Let's be reasonable with one another, shall we?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

More Problems with that Video

In order to know what I am talking about in this post, you could take a look, however brief, at the post below this one, entitled "Video Persuasion." This is kind of a "part 2" to that post. It is about a video presentation on 2 Peter 3:9.

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)
All does NOT always mean all. So says the man in the video. But first let's look at what he says regarding the words some, any and ceratin ones.

It seems tis which is the Greek word for some in the above verse is the same as the word for any. So, the Greek might be saying "God is not willing that some men should perish", or "God is not willing that certain ones should perish." I did a little thinking and looking regarding this. If the writer had wanted to say that God was not willing that certain ones should perish, he might have chosen the Greek word ekloge. The word tis doesn't carry a specificity to it, from what I could tell. It might just as well say, "God is not willing that men should perish." His idea regarding any is very weak. I think this teacher has distorted what the apostle Peter was telling his friends.

What I thought was much more interesting was the man's presentation on the word all. The verse says that God wants ALL to come to repentance. The word for all is the Greek word pas. The man in the video tells us that the Greek Lexicon wants us to know that the word pas does not always mean all and even when it is translated world or the whole world it doesn;t include all the people in the world. He gives us some verses to prove this to us. Here they are:

The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, “You see that you are accomplishing nothing. Look, the world has gone after Him!” (John 12:19)

We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one. (1 John 5:19)

Then all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins. (Mark 1:5)

Now, the problem with this reasoning seems obvious to me. The first verse, John 12:19, is using the "whole world" as hyperbole. The pharisees MEANT to say "the whole world" ... absolutely. They meant it to show that a lot of people were involved. They were exaggerating, wouldn't you say? So if I exaggerate when I say I have no money, does that mean that the homeless guy on the corner does not really mean it when he says he has no money?

In 1 John, John is saying that the totality of people who are not of God are under the sway of the wicked one. I don't see a problem with that statement from John. I think he means what he says there.


In Mark 1:5, Mark is using the word all, casually, as a narrative device, to say that a lot of poeple were being baptized. This is allowed in a narrative. It is common. We use figures of speech even today. We exaggerate.

I believe there is a difference between a quote from the Pharisees or a casual narrative and doctrinal teaching from Peter, John and Paul in the NT. When men are referred to and there is not an descriptive clause that specifies a certain group, like "all of those who believe" or "all Jewish men" or "all who call upon the name of the Lord" then it seems clear the writer means to say all men.

Now, to insist that because in the first and third instances above, the writers didn't really mean "the totality of mankind" when they used the words all and world ... to then cast doubt on whether Peter is meaning all when he says all ... is suspect. Peter is not using hyperbole. He simply says God is not willing that men should perish, but that all should come to repentance. Why would Peter mean something other than all? Furthermore, if he meant to say that God is willing that few should come to repentance, or even that many should come, he could have chosen one of the Greek words that specifically mean few or many: oligos (few) or polus (many). The man in the video says that some people are hoping to mistranslate the verse, but I have yet to locate a translation that words the verse the way he does. (I think he meant to say "interpret" rather than "translate"?) A plain and normal hermenuetic renders the word all as all and apparently a plain and normal translation renders the word pas as all in this verse.

All means all in the following verses, wouldn't we agree? (It is the same Greek word pas)
...even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God... (Romans 3:22, 23)

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned ... (Romans 5:12)

All wrongdoing is sin ... (1 John 5:17)


Would the above uses of pas be just talking about certain men or ceratin sins? Of course not. It is talking about all men and all sin.

Finally, in regards to this video presentation, I think it was quite interesting that the teacher went about to prove that the word pas does not mean all in the 1 Peter 3:9, that he was disssecting and re-translating, but then ... the video is ended by quoting some more great verses that employ the word pas or all. I am certain that the teacher does believe the words in the following verses indeed mean all of those it regards.

All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. (John 6:37)

My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. (John 10:29)

And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. (John 17:10)
I want to end by pointing out that the word whoever in the following verse is also the word pas ... the same as the word for all. Thank God, or else only some of us or many of us who believe in Him would have everlasting life. Language means something.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

49 Comments:

  • Well done for taking such time over this.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 4/25/2007 10:56 AM  

  • Hey DF, I will still changing it around a lot when you made that comment. You came over right away!
    Thanks for reading. It was a good and profitable study for me.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/25/2007 11:12 AM  

  • Rose: I enjoyed your post and desire to think these things out. If, as you say, the "all" may be regulated by something in the verse e.g. "all of those who believe" or "all Jewish men" or "all who call upon the name of the Lord" then the 2 Peter 3:9 may well provide that descriptive clause that specifies a certain group i.e. "longsuffering usward, not willing that any should perish" Again, it all hinges on the "us" and more fundamentally, how specific the "not willing that we should perish" is. You are reaching an either/or situation here. That all men, without exception, should come to repentance is accepted by Reformed and non Reformed alike. This may be proved from other portions of Scripture. That God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked is also plain and extends to all men without exception. If His will in 2 Peter 3:9 takes on the force of a decree and is not merely passive but active and actually does something to ensure the salvation of those within the same decree, then the "all" cannot be true of *all men without exception.* Does God decree something and it not come to pass? Or has He merely decreed to make salvation possible, but left the rest to man's freewill? Did Christ die *merely* to make salvation possible or to actually procure it and make it sure?

    By Blogger goodnightsafehome, at 4/25/2007 12:00 PM  

  • Rose - The video does highlight that "us" in 2 Peter 3:9 refers to the elect, and it even competently (albeit somewhat stridently) shows that here especially, the ambiguity inherent in translating the text gives rise to some unfortunate interpretations. The point I got from the video was not that these words must be translated "certain ones" etc. - but rather that we understand that when we translate them into English they cannot insist upon an absolute inclusive meaning based upon the Greek, and if anything, that the Greek gives us far more room to understand the text than the common, Arminian interpretation.

    Notwithstanding, while I do study Greek, and feel confident enough for my own understanding, I would consider it somewhat of a folly on my part to make any sort of case from the Greek. I leave that to those who are qualified.

    But knowing how to read in English, I feel I am qualified enough to point out the context of the passage in question.

    Recall that certain scoffers were mocking the idea that Christ was going to return, suggesting that all things were continuing as they always had, and that since this was the case there was no indication (and therefore no credible reason to presume) that Christ was ever coming back. What Paul writes here is tied to that, directed at that, and if it isn't understood as addressing this, it can be woefully misconstrued - so we must keep that in our thinking as we examine what is said.

    It shouldn't require stating, because it is obvious from the context - but I like to be ham fisted sometimes: Paul's remark in verse 9 is clearly meant as an encouragement against this kind of scoffing.

    How does Paul encourage the reader against this scoffing? He reminds the reader that Christ's delay is not on account of some slackness on God's part, but rather that the delay is founded upon a very, very specific patience - a patience directed at the elect, as the video shows well enough, and I don't think anyone would soberly refute.

