24 May 2007

All About Me um, Us

by Frank Turk

A reader of the blog posted this in yesterday's meta:
RE: MACHEN'S WARRIOR CHILDREN

See especially 7,11,12,13,14,18 and 21.

My sense of the Pyros is that you are at your best when you are writing about what is true and good and beautiful, you can be good when you write about what is false, and you can be awful about what is false.

The context of Paul writing about false teaching, or Machen's battle with liberalism, are far different battles than the ones we might have with, say, infant baptists, charismatics, or Anglicans.

I would much prefer to see your indomitable brains be put to work against atheists, relativists, theological liberals, social issues, and the ever encroaching Islamic world.
And I bring it up because, on the one hand, he has a somewhat-compelling point: there are a lot of fights not worth fighting.

Now, rather than give a laundry list of those fights (and I'm sure some of you will resent that as you always need reality-TV-esque examples of what I'm talking about), I'm going to talk a little bit about the zeitgeist of our blog here as I understand it in order to refocus the complaint made here. If Phil or Dan or Pecadillo (he is still allegedly alive) have some addenda to add to the enda' this, so be it.

Believe it or not, TeamPyro is not an apologetics blog, per se. "per se" means "by, of, or in itself" – so I'm saying that's not the primary motivation of our little house party here. We may happen to provide an apologetic once in a while, or something useful, say, to Freakishly-Tall Todd Friel (sorry Todd; no offense -- I know you have a decent sense of humor but not all our readers get the jokes), but our goal here is not to assert ourselves as the premiere Protestant Apologetics blog in English. That's what AOMIN.org is for, and we're happy they have their own ministry and we are proud of their success in a familial kind of way.

TeamPyro is also not primarily a DebateBlog. In many cases, with all humility and respect and love, we don't really care what the "other side" thinks. We don't want to tell lies about them, and we don't want to straw man them, and we want to honor God as we encounter them in their many hydra-like manifestations. But our motive is not really to argue with people. Most of these people either aren't capable of arguments, or they aren’t really interested in arguments – only lectures (giving, not getting).

So what's it all about, Alfie? Whither TeamPyro? While we enjoy "All Your Base are Belong to Us" and "Apply Directly to the Forehead", Phil called himself "pyromaniac", and thereafter dubbed us "teamPyro", based on one verse of Scripture:

Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces? [Jer 23:26, KJV]
And in that is the whole philosophy of why we do what we do here.

We are bringing the fire and the hammer of the word of God.

I don't want that to sound too, um, self-important – because it's not actually about me, or Phil, or Dan, or officer Pecadillo: it's about whether or not people are getting it when it comes to how God's word needs to be burning up the chaff and the stubble, and how God's word will and ought to break down the stoniness of our hearts and our habits and our preferences.

And let's face it: it's fine and obvious to go after the Rational Response Squad, and the Mormons, and the other clowns in the other clown cars trying to run the Gospel off the road. That's 100% the right thing to do with other gods and their schticky underlings. But if we make any headway against atheism and we call people to this so-called church of God, and when they walk in the door at last happy to be with the Lord's people in the Lord's house on the Lord's day they find out it's the same thing as joining KIWANIS or ROTARY, I think we're going to find out that we have a larger problem than whether someone has ever heard a person with a loud voice read John 3:16 to them.

What is at stake, then, is what Psalm 122 proclaims: that we seek the good of God's people first because that's where God's goodness should be praised.

Apologetics is fine – it is good, and worthy to be praised, in a Godly way. We are not apologists here: we are in the church, trying to get God's people to stop goofing off. If God's word is like a fire, and a hammer, let's burn off the fallow fields; let's break down the rotten renovations.

To my knowledge, we have had little trade with the paedobaptists here – because we're not really concerned about Baptist identity as such here. We count Presbyterians (for example, like Machen) as brothers in Christ and fathers in the faith – in spite of our objections to their misuse of the ordinance. We have had less-still trade with Anglicans because, well, they have made themselves irrelevant. They are hardly surging ahead and growing their churches by ordaining homosexuals and down-trading the doctrines of the atonement and Scripture, favoring instead a reconciliation ever-immanent with Rome.

And while it is true we have had much trade with the charismatics, it is expressly about the primacy of God's inscripturated word above and against emotive and experiential party favors. God's word stands true, and on that basis it must be the measure of what is preached and believed and exhorted in God's church – God's visible, incarnated, set-apart, adorning-to-His-promises church.

