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Old 01-16-2001, 11:10 AM   #41
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Captain Bloodloss,

Ok, but I'm not sure what that sloves -- that is everyone's answer. Historically, it cannot be proven that Jesus rose from the dead, and (although many may say this is more reasonable) it cannot be proven that he did not (ie, no corpse).

"I don't know" is not everyone's answer. My answer happens to be "No, Jesus' body was not dead and in some state of decay on earth four days after he died." You may say, "That's a matter of faith," But I can just as easily point back to the Bible, which contains the writings of men of that very time period who believed Jesus rose from the dead and even claimed to see him after he rose. You may then say, "That isn't history," but what is history except the handing down of evidence and accounts made by the people who were there?

If I recall correctly, it cannot be historically proven that Hitler died in his bunker. However, anybody will agree immediately with the statement, "Four days after Hitler's death, his dead body was still on earth in some state of decay." However, I notice that when I ask the same question about Jesus Christ, you say, "I don't know."

--Mike

[This message has been edited by mpartyka (edited January 16, 2001).]
 
Old 01-16-2001, 11:36 AM   #42
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by mpartyka:
If I recall correctly, it cannot be historically proven that Hitler died in his bunker. However, anybody will agree immediately with the statement, "Four days after Hitler's death, his dead body was still on earth in some state of decay."
</font>
I don't know where or when hitler died for two reasons -- one I don't have the scholarship availible, so I personally don't know, and two, if what you say is correct, then no one certainly knows. However, it is a reasonable assumption to believe that Hitler was indeed decomposing somewhere four days after his death. Even if some of his soldiers claimed to have seen him still alive many days after his death, that would still not account for incontroverable proof, especially in light of their obvious allegiences. And even that "reasonable assumption" is not the same as an unqualified "YES" or "NO." It is a statement of faith saying, considering all the circumstial evidence, this seems most probable.... that's far differnt thatn some kind of absoluteism.

In the case of Jesus, you are making a unusual and spectacular claim. HISTORICALLY SPEAKING, in any other context, after a person died, we would be safe to assume that he remained dead after that point. But if you want to say that Jesus came back to life you can say that on faith. If you want to say that Jesus coming back to life is a HISTORICALY CONCLUSIVE INCONTROVERABLE INDISPUTIBLE FACT, then you will have to present evidence that removes any and all resonable doubt. Then, and only then, I would feel comfortbale in a "Yes" position. The reason I don't take a "No" position, is because, as far as I know, we have no remains of Jesus either, so many other things may have happened to the man. It seems reasonable to think that his body would be rotting somewhere after he dies, simply because that's what usually happens, but I cannot conclusively say that is true, because there is no evidence to prove it. So the most reasonable answer historically is "I don't know." There may be evidence from your perspective for the ressurection, but it is not conclusive -- that is to say it certainly does not prove it occured (by prove we mean conclusively show past any possible doubt that something is the case) so, whehter you think its a big leap or a little leap, your still taking something on faith...

Now, again, when you then ask me, "well as a matter of Christian faith then, "yes" or "no." I once again, cannot answer the question because I do not accept the premise -- "as a matter of Christian faith" I do not believe it is a matter of Christian faith, in essence.

And the final thing I have so say about this is this: because I think debtates over the literaness or non-literalnes of things like the ressurection stories completely miss the point, detract from the heart of the Christian message, take the focus of the things that really matter and are significant, and really do a disservice to any kind of authentic Christian life by getting people bogged down in mindless fruitless bickering and in-fighting -- beucase of this, I don't think I have anything more to say on the discussion of "literal vs. not literal" becuase I'm not a litearlist and I'm not a non-literalist.

The orginal point of this thread was to give and example and an account of how many liberals approach scripture, how that pertains to something like the ressurection account, and what in light of that interpetation, such people would do with troubling passages. I tried to do that. Somewhere along the line, this got turned into a big and pathetic fight between mike attacking me personally and me defending something I never really wanted to defend in the first place. Now that all that name-calling, sarcasm and berrating has died down, and I have taken quite a bit of that this time around, from the one charging me with not being a christian no less, I feel there is really just not too much more to say on the issue. Plus I'm more interested in other discussions now anyway.