    Christ hasn't returned yet, Paul says, because He is not willing for any of those (whom He is patiently waiting for) to perish. That is the reason for the delay - not slackness, but patience directed at waiting for all of God's elect.

    Now, if we insist that God is not waiting for the elect, but in fact is waiting for everyone - as you seem to be implying ("all means all?") then we have a rather troubling interpretation indeed, for if we insist "all means all" here, then we must admit that Christ cannot return so long as there are sinners in the world - and frankly, I wouldn't find that very encouraging.

    But what Paul was saying -is- encouraging - The reason Christ hasn't returned is because the elect have not all been saved. When the last elect sinner comes to Christ, Christ will return. Amen? Amen.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 4/25/2007 12:45 PM  

  • Daniel,
    Is that really what Paul is saying? I don't think so. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/25/2007 12:51 PM  

  • Interesting avatar, BTW.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/25/2007 12:52 PM  

  • Rose,

    The word "perish" should not be a victim of illegitimate transfer. Because the word is used by John a small handful of times as eternal damnation, it does not suggest that each time that word is used it refers to damnation. It is interesting to note that not even John uses that word exclusively for damnation either, but uses it in its normal, everyday usages (ex: John 6:12, "lost"; 6:27 "perishes"; 11:50 "perish"; 18:14 "die").

    The Greek word used is appolumi, used about 92 times in the Greek New Testament.

    All but a very few of those instances it is talking about:

    something lost or the concept of losing
    something destroyed
    loss of temporal life

    Of those few, they are all found in John's gospel who uses the word in a nuanced/technical way.

    The first century usage of this word, besides a very small usage in the New Testament, is overwhelmingly in support of a mere temporal: losing, destruction, or death.

    It is interesting to note, Rose, that Peter uses the same word only 3 verses prior to the verse you are examining describing temporal destruction of the world: the life on it and its earthly objects:

    2 Peter 3:4-7
    5 For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, 6 by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water.
    NKJV

    Because of the wickedness of the world at the time of Noah, God judged the world with a temporal calamity. If the world at that time would have repented, God would have relented and not performed the calamity (see Jonah).

    Peter is discussing Christ's Second Coming at the great and terrible Day of the Lord (see verse 10, "But the Day of the Lord will come a theif in the night..."

    The Day of the Lord begins at the rapture and continues through the tribulation period where the world will experience temporal calamities comparable to the Noahic flood.

    Peter's point is that God is not willing that men and women perish because of His temporal indignation and wrath against sin. He would rather they repent and live.

    It would be wise of you to consider all available perspectives on this verse before you continue to preach that this verse has soteriological significance.

    It would in effect say, while there is a perspective that has evidence for it, I will continue on this road because, boy, it really preaches!

    Read those two articles on these verses and see if they don't have anything that would persuade you.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 4/25/2007 1:10 PM  

  • For those of you who do not know where I am referencing, here are the links again:

    2 Peter 3:8

    2 Peter 3:9

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 4/25/2007 1:14 PM  

  • Hi Rose,
    Good job.
    This is in agreement with my infralapsarian perception. It's a good thing too, or I would have to make the text say what it does not mean in order to fit it in with my own philosophical standpoint.

    Thanks for posting all of this.


    John

    By Blogger J. Wendell, at 4/25/2007 1:26 PM  

  • Rose,

    I said:
    ---------
    It would be wise of you to consider all available perspectives on this verse before you continue to preach that this verse has soteriological significance.

    It would in effect say, while there is a perspective that has evidence for it, I will continue on this road because, boy, it really preaches!
    ---------
    The last statement was less than polite, and for this I apologize. You are reasoning, you are the Reasoner, and you are working this through.

    Carry on in your Reasonable fashion,

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 4/25/2007 1:29 PM  

  • Hi Antonio,
    I am always glad for your visits.
    you continue to preach that this verse has soteriological significance.
    Really, that is not the point of my posts. Have I really said that it has soteriological significance? It may have, it may have not. I always thought it did, but I am open to look into your posts, of course. The main point I ma trying to make is a critique of this video teaching and that the word "all" in the verse means "all" and that "any men" probably means "any men." My goal was simply that.

    I wasn't offended, though, brother. Your comments are always welcome and if you didn't get fired up, I wouldn't recognize you. ;~)

    Thanks for saying that I am reasonable. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/25/2007 1:40 PM  

  • Rose writes:
    ---------
    The main point I ma trying to make is a critique of this video teaching and that the word "all" in the verse means "all" and that "any men" probably means "any men." My goal was simply that.
    ----------
    I would say that if this was your main point, you have done so, brilliantly and it would be hard for the Traditionalists to kick against the goads.

    By Blogger Antonio, at 4/25/2007 2:22 PM  

  • Rose, are you saying that you do not see in the text what I have expained, or are you saying that you see what I have explained but think I am mistaken in my explanation?

    Allow me to reiterate in summary, perhaps I was unclear?

    I said that Paul was being encouraging when he gave the reason for why things continue on as they always had - and that verse nine was linked to that reason - things continued the way they had not because God was slack, but because God was patiently waiting for some group to be saved.

    Is this the part that you "don't think so" about?

    I wanted to show the implications of messing up this understanding, by showting that if the group for which Christ tarries is in fact the elect - then the encouragement is that God is not slack, he is waitin for all the elect. If the group for which Christ delays is "all mankind" - then Christ cannot return as long as there are sinners in the world.

    When I read that, and ask myself which of these two scenarios is more encouraging, I am forced to admit, the former is more encouraging, for what is so encouraging (or even necessary) about saying Christ return after the last sinner finally dies...

    Please share with me what it is that you disagree with? Perhaps I missed something?

    By Blogger Daniel, at 4/25/2007 5:57 PM  

  • Daniel, take a goooood loooong look at which word Rose put in bold.

    Then take a gooooood loooooong look at the name of the biblical book in which the verse being discussed appears.

    Then take a gooooood loooooong look at the comments you have written and what name keeps being used

    ;) See it now? ;) hehe

    By Anonymous Steve Sensenig, at 4/25/2007 11:27 PM  

  • great job, Rose!

    My point in the other post when bring up what you noticed about the word 'all' also in his proving scriptures of the elect at the end of the video is this:

    If "all" can be strained out to actually not mean all is his 2 Peter "interpretation" then any arminian could take this same logic when context isn't clear and "interpret" the passage 'all who come to me I will never cast out' into; he doesn't really mean all but all those who will persevere he will not cast out.

    But really a Calvist, like Mr. Keilar must strain out all also in this passage. Because if someone says he has come to Jesus for everlasting life and does not persevere then Jesus could not have really mean't 'all' because all who come WILL persevere according to those who hold the fifth point or the P to be true doctrine.

    It all boils down to injecting a preconceived system of theology(learned from dead men passed down especially over the last 500 years) to destroying clear passages in order to satisfy sinful mans mindbending wisdom of knowing exactly how a sovereign God "must" be or act.

    If you watch more of this mans "word pictures" you will notice he uses quotes from men more than Spirit inspired scripture to argue his theology. That is ALWAYS a red flag for me.