That's who we are. That's what we do. Welcome to the party.









60 comments:

Brad Leber said...

“We are bringing the fire and the hammer of the word of God.”

Frank,

How often I read or hear a sermon from God’s word and see clearly my friends and family that are not living in accord with it, or the Church across the street that is falling short in it’s teaching, or the para-church organization that is drawing off the human resources we so desperately need to be effective in ministering to the saints, but fail to see the log (rock) in my own eye that requires removal!

I know if I spent half the time looking inward and applying the message to my own heart as I do patting myself on the back for recognizing others in error, I would be much closer to Christlikeness than I am now.

Thanks for the admonition and for the many effective expositions of God’s word the Pyro’s bring to break up the rocks in my life.

Your ministry here is effective and powerful, thanks for not letting the distractions and bunny trails throw you off topic or change the focus of your mission verse.

centuri0n said...

Amen. Thanks for the encouragement.

Sewing said...

It took God three and a half decades of wrestling with me before he led me ineluctably to salvation. (Man, was I stubborn!)

The saving words I heard were delivered in by a Reformed, expository pastor, who week after week delivers heavy duty sermons without ever compromising on the Word of God. There is no feel-good easy believism, no altar calls, no Purpose-Driven sermons. I know now that it's no accident (indeed!) that God led me to his church.

The amazing, absolutely gobsmacking thing is that this church is one of the largest ones in my city, a veritable modern-day Corinth. (Indeed, I myself used to waver between outright skepticism, liberal theology, and each-to-his-or-her-own-beliefs relativism.) And yet, month after month, many people come to Christ in our church—against all conventional wisdom, compelled by the powerful witness to God's Word.

Sound doctrine and the true Gospel are what people with ears want and need to hear. Blogs like this one are what help to keep us on the right track, to counsel and admonish for the sake of the greater glorification of God.

centuri0n said...

May I say this plainly:

When the local church is doing what it ought to be doing, blogs liek this will not be necessary. The question is if having blogs like this will make the local church wake up, or if being here allows the local churcch to hit the snooze button.

Sewing said...

Is the typical local church even aware of blogs like this?

Matthew said...

And all God's people said Amen.

sean patrick said...

I'm a first time poster here, but have been reading for about a year. This seems like the proper topic on which to express a heartfelt "Thank You."

I'm 24 years old, have been a believer going on 5 years now. I'm blessed to be plugged into a small, Christ-centered church, for which I am becoming more and more grateful.

The majority of my Christian walk had been very college oriented, (saved as a sophomore and grew up in the campus ministry) a time during which every spiritual notion under the sun gets thrown at a person, so I've had to work hard to actively seek out that which is true and God-honoring as far a theology, doctrine, and practice goes. This blog has helped me tremendously over the past year, and I've put a few of my peers onto it as well.

I'm still very young and dumb, and I aspire to be like the men of God that I'm surrounded by, including my brothers here in the e-world.

Please keep my generation in prayer, and in mind when you guys do your work. We desperately need shepherding in any way we can get it, so for that I say again, thank you.

sean

DJP said...

...the zeitgeist of our blog here...

We have a Zeitgeist?

Cool!!

Matt said...

centuri0n,

thank you for the reminder!

I fit the typical demographic of who the seeker-sensitive and emerging types are after. I grew up in a conservative evangelical church, my parents divorced, were involved in adultery, had live-ins, were remarried, and were both excommunicated from their home church. I have had plenty of opportunity to be the apathetic, hurt, and angry victim of the evangelical church, yet somehow my disaffection never materialized (I think because I was never looking for an excuse to turn my back on Christ). I am now an involved member in the very church that excommunicated my parents. As painful as that experience was on my family, I am convinced that the church did the right thing in admonishing my parents and protecting their (the church's) testimony in the community (isn't it ironic that marginal Christians most in need of discipline are generally the ones complaining about all the "hypocrites" in the church?).

My point is the same as sewing's - secular people are not drawn to churches that preach the same message they can get on Oprah, The Secret, or pop music. Once people come to grips with who they actually are, the only message that they need (and want) is found in conservative evangelical churches that carefully exposit the Word of God! Nothing else is adequate. Nothing else quenches the thirst of the lost. This is why, as cent duly noted, that mainline liberal denominations aren't exactly bursting at the seams. Whether or not one agrees with the teaching, nobody can deny that it is conservative churches which grow.

