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    Authority...

    My musing/meditation this morning has ventured, or adventured, about the place the Bible plays in my life, specifically. And, some related thoughts about the place of the Bible in Christianity in general.

    Just the way I am doing it now...my OT reading included Joshua 10-12. I love the courage of Joshua! And, I am reading through the NT just to give balance! Plus, I am reading and re-reading Ephesians just because I want to!

    Re. my OT reading. I think it has to do with all the Islam/radical Islam controversy these days, that I have lots of inner resistance to our "Way" resembling theirs (radical Islam). However, when I read the account of the settling of Canaan, I have to be honest and admit that I cannot explain the cruelty of Joshua and the "armies of God."

    Over the years I have read of Joshua's conquest and every year I see more resemblance, back then, between radical Islam and us. This morning it stood out more than in the past, "The Lord hurled large hailstones down on them from the sky, and more of them died from the hailstones than were killed by the swords of the Israelites." (10:33) This passage, if I am honest, also implicates God.

    If I describe this in detail, it will be too long and no one will read. So, suffice it to say, that city after city is put to the sword by the people of God and there seems to be rejoicing over the fact that...no survivors are left.

    This leaves me to wrestle with issues that I think have the capacity to rob me of my faith in the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    If I do not wrestle, my faith is built on the shallow acceptance of an unexplored, untested belief system.

    If I jettison my faith in the Word of God, I become the authority of and for my life. That would suggest, I think, that everyone should be their own authority and our world would (or, at least, have the capacity to) demonstrate approximately 8 billion individual belief systems!

    When I think about this in a large sense, it really seems that there is a strong possibility that what we are observing on a rather large scale is either the Christian societal abandonment of belief in the teachings of the Bible or some kind of highly personal syncretism that includes the Bible as a piece of the personal belief system.

    How do we, how do you, how do I, keep the Bible as authority when so many societal arguments vie against it?

    Friend,

    Wes

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    Re: Authority...

    One of my "secrets" for Christian theological sanity has been to...keep my eyes on Jesus! What an amazing Person/Friend!

    Friend,

    Wes/
    Thanks John Kennedy - "thanks" for this post

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    Senior Member Benjamin Hobbs's Avatar

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    Re: Authority...

    Quote Originally Posted by Wes Smith View Post
    My musing/meditation this morning has ventured, or adventured, about the place the Bible plays in my life, specifically. And, some related thoughts about the place of the Bible in Christianity in general.

    Just the way I am doing it now...my OT reading included Joshua 10-12. I love the courage of Joshua! And, I am reading through the NT just to give balance! Plus, I am reading and re-reading Ephesians just because I want to!

    Re. my OT reading. I think it has to do with all the Islam/radical Islam controversy these days, that I have lots of inner resistance to our "Way" resembling theirs (radical Islam). However, when I read the account of the settling of Canaan, I have to be honest and admit that I cannot explain the cruelty of Joshua and the "armies of God."

    Over the years I have read of Joshua's conquest and every year I see more resemblance, back then, between radical Islam and us. This morning it stood out more than in the past, "The Lord hurled large hailstones down on them from the sky, and more of them died from the hailstones than were killed by the swords of the Israelites." (10:33) This passage, if I am honest, also implicates God.

    If I describe this in detail, it will be too long and no one will read. So, suffice it to say, that city after city is put to the sword by the people of God and there seems to be rejoicing over the fact that...no survivors are left.

    This leaves me to wrestle with issues that I think have the capacity to rob me of my faith in the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    If I do not wrestle, my faith is built on the shallow acceptance of an unexplored, untested belief system.

    If I jettison my faith in the Word of God, I become the authority of and for my life. That would suggest, I think, that everyone should be their own authority and our world would (or, at least, have the capacity to) demonstrate approximately 8 billion individual belief systems!

    When I think about this in a large sense, it really seems that there is a strong possibility that what we are observing on a rather large scale is either the Christian societal abandonment of belief in the teachings of the Bible or some kind of highly personal syncretism that includes the Bible as a piece of the personal belief system.

    How do we, how do you, how do I, keep the Bible as authority when so many societal arguments vie against it?

    Friend,

    Wes
    One thing that has helped my reading of passages, especially OT passages is the reminder that the Western idea of the law of non-contradiction is that; Western.

    Are all things put to the sword? Are all people killed? Is the land only to be given to the people of Israel?

    Reading the stories like a westerner, in that only one version of events needs to exist and only one story can be the complete truth is frustrating. But if I allow that there may be more than one person telling the story and both stories can tell me what happened, the God I see elsewhere in the Bible comes through.
    It is time the Church Jesus Christ overcame the disjunctions created by the 16th-century Reformation. What is called for is the 'evangelical catholicism' of John Wesley's 'middle way' in which two historic traditions were synthesized. In this sythesis the English Reformer not only recovered for the Church a viable doctrine of holiness but also pointed the way to a scriptural view and practice of the sacraments that is both apostolic and catholic. ++William Greathouse
    Thanks Jim Chabot, Wes Smith, Craig Laughlin - "thanks" for this post

  4. #4
    Senior Member Billy Cox's Avatar

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    Re: Authority...

    Quote Originally Posted by Wes Smith View Post
    If I jettison my faith in the Word of God, I become the authority of and for my life. That would suggest, I think, that everyone should be their own authority and our world would (or, at least, have the capacity to) demonstrate approximately 8 billion individual belief systems!
    I don't place my faith in the Bible. By itself, it is just a collection of words, bound forever to the shifting sands of language and cultural definitions. It is not a container of truth, but a signpost pointing to it, specifically God the Father, as revealed in Christ and with witness of the Spirit to our spirit.

    The fact that we interpret the Bible at all is living proof that the Bible has no authority in itself.


    Quote Originally Posted by Wes Smith View Post
    When I think about this in a large sense, it really seems that there is a strong possibility that what we are observing on a rather large scale is either the Christian societal abandonment of belief in the teachings of the Bible or some kind of highly personal syncretism that includes the Bible as a piece of the personal belief system.

    How do we, how do you, how do I, keep the Bible as authority when so many societal arguments vie against it?
    I would start by not trying to keep the Bible as authority to start with. God is the authority. Next I would make every effort to keep my heart/mind open to what God is saying and doing in our world...and then voting with my hands and feet for that.
    "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us wthout end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
    - C.S. Lewis
    Thanks Wes Smith - "thanks" for this post

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    Re: Authority...

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Cox View Post
    The fact that we interpret the Bible at all is living proof that the Bible has no authority in itself.

    I would start by not trying to keep the Bible as authority to start with. God is the authority. Next I would make every effort to keep my heart/mind open to what God is saying and doing in our world...and then voting with my hands and feet for that.
    So Billy, I'm really am not asking this in a sarcastic way. I am interested to hear what you have to say.

    If scripture has "no authority in and of itself", then are you saying that morality is relative?
    Thanks Wes Smith - "thanks" for this post

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    Re: Authority...

    Quote Originally Posted by Wes Smith View Post
    How do we, how do you, how do I, keep the Bible as authority when so many societal arguments vie against it?
    This seems like the same song, second verse. This question as presented is not much different than those raised in the previous discussion. I answered it there, but again briefly:

    1) Realize that Scripture is not absolute. It is already contextualized into time, place, and circumstance. Since we do not live in 1,500 BC we must read, and therefore understand, through two or three contexts (original, tradition, our own).

    2) Recognize what Scripture is telling us. Three things: i) about God; ii) about us; and iii) about our relationship with God. No matter how it is contextualized or re-contextualized, therein lies its authority.

    3) Acknowledge that Scripture cannot possibly address every circumstance and situation across millennia. So, we are tasked with interpreting from Scripture what we know about God, about ourselves, and about relationship with God and then rendering that into practical living as the people of God. (Phil 2:12).

