Faith and authority

Brother-Mike

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I'm struggling right here. What Bible are we using? One in English? Who translated it? How did they determine which manuscript to use for different verses? I'm not sure with so much separation between us and the autographs its possible to claim that anything is "unambiguous" in the Bible, as even if it was in the original languages the fact that much of our translation requires language reconstruction and a great deal of editorial decisions in the process ambiguity isn't going to be introduced at some point. Is there even a single verse that every reader agrees means the same thing, regardless of translation?
Struggle not brother! Certainly there's a world of analysis online for many of these questions you raise (e.g. watch Daniel Wallace v. Bart Ehrman for a quick taste). In my opinion choose a translation with solid scholarship and committees behind them - ESV, NIV, NRSV. Measure their words against others, like the KJV, CSB, LSB, heck even The Message (!) and profit from the differences, springboarding into deeper analysis if need be. I don't believe even the Jesus Seminar boys at their feistiest would have felt that there isn't even a "single verse that every reader agrees means the same thing".

Or.... you could truly commit yourself to a factless reality, where all manuscripts, analysis and even "scientific fact"* is subjective and untrustworthy. You have that freedom :) But then how do you trust your own mind to choose that freedom? I suspect that when you chose "Christian" in your profile as opposed to, you know, "Nihilistic Absolutist", you don't fall into this category, so I'd be interested what your Biblical authority modus-operandi is.

(* see "The Problem of Uniformity", re. Hume/Russell et al).
 
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Brother-Mike

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LOL

I believe the bible.
Trouble is, it has to be correctly interpreted.

How can we know it's correctly interpreted?
Because the bible is one, whole idea.
Not a bunch of verses.
Of course we use these verses to support our posts,
but the bible cannot contradict itself.

For instance, Isaiah states that God created evil/calamity.
Same difference.
How can this be when the rest of scripture states that God is:
LOVING
MERCIFUL
JUST
Surely it must mean something different?

For instance, we find the word PREDESTINATION in the NT.
Would a
LOVING
MERCIFUL
JUST
God choose whom to save and whom to damn?
Surely it must mean something else.

BTW, I don't have any beard so I'll have to disagree with Mr. Calvin at every turn!
Setting aside Calvin's warning against engaging the unbearded, or Italians, I will venture a response:

How can a loving, merciful and just God author evil? Read Job. Watch Derek Thomas' Youtube lectures on Job. If these don't help then kindly explain how you exegete Acts 4:27-28, where surely the predestined killing of the incarnate Son of God must represent the zenith of evil, no?

How can a loving, merciful and just God predestine some to salvation and others to Hell? As I've written in other places I myself believe that nobody goes to Hell who didn't make a creaturely choice to reject God. Other writers have even put some extra spin on this by adding "There's nobody in Hell wondering 'Why oh why am I here? I wish I was with God!'" and "The Gates of Hell are locked from the INSIDE" - if these help. They help me.
 
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Fervent

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Struggle not brother! Certainly there's a world of analysis online for many of these questions you raise (e.g. watch Daniel Wallace v. Bart Ehrman for a quick taste). In my opinion choose a translation with solid scholarship and committees behind them - ESV, NIV, NRSV. Measure their words against others, like the KJV, CSB, LSB, heck even The Message (!) and profit from the differences, springboarding into deeper analysis if need be. I don't believe even the Jesus Seminar boys at their feistiest would have felt that there isn't even a "single verse that every reader agrees means the same thing".

Or.... you could truly commit yourself to a factless reality, where all manuscripts, analysis and even "scientific fact"* is subjective and untrustworthy. You have that freedom :) But then how do you trust your own mind to choose that freedom? I suspect that when you chose "Christian" in your profile as opposed to, you know, "Nihilistic Absolutist", you don't fall into this category, so I'd be interested what your Biblical authority modus-operandi is.

