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Source: (consider it) Thread: It's the teaching that matters
no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
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quote:
Originally posted by justlooking:
If all we have is ethical teaching and all we do, all we believe in, is based on this then the Church becomes a social club, a place of cultural and historic interest, a dispenser of charity, a branch of the social services, and nothing more.

This is bad why?

God knows that if Christians and allegedly Christian nations followed ethical teachings, provided socialization, charity, social services, in some cultural-historical context, we might actually hit a wee bit closer to the mark.

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Martin60
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Being creedal says NOTHING about that. As Oscar Romero, Jerzy Popiełuszko and Janani Luwum all prove. And Robert Mugabe for that matter.

--------------------
Love wins

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justlooking
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I never said it was'bad'. There is nothing bad about values and practices derived from Christian teaching. But these are not a substitute for Christian faith.
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mark_in_manchester

not waving, but...
# 15978

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Aaaaaaaargggghhhh.

quote:
we might actually hit a wee bit closer to the mark.
If I may paraphrase you to explain my frustration;

"If only we could remove the mark and just stick to ethical teachings, we could hit a wee bit closer to the mark".

--------------------
"We are punished by our sins, not for them" - Elbert Hubbard
(so good, I wanted to see it after my posts and not only after those of shipmate JBohn from whom I stole it)

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Enoch
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Nobody's really answered my first (or for that matter my second) question on 4th/5th April depending on which timezone you are in. Meanwhile, though here's another and it's related to that one.

4. How is 'wouldn't it be so much better if everybody was much nicer and more virtuous than they are at the moment' earth-changing good news?

--------------------
Brexit wrexit - Sir Graham Watson

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Nick Tamen

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# 15164

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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
quote:
Originally posted by justlooking:
If all we have is ethical teaching and all we do, all we believe in, is based on this then the Church becomes a social club, a place of cultural and historic interest, a dispenser of charity, a branch of the social services, and nothing more.

This is bad why?
Because it's incomplete. Because Jesus taught about more than ethics, and taking his ethical teachings as a sufficient gospel is a failure to take all of his teaching seriously, much less follow it.

It's not that it would be bad if we all lived according to the ethical framework Jesus taught. That would be wonderful. But if that's all we did, we still wouldn't be living the gospel, and we'd still miss the mark.

--------------------
The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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Martin60
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# 368

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quote:
Originally posted by justlooking:
I never said it was'bad'. There is nothing bad about values and practices derived from Christian teaching. But these are not a substitute for Christian faith.

Show me.

--------------------
Love wins

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Martin60
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# 368

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quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
quote:
Originally posted by justlooking:
If all we have is ethical teaching and all we do, all we believe in, is based on this then the Church becomes a social club, a place of cultural and historic interest, a dispenser of charity, a branch of the social services, and nothing more.

This is bad why?
Because it's incomplete. Because Jesus taught about more than ethics, and taking his ethical teachings as a sufficient gospel is a failure to take all of his teaching seriously, much less follow it.

It's not that it would be bad if we all lived according to the ethical framework Jesus taught. That would be wonderful. But if that's all we did, we still wouldn't be living the gospel, and we'd still miss the mark.

Show me.

--------------------
Love wins

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by mark_in_manchester:
Aaaaaaaargggghhhh.

quote:
we might actually hit a wee bit closer to the mark.
If I may paraphrase you to explain my frustration;

"If only we could remove the mark and just stick to ethical teachings, we could hit a wee bit closer to the mark".

Given that Christianity has not proven itself to be any better getting the behaviour Jesus wanted, why does it matter?
I'll take a world that shares my ethics and morals but not my source of them over the reverse any day of the week.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Nick Tamen

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Show you what, Martin?

Sorry, but you don't have time or energy today to try to figure out exactly what, based on my post, you're asking to be shown.

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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hatless

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I think the teaching / creeds contrast is misleading. Jesus' so called teaching is largely intended to provoke thought and self-examination, waking up and changing direction. Sight and hearing for the blind and deaf. An encounter with God in the midst of life.

That's why we talk about Jesus in theological terms like saviour, incarnation, Trinity, etc. Jesus leads rapidly to a personal and dynamic encounter with God. But we give theology a bad name if we work from theology to Jesus.

If we say we should love our enemies because Jesus said so and Jesus is God and God is never wrong - well, we're idiots. Jesus is God because he teaches and demonstrates the love of enemies. Asking people to first buy the doctrines about the person of Christ so that you can then hit them with the small print about how to live is foolish, unworthy and backwards.