    4) Admit that such a process is communal not individual. However one conceptualizes community, it is not personal opinion (considering 2 Pet 1:20). The quadrilateral is helpful here but not necessary.

    Grace and peace,

    Dennis B.

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    Re: Authority...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Bentley View Post
    So Billy, I'm really am not asking this in a sarcastic way. I am interested to hear what you have to say.

    If scripture has "no authority in and of itself", then are you saying that morality is relative?
    I'm not Billy and wouldn’t presume to answer for him.

    It’s a good and valid question, although I'm not sure it's only related to one's view of Scripture

    For clarification, let me ask a question. For example, one of the Ten Words is this: Ex 20:13 "You shall not kill" ("murder" in some modern translations is an interpretation, but it would work as well). The question: Is this an absolute moral principle? Or is it relative to circumstance (excluding police, war, protecting one's family or the innocent, self-defense, abortion to save the life of the mother, capital punishment, etc.)?

    A correlative question: How should we define morality that is not relative?

    Grace and peace,

    Dennis B.
    Thanks Wes Smith - "thanks" for this post

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    Senior Member Debi Peck's Avatar

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    Re: Authority...

    Quote Originally Posted by Wes Smith View Post
    My musing/meditation this morning has ventured, or adventured, about the place the Bible plays in my life, specifically. And, some related thoughts about the place of the Bible in Christianity in general.

    Just the way I am doing it now...my OT reading included Joshua 10-12. I love the courage of Joshua! And, I am reading through the NT just to give balance! Plus, I am reading and re-reading Ephesians just because I want to!

    Re. my OT reading. I think it has to do with all the Islam/radical Islam controversy these days, that I have lots of inner resistance to our "Way" resembling theirs (radical Islam). However, when I read the account of the settling of Canaan, I have to be honest and admit that I cannot explain the cruelty of Joshua and the "armies of God."

    Over the years I have read of Joshua's conquest and every year I see more resemblance, back then, between radical Islam and us. This morning it stood out more than in the past, "The Lord hurled large hailstones down on them from the sky, and more of them died from the hailstones than were killed by the swords of the Israelites." (10:33) This passage, if I am honest, also implicates God.

    If I describe this in detail, it will be too long and no one will read. So, suffice it to say, that city after city is put to the sword by the people of God and there seems to be rejoicing over the fact that...no survivors are left.

    This leaves me to wrestle with issues that I think have the capacity to rob me of my faith in the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    If I do not wrestle, my faith is built on the shallow acceptance of an unexplored, untested belief system.

    If I jettison my faith in the Word of God, I become the authority of and for my life. That would suggest, I think, that everyone should be their own authority and our world would (or, at least, have the capacity to) demonstrate approximately 8 billion individual belief systems!

    When I think about this in a large sense, it really seems that there is a strong possibility that what we are observing on a rather large scale is either the Christian societal abandonment of belief in the teachings of the Bible or some kind of highly personal syncretism that includes the Bible as a piece of the personal belief system.

    How do we, how do you, how do I, keep the Bible as authority when so many societal arguments vie against it?

    Friend,

    Wes
    Wes,

    I have struggled with some of these same questions and for a while totally quit reading the Old Testament. A couple years ago I came across a book, Violence In Scripture, by Jerome F. D. Creach (It's part of the Interpretaion Series), and have found it very helpful.
    Thanks Wes Smith - "thanks" for this post

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    Senior Member Jim Chabot's Avatar

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    Re: Authority...

    Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin Hobbs View Post
    One thing that has helped my reading of passages, especially OT passages is the reminder that the Western idea of the law of non-contradiction is that; Western.

    Are all things put to the sword? Are all people killed? Is the land only to be given to the people of Israel?

    Reading the stories like a westerner, in that only one version of events needs to exist and only one story can be the complete truth is frustrating. But if I allow that there may be more than one person telling the story and both stories can tell me what happened, the God I see elsewhere in the Bible comes through.
    Wow! Is that the way most westerners read? Not that I consider myself normal, my method of finding truth is to find and evaluate as many pieces as possible. And I don't get too worried about details that don't match, especially considering that details hardly ever do match up because of the memory, perspective or experience of the teller.

    The two stories of creation in Genesis make a good example.
    -Jim

    To know and to serve God, of course, is why we're here, a clear truth, that, like the nose on your face, is near at hand and easily discernible but can make you dizzy if you try to focus on it hard. But a little faith will see you through.

    Garrison Keillor
    Thanks Wes Smith - "thanks" for this post

  10. #10
    Senior Member Jim Chabot's Avatar

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    Re: Authority...

    Quote Originally Posted by Wes Smith View Post
    My musing/meditation this morning has ventured, or adventured, about the place the Bible plays in my life, specifically. And, some related thoughts about the place of the Bible in Christianity in general.

    Just the way I am doing it now...my OT reading included Joshua 10-12. I love the courage of Joshua! And, I am reading through the NT just to give balance! Plus, I am reading and re-reading Ephesians just because I want to!

    Re. my OT reading. I think it has to do with all the Islam/radical Islam controversy these days, that I have lots of inner resistance to our "Way" resembling theirs (radical Islam). However, when I read the account of the settling of Canaan, I have to be honest and admit that I cannot explain the cruelty of Joshua and the "armies of God."

    Over the years I have read of Joshua's conquest and every year I see more resemblance, back then, between radical Islam and us. This morning it stood out more than in the past, "The Lord hurled large hailstones down on them from the sky, and more of them died from the hailstones than were killed by the swords of the Israelites." (10:33) This passage, if I am honest, also implicates God.

    If I describe this in detail, it will be too long and no one will read. So, suffice it to say, that city after city is put to the sword by the people of God and there seems to be rejoicing over the fact that...no survivors are left.

    This leaves me to wrestle with issues that I think have the capacity to rob me of my faith in the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    If I do not wrestle, my faith is built on the shallow acceptance of an unexplored, untested belief system.

    If I jettison my faith in the Word of God, I become the authority of and for my life. That would suggest, I think, that everyone should be their own authority and our world would (or, at least, have the capacity to) demonstrate approximately 8 billion individual belief systems!

    When I think about this in a large sense, it really seems that there is a strong possibility that what we are observing on a rather large scale is either the Christian societal abandonment of belief in the teachings of the Bible or some kind of highly personal syncretism that includes the Bible as a piece of the personal belief system.

    How do we, how do you, how do I, keep the Bible as authority when so many societal arguments vie against it?

    Friend,

    Wes
    Probably no surprise Wes, I'm not bothered in the least by the descriptions of violence in the OT, and in the NT for that matter. Should God be real, and alive, then He is who He is, not for me to judge Him. Then again, I'm a preterist, I believe that Jesus came back and used the Roman army to completely destroy Jerusalem and put an end to the sacrifice, so the violence isn't limited to the OT for me. Then again, even for the futurist, there are incredibly violent time predicted, worse than ever and ordained by God.

    In any case, no problem for me. Not that I like violence, more that I'm willing to accept God for who He is.

    As to similarities to islam, I don't think that there is anything accidental there. I see a lot of similarities between the koran and some of the pseudepigraphical works. What they share is an attempt to write Scripture with human hands and without inspiration. I note that in Scripture there are many tales of violence, yet there is no ongoing command or sanction for violence by our hand going forward. The koran is just plain poorly written, there is no comparison in quality, same goes for the pseudepigraphical works, there is no valid comparison. Given that Mohamed had Scripture to pirate and spin, it shouldn't be a surprise to find similarity.

