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Scholarship in the Ecclesia


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#1 TrevorL

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 04:50 AM

The following was prepared as a simplistic response to a thread that seems to have disappeared, and perhaps it was going in a wrong direction. I do not want to resuscitate this thread but felt like posting my response.

In the ecclesial environment I see the need to respect scholarship, but also see its limitations.

I would prefer an exposition by a spiritual brother of mature years who has the truth at heart, and is respected for his understanding of the truth and has weathered many a storm. Undoubtedly such a brother would wisely use scholarly resources, but these would not predominate in his exposition, and maybe not in his research. Rather it would be more his meditation and understanding of the Word that is evident, and he may not be the most eloquent speaker.

The ecclesial body as a whole, and each individual ecclesia is made up of many different people, with different roles and abilities. I would prefer to be in an ecclesia where the spiritual eyes and ears and heart of the ecclesia is guided by such mature brethren rather than by young scholars, who may be correct in many instances, but who by comparison may not be good spiritual guides.

I also think that the following passages are relevant:
Matthew 11:25-30 (KJV): “25 At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. 26 Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. 27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. 28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Matthew 13:9-17 (KJV): “9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. 10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? 11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. 12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. 13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. 14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: 15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. 16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. 17 For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.”


Kind regards
Trevor

#2 Fortigurn

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 08:16 AM

Trevor, things don't always fall into a neat dichotomy. It's not a case of callow young scholars with no spirituality versus venerable old men with no 'book learning' but plenty of 'spirituality:


Trevor, what Ken says here is exactly right. The fact is that the earliest and most respected brothers in our communiity, some of the most widely acknowledged for their spiritual contributions (brothers Thomas, Roberts, Walker, Sargent, Carter, etc), were some of the most widely read and most knowledgable in matters of scholarship. Their spiritual contributions were enhanced considerably by their academic knowledge and their attention to the latest scholarship of the day.

There are articles in the Christadelphian Magazine which were written over 100 years ago, but which speak so eloquently and with such knowledge of matters such as Ancient Near East literature and textual criticism, that they would be virtually unreadable by many Christadelphians today.

It's not true that our community is being challenged by young upstarts who think they know better than their spiritual elders because they're informed about modern scholarship. On the contrary, our community has lost a lengthy tradition of academic and scholarly commentary which was encouraged by our earliest and most respected elders. This needs to change.
Miserere mei Deus,
Secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.
Et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum
dele iniquitatem meam.

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target="_blank">I am a Christadelphian. Click here to see my confession of faith.
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‘John Wesley once received a note which said, “The Lord has told me to tell you that He doesn’t need your book-learning, your Greek, and your Hebrew.”

Wesley answered “Thank you, sir. Your letter was superfluous, however, as I already knew the Lord has no need for my ‘book-learning,’ as you put it. However—although the Lord has not directed me to say so—on my own responsibility I would like to say to you that the Lord does not need your ignorance, either.”

Osborne & Woodward, ‘Handbook for Bible study’, pp. 13-14 (1979)

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#3 Mark Taunton

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 08:32 AM

Acts 17:11 Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. As a result, many of them believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.

#4 Fortigurn

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 11:01 AM

Acts 17:11 Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. As a result, many of them believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.


Mark, what are you trying to say with this quote? Everyone in this thread is in agreement that we should study the Scriptures. That's what this entire thread is about, studying the Scriptures. So what was your point?
Miserere mei Deus,
Secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.
Et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum
dele iniquitatem meam.

______________________________________________________________________
target="_blank">I am a Christadelphian. Click here to see my confession of faith.
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‘John Wesley once received a note which said, “The Lord has told me to tell you that He doesn’t need your book-learning, your Greek, and your Hebrew.”

Wesley answered “Thank you, sir. Your letter was superfluous, however, as I already knew the Lord has no need for my ‘book-learning,’ as you put it. However—although the Lord has not directed me to say so—on my own responsibility I would like to say to you that the Lord does not need your ignorance, either.”

Osborne & Woodward, ‘Handbook for Bible study’, pp. 13-14 (1979)

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#5 Fortigurn

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 03:00 PM

I would prefer to be in an ecclesia where the spiritual eyes and ears and heart of the ecclesia is guided by such mature brethren rather than by young scholars, who may be correct in many instances, but who by comparison may not be good spiritual guides.


As Ken has already pointed out, the discussion has nothing to do with mature brethren versus young scholars. But on the subject of mature brethren, what do we do when mature brethren make claims concerning the original Biblical languages, or concerning history, or concerning archaeology, or concerning science, which are completely untrue, very likely made up out of their own heads, and are uttterly misleading and only discredit our witness to the world?

What do we do then? This is not a hypothetical question, it's a real life question. There are dozens of examples of this in our community. What do we do in these situations Trevor?
Miserere mei Deus,
Secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.
Et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum
dele iniquitatem meam.

______________________________________________________________________
target="_blank">I am a Christadelphian. Click here to see my confession of faith.
______________________________________________________________________
‘John Wesley once received a note which said, “The Lord has told me to tell you that He doesn’t need your book-learning, your Greek, and your Hebrew.”

Wesley answered “Thank you, sir. Your letter was superfluous, however, as I already knew the Lord has no need for my ‘book-learning,’ as you put it. However—although the Lord has not directed me to say so—on my own responsibility I would like to say to you that the Lord does not need your ignorance, either.”

Osborne & Woodward, ‘Handbook for Bible study’, pp. 13-14 (1979)

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#6 TomNelson

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 03:09 PM

I'd just like to strongly agree with the sentiment expressed in Ken's earlier post.

