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» Ship of Fools   » Special interest discussion   » Dead Horses   » All scripture is given by inspiration of God. (Page 15)

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Source: (consider it) Thread: All scripture is given by inspiration of God.
mr cheesy
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Once again, there is a whole lot of talking past each other when talking about the Bible - and judging others based on standards that they don't accept.

In this example, we are apparently being told that only the Anabaptists have the keys to true interpretation of the scriptures (with the implication that if people bothered to read the scriptures without various other wrong baggage, then we'd obviously all be Anabaptists). But then there are clearly other Protestants who believe that they've got the only-and-clear reading of scripture. Others say that scripture can't be read out of a certain historical context.

I'm not sure there is anything else to say: it is entirely possible to take something in isolation and make determinations about what it means and be completely wrong. Even those small percentage of people who have read the US Constitution are not going to get much of a handle on what it means outside of historical context. Simply saying that you are reading it "straight" doesn't mean that you are right. Without assistance, you are probably wrong.

But then one can obviously also build upon years of interpretation and be completely wrong too. Islam has many centuries of tradition and interpretation of the Bible and what it means - that most of us here would agree is offbeam.

Of course the whole thing is even more complicated with different perceptions of context and history and meaning and so on.

With all of those bundles of differences, is it any wonder we are talking past each other?

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arse

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Gamaliel
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The 'Carnagies'?

Would that be Dale Carnegie?

Or Dale Constantine?

Or, more likely, predictive text?

Meanwhile, I understand and appreciate Mousethief's rebuff about grace being seen as some kind of property that can be conferred or even 'bought' in some Western emphases - and I'd broaden this out from Protestantism to include Catholics as well.

I'd acknowledge that my own thinking will inevitably been influenced by all of that. How can it not have been?

I would also agree that Steve Langton doesn't appear that well informed about the Orthodox view of grace, mixing it up with a somewhat caricatured version of what he imagines Roman Catholics believe.

I wouldn't beat him up too much about that, I've been rubbing shoulders with the Orthodox for over 20 years and still don't always 'get' what they mean - because I'm approaching things from a different and Western angle.

Inevitably.

Even if I crossed the Bosphorus tomorrow I reckon it would take me years and years to start thinking in a more Orthodox fashion.

As I keep saying, I'm feeling my way and fumbling. I'll bump my head and say daft things.

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
The 'Carnagies'?

Would that be Dale Carnegie?

No, it would be "the Carnegies" (sic), in reference to this post.

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mr cheesy
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I was reflecting on this earlier: why is it that some seem so intent on getting others to change their mind on topics like this? It doesn't seem to be solely about individuals (although that is clearly part of it), but on some level it must also be about the nature of (some of) the ideas.

I'm sure there are exceptions to the rule, but it seems to me that those who hold most strongly to a concept like biblical inerrancy are least accepting that there is any validity in other ways to look at the issue.

But then maybe this is just about the people we are most exposed to - maybe there are staunch Quakers who are unwilling to accept other understandings of the inspiration of scripture.

Or is it just that one's view of scripture is used as shorthand by many different groups to assess the level of "soundness" of the Other and expressed alternative viewpoints are used as an opportunity to preach "the truth", hopefully with the end result that someone reading might change their mind?

But then I suppose it is hard to see an alternative. Having everyone explain what they believe and why - and having others sitting around stroking chins and saying "that's interesting" wouldn't be much of a discussion.

Maybe I've been here too long.

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arse

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Steve Langton
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by Gamaliel;
quote:
I would also agree that Steve Langton doesn't appear that well informed about the Orthodox view of grace, mixing it up with a somewhat caricatured version of what he imagines Roman Catholics believe.
I wasn't claiming to be well informed - just commenting on the irony that mt's idea of the Protestant view of grace was pretty much the same as the typical Protestant idea of how grace works according to RCC and Orthodoxy. At least in the original the Protestant view was definitely a counter to such views on anybody's part, and perhaps particularly so among Baptists on the grace of baptism and Zwinglians on the grace of communion. Reality is I guess that all parties sometimes get this wrong.

by mr cheesy;
quote:
In this example, we are apparently being told that only the Anabaptists have the keys to true interpretation of the scriptures (with the implication that if people bothered to read the scriptures without various other wrong baggage, then we'd obviously all be Anabaptists).
Not what I said (though obviously true [Big Grin] !). I simply commented on the similarity between Carnegie's agenda and ideas in the film and much of the thinking - even if not always so rapaciously expressed - that underlies the desire for state churches and so-called "Christian countries". Theodosius must have been thinking somewhat similar thoughts with his 381CE edict making Christianity compulsory in his empire.