    As to authority, yes indeed. Should we not give Scripture full authority as the written Word of God, and make it our supreme guide to holy living. Then we do what is right in our own eyes, we become our own God, and I dare say that we have no hope.
    -Jim

    To know and to serve God, of course, is why we're here, a clear truth, that, like the nose on your face, is near at hand and easily discernible but can make you dizzy if you try to focus on it hard. But a little faith will see you through.

    Garrison Keillor
    Thanks Glenn Messer - "thanks" for this post

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    Re: Authority...

    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis Bratcher View Post
    I'm not Billy and wouldn’t presume to answer for him.

    It’s a good and valid question, although I'm not sure it's only related to one's view of Scripture

    For clarification, let me ask a question. For example, one of the Ten Words is this: Ex 20:13 "You shall not kill" ("murder" in some modern translations is an interpretation, but it would work as well). The question: Is this an absolute moral principle? Or is it relative to circumstance (excluding police, war, protecting one's family or the innocent, self-defense, abortion to save the life of the mother, capital punishment, etc.)?

    A correlative question: How should we define morality that is not relative?

    Grace and peace,

    Dennis B.
    Dennis..Thanks for the honest thought provoking questions. I'm not ignoring you. I will get back to them. Just don't have the time right this second. Blessings!

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    Re: Authority...

    Thanks, everyone, for your responses.

    Debi gets the prize for connecting with my sentiments. I have to say that in my heart of hearts that I am wondering about good, ordinary, new converts, skeptics, etc., reading the Old Testament and having some deep, deep questions. I will keep my eyes peeled for the book.

    I have struggled with some of these same questions and for a while totally quit reading the Old Testament. A couple years ago I came across a book, Violence In Scripture, by Jerome F. D. Creach (It's part of the Interpretaion Series), and have found it very helpful.
    Billy gets the prize for articulating my stated concerns about the decimation of the Canaanites. Are we obligated to take the writings at face value, or, are there other explanations? While I do not personally subscribe to Billy's sentiments, his logic is what I think we are seeing, in general, throughout Christianity. The question I have is, "If the Bible is not authoritative, then what is?" And, doesn't that leave us in the position of developing as many theories as there are people?

    I don't place my faith in the Bible. By itself, it is just a collection of words, bound forever to the shifting sands of language and cultural definitions. It is not a container of truth, but a signpost pointing to it, specifically God the Father, as revealed in Christ and with witness of the Spirit to our spirit.

    The fact that we interpret the Bible at all is living proof that the Bible has no authority in itself.
    Dennis gets the prize for picking up on my ongoing concern about the deep attachment that Christianity has to the Bible:

    This seems like the same song, second verse. This question as presented is not much different than those raised in the previous discussion. I answered it there, but again briefly:
    My question continues to be, if an old preacher, Christian, duffer like me has ongoing questions about the personality of God and his people in the OT, shouldn't we expect younger, new, curious, un-schooled, other Christians to have the same?

    For starters, I now humbly submit that Dennis's five-fold explanation should be placed in every bulletin, ever pew Bible, ever Sunday School and small group lesson and every place Christians may brush up against some OT teachings:
    1) Realize that Scripture is not absolute. It is already contextualized into time, place, and circumstance. Since we do not live in 1,500 BC we must read, and therefore understand, through two or three contexts (original, tradition, our own).

    2) Recognize what Scripture is telling us. Three things: i) about God; ii) about us; and iii) about our relationship with God. No matter how it is contextualized or re-contextualized, therein lies its authority.

    3) Acknowledge that Scripture cannot possibly address every circumstance and situation across millennia. So, we are tasked with interpreting from Scripture what we know about God, about ourselves, and about relationship with God and then rendering that into practical living as the people of God. (Phil 2:12).

    4) Admit that such a process is communal not individual. However one conceptualizes community, it is not personal opinion (considering 2 Pet 1:20). The quadrilateral is helpful here but not necessary.
    I'm not sure point number one is going to fly amongst several of our folks. Some are going to resist this statement as it "could" tend to cast shadows on some or much or all the rest of the Bible.

    Ergh, I have more to say in response to the responses, but from the bottom of my heart, I do thank everyone who did respond. My wife and I are leaving now to participate in a ritual that has become a real part of our lives as we are now totally immersed in senior citizenship...dominoes!!! I will add to my thoughts when we get back.

    Friend,

    Wes

  13. #13
    Senior Member Billy Cox's Avatar

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    Re: Authority...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Chabot View Post
    As to authority, yes indeed. Should we not give Scripture full authority as the written Word of God, and make it our supreme guide to holy living. Then we do what is right in our own eyes, we become our own God, and I dare say that we have no hope.
    Yes, it's a good thing that we're around to give Scripture full authority. The scripture would be utterly lost without us.
    "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us wthout end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
    - C.S. Lewis
    Thanks Glenn Messer - "thanks" for this post
    Laughing Glenn Messer - thanks for this funny post

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    Re: Authority...

    Jim Chabot gets the prize for sharing a thought with me that I had not thought before:

    The koran is just plain poorly written, there is no comparison in quality, same goes for the pseudepigraphical works, there is no valid comparison. Given that Mohamed had Scripture to pirate and spin, it shouldn't be a surprise to find similarity.
    I'm going to have to think about this some more.

    I think it is fair to say that most responders here and on a previous thread were of the opinion that the violence of God's people and of God in the OT is somehow okay. What Jim adds here, imo, is that the violence of Islam may have used the OT as more a less a model for how a religion should be. That is just going to take some more thought.

    Something that comes to me rather quickly is, then, that Islam has no New Covenant/Testament, no Jesus Messiah, so they continue to live in their OT/Old Covenant.

    *****************

    Still thinking about this whole "authority thing."

    More tomorrow.

    Friend,

    Wes

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    Host Theology Forum David Graham's Avatar

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    Re: Authority...

    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis Bratcher View Post
    This seems like the same song, second verse. This question as presented is not much different than those raised in the previous discussion. I answered it there, but again briefly:

    1) Realize that Scripture is not absolute. It is already contextualized into time, place, and circumstance. Since we do not live in 1,500 BC we must read, and therefore understand, through two or three contexts (original, tradition, our own).

    2) Recognize what Scripture is telling us. Three things: i) about God; ii) about us; and iii) about our relationship with God. No matter how it is contextualized or re-contextualized, therein lies its authority.

    3) Acknowledge that Scripture cannot possibly address every circumstance and situation across millennia. So, we are tasked with interpreting from Scripture what we know about God, about ourselves, and about relationship with God and then rendering that into practical living as the people of God. (Phil 2:12).

    4) Admit that such a process is communal not individual. However one conceptualizes community, it is not personal opinion (considering 2 Pet 1:20). The quadrilateral is helpful here but not necessary.

    Grace and peace,

    Dennis B.
    Thanks Dennis, I know that if we "flesh these points out" we'll probably disagree slightly in some areas but by way of the principles you have outlined here I agree in full. Thank you, well stated.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Jim Chabot's Avatar

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    Re: Authority...

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Cox View Post
    Yes, it's a good thing that we're around to give Scripture full authority. The scripture would be utterly lost without us.
    I was going to click "laughing" on this utterly tragic post, thinking that you must be joking. After all you have not one but two degrees from our schools, so you must be joking, right?

    But no, and I'm sure you were taught this, Scripture doesn't need us to give it authority, nor would it be lost without us. Seems that it did just fine for a very long time without us, just hanging out in the Qumran caves. (yes that was a joke, just in case you were joking.)

