Quote of the Day: Inerrancy v. Inspiration (Joel Stephen Williams)

From the conclusion of the matter:

Positive statements about the usefulness of the Scriptures in instructing mankind for salvation affirm more about the Bible than a negative statement that it is without error. The Bible is not the ultimate end. Instead, it is a witness to God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit. As John the Baptist pointed toward Christ, the Bible is a witness pointing toward God. A witness is not identical with that to which it attests. The Bible stands under the authority of God. By calling the Bible a witness, the emphasis is placed on God as the end, with the Bible as the means to that end. The Bible is revelatory as it points toward the will and nature of God. God is infallible and the word of God that we learn from the Bible will thus be infallible, but the two should not be confused. The Bible is our final court of appeal in this world, since it is the written document which records God’s historical revelation of his will to man, especially in Jesus Christ, but the Bible’s authority derives from God. In this context the truth claims of the Bible should be examined and accepted.

Inerrancy, Inspiration, and Dictation.

An Uncontrollable Urge to Scorn.

This research considers people who live in the so called Bible Belt as “Conservative Christians” and also “implies” that anyone who identifies themselves as Religious Conservative, really is any or both… So, if I live near gold mines on in a gold mining area, that makes me a nugget!

How  different are these researchers from ISIS when they say that everyone who lives in America, or every American, just by living in America or being in American, or just by living in the West, is an enemy of Islam?

Now, the reason men may resort to internet porn in the Bible Belt is perhaps because there are less whores and promiscuous women there… So, I can also draw unreasonable conclusions judging by the way a geographical area is identified.

Aware that I am disseminating sheer stupidity, and an uncontrollable urge to scorn those who are genuinely Christians, read here

“The hypocrisy common across the conservatives parties and movements is that while demanding the the government stay out of your hospital and your gun cabinet, they are forcing the government into your bedroom.”

Yeah, the hypocrisy, unfortunately, is of the non-conservatives who do not want conservative governments in their bedroom but want conservative governments and everyone else to pay for aids that they use mainly when they are having sex in their bedroom, thus inviting ALL to their bedroom while saying they wish not them to be there… Oh, I forgot, non-conservatives don’t have sex in bedrooms…

a few links for Protestants who have no idea about #synod14 but feel compelled to open mouth and remove all doubt

English: Johannes de Campo, St. Peter, a Saint...

English: Johannes de Campo, St. Peter, a Saint Pope, St. Francis, fresco, XV century, Oratorio di San Pantaleone, Boccioleto (VC), Italy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First, start here.

Yes, there’s chaos, but this too shall pass. Ignore the alarmists. Anyone who disrupts a Christ-centered peace is doing someone else’s work, not Christ’s. Read Church history. We have always been a rather muddled mess. That’s what proves the Church is divinely instituted. No merely human institution could withstand humanity and all its foibles as long as the Church has.

Second, go here.

Only Group B responded to the section of the report on homosexuals. It notes that the church “must continue to promote the revealed nature of marriage as always between one man and one woman united in lifelong, life-giving, and faithful communion.” Gay people should find within the church “a home where, with everyone else, they hear the call of Jesus to follow him in fidelity to the truth, to receive his grace to do so, and his mercy when they fail.”

Reporters at the synod were thrown into confusion when the English translation of the relatio was changed from “welcoming” homosexuals to “providing for” them. No explanation was given for this change that clearly was not an accurate translation of “accogliere in the official Italian. It appears that some of the English-speaking bishops got the secretariat of the synod to change the translation.

You can read more about the various proposals by English-speaking groups here.

Finally, Cardinal Kasper, who gave a homily in honor of John Wesley’s 300th birthday, is under fire. Essentially, he said there are different taboos at work in the Synod. In Africa, as he points out, homosexuality is often something not discussed. It goes without saying that Uganda, under influence of colonizing white Evangelicals, has discussed it – urging death to gays. This is not the only discourse available, but his point is taken.

Now, for Protestants who have no clue about the formation of Catholic moral law, how synods work, or pretty much how theology and doctrine work, well… they can go kiss the back of the Amblyopsis hoosieri‘s head.

