19 March 2010

While you're waiting, a brief thought on preaching

by Dan Phillips

Remember: Scripture meant one thing before you were born, means the same now, and will mean the same, should you die.


Preach that meaning.

(I Tweeted this yesterday)

Dan Phillips's signature


57 comments:

mike said...

I love you man.

Chuck said...

Next!

Kevin Jackson said...

Amen! Preach it, brother!

misty said...

Brief, but stunningly profound, Dan! Amen!

God's Word is eternal, therefore it is always relevent...in it's original and eternal meaning.

"Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away."

The Blainemonster said...

BOOM. There it is. Printed and taped to my desk.

Phil (the Doulos) said...

And I re-Tweeted it yesterday as well. One of those succinct statements that makes me think, "Why can't I say stuff like that?" But I don't have to, cuz Dan does...

Jon said...

I remember MacArthur quoting something close to that in one of his sermons or books or something.

It pretty much destroys the PoMo definitions of Christianity. I wonder how they would try and redefine THAT statement to not mean what it means.

DJP said...

MacArthur's always ripping off my best stuff. It's a real problem.

chrish said...

Larry Norman (remember him?) used to say before playing certain songs things like, "Keith Green wrote this song, and I like it, so I wrote it too."

Do you and John MacArthur have a similar relationship? :P

deekdubberly said...

Amen, amen, amen, and amen! Love it. I will steal it and use it. Thank you. :)

The Bible Christian said...

Amen Brother

Mike B. said...

This comment is probably not going to be productive, but I can't help but point out that that's not how the New Testament writers saw it. The meaning that it had to them was many times NOT the meaning that it had when it was written.

Nor is this how scripture was preached by Christians since the beginning of Christianity until the reformation.

That the historical meaning of the text is the only meaning of the text is a very modern sensibility and is not borne out by practices inner-biblical exegesis, let alone the practices of the religious communities that adopted these books as canonical.

David said...

Aaaaand the comment thread prepares to exploooooode!

...me said...

...this truth gives me great confidence every single day!!!

DJP said...

Well then, Mike, applying the principle that the brute force of your words would seem to imply on those words themselves...

...I interpret you as saying that you are in full agreement with the post.

Thanks!

Kim said...

This needs a "like" option like FB.

Phil (the Doulos) said...

It's never a good sign when a comment begins with "This comment is probably not going to be productive, but..."

Isn't that the Inigo Montoya hermeneutical method? "I do not think that word means what you think it means." Inconceivable!

David Rudd said...

so, dan, you agree with mike b?

DJP said...

That Scripture meant one thing before you were born, means the same now, and will mean the same, should we die, and that we should preach that meaning?

Sure do!

The Bible Christian said...

As Dr.MacArthur puts it

The meaning of the text is the text… it doesn’t matter what it means to you… what does it mean if you were dead… what did the original author intend it to mean.

I always say regarding the text… It is what it is… it means what it means.

TruthMatters said...

The OT Sriptures with "2 meanings" is not like those who say "well, TO ME this passage is saying...". Those OT passages, such as "you shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain"... do indeed have 2 meanings, but both meanings were given by God! To those under the Law it was to be taken litteraly, to us it assumes a different meaning as is given by the APOSTLE Paul (as opposed to Joe Blow pastor/teacher trying to show what deep meanings he can pull out of a particular passage) in 1Cor.9.

David Rudd said...

dan,

why not engage him instead of smugly "NEXT"ing him?

it's not as if he's spouting some foreign, never before heard ideas.

explain why he's wrong.

DJP said...

I think I've responded sufficiently at this point, David.

Is there something preventing you from contributing what you think is missing? Or is complaining pretty much your contribution?

Frank Turk said...

Dan is really mad at me that I can't get a twitter feed for him to work in the sidebar.

DJP said...

No, I'm just really mad that Frank has like 47 times more followers than I do.

Charles E. Whisnant said...

It seems I am quoting Dan as much as MacArthur. And preaching is teaching the scriptures as it has been since God had it written. That is the task of preaching. Thanks.

David Rudd said...