    Nor does it "need" us to give It authority. Isn't that one of the points of our Article IV, we specifically reject the Methodist and Anglican stance regarding agreement by the Church, and we endorse the truth, Scripture is given to us by plenary inspiration, this is the breath of God, truly the Word of God and our supreme guide to holy living. After all, we are saved by faith, no? Without Scripture, we have nothing to point us to the proper object of our saving faith. Granted that God could have left other means, but He didn't, this is it, this is the Word of God that points to the truth about God and the basis of our faith. Since without it, we would be utterly hopeless, we can be assured that God will make sure that we will never be without it. Nor will He allow it to fall to a state where it is unable to point to Him, that's why we say that the Bible that is in your hands will in errantly reveal all that is needed for salvation.

    So no, not at all. Scripture doesn't need us at all to give it authority, nor does it need the Church. Scripture has authority, all we do is recognize it for what it is. Simple as that!

    But let's back off from the snark and get back to Wes point. You see, as much as I like Wes, and I do like Wes a lot. Truth is that the Bible is not a hagiography, it is the truth about God, human perceived warts and all. I say human perceived, because God doesn't have any warts, nor does He have a need to look good in our eyes. God isn't cow towing to our whims and desires, He loves us enough to sacrifice His only Son for us. Both are true. While I do trust Wes heart, I also know that to whitewash the truth about God, isn't helpful. Folks are going to read the Bible and they will call it as they see it. No cultural context or eastern mindset whitewashing is going to mitigate the fact that God has killed a bunch of folks outright, that He has ordered a whole bunch of people killed and foretells that upon His return, there will be, or has been, violence like we have sever seen before. Sorry guys, it's there. And the only thing that the whitewashing is going to do is fool the gullible, unfortunately folks with decent reasoning power are going to see the whitewashers as possibly gullible themselves at best, or dishonest at worst.

    God is who He is, let Him reveal Himself and let the chips fall where they may. Who are we to question the one who created us, who knows us better than anyone on this planet and who loves us more than anyone or any being. Who are we? Seriously.
    -Jim

    To know and to serve God, of course, is why we're here, a clear truth, that, like the nose on your face, is near at hand and easily discernible but can make you dizzy if you try to focus on it hard. But a little faith will see you through.

    Garrison Keillor

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    Re: Authority...

    Quote Originally Posted by Wes Smith View Post
    My musing/meditation this morning has ventured, or adventured, about the place the Bible plays in my life, specifically. And, some related thoughts about the place of the Bible in Christianity in general.

    Just the way I am doing it now...my OT reading included Joshua 10-12. I love the courage of Joshua! And, I am reading through the NT just to give balance! Plus, I am reading and re-reading Ephesians just because I want to!

    Re. my OT reading. I think it has to do with all the Islam/radical Islam controversy these days, that I have lots of inner resistance to our "Way" resembling theirs (radical Islam). However, when I read the account of the settling of Canaan, I have to be honest and admit that I cannot explain the cruelty of Joshua and the "armies of God."

    Over the years I have read of Joshua's conquest and every year I see more resemblance, back then, between radical Islam and us. This morning it stood out more than in the past, "The Lord hurled large hailstones down on them from the sky, and more of them died from the hailstones than were killed by the swords of the Israelites." (10:33) This passage, if I am honest, also implicates God.

    If I describe this in detail, it will be too long and no one will read. So, suffice it to say, that city after city is put to the sword by the people of God and there seems to be rejoicing over the fact that...no survivors are left.

    This leaves me to wrestle with issues that I think have the capacity to rob me of my faith in the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    If I do not wrestle, my faith is built on the shallow acceptance of an unexplored, untested belief system.

    If I jettison my faith in the Word of God, I become the authority of and for my life. That would suggest, I think, that everyone should be their own authority and our world would (or, at least, have the capacity to) demonstrate approximately 8 billion individual belief systems!

    When I think about this in a large sense, it really seems that there is a strong possibility that what we are observing on a rather large scale is either the Christian societal abandonment of belief in the teachings of the Bible or some kind of highly personal syncretism that includes the Bible as a piece of the personal belief system.

    How do we, how do you, how do I, keep the Bible as authority when so many societal arguments vie against it?

    Friend,

    Wes
    Who loves the world more than the Father?

    Genesis 15
    Gods judgments are as always righteous. God waited 400 years until the sins of the people living in the land reached full measure. Still I believe that those who were such judged before/apart from law and before the light of the gospel message were also redeemed by Jesus. In others words the judgment was of the flesh not the soul.

    Step 1. Raise up a people for God.
    Step 2. Send the light out into the whole world through such a people.

    Thats what happened.
    Jesus=>You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.
    And of course we have Paul explaining in like manner to the greeks about the one true God.

    Now God waited patiently 400 years for that small portion of people living in that land before judgment was pronounced so 2000 years or more does not seem out of proportion for the whole world. A eternal loving merciful God is very patient. And as Peter implied a 1000 years to man is a short time for a God who has no end.

    Randy
    "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?"
    (Psalms 27:1)
    Thanks Jim Chabot - "thanks" for this post

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    Re: Authority...

    I also know that to whitewash the truth about God, isn't helpful. Folks are going to read the Bible and they will call it as they see it. No cultural context or eastern mindset whitewashing is going to mitigate the fact that God has killed a bunch of folks outright, that He has ordered a whole bunch of people killed and foretells that upon His return, there will be, or has been, violence like we have sever seen before. Sorry guys, it's there. And the only thing that the whitewashing is going to do is fool the gullible, unfortunately folks with decent reasoning power are going to see the whitewashers as possibly gullible themselves at best, or dishonest at worst.
    Let me say this...if this discussion is "whitewash" and causes someone to stumble, I would rather not have it. So, if it reaches a sort of point of no return, someone just hold up the white flag and I will cease and desist pronto!

    But that is a good post, Jim, and it certainly borders on my thoughts as I try to wade through the difficult passages of the OT. You all know me as a conservative, evangelical, Christian. And, I have no intention of being anything else. But deep down in my heart and "behind the curtain" I long for us, our Book and our God to be a bit more presentable to the public.

    A few weeks ago when I posted my rants over Moses meeting God on the mountain and God declaring that no one should come close except Moses or they would be snuffed, my response was, "In light of the person of Jesus, how un-Godlike!"

    While I agree that God has the freedom and power to do anything He wants, many of the OT scenarios image a God that is 180 degrees away from the God in Jesus. So it makes me wonder if some of the OT is somewhat of a human attempt to bring God in to the overall development of Israel, rather than bringing the development of Israel into the true character of God. We say he never changes, but the change from OT to NT is impossible to deny. Wouldn't it be reasonable to say that we have some "theological/translation issues"...but we do have history as recorded by trusted scribes? That's one insight/observation.

    Also, I have lovingly, tenderly, and playfully suggested that we should do a better job of lopping off the OT from our Christian and New Covenant (through the eternal blood of Jesus...this is the "New Covenant" in my blood!") identity. Why do we carry the OT/Old Covenant around with us as though it is still in effect? This subject is of such interest to me that I spent time last evening after dominoes when I "should" have been watching Fox, reading and re-reading the "New Covenant" passages of Hebrews.

    A bottom line from Hebrews is...if the old one was so good, then why the New One? The writer seems to turn the scope in our direction declaring that we have some rather frightening changes to make. Do we want the Old? Do we want a combination? Or, do we want the new? As a hiker I would liken this to the amount of weight we want in our backpacks on this journey through life.

    I think Paul makes a strong argument in Romans 7 that we have a new husband, "But now by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code."

    But, I do not want to miss my point in resurrecting this discussion and why I titled this thread, "Authority." The question in my heart is something like, "Am I (are we?) still bound to the OT/OC (old covenant)?" If I am, then the Word must take supremacy over my devotional musings and I do not have any desire at all to live in rebellion.

    A question or two that occurred to me last evening...

