Saturday, December 08, 2007

UPDATED

WHEREAS,
I, by God's grace, have been a born again disciple of Jesus Christ for nearly 25 years, and,

WHERAS,
I, by God's grace, have been since childhood a student of the Scriptures, faithfully studying at home and church, and having at one point or another memorized much of the New Testament and large portions of the Old, and,

WHEREAS,

I, by God's grace, have spent the last ten years of my life in the concentrated study of Biblical hermeneutics and systematic theology, and,

WHEREAS,
I have spent the last six months undertaking a more careful, thorough and irenic study of the history of Christianity, and,

WHEREAS,
My careful studies have thus taken me to the end of the Middle Ages, be it therefore,

RESLOVED,

Any person who has ever undertaken an unbiased study of Sacred Scripture and Christian history, and is also a devout Roman Catholic is either a demoniac, a diluted idiot, a dangerous liar or an utterly deceived fool.

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

YOU GAVE UP BEING IRENIC QUICKLY DIDN’T YOU? I AM GOING TO FIND TIM PERRY THIS MORNING AND TALK HIM INTO SHREDDING YOU JUST LIKE THE DEBATES. SOMEBODY HAS TO SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT HERE.

irreverend fox said...

interesting...I just sent Tim inviting him to respond here...

irreverend fox said...

sent him a note I should say...

Anonymous said...

WOW!
I can see in the scriptures where every point is not only relevant, but authoritative. We know that there is only one way to God, and only One Messiah. That person is Jesus the Christ. We have no other hope than Him and what He did for us. It is obvious and apparent to me that the other religions you mentioned have added to the simplicity of the true Gospel not thinking that Christ alone is enough. That is a very bold stand to take, but one I will take with you. I have had some minor (and they are just that) disagreements with some of the things you have written. But this is right on.
We however who hold the truth must pray and witness to those who are wandering aimlessly in the darkness being deceived by the chief liar himself that old dragon, lucifer. We know his end as does he. We need to love as Christ loves not being concerned about what man can say or do, but doing the will of the our great God.
Thank you for this post.
Love, peace and strength in Christ,
ron

Zac said...

Forgive me, Gary-- I think you're being silly. I agree with you that Roman Catholicism is not the Christianity of the early centuries, but I don't think you have to be demonized or a dishonest to reach an incorrect conclusion regarding the Church's early history.

Tell me, which books on Christian history have you studied that lead you to such certain conclusions?

irreverend fox said...

no...but if you have made an unbiased study of Scripture and Christian history AND you are a devout RC...if you are not a demoniac or a deceiver then you must be a fool. there are only so many options, zac.

I've been reading through Needhams series and doing various complementary reading online (looking up the fathers as I come across them). I've also been listening to audio series that I have found on monergism.com. I've attempted to go through a chronological overview from Pentecost to last week if possible...then start over...it's been great for me...being a high school drop out with a GED I simply didn't do much study in history, period, let alone the details of Church history. Of course I've been aware of the bigger picture and was aware the biggest players...but this approach is far deeper than I have ever gone and far slower...it's been incredible. There are two types of people…detail people and big picture people. I’m a big picture guy…I have a hard time remembering names and dates…in any context…so I’m not as quick with facts on my feet as someone like you (or Naomi for that matter). But I am getting a clue and I hope that the names, dates and places will come quicker to me as I become a better student of history. Snoring through school and not going to college put me behind to say the least…just in general world history (which was, obviously, drastically shaped and was shaped by Christianity).

anybody who has ever reviewed what we now know as Roman Catholicism (the western 'church' under the supreme authority of 'the pope') has done to the Eastern Orthodox, Jews, Muslims and the first batches of Reformers, the Waldensians and the Petrobrusians...plus the way Rome butchered the heretics known as the Cathars (also known as the Albigensian Crusade) and yet is faithful, has something wrong with them…they are willfully blind (or they do not understand the lofty claims of Rome about ‘the pope’…but then how can they be devout if they don’t understand it is “dogma” that the pope IS THE vicar of Christ for example? Innocent III was clear when he said, “ The Lord Jesus Christ has established one sovereign [the pope] over all as His universal vicar, whom all things in heaven, earth and hell should obey, even as they bow the knee to Christ.”) These “crusades” and “inquisitions”, against the Cathars, brought horrific bloodshed and destruction to the south of France. The Crusaders behaved with great savagery, slaughtering men, women and children...they wiped out the Albigensians and shattered the power of southern nobility. Pope Innocent III was a demon...he along with a lesser demon a hundred years before him, Hildebrand, made "the Papacy" what is today...