There are huge challenges facing us as a community unique to this time. While there are no truly new arguments for unbelief as anyone acquainted with the history of Western philosophy since the days of Anaximander and the other pre-Socratics onwards, the sheer accessibility of this information via the media both paper and electronic - not to mention the internet - has meant that the average Christadelphian is now confronted with an avalanche of material which on the surface appears to challenge our faith. I've said something like this on the now-hidden thread, so I'll summarise it again. If you were confronted with a very worried first year university student in philosophy / anthropology / biology / OT studies with the following questions, how would you credibly answer them, particularly if your background is not in any of these areas?
* The Kenite hypothesis says that the worship of Yahweh was unknown among the early Israelites, but instead originated with proto-Arabic tribes near Sinai, and was later introduced to the Israelites. If that is true, doesn't that cut the heart out of OT theology. Furthermore, there is strong evidence that the early Israelites were polytheistic, or at the very least believed that Yahweh had a wife named Asherah, as demonstrated by inscriptions found at Khirbet el-Kom and Kuntillet Ajrud referring to "Yahweh and his Asherah." If so, then the basis of our faith is seriously undermined.
* The account of Moses' discovery by Pharaoh's daughter is quite similar to the birth account of Sargon the Great. Doesn't that mean that the Bible freely copied from the surrounding cultures?
* The word for firmament in Gen 1 means something solid, as demonstrated by the NRSV which renders it 'dome.' The firm consensus of Hebrew scholars is that the word does mean something solid. If that be the case, the Bible teaches that the sky is solid, which is patently wrong. If the Bible is wrong on this point, how can I trust it?
* What does Markan priority mean? Is there evidence for Q? If Matthew and Luke did indeed copy Mark and Q, doesn't that destroy Inspiration as we know it?
* Most respected OT scholars say that Isaiah has three authors, while Zechariah has 2. Furthermore, there is strong evidence that the pastorals and Ephesians were not written by Paul. Can we trust them.
* Paul says that Adam was the first man who lived, and after his sin, death entered into the world. In my anthropology studies, I've learned not only that there are human fossils showing evidence for evolution going back millions of years, but that it is physically impossible for the genetic diversity we see in the current human population to arise in 6000 years from two people. Furthermore, if the human race started with only two people, then all the obligate human diseases and pathogens (those which can only live on humans) would have wiped out the human race within a few years. How can I believe Paul?


A fair chunk of that list (plus more) was responsible for turning my insular outlook upside-down over the last few years. There was little to no support from within my ecclesial environment at the time - simply because no one I talked with had even a whiff of an answer (or had prior exposure to the questions). My outcome was atheism - and i'm only now starting to re-engage with the problem space.

IMHO, the level of discourse in the community rarely rises above a parody of victorian debate. it isn't about some kind of objective truth vs error fisticuffs anymore (well, not to my mind - that kind of thinking just encourages flame wars). A decent engagement with scholarship kind of requires a healthy tolerance of other peoples ideas - not just the immediate reflexive assignment of them into either the 'truth' or the 'error' buckets.

#7 Fortigurn

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 03:55 PM

A fair chunk of that list (plus more) was responsible for turning my insular outlook upside-down over the last few years. There was little to no support from within my ecclesial environment at the time - simply because no one I talked with had even a whiff of an answer (or had prior exposure to the questions). My outcome was atheism - and i'm only now starting to re-engage with the problem space.

IMHO, the level of discourse in the community rarely rises above a parody of victorian debate. it isn't about some kind of objective truth vs error fisticuffs anymore (well, not to my mind - that kind of thinking just encourages flame wars). A decent engagement with scholarship kind of requires a healthy tolerance of other peoples ideas - not just the immediate reflexive assignment of them into either the 'truth' or the 'error' buckets.


This is why every Christadelphian should have a copy of the Christadelphian Magazine. Our early brothers engaged these issues directly, repeatedly, and in an informed scholarly manner. These days, as we can see from many posts on BTDF, they are more likely to be simply ignored.
Miserere mei Deus,
Secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.
Et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum
dele iniquitatem meam.

______________________________________________________________________
target="_blank">I am a Christadelphian. Click here to see my confession of faith.
______________________________________________________________________
‘John Wesley once received a note which said, “The Lord has told me to tell you that He doesn’t need your book-learning, your Greek, and your Hebrew.”

Wesley answered “Thank you, sir. Your letter was superfluous, however, as I already knew the Lord has no need for my ‘book-learning,’ as you put it. However—although the Lord has not directed me to say so—on my own responsibility I would like to say to you that the Lord does not need your ignorance, either.”

Osborne & Woodward, ‘Handbook for Bible study’, pp. 13-14 (1979)

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target="_blank">Apologetics

#8 Mercia2

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 05:23 PM

I also think that the following passages are relevant:
Matthew 11:25-30 (KJV): “25 At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes

I keep trying to tell them that.

Scholarly ideas are useful on a purely pragmatic level but on deep spiritual things or Gods secrets then show me a scholar who is inspired and i'll listen to him. Otherwise, why shouild I listen to him over my ministering angel that we all have if saved? That can only represent those flashes of insight that we occassionally receive when studying His Word, *(and are unlikely to occur if we then boast it is down to our own superior intelect and the amount of books we bought), or even worse proclaim to God our own intellect can save us, which is what I think I am seeing at times? My feeling is as aoon as a church begans proclaiming that then that is the moment God will remove their candlestick as to enlightenment and the words of Revelation 3:14-18 come true for them, if not all ready? If the Bible said lean on the arm of the flesh, go down to Egypt for help, and that God reveals these things to scholars, then I would be at University right now. But it doesnt.

Edited by Mercia2, 02 January 2011 - 06:26 PM.

"and will smite every HORSE OF THE PEOPLE with blindness"

Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_symbolic_meaning_of_a_horse#ixzz1K0LLUt00

#9 Mercia2

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 05:28 PM

This is why every Christadelphian should have a copy of the Christadelphian Magazine. Our early brothers engaged these issues directly, repeatedly, and in an informed scholarly manner

Yet we saw from that thread posted about the founders beliefs of the creation account, that it turned out I had been preaching to you the founders in this regard IMO.
You remember that thread? Can you link to it? my beliefs are closer to those of the founders than the current rigid literalism that pervades Christadelphianism today (i.e it was a literal talking snake), I mean come on please.

Edited by Mercia2, 02 January 2011 - 06:32 PM.

"and will smite every HORSE OF THE PEOPLE with blindness"

Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_symbolic_meaning_of_a_horse#ixzz1K0LLUt00

#10 Mercia2

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 05:31 PM

What do we do then? This is not a hypothetical question, it's a real life question. There are dozens of examples of this in our community. What do we do in these situations Trevor?

Let Christadelphianism become a Bible study group as it should be and nothing more. If you are all confident you have intepretted the Bible correctly then it should not make much difference. Christadelphianism is a good rational basis to start from, but the time has come to set the people free. As has been said before, community is what matters but freedom of conscience and belief is why people left this country for America.


.

Edited by Mercia2, 02 January 2011 - 08:13 PM.

"and will smite every HORSE OF THE PEOPLE with blindness"

Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_symbolic_meaning_of_a_horse#ixzz1K0LLUt00

#11 Mercia2

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 06:36 PM

What do we do then? This is not a hypothetical question, it's a real life question. There are dozens of examples of this in our community. What do we do in these situations Trevor?


What do you want to do? Tell them once and show them why and then leave it at that?
"and will smite every HORSE OF THE PEOPLE with blindness"

Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_symbolic_meaning_of_a_horse#ixzz1K0LLUt00

#12 Mercia2

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 07:18 PM

Most of us do not speak Greek, Aramaic or Hebrew - without the skill of countless scholars we simply would not have a Bible to read.


That is what I meant by...

