Thursday, July 05, 2012

School bans church group for using the NIV (1984)


If only they had opted for the KJV, or the Good News, or even the NIV (2011). But the 1984 translation of the New International Version has done it for three church groups in Wanstead, who all find themselves ‘suspended’ from using their usual venue – Wanstead High School – for whom this translation of 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 is unacceptable:
Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
It concerns the interpretation and translation of the troublesome Greek terms 'malakoi' and 'arsenokoitēs'. which Paul considers to be among those categories of people who will not enter the Kingdom of God. The 1984 edition of the NIV renders the latter as ‘homosexual offenders’, which the school considers to be ‘homophobic’. The term was apparently used on leaflets pushed through people’s doors which invited them to attend the church services ‘to learn about forgiveness and salvation’.

The Headteacher of Wanstead High said that ‘groups showing any types of racist or homophobic attitudes should not be permitted in the school’.

And so the church groups, which includes the East London International Church of Christ, are ‘suspended’.

His Grace is a bit perplexed by this, for while the juxtaposition of ‘homosexual’ and ‘offender’ may be deemed a tad ‘homophobic’ to the modern ear, surely the greater homophobia is expressed clearly in all translations – namely that neither 'malakoi' nor 'arsenokoitēs' are going to heaven.

The terms have been translated a variety of ways over the centuries: ‘effeminate’ and ‘abusers of themselves with mankind’ (KJV); ‘those who participate in homosexuality’ (AMP); both participants in same-sex intercourse (CEB); ‘who engage in active or passive homosexuality’ (CJB); ‘a pervert or behaves like a homosexual’ (CEV); ‘those who make women of themselves, nor who abuse themselves with men’ (Darby); ‘men who let other men use them for sex or who have sex with other men’ (ERV); ‘homosexual perverts’ (GNT); ‘the effeminate, the pervert’ (Phillips); ‘passive homosexual partners, nor dominant homosexual partners’ (LEB); ‘those who are male prostitutes, or men who have sexual relations with other men’ (NCV); ‘men who are prostitutes or who commit homosexual acts’ (NIRV); ‘male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders’ (NIV 1984); ‘men who have sex with men’ (NIV 2011); ‘homosexuals, nor sodomites’ (NKJV); ‘men who act like women, or people who do sex sins with their own sex’ (NLV); ‘male prostitutes nor practicing homosexuals’ (TNLV); ‘they that do lechery with men’ (WYC)...

Paul is simply reminding the Corinthians of their pagan past, when they were (among other things) 'malakoi' and 'arsenokoitēs'. It is unhelpful to translate either term ‘homosexuals’, since the word only originated in the 19th century. And it is not even clear that 'malakoi' is a sexual reference, since its basic meaning is ‘soft’, with 'cowardly' and 'effeminate' as derived meanings. Thus the KJV’s rendering as ‘effeminate’ may be truer to the ancient world, though it must be observed that effeminacy is not considered a moral category in the modern world. If this term has a sexual connotation, it most likely refers to the passive (‘soft’) partner in homosexual acts – a male performing the female role.

There is further debate over the meaning of 'arsenokoitēs'. The word may be broken down, such that 'arsen' may be rendered ‘men’, and 'koitai' as ‘bed’, thus (in modern idiom) ‘those who sleep with men’. But even here there is dispute over which term is the object and which the subject. Taking ‘men’ as the object, we get ‘one who lies with a male’; taking ‘men’ as the subject (ie the gender of those actively engaged in the activity), we arrive at possible reference to active male prostitutes in the context of pagan ritual practice. The most convincing refutation of this is the observation that Paul includes the prostitute-inclusive word ('pornoi'), but lists it separately. Further, the translation ‘a man who lies with a man’ has a firm foundation in the LXX, where the terms 'arsen' and 'koitai' both occur (Lev18:22; 20:13). The Pauline fusion of the two terms may therefore be a conscious and deliberate allusion to the Levitical holiness code.

If this is correct, it may be deduced (from Paul’s deliberate inclusion of some words and the exclusion of others) that there is in this sentence an allusion to the outright condemnation of all kinds of homosexual relations - the active (but more general) participant ('arsenokoitēs'), the passive participant ('malakoi'), and the prostitute ('pornoi'). In the absence of any mention by Paul of a context-specific cultic prostitution, he seems to make it clear that all homosexual relations are incompatible with Christian discipleship.

As pastorally sensitive as this may be, it is what this passage says. The principal dispute centres now upon whether this is God’s word to all people for all time, or a reference back to the Levitical holiness code, and so the reapplication of the Old Testament condemnation of male homosexuality to the specific situation of the Church in Corinth.

Either way, it seems bizarre that a school should presume to determine which translation of the Bible a church group must use before it may hire its premises. One wonders if the Headteacher of Wanstead High would be as discerning of Arabic and as disputational in the use of certain translations of the Quran before admitting a Muslim group into his school.

70 Comments:

Blogger Jon Summers said...

I think it is more a matter of the church group deliberately focussing on homosexuality as worthy of criticism rather than a choice of translation.

Are they hoping to attract 'repentant' homosexuals, or homophobes? The latter is far more likely I suspect.

5 July 2012 at 11:07  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

"One wonders if the Headteacher of Wanstead High would be as discerning of Arabic and as disputational in the use of certain translations of the Quran before admitting a Muslim group into his school."

Or indeed certain politically incorrect statements in the New Testament concerning our Jewish brothers.