what blows my mind is how contemporary RC apologists have no problem taking the good and all but ignoring or down playing the bad. And that has nothing to do with how this so called infallible Church has contradicted itself by later dogmatic evolution…I just finished up the Middle Age (for now)…stunned. Totally and completely stunned. Here the Byzantine Empire was being over run by the Ottoman Turks and despite repeated cries for help…the papal west simply would not send assistance unless the Eastern Orthodox submit to the pope…which they would rather die…and so he let them. Constantinople fell…this was after the brutality of the western papal religion unleashed on the Eastern Orthodox during the Crusades…

anyway…you can not be a devout Roman Catholic and understand the Scriptures and understand Christian history all at the same time…something is drastically inconsistent there…

my harshness does not quite revial Roman Catholic harshness...historically at least.

irreverend fox said...

errr...rival...can anyone tell when I'm tired and trying to wrtie?


lol

irreverend fox said...

oh...and I take back the "historically at least"...no...she is what she is.

irreverend fox said...

let me sum my thought up with this and then I’m done. I believe, right now, that Eastern Orthodoxy is in error and is incomplete…they are wrong for lack not for a positive infusion of maliciousness. Same with the Watchtower and the Latter Day Saints (for the most part). They are not overtly “evil” and certainly not uncharitable, immoral or cruel. They are wrong, incomplete, misguided, off track…and so on. Each of those groups claims to be the “only” Church of God...but they have not expanded their borders by bloodshed…each has been peaceful and charitable…

But not so with Roman Catholicism. Anyone offended by this take a good long study of the Middle Ages…I’m sorry if you are offended. Roman Catholicism is drunk on the blood of Saints. You can not say “they have changed” because they themselves insist (amazingly) that they have not…they are the same “Church” which as taught the same thing for 2,000 years, according to them (that is not my spin…that is what they actually claim). Well…just look back and see what, specifically they were teaching and then doing to those who did not agree. So if you are Roman Catholic and you are offended by this…understand…you are being offended by truth, not hate.

And I don’t want to hear about “ex cathedra” proclamations being the only ones that count…blah blah blah…I don’t even want to hear it cause that is just mumbo jumbo and smoke in mirrors to distract and confuse the issues and the facts…

"When I am angry I can pray well and preach well."

"Peace if possible, truth at all costs."

"I feel much freer now that I am certain the pope is the Antichrist”

"Here I stand; I can do no other. God help me. Amen!”

-Martin Luther


hey Ron!

thanks. amen...we must never forget that Jesus is the Savior!

Zac said...

I guess I just disagree with your conclusion. Also, perhaps you should consult multiple sources of Church history to make sure that you yourself are engaging in such an "unbiased" study.

I have taken a bit of time to examine Dr. "Nick" Needham, and first I notice that he comes from the reformed perspective, and second I notice that his studies are far from "irenic" and more along the lines of "apologetic."

Actually, within just a few minutes of listening to a piece of his concerning the life of St. John Chrysostom (someone which I myself have studied from several sources including both primary and secondary sources), I noticed lots of things that he wasn't saying and some incorrect things that he asserted. If you like, we can talk in person about the specific examples.

But anyway, I'm getting side-tracked. My point is that I think if you're really seeking an unbiased study of Christian history, you should check out primary sources like Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History, the texts of the ecumenical councils, and historical works by recognized scholars in the field like Dr. Jaroslav Pelikan, who has an excellent series on Christian history entitled, The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine.

If anything, this will make you more credible when you speak of things like an "unbiased study" of history... and I only want what's best for you. =^)

Anonymous said...

Zac,
The only book we need to study is the Bible. There is no other infallible, inerrant, written, or otherwise communication from God than it. If any church and the key word here is "any" does not function according to God's word, they cannot be of God. John in his first epistle clearly states the difference between those of the world and those who are born of God.
The Bible clearly teaches us there is nothing we can do to earn our salvation (Titus 3:5 Eph 2:8,9). It is a gift from God, and being that it is a gift what can we possibly do to earn it.
I have said all of that to say this; most of the churches that Gary mentioned believe and teach in Jesus plus something. Jesus Himself taught us to simply believe. (jn 14:8-12). I will close this out for now. My hope and prayer is that it is truly Christ we seek and not the traditions that man has taught about Him.
Love and peace in Christ,
ron

Anonymous said...

