Sunday, February 24, 2013

Bible-believing idolatry?


From Brother Ivo:

All Christians respect and venerate the Bible. A library rather than a book, it contains history, law, poetry, journalistic reportage, philosophy, commentary, exhortation, autobiography, song, and even (whisper it quietly) a hint of eroticism.

If you want to know who was Jesus of Nazareth in history and beyond, this must be your starting point, and that will be the case whether you describe yourself as a Christian of the Liberal, Catholic, Charismatic, Evangelical or Orthodox slant.

When a child is baptised in an Anglican Church, he/she is often given a Children's Bible with the words: 'Receive this book; it is the Good News of God's love. Take it as your guide.'

So far, so good.

Things start to go a bit awry however once questions begin. Which Bible might we be talking about? That of the Protestant Reformation - the Bible of Luther, Zwingli and Calvin? Maybe you choose the Bible of Catholic Europe and beyond (including the Apocrypha)? Perhaps you prefer the Greek Orthodox version, or even the rather more extensive ones of the earliest Coptic or Ethiopian Churches.

There was even a scriptural tradition in India dating back to the times when St Thomas introduced Christianity to the area around Madras/Chennai, but sadly those scriptures were destroyed when those of the Western Church made contact in the colonial era and suppressed a long-standing Apostolic tradition. It would be fascinating if some of those early scriptures were to be unearthed today. If we did find them, however, where would we put them?

Each Bible has variants and its champions can explain and justify the editorial decisions that have been made. The Vulgate version, which is the basis of most Western understandings, dates from the 5th-century work of St Jerome.

Some could point to books like the letters of Clement and Ignatius which are venerated but narrowly missed the cut, and then there are the Gnostic Gospels, some of which plainly share common material with orthodox texts but draw unorthodox theological conclusions.

This is before we get into controversy over translations versus original languages.

None of this, however, seems to trouble a certain section of the worldwide Church that likes to define itself and set itself against others with the self-description of 'Bible-Believing'.

For those unfamiliar with 'Bible-Believing' churches, Brother Ivo offers you an extract from one randomly-selected church which explains its view professionally, with clarity, honesty and appropriate biblical references.
'Bible Believing' is now no longer to be regarded as part of a universal understanding of all followers of 'The Way'. Instead, it has become a shorthand term, a freemasonery coded message, by which adherents of a certain kind of Christianity (more specifically a method of biblical reading and interpretation) identify themselves and set a challenge to others. Who dares not to be 'Bible believing': that challenge swiftly and easily morphs into 'How can my approach be challenged?'
At one level it can be conceded that in itself, it is academically perfectly respectable to seek to denote those of similar mind. Many here will have some knowledge of The Tractarians, The Oxford Movement or the Evangelical Revival, each of which contributed to the life of the Church in general and Anglicanism in particular. Such self confidence has its problems, however, and some will consider that the implied promotion of factionalism is precisely what Paul was warning about in his first letter to the Corinthians (1:10).

Plainly, even Christ's followers inhabit a fallen world to which they contribute in full measure, and those who stand in contra-distinction to the 'Bible-Believing' folk are often no less unhelpful and divisive.

Brother Ivo is no different from anyone else. He thinks he is a 'normal', 'mainstream' Christian, though doubtless those about to disabuse him are even now forming an orderly queue to post comments. For Brother Ivo reminds himself that the Bible is but one part of that edifice which is Christian belief. It is an important part, some may say the keystone, yet undoubtedly only a part. It was Paul who stressed the interconnected nature of the head, hand and organs of the body and our Bible is surely but one of many other necessary aspects which make up the faith.

There are the promptings of Holy Spirit who we are told is always with us. There are Church traditions which are often derided but are hallowed by the lengthy acceptance of faithful believers in exactly the same way that certain books made it into the final compendium of whatever Bible choice you happen to accept. Some call on the interpretation of the Gift of Tongues.

Neither should one ignore the value and significance of a Christian life: there is wisdom in the saying 'Christianity is caught not taught'. Caught, perhaps, from a loving family member, teacher or acquaintance when Bible study of itself did not quite ignite the faith. Then there are the promptings which the heart receives in prayer.

Those of the 'Bible-believing' persuasion perhaps fail to note that when Jesus sent out the first 70 to spread the Word, they went with so very little. They had nothing analogous to a Bible, just their faith and perhaps some recollection of a few parables and teachings.

For the first six centuries of the expansion of the Faith, there was no Bible that we would recognise - and why would there be? The Early Christians expected the Parousia - the Second Coming of Christ - as a matter of imminence. What need of record-keeping or private study?

For most of human history, most Christians have not been literate. Today in many countries worldwide there is not a 'full Bible' that we would recognise. Only maybe 600 of the 6000 extant languages have the 'full set', and many are getting by with perhaps one gospel and a handful of other books from the New or Old Testament. This is all before we grapple with the question of disability and those whose incapacity will always set them apart from those whose modus operandi is to season their religious discourse with terse, unexplained 'chapter-and-verse' references (which are themselves the 12th-century additions of Simon Langton in the case of the New Testament, and 16th-century additions to the Old Testament by Robert Estienne).

Many Christians learned their theology from pictorial presentations in their churches on the walls and stained-glass windows, and these principally depicted stories, not rules; parables rather than closely-argued systematic theology.

Those who struggled to master God's thinking by the close reasoning of biblical texts have not left us the happiest memories of their efforts. Even a cursory familiarity with Early Church history teaches that people reading the same texts have always managed to sow theological mayhem and discord. If you doubt this, try googling any of the Early Church councils from Constantinople, Ephesus, Nicea and Chalcedon. You may also explore the 'Bible-believing' conclusions of the Arians, Docetists, Monophysites, or Modalists. These were not insignificant theological minorities but serious rivals to what we now call '"Orthodoxy', and each did, in their own way, draw their conclusions from their reading of the same texts.

We can go a stage further: the historic Creeds of the Church owe their very existence to the fact that 'Bible'believing' factions derived contrary conclusion from the same biblical texts.

As we routinely intone the Nicene Creed at communion, few appreciate that this is essentially a bulwark against heresy. Try reading each sentence in the voice of Ian Paisley, thumping the table at the key words like 'crucified', 'dead' and 'buried', and you will catch a sense that there were alternative theological positions available and being disputed by 'Bible-Believing' Christians at each and every section of that and every creed we know.

If 'Bible-Believing' were an inoculation against false doctrine, there would be no creeds!

So, if Brother Ivo cavils at being associated with 'Bible-Believing', based upon its history of conflict and known frequency of error, to what does he cling in dark times of dispute?

The answer lies in the nature, person and love of Christ, which shines in the darkness as a beacon of hope. Jesus' own teaching style was rabbinic. He told stories, pointed the way and set an example. He never weighed his followers down with complexity, and he simplified what is required of us in terms that even a child could understand. The whole picture can be expressed by relatively little, and that is offered in a human life accessible to everyone. All that is needed is available through a living example of humility and love.

So what might this 'Christianity-for-the-rest-of-us' call itself? If we are not to limit ourselves to being only 'Bible believing', to what should we aspire?

Brother Ivo has a suggestion: 'Gospel Gracious'.

(Posted by Brother Ivo)

155 Comments:

Blogger graham wood said...

An interesting comment, but I see no sound reason for Christians to abandon the familiar identifying mark of Bible believing.
It is simple, definitive, and marks one out from the many who rely on some other secular, or theologically liberal source of authority.
Historically Christians, at least in the UK, were once known as the "people of the Book", and that was clear and unambiguous.
If, as Jesus affirmed "Thy word is Truth", then to identify with that truth - in it propositional revelation as spoken by him and passed on to the aopostles, then that is good and right.
We have then no need to "aspire" to anything else have we?
But, the question of interpretation of that 'Truth' is another issue entirely, and one which need not invalidate one's adherence to the Bible as a whole revelation from God.

24 February 2013 11:11  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

Well Brother Iv you are a mystery. I'll read this again when I have more time but I am 'on the same page' as you with much of your comment.

I await the intervention of others .... Ernsty, len, carl, anything to say?

24 February 2013 11:21  
Blogger Kinderling said...

Jesus said, “Know what is in front of your face, and what is hidden from you will be disclosed to you. For there is nothing hidden that won’t be revealed.”

The truth will set you free. The Book of the Living is the universe and all that is within to marvel and wonder how it came to pass, while many pour into the Books of the Dead on how to be the exact copy and reflection of A Great Holy Man of Exploits in the past.

A greater man you would'a should'a could'a been.

24 February 2013 11:28  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

Kinderling,

Re your references to the books of the living and dead, does that mean you now follow the ancient Egyptian religion?*

*He says because he has watched the films, 'the mummy' and 'the mummy returns' quite a few times.

24 February 2013 11:46  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

24 February 2013 11:54  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

Brother Ivo,

Confused by the post. I thought that all Christians were 'bible believing' in some way or other... And surely when you read the texts, there is an ounce of common sense and note to polemics and allegory with some of the verses, rather than taking them as literal?

For example, on my read of the New Testament there was a passage about sin and how you are supposed to cut off your hands and gouge your eyes out if they cause you to sin (examples : Matthew 18, 7 to 9, Mark 9 vs 43,). But unless I am mistaken, non of you do self harm because of those sayings of Jesus?

24 February 2013 11:58  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Brother Ivo

"Bibliolatry?" Really? So, you are a full-throated Liberal, then.

The answer lies in the nature, person and love of Christ, which shines in the darkness as a beacon of hope.

About whom you know nothing in the absence of Scripture. Nothing. At all. Not even a jot or a tittle. This is just experiential smoke that covers the replacement of the revelation of God with the musings of man.

I haven't the energy for this now.

carl

24 February 2013 11:59  
Blogger Corrigan said...

They're called "Deuterocanonical books", not "the Apocrypha". And I agree with Carl Jacobs (bet you never thought you'd hear that, did you?)

24 February 2013 12:25  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Carl,

I think Brother Ivo is actually a full throated Anglican. So for the Catholic and Protestant, I assume we are all classed as 'liberals' (without the beards,guitars and sandals).

24 February 2013 12:30  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

A small point of order:

"For the first six centuries of the expansion of the Faith, there was no Bible that we would recognise - and why would there be? The Early Christians expected the Parousia - the Second Coming of Christ - as a matter of imminence. What need of record-keeping or private study?"

This isn't particularly accurate. The core corpus of the Gospels and the Pauline Epistles are known to have been circulated in collected/collated form from as early as the 2nd Century (though obviously actual copies from this period don't survive). So it is in fact true to say that the core of the New Testament has been recognised as "canonical" for almost as long as the Church has existed.

The letter from James is more controversial - given its emphasis on good works as a sign of effective grace, and takes longer to be accepted into canon; and, of course, Revelation remains a controversial part of the "canon" right up into the Sixth Century - but that's about it.

So yes, the entirety of the Biblical Canon wasn't settled overnight, and yes, its formal ratification was six centuries after Christ's death on the Cross. But it was neither arbitrary, nor disconnected from a long and contiguous textual patrimony.

What really can't be got around, though, is the centrality of the Gospels and the Pauline Epistles. A lot of Christians who actively define themselves as "not-Biblical Literalists" frequently express difficulties with the latter, often seeking to demonstrate their open-mindedness by discerning between Jesus and Paul, and wondering in that whimsical way if there might not be a Church of Paul. Unfortunately, the so-called "Biblical Literalists" - those who submit to Scripture as authoritative - are far closer to the Church's position in the late 2nd Century.

24 February 2013 12:37  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Brother Ivo,

I do not feel anyone needs to be ashamed of calling themselves a bible believing Christian- I certainly am, but am in no way a fundamentalist.

I am not sure if it is helpful to use this phrase, seemingly used in a pejorative manner for those Christians -brothers and sisters- whom one may disagree with. I assume you have in mind the 'Evangelical' Protestant Christianity . Yet at least they have an acute sense of awe and respect for the Holy Bible. Even if one may disagree with some of the more literal meanderings of that group.

24 February 2013 12:38  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

However, Brother Ivo, your points about "literacy" are important.

I think there is much to be said for avoiding a specific emphasis on heavy textual exegesis in the life of the Church at the cost of many of the other elements you mention. Congregations shouldn't necessarily be limited to only one expression of worship or meditation to God, and where brothers and sisters are blessed with all manner of creative and joyful talents, the Church is enriched by their use for the Glory of God.

But actually, that's what happens at most Bible-Believing Churches that I've either attended or visited.

I think as well, from a more academic perspective, your consideration of literacy owes more perhaps to how literacy is generally understood to work in modernity than what it meant in practice in the past. Actually - if you know anyone who does have literacy problems (something which is more common here in Northern Ireland), you will know that it is often the case that "non-literate" people can have a quite high level of functioning, even in a supposedly "literate society". But that's not to read you a riot act: nothing you wrote is wrong per se, it's just that the picture can be fleshed out with detail in such a way that it does not challenge the idea that Scripture has been an authoritative part of Church life in the last two millenia.

The real issue of dispute is that one is limiting oneself by being Bible-Believing. But as your criticism is fundamentally of a caricature of Bible-Believing practice (no, I don't doubt the sincerity with which it is held), I'm not much inclined to offer a critical response that is likely to be caricatured accordingly.

24 February 2013 12:56  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Brother Ivo

Your critque is so vague that if Ernst responded in like manner it would only add to the confusion.

You 'liberalism' is in direct response to a fallen soul that finds that the very thought that another should physically die to pay for the wrongs we have committed by being born in sin and then go on our merry way through life committing them physically and mentally is utterly abhorrent to them.
How do we make mankind members when the principal position of Christianity, the 'Raison D'etre', is that Christ died for us while we were yet sinners? Repulsive to modern man who believes he does no such thing that warrants such a sacrifice on his behalf.

Huston we have a problem!

Solution..major only on love and examples as ways of ingratiating members in. Slip the death of Christ in somehow later, depending on the circumstances of the hearers and their anticipated response after much 'LOVE' preaching..

The problem is that most religions speak this anyway, 'Love and ways of living morally' as a definitive principal so why is Christianity different and stated uniquely as needed for guaranteed membership of God's family.

Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat

Blofeld

24 February 2013 13:02  
Blogger Galant said...

Brother Ivo, this post is really rather poor. Honestly. What's the point of it?

24 February 2013 13:11  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Very perceptive there, Blofeld. For someone like me, all the sacrifice stuff is a sort of post hoc theology on top of the human condition. And, frankly, it turns me right off the notion of religion, especially given the language it is couched in.

24 February 2013 13:19  
Blogger Martin said...

A point about what a Christian is. A Christian is not one who has made a decision or who has drifted in. A Christian is one who God has changed, who has been born again, been given a new heart. A Christian doesn't choose to be a Christian, they are chosen, elected by God.

24 February 2013 13:19  
Blogger Kinderling said...

David Kavanagh,

"Mommy returning" to make it all better is in all Dead Books. Osiris will return to rule the world, so will Elijah, The Christ, the Mardi etc. etc. to complete in hope, what could not be completed in the unwholesomeness of their fervour.

"For example, on my read of the New Testament there was a passage about sin and how you are supposed to cut off your hands..."

Read the passage again. Obviously "hands" by themselves can't sin, so it would be stupid to cut the off. Note to Jesus: Mixed metaphors do not work on those with Aspergers.

24 February 2013 13:39  
Blogger Mark In Mayenne said...

Hi Brother Ivo,

I am forever puzzled by two aspects of Christianity; perhaps you can help me out?

As I understand it, Jesus was explicit about both the nature and content of worship. Specifically, that one should not "let the left hand know what the right is doing", and as for content, what we know as the Lord's Prayer.

So why do Christians both gather together to worship, and why do they pray for anything else?

Just asking, no offence.
M

24 February 2013 13:58  
Blogger Kinderling said...

Mark,

I too look for Brother Ivo's comment.

May in the meantime offer 'whatever you do for the least of people' and 'forgive others so you may yourself be forgiven' to inform you of the nature and content of Jesus's teachings. As it was a time of Plenty of God and His Churches increasing laws, his purpose is self evident that they needed to press the reset button, and know how to find it.

24 February 2013 14:53  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

Mark,

You are wearing colourful garb- is that part of you religion and if so what is your religion?

24 February 2013 14:58  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

Kinderling,

Ah, well that was my point in respect of how literally people take their texts.

And I see you like a bit of every religion...

"Aspergers". Sticks and stones may break my bones, but Kinderling's words never will.

24 February 2013 15:01  
Blogger TJ McMahon said...

Our gracious host penned some wise words on this subject many years ago:

"... it is not lawful for the Church to ordain anything contrary to God's Word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another."

Where many of the self identified "Bible believers" of my acquaintance err is that they have chosen from within the Bible certain texts which they see as guideposts and judge others by their adherence (or not) to those particular phrases. Hence sexual immorality, profanity or liberal political leanings are often seen by "Bible believers" as in some way more damning than other sins.

Ironically, this is also the error we commonly see in revisionist churches, like the Episcopal Church in the US. They have done exactly the same thing, the distinction being that they have chosen different passages. Therefore (from the revisionist point of view), one is not to challenge sexual immorality or heresy, because Jesus commanded that we love one another.

The issue, I think, is that many of us fall into the temptation to read the Bible in the context of our own lives and desires, or the context of modern society. The context in which it is intended to be read and applied is the context of the whole of Scripture- the Bible is its own context. We should relate each passage to the whole, not stray outside those things defined by "thou shalt" and "thou shalt not," and strive for an understanding, individually and corporately, of the tasks the Lord has set before us, and how He intends that we order our lives.

24 February 2013 15:05  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

" ... people reading the same texts have always managed to sow theological mayhem and discord. If you doubt this, try googling any of the Early Church councils from Constantinople, Ephesus, Nicea and Chalcedon. You may also explore the 'Bible-believing' conclusions of the Arians, Docetists, Monophysites, or Modalists ...

If 'Bible-Believing' were an inoculation against false doctrine, there would be no creeds!"


Now, just take the next step Brother Ivo by reflecting on the following:

"That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven."

That's the way God planned it!

24 February 2013 15:45  
Blogger David Hussell said...

An interesting article, perhaps to draw controversy on a dark winter's day, methinks ?
As a Richard Hooker type of Anglican I am comfortable with the idea that authority can be drawn from Scripture, Tradition and Reason, with the first acting as tie breaker if there's a deadlock ( Article 6 of the 39 Articles, a foundational document). I place myself at the evangelical end of the scale, whilst having genuinely enormous respect for Catholic thought and teaching. In fact I use the Catholic New Jerusalem Bible and Commentaries from Catholic scholars as much as I refer to evangelical documents. I see no deep conflict between Tradition and Scripture, because the two things look at each other across history, and are very intertwined in fact. Due to ecumenism we now enjoy a very rich common heritage I feel.

24 February 2013 15:58  
Blogger David Hussell said...

An interesting article, perhaps to draw controversy on a dark winter's day, methinks ?
As a Richard Hooker type of Anglican I am comfortable with the idea that authority can be drawn from Scripture, Tradition and Reason, with the first acting as tie breaker if there's a deadlock ( Article 6 of the 39 Articles, a foundational document). I place myself at the evangelical end of the scale, whilst having genuinely enormous respect for Catholic thought and teaching. In fact I use the Catholic New Jerusalem Bible and Commentaries from Catholic scholars as much as I refer to evangelical documents. I see no deep conflict between Tradition and Scripture, because the two things look at each other across history, and are very intertwined in fact. Due to ecumenism we now enjoy a very rich common heritage I feel.

24 February 2013 15:58  
Blogger David Hussell said...

An interesting article, perhaps to draw controversy on a dark winter's day, methinks ?
As a Richard Hooker type of Anglican I am comfortable with the idea that authority can be drawn from Scripture, Tradition and Reason, with the first acting as tie breaker if there's a deadlock ( Article 6 of the 39 Articles, a foundational document). I place myself at the evangelical end of the scale, whilst having genuinely enormous respect for Catholic thought and teaching. In fact I use the Catholic New Jerusalem Bible and Commentaries from Catholic scholars as much as I refer to evangelical documents. I see no deep conflict between Tradition and Scripture, because the two things look at each other across history, and are very intertwined in fact. Due to ecumenism we now enjoy a very rich common heritage I feel.

24 February 2013 15:58  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Apologies Your Grace for pressing the drat thing thrice......

24 February 2013 16:00  
Blogger Mark In Mayenne said...

(No my outfit is nothing to do with any religion. It is a costume I put on as part of a medieval music festival. I just rather like it.)

24 February 2013 17:00  
Blogger Preacher said...

Brother Ivo.
The problem as I see it is that when mankind throws away the rule book (as is currently being, & has been attempted by various 'enlightened' groups). The ensuing chaos has to be seen to be believed.
The Bible has always been attacked by our adversary, whose opening gambit to Eve was - "Did God really say?".
Surely we aren't going to fall for that old chestnut again - Are We?.

24 February 2013 17:01  
Blogger len said...

An interesting post from Brother 'Ivo'.How can so many different denominations and cults claim the Bible as' their authority'but many deny the truth that is revealed within the Bible.
The Bible reveals the Heart of God toward man and Gods plans for man.
The Bible reveals the Word and the Word is Christ.All God`s plans revolve around Christ(not 'the Church'although the true Church plays a part and that part is pointing people toward Christ).
God`s plan is not so much to get people into Heaven but to get Heaven into Man.The Old Covenant God had with man was 'written in stone'Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was ( 2Corinthian`s 3:7)
The Law was good but man was not and the Law exposed this fact in man.

So God proposed a different way for man to obtain righteousness which was not from the man trying(and failing) to keep God`s law, this was to be through a total transformation within the man(some call it a new birth)

' I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.'(Ezekiel 36)

The Spirit within will testify to the Written Word' But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.'(John 16:13)

There will be no problem when the Spirit filled believer has the Written Word testifying what the Spirit within is revealing they both will agree.


The problem arises when those without the Holy Spirit are ruled and governed by bodies of men(without the Spirit) who 'interpret the scriptures'for them.

As God said' No longer will a man teach his neighbour, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.('Hebrews 8:11)

24 February 2013 17:17  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Good stuff Preacher and Len. Very good, if I may say so. And yes, they do intend to , and are in fact, " throws away the rule book". The chaos will gather momentum for many decades I fear with whole new lexicons of legal illogic and natural law denial until one distant day, society will contain so much falsehood, pain, exhaustion and disjunction, that the Biblical truth may just break into their arrogant, addled brains allowing for a new beginning. Meanwhile the ship of truth must navigate stormy seas. So best to use the tried and trusted instruments of navigation, Scripture and Tradition with a bit of reasoning thrown in, then one day, eventually, we will make landfall on a new hallowed shore.

24 February 2013 17:35  
Blogger G. Tingey said...

"For the first six centuries of the expansion of the Faith, there was no Bible that we would recognise .."
WRONG
Council of Nicea .... about 325 CE
Also, the 2septuagingt" is considerably older - dating to about the Maccabees or even earlier.

"there were alternative theological positions available and being disputed .."
Indeed - trinitarian, monophysite, homosion or houmousion etc ....

Fundamental (pun!) mistake, of course - there is an underlying assumption of the actuality of a BigSkyFairy, anyway - not detectable IN ANY WAY - oops.

However, I can sympathize with Bro Ivo, since I have TWO competing sets of loonies ( I mean, even by religious-believer standards, they are loonies ) within 32 minutes walk of my front door, who believe (different bits of - I think) the "bible" to be literlly true - one set even claims it is "inerrant" - which is physically impossible, of course.

The MISSING bits are important - delibearely left out or suppressed, because they interfered with the "new" (in 325) version of xtianity, that emphasised secular (Byzantine) power & male heirarchy - the gospels called "gnostic" & others (g of Magdalene, for example)
WHich shows that your religion is a political put-up job, just like all the others.

HINT:
Read S. S. Montefiore's history of Jerusalem for a really revealing read.
Very educational!

Now, the correspondents ....
no - I really can't be arsed to bother.

24 February 2013 18:05  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Mike,

I've been wanting to ask about your costume for ages. I wondered if it was to do with religion or if you were really a super hero, crime fighter like Batman, superman, the Blue Raja or the shoveller.

24 February 2013 18:22  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Kinderling,

LOL, so you are now a follower of the ancient Egyptian religion then?

David I think the Egyptian's had the book of the dead, but I think the book of life was a fictional bit of the film, where Rachel W finds it under the statue of Horus.

24 February 2013 18:29  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

Preacher said...
"Brother Ivo.
The problem as I see it is that when mankind throws away the rule book."


See, I didn't read that into this article! Funny how people read and understand the printed word differently.

Then that's rather the point. Abandoning 'Bibliolatory' doesn't mean abandoning the Gospel or the Message therein. It will not stop God's Grace reaching us. And it will not stop Christians living their lives according to God's ways.

The words in the Bible are just words in a book. To mean anything they require understanding. And please, none of that guff about 'Scripture alone' and the Holy Spirit bringing every Christian to an understanding of the words. History shows you to be wrong.

And that's why there is a Church; Christs Mystical Body, with different parts performing different functions.

A Church that has a history, and a tradition and uses these, alongside reason, to develop our understanding of God's revelation.

And this Body has been given authority and, unlike individuals, is assured of the Holy Spirit's guidance. Its been personally promised by Jesus. All this is in the Bible!

By the way, Brother Ivo "Bible-believing Christian" is a truism. "Bible-alone Christian" is an oxymoron.

24 February 2013 18:40  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

"There will be no problem when the Spirit filled believer has the
written Word testifying what the Spirit within is revealing they both will agree.

The problem arises when those without the Holy Spirit are ruled and governed by bodies of men(without the Spirit) who 'interpret the scriptures'for them."


And you decided all this, did you? It falls on you to determine who has the Holy Spirit? You are the final arbiter of Truth?

Goodness me, such power. Its more than than that invested in the Pope, Peter's successor.

Saint Paul was speaking prophetically about future times. The Church and mankind, including Israel, is on a journey.

24 February 2013 18:52  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Well there are lots of reasons to believe in the Protestant Bible and not include the Apocrypha, including the original Jewish canon as well as much of the testimony of the early church, the coherency of those books with the rest of Scripture and their own claims to imperfection.

Most of the Gnostic gospels and others that you mention are simply far too late to be authentic or Apostolic, and really not germane to the discussion.

In any case, I don’t see that having a fallible knowledge of an infallible book is really a problem. All of our knowledge is fallible, but that doesn’t mean we can’t know things, does it? This also speaks to the supposed problem over translations. They may be an impediment, but it doesn’t mean they are a fatal one.

We call ourselves Bible-believing because we believe that the whole Bible is inerrant and infallible. Doesn’t seem to be that mysterious a claim to me. Names are normally given in distinction to something. The name “Bible-believing” I would think arose in distinction to liberals, who don’t believe the whole Bible (and often loathe parts of it), not in distinction to Roman Catholics who are also “Bible-believing” (although one might say that much of their doctrine negates Biblical doctrine, a debate for another time).

The things you mention are important, but not infallible. The Bible is the only infallible source of authority, not the only source of authority.

Those of the 'Bible-believing' persuasion perhaps fail to note that when Jesus sent out the first 70 to spread the Word, they went with so very little. They had nothing analogous to a Bible, just their faith and perhaps some recollection of a few parables and teachings.

As we see in Acts, this isn’t true- they had the Old Testament which prophesied the coming of the Christ and which the Apostles rely on extensively. In fact, the NT has an extraordinary number of OT references.

I presume six centuries is a typo for six decades, no? But it’s also not really true. They might not have had a whole canon, but they certainly had certain letters and gospels which were circulated.

Your next point would only hit if we said that the Bible was required for salvation, which is not the case- someone else can preach the gospel to illiterate people without these people needing to read. And they can read the Bible to them and preach it to them. Also, “600 out of 6000” sounds miniscule, but what percentage of people do those 600 languages account for I wonder?

You can’t learn theology from pictures without someone explaining the pictures to you. Someone totally foreign to Christianity could not walk into King’s College Chapel and understand what the stained glass windows were depicting.

The councils, in arguing for their conclusions, argued from Scripture, as did men such as Athanasius and other fathers. They did not throw out scripture because people disagreed over it; they simply believed that people were wrong in their interpretation of it. A point my Roman Catholic friends often make out people who interpret Tradition wrongly.

