Head First: A post of its own.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A post of its own.

My intent in the last post was not so much a discussion of communion as it was the idea of how our perceptions limit God. But the thread turned to the Lord's supper and a very good conversation ensued. Still, I don't want to get away from the God-in-a-box idea. My friend, sandytrif, made a comment that got to the heart of what I was thinking:

"What really matters is why do we put the maker of the universe in a box we make? Why do we who are so small and finite think we can contain the creator of all things?"

I think this idea is really at the root of my problem with most theology (western theology, at least--I'm thinking the Greek Orthodox are on to something, besides wicked cool hats). For all of Christendom's hermeneutical machinations, it still amounts to, "We serve an infinite God... and this is exactly what He looks like."

59 comments:

Molly's Boss said...

Wow... a post at 6:00 AM on a weekday... I'm impressed. Was this BC or AC. (Before or after coffee.)

dorsey said...

I think it was Pacific time. : )

Molly's Boss said...

I'm sorry... I just reread the time of post... it was 8:06 AM not 6:00 AM. I take back my impression...

Zeke said...

I think that what motivates most evangelical cultural practices is fear, plain and simple. Fear of mystery, fear of uncertainty, fear of challenge. Fear that attendance might fall, fear that somebody might not enjoy the service. Fear of condemnation. Fear of hell. Fear of judgment.

That, I believe, is why there is so much make-happy at church. Because if everyone where to be completely honest they would have to admit how frightened they really are.

Molly's Boss said...

Ok… OK… I see your point…but…

I need to place my thoughts of God the Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit on something of substance yet at times it is a mystery. The bible states that I am to conform to the image of His Son, therefore, I need to have an idea as to what that is. Where do it form that image from? The bible also states that we all are priest of our own homes. Which implies that I have a responsibility to conform my actions to His standards and know His standards. Where am I to get these standards? They must come from the word of God, which was written by the Holy Spirit. Now… the tension exist… is it right for me to force my view of the “standard” on you. There are many views of the standard as there are denominations of the church. However, the word of God is not always handled well in all churches. Question we need to ask ourselves is… “is the word being treated as the inerrant word written by the Holy Spirit?” When Jesus was place in various situations He always spoke the truth. If we are placed into those types of situations should we speak the truth?” The issue that we need to be assured of is “are we handling the word of God properly?” That implies a judgment and a perception. Yes, this is risky because we speak it from our background and culture but the real question is… “is there a truth?” If so, are we responsible to “speak the truth at all times?” If Jesus were present in a room where the word of God was being improperly handled “What would He do?” He would speak the truth as He did while on earth. If we do the same does this then place us, “in a box?” If the truth has been disclosed to us through His word should we not be obligated to conform to it? Should I not encourage you to do the same? For me to project upon you that the room should be yellow… thus sayeth the Lord… and you want it blue… this would be absurd. However if you are in a situation of adultery and I were a friend or pastor, is it right for me to attempt to interfere with the word of God into that situation? I’m not sure where you are going with “in the box”. I guess I would say there are things that are quite easily compromised and other things that are essential to the Christian belief. I guess my question is, “if I hold these “essentials” as “essential”, does that put me in a box?” If so… box me up and send me some place nice where the sun does shine… but could you provide two boxes… the wife would like to go to.

Caro said...

See also my response to the previous post.
If I recall correctly, Jesus said something about fear; and Paul spoke of the fear of death. As I have now outlived my grandfather (in years), I see this fear could really lay one low before friends do.
My role as the family priest may actually be to do the work of the priest; that is, as Job did, to keep my family foremost in my prayers, to deliver to them the Word of God, and encourage them in the faith I received (with as few blemishes put on it by me as possible).
Dorse; I think these guys might find our SS discussions challenging, maybe even interesting. We all speak so freely of truth, yet often fail to present Him clearly (unmuddied). [I guess this is 'Jesus in a box' again]
As someone once said that the packaging really is far less important than the contents, may our lives show His presence by our love of the UNloveable, our care for the needy, our kindness and gentleness in the face of conflict and hate, etc.
As for the "cool hats", I believe that there is great beauty and power in the traditions of the church and we have given them up for the momentary glitz of our concept of a modern church. Showing disrespect for our brothers and sisters who don't do "it" the "right" way may indeed be the opposite of our calling. Really, we left them, not they us.
Sorry for the rambling nature of these comments, but a head full of thinks can't slow down enough to be clear!

Molly's Boss said...

Hi Caro…Ok… OK…
But this is where the road forks…where you stated ”show His presence by our love of the Unloveable.” How are we to do that? One of the presidential want-to-bees justifies a position on abortion and same sex marriage on the “Sermon on the mount” where he/she attempts to say that Jesus stated to “love”… He/she then dismisses the verses in Romans written through Paul as being obscure and with less authority than what Jesus spoke. He/she then implies “love” is to except the person in his/her sin and allow them to continue in and even have the authorities authorize and recognize it as a legit live style. He/she state that the “Sermon on the mount” displays acceptance of it and therefore we, as he/she has, accept it. In the book of Hebrews, which I like to call the book of greater things, it implies that Jesus is the greater thing. But He is implied to be greater than Moses, Abraham, etc… I do not see the Father, Son and Holy Spirit debating over who is greater, they all one. Did the Holy Spirit write the scripture through Paul? If so, does that not make it equal to the words spoke by Jesus? If the Holy Spirit wrote directives against such things then is it right of us to accept them. Is it right to accept the sins that God hates? If we accept the sin in the sinner without qualifications are we actually loving him when God hates the sin within them? We could state, who am I to project the “standard” upon such people. But when the word of God is clear am I to turn from the truth of the sake of tolerance and love? We could state that I am just as guilty in my sins as they are, which would be true but I am attempting to adjust and those in my life that are good Christian people are helping me do just that. To accept the sinner sitting next to me in the pew is quite acceptable because I am a sinner sitting next to him. Hopefully we are both attempting to conform to the image of his Son and are attempting to climb out of our sins. However, if I go about making laws of acceptance of his/her/my sin does that display real “love” to that person? Am I delighting the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit by that action? What are your thoughts? That was a lot to say in one breath. I think I’ll let someone else talk and go over in the corner and breath a bit.

sandytrif said...

It seems like we are getting off base again. If we are all sinners, what is the one difference between us~the difference is that we are sinners saved by grace and have accepted the Lord as savior~therefore the Bible becomes truth to us. If we are still in our sin~then the Bible is not truth at all. So we can love the person who is in sin~our part is to point that person to the one who can forgive them of that sin. Then as they grow and develope a relationship with the Lord, the sin will no longer hold as much appeal to them. Again the box we put the Lord in is a man made box that a person must look the part or act a certain way or clean themself up to become a "christian". I look at this as off the mark. Jesus did not tell James and John~hey look you guys are really smelly from a day of fishing~go home, take a bath, put on some clean clothes and then come and follow me. He just asked them to follow him. As they were.

I think Jesus would speak the truth, and if we were bold enough to do the same, I think we would really be breaking out of the box and becoming more like him.
Sandy

JimmyBob said...

There's a lot to chew on here...

First, Jesus commanded us to love one another. So, there's no doubt that love is what really builds up the church. That has to be our disposition and attitude.

How love is displayed is what's in dispute, particularly when it comes to this idea of putting God in a box.

To quote myself from an earlier post, "We do keep Jesus in a box. The box is the house we've built for ourselves. Yet, we call it God's house and tell everyone we live there with him, instead of the other way around."

I was referring to our traditions and practices that have become untouchable - our comforts; our internal Bible that has been written by our experiences and preferences, and not exactly on the written Word. We build Jesus into our life and believe that our experience should be everyone's, exactly or close to it.

So, my thoughts on God in the box have everything to do with man-made expectations and NOTHING to do with clear Biblical directives.

We are not putting Jesus in a box when we obey his commandments or expect that other Christians do to.

Listen to 1 Corinthians 5:1-5, NLT.

"I can hardly believe the report about the sexual immorality going on among you, something so evil that even the pagan's don't do it. I am told that you have a man in your church who is living in sin with his father's wife. And you are so proud of yourselves! Why aren't you mourning in sorrow and shame? And why haven't you removed this man from your fellowship?

"Even though I am not there with you in person, I am with you in the Spirit. Concerning the one who has done this, I have already passed judgment in the name of the Lord Jesus. You are to call a meeting of the church, and I will be there in spirit, and the power of the Lord Jesus will be with you as you meet. Then you must cast this man out of the church and into Satan's hands, so that his sinful nature will be destroyed and he himself will be saved when the Lord returns."


Read the rest of the chapter for more juicy church gossip, strong leadership and condemnation in the name of the Lord Jesus. [Sorry. Trying to get words back in mouth.]

The apostle Paul was probably one of the first responsible for church exits. No doubt there was a softy at Corinth who thought Paul was too harsh, extreme and unloving. Heck, most churches today would never do what Paul said.

