The Message

I really don’t get it.

It makes little sense to me…

If Jesus’s Message was SO important to the entire world (and frankly i feel it was about as Important as it ever gets) WHY did HE NEVER write one word that is recorded as under His own Human Hand??

I mean if EVER someone on Earth was ‘qualified’ to write about His Dad and what we were put on this earth for it was Him! Right?

And if His message was not to be sullied by His earthly brain and body – even as it was, directly under Divine Guidance (who could ever claim Divinity such as His?) – and this menial task was left to some, but not all, of His Twelve Disciples.

 Just Why then, in God’s Name, did they all wait until SO long after events had transpired to put it down on paper so that we today might know of Him through reading the Bible (and other sources most seem content to ignore even after 50 or more years after their discovery).

Was this an important message for all posterity ? or Not??

If Kevin Rudd coming to power (In Australia! – GW reckons we are one of your best friends – could you at least learn somethings about my country’s politics – i am forced to know a mass about yours in the US – it is NOT through ‘choice’ – believe me) were the Second Coming, in 4 000 AD would people only be reading about it because Julia Gillard wrote about it in 2050??

So why do we do something as strange as this now?

Sure most were illiterate back then, but Christ knew the World and everything that was and was to come. He KNEW we would need to read about Him today and tomorrow until He came back as He Promised (keep looking folks! Just remember how many have died in the ‘sure’ knowledge that He was coming back ‘soon’ – hopefully in their lifetimes. He actually told ‘us’ it would be in the present lifetime – read Matthew!).

He IS here – He always was – it is what WE do that determines when He ‘returns’ on Earth. I wonder how many of you understand that at all?

How many of you will be as He foretold in His parable and sit and wait and ‘bury’ the Gold Pieces? Until His Master returns and pays what is due?

Which Church has ever made their converts aware of the Truth He passed on to His Flock?

They never deny it for then they might be caught out – but they never encourage you to discover for yourselves the Truth either – it is very possible they don’t even know it themselves, or more sinisterly, they know and choose to keep such power unto themselves alone, afraid of losing their hold over His Children…

 or maybe there is another ‘explanation’?

To me, His Message was one of Love – Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind- we should Love God/Father. Love one another, as fallible as we all are. Love our Soul because it is from, and of, God – within us all, and love our self so as to be able to forgive ourselves in our own minds, for unless we can do this we will never have Peace internally and while we are in conflict within we can never be totally true to Jesus and His Promise to us.

We should also Love our Mother – the Earth from which we are all made and receive our physical form and sustenance. Man does not live by bread alone – even manna. Neither can we live without it, only through spirit.  The body we live in needs Both – Bread and God’s Spirit, renewed in us ‘daily’, if we are to achieve the potential He Promised.

If we are to follow truly His Example.

Dare we? Or would that be asking too much?

The longer we procrastinate through some misunderstanding or mis-Direction the longer and further ‘away’ from Him we become.

So I Truly believe in my Heart, and Soul, and mind.

The Time comes quickly!

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92 thoughts on “The Message

  1. Perhaps he did not intend for his message to be written down – or at least not taught primarily from books. Pehaps his preferred medium of teaching this message is not through words.

    “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16

    Perhaps the Word is a primarily a tool that may assist the disciple in living out the message, to do what “it is what WE do that determines when He ‘returns’ on Earth.

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  2. So – it was not an oversight then? and no-one sectreted His writings to keep them from the bulk of humanity?

    That’s a relief! 🙂

    you do know we’re both singing from the same choirbook and pages – don’tcha Chris?? 🙂

    Possibly not entirely ‘in harmony’ yet but not as dichordant as some my believe or think!

    The waiting for 50 years before putting thought to paper…. any thoughts there, Chef Bear?.

    Not all disciple’s writings being included in our bible today? Gospel of Mary? frauds? fakes? blasphemy not ‘ordained’ by the Romans?

    I bet J could enlighten us all again on those?

    Or we might try reading them for ourselves and let Him make up our minds for us perhaps???.

    It’s no big secret now after all. If we watch the da Vinci Code or The Compass we can read a little gospel or two, surely? :->

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  3. YAY!!! HE is coming back maybe soon!! Love you got me all excited again for the second coming! 🙂
    Read whatever and always ask HIM to help understand the content and if it is of HIM or not.

    The Bible is an incredible love story..I believe it is still being read, and bringing people to HIS love, because it still pertains. Also there is only still prophecy to be fulfilled.

    As for churches…sadly alot do not teach that there is more to the Chrisitan life than saying a prayer of acceptance. I have been blessed that the church we are part of now is a Bible teaching and applying church. No misconceptions here as to how hard it is some days, but others who are a family to help each other stay on the road. Very sweet and still new to me.
    Have a good sleep Love! Praying for you…and I mean that with all my heart!!

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  4. Hey Love, I would recommend Marcus Borg’s books, particulary ““Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time” and “The Heart of Christianity”. His thoughts don’t usually sit too well with ‘conservative’ Christians but if you maintain an open mind (which you obviously have) it can help put Jesus, his ministry and the Gospel accounts into perspective. At least it did for me – really opened up the seemingly endless ways in which Jesus is relevant to my life and my place in his ongoing Kingdom endeavors.

    “Desire of the Everlasting Hills” by Thomas Cahill is pretty good, too.

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  5. First,

    C, people who don’t like Borg don’t like the antiquated textual relativity which is chronic in all that he does. Which explains why you like him, relativism is power to the person who denie God’s word.

    Second,

    “And if His message was not to be sullied by His earthly brain and body ”

    This is gnosticism, everybody. Just so you know.

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  6. “Perhaps he did not intend for his message to be written down – or at least not taught primarily from books. Pehaps his preferred medium of teaching this message is not through words.”

    HUH? Christian: if that were true we wouldn’t have a Bible….nothing happens that does not pass through God’s hands first…He gave us “The Book” for a reason….I don’t understand you guys.

    Psalm 68:11 The Lord gave the Word; great was the company who published it. The Apostle Paul said, “All scripture is given by inspirations of God (God-breathed) I looked up all in Hebrew…it means all. II Timothy 3:16 says, “We have not followed cunnigly devised fables…We have a more sure word of prophecy…II Peter 1:16-21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man:but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
    Gods Word was written by tory different writers who held 19 different occupations over a span of fifteen hundred years. Most of them never saw eachoother, yet their message blends in perfect unity as though they had sat down together and discussed it. How can that happen? How can these writer who hadn’t talked or saw each other or seen what the other had written do this? God.

    Adding and deleting to make things fit into your ideas are not going to work if you are calling yourself a Christ follower.

    There is one truth, one God…either you believe His word or you don’t.

    If you truly believe that God dwells in and among His people, the Bible was written with His own hand.

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  7. I may not mean anything here, but here’s my thought anyways…What’s the big deal about time. Clearly we do not know His ways – His intentions. Who cares about the time line. We already know that a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is a like a day. If I knew everything I wouldn’t need Him now would I? That’s not manipulation that’s a Brilliant Father!

    I take “God breathed” scripture very seriously. And as Deb reminded us, “all” of it too.

    Haven’t you claimed that God has given YOU a word? A revelation?

    There was a need for the bible as we know it, I believe. It is a guideline for our lives. An instruction book written by men moved by the Spirit of God to write what HE had revealed to them….for His children…in HIS due time.

    I guess I don’t see the mystery in it….

    I do see snow in our forecast and I’m thrilled about it!!!

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  8. OK, my last one was way over the top. Sorry, Chris.

    What I was addressing, and consequently did myself, was the shallow mischaracterization of “open minded” and “conservative”. Those titles mean nothing, and what I said about Borg’s presuppositional methods textually and historically are abosulutely true. Borg, like the other Jesus Seminar guys, has decided to see Jesus as someone who couldn’t possibly have said the majority of the things that are recorded in the bible, and he decided this for no empirical reason at all. Borg is not at all “open-minded”, he has decided what he wants to see, quite apart from what it actually says. Though “open-minded” is hardly a complement, more of a being blown this way and that by every wind of doctrine.

    As well, the general question being asked, I think was addressed by Tam very well. It presumes a time line, which is anthropocentric to the extreme.

    As well, the thing about using words and not using words uses words to say not to use words. And what I just said makes just as much sense as the word-ridden proposition on wordlessness. Perhaps not wondering what Jesus, or saying, maybe-itmightbe-youdunno, and instead actually reading what Jesus taught might be a better angle.

    The great commission all by itself addresses the question. As well, unless you choose to believe that Christ is limited in some speculative way, he did say the the Holy Spirit would bring what he had taught and done to the mind of the apostles. And, again maybe one would choose not to believe it, but to somehow imagine that Paul’s teaching are subordinate, imagines that, again, Christ is only effective when he is here walking around making wordless gestures.

    I also don’t really understand what Love’s question regarding New Testament apocrypha is all about. If one says that what was written within one generation of Christ’s death is not good history (or per the current discussion asks the question, while presuming the answer), then how can works written 1-3 centuries after the death of Christ have greater veracity?

    No short answer addresses this. There is a mountain of information that goes into this. Like Will Rogers said, “A lie can be halfway around the world before the truth gets its pants on.”

    And for those who don’t like these discussions or think that these investigative disciplines are neither fruitful nor useful, please consider that even now, when there are so many resources out there, people still choose to ask these sorts of culturally isolated, historically ignorant, agenda driven questions, and then presume the answer that suits them, not actually look to history, archeology, anthropology, literary disciplines, biblical textual criticism, or even what Jesus actually said while he was here to answer them.

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  9. It is 16 Farehnheit here, windchill of -3.

    A summer breeze in comparison to Duluth, MN, though. My wife jokes that we moved south for the winter.

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  10. “Pehaps his preferred medium of teaching this message is not through words”

    GG, don’t you agree that the Gospel is more effectively spread through our intentional and active discipleship? Of course scripture provides the necessary guidance but without an active faith what do we have?

    “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

    Of course if it wasn’t written down (and thank God that it was) then there would most likely not be anything to quote. But I think Love poses some valid questions. Why did people wait so long to put Jesus’ words to paper? Or were his words recorded much earlier? And does this line of questioning discredit the Gospels? (For me personally, not at all.)

    http://www.religioustolerance.org/gosp_q.htm

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  11. Christian: Of course I do 🙂 Active descipleship and going out into the world is my witnessing of choice. But it’s the power behind God’s word, not the man, that saves souls. I guess I mis-read this sentence:
    “Perhaps he did not intend for his message to be written down – or at least not taught primarily from books.”
    God’s word is alive, I believe it was His every intention as a guidline for our living of life to honor Him and to have His word. If you’re in the mindset that man wrote the Bible uninspired by God, then I understand the question. There is no time with God tho, and how did God relate to His people before the Bible? Things have changed between now and then dramatically, but it is all part of God’s intricate plan for humanity. John 1:1 says that the Word always was…I mean the plainest reason why the Son of God is called the Word because like our words explain our minds to others, Jesus was sent to reveal his Father’s mind to the world. He (the Word) always was…I really don’t have a problem with the fact that He took a blink of an eye (in His timeline) to get it to us.