    1. What is the Old Covenant? Is the Old Covenant the entire Old Testament? Is it the 10 Commandments?

    2. Are parts of it in full effect? All?

    It just seems that I/we have a decision to make, or certainly a discussion to have. It seems to me that we are smack dab in the middle of the rising up of a new generation that is thoroughly unfamiliar with Moses, and it would be helpful if we would bury Moses and move on to Jesus and the New Covenant.

    Otherwise we wind up as one of those Dr. Seuss Zoads.

    "The Zoad In The Road”:

    Did I ever tell you about the young Zoad?

    Who came to a sign at the fork of the road?

    He looked one way and the other way too -

    the Zoad had to make up his mind what to do.

    Well, the Zoad scratched his head, and his chin, and his pants.

    And he said to himself, "I’ll be taking a chance.

    If I go to Place One, that place may be hot

    So how will I know if I like it or not.

    On the other hand, though, I’ll feel such a fool

    If I go to Place Two and find it’s too cool

    In that case I may catch a chill and turn blue.

    So Place One may be best and not Place Two.

    Play safe," cried the Zoad, "I’ll play safe, I’m no dunce.

    I’ll simply start off to both places at once."

    And that’s how the Zoad who would not take a chance

    Went no place at all with a split in his pants.


    A couple strong points for me: 1. This is NOT my Marciconistic attempt to deny that the NT/NC-Christian God is not operative in the OT/OC. I would be happy to turn to the OT and say, "Yes, that is our history. That is what brought us to where we are. We are now Christians and our belief system flows from and through the NT/NC."

    2. If I am wrong, I MUST be under authority. Then, what is the authority? The entire OT? The 10 Commandments? I submit to the NT/NC. What is the extent to which I must submit to the OT/OC? Where is that stated?

    Thanks for any and all feedback?

    Friend,

    Wes
    Last edited by Wes Smith; February 10th, 2017 at 10:40 AM.
    Thanks David Graham - "thanks" for this post

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    Re: Authority...

    Let me again recommend reading "Radically New" by Wade Burleson. Good thoughts and much clarity even if we don't exactly see eye to eye on all points of theology.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Debi Peck's Avatar

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    Re: Authority...

    Earlier in this thread I mentioned the book on violence. Before reading that one, though, I read Bruggemann's An Introduction to the Old Testament: The Canon and Christian Imagination, and found it incredibly helpful. Never have I felt a closer connection to the history of God's people and to understanding why they preserved the things they did in Scripture. Most recently, I have been reading N.T. Wright's Paul and the Faithfulness of God, and it, too, is helping me move forward in understanding the whole of Scripture. Those who don't struggle with the Old Testament don't understand the true depth of the impact it has on faith and a view of God. I would ask them to be patient with us as we truly do struggle. Telling us there is nothing to our struggle is not helpful. Obviously, greater minds than ours have had to work through this, as is evidenced by the number of books out there specifically to address it.
    Thanks Peggy Gray, Wes Smith - "thanks" for this post

  21. #21
    Senior Member Billy Cox's Avatar

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    Re: Authority...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Chabot View Post
    I was going to click "laughing" on this utterly tragic post, thinking that you must be joking. After all you have not one but two degrees from our schools, so you must be joking, right?

    But no, and I'm sure you were taught this, Scripture doesn't need us to give it authority, nor would it be lost without us. Seems that it did just fine for a very long time without us, just hanging out in the Qumran caves. (yes that was a joke, just in case you were joking.)
    I was quoting/responding to you...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Chabot View Post
    Should we not give Scripture full authority as the written Word of God, and make it our supreme guide to holy living.
    ...recognizing what you were most likely saying, but taking advantage of the grammatical ambiguity - making it sound like authority is something that 'we give' to Scripture.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Chabot View Post
    After all, we are saved by faith, no? Without Scripture, we have nothing to point us to the proper object of our saving faith. Granted that God could have left other means, but He didn't, this is it, this is the Word of God that points to the truth about God and the basis of our faith. Since without it, we would be utterly hopeless, we can be assured that God will make sure that we will never be without it. Nor will He allow it to fall to a state where it is unable to point to Him, that's why we say that the Bible that is in your hands will in errantly reveal all that is needed for salvation.
    I'm not following. Are you saying that we are saved by faith, but we only know about this option because of scripture? Why not say that we are saved by Scripture?

    Consider Romans 1:18-20
    18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
    Apparently Paul was willing to say that even the dirty Gentiles could know about God's power and divine nature, even with no knowledge of Scripture. And no...they aren't utterly hopeless without scripture. This is the main point of the entire book of Romans.

    There was a a time in which scripture didn't exist and yet people were saved. How is this possible if we are utterly hopeless without scripture?

    We are either saved by faith alone, or we are not saved by faith at all. It cannot be, 'we are saved by faith and by reading/understanding selected Bible verses', or 'we are saved by faith and by sincere recitation of a religious prayer script.'


    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Chabot View Post
    God is who He is, let Him reveal Himself and let the chips fall where they may. Who are we to question the one who created us, who knows us better than anyone on this planet and who loves us more than anyone or any being. Who are we? Seriously.
    God isn't afraid of our questions, nor should we be.
    "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us wthout end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
    - C.S. Lewis
    Thanks Gina Stevenson - "thanks" for this post

  22. #22
    Senior Member Jim Chabot's Avatar

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    Re: Authority...

    Quote Originally Posted by Wes Smith View Post
    Let me say this...if this discussion is "whitewash" and causes someone to stumble, I would rather not have it. So, if it reaches a sort of point of no return, someone just hold up the white flag and I will cease and desist pronto!

    But that is a good post, Jim, and it certainly borders on my thoughts as I try to wade through the difficult passages of the OT. You all know me as a conservative, evangelical, Christian. And, I have no intention of being anything else. But deep down in my heart and "behind the curtain" I long for us, our Book and our God to be a bit more presentable to the public.

    A few weeks ago when I posted my rants over Moses meeting God on the mountain and God declaring that no one should come close except Moses or they would be snuffed, my response was, "In light of the person of Jesus, how un-Godlike!"

    While I agree that God has the freedom and power to do anything He wants, many of the OT scenarios image a God that is 180 degrees away from the God in Jesus. So it makes me wonder if some of the OT is somewhat of a human attempt to bring God in to the overall development of Israel, rather than bringing the development of Israel into the true character of God. We say he never changes, but the change from OT to NT is impossible to deny. Wouldn't it be reasonable to say that we have some "theological/translation issues"...but we do have history as recorded by trusted scribes? That's one insight/observation.

    Also, I have lovingly, tenderly, and playfully suggested that we should do a better job of lopping off the OT from our Christian and New Covenant (through the eternal blood of Jesus...this is the "New Covenant" in my blood!") identity. Why do we carry the OT/Old Covenant around with us as though it is still in effect? This subject is of such interest to me that I spent time last evening after dominoes when I "should" have been watching Fox, reading and re-reading the "New Covenant" passages of Hebrews.

    A bottom line from Hebrews is...if the old one was so good, then why the New One? The writer seems to turn the scope in our direction declaring that we have some rather frightening changes to make. Do we want the Old? Do we want a combination? Or, do we want the new? As a hiker I would liken this to the amount of weight we want in our backpacks on this journey through life.

    I think Paul makes a strong argument in Romans 7 that we have a new husband, "But now by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code."

    But, I do not want to miss my point in resurrecting this discussion and why I titled this thread, "Authority." The question in my heart is something like, "Am I (are we?) still bound to the OT/OC (old covenant)?" If I am, then the Word must take supremacy over my devotional musings and I do not have any desire at all to live in rebellion.

    A question or two that occurred to me last evening...