Sewing said:

The saving words I heard were delivered in by a Reformed, expository pastor, who week after week delivers heavy duty sermons without ever compromising on the Word of God. There is no feel-good easy believism, no altar calls, no Purpose-Driven sermons. I know now that it's no accident (indeed!) that God led me to his church.

But sewing, I'm sure I heard you say once that you went to a Mennonite Brethren church! ;-D Do the MBs still allow Bible teaching in your neck of the woods?

Sewing said...

This is British Columbia, Matt: You know we do things differently out here! Land of the Lotus Eaters in Vancouver sandwiched between Regent College (J.I. Packer's former haunt) and the Abbotsford Bible Belt. Somehow, we're able to hold it all together in tension.

I assumed the whole MB Conference was on page with where we're at out here in southwestern BC, but I'm discovering that's, um, not exactly the case.

jbuck21 said...

"God's word stands true, and on that basis it must be the measure of what is preached and believed and exhorted in God's church "

End of discussion.

"This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil." Heb. 6:19

If someone...anyone...threatens this, we must do no less than defend it, whether Roman Catholic, Anglican, charismatic, or atheist.

You guys do well in this work - thanks.

Jon

centuri0n said...

djp:

I just bought us a zeitgeist for $10 on e-Bay. It was a used zeitgeist, but the only guy to use it before us was S. Lewis Johnson -- so it has some Dispy chops.

I could take 'em off it you think it would be better ...

centuri0n said...

I also want to point out that, pound for pound, Dan posts most frequently here, so if we're doing good it's because he's a crazy-mad blogger.

DJP said...

Oh, now, last time we counted I was way behind.

Hm... wonder if we could upgrade the Zeitgeist to a whole Weltanschaunng if we threw in some schmerodactyl jerky?

Libbie said...

What's a Mulsim?

*takes off pedants hat*

I'm hoping to make a comment with substance in the near future. Bear with me.

Sandra T said...

You say "we are bringing the fire and hammer of the Word of God".

I suggest we also "shake off the dust from our feet".

Acts 13: 47-53 says "For so the Lord has commanded us: I have set you as a light to the Gentiles, that you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth. Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed. And the word of the Lord was being spread throughout all the region. But the jews stirred up the devout and prominent women and the chief men of the city, raised up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region. But they SHOOK OFF THE DUST FROM THEIR FEET AGAINST THEM...And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit".

Also Matthew 10:14 - "And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet".

Team Pyro, I would like to say thank you for your ministry. I have learned much from reading the many differing viewpoints (not the anti-biblical ones of course!)

Caleb Kolstad said...

Cent-

Thanks for this post!

Caleb

centuri0n said...

Weltanschaunng is what connects our blogs.

Daryl said...

Frank,

Let me add my voice to the commendations here. I enjoy the blog and find it challenging. I even appreciate the often blunt responses you guys dish out when necessary. We need that as much as we need the stuff you write in the first place.

Heaven knows how much I need the fire and hammer to drive the crap out of me...

Thanks again.

Everyday Mommy said...

Let me just say, as someone who is starving in the wasteland of the local church, Pyromaniacs is a feast. Thanks for feeding this hungry soul.

Jim Crigler said...

Re: "Phil or Dan or Pecadillo"

Some of us have been around long enough that we still sorely miss James, too.

northWord said...

Very well said, Frank, as always.

I cut my God-talk-blog-reading teeth here at Pyro, and consider myself extremely - no - extremely blessed to have happened upon such an edifying, scriptualy mindful group of guys, (as well I've appreciated many of the commenters here).
This place set the standard for me.

Thanks guys for all you put into this.
~

As for "the atheists, relativists, theological liberals, [the]social issues, and the ever encroaching Islamic world" . . well, lets get crackin.
:)

M.W. Brewer said...

*cough* Jer 23:29 *cough*

I thought the "Is not my Word like a fire..." reference was amazing, but when I looked it up...it wasn't there. I went through quite a few OT 23:26's thinking that you may have unintentionally misquoted the book.

Foolish me, I should have just looked ahead a couple verses to find the verse. Jer 23:29.

Either way, the verse leaves a lot to consider. Thank you.

Blessings.

Jack said...

I wanna post at Pyromanac, but I don't attend enough conferences.