What is important here is that Christians and the Churches they belong to should regard themselves as emphatically under rather than over Scripture.

There is no particular 'key' to interpreting scripture - just read it as a whole in context. The problem is with those who claim that they can do so from a privileged position, eg the Popes.

It is interesting that when people do that basic reading Scripture thing they generally end up with something close to Anabaptism.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:

What is important here is that Christians and the Churches they belong to should regard themselves as emphatically under rather than over Scripture.



Why should they?


quote:


There is no particular 'key' to interpreting scripture - just read it as a whole in context. The problem is with those who claim that they can do so from a privileged position, eg the Popes.

It is interesting that when people do that basic reading Scripture thing they generally end up with something close to Anabaptism.

QED

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arse

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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Ye ken, ever since Jamat started talking about Agendas (may have been here, may have been in Keryg but it's on this actual topic) I've been thinking.

He's a little bit right. I have an agenda. But it's neither motivated by nor having the intention that he stated.

Let's start with the intention. The intention is to find a way to read Scripture that doesn't end up with conclusions which are contradictory and/or morally repugnant. We familiar with the well-worn moral repugnancy issues of the Joshua genocides, many of the provisions of the Law, eternal Hell, and what not. And a response to that is "you mean you don't like it?" - and up to a point yes, but you have to ask what's unreasonable about not liking that stuff. But the real issue is contradiction - genocide contradicts God's love for all the world; it also contradicts God's apparent command to not murder. A literal interpretation can't resolve the moral repugnancy nor the contradictions; on the one hand God tempts or deceives no-one; on the other we have God sending a lying spirit to confuse a king. Satan is cast out of heaven, but there he is having a conference with God about Job. And there's this mighty king of the universe, abounding in love and compassion, taking on a bet with said Satan and both watching as Job's children die just to prove the point one way or the other.

So that's the "what" of my agenda - Scripture I actually can take seriously.

As to the why - the motivation - it's not to discredit it. Far from it. Nothing discredits it more in my mind than literal interpretation. Why do the more militant Atheist sites always attack literal interpretations, be it God the mass murderer or Young Earth Creationism? Because they're the weak point; they're where it's easiest to attack. No, my motivation is to take Scripture seriously. And that means interpreting it in a way which I can take seriously. I'm not there yet; the wounds of literality (not helped by a tendancy to autistic thinking traits) are deep and re-opened every time I read the thing. But I haven't given up yet.

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
It is interesting that when people do that basic reading Scripture thing they generally end up with something close to Anabaptism.

Or alternatively, Orthodoxy (read the book and it will tell you that "that basic reading Scripture thing" is precisely what Gillquist and his fellow-travellers did. Get off your hobby-horse.

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Gamaliel
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Fair points, Karl.

And yes, apologies to Eutychus, I've heard of the Book of Eli and remember the earlier exchange but had forgotten that one of the protagonists was called Carnegie ...

But I was also having a tilt at the Big C thing which always seems to muddy the waters during these discussions. Not that I am seeking to elide the baleful effects of that but simply trying to think more broadly than the usual pre-Big C good, post-Big C bad trope that certain posters seem to use as a catch-all ...

I'm sure I'm trying to change anyone's thinking, I've got enough on trying to grapple with my own.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
Or alternatively, Orthodoxy (read the book and it will tell you that "that basic reading Scripture thing" is precisely what Gillquist and his fellow-travellers did. Get off your hobby-horse.

Or even - dare I say it - Chestertonian Catholicism.

According to Gilbert, he set out to come up with a fashionable heresy but ended up persuading himself that Orthodoxy (by which he meant Roman Catholicism) made more sense than heresy.

Indeed it seems to me that a lot of hand-waving is necessary to get to the conclusion that a basic reading of scripture ends up in Anabaptism. It strikes me that there are many examples of people who have ended up all over the place, including Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism - but also (presumably) with ideas as diverse as Chrisadelphianism etc. Indeed, it seems that the "new" sects mostly make a claim about having the new-and-authentic obvious reading of scripture, and some are nothing like Anabaptism.

In fact given how few new people become Mennonites (and the like), it seems like an individual reading the scriptures in isolation - whatever that means - is very unlikely to become an Anabaptist.

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arse

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Gamaliel
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Cross-posted with Eutychus and apologies for the double-post.