Scholarly ideas are useful on a purely pragmatic level


"and will smite every HORSE OF THE PEOPLE with blindness"

Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_symbolic_meaning_of_a_horse#ixzz1K0LLUt00

#13 Fortigurn

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 05:04 AM

Reading the Christadelphian Magazine, we can find our earliest brothers referring knowledgeably to Griesbach, Tischendorf, Lachmann, and Aland, commenting on the latest archaeological and scientific findings, incorporating the latest discoveries into their exposition and defense of Scripture, speaking intelligently of the Wellhausen School, appealing approvingly to the work of Bengel, and demonstrating critical knowledge of the Straussian myth hypothesis and the Quelle source.

These days many of our brothers and sisters are completely ignorant of these matters, and some of them are even proud of it. From this thread itself we can see that there is active opposition to the idea that we should study the Bible at more than a superficial level. Using our brains is derided as 'intellectualism', and scholarship is derided as 'the wisdom of the world'. Instead we get people making up just blatantly making up whatever they like, calling it 'Bible study', and getting annoyed if their mistakes are identified.
Miserere mei Deus,
Secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.
Et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum
dele iniquitatem meam.

______________________________________________________________________
target="_blank">I am a Christadelphian. Click here to see my confession of faith.
______________________________________________________________________
‘John Wesley once received a note which said, “The Lord has told me to tell you that He doesn’t need your book-learning, your Greek, and your Hebrew.”

Wesley answered “Thank you, sir. Your letter was superfluous, however, as I already knew the Lord has no need for my ‘book-learning,’ as you put it. However—although the Lord has not directed me to say so—on my own responsibility I would like to say to you that the Lord does not need your ignorance, either.”

Osborne & Woodward, ‘Handbook for Bible study’, pp. 13-14 (1979)

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target="_blank">Apologetics

#14 freckle

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 06:31 PM

... But on the subject of mature brethren, what do we do when mature brethren make claims concerning the original Biblical languages, or concerning history, or concerning archaeology, or concerning science, which are completely untrue, very likely made up out of their own heads, and are uttterly misleading and only discredit our witness to the world?

What do we do then? This is not a hypothetical question, it's a real life question. There are dozens of examples of this in our community. What do we do in these situations Trevor?


Does anyone have any suggestions as to what to do in this kind of situation? I don't know everything but I often hear talks from the platform where points are being made that I know are just plain wrong - what should I do? I'm young(ish) and female so it's almost impossible for me to suggest an older brother might be making stuff up / completely muddled up in his facts.
Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.

#15 Fortigurn

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 06:53 PM

Does anyone have any suggestions as to what to do in this kind of situation? I don't know everything but I often hear talks from the platform where points are being made that I know are just plain wrong - what should I do? I'm young(ish) and female so it's almost impossible for me to suggest an older brother might be making stuff up / completely muddled up in his facts.


Well I'm not youngish and I'm male, and I'm still in the same situation as you; the idea of suggesting to an older that he might be making stuff up or completely muddled in his facts is virtually impossible. I wouldn't bother unless it was a serious matter, or related to a misleading interpretive methodology which was being used and which others might use as a result.
Miserere mei Deus,
Secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.
Et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum
dele iniquitatem meam.

______________________________________________________________________
target="_blank">I am a Christadelphian. Click here to see my confession of faith.
______________________________________________________________________
‘John Wesley once received a note which said, “The Lord has told me to tell you that He doesn’t need your book-learning, your Greek, and your Hebrew.”

Wesley answered “Thank you, sir. Your letter was superfluous, however, as I already knew the Lord has no need for my ‘book-learning,’ as you put it. However—although the Lord has not directed me to say so—on my own responsibility I would like to say to you that the Lord does not need your ignorance, either.”

Osborne & Woodward, ‘Handbook for Bible study’, pp. 13-14 (1979)

______________________________________________________________________
target="_blank">Apologetics

#16 daysha

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 07:19 PM

I might get well & truly squished for this post - I love you all, brethren, just can I lovingly and patiently agree with TrevorL on this topic.

Here goes:

I agree with TrevorL. Many people find some of these "young scholars" very initimidating and find that some aren't necessarily reflecting the fruits of the spirit in for example, old-fashioned patience & politeness and I for one have been 'put off' from joining in because there seems to me to be a lack of humbleness, politeness, gentleness, patience and maturity amongst some (not all I hasten to add) while they discuss among themselves and with others who may disagree with their predominantly (seems to me) focus on scholarship and don't balance their post in the thread with a bit of agape or phileos love. Kind of like eating a fruit cake where the fruit & sugar's been left out and which has been iced with cream cheese without any sweetening.

The verses from Matt from which TrevorL quoted are certainly ones that also come to mind in my household in this regard.
Who did Jesus select for his disciples? Mostly 'blue collar' workers who had this kind of attitude - at least one of them did:
"Behold an Israelite indeed in whom is no guile" John 1:47.

Centuries ago & up to today, the mainline churches held scholarship in high regard & they've eventually ended up with all their book loads of understanding of e.g. Hebrew, Greek, Latin - even using this as a cloak in some cases (Roman Catholics, Anglican & other mainstreamers) to hide the simple truth as we know it.
Such scholars of those times went down the "Don't question us! Rely upon us FIRST, and THEN only the Bible. We are the educated studious ones without which you may not fully understand God's Word" - a dangerous 'Doctor of Divinity' route of hierarchies, and those early churches became held in great regard by the people in the pews.

Even in Robert Roberts' day, 'Higher Criticism' was the religious flavour of the day. Let's not head along that way and keep the balance. I believe we can do it! God won't let us down if we continue in prayer and humble service of our brethren in love.

I'm an uneducated (having left school at age 15 ~ it probably shows ~ :D ) but still learning with an, in my case, much needed focus on the Fruits of the spirit and upon Jesus' teachings, sister in Christ. I want to learn but my brain isn't built that way and a lot of these academic style topics whizz over my head like a bright and colourful but all-too-fast comet. At least, with practice and persistence I can certainly gain a lot of understanding and widen my view ~ just need patience from myself to me and from y'all to me at the moment.

Please remember: I love you all with thanks to Godwards for your help & assistance and I deeply appreciate all of the many kindnesses you've shown in other threads.

D

Edited by daysha, 03 January 2011 - 08:14 PM.


#17 Mercia2

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 07:27 PM

Well I'm not youngish and I'm male, and I'm still in the same situation as you; the idea of suggesting to an older that he might be making stuff up or completely muddled in his facts is virtually impossible. I wouldn't bother unless it was a serious matter, or related to a misleading interpretive methodology which was being used and which others might use as a result.


