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Source: (consider it) Thread: Father, Son, and Holy Scriptures
A.Pilgrim
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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
Not at all circular - I have no need to say anything since there is nothing in the synoptics where Jesus claims to be divine - unless you can show me.

Well, how about Mark 14:61-64? In v.62 Jesus alludes to Daniel 7:13-14 which speaks of the nature of 'one like a son of man' in having an everlasting dominion and the service of all peoples, nations, and languages - characteristics attributable only to the divine.

Some theologians who wish to deny the divinity of Christ weasel around with this passage to argue that Jesus wasn't claiming to be divine, but the response of the High Priest, in tearing his garment, showed that he at least understood Jesus to be claiming divinity. And I reckon the contemporary assessment of the High Priest on the matter to be convincing, over and above any intellectualising by theologians centuries later.

And I am neither a liar nor a fundamentalist.

Angus

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Lamb Chopped
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And then there's all the indirect evidence, such as Jesus openly forgiving sins and scandalizing the religious leaders. Who correctly note that only God can forgive sins, but fail to draw the correct conclusion...

There's also all the Matthew 5-7 stuff where he's doing the "You have heard it said ... but I say to you..." which is basically blasphemy unless he's the God who first "said" most of that stuff in the first place.

And all the places where he gets judgmental on someone's ass, which is just not on unless you ARE the Judge of all the earth... Not a hint of "we sinners" about him, at any point. He speaks as if he has a right to judge. And "with authority, and not as the scribes" either!

[ETA: hey, do I get to be a lying fundamentalist? Please, please? [Big Grin] ]

[ 05. March 2014, 00:02: Message edited by: Lamb Chopped ]

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Martin60
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K:LB well I never! I take your word for it Sir.

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by A.Pilgrim:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
Not at all circular - I have no need to say anything since there is nothing in the synoptics where Jesus claims to be divine - unless you can show me.

Well, how about Mark 14:61-64? In v.62 Jesus alludes to Daniel 7:13-14 which speaks of the nature of 'one like a son of man' in having an everlasting dominion and the service of all peoples, nations, and languages - characteristics attributable only to the divine.

Some theologians who wish to deny the divinity of Christ weasel around with this passage to argue that Jesus wasn't claiming to be divine, but the response of the High Priest, in tearing his garment, showed that he at least understood Jesus to be claiming divinity. And I reckon the contemporary assessment of the High Priest on the matter to be convincing, over and above any intellectualising by theologians centuries later.

And I am neither a liar nor a fundamentalist.

Angus

The 'son of man' wasn't a divine being. It referred to a human being.

The tearing of garments was in response, not to the 'i am' but with the statement what he would seethe coming on the clouds etc. At most, that might be a claim to be the messiah, not to be divine. It undoes the 'messianic secret' motif that has preceded it throughout the gospel of Mark.

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
And then there's all the indirect evidence, such as Jesus openly forgiving sins and scandalizing the religious leaders. Who correctly note that only God can forgive sins, but fail to draw the correct conclusion...

There's also all the Matthew 5-7 stuff where he's doing the "You have heard it said ... but I say to you..." which is basically blasphemy unless he's the God who first "said" most of that stuff in the first place.

Mark's version has 'the son of man' being authorised to forgive sins but doesn't mention God - Matthew puts the bit about God in. So it isn't a claim to divinity in the earlier source. There's a creeping high christology going on.

The 'it was said...but i say...' is typical rabbinic argument. The rabbis didn't claim to be divine in order to argue Torah.

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Lamb Chopped
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You need to do a bit of study on the Son of Man concept. there's clearly a divine thing going on, and I'm very much surprised you apparently haven't come across it. Go look at the literature...

As for the rabbinical argument thing, I've seen quite a bit, but haven't come across any who handled it in Jesus' way--stressing their OWN authority, even over against written Scripture. What I've seen is always either simple bald assertion or another rabbi quoted as an authority. But never a tag like "but I say" which emphasizes the personal authority of the rabbi speaking. Can you point me to some parallels with Jesus' style?

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StevHep
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@SteveLangton

quote:
..what appeared to Luther to have gone wrong was that, as with the Pharisees of Jesus’ time, a build-up of tradition had distorted the church in lots of aspects of both practical teaching and institutional organisation
There is a distinction to be made between what the Church teaches to be true and of the faith and practices which grow up on the ground which while they may be widespread are not consonant with the teachings. These are properly speaking abuses which at times Church authorities are too lax or venal to check. Such abuses were widespread in the era prior to the Council of Trent which identified, condemned and suppressed them but without needing to modify her teachings in order to do so.

Newman in his Tract on the 39 Articles gives some examples of this.
Purgatory, Pardons, Indulgences

Essentially the point he makes is that the Primitive Church had belief's on these things which Trent in no way contradicted but that in the intervening period abusive practices had crept in which it was right to condemn not least because they contradicted the Church's own stated beliefs on the subjects.

quote:
...the concept of a separate authoritative line of doctrine parallel to the NT and centred on the Church as an institution and eventually on the Pope as leader of the Church.

It has to be said, StevHep, that unless you have been brought up in the RC Church and take it for granted, it is far from obvious that such an extra authoritative ‘Tradition’ is actually needed alongside the (at any rate to Christians) obviously authoritative Scripture

As an irrelevant aside I was not brought up a Catholic and found the case for a Church continually guided by the Holy Spirit quite easy to grasp. Newman also is quite good on this. His novel Loss and Gain presents the issues quite clearly and fairly entertainingly. It is widely available as a free ebook and I commend it to you.

Be that as it may I will have a stab at explaining it myself. Tradition is prior to Scripture. The Church existed for some time before the canon was completed and its contents universally accepted. Christians accept that during this epoch she was rightly guided as to doctrine, practice and discerning true from apocryphal scriptures. I find the notion that the Holy Spirit guided the whole Church in a lively way up until the point at which all that needed to be known was recorded in writing and then ceased to so guide on the grounds that dead writing was a surer guide than the live Spirit working through the Apostles and their successors in council to be untenable.

Secondly I look to the type of the Church as set out for us in the pages of the Old Testament. If we have a new People of God with a new Covenant then it was prepared for in the old People and Covenant and we should see in it a foreshadowing of the new. God established a threefold order. The written Law, the teachers and interpreters occupying the "Seat of Moses" and the order of Prophets. The written Law was not left to interpret itself but was provided with interpreters. As Jesus said
quote:
2 ‘The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; 3 therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it
Matthew 23

That these were rightly guided teachers but often terrible pastors our Lord also made clear
quote:
but do not do as they do, for they do not practise what they teach. 4 They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. 5 They do all their deeds to be seen by others
To which end God also raised up Prophets to denounce the behaviours of the bad shepherds and call them back to uphold that which they should be teaching.