(* see "The Problem of Uniformity", re. Hume/Russell et al).
I prefer to take a fallibilist approach, recognizing that a Biblical principle doesn't have to be perfectly certain in order to be trusted. I know the Holy Spirit is present in my reading of the Bible, but I also know that my own reason and logic and the re-constructions and translation can only take me so far. In operation, this is to remind myself to have a humility in my convictions rather than to destroy them. There's no such thing as "me and the Bible alone" since it took a community to transmit the Bible to me and theological traditions are already present in every translation so I accept that those who came before, especially those closest to the original audiences, share some authority. As much as knowledge can cause pride, naivete can also inspire a foolish sort of pride so the flipside to authority is awareness of limitations. Instead of the Bible as sole authority, the Bible is simply the final authority.
 
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timothyu

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Yes the contents of the Bible are the final authority. Religion was built around it, not the other way around.

The whole premise is God said do not put your will ahead of mine, but man does. We see it first in the Garden and the story continues based on that throughout the books, to the Flood, the people freed from Egypt doing their own thing, and all in between until one man came along. A man who did only the will of the Father and taught us not only why it was prudent, but also lived it thus opening a new door previously unavailable to us and still closed to those who refuse to repent of their will first. Everything read revolves around that principle and is the main theme of Jesus' Gospel of the Kingdom and the Lord's Prayer within the books. That is what needs be in mind when reading the whole book. His will be done, not ours.
 
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GodsGrace101

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Setting aside Calvin's warning against engaging the unbearded, or Italians, I will venture a response:

How can a loving, merciful and just God author evil? Read Job. Watch Derek Thomas' Youtube lectures on Job. If these don't help then kindly explain how you exegete Acts 4:27-28, where surely the predestined killing of the incarnate Son of God must represent the zenith of evil, no?

How can a loving, merciful and just God predestine some to salvation and others to Hell? As I've written in other places I myself believe that nobody goes to Hell who didn't make a creaturely choice to reject God. Other writers have even put some extra spin on this by adding "There's nobody in Hell wondering 'Why oh why am I here? I wish I was with God!'" and "The Gates of Hell are locked from the INSIDE" - if these help. They help me.
Are you starting a new religion?
 
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GodsGrace101

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Setting aside Calvin's warning against engaging the unbearded, or Italians, I will venture a response:

How can a loving, merciful and just God author evil? Read Job. Watch Derek Thomas' Youtube lectures on Job. If these don't help then kindly explain how you exegete Acts 4:27-28, where surely the predestined killing of the incarnate Son of God must represent the zenith of evil, no?

Of course it's the ultimate evil. We can all agree on that.
But I'd say that Jesus is slightly different than the rest of humanity...would you agree?

Job happens to be the oldest book in the OT.
It's written to teach us something.
Do you really think Job had audible discussion with God?
I'm not a fundamentalist, if you are, then I apologize but please don't take this
to mean that I do not believe the OT...

If God created evil then the rest of all the verses about Him are untrue.
How to reconcile?
Either God is all good,
or HE created evil and in Him is evil.
I don't know who would be willing to worship an evil God.
I've always believed that satan is evil...not God.

I could post tens of verses, but I doubt you need them.
The bible cannot contradict itself and I think we should pay attention to
the Apostles more than to the book of Job.

How can a loving, merciful and just God predestine some to salvation and others to Hell? As I've written in other places I myself believe that nobody goes to Hell who didn't make a creaturely choice to reject God. Other writers have even put some extra spin on this by adding "There's nobody in Hell wondering 'Why oh why am I here? I wish I was with God!'" and "The Gates of Hell are locked from the INSIDE" - if these help. They help me.
The question becomes whether or not you consider yourself to be a calvinist....
OR
Are you starting a new religion that is going to teach what YOU believe?

John Calvin does not agree with your above statement.
I find it difficult to post to the reformed because I can't meet 2 that agree with each other.
I have Calvin's writings here. Should we pay attention to what HE says calvinism is about?
Or does each reformed person make up their own theology?
 