Dan,

I hope you can hear this in the spirit with which it is meant.

You have a lot to contribute to the intellectual growth of people. You have a unique ability to communicate lofty truths in terms many can understand.

However, in recent months I feel that (in the comments mostly, but also with the whole NEXT thing), you've chosen to regularly not engage those who either disagree or have legitimate questions. Opting instead to simply "refer back" to your previous words, as if anyone who didn't get it there isn't worth your time.

On this particular post, I think the principle behind your words is a great truth. But, as is often the case when we aim for brevity and use absolute terminology, there are some reasonable questions that need fleshing out.

While the lemming-like agreement in most of the comment thread is nice, Mike B. raised a reasonable question (he even acknowledged that he was taking a minority view).

I know it's easier to snap back with a clever response which will garner a golf clap from the gallery, but why not strengthen what you've already said by addressing his concerns?

In the end, the worst thing you'll do is help everyone else better understand the original post.

fwiw, i think Mike gives a great opportunity to rephrase the words of your original statement in a way that is more robust and closer to reality.

DJP said...

Or, more briefly: just complain.

I also note and reject your insult of the other commenters. Not all share your driving need to bestow dignity on inane notions. And that's really, really OK.

Mike Riccardi said...

Maybe it would be helpful if Mike B offered an example to work with.

...me said...

"...lemming-like agreement?"
David...I would like to clarify something: I am a sheep! (and joyfully so!) who listens closely for the voice of the Good Shepherd. When I hear His voice I follow him because I know that he loves me and that I am safe forever in His care ~ I am not looking for "intellectual growth" but to be transformed by the renewing of my mind! Alles klar?

misty said...

I didn’t like the “lemming” comment, either.

Regarding the meaning of Scripture, remember that the Bible is a progressive revelation. It’s all God’s Word, He meant what He said when He said it, the meaning doesn’t change, but God distributed His revelation over a period of time. The OT is full of types and shadows – like the killing of bulls and goats as sacrifices for sin. The fullness of God’s revelation regarding these practices does not come until later on in the NT.

When the writer of the book of Hebrews reveals that we no longer need to kill bulls and goats (because those never could truly pay for sins and no OT writer claimed they did – they were just a foreshadowing), he is not re-interpreting or redefining OT Scripture. He is not saying, “Moses may have interpreted that this way, but now I see it a totally different way.” God revealed to the Hebrews writer that the fullness, the completeness is Christ Jesus. He is the perfect Sacrifice providing the forgiveness of sins once for all. He is what the killing of bulls and goats was pointing to. Therefore, we can now stop killing bulls and goats.

The OT and NT passages all retain their original meanings (it wasn’t wrong for the OT guys to kill bulls and goats). They are all Scripture, just progressively revealed.

Now the canon is closed; Christ has come; the plan of salvation has been fully revealed. If anyone adds to what has been written, the horrible plagues in Revelation will be added to them.

Mike B. said...

I suppose I deserved that for what was, in many ways, a drive-by shooting.

Let me give some context.

I'm just completing two seminary degrees (not going to be a pastor, don't worry), and I have been continually struck with the irony that the manner in which we are taught to interpret the scriptures (i.e. the grammatico-historical/historical critical method)is not in any way the manner in which the scriptures interpret themselves.

Nor do I really buy the idea that the apostles were the only ones with the legitimate right to practice such reinterpretations when everyone in their environment did it! And even if we do sanctify only the apostolic hermeneutic (even if was precisely the same as the rest of 2nd-temple Judaism), then we have to admit with them that the text has more than one meaning.

Look. I consider myself to be "scholarly". I fully believe that the historical meaning of the text is its "real" meaning. And I think that for Protestantism to adopt this approach is a very sensible solution to a very real problem. Without the authority of the magisterium, emphasizing a highly literal and grammatical approach was the only way to avoid total chaos in Biblical interpretation (although, I would argue that it still hasn't really worked).

But how do we justify making assertions like the one you made originally, when the very people whose words you are preaching would have disagreed with your assertion?

I think that the issue that I have raised is a very serious and damning one for our movement, and one to which I have yet to see an adequate response.