In the Christian Church then we should expect to see and do see this typology brought to a more perfect state in the new dispensation. The Scriptures do not interpret themselves and so through the Apostles and their successors the Holy Spirit guides the Church in understanding all the content of Revelation and applying it to the Christian people. As these successors have all too often been corrupted by worldly desires then from time to time the Spirit raises up charismatic genuine reformers like St Catherine of Siena to being the barque of the ship back onto course (something I have written about on my blog)

There are other reasons for defending the necessity to have a Magisterium but I may refer to these on a future occasion

.
quote:
There is a further problem with such a Tradition – simply put, can it contradict the Scriptures? To which surely the answer is NO
The Magisterium of the Church does not contradict the Scriptures.

quote:
“I’m the successor of Peter” doesn’t sound all that much better than “We have Abraham for our father!”
Jesus presumably meant something when He said the Peter was the Rock upon which He would build His Church. It is beyond dispute, for Christians, that He passed on more of His teachings and showed the example of how to live most clearly to the Apostles than to anyone else and that they then passed them on to the People of God. On the basis of Scripture it is also beyond dispute that Peter was the leader of the Apostles. Also it is generally accepted that the Apostle led Church was rightly guided during the period prior to the last letter of the last word of the Book of Revelation being written. So what is the more tenable theory, that the Spirit perpetuated a system that worked well or that He dropped it like a hot potato as soon as a critical mass of Greek texts had been written?

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
Mark's version has 'the son of man' being authorised to forgive sins but doesn't mention God - Matthew puts the bit about God in. So it isn't a claim to divinity in the earlier source. There's a creeping high christology going on.

First you throw out John and say "the synoptics don't posit a divine Jesus." Then when the synoptics do, you heave Matt (and presumably Luke) and say, "Well at least Mark doesn't."

It seems to me the goalposts are moving very rapidly. If it's shown that Mark has a high Christology too, what will you fall back on? Paul? Habbakuk? Isaiah? Deuteronomy?

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Lamb Chopped
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Dang, Mousethief, you're a better (closer!) Reader than i am. You're right! [Overused]

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mousethief

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Pish-posh. I wish I knew 1/3 as much about the Scriptures as you do, LC.

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Lamb Chopped
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Ha! [Hot and Hormonal] [Big Grin]

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
Mark's version has 'the son of man' being authorised to forgive sins but doesn't mention God - Matthew puts the bit about God in. So it isn't a claim to divinity in the earlier source. There's a creeping high christology going on.

First you throw out John and say "the synoptics don't posit a divine Jesus." Then when the synoptics do, you heave Matt (and presumably Luke) and say, "Well at least Mark doesn't."

It seems to me the goalposts are moving very rapidly. If it's shown that Mark has a high Christology too, what will you fall back on? Paul? Habbakuk? Isaiah? Deuteronomy?

People seem to be missing the original point.

In John's/the 4th gospel, Jesus talks at great length throughout the entire gospel about what would seem like a claim to divity.

In the synoptics there are a very few sayings which, read by people who like the 4th gospel, might have divinity, as it were, read back into them.

There is an escalation of christology from earlier to latest gospel, e.g. mark's 'Don't you care if we perish' becomes Matthew's 'Save, Lord, for we perish.'

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Stejjie
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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
Mark's version has 'the son of man' being authorised to forgive sins but doesn't mention God - Matthew puts the bit about God in. So it isn't a claim to divinity in the earlier source. There's a creeping high christology going on.

Erm... this is Mark 2:6-7:

quote:
Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this fellow speak in this way? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
So Mark brings in God (so to speak) right from the start. And Matthew's version is almost identical to Mark's save for the last bit about God giving "such authority to human beings", which almost sounds a less high Christology than Mark's!

ETA: cross-posted with leo's latest response

[ 05. March 2014, 17:39: Message edited by: Stejjie ]

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
You need to do a bit of study on the Son of Man concept. there's clearly a divine thing going on, and I'm very much surprised you apparently haven't come across it. Go look at the literature...

No. Maybe the other way round. Your reading about the 'son pf man' sounds like Christian stuff, divorced from Judaism..

This brief summary is quite clear that the 'on of man' is completely human and that it is only later than Christianity twists it po become some sort of divine figure.

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Lamb Chopped
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# 5528

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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
Mark's version has 'the son of man' being authorised to forgive sins but doesn't mention God - Matthew puts the bit about God in. So it isn't a claim to divinity in the earlier source. There's a creeping high christology going on.

First you throw out John and say "the synoptics don't posit a divine Jesus." Then when the synoptics do, you heave Matt (and presumably Luke) and say, "Well at least Mark doesn't."

It seems to me the goalposts are moving very rapidly. If it's shown that Mark has a high Christology too, what will you fall back on? Paul? Habbakuk? Isaiah? Deuteronomy?

People seem to be missing the original point.

In John's/the 4th gospel, Jesus talks at great length throughout the entire gospel about what would seem like a claim to divity.

In the synoptics there are a very few sayings which, read by people who like the 4th gospel, might have divinity, as it were, read back into them.

There is an escalation of christology from earlier to latest gospel, e.g. mark's 'Don't you care if we perish' becomes Matthew's 'Save, Lord, for we perish.'

As I recall, this strand of the argument began when you wanted to toss out John on the grounds that it wasn't authentic. Challenged on that, you referenced the deity claims. We then showed you a bunch in Matthew etc. which you THEN claimed were added there, too. You retreated to Mark. Our latest poster very rightly points out that Mark has the same claims.

So basically, your whole case against John is shot dead in the water. All four Gospels show a high Christology, and the degree makes no never mind, it's there regardless. So you might as well bring John BACK into the original discussion, unless you choose to throw out the whole four Gospels with him.

(Have I got that sequence right, people?)

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Lamb Chopped
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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
You need to do a bit of study on the Son of Man concept. there's clearly a divine thing going on, and I'm very much surprised you apparently haven't come across it. Go look at the literature...

No. Maybe the other way round. Your reading about the 'son pf man' sounds like Christian stuff, divorced from Judaism..

This brief summary is quite clear that the 'on of man' is completely human and that it is only later than Christianity twists it po become some sort of divine figure.

WTF??? Man, have you never read Daniel?

And you're referring me to Wikipedia as a source? like, seriously?

[ 05. March 2014, 17:47: Message edited by: Lamb Chopped ]

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
(Have I got that sequence right, people?)

So it would seem.

(Then again, I would say that, seeing as you stole it from me.)

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Lamb Chopped
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Oops! Must. Have. Caffeine...

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ken
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"Son of Man", which is simply to say "human", is used in these NT contexts in specific reference to the temple visions of God. Its an incarnational claim. Daniel and the others were granted a direct vision of God and when they looked closely, what did they see? Something that looked as if it was human.

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Ken

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A.Pilgrim
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
Mark's version has 'the son of man' being authorised to forgive sins but doesn't mention God - Matthew puts the bit about God in. So it isn't a claim to divinity in the earlier source. There's a creeping high christology going on.

First you throw out John and say "the synoptics don't posit a divine Jesus." Then when the synoptics do, you heave Matt (and presumably Luke) and say, "Well at least Mark doesn't."

