 10:20:00 PM, Blogger Charlotte Wyncoop

    Jose,
    You addressed your last comment to me, but I couldn't see in your writing any indication that you had read what I wrote. Did you read it? Are we on such different pages communicating that we are completely missing each other?

    Do you understand what we are trying to say about the lenses we filter information through or do you reject that idea? Do you believe there are no lenses?

     
  • At 9/13/2006 10:48:00 PM, Blogger Mike Clawson

    Jose,

    Julie's husband, Mike, here (the philosopher). I just wanted to say that I find it highly ironic that you accuse emergent leaders of avoiding answering simple direct questions that are put to them, and yet you yourself seem to be doing the exact same thing yourself here.

    Repeatedly my wife and my friends have raised the issue of lenses and the fact that scripture always requires interpretation; and yet I notice that not once have you actually responded to their points. Instead you just keep hurling bible verses ripped out of context at them without addressing whether you think there even is such a thing as differing interpretations of scripture among Christians.

    So I too would like you to directly answer Char's question without changing the subject and without just quoting Bible verses (which of course is just circular reasoning):

    Do you understand what we are trying to say about the lenses we filter information through or do you reject that idea? Do you believe there are no lenses?

     
  • At 9/14/2006 07:47:00 AM, Anonymous Jose

    I pray that the Lord will deliver you out of secularism.

     
  • At 9/14/2006 09:52:00 AM, Blogger Julie

    what a freaking waste of time conversation. I should have known before I allowed myself to be decieved into a trap.

    Jose blessings on you. I hope someday you move beyong condemning everyone who is not like you.

     
  • At 9/15/2006 08:22:00 AM, Anonymous Jose

    The lens you are talking about is the same lens that the world uses. They want to "reinterpret" the Bible to accomodate it to their own lifestyle. If one begings to say, oh... this in the Bible is OK, but this other stuff I don't think so... its in Leviticus and were no longer subject to the OT. Jesus has made me free to do whatever I please.

    If everyone employs these lens, the world will see the Bible as a textbook. anyone can pick and choose his/her "own truth".

    The Day God will judge us before His throne, He doesnt give a mite about what we think/feel/believe... He will judge us according to His Word. Jesus said it Himself... John 14:15

    As ministers, if we conduct our meeting as a college class and do not teach/inpart/exhort the Word as Paul said, deception has set in.

    I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

    God Word says it. It settles it!

     
  • At 9/15/2006 09:15:00 PM, Anonymous Jose

    Mike, I got you something that you will be interested in. It's the EMERGING NON-STATEMENT of Faith. Check this out. Sorry I pasted it, I found it would take me a long time to write this. But I couldn't agree more. I read you are a minister, so you should know this.

    Emergent church “leading theologian” declares: statement of faith would be “disastrous”

    By Jason Carlson

    On Thursday May 4th, the National Coordinator for Emergent-U.S., Tony Jones, sent out an e-mail alert to all followers of Emergent defending Emergent’s refusal to clearly define their doctrinal beliefs.[i] In this e-mail alert Jones states, “we have been inundated with requests for our statement of faith in Emergent, but some of us had an inclination that to formulate something would take us down a road that we don’t want to trod.” I will explain later why Emergent is so reluctant to travel the road of doctrinal definitions, but in the meantime, Jones goes on in his alert to state, “imagine our joy when a leading theologian joined our ranks and said that such a statement would be disastrous.” Who is this “leading theologian” who has so bolstered Emergent with confidence over their doctrinal ambiguity? His name is LeRon Shults, recently resigned theology professor at Bethel Seminary in St. Paul, MN who is taking a new teaching post in Norway, and he happens to be one of my former instructors at Bethel Seminary.



    Following Jones’ introduction, Emergent’s e-mail alert continues with Shults’ statement attempting to justify the Emergent leadership’s wallowing in doctrinal ambiguity. (By the way, these regular e-mail alerts that Emergent sends out are titled “Emergent/C”. I find this to be a fitting title for what follows in Shults’ statement, as Emergent’s love for ambiguity, uncertainty, and haziness inevitably leads to real and serious EMERGENCIES within the church.) Shults states, “I believe there are several reasons why Emergent should not have a ‘statement of faith’… Such a move would be unnecessary, inappropriate and disastrous.” How does he justify these claims?



    First of all, Shults declares that a statement of faith is unnecessary because “Jesus did not have a ‘statement of faith’”; and then he goes on to state, “The writers of the New Testament were not obsessed with finding a final set of propositions the assent to which marks off true believers.” Secondly, Shults says that a statement of faith is inappropriate because, “The truly infinite God of Christian faith is beyond all our linguistic grasping… and so the struggle to capture God in our finite propositional structures is nothing short of linguistic idolatry.” Thirdly, Shults declares that a statement of faith would be disastrous because “Emergent aims to facilitate a conversation among persons committed to living out faithfully the call to participate in the reconciling mission of the biblical God… a ‘statement of faith’ tends to stop conversation. Such statements can also easily become tools for manipulating or excluding people from the community.”



