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« Fundamentalism: A Formidable Enemy | Main | Signs and Wonders »

January 15, 2006

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"Married to the self-autonomy of individualism, today's radical egalitarianism stands as a clever and relentless enemy to the gospel and teachings of Jesus, with its emphasis on self-sacrifice, ministry to the poor and marginalized, and passion for God's kingdom and will above our own."

Seeking autonomy is the original sin. Adam, seeing that the fruit was good for making one wise knowing both good and evil ate it. in a sense, from an Orthodox and Chruch of The East perspective, was tryng to set himself in parity with God by trying to steal his knolege. He sought autonomy and parity with God.

I see the autonomous-individualists as basically fearfull, and also of trying to make a devils-bargain with substituion. They will substitute an ecclessia for alms and good works. But in the end its a rationalization to mix the Worlds message of self love (it used to be called arrogance and egotism), but now its self esteem, with the Gospel.

When you listen to their Gospel, however, it is basically the Socialist Gospel, not the Christian one. I was having lunch with an Episcopal deacon one day. He thought that people should be clothed and fed, but that the Gospel should never be preached. I asked him, "What good will it do to send a man to Hell with new cloths and a full belly?" "How can you, in good conscience, let someone live without Christ?"

I think his kingdom, was the secular socialist one. I cannot immagine life without Christ. "I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, for it is the power of God to those who believe".

Overall, all of the Ecclesia of the Church have to be more respectable and responsible. they must live as good examples and in a matter worthy of their high calling.

The Worldly carnal-Christians are constantly trying to get the Worlds message into the Gospel, wheather that is the feminization of God, heterodoxic blending of hindu/bhuddist/socialist/muslim/whatever teachings or homosexual theology or acceptance of the Worlds philosophies and ideas. It is the job of the Ecclesia and the leadership to keep that out and to constaly affirm what it is that Christians do believe. When the Ecclessia is acting properly then all the accusations will have no merit other than grousing or willful mistrust and irrational disbelieving.

Perhapse the worst part of the hyper-individualists message is that they are preaching autonmouse-disconnectedness. They do not believe in a mystical body inhabitted and empowered by the Holy Spirit. They do not believe in loving your neighbor as yourself or considering yourself less important than others. And they do not see themselves as different than the world. therefore they deny the ressurection and the new creation.

I have a different take on the above post and will have to politely disagree. If agreeing with those above, I would most side with Justin and Ray.

I don't think people today are disgusted over the lives of leaders anymore than than are disappointed over the hypocrisy of christians in general. This in large part led to the emergent movement starting.

I would add my agreement to the idea that people are more interested in our behavior than our beliefs.

And in regards to egalitarianism, it is a balance to the way we have presented our message in the past. We have caused many people to turn away b/c we feel we are better and elite, which the early followers of Christ did not do.

"I don't think people today are disgusted over the lives of leaders anymore than than are disappointed over the hypocrisy of christians in general."

Hypocrisy is always an interesting charge when applied to Christianity. It's a message that says its members will fall short of their ideals and thus need repentance... so holding our ideals against our behavior seems a little dishonest to me.

"But I think we can without reservation make the 'claim' that the Historical Jesus is the Jesus of Faith."

I beg to differ. If anything I think modern criticism has shown us why the Early Fathers did not take a historical viewpoint about their faith. The Christ of History is lost in time, it is the Christ as related by Scriptures that is the ground of Christian reality. The "experience of power" as Origen put it. I agree with Fr. Stan.

"That there is 'proof' if you will that he lived, died and rose again."

Not really. There are certain interesting points, but nothing that I can't dismiss. Physical proof doesn't get us there.

I beg to differ. If anything I think modern criticism I am no longer surprized.

Modern Criticism, Redactionism, Biblical Criticism, Jesus Seminar, neo-orthodoxy etc. Are all signs of the length man will go in his fight against God. The fact that all these things are 'new' i.e. within the last 100 - 200 years in itself makes them suspect. They are not what the church has believed everywhere and at all times. Some would see Barth, Bultman etc as prophets of the new Christian age.

