Sunday, September 20, 2009

Scripture And Liberty Of Conscience: In Defense Of Drew Tatusko's Position On Scripture

"For why should my liberty be subject to the judgment of someone else's conscience?" (1 Cor. 10:29, NRSV).

Recently Drew Tatusko tweeted this statement:
@dtatusko: our authority comes not from scripture alone, but from the risen christ.
In which Ken Silva---Fundamentalist Calvinist apologist--- took offense to and responded promptly with this post:
By Ken Silva pastor-teacher on Sep 18, 2009 in AM Missives

Today Andrew (Drew) Tatusko Tweets:

@dtatusko: our authority comes not from scripture alone, but from the risen christ. #outlawpreachers #badpresbyterian (Online source)

You may recall that Apprising Ministries introduced you to Tatusko, who has just enough formal education to confuse himself, in Jay Bakker, Radical Love, And Homosexuality when he made the following stupid statement:

trying to pick a fight with ken silva: (Online source)

Well, Tatusko’s Tweet has the largely Biblically illiterate group who’ve crowned themselves outlaw preachers now sprouting up around head Outlaw gay affirming “pastor” Jay Bakker, all in a tizzy.

They’ve been ReTweeting it as if there’s some divide between Jesus—the Living Word of God—and the text of Holy Scripture—the written Word of God. And this is because all false prophets and teachers must first attempt to circumvent the Bible in order to advance their myths.

(Read full text: Here).

And subsequently Drew fired back with this post:
ken silva's reading problem
Sep 19th, 2009 by Drew Tatusko. Print This Post

Ken Silva has blessed us with another opportunity to learn what not to do. I use him for teaching moments and this is a good one. Ken Silva decided it was in his best interest to challenge a statement which I tweeted:

@dtatusko: our authority comes not from scripture alone, but from the risen christ.

Now anyone reading this who disagrees is not left with many options. Either authority is based on only scripture as if there is no living Christ to guide us, or it is a combination of the two. Quite simple. Not for Silva who needs to read into things while offering the presumption that he's got it all together for us. So this is what Silva reads from this:

Now, I have no way to know why someone like Drew Tatusko wants to work to make people think Sola Scriptura is somehow in opposition to Jesus; however, I can judge that his reasoning is fatally fallacious spiritually

What? A conditional statement as I made which is "not alone…but also" is not a statement of opposition where the subject and the predicate are mutually exclusive. He further confuses this by saying the following which appears to agree with the tweet I posted which got him upset:

the Risen Christ—the Lord God Almighty Who’s placed His authority and His Word above all things

The emphasis on "and" is mine to illustrate the reading problem. So either Silva is being fantastically dishonest or he has a problem with reading into a text in a process called eisegesis. What we ought to do with scripture is a process of exegesis which is extracting the best possible meaning of a text as it was conveyed at the time of its writing. I am not going to judge which of these two options we are seeing here, but it appears a combination of the two is in play. Silva is clearly building yet another strawman. For what reason I have no idea.

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.

(Read on: Here).

And here is Ken Silva's response to that: DREW TATUSKO DEMONSTRATES CONFUSION FOR US. So anyways, here are some thoughts pertaining to this argument:


First of all, the Word Of God is not the bible, but Jesus Himself as per:
This false idea of the bible being the Word Of God is based on a faulty reading of the English translation of John 1:1-Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ Λόγος, καὶ ὁ Λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν Θεόν, καὶ Θεὸς ἦν ὁ Λόγος. (en arche en ho logos kai ho logos en pros ton theon kai theos en ho logos.) Had the author or authors of John meant what bibliolaters want this verse to mean he or they would have written: Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ βύβλος, καὶ ὁ βύβλος ἦν πρὸς τὸν Θεόν, καὶ Θεὸς ἦν ὁ βύβλος. (...biblos): in the beginning was the bible, and the bible was with God and the bible was God or similarly...hagiographa (Divine Writings).