    1. What is the Old Covenant? Is the Old Covenant the entire Old Testament? Is it the 10 Commandments?

    2. Are parts of it in full effect? All?

    It just seems that I/we have a decision to make, or certainly a discussion to have. It seems to me that we are smack dab in the middle of the rising up of a new generation that is thoroughly unfamiliar with Moses, and it would be helpful if we would bury Moses and move on to Jesus and the New Covenant.

    Otherwise we wind up as one of those Dr. Seuss Zoads.

    "The Zoad In The Road”:

    Did I ever tell you about the young Zoad?

    Who came to a sign at the fork of the road?

    He looked one way and the other way too -

    the Zoad had to make up his mind what to do.

    Well, the Zoad scratched his head, and his chin, and his pants.

    And he said to himself, "I’ll be taking a chance.

    If I go to Place One, that place may be hot

    So how will I know if I like it or not.

    On the other hand, though, I’ll feel such a fool

    If I go to Place Two and find it’s too cool

    In that case I may catch a chill and turn blue.

    So Place One may be best and not Place Two.

    Play safe," cried the Zoad, "I’ll play safe, I’m no dunce.

    I’ll simply start off to both places at once."

    And that’s how the Zoad who would not take a chance

    Went no place at all with a split in his pants.


    A couple strong points for me: 1. This is NOT my Marciconistic attempt to deny that the NT/NC-Christian God is not operative in the OT/OC. I would be happy to turn to the OT and say, "Yes, that is our history. That is what brought us to where we are. We are now Christians and our belief system flows from and through the NT/NC."

    2. If I am wrong, I MUST be under authority. Then, what is the authority? The entire OT? The 10 Commandments? I submit to the NT/NC. What is the extent to which I must submit to the OT/OC? Where is that stated?

    Thanks for any and all feedback?

    Friend,

    Wes
    No, the discussion isn't whitewash, nor would I think it would cause anyone to stumble. It's the outcome of the discussion that will have effect, good, bad or mixed.

    I do hear your concern Wes, and I think that it's a valid one. Or at least I hope I am hearing it right. What I'm hearing is a concern that some folks might be turned away by the violent nature of God as it is revealed to us, is that right? Or possibly that there are parts of Scripture that make God appear to be violent and dangerous, when this isn't actually the case, and this could turn some folks off?

    Should it be the former, then yes I hear you, although I'm not tracking with the proposed solution. If it be the latter, then I do disagree, I believe God to be every bit dangerous as Scripture portrays Him, and yes I do include Jesus in this assessment with zero difference between Him and the Father.

    I believe that the Old Covenant is the whole shebang, every jot and tittle. I believe that the New supersedes it by fulfillment. The sacrifice to end all sacrifices has been made and the sacrificial portion of the Covenant is finished. I believe that the portions that pertain to Israel as a distinct people are gone by the wayside, as the circumcision is now of the heart, we have the Spirit to guide us and differentiate us as a people within all people. I believe that the moral code is still in effect, what was considered to be sinful is still considered to be sinful. I really wish that I could find the youtube video where N.T. Wright explains his thoughts on the transition between covenants and the reasoning for keeping some rules and not others, he communicates this much better than I can.

    Concerning the whitewash, here's the thing. I'm concerned that there are folks who will actually read the Bible for themselves, and there's a good chance that any whitewashing will come back as a lack of respect for the one applying said whitewash. I vividly remember a conversation that I had with my pastor when I was a very young Christian. I asked why we have Good Friday and Easter only a day apart, when the Bible says that there were three? His answer was that in the Jewish culture, any part of a day was considered and counted as if it were a full day. I made the mistake apparently of asking, then why did Jesus specify that there would be three days and three nights? To this he got pretty angry and accused me of being a smart alek. I walked away from that conversation with a couple of thoughts, one that this guy was a tool who would say pretty much anything needed, and two, he wasn't very bright. In short, I lost enough respect for him that I bought myself a hebrew /greek interlinear Bible and started to fact check his sermons. In the positive, I did learn a bunch of greek and hebrew, and in the negative my thoughts were confirmed, he made a lot of stuff up and he wasn't very bright.

    So that's my worry and concern, coming from this conversation. People are smarter than we sometimes give credit.

    I guess that he gestalt of my thoughts still runs with C.S. Lewis when he says "Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you."
    -Jim

    To know and to serve God, of course, is why we're here, a clear truth, that, like the nose on your face, is near at hand and easily discernible but can make you dizzy if you try to focus on it hard. But a little faith will see you through.

    Garrison Keillor

  23. #23
    Senior Member Jim Chabot's Avatar

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    Re: Authority...

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Cox View Post
    There was a a time in which scripture didn't exist and yet people were saved. How is this possible if we are utterly hopeless without scripture?
    I'm familiar with the woulda, shoulda, coulda argument, it's red herring since we now have Scripture. We have the straight stick, if we ignore it, then there is nothing to show that your stick is crooked.

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Cox View Post
    God isn't afraid of our questions, nor should we be.
    Who's afraid of questions? Afraid of answers maybe?
    -Jim

    To know and to serve God, of course, is why we're here, a clear truth, that, like the nose on your face, is near at hand and easily discernible but can make you dizzy if you try to focus on it hard. But a little faith will see you through.

    Garrison Keillor

  24. #24
    Senior Member Billy Cox's Avatar

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    Re: Authority...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Chabot View Post
    I'm familiar with the woulda, shoulda, coulda argument, it's red herring since we now have Scripture. We have the straight stick, if we ignore it, then there is nothing to show that your stick is crooked.
    The Bible is not a stick.

    And I'm unaware of any scriptural support for the idea that salvation by faith alone was repealed when the Protestant canon came along.

    Consider Romans 4:18-25
    18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”[d] 19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. 22 This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” 23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.
    The part in bold makes it quite clear that this salvation by faith (even without the aid of scripture!!) was not just a onetime exception made for Abraham but is the very foundation of our belief today.
    "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us wthout end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
    - C.S. Lewis
    Thanks David Troxler - "thanks" for this post

  25. #25
    Senior Member Jim Chabot's Avatar

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    Re: Authority...

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Cox View Post
    The Bible is not a stick.

    And I'm unaware of any scriptural support for the idea that salvation by faith alone was repealed when the Protestant canon came along.

    Consider Romans 4:18-25


    The part in bold makes it quite clear that this salvation by faith (even without the aid of scripture!!) was not just a onetime exception made for Abraham but is the very foundation of our belief today.
    And around you go again. Don't mind me, I'm getting bored with this.
    -Jim

    To know and to serve God, of course, is why we're here, a clear truth, that, like the nose on your face, is near at hand and easily discernible but can make you dizzy if you try to focus on it hard. But a little faith will see you through.

    Garrison Keillor

  26. #26
    Senior Member Billy Cox's Avatar

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    Re: Authority...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Chabot View Post
    And around you go again. Don't mind me, I'm getting bored with this.
    I've noticed that when I make arguments directly supported by scripture, you seem to be at a loss for words. I must be getting through.
    "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us wthout end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
    - C.S. Lewis

  27. #27
    Senior Member Jim Chabot's Avatar

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    Re: Authority...

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Cox View Post
    I've noticed that when I make arguments directly supported by scripture, you seem to be at a loss for words. I must be getting through.
    You believe your own fiction. I've noticed that every response from you misses the mark, you "take advantage of grammatical ambiguity," as you say and slowly twist the argument into one where you argue correctly against something that I'm not saying. It gets tiresome and boring.

    FWIW, I totally agree with what you are saying. However it has so little to do with what I was saying, and you responded to that I'm finding some difficulty in taking my time to lead you around by the hand.

    Straight stick, crooked stick.
    -Jim

    To know and to serve God, of course, is why we're here, a clear truth, that, like the nose on your face, is near at hand and easily discernible but can make you dizzy if you try to focus on it hard. But a little faith will see you through.