But, Paul loved the sinning Christian. His concern was for the church as a whole, but he was also concerned for this man's soul. It seemed that the only way this man would get saved would be through fire. He had to be cast out and into Satan's hands. Which, to me, means that he would have to suffer and learn the hard way, before he saw the light.

From my perspective, feeling the need to embrace sin in the church and accept it, is putting God in a box more than dealing with it, because it is based on our own preferences, experiences, and natural tendencies.

Like I said, it is how love is displayed that is in dispute.

Kc said...

Maybe if my heart was bigger I wouldn't need the stupid box.

Molly's Boss said...

I think Sandytrif has a point if our “box” concerns economic status, education, personal looks, clothing, personalities, etc… As she stated…

Jesus did not tell James and John~hey look you guys are really smelly from a day of fishing~go home, take a bath, put on some clean clothes and then come and follow me. He just asked them to follow him. As they were.

I see Jesus seated with the tax collectors, wine dippers, and the people that needed a physician. However, I do not see Jesus condoning their sin but coming into their group to lift them out of their sin and reconcile them to the Father. Case in point, what did he tell the woman in John 10?

John 8:10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

She was told to “sin no more”. I guess the question is, if this women return to her sin what would Jesus do? Would He X out the law and remake the law and vote adultery as being legal? Would He be happy with us as a church or a nation if we X out the law and remake the law and vote adultery as being legal? I would expect that if this lady were to returned to her sin that Jesus would always stand ready to reconcile her to the Father when see was ready to repent and turn from her sin, but that does not mean that Jesus would condone her sin. This is how I would see the church and my expectations of it. I think today the church and the nation are being asked to condone things that I do not see Jesus condoning. I see the church should always standing ready to receive the person that wishes to be reconciled to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit whatever economic status, education, personality, etc… not condoning the sin He hates but ready to receive the sinner. I think Jimmybob covered this when he brought forth the verses in Cor. Therefore I see love through this filter. I guess that to some may be what they may be saying that I am guilty of placing Jesus’ love it in a “box”. The question I guess with this box would be… what do we do with the person that wants their sins condone but choose not to repent of them? I’m looking of the chapter and verse for that and will be back.

Steve said...

Zeke - You are right on here. Good stuff.

Dorse... to your post. I think we put God in a box when we seek to put people in a box and getting them to conform to what we perceive are God's ideals.

I don't know if that makes sense, but possibly I can articulate it better later.

dorsey said...

Steve, that makes perfect sense. In fact, it's sort of what I was trying to get at, except you said it better. Our god-in-a-box frequently manifests in our unwillingness to allow ourselves and others (especially others) to experience God in any manner that falls outside our preconceived parameters of how God operates.

Molly's Boss said...

My question of confusion is this. If the Lord has made these statements:

Gal 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are [these]; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told [you] in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

PROV 6:16 THERE ARE SIX THINGS THE LORD HATES, SEVEN THAT ARE DETESTABLE TO HIM: HAUGHTY EYES, A LYING TONGUE, HANDS THAT SHED INNOCENT BLOOD, HEART THAT DEVISES WICKED SCHEMES, FEET THAT ARE QUICK TO RUSH INTO EVIL, A FALSE WITNESS WHO POURS OUT LIESAND A MAN WHO STIRS UP DISSENSION AMONG BROTHERS.

If he has already painted a picture of what He hates and what the fruits of the flesh are, then are we placing Him in a box if we define these things in the same manner?

I think we should allow great freedoms except where the Lord has limited our freedoms by His expectations. How are we to do that if we do not want to place Him in a box?

Steve said...

MB - my confusion is that you or any one else knows what it is that God really hates and what he doesn't - especially based on the Bible.

Molly's Boss said...

Hi Steve,

I’m still confused. I was not quoting myself. I was quoting the bible, which I hold as a standard. Are you saying that the bible is not worthy of displaying God’s desires and standards to us?

JimmyBob said...

Steve, I'm trying to come up with something to say, but your last comment threw me for a loop. Is there somewhere I could go to find out what your position is about the Bible and what we know about God? A looooong time ago, me and Ninjanun had an exchange about the inerrancy of Scripture (I don't remember which blog or what). But, I do remember asking on what basis do we have any beliefs in Christ if it is not upon the New Testament (or something like that)? Where else is the life of Jesus or his teachings recorded in any great amount that we can rely on more than the Bible?

At the time, I think she was trying to get me to understand that she could use the Bible as a guidline for belief, but every word wasn't necessarily "penned by God." (I'm trying lure you Ninjanun! If you know where this exchange was, please comment and link to it, it'll save time :)

Steve said...

I am equally as confused when I read Molly Boss' comments and the scriptures he cited...

MB - I am saying that the Bible does not sit in a vacuum and your (nor anyone's) interpretation of the Bible is not worthy of displaying God's desires and standards... because it is human nature to constantly move that standard or redefine it to meet our needs or to fulfill our agendas. And that's the box!!

We can play this game all day... endorsing what the Lord endorses and hating what the Lord hates. Seems the Bible is all over the place as to what the Lord seems to bless and what he seems to curse at any given time. At times he seems quite confused.... and that leaves me confused.

I think if you want to get into the sin listing game and the spiritual fruits game... you can go round and round. "This is bad and this is good"... and so on and so on. To me that is not the essence of the spiritual life. Judging or seeing people on externals is a waste of time... and it's too bad we don't know this by now.

JB - I think you have answered your own question. No where else is the teachings of jesus recorded that we can rely on more than the Bible. And that's either a good thing or a bad thing depending on your perspective huh?

Jesus himself (according to Scripture) said this (and I paraphrase): "You study the scriptures because you think they lead you to eternal life... but you don't have life in this book, you have it in me." I assume if he was here today he might say the same thing about the Bible you have in your study. So my position on the Bible is exactly that.

JimmyBob said...

Where does that leave us then? We end up teaching or sharing the gospel without any conviction at all.

I think I'm beginning to understand some viewpoints that I never did before...

I can see why conviction or certainty, when it comes to issues of faith, are shunned by some now. I can see why evangelicals are demonized for "evangelizing."

Don't you just wish you could have lived during the time of Jesus and the apostles? Maybe things would be a little more clear. Well, at least we could ask the kinds of questions we often do here.

Steve said...

JB - I have to say this over on my site... but your voice is valued and I appreciate our dialogue.

Molly's Boss said...

Hi Steve,

I guess I’m not so confused anymore about what the “box” is. You stated,

“I am saying that the Bible does not sit in a vacuum and your (nor anyone's) interpretation of the Bible is not worthy of displaying God's desires and standards... because it is human nature to constantly move that standard or redefine it to meet our needs or to fulfill our agendas. And that's the box!!” But I guess I’m at difference with the solution.

I could take from this statement that it is best then to agree with the Orthodox boys, that Orthodoxy does not change and therefore we are to search the scriptures and apply them as the original church applied them. There are denominations out there that are attempting to do just that. Fact is that your argument is very much currently being debated in some of the Anglican Churches of today. Do we change the word to fit our culture or does the word of God stand as was written and the church should remain teaching and preaching on this standard. I am just as much frustrated as you when I see the standard being change because “human nature to constantly move that standard or redefine it to meet our needs or to fulfill our agendas.” However, I see this as a problem of human nature, not as a problem with the standard. I do not see the sanctification process changing its colors. I do not see the Lord today accepting any greater sin than He accepted yesterday. Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He came to forgive us of our sins, not to accept them.

You stated, “I think if you want to get into the sin listing game and the spiritual fruits game. ... you can go round and round. "This is bad and this is good"... and so on and so on.” In Gal 5:19 I do not see the scripture as being unclear as to what is a “good” and what is a “bad” thing. However I may be inclined to agree with you when you stated “Judging or seeing people on externals is a waste of time.” I am not their judge. I am a partnered with them to conform to the image of Christ. I believe to conform to the image of Christ is to advance in His likeness. To advance to His likeness is to move from the flesh into reflecting His Spirit. I believe Gal 5:19 gives me a vision as to how to do that.

You quoted Jesus as saying, "You study the scriptures because you think they lead you to eternal life... but you don't have life in this book, you have it in me." Amen… We are in agreement here. Course at the time He was talking about the Torah, which He is saying was all about Him. If they believe in the prophets who spoke about Him then they would believe in Him. I do not see this as a write off of the value of the scriptures. I see this as Him directing those He was addressing to what the plan of the Trinity has been since creation which is to direct us to Him. Still is. I also see the scriptures as that what shouts to us as how we can apply His teachings and become His children. If I write off the scriptures as having directive value that then leaves me without direction or hope. Then I would agree with Zeke, Hi Zeke, in that would be a very fearful place to bebecause it it full of uncertainty.

Sooo I guess my conclusions is. I desire to place my family and myself in the box, if the box is defined by living by the standards of the word of God. However, It is not my desire to judge those that chose not to, unless those that choose not to begin to affect my ability to live by these standards. Then we may have a problem. However, I cannot see myself as having a problem with anyone that has received the Lord as Lord and Savior… we just have debates and Jell-O fights.

devangelical said...

