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January 22, 2010

Comments

Austin

Here are a few things I've wondered about lately. Some of them are pretty broad, so I would be expecting nothing more than "survey" treatment of the issues raised should you honor my curiosity with a post addressing any of them.

1) We know that without Messiah all men stand equally "condemned" to hell because of sin. But are all men equally punished? I've wondered about this based upon various of Jesus' statements, and also based upon the structure of the Levitic code: as more severe temporal consequences are designated for more serious temporal sins in the code, it would seem to suggest that eternal consequences will do the same. I know this question probably has no definitive biblical answer, but what are the possibilities?

2) What is the difference between a "dispensationalist" and a "covenant theologian"? What are the pros and cons of either view? Is there a possible middle view?

3) Some among my acquaintance have recently made the argument that Satan did not actually don the form of a serpent in the garden, but that the reference to "Serpent" is a metaphorical meant only to emphasize Lucifer's craftiness. Their argument rested on the premise that the Hebrew term used in the Genesis account is sufficiently ambiguous to make that interpretive view possible. Is such a view sound?

4) What is the P/Q/E theory of the old testament? Was it written by multiple authors?

5) What does God have to say, if anything, about torture?

6) You have said before that the essence of the 6th commandment, positively stated, is to "protect life." However, the commandment itself is a negative statement--the difference being that to violate the former would be a sin of omission whilst violating the latter would be a sin of commission. What are the grounds for preferring the positive statement of the rule over the negative? Is there a difference? Are there different applications?

7) In what sense should Christians be concerned with their reputations? Proverbs says a good reputation is invaluable, but Paul says he counts all things "rubbish" for the cause of Christ. How do I justify these two positions?

8) Believers are called to a life of "worship." We know that worship is a very broad term, encompassing a purposeful response to Christ's revelation of Himself in all avenues of our lifestyles. If the command is broad, why does every church-no matter the theological tradition-specifically make song a part of every service? Is there any basis for this other than that's just what people tend to want to do? What does the Bible say a church service should include? What terms might we use about "song time" that wouldn't confuse Worship with worship.

9) What made the First Great Awakening so good and the Second Great Awakening so just-sorta good?

Bubba Matthews

wow, quite amazing, i was going to ask exactly those same 9 questions. good thing Austin beat me to it so i don't have to type all that.

kathy douglas

is it possible that those who take the lead in the spiritual community get hung up on details of meaningless thought. the Bible says the serpent talked to Eve and we believe it to be Satan.we know what that conversation meant to mankind, as Eve listened to that serpent. why does it have to be something different, metaphorical?Personally, I think Satan likes us to get hung up on things and tries to lead us away from the truth.I don't understand( maybe I'm just a simple person) what does some of these details mean as to my salvation. Like, this statement " book ends" into that statement? This statement maybe historical or it could be a poem! I just can't believe that shapes my life as a Christian.As for me, I'll go with my heart. I pray to God to lead me to the truth, I then read the Bible.I of course go to church for greater understanding and to worship.Not being a person of higher education or a theologian, I just try to balance my mind with my heart when it comes to worshiping our God.I feel we have figured out God's word over the years, and know how to gain salvation. Maybe that's enough and we don't need to over think it!

AC

I respectfully, but nevertheless totally, reject the general and specific positions you espoused in your post, Kathy, and hope other responsible believers do the same.

As to your general premise that we shouldn't "overthink" scripture:

If God's word is inspired, and if, as Jesus said every "jot and tiddle" are noteworthy, then every little nuance-by Divine Pronouncement-holds meaning for Christians. This is to say nothing of the proscription to study and meditate on scripture in Joshua 1:8, or the mandate that we rely more on the Word than even our own eyes in 2 Peter 1:19, or that we "test the spirits" according to scripture in 1 John 4:1, or handle the Word "accurately" as commanded in 2 Timothy 2:15. Doing any of those things requires as a pre-requisite deep insight into the meaning of Scripture-an insight likely to elude one who eschews "overthinking" things.

By the way, it is worth considering that as "The Word is God . . . " (John 1:1) misrepresenting the Word is to misrepresent God-a violation of the second commandment. So then, your call to "not overthink" scripture is really a call to willingly, haplessly stumble into sin. To embrace that approach is to be bla se about Christ's reputation. I want no part of that, and neither should any sincere believer.

Further, by boiling scripture down to a mere blueprint for salvation you betray an unnerving lackadaisicality about taking every thought and action captive for the sake of Christ. Your post bespeaks an approach to Christian living that apparently has no fervor for sanctification or appetite for deep acquaintance with the heart of the Creator. The Christian journey is a relational pilgrimage where every land mark signals a deeper relationship with Messiah. To remain only marginally interested in His message is to eschew intimacy with Him for the sake of mere acquaintance. If you truly love someone, do you casually half-listen to them, or do you hang on every word whilst together? Your friends will measure how much value you place on their companionship by how attentive you are to what they have to say. It sounds like you're ok with saying "you're only sort-of important" to Jesus.