The type of “Bible believing” person you seem to be attacking really is low-hanging fruit, and I don’t understand why you are attacking them. Surely the most responsible thing to do when taking issue with a position is to go to its strongest exponents.

24 February 2013 19:17  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

The answer lies in the nature, person and love of Christ, which shines in the darkness as a beacon of hope. Jesus' own teaching style was rabbinic. He told stories, pointed the way and set an example. He never weighed his followers down with complexity, and he simplified what is required of us in terms that even a child could understand. The whole picture can be expressed by relatively little, and that is offered in a human life accessible to everyone. All that is needed is available through a living example of humility and love.

But how do you know about Jesus? Did you meet him? The only Jesus you know is the one found on the pages of Scripture and exposited throughout the centuries by the church.

So what might this 'Christianity-for-the-rest-of-us' call itself? If we are not to limit ourselves to being only 'Bible believing', to what should we aspire?

Brother Ivo has a suggestion: 'Gospel Gracious'.


How about “Liberal”? Does that not sound as nice as “Gospel Gracious”? Unfortunately, you can’t have that because that would include us nasty wicked Bible believers.

By the way, what frustrates me in your article is this: though doubtless those about to disabuse him are even now forming an orderly queue to post comments

You paint us Bible believers as harsh and judgemental in the same article which calls us idolaters, paints us as historically unaware hicks and implies that we are not “Gospel Gracious”. You speak with a soft tongue, but it’s a forked one as well. Unfortunately people are only interested in surfaces, so they see the gentleness in your tone and don’t see how vicious and condescending your content is. You want to make this about character, we can make it about character, but don’t think that saying things politely is going to disarm me from seeing how cruelly and unkindly you actually speak.

24 February 2013 19:18  
Blogger non mouse said...

In view of Ivo's scarce mention of the OT, I'd recall here that the Bible came to us as New and Old Testaments because the Old gave birth to the New. The messages link to each other, and the Old Testament serves to illuminate the reasons and causes of "The Law." As Christ said, Think not that I came to destroy the law, or the prophets: I came not to destroy, but to fulfil" (Matt. 5.17).

Ivo also does not mention the survival of the Dead Sea Scrolls (dates unclear, but roughly 300BC to AD300--). These documents provide insight for relating history to literacy.

Thank you then, Mr. AiB, for clarifying the history of our Text! Your comments on literacy (@12:56)are also valuable. I would question only one point: [. . .] literacy problems (something which is more common here in Northern Ireland). I think the problems extend further and wider than you suggest!

I meet many illiterates, every day; I know not how they passed the exams they needed, but ...
And because these people are neither children nor child-like, and because the depth of their linguistic poverty* horrifies many besides myself, I incline to say we abide in the Darkest Age ever.

Another reason for my claim is that present generations serve a Word: but that idol lodges in their 'SkyDrives.' It works like a cloud, some say, through which words can descend in rays. Furthermore, recipients of this expensive gift view its messages through screens of 'plasma,' which magicians have created for them. And, basking in the Sun that shines from this technology, they believe every word it sheds; especially if expediency calls. That philosophy may even extend to the wearing of trousers at half-mast.

So. Perhaps the Church should consider the aims of its potential audiences. Are they for Christ, or Anti-Christ? Unlike Chaucer's audience, moderns are increasingly unlikely to know the difference. And while they grasp at charity, they know not the existence of Caritas.

________
**Oral as well as written.

24 February 2013 19:18  
Blogger len said...

'But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.'(John 16:13)_

(I think you will find these are the words of Jesus not mine)

24 February 2013 19:20  
Blogger len said...

When' the church' is elevated over and above Christ who is 'the Living Word' it actually becomes an enemy of Christ.When those in 'the church' contradict Christ then 'the church'and those encompassed within its walls have real problems.It would be far better that 'the Church '(or at least any church that places itself and its traditions above the Word of God didn`t exist at all.)This was exactly the problem with the Pharisees they had the scriptures but used them for their own purposes.

24 February 2013 19:32  
Blogger Brother Ivo said...

Dear All,

Brother Ivo has enjoyed reading what has been a rather eclectic group of responses, which was what he wanted to stimulate.

He has a distaste for closed Christians of all stripes; and the fact we have had a range of responses is rather reassuring.

His potted history was intended to illustrate that the availability of Scripture has always been patchy : It was not suggested that some in the early centuries did not have a fair range of our biblical books, but the reason there had to be a negotiated collation was precisely because of the variety which itself caused discord.

It will have been noted that the criticism of parties was not confined only to those self describing themselves as " Bible believing". That does seem to be a usage developing a degree of pride in self description and so an invitation to reflect upon its value seemed helpful.

Brother Carl, " Bibliolatry" is not in the post, and whilst Lord Lavendon suggests that the description is employed pejoratively, Brother Ivo prays in aid that the term is becoming a matter of proud self description to set certain Church communities from the rest of us. It is that separation that is being examined. It is perhaps " the point" of the post which Brother Gallant missed.

Paul advised we do not hive ourselves off into parties yet paradoxically those who quote him most tend to be those keenest to give themselves this coded label.

As one who seeks to be " Gospel gracious" brother Ivo is aware of the beam in all our eyes on this issue, which is why he carefully does not raise a criticism that does not apply to many of us to a lesser or greater degree.

Brother Mark; I think the teaching about keeping the hands apart may not be about corporate worship. The Disciples sang Psalms together, the teaching of Christ was often in synagogue or amongst crowds, so I don't think we need all become hermits.

24 February 2013 19:37  
Blogger A Troubling Art said...

Isn't Brother Ivo a 'via media' Anglican, that increasingly rare breed of Anglicans (including the likes of J. H. Newman and T. S. Eliot) who took Anglicanism seriously and understood the importance of coherence?

My own thought is that most of these Anglo-Catholics have swum or are swimming the Tiber for the new port-Ordinariate. Those left behind are happy to carry on with their bells and smells as long as Lambeth Palace leaves them alone, which looks increasingly unlikely.

24 February 2013 19:46  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Brother Ivo

"Bibliolatry" is not in the post...

That's correct. You used "Bible-believing Idolatry." I simply substituted the commonly used Revisionist phraseology that I have seen over and over and over (and over and over and over and over and over) on Liberal websites. Usually right before they rationalize some behavior specifically prohibited in Scripture, and always on the basis of some amorphous experiential goo. It's much easier to do what you want when you write the rules according to what is right in your own eyes.

... and whilst Lord Lavendon suggests that the description is employed pejoratively ...

An accusation of idolatry is by def'n pejorative. Let's not kid ourselves, shall we?

...Brother Ivo prays in aid that the term is becoming a matter of proud self description to set certain Church communities from the rest of us.

It's not a self-description. It's about authority. What do we know about God and how do we know it? How do we know how to live? You may wish to determine those answers by navel-gazing or sweat-lodge ceremonies or indigestion from that bit of boiled beef you ate last night or whatever else passes for Revisionist theology du jour these days. We don't.

It is that separation that is being examined.

Yes, well, differing concepts of authority lead to mutually-exclusive differences that cannot be bridged.

carl

24 February 2013 20:04  
Blogger non mouse said...

If I may add a little more, Your Grace -- I agree that the Church's Voice should be less passive! It must raise its song more strongly. So here's the rest of the 'psalm' I mentioned on another strand:

Thou, whose Almighty Word
Chaos and Darkness heard,
And took their flight;
Hear us, we humbly pray,
And, where the Gospel day
Sheds not its glorious ray,
Let there be Light!

Thou who didst come to bring
On thy redeeming wing
Healing and sight,
Health to the sick in mind,
Sight to the inly blind,
Now to all humankind,
Let there be Light!

Spirit of truth and love,
Life-giving holy Dove,
Speed forth thy flight!
Move on the waters' face
Bearing the gifts of grace,
And, in earth's darkest place,
Let there be Light!

Holy and blessed Three,
Glorious Trinity,
Wisdom, Love, Might;
Boundless as ocean's tide,
Rolling in fullest pride,
Through the world far and wide,
Let there be Light!
(John Marriott (1780-1825)).

That nicely references both OT and NT -- It turns our humility to God; it does not grovel to His opposite. It acknowledges the sickness in our minds and hearts. It also recognises that all success depends from His Wisdom, Love, [and] Might: not from the heresies of those who think "earthly power doth then show likest God's" (Portia, MV IV.1.195).*

Indeed, we would be unwise to conspire in inverting the Word to the ends of cupidity. Rather let us, like Portia, use the letter** to convey the Spirit of the Law...

_____________
*Shakespeare, William. The Merchant of Venice. Ed. Kenneth Myrick. Gen. Ed. Sylvan Barnet. New York: Penguin, 1987.
[Remembering, also, that this play is very much about unhealthy 'love'].

**Here I mean The Bible, and the Literacy its adherents have nurtured.

24 February 2013 20:44  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Things would be much simpler if the detailed information came over the god-link that most Christians say they experience. It seems very curious to me that a god which imagined and designed DNA to hold information which is used to instantiate bodies and brains hasn't sorted out a means of instantiating detailed belief other than through a collection of books from two to three and a half thousand years ago ... and perhaps tradition in the Roman Catholic Church too.

24 February 2013 21:11  
Blogger len said...

He has Danjo...He is called the Holy Spirit.He is the communicator, 'the Spirit of truth. 'The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.'(John 14:1 This applies to those who have sought the truth and found Him in Jesus Christ.)

IF we have been' born again' we become' re-tuned' to our Creator.But the carnal(un- renewed mind) cannot and does not want to know God.

24 February 2013 21:28  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

But Len, there are 1.2 billion Roman Catholics around the world and surely a fair chunk of them believe the Holy Spirit supports their belief in the Mother Church and its doctrines. Necessarily, there must be lots of people either telling porkies or have received garbled information over the link.

24 February 2013 21:33  
Blogger len said...

Danjo, I know it is a tragedy what has happened in the Church.The Holy Spirit would never agree with anything which goes against scripture.There is much going on in the church today which is definitely not scriptural Catholic and Protestant.People have been led by' the Church'and not by the Holy Spirit.The Holy Spirit will always confirm truth to those who honestly seek truth but not many do when this when it involves' stepping on the toes' of their Church.
Many people accept without question what the Priest tells them regardless.In fact I believe it carries serious threats if one questions any doctrine within the Catholic Church after all the pope is 'infallible' isn`t he?.


24 February 2013 21:44  
Blogger William said...

"... there are 1.2 billion Roman Catholics around the world and surely a fair chunk of them believe the Holy Spirit supports their belief in the Mother Church and its doctrines."

I'm not sure they do believe that. They believe that the Holy Spirit is guiding their leaders, which is different.

24 February 2013 21:46  
Blogger Joshua Bovis said...

Fascinating!

The term "Bible believing" is very similar I think to the term "Evangelical".

Both are confusing in that it seems that everyone within the church wants to call themselves "Bible believing" and/or "Evangelical"; regardless of whether one is actually "Bible believing" and "Evangelical".

For what it is worth, I think it is easy to say one is BB and EV, but it is how they handle the Scriptures that reveals whether they are BB and EV.

Sorry for the acronyms - there are enough within the C of E (Church of England) and the AC (Anglican Communion) already.

24 February 2013 21:58  
Blogger len said...

When God created animals he gave them 'instinct' to guide them and this works remarkably well.Birds flying from one Continent to another and how animals rear young etc. Imagine if this 'instinct response' suddenly were removed there would be chaos.

There are parallels within man.Man was created to be indwelt by the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God to guide him.Man could (by free will) either accept the Spirit or reject the Spirit.Man chose(through Adam) to reject the Holy Spirit.Chaos has ensued ever since until Christ came to redress the balance and make it possible for man to again be indwelt by the Holy Spirit (by choice not compulsion)
It is easy to see why chaos remains in some Churches who are without the guidance of the Holy Spirit.Those without the Spirit rely on authoritarian hierarchies and threats if one doesn`t toe the [Church] line.

Those with the Spirit obey out of love those without the Spirit' obey' out of fear .

24 February 2013 22:02  
Blogger Rasher Bacon said...

Oh brother Ivo, what's up? Looks like Dan Brown is being channelled rather than the Archbish - this sort of retreat from an innocuous term looks like you've seen a Ghost. We 'Bible B'leevers' do love you still.

History of conflict? With whom? Why did Tyndale die to translate it? To whom was it a threat then - people who followed it or those who didn't? What about Latimer? Did he set out to be so 'confrontational' and preach without parish or licence? All those burnings just because Paul's epistle to the Romans was spread out loud after ages of superstition? It's a breath of fresh air in comparison to the confused ramblings of the church fathers and later 'bishops', though we owe them much.

And the 70? (or 72 - I don't mind) Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.

The kingdom of God was expected. They were building on that expectation, and it did not exist without Moses and the Prophets. They did not go out with nothing and without context. Such was the strength and clarity that Christ assumed his hearers got from those words, that he held the listeners accountable - they were to expect him. That man who lived his life ignoring his conscience and God's words met Abraham, who said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead'.

Please tell me to get lost if you want some peace - don't want to be a non-RC version of the Cyber Swiss Guard!

I do agree with one aspect of what you say - Now I know in part, but then I shall know as I am known.


24 February 2013 22:18  
Blogger Rasher Bacon said...

Sorry - being so slow to type I missed your gracious round-up and another pile of comments.

24 February 2013 22:24  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

William
You are so wrong about Catholics! Why do so many people misunderstand the Church of Rome?!

The Church, Christ's Body, is guided by the Holy Spirit in the Shepherding of God's people, of course. Particular leaders, including Popes, may or may be. It is the Church that is doctrinally indefectable regardless of leaders at a given time.

However, Catholics also believe each of us has, individually, to accept and respond to the call of the Holy Spirit and accept His gifts. We are members of the Church, parts of the Body. The Church, through its ministering and teaching functions, helps us to understand God and His saving plan by defining doctrines. It also nourishes us and strengthens us through the Sacraments.

24 February 2013 22:33  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

Bacon

You cannot possibly be "a non-RC version of the Cyber Swiss Guard!"!

