Author Topic: Degrees of Disagreement  (Read 22249 times)

Mike Bennett

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 1031
    • View Profile
Re: Degrees of Disagreement
« Reply #15 on: October 10, 2007, 11:48:27 AM »
In his 3392nd posting to the Forum (the mind boggles), Brian wrote:

Brian, I do understand that you like to be provocative.  But surely you understand that the supposed quote you attribute to an unnamed "LCMS pastor" does not logically follow from a belief that everything in scripture is without errors, including science, etc. (whatever "etc." might be).
I didn't say that the quote was logical -- I am saying that the quote happened. There is no place within this pastor's 6000 year history of the universe to allow for dinosaurs. When this pastor was asked about all the dinosaur fossils that were a few miles away, he answered, "God created them to confuse the unbelievers." I present this not to be provocative, but to indicate that this is a belief among Christians in the U.S. -- even among some Lutherans. This is one way "inerrancy" is defined.

My main point was, that as much as it might delight you to repeat this supposed quote, it does not follow from a belief in Scriptural inerrancy.  So you might as well have associated Scriptural inerrancy with the story of the skeleton who went into the bar and ordered a beer . . . . . and a mop.  Or the Frenchman, the Englishman and the Texan on the airplane . . . . . They simply have nothing to do with Scriptural inerrancy.  

Mike Bennett
“What peace can there be, so long as the many whoredoms and sorceries of your mother Jezebel continue?”  2 Kings 9:22

Brian Stoffregen

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 42872
  • ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν
    • View Profile
Re: Degrees of Disagreement
« Reply #16 on: October 10, 2007, 11:56:39 AM »
My main point was, that as much as it might delight you to repeat this supposed quote, it does not follow from a belief in Scriptural inerrancy.  So you might as well have associated Scriptural inerrancy with the story of the skeleton who went into the bar and ordered a beer . . . . . and a mop.  Or the Frenchman, the Englishman and the Texan on the airplane . . . . . They simply have nothing to do with Scriptural inerrancy.  
He thought that it had everything to do with inerrancy. (He was also against allowing women to vote in his congregation -- and they didn't.) It is an example of how some people interpret innerancy. We agree that it is not a good understanding or application of the doctrine -- but it is one that is exists in Christendom.

Another indication of it is that I heard Carl Sagan take issue with those who claim that the universe is only 6000 years old. He stated that there are stars that are more than 6000 light years away -- and we can see them. The response he said that the "believers" give him is similar to the one I started about fossils, "God has made the light from the stars appear to fool the unbelievers." Sagan's response, "I don't want to believe in a God who goes around fooling people."
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Pr. Terry Culler

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 2205
    • View Profile
Re: Degrees of Disagreement
« Reply #17 on: October 10, 2007, 12:05:22 PM »
Please note that I did not say that ordaining women leads directly to ordaining active homosexuals.  What I did say was that the same hermeneutic that allows you to do the one, allows you to do the other.  There's the rub, you see.  Also, throwing out 3 different views of inerrancy is a red herring.  We all know what it means and in this discussion there would be no difference between those who accept any of the 3.  And dinosaurs are irrelevant to a discussion of sinful behavior.  It's an old debating trick--when you aren't going to win on the merits--start another argument.
Soli Deo Gloria
Terry
Goodnewsforabadworld.wordpress.com

peter_speckhard

  • ALPB Administrator
  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 17137
    • View Profile
Re: Degrees of Disagreement
« Reply #18 on: October 10, 2007, 02:36:27 PM »
My main point was, that as much as it might delight you to repeat this supposed quote, it does not follow from a belief in Scriptural inerrancy.  So you might as well have associated Scriptural inerrancy with the story of the skeleton who went into the bar and ordered a beer . . . . . and a mop.  Or the Frenchman, the Englishman and the Texan on the airplane . . . . . They simply have nothing to do with Scriptural inerrancy.  
He thought that it had everything to do with inerrancy. (He was also against allowing women to vote in his congregation -- and they didn't.) It is an example of how some people interpret innerancy. We agree that it is not a good understanding or application of the doctrine -- but it is one that is exists in Christendom.