Easier to just ban all Holy Books, what? This is afterall what the anti-atheists want as for them anything approaching a statement of absolute moral truth is incompatable with tolerance and relativism.

5 July 2012 at 11:10  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

Isn't this clearly a breach of the equalities bill, which says you cannot be denied a service because of your religious belief?

Am I right in thinking the school has no problem with prostitutes, adulterers, thieves, gluttons, drunkards & swindlers being condemned?

5 July 2012 at 11:28  
Blogger Arden Forester said...

From what I can see from "A Church Near You" is that a lot of CofE parishes use this bible version and it is very popular. We have the Jerusalem Bible and I've not found much controversy in that, but others may disagree.

If believers are being targeted by councils, what does it say for the promises of Theresa May and her equality guarantees?

5 July 2012 at 11:37  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

@ Jon Summers:

"I think it is more a matter of the church group deliberately focussing on homosexuality as worthy of criticism rather than a choice of translation. "

Unless I'm much mistaken, the leaflet in question is shown at the top of the page. You'll note that 5 verses out of 6 mention nothing about homosexuality, or indeed sexuality in general, and that the 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 verses are much broader than focusing on homosexuality:

"Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practise homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." (ESV)

Out of a list of 9 things that are incompatible with the Kingdom, only one refers directly to anything approximating same-sex sexual activity, and only 3 are sexual in nature.

You seem to assume that the church wishes to highlight homosexuality. Are there no adulterers in Wanstead? No drunkards? No thieves?

Or is it perhaps that others have seen "homosexual" and have become blind to the remainder of the quoted Scripture. Just who has deliberately focused on it?

Rebel Saint is quite right to ask what he does.

5 July 2012 at 11:52  
Blogger HogsOwar said...

Some Head Teachers really need to get a Life!

5 July 2012 at 11:56  
Blogger bluedog said...

Mr Dodo @ 11.10 said,'Easier to just ban all Holy Books, what? This is afterall what the anti-atheists want...'

What's the difference between an 'anti-atheist', a theist and an anti-theist?

5 July 2012 at 12:18  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

It's worth emphasising the full context of the handout. Not a week goes past here in Belfast where I get a leaflet through my door from one church or another, which by comparison are far more strident in their use of condemnatory passages from Scripture. There are, if one so wishes, an array of passages that may be imparted to the World regarding God's Wrath towards its sin, His utter hatred of wrongdoing, and His righteous judgement on sinners.

We are called, without diminishing any of these things, to preach repentence, forgiveness, and Salvation (all three of which, in any case, require an acknowledgement of the truth of those condemnatory passages). Looking at the handout:

---

Psalm 9:10 - A confirmation that seeking the Lord's Salvation will not result in disappointment.

Ezekiel 18:33 - The Lord's own desire not to destroy anyone, but to see them saved.

Acts 2:38 - The pragmatics of becoming a Christian.

Galatians 5:21 - What one can expect upon becoming a Christian; the focus of Christian life.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 - A warning of sins incompatible with the Kingdom.

Hebrews 13:5 - A statement about money (apposite in the present financial crisis). I'm probably not wrong in inferring that this is intended to signal that you won't (and shouldn't want to) get rich by becoming a Christian, and that the solution to your personal financial difficulties is not that God will simply give you everything that you want.

---

If this is a "rogue pastor", God bless him. I can't see anything at all in either the content or the selection and juxtaposition of these passages that in any way compromises the mission given to the Church.

5 July 2012 at 12:20  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Your Grace,
'Belfast' is going the right way. We have too many cases of individuals believing themselves Christian because they have heard a gospel of all forgiveness and liberal inclusion. The need for repentance has been left out.

It is I believe better to concentrate the benefits of Christianity rather than the Hell fire of Damnation. Though, as stated above, the whole counsel of God must be promoted.

5 July 2012 at 13:13  
Blogger Jon Summers said...

@AnonymousInBelfast

I'm also assuming that adulterers, drunkards and thieves are unlikely to think - that's persuaded me to pop along to the meeting. The use of the quote merely reinforces prejudices, excludes rather than seeking to include.

5 July 2012 at 13:53  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

bluedog

Thank you once again for drawing attention to my typing errors. I am obliged.

I, of course, meant anti-theists i.e those who campaign for the removal of belief in God from society.

5 July 2012 at 14:58  
Blogger Stephen Foot said...

I have to say the Heavenly abode sound rather dull to me.

5 July 2012 at 16:13  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

One wonders if the Headteacher of Wanstead High would be as discerning of Arabic and as disputational in the use of certain translations of the Quran before admitting a Muslim group into his school.

Well, of course not. In the first place, the sound of a Kalashnikov bolt being pulled back has a wonderful way of focusing the mind onto what is important. There is actual danger attached to offending Islam, and Liberal secularists have not exactly covered themselves in glory by their appeasement of Islamic threats.

More to the point, this is about stigmatizing and discrediting residual Christian presence in the public square. Secularism has displaced Christianity as the regnant worldview in society. It is using its advantage to expunge its old competitor. Islam is expected to succumb to the same forces of secularization before it can become a threat.

In essence, this is about the establishment of a new state religion. It has become heresy to assert that homosexuality is morally wrong, and the state is acting in slow sure ways to punish heretics who violate this modern dogma.

carl

5 July 2012 at 16:15  
Blogger John Knox's lovechild said...

I am losing patience with the misuse of the word "homophobic". I does not mean to hate or fear homosexuals.

Do teachers know nothing nowadays?