By the way, the Cardinal that started this bit and the one who first clashed, heavily with Cardinal Kasper and through Kasper Pope Francis has been ousted.

Dare you withhold Apportionments? Indeed, I dare you. #UMC

English:

You wanna hurt the global mission of the United Methodist Church? Bring.it.On. English: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is a move, a threat, something akin to civil disobedience (if we must bring secular methods into the sectarian realm), unfolding before us. Various pastors, leaders of the fringes, have threatened to withhold apportionments if the United Methodist Church does not turn, or return, their way.

For those not blessed with this connexion, let me explain. Apportionments are not organizational dues. Congregations do not pay to belong to the United Methodist Association or Convention, but have a responsibility as stations of the United Methodist Church. This apportionment goes to support the global missions of the United Methodist Church in various ways, beginning with the Annual Conference and all that it takes to support it (including Bishops, etc…).

There are three particular paragraphs I want to call your attention to:

¶ 622. When the apportionments for bishops, district superintendents, conference claimants, and the Equitable Compensation Fund for the several districts and charges have been determined, payments made to the same in each pastoral charge shall be exactly proportional to the amount paid on the clergy base compensation (¶ 818.3). The treasurer or treasurers of each pastoral charge shall accordingly make proportional distribution of the funds raised in that charge for the support of the ordained ministry and shall remit monthly if practicable and quarterly at the latest the items for bishops, district superintendents, conference claimants, and the Equitable Compensation Fund to the proper treasurer or treasurers.

¶ 639.4. Proportional Payment—The board shall compare the records of the amounts paid by each pastoral charge for the support of pastors and for pension and benefit programs, computing the proportional distribution thereof and keeping a permanent record of defaults of the churches of the conference that have failed to observe the following provisions pertaining to proportional payment, and shall render annually to each church that is in default a statement of the amounts in default for that and preceding years.

  • a) When the apportionment to the pastoral charges for the pension and benefit program of the annual conference has been determined, payments made thereon by each pastoral charge shall be exactly proportionate to payments made on the salary or salaries of the ordained minister or clergy serving it.

¶ 818.3. Proportionality—The amount apportioned to a charge for the Episcopal Fund shall be paid in the same proportion as the charge pays its pastor (see also ¶ 622).

To sum, I quote the Oklahoma Annual Conference, which places on their budget this statement:

Items must be paid in an amount proportional to the amount paid on the pastor’s support, as required in Paragraphs 622, 639.4, and 818.3 of the 2012 Discipline. If the pastor is paid 100% of salary and support, then these items must be paid 100%.

In other words, if the apportionment is paid 70%, then the pastor can only receive 70% of his or her salary/support. If the apportionment is withheld completely, then pastors are going to work for free. This is a penalty of sorts imposed by the Book of Discipline. This should not even need a trial.

For examples of those withholding, or threatening to withhold apportionments, see here, here, here, here, and here. Others have graciously addressed the folly of such a move. Some don’t quite get who should pay, but they don’t get a lot as it were. Others, who I refuse to link to because of their habit of  misappropriating narratives and abusing others, criticize the move, but fail to note the penalty. I don’t find this particularly ironic given their sense of justice is usually some form of white savior universalism.

Granted, others may have noted it – and I may have missed it. If I have, then I guess we’ll just restart the conversation.

But, I want to call attention to the penalty of withholding the apportionment, especially as we move into 2016. Pastors who withhold apportionments should have, if they are serious about following the Book of Discipline — and likewise, if we are intent on enforcing it — have their salaries likewise withheld.1 I propose that we begin to enforce this part of the Book of Discipline now. .

Perhaps, we can look at those who repeatedly miss these covenantal responsibilities, examine their expenditures and consider how seriously we want to enforce the Book of Discipline.

What sayeth ye? Do we enforce the Book of Discipline or not?

 

 

  1. I define “withhold” as purposely not paying apportionment as a sign of protest, not because you failed to meet it due to budgetary issues.

Two new Greek Geek Books in November (@kregelacademic and @bakeracademic)

An up-to-date commentary on all the significant manuscripts and textual variants of the New Testament

This small and insightful volume is an essential resource for the committed student of Greek New Testament. Using the same trim size as UBS and NA28 Greek New Testaments, this reference commentary, based on the latest research, is designed to aid the reader in understanding the textual reliability, variants, and translation issues for each passage in the New Testament.