Another indication of it is that I heard Carl Sagan take issue with those who claim that the universe is only 6000 years old. He stated that there are stars that are more than 6000 light years away -- and we can see them. The response he said that the "believers" give him is similar to the one I started about fossils, "God has made the light from the stars appear to fool the unbelievers." Sagan's response, "I don't want to believe in a God who goes around fooling people."
Brian, you're restated my positions enough times on this board in ways that I didn't think really captured the gist of what I saying to allow me to take with a grain of salt your summaries of other LCMS pastors' positions. The whole deal with 6000 light years is simply a foolish train of thought. The old example is that if God created a tall tree in a day, would the height of the tree "prove" that the tree had been there for years, since it takes that long for trees to grow that high? You can't compare something that by definition happened only once and in a unique way (the beginning) with what typically happens since. Since physics cannot even begin to explain how nothing turned into something, it is foolish in the extreme to use light years as a measurement of when the beginning must have happened. And I've heard 6-day creationists with bunches of different takes on dinosaus, some of them goofy and laughable, some of them perfectly plausible (with 6-day creation assumptions), but I've never heard anyone say dinosaurs didn't exist, much less reason that they couldn't exist because they aren't mentioned in the Bible. (btw, make sure you get next month's Forum Letter, because this very topic gets addressed.) So, to put it plainly, I don't believe you. I'll bet if we asked whomever supposedly said, "There are no such things as dinosaurs because they aren't in the Bible," he would claim that you have totally gotten his quote wrong and have mischaracterized his position. But we've had this discussion before, about the guy who, according to you, left your church because he didn't like beards and you had one.   

revklak

  • Guest
Re: Degrees of Disagreement
« Reply #19 on: October 10, 2007, 02:42:08 PM »
I'm not completely in agreement that you have to jettison inerrancy of scripture to have women ordained, nor that accepting women's ordination leads one to accepting ordained practicing homosexuals.  

First-- I've heard the arguement that the image of pastor-congregation is a marriage, and if the church (represented by the congregation) is the bride of Christ, it is then interpreted as the wife/female, and the pastor (representing symbolically Christ the bridegroom) must be male, or else there is a distortion in the marrige analogy -- homosexuality -- if the pastor is female.  How does that figure?  If it does, then the congregation cannot have MEN in it because it too distorts the marriage image, making a male homosexual marriage analogy.... I know, I'm pushing the envelope, but I think often we get too hung up on the symbol and the sign and confusing the two!   It's an analogy, or whatever you call it, and if there is no male and female in the new creation, this should not matter whether the pastor is female or not.

(as an aside, at this point in my life and understanding, I can take or leave ordaining women.. .but that's for another debate)

Second, as to jettisoning scripture to ordain women, I'll stand fast on the fact that women we often find as LEADERS in the Church (and people of God in the OT).  Women were the first evangelists, often mentioned by Paul as the leaders of home churches, and even again, there is no distinction in Christ between male and female -- though it is true that in this creation there certainly are HUGE differences!  

Finally - as another aside-- I cannot buy into the attempt to claim that no distinction between male and female IN CHRIST should automatically allow for homosexual marriages.  After all, as I've just said, there ARE differences in this life, and marriage is an institution/relationship FOR THIS WORLD -- not the next -- as Christ pointed out to the Saducees who asked about who's wife the woman would be who fulfilled the Leverite marriage law and married SEVEN brothers!

Dave,
The link you are missing here, which makes the marriage analogy work, is that priest/pastor/presybter was standing "in persona Christi," so was seen as standing in the place of the "Bridegroom" (Christ) to the "Bride" (the Church).  Lutherans, who have largely abandonded the image of clergy as "in persona Christi" have lost the link that made the marriage anaology work in regards to gender, etc...

And in the anti-clerical atmosphere that pervades the ELCA, try suggesting that the Pastor should see themselves as functioning "in persona Christi,"  though I suggest ducking quickly thereafter.  The common wisdom is that the pastor should be as far from "persona Christi," being instead "just one of us." 

Of course part of the "in persona Christi" issue also has to do with the sacrifice of the Mass.  But aside from that, I mourn what we have lost.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS
 

I'm still not clear on how this makes a difference.... I agree pastors stand "in persona Christi."  But how different is that than any apostle stands in for the one who sent them.  Should and does it matter who represents Christ to the congregation?  Where in Scripture does it make this particular case?  Yes, there is the passage which speaks of no woman having authority over a man, but how much of that is to correct and error in the community rather than an eternal teaching?

Also, I wonder how much this pertains to something I heard Conrad Bergendoff once say about the Church.  He said that the Church will have great difficulty BEING Church and living as a body without a clear understanding and teaching on the ordained ministry: what it is; what it represents; what it's purpose and function is.  Without agreement and clarity, the Church would be divided, lost, and mull about looking for anything to give it relevence.

Dadoo

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 3054
    • View Profile
Re: Degrees of Disagreement
« Reply #20 on: October 10, 2007, 04:25:08 PM »
Nevertheless, one of the first things that had to be jettisoned before women could be ordained was the teaching that Scripture was inerrant. 
What do you mean by "inerrant"? There are at least three different understandings of the word, which is part of the reason it is not included in the ELCA's Confession of Faith.