Andrew


 
Old 01-16-2001, 03:34 PM   #43
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Captain Bloodloss,

It seems reasonable to think that his body would be rotting somewhere after he dies, simply because that's what usually happens, but I cannot conclusively say that is true, because there is no evidence to prove it.

Okay, let's try to narrow it down a little further at the risk of going completely off topic.

The new question is this:

Assuming that Adolf Hitler died in 1945, do you believe that four days after Hitler died, his body remained somewhere on earth in a dead, decaying state? Once again, either "yes" or "no" are the preferred answers, but "I don't know" is acceptable.

--Mike
 
Old 01-16-2001, 03:47 PM   #44
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Do you not believe Hitler was dead four days after he died? I was just curious about this. I'll take "I don't know" as a legitimate answer too.

Mike, as I said above, since this was not even the point of this thread, and since I have stated repeatedly that I believe that to get into this argument is to miss the point, I've said all I have to say about this.

There is literally volumes of material from both of us on this thread -- if you still don't feel you understand where I'm coming from, it has moved from being my problem to being your problem. I'm pretty sure I understand fairly clearly where you're coming from, and we just disagree.

You seem to think that somehow, if you just state your question clearly enough, you'll be able to manufacture the "right" answer, or at least an asnwer you want/understand. But, I would think by now you should see that after hundreds of stabs at it, we might just be better of letting this one go.

Let's agree to disagree and move on. Otherwise you'll be carrying on a coversation with yourself.

Andrew
 
Old 01-16-2001, 04:05 PM   #45
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....one last thing -- to get back to the heart of the original point of the thread, see now the understanding of the meaning in the life of Jesus as understood by one of these "liberals" you react against:

"I am resurrection. I am life. If a man believes in me, even though he dies he shall live. Do you believe this?" (John 11:25ff).

In many ways the fourth Gospel frightens me. Its depth challenges my scholarship. Its insight baffles my rationalism. Its profundity threatens to reveal my shallowness. I avoid it. I am willing only to nibble at its edges. I am aware that great scholars like William Temple, C. H. Dodd, and Sir Edwin Hoskyns gave their lives to a study of this book, while I am afraid to approach it. Yet frightening though it be, I cannot ignore it, for it intrigues me. It fascinates me. It calls me. I do not look to the fourth Gospel for historic accuracy. No life of Jesus can be constructed from this volume. Few direct quotations of Jesus can be found here. But no one, I am convinced, understood the deep inner meaning of Jesus of Nazareth better than did the author of the fourth Gospel.

With carefully chosen words and highly developed theological symbols, the writer of this book interprets this life. For John, he was not the Jesus of history, he was the Christ of meditation. He was the starkly blinding revelation of life, love, and being. Yet he was fully human. There was no Johannine attempt to prove his divinity, no virgin birth mythology is found here. In and through this historic human life something beyond life was always seen by John. The fourth Gospel portrayed this beyond, this life-power, as if it were completely historic. This was the secret meaning of Jesus. "In him was life," says the Johannine prologue, "and his life was the light of men."

The fourth Gospel revealed his Christ figure under a series of symbolic sayings, all of which began with the words I am: I am the bread of life. I am the living water. I am the light of the world. I am the good shepherd. I am the vine. I am the resurrection and the life.

I doubt if the historic Jesus ever actually said any of these things, but the author of this book, meditating on the result of Jesus’ life, could not refrain from making these ultimate claims for him. For in this Jesus, John had found Christpower -- that is, Jesus became the vine for him because he found him to be the sustainer of life. He became light because in him darkness was vanquished, living water because in him was the essence of outgoing caring. This Christpower the author of the fourth Gospel found in the one historic life -- the human being, Jesus of Nazareth.

The fourth Gospel’s story was a meditation on this power and thus it was not an historic account but an interpretation of the life of Jesus of Nazareth. In order to appreciate it, one must be turned on to the life that was in Jesus, set free by the love that was in him, made whole by the power that was in him. An unconverted life could never understand. An uncommitted life could never comprehend. The fourth Gospel frightens me, it judges my life, it questions my love, it challenges my faith, it reveals my depths and my lack of depth. Yet it is a compelling volume.