Unlike any other commentary, this volume contains commentary on actual manuscripts rather than a single version of the Greek New Testament. There are nearly 6,000 existing manuscripts, and just as many textual variants, with thousands of manuscripts having been discovered since the time of the King James Version. This commentary is filled with notes on significant textual variants between these manuscripts.

And

This in-depth yet student-friendly introduction to Koine Greek provides a full grounding in Greek grammar, while starting to build skill in the use of exegetical tools. The approach, informed by twenty-five years of classroom teaching, emphasizes reading Greek for comprehension as opposed to merely translating it. The workbook is integrated into the textbook, enabling students to encounter real examples as they learn each new concept. The book covers not only New Testament Greek but also the wider range of Bible-related Greek (LXX and other Koine texts). It introduces students to reference tools for biblical Greek, includes tips on learning, and is supplemented by robust web-based resources through Baker Academic’s Textbook eSources, offering course help for professors and study aids for students.

A mental disease? #transgender

Dr. Paul R. McHugh

Dr. Paul R. McHugh

“…transgenderism is a “mental disorder” that merits treatment, that sex change is “biologically impossible,” and that people who promote sexual reassignment surgery are collaborating with and promoting a mental disorder.”

(Former psychiatrist-in-chief for Johns Hopkins Hospital and its current Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry)

Well, this guy is a doctor on the subject… So, don’t kill the messenger!

read more here

William Law on the effects of a church decree

Benjamin Hoadly by Sarah Hoadly

This guy is being laughed at by Zwingli. Just imagine that scene. Benjamin Hoadly by Sarah Hoadly (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Basically, and help me if this sounds familiar, the Bishop of Bangor said that there is no biblical support for church government/authority of the church. William Law did not take kindly to this rank heresy and proceeded to literarily flay the bishop alive.

Again; I presume it may very justly be said, that the Christian Revelation hath some Effect towards the Salvation of Mankind; but then it hath not this Effect always and in all Cases, it is only effectual upon certain Conditions. Now if Excommunication can have no Effect, because it is not effectual when it is wrongfully pronounced, then the Christian Revelation can have no Effect towards saving those who embrace it as they should, because it has no such Effect on those who embrace it otherwise. The Reason of the Thing is the same in both Cases, and anyone may as justly set forth the Vanity and Insignificancy of the Christian Revelation, because it does not save all its Professors, as your Lordship exposes the Weakness and Vanity of spiritual Censures, because they do not absolutely, and in all Cases, throw People out of God’s Favour.1

  1. William Law, The Works of the Reverend William Law (vol. 1, 9 vols.; London: J. Richardson, 1762), 160–161.

Charles Wesley: “I will…prove that…all (Methodists are)…true members of the Church of England’

English: Charles Wesley

“I’m not loyal to every Church, but when I am, it’s to the Church of England. Stay Anglican, my friends.” English: Charles Wesley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Take note Charles Wesley’s words here:

I told them I would remain with them as long as they remained with the Church of England but should they ever turn their back on the Church they turn their back on me.

In many places, C. Wesley sought to defend the Methodist societies not as an order distinct from the Church of England, but as an order of worshippers within the Church of England, complete with the loyalties therewith.

I rode to Wakefield, and at eleven waited upon Justice Burton at his inn, with two other Justices, Sir Rowland Wynn, and the Rev. Mr. Zouch. I told him, I had seen a warrant of his, to summon witnesses to some treasonable words, “said to be spoken by one Westley;” that I had put off my journey to London to wait upon him, and answer whatever should be laid to my charge.

He answered, he had nothing to say against me, and I might depart. I replied, that was not sufficient, without clearing my character, and that of many innocent people, whom their enemies were pleased to call Methodists. “Vindicate them!” said my brother Clergyman: “that you will find a very hard task.” I answered, “As hard as you may think it, I will engage to prove that they all, to a man, are true members of the Church of England, and loyal subjects of His Majesty King George.” I then desired they would administer to me the oaths, and added, “If it was not too much trouble, I could wish, gentlemen, you would send for every Methodist in England, and give them the same opportunity you do me, of declaring their loyalty upon oath.”

