Sunday, September 20, 2009

In Defense Of Drew Tatusko's Position On Scripture Continued

Continuing from my last post: TheoPoetic Musings: Scripture And Liberty Of Conscience: In Defense Of Drew Tatusko's Position On Scripture

Here is the Greek Text of John 14. The keywords I would like to highlight are commandments, words and Comforter. In Greek these words are respectively: ἐντολὰς which deals with a prescriptive injunction of religious law, ῥήματα which is distinct from the Logos(Christ) and literally means "Divine Utterances"---but does not refer to the bible and finally, παράκλητον who is the Guide that God sent to lead us to all Truths.

Thirdly, in all things Christ has authority as per:
ΚΑΤΑ ΜΑΤΘΑΙΟΝ 28:18 Greek NT: Westcott/Hort with Diacritics
καὶ προσελθὼν ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἐλάλησεν αὐτοῖς λέγων· ἐδόθη μοι πᾶσα ἐξουσία ἐν οὐρανῷ καὶ ἐπὶ [τῆς] γῆς.
Notice how there is no mention of βύβλος (the bible) nor ῥήματα (the Divine Utterances) in this verse but as it plainly states:
And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. (RSV)
Therefore we can conclude that any authority the scripture has is imbued to it through Christ via the Holy Spirit.

Next here are some Baptist views of scripture:
Baptist Faith And Message 1963---I. THE SCRIPTURES

The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is the record of Gods revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. It reveals the principles by which God judges us; and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. The criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted is Jesus Christ.

Ex 24:4; De 4:1-2; 17:19; Jos 8:34
Psa 19:7-10; 119:11, 89, 105, 140
Isa 34:16; 40:8; Jer 15:16; 36:1-32
Mat 5:17-18; 22:29; Lu 21:33; 24:44-46
Joh 5:39; 16:13-15; 17:17; Ac 2:16; 17:11
Rom 15:4; 16:25-26; 2Ti 3:15-17
Heb 1:1-2; 4:12; 1Pe 1:25; 2Pe 1:19-21

Roger Williams said:
"Christ is King alone over conscience is the sum of all true preaching."







XXIV. That it is the will, and mind of God (in these Gospel times) that all men should have the free liberty of their own Consciences in matters of Religion, or Worship, without the least oppression, or persecution, as simply upon that account; and that for any in Authority otherwise to act, we confidently believe is expresslly contrary to the mind of Christ, who requires that whatsoever men would that others should do unto them, they should even so do unto others, Mat. 7. 12. and that the Tares, and the Wheat should grow together in the field, (which is the world) until the harvest (which is the end of the world,) Mat. 13. 29, 30, 38, 39.

Finally, Drew is right in this:
However, a key to the problem is a misinterpretation of one passage that has been misused for all forms of biblical inerrancy and/or infallibilism.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Because scripture has its source in God means that it has a special use for the functions that Paul names here. This in no way is meant to be interpreted as plenary verbal inspiration as Muslims understand to be the source of authority for the Qu'ran. Although Silva appeals to "the literal Greek" in his post, what he fails to understand is that the Greek text of the New Testament is an amalgamation of fragments that scholars worked very hard to assemble in what they believed was the most accurate rendering of what was likely the original source.

However, even if you go to the Greek text, which one? Modern translations come from critical editions that have been edited and assembled by groups of biblical scholars based on manuscripts and fragments scattered all over the world. It is inspired because it is animated in the same way that the Spirit of God animates the human spirit to discern the unfolding of God's revelation. This is the same Spirit that hovers over the void in Genesis. Moreover, did Paul intend his letter to Timothy to be placed on the same level as the Torah, Nev'im, and Kethuvim? To claim this is highly doubtful. Scripture is useful to be sure, but to claim that Paul was ascribing the same authority to his own letters as he ascribed to those Scriptures of the Old Testament is a judgment that Christians make.

The problem is that even if we uphold that the text is "verbally inspired" and assume we have in front of us exactly what God "said" still places the burden of the person interpreting to understand what the text was supposed to mean in the context in which it was written. Further, the translations are interpretations and reading itself is an act of interpretation. Along the path from constructing the Greek text from and into so many critical editions and manuscripts there are interpretive decisions that the reader of the English text is assuming were made correctly. This is why a literal reading or "literalism" is nothing more than a hollow ideology that is less about understanding the Bible than in ascribing authority to one's self. And this is precisely why authority cannot come from just the text, but the risen Christ who reveals the unfolding grace and love of God in the church and in the world.

While Silva claims that I have "enough formal education to confuse" myself, his own reading of his mythic infallible text relies on the work of hundreds and hundreds of biblical scholars before him who brought the text to us in the state we receive it. But I am sure he will not now say that his text is an amalgamation of other more educated and perhaps more confused scholars than myself. Which makes this claim equally as odd, and equally as misinformed as his clear desire to distort the text that lies in front of him for reasons I shall not judge.

The biblical literalist in their zeal for the false doctrine of inerrancy is yet to answer which is the best text and how we would know. Most literalists continue to remain ignorant of the canonization process of the scriptures as well in their blind slavery to the dead letter of the text of scripture like their ancestors the Pharisees were rather than the Spirit of the text as Christ and Paul call us to.
Romans 7:5-6 (New International Version)
5For when we were controlled by the sinful nature,[a] the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death. 6But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.

See also: TheoPoetic Musings: Luther, The Biblical/Textual Critic, TheoPoetic Musings: Literal and Figurative Language in the Bible And Bibliolatry, TheoPoetic Musings: Sola Scriptura Or Prima Scriptura: Not Solo Scriptura, TheoPoetic Musings: John Dominic Crossan On Bible Literalism, TheoPoetic Musings: Historical criticism today: a word to evangelicals, TheoPoetic Musings: The Absurdity Of Biblical Inerrancy and TheoPoetic Musings: Biblical Criticism Continued.

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