:-(

;)

centuri0n said...

For the record, it's an inside joke between me and Phil to misquote that verse. he did it first on one of the pyro logos, which made it only a handfull of shirts which people actually bought. I actually bought one.

Now, as in today's example, I often just quote jer with any combination of 23, 26, or 29. As long as you cite the actual passage, people will more or less understand what you're saying.

For the record, the verse is God-breathed, but the verse numbers aren't. Booyah.

centuri0n said...

Jack:

The Founders conference will be my first Christian conference ever.

M.W. Brewer said...

centuri0n,

Touché :-D

Blessings.

Kim said...

Oh, now you see, I thought your purpose was to aggravate homeschool moms with bad language and meat chubb stories.

Jim Crigler said...

You guys ought to update your template. It still has 2006 as the copyright date.

fool4jesus said...

This blog does what it intends excellently. It helps wake me up from the self-induced worldly slumber I fall into sometimes.

But I must point out, the word is imminent. Just keeping you on your toes. :-)

centuri0n said...

Foolie:

I don't want to split hairs with you, but I meant "immanent".

"imminent" means "about to happen any time now". "immanent" in Philosophy means "happening in the head of the thinker, but having no results in the real world".

The Anglies are always thinking about how close they are to being in communion with Rome, but they can never get the time to actually abandon the 39 articles and stop being Protestants.

Rick said...

“We are bringing the fire and the hammer of the word of God.”

Frank,

Who's interpretation of "the word of God" is right?

yours?
catholics?
orthodox?
baptist?
church of christ?
methodist?
pentacostals?
I could go on and on listing the hundreds of denominations that have not minor but MAJOR differences in their interpretation of SIGNIFICANT aspects of 'the word of god'...significant meaning salvation, truth, deity of christ, etc.

So, in 'bringing the fire and the hammer of the word of God', I ask whose interpretation is right?

DJP said...

inside joke between me and Phil

See, folks, it's sort of like a Canon within the Canon; there's a camaraderie within the camaraderie.

But that's fine. I have jokes only my cats understand. And then a few others, I'm not sure I get myself. But I laugh all the same.

philness said...

I echo Jim Crigler in that I too dearly miss James Spurgeon. I've found that subject to be completely taboo around here just the same as eschatology was pre Shepherds Conference.

DJP said...

Rick, on your post's (apparent) premise, there is no possible way that Frank could understand your question with any confidence, so there is really no point in responding.

And besides, if he did, there is no way you could interpret his answer.

Or this comment.

Andrew said...

"We have had less-still trade with Anglicans because, well, they have made themselves irrelevant."

Is that a reference to the Episcopalians in USA?

because there are millions of African and English Anglicans who will disagree quite strongly here and will point to areas in which Anglicans are leading the way.

Rick said...

djp,

Is God a proof text of scripture?

Is the person with the highest intellect with the most extensive knowledge of ancient languages and ancient cultures the person who could know God best?

What about the guy with a C average in high school who drives a bulldozer 10 hours a day?

Is he realistically going to read his bible or some other book about God?

Does that limit his ability to know God as well as the person with the highest intellect?

Is the bulldozer guy limited to knowing God through the intellectual efforts of the person with the highest intellect?

It seems Christianity has become more of an intellectual belief system than a real time relationship.

michelle said...

Sorry Rick, I have to ask you to clarify what you mean when you speak about the guy with the C average driving a bulldozer 10 hours a day...my dad is one of those guys...and he reads his Bible everyday, studies it diligently, and could definitely hold his own talking through these issues with the Pryo Team if he were so inclined.

That being said, I guess I'm trying to figure out what you mean by your example.

Michael Engle said...

With all of this Bible is the only thing talk (which I'm all for), it is quite humorous that the verse this blog is founded upon is wrong. It's Jer. 23:29, not 23:26. :)

Now, march on gentlemen!

michelle said...

By the way, guys, I think you all do a wonderful job. I thank God for your ministry daily.

Sewing said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Austin Bob said...

I always thought that Jeremiah verse was intended to keep us from freezing on the ski lift ... just start reviewing some memorized scripture or something and frostbite is banished.

On another tangent, I think your description of the immanence of the imminent reconciliation between Rome and Canterbury was wonderful!

Sewing said...