Justice Burton said, he was informed that we constantly prayed for the Pretender in all our Societies, or nocturnal meetings, as Mr. Zouch called them. I answered, “The very reverse is true. We constantly pray for His Majesty King George by name. These are such hymns as we sing in our Societies, a sermon I preached before the University, another my brother preached there, his Appeals, and a few more treatises, containing our principles and practice.” Here I gave them our books, and was bold to say, “I am as true a Church-of-England man, and as loyal a subject, as any man in the kingdom.” “That is impossible,” they cried all; but as it was not my business to dispute, and as I could not answer till the witnesses appeared, I withdrew without farther reply…[.1 Charles Wesley, The Journal of the Rev. Charles Wesley (ed. Thomas Jackson; vol. 1; London: John Mason, 1849), 358. Every quote herein pertaineth to this series.]

On 23 June 1746, C. Wesley preached on Jeremiah 31, noting the desolute-ness of the Church of England. Here, he used the Methodist focus on prayer (“the Spirit…came down”) to pray that all who had left the Church of England return.

Still yet on 17 September 1756 he writes,

At seven I left Bristol, with John Downes, and came to Walbridge by two. In the evening several attended the word, and seemed stirred up to watch and pray. I spake to each of the little steady Society. Forty-three have kept together for years, under the care of our brother Watts. There are no disputes or disorders among them. I added a few words, exhorting them to continue steadfast in the communion of the Church of England. We were much refreshed, and parted in great love.

A day later, C. Wesley remarks, “I did not forget to confirm the brethren in their calling; that is, to live and die in the Church of England.”

I suspect, heavily, that if John and Charles were alive today, we in the United Methodist Church would be out of connexion and out of communion with them. Yes, there was a time to do what Fr. John did, to ordain in the emergency, men of Christian character to carry out the witness of the Gospel. Yet, John and especially the brother with the more rational deportment, did not ordain schism.

Perhaps, if we are honest with ourselves, the United Methodist Church would rather dispose of John Wesley, perhaps having him as something of a figure head. If this is the case, then the United Methodist Church would likely insist Charles Wesley was a myth created in the wake of Fr. John’s kerygma so as to produce a certain amount of fear  and constriction in the new free-from-orthodoxy societies on the American frontier.

Are Methodists, as they were originally, still members of the Church of England (or the wider Anglican Communion)? Of course not. Should they be, however? Perhaps that is the better question.

a Wesleyan hymn. “For the Church of England”

English: Charles Wesley

“Wait, I wrote that? Heck yeah I did. But you Methodists don’t sing it do you? Did it get lost on the way to the publisher?” English: Charles Wesley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

FOR THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND

1 TILL then preserve the faithful seed,
The remnant left in Britain’s land,
The desolate Church, whose cause we plead,
In whose defence we firmly stand,
Her breaches mourn, her burdens bear
In all the agony of prayer.

2 Jesus, her ruinous walls rebuild,
And let them with Thy praise resound;
With peace her palaces be fill’d,
Plenty be in her temples found,
Plenty of unbought milk and wine,
Fulness of living Bread Divine.

3 Her slumbering guides and watchmen rouse,
And on her rising ramparts place;
Give them a voice to shake Thy house,
The rocks to break, the dead to raise,
To bring them up from nature’s grave,
And the whole house of Israel save.

4 For this Thou hear’st Thy Spirit groan,
O that Thou wouldst Thy power display,
Divide the heavens, and come down,
Convert our nation in a day,
And spread our faith through earth abroad,
And fill the universe with God!

John Wesley and Charles Wesley, The Poetical Works of John and Charles Wesley (ed. G. Osborn; vol. 6; London: Wesleyan-Methodist Conference Office, 1870), 114.

William Law on the Authority of the Church – almost sacramental… #UMC

St Peter in Penitence

St Peter in Penitence (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m almost convinced that William Law is one of the greatest unsung theological heroes of the past 500 years. Here, he is urging something… using something else…

Remember, he is Anglican. Also, This entire 9 vol set is available on Logos.