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My crazy theology in novel form

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Martin60
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# 368

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quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
Show you what, Martin?

Sorry, but you don't have time or energy today to try to figure out exactly what, based on my post, you're asking to be shown.

I do.

--------------------
Love wins

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mark_in_manchester

not waving, but...
# 15978

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quote:
Given that Christianity has not proven itself to be any better getting the behaviour Jesus wanted, why does it matter?

Well, that question only makes some sense if you presuppose the outcome (Jesus' vision of moral behaviour) as your ultimate good - your God. In that case perhaps any means necessary to that end are as good as any other, and means which have shown themselves variable, like historic Christianity, might well be viewed as worth leaving behind.

From a conventional Christian standpoint (well, as far as Dooyeweerd at least goes, but that's another can of worms) moral behaviour is part of the created order, and so making it your God is a form of idolatry. With this in mind we might not expect it to go well.

--------------------
"We are punished by our sins, not for them" - Elbert Hubbard
(so good, I wanted to see it after my posts and not only after those of shipmate JBohn from whom I stole it)

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Nick Tamen

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# 15164

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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
Show you what, Martin?

Sorry, but you don't have time or energy today to try to figure out exactly what, based on my post, you're asking to be shown.

I do.
Sorry for the typo. It should have been "I don't have time or energy today...."

--------------------
The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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lilBuddha
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# 14333

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quote:
Originally posted by mark_in_manchester:

From a conventional Christian standpoint (well, as far as Dooyeweerd at least goes, but that's another can of worms) moral behaviour is part of the created order, and so making it your God is a form of idolatry. With this in mind we might not expect it to go well.

[Confused] One should do good and behave in a moral and ethical manner because it is right and one feels the desire to do right, no worship involved.
If you are saying none of that is worth anything without acknowledging God, then he isn't worth the pillar of salt he turns one into.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Martin60
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# 368

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quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
Show you what, Martin?

Sorry, but you don't have time or energy today to try to figure out exactly what, based on my post, you're asking to be shown.

I do.
Sorry for the typo. It should have been "I don't have time or energy today...."
I should have said, 'Obviously.'.

--------------------
Love wins

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mark_in_manchester

not waving, but...
# 15978

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quote:
[Confused] One should do good and behave in a moral and ethical manner because it is right and one feels the desire to do right, no worship involved
As I understand 'worship' (and I find this is a more useful, technical definition than 'a time of worship' - that is, hymn singing) it means the act of attributing to something (or someone) , ultimate and un-caused : truth, goodness, justice, beauty - I guess we could go on.

That's why I find a useful distinction between doing good because God my creator (about whom I can find out all sorts of other things; whose son made his character incarnate and therefore visible; who - though I must be so careful, discerning and ready to be challenged and corrected - inspires me by his spirit) wills it; and doing good because some eternal but unknowable principle of goodness requires it.

The latter involves worship, with or without hymn singing. Roy Clouser is good on this, FWIW. Just as one or two obvious examples of pitfalls - is this 'good' utilitarian; can its end justify its means?

Christians can (do, and have done) argue about the same questions, of course. But trying to get rid of 'God' does nothing to remove the questions and pitfalls, and (from a Christian's point of view) makes them more obscure, confusing and likely to lead to error. YMMV, respectfully, of course.

--------------------
"We are punished by our sins, not for them" - Elbert Hubbard
(so good, I wanted to see it after my posts and not only after those of shipmate JBohn from whom I stole it)

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lilBuddha
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# 14333

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Adding God hasn't done anything to remove the pitfalls either, from what I can observe and history records.
I respect Jesus' teachings and the world would be a better place if all Christians did so as well. I do not think they are as unique as you seem to though and do not see belief in Him as something that, in itself, creates beneficial behaviour.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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mark_in_manchester

not waving, but...
# 15978

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If you don't mind me saying so, those statements also make sense when 'beneficial behaviour' is one's God.

I'm not claiming that Jesus is the best route to that behaviour, or that his followers always (or, in fact, ever) achieve it. But this is not a problem for me because Jesus is not a front for my genuine God, beneficial behaviour.

Instead, I have the Spirit, church tradition, and a book to deal with. The book has things in it like 'faith without works is dead' and 'the fruit of the spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control' - which suggest we may sometimes end up somewhere similar, but for different reasons.