Rick:

I know what it looks like, but most of us on this blog came to where we are (if I may be so presumptuous as to speak for others—and I'm only a commenter, and a newbie at that) because we were dissatisfied with the shallowness and hypocricy of many mass-appeal evangelical churches on the one hand, but also the kneejerk lack of critical analysis among some fundamentalist types. The same disillusionment that led you in one direction (taking a look at your blog) led many of us here in a different direction, but nevertheless, we come from a similar starting point.

When this blog's authors launch into excoriating posts, what they're generally referring to are these extremes of the modern evangelical landscape. (Unfortunately, it's these extremes that are the most conspicuous and visible to non-believers or skeptical would-be believers—and these extremes that many or even most believers are stuck in.)

And it's not exactly a denominational issue, since Reformed theology is distinctly Protestant, but within Protestantism transcends denominations (except for Methodism ;) ).

What I mean to say is, most of us ended up where we are only after a lot of long, hard thinking (and as Reformed types, we would say that we set out on our journeys at God's instigation, called by him to try to get to know his Word better), and in some cases (at least my own), a lot of skepticism, disillusionment, etc.

So we have conviction that we're on the right path, but only because of what we had to go through to get to this point, and the dismissals we cast out are not as flippant or as taken lightly or uncritically as it might seem. As fallen, sinful humans, however, we can't ever know exactly the entire truth the way that God sees it; we can only trust him that he is leading us in the right direction.

Rick said...

Michelle,

You're father sounds like a very good guy. My comment about C average high school students who drive bulldozers was a generalization. I apologize for offending you or anyone else. :)

My question is...

Does intellect limit, improve or have no effect on a persons ability to know God?

because...

It seems Christianity has become more of an intellectual belief system than a real time relationship

Rick said...

sewing

I don't have it out for you or the publishers of this blog. I do appreciate your journey and the idea of truth you're pursuing.

I thought you and the others might help me better understand the answers to these questions.

How do we determine truth? Is it an intellectual enterprise or is it something else?

Thanks for your kind and thoughtful response :)

Rick

Sewing said...

Rick:

In reply to your last comment and following up on my last reply to you, as far as I know, we're all "born again" Christians here, meaning at some point we made a conscious decision to living according to God's will for us (a decision that as Reformed types we would say was inevitable anyhow because God had been leading us in that direction...not to be pedantic, but just to be clear). What that means is, all intellectualizing aside, we do try to live each day prayerfully, and with humility (even though it might not seem like it!) and loving kindness. (Again, ultimately, I can only speak for myself, and by no means am I a spokesperson for the blog as a whole.)

P.S.: I would hate to go to a church where IQ levels were an entry criterion. That would be a really boring and tedious place to worship!

Sewing said...

That comment was a reply to your reply to Michelle.

centuri0n said...

Rick:

God's interpretation is the one which is right. The ones who conform to that are the ones who are right.

How do we know which one(s) that is?

In Christ. We know in Christ. Period.

You know: for about 1.5 decades now I have been willing to provide the apologetically-sound answer Dan has provided here, but that answer only confounds you and places you at the mercy of your own muddled view of the world.

I'm providing the answer I have here to throw you a rope, bub. If you really have that kind of trouble reading, you have no real hope of learning anything from anyone -- Bible or otherwise.

Skepticism is fine if it's not turned into an epistemological kevlar vest which stops anything from getting in. Get over it and come back to Jesus.

centuri0n said...

Rick:

I read your second comment now, and while I can't comment on your soteriological state, I can say this about your philosophical state: You are completely lost.

Let me take your hand, if you will allow me, and lead you out of the scary forest and back to Pooh's house for a smackerel of honey.

Imagine, for a moment, that you exists and I exist -- and it turns out that you didn't make me, and I didn't make you. We're not related, and we don't have any common ancestors except Noah, 'k?

Now let's imagine that you and I are sitting in a coffee shop sharing a chat and drinking overpriced beverages. In my pocket I have a letter, and I'm telling you about it -- it's from my son's ball coach, and I tell you that he wrote me how much my son's batting in Rookie league has improved, and that he's going to move up to the top half of the batting order. I'm obviously very proud.

Now, as we chat, Dan Phillips calls my cell phone and tells me he needs to be picked up at the airport, and I take the letter out of my pocket and hand it to you. "Read all about it," I say, "and I'll tell you how proud I am when I get back."