It seems to me the goalposts are moving very rapidly. If it's shown that Mark has a high Christology too, what will you fall back on? Paul? Habbakuk? Isaiah? Deuteronomy?

Mark does indeed have a high Christology. Let’s start at the beginning and see what clues we find.

Oh look, Mark 1:1 ‘The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God (ESV, italics added)
Second: Mark 1:4-8. OT prophecy states that it is God himself who will pour out his Spirit, so the inference is that Jesus, who is the one coming after John, is therefore God.
Third: Mark 1:11. A voice speaking from heaven: ‘You are my beloved son.’
Fourth: Mark 1:23-26. The demon recognises Jesus as divine; Jesus has authority over it.
Fifth: Mark 1:40-42. Under the Mosaic Law anyone who touched a leper would become unclean. But such was Jesus’s holiness and power that when he touched the leper, instead of him becoming unclean, the leper became clean. (The instruction to the leper to show himself to the priest was so that he could be restored to normal social contact – see Lev.14.) Under the original levitical law, the leper became clean after the priest had made the sacrifice (Lev 14:20), but here the leper actually became clean immediately. And so Jesus showed that he could overrule the Mosaic Law relating to uncleanness, and only God could rightfully do that.
Sixth: Mark 2:1-12. As Stejjie referred above. By linking together healing and forgiveness, Jesus uses his power to perform the physical miracle as proof that he also has the authority to perform the greater but less verifiable act of forgiving sins - which is the prerogative of God.

So there you are. Half way through the second chapter of Mark’s gospel and we already have six pieces of evidence of a high Christology. There are many, many more.

Angus

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hatless

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Sometimes Son of Man seems to refer to the 'one like a son of man', i.e. a human being, in Daniel's vision of monsters. Sometimes it just seems to mean 'this human', as is 'The Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.' Jesus might be referring to himself as a representative person, but it doesn't sound a very lofty claim.

Mark 1:1 only has 'son of God' in some manuscripts. In Sinaiticus it is an addition written in superscript. Why would that be?

At the baptism, Jesus is described as 'my Son.' The demons call Jesus 'the holy one of God.' What do these terms, son of man, son of God, holy one of God, mean? Are they interchangeable? Do they mean divine? Do they mean Jesus is God? Do they mean Jesus is the second person of the trinity?

What did the final author of Mark think? What did Jesus think? Did the author of Hebrews think the same as Paul? Did the author of James think the same as the author of Revelation?

I don't think these questions have obvious answers. It looks to me as if there are various Christologies in the New Testament. John's Gospel would appear to have a 'higher' Christology than Mark's. I like the bit in John, at the arrest, when Jesus steps forwards and all the soldiers fall on the floor. I'm not sure if that's exactly a high Christology, but it certainly makes Jesus seem more like Gandalf than he does in Mark.

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Martin60
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Who needs John or Paul? Let alone George or ...

I mean who DID He think He was?!

Who did He act and speak like?

Matthew 26:63–65
63 But Jesus remained silent.
The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”
64 “You have said so,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
65 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy.

Yeah but being the Son of God, having a life before being conceived doesn't make a bloke divine.

The high priest drew the wrong inference didn't he leo?

Luke 5:21 The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

Who indeed? Just a bloke. The high priest, the Pharisees AND the teachers of the law ALL drew the wrong inference like all us lying fundies didn't they leo?

Matthew 13:41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.

Just a bloke who has angels.

Matthew 7:23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

Just a bloke who can decide our eternal fate.

Matthew 5:21–48
Murder
21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago,
‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’
22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister, will be subject to judgment.
Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court.
And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you,
24 leave your gift there in front of the altar.
First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.
25 “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court.
Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge,
and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison.
26 Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.
Adultery
27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’
28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away.
It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.
30 And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away.
It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
Divorce
31 “It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’
32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality,
makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
Oaths
33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago,
‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’
34 But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne;
35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King.
36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black.
37 All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.
Eye for Eye
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’
39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person.
If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.
40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.
41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.
42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
Love for Enemies
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven.
He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?e Are not even the tax collectors doing that?
47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others?
Do not even pagans do that?
48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Just a bloke who could rewrite, deconstruct, extend, amplify God's law.

Matthew 12:8 For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

Hey, just a bloke who was Lord of a law of God.

Luke 5:23–25
23 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?
24 But I want you to know that the Son of Mann has authority on earth to forgive sins.”
So he said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.”
25 Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God.

Just a bloke who could remove the existential, eternal penalty for sin as well as fix the physically unfixable.

Matthew 14:33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Matthew 28:9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him.

Just a bloke who was worthy of worship, as blokes are. NOT very God. That's RIGHT out.

Right leo?

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Love wins

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Steve Langton
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First off, StevHep, sorry, my bad for too easily assuming you were brought up Catholic. I think my general point there does still stand, however.

I’m not denying that “the Church” continues to be led by the Holy Spirit; but as you rather imply by the statement that

(quote) “The Magisterium of the Church does not contradict the Scriptures”

I take seriously the biblical advice to ‘test the spirits’, that is, if people claim to be speaking in the name of the Holy Spirit, I don’t just take it for granted. The obvious check I apply is precisely whether ‘the Magisterium’ or any other claimant to divine authority contradicts the Scriptures. And for me, the RC ‘Magisterium’ does sadly fail that test on the issue I originally drew attention to. (which fortunately makes this fairly short post, since I’ve promised the hosts I’ll master the ‘quote’ UBB before making a long one, and I haven’t yet!)

The NT teaching on the relationship of church and surrounding world is pretty consistent, with major highlights being Jesus’ statement to Pilate that “My kingdom is not of this world” (and the rest of that conversation); Paul’s “Our warfare is not with physical weapons”; and almost all of Peter’s first epistle (which also considerably expands Paul’s other teaching in Romans 12/13). Add it all together and the picture is a Church which lives throughout the world as peaceable ‘resident aliens’ (Peter uses the Greek equivalent word).

The RC Church that developed between the 4th Century and the Reformation, with what looks to me like full papal approval for the Inquisition and the Crusades, is a VERY different animal to the NT Church portrayed by Peter. So different that I simply can’t accept that such a Church has “Peter’s authority”. If “The Magisterium of the Church does not contradict the Scriptures”, then the RC Church is NOT that ‘Magisterium’.

Having also been involved in the improper joining of state and church, and having likewise participated in the Crusades and similar activities, the Eastern Orthodox Churches seem to be subject to the same disqualification as an extra-scriptural authority source.

That’s my basic case here. The only thing you say which seems to have possibilities as a counter-argument is your reference to Catherine of Siena. I haven’t yet had chance to check that out but I will.

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by hatless:
What did the final author of Mark think? What did Jesus think? Did the author of Hebrews think the same as Paul? Did the author of James think the same as the author of Revelation?

I don't think these questions have obvious answers.

leo apparently does think they have obvious answers. "Mark has a low Christology" is in one significant sense of the word a fundamentalist claim.