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  12. This makes me think of Paul when he wrote to the people of Rome. Verse 13 says he had planned to visit many times but had been prevented. Hence…the letter…I am SOOOO grateful for that letter. I love the book of Romans! It was no accident that he was “prevented” from his travels, it was Timely! Would we have the book of Romans if God hadn’t “delayed” Paul? Probably not. I think HE knows what He’s doing with this whole Time thing…

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  13. At this point the only question which is answerable is the last one. I would question the validity of the second one since we have not one shred of substantial evidence regarding the second question apart from accounts of the same person during the same time in the same situations which read the same. Q is a method of referring to these portions of the accounts which read the same, not a person, nor a document, and though the website you cited admits this at first, it then goes on to speak of it as though they have a copy of it in their back pockets, the ol’ switcheroo, it’s not real, but let’s pretend like it is so we can make our point more effective to people who don’t see the considerable intellectual, semantic shell game we are playing. For instance, they draw a caricature of Biblical Christianity by suggesting that Linnemann was some anti-intellectual nut job. But they forget that they themselves have already said that no document exists, and Linnemann is quite right, in that, there are as many theories as there are theorists regarding Q, and if an idea is so clear so as to start calling something “The Gospel of Q” which the dishonestly “tolerant” people do on the website, but every unbelieving egghead has a different flow chart regarding this construct, then how much credence should it be given by people who actual trust in Jesus Christ? Q is helpful for those who live Christ to come to a better understanding of each writer’s culture and point of view, and it helps people who don’t believe it say that it is all piecemealed out to these hacks from some guy who, puzzlingly, had a German name and wrote the real thing and (cue black helicopters, studio audience put on tin foil hat) the CHURCH (dundunduhhhhh) oppressed the truth! Whatever.

    If you are talking to people who are eyewitnesses to these events and they are giving eyewitness accounts, and there is already one account out there, (Mark or maybe Matthew) and you see the detail in the existing account and it is more thorough than yours, and it was from an apostolic source, then why wouldn’t you use it word for word?

    The discipline involving Q is greatly helpful to those who take God’s word seriously because one begins to see patterns and emphases in each of the gospels. For instance, Matthew’s Judaism heavy take on the temptation of Christ mirrors Satan’s temptation of Eve. But Luke’s account mirrors what Eve thought about the temptations, (still in order) reflecting Luke’s emphasis upon Gentiles and suffering. But, a good example of textual presuppositions is that Q obsessed narrative critics (of whom Borg is one, although I don’t know where he comes down on this) see these differences, then they see that Mark doesn’t have an account, and then, for no reason other than their own prejudicial starting point, say that the story was manufactured by Christ’s followers latter on to mirror the temptation in the garden. They have no good reason for saying so, but because there are not similar accounts, and Mark doesn’t have it, they instantly go to “it didn’t really happen”. That is a lot of personal baggage to import into this, but they don’t really believe it anyway.

    The first question asks the motives of people, who lived in an oral culture and for whom, accurate transmission was of great importance, who have been dead a long time.

    The third question is really the only one that can be reasonably asked at all. But I think I walked through that in the matter of the unanswerable first question.

    Thank you for putting down the great commission. How one teaches what someone commanded without using words, not to mention the metaphysical impetus for the commissioning itself, is a bit of a mystery, and that means that the words, as they are written, are essential. As well, if you are perpetually nice but never ever teach anything that Jesus said, then no one benefits at all. One might as well be a Buddhist, which the religious tolerance people would prefer. So you are quite right in matters of obedience, but how you come to the point of addressing what you feel to be the preferred medium, other than that is what you think, is unknown. I guess just read Romans 10, which addresses your concern in matters of living it, but belies your idea about the preferred method by a mile.

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  14. Wow! All that’s been written so far is pretty overwhelming (to me at least). I could probably take another hour (that I don’t have) to try to understand it all, but hopefully I can at least take the time to share a couple of thoughts about one of your original questions re: why they might have taken so long to write the gospels and letters.

    First of all, as has been implied already, I don’t believe we weak human beings, by our failings, can thwart God’s purposes. We may not be at all aware of the ‘plan’ from His perspective, but if we are ‘listening to and obeying’ His Spirit in us, His purposes will be fulfilled whether we realize it or not (or even if we’re NOT listening and DISobedient for that matter =).

    I think your take on ‘love’ being the entire basis for the ‘message’ might actually provide an explanation for the 50 year + delay. Jesus emphasized relationships (both with God and man), so His focus while on earth was cultivating relationships with men and women whose lives would eventually impact us all. Since they in turn were commissioned to do the same (i.e. the ‘great commission’), don’t you think that may have taken some time?? Their focus was the same as Christ’s–to establish life-impacting relationships with the people they discipled and established churches among. Travel wasn’t as quick as we now know, and there was also needed time for personal growth in relationship with God (maturity) as well as with other people. Paul went off for years to Arabia before he was prepared spiritually to be sent out (Gal. 1:17). Then his travels took years and he sometimes spent years in one place discipling believers and raising up leaders to carry on the work of ministry.

    It was from those established relationships that the gospels and letters were made necessary. I don’t know that the writers knew their words would be preserved for millenia, but God did. HE fulfilled His promise at the appropriate time to ‘bring the words to their remembrance’ (as well as inspire specific applications of Jesus’ teachings via the Holy Spirit)relative to the needs of those who were known and being communicated to.

    I don’t think much has changed in that regard. We still need to focus on relationships with God and through Him to others so that we all may be drawn closer to one another as we together draw closer to Him. Mankind hasn’t changed all that much since those original words were written, so God knew they would be just as appropriate for us today, and saved all the ones He knew we’d need for our own personal growth and encouragement/exhortation/correction toward others He has ‘joined us to’ in our lifetimes.

    ‘Hope that’s somewhat of a reasonable possibility in answer to your question. It made sense to me, and thanks for getting me thinking about it.

    Now I need to go feed my 90 year old Dad who’s now living with us (one of those people God’s used to impact my life profoundly- especially via His Word !! =).
    D-

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  15. Yeah, after I linked to them I explored the site a bit more. Hmmm. I am not too sure how ‘pure’ their motives actually are, as written on their ‘about’ page. But I thought the description of Q was fairly concise and almost unbiased.

    I am undecied as to if there was a genuine source called Q that Luke and Matthew drew from but if there was who is to say that it was also not divinely inspired? Why would a common eyewitness source for the Gospel writers cast doubt on their credibility? The Gospel of Matthew is accredited to the apostle but my understanding is that Luke was more of an investigative reporter who would have interviewed others for their stories.

    I agree with the criticisms about the conclusions that many of these ‘liberal’ theologians have come to. There often does seem to be an agenda that includes tearing down the divinity of Jesus. (That being said, although he is very unorthodox, I don’t find this in Borg’s writings.)

    Being nice doesn’t cut it, agreed. Christ’s message is essential for all the obvious reasons but not in the least because this is what he commanded. But to go out and ‘preach’ the gospel, while continuing to live apart from the command of Jesus to ‘to do unto others as we would have them do unto us'(including being nice?) would only be fulfilling some/i> of the comissions obligations.

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  16. I agree that the possible existence of a precursor document or source has no bearing on books we have. As you say, Luke, by his own attestation, went around getting information, doing his best Herodotus (sp?) imoression. And I appreciate you writing what you did.

    If I may,

    “I am undecied as to if there was a genuine source called Q that Luke and Matthew drew from but if there was who is to say that it was also not divinely inspired?”

    This is going to seem incredibly picky to some: As I said, I agree with you that the possibility of another source of basic information says nothing about the eternal significance of these documents. My concern in handling the idea is two-fold, 1. presuming the existence of a document, and not just saying what it is, a group of considerably similar, if not exactly the same, passages in the gospels. I don’t even mind using the short hand Q when talking about these passages. My first issue is that the term takes on a life of its own, particularily in the hands of Theologians in the mould you cited, when used in a manner which presumes its existence is a foregone conclusion in the light of nothing but interpretively correlative evidence. (Witness on that website that they indicate as proof of Q the fact that there is a book on Amazon that is called “The Gospel of Q”, not exactly proof of a reall document.). In the hands of these individuals, Q becomes superior to the existing gospels, and then they write books about it, talking about it as though it is the authoritative source of all, though it doesn’t exist anywhere other than in matters of linguistic comparison in well written synopses. And though I appreciate some of what Lazrus2 wrote, the 50+ year delay is part of the problem. I have yet to read any internal or external assessment of the 3 synoptic gospels, acts, or any of Paul’s letters that mounts a resonable defense of that sort of dating. The idea that any of the above were written after the fall of Jerusalem is, to the best of my knowledge, unsupportable outside the most secular of narrative critics. To date the letters that late helps in pushing them closer and closer to being temporally commensurate with numerous gnostic documents which bear few of the same lingustic markers and none of the theology.

    breath

    2. I don’t think you meant to do this, you seemed to be just making your point, the point with which I agree, but moving from a hypothetical synoptic document to a hypothetical inspired document is not one I think we should make.

    I agree with your entire last paragraph, and I will be, during break, giving Borg a read-thru.

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  17. My first issue is that the term takes on a life of its own, particularly in the hands of Theologians in the mold you cited,

    I absolutely agree. Some of the conclusions they draw are very obviously leaps of ‘faith’ that tend to demean real faith in the Gospels.

    And I agree with your statement #2 – but can’t we say that all of these documents are ‘hypothetically’ inspired, in that we can’t ‘prove’ that they have God’s authority? We, as believers, accept this authority not so much because of doctrine but because it ‘works’ for us – as we study the Bible we continue to learn of and grow in God as our hearts are changed. Since “Q” can’t be seen or read or proven to exist then it’s inspiration is really just academic. But it does help to fill in the historical blanks that many, particularly skeptics, seem to be troubled by.

    And don’t we talk of the early church fathers (and others) being inspired as they met and prayed and argued over what scripture to include in the canon? Is that a hypothetical leap we should be careful of as well?

    And I think that is a little bit of what Love is asking. Serious questions that are difficult to answer outside of the realm of one’s particular doctrinal beliefs.

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  18. Hi Christian…I have been prayerfully trying to pinpoint what is bothering me about statements such as these… “And I agree with your statement #2 – but can’t we say that all of these documents are ‘hypothetically’ inspired, in that we can’t ‘prove’ that they have God’s authority?”

    I wish InWorship was around at the moment, as he is very wise at church stuff, but to me some of the troubles in the church today and most of the troubles in the world, are because of a departure from the authority of the Bible. Human philosophy takes the place of revelation, man’s opinions are exalted, and Church leaders talk about the advance of knowledge and science and it’s sure result. Then the Bible becomes a book just like any other book, out-of-date in certain respects, wrong in other respects and so on. It becomes a book you can no longer rely on implicitly.