    By Blogger Kris, at 4/26/2007 2:43 AM  

  • One more thing, Rose. Just for humours sake:

    Is Cephas a greek word for Paul or are the words Peter and Paul interchangable
    ? :)

    By Blogger Kris, at 4/26/2007 2:49 AM  

  • Rose,

    I really like your post challenging the Calvinist claim that words don’t mean what they mean. If that is true , we all might as well toss the black book with the golden gilding.

    The “all does NOT always mean all” statement of the man in the video reminds me of a letter I wrote a pastor not too long ago:

    “Calvinism 101”:

    If the word is many, then the meaning is few;
    If the word is whosoever, then it must mean only the elect;
    If the word is world, then it can’t mean everyone;
    And if the word is all, then all doesn't mean all at all!

    During his Grand Jury testimony, regarding the Lewinsky affair…

    http://popularapostasy.blogspot.com/2007/03/natural-ordinary-commonsense-meaning-of.html


    Christian

    By Blogger Christian, at 4/26/2007 3:12 AM  

  • Steve - I see it! Thanks.

    What is funnier, is that I sometimes make that same mistake while preaching. People will be mumbling "Peeeteeeeerrrrr" really quietly until I get it.

    This is a tangent, but it reminds me of one of our university professors here in town, a bespectacled forgetful fellow who was as kind as you can imagine. He used to always take the bus to the university but one particular day he took his car. Just where he normally caught his bus there was an elderly lady having difficulty crossing the street (it is a large street there), so he hopped out of his car, and though it took a while, he got her to the other side of the street - just as his normal bus came. He had to run to catch it... leaving his car running there...

    Anyway - thanks your collective patience readers, and especially Rose.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 4/26/2007 6:23 AM  

  • Kris said Is Cephas a greek word for Paul or are the words Peter and Paul interchangable

    The Greek word for Paul is paulos (pronounced: pow-loss), Cephas is actually the transliterated Aramaic word for a small stone or pebble - it was the nickname that Christ gave to Simon, who was otherwise known as Peter.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 4/26/2007 6:32 AM  

  • Those 19 comments showed up fast.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 4/26/2007 10:29 AM  

  • DF,
    Is that the most profound thing you have to say? Must I write something disagreeable in order to get many words from you? Hmmm ... maybe I should post about how wrong infant baptism is or how one must believe that Christ provides eternal life to them personally or else they don't have faith for themselves ... or maybe why the pre-tribulation rapture really will happen.
    You've got me thinking now. ;~)

    Goodnightsafehome,
    Howdy! I think you just gave me a quote for my side bar. There ... you've gone and done it now!
    I think you spend too much time dwelling on the "decree" aspect of God's will. Could it be?
    What if God decreed to let us respond to His grace freely, knowing that many would and some would not. Or ... knowing that some would and many would not. Or ... knowing that all would and all would not. (Now I just don't know what words to use anymore: many, some, or all. Maybe "certain ones." teehee
    Glad to have you on my blog!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/26/2007 12:57 PM  

  • Thanks, J. Wendell for your visit and comment. :~)

    Daniel,
    I had a real belly laugh reading through these comments this morning. That was fun!

    Allow me to reiterate in summary, perhaps I was unclear?

    Is this the part that you "don't think so" about?


    I am sorry, I don't mean to tease you, but I got such a kick out of that! I just loved your story about the bespectacled professor. I can't wait to tell that to my oldest son when he gets home.
    I have to re-read your original comment again to think through it. I have been bogged down for these last hours. I will come back to it. Thanks so much for visiting and for the chuckle. :~)

    Steve and Kris, you guys made me laugh today as well. These kinds of things make blogging fun.
    Kris, that ia a red flag indeed.

    Christian,
    Thanks for the link! "It depends on what the meaning of is is."
    An infamous quote for sure!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/26/2007 1:08 PM  

  • Hi Rose:

    *I think you spend too much time dwelling on the "decree" aspect of God's will. Could it be?*

    Not really. At least, no more than you spend on Calvinism. In fact less, because I don't have a website dedicated to it :~)

    The only reason I mention the decree here is because it throws light on the texts in hand i.e. 1 Timothy 2:4/2 Peter 3:9. Even CHS mentione dit in 1 Timothy 2:4

    In practical terms, I stick to the promises of God which offer salvation to the *whosoever will* I hope you do take up the decree aspect of it though. What God foreknows as fact must be certain. It cannot be contingent otherwise you limit the foreknowledge of God and you'll end up in the arms of the Open Theists, who are Arminians gone daft. Think it through logically and Scripturally, and you'll be redesigning your blog heading :~)

    By Blogger goodnightsafehome, at 4/26/2007 1:56 PM  

  • Rose,

    you're right decrees are not in the Bible, they are the result of integrating Stoic, Aristotelian metaphysics with Scripture. Rejecting decrees does not lead to open theism, your reader should do a bit of reading on Colin Gunton's trinitarianism.

    By Blogger Bobby Grow, at 4/26/2007 4:55 PM  

  • It cannot be contingent otherwise you limit the foreknowledge of God

    Foreknowledge defined as what? A linear relationship between that which God knows "eternally" and those events which attain existence in reality? The category of foreknowledge is ultimately misleading, for one must impose a curiously anthropocentric epistemology upon the divine consciousness in order to maintain philosophical consistency.

    Therefore, I would suggest that the category of foreknowledge be jettisoned as a propositionally asserted attribute of the Godhead, and rather that it be used only with the caveat that it is ultimately inapplicable to the eternity of the divine nature and ontology.

    and you'll end up in the arms of the Open Theists, who are Arminians gone daft. Think it through logically and Scripturally, and you'll be redesigning your blog heading :~)

    LoL, little do you realize that Open Theists and Reformed thinkers are identical in philosophical perspective, sans the ultimate conclusion regarding the definition of "future". Each presumes that God's foreknowledge must causally (a curious category for speaking of the eternal) efficacious in bringing events in creation to attainment. The only difference is that the OT's presume that the future is not possessive of existence, thereby not qualifying as an object of knowledge, human or otherwise.

    Therefore, you should temper your tone regarding OT's as they are, in all honest, the blood brothers of your philosophical persuasion.

    By Blogger Exist~Dissolve, at 4/27/2007 12:44 AM  

  • sorry....Hey Rose!!!

    By Blogger Exist~Dissolve, at 4/27/2007 12:45 AM  

  • your reader should do a bit of reading on Colin Gunton's trinitarianism.

    Agreed!

    By Blogger Exist~Dissolve, at 4/27/2007 12:46 AM  

  • Hi Rose- how are you?

    I was going to comment about how 'all' used in different places, as understood by this video, would be completely antithetical to reformed thought's underlying theology, but you beat me to it.

    One thing about the linguistic studies that are being employed by this video- I'm not sure its even appropriate to delve into the level of semantic study that is done. Let me explain.