I think that we have gotten away with this for so long because the idea that scripture has only one meaning located in authorial intent seems sensible to modern people, but as you are no doubt aware, this is increasingly no longer the case in our post-modern world. We can no longer expect that statements like the one you have made will seem obvious and be taken for granted.

Now granted, the idea that the meaning of a text is located in the reader rather than some kind of divine intent is a new invention as well. But this breakdown of the assumptions which we have so long brought to the text has to be answered with more than just a stubborn reassertion of an idea that isn't even supported by the text to which we appeal.

I don't have an answer. Do you?

Finally, your comeback doesn't stick because ancient people did not apply this approach to ALL texts. Just to ones they considered scripture. They weren't just hearing whatever they wanted to hear anywhere, but they believed that a divinely-inspired text carried meaning and messages beyond that of any normal document in ways that no other document would. My words mean what I intend them to mean, and you are supposed to interpret them that way. The the same restriction does not apply to "God's words."


Let's face it. If you're living in 1st-century Palestine, there's no way Isaiah of Jerusalem can be relevant to you UNLESS you reinterpret it to apply to your current situation. The apostles did it. The Qumran community did it and they really believed that the meaning they applied to it was the

Mike B. said...

Ignore that last paragraph of my comment = forgot to delete a line of thought that wasn't going anywhere.

donsands said...

"I don't have an answer. Do you?"

I like to say, "If God Himself were to come down and speak to us, His words would be no more powerful than the Bible."

That is a great quote by Dan. Jesus prayed the Father to set us apart by His truth, which is the Word; the Bible.

Have a blessed Lord's day!

donsands said...

I thought of these words from JC Ryle, which also commend Dan's excellent quote, I think. So without further eloquence.


"..He [Jesus] lays down the great principle, "the Scripture can not be broken." (John 10:35)
It is as though He said, "Wherever the Scripture speaks plainly on any subject, there can be no more question about it. The cause is settled and decided. Every jot and tittle of Scripture is true, and must be received as conclusive."

The principle here laid down by our Lord is one of vast importance. Let us grasp it firmly, and never let it go. Let us maintain boldly the complete inspiration of every Word of the original Hebrew and Greek Scriptures." Bishop John Charles Ryle

DJP said...

My response, Mike B, would be simply an expansion of my original response. I categorically reject your premise. There is no warrant for such a facile distinction. The apostles drew multiple implications, but they arose from a single meaning.

Every PoMo advocate of textual placticity does exactly as you do: "The words of Scripture are malleable and nebulous — but everything I say is pellucid and singular. Including my denial of the perspicuity of Scripture!"

I won't let you just shrug that off. If you insist that this is the way to approach the most important of books, I'll insist that is equally the way to approach your words. You can't have it both ways. Not here, anyway; maybe in the sandbox of academia, but not here.

God spoke to the fathers in the prophets (Hebrews 1:1). He did not secret-code to others, before the baffled and uncomprehending faces of the fathers.

Take a difficult passage: 1 Corinthians 9:9ff., citing Deuteronomy 25:4. Is Paul saying that Moses didn't really mean not to muzzle oxen? Or was he not bringing out a legitimate humanitarian inference from the univocal text? There are various ways of taking the text, but it is far from opaque. The application is right in line with its single meaning.

So a virgin is a virgin, Bethlehem is Bethelem, a donkey is a donkey, Jerusalem is Jerusalem, and words are what they signify to the author. Difficult passages no more undo this fundamental and indispensable truth than tornadoes undo the goodness of God.

Luke said...

Mike B.

I think there is a vast difference between applying the Bible and reinterpreting it. To apply, one must find the principle which the passage teaches and then realign his life around the principle to come in line with Scripture.

Your example of the NT authors reinterpreting the Old happened a lot with prophecy. Peter spoke about this, "10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look." (1 Pe 1:10–12, ESV)

The OT prophets did not always know to what exactly their prophecies pointed, which Peter makes clear. The NT authors would point out how these prophecies pointed to the NT reality.

Thanks.

allen said...