Just one more thought here...
If I wanted to have a close personal relationship with you all, would I make it difficult or easy? It is simple question and one that should be easy to answer.
I would make it as simple as possible. Now, God being who He is (our creator) and the fact that He wants to have a close relationship with us did He make it simple or easy? Well, read Mt 11:28-30 for the real answer.
ron

irreverend fox said...

there is no unbiased historian of course. I’m sure that you believe Eastern Orthodoxy has a pure and correct view of Church history, but it does not…nor does any group. We all do our best of course, but with the superstitious nature of the Eastern Orthodox faith I’m more inclined to trust the work of an atheist historian frankly. At least a Reformed historian is a Christian…but one who does not swallow every ledged that has been passed down in Christian history (no reasonable modern scholar would, unless evidence demanded such a verdict). Of course with the modernization of Roman scholarship they are at times far less likely to buy old myths, but they are more prone to buying into such fantasies for my tastes. I want to know the facts…including the reports of “miracles” of course (the stories are part of the Story) but I don’t want a historian who will simply report such things as if they ACTUALLY happened (again, unless the evidence demands it...and outside of inspired Scripture one is hard pressed to provide such documentation it would require for honest validation).

And, by the way, I AM reading original sources...as Needham works through history I am reading further about each character or situation online...it's easier and cheaper than buying piles of books (I hardly buy books anymore, I like to read things on the computer). I don’t know if you are aware of this, but you can read the original works (and other ancient works) at http://www.ccel.org/ and http://www.goarch.org/en/ourfaith/articles/article8074.asp and http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/ as well as others (those are three that I usually search…).

I have owned and read "Eusebius" many years ago, and I have referenced it many times since, it is certainly a classic. In fact, I’ve believed that his is the first book anyone should read who cares to learn of the ancient church…start there and then move on.

I'm sorry that you assume that I would go off half cocked after reading just one source, as if I'm some young, zealous, immature rookie who gets on a high horse after reading a book and then runs at the mouth as if an expert, I thought you would have a higher opinion of me than that. While I have never walked this slowly through Church history before that does not mean it is the first time I've been down the path...perhaps in my attempts at humility I have given the wrong impression that this is my first time around. It is not.

I guess if you don't consider Needham irenic then you don't give much credence to any scholar who is not Eastern Orthodox. (I’m sure you are aware that Pelikan is also a “recognized” Eastern Orthodox, conveniently enough…he converted later line life. he was originally from Akron…that is how I first heard of him, I read last year that he died).

If I am wrong, then which Reformed historian would you recommend to us? Which (post schism) Roman Catholic historian is your favorite?

Dr. Needham is more than qualified to teach Church history and does an excellent job and it is obvious that he is doing his best to be honest and fair...he is certainly not trying to convert anybody. You may question his authority I suppose, but not his integrity.

irreverend fox said...

hey Ron,

having a relationship with God is as simple that a child can understand it...yet it totally confounds the wise.

so it depends I guess...if you have child like faith it is easy...if you are full of wisdom it is hard.

I'm glad God saved me...because I'm certainly not very sophisticated...lol...I've been called a "Peter" more than once!

Zac said...

Hey Gary,

Sorry to get your hackles raised, my friend! I only mention these things because you seemed to say in this post that you had, in fact, done an unbiased, irenic study of early Christianity.

I'm not yet so post-modernized that I would deny that people can report fairly, objectively, the major facts of Church history, and even drawing legitimate conclusions from it while also inviting the reader with whom the information is shared to draw another. I think that it does us no good to say that it ALL consists of perspective and "bias." This goal of objective reporting, in my opinion, is the tradition of academic theology and history at its best and I think that there are great sources of it from within the Christian world, encompassing all three branches of Christendom: Roman Catholic, Reformed, and Orthodox.

The academic tradition of theology tends not to discuss the realm of miracle as would a hagiography within a faith tradition such as Orthodoxy, not that it denies this but sees it more along the lines of confessional truth than academic truth, and so it goes beyond the sphere of academics.