Even my useless, misanthropic father had a little Greek.

On second thoughts it may be a case of a little knowledge being a dangerous thing.

5 July 2012 at 16:16  
Blogger Berserker said...

To add a note of vulgarity: arsenokoitēs or do we mean arse-coitus? That damns a lot of ancient Greeks for indulging in what was to them the perfectly acceptable practice of pederasty.

Who will pass through the Narrow Gate? Well, it seems certainly female prostitutes. What often appears to be a restrictive definition of sin for one generation is passable for the next. Morality is malleable. I have to say I am always confounded by the aspect of Christian belief that says the unrighteous will not inherit The Kingdom of God or are we all redeemable? Even against our will.

Will somebody buy back Hitler and put him into the Kingdom even if he wanted to spend the rest of eternity in hell?

5 July 2012 at 16:32  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Your Grace. It is the Inspector’s opinion that these bible groups, staffed as they are by the most protesting of the protesting Christians, do as much harm to the cause than any good. The Roman Catholics make it perfectly clear that the bible should be read with reverence, and selected passages should not be picked to form some kind of ‘we told you so’ statement - The overall message of good news being distorted by the zealots.

We ourselves have seen the harrowing results of belief formed from the printed word as opposed to the spirit of Christianity from the postings of Len and Blofeld and his sanctimonious cat, Tiddles. All three wretches responsible for much of the gloom on this site.

So there you have it. If you need some aspect of Christianity explained, ask a Catholic priest, who undergo many years of training for that purpose. If you ‘do it yourself’, you are likely to end up with a substandard result.

Right you three, get back in line, and hang heads…

5 July 2012 at 17:30  
Blogger Preacher said...

Well if we aren't going to warn people of the daily dangers they face. Let alone the eternal ones, we can get rid of traffic lights, slow down signs, Danger high voltage, Mines, thin ice, etc ... etc. Just in case it spoils some-ones freedom to choose the life they want.
The free wheeling lifestyle is a sham ask any drink or drug addicted person who's trying to get off.

There is no honour among thieves, many homosexuals are sad & sick of the life they lead even though they put on a smile & laugh at religion & try to pretend their lifestyle is normal, just different.

The Bible says "Whoever commits sin is a SLAVE of sin".
Everybody has choice, but let us be honest...with ourselves, you don't have to go through religious rituals, or admit your sins to a man to receive a fresh start.
Just God. agree with Him that you've messed up, (He already knows it anyway). Turn your back on your past & receive forgiveness bought by the sacrifice of Jesus.

With reference to the Headteacher of the School. Sir, in attempting to be P.C you are in the same league as someone who hides the medication needed by a dying man. Then stands with folded arms & watches him struggle to breathe.

5 July 2012 at 17:42  
Blogger gentlemind said...

I would echo what carl jacobs said. "Homophobia" is, in effect, now the state attack dog in Canada: send the dog into an institution (schools, marriage, medicine) and flush out those who reasonably point out that heterosexuality and homosexuality have different effects and therefore cannot be the same thing. One gives us our bodies. The other does not. As we all have heterosexual bodies, homosexuality is the body being used wrongly.

5 July 2012 at 17:59  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Once again, Carl gets to the point in seeing this as a chapter in the establishment of a new state religion. To that I would add that the founders don't have the warewithals to step back and see what they doing, assuming themselves to be neutral "secularists," labouring under the illusion that they alone are objective, unbiased, universal and infallible.

This is not new. New religions or movements think it is self-evident that they are just doing things "the right way" or "the only way" and often waver for a long time about what to call themslves. This religion is establishing dogmas and rituals, most based on particular interpretations of human rights and environmentalism. Like some particles in physics which cannot be directly observed, but can be inferred by the wake they leave (this is the part where Miss Anna Anglican howls with laughter at my attempt at science), this new "secular" religion establishes its credentials by demanding obedience and chastising violators not only for their actions and with real penalties but for their thoughts and with accusations of Sin.

The silence from principled and intelligent atheists on this issue, who should be able to sniff out theistic dangers is deafening, as they say. Me, I hear crickets chirping.

5 July 2012 at 18:00  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

@ Jon Summers:

To be prejudiced is to hold a trait or characteristic of another person against them without having any basis in experience to do so. Is that what is going on in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10?

Isn't the point that sin fundamentally separates us from God? In which case it cannot be prejudiced, unless you maintain that God Himself is fundamentally prejudiced. He is fundamentally intolerant of sin: so much so that He was willing to bear His full anger and judgement for it on the Cross. But unless your vision of God differs remarkably from that of Scripture, He is not prejudiced in hating sin. Quite justified actually.

I do agree that hellfire and brimstone may well be one of the less valuable means of evangelism. But again, that isn't what this handout is doing: 4 out of the six verses, and the first 4 all stress God's desire for reconciliation with mankind. The penultimate one just gives a reason why it's necessary.

I may perhaps be wrong here, but do you actually have much direct experience with drunkards, thieves, and adulterers? Usually when someone is snared in sin they have a greater grasp of its harm than many Christians do. They either delude themselves - but in which case, they aren't much likely to come to Church anyway (why would they need God?) - or realise they need to be free of it. True, if all you do is tell them of destruction, it won't help, but not even mentioning God's power over, and judgement on sin is equally wrong. At what point does one start warning a sinner of their sin? After they're on the coffee rota?