    As far as theological literature of the Christian faith goes, the scriptures are pretty base level- kind of like theology 101 compared to a doctoral level course. That is, none of the writings of the scriptures are a systematic presentation of any doctrinal stance.

    Secondly, the language of the scriptures, both theologically and even literarily, does not carry the precision found in either the classical greek of its time or of the language employed by the church during its later conciliar determinations and formulations.

    As far as 2 Peter goes, greek scholars, as far as I'm aware, feel that it's grammatical and literary precision leaves much to be
    desired, and of all the books in the NT is, from a literary point of view, the poorest.

    Thus, I think to try and engage in the kind of exegetical exercise as is done in the video is, to some extent, inappropriate, since the writer of 2 Peter did not pretend to write with any linguistic precision.

    For instance, when most of us write letters to others, we are not engaging in the kind of linguistic precision that we often assume of 2 Peter. Rather, we use words in meanings and contexts more freely than what they might actually or literally mean.

    The writer of 2 Peter could certainly be freer with the use of pas than Paul or John. The quotation in reference to Strong's understanding of how 'pas' is used seems to feel that all of the writings of the NT are on the same literary level, which is not true.

    I suppose certain views of inspiration would believe that God encoded every single word with a precise meaning, but I don't believe this to be the case.

    By Blogger Deviant Monk, at 4/27/2007 12:21 PM  

  • If we believe the scriptures are inspired, God breathed, all of them, and we start with the a priori assumption that God is an excellent communicator then it follows that the scriptures are intricately "designed" and very intentional in every word and clause chosen.

    Both inter and intra textuality as well as speech-act-theory attest to the fact that the scriptures are very sophisticated. Not only that, but anyone who has studied koine/classical Greek realizes that II Pet. whether or not rough or complex, grammatically, reflects both literary and doctrinal genius (if not it would not have met the standards of canoncity--i.e. the prophetic principle).

    I suppose Deviant Monk would assume Jesus wasn't really all that complex or sophisticated merely because ". . . He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Is. 53:2b-3

    All Deviant Monk's perspective reveals is that he has bought into higher critical form critical models that flow epistemologically from the rationalism of the enlightenment. He is appears to be a magesterium unto himself, in his comment, when in fact we all have been called to approach God's Word ministerially (e.g. under it, not over it).

    Let me leave you with this Word from Yahweh:

    ". . . This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word." Is. 66:2

    --Bobby

    P.S. I'm hoping the analogy between the incarnation and the scriptures aren't lost on DM.

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at 4/27/2007 3:09 PM  

  • If we believe the scriptures are inspired, God breathed, all of them, and we start with the a priori assumption that God is an excellent communicator then it follows that the scriptures are intricately "designed" and very intentional in every word and clause chosen.

    It is interesting that you would accuse DM of "buying" into the assumptions of historical/textual criticism when you supposed rebuttal of his position reveals that you are as guilty of capitulation. After all, the presumptions of the literary nature of the Scriptures which you impose upon the text are precisely those of h/t criticism, only artificially directed toward another conclusion. As with the assumptions of modern views of history and literature which drive h/t cricism, you concomitantly presume that the Scriptures are only meaningful if "every word and phrase" is encoded with a supernatural level of intentionality (how one would objectively determine this is beyond me). The only difference between you and the proponents of h/t criticism, then, is the means towards which you direct the exact same assumptions concerning the meaningfulness of Scriputre in re: its nature and form as literature.

    Both inter and intra textuality as well as speech-act-theory attest to the fact that the scriptures are very sophisticated. Not only that, but anyone who has studied koine/classical Greek realizes that II Pet. whether or not rough or complex, grammatically, reflects both literary and doctrinal genius (if not it would not have met the standards of canoncity--i.e. the prophetic principle).

    "Sophistication" and "theological precision" are not necessarily functionally equivalent. The very act of communication is itself sophisticated, but this bare fact does not mean that every act of communication carries with it an intentional precision of the kind which is often imposed upon the Scriptures because of particular views of its nature as holy literature.

    I suppose Deviant Monk would assume Jesus wasn't really all that complex or sophisticated merely because ". . . He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Is. 53:2b-3

    I'm really not sure what this has to do with anything. Deviant Monk's point was not that the writers of Scripture were idiots--rather, he was merely pointing to the patently obvious fact that interpretive methodologies often impose artificial "consistencies" and precisions upon the literature of Scripture, not because of any inherent, objective equivalent, but rather because of the presupposed value and nature of Scripture through which the interpreters analyze the text.

    DM's example of the letter-form is spot on. One does not expect the same correspondence and precision of word-meaning within a personal, informative letter and a well-developed dissertation which utilizes the utmost of care to be as precise with language as is possible. While word choice in the former is, of course, crucial to the communication of meaning, the very form of the literature comes built-in (or is at least assumed to contain) various devices whereby communication occurs apart from the precise, methodological use of technical language. The latter, on the other hand, operates in an entirely different context and the utilization of devices from the letter-form would actually hinder communication.

    If the strictness and precision of meaning and utilization from the latter were to be expected of the former, the letter-form would be destroyed. However, with its destruction would come the destruction of any possible extraction of meaning, for to lose the literary context in which the letter is written is to obfuscate the meanings which are dependent upon the same.

    All Deviant Monk's perspective reveals is that he has bought into higher critical form critical models that flow epistemologically from the rationalism of the enlightenment. He is appears to be a magesterium unto himself, in his comment, when in fact we all have been called to approach God's Word ministerially (e.g. under it, not over it).

    You have done precisely the same thing by beginning with particular assumptions about the nature and form of Scripture, and then using this artificially created hermeneutic to interpret Scripture. I fail to see how your approach is meaningfully different from DM's, except that you have created for yourself a self-justifying hermeneutical hegemony whereby the findings of your interpretations are secured a priori by the that which you have assumed you will find because of the understanding of the nature of form of Scripture which you have imputed to the texts.

    Let me leave you with this Word from Yahweh:

    ". . . This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word." Is. 66:2


    Um, okay. I hardly see how you have determined that you are the one capable of adjudicating who is the "humble" one in this conversation. Perhaps you have, by the imputations of meaning through which you approach the text, actually done much violence to the text, interpreting that which the original authors never meant. If you would argue that this conclusion is not possible, I would be curious to know the criterion by which you have made that determination.

    By Blogger Exist~Dissolve, at 4/27/2007 10:45 PM  

  • Rose,

    I have regard for those Christian brothers who are wiser than I, but I still feel led to reaffirm “that if words don’t mean what they mean, we all might as well toss the black book with the golden gilding.”


    “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple” (Psalms 19:6).

    “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple” (Psalms 119:130).

    http://theisraelofgod.blogspot.com/2007/02/new-jerusalem.html

    By Blogger Christian, at 4/28/2007 12:46 AM  

  • ED,

    to be honest, I'm not quite sure what you mean by your comment to me . . . can you explain it to me further? What literary clues, and what theory of truth should I follow when endeavoring to get at the meaning of your less than dissertation like comment?