I see them and their 'ilk' as creators of the New Mythology.

I'shalom

Seraphim

Actually the Fathers of the first four centuries rarely if ever took the Scriptures as a historical/biographical account of Christ...

Nobody is saying that we should follow the Jesus Seminar, but we do have to square with facts as they stand. In many ways my view is very "conservative", if by that one means that I try conciously to hold views propogated by the earliest Christian sources.

Luther & co. were the first ones to insist on the historical veracity of the Scriptures as the locus of truth. We only see that as 'traditional' because that's our lineage. Orthodox and CAtholic exegesis has always been intentionally allegorical.

hence why I said after "historical criticism has shown" that what it has shown is "has shown us why the Early Fathers did not take a historical viewpoint about their faith." I even quoted a Christian writer from the 3rd century. Hardly a sellout view unique to the past 100-200 years.

Nor is it fair to my statement to cut it off at a buzz word.

I think there's a problem with splitting Jesus in two. I think we can trace that to a time in history that is longer ago than 150 years- it's just that the problem of splitting Jesus in two really surfaced on the American scene only then.

The people who make up the Jesus Seminar are asking some questions and coming up with answers based on I don't know what- I'm not that educated :) However, two things really caught my attention about NT Wright, when I first became aware of him. The first was that he is not afraid to deal with the questions the JSers are asking, and to use the texts ahd tools they use, and he comes up with entirely orthodox answers! -Seraphim, note the lower case "o" :) The second is that he remains on v. good personal terms with the JSers despite disagreeing so deeply with their conclusions. I found/find both of those things very remarkable.

As to the topic, today's leaders proclaim all kinds of values and virtues. It's not seeing those things lived out that is torquing people. It always has, but before the day of mass technology and service-based economy, only philosophers (educated men) had the time to talk about it; most of the rest of the population was busy surviving, with perhaps some considering how not to be hypocrites in their own contexts. I think we need more attention paid to people who ARE living with integrity, to hear their stories, in order to help us keep on and not lose heart.

Dana

Actually the Fathers of the first four centuries rarely if ever took the Scriptures as a historical/biographical account of Christ...

Like I said, the New Mythology. So the 1st century churches didn't read the Old Testament or pass around the letters of Paul or the Gospels? I don't think so.

I believe in the inspiration and historical accuracy of the Bible.
-Seraphim

P.S. Dana said:

I think we need more attention paid to people who ARE living with integrity, to hear their stories, in order to help us keep on and not lose heart.

Dana Amen!

The exchanges historically and in our time are reflections of men thinking about their relationship by this I do not mean friendship of that concept but the type of heart cry heard in David “what is man that …” who are we why the importance the importance so deep within the being of Yahweh that He limited Himself to a body of His creation with all the inconveniences that God did not at any stretch of the imagination subject Himself to did.

How do we reconcile this “Paradox”? Is it some type of story myth formed to explain what we know around us? Is this “Jesus thing” founded upon cold hard facts determine and inflicted upon the texts written by cultures not confined or defined by our “fact” sets needed to examine “truth”. I think some of that conflict underlies the question posed to Jesus by Pilate. What is truth? Is it facts and figures - is it observation of reality passed to another like morality stories. Is it both can one exist devoid or in opposition to the other?

The Hebrew inquiry took on these questions and realized each angle has validity. They used four “levels” of investigation. The first is the plain reading - the simple literal explicit ; what is there factorial inquiry this set the foundation for or guidance of the following steps of investigation - (I do not have the order or terms before me so I am going from my faulty memory).

The second is hint implied meaning possible deeper or wider application (this helps us to establish conceptual understanding aiding in teaching “truth” to the current living situation).

The third is the search; allegorical - typological this understanding ties together themes and patterns throughout Scripture (this concept supports the Scripture interprets Scripture)

The forth is the hidden; this aspect is much maligned among moderns because it leans and can slip into Gnostic forms of understanding. Most of the teachings and writing I have come into contact with here can reflect end times stuff.