“ 'I am saying that the Bible does not sit in a vacuum and your (nor anyone's) interpretation of the Bible is not worthy of displaying God's desires and standards... because it is human nature to constantly move that standard or redefine it to meet our needs or to fulfill our agendas. And that's the box!!' But I guess I’m at difference with the solution."

When it comes to biblical interpretation, I think it is important to realize that much of the bible was not 'written'. It was passed down through oral tradition, and then eventually put on paper/parchment/etc.

Back in Jewish times, no single individual had a copy of the scriptures. It was read, discussed and interpreted with the interaction of many rabbis. Thus, it was very difficult to pick a pet theology, and read/weave/imply it into the scriptures.

Nowadays, not only do we have individual copies, but we have access to multiple versions-- many of which already have a theological bias. Add to that every private, flaky interpretation, and you have much of what we see on TV today.

The individual approach to scripture lends itself to a know-it-all desire to interpret everything for everyone, which leads to judgmentalism, and even personal judgment that can get way out of balance.

I believe God's intent for scriptural interpretation was to promote community, fellowship, genuine relationship and accountability-- an atmosphere where one 'believer' can share his own faults with another and be healed, without fear of getting someone's well-meaning, but imbalanced interpretation of the scriptures shove up his rear.

Unfortunately, the boxes we live in are designed to keep others out as we pursue our 'personal relationship with Jesus'. It's hard to have a community that way...

Molly's Boss said...

Hi devangelical,

This is good stuff even though at times I maybe in disagreement with you. My belief is that the “original word” of God is inerrant and profitable for…

However, let’s just go with your statement for a moment and unpack it. “I believe God's intent for scriptural interpretation was to promote community”… Amen brother, we are both in agreement here. The community of God weather you choose to call it the church, Bride of Christ, remnant, or various terms… is to be a “safe place” for His people and “community”. Continuing you said, “I believe God's intent for scriptural interpretation was to promote community, fellowship, genuine relationship”… Amen again brother. But we might not be agreeing on our vision here as to what “genuine relationship” is. If we go back to jimmybob’s, hi jimmybob, comments from 1 Corinthians 5:1-5, NLT.

"I can hardly believe the report about the sexual immorality going on among you, something so evil that even the pagan's don't do it. I am told that you have a man in your church who is living in sin with his father's wife. And you are so proud of yourselves! Why aren't you mourning in sorrow and shame? And why haven't you removed this man from your fellowship?

Why is Paul requesting this to be done? I believe it is to restore this person into “fellowship and genuine relationship” and bring him back into the community. He is not doing this because he hates the person but he is doing this for his love for the person and desire to restore that person back into fellowship. However, I’m not sure if this would not be interpreted by some as having “scriptures shove up his rear”?

And yet another agreement, “I believe God's intent for scriptural interpretation was to promote community, fellowship, genuine relationship and accountability…” We are in agreement here as well but my question maybe, accountability to what? Accountability implies there is a standard to be accountable to. What are that standards if not the word of God. It may be to some that the standard is the “standard of the community”. Which is, as jimmybob already indicated, just another box now made up of the community standard. I my way of thinking it is similar to the two other men on the cross with Jesus. One is stating to remember him in His kingdom… the other is stating, “do it my way and take us down from this cross” or words to that affect. One was submitting to Jesus and repenting, the other wanted it “MY WAY’ (reminds me of a song I once knew). The standard developed by the community may allow the community to be free to do what the community enjoys doing but in there doing are they reflecting the desires of the Trinity and thereby delighting the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? If that answer is yes… then more power to you… but the way and road I take to delight the Trinity is to do what Jesus said… “If you love me you will…” And the major question where we may divide is… is what Paul and the other Apostles wrote in letters to the church carry the weight as being written by the hand of God through the Holy Spirit? If that answer is no… then I see where the community standard must come into play if there is to be a standard. But if the answer is yes… then are there not already accountability standards in place. Now if the case is presented that the “church” has abused these standards in their handling of church discipline then that is a different debate entirely. At that point we are not longer debating the validity of God’s word but the errors of men of the church in handling the word of God. If that is the case then I could see where your statement “an atmosphere where one 'believer' can share his own faults with another and be healed without fear of getting someone's well-meaning, but imbalanced interpretation of the scriptures shove up his rear” could come into play. However, the box still exist and the standard is still there from what Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 5:1-5. Is what Paul stated to do an error or somehow distorted? It then becomes a personal judgment call as to how you see the authority of the scripture. Paul's directive, is it a correct thing to do or is it an “imbalanced interpretation of the scriptures shove up his rear”?

devangelical said...

molly's boss stated:
My belief is that the “original word” of God is inerrant and profitable

...and then you quote the NLT, one of the most horribly inaccurate, and evangelically biased translations of the modern-day bible.

There is no modern translation of the bible that could even remotely be considered "the 'original word' of God". And most certainly could not be considered 'inerrant'. Even the earliest recovered manuscripts are simply copies of copies of copies... of something someone said.

Granted, I read my bible every day. I gain wisdom and inspiration from it. I believe it is God-inspired, and its themes are eternally profitable, upon which I can confidently base my life.

Where I tend to disconnect, however, is when x'ns begin extrapolating entire doctrines from specific words, phrases and passages, without considering the contextual and historical implications of said scripture. In my experience, that leads to a domineering, pharisaical attitude that looks to fix everyone else's beliefs by shoving 'well-meaning, but imbalanced interpretation of the scriptures' up their rears...

I agree. The 'original word' of God is, in fact, inerrant. I'm just curious where to find a copy...

Steve said...

MB - My belief is that the “original word” of God is inerrant and profitable for…

And I have seen churches split over that belief...which is quite ironic when you think about it... and sad.

What does the "original word" of God mean to you?? If you are talking about the original texts that were written by the disciples or Paul, we don't have those but only copies and copies of copies...and those were accepted as "the word" after debates where politics and power certainly played a part.

Scholars estimate (this according to "Misquoting Jesus" by Bart Ehrman) that there are between 200,000 and 400,000 variations of manuscripts of the NT (varying in size from small pieces containing only a few verses to a very few containing full manuscripts of the NT). All of these variations are due to several reasons...from simple slip ups, to changes intentionally made for obvious theological biases. The most popular of these are the last 12 verses in the book of Mark.

So while I used to be in the inerrant camp as you... I have come to find a different place to stand. It's more than "I don't know"... it's more like "Certainly not". The Bible is not inerrant and it appears to be filled with men acting as God's spin doctors... especially and often in the NT to support the Jesus story.

If there is any "word" to believe... I could buy believing in the "logos"... a word not confined to pen and paper... the word that transcends.

Molly's Boss said...

Hi devangelical and Steve,

This is great, I’m learning something, and hopefully I’m not boring anyone…

I think from what has been said that… we have agreement that the “original scripture” is inerrant. We also have agreement that man can distort the original scripture because of mans agenda. We also know that there are many versions out there that we can use as a resource, some better than others. Now lets look at where we seem to have issue. 2 Tim 3:13 states this by various translations.

KJV All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

NIV All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,

RVS All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

ASV Every scripture inspired of God [is] also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness.

VUL mali autem homines et seductores proficient in peius errantes et in errorem mittentes

I guess the question is: are any of these reliable to form our foundations and standards on? It seems by your suggestion, devangelical and Steve, that they are reliable if taken in the proper context. Agreed. My interpretation of scripture as being inerrant really means that as I search for the “truth” I search the scriptures. I would think that there are interpretations more reliable than others. I would think the reliability of the interpretation of the version of that scripture comes from the agenda of the group doing the interpretation. However, if I have a number of interpretation saying the same thing and I deem the people doing the interpretation are reliable then I can formulate in my mind and spirit a “truth’. If I can formulate a truth then I can formulate a behavior and standard I choose to live by. As I see 2 Tim 3:16 I see it as I stated before… “All scripture is…”

Now Steve has stated “And I have seen churches split over that belief”. Amen to that and we are in agreement that this is sad, I know some of these churches too. The brothers in the Anglican Church and the ECUS and having a real struggle with this. I would state that if they are formulating their arguments but taking the scripture out of context then there is a real problem. They are doing exactly what we seem to share and that we agree on. That, this is nothing more than presenting an agenda and we are attempting to be “well-meaning, but imbalanced interpretation of the scriptures shove up his rear.” However, my thought is… are you really in search for “truth” or are you in search for a “truth” that fits an agenda. If you are searching for a “truth” that fits the agenda then the danger becomes… we may miss God’s direction. If we can do away with “truth” or make it unreliable then we can go to my agenda. What was it that Satan told Eve?

KJV And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

NIV You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman.

ASV And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

RSV But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not die.

He told her that what God has said was not "truth". Therefore, I see great dangers of not being able to rely on God’s word as “truth”. However, I do see your point and therefore we can have these debates with each other because I think it really boils down to our pursuit as to how we find the foundations of “truth”. Which I find exciting and helpful.

Steve said...