Secondly, God never promised us a bible or a canon of scripture as a guide but a Comforter---the Paraclete/Holy Spirit as scripture plainly teaches:
[John 14]
The believers' relation to the glorified Christ

1 "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father's house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. 4 And you know the way to the place where I am going." 5 Thomas said to him, "Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?" 6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him."

8 Philip said to him, "Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied." 9 Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. 12 Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.

15 "If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. 17 This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.

18 "I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. 19 In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them." 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, "Lord, how is it that you will reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?" 23 Jesus answered him, "Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me.

25 "I have said these things to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. 28 You heard me say to you, 'I am going away, and I am coming to you.' If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe. 30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no power over me; 31 but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us be on our way.---(NRSV).

I'll continue my thoughts in my next post: TheoPoetic Musings: In Defense Of Drew Tatusko's Position On Scripture Continued


Drew Tatusko said...


as andrew walls, scholar of missiology, once said, "for christians, christ, for muslims the qu'ran". this is why infallibilism, plenary verbal inspiration, etc. are idolatrous. and...even if this was true, we still must interpret through the lenses of our socially conditioned fallenness. otherwise why would muslims have divided into such conflict among their sects?

TheoPoet said...

No problem, Drew---any time, any time. Yeah Walls' has a good point and it is true that even if the bible were inerrant---it still doesn't explain why we have so many sects and no one has figured out an inerrant interpretation yet. What are your thoughts on what Peter Cameron said of Luther:

TheoPoet said...

"...even Luther did not entirely believe in his slogan, scripture alone. His historical sense was too acute, and in practice he made distinctions between the books of the New Testament, describing the letter of James as 'an epistle of straw' which should have no weight beside the letters of Paul. Now when you begin to talk like that, you're admitting a new and overriding criterion. It's no longer scripture alone that counts, it's what you think of scripture. You've opened the door to criticism---logical, historical, and theological criticism.

And in the field of criticism we've come a very long way since the Reformation. It has become possible, and I think advisable, to look at the New Testament no longer as a divinely dictated book which has the last word on any subject to do with man's relationship to God, but as a collection of very human responses to the man Jesus. It records the beginnings of Christianity, but not the end: it is not the last word on the matter, and it should not control us to the extent of muzzling us and preventing us from making our own responses, in our own perhaps very different and indeed even contradictory terms.

There are, after all, very different and even contradictory responses within the New Testament itself. The four gospels for example give quite separate accounts of the life and person of Jesus. In the old days people used to produce so-called harmonies of the gospels, in which all differences were ironed out and the discrepancies removed. But what these harmonies failed to recognise were the totally different atmospheres which the various gospel writers convey.

The Jesus of John's gospel, who makes long and profound speeches about his relationship with the Father, is quite different from the Jesus of Mark's gospel, who rarely utters more than two or three terse sentences at a time. The description which Mark gives of the disciples is quite different from that of Luke: in Mark they are obstinate, obtuse, and unreliable whereas Luke has nothing derogatory to say about them.

But all this does not mean that one version is true and the other untrue. We now recognize that the writers of the gospels were not trying to write factual biographies or histories in our modern sense. In fact such things did not exist then, even in the secular world. Modern historians try to state the facts objectively and then add their interpretations. Ancient historians short-circuited the process: they put across their interpretations. So that Mark, when he describes the dull-wittedness of the disciples, is trying to tell us something about the message of Jesus and the response it elicits---he's not telling us something about the disciples which the other gospel writers did not know.

In this way each gospel is conditioned by the theological reflection of its author, and those authors are all human beings, of the same status as ourselves, so that we are at liberty to make our own equivalent response, and if necessary to reject any particular aspect of their response in favour of a different one---just as Luther felt impelled to reject the response embodied in the epistle of James. (Necessary Heresies: Alternatives to Fundamentalism, pgs. 87-88)."

TheoPoet said...

TheoPoetic Musings: Luther, The Biblical/Textual Critic

Sorry it took so long to respond as I'm a fast blogger and slow commenter.