So this is going around again…
As an aside, I am not angry, nor am I afraid. Not of, or at, this topic at the very least. I am pretty tired of hearing that I am.
By he way, what is rejected as sin is not the attraction, but rather the actions taken regarding the attraction. This is the same for all of us, and extends beyond sexual desire as well. We all have desires. Some are in line with the will of God and some are not. What we do with that desire is the issue. He of course rejects that and makes untruthful claims about what most of those with a traditional sexual ethic actually believe. He also exhibits (again) a very poor understanding of the image of God we are created in as well as how it has become marred and is in need of restoration.
St. Bonaventure on the depth (of meaning) of Scripture
The entire chapter is worth reading, but St Bonaventure (a mythic and a theologian (really, can you be one or the other?) writes regarding the proper senses/lens in reading Scripture as Christians:
1. Finally, there is depth in the Scriptures, deriving from their several figurative meanings. Many Scriptural passages have, besides the direct sense, three other significations: the allegorical, the moral, and the anagogical. Allegory consists in this: that one thing signifies another thing which is in the realm of faith; moral teaching, or tropology, in this: that from something done, we learn another thing that we must do; anagogy, or lifting up, in this: that we are given to know what to desire, that is, the eternal happiness of the elect.
2. It is entirely logical for Scripture to have a threefold sense in addition to the literal: such amplitude consorts with its content, its hearer or disciple, its origin, and its end.
It consorts with its content, for Scriptural teaching is concerned with God, with Christ, with the works of salvation, and with the things of faith.—God is the Being covered by the Scriptures; Christ is the Power; the works of salvation are the action; and the things of faith are the sum of all three aspects.—Now, God is triune: one in essence and trine in the Persons; hence. Scripture, proceeding from Him, has a threefold sense beneath one and the same literal text. Again, Christ being the one Word, all things are said to have been made through Him (Jn. 1:3), and all things shine within Him (Col. 2:3), so that His wisdom is both manifold and one. Next, the works of salvation, though many, are all fundamentally related to the one sacrifice of Christ. Finally, the light given forth by the things of faith as such varies with the state of the believer.
Scripture, then, answering to all these circumstances, gives us a number of meanings from a single text.
This method of Scripture allows the Christian to encounter Christ, rather than merely consume data and plot points.
Follow up to Joel Watts Last Blog
I believe it is time for us to begin to think about these things! Period! Joel Watts last blog in this blog is excellent if one take seriously what he really believes about the Bible! I was going to publish this in there as a reply, but I decided to make my reply into a blog. It may be better for readers to understand what is my point on that, something that, before God I have been struggling since my pastoral days, and, after which, when I came to a firm position, not only I find peace and comfort in God, I was able to gain a deeper understanding of God, His Word and what His Word may represent to us. So, here it goes:
Admittedly, even as a proponent of Sola Scriptura, I cringe when I read tenets of faith that use the words you mentioned. I fail in accepting that the people who chose those words really have any sense of their meaning. In the other hand there are traditions that are in and of itself biblical traditions and should be respected and used authoritatively simply because they originated in Scripture; but there is also what I have called for many years “tr-addiction”; these are “traditions” that became “tr-additions” and later turned into “tr-addictions”, or, they are inventions that become additions to the faith, that later culminate with being so “ingrown” and ingrained that they are hard to dispel as an addiction to a drug. Maybe we (Joel and me) should start a “tr-addiction rehab!”.
Interestingly enough, most of these “tr-addictions” originated not from more moderate biblical thinkers, but from the very same people who claim that the Bible is what the Pure Life says it is! Oh, need examples? Easy: Organizations who say what Pure Life says about the Bible add to the Salvation “condition” (there is no condition for Salvation by the way, other than being not saved), to believe what they say about the Bible! Yes! This simple, and… this ridiculous! It is no longer the Cross alone, but also, the 66 Canon, word by word, letter by letter! I propose that the belief that believing the 66 Canon word by word is a good thing, but it turns into a bad thing when it is made into a condition for Salvation! Then it is an addition that becomes a tr-addition, that later turns into a tr-addiction! This is where flawed logic leads us: the place at which we wanted to avoid being…
BTW, this is not the purely fundamentalist and Pentecostal or even the Primitive Baptists fault alone! I have been shunned by Presbyterians (who unlike the Vegetarians who eat vegetables, they eat Presbyters) because I have some Lutheran views about the Canon; some of them don’t think I can be saved if I hold to Lutheran views about the Canon… I have to subscribe fully with the Westminster Confession of Faith (which I do in 98% at least) which says that the Bible is a 66 books Canon! Then they accuse Roman Catholics for elevating traditions to the level or over the Bible! Isn’t that something?