MB: I think from what has been said that… we have agreement that the “original scripture” is inerrant.

I am not sure what is meant by original scripture so no I don't agree. I can't agree on something being perfect that doesn't exist. We don't, can't and won't ever have the "original scripture"... and I am not certain anyone can claim they know what God did or did not intend to communicate. It is purely conjecture in my opinion... left to belief and faith for some.

There is plenty of "truth" outside of the scripture in my opinion. Bible readers don't own truth. I have heard it said that all truth is God's truth regardless of where you find it. I guess that's a decent opinion. I say search for truth...and be honest and true to yourself in that search...not limiting yourself. I am learning to not be afraid of that which I don't understand...and not to be confined by the things I do understand.

Molly's Boss said...

Hi Steve,

Ok, let me try to understand. You stated, “I have heard it said that all truth is God's truth regardless of where you find it. I guess that's a decent opinion. I say search for truth...and be honest and true to yourself in that search...not limiting yourself. I am learning to not be afraid of that which I don't understand...and not to be confined by the things I do understand.”

Now lets take an example so I can vision what you are saying. This example comes from a real life situation. Lets say two people are married and they are Christian. Lets also say they are searching for truth as to is it ok to have an open marriage. Where do they go to find God’s desires on this issue? My perception of what you stated, and I could be wrong, is that the decision may be in how they both “feel” about it. As long as they are both ok with it then that becomes "truth" and they are free to do what makes them happy and God should be delighted in it until it collides with another person’s freedom. That this is truth and the word of God does not have any reliable directive information on this issue. Carry this one more step and lets say Jim and Doris agree that an open marriage is the way they prefer to live and because they are Christians they begin to affect others in the fellowship by bringing them into this open marriage concept. I guess two questions could be asked here. One, does the scripture have a voice of truth here as to how Jim and Doris are to delight God? Two, if the openness of Jim and Doris begin to ‘tempt” others in the fellowship to follow their example, does the “shepherd” of that fellowship have a responsibility to act in this situation? If he/she as shepherd is to act, on what grounds do they base their actions?

PS devangelical… I quoted from the NTL because I was using the quote jimmybob dropped on this site. Sorry, I do not even know what NTL is… It was more a matter of convenience than anything else…I prefer other versions. Jimmybob… what is NTL (my suspect is that it is used by youth quite a bit)?

jefe said...

I think from what has been said that… we have agreement that the “original scripture” is inerrant.

Produce a copy, and I'll let you know...


btw- NLT is New Living Translation

jefe said...

FYI- I'm 'devangelical'. I wrote my blog-name where my username should have gone... my bad.

Steve said...

MB - Your comment is laden with plenty of ticking time bombs isn't it? I am so far removed from the church... it seems even funny that anyone would care what someone else does in their private life. And no one is going to lead me astray unless I want to be led astray.

In my opinion, everyone in the scenario you portray is free to do what the want to do. No one can make them think or feel or do anything they do not want.

Jim, Doris, pastor, the other couple... all have freedom to make their own choices... and they each must live with the consequences of those choices.

From my experiences, everyone does what they want ultimately regardless of what anyone says... and they justify what they do in any manner of ways.

But to be clear... I did not say that what a person "feels" is right is equal to truth. Because both of these people agree to an open marriage does not make it truth - as in eternal truth. It's a personal choice for them... they have to live with the consequences of that choice.

Molly's Boss said...

Hi Steve,

Yes… I guess it was full of ticking time bombs… Which may have been a bit unfair…But I think your answer was perfect. “Because both of these people agree to an open marriage does not make it truth - as in eternal truth. It's a personal choice for them... they have to live with the consequences of that choice.” Amen. All people in the world have exactly what you have stated… the freedom to make choices and live with the consequences. But Jim and Doris claim to be Christian and, as such, they should be trying to live a life pleasing to God. The question is not that Jim and Doris can make any choice they want… That is a given… The question is; “What choice should they be making to please Him and where do they go to get this information?”

Your statement, “From my experiences, everyone does what they want ultimately regardless of what anyone says... and they justify what they do in any manner of ways.” I see this in the world every day. However, it has been my experience, being in the church for many years, that the love of the church generated by His remnant can change lives to remove them from “what they want” to “what He wants for their lives.” The “what He wants for their lives” is generated from the scriptures. However, if I remove the scripture from displaying “what He wants for my live” then I become a bit lost in my direction as to “how to please Him”. If I thought the scripture was predominately erroneous, then their legitimate teaching would have little meaning to me and I would become suspect of their truth.

Molly's Boss said...

Hi Jefe,

I'm working on:

"The “original scripture” is inerrant. Produce a copy, and I'll let you know..."


I'll get you close...Humm... Where do you want me to send It?

jefe said...

That's okay, MB. I'll make do with the NASB for now.

If you sent anything even remotely "original", I doubt my finite mind would be able to understand it (at least not until I put my Americanized, interpretive spin on it...)

;)

Steve said...

No worries on the time bombs MB, I've been known to throw a few Molotov cocktails to spice things up once in a while myself.

"They should be living a life pleasing to God" - and from what I see on many issues, that is a moving target. This brings us back to the box that Dorsey wrote about in his original post. Outside of some very clear things in scripture (assuming one takes the scripture as the standard as you do)... there are plenty of shades of gray... and plenty more church-types that love to mandate that the grays are actually black and white.

As for your experience in churches... that the love of the church generated by His remnant can change lives to remove them from “what they want” to “what He wants for their lives.” I don't doubt your positive experiences within your own community, however in many this is a fine line as well. What's to say that in the some areas, "what they want" isn't also the will of God for them...even if it may appear to another not to be. What sometimes passes for love in the church is actually manipulation... trying to fix people and conform them to our ideal of what a Christian looks like from our finite perspective.

My best friend is gay and he is also one of the strongest believers I know. He has been in a loving, committed relationship with his partner for several years now...and his faith is unwavering. He is an example for all believers as to how to live a life pleasing to God. Yet many, including myself a few years ago, would say that this is impossible. That he was bound for hell because of his choices regardless of the faith that he proclaims. I no longer see it that way. In so many ways I wish I had the faith of my friend...a mature yet child-like belief in God as his Father.

Caro said...

Hi guys;
Wow, I just read the many comments following my bit. I agree with the idea that we humans have a tendency to put everything into a "box" which may be defined as our ideas about anything.
Of course, we do not have the "original" scriptues. What we have is a manipulated devotion to an idea which only exists in our minds (wishful thinking). That said, let me suggest that we consider the power of the oral transmission of history and ideas. Remember "Roots"? The most fascinating thing to me was that when the author went to Africa, he found an elder who recited the history of the tribe in full detail. Let's give people credit for an uncanny ability to memorize that which they believe is important.
In Jesus' time, there were few copies of the Torah, yet every boy doing his bar mitzvah could recite the entire thing from memory. How could this be? Does anyone remember the awards given for scripture memorization in SS in the past?
Let me say that this does NOT prove anything except that the "copies of copies..." might have a tendency to point to the truth, even tho' each may be somewhat inaccurate.
There is a mathematical equivalent of "approaching as a limit." If we can agree that the above is not unreasonable, then we consider that the "Truth of God" can be found as we compare scripture with scripture, finding in the variations a thread of truth that we ALL can follow. Perhapos we get "lost" when we insist that "our" truth is the only truth.
This does not mean that there are nor can be "standards" of behavior which apply to all persons. Paul's instructions concerning the "sinner" have general validty by this rule; however, his remarks concerning the roll of women's behavior in the synagogue may NOT be precisely applicalbe to every church of today.
How can we reconcile the difference? Let us not insist that truth valid at one time no longer is truth today: NO, let us rather examine the whole of the Bible we have (Bibles) and seek to find a fundamental idea which WAS valid in the past and IS valid for today.
Our tendency is to take the "rule" of the past and make it the "rule" for today. Rather, let us generalize the basic idea and then/only then apply it to our situation. ie: Women of the past were NOT educated in the Torah, hnor did they memorize it, nor did theyu study at the feet of a rabbi to learn how to interpret it. Threrefore, they were REALLY unqualified to enter intop a discussion of the Torah, but were to wait until they got home and there have hubby take his proper place in the home and lead them to understanding. If, however, the modern church has well-educated women in it, they ARE qualified to speak and lead discussions of the Bible; otherwise, the inherent idea that there "is no differnce..." falls apart. Was the scripture valid in Paul's time? Yes.
! Is it valid today? Yes! But today we may understand that as meaning those who are unlearned in Bible, who have NOT devoted much time to serious discussion of it, who have NOT defended/disputed points of view are NOT qualified to speak out about it, as they are only giving their opinion, which is as weak as their study ethic.
There is also another point to be made: in all of our discussion, did we forget that those who are lead by the Spirit of God are Sons of God? Doea this leading mean insistence on our way or the highway? Does it not mean that I value and regard my brother AND his thoughts as worthy of consideration? Does it not mean that I must recognize my own inability to comprehend ALL truth and therefore be humble enough to acknowledge my own weaknesses? Or as was said, "...see the log in my own eye..."?
My wish is that I become less of a judge and more of a student. Join me?

