If you're trying to say that because a majority of English translations read a verse some particular way, the weight of the evidence is against the minority position, and should be accepted, then that's not a principle you can stick to. If we did, we'd find that (for example) the thief on the cross was definitely promised that he'd be in paradise with Christ that very day.
As a convert who had to deal with the thief on the cross passage I would take the same approach with this passage that I used with the thief on the cross: If there is legitimate disagreement, don't draw doctrine from it. Since you led with the passage, the same way a heaven go-er would lead with the example of the thief, you must understand that the weaknesses of the thief on the cross argument are very similar to yours.
The reason Christadelphians argue what we do, that Jesus' promise to the thief does not mean what practically every English translation gives for it, does not relate to any supposed weakness of the case. The fundamental point is that the common interpretation is quite inconsistent with the teaching of the rest of scripture about the resurrection, the state of the dead, and other related topics. The conclusion arising here is not that, for some disputed passage, we simply give up and say "let's agree to disagree" or "we can't put any particular weight on this, since there's a question over the meaning". The point is that we cannot simply rely on English translations
for our position. Where there is doubt or disagreement, we do need to go check the original language detail and work out what it really means and does not mean. Jesus was definitely telling the thief something important, and scripture records it for our benefit, so it must be possible to work out what it was.
Of course, when we look into the detail here, and compare it with the rest of scripture, we find confirmation of the principles we already understand. In summary:
- the Greek here can perfectly validly be read as we read it, "I say to you today, you will be with me in paradise"
- such a reading of the first part has direct scriptural support, being in-line with usage in other contexts of people using "I say" and "today" in combination, in a context of making a solemn promise or commitment: the "today" is found to be the day of the utterance of the words, not the day of their fulfilment
- this reading is fully consistent with scriptural teaching elsewhere about what happens (and does not happen) at death.
That last point, consistency with the general tenor of scripture, is always important, and no less so for the main issue in question in this thread.
Having never seen your interpretation before and having dug further, there isn't even disagreement. The word "violence" used here (Strong's 1286) is used only one time in the NT, and the definitions are along the lines of frightening and intimidation consistent with the majority interpretation and inconsistent with and unqualified command to do no violence (especially in the manner in which a soldier would do violence). Even the word it is constructed from (4579) has nothing to do with violence in the manner in which a soldier would do violence.
I don't see that. The word 'seio' (4579) has the sense of shaking; for example, "a fig tree shaken with a mighty wind" (Rev 6:13). A soldier might well shake someone in order to subdue them or hurt them. The word in question 'diaseio' (1286) is 'seio' with the prefix 'dia', which when applied to other verbs strengthens the force of it, making it more complete or thorough. So John is forbidding the soldiers, who asked him what they should do, from taking physically violent action against anyone.
Any conclusion drawn from your thinking that Peter was acting under the best justification possible must be rejected as deeply flawed. He was knowingly acting against Jesus and God after having been repeatedly forewarned even as recently as supper that very night.
You're missing my point - it's a relative argument. I don't think that Peter was in truth acting with good justification. My point is that there could not be any better apparent justification for an act of violence on the part of a mortal and imperfect disciple, since the one on whose behalf it was attempted was not worthy of death, and his enemies were truly wicked and deserving of death themselves. Yet even that supposed justification was wrong. So we can have no possible grounds for taking any violent action ourselves, for any lesser cause.
I got your point. You think Peter was defending Jesus because he thought Jesus was innocent. My response is his motives don't matter. He was repeatedly warned as recently as that evening and directly told it was adversarial to God.
Since you've made his motives a part of your argument, do you have a scripture reference proving Peter's motives (you haven't provided one)? If you don't have a scripture reference providing Peter's motives then you are assuming his motives and making them important to your argument. This is flawed at best.
I'm sorry, but you keep on missing the point. Jesus refused Peter the right to attack another man, even in apparently
justifiable circumstances (to defend the only man ever who was truly undeserving of harm), because it is God's will that sometimes even the righteous suffer, in order to bring greater good. What better
circumstance can you put forward, with scriptural evidence, to support a disciple of Christ in this present age, one who is commanded to follow Jesus as his example, being truly justified in attacking another man?
This is especially important in the light of Jesus' own teaching, both from his own mouth and through that of his apostles:
- Jesus: Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. (Matt 5:43-45)
- Paul: Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. (Rom 5:17-21)
- Paul: Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. (1 Thes 5:14-15)
- Peter: Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. (1 Pet 3:8-9)
On the contrary, the Jerusalem conference was perfectly explicit on it! One of the four things Gentile believers are told to abstain from is blood. That instruction is clearly not about avoiding eating non-kosher meat (since all food is now clean to disciples). It's about not taking another man's life. If you don't believe me, consider the usage of the word "blood" in the New Testament, and you will find it's not a dietary issue, at all, it's much more fundamental, being about life and death.
Noting that Cornelius was also a citizen in waiting (or the Phillipian jailer) the apostles remained silent rather than advise him as you would. The Jerusalem conference was also silent.
By your logic strangled animals would be clean too (another one of the four commands). Of course there is another painfully obvious explanation for why consumption of strangled animals is prohibited: things strangled haven't been drained of blood and the prohibition is against consuming blood.
Firstly: you've not provided evidence against the basic point I made.
Secondly, if (as you read it) the reason gentiles are told to abstain from strangled things is because they still contain blood, then that prohibition is completely redundant, since commanding to abstain from consuming blood would already cover
not consuming strangled animals, according to your interpretation of these words. Something is not right here!
Lastly, I ask you again to consider: what is the meaning of "blood" in "abstain from blood"? You read it only as a physical substance not to be ingested. But that's not the general significance of it in scripture. The point of physical blood is it represents (natural/physical) life
, since "the soul of the flesh is in the blood". Abstaining from blood, as is understandable from biblical usage, is about abstaining from taking a man's life.
This interpretation is consistent with every exposition I have ever heard on the topic CD and mainstream alike.
You may not have heard it from a Christadelphian before, but that doesn't mean it's wrong. I'd never previously heard a Christadelphian seek to justify joining the military, until you did. Or do you now accept that you're wrong, just because of that?
Please go and look at this point. In particular, check out the general usage and sense of the word "blood", and tell me the proportion of scriptural uses (particularly in the NT) in which its reference is strictly limited to the physical substance, as to whether or not it can be physically consumed. You may be surprised by what you find.
Edited by Mark Taunton, 30 August 2011 - 02:48 PM.