    Part of the falling away in our country, to me, is the consequesnce of these criticisms. Jo Blo on the street says “What do these Christians know? They only give their opinion.” He has lost all interest. men’s opinions have taken the place of God’s truth, and people in their need are turning to the cults, and listening to any false authority that will offer itself to them.

    So, to me there is an ultimate question. Do we accept the Bible as the Word of God, the sole authority in all matters of faith and practice, or not? Is my entire being run by Scripture, or do I come to the table with my reason to pick and choose out of Scripture and sit in judgment of it,which puts myself and modern knowledge in the authority position?

    Do I accept scripture as a revelation from God, or do I trust speculation, human knowledge, human learning, human understanding and human reasons?

    Or I gues a more simple way of saying it is, am I going to pin my faith on what I read in the Bible or to modern knowledge, peoples opinions and reasoning?

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  19. I forgive you! By the time I got your message it was too late to call you back – so, you know me…I DIDN’T 😀

    For those of who care…I HATE the phone!

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  20. Whaet a lovely way to start my moring – seems some of you ARE paying ‘attention’ after all 🙂

    WAY too much words here to respond to ALL of them but i will just say …

    I Love you guys (strangely it is the girls i love a teeny bit more, but that just might be the way God made me – who am i to argue with that? 🙂 )

    Can I point out – for any who allow a small-minded word to get in the way of things – that while Jason correctly points out that Gnostics do believe that our earthly-based bodies contian sin and deceive us from Truth a lot of the time, that this is mainly because this is what the Bible from Genesis through to Revelation teaches us – would you not agree with the Gnostics (and me) on that particular ‘issue’ Jason?? Hmmm? – you heretic you! 😉

    Debs will happily and corerectly inform all that Jesus was Fully God AND fully man – having an earthly body ‘like’ (meaning ‘similar to’, in that it was born human and therefore born into sin – horror! how could sin be in an earthly body which contains the Spirit of God(Soul)? Maybe the Spirit came ‘down’ after the body was cleansed? If Jesus never had sin how could we ever have a true relationship with Him? He would be nothing ‘like’ us in this regard – wasn’t the whole point of Him coming to earth so we could relate to Him as being ‘one of us’? that we might KNOW it was possible as a human to each find our ‘own’ way (by following Him, believing in Him and doing as He did) to His Father? One who showed us The Way – to Salvation?) the one we inhabit with our own soul.

    But we need to remove as much ‘sin’ (ego self construct about our soul) as is humanly (with Divine assistance) possible in order to follow Him more closely each day.

    How can we being of sin remove sin from us? Surely this is folly to even try?? We KNOW in our hearts what is sinful – we know how to do good – by following Him as closely as we are able. If we earnestly observe ourselves so as to learn what ‘kicks off’ our many sins we can learn to control them – Through His aid(by asking it of Him – In His name – we can remove sin from oursleves – one sin at a time replacing it with His Good.

    I know a certain someone who is going to deny this can be done and is blasphemy or hypocrisy – me being so full of sin and all – but frankly – he can Shove it (i say that from Love 🙂 ) because i KNOW in my Heart through His works in me that this is His truth and if i looked i would find all the Scripture i need to substantiate my claims – maybe in 50 years or so i might be bothered but those of you who want to could always look for it yourselves – if any church ever bothered to teach you where to look!

    Up for it Jason? or is being negative and critical all you know how to do? Ever tried being positive critical and look for Good in others and not for evil?? – is tough sometimes – how well do i know that from personal experiences.

    Tam – I hate phones – specially mobile ones! 🙂 and thank you for your Thoughts. Jace was right about one thing – it was a kind of anthropomorphic question – but humans wrote the Book and ordered it’s form. God works through us in mysterious ways SOMETIMES – sometimes he is crystal clear!

    Man – especially those who love power for themselves is the Deciever and he can work great trickery and deception when under Satan’s domain – he walks a planet called Earth I believe and is MOST DEFINITELY part of the Grand Plan – not one i choose to personally offer any allegiance to, but i know who created him and so have a certain ‘respect’ (i.e. know how devious he can be to any and ALL) for him.

    It does not pay to under-estimate the Enemy!

    We know today how politicians can ‘spin’ the ‘truth’ and never say a word of a lie but still get us all to fall for one BIG Fat one.

    That is NOT a ‘new skill’. Political leaders have done this since time immemorial to get and retain their power over us.

    Man is not above using the Bible and the Word of God to justify unholy acts.

    Someone ( was it Debs?) said ALL Scripture is True, or words to that effect – Does that ALL include some which is not in the Bible as it stands today? – Does God speak to some through other than the ‘standard’ works? Or is such impossible?

    Where exactly is it stated in the Holy Book of Christianity that the words we read today are the entirety of Divine writings? – Certainly all are true and divine and of God – my big concern is we have not been shown the whole ‘truth’.

    Please understand the difference between the Whole Truth for every reader’s understanding and the Whole Truth which could be encapsulated in just a single word… G O D!

    Some can be satisfied only by reading the Bible. Other’s like Jason for example could never learn all he needs to learn by never reading any other source of information – even if he qualifies this by claiming Scripture must agree with a reading in order for the reading to not be a lie. (something i am not disputing btw!!!)

    Oh and Laz?? You words were wonderful i thought 🙂

    And one other ‘thought on all that was written above…. how many of you focussed on the ‘Message’? and how many on the Questions? I thought the Title gave you all a big clue – seems i was wrong again huh?

    For those who missed it…

    Love God/Father with all heart, mind and Soul
    Love one another as you love yourselves
    Love yourself – as full of error as it is in order that you may forgive it and find His Peace within for without this Peace we can never follow him fully – we will have something ‘keeping us from Him’
    Love Mother Earth – treat her well and she will return the favour. Learn to understand Her ways and through Her – His ways.

    and perhaps MOST importantly – especially to those who would be deserving of the name Christian – FOLLOW HIS EXAMPLE! NOW and ALWAYS!

    My next blog will have a point concerning this and an actual question you can easily answer – all of you 🙂 🙂

    Maybe even with something as a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

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  21. Oh and Darla? (and anyone else kind enough to do as she does – i suspect D is not the only one 😉 )…

    A big Thank you for your prayers – they are appreciated.

    I do pray for all (and i MEAN ALL) of you daily – in His Name that His Peace and Mercy be bestowed upon each of you according to your needs.

    Absolutely NO ‘obligation’ owed by anyone – Deal?

    Call it a gift of love 🙂
    Don’t have to return it – pass it on!

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  22. Oh – and geting closer to the 80’s today with it warming up nicely for our weekend!!

    Finally – i can get back to wearing my short shorts again lol 😉

    I might even make it to the beach for a cool off and a relax before prayer time, one day – i will be thinking of you and sending ‘vibes’ over – of course – as i watch another new Day begin while the sun sets.

    (Not bragging here but you do know the best place to view the Glory of the Milky Way is from a southern desert night sky – don’t you?? Since the ‘heart’ of our Galaxy is only viewed from ‘down here’. The term ‘Awe-inspiring’ for His Creation does not do it justice! Neither does beautiful, magnificent or breath-taking but you will probably just have to take my word for it, for now 🙂 )

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  23. Someone ( was it Debs?) said ALL Scripture is True, or words to that effect – Does that ALL include some which is not in the Bible as it stands today? –

    Love, is God sovereign or not? Do you think He allowed what is in the Bible for a purpose or not? What other text are you referring to? If it has to do with another dead useless god..then no.

    Jason has alot to offer here…I would hate to lose his input because of insults, or belittling….that’s not love, Love

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  24. but to me some of the troubles in the church today and most of the troubles in the world, are because of a departure from the authority of the Bible.

    GG, sure we have lots of troubles today, but no more than yesterday. I used to be part of the crowd that lamented the passing of the ‘good old days’ -mom stayed at home, crime was minmial, TV and movies were wholesome, people were unflinching in their patriotism. Then I came to realize that I was remembering a world that only existed for the priveleged. Ask a black woman if she would like to go back 40 or 50 years and she might have a different perspective.

    So in some ways the world has gotten worse and in some ways it has gotten better. It depends upon where we are standing at the time. Many of the sad things of the past – slavery – racial, religious and sexual discrimination – classism – colonialism – genocide – frivolous and unnecessary wars -they all counted as willing participants those who called themselves Christian. This does not discredit Christianity but it does call into question the idea that nominal Christians, for the most part, have behaved any better than anyone else. I don’t see any evidence of “faithful” Christian cultures historically following any closer to Christ than most of the others.

    When I am suggesting that the authority of the Bible is hypothetical I am just saying that, although you and I may believe it with all our hearts and it may be a foundational pillar of the church, it is a hollow statement for those who do not believe it. From their perspective it is hypothetical – can we prove it? No, we can’t. Only an experiential relationship with God, through Jesus Christ can accomplish this.

    If Christians so readily agree upon the innerrancy and infallibility and the authority of the Bible then why do we have so many different religions (called denominations) that are split over the precise interpretations of the book? Some of these splits are over very profound and fundamental and essential issues. To then deny the hypothetical qualites of this book to others is to invite incredulity if not cynicism.

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  25. “When I am suggesting that the authority of the Bible is hypothetical I am just saying that, although you and I may believe it with all our hearts and it may be a foundational pillar of the church, it is a hollow statement for those who do not believe it. From their perspective it is hypothetical – can we prove it? No, we can’t. Only an experiential relationship with God, through Jesus Christ can accomplish this.”

    This I understand. I’m not really talking about everything else going on in the world…I was specifically speaking of the Bible. If you were answering from an unbeliever side, I didn’t understand that and apologize. It sounded like your position.

    I beleive that there are so many denominations because man feels like they need to have some kind of authority or control (legalism) to be legit. That’s why I attend a non-denominational church. God is non-denominational, (I hope we agree on that) so why shouldn’t we?

    People believed in the early Church that the Bible is the Word of God. Not that is “contains” the Word of God, but that it is the word of God. Then the reformers believed not only that the Bible contained the revelation of God’s truth to men, but that God guarded the truth by controlling the men who wrote it by the Holy Spirit, and that He kept them from mistakes and anything that was wrong. That is the early church position and the minute we abandon it we have already started on the road back to one false authority.

    The world talks about it’s advance, in knowledge, its science, and so on, but actually we are going around in cycles, and pretty much back where Christians were 400 years ago. It seems we are having to fight again. It’s either the Bible, or the “authority or Rome, and its traditions”.

    I’m really concerned about this, not just because of the Church in general but because of a personal stand. How can we fight the devil? How can we know how we are suppose to live? How can we answer things we hear, theings we read and so on???? WHere do I find this truth that I have to arm myself with if I can’t find it in the Bible? Either I’m on the Rock or the sand…I have to choose the Rock.

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  26. Debs – i hope i can ease your ‘concerns with what Christian and I have said before – Actually Christian is perfectly capable of defending his own understandings and i won’t pre-suppose to do it for him but maybe this might ‘help’ a little…

    NO-ONE (well not me anyway) is trying to say the Bible is in any way WRONG. Certainly not the Word of God Living and or ‘dead’ (written down and hence ‘fixed’ in ‘stone’ as it were – ever unchanging, growing to meet current ‘need’ What for example does the Bible have to tell us about blogging?)