Mike B.--I reinterpret your words to mean you are going to be a pastor and we should worry.
Well you would make a desirable pastor for a lot of modern churches --2 Seminary degrees, consider yourself scholarly, but "dont have an answer" about what to do with scripture.
If you would post your response on other blogs you would most likely get a call or two before day's end requesting a trial sermon and interview.
Feel free to reinterpret my words howsoever you like.

DJP said...

Allen, several good points.

And perhaps I should have noted earlier: it would be a bit disheartening if someone were to read this blog longer than a few weeks and still seem unclear as to its [insert French phrase for "reason to exist"].

This is not an RPB.

There are lots of RPBs, however; a couple are even in our list to the right. There, the lamest and most harmful idea can expect a respectful reception and tea-cup clinking, raised-pinkie conversation. Only those to the right would be reproved at such tearooms.

This isn't that. We see 2 Corinthians 10:5 as still relevant.

allen said...

Dan-
This is why my favorite blog of all is this one. Thank you (and Phil and Frank) for your proven loyalty to the Glorious Captain by not shrinking back in battle.
"Fight hard"-Jude 3

Mike Riccardi said...

I just find it amazingly unhelpful to get all squirmy as you assert, "The apostles did it! 2nd-Temple Jews did it! Everybody did it!" and never give an example of what they did.

This means that anybody who would actually thoroughly refute your (mere) assertion would have to write a commentary on the NT use of the OT and show in each instance that there is a single static meaning/interpretation applied to various peoples, individuals, and situations throughout history. The problem is, the burden of proof isn't on historic Christianity, it's on you.

Mike B. said...

Okay.
First of all, I am not saying that the meaning of scripture is plastic and malleable to whatever one's purposes might be. As I said before, I am firmly committed to the historical-critical analysis of the Bible.

The fact is, though, that no matter how hard you try, some pieces of scripture become obsolete from a practical standpoint. Both Christianity and Judaism realize this. This is particularly true of the Old Testament. Where particular laws of the Torah are no longer applicable due to the destruction of the Temple and diaspora, they require reinterpretation in order to make them relevant. Where prophetic the prophetic utterances of Isaiah referred to the period of Assyrian ascendancy, they needed reinterpretation in order to make them relevant to any period after that. Where the seven hills on which the whore of Babylon sits are a clear reference to the Roman Empire, for many modern interpreters, they become representative of the Vatican or of some other unnamed terror.

My point is that the process begins within the composition of the Bible and continues to the present day. Novel exegesis of texts is our heritage, one that we have abandoned in favor of a more “scientific” approach because we don’t have the controlling influence of tradition as do Judaism and Roman Catholicism. We have had to pursue different avenues (such as drawing out general principles) in order to maintain the relevance of scriptures for the present day.

Now let me be fair. It is not that scriptural authors ALWAYS ignored the plain meaning of the text. It is rather that they did not always follow it. Nor do I think that they always believed that they were pursuing the idea of multiple meanings within the text. Sometimes they were just making multiple applications. More often, I think, they were convinced that the reinterpretation they were providing WAS the single meaning of the text. The real meaning as it were. While they did have the idea that there was a “plain” meaning to the text, this was not always the historical one. Unlike modern interpreters who have had to result to ideas like sensus plenior in order to simultaneously uphold the historical meaning of texts and their apostolic interpretation.

(cont.)

Mike B. said...

I believe that scripture means what it did in its original context. My problem is that I am caught in a contradiction when I want to affirm a text in which people were, in fact, forcing meanings upon earlier texts that did not have them before. Again, not all the time, but often enough that it is troubling. You say that Jerusalem is Jerusalem. But it is not always. Certainly not for Paul in Galatians 4. There are two Jerusalems. One on earth and one in heaven. Ishmael represents present Jerusalem and the Sinai covenant. Isaac represents the heavenly Jerusalem and her children who are free from the law. This goes beyond mere allegory (which is itself a method of interpreting scripture that we are taught to reject). Paul really does mean to place his followers in the spiritual line of Isaac, and make his fellow Jews who have rejected Christ into the line of Ishmael. What is the purpose of the patriarchal narratives for a Jew other than to place himself in continuity with the lineage and promises contained therein. This is not just drawing out multiple implications? This is changing the implications. For Paul, this is what it really means.