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Martin60
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Fundament? Mental?

[ 06. March 2014, 07:12: Message edited by: Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard ]

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k-mann
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
It has to be said, StevHep, that unless you have been brought up in the RC Church and take it for granted, it is far from obvious that such an extra authoritative ‘Tradition’ is actually needed alongside the (at any rate to Christians) obviously authoritative Scripture.

And what, exactly, makes Scripture ‘obviously authoritative’? Please show me how you can coherently argue for the authoritativeness of Scripture without any reference to Tradition, and without resorting to a Mormon style ‘burning in the bosom.’

Note that I say ‘authoritativeness,’ not ‘authority.’ Text do not have authority. Only persons can have authority. Texts can be authoritative.

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— Paul Tillich

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hatless

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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by hatless:
What did the final author of Mark think? What did Jesus think? Did the author of Hebrews think the same as Paul? Did the author of James think the same as the author of Revelation?

I don't think these questions have obvious answers.

leo apparently does think they have obvious answers. "Mark has a low Christology" is in one significant sense of the word a fundamentalist claim.
I think it makes perfectly good sense to say that Mark has a lower Christology than John. And this is a very unfundamentalist thing to say, because it's distinguishing between the various authors and strands of the New Testament, and not just saying, it's in the Bible, therefore it's just true.

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Steve Langton
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k-mann; I must admit I was carrying on a slightly limited argument with StevHep about adding another authority alongside Scripture. Scripture is a fairly objective source of authority as the written record of the original teaching, regardless of any opinion of supernatural origin, coming from people with personal authority (e.g. Peter, John) or close secondhand authority (e.g., Mark, Luke).

The problem I was discussing was where, and indeed whether, we could get a reliable source of 'Tradition' outside the Scripture, carrying on into the here and now, such as the claimed 'Magisterium' of the RCC. I stated that as far as I can see there are only two possibilities for that, the RCC and the Orthodox tradition; and that both seemed to have disqualified themselves by attaching their authority to the extremely questionable 'Christendom' system and its consequences in such events as the Crusades and Inquisitions.

The various 'apocryphal' gospels and epistles, which I could perhaps have also mentioned, are diverse and lacking in 'provenance'. They hardly offer a coherent 'Tradition' and they seem to have no remotely verifiable 'continuity' to modern organisations.

Christian belief in the Scriptures is based on faith; and on not a mere 'burning bosom' emotion but on the way they 'work' when followed, and the way the Spirit accompanies them. It's not simplistic - if only! It's been a long time since you could just wave a Bible around and go "The Word of God says...." and everyone just accepts it. The authority is obvious to at any rate most Christians because we have proved the pudding by eating it and by the way it proves itself a living word accompanied by the Spirit.

In terms of forming doctrine - a few years ago I heard a preacher of the 'liberal' persuasion quote one of Jesus' sayings and say "Would our Jesus have said that?" To me, an "our Jesus" in that way implies that Jesus is being made up to suit the people of that opinion, and they are cutting loose from history and evidence into a subjective world of their own wishes. That isn't Christianity.

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by hatless:
I think it makes perfectly good sense to say that Mark has a lower Christology than John.

I didn't mention a comparison between John and Mark in my statement. My point was that making a blanket statement when the evidence is ambiguous is a fundamentalist thing to do, in one sense of the word. I stand by that, and your confused reply does not give me reason to change that.

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Gamaliel
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# 812

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I would agree with your take on the 'our Jesus' thing in the example of the liberal guy you cite, Steve Langton - but can you not you not see how someone - such as an Orthodox, RC or Anglo-Catholic Christian could equally apply the same judgement to the 'own personal Jesus' thing of evangelicalism and Anabaptism?

Who is to say that you haven't cut yourselves loose from received Tradition (or tradition) in order to follow your own inventions and novelties? There are those who would certainly maintain as much.

You seem convinced that the Christendom thing is a deal breaker in and of itself - even though, as SteveHep has demonstrated, the Erastianism and Caesaro-Papism of former times ... and its shadowy modern equivalents - doesn't actually impinge on any of the core doctrines of the Christian faith as traditionally understood within historic, creedal Christianity.

Various Popes and so on have apologised for the Crusades, for instance ...

Could that not be seen as a Tradition righting itself where it has erred?

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Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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hatless

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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by hatless:
I think it makes perfectly good sense to say that Mark has a lower Christology than John.

I didn't mention a comparison between John and Mark in my statement. My point was that making a blanket statement when the evidence is ambiguous is a fundamentalist thing to do, in one sense of the word. I stand by that, and your confused reply does not give me reason to change that.
Describing Mark as having a low Christology is bound to be a comparative statement. It has to be lower than something: lower than John, lower than I expected, lower than we used to think, or whatever.

I don't see how it's a blanket statement. It's specifically about Mark's Christology. But you think I'm confused, and perhaps that's true. Perhaps you'll be able to explain how.

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Steve Langton
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Hmmm! I think here I would say that what I'm relying on is the essential - what CS Lewis would have called both 'Mere Christianity' and 'Deep Church'. I'm not adding things, I'm sort of asking for other people's additions to be justified - is their "Jesus and...." really necessary and helpful?

Yes, the RC 'Tradition' is finally just about rectifying itself (Have you seen the article "We have a Mennonite Pope" in the latest online 'The Mennonite' mag?) - but only after centuries of real horror involving coercion and warfare. If they want me to believe they are a RELIABLE ongoing here-and-now guide in the faith, I think they need to do better than that. As I've been stressing a bit, one of the big ironies here is the RC teaching and practice conflicts with Peter himself in that first epistle. Which is the real deal-breaker, in a way. They're claiming to possess Peter's authority - and they don't even seem able to get right some of the most self-explanatory NT texts from the very Peter who is supposed to be the foundation of their Tradition!

[Confused]

I've obviously read StevHep's posts; one of the troubles there, and in other modern Catholic apologists, is that they put so many qualifications and limitations on the 'Magisterium', and allow and admit so much fallibility, rather than the infallibility it is supposed to represent, that actually they reduce it to something rather ineffective and vague.

I can't see that in the end it's a great deal better than what we Anabaptists (or 'Mere Christians') have anyway in the straightforward concept that the Holy Spirit guides and leads us in all kinds of fresh ways based on and checkable against the Scriptures which the Holy Spirit also produced and is not likely to contradict, and which acts as a solid foundation and reliable compass. Yes we make mistakes and have to correct - but we don't have to fight those corrections through against an entrenched claimed 'Magisterium'.

The Scriptures, OT and NT, are part of 'Mere Christianity/Anabaptism'. Peter as a leading (but not exactly infallible) apostle is also part. But the process by which you get from that to the idea that a man currently occupying Peter's old 'chair' has also inherited Peter's authority isn't all that clear to begin with; and if it leads to an authority capable of contradicting Peter and causing problems like the Crusades which are still hurting us today, well 'by their fruits shall ye know....'