I mean, apart from having to be a Baptised Catholic to join, we are right in what we say. We represent the Church given authority by Christ to determine infallible doctrine.

24 February 2013 22:39  
Blogger Brother Ivo said...

Brother Carl,

I hate to break this to you but choice of the title was His Grace's.

Brother Ivo did not coin the term " Bible believing" to desrcibe anybody, but rather, found it was being increasingly used by others to describe themselves in wider church circles when he had occasion to get out and about more widely.

He can honestly say that until he started frequenting more ecumenical meetings he had not heard the term used in his own Church where we tend to use the more general term "Christians".

It was simply because others had such a clear view as to who they and others of similar specific mind were, that he began his thinking by asking - " We'll what are the rest of us supposed to be".

Brother Ivo is happy for anyone to be considered Gospel Gracious, based upon following the Two Great Commandments to love God and one's neighbour as oneself.

24 February 2013 23:04  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

So, let's say I buy a new printer for my computer. The printer comes with a printer's manual. Theoretically, I should read the manual to learn how operate it. I might however:

1. Pull out the old manual from the previous printer because I am used to it.

2. Throw away the new manual and trust my intuition & instincts.

3. Write my own manual instead because I know better.

4. Red-line sections of the new manual so that it reads the way I want it to read.

5. Go find my TV operator's manual because it should be good enough.

When the printer doesn't work, can I blame any of it on the new printer's manual?

Why do people struggle with Scripture? People don't read it. They read it and ignore it. They read it and don't it like what it says, so they re-write it in their mind. They prefer their own ways and understandings. The problem with Scripture isn't found with Scripture. It's found with men.

The reason people gnash their teeth at Scripture is not because they read it fail to understand it. The problem is that they read it and do understand it. They just don't like what it says. Do you think Sir Ian McKellen ripped pages from the Bible because he didn't understand Leviticus? If the Bible was actually incomprehensible, people wouldn't pay any attention to it. There would be no need. It is its very comprehensibility that drives the desire to deny and subvert it. People for example aren't fighting over homosexuality because of some ambiguity in Scripture about the subject. They are fighting because one side wants to justify the behavior, and that desire is being retro-actively imposed on Scripture. Or they want to justify the behavior and one side wants to deny the authority of Scripture to condemn the behavior. That is a microcosm of the problem.

Are there hard things in Scripture? Yes. Is Scripture even so sufficient to achieve the purpose for which God intended? Yes. God created man with ability to communicate - principally so that God could communicate with man. God's principle communication to man in this age is the Scripture. It is an amazing argument to suggest that man is incapable of comprehending God's communication to man such that man is "forced" to fall back on his own experience ..uh .. the Christian Life. It reduces God to effective silence, and accuses Him of being unable to communicate with his own creatures. But having subtracted comprehensible revelation, we substitute vague subjective experiential impressions and 'movings' - none of which can be validated or separated from man's own desires. God's revelation becomes a tautology. He 'reveals' that what we want to do is what He wants us to do.

How surprising. It's how liberal religion becomes slaved to the desires of the modern world. The compass always points right where it want to go.

carl

24 February 2013 23:08  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Brother Ivo

I don't care who put the title on the post. It has your name on it. You own the argument - that exact same argument you made in the body of the text. And I recognize that argument. I have seen it a 1000 times.

You have on three successive Sundays:

1. Suggested that those opposed to WO and OWE should leave the CoE.

2. Credited for our approval a sermon by a man who flatly denied the nature of the Gospel in the sermon.

3. Affirmed the need to norm Scripture according to our "life experiences."

You have now slipped well past Fulcrum and entered the outer orbit of Thinking Anglicans.

carl

24 February 2013 23:18  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

carl
A fine homily but how do you account for the very great difference between Roman Catholics and Calvinists in reading the Bible?

You're not saying Catholic theologians are afraid of the implications, are you? That they don't like what they read? That they are liberals?

If anything, Rome is more scrupulous about applying God's word in terms of abortion, divorce and remarriage and contraception than any Prostestant. The same goes for women priests and women bishops. Its the same with homosexuality. It is because they don't read the Bible as a "printer's manual".

We have to accept people read it differently and bring their own perspective to it. The Catholic Church considers Tradition - what the Church has always believed - and the use of reason and natural law.

As I said earlier - a Bible believing Christian is a truism; a Bible alone Christian is an oxymoron.

24 February 2013 23:41  
Blogger William said...

Dodo

I think that DanJ0 was alluding more to the Spirit of Truth (See Len's quote of John 16:13) when he spoke of different Christian's apparently receiving different truths. I seem to remember you denying that you had received this Spirit in the past and that it was only for the apostles and their successors.

24 February 2013 23:42  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Brother Ivo:Brother Ivo is happy for anyone to be considered Gospel Gracious, based upon following the Two Great Commandments to love God and one's neighbour as oneself.

Isn't this a bit disingenuous given what you wrote in your post about "Gospel Gracious" being the term of contrast for "Bible believers"? An either/or?

His potted history was intended to illustrate that the availability of Scripture has always been patchy

In the early church, and then after the Reformation, this is not the case. Scripture was widely copied (printed post-reformation) and many churches had numerous copies of books of the Bible in the early church, many of which were burnt in persecutions.

but the reason there had to be a negotiated collation was precisely because of the variety which itself caused discord.

The councils worked so well precisely because of the wide agreement over the canon of Scripture, with only a very few disputed books. We have what looks like a complete canon in Origen's Homilies on Joshua, c.250, which is remarkably early.

the term is becoming a matter of proud self description to set certain Church communities from the rest of us.

I find myself being tempted to use that term or one like it because other words (evangelical, reformed) are being increasingly altered away from their traditional meanings. It's not proud to declare that I believe the Bible is true and perspicuous and can be rightly interpreted using the grammatico-historical hermeneutic, is it? That's what I mean by Bible believing, and that's simply the historic reformation conviction on the matter.

24 February 2013 23:46  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Dodo: Roman Catholics filter the Bible through the Magisterium. It cannot say anything contradictory to the established dogma of the Church. It's hardly comparable to have one group with one source of infallible authority and one with two.

Not to mention the fact that the Roman Catholic Church (and the Pope in particular) is the only one that can declare the content and interpretation of Scripture and the content and interpretation of Tradition. This leaves it without any real external check, sola ecclesia.

24 February 2013 23:50  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

William
Certainly I claim no special gift from the Holy Spirit to authoritatively determine the precise meaning of Scripture and to say this is the only way of understanding it.

Is this what you mean? This is reserved for the Ordinary Magisterium, the Magisterium, Church Councils and, more rarely, the Pope.

Thomas Kenningly
Just where does it say in Scripture that the Apostles and their successora are accountable to the whole church for their understanding of God's message or that they are bound entirely by the New Testament?

Christianity is not a democracy, neither is it restricted to the written word..

25 February 2013 00:15  
Blogger non mouse said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

25 February 2013 01:48  
Blogger non mouse said...

Yes, Mr. len @ 21:28; I think you're right.

Part of the inability to accept accounts for failure of memory -- I think we see evidence of that in accounts of 'near death experience.' These narratives tend to be similar, and I knew someone who could never remember why he was commanded to come back to this world. But before returning, he'd had a flash of insight; somewhere in his mind, he had always known why.

In earlier explanations, philosophers joined truth, memory, forgetfulness, and individual opinion with the concept of the Fall. Macrobius, for example, describes Plato’s idea of how Fall away from the Monad affects souls:
. . . indeed, all of them in their descent drink of forgetfulness, some more, some less. Consequently, although the truth is not evident to all on earth, all nevertheless have an opinion, since opinion is born of failure of the memory.*[my emphasis].

In so relating eternal Truth to the forgetfulness brought about by the Fall, the philosophers also explained why each interpretation of Truth is imperfect. Indeed it will be incomplete, for each individual has a different memory- and that is only a fractured part of the Whole.

The Theaetetus of Plato himself also contains what Myles Burnyeat identified as a “puzzle” about "man’s abilities for perception of truth and true judgment.” Plato describes Socrates’s metaphor of “interior painting”:

SOC. Now I want you to suppose, for the sake of the argument, that we have in our souls a block of wax, larger in one person, smaller in another, and of purer wax in one
case, dirtier in another; in some men rather hard, in others rather soft, while in some it is of the proper consistency [. . .] We may look upon it, then, as a gift of Memory, the mother of the Muses. We make impressions upon this of everything we wish to remember among the things we have seen or heard or thought of ourselves; we hold the wax under our perceptions and thoughts and take a stamp from them in the way in which we take the imprints of signet rings. Whatever is impressed upon the wax we remember and know so long as the image remains in the wax; whatever is obliterated or cannot be impressed, we forget and do not know.


I guess we've been worrying about it all for rather a long time!
____________________
*Macrobius, Aurelius Theodosius. Commentary on the Dream of Scipio. Trans. and Notes William Harris Stahl. New York: Columbia UP, 1952, 90. [One remembers that our time is not God's time: the Monad's Present is Eternal].

**Burnyeat, Myles. The Theaetetus of Plato. Trans.
M. J. Levett. Revised, Myles Burnyeat. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1990; 70-73; 190c-191e, 325.

25 February 2013 01:57  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Dodo

[H]ow do you account for the very great difference between Roman Catholics and Calvinists in reading the Bible?

In the first place, the RCC applies an extra-Biblical source of revelation to the text of Scripture. That would be Sacred Tradition. Since Sacred Tradition has no actual content, but is in some mystical sense 'embodied' in the Magisterium, it becomes an unconstrained norming force that allows Scripture to be driven wherever the Magisterium desires. Once employed, the decisions of the Magisterium are dogmatically super-imposed on Scripture and no contrary reading is allowed. It no longer matters what the words say. The words must reflect the authoritative dogma of the Magisterium.

But wait! That's not all. The Magisterium has that power all on its own as well. Even without Sacred Tradition it can declare infallible dogma and force the Scripture to conform. It doesn't even have to make Scriptural arguments. In fact its exegesis can be completely wrong. But the dogma still stands. At which point the Scripture has to be read in conformance with the dogma. Details to be worked out later.

MAGISTERIUM: Come on, i' God's name; once more toward our father's. Good Lord, how bright and goodly shines the moon!

KATHARINA: The moon! the sun: it is not moonlight now.

MAGISTERIUM: I say it is the moon that shines so bright.

KATHARINA: I know it is the sun that shines so bright.

MAGISTERIUM: Now, by my mother's son, and that's myself, It shall be moon, or star, or what I list, Or ere I journey to your father's house. Go on, and fetch our horses back again. Evermore cross'd and cross'd; nothing but cross'd!

CATHOLIC PRIEST: Say as he says, or we shall never go.

KATHARINA: Forward, I pray, since we have come so far, And be it moon, or sun, or what you please: An if you please to call it a rush-candle, Henceforth I vow it shall be so for me.

MAGISTERIUM: I say it is the moon.

KATHARINA: I know it is the moon.

MAGISTERIUM: Nay, then you lie: it is the blessed sun.

KATHARINA: Then, God be bless'd, it is the blessed sun: But sun it is not, when you say it is not; And the moon changes even as your mind. What you will have it named, even that it is;
And so it shall be so for Katharina.


carl

25 February 2013 02:16  
Blogger Corrigan said...

We've got one Magisterium; you've got 40,000 Protestantisms and counting. We've got the authority of Christianity's founder ("...what you bind on Earth will be bound in Heaven"); you've got Martin Luther.

25 February 2013 05:52  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl: "2. Throw away the new manual and trust my intuition & instincts."

All software engineers do this one. Religiously. Reading the manual is an admission of incompetency.

25 February 2013 07:15  
Blogger len said...

Corrigan,
(25 February 2013 05:52)
Totally, absolutely , wrong!.
You have the Magisterium we have the Holy Spirit.

Relationship is what God desires with us not religious performance.Suppose your partner gave you a set of rules of things to do and things not to do and you were expected to conform to that rule book.How does that define your relationship?.
God desires a relationship based on love.Mutual love.Does love require a rule book?.Or a Magisterium.
Suppose your partner said you couln`t speak to him /her direct but had to go through a 'third party'who would speak for you and this third party would know what you 'really meant' whenever you spoke?.

25 February 2013 07:40  
Blogger len said...

Much of so called 'sacred tradition'within the Catholic Church relies on ' oral tradition'since there is no record of this the Magisteriun can say anything it pleases and refer to it as 'tradition.'

This is a 'licence' to include all un biblical dogmas into Catholicism and their is no way of checking if this is Biblically correct.

Catholicism is a clever system because it make error'infallible' and those who lead the system 'unassailable'. Catholics have it 'sown up'or appear to have for those too afraid to challenge the Catholic religious system.

25 February 2013 07:50  
Blogger len said...

The Apostle Paul tells us to put everything to the test to see if it lines up with the Word of God.The Bible is pretty inclusive and God would not have left out of the Bible any vital information that Christians would need.So all truth can be confirmed by the written Word
◄ 1 Thessalonians 5:21 ►
Test everything. Hold on to the good.

So Christians of all denominations would be well advised to do this!.

All dogmas which cannot be confirmed by the Written Word of God MUST be treated with suspicion at the very least.
God wants Christians to know the truth and will reveal truth which will be confirmed by His Word.

Deception is rife in these 'last days'and many have been and will be deceived if the do no earnestly desire to know the Truth above all else.

25 February 2013 08:04  
Blogger len said...

According to Catholic theology I was 'a Christian' some time ago.Baptised as an infant, confirmed by a Bishop I was (supposedly)' a Christian'.
It was only when I was 'born again' some 10 yrs ago that I realised that before that occurrence I was NOT saved.There are many sitting within Churches that consider themselves' saved' but are not.Paul gives this advice' Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you--unless, of course, you fail the test'?(2 Corinthians 13:5)

People assume that because I criticize'religion' I consider myself 'a superior Christian ' in some sort of way but I know that I am a very average Christian who hates to see those deceived by the enemy.We should all do as Paul says and to check if we are actually in 'the faith' not just in 'the Church'.

25 February 2013 08:19  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Br Ivo

‘It was Paul who stressed the interconnected nature of the head, hand and organs of the body and our Bible is surely but one of many other necessary aspects which make up the faith.’