Final comment: I still don't think that you are right to insist that I am being inconsistent for two reasons:

1.) First of all, I never suggested that the meaning of scripture was malleable, only that it has been treated that way for thousands of years. And what it has come to mean for us Christians is already not what it meant in ancient times. I'm not talking about what I affirm. I'm talking about what others have affirmed.

2.) Given the above, I want to reiterate, that these others, the writers of the New Testament and other 1st-century interpreters did not believe that language was itself ambiguous and therefore malleable, but rather that God's word was so deep that a simple surface reading of the text did not exhaust its meaning(s).

I'm not just trying to be snarky. This is an issue that has caused me a fair bit of internal conflict. I feel that if I am to affirm your initial statement, then I am caught in self-contradiction. It's one of the reasons that I'm not comfortable with being a pastor or preaching. You can't condemn novel approaches to the scripture when your own approach is only slightly less novel.

DJP said...

Except that my approach very self-consciously is not novel. To the best of my ability, I pattern it after Christ and the apostles (as I work out at more length here.

If we don't insist on and stick with that reality, then Christ's charge against the Pharisees is emptied of meaning and force (John 5:45-47).

Now (also not intended to be snarky), since most of what you say is sheer assertion, I will dismiss most of it similarly by saying "Is not." There.

As to your specific, Galatians 4, you've definitely chosen a crux interpretum. But it doesn't really advance your case. Whatever one makes of it, Paul says, "this may be interpreted allegorically" (4:24).

By making that specific note in this specific passage about this specific Scripture, Paul signals that the rest of the time his reading of Scripture is not (whatever he means by) "allegorically." So the one openly-labeled exception hardly jostles the overwhelming rule.

If you want to talk about depths, valid inferences, and applications, I'm there with you. But re-interpretations? There you part company with Christ and the apostles, and (of infinitely less import) with me as well.

DJP said...

Except that my approach very self-consciously is not novel. To the best of my ability, I pattern it after Christ and the apostles (as I work out at more length here).

If we don't insist on and stick with that reality, then Christ's charge against the Pharisees is emptied of meaning and force (John 5:45-47).

Now (also not intended to be snarky), since most of what you say is sheer assertion, I will dismiss most of it similarly by saying "Is not." There.

As to your specific, Galatians 4, you've definitely chosen a crux interpretum. But it doesn't really advance your case. Whatever one makes of it, Paul says, "this may be interpreted allegorically" (4:24).

By making that specific note in this specific passage about this specific Scripture, Paul signals that the rest of the time his reading of Scripture is not (whatever he means by) "allegorically." So the one openly-labeled exception hardly jostles the overwhelming rule.

If you want to talk about depths, valid inferences, and applications, I'm there with you. But re-interpretations? There you part company with Christ and the apostles, and (of infinitely less import) with me as well.

Mike B. said...

I think that's probably a good stopping point. But I appreciate your later responses which were more substantive and increasingly more respectful.

I'll take a look at your essay on interpretation.

I have made a lot of assertions, but there has been a lot of literature written on this and so I don't feel obligated when commenting (already in probably an annoying level of detail) to such a short and simple post. I hope that you do appreciate that this issue is a topic of much debate, not only in the academic "sandbox" as you put it, but among evangelicals as well (for example, in the whole sensus plenior debate).

I realize that it's a matter of debate, but I believe that apostolic interpretation is best understood when it is located within its context in 2nd-Temple Jewish literature, and not when we assume that the apostles followed the same rules of interpretation imposed by a modern, historical reading of the text. Why would they?

Let me respond briefly to Mike Riccardi's comment:

Lest I not give appropriate stage time to the opposing side, let me point out that the commentary of which you speak, has actually already been made.

http://www.amazon.com/Commentary-New-Testament-Use-Old/dp/0801026938

Greg Beale and D.A. Carson have put together a commentary that deals exhaustively with every instance of Old Testament Quotation or allusion in the New Testament. They come at it attempting to demonstrate that apostolic interpretation was not atomistic and non-contextual, but rather is sensitive to the original meaning of the text.