I've not read Gilquist's book, although I've read lots of accounts of evangelicals and others who have become Orthodox.

Dyfrig, who used to regularly frequent these boards, once told me that he'd read it and come to the conclusion that Gilquist and his fellow-travellers had simply exchanged 'one form of fundamentalism for another.'

Without having read the book I think there is some truth in this, particularly as many of the US evangelical converts to Orthodoxy I come across on social-media platforms are sometimes scarily right-wing and fundamentalist when judged from a Western European perspective - or a more Democratic US perspective.

Mousethief will know that only too well ... [Frown]

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mr cheesy
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Anyway, this thing about "all scripture is God-breathed..." (2 Tim 3:16) isn't used by anyone to think that all of the Bible is from God.

For a start, some of the text is quoted words of Satan. That scripture cannot then be God-breathed by definition. And so, according to the logic of inerrancy, the passage from 2 Timothy is wrong and thus the whole Bible must be thrown out.

Of course, the reality is that everyone uses various criteria to determine which bits of the Bible are useful for "teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness" and which bits are not. That, in and of itself, is a system of interpretation which precludes any "straight" reading of scripture.

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arse

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Dyfrig, who used to regularly frequent these boards, once told me that he'd read it and come to the conclusion that Gilquist and his fellow-travellers had simply exchanged 'one form of fundamentalism for another.'

What's important is what they thought they did, i.e. a "straightforward reading of the Scriptures".

The point is, contra Steve Langton, that such an approach clearly does not land everybody up in the same place.

[ 12. February 2018, 12:14: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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Gamaliel
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Yes, indeed.

I know an Adventist chap, who protests that he isn't a 'Seventh Day Adventist' even though his tiny congregation is loosely affiliated with them, who makes exactly the same claim in relation to his particular position.

They meet at 3.16pm on a Saturday (from John 3:16 of course) ...

He's also got some eccentric eschatological views which he also claims to have arrived at through 'a plain-reading of scripture.'

The reality, of course, is that they've all imbibed these things from one another as they've met to study the scriptures and started inviting guest speakers along who convinced them that all the other churches had got it wrong and they needed to form their own tiny group ...

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mr cheesy
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I suppose I think that there are very few novel ideas about how to do Christianity, and new Christian innovations are almost always versions of previous ideas.

But I also think that it is basically impossible to read the Bible (and do Christianity) without consciously or unconsciously borrowing a system of interpretation from someone else.

Steve has determined that Anabaptism makes most sense and answers the questions he has. But I find it hard to see how he could have come to that conclusion without the influence of others.

I dunno, I can accept that people honestly believe that they've come up with things all on their own; I just don't really believe that they have.

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arse

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Brenda Clough
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
I suppose I think that there are very few novel ideas about how to do Christianity, and new Christian innovations are almost always versions of previous ideas.

Oh, you just have to look. There's Mormons, for instance. Or
on beyond zebra, into the wild blue yonder of religion.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
Oh, you just have to look. There's Mormons, for instance. Or
on beyond zebra, into the wild blue yonder of religion.

I have a hard time believing that these are genuinely new and novel ideas. Even Mormonism doesn't seem to me to be cut from completely new cloth but grew out of other ideas.

But that's not a criticism - I would genuinely have been interested in the Glasites/Sandamanians, had they still existed in contemporary times.

I suppose all I'm saying is that ideas emerge from the melting pot of Christianity - but these are very often built on older ideas and (consciously or not) regurgitate and repackage the old as something new.

[ 12. February 2018, 13:24: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]

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arse

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Barnabas62
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:

But I also think that it is basically impossible to read the Bible (and do Christianity) without consciously or unconsciously borrowing a system of interpretation from someone else.

How true. But I think the borrowed clothes represent a starting point, not a permanent fit. Borrowed clothes are not always a very good fit, even at the start. As we learn and move on, they can become an even worse fit.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
Borrowed clothes are not always a very good fit, even at the start. As we learn and move on, they can become an even worse fit.

To continue with this thought: to me the problem comes when one has borrowed an ill-fitting shirt, then has adjusted it (either with one's own skill, with someone else's instructions etc) and then presents it with an "ah-ha! Take a look at this! The perfect shirt that I came up with on my own with no assistance which is obviously the optimum way anyone could possibly make a shirt, and if you all bothered to do even the minimum of thought about the design of clothing - as I have - you'd inevitably agree with me."

It not only ignores the way that the design has been influenced by others and bodged by the individual, it also ignores and belittles all the other options for clothing that have developed from alternative ways to approach the problem over 2000 years.