If by "inclusion" you mean "open to all, no matter how depraved you may be, no matter what you have done, with the sure promise of forgiveness and Salvation through Christ", then amen. If you mean that it is wrong, or prejudicial, to make any mention of God's anger at sin, that "inclusion" really means "tolerant of sin", then I'd urge you to read Ezekiel 3:18.

5 July 2012 at 18:13  
Blogger Stephen Foot said...

Dear Preacher,

I am at a loss to understand a word of what you say, but you sound very earnest so I maybe missing something. There is no great divide between the saved and unsaved as far as I can tell from my fifty odd years of encountering both groups. We are all made of the same stuff, crooked or straight, as it may be. The Church has long since declined from being our moral guardian and she has no magic solution for the ills of mankind, never did, actually. The idea that the death of Jesus is in and of itself the prime redemptive act on behalf of all mankind played little part in the theology of the great man himself, the individual's choice to follow the way of the cross, did.

Here endeth the athiest's first lesson.

5 July 2012 at 18:24  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5 July 2012 at 18:53  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Dear Stephen Foot,

I am a little unclear in what you are saying. The idea of Jesus' death being the great redemptive act on behalf of all mankind is a fairly central part of his theology, and is not distinct from his command to his followers to follow him to the Cross, but central to it. John recognised and publically declared Jesus' role as the Redeemer firstly by recognising his need to be baptised by him, and secondly by calling him "The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world" (Luke 3:16-17; Matthew 3:11-16; John 1:29-34). He also affirmed his role to his disciples, and stressed the necessity of his death (Matthew 16:21-28; Mark 8:31; Luke 9:21-22). He also taught it to Nicodemus (John 3:14-18). One particular verse pretty much sums up his theology on the issue: "the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45; cf. Matthew 20:28).

I can understand that as an atheist you don't believe in any of this, and may very well doubt the authenticity of Jesus' reported words, but unless you have access to material that nobody else does, I'd have to say your assessment isn't particularly accurate.

I'm tempted to repeat your closing line.

5 July 2012 at 18:56  
Blogger Stephen Foot said...

Hello Anonymous In Belfast,

I'm currently in a battle with the cellophane wrapping of my microwave super but after I've managed to free the delectable contents I'll get back to you.

Yum, yum,

5 July 2012 at 19:06  
Blogger Stephen Foot said...

That would be supper as it ain't exactly super.

Begging your pardon.

5 July 2012 at 19:08  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Mr Foot,

Dear oh dear. If I lived closer I'd invite you round for tea, if only to prevent you from eating that kind of fare!

5 July 2012 at 19:11  
Blogger Preacher said...

Dear Stephen.
Having known worked & loved the prodigal sons of men for years with the remedy of the Word of God to alleviate them from bondage. & having myself been freed by Grace from the same trials that many of them still face.
I can only say that experience is better bought than taught.
It is obvious that your experience of the gospels, or the redemptive death of Christ is, how should one say it? Lacking.
I suggest you settle down with THE Good Book for a few months & swat up on its message.

Blessings. Preacher.

5 July 2012 at 19:13  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I have to say it's not all that bad if these groups just have to find, well, a church or something in which to hold their religous meetings and be a bit un-pc. When we were 'off message' and being, doing, and saying undesirable things then we were beaten up, abused, and possibly imprisoned. The religious had a fair bit to do with maintaining that iniquitous state, too.

5 July 2012 at 19:36  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Not that I think there's anything particularly problematic with waving the various bits of the bible around that most people find a bit offensive and rather anachronistic. It's not as though we're all on this side of the fence wanting a religious version of that Section 28 thing in law or anything.

5 July 2012 at 19:39  
Blogger Stephen Foot said...

Anonymous of Belfast,

I must have a word with Findus the Chef and let him down as gently as I can now I have a better offer!

If I may, I would like to take a different spin on the whole Salvation of Mankind thing.

Let's assume that the death of Jesus, at a particular moment in time and in a particular place, was some kind of universal all encompassing act of redemption, as per the subsequently honourable authors of the Good Book assure us.

At some point in time, this act will have to deliver the goods at a universal level, otherwise it is moot. How long do we wait before the credit of years passed runs out? What signs should there be that prove this cosmic act was efficacious? My guess is until Kingdom comes, but come it must.

If you take my reading of what the death of Jesus means then its relevance is proved with every selfless act, whomever performs said act, for time immemorial.

Which bears the fruit?

Mr Preacher,

Thank you for your gracious reply. I love the Good Book and read it now and then.

5 July 2012 at 19:43  
Blogger Peter den Haan said...

Well, well. Apparently quoting (without comment) excerpts from the bible - which is the main text of the established church in this country, folks - is deemed offensive. Wonder what Her Majesty, Defender of the Faith, would say about it.

What's next? Being vilified for promoting the established law of the land?

Oh, wait...

5 July 2012 at 20:08  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Inspector! Tiddles? Our Tiddles a wretch? You go too far, Sir.

Btw, the flavour of the month, the Sufis, haven't been always and everywhere quite saintly, just as you suspected. The search for the Religion of Peace continues until further notice.

5 July 2012 at 20:22  
Blogger Stephen Foot said...

Peter,

I believe, if you reread the quote, Paul was addressing the community of believers in Corinth, and not the great unwashed of mankind. Clearly the church had a few members with 'issues'. The next step you take, and imply such judgement on others is the province of The Church and the State, is how the Church descended into tyranny.

Bring back the Good Ol' CofE, I say.

5 July 2012 at 20:26  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Mr Foot,

I took your statement to be implying that atonement in death was never a part of Jesus' teachings in life, but I see now you are objecting to atonement on the grounds of logic.