    Let me say a few things in regards to the above points by Shults, points affirmed by the Emergent leadership, points which celebrate and seek to justify Emergent’s theological and doctrinal elusiveness. First of all, Shults is simply wrong when he states that Jesus had no statement of faith. Jesus may have never written down in a formal document the core essentials of the Christian faith, but he did teach them and affirm them throughout his earthly ministry. Consider just one of Jesus’ many teaching encounters, in John chapter 3 Jesus teaches the Pharisee named Nicodemus numerous crucial propositional truths central to genuine Christian faith, Jesus declares the following:



    V. 3… There is a kingdom of God.

    V. 5-7… To see the kingdom of God you must be spiritually born again.

    V. 13… The Son of Man (Jesus) came from Heaven.

    V. 15… Belief in Jesus leads to eternal life.

    V. 16… God exists and He has a Son.

    V. 16… God loves the world.

    V. 16… Those who believe not in the Son will perish.

    V. 19… Men love darkness and their deeds are evil.

    V. 21… Men may be saved, but only through God.



    This short list is just a tiny sampling of the vast amount of propositional teaching that Jesus revealed to us, truths central to the Christian faith, truths which if not assented to remove you from the bounds of Christian orthodoxy. Jesus himself affirmed the necessity of assenting to these core doctrines when he said to Nicodemus, a Jewish Pharisee, “I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony” (v. 11). In other words, because of their failure to accept Jesus’ revelations, his statements of faith, Jesus did not include the Pharisees in the ranks of those who would receive eternal life. Make no mistake friends; Jesus had a statement of faith and our acceptance of it really matters!



    Secondly, not only is Shults and Emergent wrong when they claim that Jesus had no statement of faith, but to claim that the writers of the New Testament were not concerned with teaching and protecting a core of propositional truths which marks off true believers from those unsaved is absolutely ridiculous. Consider just the following sampling of New Testament references to guarding the true faith to which we must assent:



    2 Timothy 4:1-4… “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage- with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”



    Jude 3… “Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.”



    Galatians 1:6-9… “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel- which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!”



    1 Timothy 4:11-13, 15-16… “Command and teach these things. Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. Until I come, devote yourselves to the public reading of scripture, to preaching and to teaching… Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”



    I could go on and on citing such biblical admonitions for teaching and protecting the essential doctrines of the true Christian faith to which we must assent. For the leadership of Emergent and their “leading theologian” to miss or ignore these clear biblical declarations to the reality of a core set of Christian doctrines which marks off true believers is absolutely astounding. There is absolutely no way that anyone who takes scripture seriously can read these passages and claim that statements of faith are unnecessary.



    Not only do Shults and Emergent wrongly claim that a statement of faith is unnecessary, but they also claim that a statement of faith would be inappropriate. Shults states, “The truly infinite God of Christian faith is beyond all our linguistic grasping… and so the struggle to capture God in our finite propositional structures is nothing short of linguistic idolatry.” The problem with this statement is that we have not imposed our finite human language upon the infinite God; rather the infinite God himself chose to reveal himself to humanity through the medium of finite human language, both verbal and written. In fact, the entire Bible, which was written by 40 different authors in 3 different languages, is not simply a phenomenon of finite human linguistics, but the Bible was fully inspired by the infinite God himself. 2 Timothy 3:16 declares that “All scripture is God-breathed.” God chose to use the finite human medium of linguistics to reveal divinely inspired propositional truths to us. This fact alone dispels Shults’ claim that our human attempts at defining our doctrinal beliefs is a form of linguistic idolatry, for it was the infinite God who first chose to use the medium of finite human linguistics to reveal himself to us. For human beings to take seriously God’s revealed propositional truths to us, by defining them and systematizing them, is not idolatry, it is called faithfulness.



    Finally, after declaring that a statement of faith is unnecessary and inappropriate, Shults concludes his defense of Emergent’s lack of doctrinal clarity by claiming that a statement of faith would be disastrous. How would a statement of faith be disastrous? Well, they’re not, unless you’re an emergent church, of the Emergent persuasion. You see according to Shults, “Emergent aims to facilitate a conversation among persons committed to living out faithfully the call to participate in the reconciling mission of the biblical God… a ‘statement of faith’ tends to stop conversation. Such statements can also easily become tools for manipulating or excluding people from the community.” This last sentence is especially crucial for understanding Emergent’s distaste for doctrinal clarity. You see postmodern inclusiveness and tolerance are pretty much the highest values within the non-systematized belief system of Emergent.