As you probably can already guess, I don't think they entirely succeed, but it is a monumental work and a very useful resource nonetheless.

But I think the existence of this commentary actually refutes your point, that the burden of proof is on people like myself and not on historical Christianity (by which, I assume you mean historical Protestant Christianity).

The natural assumption for any historian reading the text is to locate apostolic interpretation within the larger matrix of ancient Jewish interpretation of scripture, which, while not always non-contextual, is at least creative as a rule. Thus the burden of proof is, in fact, on people such as Beale who assert that the apostolic treatment of scripture is contextually sensitive and at least closer to what we would consider to be "good exegesis" as it is taught in our seminaries.

It is for that reason that they felt compelled to write this exhaustive commentary.

love God... said...

Mike B.

Please forgive me and I sincerely hope your not offended but I need to ask you. Do you believe? What say ye concerning Christ? Have you believed God...or not so much?

http://www.albertmohler.com/2010/03/18/clergy-who-dont-believe-the-scandal-of-apostate-pastors/

David Rudd said...

thanks, Dan.

Mike Riccardi said...

Mike B.,

I knew of the commentary. It's on my Amazon wishlist. I guess I should have just said, "You're wrong, see Carson & Beale."

I don't think that just because such a commentary exists means that the burden of proof is on those who hold their position. They could just want to articulate for critics what they believe to be the Biblical position is.

So are you sure that "it is for that reason that they felt compelled to write this exhaustive commentary"? Is that in the preface? I don't know. I don't have the book yet.

By the way, what seminary did you go to?

mike said...

Love God,
you asked Mike B. if he believes, the philosophy and line of reason that he has been pointing to makes him (or anyone willing) the ultimate determiner of truth. my guess is, YES he believes whatever he has decided is true.

David Rudd,
often if the kids play in the yard, they track in all manner of who knows what. i notice that my wife does not bother to sift through it all looking for any hint of value, she just sweeps it up and throws it back ourside. it makes sense to me.

Mike B. sounds a lot like rob bell and all the other big tent guys who run around rewriting history as fast as possible, and are comfortable with repeating any line until it becomes accepted.

remaking God in man's image does not seem profitable to me, but who am I.

David Rudd said...

mike,

I know rob bell. i've spent time with rob bell. i've been to rob bell's church.

mike b. is no rob bell.

(and i mean that in a good way)


*endnote crediting lloyd benson.

Mike B. said...

I think this comment thread is basically dead, and I do feel a little bit guilty for "exploding" the discussion as much as I did. But I'll make one final comment.

I think that by disagreeing with Dan in my initial comment I opened myself up to being pigeon-holed with the Post-Modernist reader-response type interpreters to whom the post was initially directed.

I should have suspected that this is what was going on when Dan characterized my comments as "inane notions," a surprising comment since the nature of apostolic interpretation is a topic of great debate even in evangelical circles, as I have already pointed out.

In any case, this is not my position. As I have said, the idea that the reader shapes the meaning of scripture or that the meaning of scripture changes over time is a new idea and is NOT supported by apostolic exegesis or any historical Christian or Jewish interpretation of the Bible. Historical Biblical interpretation has always been in some sense, "exegetical," in that it is attempting to draw out the meaning or meanings that God intended it to have.

I consciously avoided making any comments about how WE should interpret the Bible because I am not really sure how the views that I have presented impact that practice.

I'm not trying to stir up trouble. I'm trying to stir up thought on the issue. Obviously, if you are convinced that the apostles were doing nothing but drawing out the plain meaning of the text and its implications, then there is no conflict. But if you are willing to accept the fairly common-sense fact that they read the Bible as first-century Jews, then you have to reconcile this with the fact that you don't.

It's a source of cognitive dissonance for me, but apparently not for anyone else on this blog, so I'll let it be.