Caro said...

Hi guys;
Wow, I just read the many comments following my bit. I agree with the idea that we humans have a tendency to put everything into a "box" which may be defined as our ideas about anything.
Of course, we do not have the "original" scriptues. What we have is a manipulated devotion to an idea which only exists in our minds (wishful thinking). That said, let me suggest that we consider the power of the oral transmission of history and ideas. Remember "Roots"? The most fascinating thing to me was that when the author went to Africa, he found an elder who recited the history of the tribe in full detail. Let's give people credit for an uncanny ability to memorize that which they believe is important.
In Jesus' time, there were few copies of the Torah, yet every boy doing his bar mitzvah could recite the entire thing from memory. How could this be? Does anyone remember the awards given for scripture memorization in SS in the past?
Let me say that this does NOT prove anything except that the "copies of copies..." might have a tendency to point to the truth, even tho' each may be somewhat inaccurate.
There is a mathematical equivalent of "approaching as a limit." If we can agree that the above is not unreasonable, then we consider that the "Truth of God" can be found as we compare scripture with scripture, finding in the variations a thread of truth that we ALL can follow. Perhapos we get "lost" when we insist that "our" truth is the only truth.
This does not mean that there are nor can be "standards" of behavior which apply to all persons. Paul's instructions concerning the "sinner" have general validty by this rule; however, his remarks concerning the roll of women's behavior in the synagogue may NOT be precisely applicalbe to every church of today.
How can we reconcile the difference? Let us not insist that truth valid at one time no longer is truth today: NO, let us rather examine the whole of the Bible we have (Bibles) and seek to find a fundamental idea which WAS valid in the past and IS valid for today.
Our tendency is to take the "rule" of the past and make it the "rule" for today. Rather, let us generalize the basic idea and then/only then apply it to our situation. ie: Women of the past were NOT educated in the Torah, hnor did they memorize it, nor did theyu study at the feet of a rabbi to learn how to interpret it. Threrefore, they were REALLY unqualified to enter intop a discussion of the Torah, but were to wait until they got home and there have hubby take his proper place in the home and lead them to understanding. If, however, the modern church has well-educated women in it, they ARE qualified to speak and lead discussions of the Bible; otherwise, the inherent idea that there "is no differnce..." falls apart. Was the scripture valid in Paul's time? Yes.
! Is it valid today? Yes! But today we may understand that as meaning those who are unlearned in Bible, who have NOT devoted much time to serious discussion of it, who have NOT defended/disputed points of view are NOT qualified to speak out about it, as they are only giving their opinion, which is as weak as their study ethic.
There is also another point to be made: in all of our discussion, did we forget that those who are lead by the Spirit of God are Sons of God? Doea this leading mean insistence on our way or the highway? Does it not mean that I value and regard my brother AND his thoughts as worthy of consideration? Does it not mean that I must recognize my own inability to comprehend ALL truth and therefore be humble enough to acknowledge my own weaknesses? Or as was said, "...see the log in my own eye..."?
My wish is that I become less of a judge and more of a student. Join me?

Molly's Boss said...

Hi jefe,

Yes… I was thinking about sending the ASB… but being that you already have it I can save myself the postage. There are seminaries out there that only allow two versions in class when their students are in discussions. The ASB and I think the KJV. Not because they are that much more accurate, but because they are word for word translations, whereas the NIV and others like it are thought for thought. I use them all, NKJV, KJV. ASB, at times the NIV and when no one is watch I may even use the Reformation Bible. I did not know there was a NASB out there. Thank for the info.

I do not want to give anyone the impression that my years in the church do not come without hurt or damage from some well meaning people and some not so well meaning. I’m just saying that I find the value of staying with the church is much greater than the costs. These are God’s people, I might as well get to know them here because I know I will be seeing them in heaven. Maybe I can work out a few things with them before I get there. And when we finally get there then they will all find out… I was right! Or at least close.

JimmyBob said...

Sir Jefe says, "...and then you quote the NLT, one of the most horribly inaccurate, and evangelically biased translations of the modern-day bible.

There is no modern translation of the bible that could even remotely be considered "the 'original word' of God". And most certainly could not be considered 'inerrant'. Even the earliest recovered manuscripts are simply copies of copies of copies... of something someone said."


Jefe - first of all, I'm curious as to why you have concluded that the New Living Translation is horribly innacurate and evangelically biased? Is it because of the number of evangelicals having done the translating, or are there verses that you don't like? What is it?

Personally, as far as translations go, it is one of my favorite to read out loud and people understand it. I have found it to be a great tool in teaching as well.

Have you heard any commentary from Biblical scholars that think the NLT is unreliable?

It would be fun if you could point out an instance where the NLT is "evangelically biased" when compared to other translations.

Okay, the way you go about decribing the copies of copies of copies, you leave the impression that those copies are unreliable.

I disagree with the whole notion that we cannot trust modern translations or that we cannot trust the manuscripts. Just study! The variations and errors are not critical and have more to do with the trouble in passing things down than they do with disagreements or contradictions between manuscripts, etc.

It's amazing the Scriptures have survived as they have.

I think that the biggest argument now is whether or not God intended for us to even have a Bible that we count as the standard.

Most Christians would believe the Bible is inspired by God and that it is the book that he left us to discover him by, teach others from, and to encourage each other with for the future. They believe this mainly out of faith, because they don't have an understanding of how the Bible was canonized or even what the word canon means.

But, the idea that the Bible is from God is under fire among scholarly liberal Christians and their followers. They do not believe anyone can use the Bible to "teach" anyone else, because they say it is a man-made document that is biased and full of contradictions. Some of these scholars, like Bishop Spong, have called the Bible immoral.

I think this attack against the inspired, infallible Word of God has come mainly because there are specific issues the Bible addresses that people disagree with and can't see how God himself would even agree with. So, it has to be wrong.

Or in the very least, if the Bible has been messed up through passing it down copy after copy, then you can dismiss it and marginalize it's influence. That way, every person can determine for himself, based on his own prayer life and experiences what God is like or expects.

But, the worst sin you can ever commit is to hold someone else to "your" standard, because this would be seen as shoving the Scipture up their rear.

So, it seems, there are two sides here now: those that believe in Jesus Christ and believe that the Bible is God-breathed, completely reliable for teaching and those that believe in Jesus Christ but do not believe the Bible is God-breathed, but rather man's record of his experiences with God, and not completely reliable for teaching.

Am I understanding this correctly in general, or have I missed someone completely?

jefe said...

jimmybob said:
Jefe - first of all, I'm curious as to why you have concluded that the New Living Translation is horribly innacurate and evangelically biased? Is it because of the number of evangelicals having done the translating, or are there verses that you don't like? What is it?

JB- most modern translations are evangelically biased because they were translated by evangelicals. It’s just an observation… and it had more to do with mollys boss’ comments than the reliability of the NLT.


Have you heard any commentary from Biblical scholars that think the NLT is unreliable?
Here is a well-written critique of the NLT. Enjoy!
http://www.bible-researcher.com/nlt.html

Okay, the way you go about decribing the copies of copies of copies, you leave the impression that those copies are unreliable.
I never referred to them as being ‘unreliable’. I said they were not ‘original’ or ‘inerrant’… big difference.

Unfortunately, the majority of the rest of your comments are based on this faulty ‘impression’, so I cannot really speak to them, because I never said or intended any of those things.


But, the worst sin you can ever commit is to hold someone else to "your" standard, because this would be seen as shoving the Scipture up their rear.

Although I don’t believe there sins that are worse than others, I do agree that attempting to hold someone else up to your standard is, in fact, what the Pharisees did on a daily basis. This usually occurs “when x'ns begin extrapolating entire doctrines from specific words, phrases and passages, without considering the contextual and historical implications of said scripture. In my experience, that leads to a domineering, pharisaical attitude that looks to fix everyone else's beliefs by shoving ‘well-meaning, but imbalanced interpretation of the scriptures' up their rears...”


So, it seems, there are two sides here now:

Sorry JB. It’s not that simple. It is completely unfair to dismiss this entire conversation by blindly placing everyone in your 2 categories — in & out/right & wrong/believers & doubters…


Am I understanding this correctly in general, or have I missed someone completely?

I think you’ve missed me. Although I understand how you come to your conclusions, I don’t fit into either one of your categories. But I still rely on the scriptures as an essential source of truth in my life, even though I don’t completely agree with your view on them.

Steve said...

Hey JB:

If you haven't yet, I encourage you to grab a copy of Bart Ehrman's book: "Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why".

I strongly encourage you to read the introduction. When I read it, I strongly identified with his journey. It's almost like he was telling my story at times (minus the Doctorate Degree from Princeton of course).

It's rather compelling reading (the introduction for starters) because part of his story is that he grew up evangelical conservative inerrantist who took the scriptures very seriously and dedicated his life to studying them to get at their original meanings. At every turn it seems he describes the evangelical people in his life warning him about education and how it might destroy him. That's the same type of thing I experienced as I went thru school... and even now.

