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

January 15, 2006

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DP,

"The cry for virtue is only bound to grow louder. How loud must it get before we act?"

perhaps it will continue until people begin to follow leaders who exhibit maturity, holiness, piety, wisdom, AND integrity.

i honestly belive too many who are seen as leaders today believe they got there because of their intrinsic worth, knowledge, training, coolness, and so on. they see little need to heed the cries of the crowds.

but, then, i'm feeling a little harsh towards leaders these days.

Walking, how do you reconcile your harshness toward leaders when I've always considered you one?

Is there some self-depreciation going on there?

Seraphim

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.

and

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.

I read about you in the NT: Matthew 23:24.

Seraphim

Ray and Seraphim,

Let me respond to this corner of the discussion here by simply observing that our era's chosen methods of exegesis and interpretation have certainly been influenced by the tenants of modernity. Christians in the earlier centuries of the Church (not to speak of the NT authors themselves) seemed to widely use interpretive methods that would generally be rejected by modern exegetes. I see a greater balance in such matters appearing on the horizon.

Walking,
Thanks for contributing to the discussion here.

"i honestly belive too many who are seen as leaders today believe they got there because of their intrinsic worth, knowledge, training, coolness, and so on." (emphasis mine)

I think you're dead-on here. There's been way too much ego involved in the leader-selection/claiming process (if you can even call it that). We have much to learn about what servant-leadership is all about. When leaders begin dying to their own agendas and begin laying it all down for the sake of the sheep, maybe the folks will finally see something worth following, yes?

Seraphim,

"I read about you in the NT: Matthew 23:24."

Careful, now. (Matthew 7:1a)

Benjy,

"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."

Very true. Although I've chosen to focus this particular post on leaders.

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

Another great point.

"And in regards to egalitarianism, it is a balance to the way we have presented our message in the past."

Not so sure about this one. There is a "healthy" egalitarianism that scripture advocates (e.g. 1Cor.12:12-27), but that's not the distorted variety so prevalant in today's society.


"I read about you in the NT: Matthew 23:24."

Careful, now. (Matthew 7:1a)

lol. I love ya Chris. I honestly was thinking more of 'strain at a gnat but swallow a camel' than the rest of that verse. Forgive me Ray if you are reading, I wasn't saying you were a Pharasee here.....

But Chris, Matthew 7:1 isn't scarey in lite of 7:2. Matthew 7:21, however, has always scared the Hell out of me.

LYB

I'shalom

Seraphim

Seraphim,

I'm not really trying to be a jerk here. I have a good deal of formal theological training... not that it makes me The Man or anything, but I've done my reading on this. Chris is right on - their exegetical methods weren't modernist. They didn't assume that factuality lie in literality... it's not a question of modern conservatism or liberalism. I'm not advising that we use historical/critical method either. I'm suggesting that the appeal to a literality of the account to substantiate the truth of ones argument is a modern methodlogy, not a PAtristic one, as such my view is not "new" or "novel".

Chris,

they did use methods that would be rejected now... more importantly they didn't really use methods that would be accepted. There wasn't a 'wide variety' per say. Plain-reading allegorical methods were by far the most common. For a good study read Frances Young's "Biblical Exegesis and the Formation of Christian Culture" or John Barton's "Holy Texts, Holy Writings". They're not 'liberal' in the way Seraphim hates... it's just different. It can be quite conservative in many respects, but literal/historical it isn't.

I actually think the allegorical method, when done within the Patristic parameters, is much more faithful and forces one to confront all the texts theologically, thus diverting attention away from sillyness like the Jesus Seminar movement.

Actually for a really good study on all this that's easy to read Andrew Louth's "Discerning the Mystery" is superb. I'd recommend it to anyone. He's an Orthodox theologian who teachs at Durham, where NT Wright also taught. I think he makes the case very well, and it isn't at all Jesus Seminar-ish. At least see what these people have to say.

blessings,

-Ray

Seraphim,

I'm not really trying to be a jerk here. I have a good deal of formal theological training... not that it makes me The Man or anything, but I've done my reading on this. Chris is right on - their exegetical methods weren't modernist. They didn't assume that factuality lie in literality... it's not a question of modern conservatism or liberalism. I'm not advising that we use historical/critical method either. I'm suggesting that the appeal to a literality of the account to substantiate the truth of ones argument is a modern methodlogy, not a PAtristic one, as such my view is not "new" or "novel".

I appreciate, here, your kindness, if nothing else. I've been a Christian for 33 years, and reading the bible seriously for at least 30 of those years. Forgive me but I believe that your 'theological training' may be what is hindering you...