    You DO get that – right? everyone???

    My big ‘concern and what i keep hinting at it that maybe there is ‘more’ and some of that more holds important understandings that are every bit as true as what is written in the bible about Jesus and about the place of women and the female in His Plan. Women actually outnumber men on this planet – you are the majority ladies. You are very bit as important to God as are men you might intuitively know this but the Bible does not go out of it’s way to make men see the Truth of this. How many books are written by women? – how many by men? What does this ‘tell’ us at a base level?

    We know God is not sexist and would never treat women as second class citizens – but the chuches – or some branches of Christianity certainly do. You know you can’t be trusted to minister to men huh?

    Or do the Muslims have it right? Men cannot be trusted in the presence of women? So women have to cover themsleves so as not to over-excite us poor uncontrolable beasts??

    But i digress.. The point i want all to be clear upon is i am NOT ‘knocking’ the Word of God – Scripture as being unreliable or untrue.

    I have my doubts as to it’s completeness for all mankind and every persepctive man holds within however. if it cannot speak to ALL openly (i.e so we don’t need a doctorate in Hebrew to get His Message in our hearts) is this His doing… or someone ‘elses’?

    I am not knocking those who read hebrew for the ‘accuracy’ i just wonder why it should be necessary if Divine guidance aids the translator’s hands as well as it did those who wrote the original?? Why can’t i read it perfectly well in English, since that is the language i understand best??? Surely He is capable of speaking in more than one tongue?

    As for rock or sand – both are of earth and therefore subject to imperfection. A house built on sand is less likely to be shattered by an earthquake than one whose foundations are locked into the earth’s rock.

    Our foundations must depend upon something ‘unshakeable’ and which will not come crashing down around us. His Living Word for example.

    or in His Love? Wherever a person might find that His Truth is Everywhere around us and spaeks tuo us constantly and unendingly and unerringly.

    We are the ones who err – when we do not listen with ears to hear or see with eyes to see. But use our human ones as the only ‘correct’ source of perception.

    Oh and Debs – if Thomas aka Jason aka Harry Truman is only ever negative to me, as a weak human, i might just respond in kind from time to time. Maybe once i am ‘perfect’ i can do as our Lord does?? Don’t hold your breath though 😉

    Sometimes love struggles through in me.

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  27. ” Where do I find this truth that I have to arm myself with if I can’t find it in the Bible?”

    Of course this truth is found in the bible. But we have to ask ourselves sometimes what we mean when we talk of its total innerancy and infallibility. As well as the idea that the Bible is the sum of all that we need to know (which I personally don’t see as possible). Is this necessarily germaine to truthfulness? Is it necessary for one to take the Bible literally in order to see that it is inerrant or infallible? I think the literal position makes this task even more difficult.

    I belong to a non-denominational church as wrll, one that is fairly ‘liberal’ and ‘progressive’ though I dare say we are much more ‘biblical’ than my prior, more traditional church. But…that is my opinion. We all have one. 10,000 traditions, including the non-denominational ones, that all claim to have an exclusive hold on at least one particular aspect of the truth. And all calling themselves Christians. Well over 10,000 opinions. Which one holds the truth? Only one can, right?

    Even within each denomination and theolgical division of the church there is plenty of disagreement over what that truth is yet all parties are in agreement that the Bible holds this truth. But not everyone seems to completely agree what that truth actually is at all times.

    So perhaps unswavering loyalty to every long held proposition or rigidity in defense of one’s doctrine are not always the best courses of action.

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  28. 10 thousand versions of one Truth and all in perfect agreement??

    – Nah! the only true church is the one i listen to. (that’s a non-literal ‘i’ for identification with/by all out ‘there’ purposes only! The real ‘i’ speaks a lot in this fashion for those who have not picked up that aspect of my writings yet!)

    Isn’t that what we are all (nearly all) are saying
    and believing?

    The rest of ‘you’ (i.e anyone who does not believe in exactly what ‘i’ do – non-literal ‘i’ again folks – seems i have to point this out for those who never understand me correctly) are all going to burn in hell – the Bible tells ‘me’ (n-l again!) so. And it Never lies.

    Do I hear an earthquake coming? Sound of Heavenly Thunder? A Heavenly Host sounding trumpets perchance???

    Probably not – but it is a challenging thought! 😉

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  29. “bodies contian sin and deceive us from Truth a lot of the time,”

    But that’s not what you say, nor is it what gnosticism says. “all the time” is what you say. That this dualistic error that matter or our bodies are somehow inherently sinful is in any way taught from Genesis to Revelation. Not at all. For instance, when Paul talks about the body of death he is speaking of his mental experience in this world, not a natural rebellion. If a faithful distinction is to be established between Paul’s use of “flesh” (sarx) and “pneuma” (spirit), one must consider that Paul also taught the resurrection of the Body as the final state of glorification and that Christ came back in a body. If one is to fall into a gnostic error in saying that flesh is bad and spirit is good, they are ignoring much of the rest of what both Paul and Christ had to say about the body and the resurrection. I know that much of Nag Hammadi spiritualizes this, but that is unfaithful to what the bible teaches in the matter. As the joke goes, there is a reason that it costs so much to get a burial plot on the Mount of Olives because all the Jews want to be first to see the Messiah when he comes. Judaism, and consequently Christ, teach only that a spirit state is an intermediary period prior to a bodlily resurrection. There is nothing at all wrong with our “prisons” as you incorrectly call them.

    “Maybe the Spirit came ‘down’ after the body was cleansed? If Jesus never had sin how could we ever have a true relationship with Him?”

    This is a perfect example of why I think what you teach here needs to be publically scrutinized. The whole first statement is not just speculative, it is prosaic in its lack of biblical moorings. It would not be unreasonable to think that the presupposition underlying it is the same error you make about matter in general. but the second question is most telling.

    2 Cor 5:21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

    The necessary precursor to you asking the question at all is to say that the above is not true. Which is indeed a necessary presuppositional step made within gnoticism. It has to be, otherwise the idea of light contained within a prison, trying to get out cannot rectify the idea of light being bestowed through another’s prison.

    “that we might KNOW it was possible as a human to each find our ‘own’ way (by following Him, believing in Him and doing as He did”

    This is also helpfully illustrative. If we are to look to him alone, then how is it our own way? We are to decrease, but yet how are we to find it? This is another aspect of the considerable incongruity between the inner divinity within gnosticism and the manner in which a life in Christ is unfolded in the bible.

    “Up for it Jason?”

    I don’t even know what you are asking. If it is reference to the paragraph which preceeds this statement, I’m not sure what benefits the person who fancies oneself a Christian to chronically speculate, and be indignant about being bothered to provide biblical support for writing something about the bible. I have said it before, but if it comes from between your ears, I’m not sure how in the world you could presume (and in fact be outraged) that I would think it canonical over what is between my ears. Speculate all you want, just don’t call it Christianity, call it Bobianity.

    “Does God speak to some through other than the ’standard’ works? Or is such impossible?”

    The fact that you ask the question helps to show that you do not have an answer apart from the one you want to have. And more of the maybe questions, wondering incredulously about the possibility or impossibility of it. If you really felt that way about being deceived in the body, wouldn’t you be more skeptical in procurring your theology. Wouldn’t you be concerned about the content of the downloads you receive if it doesn’t match up with the only source of information we have on Jesus at all?

    If hypotheticals are the rage, then what are your limitations in matters of speculation? Do you have any? You may say “love” which would be great, but where do you get that? At that point you may quote the bible, but at that point you are having it both ways, citing it verbatim when you need it to back up what you have already decided to say, and then throwing out rhetoric speculation regarding the veracity of the Bible when you find a passage that doesn’t suit you.

    Which is it going to be?

    “Please understand the difference between the Whole Truth for every reader’s understanding and the Whole Truth which could be encapsulated in just a single word… G O D! Some can be satisfied only by reading the Bible. Other’s like Jason for example could never learn all he needs to learn by never reading any other source of information -even if he qualifies this by claiming Scripture must agree with a reading in order for the reading to not be a lie. (something i am not disputing btw!!!)”

    Of course you are disputing it, Bob. As demonstrated by these two paragraphs, the bent of your argument is that there is other stuff out there, other “truths”, and you just happen to have some of them. But if we start inspecting this hidden knowledge, this subjective “gnosis”, I am quite certain that we will discover that much of it will be found to be dangerously incongruent with Scripture, but if experience means anything in this matter, the incongruities won’t impact your assessment of its truthiness.

    Up for it, “Love”?

    Hi-C,

    Referring back to your comment right after my last one, I don’t really understand the positive/negative distinction you make when you first assert (positively) hypothetical inspiration and then assert (negatively) that God’s authority cannot be proven from them. I don’t understand the flow of the thought. But perhaps think of the fact that, no matter what the black helicopter crowd says, the 27 books of the New Testament rose to the top. In great opposition, fluxuating levels and geography of persecution, doctrinal distinctives, when you look at lists of the books quoted, not lists of the books, but books that are quoted by the Church fathers (many of which are, sorry, Love, pre-Constantine, put the Dan Brown book down, – Constantine had his own ideas regarding canon and Christ which most of the bishops of the time rejected, not the oppresive conspiracy theory you were hoping for), these rise to the top. Certain books rose to the top. In assessing the surprisingly consistent collection of books from which the Church fathers quoted, Arthur Nock, the late professor of Theology from Harvard said, “The most traveled roads in Europe are the best roads…that is why they are the most traveled.” Willian Barclay said, “It is the simple truth to say that the New Testament books became canonical because no one could stop them from doing so,” and the authority of all New Testament textual criticism, Bruce Metzger, makes this analogy in addressing those who say that some cabal of Roman eggheads arbitrarily determined the canon, “If, for example, all the acadamies of the musical world were to unite in declaring Bach and Beethoven to be great musicians, we should reply, ‘Thank you for nothing.’” Each of these early writers ususally has his own one or two books which are not in our current canon, but these are highly inconsistent in a broad sample size of early writers. But not the books we have. These were very consistently represented in the writings of many people from many different schools of thought.

    “And don’t we talk of the early church fathers (and others) being inspired as they met and prayed and argued over what scripture to include in the canon? Is that a hypothetical leap we should be careful of as well?”

    I think the terms need to be defined a bit. For instance, Augustine uses the same latin word for inspiration when he talks about Polycarp and Paul. But the context of the meaning is considerably different, in that, one is speaking for God and one is fired up for God. His contextual applications of this word have greatly different implications. When we talk about inspiration, yes the writers of the NT were inspired, but the writings are God-breathed. Those who quoted canonical books, and those who formulated lists in response to the inclusion of heretical books, which in substance run so far a field from our 27 (The Gospel of Thomas being the least problematic in its theology, which isn’t saying much, because the dualism it expresses is notoriously abiblical and anti-Christian in character) were certainly being inspired in some way, but this cannot have the same force as those who wrote the books, because the opinions and formulations of those outside of the canonical writers are greatly diverse and contradictory, which would not be reflective of the work of the Holy Spirit.