1. Everything in scripture is without errors, including science, etc. Thus, there was six 24-hour days of creation, and as a LCMS pastor said, "There were no such things as dinosaurs because they aren't in the Bible."

2. Scripture is without errors in regards to salvation, but may include errors in other areas, e.g., science. The "days" in Genesis 1 have to be interpreted as something other that 24-hour periods because science tells us that creation took much longer than six days and there were dinosaurs.

3. Scripture was without errors in the original autographs, but through mistakes in copying the texts, it does include errors.

"Innerancy" is often combined (or confused) with two other aspects of scriptures: inspiration and literal interpretation. The belief that scriptures is inspired often leads to the conclusion that it must be inerrant, because God doesn't make mistakes. The counter argument is that God inspired humans to write scriptures (and sermons and devotional materials) and humans make mistakes. The belief that scriptures is inerrant often leads to literal interpretations, e.g., six 24-hour days, Jonah being swallowed by a big fish. I remember another LCMS man declaring, "If the Bible said that Jonah swallowed a whale, I'd have to believe it." The counter argument is that there are different types or genres of writing in the scriptures. If Jonah is considered a parable or a children's story, it should not be taken literally. If Genesis 1 is considered a poem, it should not be taken literally.

Brian,

I note that you want bring the battle to "inerrancy" quite often.  I hope you realize that it is the other side of the coin from HC methods.  They have the same result:  The one listening to the Word thus "interpreted" is denied what Thielicke called "contemporanity"  with the true Word and therefore is also denied any hope of the transforming power of the Holy Spirit.  This is the difference between proclaiming and merely saying the message of the scripture.  The former, under the influence of the spirit and from the lips of a converted and convinced CHristan, makes the Word present and real in the heart of the hearer the latter leaves everything in the distant past and leaves us to wonder what, if any, implications all of it has on our lives today, a question usually answered : "none," followed by the elevation of the spirit of the times as a substitute for the WOrd of God.

Good luck with either inerrancy or HC.  They lead to the ame place ultimatly:  a "church" devoid of converted hearts.

Keep the Faith


Peter
Peter Kruse

Diversity and tolerance are very complex concepts. Rigid conformity is needed to ensure their full realization. - Mike Adams

Pilgrim

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 1634
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
    • View Profile
Re: Degrees of Disagreement
« Reply #21 on: October 10, 2007, 05:08:55 PM »
Peter wrote:
Brian, I note that you want bring the battle to "inerrancy" quite often. I hope you realize that it is the other side of the coin from HC methods.

Tim Christ truly wonders: Is anyone else tired of the "inerrancy" lunacy, or the HC luancy for that matter? Both are human constructs, or tools. To the extent that they are useful, they serve. Ride either one to death and they destroy. Inerrancy - pushed to its limit is biblioatry. To ask the persons whom I serve to totally suspend their God-given gift of intelligence is absurd. Yet they indeed believe that the Bible is God's inspired (2 Tim) Word and are staking their lives on the revealed Christ cradled in its pages.

Historical-critical, literay critical, et al as tools, have demonstrated extraordinary usefullness in helping to understand the sacred text and yes, they have been used by some, (ie, the Jesus Seminar) not unlike using a hammer when a wrench is needed. One of my professors was a missionary to Islam. A colleague of his and opponent (I suppose you would say) was an Islamic believer with an earned PhD in New Testament studies. He likely knew the New Testament better than any of us in this forum. Did he believe it? No. But for months (years) they battled for one another's soul. This sainted professor once compared discussions such as this by saying, there is nothing wrong with being a fundamentalist on the one hand, or a charismatic on the other. There is something damnable about insisting either is the only way. As creature before the Creator, humanity has to learn, that everything we know is penultimate. Were it otherwise, what need would their be for faith?

The bottom line is that the faith is always relational - not to a book, not to dogma or doctrine or a methodolgy, but to God through Jesus Christ by the power of the Spirit and to the neighbor.
Pr. Tim Christ, STS

edoughty

  • Guest
Re: Degrees of Disagreement
« Reply #22 on: October 10, 2007, 05:31:17 PM »
Peter wrote:
Brian, I note that you want bring the battle to "inerrancy" quite often. I hope you realize that it is the other side of the coin from HC methods.