Also, why do you think I'm advocating a 'modern-ist' position? You said something to the effect of

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

Here's my 2 cents from those wiser than me (in other words I think Modern Criticism is BUNK):

"MODERN CRITICISM AND ITS RATIONALISTIC METHOD

In these times there has appeared a criticism which, constantly growing bolder in its attacks upon this sacred book, now decrees, with all self-assurance and confidence, that it is simply a human production. Besides other faults found with it, it is declared to be full of errors, many of its books to be spurious, written by unknown men at later dates than those assigned, etc., etc. But we ask, upon what fundamental principle, what axiom, is this verdict of the critics based? It is upon the idea that, as Renan expressed it, reason is capable of judging all things, but is itself judged by nothing. That is surely a proud dictum, but an empty one if its character is really noticed. To be sure, God has given reason to man, so that, in his customary way of planting and building, buying and selling, he may make a practical use of created nature by which he is surrounded. But is reason, even as respects matters of this life, in accord with itself ? By no means. For, if that were so, whence comes all the strife and contention of men at home and abroad, in their places of business and their public assemblies, in art and science, in legislation, religion and philosophy? Does it not all proceed from the conflicts of reason? The entire history of our race is the history of millions of men gifted with reason who have been in perpetual conflict one with another. Is it with such reason, then, that sentence is to be pronounced upon a divinely given book? A purely rational revelation would certainly be a contradiction of terms; besides, it would be wholly superfluous. But when reason undertakes to speak of things entirely supernatural, invisible and eternal, it talks as a blind man .does about colors, discoursing of matters concerning which it neither knows nor can know anything; and thus it makes itself ridiculous. It has not ascended up to heaven, neither has it descended into the deep; and therefore a purely rational religion is no religion at all."

&

"But there is another revelation which God has given of Himself to men-a more definite and personal one. Thus, e. g., he declared Himself to Adam, and through Enoch and Noah to the antediluvians, and again after the flood to other generations through Noah and his sons. But because at the building of the tower of Babel men turned stubbornly away from God, He gave them up to the thoughts of their own heart, and selected one man, Abraham, to go out from his friends and kindred, so that in his seed all the nations of the world might be blessed. Then, first, out of Abraham came the people of Israel, to whom were committed the oracles of God; and from this period began the history of the written Word. Moses narrates the beginning of things, also records the law, and holy men of God speak and write as they are moved by the Holy Spirit. That is inspiration-a divine in-breathing.

But here a distinction must be made. The Bible reports matters of history, and in doing so includes many genealogies which were composed, first of all, not for us, but for those most immediately concerned, and for the angels (1 Cor. 4:9). Also it reports many sins and shameful deeds; for just as the sun first illuminates himself and then sheds his radiance upon the ocean and the puddle, the eagle and the worm, so the Bible undertakes to represent to us not only God, but also man just as he is. In giving us these narratives it may be said, moreover, that God, who numbers the very hairs of our head, exercised a providential control, so that what was reported by His chosen men should be the real facts, and nothing else. To what extent He inspired those men with the very words used by them, it is not for us to know, but probably more fully than we suspect.

But when God, after having communicated the law to Moses on Mount Sinai and in the Tabernacle, communes with him as a friend with friend, and Moses writes "all the words of this law in a book" (Dent. 28:58; 31 :24), then Moses really becomes the pen of God. When God speaks to the prophets, "Behold, I put my words in thy mouth," and "a?1 the words that thou hearest thou shalt say to this people," then these prophets become the very mouth of God. When Christ appears to John on Patmos, and says, "To the angel of the church write these things," this is an instance of verbal dictation.

But just here we are amused at those weak-minded critics who, with hackneyed phrases, talk so glibly about "mechanical instruments" and "mere verbal dictation." Does then a self-revelation of the Almighty and a making known of His counsels, a gracious act which exalts the human agent to be a co-worker with Jehovah, annihilate personal freedom? Or does it not rather enlarge that freedom, and lift it up to a higher and more joyous activity? Am I then a "mechanical instrument" when with deep devotion and with enthusiasm I repeat after Christ, word for word, the prayer which He taught his disciples? The Bible is, consequently, a book which originated according to the will and with the co-operation of God; and as such it is our guide to eternity, conducting man, seemingly without a plan and yet with absolute certainty, all the way from the first creation and from Paradise on to the second or higher creation and to the New Jerusalem (Comp. Gen. 2:8-10 with Rev. 21 :1, 2)."

(-Shaun Aisbitt missionary in Ireland)

Peace on your Head

Seraphim

Sorry, I misquoted. The above was from Shaun Aisbitt's page, and Shaun is a missionary in Irelang... But the work was from F. Bettex, D.D., Professor Emeritus, Stuttgart, Germany
Translated from the original German by David Heagle, D.D.

Peace of God

Seraphim

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