Your first option would be standard Christian orthodoxy, though you must be aware of this. There are some minor objections to your logic, but generally, yes, we hold to the view that the death and resurrection of Christ was efficacious throughout all time, and that yes, there will be a final and total reckoning with evil, hence the urgency with which we are commanded to evangelise. I might point out that simply because something has not yet happen does not demonstrate that it will not happen, but that correspondingly, there is, by definition, no a posteriori evidence for it definitely happening either, there is only Hope; a virtue much encouraged by Scripture.

As to the signs: these are as they ever are, transformed lives, men of hate becoming men of peace. You may prefer to gloss this as being unconnected to an objective moment of cosmic redemption, but it is undoubtable that such people regard, in all seriousness, the truth of redemption in Christ. In the absence of an alternative claim to cosmic truth, we might in any case debate the ontological nature of things believed when they have real and observable effects on psychology and behaviour, no doubt ending in an admission by us both that the nature of our subject matter is beyond the limits of empirical investigation.

"If you take my reading of what the death of Jesus means then its relevance is proved with every selfless act, whomever performs said act, for time immemorial."

This doesn't need to be mutually exclusive with the first interpretation in the sense of encouraging selfless behaviour. Christians hold very strongly to emulating Christ: both potentially bear the "fruit" of selfless deeds. On practical grounds, your position only contrasts with the former if you assume that believers do not behave so as a consequence of their belief. As to whether any selfless act honours Christ, there is always a tension between on the one hand God's pleasure in man fulfilling his birthright, but man's fundamental separation from God through sin. As the good cannot cancel out, or justify sin, at least in terms of our immediate relationship with God, simply doing good is not enough, though not doing any is a surefire way to deepen the separation. Here then there would be a strong contrast.

If I've got you correctly, your point is that the *only* lesson that should be taken from Christ is his teachings on selflessness (roughly: Golden Rule ethics), excluding the more divine pronouncements he made. His death must be, in that understanding, a fundamentally pointless thing. Christ died because he claimed the mantle of both God and the Messiah, and was regarded as being blasphemous by the Sanhedrin - not because they disputed the Golden Rule. In that sense, while you might praise Christ for providing a teaching that encourages people to live and die for the sake of others, Jesus himself did not die for anyone else. His death is irrelevant to the value you have ascribed his teachings.

Which does make me wonder why it is so important to memorialise Christ's death. The most likely reason would seem to be a form of sentimentality, for "old times sake" so to speak (are you by any chance a former member of the CofE?). But I suspect that there are many who would seek to explicitly separate their actions from a memorial of Christ's death, selfless or otherwise. Muslims, certainly, because they don't believe He died on the Cross at all. So it's doubtful that your reading could in any particularly compelling way produce selfless acts; it merely relies on your connecting the two events.

Which bears the fruit? I'm not sure there is any being borne in the second option.

5 July 2012 at 21:09  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Stephen,

Pertinent to the quote, Corinth did not have members with "issues", it had members who had had issues - precisely all those issues he describes in verses 9-10. His point (v11+) is to point out that as members of the Church, these things are no longer practiced amongst them.

The idea that Paul is speaking specifically to Corinth, is therefore true, but that his specificity implies a singular command, not applicable to any others who claim fellowship with Paul, is specious, and contradicts another of Paul's themes: unity in the Church.

5 July 2012 at 21:14  
Blogger Tommy said...

The not inspired version actually refers to Jesus as Lucifer , I know at least one of those involved in its translation has repented of what they did with this perversion. Just cos is called a bible doesnt mean it is, its all about getting a copyright and making money, the only bible that can be trusted although not perfect as its a translation from one language to another is th ekjv with no copyright or the hallaluyah scriptures which is free.

5 July 2012 at 21:27  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Goodness! it's all a load of bollocks, don't you think?

5 July 2012 at 21:35  
Blogger Preacher said...

Tommy.
I must admit that the N.I.V is not one of my favourite translations. But I can't remember seeing the reference that you refer to. Could you please be more specific. Chapter & Verse would help. Thanks.

Preacher.

5 July 2012 at 21:36  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Mrs Proudie - haven't you got a hospital to interfere with?

5 July 2012 at 21:42  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Tommy

The not inspired version actually refers to Jesus as Lucifer

Lucifer is not a proper name. It is an anglicized form of a Latin word. It means 'morning star.' The NIV is a relatively poor translation because it is a Dynamic Equivalent translation, but it is right not to treat Lucifer as a name.

btw, the use of 'not inspired version' would normally indicate to me that I am in the presence of a King James Only-ist. Is that a correct supposition?

carl

5 July 2012 at 21:48  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Avi. It is now apparent that the Inspector has lost out on the love of a woman to a cat of all things !

Bugger....

5 July 2012 at 22:04  
Blogger Atlas Shrugged said...

Morning star is the name given to the planet Venus when it appears in the East before sunrise.

Less commonly, Morning Star can refer to the planet Mercury when it appears in the East before sunrise.

Apollo is an ancient Greek name for Mercury as a morning star.

Morning Star can also refer to the rising sun itself, particularly when used as a symbol of the socialist or Labour Movement.

Morning Star, has also been used to refer to the Christian Devil/Lucifer.

Also, the Latin word lucifer, which is equivalent to the Greek Phosphoros, or "Light-bringer", is today understood to be the name of the devil, though it has also been used to mean Jesus, for example in Peter Chapter 1 verse 19.