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Gamaliel
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Ok, Steve, I certainly 'get' where you are coming from and share many of these views, but perhaps in a rather more accommodating way. I'm an Anglican ...

Of course, if I accepted the RC view of the Papacy and the Magisterium then I'd be RC ... but I don't, so I'm not. So, in RC terms that puts me in a similar position to your good self.

As it happens, I've got a lot of time for the C S Lewis 'Mere Christianity' and 'Deep Church' take on things - more than a lot of time.

But I can equally see how it may leave some questions unanswered from an RC or perhaps even an Orthodox perspective.

My own 'take' is that the RCs have painted themselves into a corner with the Papal Infallibility thing. The Orthodox seem to manage without it - although with almost as much bickering as the Protestants can and do among the various Protestant churches.

If not more. In a different kind of way.

How do you know, though, that you aren't substituting a 'Jesus and ...' construct for the alleged RC one? 'Jesus and Anabaptism'?

Or 'Jesus and weren't the Crusades and the Inquisition horrible ...'?

Or 'Jesus and my interpretation of scripture which happens not to be the plain meaning of scripture as I so fondly imagine but an actual interpretation of the scriptures received and refined from the Reformed tradition and then tweaked a bit ...'?

I'd suggest that those who make a big song and dance about scriptural 'inerrancy' - as they understand it - are actually setting up a 'Jesus and ...' a 'Jesus and scriptural inerrancy' thing - which actually means, 'Jesus and my personal take on scripture ...'

Both the RCs and the chewing-a-brick Inerrantists have painted themselves into a corner.

In terms of the RCs having to 'do better than that'. Well, we all do. The only solution you appear to be offering is that the way to 'do better' is to all embrace Anabaptism ...

Or have I got the wrong end of the stick?

Frankly, I'm not sure what the RC Church or any other church for that matter could do to satisfy someone like your good self. The only thing they could do would be to close themselves down and join your church.

Which would instantly be to spoil it, because they aren't perfect and neither are you.

That's not to say that we don't challenge the status quo nor press for reforms where these are necessary. My guess would be that the RCs are going to have to conveniently wriggle themselves out of Papal Infallibility sooner or later.

When that day comes, and I'd probably be 350 years old by then, I hope I'd have the good grace to acknowledge what they'd done without going, 'Nurh-nuh na-nah-nah, we told you so, we told you so ...'

Or remind them of the Crusades and various other iniquities from the dim and distant past without first addressing my own failings and short-comings.

The problems within the historic Churches and across the 'sectarian' churches - for want of a better word - seem to be a question of degree rather than in kind, it seems to me. There are plenty of mini-Popes strutting their stuff in leadership positions within all the Protestant churches and I don't doubt that you can find some of them among the Mennonites - for all their cuddliness.

Just sayin' ...

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Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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k-mann
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Scripture is a fairly objective source of authority as the written record of the original teaching, regardless of any opinion of supernatural origin, coming from people with personal authority (e.g. Peter, John) or close secondhand authority (e.g., Mark, Luke).

What do you mean by authority here, and what makes you think they have this authority?

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— Paul Tillich

Katolikken

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Steve Langton
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# 17601

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k-mann; give me time on that one, I ploughed through Gamaliel's comments first and I'm answering him first.

I tend to the view that it's a bad thing to go at the Bible with an attitude of "It's the Word of God so it must be like this and like that..."; I prefer to let the Bible tell me how it is. I also like JI Packer's view that 'genre' is important; that is, you don't expect the exact same kind of literality (is that a word?) from poetry, chronicles, prophecy, and what appears to be in our terms something like saga. But you still take it seriously!

I like the following from Tyndale, which is also a useful quote because it's pre-Darwin and you can't be accused of just fiddling things as an after the fact response to the science controversy;

quote:
“Thou shalt understand, therefore, that the scripture hath but one sense, which is the literal sense. And that literal sense is the root and ground of all, and the anchor that never faileth, whereunto if thou cleave, thou canst never err or go out of the way. And if thou leave the literal sense, thou canst not but go out of the way. Nevertheless the scripture uses proverbs, similitudes, riddles or allegories, as all other speeches do; but that which the proverb, similitude, riddle or allegory signifieth, is ever the literal sense, which thou must seek out diligently.”
I had it boldened from 'nevertheless' onwards to stress the point - sorry, haven't quite mastered the UBB stuff yet. 'all other speeches' I would paraphrase as "This is how language in general works" - that seem fair to you?

No, I'm not asking everybody to just join 'my church'. Actually I'm just about to join myself an ordinary local BU Baptist church near my home, and having been brought up rather interdenominationally I sit quite light to all the denominations, and there's much in all of them I like.

But the state/church or 'Christendom' link does seem to pose some distinctive problems which we'd all be well shot of, surely. These days I meet so many Anglicans who say they don't really believe in the establishment that I'm considering a blog post entitled 'The Church that doesn't believe in itself'!

Among the problems are the considerable problem to ecumenism of uniting not only with my fellow-Christians but also with a worldly state; I suspect Christ isn't to happy with that 'menage-a-trois' situation for his bride?? And really, there is not much need of violence in a church that takes a position as 'resident aliens' rather than trying to run the state in God's name.

I don't expect everyone to copy me exactly. The state/church thing is important and truly problematic and I'd love to see all churches drop that one. Otherwise on the one hand I hope people will at least evidently take the Bible seriously whether they take it more or less literally than me; and I have problems with this idea that there's a credible extra-biblical tradition, especially when the possible claimants to that kind of authority spent so much time enmired in the Christendom problem.

I agree that 'we all need to do better than that', me included, and my view of traditional Anabaptism is not exactly through rose-tinted spectacles. But my point was about that claim to special authority; combining that claim to special authority with the worldly state link is a major problem. In a 'free church/believer's church' getting kicked out for heresy could be traumatic but is more on the level of being told 'look, if you really won't play to the rules we must ask you to stop playing on the team'; with a state religion it can be - and in the Middle Ages was - a death penalty treason offence.

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
I like the following from Tyndale, which is also a useful quote because it's pre-Darwin and you can't be accused of just fiddling things as an after the fact response to the science controversy;

quote:
“Thou shalt understand, therefore, that the scripture hath but one sense, which is the literal sense. And that literal sense is the root and ground of all, and the anchor that never faileth, whereunto if thou cleave, thou canst never err or go out of the way. And if thou leave the literal sense, thou canst not but go out of the way. Nevertheless the scripture uses proverbs, similitudes, riddles or allegories, as all other speeches do; but that which the proverb, similitude, riddle or allegory signifieth, is ever the literal sense, which thou must seek out diligently.”

What the hell does that mean? He wants to eat his cake and have it. It's both literal, and not literal, because everything is literal, but everything isn't to be taken literally. Huh?

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Eliab
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
What the hell does that mean? He wants to eat his cake and have it. It's both literal, and not literal, because everything is literal, but everything isn't to be taken literally. Huh?