As to some of your specific points:

1) "I think Satan tries to get us hung up on points to lead us away from the truth." If you don't have any clue what the text actually says, you are unlikely to be prepared with a ready rebuttal for Satan when he comes-a-callin' wielding a clever distortion of scripture against you (as he did during Jesus 40-days temptation in the desert). Those with wisdom will stand strong; those without will be misled. To which category do you think the scripturally un-versed are likely to belong?

2) "We have figured out God's word over the years." We have indeed figured out many crucial things about scripture: there is much clarity. But, as to a great many other matters, this statement is patently false. As recently as the 1500's there were significant translational errors in the King James Bible. AS scholarship improves, so does our understanding of Scripture's meaning. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the 1950's was a radical moment of new clarity. And there are still many passages we don't fully understand: prophesies of the major and minor prophets, of Daniel, and of John in Revelation. There are also whole books of the Bible that we know are missing, such as The "Q" Document, and the first letter to the Corinthians, etc.

3) "As for me, I'll go with my heart." I suggest you rethink the foundations of your current decision-making strategy. "The heart is more deceitful than all else, and is desperately sick: who can understand it?" Jeremiah 17:9.

In every way your post advocates a flat-out derogation of Jesus' exhortation to be "shrewd as serpents" in a world awash in "wolves." Mathew 10:16. That kind of thinking will prevent you from being an overcomer; in fact, it will assure you are one of the first lamb-chops served up when Satan turns up the heat.

Bo

"Your post bespeaks an approach to Christian living that apparently has no fervor for sanctification or appetite for deep acquaintance with the heart of the Creator."

When my heart was regenerated, my eyes were opened to the things of Christ. I was a new born babe in Christ. I needed milk to grow. Today I need meat in order to sustain my relationship with Christ and to be able grow in the GRACE and knowledge of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

It hurt my heart to watch you cram that “meat” down Kathy’s throat, pull it out, and then force it again with grand vitriol. Friend, it is obvious that you are fluent with the ancient Scriptures, but, you have much to learn about exhortation/discipleship (Col. 1:28). Where does this vitriol come from? From what heart does it manifest itself?

Friend, I plead with you, please demonstrate self-control and respond with love instead of vitriolic superiority. Please insert GRACE in to your words. Also, please go easy on me as you respond to this post.

Dogio

Bo, Thank you so much for your spot on reply to AC. However, I find it very amazing that no matter where we are we are all engulfed by God's amazing grace.

Wes

Some biblical principles to illumine "The Google beast" please!
http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=123391

And a cherry on top, please?
RFID chips - will we ever get our privacy back?

Oh! And some whipped cream?
Cameras at intersections, OnSTAR, Garmin, cell phones, laptops - they all help us, but who are they really helping? "Enquiringly minds want to know!"

"If you don't want anybody to know, don't do it." -Unknown

AC

@Bo:

First, to contain "Vitriol" a comment must be bitterly scathing. My post was hardly either. It was sincere, passionate, organized, and direct. Admittedly, the end was colorful, but I enjoyed the "sheep" metaphor and it was hardly out of step with what Revelation's message or its tone.

Second, I wrote 3 arguments outlining why Kathy is wrong in the general sense, and wrote 3 specific responses to the underpinnings of her general thesis. Apparently, being thorough logically is "meat shoving" to someone like you. Besides, my message contained arguments. Kathy was free to rebut them if she chose. God forbid I articulate a position with passion-NO! we can't have that!

Third, I don't know why it is that makes you and others like you so afraid of honest, bold argument. You're so thin-skinned no one can utter a forceful, logical comment near you, let alone to you without being called "ungracious," etc. As if it's spiritual to let fellow believers drown in a bog of ignorance. I'll take my brand to yours any day. Since mine is such an unpracticed hand at discipleship, answer this, sensei: who did the greater disservice to Kathy, Me for saying it straight, or You for giving her a reason to ignore sound logic?

Finally, your response didn't rebut any of my points: it settled for ad hominem. I defy you to present a shred of evidence of my discipleship skills! You're basing that conclusion on my participation on this website perhaps? Where is your evidence of my grace-less-ness; have you seen every draft of the comments I put on here? Made sure that I hadn't toned down my originals before I posted them? How do you know I haven't conscientiously ignored the desire to send a face-melting reply to you even now? Answer: you don't. But even though you can't distinguish "vitriol" from candor you still loosed a salvo, didn't you. How about this: spare me the half-cocked lecture on self-control and I'll spare you a reciprocating sketch of your character based solely on your participation on this site.

Bo

Is there anything else you would like to say to me that I can use to help better myself?

Anonymous

"But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere." James 3:17

How sad it was for me to read some of these comments! Do you think they did anyone any good? While the response to Kathy might contain truth, do you honestly think that was edifying or encouraging to her? Surely there was a way to encourage deeper study without such a public rebuke. Obviously, based on other's comments, Bo wasn't the only one to read it with "vitriol". Let's be mindful to, above all else, put on love.

"And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing." 1 Cor 13:2

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