    As well, even Clement’s writings, which some thought should be in the canon, drastically subordinated his own writings to those which he quoted from, saying that his writings were profoundly unworthy of inclusion with these.

    These serious questions being asked have answers, but if your doctrine is gnostic in flavor, then you will come up with much different answers.

    Which moves on to your other statement…

    “If Christians so readily agree upon the innerrancy and infallibility and the authority of the Bible then why do we have so many different religions”

    Firstly, where there is no agreement on inerrancy and infallibility, which you know that there is not, then people see words in the bible and choose to say that they don’t say what they actually say. Luther broke with Calvin because Calvin saw no reason scripturally to say that the elements had some God quality in and of themselves, but rather that the Holy Spirit was greatly active in blessing those who, in Christ confessing good conscience, partook in the ratifying oath of the new Covenant. But Luther, being a good Augustinian, couldn’t bring himself to let go of the hint of transsubstantiation which remained in his theology. One looked to see what the bible said definitively, one looked to the tradition which he had been handed and read his tradition into the passage. I have said it before, but the reason that there are so many denominations is that we can’t stop either putting undue focus on one systematic concept or wishing certain passages away because we don’t like what they say.

    “I don’t see any evidence of “faithful” Christian cultures historically following any closer to Christ than most of the others.”

    That is true, but GG seems to be saying that our current state has to do with people making the second error I noted, which is, relativizing that which doesn’t suit us. The error made in much of the past 1700 centuries was the opposite, holding up one or two passages and forming an entire doctrine around the sample size of one or two unclear passages.

    You answered the question which this statement is begging, “To then deny the hypothetical qualites of this book to others is to invite incredulity if not cynicism.”, with this statement, “can we prove it? No, we can’t. Only an experiential relationship with God, through Jesus Christ can accomplish this.”

    We really can’t be concerned with inviting incredulity. This is the issue of forming our theology around what atheists think, our method of teaching scripture cannot be determined by the incredulousness of those to whom Christ is foolishness and or a stumbling block. To back of from this assertation of God’s word really being God’s word is to firstly deny that it is so, and secondly to demonstrate to the unbeliever that we really don’t believe it is God’s word.

    Love,

    “Certainly not the Word of God Living and or ‘dead’ (written down and hence ‘fixed’ in ’stone’ as it were”

    Yowza.

    “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

    “You DO get that – right? everyone???”

    So, for instance, being a meth-head is ok because the bible doesn’t say anything about it?

    “I have my doubts as to it’s completeness for all mankind and every persepctive man holds within however. if it cannot speak to ALL openly (i.e so we don’t need a doctorate in Hebrew to get His Message in our hearts) is this His doing… or someone ‘elses’?”

    OK, to the second part, previously you addressed what you felt were inaccurate applications of scripture, probably culturally bound. How do you presume that the passages regarding these things are culturally bound? Your intuition? Your inner theologian? Or, perhaps, some anthropologist who has studied these things was able to write on them, explaining as best as they can, what it meant at that time and, paradigmatically (that is broad application, for instance, if it says, don’t steal your neighbor’s bull, it is not, therefore, OK to steal your neighbor’s sheep just because it doesn’t say “sheep”, it means don’t take your neighbor’s stuff) unfolding what the contemporary application might be? Or maybe every time one was to read in the OT, “his nose was hot” one would think that it meant God had a cold or a fever, not that it is a Hebrew idiom for being angry. Love, neither you, nor I, can know some things without someone having studied them. But the basic gospel is clear as day.

    “why it should be necessary if Divine guidance aids the translator’s hands as well as it did those who wrote the original??”

    I’m not sure where you get this.
    “Our foundations must depend upon something ‘unshakeable’ and which will not come crashing down around us. His Living Word for example…or in His Love? Wherever a person might find that His Truth is Everywhere around us and spaeks tuo us constantly and unendingly and unerringly.”
    From where do you get these ideas? Bob, you get them from the bible. So, if I’m understanding your implicit logic, you get the basics from the bible, then you just extrapolate unendingly from there. Mother Earth? What is that? Living Word? Bob, the only thing we know for certain about the Living Word is in the living word.
    As for the second half of this, I would, once again, ask everyone to turn to Romans 1:20-1 to see what the effect of this testimony of creation has upon those who do not believe in Jesus Christ.
    OK lastly, C,
    “Which one holds the truth? Only one can, right? Even within each denomination and theolgical division of the church there is plenty of disagreement over what that truth is yet all parties are in agreement that the Bible holds this truth. But not everyone seems to completely agree what that truth actually is at all times. So perhaps unswavering loyalty to every long held proposition or rigidity in defense of one’s doctrine are not always the best courses of action.”
    I merged these to ask this: How do you find which ideas are closer without examination and defense of them? This statement as a body does nothing for trying to find it, it only questions trying to find it. But how do you assert what should be done or known, if asserting what should be done or known is wrong? People are not at all in agreement that the Bible holds this truth as evidenced by the very sides and directions of this discussion.

    And please, try to avoid the straw man of “unswavering loyalty to every” “truth actually is at all times” kind of stuff. I disagree with conservative Presbyterians regarding paedobaptism, but I know that I can count on them to uphold the reality that Christ’s sacrifice redeemed people. This entire discussion has nothing to do with agreeing on all things, it has to do with agreeing on one thing, that is, there is only one way to know who Christ is and what he did and what it means and that is in God’s word, propositions on a page. The Holy Spirit needs to illumine this truth for us, but it is still the truth in and of itself. No amount of mental download or prickly/fuzzy feelings or thoughts change that, though many try, and thereby establish their own denomination.

    Witness Bob’s last post as evidence of just this.

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  30. Nevertheless, the majority of the church has shown that there is enough disagreeemt over the Bible that it has resulted in this vast splintering? Who, of these denominations, holds the truth? Even among folks who are in essential agreement may cordially disagree over ‘non-essentials’ yet thes differences are enough to deter furhter spiritual community. To say on the one hand that everything in the bile is literally and factually true but that on the other hand my friend over here, another Christian by the way, does not believe in this, this and this and also thinks that I am wrong about that, that and that – this seems to be begging the question.

    Gnostic black helicopters?

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  31. “Nevertheless, the majority of the church has shown that there is enough disagreeemt over the Bible that it has resulted in this vast splintering? Who, of these denominations, holds the truth?”

    “this seems to be begging the question”

    I want you to take this in as friendly a spirit as you can muster: Part of my challenge in dialoguing with you is that I have never gotten the impression that you want an answer,nor that you are interested in pursuing an answer. You do ask alot of questions, which would be fine, if I felt that there were some evidence that you were asking it in anything but spirit of”nobody agrees so let’s just scrap the whole thing”

    I really am trying to not be difficult, believe it or not, but I can’t say that I have ever witnessed any consistent interest in examining texts regarding what the words actually mean. Yes, there is an occasional look at a text, but without exception the text which you attempt to unfold is one which you take to be literally and factually true based on your worldview. Then, when other texts which don’t fit into that worldview are exposed, the sometimes-on-sometimes-off caricature of literalism, fundamentalism, conservatism comes out.

    Chris, do you really want to know what they mean, or are you fine right where you are? Because if you are fine when you are, please stop feigning interest in the meaning of the text. Your hypothetical “to say on the one hand” never, ever actually drags out the one hand about which you speak, you only vaguely cite some person who thinks and teaches some unnamed conservative atrocity.

    The question that is uniformly begged in your inquiries is whether or not you are actually inquiring, or you are just throwing your hands up and hoping that we do it with you.

    Chris, the words mean something. do you really want to know what they mean, or would you rather not know? If not, please stop asking. If so, please start participating in answering your own questions.

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  32. Jason, I could ask the same thing of you. The point of my asking these questions is to point out that they most likely do not always have pat answers. And for every question asked there are two or more seemingly divergent answers that both claim to be the truth.

    You did not answer my questions as they are, but chose instead to question my motives and intentions. This is fine because I am not expecting an answer that satisfies but suggesting that some things written in stone may be more dynamic than many would think. Love, correct me if I’m wrong, but that is how I see much of what you are saying.

    According to Dallas Willard someone once asked Karl Barth what, in all his experience, was the most important thing he had learned. He replied; “Jesus loves me, this I know, because the Bible tells me so.” Good enough for me.

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  33. C,

    First of all, thank you for making my point here in front of everybody.

    Secondly, there is not one person reading this who thinks for one second that I am not willing to go into as much detail as humanly possible to get to the bottom of any passage. And, as evidenced by your citation of the children’s singysong, you have demonstrated that you not only are not interested in answering your own questions, you, when asked to actually answer your own questions, cite childrens’ singsongs.

    Dillard’s quote is really silly. Willard has written more than one Childrens’ singysong on Christianity, right? So he had a little mroe to say than just that ridiculous simplicity, right? As for Barth, have you ever looked at all 14 volumes of Church Dogmatics? If Barth actually said that, his entire life belies it.

    But an oversimplicity stated by a person given to an utter lack of simplicity, cited by a person who’s work testifies to anything but that sort of simplicity, is the sort of response I expected.

    For those who have been paying attention, take note that Christian does demonstrate any desire for answers to his questions, he only dodges his own questions, and gets upset when people expect him to hold up his end of the open-ended bargain.

    I am greatly desiring to dig into his question to any degree he may like and regarding any system or passage he may like.

    But nothing he writes indicates that pursuing an answer to any question of his is his desire. I don’t know what his actual desires are, but, as I have said, words mean something, and his mean “nobody knows so just drop it.”

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  34. Good Morning! Christian, I need to clarify something….there does seem to be alot of question asking without response or scripture reference to back things up. Sorry, but if it’s not in the Word, it doesn’t apply. Now, that being said, what I want to clarify is that I do believe that we can learn from God through different sources, people, revelation, commentary etc., but they need to line up with His word. What bothers me brother with our brother Love, is that what I am getting from “other sources beyond the Bible” he is actually speaking of the teachings of little g gods…I don’t buy it. We serve a very jealous God, and no others will be before Him. I think we are combining two views here…any insight on that would be helpful. It’s hard on cyberspace sometimes.

    Love, I am determined to hang in here with ya til I understand what the heck you’re talking about….as I read through different posts, there are all types of different views rolled into one. Nothing really concrete…

    Maybe it’s just me, but I really am trying to underestand what ya’ll are saying…Jason makes the most sense to me, and I don’t mean that to put down another view C or L, just not understanding yet. So, C could you please give your input on the above statement? Honestly these other people that keep coming up, I’ve heard of but am not well read in. That is probably part of my problem, but again, where is Jesus in all this?

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  35. OK, GG. Fair enough.

    The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
    When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 8: 8-12)

    For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.) This will take place on the day when God will judge men’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares. (Romans 8: 13-16)

    “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
    Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
    The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
    Then Jesus declared, “I who speak to you am he.” (John 4: 19-26)

    Rather than fumble about trying to put across my own imprecise thoughts as to where these scriptures are pointing I would like to share something from someone much more respected than myself.