Why not just give him this web address and politely say to him we will be starting a thread about this tonight. Or do what I do with priests, which is find out where they live and then print out some material and stick it through their letter box.
"and will smite every HORSE OF THE PEOPLE with blindness"

Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_symbolic_meaning_of_a_horse#ixzz1K0LLUt00

#18 Fortigurn

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 07:30 PM

I agree with TrevorL. Many people find some of these "young scholars" very initimidating and find that some aren't necessarily reflecting the fruits of the spirit in for example, old-fashioned patience & politeness and I for one have been 'put off' from joining in because there seems to me to be a lack of humbleness, politeness, gentleness, patience and maturity amongst some (not all I hasten to add) while they discuss among themselves and with others who may disagree with their predominantly (seems to me) focus on scholarship and don't balance their post in the thread with a bit of agape or phileos love. Kind of like eating a fruit cake where the fruit & sugar's been left out and which has been iced with cream cheese whithout any sweetening.


Views of who is being sufficiently sweet on this forum are always going to differ.

The verses from Matt from which TrevorL quoted are certainly ones that also come to mind in my household in this regard.
Who did Jesus select for his disciples? Mostly 'blue collar' workers who had this kind of attitude - at least one of them did:
"Behold an Israelite indeed in whom is no guile" John 1:47.


This isn't about blue collar workers or non-blue collar workers. It has nothing to do with the educational background of any Christadelphian.

Centuries ago & up to today, the mainline churches held scholarship in high regard & they've eventually ended up with all their bookloads of understanding of Hebrew, Greek, Latin - using it as a cloak in some cases (Roman Catholics, Anglican & other mainstreamers) to hide the simple truth as we know it.
Such scholars of those times went down the "don't question us! Rely upon us FIRST, and THEN only the Bible. We are the educated studious ones without which you may not fully understand God's Word" - a dangerous 'Doctor of Divinity' route of hierarchies, and those early churches became held in great regard by the people in the pews.

Even in Robert Roberts' day, 'Higher Criticism' was the religious flavour of the day. Let's not head along that way and keep the balance. I believe we can do it! God won't let us down if we continue in prayer and humble service of our brethren in love.


This is a good point. However no one here is recommending this at all. In fact those who understand the correct use of scholarship actively avoid this danger. Our earliest brothers, as has been pointed out many times, made full use of the relevant scholarship of their day without falling into this trap.

The real issue is that 'higher criticism' is not a danger in our community, 'scholarship' is not a danger in our community, and 'bookloads of understanding of Hebrew, Greek, Latin' are certainly not a danger in our community (hardly anyone even has any). What is a danger in our community is people who don't know enough about a particular subject making false claims because they think they know enough about it, or being completely unable to address challenges to our beliefs because they have no understanding of the subjects involved. A number of us are surprised that this serious issue in our community does not receive sufficient comment, especially from those who express their concerns with 'scholarship'.
Miserere mei Deus,
Secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.
Et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum
dele iniquitatem meam.

______________________________________________________________________
target="_blank">I am a Christadelphian. Click here to see my confession of faith.
______________________________________________________________________
‘John Wesley once received a note which said, “The Lord has told me to tell you that He doesn’t need your book-learning, your Greek, and your Hebrew.”

Wesley answered “Thank you, sir. Your letter was superfluous, however, as I already knew the Lord has no need for my ‘book-learning,’ as you put it. However—although the Lord has not directed me to say so—on my own responsibility I would like to say to you that the Lord does not need your ignorance, either.”

Osborne & Woodward, ‘Handbook for Bible study’, pp. 13-14 (1979)

______________________________________________________________________
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#19 Mercia2

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 07:31 PM

That is a real lovely post Daysha, why would you feel you might get well & truly squished for telling us some home truths?

The real issue is that 'higher criticism' is not a danger in our community, 'scholarship' is not a danger in our community,


No, it is important, so long as it is in the right spirit, but dont use their style of language all the time. Remember how Newton always spoke by putting God in first principles while modern secular science does not feel the need to. How we speak has enourmous impact upon the less intelligent masses, Huxley knew this in his warfare model it is how he eradicated God through languange and the reduction of it.


.

Edited by Mercia2, 03 January 2011 - 08:01 PM.

"and will smite every HORSE OF THE PEOPLE with blindness"

Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_symbolic_meaning_of_a_horse#ixzz1K0LLUt00

#20 freckle

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 08:11 PM

I might get well & truly squished for this post - I love you all, brethren, just can I lovingly and patiently agree with TrevorL on this topic.


I don't want to squish you.

I agree with TrevorL. Many people find some of these "young scholars" very initimidating and find that some aren't necessarily reflecting the fruits of the spirit in for example, old-fashioned patience & politeness and I for one have been 'put off' from joining in because there seems to me to be a lack of humbleness, politeness, gentleness, patience and maturity amongst some (not all I hasten to add) while they discuss among themselves and with others who may disagree with their predominantly (seems to me) focus on scholarship and don't balance their post in the thread with a bit of agape or phileos love. Kind of like eating a fruit cake where the fruit & sugar's been left out and which has been iced with cream cheese without any sweetening.


I'm naturally a person who values being correct over being liked. I'm a facts and things person not a people person. I'm also trained in an academic environment where argument, debate and defence are considered normal and even fun! I think possibly those who are softer of heart should perhaps try to bear with those of us who have to make sure everything is correct and get frustrated with others. It's not that we don't care, it's just that we get into the argument and forget that some people will take things personally. Some us just need time to learn and we need to have our failings gently pointed out.

The verses from Matt from which TrevorL quoted are certainly ones that also come to mind in my household in this regard.
Who did Jesus select for his disciples? Mostly 'blue collar' workers who had this kind of attitude - at least one of them did:
"Behold an Israelite indeed in whom is no guile" John 1:47.


Being "blue collar" or uneducated does not mean your brain has been switched of and you can't understand a rational argument or distinguish fact from fiction based on evidence!

I think what a lot of people here are getting at is that we'd rather people said "I don't know - I haven't got the evidence, I haven't done the research yet" than just making stuff up or refusing to acknowledge a question is valid.
Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.

#21 daysha

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 10:42 PM

Yes, I'm in the "I don't know yet and haven't done near enough research yet either" frame of mind. :book:

I don't feel squished ~ lol :D I guess being uneducated as a kid and then having boring office jobs rather than heading off to uni is more to do with lack of confidence and poor memory skills - like, I'd read something, Hubby would ask me "What's that book about?" and I'd say "Um, er, hmmm... let me think..." My mind kinda just goes blank. :D :hhurts:

Can't remember much about the past either, however, some people can chatter on for ages about the old days, about their school days, holidays, family occasions & stuff. :unsure: . I can barely recall what I did yesterday!