Theology in common with mythology, astrology and cosmology is a complicated business, and is therefore open to massively differing interpretations.

Although I have little doubt which interpretation our masters favour. Which is about as far away from the the common peoples interpretation as it is possible to get.

Carl is of course perfectly correct, our masters are most surely attempting to undermine with the intention of eventually replacing our God with their god, as represented, and enforced by The State.

However I suspect that this religion already possesses, or will eventually be given a spiritual or extra terrestrial dimension.

I leave you with this thought.

There has long since existed a very rich, powerful and highly influential religious institution/state, residing within a country known as Italy, which claims to be Christian. The head of this independent nation state seems to be remarkably quiet on this subject. Indeed seems to be not only quite content with the current situation, but is actively encouraging the evolution towards a unifying world religion.

I wonder why, and so should YOU.

5 July 2012 at 22:58  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Inpector

Poison the damn creature!

We can't have a mangey old moggie interfering with the course of true love.

5 July 2012 at 23:11  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Ps

The cat, not the nurse.

5 July 2012 at 23:11  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

OIG

If you need some aspect of Christianity explained, ask a Catholic priest

I would if wasn't for the fact that the well-trained Roman Catholic priest is so catastrophically wrong about so many things. I am not named 'Kate' and I will not refer to the sun as the moon simply because a priest demands that I do so. Len and Ernst produce far more light than the most orthodox RC priest and his false gospel of faith mixed with works.

carl

5 July 2012 at 23:19  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Dodo. Sent the cat to Mars, but NASA brought it back – it ratted on the Inspector, and no mistake...

5 July 2012 at 23:19  
Blogger len said...

Hardly surprised that the Inspector lost out to a cat(probably had a more pleasant disposition?.

Dodo... poison is the most despicable of weapons not at all surprised that you favour it.

5 July 2012 at 23:22  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Carl. Inspector may have been a bit hard on those two scallys, after all, they are not Calvinists :->

5 July 2012 at 23:22  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

len

Cats are predatory murderous beasts that do nothing all day but plot your demise. I know. I spend each minute in my house on constant alert lest the wretched feline get an advantage.

Not that you can convince women of this. They just repeat the same mantra: "The cat is not trying to kill you." The cat hears this and just smiles ...

carl

5 July 2012 at 23:28  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

len said ...

"Dodo... poison is the most despicable of weapons not at all surprised that you favour it."


Oh okay, if I ever get my hands on you I'll put you in a sack and throw you in the nearest river.

6 July 2012 at 00:05  
Blogger anna anglican said...

Domestic cats also manage to poo on everyone else's lawn except for their owners.

The only cats that uncle allows to be on his estate are Tigers. Now they are proper cats, and they are very protective creatures too.

Otherwise I'll stick to my labradors, Benjamin and Joshua.

6 July 2012 at 00:06  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Inspector

You can show a horse where there's water, even lead him to it ...

I'm afraid carl is a committed protester and even though he disagrees fundamentally with our "born againers" on key points, prefers heterodoxy to the orthodoxy and light of Catholic truth.

6 July 2012 at 00:10  
Blogger anna anglican said...

I think cats don't like water. So Mr Jacobs just needs to buy a water bazooka from wal mart (not an M20 btw!) and fire at will!

6 July 2012 at 00:11  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Anna

The cat has allies. POWERFUL allies. They would not approve.

carl

6 July 2012 at 00:15  
Blogger anna anglican said...

@Inspector,

You can't send a cat to Mars! At best speed (without a fusion fuel) ,it would take the best part of 25 years plus! The cat would be mummified before it got to Mars (assuming you had enough oxygen for the journey). The RSPCA would be on you like a pack of bloodhounds, Bush and Blair style as if you had found oil in your back garden!

6 July 2012 at 00:15  
Blogger len said...

Carl....

I find cats to be very friendly and affectionate, can be a bit predatory where territory, mice, and birds are concerned but this is an inbuilt survival mechanism.

One never owns a cat the cat owns you(in its mind at least and probably in reality)

6 July 2012 at 00:17  
Blogger anna anglican said...

Interestingly enough the ancient egyptians thought cats were the guardians to the underworld. .... I sense an Atlas struggled conspiracy coming to life before my very eyes...

6 July 2012 at 00:18  
Blogger len said...

Dodo you gotta catch me first!.
beep beep (roadrunner)

6 July 2012 at 00:18  
Blogger anna anglican said...

oh dear,

I've totally not like addressed the thread at all. Which is bad of me. Real bad.

6 July 2012 at 00:22  
Blogger len said...

It is interesting to sometimes start at the last comment and to try and guess what the original article was.

(Just joking Y G)

6 July 2012 at 00:29  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

"I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"Come unto me and rest;
lay down, thou weary one, lay down
thy head upon my breast."

I came to Jesus as I was,
so weary, worn, and sad;
I found in him a resting place,
and he has made me glad.

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"Behold, I freely give
the living water; thirsty one,
stoop down and drink, and live."

I came to Jesus, and I drank
of that life-giving stream;
my thirst was quenched, my soul revived,
and now I live in him.

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"I am this dark world's light;
look unto me, thy morn shall rise,
and all thy day be bright."

I looked to Jesus, and I found
in him my Star, my Sun;
and in that light of life I'll walk
till traveling days are done."