--------------------
"We are punished by our sins, not for them" - Elbert Hubbard
(so good, I wanted to see it after my posts and not only after those of shipmate JBohn from whom I stole it)

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lilBuddha
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# 14333

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You appear to be saying faith without works is dead. Something I agree that works with Jesus' teaching.
But you also seem to be implying that works without faith (in God) are also dead.
ISTM, this is anti-antithetical to the whole Jesus' teachings.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Martin60
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# 368

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I am saying that Jesus is the best route to that behaviour, that the ethics of Jesus were and remain the greatest of all time. The ethics of Christians are a lesser thing altogether even though the best of Western ethics, derived with them, are at least the first among equals and I feel are the best, or rather the worst apart from all others.

And absolutely lilBuddha.

[ 09. April 2017, 16:42: Message edited by: Martin60 ]

--------------------
Love wins

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mark_in_manchester

not waving, but...
# 15978

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That makes sense to me, Martin.

quote:
But you also seem to be implying that works without faith (in God) are also dead.
Not quite - sorry I have not been sufficiently clear. I have been trying to say that works without God are a new faith of their own, and that this is a problem.

For instance - what does this new faith make of failure? It seems to be a deal, of sorts - as we have been debating historic Christianity's failure to bring about 'good behaviour', and this failure has caused enough opprobrium to develop amongst some, to suggest that Christianity might be well-left behind. Fair enough, if the new faith demands success.

But historic Christianity *expects* failure, in the face it's own impossible absolute standards. In this ISTM entirely realistic - it fits with my experience of being human. It expects failure, and suggests (OK, I am being too soft - requires) repentance. But even then, it expects failure again.

As a religion which expects failure, and offers the possibility of divine grace which comes from outside my limited self - it fits with my self-acknowledged unreliability. A new faith of doing good (whose good?) which is judged (by whom?) on successful outcomes and requires resources drawn from only within me - I've tried it, and I know I can't do it.

--------------------
"We are punished by our sins, not for them" - Elbert Hubbard
(so good, I wanted to see it after my posts and not only after those of shipmate JBohn from whom I stole it)

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Martin60
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# 368

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Can't disagree eminem [Smile]

Christianity is certainly THE religion for losers. As it postures otherwise.

--------------------
Love wins

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mousethief

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# 953

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Historically it sold itself, at least for a time, as the religion for slaves and women and other societal cast-offs.

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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Sioni Sais
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# 5713

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Christianity isn't for losers, it's for the lost. Until people realise that is where they are, it isn't for them.

--------------------
"He isn't Doctor Who, he's The Doctor"

(Paul Sinha, BBC)

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lilBuddha
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# 14333

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quote:
Originally posted by mark_in_manchester:
I have been trying to say that works without God are a new faith of their own,

I think this is an inaccurate way of phrasing things. Sort of like when Christians argue with atheists and claim they have a belief system.
One can have a set of morals and ethics without it being a "faith".
If your faith in God helps you maintain your way, more power to you.
Assuming everyone else needs this is not on.
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
Historically it sold itself, at least for a time, as the religion for slaves and women and other societal cast-offs.

quote:
Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power. - Abraham Lincoln


--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Lamb Chopped
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# 5528

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I do think works without faith are dead, at least in terms of what they do to my spiritual life. Taking an example--

It's certainly handy for everybody if I, for any reason, decide to start picking up all the blowing trash on the side of the highway. The locals will be glad of the work, and they won't give a crap whether I'm doing it as an outworking of faith or whether I'm doing it as an ego trip (see how awesome I am!) or even as some horrendous meld of OCD and spiritual "obligation." The result in their eyes is the same--a cleaner view.

But the difference to my spiritual life is pretty big. If I'm doing it because that's just how I roll (now that I'm in Christ) there will be no harm, and probably some good, as I grow in faith and life. If I'm doing it to impress people (like certain highway signs around here are designed to do) then my spiritual growth and social attitudes will suffer--you can smell the pride (bad sense) a mile away. If I'm doing it because of some mental/psych/spiritual bondage, that too will just add to the harm to me and possibly those close to me (who deal with the fall-out of my obsession, however small or great).

Yeah, works without faith are dead. But the world we live in will gladly settle, if only we don't have to be the ones carrying them out--or living with the carrier-outer-of.

--------------------
Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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Martin60
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# 368

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If I have not creedal orthodoxy then I am become as nothing?

--------------------
Love wins

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mr cheesy
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# 3330

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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:


Yeah, works without faith are dead. But the world we live in will gladly settle, if only we don't have to be the ones carrying them out--or living with the carrier-outer-of.