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at 4/28/2007 2:16 PM  

  • "to be honest, I'm not quite sure what you mean by your comment to me . . . can you explain it to me further? What literary clues, and what theory of truth should I follow when endeavoring to get at the meaning of your less than dissertation like comment?"

    (falls off of his chair in hysterical laughter,barely able to contain himself...)

    Quite facetious, Bobby! That was hilarious...point taken though, whatever you meant by it...hmm, what did u mean?

    By Blogger Scribe, at 4/28/2007 6:47 PM  

  • Oops! Hello Rose, please forgive my lack of proper etiquette...(gulp)

    By Blogger Scribe, at 4/28/2007 7:06 PM  

  • Bobby-

    If we believe the scriptures are inspired, God breathed, all of them, and we start with the a priori assumption that God is an excellent communicator then it follows that the scriptures are intricately "designed" and very intentional in every word and clause chosen.

    To begin with, I never said God was a poor communicator. Actually, God's singularly most important self-revelation was through the Incarnation, rather than through the Scriptures, so God's self-communication is primarily founded upon the Son taking on flesh and dwelling among us. The Incarnation of course became the basis of the church, which is the means of the Holy Spirit preserving the truth taught by Christ to the apostles. The Scriptures are then part of the testimony of the church to the reality of God walking among them. So I think if we are going to look at God's self-communication, we need to go beyond simply what is found in the Scriptures.

    Whether or not specific words and clauses are chosen is essentially irrelevant- no language has absolute meaning that can be absolutely expressed. Rather, language is always in flux and intricately mediated by by the communicator and the receiver. We can see in our own experience that even if you know somebody and they know you, even if you speak the same language and share common experiences, communication can still be a challenge. Most of the time, communication can only be effectively realized with lots of feedback. By using feedback meaning can be more effectively expressed because both are able to better articulate their particular understandings.

    In regards to the scriptures, not only are we separated by hundreds of years, distinct cultures, and other such factors, but if we only have the words on the page themselves, we have no feedback to discover if our undersatnding is accurate.

    I'm not trying to say that understanding is impossible- it's just that form of exegesis employed in this video (the very kind I have been trained to employ myself) seems to leave out these extremely important considerations.

    Both inter and intra textuality as well as speech-act-theory attest to the fact that the scriptures are very sophisticated.

    Although E-D already spoke to this, I don't recall saying they weren't 'sophisticated.' I was talking about linguistic precision. If you'll notice, I was comparing the use of language in the scriptures with language used in classical greek and later conciliar determinations. The NT, being written in koine greek, didn't by nature of using the more common form of greek have the precision that could be employed by classical gree. Similarly, the councils of the 4th and 5th centuries employ very exact language to describe the nature of the Incarnation.

    To say that the language of the NT is less precise does not equate to declaring it non-meaningful- it simply is allowing it to be what it is and not trying to impose upon it something that it isn't. To do so would seem to call into question the meaningfulness inherent within the scriptures as God's word apart from their attaining to some arbitrarily imposed standard of what constitutes meaningful literature.

    Not only that, but anyone who has studied koine/classical Greek realizes that II Pet. whether or not rough or complex, grammatically, reflects both literary and doctrinal genius (if not it would not have met the standards of canoncity--i.e. the prophetic principle).

    You are the first writer I have ever seen to describe 2 Peter as reflecting literary genius. Most scholars and books that I have read on this subject feel that the literary value of 2 Peter is among the poorest of the NT. Of course, literary genius is such a subjective area anyway, so I fail to see how it necessarily matters. If literary genius were a qualification for canonicity, then there should be a lot of other books in the scriptures, since there are plenty of writings that reflect more literary genius than 2 Peter.

    As to its doctrinal genius- I suppose one could say this, but there are also a lot of other works in Christian history that carry doctrinal genius. The Shepherd of hermas, for example, was probably accepted originally by more churches than 2 Peter, yet it didn't make it into the canon.

    I suppose Deviant Monk would assume Jesus wasn't really all that complex or sophisticated merely because ". . . He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Is. 53:2b-3

    Again, I didn't say that the scriptures weren't sophisticated or complex. I fail to see, however, how sophistication or complexity make something meaningful or not.

    All Deviant Monk's perspective reveals is that he has bought into higher critical form critical models that flow epistemologically from the rationalism of the enlightenment.

    Whether or not I reflect the models you have described, I am simply trying to be honest about language and the way that it works. You are the one who seems to be determining meaningfulness by the so-called sophistication or precision of a writing, which would seem to apply the categories you have applied to me to yourself.

    He is appears to be a magesterium unto himself, in his comment, when in fact we all have been called to approach God's Word ministerially (e.g. under it, not over it).

    I'm not entirely sure what you mean by this statement. Since I feel that the revelation of God is primarily through the Incarnation, then through the church as witnessed through its tradition and the scriptures, I fail to see how I have made myself my own magisterium. Rather, it would seem that the person who feels that the scriptures are encoded with absolute meaning that can be accessed by them in their exegetical pursuits has created their own magisterium.

    Let me leave you with this Word from Yahweh:

    ". . . This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word." Is. 66:2


    Thank you for the scripture- what exactly is your point in quoting it?

    By Blogger Deviant Monk, at 4/29/2007 8:50 AM  

  • DM,

    I'm not Barthian, as you're view appears to be, relative to revelation.

    I'm well of aware of communication-theory, thank you for the refresher ;).

    I didn't say that the literary genius of II Pet. was what made it canonizable, I said the prophetic principle. Literarily II Pet. is genius, given the reality of intertextuality. You obviously don't hold to the view of inspiration that most evangelicals hold to, thus you have a lesser view of scripture than I . . . that's your perogative (I won't try to persuade you away from that via electronic dialogue).

    Since scripture is literature it has literary clues which allows the interpreter to access the intended meaning. It is made up of narrative, poetry, and discourse, with 7 genres, and many forms. Just see Kevin Vanhoozer and his: "Is There a Meaning In This Text". This will reveal my perspective and answer your assertions.

    Gotta run . ..

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at 4/29/2007 3:16 PM  

  • One more quick point DM:

    Scripture is very very precise, as precise as God's character; not only that but, scripture is precise as discourse lit. is precise, poetry lit. is precise, and narrative lit. is precise. If the church councils were "more" precise than scripture on their pronouncements, then they are no longer precise relative to scripture--but become ambiguous. In other words all the councils did (at least the first five) was codify the precision of scripture via propositions--if they don't reflect the precision of scripture, they are not binding and aren't precise.

    On the magesterium. You seem to imply that "YOU" can discern what "witnesses" bear witness to Christ, including pseudapigraphal lit. "YOU" seem to imply that because scripture didn't use pure syllogistic logic it's less than church council's propositional pronouncements. Irenaeus' and Tertullian's understanding of the regula fidei was that it directly reflected scripture, if not, it was less than scripture.

    Also on communication. You seem to take a pessimistic approach to herm., I'm optimistic given my GOD (he is a good communicator, and designer, i.e. of scripture). Anyway read Vanhoozer.