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Brother-Mike

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But I'd say that Jesus is slightly different than the rest of humanity...would you agree?
Yes.

Job happens to be the oldest book in the OT.
Unlikely - my understanding is that textual scholarship puts it somewhere between the 7th and 2nd centuries BC, probably somewhere near the middle.

Do you really think Job had audible discussion with God?
Yes. My faith is based on accepting the Bible as true.

If God created evil then the rest of all the verses about Him are untrue.
Again, I'd say a deep-dive into Job would benefit you greatly here brother. God ordaining what might seem to be evil on our creaturely-level as part of his Divine Plan and God actually committing the evil are two different things.

I don't know who would be willing to worship an evil God.
Oh, don't get me started ;)

I think we should pay attention to
the Apostles more than to the book of Job
So who decides which parts of the Bible are to be discarded? You? Me? And on what grounds? Because they offend our surface sensibilities? Or because they throw a monkey wrench into your own constructed worldview?

The question becomes whether or not you consider yourself to be a calvinist....
OR
Are you starting a new religion that is going to teach what YOU believe?
I do consider myself a Calvinist, but that doesn't mean that I have to agree with every single statement or position that he's written. He is, at best, a source of commentary and opinion to me. If this means that when I meet Calvin in the New Earth he'll riled-up and out to settle a score with me then so be it. I'll be ready.

I find it difficult to post to the reformed because I can't meet 2 that agree with each other.
I agree and would extend your concern here... I'm not sure any two members of this entire forum share precisely the same position, especially when you get down to brass tacks. Such is the nature of this beautiful, complex faith of ours that God has granted us.

I have Calvin's writings here. Should we pay attention to what HE says calvinism is about?
Or does each reformed person make up their own theology?
Sure - pay attention to Calvin and measure his thoughts against scripture.

The best argument against ANY Christian just "making up their own theology" is to accept the Bible as final authority. Then everyone else's (and your own) cockamamie conjectures are correctly tested against the Word of God.
 
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Mark Quayle

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Of course it's the ultimate evil. We can all agree on that.
But I'd say that Jesus is slightly different than the rest of humanity...would you agree?
That difference doesn't undo the doctrine. If God predestined the precise details of this event, to include what must only look to you like the manipulation of man's will, then was he being fair? Was he honoring their free agency? Was he allowing them free will? Were they aware of a plan of his, concerning which they were to walk in obedience?

The same issues apply here as in any decision by humans. No?
 
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GodsGrace101

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Yes.


Unlikely - my understanding is that textual scholarship puts it somewhere between the 7th and 2nd centuries BC, probably somewhere near the middle.

Could be. My understanding is that it was written before the exile, or, at least, it was passed down for generations before being put into words.
But this is not important in any case. It's there and that's what counts.

Yes. My faith is based on accepting the Bible as true.


Again, I'd say a deep-dive into Job would benefit you greatly here brother. God ordaining what might seem to be evil on our creaturely-level as part of his Divine Plan and God actually committing the evil are two different things.


Oh, don't get me started ;)


So who decides which parts of the Bible are to be discarded? You? Me? And on what grounds? Because they offend our surface sensibilities? Or because they throw a monkey wrench into your own constructed worldview?

Actually BM,
Those that were taught by the Apostles, and in turn those that were taught by them....and so on,
are the persons that DID decide which parts of scripture was to be discarded and which parts would make it into the NT as canon.
On what grounds? I'm not a scholar and so I don't know...but by reading some letters in the discarded scripture, I could certainly understand why it was not included.
Has nothing to do with sensibilities or monkey wrenches.
I do consider myself a Calvinist, but that doesn't mean that I have to agree with every single statement or position that he's written. He is, at best, a source of commentary and opinion to me. If this means that when I meet Calvin in the New Earth he'll riled-up and out to settle a score with me then so be it. I'll be ready.
But if I call myself a Jew, don't I have to agree with what Judaism teaches?
If I call myself a Catholic, don't I have to agree with what Catholicism teaches?
How could you call yourself a calvinist and not agree with the basic points of John Calvin?
Do you think it's necessary to read some of his teachings and at least know how he taught Christianity?
(or believed Christianity to be).
I agree and would extend your concern here... I'm not sure any two members of this entire forum share precisely the same position, especially when you get down to brass tacks. Such is the nature of this beautiful, complex faith of ours that God has granted us.