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arse

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Barnabas62
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True again. The analogy reveals very well the tension between individual fit and communal fit. With the exception of a few hermits, Christianity has always been a communal journey. Jim Wallis observed about Sojourners that until they attempted it they didn't fully realise just how individualised they were, what the real practical issues arose when you tried to share all things in common.

Doing life together includes doing theology together. Sharing becomes a work in progress. You discover your own red lines, and others' red lines. Sometimes it isn't possible to agree to disagree. It's worth trying, particularly if you have become friends.

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Steve Langton
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by mr cheesy;
quote:
For a start, some of the text is quoted words of Satan. That scripture cannot then be God-breathed by definition. And so, according to the logic of inerrancy, the passage from 2 Timothy is wrong and thus the whole Bible must be thrown out.
If I apply that kind of reasoning to other books I will find myself absolutely decimating them. Seriously, authors of all kinds quote or describe in a story or history stuff they disagree with; yet the book is still fundamentally (pun intended) the work of that author. You simply have to read in a normal in context way.

Although you do demonstrate why I personally hesitate to use the term 'inerrancy' in this context....

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
If I apply that kind of reasoning to other books I will find myself absolutely decimating them. Seriously, authors of all kinds quote or describe in a story or history stuff they disagree with; yet the book is still fundamentally (pun intended) the work of that author. You simply have to read in a normal in context way.

Although you do demonstrate why I personally hesitate to use the term 'inerrancy' in this context....

Well yes. This is a particular problem for inerrancy - and yet biblical knowledge would suggest that some biblical texts are more useful than others for teaching rebuking and the rest. It is going to be quite difficult to rebuke using a quote from Satan.

But more to the point, it isn't always obvious what the meaning of Bible passages is, what one is supposed to take from them, whether the characters were listening to God or acting under their own initiative and so on.

So simply suggesting that it is all good and that someone can find a clear-and-obvious way through it in the absence of a theological framework of understanding is baloney.

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arse

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Steve Langton
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I did not say that reading the Scriptures would simplistically turn people into specifically Mennonites or other traditional Anabaptists. What I said was that it generally leads to
quote:
something close to Anabaptism
and it does. Even when people still belong to other denominations, they're often doing it with a flavour of Anabaptist ideas and attitudes.

I could alternatively have put it that it leads to what Lewis would have described as 'Mere Christianity' - the common ground without the added extras which cause the problems. And when it comes to it, there's not much distance between 'Mere Christianity' and Anabaptism.

Gillquist now on my reading list - fortunately it's available for Kindle. I'll be interested to see where he slipped up....

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Jamat
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7
quote:
simply suggesting that it is all good and that someone can find a clear-and-obvious way through it in the absence of a theological framework of understanding is baloney.

The real issue is not whether such a frame is necessary but where it arises. The Catholic tradition came noticeably from Augustine,not the scriptures. A further challenge to any such framework is the extent to which it is based on scripture. A constant accusation that a systematic theology is imposed on scripture rather than arising out of it is dealt with only by a wide understanding of scripture itself which is impossible while people continue to challenge the integrity of the Bible. Simply put if you sit in judgement on scripture it will be impossible to learn from it in the same way that a teacher who has lost the respect of students will not teach them anything much.
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Steve Langton
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by mr cheesy;
quote:
It is going to be quite difficult to rebuke using a quote from Satan.
Actually it could be very easy IF I am using the quote as it appears in Scripture with its Scriptural context. And in such a case the context without the embedded quote would likely be meaningless. If it is in Scripture God intends it to be there as part of the whole; it has become part of 'the Word of God'. Its presence is one of those 'riddles' Tyndale refers to which you're meant to use your brain to resolve.
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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
[

I could alternatively have put it that it leads to what Lewis would have described as 'Mere Christianity' - the common ground without the added extras which cause the problems. And when it comes to it, there's not much distance between 'Mere Christianity' and Anabaptism.

This is about your perception and your arbitrary claiming people you like as "Anabaptist". In reality, of course, Lewis was no type of Anabaptist.

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arse

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Gamaliel
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By that argument, Jamat, then Protestantism comes from Augustine too. Luther was an Augustinian monk and Calvin rated Augustine as chief among the early Fathers.

All of Western Christianity is heavily influenced by Augustine.

As for people claiming that there own particular tradition represents Mere Christianity ... Bishop Kallistos Ware claims that for all the apparent complications, Orthodoxy is simple Christianity.