Responding to specifics. No, the existence of the Beale-Carson commentary doesn't prove my point in itself. But Mike Riccardi had suggested that my assertions were so ambiguous that it would take such a commentary in order to prove them wrong. Rather, I am suggesting that my general comments are reflective of a much larger debate on an issue that is by no means settled, and that Beale's position indeed requires a great deal of specific exposition in order to establish. After all, we can all point to examples where the apostles seem to respect the plain sense of the text and places in which they don't. If you want to prove that they exclusively practiced contextual exegesis, then the burden of proof is on you. Greg Beale realizes this and has had to expend a great deal of intellectual effort to establish his position.

As far as my seminary goes, I would like to leave my school out of this particular controversy. It is a fairly typical evangelical seminary and there are professors there who would partially agree with me, fully agree with me, and completely disagree. As I said, it's a complex issue with a lot of sides. That's all I'll say.

As for myself, I suppose I'm what you'd call a conflicted evangelical. I'm not offering answers, not because I think that questions are better than answers or that certainty is bad, or anything like that, but simply because I don't have them.

So I would appreciate not being automatically labeled the enemy just because I suggested that Dan Phillips might be wrong.

That is all.

allen said...

Mike B.
Do you possess any bed-rock convictions concerning the Bible? All your posts suggest practically nothing but uncertainty,questions,conflicts,etc.

1."Thus saith the Lord" (prophets,apostles/"holy men of old" who were carried along by the Spirit as they wrote scripture that is timeless and applicable for all believers of all places and all times)
VS
2."Yea, hath God said.." (satan, false prophets, self-appointed critics, scoffers, apostates, agnostics,etc.)

These 2 opposite views of scripture have far reaching implications, as I'm sure you know.

Barbara said...

Wow.

I rememember a couple of years ago, I fell at the feet of God in utter numb/dead/brokenness, wanting with everything in me to refuse to believe in Him anymore, but knowing that He was there, and I fell there prepared for death, but hoping for mercy, with five words: "I'm done. It's your call."

Up to that point I had lodged every intellectual fireball I could find in my college-educated internet-surfing arsenal at the actual WORD of God, and managed to delude myself into a comfortable discomfort with it and with my life.

But He caused me to fall at His feet in resignation, and from there I began to seek Him in truth, whatever that would mean. I gathered He had called me for some reason, I told Him in prayer, but if I'm going to follow Him, I don't want to follow a lie. I want to know Him in truth.

And He was faithful, as always. The Word began to open up and confront and comfort and convict and feed and nourish and teach and fill and lead to deeper understanding and heights of praise. The hunger and thirst for the word - not as a dry, picking-apart cerebral exercise, but as Truth, received as a child receives instruction from her father, seeking to know and understand and willing to accept what I do not understand, asking God to teach me and humbly waiting on Him for the answer, prepared (by His grace, not of my own) to bend the knee to whatever it may be - and He is so faithful to lead me back into the Truth of His word, because it IS living and it IS active and it DOES separate down to the bone and marrow and make new, even as the seed by which the new babe in Christ is conceived, the milk upon which he or she suckles, and the meat upon which the older child gnaws and feeds.

And I thank GOD for the faithful expositors and teachers of His precious written word, upon which the image of the Incarnate Word is borne. And I weep and pray for those who pick apart letters at the expense of the Spirit of it - that same Spirit which is promised to lead us into all Truth, right back into His Word.

Jesus Christ - the Word of God (John 1, Rev. 19) - is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Period.

Scott said...

It always has, but men think otherwise that is why he is alway changing it, and redefining it, YOU MAY WANT TO LOOK INTO THE MIRROR.

Brian said...

I agree completely with the original post, but good grief, you guys can turn anyone into a conviction-less, emergent, champion of unbelief. Anyone who reads Ephesians 4:8 and doesn't at least raise questions as to how Paul's re-wording of Psalm 68:18 squares with grammatical-historical exegesis simply is wrestling enough with the text. To admit not having this figured out is a far cry from putting on think-rimmed glasses and reinterpreting the Gospel in postmodern terms. Give the guy a break.

Brian said...

Whoops. I meant to say "simply isn't wrestling enough..."