It just doesn't seem so complex to me.
Acts 13:32, 38-39
32“And now we are here to bring you this Good News. The promise was made to our ancestors, 33and God has now fulfilled it for us, their descendants, by raising Jesus.

38“Brothers, listen! We are here to proclaim that through this man Jesus there is forgiveness for your sins. 39Everyone who believes in him is made right in God’s sight.-
The best argument against ANY Christian just "making up their own theology" is to accept the Bible as final authority. Then everyone else's (and your own) cockamamie conjectures are correctly tested against the Word of God.
I believe the problem is that the reformed are following John Calvin and HIS teachings...
and trying to twist verses to mean what Calvin taught.

If we just followed Jesus' teachings, we would all be in agreement.
 
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GodsGrace101

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That difference doesn't undo the doctrine. If God predestined the precise details of this event, to include what must only look to you like the manipulation of man's will, then was he being fair? Was he honoring their free agency? Was he allowing them free will? Were they aware of a plan of his, concerning which they were to walk in obedience?

The same issues apply here as in any decision by humans. No?
No.
Because God is sovereign and He can do whatever He wishes to do and cause whatever He wishes to cause.
His plan will be accomplished.
 
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Mark Quayle

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No.
Because God is sovereign and He can do whatever He wishes to do and cause whatever He wishes to cause.
His plan will be accomplished.
I don't follow your reasoning here. It doesn't seem to me to be answering my question.

God is indeed sovereign, and his plan will be accomplished. My question to you, though, is, if he predestined the sins of these people to take place (and we do have the Scriptural witness to that fact in this event), how is it fair here, but not in the rest of the decisions of men? Why can he predestine this, and not every other thing that comes to pass?

I say he predestined everything just as he did this even, (this event, which scripture plainly states he did predestine). You say, no, just this event (and whatever else is so plainly stated, I suppose). How can you say that this is ok for him to cause by whatever means he chooses, but not so for all things?
 
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GodsGrace101

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I don't follow your reasoning here. It doesn't seem to me to be answering my question.

God is indeed sovereign, and his plan will be accomplished. My question to you, though, is, if he predestined the sins of these people to take place (and we do have the Scriptural witness to that fact in this event), how is it fair here, but not in the rest of the decisions of men? Why can he predestine this, and not every other thing that comes to pass?

I say he predestined everything just as he did this even, (this event, which scripture plainly states he did predestine). You say, no, just this event (and whatever else is so plainly stated, I suppose). How can you say that this is ok for him to cause by whatever means he chooses, but not so for all things?
Because Jesus had to die.
Same with Mary.
Same with Pharaoh.
Same with Paul.
Etc.

We can't wonder about this, that, and the other thing.

We have to trust scriptures and a loving God.

Not some man that came along 1,500 years after Jesus with his ideas.

God loves mankind.
Come home to Him.
 
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Mark Quayle

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Because Jesus had to die.
Same with Mary.
Same with Pharaoh.
Same with Paul.
Etc.

We can't wonder about this, that, and the other thing.

We have to trust scriptures and a loving God.

Not some man that came along 1,500 years after Jesus with his ideas.

God loves mankind.
Come home to Him.
You need to get you some new material. I really don't know Calvin. I don't base what I believe on Calvin, nor even Calvinism, nor even Reformed theology.
 
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GodsGrace101

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You need to get you some new material. I really don't know Calvin. I don't base what I believe on Calvin, nor even Calvinism, nor even Reformed theology.
Yes, but you believe incorrect biblical doctrine.
I wonder what church you go to.
Not that it's any of my business.
 
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