You may as well turn your claim about Anabaptism or something like it around and say that if there is anything good and noble and true within Anabaptism - and there certainly is - then that's because it's there already in the older traditions from which Anabaptism derives.

And yes, neither C S Lewis, nor Richard Baxter who first coined the phrase 'Mere Christianity' were in any way Anabaptist.

Indeed, for all his relatively eirenic stance, Baxter was critical of Anabaptism for its somewhat holier than thou claims.

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Steve Langton
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
[

I could alternatively have put it that it leads to what Lewis would have described as 'Mere Christianity' - the common ground without the added extras which cause the problems. And when it comes to it, there's not much distance between 'Mere Christianity' and Anabaptism.

This is about your perception and your arbitrary claiming people you like as "Anabaptist". In reality, of course, Lewis was no type of Anabaptist.
Decidedly NOT what I actually said. And I do know Lewis pretty well, having been somewhat of a fan since my teen years. Are you aware of his extremely harsh words about 'Christendom' in The Four Loves? The 'might-have-been' about Lewis that interests me is, had he lived to see the renewed Ulster 'Troubles' of the late 60s, would he have come to similar conclusions to those I reached? He in some ways lived in a different time when (albeit briefly) state and church issues seemed less urgent. I'm also aware he was no 'fundamentalist' - but his essay 'Fernseed and Elephants' is a trenchant critique of liberal Christianity....
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Steve Langton
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by Gamaliel;
quote:
Indeed, for all his relatively eirenic stance, Baxter was critical of Anabaptism for its somewhat holier than thou claims.
I'm not sure Baxter knew much of the continental Mennonite etc tradition. When he referred to 'Anabaptists' he will have meant English Baptists like Bunyan. The modern usage of 'Anabaptism' to refer primarily to the Continental tradition is a later development.

As for 'holier than thou' I think it likely that many Anglicans would have seen Baxter and his fellow Presbyterians as 'holier than thou'. And it would simply have been a fact in both cases that the attempt to be more biblical would be slagged off as 'holier than thou' by those challenged by it.

Also by Gamaliel;
quote:
You may as well turn your claim about Anabaptism or something like it around and say that if there is anything good and noble and true within Anabaptism - and there certainly is - then that's because it's there already in the older traditions from which Anabaptism derives.
Of course the good, noble and true is "already in the older traditions from which Anabaptism derives" - it's just sad that others have declined so much from those older traditions.... Especially in the disastrous idea of state churches....
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Jamat
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quote:
by that argument, Jamat, then Protestantism comes from Augustine too. Luther was an Augustinian monk and Calvin rated Augustine as chief among the early Fathers.
Indeed, which accounts for stuff like infant baptism in Calvin’s Geneva which is nowhere in scripture. The problem though is that Augustine brought his non negotiables to scripture as indeed did Luther and Calvin not withstanding the justice of Luther’s stance against Roman stuff like indulgences.

[ 12. February 2018, 23:47: Message edited by: Louise ]

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Gamaliel
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I rather suspect that thee and me and Steve Langton and any other Protestants we might mention are rather more Augustinian than we are aware we are and might be comfortable to acknowledge.

Besides, infant baptism doesn't come from Augustine. There's a whole other thread where that is being contested.

The Eastern Orthodox and the Oriental Orthodox both practice paedopbaptism (as well as credobaptism) and neither of them have had much influence from Augustine.

Your knowledge of these things seems limited to a very partial sound-bite view of the Reformation combined with an egregious dollop of Andersen and Schofield and nothing much in between.

@Steve Langton, yes, I'm sure Baxter didn't know a great deal about the continental Anabaptists and was referring to the Bunyan style English Baptists. He probably didn't know a great deal about the 'Greeks' and 'Ethiopians' either yet he mentions both - in equally positive and negative terms.

Of course the Anglicans would have looked down on both the Presbyterians and the Independents, but not, I suspect in a 'holier than thou' way but more because they thought they were subverting what they would have seen as the 'natural' church and state order. So yes, they were Constantinian in that respect.

However, you have made Baxter's point for him. Baxter was listing what he saw as the besetting sins of the available forms of Christianity in his day - whilst conveniently eliding those of his own particular expression, of course ...

So the 'Papists' and the 'Greeks' get some stick for their exclusivity and pride in their size, the Anabaptists get some censure for thinking they are better or holier than everyone else.

Fair enough. Both those accusations held true and probably still do to an extent.

As with all these things when it comes to how this that or the other church, group or individual behaves then the onus is on us to take the planks out of our own eyes.