I suspect 'literal' here means what, as a lawyer, I'd call the 'natural and ordinary meaning'. I don't think it means 'literal' literally.

Opening my Bible at random: I find that "the man who perseveres under trial, when he has stood the test, will receive the crown of life" (James 1:12). The 'literal' sense is that if you resist temptation you will be given a circular metal hat. However the natural and ordinary sense is that God will honour such people with glorious new life. The fact that the assertion contains a metaphor doesn't stop that being the natural reading, and the natural meaning is what we should prefer. What is being ruled out as against the literal sense is an attempt to read some cryptic or allegorical meaning into 'crown of life'. Or so it seems to me.

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Richard Dawkins

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Steve Langton
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Yes, Eliab is right, but sorry MT I should have explained more myself. The point is that in the medieval/Reformation period an idea had developed called the 'fourfold interpretation' of Scripture (though variants in different academias meant there were arguably more than four). Allegorical and prophetic are the others I recall without doing too much library-checking. In this context 'literal' didn't mean the kind of 'dumb wooden stupid literalism' we now associate with American 'fundamentalism', but as Eliab says, something more like 'the way you read an ordinary book'.

In the 'fourfold' interpretation, all four were applied flatly to all texts; the exotic allegorical and prophetic interpretations were preferred because they were more exciting, and 'interpretation after the literal sernse' (to use the full phrase) underrated because it was ordinary. It was one of the problems the Reformers saw in the then RCC that these exotic interpretations were often used to justify what the Reformers saw as questionable ideas which the more ordinary reading didn't justify.

The Reformers restored 'the literal sense' to a higher place on the commonsense grounds that the plain sense was surely the basic meaning and should be determinative. As Tyndale's words indicate, that still meant that you would recognise figures of speech and other literary devices, as you would in reading an ordinary book - as Tyndale said, 'as other speeches do', ie. 'That's how languages work in general'.

The more exotic senses would still apply when the original was obviously intended that way - as you would when you read "Pilgrim's Progress" which is obviously in allegory genre. And if I may judge from a fair bit of reading the Puritans, you could still use 'allegorical' and similar interpretations elsewhere, PROVIDED THEY WERE IN LINE WITH THE 'LITERAL SENSE'. That is, you weren't supposed to use allegory etc. to subvert the plain sense, or to prove things that the plain sense didn't teach.

Modern fundamentalism has in most cases gone far too far in 'literal' reading partly because this point was misunderstood, especially in certain decidedly anti-intellectual circles over there. As one of the (almost certainly) few people you know who has read big chunks of the original "Fundamentals" tracts of the early 20thC, and even have one of the volumes on my own shelves, I can tell you that the actual 'Fundamentals' were mostly more like Tyndale's view than most of the people who now call themselves fundamentalists, and many of the essays were written by serious scholars including quite a few Brits. Indeed my memory says that the essay on the Creation story
was written by a Scottish professor and was surprisingly flexible, willing to accept interpretations other than the rigid "6-day creation/young earth" scenario.

Eliab

quote:
"I don't think it means 'literal' literally".
I like it! Brilliant and a good illustration of how language works - in this case, changes over time....

Oh, MT; Aspies like me are very wary of excessive and inappropriate literalism which can be a serious problem to autistic people; that problem in turn explains why being over-literal can be bad interpretation.

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Gamaliel
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Sure, I'd agree with a great deal of that Steve Langton, and certainly that the original late 19th/early 20th century 'fundamentalists' were a lot more nuanced than many of those who followed in their wake.

On the issue of allegorical and 'literal' interpretations ... there's been a long standing tension between those since the earliest days of Christianity and there are similar debates within Judaism.

Antioch, one of the early Patriarchates, tended to go for a more 'literal' approach - in the sense that has been described in posts above - whereas Alexandria tended to adopt a more allegorical approach.

The Reformers were attempting to go back to what they saw as the 'plain-meaning' of the text ... if there can be such a thing ... but it always strikes me how certain types of Protestant 'sectarian' Christianity can veer into the same kind of allegorising that the medieval Church went in for. Whilst deploring such things in others, they can do the self-same thing themselves.

Kaplan Corday (where is Kaplan these days?) a Brethren poster here aboard Ship tells me that things are different now but when I first encountered the Plymouth Brethren they went in for all manner of fantastical interpretations of the parables in the Gospels, for instance ... generally, it seemed to me, to absolve themselves of the responsibility of actually putting some of this stuff into practice.

[Biased]

These days, though, whether it's Big T Tradition or some kind of small t tradition, I incline to the view that we all of us approach and interpret the scriptures through some lens or other. The idea that we engage with the scriptures in some kind of neutral way, purely illuminated by the guidance of the Holy Spirit is an untenable one.

None of us exist in glorious isolation.

--------------------
Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Steve Langton
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Gamaliel, I agree that none of us really manage to engage 'neutrally' with the Scriptures; but that is the ideal starting point.

I think the point about the 'plain meaning' bit is that when I'm explaining things to others, the 'literal sense' (as discussed above) is the one where I can say "Look, it's not just me, you can read it for yourself and check out what I say", and they should find that they can so check it and broadly agree with me. The 'allegorical' - except where the text itself clearly intends it - is significantly more subjective and opens up a real possibility of going astray unless it is controlled by the more prosaic 'literal sense'. My flat is in some disarray at present due to workmen but somewhere I've a book with a few examples of such interpretations by the heretical Stephen Langton of the Canterbury lot; and they weren't very useful to our 21st Century Bible Study Group, to say the least.

I can't say I've experienced wildly allegorical interpretations in general among the Brethren I've known, except in one area - their unfortunate adherence to what most people now know as the 'Left Behind' Rapture-and-Tribulation view of the Second Coming, where ironically they thought they were being very literal! No easy answer on that one and don't feel we should go further about it in this thread - I suppose I could start a fresh thread about it....

quote:
None of us exist in glorious isolation.
Agreed; although obviously respecting good scholarship and gifted individuals, the emphasis in the traditional Anabaptist groups is very much on the church - but meaning 'ekklesia/assembly/congregation' rather than an elite 'Magisterium'. Anabaptists are strong on reminding us that when we read 'you' in our English Bibles we should often check whether it's singular or plural - and in most cases it turns out to be plural,and therefore to have much more collective and less individualist implications than is typical in modern evangelicalism.
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k-mann
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Ok, let me try again:

quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Scripture is a fairly objective source of authority as the written record of the original teaching, regardless of any opinion of supernatural origin, coming from people with personal authority (e.g. Peter, John) or close secondhand authority (e.g., Mark, Luke).

What do you mean by authority here, and what makes you think they have this authority?

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"Being religious means asking passionately the question of the meaning of our existence and being willing to receive answers, even if the answers hurt."
— Paul Tillich

Katolikken

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Steve Langton
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k-mann; I suspect, as you hinted yourself, we're using the word 'authority' in slightly different senses. I also tend to be thinking in two directions, one being debates within the church and one being the 'apologia' or 'fitting words' (rather than wimpy apologising) explaining to those outside the faith.