I don't understand the extreme positions you offer. There must be middle ground where people don't do things out of faith, however we're describing it, but also aren't doing it to impress anyone.

I recently heard of a local politician who was seen picking up litter.

The unusual part of the story is that he wasn't doing it as a group, hadn't invited the local news to cover him doing the work, apparently was doing the work for no other reason than that it was his constituency and someone needed to do it. Nobody would have known except that someone else, who happened to know him, was out for a walk and came across him.

Now, we might say that he was only working because he wanted to be able to say at the next election how much he cared for the place where he had been elected. We might say that he has a religious faith which means that he feels compelled into this kind of civic action.

Or, we might say that it is at least possible that the guy actually cares about the place where he lives and does things whether or not anyone notices. Because someone has to.

[ 10. April 2017, 11:26: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]

--------------------
my new book: Biblical But Bollocks. Available in all good bookshops.

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Martin60
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# 368

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quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
Christianity isn't for losers, it's for the lost. Until people realise that is where they are, it isn't for them.

Everyone's lost. We Christians think we're found, that we have all the answers, that we are transformed in to buckets of light. Not the same old losers barely getting through the day.

--------------------
Love wins

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Sioni Sais
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# 5713

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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
Christianity isn't for losers, it's for the lost. Until people realise that is where they are, it isn't for them.

Everyone's lost. We Christians think we're found, that we have all the answers, that we are transformed in to buckets of light. Not the same old losers barely getting through the day.
No, no, no. We don't have all the answers. All we have is the starting point from which we may find them.

--------------------
"He isn't Doctor Who, he's The Doctor"

(Paul Sinha, BBC)

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Lamb Chopped
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# 5528

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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
I don't understand the extreme positions you offer. There must be middle ground where people don't do things out of faith, however we're describing it, but also aren't doing it to impress anyone.



I was responding to another post and specifically focusing on perversions of works-only, not dealing with the huge issue of how people-in-general are motivated to do works-in-general.

--------------------
Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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Martin60
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# 368

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quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
Christianity isn't for losers, it's for the lost. Until people realise that is where they are, it isn't for them.

Everyone's lost. We Christians think we're found, that we have all the answers, that we are transformed in to buckets of light. Not the same old losers barely getting through the day.
No, no, no. We don't have all the answers. All we have is the starting point from which we may find them.
I know Jesus is the answer. It's the questions I don't understand.

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Love wins

Posts: 16110 | From: More Corieltauvi than Dobunni now. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Chorister

Completely Frocked
# 473

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quote:
Originally posted by hatless:
If we say we should love our enemies because Jesus said so and Jesus is God and God is never wrong - well, we're idiots. Jesus is God because he teaches and demonstrates the love of enemies. Asking people to first buy the doctrines about the person of Christ so that you can then hit them with the small print about how to live is foolish, unworthy and backwards.

This I like. And it fits rather well with other biblical examples of paradox. If OT doctrines are turned on their heads, then it should not be surprising that modern day doctrines might need doing so, too.

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Retired, sitting back and watching others for a change.

Posts: 34526 | From: Cream Tealand | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
mousethief

Ship's Thieving Rodent
# 953

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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
Christianity isn't for losers, it's for the lost. Until people realise that is where they are, it isn't for them.

Everyone's lost. We Christians think we're found, that we have all the answers, that we are transformed in to buckets of light. Not the same old losers barely getting through the day.
We do? I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to speak for yourself.

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

Posts: 62671 | From: Ecotopia | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Martin60
Shipmate
# 368

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Yo loss yo mojo? Most mild mannered mousethief! You all right?

I'm afraid I can no more speak for myself than I can for you mousethief. It's how I encounter my evangelical siblings. Full of claims of transformation which are waiting for anybody who will say the sinner's prayer. I was just using inclusive language, not distancing myself.

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Love wins

Posts: 16110 | From: More Corieltauvi than Dobunni now. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Chorister

Completely Frocked
# 473

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None other than St. Paul seemed to think that living a good and right life was an almighty struggle. Especially in his own strength.

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Retired, sitting back and watching others for a change.

Posts: 34526 | From: Cream Tealand | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
mousethief

Ship's Thieving Rodent
# 953

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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Yo loss yo mojo? Most mild mannered mousethief! You all right?

You're claiming to speak, however obscurely, on behalf of a lot of people, which is beyond your remit.

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

Posts: 62671 | From: Ecotopia | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Martin60
Shipmate
# 368

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If you say so.

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Love wins

Posts: 16110 | From: More Corieltauvi than Dobunni now. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged



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