I've been that way since,as a pre-teen child, Dad's large, heavy wooden extendable ladder fell right on top of my head ~ from what I've been told. Evidently, I was stunned & all 'wobbly' but didn't get a headache out of it.

Only little fragments, probably coloured various shades and tones by time and prejudice occasionally pop up outa nowhere it seems. :eek:
That actually could prove to be a :happy: blessing in disguise as it means I can't remember any of the bad :sad: stuff either.

Nor can I recall people's names which causes me no end of embarrassment. :shy:

EDIT: Gone way off topic, sorry! :topic:

Edited by daysha, 03 January 2011 - 11:16 PM.


#22 TrevorL

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 04:16 AM

Greetings Ken, Fortigurn and others,

I appreciate your replies. Most of the things that you say I can agree with, but I am drawing on my own experience and also my present circumstances and preferences. 1n my ecclesial environment simple, straight forward, correct, encouraging exposition of the Word is given, or this is the general aim, not profound or technically scholarly exposition.

Ken, I do not decry scholarship as stated in my original post. I enjoy a wide range of resources and encourage others in obtaining some of these. I have enjoyed initially most aspects of the book OT usage in the NT you mentioned to me. But the writer on page 422b led us on a merry song and dance to avoid and then at the end to deny the simple, clear and important teaching that Jesus is the only begotten of the Father. I think this is the real danger of scholarship using outside works. We accept nine or ten things a writer says, opening up areas not generally available in our immediate environment, and we start to trust this writer, and then we have to be alert enough to reject his error, which is presented in a soft and subtle way. This is one danger or limitation, and another is the incredible amount of material out there that is not very beneficial to the individual scholar and especially to the majority in the ecclesia when presented by the scholar.

Yes we owe much to all the scholarly work that has been done. I have recently received a 2nd hand but as new interlinear RV/AV Bible, and together with my old Oxford AV, and ready access to many electronic Bibles, I feel very blessed. I appreciate the scholarly work that is gathered in this Bible, but also the printing, and every other aspect that went into this. All of this is God’s blessing, and all are His servants. Even Paul, Peter and John recognised that they were but servants. Paul uses the term for a slave who is a galley rower, in answer to those who inappropriately held men and their ability in esteem, after the Grecian manner.

In the past I came under the influence of a brother who was a scholar in language and exposition, but after a while he developed some teachings and views that I could not accept. So my perspective could be a little subjective. My spiritual stability and interest depends on personal Bible study, I have also come to rely on other brethren, but most of these I would put in the category of Bible students rather than scholars of outside resources, and my general perception of these brethren is in my original post. Three of these have definitely helped change my direction in life at crucial times, two by their expositions, one by personal advice. The latter I have only heard speak on one occasion, but his personal advice was most precious, and his example on two or three other occasions has also greatly influenced me.

Ken, I was really surprised at your list of items that might affect a first year university student, and that we need to in any way prepare for these. Taking one example out of your list.

I would like to ask perhaps out of context with what you were saying, apart from a Uni student, do you think that this particular issue is a problem in Christadelphia, or your environment in general? I do not think that any of the brethren in my environment would be troubled by such a view. I suggest that this is typical of those who have been influenced by higher criticism. If I pick up the Cambridge Bible exposition Volume 2 1929, the Introduction states:
“The last 27 chapters of the book of Isaiah are an anonymous prophecy, or series of prophecies, which all critical writers agree in assigning to an age much later than the time of Isaiah.”
My answer to this is that this expositor and “all critical writers” who “agree” have not properly read the Book of Isaiah, despite their learning in languages and other research. It is almost enough to suggest that “scholarship” using outside works is a mine-field. Admittedly some modern expositors have moved back to the one-Isaiah view. Somehow we have to be wiser than these wise ones of the world, and yet we seem to turn to them for help.

In my position as librarian, I try to filter out most books and material that are unacceptable, and distribute or stock books and talks and electronic articles that are beneficial. If you write an article counteracting the 3-Isaiah theory I do not think I would need to distribute this. There may be a need somewhere, but to me this is not the sort of material that is of interest to anyone in our ecclesia. Such an article may incorporate much scholarship, but this appears to be an unlearned question that Paul advises Timothy to avoid. Rather the charge he gave Timothy was to engender in the ecclesia love out of a pure heart and faith unfeigned.

To give an example of the type of talks and scholarship I would recommend are the recent talks:
Ken Styles Hannah and Samuel – Faithful Living in Evil Times
Brian Luke 1 & 2 Timothy What can we do to help our Ecclesias Ontario Winter BS 2009
Both of these talks address the present ecclesial need for the development of the next generation of speakers and leaders. The talks also reveal the individual speakers love and dedication to the word.

Amongst older talks I would recommend:
Dennis Gillett Discipleship in Deuteronomy, Matthew’s Messiah
Roger Lewis Isaiah Servant Songs, Asaph, Philip, Paul the Alms Bearer, School of the Prophets
John Carter Speeches in The Acts, Isaiah 1-12, Romans studies 1-3.
Brian Luke A people prepared for the Lord.

I have already distributed John Carter’s Speeches in The Acts to a few members of our ecclesia, part of which considers the veracity of the Book of Acts. I found these talks of great benefit especially when he deals with Acts 13 and Galatians, and Galatians 1:16, 2:20, 3:1. Recently Brian Luke quoted John Carter as saying that “Galatians 2:20 is the most beautiful spiritual autobiography ever written”. I believe that these talks would be sufficient for our upcoming scholars than “How accurate is the history in the book of Acts Articles 1-3”. These may be of benefit to someone in a specialised field. I would suggest a link should be added to the Wiki article to the transcript of these talks that Kay added to BTDF.

There may be a need to build up an accumulation of scholarly works, but I feel that most of this is outside of my personal needs and I do not think they would of benefit to those in my present ecclesial environment. I also feel content looking at some of our 30-40 year old brethren and assess that they are moving in the direction of Bible students after the example of the speakers mentioned above, rather than their dependance on mainly outside scholars.

As Ken has already pointed out, the discussion has nothing to do with mature brethren versus young scholars. But on the subject of mature brethren, what do we do when mature brethren make claims concerning the original Biblical languages, or concerning history, or concerning archaeology, or concerning science, which are completely untrue, very likely made up out of their own heads, and are uttterly misleading and only discredit our witness to the world?

What do we do then? This is not a hypothetical question, it's a real life question. There are dozens of examples of this in our community. What do we do in these situations Trevor?