I remember quite plainly the day I was preaching at First Baptist Church Spring Branch at the ripe old age of 21 while attending Houston Baptist University and throwing my college philosophy book across the platform to emphasize the "lean not on your own understanding" passage. It garnered quite the applause from the church.

Anyway, grab this book if you like and read how he describes the variations and changes within the manuscripts... and how these changes came to be. Sometimes these were accidental changes and others were intentional... and he describes quite plainly how one might tell the difference.

But he does all of this with great respect for the Bible and without denigrating Christianity, of which he is still a firm believer. I think you'll enjoy it for many reasons.

SocietyVs said...

Wait...I am pulling something out of my rear...a-ha...it's a the NLT (lol).

Going back to Dorsey's original point about putting 'God in a box' - I think we all do this to some extent. The key is being open to learning more and more about God (or the scriptures) and not closing our learning experiences off so God is totally defined by us.

In the last 2+ years I have been blogging and discussing many issues and have found that I have changed stances on many issues - because I was open to hear what other people had to say about their experiences with God (scriptures). Now I could of easily brushed all those people aside for my own rigid worldview - but that's not really being open.

Yael told me a great story from the Rabbinical Rirke Avots about a person who wanted to convert and he goes to the 2 main schools of rabbinical knowledge of the day. First he goes to Rabbi Hillel and asks him to explain the whole Torah while standing on one foot - Hillel tells the student 'you shouldn't treat others the way you wouldn't want to be treated. The rest is commentary. Now go and learn'. The student then goes to Rabbi Shammai and asks the same question about the Torah and standing on one foot. Shammai beat him with a stick and chased him away.

The writer's then pen that 'both teach the words of the Living God but Hillel's is the one that recieves God's blessing'. Why? Simply because Hillel was willing to hear both sides of the story before making any judgment.

I may have kind of paraphrased the story a bit but the point is the better school of the two was the one that allowed you to learn about all things and not 'box you in' - and this had God's blessing written all over it. I tend to agree with that. We need to be open to learn and once we stop - we are still teaching God's words but they are no longer the breadth, depth, and height to which they can truly achieve!

Molly's Boss said...

Hi Steve and societyvc,

I see your point. However, the danger with going too far with your point is that the culture then determines the box you live in. A large part is determined by who you are listening and talking to and where do you draw your truths. An extreme of this would be one verse already quoted earlier, “ASV And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: “. One truth that many in the world would like to deny would be disclosed in a question… “Does Satan really exist?” If your truth says no then you will react one way… If your truth say to you yes Satan does exist, then you will react in another. The later implies knowing that there is an enemy out there that wishes to devour you and one of his main weapons is as he used on Eve, is to distort the truth. I may wish he did not exist, but that has nothing to do with the truth that he does or does not exist. Another truth that many in society may wish is that all roads lead to heaven, and that all religions point you there. I may want to believe this, but is it true. If I talk to the people of the other religions, I might be inclined to want them in heaven because I would like to think the Lord’s mercy would extend to them, but does that make it truth… that they will be in heaven?

John 14:5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

You can take this as truth or untruth based on your source of the standards of truth. You could infer that it is distorted based on another mans writings and studies but does that make it true or untrue. However, to call it a “box” seems to be a bit of a ploy to intimidate those who do believe this as truth into believing they are narrow-minded in not thinking “out of the box”. If you believe in some of these things and not all, then it becomes a matter as to “where does your box start and stop?’ Assuming you want to equate “Truth=Box”. However, I would think that is not the case. If we want to extend certain scripture and have it override the validity of others so that truth become how we choose to perceive it. Which in nothing new, but if that is the case then how do I determine which are more valid than others? Each individual then is given his or her own yardstick to measure truth. Some of this could be explained in the sanctification process as God begins to reveals His truths to you. But what is implied in the sanctification process is that you are moving and growing toward God’s truth, conforming to the image of His Son. If I choose to declare His word as distorted, I would have a distorted basis for truth and probably become as the man mentioned earlier, Bart Ehrman who now considers himself an agnostic. And if taken to the extreme then we come back to post-modernism, which, if I understand it correctly is, whatever I say truth is truth to me; what ever you say is truth to you is truth to you. However, that still does not leave us with what is truly true. PS. From what I understand Ehrman is slated in April of 2008 to dialogue with evangelical New Testament scholar Daniel B. Wallace on the textual reliability of the New Testament.[2] Wallace, has been an outspoken critic of the alleged "popular culture" quest to discredit orthodox, evangelical views of Jesus--including the writings of Elaine Pagels and Bart Ehrman. Wallace has a Doctors degree and teaches at Dallas. Do not know when this will occur but it sounds interesting. Does anyone know the date and time?

SocietyVs said...

"However, the danger with going too far with your point is that the culture then determines the box you live in" (MB)

That's the thing - culture is impossible to ignore anyways - even all these wonderful scriptures are written in the cultural context of each writer's time.

"I might be inclined to want them in heaven because I would like to think the Lord’s mercy would extend to them, but does that make it truth… that they will be in heaven?" (MB)

What makes anything even close to true - or real? Living it. If this viewpoint from your quote makes you a more merciful and compassionate person - is it all that bad? That's the key to theology in my opinion...not what we are saying - but what it makes us do with our lives (living truth and reality). Actually, I agree with the quote to some extent - because is not our mercy going to be asked about us from God? Now if someone we had mercy on comes to heaven - at least we are there as a witness for them too (in words mainly).

"Each individual then is given his or her own yardstick to measure truth" (MB)

Isn't this also a gospel teaching about judgment? The fact is we can only measure ourselves and we are not built to measure another's life. So we are the one's that take in scripture and interpret it and what that will mean for us - and maybe this is all that really matters to God? Do we have to be 'right' about everything? Is our 'wrongs' in interpretation really all that bad?

To me that's the key to thinking 'outside the orthodox or church box'...which is a set of defined lines we are not supposed to go outside of - but we need to to develop our faiths to some real depth (or we can choose to limit what we will think upon).

The whole point is how the way we thinks effects the way we act - that's what is important about any of our faiths. I could really care less if someone believed in satan or didn't - as long as they care about their neighbors - then so be it. Is God so fickle that this would bother Him - namely if it doesn't even bother me - a mere human?

I can honestly say - very few people likely agree with me theoligically - and I don't think that is a 'bad' thing...maybe that's the best thing. It shows we all are unique and have various ways of defining the faith - and this will change for all of us as we continue on. Can God be happy with diversity? 'I am' pretty happy with diversity and enjoy the challenges of discussing them out. Did he just use an 'I am' statement? LOL!

I think we worry to much about the ideas of believing correctly when what really matters is living righteously (and namely in relationships with others). I admit I do get hung up on a lot of theological problems - but I find that fun also - which maybe is 'sinful' in it's own right? But is that such a bad thing? Maybe it is righteous also - and leads to greater convo's between people who never would of even so much as approached one another outside that similarity they share.

So is truth about having the answers?

Molly's Boss said...

Hi societyvc,

“That's the thing - culture is impossible to ignore anyways - even all these wonderful scriptures are written in the cultural context of each writer's time.”

Amen. However, went the culture begins to go in a direction that opposes the will of God, what are we to do? How some might say… how can you tell His will and direction? The culture will determine my dress, my language, my music, my many things… and therefore, culture does have an affect on many things… but at what point does conforming to the culture become unconscionable when filtering it through the word of God? Where liberty exists and does not oppose the word of God then I think liberty should be allowed to exist. However, what are we going to do if we find yourself in a leadership in the church such as and elder of even perhaps a teacher of a youth group. In such a roll a youth may come up to you and ask a question that he/she is involved in and it is something that you know is against the scripture but accepted by the culture, how are we going to advise that youth? How some may say, how do you know if it is against the scriptures because they feel that the scriptures have been distorted? However, that does not remove us from the responsibility of answering the youth’s question with the best information we can. Therefore, how are we to draw these conclusions from the information we have. What standards are we to use? Standards drawn from the culture? Standards draw from God’s word? Where are we to go?

I think the bible states that we are not to judge the people outside the church. The people inside the church should be going through the sanctification process. The remnant of God should be helping each other through the process. This sometime calls for tough love. Which is what Paul was doing in the verses that were from the verses being flopped around earlier from 1 Cor.5:1-5. Paul is saying that this is not to be acceptable behavior in the remnant of God even though, at some time in the future, this may become acceptable behavior within the culture. Now if we are talking about items of little biblical interest, like in the 50s they painted everything Hot Pink and in 2008 we often paint things Orange (H&G) yuck… but to that we should have liberty. But if abortion was wrong in year 3 should abortion still be wrong in year 2008 even though the culture seems to suggest… no problem. Yes… we are always to forgive the sinner… but when does it become acceptable to accept the sin? When the culture accepts the sin?

SocietyVs said...