6 July 2012 at 00:46  
Blogger Stephen Foot said...

Good morning, Anonymous of Belfast,

"I took your statement to be implying that atonement in death was never a part of Jesus' teachings in life, but I see now you are objecting to atonement on the grounds of logic."
Well, both actually, although the former position is clouded by speculation. To what degree Jesus was actually aware of carrying out a divine mission for the redemption of the human race is difficult to determine, given the vast stretch of time and the gulf between our cultures. My intuitive judgement is he was more concerned with the peculiarities of the moment than any far reaching dynamic. I could get picky with you for choosing the author of John's epistle to vouch for the universalist's point of view, as the whole basis of the author's argument stems from understanding Jesus as the cosmic figure of The Christ and not the first century rabbi that he actully was, but won't : )
I think I'm on safer ground in arguing (on the basis of logic) against a one time only, all encompassing act of atonement.
You leave yourself no room to quibble with this option. The dice are thrown and the clock ticks. The years pass and we wait.
"I might point out that simply because something has not yet happen does not demonstrate that it will not happen,"
The whole deck of cards is built on the assumption that it will happen, no? Hope, as Mr Freeman once said, is a dangerous thing. If you want to know if I hold to any universal truth in regard to redemption and atonement then I do: My five year old grandson, Jake, likes chocolate buttons. Louis from next door also like chocolate buttons. On the 6th of July 2012 a new star was born in the vast expanse of space simple because Jake, with no prompting, shared a chocolate button.

6 July 2012 at 05:54  
Blogger Tommy said...

All know the word "Lucifer" as another name for Satan. The word "Lucifer" is found one time in the King James Bible.

Isaiah 14:12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!


But what does the NIV say?


In the NIV, Lucifer is the "morning star". Now in the NIV, the KJV word "Lucifer" is identified as the "morning star". See for yourself:


Isaiah 14:12 How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!


Therefore from the NIV Bible, the "morning star" is a negative, evil figure. Is this a correct rendering for the devil? Satan was fallen from heaven. He was cast down to the earth in Revelation. Can we find the "morning star" anywhere else in the NIV? Certainly! The following passages in the NIV shows the "morning star" as Jesus Christ! Note these verses carefully: NIV shows the "morning star" as Jesus Christ! Moreover, if the NIV can in some verses find the word "morning star" as Jesus Christ; then we would assume that the NIV can find Satan and Lucifer! Here is the verses from the NIV with the word "morning star" which identify it as Jesus Christ.


NIV: Revelation 22:16 I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.


NIV: 2 Peter 1:19 And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.


NIV: Revelation 2:28 I will also give him the morning star.


So the NIV successfully finds the the word "morning star" as Jesus Christ in several verses. But what about what we just observed inside the NIV when it called the fallen creature of Isaiah 14:12 the "morning star"? Since the NIV already found the word "morning star" as Jesus Christ in several verses, I would think that the translators had enough smarts to recognize that "morning star" in Isaiah 14:12 is NOT JESUS CHRIST! Therefore, from this gross error, we can only conclude that the NIV translation (I.E., commentary translation) means that Lucifer AND Jesus are ONE in the NIV!

6 July 2012 at 09:49  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Stephen Foot:

An interesting quote from The Shawshank Redemption, given that hope is the motivation and means of the ending, even if Mr Freeman could not see it when he was in prison. To the idea that belief in the Second Coming hinders ones effectiveness in the present, this is a potential pitfall, but Jesus himself taught that the Second Coming should always be a motivation to live in preparation by living out God's law (Matthew 24:35-36).

"My intuitive judgement is he was more concerned with the peculiarities of the moment than any far reaching dynamic."

Based on what? There are very few sources that might be adduced that don't suffer from an even greater remove from his lifetime. Scripture reports John's words on the subject (in all the Gospels - see post above for verse refs), and Jesus' words (in all the Gospels) that are the origin of the doctrine.

You may argue that these are developed a posteriori, but there is little internal evidence to reject such sayings in particular. Indeed, the circumstances of Jesus' trial and death are the most compelling piece of evidence that he was killed for claiming parity with God, and that he did not seek to evade it but was directly moving towards it. Even assuming an entirely non-Christian perspective, his words regarding the necessity of his death are entirely explicable by taking the rational view that Jesus himself believed in his own divinity, and behaved accordingly.

Your "intuition" thus seems, pending further comment from you, to largely be a way of reconciling Jesus as a "good man" with a rejection of the driving force of his own faith in his actions. As I said, to essentially argue (albeit in a polite and non-aggressive way) that religious belief detracts from the kind of selfless behaviour you advocate.

". I could get picky with you for choosing the author of John's epistle"

I didn't just use John. I am well aware of the usual attitude towards his Gospel, and made certain to include all relevant synoptic Gospel references. John tends to sum up explicitly what is largely unavoidable in the others. Thus, his is the Gospel that clarifies and cements doctrinal positions, but it does not invent them. Jesus' prediction of his death is in all the Gospels, and the key liturgical verse "to give his life as a ransom for many" comes from the Gospel generally regarded as being the oldest in composition (Mark 10:45), and is, in fact not included in John's Gospel.

"...not the first century rabbi that he actully was"

Separating once again the ontological status of such claims from the fact of those claims: again, from Mark: "Again the high priest asked him, "Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?" "I am," said Jesus. "And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven." (14:61-62).

The problem is that you use the old argument that there is scant knowledge of the historical Jesus, to advance an anti-Christian reading of Jesus that is based on scanter premises still. And yet, like so many atheists, you still cling to a position in which Jesus is someone fundamentally admirable, and more than that, good. But rather than moving to Jesus, and following him in the ways he himself laid out, you prefer to try and bring him to you, to have him come and sit at your table while the disciples sit at the gates. The conditions of that invitation have been answered only by a pale shade: Jesus is at the gates.