Look around the world and we'll find Mennonites doing things that are good, bad or indifferent, Copts and Catholics the same, Presbyterians, Anglicans, Methodists or whatever else ...

I might not choose to be a Methodist, say, for whatever reason, but it ain't going to do them or myself a great deal of good if I go, 'Whinge, whingeing, whinge, the Methodists practice paedopbaptism, that's not in the Bible ...' or 'Moan, moan, moan, a lot of the Anglicans are nominal unlike the true and stalwart believers in my own non-conformist chapel ...' 'Chelp, carp, pick, pick, pick, those Presbyterians don't share the same eschatology as I do ...'

Sure, differences exist and we can't elide them but riding hobby-horses and tilting at windmills and strawmen doesn't get us very far. It doesn't get me any further when I do it.

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Stejjie
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Pleeeassse don’t let this become another thread about Anabaptism vs Constantianism...

X-posted with Gamaliel.

[ 13. February 2018, 07:01: Message edited by: Stejjie ]

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You see that gap there between Piper and the Greek Patriarch? And that one between him and Crossan?

Well, that's peanuts to the gap between us and any real handle on God, I reckon.

Tone it down. None of us knows much.

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Curiosity killed ...

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Aren't all these debates to do with "seeing through a glass darkly"? (1 Corinthians 13:12)
quote:
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
Being human, we can only understand partially, and, like the blind men and the elephant, we cling on to the bits we can grasp, failing to understand that we, and everyone else, are all only hanging on to little snippets.

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mr cheesy
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This is going to be a very silly conversation if we're going to be talking about famous writers and what they would have been if circumstances were different. Mennonites were clearly not unknown in early 20 century Europe. Lewis was a fairly high church Anglican. Plenty of people lived through the NI troubles - and got involved in peace initiatives like Corrymeela without becoming Mennonites.


Also, for your information, I have read a lot of Lewis. And I've read a fair amount of Anabaptist ideas. Lewis wasn't a great theologian and was no Anabaptist.

Quite why everyone falls over themselves to claim CS Lewis was "one of them", I have no idea. I've seen Evangelicals, RC, Orthodox and others all claiming he was "really" one of them. He wasn't. Get over it.

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Stejjie:
Pleeeassse don’t let this become another thread about Anabaptism vs Constantianism...

Seconded.

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mr cheesy
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Can I drag it back to a different tangent?

Steve suggested above that the church should be "below" scripture (I think that was what he wrote, hard for me to check on my phone).

I'd be interested to discuss how those who are "not inerrant" understand the relationship between the church, the scriptures and the individual.

To avoid falling into the Constantinian trap again, I'm going to postulate that there are a spectrum of ideas. On one extremity, I'm going to say that there are some who have a "horoscope" understanding of scripture, whereby one opens the book to hear God answering life questions in any given moment.

On another point in the spectrum, I suspect many feel like their lives are corrected and measured by many different influences, but that the scriptures give a particularly sharp edge.


Elsewhere I think maybe there are some who say that the scriptures can only be read and understood within a particular church context - and some of those have a wider understanding of what "scriptures" actually are than many of the rest of us.

I'm not naming any names here because of the risks of misattribution and generalisation - feel free to explain your own position if you want.

I suppose the interesting part is how these positions coexist. Is there any middle ground between those churches that have defined a wider canon and those who (for the sake of illustration) insist there is something special about the Protestant collection?

Is there anything much to be said between those who say true interpretation is only something which is collectively held within the church (Church) and those who say that the church is subservient to the Bible?

Have we come to a point where further discussion is impossible because the impasse is too great?

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Gamaliel
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Something I'm currently finding helpful is to approach the scriptures 'artistically' as well as theologically ...

I owe that insight to an Anglican theologian I heard recently.

Oh dear, an Anglican 'Constantinian' and a paedobaptist to boot ... what can he possibly teach us?

[Roll Eyes]

Seriously, the helpful insight I derived from his sessions was that might save ourselves a lot of heart-ache and belly-ache if we approached the scriptures as we would a piece of art, music etc.

That isn't to say that it's 'all' metaphorical or that the Resurrection didn't happen or that salvation is simply a way of expressing enlightenment, a growth towards well-being and self-actualisation yadda yadda yadda ...

Rather, it's to say, 'What are we dealing with here? God and Satan engaging in a 4th form school-yard wager and playing conkers or pitch-and-toss with the lives of Job's wife and kids? Surely we must be dealing with a work that uses imagery and 'what-ifs' to teach us some truths about suffering and theodicy ...?'