I thought that was about how every believer complements each other? Like the husband being the head and his wife assisting him.

‘Those of the 'Bible-believing' persuasion perhaps fail to note that when Jesus sent out the first 70 to spread the Word, they went with so very little. They had nothing analogous to a Bible, just their faith and perhaps some recollection of a few parables and teachings.’

I thought they had the Old Testament (and does not the New Testament contain hundreds of quotes from the Old? Just look at the footnotes in your Bible).

‘The Early Christians expected the Parousia - the Second Coming of Christ - as a matter of imminence. What need of record-keeping or private study?’

I thought that they said they were in the last days? That is to say in the last 2,000 years or so.

‘This is all before we grapple with the question of disability and those whose incapacity will always set them apart.’

In other words, what about those people, for example Red Indians in the 8th century who could not have heard of the Bible?

In Romans 2:12-15 it states, “For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law; and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law; for not the hearers of the Law are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified. For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law unto themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness, and their thoughts ultimately accusing or defending them. In the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.”

God judges them according to how closely they lived their lives to their own ethical standards.

Error will always creep in; as it did in Paul’s own time. The task of the apologist, it seems to me, is to divine the truth as knowledge grows.

Sometimes, knowledge is lost (and then recovered). For example, the controversy over whether or not we are permitted to remarry after divorce:

‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause?’ (Matthew 19:3): no fault divorce.

25 February 2013 08:44  
Blogger Brother Ivo said...

There are multiple new points arising which Brother Ivo does not have immediate time to address but will try to address later in the day, for those who might be interested.

Two points of clarification need to be made early.

How a matter is titled can slant one's reading of it. Brother Ivo does not complain that His Grace chose this provocative one, but it cannot be right to then insist that that perceived " angle" is part of the argument. It is certainly not the only way of reading it.

His Grace recently wrote on the Preface of the King James Bible being somewhat provocative when handed over as a gift to the Pope. Most would say that the addition is not part of the "argument" of the text. Brother Ivo asks to be judged similarly.

The two Sunday pieces were written in close proximity; they are related aspects of the same question that began to interest Brother Ivo. The Anglican communion is being riven by a question of authority/interpretation which is sending sections in polar opposite directions.

The review of Maggi Dawn's book led to considering how the appointment of 8 women to observer status in the House of Bishops might be developed In that context it was not difficult to seriously consider the proposition that the sides are irreconcilable so there is integrity in proposing to "bring matters to a head".

In this way, women bishops may be like King Henry's divorce; the occassion rather than the root cause of the underlying rift.

Brother Ivo is enjoying the considering irony of an author being told what a text " really " means by folk whose preference is to read texts in a more restrictive way.

Brother Ivo developed the thought through the medium of considering that the self chosen title of one quarter of the argument might not be as well chosen as they think.

Whilst considering that historically, he was moved to consider that the early Church made considerable progress in spreading the faith without the Bible we know in multiple forms today, and that countless millions/ billions have faith with fragmentary access to what some regard as essential.

That thought strikes Brother Ivo as interesting, which is why he offered it for consideration.

25 February 2013 08:48  
Blogger G. Tingey said...

W o.t. Dodo
“The rule book”?
Sometimes called .. the laws of Physics.
Which apply to everyone & everything, whether you like it or not.
The various religious rule-books can’t even agree amongst themselves, can they?
And they all contain statements that we … KNOW TO BE FALSE.

Thomas Keningley
WRONG
The “non-authorised” gospels are of about the same age as the “authorised” ones – composed between approx 80 & 130 CE …. The fact that you are [a] not used to them & [b] don’t like them is 150% irrelevant.

“We call ourselves Bible-believing because we believe that the whole Bible is inerrant and infallible.”
Well, aren’t you a candidate for the nut-house, then!
What is the age of the Earth & the universe?
What’s the value of Pi?
Where does BigSkyFairy keep all the winds, then?
Are bats Birds?
Which disagreeing version of “Genesis” do you want to cleave to? Yes, I know, they are both wrong, but that’s not the point, is it?
Etc …
Oh dearie me.

No, I don’t need to paint you bible-believers as harsh & judgmental … I’ve got a much better label than that & it happens to be true: TERMINALLY STUPID.

Ien
Actually, a lot of the Pharisees sympathised with Yeshua, his teachings were very much along their lines. In fact it is possible to see him as an “anti-clerical jew of his times. His quarrel was with the “establishment – the Sanhedrin. The anti-Pharisee propaganda comes from Saul of Tarsus, actually, & ex post hoc writing, when the “gospels” were put down, later.

Carl Jacobs
“What do we know about god” ???
Indeed.
I can tell you, exactly.
That he (she, it, they) are NOT DETECTABLE in any form, directly or indirectly.

DanJ0
Yup, you’ve got it!

Ien
“The Holy Spirit would never agree with anything which goes against scripture.”
Err, excuse me – but WHICH “scripture” & in which translation, filtered through how many religio-political stitch-ups & meetings?

“When God created animals he gave them …”
NOT EVEN WRONG
They erm EVOLVED - same as we did.
Idiot.

WotDodo
“Why do so many people misunderstand the Church of Rome?!”
NO we don’t. Even us atheists understand that “Rome” is evil, through & through.
Corrupt, lying, torturing, murdering & power-crazed. The archetype for religious power, copied by all for effectiveness, by Mahmud, Calvin & Stalin, among others … euw.

Carl jacobs
“Why do people struggle with Scripture?”
Because it’s lying bullshit, that’s why!

Non mouse
PLEASE, no Plato!
The doctrine of essences or pure forms is WRONG, but people still cling to it.
It has been disproven so man times, by physical scientists, yet ……

Carl jacobs
“scared tradition” in the “magisterium” … exactly analagous to the hadiths of islam, then, or Stalin’s interpretation of Lenin?
More lying shite, in other words.

Ien
“The Apostle Paul tells us to put everything to the test to see if it lines up with the Word of God.”
See my comments above on age of the universe, evolution, biological classification, value of Pi, etc ad nauseam ……

Excuse me, you lot, ever heard of REALITY?

25 February 2013 08:55  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Len, you obviously have no idea of the Catholic view of infallibility. This doctrine is invoked with extreme rarity (the last time was 1960), and only under very specific circumstances. Nor do we need any third party to pray through. We simply trace the line of the Holy Spirit back through the Church to Christ.

25 February 2013 08:57  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

"Whilst considering that historically, he was moved to consider that the early Church made considerable progress in spreading the faith without the Bible we know in multiple forms today, and that countless millions/ billions have faith with fragmentary access to what some regard as essential."

This is where the literacy assumptions creep in again. Non-literate cultures have substantially better recall of oral traditions. Read the earliest written book of the New Testament - 1 Thessalonians - and you find Paul writing the following:

" And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers."

He writes several times that the Church there does not need to be instructed, as they have kept the word that was given to them.

Your approach would no doubt have us say: "Well look, they have no pieces of paper, so it's very silly to think that they are following Scripture!" But this is a mistake, which far from being historically sensitive, is historically naive, and critically unengaged with the evidence we *do* have of the early Church.

We metaphorise "word" all too easily, because we fix our memories almost exclusively on the page. In non-literate cultures, retention of information orally is substantially better - individuals are capable of memorizing material, including phraseology, to far better standards than literate cultures can. That's not an arbitary assertion, by the way, its an observed phenomena in work done by anthropologists in the present.

In the Pauline epistles, the standard is clear: fidelity of doctrine.

Were this not the case, why would we have inherited a corpus of epistles in which he clarifies, augments, and definitively outlines doctrine?

The funny thing is, Brother Ivo, the Christians from nations where they haven't got access to Scripture are often as desperate for it as I imagine the early Church was. One of the things that is remarkable (to us) is the way in which many of them have a retentive memory of Scripture. I know one person who for many years had only minimal access to a Bible through a distant church, and yet still managed to preach from it, almost word-perfectly. For him, Scripture isn't something dead on a page - it is the Word of God, authoritative and life-giving, and I cannot help but think that the source of his joy in it is closely related to the way in which he thinks, prays, and preaches it daily.

He is, if you will, Word-perfected.

It just strikes me as strange that someone who could easily fit into virtually every category your argument relies on has a clearer idea of the authority of Scripture than someone who is, to all appearances, well-read and well-educated. That's honestly why your argument doesn't ring particularly true for me: it's not an apology on behalf of the people you cite, who don't seem to have the problems you think they do. These are the problems of educated Westerners, and as one myself, I submit to you that the issue is not literacy, nor even the ability to read Scripture - but the fog of interpretative practices that dominate the philosophical strongholds of our cultural landscape. Frankly, most of them shore up idols, whether its identity politics, class, materialism or even historiography. Better to let the Sword of the Word cut through them than try to bandage it up in them.

25 February 2013 10:19  
Blogger G. Tingey said...

NOT "just" scripture, either, & not just in non-literate societies.
I can stll remember most of the Nocene creed, even though I reject it utterly, for instance.
I can usually remember several poems & verses of secular literature, because I choose to.
It isn't difficult - after all ACTORS do it all the time, don't they?

25 February 2013 10:25  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

"For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart."

Hebrews 4:12

25 February 2013 10:26  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Brother Ivo

How a matter is titled can slant one's reading of it. Brother Ivo does not complain that His Grace chose this provocative one, but it cannot be right to then insist that that perceived " angle" is part of the argument. It is certainly not the only way of reading it.

The title of a post under you name contains an explicit accusation of idolatry. That isn't just provocative. And, no, the question mark doesn't help. Not when you go on to present the exact same argument that Revisionists always present when making a charge of turning Scripture into an idol. The argument you made in the text fit exactly with the title of the piece. Why do you think I shifted to the use of 'bibliolatry?' To emphasize that very connection with traditional revisionist argumentation.

Now you say something like 'Well, I'm not responsible for the title.' If you don't like how the title plays with your argument, then use your magic blogger powers to change it. If you think it appropriately provocative, then keep it. But you can't have it both ways. Don't expect me to separate the title of the post from the post itself - especially when the title harmonizes so well with the thesis of the post. And don't expect me to somehow infer before the fact that the author of the title is different from the author of the post. When you put your name on it, you become the owner of it. All of it.

carl

25 February 2013 11:51  
Blogger Rasher Bacon said...

AnonymousinBelfast - helpful comment, to which I might add that reading the Bible has been a clear spur to literacy, as Wycliffe Bible translators find. One gets the feeling that our kind hosts' hearts are in the right place, but they might not like where their own consciences and common sense might lead them. Not many of us do.

Swiss Guard is amusing - temptation to tickle him with the feathers of his own ornate regalia must be resisted..


25 February 2013 12:00  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Man has blamed someone else since the beginning of time. It was the woman thou gavest me Lord. We must take responsibility for our own actions no matter who suggested we should do it.
God can use a sharp pencil better than a dull one but intellectualism can often be a barrier to receiving the prescience of god or understanding the simplicity of the Gospel.
To limit the Christian life to 'Gospel Gracious' ignores the early biblical history which Jesus often refers to. Further, the New Testament epistles contain the inspired word of God as to how our lives should be lived. All scripture is inspired of God.

25 February 2013 12:19  
Blogger G. Tingey said...

Mr Integrity
Including: "Thou shalt not suffewr a witch to live" I presume?
Or killing your children if they disobey you?
Or keeping slaves?
Or .....

25 February 2013 12:52  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

Just to point out, Brother Ivo, that the words for your article's title actually exist within your post. So whilst I agree with you about when you say that the title is not your direct responsibility (at least in terms of how I understand your blogging relationship with His Grace) but given that it appears in your article you are still responsible for using the phrase.

25 February 2013 14:25  
Blogger Nick Prideaux said...

The Cranmer blog has taken a turn to the liberal with Brother Ivo's posts. In one he wants conservative evangelicals expelled from the CofE to solve the "problem" of disagreement over women bishops; now he he takes a liberal stance on the the scriptures as the sole source of truth left to us to be guided by. Will he support same sex blessings next?

25 February 2013 15:03  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

G. Tingey: The “non-authorised” gospels are of about the same age as the “authorised” ones – composed between approx 80 & 130 CE …. The fact that you are [a] not used to them & [b] don’t like them is 150% irrelevant.

Just saying I’m wrong doesn’t make it so. Which texts are you even referring to? All the gospels were written before the end of the first century. Wikipedia, not exactly a bastion of conservative scholarship, gives them dates of: Matthew: 60-85; Mark: 60-70; Luke: 60-90; John: 80-95. The only apocryphal gospel even supposed to come close to these dates is that of Thomas, and the dating controversy over that is pretty massive. Everything else is second century or beyond, mostly quite late. On the other hand, the earliest theology we have is in Paul’s epistles, which fit well with the canonical gospels and Acts.

Also the canonical gospels show superiority in their representation of geography, names and customs in 1st C. Palestine which is simply incomparable with the esoteric Gnostic gospel accounts.

What is the age of the Earth & the universe?

6,000-10,000 years. But lots of inerrantists believe in Old Earth Creationism or even Theistic Evolution, so it’s hard to see how that’s relevant to the issue of inerrancy.

What’s the value of Pi?

3.142 to 3 d. p.

Where does BigSkyFairy keep all the winds, then?

Don’t know what this is referring to.

Are bats Birds?

No, they’re mammals.

Which disagreeing version of “Genesis” do you want to cleave to? Yes, I know, they are both wrong, but that’s not the point, is it

As they don’t disagree, both.

25 February 2013 15:05  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Nick Prideaux

Will he support same sex blessings next?

I had the same thought. Although it doesn't matter to me that Brother Ivo is Liberal. It does liven up the weblog to be in opposition every now and then. Besides, if there weren't Liberals around, who would we have to beat with a stick?

"Thar he goes, Clem! Git 'im, git 'im, git 'im!"

;)

carl

25 February 2013 17:30  
Blogger Brother Ivo said...

There are too many threads to answer but Brother Ivo is pleased to have afforded so many an opportunity to explore the issues, which was his intention.

Just one final thought which no one has addressed.

If the text is clear, and leading to only one true reading, why would there be any necessity for the creeds? Nobody has explained this.