    One more book recommendation: Christ & The Bible by John W. Wenham. Here's a short snipet from the intro: Thus belief in Christ as the supreme revelation of God leads to belief in scriptural inspiration--of the Old Testament by the direct tetimony of Jesus and of the New Testament by inference from his testimony. The argument here is inductive. At no important point is a conclusion based upon a single passage, but on the concurrent witness of a large number of passages.

    This is different than your view DM, since Wenham elevates scripture to divine inspired status vs. the subsidiary Barthian model you seem to operate from. You should read it, it will knock your socks off . . . which it appears you need a bit of, respectively.

    Bobby

    P.S. Aren't you the guy who's into goddess worship?

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at 4/29/2007 4:13 PM  

  • bobby-

    I'm not Barthian, as you're view appears to be, relative to revelation.

    Ok.

    I'm well of aware of communication-theory, thank you for the refresher ;).

    You are welcome.

    I didn't say that the literary genius of II Pet. was what made it canonizable, I said the prophetic principle. Literarily II Pet. is genius, given the reality of intertextuality.

    I still fail to see why something as subjective as literary genius is even an issue here. There are volumes of literature that have as much literary value as the scriptures. The value of them as sacred literature has little to do with their individual and collective genius or lack thereof.

    You obviously don't hold to the view of inspiration that most evangelicals hold to, thus you have a lesser view of scripture than I . . . that's your perogative (I won't try to persuade you away from that via electronic dialogue).

    I don't see how applying to the scriptures values that don't necessarily apply or aren't necessarily accurate equates to a higher view of scripture. Rather, it seems to betray an otherwise low view of scriptures that would seem to perceive the value and validity of the scriptures apart from their adherence to modernistic criteria as unacceptable.

    Since scripture is literature it has literary clues which allows the interpreter to access the intended meaning. It is made up of narrative, poetry, and discourse, with 7 genres, and many forms.

    My issue hasn't been with trying to interpret the scriptures or not. My original point was that to use certain exegetical methods on certain types of literature isn't necessarily appropriate.

    Scripture is very very precise, as precise as God's character; not only that but, scripture is precise as discourse lit. is precise, poetry lit. is precise, and narrative lit. is precise. If the church councils were "more" precise than scripture on their pronouncements, then they are no longer precise relative to scripture--but become ambiguous. In other words all the councils did (at least the first five) was codify the precision of scripture via propositions--if they don't reflect the precision of scripture, they are not binding and aren't precise.

    So, the codified statements of the councils concerning the Trinity and the nature of Christ, which go into far more precision than the scriptures, aren't binding? Are you saying that the NT is so precise as to define the nature of Christ and the Trinity as the ecumenical councils do? I guess both Nicea and Chalcedon are then ambiguous according to your statement.

    On the magesterium. You seem to imply that "YOU" can discern what "witnesses" bear witness to Christ, including pseudapigraphal lit.

    I don't recall ever saying or implying that.

    "YOU" seem to imply that because scripture didn't use pure syllogistic logic it's less than church council's propositional pronouncements.

    I didn't say or imply that either.

    Irenaeus' and Tertullian's understanding of the regula fidei was that it directly reflected scripture, if not, it was less than scripture.

    I'm not exactly sure what your point is here. Tertullian and Irenaeus do not make the rule of faith subservient to the scriptures but see both as comprising the apostolic tradition. Tertullian sees the rule of faith as being the mediating standard for orthodoxy; that is why his prescription is to no allow the heretics to argue from the scriptures. They have clearly placed themselves outside of the tradition of the church and thus have no claim to the scriptures.

    Also on communication. You seem to take a pessimistic approach to herm., I'm optimistic given my GOD (he is a good communicator, and designer, i.e. of scripture).

    It's not necessarily pessimistic- simply realistic. And I don't see how that is even a valid claim- my beginning point of contact with revelation is through the Incarnation as the ultimate source of God's self-revelation. Such a communication is far more robust than the scriptures alone. Couple that with the tradition of the church and the scriptures and you have a multi-orbed self-disclosure of God to the world. That's hardly pessimistic.

    One more book recommendation: Christ & The Bible by John W. Wenham. Here's a short snipet from the intro: Thus belief in Christ as the supreme revelation of God leads to belief in scriptural inspiration--of the Old Testament by the direct tetimony of Jesus and of the New Testament by inference from his testimony. The argument here is inductive. At no important point is a conclusion based upon a single passage, but on the concurrent witness of a large number of passages.

    This is different than your view DM, since Wenham elevates scripture to divine inspired status vs. the subsidiary Barthian model you seem to operate from. You should read it, it will knock your socks off . . . which it appears you need a bit of, respectively.


    Firstly, I have not denied the divine inspiration of the scriptures. Such a conclusion is either a serious misunderstanding or a deliberate mischaracterization.

    Secondly, subsidiary to what? If by that you mean that a collection of writings is subsidiary to the Eternal Logos, then yes, the scriptures are subsidiary.

    Thirdly, the problem with this passage you have quoted is an unfortunate anachronism in regards to the development and acceptance of the scriptures. The belief that the OT was inspired was already present within the early primarily Jewish Christian community. Otherwise, Jesus' quotations and allusion to it would have been silly.

    It was several decades before most of the NT was even written, let alone widely distributed and assimilated by the church. Yet the tradition handed down from the apostles who had witnessed the self-revelation of God in Christ allowed the church to flourish even in the midst of not having the finalized canon of the scriptures. It was out of this tradition that the scriptures themselves were written. For instance, in several places Paul seems to buttress his writings by appealing to creedal formulations which carry the assumption that there was an inherent authority in them. The church recognized the scriptures as being inspired and authoritative because of their origin in the apostolic teaching, rather than because the scriptures themselves claimed to be divinely inspired. The fact that the church believed it contained the teaching of Christ through the apostolic succession seems to carry with it the a priori assumption that such revelation was divinely inspired.

    P.S. Aren't you the guy who's into goddess worship?

    Only if you choose to believe Gojira's mischaracterization of me.

    By Blogger Deviant Monk, at 4/29/2007 10:05 PM  

  • DM said:

    . . . Are you saying that the NT is so precise as to define the nature of Christ and the Trinity as the ecumenical councils do? I guess both Nicea and Chalcedon are then ambiguous according to your statement.

    No I'm saying that scriptures are authoritative, and if the councils don't reflect the precision (relative to the literary types that scriptures communicate in)that scripture provides on articulating "who" Christ is, or "what" the nature of God is, then they err (I think Chalcedon and Nicea got it right though).

    DM said:

    Secondly, subsidiary to what? If by that you mean that a collection of writings is subsidiary to the Eternal Logos, then yes, the scriptures are subsidiary.

    Ontologically, or epistemologically? I would say, and this is what I meant, that the scriptures are subsidiary to the LOGOS (Jesus) ontologically, but not epistemologically, and that's what we're talking about--at least I am.

    DM said:

    Thirdly, the problem with this passage you have quoted is an unfortunate anachronism in regards to the development and acceptance of the scriptures. . . .