The key to this book, I believe, is our ability to distinguish between Jesus and Christ. They are not the same. Jesus was a person; Christ is a title, a theological principle. Jesus was of history; Christ is beyond history. Jesus was human, finite, limited; Christ is power that is divine, infinite, unlimited. Jesus had a mother and a father, an ancestry, a human heritage. He was born. He died. Christ is a principle beyond the capacity of the mind to embrace or human origins to explain. The name of our Lord was not Jesus Christ, as so many of us suppose. He was Jesus of Nazareth about whom men made the startling and revolutionary claim: "You are the Christ."

The simplistic claim that Jesus is God is nowhere made in the biblical story. Nowhere! But time after time in historic episode after historic episode, the claim has been made that through Jesus God was revealed -- fully, completely, totally.

And who is God? He is not a man in the sky who thinks and acts, who feels and directs. God is the source of life. God is seen wherever life is lived, and he is not alien or separated from that life. God is the source of love. God is seen wherever love is shared, and he is not alien or separated from that love. God is the ground of being. God is seen wherever one has the courage to be, and he is not alien or separated from that being.

In Jesus of Nazareth men saw the fullness of life being lived, the depth of love being shared, the courage to be being revealed. To them Jesus revealed life and love and being. He revealed God, and whenever God is seen in human life, that power is called Christ. "You are the Christ, Jesus" -- that was the claim. "You are the Christ, for in your life we have seen the meaning of life. In your love we have seen the meaning of love. In your being we have seen the ground of being."

That was the Christ that John saw in Jesus of Nazareth. To be in this Christ is to come alive. It is to dare to love, to dare to be. It is to escape the bondage of ourselves and to fly. It is to press the limits of our humanity, to meet another life openly, honestly, to touch and to share. It is to escape our estrangement. In these moments we know that this power is bigger than death, for it is bigger than life. This is Christpower. This was the meaning of the historic human being known as Jesus of Nazareth. This was why the biblical writers, and even we today, have to use the language of myth and parable to explain him. This was what lay behind every miracle account of the biblical story. This was the meaning of the virgin birth accounts of Matthew and Luke, and this was the secret behind every "I am" claim of the fourth Gospel. In the fourth Gospel it was not the Jesus of history who spoke, it was the Christpower, eternal and divine, which men had experienced in Jesus who was made to utter words through the mouth of this historic life. That is the interpretive clue in the profound meditation we call the Gospel of John.

Take this now, if you will, to the episode of the raising of Lazarus in chapter 11 of John’s story, for here was the fourth Gospel’s account of what happened when this Christpower confronted death. The scene was the village of Bethany. The deceased was a close friend. Jesus had been a guest in his home. The mourners gathered. The burial was complete. The cave was sealed. Jesus himself, arriving late, was caught in the emotions of bereavement. He wept. His humanity was real. Then a strange dialogue ensued with Martha, the sister of the departed Lazarus:

"Master, if you had been here my brother would not have died."

"Martha, your brother will live again."

"Lord, don’t play pious religious games with me. Don’t give me cliché assurances. I know he will live again at the general resurrection at the last day. Don’t preach to me! I believe in life after death. That is not my problem. My problem is now: grief, bereavement, loneliness, loss, hurt, pain. Speak to my life now, Lord."

"Martha, listen to my being, not my doing. I am resurrection. I am life. If you are touched by me, even though you die, you will live. If you are inside my power, you will never die. Human life is not eternal, Martha. Human life is like grass, and as the prophet says, grass perishes, flowers fade (Isa. 40: 8). But the Word of God, the logos, the Christpower, will never pass away. I can make you live, Martha, now and forever; for human life touched by Christpower will transcend every limit. It will share in eternity. Do you believe this, Martha? Do you believe that I can give you resurrection and life?"

"Yes, Lord," Martha answered, "I believe that you are the Christ. I believe that God’s life, his love, his being are breaking into human history through your life. I believe that in you time stands still."