Or, 'What are we dealing with here? The apostle Paul using juridical and other imagery to describe how the atonement works? Surely that can't literally be the case, we can't reduce it down to some kind of bald and spare legal transaction? We must be dealing with a range of metaphors that help us understand various aspects of something ineffable and beyond our ken ...'

I've used this illustration before. I was once at a performance of King Lear in Stratford and overheard an old dear behind me commenting to her companion, 'He can't really have said all that when he was having his eyes gouged out ...'
'Oh, I don't know,' said the the other old lady. 'They were a lot tougher in those days ...'

Do we complain when opera singers burst into song during a performance of Cosi Fan Tutti?

Or that you can see the sticks that operate Javanese puppets?

I was going to start a new thread about reading the scriptures 'artistically' but I'm going to step back a bit for Lent - so I'll just punt the idea out here.

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Steve Langton
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Yes, Gamaliel - hadn't you noticed that it is one of the implications of my Tyndale quote that there is a great deal of 'art' in the Bible? But as you say, recognising that doesn't mean that it's all fiction - not by a long way....
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Gamaliel
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Thing is, Steve, it isn't just Tyndale who recognised that.

The Fathers, the Medieval Scholastics, the Reformers ... practically everyone else apart from ultra-Protestant fundamentalists it seems to me ...

There's a quote attributed to a wise RC priest, 'The Bible is true and some of it actually happened ...'

[Biased]

Something doesn't have to be literally/historically true to be theologically true.

Hence my reasons for not taking Jonah and Job as literal accounts of historical facts, although there was certainly some historical background there and they may well have been real people.

Whether they were or weren't is irrelevant to the theological message in a way that wouldn't be the case if Jesus were 'mythological' ...

That's the point I'm trying to make.

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Steve Langton
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
quote:
Originally posted by Stejjie:
Pleeeassse don’t let this become another thread about Anabaptism vs Constantianism...

Seconded.
I don't want this to become a thread about Anabaptism v Constantinianism either. I'd simply commented that Carnegie's attitudes in that film were rather like the worldly exploitative attitudes to Christianity in general which one sees in Constantinians - and which are in fact deeply unbiblical....

I also made the point that, while there are certainly exceptions, people who set out to do Christianity simply by the Bible do usually end up with something close to Anabaptism in general outline, and clearly different to the broad Orthodox/RCC/Lutheran/Anglican/Presbyterian approach. There are many thousands of both independent churches and significant associations/denominations to which that general statement applies; one was the early C19 Brethren movement.

Lewis can be claimed by many precisely because he did the 'Mere Christianity' thing, concentrating on the common ground. His comments in The Four Loves show that he saw the deep problems of the 'Christendom' concept, and other comments - eg on civil marriages - show that he believed in a plural society. As I said he lived in a time when it seemed that many of the problems had become less relevant; I speculate that he might have had a significant reaction to both Ulster and to Islamic extremism.

Baxter - the irony there is that if you want an example of 'holier than thou' in a really, really bad sense, you wouldn't need to look further than those who inflicted on Britain its bloodiest ever war (proportionately to the then population) in the interests of imposing their faith on everyone. Not only 'holier than thou' bigtime, but also of course deeply unholy and deeply unbiblical. And as a military chaplain in that war, Baxter was up to his ears in that particular manifestation of 'holier than thou'. Pot-Kettle-Black, big-time....

And I repeat, he wasn't actually talking about Anabaptists in the modern sense - the word wasn't used in that way then - he simply meant the English Baptists like Bunyan; and I would hesitate to describe Bunyan as 'holier than thou' in any bad sense.

And in further answer to another of Gamaliel's digs - look, the Anabaptists were part of the Reformation, a 'restorationist' movement that sought to go 'back to the Bible' - the Anabaptists just did it more thoroughly than a mainstream Reformation that failed to escape the trap of state churches.

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Steve Langton
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Gamaliel - re that last post. I think as is often the case, we aren't as far apart as you imagine....
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Eutychus
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If you're sincere in your desire to stop this being about anabaptism and constantinianism, you're going to have to stop mentioning either [Disappointed]

[ 13. February 2018, 10:58: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:

I also made the point that, while there are certainly exceptions, people who set out to do Christianity simply by the Bible do usually end up with something close to Anabaptism in general outline, and clearly different to the broad Orthodox/RCC/Lutheran/Anglican/Presbyterian approach. There are many thousands of both independent churches and significant associations/denominations to which that general statement applies; one was the early C19 Brethren movement.