    Not at all. The inductive argument assumes that Jesus is the culmination of the OT, and the basis of authority which was imbued to His Apostles. In other words, the argument is that Jesus assumed the authority of the OT, by fulfilling it, and in the process He affirmed its authority of the past to present into the future (see Luke 11:51).

    DM said:

    . . . For instance, in several places Paul seems to buttress his writings by appealing to creedal formulations which carry the assumption that there was an inherent authority in them. The church recognized the scriptures as being inspired and authoritative because of their origin in the apostolic teaching, rather than because the scriptures themselves claimed to be divinely inspired. The fact that the church believed it contained the teaching of Christ through the apostolic succession seems to carry with it the a priori assumption that such revelation was divinely inspired.

    Actually those creeds didn't become inspired until they were scripturized . . . according to II Tim. 3:16--it wasn't a church council who made this pronouncement, it was the Apostle. Canonicity is implicit to scripture (i.e. it rises out of); not external or derivative to an external body (unless you're Roman Catholic of course).

    How are you thinking of apostolic succession? You're Weselyn aren't you?

    DM said:

    It's not necessarily pessimistic- simply realistic. And I don't see how that is even a valid claim- my beginning point of contact with revelation is through the Incarnation as the ultimate source of God's self-revelation. . . .

    It's not realistic, it's circular, it's petitio principii. You would have no epistemological apprehension of the incarnated Christ (and its significance) prior to the scriptures providing that disclosure. Scripture precedes the WORD (eternal Logos) epistemologically.

    All I have time for now, maybe more response later.

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at 4/30/2007 12:54 AM  

  • Colin Maxwell,
    you said:
    Think it through logically and Scripturally, and you'll be redesigning your blog heading.

    What is in my blog heading that would change even if I were a staunch determinist? I am very curious. I am wondering what you are reading into my blog heading!

    You also said:
    because I don't have a website dedicated to it

    Is that what you think this website is dedicated to? I have posted many things here that are not related to the DOG. Other people in my life are the ones that have brought this into my realm of thought. I am just trying to work through them. Unlike some people, I never got the message of Calvinism "just by reading the Bible." It was well after I read through the Bible the first time that I even heard of the idea of "particular redemption." If I devote a good amount of time to working through that one issue, it is because I hear and read a good deal about it from outside sources. It is continually put before me! But ... my blog is definitely not "dedicated" to it. Shame on you for saying that. ;~)
    fair fay ye? (is that how you say it?)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 5/02/2007 9:51 AM  

  • Bobby,
    Thanks for clearing that up about the decree thing. I though Colin was putting too much emphasis on that when dealing with the easy teaching of this text. I was so hopeful when he said "I enjoyed your post and desire to think these things out." Then, the decrees got in the way. ;~)
    I do appreciate your knowledge of historic thought.

    Exist-dissolve,
    How old are you? What is your avatar? It looks so familiar, but I can't put my finger on the image. (I am asking you about these things because your comment is almost way over my head. I don't have the mental energy right now to comprehend it completely.) Besides, you were talking to goodnightsafehome. :~) So how old are you?

    Hi Monk,
    Do you ever watch the television show called "Monk"? It is one of my favorite shows. It is so funny! I am kind of a monk-like person in that sense of the word, a little obseessive compulsive about clutter and filth, so I really can laugh at the program.
    Now, to your comment.
    I had heard that before, from those who are not of the higher criticism persuasion, those who believe in sola scriptura, that Peter was not the most refined Greek writer. However, that fact doesn't negate the value of looking into each and every word in his epistles. IOW, I think it is profitable to look into each word because I hold to the verbal plenary inspiration of Scripture. You don't, huh? Well, you are still welcome to come here. I won't kick you off my blog, lol. I think you should take a look at verbal plenary inspiration. It is wonderful to know that God has really communicated something to us, something specific and attainable. The Bible is dependable and has all we need for life and godliness. What a blessing to have an assurance that there is somewhere to go for answers, solid answers. If I did not have this, I wonder what assurance I would have of anything! So what if some theologues try to cloud it up by reading all sorts extra things into simple texts?
    Well, live and let live, but I have to tell you how I exist. :~)
    I do appreciate your comment and I did not read into it that you were putting down those of us who believe in ss. Were you?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 5/02/2007 10:09 AM  

  • Christian,
    Thanks for those simple but true sentiments. I appreciate you!

    Scribe,
    That was a close one. You almost got hand-slapped. Don't you have anything to say about the article I wrote? Geesh. I spend some time blogging and neither you nor Bobby say one thing in regard to what I wrote in my original post. Maybe I need to make a new rule, lol!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 5/02/2007 10:13 AM  

  • Bobby,
    See my comment to Scribe above. ;~)
    I know I am way beneath your league academically, but give me some input, will you?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 5/02/2007 10:14 AM  

  • Hi Rose! A wee bit o' the thorn coming out there? ;-) I was actually thinking of your other blog (which, of course, you share) with its proclamation of "Old School Non Calvinism" so my humble Calvinistic apologies :-(

    I enjoy your blog which is why I visit it often. However, as it stands, I see (to quote Mrs Thatcher) "The lady's not for turning!"

    By Blogger goodnightsafehome, at 5/02/2007 2:48 PM  

  • Bobby- sorry for the delay in my response- life has been crazy-busy lately

    No I'm saying that scriptures are authoritative, and if the councils don't reflect the precision (relative to the literary types that scriptures communicate in)that scripture provides on articulating "who" Christ is, or "what" the nature of God is, then they err (I think Chalcedon and Nicea got it right though).

    I would agree that the scriptures are authoritative; I would disagree that they are the only source of authority in the christian faith. Since the orthodox conceptions of the nature of the trinity and christ are historically inexorably based upon the ecumenical councils, to say that you think they got it right is curious, since their legacy and articulation of orthodoxy is the mediating lens through which the scriptures are read re:the trinity and christ's nature.

    Groups such as the JW's can appeal to the scriptures to disprove the trinity or the divinity of christ much like their arian forerunners.

    Ontologically, or epistemologically? I would say, and this is what I meant, that the scriptures are subsidiary to the LOGOS (Jesus) ontologically, but not epistemologically, and that's what we're talking about--at least I am.

    Both. If we are to affirm that Christ's incarnation was at an actual point in history, and that it was apprehended by specific people, then the Incarnation is the epistemological basis of the Christian faith, not the scriptures. The church was founded upon Christ and the testimony of the apostles long before the scriptures were ever written, let alone canonized. The faith is not singularly contained in 2000 year old writings, but is alive in the continuity of the church.

    Actually those creeds didn't become inspired until they were scripturized . . . according to II Tim. 3:16...it wasn't a church council who made this pronouncement, it was the Apostle.

    Ok, let's apply this to the teaching of Jesus. Let's assume even extremely conservatively that the first of the Gospels were written in the mid 50's. That would mean that for the first 20 to 25 years of the church's history nothing that was taught of what Jesus said or did could be considered 'inspired', until the first gospels were written, since that's when they would become inspired.