Fortigurn, I am in favour of discussion in the ecclesia based upon sound scholarship. Some time back we had a young English brother who preferred to read directly from his Hebrew Bible, and would comment and correct any brother who gave a wrong interpretation of a Hebrew word or phrase. This was helpful because he commented in a quiet and humble way, but he could have taken the wind out of one speaker on one occasion. But usually the discussion is on the particular talk from a scriptural point of view. When given by younger brethren, senior brethren help to clarify some aspects of the talk or subject in the 10 minutes allocated at the Bible Class. There is also the occasional disagreement with some aspect of a talk given by a senior brother, but this is usually resolved in a spirit of love and we are all mutually edified.

Kind regards
Trevor

#23 Fortigurn

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 08:16 AM

Ken, I do not decry scholarship as stated in my original post. I enjoy a wide range of resources and encourage others in obtaining some of these. I have enjoyed initially most aspects of the book OT usage in the NT you mentioned to me. But the writer on page 422b led us on a merry song and dance to avoid and then at the end to deny the simple, clear and important teaching that Jesus is the only begotten of the Father. I think this is the real danger of scholarship using outside works. We accept nine or ten things a writer says, opening up areas not generally available in our immediate environment, and we start to trust this writer, and then we have to be alert enough to reject his error, which is presented in a soft and subtle way. This is one danger or limitation, and another is the incredible amount of material out there that is not very beneficial to the individual scholar and especially to the majority in the ecclesia when presented by the scholar.


Trevor, on subjects as to whether or not Jesus is the only begotten of the Father, we need hardly consult modern scholarship. It is not remotely likely that anyone reading a scholarly work on archaeology will come to believe in the trinity.

Yet again I feel that this conversation is going nowhere because people like Ken and I say X, and people like you and others say 'I object strongly to Y!'. It gives the strong impression that people are not actually interested in reading what we are writing.

Ken, I was really surprised at your list of items that might affect a first year university student, and that we need to in any way prepare for these.


Then Trevor I would have to say with all due respect that you seriously need to become more familiar with our community and the issues which it is facing. Ken's list and the points he raised are a significant challenge to our community. I have counseled more than one young person who has been shaken by such points, one of whom eventually left our entire community.

I would like to ask perhaps out of context with what you were saying, apart from a Uni student, do you think that this particular issue is a problem in Christadelphia, or your environment in general?


Yes it's a problem in Christadelphia. Anyone who owns the electronic copy of the Christadelphian Magazine will see that it was recognized as a problem decades ago, and was discussed as a result.

I do not think that any of the brethren in my environment would be troubled by such a view.


Other parts of our community are not so fortunate.

I suggest that this is typical of those who have been influenced by higher criticism.


Yes, there's no doubt of this. But why? Because our community lacks proper answers, and the higher critics at least look like they're trying to be honest, and they know what they're talking about. On the contrary, I could pick up half a dozen expositions of Isaiah written in our community and not one of them would have a clue about the subject under discussion here.

My answer to this is that this expositor and “all critical writers” who “agree” have not properly read the Book of Isaiah, despite their learning in languages and other research.


Unfortunately that is an utterly ineffective answer to anyone facing this problem. It amounts to 'You have to believe what I say, because I said so'.

Somehow we have to be wiser than these wise ones of the world, and yet we seem to turn to them for help.


In exactly what way do you suggest we become 'wiser than these wise ones of the world'? The problem is that many expositors in our community are not wiser than these wise ones of the world. On the contrary, they are ignorant of the most basic principles of Bible study, and simply make things up. Their exposition is false, and founded on falsehood.

If you write an article counteracting the 3-Isaiah theory I do not think I would need to distribute this. There may be a need somewhere, but to me this is not the sort of material that is of interest to anyone in our ecclesia. Such an article may incorporate much scholarship, but this appears to be an unlearned question that Paul advises Timothy to avoid. Rather the charge he gave Timothy was to engender in the ecclesia love out of a pure heart and faith unfeigned.


Trevor your words here demonstrate an attitude which is so far from the traditional response of our community to such problems, that I wonder you can even write it. Our earlier brothers from decades ago were writing responses to such problems as the composite authorship of Isaiah. They weren't stupid, and they didn't pretend there wasn't a problem. They responded Scripturally, they didn't say 'I don't think there's a problem and that should be good enough for you'.

Anyone who does not understand that this is a real issue is ignorant of our community's past, and ignorant of our community's present.

I believe that these talks would be sufficient for our upcoming scholars than “How accurate is the history in the book of Acts Articles 1-3”. These may be of benefit to someone in a specialised field.


When I read statements like this, I feel strongly like leaving our community in search for a community which is more honest. Fortunately I understand that statements such as these do not represent our broader community.

Trevor, talks such as you suggest are of absolutely no use whatsoever to a brother or sister or young person struggling to deal with challenges to their faith which are based on attacks on the historicity of the Acts. Furthermore, they are completely useless to anyone to whom I am preaching who confronts me with the same challenges. There is a place for such talks, but to suggest that they should take the place of informed commentary addressing challenges which our own brothers recognized decades ago, is simply to demonstrate a complete failure to understand the issue at hand.

There may be a need to build up an accumulation of scholarly works, but I feel that most of this is outside of my personal needs and I do not think they would of benefit to those in my present ecclesial environment.


Trevor there are around 60,000 Christadelphians in the world. You cannot judge their needs simply on the basis of what you feel you need, and what you feel is of benefit to your ecclesial environment. More importantly still, you demonstrate absolutely no concern whatsoever for the unbelievers who come to us looking for truth and hoping we can prove our case. It seems that they just don't exist in your world.

Fortigurn, I am in favour of discussion in the ecclesia based upon sound scholarship. Some time back we had a young English brother who preferred to read directly from his Hebrew Bible, and would comment and correct any brother who gave a wrong interpretation of a Hebrew word or phrase. This was helpful because he commented in a quiet and humble way, but he could have taken the wind out of one speaker on one occasion. But usually the discussion is on the particular talk from a scriptural point of view. When given by younger brethren, senior brethren help to clarify some aspects of the talk or subject in the 10 minutes allocated at the Bible Class. There is also the occasional disagreement with some aspect of a talk given by a senior brother, but this is usually resolved in a spirit of love and we are all mutually edified.


This does not actually answer my question. What do we do when the older brothers to whom you refer, are speaking untruths from the platform, especially when they are doing so because they simply know nothing of the subject they're talking about?

At the moment we have older brothers (and not so older brothers), who are simply not being honest. I see no reason to tolerate this.
Miserere mei Deus,
Secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.
Et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum
dele iniquitatem meam.

______________________________________________________________________
target="_blank">I am a Christadelphian. Click here to see my confession of faith.
______________________________________________________________________
‘John Wesley once received a note which said, “The Lord has told me to tell you that He doesn’t need your book-learning, your Greek, and your Hebrew.”