This is so tiring. You are seeing what you want to see and you are describing as "something close to anabaptism" things that are nothing like anabaptism. Large numbers of independent churches, for example, were Calvinist, Presbyterian etc and so on. Not anabaptist by any stretch of the imagination.

And plenty of people don't become anabaptist who "do the Christianity by the bible". As we've already discussed.

quote:
Lewis can be claimed by many precisely because he did the 'Mere Christianity' thing, concentrating on the common ground. His comments in The Four Loves show that he saw the deep problems of the 'Christendom' concept, and other comments - eg on civil marriages - show that he believed in a plural society. As I said he lived in a time when it seemed that many of the problems had become less relevant; I speculate that he might have had a significant reaction to both Ulster and to Islamic extremism.
CS Lewis didn't live in the dim-and-distant past. He was quite capable of coming out as an Independent Evangelical - or anything else you're trying to claim are somehow "near" anabaptists. He didn't.

quote:
And in further answer to another of Gamaliel's digs - look, the Anabaptists were part of the Reformation, a 'restorationist' movement that sought to go 'back to the Bible' - the Anabaptists just did it more thoroughly than a mainstream Reformation that failed to escape the trap of state churches.
Do you really think anyone here is unaware of your claims about the anabaptists and their "going back to the bible".

Hint: we've heard you say it before, we don't believe it. It doesn't matter how often you state it, we still don't believe it.

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Gamaliel
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Indeed, and by citing Baxter the Presbyterian (actually, he was buried as an Anglican, which probably makes him even more Constantinian in Steve Langton's view) it doesn't mean that I regard him as his particular system as being squeaky-clean.

So he was a military chaplain. Bunyan was under arms for a while during the Civil War too. If anything, the Independents (including the Baptists) were even more blood-thirsty and hard-line than the Presbyterians when it came to prosecuting the Civil War. The Presbyterians tended to represent the moderate position - King and Parliament - rather than regicide and so forth.

You appear so fixated with the Constantianian bad, Anabaptism good thing that you apply it in a very loose way to almost any issue that comes up for discussion.

I'd already said that Baxter didn't criticise his own party or take the plank from his own eye when citing the besetting sins of 'Papists', 'Greeks' and 'Anabaptists' ...

Yet for all that, in the context of his times, he was remarkably eirenic.

He'll have had his faults like everyone else but on the whole I tend to see him as one of the good guys.

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
As for 'holier than thou' I think it likely that many Anglicans would have seen Baxter and his fellow Presbyterians as 'holier than thou'. And it would simply have been a fact in both cases that the attempt to be more biblical would be slagged off as 'holier than thou' by those challenged by it.

Dr. Bulver? Is that you?

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Gamaliel
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Ha ha ha ...

[Yipee] [Biased]

Of course, we all know that Wesley and Booth were really Anabaptists, that St Francis of Assisi and Mother Theresa were too, that ...

[Big Grin]

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Steve Langton
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
As for 'holier than thou' I think it likely that many Anglicans would have seen Baxter and his fellow Presbyterians as 'holier than thou'. And it would simply have been a fact in both cases that the attempt to be more biblical would be slagged off as 'holier than thou' by those challenged by it.

Dr. Bulver? Is that you?
Definitely - Baxter dismissing Anabaptists as 'holier than thou' instead of discussing the truth of their position would be Bulverism rampant! Which was my point - talking about people being 'holier than thou' is not an argument about the truth, but a diversion.
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Steve Langton
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by Gamaliel;
quote:
So he was a military chaplain. Bunyan was under arms for a while during the Civil War too
Yes he was - but wasn't that the pre-Baptist Bunyan? And as I understand it from later events, the mature Bunyan was far more a believer in a plural and religiously non-coercive society.

Yes English Baptists did fight in the ECW - as in recent years NI Baptists were involved in the fighting on the Protestant side in the Troubles. The English Baptists, like the Southern Baptists in the US, have often been in that curious halfway position of 'no established church but a Christian country of some kind'. The Munster events ensured that the continental groups saw the pacifist light quicker than the UK Baptists where the Puritans so nearly won the ECW and in many ways did win the long term aftermath.

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Ha ha ha ...

[Yipee] [Biased]

Of course, we all know that Wesley and Booth were really Anabaptists, that St Francis of Assisi and Mother Theresa were too, that ...

[Big Grin]

Don't feed... well, you get the idea.

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