    “The world does not consist of 100 per cent. Christians and 100 per cent. non-Christians. There are people (a great many of them) who are slowly ceasing to be Christians but who still call themselves by that name: some of them are clergymen. There are other people who are slowly becoming Christians though they do not yet call themselves so. There are people who do not accept the full Christian doctrine about Christ but who are so strongly attracted by Him that they are His in a much deeper sense than they themselves understand. There are people in other religions who are being led by God’s secret influence to concentrate on those parts of their religion which are in agreement with Christianity, and who thus belong to Christ without knowing it. For example, a Buddhist of good will may be led to concentrate more and more on the Buddhist teaching about mercy and to leave in the background (though he might still say he believed) the Buddhist teaching on certain other points. Many of the good Pagans long before Christ’s birth may have been in this position. And always, of course, there are a great many people who are just confused in mind and have a lot of inconsistent beliefs jumbled up together. Consequently, it is not much use trying to make judgments about Christians and non-Christians in the mass. It is some use comparing cats and dogs, or even men and women, in the mass, because there one knows definitely which is which. Also, an animal does not turn (either slowly or suddenly) from a dog into a cat. But when we are comparing Christians in general with non-Christians in general, we are usually not thinking about real people whom we know at all, but only about two vague ideas which we have got from novels and newspapers.”
    C.S. Lewis, “Mere Christianity”

    And yes, I agree with Lewis.

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  36. Arthur Nock was a professor of Pauline Studies at Harvard in the early to middle of the 20th century, one of those guys which was incredibly interested in Christianity as an anthropological study, but not really at all as a religion. Our understanding of how Canon formed and the overlapping characteristics which make a letter distinctly Pauline has been greatly influenced by him. He is one of those rare Harvard professors who believe and profess belief in Jesus. His quote is representative of his monstrous survey of canonical literature over his lifetime and seeing that in many different places, in many different walks of life, though there were a few different books which surfaced in different areas, the same books kept surfacing all over the place. Metzger at Princeton, along with a German husband and wife team named Aland from Tubingen, was the premier textual critic of the 20th century. Text critics, since the late 1870s, have sifted through about 6000 greek manuscripts of various size and inclusion and about another 60,000 manuscripts in coptic, syriac, aramaic and various african dialects, and from this unheard of, unprecedented number of existing manuscripts these people have looked to see which texts had the text with the oldest language, the earliest provenance, the fewest explanatory amendations (Europeans were always adding commentary, whereas the texts from North Africa had little to no explanation in texts that were very puzzling or challenging) and from this incredible body of work we have the current Greek New Testament in two different scholarly editions, both of which build on each other and compete with each other. This is perpetually ongoing, and Tubingen, John Rylands library in England, and Princeton has a small army of eggheads perpetually translating newly found manuscripts. But just to give you a picture of how consistent the current GNT is, even with all those people constantly translating, the actuall text of the GNT hasn’t changed one letter in two editions, about the last 10 years, and these two competing producers of the GNT have exactly the same text.

    This is really unheard of, and has no parallel in any text from any person in history. It dwarfs Shakespeare, Plato, Homer by thousands of times.

    Since Bob’s critique was directed at the veracity of the method of accumulating the canon, I quoted from these guys, in that they say, the same books were popping up all over the place as early as we can determine, was to address Bob’s erroneous extracanonical assertion.

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  37. “For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous”

    Are you saying from this quote that we need to obey the Jewish law to be righteous? For instance, the “will be” of 2:13, if not taken systematically, is in contradiction with Romans 5:1 which says having been justified (declared righteous, they are the same word) by faith, not to mention the fact that any potential realization of those who first do the law and then are justified is impossible in light of Romans 3. I have seen NT Wright flog this passage mercilessly to the obscurance of Romans 3 and Romans 5:1 in order to blur the “declared righteous” line.

    Additionally how can we worship in spirit and truth if truth cannot be attained because of all those poopy head denominations?

    I do appreciate your inclusion of this:

    “into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” “

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  38. No, I think Paul was saying that one shouldn’t take too much assurance by just being Jewish. There is more to this than just knowing the law. We need to obey the law that Paul says is written on all of our hearts – it was written there before we came to God and it is written on on the hearts of the Gentiles and pagans. Since the gentiles and pagans are unaware of Levitical law what could this law be? ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ ; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Taken in light of what Lewis has written I had hoped that would have been pretty clear.

    I don’t have an answer to your second question about the many denominations and the truth. It’s an excellent question. What is the answer?

    And yes, it is a very effective metaphor.

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  39. Hi C, CS Lewis is one of my favorite reads. While he mentions Budhism here, nowhere is likening Him to Christ, but rather comparing behaviors. The whole jist of this passage is plainly that only God knows the heart of man, and outside jestures do not neccesarily mean a saved soul.

    Having faith is one of the most important aspects of a Christ follower, but being a Christ follower means following Christ. I believe God can and will reach whoever He wants, whereever He wants, whenever He wants. I don’t care where you are raised, or what part of the world your in, He will reach you through whatever means neccesary to give you the choice to believe in Him.

    Let’s say I’m a Buddhist. I decide one day that I’m going to go to a “Christian gathering” and the Lord touches my heart. I decide to give it to Him. Now I have a choice, Buddha or Christ…
    Do I serve both? Somehow combine them to one God? Do I follow the teachings of Buddha or Christ? What in your opinion would be the right way to true salvation?

    To worship in Spirit and in Truth means just that. Worship in the Spirit of God and the TRUTH of who He is, which is where the Bible comes in for me. I really can’t think of any situation in life that we may go through that we can’t find the true answer in God’s Word.

    Even tho there seem to be new texts etc found, do you not think God is capable of including those in His Bible if He wanted them in in the first place?

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  40. Your whole first paragraph is great, a verry effective and accurate of NT Wright’s entire “New Perspective” on Paul. What do you think of Wright’s suggestion that Paul is always referring to Jewish Law when he uses the word?

    “And yes, it is a very effective metaphor.”

    for what? A metaphor does draw a picture of something otherwise it has nothing to reference, and making the metaphor at all has no meaning.

    Jesus did say that, right? In the gospels? The defining paradigm for all of scripture?

    I keep typing “meatphor”. Guess I’m hungry.

    “I don’t have an answer to your second question about the many denominations and the truth. It’s an excellent question. What is the answer?”

    Oh, I thought since you cited the passage I thought you felt that it meant something. But actually, the question related to what you and I do, and I only referenced the many denominations because of your previous assertation:

    “Nevertheless, the majority of the church has shown that there is enough disagreeemt over the Bible that it has resulted in this vast splintering? Who, of these denominations, holds the truth?”

    Your understandable puzzlement over the address of the truth seemed to be answered in your wonderful citing of John 4. I thought you were answering your own question, that as Christ expresses what “truth” is (17:17, 18:37) is how we are to know it and worship in it.

    Is that right?

    If that is right, it is probably safe to say that every human and every human institution has it at least partially wrong, because if anyone had it right there would be a lot going on there.

    But if we are to worship in Spirit and truth, but no one has it right, doesn’t that necessitate pursuing the truth, praying for and desiring it desparately, comparing notes and ideas among the faithful, desiring that we come together on it and not that we would obscure it or say that it is just to hard, that we would be faithful in our teachings?

    For instance, in a moment of admirable mostly-honesty, I read on your blog where you correctly indicated that Borg spiritualizes the resurrection, as sort of scholarly Jesus-is-raised-in-our-hearts-and-that’s-enough heresy. Isn’t this a denial of that very truth in which Christ says we are to worship? Isn’t that the sort of teaching that we should be wholeheartedly leaving behind if we are to be faithful to Christ?

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  41. That would be an accurate REFUTATION of NT Wright’s new perspective.

    And I still appreciate what you said. You wouldn’t believe how many big shots feel differently.

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  42. GG;

    Sure, we can’t serve two masters. But, there are times when even as Christians we forget this. Perhaps it’s nothing as obvious as the Buddha or Vishnu. Could be a vice or an obsession. Maybe it’s an over devotion to something that may even appear to be from God – career success, family happiness, even church. Idols tend to crop up everywhere.

    So I think Lewis’ analogy summed it up rather well – a cat does not turn gradually into a dog. A cat is a cat and a dog is a dog. But Christians are little bit tougher to identify. We cannot know what stage of the journey another is on.

    Jason;
    I don’t enough about this ‘new perspective on Paul’ to comment on it and haven’t read Wright’s (or Sanders) to be able comment on on it. Based upon what we just read in Romans it certainly doesn’t seem that Paul always equates the Law with Jewish Law.

    It’s a great metaphor for something really bad that happens to people who are apart from God. Pick up a paper or just look around. But let’s not turn this stone over right now.

    But if we are to worship in Spirit and truth, but no one has it right, doesn’t that necessitate pursuing the truth, praying for and desiring it desparately, comparing notes and ideas among the faithful, desiring that we come together on it and not that we would obscure it or say that it is just to hard, that we would be faithful in our teachings?

    Absolutely, very well put. I agree whole heartedly. And someone like Borg may be very easy to pin the ‘heretical’ label upon, especially by the authorities who are comfortable with the current wisdom. But there may be many others in the church whose ‘heresies’ are not quite so obvious, yet just as dangerous to the Gospel. And when they are identified and called upon it (or perhaps instead they accuse the authorities of heresy) they can always start another denomination.

    Wasn’t Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Moore – weren’t they all heretics?

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  43. “It’s a great metaphor for something really bad that happens to people who are apart from God. Pick up a paper or just look around. But let’s not turn this stone over right now.”

    oh but Jesus talks about this after death as well.

    Nice try. Actually not so nice.

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  44. more questions and a Borg dodge. But I cited a particular heresy, and all you did was name some people without naming their error.

    I named Borg’s, and you seem to pull the tinfoil hat powers that be thing, without saying anything abou tthe Jesus raised in our hearts thing.

    So you agree with Borg, that Christ was not actually raised?

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  45. Sure, we can’t serve two masters. But, there are times when even as Christians we forget this. Perhaps it’s nothing as obvious as the Buddha or Vishnu. Could be a vice or an obsession. Maybe it’s an over devotion to something that may even appear to be from God – career success, family happiness, even church. Idols tend to crop up everywhere.

    Exactly my point, so where do “other sources” beyond His word fit into this when serving God?

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  46. It is scary that you guys can so easily jump to this conclusion. You very easily connect the dots from A to B to some sort of ‘obvious’ Z in your assumption over what someone else believes. But. to answer you question Jason, no I don’t agree with Borg’s take on the physical resurrection at all.