Tim Christ truly wonders: Is anyone else tired of the "inerrancy" lunacy, or the HC luancy for that matter? Both are human constructs, or tools. To the extent that they are useful, they serve. Ride either one to death and they destroy. Inerrancy - pushed to its limit is biblioatry. To ask the persons whom I serve to totally suspend their God-given gift of intelligence is absurd. Yet they indeed believe that the Bible is God's inspired (2 Tim) Word and are staking their lives on the revealed Christ cradled in its pages.

Historical-critical, literay critical, et al as tools, have demonstrated extraordinary usefullness in helping to understand the sacred text and yes, they have been used by some, (ie, the Jesus Seminar) not unlike using a hammer when a wrench is needed. One of my professors was a missionary to Islam. A colleague of his and opponent (I suppose you would say) was an Islamic believer with an earned PhD in New Testament studies. He likely knew the New Testament better than any of us in this forum. Did he believe it? No. But for months (years) they battled for one another's soul. This sainted professor once compared discussions such as this by saying, there is nothing wrong with being a fundamentalist on the one hand, or a charismatic on the other. There is something damnable about insisting either is the only way. As creature before the Creator, humanity has to learn, that everything we know is penultimate. Were it otherwise, what need would their be for faith?

The bottom line is that the faith is always relational - not to a book, not to dogma or doctrine or a methodolgy, but to God through Jesus Christ by the power of the Spirit and to the neighbor.

I can say an amen to that.

Erik Doughty
Minneapolis, MN

Brian Stoffregen

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 42872
  • ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν
    • View Profile
Re: Degrees of Disagreement
« Reply #23 on: October 10, 2007, 08:52:44 PM »
Good luck with either inerrancy or HC.  They lead to the ame place ultimatly:  a "church" devoid of converted hearts.
I use the tools of historical and literary criticism. I am frequently told that my sermons and classes bring God's Word to the people in ways they can understand it. I believe that God's Word has the power to change hearts -- and the HC does not thwart that power. (Of course there are some who use the HC who do not believe that God's Word has any power at all -- but that's not the fault of the exegetical tools.)
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Dadoo

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 3054
    • View Profile
Re: Degrees of Disagreement
« Reply #24 on: October 11, 2007, 05:17:26 PM »
Good luck with either inerrancy or HC.  They lead to the ame place ultimatly:  a "church" devoid of converted hearts.
I use the tools of historical and literary criticism. I am frequently told that my sermons and classes bring God's Word to the people in ways they can understand it. I believe that God's Word has the power to change hearts -- and the HC does not thwart that power. (Of course there are some who use the HC who do not believe that God's Word has any power at all -- but that's not the fault of the exegetical tools.)

O.K., I am sure Rod Parsley, Joel Osteen, Jim Schwaggard, Dr. Kennedy, Billy Graham, etc have files of letters that they recieved from listeners who say the same thing about their preaching as your hearers did about yours.  So have numerous members of this forum who clearly question HC and might even be literalists or at least hold to a strict docrine of "inspiriation" probably going well toward the "verbal" end of that scale.  If this then is a measure that the Word is preached and that the Holy Spirit has blessed the hearers then there is really no reason to question the use of inerrancy since it aparently does exactly what is intended by the proclamation of the church: bring the Holy Spirit. 

So, why not drop the continued need to challenge literalism, inerrancy or strict verbal inspiration?

Keep the Faith

Peter
Peter Kruse

Diversity and tolerance are very complex concepts. Rigid conformity is needed to ensure their full realization. - Mike Adams

Dadoo

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 3054
    • View Profile
Re: Degrees of Disagreement
« Reply #25 on: October 11, 2007, 05:18:24 PM »
Peter wrote:
Brian, I note that you want bring the battle to "inerrancy" quite often. I hope you realize that it is the other side of the coin from HC methods.

Tim Christ truly wonders: Is anyone else tired of the "inerrancy" lunacy, or the HC luancy for that matter? Both are human constructs, or tools. To the extent that they are useful, they serve. Ride either one to death and they destroy. Inerrancy - pushed to its limit is biblioatry. To ask the persons whom I serve to totally suspend their God-given gift of intelligence is absurd. Yet they indeed believe that the Bible is God's inspired (2 Tim) Word and are staking their lives on the revealed Christ cradled in its pages.

Historical-critical, literay critical, et al as tools, have demonstrated extraordinary usefullness in helping to understand the sacred text and yes, they have been used by some, (ie, the Jesus Seminar) not unlike using a hammer when a wrench is needed. One of my professors was a missionary to Islam. A colleague of his and opponent (I suppose you would say) was an Islamic believer with an earned PhD in New Testament studies. He likely knew the New Testament better than any of us in this forum. Did he believe it? No. But for months (years) they battled for one another's soul. This sainted professor once compared discussions such as this by saying, there is nothing wrong with being a fundamentalist on the one hand, or a charismatic on the other. There is something damnable about insisting either is the only way. As creature before the Creator, humanity has to learn, that everything we know is penultimate. Were it otherwise, what need would their be for faith?