For instance, there is much academic work on the First Ecumenical Council and the roles of Athanasius, Constantine, Arius, Hosius, et al., but probably not much treatment of the account of the miracle which God performed through the humble shepherd Spyridon of Tremithus. And this is probably the way it should be, since this spills into the realm of faith-- this, however, doesn't mean that such a miracle didn't occur, just that its veracity is beyond the scope of academic inquiry.

I am familiar with the Greek Archdiocese website (goarch) and with the Christian Classics Ethereal Libary (ccel), but I haven't checked out Tertullian.org. I'm glad you've checked these out and I'd love for you to perhaps do an entry on one of these primary documents-- what it means to you, possible points of agreement or disagreement you find, even something about historical context.

And I just want you to know that I certainly don't mean to be treating you as some "half-cocked" "rookie" at any of this. Please don't take what I said as a criticism-- you just had me confused when you only mentioned Needham's history... I felt sure you had in fact done more research than this, and I am glad my intuition was correct.

Believe me, I certainly don't think that only modern Orthodox historians and theologians should be consulted in order to obtain an irenic, unbiased view of Christian history. Although in the same breath let me tell you that among the modern Orthodox academic scholarship, you can get no finer than the likes of Fr. John Behr's series, The Way to Nicea (The Formation of Christian Theology) series (first and second volumes published, with another on the way, I think). There are other Orthodox academic theologians also definitely worth considering for an irenic study of Church history, among them: Fr. Georges Florovsky, Fr. John Meyendorff, and Fr. Nicholas Afanasiev. These scholars are respected as objective in both Reformed and Roman Catholic circles, as is the late Dr. Jaroslav Pelikan, a committed Lutheran until the last eight years of his life.

And let me certainly say that one does not have to go to Orthodox sources to find excellent irenic, academic studies of Christian History. Look no further than Dom Gregory Dix, or Cardinal John Henry Newman on the Roman Catholic side... and perhaps on the Reformed Side, Bruce L. Shelley (Church History in Plain Language) and Daniel B. Clendenin.

Needham seems fine as a starting point, although from what I have seen his work is more apologetic than irenic. Of course that's fine-- I'm not knocking apologetics-- I'm just pointing it out, since his was the only work on Church history you mentioned in the context of "irenic" studies.

And I'm not sure whether to have my feelings hurt or not-- trusting an atheist historian more than an Orthodox one? Perhaps this is meant as humor or maybe for some reason you are incited by what you perceived to be condescension on my part. That definitely wasn't what I was going for, so let me apologize. And it's cool about the humility thing-- keep trying, and I will too. =^)

irreverend fox said...

Always keep in mind Ron,

The Bible is not the only source of Divine Revelation…it is certainly unique in that it uses words which can be easily read, understood and communicated…but it is not the only source. God also speaks through nature, intuition, reason and Church tradition. We decipher those sources by the Bible…we ought not ignore them however...if we do we are making an idol of the Bible and not fully listening nor heeding God.

Zac said...

Ron,

How confident are you that you can understand the inspired, inerrant, infallible precepts of Scripture? The Pharisees of Christ's day were experts in the Scriptures, and yet they spat upon and crucified the God which they were written to reveal as soon as they were given the chance.

- zac

irreverend fox said...

zac,

my studies are certainly FAR from over...I didn’t mean to suggest that I had done an absolutely irenic, all encompassing, all pervasive study of 2,000 years of Christ’s Church.

I guess one of us either is too strict or too loose with the word, "irenic". I stand behind my description of Needham…and I do not consider him an apologist…at least that is not how he is writing these books…I don’t know about other articles he has written…but the first volumes of his series that I have read are rather straightforward and it seems clear to me that he is not trying to prove a point…but he is Reformed and that is also clear. I don’t know of an author who can divorce himself from his perspectives.

Let’s put it this…”irenic” is not a grace I abound much in my writing…I think I shock people how “cool” I am in person, lol. I debate in my own head and heart if I should be more irenic or be a fire breathing dragon in what I write…as my hero Rush Limbaugh always says, “there will never be a book written about the worlds greatest moderates…” lol…of course I don’t care about fame, lol…but who wants to read something that is not provocative in some way? Not me…but it is within the relm of possibility I suppose that I might, per chance, at points…go too far. NAH…

also, of course histories are not "all about" perspective...but neither are they absent of agenda either. it's not possible, I don't think. all a historian or theologian can is “his best”.