Even Jesus on his way to Emmaus (Luke 24) said that “Moses (the Law) The Prophets and the Psalms speak of Him…” So, allow me a bit of fun here, but even Jesus may not have been a 66 books Canon believer, huh? Well, I know that the N.T. had not been written yet… but, I hope you get my drift… even Jesus was Christocentric in His view of Scripture!
The idea of a Tr-addiction Rehab Center is growing…
(Oh, brother, there goes my opportunity to blog here exclusively as a “conservative”… unless it is added “non-conformist” to that)
Melito of Sardis: Mystery of the Passover
This is a series of repost for Easter from Melito of Sardis.
What more can I add here?
Components of the Mystery of the Passover (46-71)
1. The Passover (46-47a)
46. Now that you have heard the explanation of the type and of that which corresponds to it, hear also what goes into making up the mystery. What is the passover? Indeed its name is derived from that event–”to celebrate the passover” (to paschein) is derived from “to suffer” (tou pathein). Therefore, learn who the sufferer is and who he is who suffers along with the sufferer.
2. The Creation and Fall of Man (47b-48)
In the beginning, when God made heaven and earth, and everything in them through his word, he himself formed man from the earth and shared with that form his own breath, he himself placed him in paradise, which was eastward in Eden, and there they lived most luxuriously.
Then by way of command God gave them this law: For your food you may eat from any tree, but you are not to eat from the tree of the one who knows good and evil. For on the day you eat from it, you most certainly will die.
48. But man, who is by nature capable of receiving good and evil as soil of the earth is capable of receiving seeds from both sides, welcomed the hostile and greedy counselor, and by having touched that tree transgressed the command, and disobeyed God. As a consequence, he was cast out into this world as a condemned man is cast into prison.
3. Consequences of the Fall (49-56)
49. And when he had fathered many children, and had grown very old, and had returned to the earth through having tasted of the tree, an inheritance was left behind by him for his children. Indeed, he left his children an inheritance–not of chastity but of unchastity, not of immortality but of corruptibility, not of honor but of dishonor, not of freedom but of slavery, not of sovereignty but of tyranny, not of life but of death, not of salvation but of destruction.
50. Extraordinary and terrifying indeed was the destruction of men upon the earth. For the following things happened to them: They were carried off as slaves by sin, the tyrant, and were led away into the regions of desire where they were totally engulfed by insatiable sensual pleasures–by adultery, by unchastity, by debauchery, by inordinate desires, by avarice, by murders, by bloodshed, by the tyranny of wickedness, by the tyranny of lawlessness.
51. For even a father of his own accord lifted up a dagger against his son; and a son used his hands against his father; and the impious person smote the breasts that nourished him; and brother murdered brother; and host wronged his guest; and friend assassinated friend; and one man cut the throat of another with his tyrannous right hand.
52. Therefore all men on the earth became either murderers, or parricides, or killers of their children. And yet a thing still more dreadful and extraordinary was to be found: A mother attacked the flesh which she gave birth to, a mother attacked those whom her breasts had nourished; and she buried in her belly the fruit of her belly. Indeed, the ill-starred mother became a dreadful tomb, when she devoured the child which she bore in her womb.
53. But in addition to this there were to be found among men many things still more monstrous and terrifying and brutal: father cohabits with his child, and son and with his mother, and brother with sister, and male with male, and each man lusting after the wife of his neighbor.
54. Because of these things sin exulted, which, because it was death’s collaborator, entered first into the souls of men, and prepared as food for him the bodies of the dead. In every soul sin left its mark, and those in whom it placed its mark were destined to die.