25 February 2013 18:11  
Blogger Brother Ivo said...

There are too many threads to answer but Brother Ivo is pleased to have afforded so many an opportunity to explore the issues, which was his intention.

Just one final thought which no one has addressed.

If the text is clear, and leading to only one true reading, why would there be any necessity for the creeds? Nobody has explained this.

25 February 2013 18:12  
Blogger Galant said...

Summaries. Designed to provide quick, succinct access to essential points. Just because something can definitely be derived doesn't mean it's an easy process.

For example children can be taught that to get the area of a circle they need to use Pi x r sq. Or to gain the length of the long side of a right-angled triangle they need to use Pythagorus' theorem.

Those equations can be discerned from other truths but the knowledge required is considerable. Instead, to get the children moving they are not immediately told why those equations are true but are instead empowered with those truths.

In the same way creeds summarised essential truths which are rightly and exactly brought from the texts.

What's more, even if something can be exactly or rightly brought forward from any text or source, that does not mean others will still not attempt to twist or replace those truths, especially by hiding, removing or corrupting texts. The creeds act as guideposts permitting individuals to 'keep the ball-game on the bibical field' without needing to know the entirety of book itself. Especially essential in an age where the text was not easily accessible.

Lastly, I want to assert that whilst I do not believe that every last tiny detail of theology can be certainly determined by Scripture, all the major points necessary for faith and salvation and unity and life can be.

I think God intentionally left gaps that we might have to work at it, and that in and through that process of learning and loving we come to true love and unity - and all because of a mutual commitment to the Book as truth, not in spite of it.

That's why I thought your post was somewhat pointless. One does not need to talk about 'bible-believers' in order to challenge the church to greater love, unity and graciousness. In fact, it is by appealing to the common belief of Scripture as truth that such a challenge comes.

That was my point.

25 February 2013 19:06  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

It's a curious argument that uses the existence of clear statements of belief to adduce their unreliability.

Isn't that granting heresy a veto over doctrine?

25 February 2013 19:22  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

The Lord Jesus, surely the object of our faith, warned us (if we believe the Bible) that there would be false teachers. The New Testament writers i.e. Paul, Peter, Jude, James and John also warned against false teachers who would 'secretly introduce damnable heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them' (2 Peter 2:1)

Without the Bible, and a high view of it, as our guide, how are we to detect these false teachers and 'strive for the faith once for all delivered to the saints' (Jude vs 3)? Or should we just listen to the man who says 'I'm apostolic and I've got a hat and some fine mediaeval architecture and golden baubles to prove it-so do as I say!'

I was born and raised a Roman Catrholic and was shocked to discover when I went to university that I had been taught to put it muildly a highly sectarian version of the faith from my early youth. How did I know it was divergent from authentic Christisnity? The Bible told me so.

We must of course, briother Ivo, be charitable and remember about the log in our own eye before we seek to remove a speck from our brother's eye---

.....Oh lumme, that's from the Bible too!

25 February 2013 20:04  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

Brother Ivo wrote

@Just one final thought which no one has addressed.

If the text is clear, and leading to only one true reading, why would there be any necessity for the creeds? Nobody has explained this. @

My judgment is that we need a clear statement of orthodoxy because there are various predators and heretics who seek to pervert the true faith-and always have been since Satan twisted and misrepresented God's word to Eve.

Oh, and as Peter wrote 'There are many things in (Paul's) letters which are difficult to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures...therefore beware'(2 Peter 3:16). We need creeds because of the ignorant and the unstable as well as the wolves in sheep's clothing who come to kill, steal and destroy.

Kindest brotherly regards.

25 February 2013 20:13  
Blogger Rasher Bacon said...

Brother Ivo - on the creeds, the motley bunch I grew up with never used them.

They were aware of them and could quote them, but they were looked on with mild suspicion as being man's summary of God's word. I can remember the Nicene, with its eternal sonship question, being chewed over at Sunday lunchtimes, then when temperatures rose, being shelved in case it caused bad feeling or division. Questions of God's character and incarnation were always approached with extreme caution, lest we should be found to have gone beyond the bounds of our finite minds and putting God in boxes of our own creation. Where people went off and tried advanced metaphysics without this caution, it promptly resulted in yet another split. We had enough to deal with in the plain words of scripture, where we like everyone else found we needed help. So much of the 'conflict' you mention results from men trying to unscrew the inscrutable.

Hence, we can see the point and the benefit, but by AD 325 it was a bit of a sign of failure, when Constantine said 'get with the programme'.

25 February 2013 21:32  
Blogger People, not buildings said...

Rather lost interest in this blog since "Brother Ivo" started contributing.

David

25 February 2013 21:49  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Fellow Critics:

Scripture gives us our guide, and though there is reason to be wary of the positions that Brother Ivo seems to occupy with regards to interpretation and authority, we should take as our guide... well Scripture.

The most oft-quoted passage is 2 Timothy 3:16 (though to my mind Hebrews 4:12 has a better ring to it) - Scripture is good for teaching, reproof, correction and training in righteousness. It was inspired by God for this very purpose; it is meant to be the font of our inspiration, a living word of living faith.

Bear with Brother Ivo. He usually concludes by wanting to get back to the Person of Jesus. His conclusion is sound - and one which we should share even whilst we attempt to demonstrate that the positions we are accused of holding in error are in fact integral to the Way.

Don't give up on prayer either. There was a time when I would have given you all a very similar line of argument as Brother Ivo's, and a time when I found more to detract from Scripture's authority than to praise it. Patient exhortation for the sake of Christ is more valuable than being clever and right but failing to address the man.

And yes, there are false teachers and sheep led astray, and yes, we cannot afford to be caught unawares, but to these the Apostles gave a consistent reply: trust in Christ, hold firm, and... teach, correct, reproove, and train in righteousness by God's living word. We can have faith in that, I think.

25 February 2013 22:39  
Blogger Brother Ivo said...

Brother Ivo is not an obsessive on this matter but may come back with another way of approaching these problems which might help to bring our thinking together.

He will put his mind to it

25 February 2013 23:19  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Brother Ivo

If you have ever experienced the frustration of trying to get an Arminian to actually exegete John 6, then you would understand why the clarity of the text is not necessarily dispositive. People have traditions. They have preferences. They have presuppositions. They will go to great lengths to protect those things even to include refusal to submit to the text.


Take the Creeds themselves. Is there for example any real lack of clarity in Scripture regarding the Virgin birth of Christ? Mary specifically says she is a virgin. And yet people deny the words of Scripture because they do not want to submit themselves to the truth of scripture. They want it to say what it does not say.

Nothing actually forces men to submit to the clarity of the text. If they have other agendas, they will engage in number of rationalizations to get their own way.

carl

25 February 2013 23:29  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Some people claim to use the creeds as a standard of Christian orthodoxy rather than Scripture, but this is a somewhat sneaky move. In reality, to decide which creeds to use (i.e. ones excluding Arians and Nestorians) they have already decided who is a Christian and who isn't, so their standard is actually prior to the creeds rather than proceeding from them.

26 February 2013 07:17  
Blogger len said...

We must remain focused on Christ and not be distracted by things of little or no importance to the Gospel.There is much in Churchianity to distract and lead us away from the Truth which God has revealed to us in Christ.

'Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'(John 14:^)
We need to strip all else away and return to the basics of the Gospel.

26 February 2013 08:28  
Blogger G. Tingey said...

T K
LIAR, or so deluded as to be fit to be sectioned ...

How can I tell?
Your answer to "Age of the Earth"

The CORRECT answer is (approx) 4.5*10^9 years [ Four-&-a-half-billion in incorrect "normal" parlance! ]

PI has an incommensurable value, it is a "transcendental" number, we can only get its' value to whatever accuracy we want, but never its exact value ....
Winds - a reference to an OT quote (Job I think) where BigSkyFairy is supposed to keep the winds in a certain place, which is daft, unless you believe in a flat Earth, with surrounding areas, controlled by BigSkyFairy - oops.
Yes I know Bats are mammals, but the bible says they are birds, doesn't it? Oops.
Oh do come on - the ORDER of "creation" in Genesis is given in two accounts & they disagree, don't they?
And you claim that you didn't know this?

26 February 2013 09:41  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Tingey, bats are only mammals because we say they are under the taxonomic system. These things don't exist as Platonic categories - you can't examine the atoms of a bat and find a "bird" label.

I'd aske whether you've ever read poetry, but I suspect the answer is self-evident from your posts. Stick to the Horrible Science range.

26 February 2013 10:08  
Blogger Kinderling said...

Yes Len,

"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'(John 14:^)

So what is The Way?

1. to follow exactly in his footsteps, and if so what were those steps he took?
2. to praise Him like a Wailing Wall asking for solutions that never come.

26 February 2013 11:10  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

G Tingey

The CORRECT answer is (approx) 4.5*10^9 years

I would love to see you present the data that validates the model that allows you to draw this conclusion. In any case, your calculations begin with a materialist assumption that time must begin at zero. You make this assumption because materialism doesn't allow for discontinuities. You don't account for the fact that systems can be created at steady state. You discount this possibility a priori because you deny a Creator. Which means you are assuming the case you are trying to prove.

And to think that earlier I almost congratulated you on making a post without using the phrase "BigSkyFairy."

carl

26 February 2013 13:09  
Blogger G. Tingey said...

CJ
NO

Time did not begion with the Earth, so I'm NOT assuming a zero-point at the begiining by accretion of the asteroidal bodeis that formed this planet.

Hoiwever, the most certain evidence comes from radiactivity, given decay-curves etc.
Ask a geologist &/or an asstronomer about it, or look it up on line.
Sorry but it is a FACT that the Earth has the age I have stated.
The Universe is at least 8.5 "billion" years older than the Earth .... (and agin, I'm not counting back to "zero") .....

You are claiming to be correct & every competent scientist & scientific institution on the planet to be wrong - with no evidence to back you.
Which means you are insane .....

26 February 2013 13:30  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Greg Tingey,

I know other atheists here do at least pick up other creeds or works of philosophy other than science, such as Liberalism or Socialism. But it is interesting to note that your book is a physics one.

The problem with that is science, by its nature, is not set in stone and consequently theories and postulations come and go. So you will be constantly having to change your views as this occurs. This is in contrast to religion, which claims unchanging and eternal 'truths'.

Take the issues here on the big bang, yet there is still a field of astrophysics called cosmology, ergo if the big bang theory had solved the entire explanation of the universe's origin, we would not have an academic discipline still going or have new additional theories as to why 90% plus of the universe is, apparently 'missing'.

The second problem is that a physics text book, does not and cannot answer some of the 'meaning of life' stuff that drives us on as human beings and which religion attempts to deal with, this is what I can think of in 10 seconds flat:

1. Why are we here?
2. Who created us?
3. Is there a G-d and if so what is that G-d like?
4. How should you live?
5. How should you die?
6.What happens to you when you die?
7.What are we like as humans?
8. How should we treat other human beings?
9. What is morality and how is that acted upon?

26 February 2013 13:47  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Greg Tingey,

I didn't actually think that the Bible gave away the age of the universe?

26 February 2013 13:55  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Tingey's referring to James Ussher's calculations, I suspect.

26 February 2013 14:34  
Blogger G. Tingey said...

Science, however can permanently rule OUT certsin "explanations" & hypotheses - e.g. pholgiston, as an explanation. Indeed, that is one of its principal modes of progress: ... "well, we know that, & that & &... that are wrong, what have we got left?" And always pick the simplest explanation that fits the known facts, & a vital assumption, which has NEVER been shown to be wrong so far - "as today, so yesterday & tomorrow" - in other words a fixed set of unchanging rules.
I cannot emphasise strongly enough that this has never failed & any attempt to show that it might even possibly be false must produce overwhelming evidence to be accepted.

Your understanding of the "BB" is even more limited than mine, but obviously, & however, it fits all the known facts & (so far) no one has come up with any other explanation for the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation other than the BB. To disprove the BB, you must also have a coherent explanation for the CMBR - and there currently is none, at all.

Your understanding of the "missing mass/energy" seems to assume that this implies that the BB is false, whereas this is emphatically NOT the case.
Just (just!) that, as always, there are unsolved problems. In this case to do with one of the equations of General Relativity & the value of "Big Lambda". Actually, "dark matter" has been indirectly detected & it is virtually certain to exist, we are currently without a workable model for "dark energy" which must (in some form) be repulsive, to give the "flat" universe in which we exist - which recurses back to big lambda.
You might begin to see why & how these problems are, err, interesting.

SO?
Unlike believers in BigSkyFairy, we are WORKING on those problems, not shuffling them off to a mystical non-solution.

"Maning of Life" is bollocks.
To quote a well-known SF author (C Stross):
"Intentionality.
We ascribe intentions to events in our environment that are indicative of intentional activity (e.g. the actions of animals). This is a good chunk of what mammals use their theory of mind for -- to simulate predator/prey relationships. If you then add language and you have human communication and better modelling power. We then routinely ascribe "intention" to other phenomena around us -- not so good: if it thunders, it's because the god-person responsible for thunder is angry.

AND

It's very hard to stop anthropomorphizing our environment. "Gods" are just our projection of intention on events that lack an actual intentional causative agent. "
( from a current discussion on his blog )
ENDQUOTES...

So the answers to your numbered questions are, actually very simple ...

1: Because our parents bred & their parents ...
If you mean "intentionality" then you must first demonstrate that this is even a valid question (it isn't)
2: Our parents, when their gametes fused to a zygote - - sorry, but this is the SAME Q as #1
3: NO, because BigSkyFairy is not detectable either directly or indirectly, by any means. ( Prove me wrong or shut up... )
4: The Golden Rule
5: As lately as possible, if you are not in unending pain. (See also PTerry's comments on this, given that he has Alzheimers ....
6: We rot, same as everything else - we are recycled, same as everything else.
7: Suposedly intelligent partly-evolved mostly hairless Apes. ( There's also the Aristotle (?) defintion )
8: Same Q as #4 - the Golden Rule
9: The business of intereacting with your fellow humans & animals in the least harmful manner to all concerned.

There, that was easy, wasn't it?

26 February 2013 14:52  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Mr Tingey: LIAR

You really think I believe what I am saying to be false?

or so deluded as to be fit to be sectioned ...