    Garrison Keillor

  28. #28
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    Re: Authority...

    [QUOTE=Jim Chabot;339331]
    No, the discussion isn't whitewash, nor would I think it would cause anyone to stumble. It's the outcome of the discussion that will have effect, good, bad or mixed.
    Thank you. And, I agree. Just due to my own built-in paranoia I do want to say that I am treating this discussion on the level of an upper division theology course. My posits are more questions than they are declarations. (Though they may at times sound like declarations.)

    I do hear your concern Wes, and I think that it's a valid one. Or at least I hope I am hearing it right. What I'm hearing is a concern that some folks might be turned away by the violent nature of God as it is revealed to us, is that right? Or possibly that there are parts of Scripture that make God appear to be violent and dangerous, when this isn't actually the case, and this could turn some folks off?
    I am comfortable answering "Yes." to both questions.

    But, more importantly to me, I am trying to get a view of what it would be like if Christianity operated within the parameters of the NT/NC (New Teatament/New Covenant). In some ways this (our historic fascination with OT) conjures up images of people who want to trust Christ fully for their salvation, while keeping or bringing parts of the old life with them. It is arguable that Christians struggle with having the courage to fully trust the New Covenant. We are so used to having the blend of Old and New that we have precious few examples or models of believers who have left the Old and moved on to the New. We are Zoads and have produced generations of Zoads!

    In my "discovery" on this subject, I question that the Old Testament is synonymous with Old Covenant. My guess is that we have expanded OC to mean OT. Old Testament, in the way that I am coming to understand it, is mostly history. History in the OT sense is not "covenant" any more than the Mayflower, Native American battles, Davey Crockett, Danial Boone, etc. are the "Constitution" of the United States. History is not covenant. Only the covenant is covenant.

    So, while I wish I could say that this is a small matter and we can have this discussion and then get back to usual, I suspect we are at a watershed moment in history where we are being given another opportunity to stand on the NC, on Christ. If we move forward into this new era encumbered with thinking that the annihilation of the Canaanites is a picture of God or a part of the covenant...instead of history (and, COMPLICATED history!) that we are going to discover, with David, that we have the option of entering the world stage in someone else's armor, when the truth is that the Church is the Sling and Christ is the Stone. (And, I suspect, we are David.)

    Should it be the former, then yes I hear you, although I'm not tracking with the proposed solution. If it be the latter, then I do disagree, I believe God to be every bit dangerous as Scripture portrays Him, and yes I do include Jesus in this assessment with zero difference between Him and the Father.
    That is not what I am saying. I have probably spent the majority of my life saying that, but with world conditions being what they are and the threat of Islam being what it is, I find myself desperately grasping for something that makes more sense. An OT/OC violent, death-to-babies- youth-mothers-sons and daughters, and, even, innocent animals (hamstringing horses) is not even close to the declaration of Christ, "If you have seen me, you have seen the Father."

    Succinctly, I say, find out what the OC is and put it in a box and put a bow on it. That law led us to Christ! Hallelujah!

    Come to grips with what is history. The history of God's people just like the history of any nation or organization has mistakes in it. Again, history is NOT covenant. Covenant is covenant. And, I sure wish I had a better grip of what OT/OC is!

    I believe that the Old Covenant is the whole shebang, every jot and tittle
    .

    I am not offended by that. Mainly because of the qualifier...OLD!

    I believe that the New supersedes it by fulfillment. [my, Wes', emphasis] The sacrifice to end all sacrifices has been made and the sacrificial portion of the Covenant is finished. I believe that the portions that pertain to Israel as a distinct people are gone by the wayside, as the circumcision is now of the heart, we have the Spirit to guide us and differentiate us as a people within all people. I believe that the moral code is still in effect, what was considered to be sinful is still considered to be sinful. I really wish that I could find the youtube video where N.T. Wright explains his thoughts on the transition between covenants and the reasoning for keeping some rules and not others, he communicates this much better than I can.
    If I may be so bold...no you don't. (eta...Said in jest. You may believe that, but if the NC is fulfillment, then why the carry-over baggage of the OC?) Neither to I. Neither does any other Christian leader I know, love, trust, and study! We are all Christian Zoads. My longing is to find out what "OC" is and to honor that as it led us to the New Covenant, to Christ. Attaching history (to the OC) has been cumbersome, but we have done it and gotten by with it because we have been the dominant player on the world stage. We are now hugely threatened by Islam (and, I must add, thinking people) and what we treat as "covenant" is coming back to bite us. We, unfortunately, look much like them (Islam). And, if we are not careful, we will drag God down to looking like them when He most assuredly does not. Our God is the Good Shepherd, the Searcher, the Prodigal waiter, NOT an annihilator! We have inadvertently gotten this mixed up....the THIEF comes to kill, steal and destroy, our Lord, our God, comes to give life and give it more abundantly! (John 10:10)

    Concerning the whitewash, here's the thing. I'm concerned that there are folks who will actually read the Bible for themselves, and there's a good chance that any whitewashing will come back as a lack of respect for the one applying said whitewash. I vividly remember a conversation that I had with my pastor when I was a very young Christian. I asked why we have Good Friday and Easter only a day apart, when the Bible says that there were three? His answer was that in the Jewish culture, any part of a day was considered and counted as if it were a full day. I made the mistake apparently of asking, then why did Jesus specify that there would be three days and three nights? To this he got pretty angry and accused me of being a smart alek. I walked away from that conversation with a couple of thoughts, one that this guy was a tool who would say pretty much anything needed, and two, he wasn't very bright. In short, I lost enough respect for him that I bought myself a hebrew /greek interlinear Bible and started to fact check his sermons. In the positive, I did learn a bunch of greek and hebrew, and in the negative my thoughts were confirmed, he made a lot of stuff up and he wasn't very bright.
    Well, I honestly do not know how bright I am. I took a couple IQ tests and scored pretty high, but I am still...in process. I have made some super dumb proposals and decisions over the years. But, when I"m dealing with this OT/OC thing, I just have to wonder how smart it is to allow our past assumptions to dictate who we are and what we do. That just sounds like classic insanity to me. And, of course, I am not speaking of you or anyone reading this (though we may be the only 2, ha!), I am speaking of all the people NOT reading this. They are jerks for bringing people to the foot of the cross for salvation and then immediately encumbering them with the OT/OC bondage...OH, foolish Nazarenes! Why do you so quickly retreat to that from which you have been freed? I don't get it! [eta...please do not read this literally. People are not jerks. It's just a manner of speaking. I am just trying to dramatize the futility of trying to super collide the Old and New Covenant and for that to be a pleasant experience for the normal/average Christian!]

    So that's my worry and concern, coming from this conversation. People are smarter than we sometimes give credit.
    Do you mind if I add this, "Some times smart people hit self-imposed ceilings." Again, I'm not sure how smart I am, but I am most assuredly smarter than I give myself credit for and so are you and everyone reading this. The only guy in our culture that can get by with static intelligence is Popeye the Sailor man, "I am what I am cause that's all what I am! Toot! Toot!" I just have to say for we Christians...not a single one of us know who or what we are...in Christ! He adds the "immeasurably more" to us! Just because we have accepted certain historic limitations and norms does not mean that we have to live that way now and into the future.

    I guess that he gestalt of my thoughts still runs with C.S. Lewis when he says "Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you."
    Amen!

    Friend,

    Wes
    Last edited by Wes Smith; February 13th, 2017 at 03:53 PM.
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    Re: Authority...

    So, I have some summaries (for lack of a better word):

    1. Seriously...what is the Old Covenant? One reason I titled this thread "Authority" is because I think inquiring minds would like to know if we as Christians are still obligated to keep the requirements of the entire OT (which is obviously rhetorical), or, are we only obligated to keep certain parts. Which parts?