55. Therefore, all flesh fell under the power of sin, and every body under the dominion of death, for every soul was driven out from its house of flesh. Indeed, that which had been taken from the earth was dissolved again into earth, and that which had been given from God was locked up in Hades. And that beautiful ordered arrangement was dissolved, when the beautiful body was separated (from the soul).
56. Yes, man was divided up into parts by death. Yes, an extraordinary misfortune and captivity enveloped him: he was dragged away captive under the shadow of death, and the image of the Father remained there desolate. For this reason, therefore, the mystery of the passover has been completed in the body of the Lord.
Melito of Sardis: The Old Testament and the New Testament
I am reposting Melito for Easter.
I have posted on Melito some before, and find myself returning to him for a bit especially his homily on the Passover. He provides us with an accurate manner in using the Old Testament, and it is an example that is well served for the past few millenia. He does not create something that is not there, no drench the Prophets with our Hope, but stands in the good Tradition of using the New Testament to read the Old. For a New Testament example of this, we need to turn no further, dig no deeper than the Epistle to the Hebrews.
Note, if you will, the powerful images that Melito presents us with.
Easter with Melito – Typology in the Old Testament concerning Christ
This week, I am going back through my old posts on Melito of Sardis. So, here we go, a bit more from his Passover Homily.
Why the Bible Shouldn’t Have to be “Applied”
After a brief hiatus, I’ve jump-started my search for a well-defined, workable Christocentric hermeneutic. We’re not quite there yet, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. This most recent post summarizes where the project is so far and explores why Narrative Theology has become such an important part of the paradigm.
More importantly, this installment challenges the almost universally-held belief that the most important part of any Bible Study is “application:”
It seems to me that if one accepts the idea that the Bible is God’s story, and begins to read it as such, it begins to deconstruct—and then rebuild— a believer’s worldview. When that happens, the idea of “application” becomes redundant—and shallow—in comparison. If someone has truly internalized the post-resurrection, new creation worldview of what it means to live on this side of Easter, attempting to find some superficial “application” in a single Bible story is a step backward—and just the teeniest bit self-centered.
Read the full article here and let me know what you think.
Why It’s NOT all about Me…or You
I’m not saying anything surprising when I say that Americans are a self-absorbed lot. This may also be true about people in other developed countries like Canada and Europe, but I can only speak from experience about the country in which I’ve lived my whole life. Since birth, we Yanks have been trained to believe that everything revolves around our needs. (They wouldn’t be called “needs” if we didn’t “need” them, would they?)
If there is one place you’d think the emphasis would be on something other than ourselves, it would be church. But even there, the emphasis is often not on the person’s need for Jesus, but on their need to get out of debt, fix their marriage, or manage their generalized anxiety disorder. There’s a big difference between a preacher who talks passionately about how following Jesus can totally transform a person’s entire existence and one who assumes that the only way to keep the audience’s attention is to address their “felt needs” by providing a “practical application.” One is preaching the gospel, the other is listening to marketers.
This unconscious self-absorption is reinforced in the way many evangelicals have been taught to read the Bible. I once wrote a post detailing the reasons why calling the Bible an “instruction manual” is the worst metaphor in the history of the world, suggesting that reading the Bible this way completely reverses the focus of the book. What should be an earth-shattering, paradigm-shifting story about God and his plan of redemption becomes, conversely, a kind of self-help guide for people who want to model their lives on an episode of “Father Knows Best.”
Recently, while working on my current research project/obsession, I was thinking through how narrative theology might be helpful in constructing a christocentric hermeneutic. Suddenly, it dawned on me that one of the benefits of reading the Bible primarily as a narrative is that it automatically reduces the self-centeredness inherent in the “instruction manual” metaphor. If the Bible is God’s story, then the purpose of reading it is to become intimate with God and how He works, not how He can fix my life. No longer does every passage have to have a “practical” application that I can “use.” If the Bible is a story about God, it is not all about me.
And as an added bonus, reading the Bible as a narrative should greatly reduce the probability that someone will read the account of God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 12 and ask, as someone in one of my Bible studies once did, “why put it in the Bible if it doesn’t apply to me?”