Wesley answered “Thank you, sir. Your letter was superfluous, however, as I already knew the Lord has no need for my ‘book-learning,’ as you put it. However—although the Lord has not directed me to say so—on my own responsibility I would like to say to you that the Lord does not need your ignorance, either.”

Osborne & Woodward, ‘Handbook for Bible study’, pp. 13-14 (1979)

______________________________________________________________________
target="_blank">Apologetics

#24 Davvers

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 10:43 AM

Hi Trevor

I really appreciate the spirit of openness and honesty of your post. I detect no hint of malice or deliberate attempt to hide from or cover up a known issue. I see your genuine assessment that in your ecclesial environment scholarship may have limited value and you genuinely see some dangers in it. And no one can tell you that your understanding of your own ecclesial environment is flawed, in fact your situation is probably quite typical, which is revealing in itself.

Fort has an equally genuine concern that we are not meeting challenges to faith effectively enough. I've also seen two people (and a 3rd is on the way) go down the slippery slope of doubt and leave the Truth. I also see young people delaying baptism and then drifting away because their questions are not answered. The trigger in each case has been the popularised media coverage of the sort of issues Ken listed.

Fort has also drawn a contrast between the common view of scholarship amongst us and the engagement of early brothers with such things. Why is there this difference? My perception is that those early brothers were much more focussed on presenting a coherent faith to the outside world to attract believers. To do that they absolutely had to engage with prevailing scholars' views and respond to them. The danger of being influenced by a scholar's theology was just as real then, but Bro T in particular showed that he could quite ably use good scholarship while lambasting the doctrinal bias of Doctors of Divinity.

Many relatively mature ecclesias are now (naturally) much more internally focussed on preserving what they have, and this is why I think there is less of an appetite for addressing external challenges. While your ecclesial environment sounds enviable, my concern would be that it might have a limited lifespan.

But actually the solution has to be what you suggested:

discussion in the ecclesia based upon sound scholarship

Because of the complexity of the material, the variable reliability of sources and the danger of influence from screwy theology, it is much better to have this sort of material openly discussed and assessed in an ecclesial environment. That will help members to recognise the problems, assess the sources and go out into the world to make converts with an armoury that is up to the task.

If your ecclesia wants to increase its external evangelising focus, then it will need to do this, just as our early brothers did. It's a challenge for many ecclesias which have been around for a while, so you're not alone.

I hope that is helpful and constructive

D

#25 Fortigurn

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 10:50 AM

Fort has also drawn a contrast between the common view of scholarship amongst us and the engagement of early brothers with such things. Why is there this difference? My perception is that those early brothers were much more focussed on presenting a coherent faith to the outside world to attract believers. To do that they absolutely had to engage with prevailing scholars' views and respond to them. The danger of being influenced by a scholar's theology was just as real then, but Bro T in particular showed that he could quite ably use good scholarship while lambasting the doctrinal bias of Doctors of Divinity.


You are exactly right. A fundamental difference between ecclesias today and back then, was that ecclesias back then actually preached. They had far more contact with non-believers. They actually went out into the real world and spent time with people who weren't convinced by the Bible. In contrast, many ecclesias today are isolated from the real world and focus simply on rehearsing truths to their members, who already believe in them.

The result is that when young people or even older people face challenges to their faith, they are simply not equipped to deal with them. They fail because they have been trained to fail.

Many relatively mature ecclesias are now (naturally) much more internally focussed on preserving what they have, and this is why I think there is less of an appetite for addressing external challenges. While your ecclesial environment sounds enviable, my concern would be that it might have a limited lifespan.


Yes. Ecclesias today need to realize that if they don't address these issues then they are simply going to suffer a premature death. It's a simple as that.

Because of the complexity of the material, the variable reliability of sources and the danger of influence from screwy theology, it is much better to have this sort of material openly discussed and assessed in an ecclesial environment. That will help members to recognise the problems, assess the sources and go out into the world to make converts with an armoury that is up to the task.


Absolutely. That's what Berea is about.
Miserere mei Deus,
Secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.
Et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum
dele iniquitatem meam.

______________________________________________________________________
target="_blank">I am a Christadelphian. Click here to see my confession of faith.
______________________________________________________________________
‘John Wesley once received a note which said, “The Lord has told me to tell you that He doesn’t need your book-learning, your Greek, and your Hebrew.”

Wesley answered “Thank you, sir. Your letter was superfluous, however, as I already knew the Lord has no need for my ‘book-learning,’ as you put it. However—although the Lord has not directed me to say so—on my own responsibility I would like to say to you that the Lord does not need your ignorance, either.”

Osborne & Woodward, ‘Handbook for Bible study’, pp. 13-14 (1979)

______________________________________________________________________
target="_blank">Apologetics

#26 Evangelion

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 11:24 AM

^^ Davvers, that was a cracking good post.
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#27 Kakashi

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 11:33 AM

Brilliant post, Davvers. I think you've hit the nail on the head. What I've seen of western Christadelphia has been very introspective.

Because of the complexity of the material, the variable reliability of sources and the danger of influence from screwy theology, it is much better to have this sort of material openly discussed and assessed in an ecclesial environment. That will help members to recognise the problems, assess the sources and go out into the world to make converts with an armoury that is up to the task.


Absolutely. That's what Berea is about.

:D For which I am grateful.

Edited by Kakashi, 06 January 2011 - 11:36 AM.

The best way to convince another is
to state your case moderately and accurately.
-- Benjamin Franklin

#28 Mark Taunton

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 02:43 PM


Acts 17:11 Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. As a result, many of them believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.

How good is your Greek, Mark?

What is the relevance of your question to what we are told in Acts 17? I might know no Greek at all, but it would make no difference whatever to the point.

In every English version I've looked at, the account of Paul's Jewish hearers in Berea, and what they are commended for, is extremely straightforward. We get exactly the same clear example to follow, whichever translation we read. What we learn is that the words we need to turn to, and search, in order to be sure that what someone is telling us is really is true (and that explicitly includes people telling us how we ought to understand the scriptures - Paul was preaching "out of the scriptures" to Jews in the synagogues: Act 17:2), is not the standard scholarly literature, but the scriptures themselves. Luke doesn't mention them consulting the local Rabbis, or checking in their libraries for a suitable commentary, or sending messengers to the doctors of the law in Jerusalem. They turned to the authority of God's word itself, because they had it right there with them in the synagogue. They did not yet fully understand the gospel (though it was preached by the scripture to Abraham), but they knew they could trust the words God had committed to their fathers to keep, and they were right to do so. They tested the new ideas they were hearing from Paul against the solid foundation of the holy writings. It was the crucial thing to do. And because of that, they believed him. What he said was found to be in accordance with the word of God, and so they accepted it.