    There are many people and organizations that I don’t agree with but I can still find value in some of the other things that that they say and do. People like Luther, Calvin, Edwards, John Paul II and Marcus Borg. And even you Jason. 😉

    GG – so people who have no access to the written bible have no opportunity to serve the Lord? What of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph? What scripture did they refer to when serving God? Agreed, scripture is extremely useful for training and guidance and we are very blessed to have access to it and should do all we can to share it. But what about Paul talking about God’s law being written on the heart of the pagan? Or written on the heart of the Christian? Those Christians who were part of the institution of slavery, they should have known better. Their reading of scripture supported this institution – their hearts should have told them this reading was wrong. The same thing applies to the church in South Africa that condoned apartheid or the church in the Southern US that supported segregation and racism or the Christians in Nazi Germany who never challenged Hitler etc. etc. All proclaimed to know and follow Christ and they all had easy access to the bible. What went wrong?

    The only source that is important to me is Jesus Christ and I share this tradition with many people. My goal in life (which I fail miserably at) is to ‘put on the mind’ of Christ. To this day one of the most Christian people I have ever met is the Muslim woman who lives next door to me.

    Again, Mr. Lewis said it better than I can.

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  47. C, I am obviously doing a very poor job in communicating here. Of course people who have no Bible can serve the Lord, I would never recomend it tho. People who served the Lord before the Bible were not without the ability to recieve and less than we are…or to understand and obey for that matter. There are alot of areas in the World today where they aren’t even available yet, and God reaveals to man what He wants us to know and understand about Himslef. Regardless of if man has a Bible or not there is a means to receive and understand God’s revelation. In fact two in particular, one being general, and the other special. I can get into those if you like, but it’s really a mute point right now.

    Do you really think that the people who instituted slavery, followed Hitler and used the Bible as their excuse for their behavior were really Christ followers? Sound like a bunch of pompous asses who wanted to condone their actions by using God’s Word tome. Which is part of my point. That’s what happens when start taking our own spin on things. It still goes on today…

    But, a true Christ follower will know the difference as he reads, prays and seeks what the Lord means by His Word. God doesn’t play those kinds of games. He doesn’t cause that kind of confusion, HE is a God of a sound mind.

    I believe that your Muslim neighbor is a great Christian, if she has surrendered her life to Jesus Christ and calls Him Lord.

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  48. Not saying it wasn’t good!

    Interesting discussion shjould be had. There is something that come up here that made me think.

    Some of us here have been Christians all our lives…some for a short time. It would be interesting to know why witnessing of the past(traditional thought…speak the Word of God and hold an alter call) cannot work today.

    God hasn’t changed, nor has the Power of his Word and Spirit, so why can’t it work? Why isn’t it enough, with this culture, to just say…”do you want to know God”?

    And since many of us were saved like this, what does that say of us and our conversion and God’s power working in our life to bring us to Him?

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  49. “You guys seriously hurt my brain with this discussion!”

    I know! I still can’t wrap my around this…

    “GG said “A$$E$”

    😯

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  50. So much to say

    first, C, I have books on my shelf by guys who had no interest in Christ. I would never, ever recommend them to anyone trying to understand who Jesus is or how to be a disciple. That is just irresponsible and poor discipleship.

    Lewis’s statement within his work is so clearly confessional, I don’t for one second understand how you can connect his 100% with propogating the teaching of a spiritual, and not bodily, resurrection. Even in the midst of this 100% statement, Lewis would affirm that teaching a spiritual resurrection is….poppycock. To use Lewis’s words in that manner is greatly dishonoring to his confession, what he taught and his love of the risen Christ.

    As well, if you aren’t using floater questions to change the subject, you cite historical atrocities as a method of getting around what is being addressed. You’re not making a case you’re just changing the subject.

    Lastly, and just to synthesize, you don’t mind affirming the teachings of a person who says that there was no bodily resurrection, and you say that the personnext door to you, who is nicer than me (back to nice!), but (presumably from your labels) rejects Jesus Christ is “more” of a Christian, whatever that means.

    That what you are saying is scary and unfaithful to Christ is a well founded conclusion.

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  51. HiBrent,

    I do bad mouth altar calls, and you know what, I probably over did it in trying to get Christian to somehow understand that conservative Christianity was nothing like the caricature he had in his head.

    If there is proper discipleship, then there is really nothing wrong with it. In fact to finish a sermon or a presentation and not offer to take someone aside and pray with/for them is missing the point.

    Sorry for over speaking. Which is different than over-wording.

    ha

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  52. GG – or course those people who did those things were only nominally Christians. That’s my point (and Lewis’) there are plenty of “Christians” who are no closer to Christ than people of other faiths though they may be deeply ‘into’ the Word. So we should be careful when we emphasize the salvational qualities of Biblical instruction if they are not taught beneath the ever present canopy of Jesus’ call for love, forgiveness, and self-sacrifice. I think that to honor the Golden Rule must enter into our evangelism. We don’t appreciate it when Muslims call us infidels and depraved followers of Satan. They don’t like it either – even if it is the truth (they think the opposite is the truth as well). Of course we can say that we would want someone to be this aggressive with us if it meant the saving of our souls and perhaps with some of us that technique did work, I don’t know. But elements of courtesy and respect for their intelligence, their traditions, their culture – they need to be remembered. I don’t think we are following Christ’s example when we exhort with mere words for the unbeliever to repent of their damnable ways.

    Brent – I agree that the ‘old’ revival meeting altar call paradigm is not that effective – I don’t know how effective it really has been, it’s what? only about a 150 year old tradition. I know plenty of people who have come to the altar but then turn back to their old ways, but I know others who have been profoundly changed. I question the technique because to me the Gospel shows Jesus using a more subtle, less aggressive even a gentler way of attracting his followers. Teaching people to become disciples rather than initiating instant conversions seemed to be his focus.

    Jason, I didn’t intend to connect Lewis and Borg. I brought up Borg long ago in this conversation to address some questions that Love had about the chronology of the Gospel authorship. That being said, Borg does not expressly deny the physical resurrection but he does talk of how he personally focuses on the invasive and pervasive spiritual presence of Jesus in his life that he seems to think many people (including Christians) miss out on because they can’t get their minds around having to accept this miracle first, either because they are too well ‘educated’ or else they have been taught all their lives that this is a big lie of Christians.

    That being said, in his other works, Lewis talks of the mythological symbols, such as the “Corn King”, that God has used speak to pagans. He is not recommending that people start worshiping harvest gods but he can see the value in other traditions and how God uses them to point the way to Christ.

    The person next door to me is nicer than you 😉 but that’s not the one I am talking about. I am talking about the Muslim lady who exemplifies the servant heart of Christ. She is kind,self-sacrificing, forgiving, compassionate and outwardly focused. She was raised in Pakistan as a strict and devout Muslim (not a Sunni fundamentalist)from birth, though she is gradually becoming more “Americanized”. We occasionally speak of Allah and Jesus, who she has much knowledge of his teachings, and I am able to talk to her of how Jesus has changed my life. When I was a ‘conservative’ and much more aggressive Christian I was never able to talk with her about faith. This is back in the days when I had a large cross in my back yard (fully visible to them, they couldn’t miss it, or the point) and every Christmas I would place that same cross trimmed with lights on my front lawn, to remind the hedonistic of what Christmas was all about. (The cross symbolizes something entirely different to the majority of Muslims than it does to us). So if she is ‘rejecting’ Christ she is probably rejecting the distortion that I and others have given her.

    So maybe I am guilty of painting caricatures of conservative Christians. But at one time I was that caricature, and so were many of my friends. Thankfully my conversion is leading me away from that life and even closer to Christ (You’d be surprised how many ‘atheists’ out there on the web are ‘ex-fundamentalist’ [their words] Christians,having thrown the baby out with the bathwater. I haven’t met too ‘liberals’ that have turned their backs on God.)

    I try not to say things like this too often (which is probably why I get accused of not ‘taking a stand’ )and I say this with all due respect, having said the same things in the past that you have said(though not as eruditely) but I think that what you have been saying is “scary and unfaithful and unfaithful to Christ”. I don’t mean this in a retaliatory way – as I said, I have been a bible thumping, revival going, altar calling, tract passing and cross waving soldier for God and I am not suggesting that any one here has gone this far over the top, but I can sympathize, respect and understand what you are saying and how you are saying it. But I don’t agree with it any longer, and haven’t for some time.

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  53. Tam, are you really THAT shocked??? LOL

    Christian, I agree with you on the witnessing tactics. What you are doing with your muslim neighbor sounds effective for her. I have done both. I believe God gives you what you need when you need it, whether it’s aggressive or passive witnessing. It’s crucial that you wait for Him and listen for His instruction. I have a pretty strong personality, so the Lord has placed people around me who don’t play games and get right to the point. My personalitiy can’t handle the song and dance that some have, so those closest to me are strong personalities as well with compassion.

    Others, you look at them wrong and they are broken. It’s really no different than my kids. I have a tenderheart, and a bullhead. We deal with each on their own level. I believe it to be the same way with the Lord. That’s why I don’t discount or say I’m only going to evangelize one way. It’s completely up to Him.

    I hope you don’t feel disrespected in our conversations. I learn alot from you, and never mean to disrespect you in our discussions. 🙂

    I do have one question tho….what did you mean by “nominally Christian”…to me you either are or you aren’t.

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  54. Oh, and B….I’m in total agreement there. There are alot of Christians that read God’s Word and know He never changes, yet seem to think He can’t work under that power today in their lives. It’s very inhibiting in their walk. It’s amazing what happens when we stop putting Him in our little boxes.

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  55. “So we should be careful when we emphasize the salvational qualities of Biblical instruction if they are not taught beneath the ever present canopy of Jesus’ call for love, forgiveness, and self-sacrifice.”

    what?

    I think I agree, but it reads like qualifications for salvation.

    “But at one time I was that caricature,”

    Reading your caricature and walking among some major conservative eggheads, I can confidently say I don’t know what you were, but it isn’t what I see.

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  56. Nominal in that they believed that they were Christians called themselves Christians, others labeled them as as Christians because the ‘outside of the cup’ may have met the current definition of the word (although how slavery etc could have fit into that definition, I don’t know). I was a nominal Christian as a child and a youth because if you had asked me I would have said, “Sure, I’m Catholic”. When I became a ‘born again’ believer (I do feel that I was born again, but that phrase now carry so much other baggage I feel the need to put it into quotes) I stopped considering Catholics to be true Christians. I am beyond that pigeon-holing now.

    If a non believer asked me today if I was a Christian I would most likely respond that I do my best to follow Jesus Christ, who I do believe is the risen son of God. The word “Christian” now has come to mean so many different things both inside and outside of the faith. To clarify; I am not denying Christ – my goal is to identify with him him and not necessarily with some of those who have misrepresented him.

    I am led by both the Bible and my own ability to reason. I don’t rely upon the church authorities with their doctrines and confessions because they often disagree with each other. Jesus alone is my Lord. I can’t equivocate here because it would be dangerous and wrong to go against my conscience. I just continually pray for God to give me guidance.

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  57. Hey guys, I guess what I was getting to is that people fear changing the process as if it will change the message. I believe the process of “evangelism” will ever change due to culture, but the message doesn’t.