I'm enjoy being accused of insanity by a man whose gratuitous capital letters, ellipses and numerous typos/spelling mistakes give the impression of someone furiously typing at his computer, shouting at the same time and trying to prevent foam from dripping onto his keyboard.

The CORRECT answer is (approx) 4.5*10^9 years [ Four-&-a-half-billion in incorrect "normal" parlance!]

See Mr Jacobs's comment, the point of which you missed. Also, why is "billion" incorrect? Seems a bizarre thing to say.

PI has an incommensurable value, it is a "transcendental" number, we can only get its' value to whatever accuracy we want, but never its exact value ....

Hence I gave it to 3 d.p. A nice engineering approximation. Do you have a point?

Winds - a reference to an OT quote (Job I think) where BigSkyFairy is supposed to keep the winds in a certain place, which is daft, unless you believe in a flat Earth, with surrounding areas, controlled by BigSkyFairy - oops.

If this is from Job then it's almost certainly poetic language given the genre of that book. Feel free to demonstrate otherwise, but don't expect me to make your argument for you, then respond.

Yes I know Bats are mammals, but the bible says they are birds, doesn't it? Oops.

No, it doesn't, and this is a totally bizarre claim to make. It calls them a הָע֔וֹף (hā·‘ō·wp̄), which may not fit with your taxonomical preferences, but so what? It's a functional rather than biological classification- they have wings!

Oh do come on - the ORDER of "creation" in Genesis is given in two accounts & they disagree, don't they?

No they don't. If you're going to make an argument, feel free. I'm not doing your work for you.

And you claim that you didn't know this?

When did I claim that?

26 February 2013 15:00  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

"Also, why is "billion" incorrect? Seems a bizarre thing to say."

Because Tingey is reading from Wikipedia.

26 February 2013 15:13  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Thomas,

I'd concur that is difficult to decipher the points made by Greg Tingey, because they ramble from one thing to the next and have caps on, which I think in internet speak means you are shouting at your opponent. However, I shall, attempt to read through them and think of the answers. But as you say, you feel you have to do his homework for him.

26 February 2013 15:16  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Hannah,

Yes, I just read through his response to you, it's self-contradictory and variously wrong.

Some excerpts: a vital assumption, which has NEVER been shown to be wrong so far - "as today, so yesterday & tomorrow" - in other words a fixed set of unchanging rules.

A vital assumption that has never been shown to be wrong? It's an assumption, thus it can never be shown to be wrong. It's not a theory, it's an important part of theory construction. If the sun didn't rise tomorrow, you wouldn't give the assumption up, you'd simply look for an explanation that fits it (apart from freezing to death). That's why it's an assumption.

He espouses a strong form of falsificationism, then admits by the back door that this is wrong because the problems with the big bang (and general relativity) don't cause us to throw those theories out. We look for explanatory power. Phlogiston hasn't been proven wrong, it's just got a very weak explanatory power and would have to die a death of a thousand qualifications to even approximately work. But that isn't the same as falsification.

He's obviously unaware that the developer of Big Bang theory was a Christian theist, and complaints were made at the time about importing religious concepts into science.

He also thinks quoting assertions from other authors is equivalent to arguing for them. He wouldn't like his fellow atheist Thomas Nagel's take on the matter...

Anyway, this kind of scientism plays well in popular level atheism, but it doesn't come across as being particularly thought through when you say the Bible calls the bat a bird.

26 February 2013 15:32  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Greg Tingey
I’ll deal with your remarks, from halfway through.

You say the "Maning of Life" is boll-cks.” And provide me with a quote, from such a learned source as a Science Fiction writer. That’s not bad, it isn’t exactly Bertrand Russell stuff is it? and doesn’t really prove the point- if I can call it that. I am not sure how an argument about not anthropomorphizing deities actually proves you point and seems like a red herring distraction.

Secondly and funnily enough scientists, philosophers, theologians have been trying to answer ‘meaning of life’ questions, such as those that I had posted for hundreds of years- be they atheists or not, so to dismiss them out of hand and not wanting to engage in them seems a bit illogical to me.

Question 1, But then you do seek to answer them in your own particular fashion. I would have thought point 1 is a valid question. A religious person will say G-d creates us. As an atheist, I would have thought you’d say something like ‘we are hear as a product of complex evolution and that the universe we live in was the creation on the big bang, billions of years ago’. But you didn’t.

Question 2, An answer, but a lazy one. See my reply to point 1.

Question 3, do you have to use such a ridiculous term as big sky fairy. We are not idiots on this blog and would appreciate a bit of courtesy on that front. Your use of ‘detectable’ is interesting, I would have thought provable would have been more appropriate. Can we not detect G-d (in a poetic) sense in the wonder and grandeur of the planet and universe around us? And no I won’t shut up, thanks.

Question 4, Define the golden rule then and explain why if your world view (science) is changing all the time, you are now giving me something unchangeable . Or could you change this golden rule at a whim. If yes, why, if no, why are you subscribing to a dogma. Seems a bit religious to me.

Question 5, Fair enough, but one gathers from that you’d be in favour of compulsory euthanasia. Could you elaborate?

Question 6, OK, assuming we are buried and not cremated.

Question 7, A reference to the biological .What about the spiritual or if this is too religious the psychological aspects of being human- complex personalities, the capacity for self- awareness and rational thought, our wants, needs, feelings, that mean we are more than just another animal.

Question 8- Why? If there is no G-d and therefore no fixed or permanent morality, why quote something that is fixed and permanent?

Question 9: But how do you define this ‘harm to others’ principal. And what happens if there is a conflict between saving an animal or a human being, which is more important to you?

26 February 2013 16:29  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...


Hi Greg,

Well as science is my bread and butter I would hope so. You seem to be implying, I was somehow critiquing the big bang theory. That was not what I was doing and it was not the purpose of the exercise.

In fact I was trying to point out, that -and has you have done so again- that PROPER science is not a "fixed set of unchanging rules".

The rules are there to be challenged, broken, redone, reproved, disproved and argued over with evidence; theories need to be refined, looked at again. For example, I think that the big bang has been subject to many problems, so new theories (such as 'inflation') had to be tacked onto it for it still to be the going theory.

What I really feel angry about here is that you are projecting your atheism into science and fusing the two to made a very strange scientific dogma, because at the end of the day that is all you are giving us, a kind of atheistic "religious" dogma, with science latched on to make you sound plausible. But that is not science, scientific enquiry or scientific research.

26 February 2013 16:45  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

"Your understanding of the "BB" is even more limited than mine"... LOL. How long have I got to disprove that?

26 February 2013 16:46  
Blogger Enemyof the State said...

There are three members of the Trinity - the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit who illuminates our understanding of the Word. However the Bible can become an idol and unless it is balanced by the Spirit it will be come law and Calvinism and Islam share some uncomfortable similarities.......... But the Bible is the Medium God gives to understand the truth and Scripture may not be either a matter of private interpretation nor may it be added to or taken from without accompanying curses. The King James is the most accurate and the New King James the easiest to read. None can mask the message that man can not save himself and no man may be saved but by faith in the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

26 February 2013 17:39  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Enemyof the State: Calvinism and Islam share some uncomfortable similarities

Guilt by association is not a good reason for rejecting something.

Also, the King James is not the most accurate version, it uses the Byzantine text type which is not as old as the Alexandrian and it has various translational errors, not to mention verses not in the oldest manuscripts (including 1 John 5:7, not in any Greek manuscript until 16th C.) and a conjectural emendation from Theodore Beza in Rev 16.

26 February 2013 17:52  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Thomas Keningley

You know, if you keep making comments like that, you will quickly render my presence on this board redundant.

:-)

Well done.

carl

26 February 2013 18:07  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Haha, thanks Carl, but you know reinforcements are always appreciated! After all, when the attacks on the Reformed Faith come on different fronts from the Russelite-Dawkinsian Horde, the Cyber Swiss Guard and the Softy Armada led by Admiral Schleiermacher (with Captain Ivo seemingly climbing aboard), not to mention the occasional skirmish with the otherwise friendly Arminians, it can be a lot of work for one man... Keep up the good work!

Tom

26 February 2013 18:20  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

G Tingey

...

[blink blink]

...

So let's try again. When I said you were making the assumption that "time must begin at zero" I was referring to the system time of a process. Here, let me give you an example. Suppose you can see a star from Earth. You see the star because photons traveled from the star thru space to your eyeball. You know that photons travel at the speed of light. You know the star is so many light years away. You make the division and proclaim "The star must have existed X billion years ago because the star had to emit that photon X billion years ago." The assumption is that the photon must have been emitted from the star at .. here is the assumption .. time zero. Otherwise,you can't make the calculation you just made.

Now, why do you make that assumption? Because you don't allow for discontinuities. Anything other than the photon being emitted by the star and traversing the distance from star to Earth would be a discontinuity, and materialism doesn't allow for such things to happen. The system must traverse the path from initial condition to steady state. It cannot achieve steady state in any other way.

But of course special creation is one huge claim of discontinuity. It is the establishment of a fully functioning system with apparent age. Why? Because systems at steady state show apparent age. That's why I don't argue about the age of the Earth. It isn't actually determinable unless you make unprovable assumptions about the nature of the universe.

You might think of it this way as well. Assume I place you in a room with a digital clock, and I ask you to tell me how long the clock has been running. You could look at the time display of the clock and simply report that value. But you don't know the initial value of the clock when I started it. And you also don't know when or if the clock has rolled over. I have in truth asked you a question that cannot be answered scientifically. Thus it is with the age of the Earth.

Of course, if you prefer, you can just assume the clock started at zero, and had never rolled over. Then you could answer the question definitively. You just couldn't answer with authority.

carl

26 February 2013 18:25  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"Now, why do you make that assumption?"

Really, why wouldn't you?

26 February 2013 18:41  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Because you're not an atheistic materialist?

26 February 2013 18:49  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

If I chose then I could imagine that the world came into being 10 years ago, with a fake history installed into the newly created population's head along with their foibles. Perhaps I'm inclined to imagine that because I'm a software engineer who has watched The Matrix and rather likes the notion that the reality we perceive is not what it seems. So why wouldn't I make that assumption?

26 February 2013 18:58  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

I'm afraid I don't understand the point you're trying to make there.

That's not really analogous to the Biblical creation, insofar as under your scenario our minds are also unreliable, so we're in a situation of total scepticism a la Cartesian demon, whilst in the Christian worldview our minds are reliable.

Why do you think the assumption of universal uniformity is default?

26 February 2013 19:21  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

If we're happy to think the universe may have popped instantaneously into existence as though it had prior history then why limit oneself to just a classical religious idea?

26 February 2013 19:39  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Because there is warrant to believe the Bible and to believe in God.

On the other hand, if what you were proposing was true then there is no warrant to believe in anything much.

On the third hand, if atheistic materialism is true then there is no reason to believe that our brain is a reliable belief-former, so there's no warrant to believe anything there either.

as though it had prior history

It only has this appearance on the assumption of uniformitarianism. The universe in itself has no appearance either way.

26 February 2013 20:05  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"On the other hand, if what you were proposing was true then there is no warrant to believe in anything much."

Or, since we have to carry on in the world, we make careful assumptions based on our shared perceptions.

26 February 2013 20:16  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

26 February 2013 21:40  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

Well, I have to admit the whole concept of G-d and time are difficult things to grasp, as G-d is timeless and we have a limited amount of time of this planet.

The creation story could allow for longer than a couple of days, as I don't think day and night, were created until 'day 4', along with the moon and the sun, so to think of 6 days of creation as being that and to claim that the universe was created over a longer time frame doesn't really clash with religion or science (because of the way we calculate time).

And I also think the Psalms talk about a day being like a thousand years to G-d.

Indeed, I was once walking walking in the forest and feeling close enough to G-d I asked him, "G-d, what is a million years to you?
G-d replied, "My son, a million years to you is like a minute to me."
Then I asked G-d, what is a million pounds to you?"
God replies, "My son, a million Pounds to you is nothing to me.
So I then asked "can I have a million pounds?"
And G-d replied, "In a minute"

26 February 2013 21:46  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Or, since we have to carry on in the world, we make careful assumptions based on our shared perceptions.

The thing you quoted me on was talking about your reference to the Matrix brain-implant scenario.

In any case, the idea that our assumptions are based on our perceptions is simply false, it just isn't the case. Our assumptions allow us to systematise and govern our perceptions, not vice versa.

I'll give you an example. It is generally assumed that there is a physical world. This is not based on our perceptions, for after all if we were living in George Berkeley's world of ideas, our perceptions should tell us exactly the same thing. So they can be interpreted as apprehensions of material objects or as shared ideas. Therefore our worldview or interpretive grid governs how we interpret our perceptions, not vice versa.

Besides which, what makes you think we share the same perceptions?

26 February 2013 21:59  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

David: It is true that God is timeless and incomprehensible, but in his word he condescends to reveal himself in time and space with words which we can understand. I think it was Calvin who described it as Him lisping for His children. So I think we can relatively confidently understand the creation account, no matter how shoutily we're told it cannot be right.

26 February 2013 22:02  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

Thomas, granted these things had to explained in a simple, but grand way... and I would say that my post above was a reflection on Carl's discussion with Greg Tingey about time.

In so much as the first lines are 'in the beginning', there does seem to be a start to the beginning of the observable physical universe, by a creator that is and was timeless. I'd add more, but I like to reflect on issues before going full steam ahead with them.

26 February 2013 22:20  
Blogger G. Tingey said...

TK @ 20.05
There's ALSO A "Warrant" to believe in Mahmoud, or cthulu or the mystical invisible pink unicorn, or the infallible party, Or any other load of old bullshit.
Some of us are not buying any of it!

Will someone please show which of these has any merit?
Answer - none of them, of course.

Incidentally, if one takes the previous argument, that the scientific axiom, of constant rules NOT to be true, then you cannot accept ANY teachings or results from science - you can't pick & choose, you know.
Which means the computer you are sitting in front of isn't working, & can't work ... errr ... ummm ....

26 February 2013 23:06  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Mr Tingey: When you've learned to behave like a grown-up perhaps you can bring an actual argument forward?