The ultimate authority of the Scriptures is God/Jesus himself through the Holy Spirit. But of course the actual 'scribing' is done by human beings, so we're asking how reliable they are. In many ways this decision was taken for us by the early church, finally in the 4th Century but the bulk of the job seems to have been done c140CE in reaction to Marcion's Gnostic/anti-Jewish challenge. They decided, in effect, that these were the documents authentic enough to be willing to die for them, and their decision seems to have been based on 'apostolicity' - that is, the documents came from the original apostles, or their close associates. Other orthodox documents were excluded (though still respected) because they weren't close enough to the apostles; and many unorthodox documents were rejected not only for unorthodoxy but for lack of 'provenance' - insufficient evidence of apostolic connection.

Apostolic authority is fairly evident - these are the people Jesus appointed as his disciples to learn from him, and 'sent' them to be his witnesses. Paul was later 'co-opted' dramatically and has similar status to the disciples. Mark was a companion of the apostles in their mission, may have been as a young man a partial eyewitness, and it is generally reckoned that his Gospel is mostly a record of Peter's account of Jesus' life, so authentically apostolic albeit at secondhand. Luke was a Gentile convert and a missionary companion of Paul; Acts is partly eyewitness, partly evidence he gathered. Luke's gospel is obviously not eyewitness, but the fruit of gathering evidence from eye-witnesses - and evidently, using Mark's work as a major source.

Matthew and John both apostolic eyewitnesses; the tradition of the church about Matthew is that he wrote in Aramaic while working with Palestinian Jews, and it was later translated into Greek, the translator combining Matthew's work with Mark's. In current form Matthew and Luke both include collections of teaching which may have been circulating separately.

we don't have all the evidence that was available to the early church about when and where things were written; but a basic decision c140CE is pretty close to the original writing. We do have not originals but early copies of a date compatible with the church's traditional account of origins - for example, the Rylands Library fragment of John's Gospel, and collections of NT texts from the 200sCE (Chester Beatty Papyri, says my memory, currently in Dublin). Bearing in mind that for many contemporary Latin and Greek authors the earliest physical copies are centuries later again, fairly good evidence.

I'm not sure exactly how this fits with what I suspect is some underlying or further question you may have; further clarification of what you're after would help at this point. In this particular thread I've been less concerned with the ultimate authority of Scripture and more with that secondary issue of whether we can find a reliable 'Capital-T Tradition' outside Scripture, such as the Catholic 'Magisterium', a somewhat different argument.

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Gamaliel
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There is no such thing as a neutral position, so how can it be 'ideal'?

It's impossible.

As for the CofE being 'the Church that doesn't believe in itself' ... well, the Anglican Church in Wales has been Diestablished since 1920 (not that many people have noticed) so there is a precedent for Anglican Disestablishment on the British mainland.

Do the Welsh Anglicans not 'believe in themselves' because their particular section of the Anglican communion is Disestablished?

--------------------
Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Steve Langton
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Gamaliel; Of course the neutral position is impossible - but you should surely TRY to recognise and challenge your own biases and discuss fairly; that's what I was trying to say. I thought I was pedantic till I found myself on SoF!!

England is the only place, I believe, where the CoE IS still established in the full sense. My slightly light-hearted point was "Why, when so many of its own adherents, even clergy, rush to disclaim establishment as soon as I raise the issue?"

The trouble is, the establishment, and the wider perception of the UK as a'Christian country' is still there and I submit rather more problematic than many insular Anglicans realise. I'm currently having talks with a local Muslim acquaintance which are considerably handicapped by his perception of the UK as a Christian country; but also if I accepted establishment I'd have to concede his points,and that would be decidedly unhelpful....

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A.Pilgrim
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A big thank-you to Steve Langton for his post on the authoritativeness of NT texts - sums up pretty well what I think about them as sources for the teaching of Jesus and the Apostles.
Angus [Smile]

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k-mann
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Apostolic authority is fairly evident - these are the people Jesus appointed as his disciples to learn from him, and 'sent' them to be his witnesses.

But this is something you have learned through Scripture, isn’t it? Remember that I earlier asked you to show how you could coherently argue for the authoritativeness of Scripture without any reference to Tradition or the Church (and without resorting to a Mormon style ‘burning in the bosom’). To base the authoritativeness of Scripture on the apostles’s, and base their authority on the fact that Scripture says so, would be circular.

But it seems that you avoid that, and rather argue from Tradition. As you write:

quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
In many ways this decision was taken for us by the early church, finally in the 4th Century but the bulk of the job seems to have been done c140CE in reaction to Marcion's Gnostic/anti-Jewish challenge.

There is just one problem with this: The decision made in the 4th Century included all 43 books of the Old Testament as Holy Scripture, and the ones who made this decision weren’t proto-Protestants by any stretch of the imagination, and least of all Anabaptists. They believed in baptismal regeneration, the real presence, and the Sacrifice of the Mass, to name a few.

In order to use them as authorities you need either to hold to those beliefs, or show how you can coherently deny these beliefs without also denying the authority you claim they have. For without their authority to decide the Canon of Scripture, you are left with circularity.

quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
I'm not sure exactly how this fits with what I suspect is some underlying or further question you may have; further clarification of what you're after would help at this point. In this particular thread I've been less concerned with the ultimate authority of Scripture and more with that secondary issue of whether we can find a reliable 'Capital-T Tradition' outside Scripture, such as the Catholic 'Magisterium', a somewhat different argument.

My question is simple: If you remove Tradition, of which Scripture is part, how do you establish the authority of Scripture without arguing in circles?

--------------------
"Being religious means asking passionately the question of the meaning of our existence and being willing to receive answers, even if the answers hurt."
— Paul Tillich

Katolikken

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Steve Langton
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k-mann; the 'church' including the OT Jews play a role in recognising God's Word; but ipso facto, they don't make or control it - it is God's Word, and it, and the Spirit who gave it, controls the church.

Yes it would be nice to have an identifiable modern institution, continuous back to the NT era, that had authority to give us definitive interpretations. That authority doesn't exist. One of the reasons I know it doesn't exist is the centuries during which the RC Church disregarded Scripture by having a relationship to the state which made possible the Inquisition and its treatment of heretics, and the Crusades and the treatment suffered by Muslims and others, not to mention all kinds of other warfare involving Christians again in defiance of Scripture. Perhaps you haven't noticed a phrase about 'by their fruits....'

It happens that one of the Scriptures most obviously flouted in that period is precisely the epistle I Peter which teaches a massively different church/state relationship to that practised by the RC Church in those later centuries - a church defying its own first Pope doesn't carry a lot of authority with me.

Word and Spirit faithfully followed are essentially self-authenticating. The RC Church is pretty much self-destructive, as well as destroying others in a way the Bible doesn't teach.