"Therefore, how are we to draw these conclusions from the information we have. What standards are we to use? Standards drawn from the culture? Standards draw from God’s word? Where are we to go?" (MB)

I go with standards drawn from God's word and applied in the real and living world. If culture is teaching us to 'hate' a group of people for example - well we know that is not what our God teaches - we do not obey hatred.

Sometimes we have to challenge the standards of culture and this is very normal in my opinion. I am from a minority group in the larger country I am a part of - so I do have views that do not line up with gov't policy and likely never will. Is that bad? Depending on the side of the issue one wants to take...and I am only standing up for what I feel is a person's rights.

But the standard the church uses is scripture and I add 'how it works in our daily living'. One of the interesting things in the Lord's Prayer is the line 'give us this day our daily bread'...it involves us. God gives grain and we make bread. I see that the same way with the teachings of the gospel - God has given us seeds for food - what are we going to do with them?

"Yes…we are always to forgive the sinner…but when does it become acceptable to accept the sin? When the culture accepts the sin?" (MB)

That's the thing we each have to work out. But I do know Mercy is one of the great teachings of Jesus and is not something for us to tamper with - so as to over-rule our own teacher.

That's the thing with the sensitive issues - but the key always will be - how do you want to be treated (even if you were the offending party)? I think we all enjoy acceptance - and mercy upon us for the wrongs we committ...and maybe this is something we need to extend as our main principle of living.

That being said, I don't like abortion and never have agreed with it - since I am here to promote the continuance of life - and, for me, abortion runs counter to that. However, I am not a staunch anti-abortionist since I have not been called to the gospel for that purpose (and Jesus never once mentions this idea). I understand people do this and some feel very bad after it...if I refuse to extend them the hand of acceptance then I shouldn't expect it either when I fail in some way. That's called equality. And to be perfectly honest abortion has many various faces and is not something to be lumped in one big category.

But to answer your question - the standard I always try to use is the values I see being taught in the gospels - with some real living application for the now (the food we make with the seeds we get).

JimmyBob said...

Now, this isn't an abortion thread, but I can't help but express my opinion after the last comments.

I have not been a staunch anti-abortionist either - in practice. I've never been to a clinic or protested anywhere. However, I feel very stongly about the issue.

Quite simply, I think it is murder - government sanctioned murder.

Once, I tried to argue with an atheist that my views against abortion had nothing to do with faith or religion, but he didn't buy it.

I told him I didn't need religion to tell me that a fertilized human egg is a human being. I mean, what else is it? It has life and is on a path of growth that will not stop, unless someone stops it.

People want to determined where life begins, when they already know that life begins at conception. So, then they want to determine if the fetus constitutes a "human" life. What else is it? A blob. Some Planned Parenthood people think so.

The argument is that it is okay to abort a fetus because it isn't human. No one would ever okay an abortion if they thought it was human, or would they?

Sure they would. They would okay it because of rape, incest, or other health factors.

I think abortion is a horrible practice. Millions of babies are killed every year because we have decided that fetuses aren't human or that some babies don't have a right to live if their mom's don't want them.

We have made a huge mistake and I don't think we'll know just how much pain we've brought until we finally see the millions of aborted lives worshiping the Lord in Heaven.

SocietyVs said...

Oh my God - the abortion issue...I actually agree with JimBob for the most part on this...oddly enough. Maybe I am conservative in some of my values?

"I don't think we'll know just how much pain we've brought until we finally see the millions of aborted lives worshiping the Lord in Heaven" (JimBob)

There is a dramatic theological irony in this. All those kids are afforded the right to heaven becuase they could not choose - so they could never go to hell. However, had they all lived would they still all make it?

For the record, that is purely hypothetical - I don't believe in hell or even that theology per se - but some do and it's a ironic thing in some ways.

As for abortion, I am not a woman and can not even choose to have one - so my opinion on the subject is limited by that obvious piece of evidence. So I am rather careful around this subject - I am not sure I want to puch people away from the love of God because they cannot see the mercy enacted in real life (and maybe my opinions will help push them away). So I am want to be careful on the issue.

That being said, this issue never once appears in the NT or for that matter the entire bible. There are records of infanticide - but never abortion. I do side with 'life' on the issue - in trying to save it - but then again - if I am going to take that stand I better be willing to back up my words with compassion for the lady that keeps the child...it's only fair.

Molly's Boss said...

Hi societyvs

“For the record, that is purely hypothetical - I don't believe in hell or even that theology per se - but some do and it's a ironic thing in some ways.” (societyvs)

But I believe this is a major part of my theology. If you do not believe in a hell then several questions come into being.

1. What are we being saved from?
2. What is the consequence of dieing without Jesus being Lord and Savior of your life?
3. Where do those whose names found written in the book of life go and, more importantly, where do those whose names are not written in the book of life go?

This may be another mine pit but they are important questions. If not hell… then what? Are all souls eventually excepted into heaven?

societyvs said...

"1. What are we being saved from?" (MB)

I would contend salvation is about beating the power of sin - in the here and now. There is also the apsect of there and then - we are being saved from sheol (death) - the power of death.

"2. What is the consequence of dieing without Jesus being Lord and Savior of your life?" (MB)

For me, it's about following Jesus (via his teachings and enacting them in our lives). I think on 'that day' we will be questioned in God's court about what we did with what we believed. Even Paul is clear about us being judged by our actions - Romans 2:6 "who WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS".

So as for mere believing Jesus is the Messiah figure - right hand of God - it means nothing if we cannot follow the simple teachings the Lord laid down for us in the 'here and now'. I believe we will all be judged according to what we did - not merely what we believed about God.

"3. Where do those whose names found written in the book of life go and, more importantly, where do those whose names are not written in the book of life go?" (MB)

It goes to figure - if one is called the figurative 'book of life' than those not included must be in the figurative 'book of death'. The reason I say this is because Jewish people never had a belief in 'hell' - they used the term sheol in the Tanakh - which means death more or less. Some don't even believe in an afterlife (ie: see Sadducees) - and this still exists to this day.

Hell is something we do not find in the Tanakh and mainly appears in the gospels. I can't say if it is truly there or not - but eternal torture to me seems a bit callous of God - and in fire of all things? Ever accidently burn yourself? Can you imagine God inflicting this punishment upon people forever - is this a kind and loving God? And for what, 70 years on earth. That's not quite fair in some way and this from a person who asks of us to 'measure with just measures' in our judgements.

"Are all souls eventually excepted into heaven?" (MB)

Some say this is the way God is - and maybe they make the best point. Maybe that's how we should see God - as that kind and loving. And to be honest, we really don't have a clue about the after-life - no one has seen it - come back - and then wrote books in it. Maybe there is a hell, maybe their is no such thing, maybe God destroys even hell.

Molly's Boss said...

Hi societyvc,

“I would contend salvation is about beating the power of sin - in the here and now. There is also the aspect of there and then - we are being saved from sheol (death) - the power of death.” societyvc

I might agree with the first point “salvation is about beating the power of sin”. Except I might change the word “salvation” to “sanctification is the process of beating the power of sin”. Salvation also implies “justification” which I had nothing to do with, the Lord did it all for me. Sanctification implies a labor of Love through the process of Him loving us and us loving Him.

But to the second point… I would contend that everyone is already saved from death because all souls are eternal. It is just where will we find ourselves in eternity.

Luk 16:22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame…. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that [would come] from thence.

Both these men are living an eternity, one in the presence of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and all the Saints that have gone before him but the other man lives eternally in their absence.

I would also contend that it is the Love of God that provided us His Son. It is His eternal plan that through Jesus and the acceptance of Him as our Lord and Savior that we receive life. It is in that love that He has for us and we have for His Son and Lordship that save us from God’s wrath.

John 3:35 The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

If we do not have the love of Christ abiding in us then we will receive the wrath of God. Revelation speaks many time of God’s wrath and how He is dispensing it upon the earth.

Rev 14:9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive [his] mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

Some would say the hell was created for the anti-christ and his followers. From these verses I might agree. But before the anti-christ there was still the parable of Lazarus and the rich man.

“but eternal torture to me seems a bit callous of God - and in fire of all things? Ever accidentally burn yourself? Can you imagine God inflicting this punishment upon people forever - is this a kind and loving God? And for what, 70 years on earth. That's not quite fair in some way and this from a person who asks of us to 'measure with just measures' in our judgments.” Societyvc

I see your point and I too have difficulties in some issues of what is “fair” or “unfair”, but weather it appears “fair” or “unfair” to me... I still must go with God’s word as presented to perceive His truths. Therefore, I believe there is a wrath of God that is also a part of His personality.

societyvs said...

“But to the second point… I would contend that everyone is already saved from death because all souls are eternal” (MB)

Doesn’t Paul make an argument about this in Corinthians – about Christ beating death? Then we are also able to beat death? It’s rather funny – hell as a topic never appears in all of Paul’s works – and not even in the chapter about what Christ’s resurrection conquered – but death is mentioned.