As for "the results of science", I could produce great results with an erroneous or badly incomplete theory. People cured diseases and improved hygiene with *no* idea about germ theory or anything of the sort and with a different and erroneous theory.

Anyway, it's very simply to formulate a similar idea which would function similarly and not outlaw all supernatural events, e.g. the material world generally behaves in a predictable manner. By broadening its scope I lose nothing but broaden epistemological possibilities as well.

26 February 2013 23:23  
Blogger William said...

Tingey

Have you seen what those charlatans at Scientific American have been typing into their computers?

26 February 2013 23:37  
Blogger Avellanos said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

26 February 2013 23:39  
Blogger Galant said...

G. Tingey - It's simply the matter of humility in admitting what one knows and what one doesn't.

Maybe one day science will prove all the atheists right. Maybe one day God will prove all the atheists wrong. We may differ in opinions, but to not permit a man to differ, to not recognise the gaps in our thinking, to not permit that one may be wrong and someone else right, is a step too far.

Why not take another approach to this? If I may ask you, what do you desire from your interactions here? What is it you would like to achieve in your posting? What would you like from any of us who are not atheists, if anything? What is your intention in posting?

Additionally, rather than just debating 'the facts' have you ever sat down over a drink to ask a believer why he or she believes?

26 February 2013 23:42  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

DanJ0

Really, why wouldn't you?

Because the idea that the indescribably complex Universe in which we exist is self-contained, self-generating, randomly self-consistent, and wholly immanent is the most fantastic, irrational, improbable, and (frankly) unbelievable idea in the history of man. It's not even self-consistent. Things can't exist before they exist. So what is the uncaused cause - the timeless singularity - that must be eternal and exist apart from everything we know? You haven't a clue, but you know it must exist. So you begin with an origin that your system cannot account for.

Whence cometh energy? You don't know. Whence cometh matter, and time and space? You couldn't tell me on a bet. Whence cometh the physical laws that govern our existence? You don't have the first clue. You are simply asserting that whatever their origin might be, it can't be metaphysical, because there is no metaphysic. Your whole position begins with unbelief. You use your assumption of immanence to set the initial conditions, and then you demonstrate immanence through use of those initial conditions.

There is a reason that Creation itself is declared as the principle component of general revelation. It displays the glory of God because its very existence demands the existence of God. There can be no other cause. But men are hard of heart, and suppress what may be plainly seen right before their eyes.

carl

27 February 2013 01:28  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

" William said...

Tingey

Have you seen what those charlatans at Scientific American have been typing into their computers?" It seems Tingey is locked in his classical 20th Century cosmology model and is unaware that Einstein and others since have changed the assumptions of our space-time continuum views forever regarding locality etc, leading to the questioning of 'what is ANYTHING'!

"
In Brief- from The Scientific America article

Physicists routinely assume that quantities such as the speed of light are constant: they have the same values everywhere in space and time.
The authors and their collaborators have called that assumption into question. By comparing quasar observations with laboratory reference measurements, they have argued that chemical elements in different regions of the universe may be absorbing light differently than the same elements on Earth. The data suggest that one of the constants, known as the fine-structure constant, drifts gradually by a few parts per million across the entire observable universe.
Small though it might seem, this change, if confirmed, would be revolutionary. It could be a sign that space has extra dimensions."

Oh ye of little atheistic faith!

Blofeld

27 February 2013 10:29  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

I was going to write something in more detail, but thought what I'd written was inadequate and then reflected on the old anecdote that if you gave a group of monkeys typewriters, given enough time they'd somehow write the works of Shakespeare.... and sometimes I do feel like a little monkey here, especially when surrounded by the intellect of Greg Tingey.

I realised that we are not having a discussion on science and religion (with specifics to Christianity), but really atheism vs religion (with specifics to Christianity).

And herein lies the problem, I think. Greg Tingey is an out and out atheist, who claims to be more intelligent than me, the mere monkey on the typewriter, yet he is unable to construct a real argument, because his religion or rather creed is atheism and science is his proof.

Yet his version of science is not science because, I've always been told you have a process called scienctific method, peer review etc. True there are scientific consensuses, but the point of science is that there are no 'sacred cows' and can therefore be challenge, if enough evidence is there. Therefore Greg's science has to have his sacred cows and his defences, unable and unyielding to see the possibility of new and or other theories coming about as a result of scientific enquiry.

The difference therein is clear is that religion (or at least mine) claims greater authority than that and is not changeable and neither is G-d. True interpretations and schools of theology exist, as there is on the actual details of creation, but firstly not the substance of it and secondly the interpretations are but a reflection upon us as humans as much as G-d.

I think I could go on to say that Judaism is my creed and science is my proof as much as it is the proof for an atheist world view.

Finally, I do not really feel that there is a need for the tension which surrounds science and religion. The tension exists, I think, because science is being as a political-theological tool by the more outrageous atheists. A pity, I feel that means it looses it focus. I know one of our great Rabbis Maimonides, writing in the 13th Century clearly thought that there shouldn't be a tension between science and the Torah (note to self- next bit of reading is Maimonides 'guide to the perplexed').

Religion is there to explain (as Hannah noted above) 'meaning of life questions'. I think science is there to explain the practical application of this and creation.

I think Carl summed this up well, that creation :

"displays the glory of G-d because its very existence demands the existence of G-d. There can be no other cause".

27 February 2013 11:13  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Greg,

You didn't refer to the scientific axiom in your initial ramblings, unless they disappeared down an event horizon, rather you were writing as if all science and science theories are set in stone and do not change (rather like a religion). My argument was to point out that is not the case.

As for the rest of it, I personally see no fear in religion and proper science (not your dogmatic atheist version) as being complementary to one another.

27 February 2013 12:37  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Hannah/David/Thomas/Carl,

I wouldn't bother with debating that chappie Tingey. Like a lot of the militant socialist atheists he views religion with contempt; at least the other atheists here are intellectually gifted and can argue a point.

Regardless, he seems a bit disturbed to me and he's an out and out atheist who simply hates religion; I think the best course of action is to pray for Greg, that he might come to know our Lord.

In the meantime, whilst the Holy Ghost moves, best steer clear of him... despite the fact that one wants to give a thorough intellectual thrashing, it would be like banging your head against the wall...

27 February 2013 19:01  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Thomas: "In any case, the idea that our assumptions are based on our perceptions is simply false, it just isn't the case. Our assumptions allow us to systematise and govern our perceptions, not vice versa."

I was speaking in the general sense of knowing reality through our interactions with it.

"Besides which, what makes you think we share the same perceptions?"

We can communicate, and with abstract ideas. That's all I really mean there. I'm not intending to end up debating the philosophy of the mind.

Of course, there's the issue of qualia, and shamens, and some evangelical Christians, and those people who think they're Napoleon.

27 February 2013 19:05  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Me: "Or, since we have to carry on in the world, we make careful assumptions based on our shared perceptions."

That is, we know what we think we know and we draw inferences from that. There's stuff we don't know but may yet know, and stuff we probably can't know. I'm not trying to be Donald Rumsfeld there, btw.

I'm an atheist but it's not 'strong' atheism. I've no idea whether there's a human-interested god. I've know idea how the universe came into being, or whether it's even meaningful to talk in those terms. I dare say none of you do either regarding both those questiions.

The point I'm coming from when I say that we have to carry on is that we can either imagine our reality coming into being as it is now at some time X as though it had a history, or we put the issue behind our ear and carry on with what we actually think we know. That is, light has a source and that we can extrapolate back knowing what we think we know in terms of physics.

Ths working assumption that most atheists make is that the laws of physics hold, at least until they don't. We all rely on houses, travel to work, interact through computers, and all the rest quite happily based on that working assumption. Yet theists want to imagine miracles can happen, and 'spiritual' dimensions exist, and our reality was created and is sustained by a powerful being which does not itself rely on something to have created it. Once we starting imagining like that then we're potentially at the equivalent of The Matrix i.e. essentially unbounded.

27 February 2013 19:20  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

I have to admit I did like the film the matrix. The leading actor wasn't as good as he was 'Bill and Ted's excellent adventure', but a minor quibble.. Bill and Ted II was also good in some parts, I did find the scenes in that film when Bill and Ted play battleship and twist with 'Death' a howler. Good story. The Matrix was good, but a tad too pretentious in my view.

27 February 2013 19:31  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Dan: I was speaking in the general sense of knowing reality through our interactions with it.

But that's the thing, we don't simply "know" reality, do we? Rather our understanding of reality is a combination of perception and presupposition. Perception without presupposition is an uninterpreted, "raw" fact with no meaning, not even expressible as a proposition, whilst presupposition without perception is like a calculator or a logical operator with no input.

I've no idea whether there's a human-interested god. I've know idea how the universe came into being, or whether it's even meaningful to talk in those terms. I dare say none of you do either regarding both those questions

To answer that I'd wonder what exactly you mean by "know" (this is not an attempt at being facetious). I certainly deny that I have "no idea" about those two things.

as though it had a history,

This is what I have a problem with, I think it's question-begging.

I also assume that there is a certain regularity and predictability to the universe, but I certainly don't want to suggest it's absolute.

Yet theists want to imagine miracles can happen, and 'spiritual' dimensions exist, and our reality was created and is sustained by a powerful being which does not itself rely on something to have created it.

I don't think there's anything to imagine actually. There are so many reports of miracles from ancient and modern history and the contemporary world that I think that miracles are part of human experience just like the laws of physics are. Some of these miracles may be bogus, but it seems that many of them may be true; at the very least to dismiss them just for being miracles looks like simple prejudice.

Of course the possible explanations about reality are unlimited, however disturbing that fact may be.

27 February 2013 22:47  
Blogger G. Tingey said...

Just returend ...
A couple of corrections.

Lord Lavendon I call LIAR.
I am in no way, shape or form a "socialist", & I remind readers that I was nearly brainwashed into evangelical christianity, narrowly escaping at age 14 when I realised the vicar was lying (He was what would now be called a YEC) - it took me a long time to become an atheist, actually, as it took time to realise that all the OTHER priests were also lying .... ( & that communism is a classic religion, for instance)

IF values in Physics change without notice then the whole of science is meaningless, & predictions as to the state of the universe can not be made.
However, we find this not to be the case .....
But anyone claiming that these values CAN change (as some here are doing) must, therefore, automatically reject anything based on science as unreliable - like the computers they are happily using to spout their fantasies on this discussion - to which I call deluded hypocrites, oops.

Science & religion cannot be compatible, precisely because religion claims infallibility & unchangingness, whereas science always says "this is the best we know - so far" (& of course some things can definitely permanently be ruled out - e.g. Geocentric universe, phlogistion, creation of species)
Religions also always seem to make statements about the universe which are blatantly untrue, & then lie about it .....
Hence my comments about Bronze-Age gotherders or Dark-Ages camelherders' myths.

1 March 2013 18:56  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1 March 2013 19:54  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Tingey,

Calm down my dear fellow. If you were a man of substance, I would challenge you to a duel, for no-one called Lavendon a "LIAR", impertinent fellow. But as you are not worthy of such a fight, one shall not do so..

You may not be a socialist, but you are a militant atheist to boot. And we all know the types of governments atheists impose upon people- insane genocidal and inhumane regimes. Fascist Germany, Soviet Russia, Pol Pot's Cambodia. Insane, mad genocide, for no other good reason, except a perverted view of rationality.

Your argument is self- contradicting, because old chap you state :

IF values in Physics change without notice then the whole of science is meaningless, & predictions as to the state of the universe can not be made....anyone claiming that these values CAN change (as some here are doing) must, therefore, automatically reject anything based on science as unreliable "

And then :

"science & religion cannot be compatible, precisely because religion claims infallibility & unchangingness, whereas science always says "this is the best we know - so far"

Which if you had followed the thread is part of what my niece was trying to inform you of. You want to say science is a dogma, but then also agree that it is based upon the facts as we know today, which CAN change later on, when other arguments or whatever are put forward. You have been tarred and feathered by your own logic or lack of it.

Then :

"Religions also always seem to make statements about the universe which are blatantly untrue, & then lie about it .....
Hence my comments about Bronze-Age gotherders or Dark-Ages camelherders' myths."

Ridiculous Non sequitur and a lack of knowledge about religion. You must do much better than these amusing outbursts to construct your case. There are other atheists who post here who can at least put a valid apologetic for atheism together. But sadly, you fail in that regard.

1 March 2013 19:58  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Also this dramatic statement :

"I remind readers that I was nearly brainwashed into evangelical christianity, narrowly escaping at age 14 when I realised the vicar was lying (He was what would now be called a YEC) - it took me a long time to become an atheist, actually, as it took time to realise that all the OTHER priests were also lying .... ( & that communism is a classic religion, for instance)"

Well, old chap, if you were brainwashed at 14, it clearly wasn't that effective given your views now. Perhaps it is because, you rejected that what was given to you as an adult, rather than the Church 'brainwashing' you. In our country that is a perfectly legitimate way to be. Unlike the atheist regimes I've mentioned, who'd kill you or send to a concentration camp or 'correctional' facility for daring to have a different world view.

Socialist atheism at its bally worse!

1 March 2013 20:03  
Blogger len said...

G Tingey .Keep calm and do NOT carry on ..at least not on the path you have chosen!.
Your views are fairly typical of Atheists.For you to react so violently against religion(no one could feel that way about Christ) means some incident must have made you so?.
We must separate 'religion' from 'Christ'then perhaps we can see a little more clearly?.
For an Atheist to say "There is no God"means that the Atheist has knowledge of everything that exists (spiritually and materially) within our Galaxy.I am sure no atheist could be that 'inclusive'?.

So to say "there is no God" is not an accurate statement but rather a belief founded not on fact(because there is none) but on a belief system (this is exactly what atheists accuse Christians of!)

2 March 2013 09:17  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Most atheists don't actually assert "There is no god".

2 March 2013 11:38  
Blogger G. Tingey said...

Although a card-carrying athesit ..
I maintain that: No "god" is detectable" - & is therefore 150% irrelevant.

Incidentally, the claim made by Thomas Keningly that "miracles" happen with great regularity (i.e the laws of Physics don't work) is so insane as to be truly mind-boggling.
Let's see some EVIDENCE, please.
As usual, put up or sut up?

3 March 2013 09:23  

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