6 July 2012 at 11:48  
Blogger Stephen Foot said...

Dear AIB,


Yes, of course we can all identify the point of the movie, but what you fail to do is identify the point of movies in general. The purpose of a movie is to convince us to suspend our disbelief. I'm sure all the passengers of the Titanic hoped to find a seat on a lifeboat… without that hope it would not be much of a movie. In all popular movies, of course, Hope triumphs, the more usual outcomes in life just don't make great movies (with the exception of"No Country for Old Men" a darker movie I've never seen but truer to the dystopian world we live in). But I digress...

I feel like a flea on an elephant's ear trying to argue over such giant themes. I am in no way seeking a knockdown blow, that would be ludicrous. What I'm after is a better idea of how Jesus understood his own death event and if he thought it would have any significance for a Gentile man living two thousand years in the future.

As background to why I don't believe Jesus thought of his death event as it is understood by Christians I would suggest the following:

Time and time again, the authors of the Tanakh go to great lengths to explain that blood sacrifice is not central, or even necessary for the atonement of our sins:

With what shall I come before the Etrnl and bow down before the exalted G-d? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Etrnl be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Etrnl require of you? Only to do Justice, and to love Mercy and to walk humbly with your G-d.

As you know, to quote them all would take all night, but this is the theology Jesus taught and lived by. He demonstrated in every way possible what was required for the forgiveness of sins, none of which required a blood sacrifice.

This leads me to believe he understood his own death event in different terms.

It was personal. There was something painfully intimate about the language Jesus used about his impending death and its in this language that I find the greatest intimation of exactly what was driving him to lay down his life. By that I mean Jesus did not use the kind of explicit rhetorical language of Paul to describe the meaning of his death. For an event that was supposed to have universal significance Jesus was remarkably coy about it, even with his intimate followers. Why so, if he was following The Sacrificial Masterplan?

"As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep."

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends…

"Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me."

7 July 2012 at 07:06  
Blogger len said...

Stephen Foot
Not quite sure where you are going with this one(7 July 2012 07:06)

Right from the beginning (Genesis)the shedding of blood has been a 'picture' of Christ`s sacrifice on the cross of Calvary.

Man's greatest need is to be forgiven of his sins. This can only be done through faith in the blood of Jesus.
Bible says in Heb. 9:22 "...without shedding of blood is no remission of sins"., We read in Exodus."...when I see the blood, I will pass over you..."

"Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him." (Rom. 5:9).
The Bible says, "Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood" (Rev. 1:5)

Man is alienated from God, strangers from the covenant of promise, no hope without God in the world! "But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ" (Eph. 2:13
Paul says, "Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate" (Heb. 13:12) Paul says, "And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself" (Col. 1:20).
John says, "If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin" (1 John 1:7)

Jesus was fully aware that His atonement for the sins of Mankind meant His Death as 'the Lamb of God'.

8 July 2012 at 22:28  
Blogger Stephen Foot said...

I am aware of the orthodox Christian position. It is pretty difficult to avoid after two thousand years of it moulding the world in which we live. As I've mentioned, my base position is one of atheism, but I see no point in referencing that in this conversation because even atheists have to argue a position that takes into account belief in G-d. That belief has had such an impact in the past that it will always ripple through our thinking even unto The Great Day itself. It's probably not a good idea for atheists to dismiss addressing the issue in a Dawkinesque manner and my scribblings are an attempt to find a rational/historic/humanistic understanding of what the death of Jesus could mean to me in the 21st Century.

The position I take at the moment is this:

At the time of Jesus the spiritual and national life of the Jews was in meltdown, an apocalypse was at hand. The extent of that crisis would make previous episodes in their history look like minor setbacks.

The most important lesson to learn from those previous episodes is the anger of G-d is allayed when the objects of that anger turn in obedience to G-d's will. It is axiomatic.

This is fundamental to the mindset Jesus had post his encounter with the Baptist. He believed obedience to his Father's will, even unto death, would put things right, even empty death itself of its power. Jesus used the story of Jonah to prefigure what his death event would mean. In the story, Jonah defeats the watery grave and subsequently the Ninevites turn in repentance and obedience to the will of G-d to find salvation. The period Jonah spent in the belly of the wale was not the atoning event, only the process Jonah had to go through (submitting to the obedience to G-d's will) in order to preach G-d's message to the naughty Ninevites.

It seems clear to me that Jesus believed the coming cataclysmic events would culminate within a generation. He believed his resurrection would usher in redemption for his brethren of the flesh which would subsequently bring salvation to the world. I don't think what he had in mind was two thousand years of Christendom.

9 July 2012 at 11:26  
Blogger Stephen Foot said...

That would be "whale" of course, and not a pair of corduroys, although the net effect is much the same.

9 July 2012 at 11:39  
Blogger Stephen Foot said...

By the way, my view about the pascal lamb is that it prefigured an abstract idea, a metaphor, if you will, and not the sacrifice of an actual person.

9 July 2012 at 11:52  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Stephen Foot

Then you don't understand scripture where metaphor often precedes and prefigures actuality.

By the way, if you are an atheist why do you write God as G-d? Have you Jewish background and heritage? You arguments against the Divinity of Christ suggest this.

15 July 2012 at 01:12  

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