I'm pleased to see that you'd recommend Newman, Shelley and Clendenin! I wish I had more time to really dive into all of these riches! But I have run across all of them in various articles throughout the years! (Clendenin has even written a book or two about EO that I am very interested in reading in 08!) I was beginning to worry that the only scholarship you took seriously was Eastern Orthodox by the way you had seemingly so easily dismissed or took less than seriously Piper, Sproul and now Needham...I'm glad to see that I was wrong!

As for my trusting an honest atheist historian more than an Eastern Orthodox one…morally…theologically, obviously no. But to be honest…the way Eastern Orthodox report history stuns me. They report fantastic events, as if they are simple facts of history, without batting an eye. Reporting as if fact that the infant St. Nicolas stood for three hours at his baptism is beyond my pale I guess. Or that the Apostles were super naturally transported, from all over the world, to the death bed of the Virgin…like it actually happened…is too much for me. The lines of legend and reality are too blurred I think in the Eastern Orthodox world view and so I don’t trust it. Of course anyone can lay their faith aside and do strict scholarship…and I am sure there are many such cultural EO scholars who are reliable, I don’t doubt that for a minute. But some faithfully devout Eastern Orthodox monk? Especially one writing before the modern area? No…I read the links you put up…of men who certainly believe with all of their hearts that they are passing very true information…but I can’t take it as serious history, I’m sorry…not apart from faith (which does not mean these things did not happen…but it takes faith to believe them…one can not make conclusions based solely upon the faith of another).

It is hard enough to believe the Bible…and I would not had God not first opened my eyes Supernaturally. Of course, as I’ve already submitted, the miraculous accounts in the Scripture are of a far more reliable nature than the mythology which emerged in Church history, at any rate…but we can agree to disagree on all of this…we’re friends no matter what as far as I am concerned!

irreverend fox said...

btw...

bt "the modern era" I'm talking strictly about, basically, the 1900's onward…the age of sophisticated archeology, modern medicine...advanced science...

words like "modern" can mean all sorts of things I guess...I'm just, basically, talkin about the late 1800's forward...

Zac said...

Gary,

You're right. I suppose I should have had a better understanding of my audience before I posted hagiography-- certainly outside of the actual faith tradition of Orthodoxy this would not be accepted, and certainly Orthodox would not base scholarship on the miracles of St. Barbara. Of course, that's not to say that we don't believe it-- we do, or at least the essence of the story, complete with all the "superstition" =^). No "academic" study would take such things into account, unless they were merely discussing the existence and role of oral and written traditions of recounting the lives and words of martyrs.

That story is more "in house," written by and for those who already know the God who does such things, even in our day, and who know that St. Barbara's prayers avail much before the Master's throne. Certainly not a topic for the academy, and certainly not irenic!

And I am glad you read the longer story of our St. Nicholas, even if you struggle with details like the early miracles of his life. Thanks for the continued interesting dialogue.

Anonymous said...