Now, if we adopt your methodology of skepticism, there's no point in reading the letter. Language is just a social convention, and reading the letter -- which wasn't written to you personally, so who can tell if you can get the context -- will be of only marginal use. What would be of use to you would be the conventions between you and I, and whether we have a way of interacting which you find valuable.

And let's be honest: what I say the letter says sounds good -- you could be happy for me and my boy if that's what the letter says.

But, it turns out, you're not really that pomo -- you read the letter. And it goes like this:

Baylor University
Office of University Advancement

Dear Mr. centuri0n;

While he's only a little one, we have been scouting your son in the Rookie league and we think he's got top-flight talent. This letter is our way of telling you that we'd be willing to commit to a full-ride scholarship to him with no strings attached based on his current performance in little league.

Obviously, by NCAA rules, you cannot sign a letter of intent for a child his age. However, we're ready to stand committed to your son's future in college athletics with no strings attached.

We thank you for siring such a young stud. Nice work.

Sincerely,

Baylor University


So I'm driving to the airport to pick up Dan, and you re-read the letter two or three times to make sure you're not losing it.

Now, when I get back, Dan sits down with us and I ask you, "Wha'd ya think? Isn't that good news?"

And you tell me: "Dude, that letter doesn't say anything about your son playing on Sunday. It says he has a scholarship to Baylor because he's such a boss ball player. That's not just good news -- that's like stellar-crazy good news! How can you be hung up on Sunday when this is about, well, your son's whole future?"

"Hey," I say, "I could be dead by the time my son goes to college, but when his coach read that letter he bumped him up in the battling order. So as far as I'm concerned, that letter says he plays in the to-half on Sunday."

Now hear me clearly: the letter doesn't say a darned thing about the batting order on Sunday: it says that my son will have a free ride at Baylor when the right time comes. It is somewhat irrelevant that he will play at all on Sunday, or when he will bat.

And when Sunday comes, you're there in the stands with me, and it turns out that my son's coach forget to change the order and he bats second-to-last. And on Monday, I'm so dejected by that, I call Baylor and I give then a real dressing down for sending me that letter -- it's full of promises that never get kept.

Now: fast-forward a few years to my son's HS graduation. I'm there, you;re there, and Dan flies in and he's there. The boy walks, gets his diploma, and after the ceremony we pose for pictures. While my wife clicks the camera, a guy in business casual comes up -- he looks a little like a sales guy so I don't like him right away.

"Mr. Centuri0n, I'm Guy deSales from Baylor University, and I need you to sign some papers for me so we can get your son's scholarship all squared away."

I look at him rather blankly: I don;t remember the letter because I didn't really believe it anymore and I had thrown it away a long time ago. You, yourself, are speechless. Dan, being the great friend that he is, puts his arm around my shoulder and tells me, "Dude, you may not remember the letter they sent, but I do, and they're here to give your boy a baseball scholarship. It was all in black and white if you had read it, but you were so convinced that the letter gave your boy a short-term right to play in a certain baseball game that you overlooked the complete meaning of the letter, which was about him and about what he is going to do at the appointed time. Shake Mr. deSales' hand and sign his paper and try to remember that this is not about you, but about the boy."

Grateful to Dan, I shake Mr, deSales' hand and sign the papers, and you yourself are a little thunderstruck.

Now, why are you so flabbergasted? You are standing there with your hand over your mouth because it's not about some scrap of paper -- which was true, and had the authority to be true, and which told the truth. And it's not even about Mr. deSales here to give the reward which was promised. It's about the boy, who you have known all these years, being exactly what the paper and the sales guy said he was going to be.

I'd be wary of any using any analogy too much, but this is what Scripture is for -- God says so in Deu 5 & 6: it is so we will not forget who He is and what He is doing. And those who read it to be about something or someone else are off the track.

So we read Scripture in Christ. That is the context. And when you get someone else doing something else, you can tell them that they're wrong. period.

Sewing said...

Frank, where were you 14 years ago when I was reading Waiting for Godot and thinking, "Yeah, 2000 years on and he still hasn't come back"?

Rick said...

centuri0n

"We know in Christ. Period."

How do you and I reconcile differences we both claim to have come from Christ? Is the process an intellectual one of reconciling 'our truth' with scripture or tradition or something else?