    2. But I suspect that the Old Covenant is a more succinct portion. Perhaps the 10 Commandments? Some of you have surely put some thought into this subject, or you have a chapter, paragraph, or verse that defines the Old Covenant. This seems to me to be a critical subject, but I have no recollection of it being addressed in my education or in some message, article or book in my 69 years.

    3. My suggestion is that we should treat the OT with honor and appreciation, but not automatically attach it to the NT/NC.

    4. And, it seems obvious that we continue to use the OT to illustrate NT/NC truths and to highlight the various prophecies. The heroic stories/accounts in the OT dramatically illustrate NT theological themes. Using the OT to illustrate NT/NC themes would be much different from embracing the OT/OC as mandatory, a sacred part of our contemporary theological/belief structure.

    5. This may have greater application as we venture further in to the post-Christian era.

    Friend,

    Wes

  30. #30
    Senior Member Billy Cox's Avatar

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    Re: Authority...

    Quote Originally Posted by Wes Smith View Post
    So, I have some summaries (for lack of a better word):

    1. Seriously...what is the Old Covenant? One reason I titled this thread "Authority" is because I think inquiring minds would like to know if we as Christians are still obligated to keep the requirements of the entire OT (which is obviously rhetorical), or, are we only obligated to keep certain parts. Which parts?

    2. But I suspect that the Old Covenant is a more succinct portion. Perhaps the 10 Commandments? Some of you have surely put some thought into this subject, or you have a chapter, paragraph, or verse that defines the Old Covenant. This seems to me to be a critical subject, but I have no recollection of it being addressed in my education or in some message, article or book in my 69 years.

    3. My suggestion is that we should treat the OT with honor and appreciation, but not automatically attach it to the NT/NC.

    4. And, it seems obvious that we continue to use the OT to illustrate NT/NC truths and to highlight the various prophecies. The heroic stories/accounts in the OT dramatically illustrate NT theological themes. Using the OT to illustrate NT/NC themes would be much different from embracing the OT/OC as mandatory, a sacred part of our contemporary theological/belief structure.

    5. This may have greater application as we venture further in to the post-Christian era.
    This seems like an awful lot of effort just to protect God's goodness from all of the murder and mayhem attributed to him in the OT.
    "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us wthout end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
    - C.S. Lewis
    Thanks Wes Smith - "thanks" for this post
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  31. #31
    Senior Member Jim Chabot's Avatar

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    Re: Authority...

    Hey Wes;

    Trying to find time to give you a thoughtful response to your post above, hopefully tomorrow. Otherwise it will be at least a week. It is winter time you know and I don't work much, try to spend as much time as possible out riding!

    But I can give you this quickly, and ask if this is the sort of thing that you are envisioning.

    These were my remarks last Sunday morning after a song. The choir sang this song with one fellow singing the first two verses and I finish up with the third. I can actually hit all of these notes, so I had everybody's attention at the end when I said....



    Forgiven and free! Forgiven from what and free to do what?

    After I came to Christ I was told that because of my sin, I was deserving of hell and that Christ died to save me and gain forgiveness. I'm glad that I had already come to Christ, because I'm not sure that I would have bought that line, how about you. Seriously. I know that I've done plenty of things that weren't good at all, but deserving of hell? I also know a lot of folks who were brought up in the Church and I can't even begin to think what they might have done to deserve hell, took up two parking spaces, hung up on a telemarketer, wore makeup on a Sunday, what? (laughter) So I've asked all these years, forgiven for what? Because I know that God loves us enough that He sacrificed His only Son so that we could live. But why, and for what?

    Well it was in the garden I've been told, we disobeyed God and He tossed us out and pronounced death upon us. So we are all deserving of hell, because of Adam, and that's that! Sorry, this doesn't make sense, none at all. Unless you think of God as a loving parent, and you realize that a loving parent doesn't discipline out of anger. And then you stop and think of the intense pain that a parent must feel should they ever get to the place where they have to throw one of their own children out of the house. I don't know about you, but I'm about to cry just thinking about it. So what exactly did we do, and why does it affect all of us. Satan said that if Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, she would be like God, an equal. And then they ate from the tree. In effect they told God that they no longer needed Him, they rejected His love and protection and ruined their relationship. Now I get it.

    Forgiven for what? Forgiven for walking away, forgiven for rejecting our creator, forgiven for rejecting the One who loves us more than we can even imagine. And we were forgiven before we asked. Because this isn't a transaction, this isn't a court judgement, this is a reconciliation. A reconciliation of the relationship that we should have never rejected, He stands and waits, and He want us to come home. Forgiven and Free. Forgiven of all, and free to relate to, commune with and follow Him! No longer slaves to the lies of the Devil, we are now free to enjoy and abundant life with the One who knows us best, and who loves us best. That's forgiven, and that's free!


    For some strange reason, as I walked off the platform, I wondered. What would Wes think?

    So Wes................... Is this what you are trying to get across?
    -Jim

    To know and to serve God, of course, is why we're here, a clear truth, that, like the nose on your face, is near at hand and easily discernible but can make you dizzy if you try to focus on it hard. But a little faith will see you through.

    Garrison Keillor
    Thanks Wes Smith - "thanks" for this post

  32. #32
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    Re: Authority...

    Jim,

    I have listened to the song and read your post...three times. Trying my best to make sure I'm hearing what you and the song are saying.

    If I understand correctly, the answer is "Yes!" (That is a good representation of what I am trying to say in this thread.)

    There is a good phrase in the first verse, "but what I surrendered was back in my hands." This is not true of all Christians, of course, but both our general and contemporary Christian theology and messages and practics basically declare that it cannot be any other way. What is on my heart is that the New Covenant teaches life in the context of Christ and life; Christ and Calvary; Christ and Resurrection; and, Holy Spirit and Pentecost.

    The basic visual of the Old Covenant/OT is that the ongoing, sanctified life is not possible. The people of God back there were in rather constant cycles taking more laps around Mt. Sinai.

    Which model of Christianity is most easily observed in our current culture, the Old Covenant or the New Covenant?

    High time to move on to the New Covenant!

    Thanks for sharing that song. I've heard it many times, but hadn't taken the time with it to hear the core message. Would love to hear you and your friends sing it sometime.

    Friend,

    Wes

    PS. Don't worry about the time issue in responding to this thread. It will be there/here whenever.
    Last edited by Wes Smith; February 16th, 2017 at 08:26 PM.

  33. #33
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    Re: Authority...

    So...let me say it like this.

    An exercise in pretending. You have the only Old Testament known to exist.

    You sit down to read your Bible some time only to discover that the Old Testament was on fire and you could only save one portion. What portion would that be?

    And a question.

    What piece or portion or life instruction, or essential truth __________________________________________________ ____________ (you fill in the blank) is contained in the Old Testament without which the New Testament would be incomplete?

    Friend,

    Wes

  34. #34
    Senior Member Lucas Finch's Avatar

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    Re: Authority...

    Quote Originally Posted by Wes Smith View Post
    So...let me say it like this.

    An exercise in pretending. You have the only Old Testament known to exist.

    You sit down to read your Bible some time only to discover that the Old Testament was on fire and you could only save one portion. What portion would that be?
    Song of Songs


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  35. #35
    Senior Member Lucas Finch's Avatar

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    Re: Authority...

    Quote Originally Posted by Lucas Finch View Post
    Song of Songs
    Sorry. Had to do that. Carry on.


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  36. #36
    Senior Member Billy Cox's Avatar

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    Re: Authority...

    Quote Originally Posted by Lucas Finch View Post
    Song of Songs


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    I have never thought quite the same about navels since reading this book.
    "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us wthout end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
    - C.S. Lewis
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