Zac,
That is a very good question, and one that I will try my best to answer using the bible.
Prior to our rebirth, we are not the children of God but the children of satan. I know that people do not like to hear that however, the simple fact that whatever is not born of God is a part of this world. Now, the pharisees in John 8 stated they were Abraham's children (vs 39) to which Jesus replied if they knew Abraham, they would do his works. So, right off the bat we recognize that they were not doing the "works" that Abraham did. What was his work? He believed God. Hebrews 11:8-10. The pharisees were relying on their physical genealogy for their relationship with God. If we look at the conversation that Jesus had with Nicodemus in John 3, Jesus plainly states that we must be born again not of the flesh, but of the Spirit. We are born with a soul,spirit, and flesh. However, the soul, and spirit are dead in sin. It is interesting to me that we do not need to teach a child to tell a lie. It is because we are born sinners. And who is the chief among liars? The obvious answer is satan. He lied to Eve in the garden when he told her she would not die by eating the fruit. Let me get back on track here.
When we are born again, we receive the Spirit of God. This is one of the great mysteries that we cannot explain. I can tell you that it is true though. II Cor 5:17 states we are a new creature or creation the old is gone and the new has come. I am not today the same person I was prior to Christ changing my life.
Now, back to how I can trust my interpretation of the scriptures. In and of myself, I cannot. That is to say if I rely upon my own wisdom, thoughts, and flesh, I cannot. I rely instead upon God's Holy Spirit to reveal to me His Word. I can tell you this, when I trust and rely on Him, I cannot go wrong. It is when I look at my circumstances and try to take matters into my own hands that I fail. Why, because I cannot do anything of myself. God wrote through the apostle Paul in ICor 2:9-16 the real answer to your question. The natural man cannot discern the things of God. Verse 10 clearly states that God has revealed to us by His Spirit the deep things of God. Where did Paul tell young Timothy to learn about God? He told him to study the scriptures. God has revealed Himself to man since Genesis 1:1. It is man who choses not to believe God. (rom 1:19-32) with emphasis on vs 28 which says we did not like to retain God in our knowledge therefore, God gave us over to a reprobate mind. I know that this is a long explaination, but I am prayer fully writing this and praying that it will somehow cause you to do what Paul told Timothy to do. I ask that you do not trust me, but to search the scriptures reverantly, prayerfully, and with the mindset that you really are seeking God and His truth. There can only be one truth and everything else is a lie. Why else would Jesus so clearly state that He is the truth? Jn 14:6
I will close this out and allow you time to digest this. I pray that this will in some way cause you to ask, seek and knock. God is always available and ever waiting for us to learn of Him.
Love and peace in Christ,
ron

irreverend fox said...

ron,

you said: "I can tell you this, when I trust and rely on Him, I cannot go wrong."

are you suggesting that people who interpret the Bible differently than you are not trusting and relying on Him? or are you saying they are not trusting and relying on Him as much as you?

do you really believe that it is possible for you to not "go wrong" in the art and science of Biblical interpretation?

Zac said...

Ron,

I can see you're a sincere guy. Let me tell you that I have searched the Scriptures reverently and what I have found is that being a believer in the Lord Jesus is not enough to give me infallibility in interpreting the inerrant word.

What I have found, however, and what I believe now, is that God did not just float down His message to mankind from the Heavens (like Muslims claim about the Quran) but it was written in, by, and for a specific, historical, visible, apostolic community-- the Church. The Scriptures point to the fact that the Church is the "pillar and bulwark of the truth."

And this is what I simply believe: that if God really did communicate His Gospel to men, He would have also provided a means for its correct interpretation instead of leaving it to the whims of whatever I feel, since "no prophecy of Scripture is of private interpretation." (and also remember the Eunuch's reply to Phillip-- "How can I understand, unless someone teaches me?")

For me then, the question is not "are the Scriptures true?" but "where is this Church that the Lord promised would not fall even against the gates of hell?" and which is the "pillar and bulwark of the truth?" Which community of Christians is the direct descendant of the community which actually heard the apostles speak, who had "the traditions delivered unto [them]" both by "word, or by epistle" (2 Thess. 2:15).

This is undoubtedly the Orthodox Church, as any study of history will show, and they have preserved in unbroken succession this same apostolic deposit of faith which is the key to understanding all of God's inspired, inerrant, and infallible Scriptures.

Having been Orthodox now for four years, I can tell you that I have absolutely no regrets. Conversely, now nearly everything I see in the evangelical world seems cheap, dull, and full of ego-worship. It is a sad imitation of the faith which Christ once and for all (without need for rediscovery) delivered to the saints. Ron, "one thing you still lack" and that is the Church, Christ's body. But don't take my word for it-- go and see for yourself.

- zac

Anonymous said...

My question is very simple. How many truths are there when it comes to God, and man's relationship with Him or to Him? Jesus made it perfectly clear that there is only one way, one truth. I am trying to figure out why you are all trying to make something so simple so difficult. As far as interpretation, I simply take the scriptures for what they say. Now, that may sound simple, and perhaps it is. But I try not to complicate what God has made very clear.
Zac, as concerning the Church, the Believers are the Church. We are the Bride of Christ. I do not see what the issue is here. We either have the Spirit of Christ, or the spirit of anti-christ. Whoever does not confess that Jesus in the Christ is not of God. Is not this simple? It is putting all of our faith and trust in Christ and Christ alone. It is Jesus plus nothing. (including tradition).
ron

irreverend fox said...