    I gues I’m OK with different styles of evangelism if they meet the people where they are. in China right now, people are responding in droves to altar calls that America’s would laugh at and call TBN’ish. Of course it does seem to me like people in China are hungry for something spiritual and Americans are not.

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  58. @C,

    I wrote the last post just before leaving and there was something that bothered me which I put my finger on while driving away.

    Elsewhere you have, when pressed, rightly affirmed that just being nice doesn’t cut it. There is more than just a little bit of the just love people and don’t worry about all that resurrection stuff gospel going around. Which of course is the worst sort of behavioral heresy. Christ died for our sins. Being nice in a modernistic human sense but avoiding, or just not mentioning, the resurrection teaches people that their sins are not that big a deal. The gospel of play nice denies that for which Jesus repeatedly said he came: to suffer, die, and rise for the sins of his people. That’s what he said he came for.

    My challenge in not your last post but the one previous to that is that you seemed to make light of Borg’s panentheistic notable non-denial (but just as loudly non-affirmation) of the physical resurrection and thereby its marginalization and subordination to the pursuit of peoples’ feelings and attitudes about Jesus. This line of thinking avoids what Christ said about himself and what he was here to do. I want to tie this in with you writing the following: “So we should be careful when we emphasize the salvational qualities of Biblical instruction if they are not taught beneath the ever present canopy of Jesus’ call for love, forgiveness, and self-sacrifice.”

    I know probably more than anybody I know the necessity of walking in the Spirit because I have always been instinctually pugilistic to a fault. I’m big and loud and I always got my way or scared people away. There came a time when I no longer liked being that way. I didn’t know why. I was raised Catholic and the burden of an unsaved Catholic is that they have been taught at a lay level that if you were baptized as a child and confess your sins to the priest, you are in good shape. Real change is rarely emphasized. And nor is faith in the risen Christ. The risen Christ is taught, but not emphasized, which is a natural outcropping of the human centered sacramental and salvific activity in the Roman church. Did anyone else see that Pope Benedict is about to begin offering indulgences once again? Nuts. Nothing changes in Rome.

    When I became, somewhat out of nowhere, very displeased with myself, I returned to the bible. And found that transformation was not only possible, it was necessary. But it is possible only through the risen Lord Jesus Christ. Paul goes on quite often that testifying to this is a natural outpouring of the Spirit, that we would proclaim the good news of the risen Lord.

    You see, we aren’t having this conversation if Christ wasn’t killed and isn’t risen. Literally. There is not the slightest room for metaphorizing or spiritualizing it. The following “emphasize the salvational qualities of Biblical instruction if they are not taught beneath the ever present canopy of Jesus’ call for love, forgiveness, and self-sacrifice.” must be, in the mind of any Christian, beneath the crucified risen Christ. Borg proclaims another gospel, the risen Christ, the factual only reason for our hope at all, is absent in his good news. This is why, in the assessment of Borg, Funk, Crossan, etc. nearly the entire gospel of John is a fabrication. It has to be, because what Jesus said about himself dying and rising makes everything else subservient to the dying and rising. And that can’t be in a false gospel in which our activities of “love, forgiveness, and self-sacrifice.” are that which everything else is beneath as you said.

    That is a false gospel. It is behavioralism, more deadly than any taught by Finney or his heirs because it teaches “I do, therefore I am accepted”. This gospel is doing, as opposed to the biblical gospel which is Christ died and rose, I believe it, therefore I do. This, yes, it is, neo-liberation theology leads to the most effective inoculation against the gospel of Jesus Christ, that is, I’m a Christian because I do. This is filthy rags self-righteousness.
    It is worth nothing with out faith in the risen Christ.

    Indeed, as you have said before, many will come to Christ on the day of judgment, thinking that they have done that three gospel prerequisites you listed above. But He will not have known them. The people mentioned in Matt 7:21 are doers. And it did them no good at all.

    And they will exist where the smoke of their torment rises forever and ever.

    This is why teaching a false gospel is to be a curse, because to believe it is a curse.

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  59. Well said. I agree with every single word that you just wrote (with the possible exception of your ultimate conclusion about Borg). Seriously, you have summed up the foundation of my faith. What you just wrote is so important that, at least in my mind, the truth of it trivializes the work of the Jesus Seminar scholars. Good stuff.

    This gospel is doing, as opposed to the biblical gospel which is Christ died and rose, I believe it, therefore I do.” Amen. Anything other than leads to the despair of legalism.

    That being said, and as a mere aside, I think the point that you just made is where Borg breaks with Crossan et al. Even with his different historical take on the Gospels he stressed the necessary, essential and terrible importance of the incarnation, crucifixion and resurrection in the life of any and all believers. He comes to this conclusion in a different way than you or I may have, true, but nevertheless he does make it there eventually.

    Thanks.

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  60. Oh, I didn’t mean to ignore you GG, and Brent. I agreed with both of your points as well. But after realizing that I agreed with Jason I became disoriented, probably from the bump I got on my head where it made contact with the floor.

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  61. Hi all, sorry i left you to continue discussion without me for a while but you seem to have been having ‘fun’ – some more than others but of course fun is not what we are here for – is it??? 😉 )

    I took a sABBAth on Sat away from ‘work’ to spend a little more time with my Father and it felt so good i took most of Sunday ‘off’ too.

    seems some are moving closer ‘together’ – maybe my weblog name is working after all but i am sadsly moving away from my original intention of bringing ALL together – i feel i am ( you are) probably scaring the non-chrisitans away – you are certainly scaring me away – i really don’t like reading so many words when trying to understand the Lord. His message was so simple – so why do we here seem to need to split it up and spell it out in an infinite bombardment of our own words???

    Because we see ‘some’ getting His mesage ‘wrong’ and saying things about Him that are not ‘true’? because they are not the wau we read them in the Bible – because we are not all like J and GG and read hebrew so we don’t truly understand what Jesus said – or Paul? or John? or Matthew??

    Maybe because they all used words and we all read words a little differently due to the way we grew up and either loved them or hated them perhpas?

    I bet this is one of the reasons Jesus did not write anything down that we have recorded in scripture. He knew words would be used in different ways no matter who says them. Actions speak louder ( and more ‘directly’) than words.

    So why do i write them here – or on your blogs??

    Jesus never did and He is my ‘example’.

    Hmmm now THAT is something worth considering!!

    He is my ‘Way’ – he never ‘wrote’ – that i am aware of. so what the hell am i doing writing all this – what are you doing writing all you do for that matter? – is it HELPING??

    and if it is helping WHAT is it helping? You? or your spiritual growth – is all ‘this’ getting you closer to Jesus?

    If it is then don’t stop. – if it isn’t but is adding distress and confusion and leading you to do things that are not moving you ever closer to Him and His Father… i suggest you follow Christ and do what he did – not what someone tells you to do.

    Maybe if more do as he did while on earth a few more might actually get into His Father’s Kingdom.

    Or is that far too simplistic?? (Rhetorical Question there Jace – but don’t let me stop you ‘responding’ with yet more wonderful detraction of my owrds please! 🙂
    I daoubt very much that i can stop completely and folow Him exactly – i love my ‘life’, such as it currently is, FAR too much to do that. I love my friends who i have met here way to much to stop writing and give them up completely.

    And i still think that i can have a role to play in bringing ALL and not just the saved and ‘unsaved’ ‘Christians’ to God and together.

    But i am pretty sure when He comes back it won’t be to blog – loads of people would be doing that ‘for’ Him ( all as imperfectly as each other) so why would he just become one more ‘voice’ in the wilderness?

    So why then would i not try to follow His example ‘here’ more and more ‘perfect’ly?

    Because that is not the way i was raised and a LOT of that lives on in me – that’s why.

    But i AM ‘working’ on it. 🙂

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  62. I know that things can get heated, but there has never been, in my opinion reason to stop talking. I think what we all do together in this blogosphere is beneficial. More than not. We are all as Christian would encourage, “sharpening iron”.

    I do like the image of that phrase, “Iron Sharpens Iron”. It truly means that not one of us is something better or someone more knowledgeable. We are all on equal level when we instruct, lead and teach, because we all have something to offer. We are all iron.

    We have a lot to learn from each other and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. I would love to keep this going on all of our blogs.

    Agreed love…let’s do it in love…

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  63. Love, from you say in your last entry, I am suppose to take you at your word and not question what you say? Apologize for enjoying learning Hebrew and Greek and offering it to help in understanding the Lords scripture?

    I learn a ton of info reading different blogs…and my intention is never to offend..I think I’ve made that pretty clear several times. But I’m not going to go along with everything I read if something in my heart isn’t feeling right or lining up with God’s word.

    If it bothers you that much Love that I don’t agree with everything that is said here…I don’t mind not being here any more and I won’t think any less of anyone. But, I am not one of those bobble head dolls in the back of a car that just goes along with everything. Learning comes from seeking..that’s what I’m doing.

    I guess I am honestly at a point in my walk where I just don’t want the foo foo Christianity anymore. I want to dig deep…experience deep things of the Lord…and if I stand alone, at least I’ll stand.

    It was never meant to belittle or offend.

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  64. Big C – thank you! 🙂

    In Worship – what a lovely i dea – perhaps we could do it better by saying ‘less’? and accepting ‘more’ until we understand the feeling behind waht was actually said and not just picking on a single word or phrase imprefectly chosen or written or understood as ‘slaves’ as we are to our own (mis)understandings of certain things? (yep! – first to put hand up for that one – no need for ‘reminders’ ty all) 🙂

    Debs – it sounds to me in my misunderstanding that you picked up a little ‘offence’ in what i wrote concerning Hebrew and you and J or perhaps in my ‘ignoring’ some of your comments/questions ( already dealt with in e-mail!) I can assure you there was NO ofence intended in the words above or lack of responses.

    I said them merely to point out that while you have VERY good ‘reason’ for your understandings of scripture – mine are not without their merit. Albeit measured to a differing perspective and life to yours. Had i followed your two paths to righteousnes no doubt i would be in total agreeance with you. Clearly i have not and therefore cannot be.

    if this has to mean i have no value and my words cannot be trusted in your and Jason’s eyes and ears i have no problem with that. it saddens me but i can certainly live with it and still follow Him truly.

    I see the truth in Scripture. I see it in His Living Word also – and in the ways of Nature and the Universe’s natural and God-centred laws.

    Sometimes these latter speak His Word far more clearly and more easily understood ways (to me and i suspect many who will find out what Heaven looks like before some who profess to ‘know’ scripture’ do) than i get from smacking my brain around trying to read and fathom stuff in a book – even Divinely inspired stuff. I do not believe God will condemn me for this.

    That is NOT to say we should abandon it or a true learning of the riginal – But Jesus DID come to set us free of the Law – remember?

    Are we being Christian ? or Jew? Debating scripture? Who was the law written For?

    and yes i know perfectly well He did onot come to change a jot or tittle. He DID give us all something else of more importance to pay attention to though – at least that is how i see it anyways! 🙂

    Anyone else see that at all?

    i

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