    You may object that the apostle's had authority to teach and whatever. Fine- then why couldn't the creeds that arose out of the churches they founded (and perhaps passed on these creeds to) and passed succession on to be considered as inspired and/or authoritative as what was actually written down? Paul makes plenty of reference to things he received which he passed on to others- surely he considered this authoritative enough to pass on.

    How are you thinking of apostolic succession? You're Weselyn aren't you?

    I think I have already described my thoughts on it pretty well. No, I'm not Wesleyan, but notwithstanding that, I don't see how bringing up this particular label is of any consequence to the conversation whatsoever.

    It's not realistic, it's circular, it's petitio principii. You would have no epistemological apprehension of the incarnated Christ (and its significance) prior to the scriptures providing that disclosure. Scripture precedes the WORD (eternal Logos) epistemologically.

    If one holds to sola scriptura, then yes, you would be forced to say that the scriptures precede the Word epistemologically. However, if you don't believe the scriptures to be the only authority or witness to Christ, then such a conclusion is unnecessary.

    By Blogger Deviant Monk, at 5/03/2007 10:07 AM  

  • Rose-

    Do you ever watch the television show called "Monk"? It is one of my favorite shows. It is so funny! I am kind of a monk-like person in that sense of the word, a little obseessive compulsive about clutter and filth, so I really can laugh at the program.

    I don't really have a tv, (By that I mean I have one, but it was a gift and is still sitting in its box in the closet) so it makes it hard to watch things. However, I have seen it once. I thought it was funny as well- it took me a while to figure out what his issue was...then once it clicked, it got funnier.

    However, that fact doesn't negate the value of looking into each and every word in his epistles. IOW, I think it is profitable to look into each word because I hold to the verbal plenary inspiration of Scripture.

    I didn't mean to imply that one shouldn't study what words mean- obviously it's necessary given the language and culture and time gap. My point was more that to apply the kind of exegetical tools that I was taught to employ (such as are employed in the video) to 2 Peter can be inappropriate. Hence, my contrast of it's relative lack precision compared to classical greek or later pronouncements by the councils.

    You don't, huh? Well, you are still welcome to come here. I won't kick you off my blog, lol. I think you should take a look at verbal plenary inspiration. It is wonderful to know that God has really communicated something to us, something specific and attainable.

    Thank you for your charity. :-)

    I have looked at it, and IMO, it is difficult to reconcile with the realities of human language. For instance, as this entire video conversation has shown, there is no absolute agreement on exactly what each word of the NT means, or even says. Footnotes of the NT are littered with alternate readings and alternate ways of rendering the same word or phrase. So if God intended each specific word to have an absolute meaning, then it is at the very least inaccessible in its entirety, which, from the verbal plenary standpoint, would seem to call into question the whole.

    Then there is the difference in manuscripts- obviously there is an overwhelming agreement, but if verbal plenary is to be affirmed in its full robustness, even a small discrepancy would seem to be fatal.

    Then, there is the langauge barrier. No matter how well one understands the original languages, there is no possibility of completely translating the complete meaning to another language.

    Lastly, there is the cultural barrier. Langauge doesn't exist in a linguistic vacuum- it is completely wrapped up within its cultural, historical, and at times even geographical context. That doesn't mean the meaning cannot be, to an extent, extracted or somewhat understood, but there are nuances that are going to be lost to us forever. Especially within the NT, since some of the writings are so specific, there are potentially intended meanings that we can never have access to. From a verbal plenary standpoint, this would also seem to be fatal.

    Now, I'm not here to say that the scriptures don't have a meaning, or that all we can have is doubt. I simply trying to be realistic about the way in which langauge works as a communicative method, and to allow that realism to assist my readings of the scriptures.

    If God has encoded each word with an absolute meaning, then it would seem that those words must be absolute irrespective of their admittedly relative contexts, meaning history, culture, etc., or else those words would only have absolute meaning within those contexts, which would be useless for anybody not within those contexts. I would argue that it would useless even for those within the contexts, because absolute meanings are not a part of any linguistic context.


    Meaning is able to transcend its context (history, culture, etc.) precisely because of its relative nature to its context. Since it meaningfully exists because of its relative relation to its world, then it is able to be extrapolated and accessed by those not immediately within its context because it can be relatively applied to theirs as well.

    As I have affirmed many times, I don't believe the scriptures to be the only authoritative stream within the Christian faith. Since the church is a continuity from Christ and the apostles, it is able to transcend the milieu in which it was created and exist within the world as it changes and grows and develops and such, without either being irrelevant or capitulating.

    The Bible is dependable and has all we need for life and godliness.

    I would add that the scriptures exist as part of a stream of Christian faith and tradition which aren't separate in importance or authority.

    I do appreciate your comment and I did not read into it that you were putting down those of us who believe in ss. Were you?

    No, my intent is not to disparage anyone who hold to ss. I used to as well, and I understand the reasoning for doing so. I obviously disagree with it, but my intent is never to put down anybody for it, although I won't hesitate to express my opinion about it. :-)

    Thanks for allowing me to express a contrary opinion. I appreciate that.

    By Blogger Deviant Monk, at 5/03/2007 10:50 AM  

  • Hi Rose! If I stray too far from your post please forgive me and let me know.

    DM I sympathize with the problems you’ve highlighted concerning the use of scripture as the singular source of authority for faith and practice but to consider the Church authoritative in these matters would seem to me at best unreasonable. While scriptural interpretation, or misrepresentation, has certainly been the cause for much division in the body, even when meaning seems vague or completely lost, the veracity of the scripture is largly uncontested whereas throughout history the Church, when attempting to function as a ruling body, has proved itself, not only a dismal failure, but also becomes filled with evil and full of ungodly practices. Even today Churches, or the Church if you will, employ(s) deceit, manipulation, coercion and even torture as the means to maintain control over those who should rightly be subject only to Christ. What reason could there possibly be to grant such authority to any organization that has proved itself so completely inept as a governing authority? Isn't this akin to the error of the Israelites concerning their desire for a king? What prevents us from being subject directly to God and one another being guided only by His Spirit and the teaching of Christ and the Apostles as best we comprehend it?

    By Blogger Kc, at 5/03/2007 3:44 PM  

  • Rose--

    Sorry I missed you post.

    I am 26, and the avatar is of Squall, the main character from Final Fantasy VIII (my favorite video game of all time).

    By Blogger Exist~Dissolve, at 5/05/2007 12:17 AM  

  • Final Fantasy VIII (my favorite video game of all time).

    Gasp!! :0) I thought Final Fantasy 7 was the the quintessence of the Square genre...granted Final Fantasy 8 was an excellent game, I doubt it surpasses the opulent splendor(story wise) of FF7.


    Hello Rose,

    Thanks for rescinding the hand slap. I'm sure Exist would have caught it first given the fact that he made the same mistake :0

    By Blogger Scribe, at 5/11/2007 6:24 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

 

Who Links Here