Ron,

my brother...it really isn't that simple. you are not answering my questions...theology is not easy...because we find quickly that our list of "certainties" becomes VERY short...I'm going to blog about that tomorrow...

here are the questions you need to answer...



"you said: "I can tell you this, when I trust and rely on Him, I cannot go wrong."

are you suggesting that people who interpret the Bible differently than you are not trusting and relying on Him? or are you saying they are not trusting and relying on Him as much as you?

do you really believe that it is possible for you to not "go wrong" in the art and science of Biblical interpretation?"

Anonymous said...

Gary,
Here is what I am saying. Those who choose to not to listen to God through the power of the Holy Spirit, who choose to interpret the scriptures based on what they want them to say that they might be able to live the way they want then my answer is a resounding yes. And to say that theology is not easy would make it next to impossible for the uneducated to come to an understanding of who God is and how he operates. However, we see in the scriptures time and again it is just those people who God has chosen to reveal Himself to and to use in a mighty way. Putting it in human terms, if I wanted to have a close personal relationship with you, would I make it difficult or easy? If I were the one who loved you enough to take the first step to have a relationship and went to the extreme of sacrificing my son, my only son, would I make it difficult or easy. The Pharisees complicated the original law. What God had originally intended was not easy in the physical sense what with the slaughter of animals and what not. However, it was not the sacrifice that God was looking for but the condition of the heart. If this is not so, why did God reject Cain's sacrifice and honored Abels. I am not a bible scholar, however, I know whom I have believed and I know how I came to the belief that He is and is capable of sustaining me until the end. I know I am rambling a little here. Back to the question. If we are not capable of reading God's Word and interpreting it correctly, we cannot be of God. As I wrote yesterday, the natural man cannot discern the spiritual things of God. As concerning worshipping the bible, it is not the bible I worship, but the One who wrote it. It is His Word that has taught me what faith, love, and peace really is. It has been through His Word that I understand that I no longer need to "feel guilty" about the stupid things I did in the past. How complicated is this? How hard is it to understand that salvation comes through Christ alone, and He speaks to me everyday through His Word. I pray to God that I will never complicate what He has made so simple and easy. I think of all the times Jesus when He was here on earth was questioned by the Pharisees, and lawyers as to who He was and He kept telling them and they chose out of the hardness of their hearts not to believe Him. Nothing has changed since then. Jesus is still telling us who He is, and there are those who continue to reject Him.
ron

Anonymous said...

btw
If by trusting and relying on Him, I can go wrong, then He cannot be God. The key part of the phrase is relying and trusting on Him. Obviously, when I take my eyes off of Christ I am open to wonder off of the path that He has prepared for me. So, yes if I am trusting on and in Him, I cannot err.

irreverend fox said...

Ron,

you make some valid points and I want to be careful here to make sure that we talk either about "apples" or "oranges" and not mix the two together.

probably your most valid point regards our ability to read and understand the words of the Bible. and I agree with you...what possible worth is the Bible if it can not be rightly divided? why should any of the laity even own the book...it would seem to be the most useless thing we could have. all we would need is the writing of the early Church fathers to teach us what the Bible says.

I do believe that words mean things and that we can interpret the Bible by proper literary laws and understand the Bible by the power of the Holy Spirit.

But I caution you to "slow down" with your sweeping statements...if you think about it...you kinda sound like the Roman Catholic Pope!

The truth is that good, honest, devout, holy and sincere Christians can read the same passage and TOTALLY disagree on what it means. One Christian might read the NT and say, "I must seek the gift of tongues!" while another equally devout and sincere Christian might read the NT and say, "no...that gift is not for today, clearly it was for an age which has passed".

someone like zac sees this and asks, "how can this be? how can the Holy Spirit tell one person one thing and one person another? who's to decided...and what does that say about the one who is wrong? was the Holy Spirit lying to him? is he not a Christian?"

there are valid response to a guy like zac...but telling him, "all I have to do is trust and the Holy Spririt will teach me everything I need to know" is not one of them...because it is radically incomplete...there is far more to it than that.

our faith is child like but not childish...and the study of theology is not easy at all, there is much doubt and struggle in the faith...that is why it is faith (and not sight).