"for about 1.5 decades now I have been willing to provide the apologetically-sound answer Dan has provided here, but that answer only confounds you"

I'm sure it makes sense to you but would it make sense to every other person or denomination? Why not? Isn't truth universal? If truth IS universal why has Christianity splintered? What about Christianity causes all the differences in what Christians call truth?

"If you really have that kind of trouble reading, you have no real hope of learning anything from anyone -- Bible or otherwise."

Wow. Surely you gest.

What of the blind, deaf, retarded, unlearned, etc...don't they have the same ability to know truth that you or I do?

"Skepticism is fine"

I'm not a skeptic...I'm concerned and curious about how this works.

Rick said...

Centuri0n

I don't want this to turn argumentitive, so if you sense that, let's just call it quits. :)

"this is what Scripture is for -- God says so in Deu 5 & 6: it is so we will not forget who He is and what He is doing."

If I'm in a relationship with Christ...If Christ is my life...how would I forget who He is and what He is doing?

Maybe scripture is more of a launching pad than a landing strip.

Instead of a reminder doesn't it seem like Christianity uses scripture as a rule book or 'the' truth to follow?...and each denomination or has a separate version of the rules.

centuri0n said...

Sewing:

I was just about then getting saved by a God who should have been tossing me into a lake of fire.

michelle said...

Rick,
Thanks for your response. No offense taken. Just wanted clarification. :o)

A question you asked sparked my interest. You asked: "If I'm in a relationship with Christ...If Christ is my life...how would I forget who He is and what He is doing?"

That's a good question. I ask myself that question everyday. Then I read of how the Israelites, almost immediately after the parting of the Sea and the drowning of Pharoah's army began complaining against God and asking to go back to Egypt.

We are a forgetful lot. I need the reminder of who God is and what's He's doing on a daily basis...otherwise, I am inclined to go my own way. Not that I do not believe...not that I am not "in Christ", but just as Paul in Romans 7, I too wage a war between what I ought to do and what I keep on doing. This is why the proclamation of the Word must be given to beleivers...so that we remind ourselves over and over until He returns, what our hope is...

centuri0n said...

Rick:

I didn't say we getting it by being in Christ. We get it by reading in Christ.

That is: until we stop reading the Bible as it is a disjoined or only loosely-joined collection of bare texts, we can't understand it properly.

That's all I have to say about that. You can read this book if you have more complicated or deeper questions on this subject.

centuri0n said...

I'd also add that just because there are denominations doesn't mean there ought to be in the sense that all of them are mostly right. Many of them are mostly wrong.

Rick said...

centuri0n

Most denominations are mostly wrong because there is only one Truth (i.e. Christ - God) but...that still leaves my question unanswered.

Whose interpretation of scripture is right?

Most would answer 'theirs of course'.

Thanks for putting up with my questions everyone.

Rick

ezekiel said...

Rick,

I hope I can help answer your question.

The interpretation that is correct is the one that the Holy Spirit gives you when you read the WORD. No more... No less. And it will mean different things to different people on any given day because the WORD speaks to specific needs at specific times. He is risen and He communicates through his WORD. It will mean different things to you every time you read Him. Because He is talking to you that day to fit your needs right then.

I would add that you are not going to get the correct interpretation without serious study of the WORD. Meaning read it front to back and then read it again...front to back. As you read it the Holy Spirit will reveal what He wants you to see...that day and it will be spot on...current....relevant for that day, hour, minute. If you ever hear any one tell you that we need to make the WORD relevant for people today....don't walk...run. They do not know anything about the WORD regardless of how many years they have been in seminary.

As to your bull dozer operator example...the word is shallow enough for a child to wade in and deep enough to drown most any trained expert. I have an employee that has read countless times. He is barely literate, and if you ask him to write something down, regardless of how simple, there is a good chance it will be mispelled. But all you have to do is quote a couple of lines and he can tell you the book and the chapter....Jesus, the WORD abides in him and he lives it.

I suggest a good read of John 1. Any relationship with Jesus has to be a relationship with the WORD. Abide in Him and He will abide in you. God Bless. Pick up your copy today. ESV is a great place to start. For those that have trouble reading...He is on tape, CD's and you can even put Him on an ipod....

centuri0n said...

Rick:

Your question ignores my answer. Christ didn't found any denominations, in spite of what some baptists believe.

Jeri said...

Frank: "I don't want that to sound too, um, self-important"

Then please, Frank, erase and start over. It reeks of self-importance.