I quote a couple of English poems by one John Gower from the era of Chaucer; the 'modern version' is my own translation, sorry not very poetic....

quote:
I prei you tell me nay or yee,
To passe over the grete See
To were and sle the Sarazin
Is that the law?
Reply;
… Sone myn,
To preche and soffre for the feith,
That have I herd the gospell seith,
But forto sle, that heire I noght.

Modern version ….
I pray you tell me yes or no; to pass over the great sea to war against and slay the Saracen – is that lawful?
Reply;
…..My son, to preach the faith and suffer for it, that I have heard the gospel says; but to slay for the gospel, I hear nothing in it of that.

Second Poem;
To slen and feihten ous bidde
Hem whom thei scholde, as the bok seith,
Converten unto Christes feith.
But hierof have I gret mervaile,
Hou thei wol bidde me travaile;
A Sarazin if I sle schal,
I sle the Soule forth withal,
And that was nevere Christes lore.

Modern version ….
They bid us fight and slay those who they should, according to the Bible, convert to faith in Jesus. And it seems to me something to marvel at, how they tell me to work in such a way; for if I slay a Saracen, I shall also slay his soul (because he will die ‘unsaved’) – and that was never Christ’s teaching.

QED.
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k-mann
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In conclusion: You cannot coherently ground the authority of Scripture.

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"Being religious means asking passionately the question of the meaning of our existence and being willing to receive answers, even if the answers hurt."
— Paul Tillich

Katolikken

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Lamb Chopped
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You'll doubtless still say so after I outline a different approach, but what the hey.

The first thing here is to establish that the Scripture (or at least the Gospels) are reliable to an ordinary standard of reliability. In other words, we're not going for inerrancy here. We are looking for the very basic "Can I trust what they say about Jesus--what he said, did, etc.--as a true report?" Nothing more than that.

To establish that, you'll need a decent grounding in the usual stuff that we use to judge a text's reliability--in other words, a good knowledge of the relevant cultures and history, a knowledge of the language(s), and basic text criticism stuff--meaning the dull-but-necessary work of text filiation, which manuscript is related to which and what are the variants, how surely can we re-establish the original text from those, and so forth. Again, I'm not talking about so-called higher criticism, where you theorize about redaction and recension and how a community might have produced or modified a text, etc. etc. etc., which is a very different thing (and much flimsier). I'm here talking ONLY about "lower criticism"--the kind of mind-numbingly dull but necessary work you do to create a variorum edition of any text. It generally results in what's called a textual apparatus, which lists all the variants found in a particular verse, which manucripts they come from, and (carefully studied) can show you which are the earliest and truest to the no-longer-extant original text (aka the autographs). It can also give you a very good sense of just how close or far the current "best text" is from what Matthew, Mark, Luke, John actually wrote. Compare that to what we know on simple historical grounds (textual provenance etc) and you can get a very decent sense of how reliable the Gospels are. Which is very.

Take all of that (learning the languages, textual work, cultural/historical knowledge, basic principles of hermeneutics, etc.) and you can come to a decision on how far to trust the Gospels' picture of what Jesus said and did. I'm sorry to say there are no shortcuts here to putting in the hard work and time, unless you want to trust an authority who HAS put in the time--which is what most people do, not having the years or the inclination to go digging for themselves. Me, I'm a suspicious bugger so I put in the time (and keep doing so). I've come to the conclusion that the Gospel picture is extraordinarily likely to be accurate, and my textual colleagues in other periods (Renaissance is my special interest) would frankly KILL for a tenth--heck, a hundredth--of the textual foundation of the New Testament. Sssshhhhh, nobody tell them! [Biased]

Having done all that and decided the Gospels are textually trustworthy (assuming you do; go and check yourself!), the question arises: Who is this Jesus, and why should I listen to him?

Here you get to use your reading skills (hermeneutics, etc.) to come to a conclusion. I came (most unintentionally!) to the conclusion that he is exactly who he claims to be--the Son of God, God himself, the second person of the Trinity (to put it in ecclesial terms). I say this as a person who grew up almost as untouched by Christianity as it was possible to be, living in the U.S. And I certainly wasn't WANTING it to be true.

Assuming you are still with me (ha!) this now leads us to the question, What did Jesus think of the Scriptures as they existed in his time? What was his position? Which is embarrassingly clear in the Gospels. He treats it as the Word of God, refers to it as the basic authority at all times, says it cannot be broken, uses it on all occasions as the last word in discussions with his enemies (and friends!), and is so very picky as to hang a whole doctrine (the resurrection of the dead) on a single tense of a single verse in Hebrew. (Yes, I know they're not really "tenses", but this post is longwinded enough, anyone who wants to yaffle about the perfect and imperfect etc.--and the Septuagintal renderings--can just go sit on an egg and rotate right now. [Razz] )

Now this is most embarrassing, because it makes Jesus look like an inerrantist (note: NOT literalist or fundamentalist). But if we've come to accept that he is what he is shown to be in the Gospels, we are stuck with it. And THAT must therefore inform our own (okay, my own) attitudes toward the rest of Scripture, at least the OT. Heck, it has to overrule it. No matter how un-PC it is.

So to sum up, the argument for the authority of the Scriptures from this angle goes like this:

text meets ordinary human reliability tests > text shows Jesus to be an unassailable authority and reports his words correctly > What does Jesus say about Scripture? Oh darn > Extraordinary authority of Scripture.

[ 08. March 2014, 14:35: Message edited by: Lamb Chopped ]

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

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hatless

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Your lower criticism will establish to a very high level of confidence that we know what the original text of Mark or Luke is. It tells us nothing about what to make of that.

When we read in Mark: 'For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many,' lower criticism doesn't begin to help us judge if Jesus actually said that or not, let alone what he, or the author of the second gospel, might have meant by it.

It doesn't help us decide what to make of the similar saying in Luke: 'the son of man came to seek and save the lost.'

Are these both things that Jesus said? Has one been 'developed' from the other? Are they Markan and Lucan sayings, both representing the sort of thing that Jesus was fond of saying? Do they represent the early congregations' beliefs about Jesus rather than what he said himself?

'Give his life a ransom for many,' is a saying about the effectiveness of Jesus, especially his death (probably), for others. It is about the importance of Jesus for the world, or perhaps just for followers. It looks quite theologically developed. It follows on from the saying about serving or being served, and could, perhaps, have been added in there. You can take it out without leaving a hole. And a meaty statement like this one, if original, might be expected to have its own 'sentence' (though the Greek text doesn't have sentences as such), and not be a run on clause to a less imposing saying.

Many scholars therefore suspect that it wasn't said by Jesus himself, but would be the sort of thing that his followers, years later, would say, because it reflects the interests and concerns of believers, not (probably) those of Jesus.

But who knows? It's a wide open question, and it's a higher criticism question. We don't have a very early text for Mark's gospel, so lower criticism doesn't assist us.

In short, I agree that lower criticism gives us a high degree of confidence in the text of the New Testament, but I don't think it makes the text theologically authoritative.

--------------------
My crazy theology in novel form

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