That they are commended for this (though in fact they could indeed rely on the truth of Paul's words, because he was preaching with the holy spirit sent down from heaven) speaks volumes. We certainly need to go on using our brains, our intellectual faculties and reason, with which God has endowed us (I agree entirely with Galileo on that, Ken). But what we need to apply our minds to, above all else, is the word of truth, which God has also given us. It is his greatest gift; we neglect it at our peril. If we value the opinions of men who speak or write about it as being of greater authority than the inspired word itself, to determine the true meaning and purpose of that word, we are making a terrible mistake. Our Jewish brethren of 2000 years ago in Berea, and what Luke says about them, make that very plain.

Edited by Mark Taunton, 06 January 2011 - 02:47 PM.


#29 Fortigurn

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 02:50 PM

What is the relevance of your question to what we are told in Acts 17?


His point is that for you to even read 'the Scriptures' you've had to put your reliance on a host of scholars.

What we learn is that the words we need to turn to, and search, in order to be sure that what someone is telling us is really is true (and that explicitly includes people telling us how we ought to understand the scriptures - Paul was preaching "out of the scriptures" to Jews in the synagogues: Act 17:2), is not the standard scholarly literature, but the scriptures themselves.


No Mark that is not true. You are universalizing a text which was not intended to be universalized. If I want to know if someone is telling me the truth about quantum physics, I don't turn to the Scriptures.

Luke doesn't mention them consulting the local Rabbis, or checking in their libraries for a suitable commentary, or sending messengers to the doctors of the law in Jerusalem.


Of course not, because what they needed to find out was if what Paul was saying about the Scriptures was true. The way to find that out was to read the Scriptures. This has nothing to do with the kind of scholarship on the kind of subjects of which Ken and I are speaking.

If we value the opinions of men who speak or write about it as being of greater authority than the inspired word itself, to determine the true meaning and purpose of that word...


You have been told repeatedly that no one is suggesting any such thing. This is a completely unnecessary statement to make, and the more provocative because you have been told this repeatedly. There is absolutely no excuse for such a statement. Now please address the issue:

If you were confronted with a very worried first year university student in philosophy / anthropology / biology / OT studies with the following questions, how would you credibly answer them, particularly if your background is not in any of these areas?

* The Kenite hypothesis says that the worship of Yahweh was unknown among the early Israelites, but instead originated with proto-Arabic tribes near Sinai, and was later introduced to the Israelites. If that is true, doesn't that cut the heart out of OT theology. Furthermore, there is strong evidence that the early Israelites were polytheistic, or at the very least believed that Yahweh had a wife named Asherah, as demonstrated by inscriptions found at Khirbet el-Kom and Kuntillet Ajrud referring to "Yahweh and his Asherah." If so, then the basis of our faith is seriously undermined.
* The account of Moses' discovery by Pharaoh's daughter is quite similar to the birth account of Sargon the Great. Doesn't that mean that the Bible freely copied from the surrounding cultures?
* The word for firmament in Gen 1 means something solid, as demonstrated by the NRSV which renders it 'dome.' The firm consensus of Hebrew scholars is that the word does mean something solid. If that be the case, the Bible teaches that the sky is solid, which is patently wrong. If the Bible is wrong on this point, how can I trust it?
* What does Markan priority mean? Is there evidence for Q? If Matthew and Luke did indeed copy Mark and Q, doesn't that destroy Inspiration as we know it?
* Most respected OT scholars say that Isaiah has three authors, while Zechariah has 2. Furthermore, there is strong evidence that the pastorals and Ephesians were not written by Paul. Can we trust them.
* Paul says that Adam was the first man who lived, and after his sin, death entered into the world. In my anthropology studies, I've learned not only that there are human fossils showing evidence for evolution going back millions of years, but that it is physically impossible for the genetic diversity we see in the current human population to arise in 6000 years from two people. Furthermore, if the human race started with only two people, then all the obligate human diseases and pathogens (those which can only live on humans) would have wiped out the human race within a few years. How can I believe Paul?


Miserere mei Deus,
Secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.
Et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum
dele iniquitatem meam.

______________________________________________________________________
target="_blank">I am a Christadelphian. Click here to see my confession of faith.
______________________________________________________________________
‘John Wesley once received a note which said, “The Lord has told me to tell you that He doesn’t need your book-learning, your Greek, and your Hebrew.”

Wesley answered “Thank you, sir. Your letter was superfluous, however, as I already knew the Lord has no need for my ‘book-learning,’ as you put it. However—although the Lord has not directed me to say so—on my own responsibility I would like to say to you that the Lord does not need your ignorance, either.”

Osborne & Woodward, ‘Handbook for Bible study’, pp. 13-14 (1979)

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target="_blank">Apologetics

#30 Evangelion

Evangelion

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 02:56 PM

Luke doesn't mention them consulting the local Rabbis


Of course not. Why would a Christian consult a Rabbi on the correct Christian interpretation of a text?

or checking in their libraries for a suitable commentary


Because they didn't have any. Later Christians wrote their own commentaries, and even later Christians made good use of them.

or sending messengers to the doctors of the law in Jerusalem.


Again, why would a Christian consult the doctors of the Jewish Law on the correct Christian interpretation of a text?

They turned to the authority of God's word itself, because they had it right there with them in the synagogue. They did not yet fully understand the gospel (though it was preached by the scripture to Abraham), but they knew they could trust the words God had committed to their fathers to keep, and they were right to do so. They tested the new ideas they were hearing from Paul against the solid foundation of the holy writings. It was the crucial thing to do. And because of that, they believed him. What he said was found to be in accordance with the word of God, and so they accepted it.

That they are commended for this (though in fact they could indeed rely on the truth of Paul's words, because he was preaching with the holy spirit sent down from heaven) speaks volumes. We certainly need to go on using our brains, our intellectual faculties and reason, with which God has endowed us (I agree entirely with Galileo on that, Ken). But what we need to apply our minds to, above all else, is the word of truth, which God has also given us. It is his greatest gift; we neglect it at our peril. If we value the opinions of men who speak or write about it as being of greater authority than the inspired word itself, to determine the true meaning and purpose of that word, we are making a terrible mistake. Our Jewish brethren of 2000 years ago in Berea, and what Luke says about them, make that very plain.


This is all fine as far as it goes. But you can't address some of the more complex issues simply by reading your Bible. At some point you will need to examine the extra-Biblical evidence as well. This is not about looking at commentaries to understand the basic Gospel message. It's about dealing with the challenges of modern-day counter-arguments against Christianity in general and the validity of the Bible in particular. There's a wealth of Christian and non-Christian scholarship which enables us to meet those challenges and prevail. So let's use it.
In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas
Imago
Credo




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