The bottom line is that the faith is always relational - not to a book, not to dogma or doctrine or a methodolgy, but to God through Jesus Christ by the power of the Spirit and to the neighbor.

Somehow add the Word to the Spirit in that last line and I would say amen as well.

Keep the Faith

Peter
Peter Kruse

Diversity and tolerance are very complex concepts. Rigid conformity is needed to ensure their full realization. - Mike Adams

Mike Bennett

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 1031
    • View Profile
Re: Degrees of Disagreement
« Reply #26 on: October 11, 2007, 05:31:14 PM »
(Of course there are some who use the HC who do not believe that God's Word has any power at all -- but that's not the fault of the exegetical tools.)

I agree with that.  I hope you can see that, likewise, use of a silly argument by one who holds to Scriptural inerrancy is not the fault of the notion of Scriptural inerrancy.

Mike Bennett ;)
“What peace can there be, so long as the many whoredoms and sorceries of your mother Jezebel continue?”  2 Kings 9:22

Brian Stoffregen

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 42872
  • ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν
    • View Profile
Re: Degrees of Disagreement
« Reply #27 on: October 11, 2007, 05:37:41 PM »
So, why not drop the continued need to challenge literalism, inerrancy or strict verbal inspiration?
Because there is no one that is a complete literalists -- they have to take some parts of scriptures figuratively or parabolically or spiritually.

There is no such thing as an inerrant Bible. If, for nothing else, mistakes in the ancient manuscripts and biases of translators (and their publishers) lead to possible errors in the Bibles we use.

I don't believe that God verbally told the biblical writers every word that they were to write. As I've argued before, I think that the process was the same as it is for us who write sermons. While there are times an idea or phrase "pops" into my head, which I attribute to the Spirit's work, most of the words I use in preaching the word of God come from my own work -- and yet, I believe the Spirit uses that work to convict of sin and assure of forgiveness by God through Jesus.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2007, 02:00:19 AM by Brian Stoffregen »
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Dadoo

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 3054
    • View Profile
Re: Degrees of Disagreement
« Reply #28 on: October 11, 2007, 06:57:20 PM »
So, why not drop the continued need to challenge literalism, inerrancy or strict verbal inspiration?
Because there is no one that is a complete literalists -- they have to take some parts of scriptures figuratively or parabolically or spiritually.

There is no such thing as an inerrant Bible. If for nothing else, mistakes in the ancient manuscripts and biases of translators (and their publishers) leads to possible errors in the Bibles we use.

I don't believe that God verbally told the biblical writers every word that they were to write. As I've argued before, I think that the process was the same as it is for us who write sermons. While there are times an idea or phrase "pops" into my head, which I attribute to the Spirit's work, most of the words I use in preaching the word of God come from my own work -- and yet, I believe the Spirit uses that work to convict of sin and assure of forgiveness by God through Jesus.

By the measure that you used in the note above, literalists can also claim that the Holy Spirit is working through their work.  So if the SPirit gives people better understantanding (that was your measure) through sermons worked up by preachers who embrace inerrancy and the Spirit likewise does so through your sermons crafted using HC assumptions, what is the difference?  If the Spirit does his "thing" no matter what, why fight inerrancy?

Peter
Peter Kruse

Diversity and tolerance are very complex concepts. Rigid conformity is needed to ensure their full realization. - Mike Adams

Brian Stoffregen

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 42872
  • ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν
    • View Profile
Re: Degrees of Disagreement
« Reply #29 on: October 12, 2007, 02:04:53 AM »
By the measure that you used in the note above, literalists can also claim that the Holy Spirit is working through their work.  So if the SPirit gives people better understantanding (that was your measure) through sermons worked up by preachers who embrace inerrancy and the Spirit likewise does so through your sermons crafted using HC assumptions, what is the difference?  If the Spirit does his "thing" no matter what, why fight inerrancy?
Because the Spirit works through errant people -- even those who believe in an inerrant Bible and those who use the tools of the historical-critical method. A belief that inerrancy is required for the Bible to be the Word of God disqualifies all of us errant people from being conveyers of the Word of God. God uses sinners today to proclaim the word, and I believe that God used sinners in the past to write scriptures. Sinners are errant. What we do can contain errors, but God still uses our work to spread the Word.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]