I have said that to say this the slicing up of the root of our faith has brought about the same type of inquiry into Scripture that has developed historically except in this day and time the cultural parameters imposed upon us westerners has caused us to splinter instead of become wiser. We are in conflict here when the natural methods the Rabbis saw as a unit to derive Yahweh’s wisdom we hold against one another.

What does this mean?
Pastor Art

Pastor ARt,

The Early Christian communities used the same methods. In fact, the CAtholic Church has formally enshrined the four-fold potential for textual meaning in their Catechism even today.

Serpahim,
The early Fathers did have letters of Paul and read parts of the Hebrew Scriptures (albeit in Greek), but they did not treat them as a literal history. In fact they insisted that to treat them as literal history made them "myths and fables", and that only Christocentric allegory would render an authentic meaning.

Read Justin Martyr's 'Dialogue with Trypho', Origen's "Contra Celsum" or "Philokalia", especially chapter 15, Irenaeus' "Against Heresies" in particular book 3 (most in particular look how he expounds allegorically on Jonah in 3.20.1-2 and what he says about churches who 'in regards to letters are poor but in regards to doctrine as rich indeed), Clement of Alexandria's "Paedagogus".

If we're going to argue what the early Christians said/thought lets have some context - namely what they wrote.

In terms of Pauline letters, they don't have a literal or obvious reading. It depends entirely on the First Principles one takes into the reading of them. All the heretics claimed to follow Paul, it was the most common linking theme of all Gnostics, Marcionites, Pelagians, and Docetists. Without a hermeneutic the Epistles are confusing little documents. This is even present within the New Testament itself: "So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures." - 2 Peter 3.16-17

So the text itself doesnt give an evident meaning until one has already accepted the proper faith with which to filter it. That's not a big step forward for the literal/obvious reading of Scripture where Paul is concerned.

The simple fact is that human being's epistomological assumptions change over time. What we view as constituting 'truth' and 'falsehood' today is more material/physical/historical than a 1-4th century Greco-Roman would have been comforatable with. We ignore that legacy and changing epistemology at our own peril.

Dana,

NT Wright's conclusions are actually far more in line with traditional Christian readings than they are with Reformation exegesis. I like his work.

Pastor ARt,

The Early Christian communities used the same methods. In fact, the CAtholic Church has formally enshrined the four-fold potential for textual meaning in their Catechism even today.

Serpahim,
The early Fathers did have letters of Paul and read parts of the Hebrew Scriptures (albeit in Greek), but they did not treat them as a literal history. In fact they insisted that to treat them as literal history made them "myths and fables", and that only Christocentric allegory would render an authentic meaning.

Read Justin Martyr's 'Dialogue with Trypho', Origen's "Contra Celsum" or "Philokalia", especially chapter 15, Irenaeus' "Against Heresies" in particular book 3 (most in particular look how he expounds allegorically on Jonah in 3.20.1-2 and what he says about churches who 'in regards to letters are poor but in regards to doctrine as rich indeed), Clement of Alexandria's "Paedagogus".

If we're going to argue what the early Christians said/thought lets have some context - namely what they wrote.

In terms of Pauline letters, they don't have a literal or obvious reading. It depends entirely on the First Principles one takes into the reading of them. All the heretics claimed to follow Paul, it was the most common linking theme of all Gnostics, Marcionites, Pelagians, and Docetists. Without a hermeneutic the Epistles are confusing little documents. This is even present within the New Testament itself: "So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures." - 2 Peter 3.16-17

So the text itself doesnt give an evident meaning until one has already accepted the proper faith with which to filter it. That's not a big step forward for the literal/obvious reading of Scripture where Paul is concerned.

The simple fact is that human being's epistomological assumptions change over time. What we view as constituting 'truth' and 'falsehood' today is more material/physical/historical than a 1-4th century Greco-Roman would have been comforatable with. We ignore that legacy and changing epistemology at our own peril.

Dana,

NT Wright's conclusions are actually far more in line with traditional Christian readings than they are with Reformation exegesis. I like his work.

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