    Now, I don’t have any problem with inclusiveness or tolerance, especially in the true biblical spirit of these terms, but within Emergent there is such a premium placed on inclusiveness and tolerance, as defined by postmodern philosophy, that there is basically no sense of biblical discernment in terms of recognizing and labeling false beliefs, practices, or lifestyles. This is why for example in a recent debate here in the Twin Cities Emergent church leader Doug Pagitt, in reply to a question about whether or not Mormons were within the bounds of Christian orthodoxy, simply could not, no matter how many opportunities he was given, state that Mormon’s were not Christians as defined by Scripture. This is also the motivation behind Brian McLaren’s recent call for the church to take a five-year moratorium on making any judgments against homosexuality.



    You see, never mind what the Bible clearly states, what matters most is inclusiveness and tolerance; and so, within Emergent, whenever they come across a biblical teaching which is exclusive or judgmental, that teaching is either flatly ignored or redefined and neutered through their lenses of postmodern inclusiveness and tolerance. This is why a statement of faith would be “disastrous” in the view of Emergent’s “leading theologian” LeRon Shults; statements of faith are naturally exclusive. The bigger problem with Emergent’s position though is this, not only are statements of faith naturally exclusive, but what the leadership of Emergent doesn’t seem to understand, or is unwilling to accept, is the fact that the truth is always exclusive and so is the gospel of Jesus Christ; and it is these facts which have always driven those who desire to remain faithful to God’s revelation to declare and defend doctrinal positions that distinguish true believers from the unsaved.



    The leadership of Emergent refuses to produce a statement of faith, calling the idea of doing so “disastrous”. Emergent theologian LeRon Shults has provided them a flimsy justification for Emergent’s ongoing theological and doctrinal ambiguity, but with his statement he will inevitably embolden the Emergent faithful in their ongoing march away from biblical absolutes, discernment, and exclusivity. With each successive step that Emergent takes away from affirming the historical absolutes of Christian orthodoxy, the more we can expect to continue to see Emergent’s leadership flirting with and outright embracing non-biblical beliefs, practices, and lifestyles. This is already taking place within the Emergent conversation and Shults’ statement will do nothing more but propel Emergent further into error.

     
  • At 9/19/2006 11:18:00 AM, Blogger Mike Clawson

    Jose,

    Thank you for finally responding to our questions about lenses. Since as you say, "God's Word said it, that settles it", I guess I'll leave you now so you can continue practicing the Levitical Law and cutting out your eyes whenever they cause you to sin.

    Good luck with that.

    -Mike

     
  • At 9/19/2006 03:05:00 PM, Blogger Sue Densmore

    I wonder if Jose knows Greek, Aramaic, and Hebrew. I mean, if he wants to take the Bible literally, he'll have to, since all translation is, in its very nature interpretation.

    Also, I hope he doesn'r wear any clothes made of blends of materials...isn't that in there someplace, too?

     
  • At 9/19/2006 11:17:00 PM, Blogger Shoshana

    I nearly posted my two cents worth a while ago, but refrained. HOWEVER, I can't resist anymore.

    No matter how accurately God's meaning was conveyed to the writers of the Bible, it has been passed down in Human Languages. Languages that change meaning over time and over translation. I have a Bible that has four different english translations printed side by side, and you would be amazed at some of the differences that show up.

    Having studied several modern languages, I know that it is almost impossible to translate word for word, one has to translate the meaning. If you have any doubts about this, find a translation program and translate from English to another language and back again. It comes out sounding like a Mad Lib. "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak," becomes "The wine is acceptable, but the meat is substandard."

    Even if the Language is the some, meanings change over time. "He was a happy and sad girl," made perfect sense in Middle English. Sad meant satiated, and girl refered to any young person. In my grandparents' time, announcing one was "gay" meant that one was "happy," and had nothing to do with sexuality.

    It is pure hubris to claim that there is no room for interpretation in the Bible. Even with the most careful translation, the Bible has to be read prayerfully in order to reveal God's meaning.

     
  • At 9/20/2006 07:40:00 AM, Anonymous jose

    Sorry Shoshana, but that is a lame excuse to discredit the Bible. Philosophers tried that gimmick in the 1800s with the "evolution movement" and the Stongs Concordance Greek and Hebrew dictionary proved them so sorry wrong, and it still does today. The NEW KING JAMES is about the closest you'll get to the original by 98%. I have no problem with checking the Stongs Concordance for accuracy in a study. The advantage of the dictionary is that you can get a broader sense of the word, not that the word has been unaccurately translated.
    I'm not going to argue about this any more, becuase if someone choses to discredit the Bible, they will give an account before God, not me.

     
  • At 9/20/2006 01:06:00 PM, Blogger Julie

    Jose - she was not trying to discredit the bible We are all just trying to accept humility in understanding that we are not God and are trapped in sunbjective experiences.

    btw... knowing you're a KJV guy explains a lot. You might want to check out the book God's Secretaries for a good historical look at the political and cultural influences that shaped the translation of the KJV.

     

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