“But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, "DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory.” (I Cor 15:54)

“Both these men are living an eternity” (MB)

Firstly it’s a parable – using scenarios (real or not) that can be used to make a point. Parables are not factual stories and are not intended to be – they are meant to ‘compare’ (which parable means) and make the reader ascertain what they can from the story and for emphasis. In this parable we see the comparison perfectly – contrasted between the rich and poor, hell and Abraham’s bosom (heaven is not mentioned), suffering and wealth, etc. At the end we see the conclusion – which you have quoted – and it’s dramatic (yes) – but it is supposed to me (to shock the reader’s sensibilities). Is it true? It’s a parable – your guess is as good as mine.

“Revelation speaks many time of God’s wrath and how He is dispensing it upon the earth” (MB)

You pick some of the strangest passages for sources – parables and Revelations – but I will ask about this quote you made – where do you see God’s wrath in the world right now (presently)? If God is dispensing wrath – what events and what people are recipients? And if you don’t know then how do you know this ‘wrath’ is happening?

“but weather it appears “fair” or “unfair” to me... I still must go with God’s word as presented to perceive His truths.” (MB)

I agree with the ‘word’ aspect of this – to find the truths. Maybe God is a judge – I won’t even disagree there – and maybe wrath flows from His fingertips. However, what I will state is talking about ‘fair’ and ‘unfair’. Have you not read that even Abram and Moses argued with God – to spare others in His wrath? Jacob even wrestles God at one point – wrestles! How is that you will take God’s wrath with a ‘grain of salt’ as someone that will not ask questions back to God? Maybe God is waiting for your questions?

Caro said...

Societyvs:
You raise valid issues (re: MB); however, you do not address the many scriptures which speak of a place after judgement where there is "outer darkness..weeping and gnashing of teeth.." etc. If we can acknowledge that we are an extremely small part of a very great creation, can we not also acknowledge that we probably do not have the capacity to begin to understand the thoughts of God? "...my ways are not your ways... my thoughts are not your thoughts..."
Where then do we begin to try to understand Him? Is it not with the words of Jesus, who claimed to be the truth incarnate? Did he ever suggest in his teachings that there would be a final separation of people, some to life and some not to life? Is life defined as mere existence or is it defined as in the presence of God? Remember when Adam was told that failure to obey ONE simple command would mean death? Can we suggest that multiple acts of disobedience cannot mean death too? Perhaps we need to define hell as a place of awareness, but without the fellowship.

societyvs said...

"can we not also acknowledge that we probably do not have the capacity to begin to understand the thoughts of God?: (Caro)

I agree - we cannot truly understand God - but if that's the premise we start with (which i believe is true) - then how can one be so sure anything they want to doctrinally hold to? Or that all faiths do not lead to God? Etc. It is true we do not understand God - but we do have some nudges in this regard - namely the 2 bodies of scripture we use - the Tanakh and the NT.

"Where then do we begin to try to understand Him?" (Caro)

I agree - I like the gospels also and that's where I start with looking at God.

"Did he ever suggest in his teachings that there would be a final separation of people, some to life and some not to life?" (Caro)

Agreed. Fact is he never elaborates on 'hell' - he mentions it with regards to a garbage dump, a place where stuff was burning, and death in general. But as for what is there - well we are not given much to work with in that sense.

However, when looking at 'eternal punishment' one could be missing the point in some of these passages - does it mean forever to be punished - or could it also mean to lose your eternalness/life? I guess it troubles me that people would have to suffer for millions of years to no end for stuff they did on earth - that just seems vastly unjust. Now maybe I am being human in thinking about this - but is that really all that bad? As an example, I would never allow anyone here to be tortured for 1 hour nevermind 10-20 years if I could intercede.

"Is life defined as mere existence or is it defined as in the presence of God?" (Caro)

Life is about fulfilling what we were created to be - and that involves interaction with our Creator but also interaction with the creation we are a part of. I think there is a dual aspect to that question - if life is only about God - then we are wasting our time on earth. However, if life is only about us - then we are missing the beauty of faith.

"Can we suggest that multiple acts of disobedience cannot mean death too? Perhaps we need to define hell as a place of awareness, but without the fellowship." (Caro)

In the idea you portray here - I agree. True hell is losing connection with all the people around you - and becoming - in a sense - 'an island to ones-self'. To me, that is the beginning of most of the wild crimes we see in society...this lonliness and dispondence - lack of connection with fellow sojourners. Once people get there - things get desperate - very fast.

Molly's Boss said...

Hi societyvc,

I hope that I’m not giving you the impression that I am a “bottom dweller”, that God is mean and all that Christianity is about is escaping His wrath. However, if we were without Christ… that is exactly where I see the scripture say we would be… under God’s wrath. However, because of Christ… we are adopted Sons of God and brothers in Christ.

A few facts… depending on your version… Hell or Lake of Fire is mentioned 58 times in the Bible. Love is mentioned 311 times. Therefore, I know where we should be dwelling… but when hell is mentioned it is a place for the Anti-Christ, Satan and His demons, and those outside of Christ. Where love is mentioned it is normally within His remnant.

You asked “where are we seeing His wrath today?” I think we can all see His wrath from the past in various verses but His current “wrath” I see the scriptures say is being held for the future… as in 2 Peter.

Wrath from the Past; judgment of the future.
2 Peter 2:4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast [them] down to hell, and delivered [them] into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth [person], a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned [them] with an overthrow, making [them] an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed [his] righteous soul from day to day with [their] unlawful deeds;) The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:

I also see that the Lord has a “wrath” yet to come as in 1 Th

Jesus delivers us from the wrath to come:
1 Th 1:10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, [even] Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.

I see Jesus as delivering us from this wrath as in 1 Th…

Those that do not believe in Jesus as Lords will experience:
1 Th 5:3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.

The people of Christ will not suffer His wrath:
1 Th 5:9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.

I see that there is a reward for those who know Christ in their justification and receiving Jesus as Lord as in 2 Th

Those who choose to follow their own ways vs. those that follow Christ:
2 Th 2:12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I see those who choose Christ as being saved from God’s wrath as in John…

Those who choose Christ as Lord:
John 3:35 The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

But at the end of the day… I see that those in Christ need not fear His wrath… They should be accenting His love upon His remnant. If I were to place myself in a box… then let is be this one…

What the Lord wants for those in Christ: (Perhaps the Box)
Col 3:13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also [do] ye. And above all these things [put on] charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Charles said...

MB:
If only...!
We seem far more willing to argue our points of view than to engage with each other in love, etc, as in your quote above.
Could it be that in our "discussions", we find a way to exalt our selves while retaining the illusion of godliness?
Beyond salvation through Jesus alone (excluding works), all we discuss remains at OUR level, not God's; therefore, we can NOT reach a "final conclusion", can we?
In our teaching and admonishing one another, we must remember that it is with The Spirit and singing hearts full of grace.
What a super challenge!

Josh S said...

Sorry to jump in very late, but I would like to offer a thought:

The sword cuts both ways. The usual assertion is that because God is infinite and we are finite, we cannot communicate about him meaningfully, since our language is intrinsically limiting. But this has an immediate implication: God is not able to communicate to us meaningfully, either.

Thus, what is meant to put a limitation on man in order to preserve God's mystery and majesty actually ends up being a limitation on God.

societyvs said...

Oh Molly, if only everything was that 'black n white'...people going to heaven over 'y'ar' and people going to hell 'over y'ar'.

Fact is, determining who is 'going to hell' is about as hard as gueesing how many jelly beans they could fit in their mouth - it's changing all the time.

What determines a one way ticket to hell exactly? Non acceptance of Jesus or non acceptance of Jesus' teachings? Breaking the commandments? How are we to judge this exactly?

I also point out 'hell' as an ideology is not Jewish in nature - yes it is in the gospels - even those terms used are up for debate - and never appears in the Tanakh to make a doctrine from it.

Hell can be mythical or mean something else if you think about it. We hear the term 'hell on earth' - why - because that's all the 'hell' we truly know about. My concern is about people living in a type of 'hell on earth' and how to see them out of those tough situations.

As for hell, in the afterlife, I don't think it exists - the gospel words for this seem to not point to it as strongly as most Christian doctrines make one believe. Check the terms out used in the Greek in Matthew for example - you'll see quite quickly the words used (Gehenna, Sheol, or Hades) appear in various scenarios. In essence, they point to 'the way of death' and not the 'way of life'. This is a here and now thing if you ask me.

As for eternity, we speculate on it...everlasting fires to satisfy the judgment of God...I can't even think of humans that would demand that kind of justice for crimes committed against them (nevermind Christian ones - who seem to be merciful in the face of this kind of judgement - even to the point of witnessing). Find it...ironic.

Another Voice said...

Dorsey, just read this posty. How'd I miss it?

I am surprised that no one mentioned the idea that came to mind the minute I read this. My thought really didn't seem that original:

If I put God in a man-made box (theology), did I not just create an idol and call it "God"?? I mean, just 'cause I think I put Him in there doesn't mean He is.

Just a thought...

Missy