I hope, my Lord, it may be allowed, that the Sacraments are Real Means of Grace: But it is certain they are only conditionally so, if those that partake of them are endowed with suitable Dispositions of Piety and Virtue. Glorious Means of Grace of the Sacraments, which is only obtained by such pious Dispositions; and then it is owing to the Dispositions, and not the Sacraments. Now, my Lord, if there can be such a thing as instituted Real Means of Grace, which are only conditionally applied, I cannot see, why there may not be an instituted Real Authority in the Church, which is only to be conditionally obeyed.

Your Lordship has written a great many Elaborate Pages to prove the English Government Limited; and that no Obedience is due to it, but whilst it preserves our Fundamentals; and, I suppose, the People are to judge for themselves, whether these are safe, or not. Glorious Authority of the English Government, which is to be obeyed no longer than the People think it their Interest to obey it!

Will your Lordship say, There is no Authority in the English Government, because only a conditional Obedience is due to it, whilst we think it supports our Fundamentals? Why then must the Church-Authority be reckoned nothing at all, because only a Rational Conditional Obedience is to be paid, whilst we think it not contrary to Scripture? Is a Limited, Conditional Government in the State, such a Wise, Excellent, and Glorious Constitution? And is the same Authority in the Church, such Absurdity, Nonsense, and nothing at all, as to any actual Power?

If there be such a thing as Obedience upon Rational Motives, there must be such a thing as Authority that is not absolute, or that does not require a Blind, Implicit Obedience. Indeed, Rational Creatures can obey no other Authority; they must have Reasons for what they do. And yet because the Church claims only this Rational Obedience, your Lordship explodes such Authority as none at all.

Yet it must be granted, that no other Obedience was due to the Prophets, or our Saviour and his Apostles: They were only to be obeyed by those who Thought their Doctrines worthy of God. So that if the Church has no Authority, because we must first consult the Scriptures before we obey it; neither our Saviour, nor his Apostles, had any Authority, because the Jews were first to consult their Scriptures, and the Heathens their Reason, before they obeyed them. And yet this is all that is said against Church-Authority; That because they are to judge of the Lawfulness of its Injunctions, therefore they owe it no Obedience: Which false Conclusion I hope is enough exposed.

If we think it unlawful to do anything that the Church requires of us, we must not obey its Authority. So, if we think it unlawful to submit to any Temporal Government, we are not to comply. But, I hope, it will not follow, that the Government has no Authority, because some think it unlawful to comply with it. If we are so unhappy as to judge wrong in any Matter of Duty, we must nevertheless act according to our Judgments; and the Guilt of Disobedience either in Church or State, is more or less, according as our Error is more or less voluntary, and occasioned by our own Mismanagement.

I believe I have shown, First, That all your Lordship’s Arguments against Church-Authority, conclude with the same Force against all Degrees of Authority: Secondly, That though Church-Authority be not Absolute in a certain Sense; yet if our Saviour and his Apostles had any Authority, the Church may have a Real Authority: For neither he, nor his Apostles, had such an Absolute Authority, as excludes all Consideration and Examination: Which is your Notion of Absolute Authority.1

  1. William Law, The Works of the Reverend William Law (vol. 1, 9 vols.; London: J. Richardson, 1762), 14–16.

Can John Piper teach the #UMC something about gay marriage?

John Piper (theologian)

John Piper (theologian) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In one of the UMC fb groups, someone asked a question about how we can handle now-legal marriages that are forbidden by the Book of Discipline. Indeed, the UMC prevents clergy from officiating these (gay) marriages (although there is a proposed, sort of, plan to deal with that) and our BoD equally states that such things are against Christian teaching, although we affirm the sacred worth of these individuals.

But, gay marriage is growing. It is a reality. And, these couples may even want to attend a United Methodist church. So, how do we handle this?

As much as it galls me to say this, maybe John Piper (shudder) has something to teach those who are wondering what to do with these cultural and now legal marriages not recognized by the BoD.

You can read something of that here.

So I think you shouldn’t be married to two women today, or a woman to two men. And yet there are cultures that do it. And so you want to go evangelize those cultures. And you win them to Christ and now they have two wives.

I might say, “OK, those who have two wives, be faithful to both of them until the next generation, or until one of them dies. But never do this again.”