So in this episode the Christpower in Jesus of Nazareth confronted death, and death was seen to yield before it, for death was a denial of life. Death’s apparent victory was reversed. Its sting was lost. For Jesus brought life. He brought the power of Christ.

John continued to ponder this narrative and again he heard the power of Christ speak:

"Lazarus, come forth," he had Jesus say. Death yielded. Lazarus came. He lived. Those who believed saw in this the glory of God, for the glory of God is nothing other than life lived, restored, made whole, forgiven, resurrected. It is life that has been invited into the timelessness of love.

The story of Lazarus was not a literal story. It was the truth arrived at by the author of the fourth Gospel after long years of meditating on the power in the life of Jesus of Nazareth. His meditation focused in this instance, I believe, on the parable of Lazarus and Dives (Luke 16:20ff), a parable that he related as if it were a historic episode. But regardless of whether it was a literal story, it is truth -- deep, profound truth. For I am convinced that life, not death, is finally real.

Why am I convinced? Because I have seen people resurrected by love. I have seen new radiance, new hope, new life, new love break into human existence. I have seen death conquered in more than one life. I have watched beauty transcend ugliness, love overcome hatred, life overwhelm death. I have seen faith transform fear. I have watched life, love, and being revealed in specific history. There is power whenever eternity touches time with the gift of love and calls us to live. That is what the Bible means by the title Christ -- living, eternal, God-given power breaking into human life. It is not alien or foreign in our world. This is the power that men saw in Jesus of Nazareth, so they called him the Christ. He revealed the meaning of God, the nature of God, by living, loving, being.

So John had Jesus say: "I am resurrection. I am life." Our world yearns to know this Christ; to find joy in a new commitment; to become new creatures; to shed our fears, our fantasies, our need for status symbols, our prejudices. The pathway to such a life, however, lies in opening ourselves to all that Christpower means. We must dare to love and dare to live. We must learn to give ourselves away freely. Waste love! Grasp life! Let our being reflect the power that sets us free. We are loved, we are accepted, we are forgiven. That is the meaning of Christ. All we must do is be open to it, accept that love, accept that acceptance, accept that forgiveness, and watch it roll back the curtains hiding our lives from ourselves. We will watch the stage on which our life is lived out expand so that even the final curtain of death seems not so drastic, not so powerful. When we live open to this Christ, we will know the deepest secret of life. His power will hold us in life. We will die, but in this Christ we are touched by a love that will not die, and that love will hold our mortal lives in the hand of that which is immortal.

"I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, though he dies, yet shall he live. Do you believe this, Martha?" Once we get inside the Christian experience, we can join with Martha and say: "Yes, Lord, I believe you are the Christ, for you have given me the gift of life."

This understanding of the power behind the narrative story of the ressurection has nothing to do with its historical literalness or non-literalness. The author of this analysis also wrote a book arguing against the literalness of the ressurection.

And yet, I would still think that this message conveyed here is in very close alignement with the deepest message of the gospel. Well, I know it is, and so we will just have to disagree.

Andrew


[This message has been edited by Captain Bloodloss (edited January 16, 2001).]
 
Old 01-16-2001, 05:53 PM   #46
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Ahhh, at last we deal with scripture. That is what Mike wants to see you do. It is something tangible that we can discuss as a starting point.

You mentioned numerous times that you did not take the gospels as historically accurate. Aside from judging this position, I am curious what evidence makes you conclude this? I have heard of things like the Jesus Seminar, but am unaware of its criteria of judgment. Is this position based on the conclusions that the gospels reach? I realize that the point of theological narrative is not history, but this does not preclude accuracy.

I would disagree with the statement that no where do the gospels declare Jesus to be God. I do not rely on the statement "son of God" alone, because I realize that this can be taken to be an average human being (I also am aware of its intertestamental references to God himself). I rely also on implications, the literary structure of the books, the comparisons to Caesar, responses of people treating Jesus with worship only to be given to God (and these are portrayed as favorable examples to the reader), Jesus taking upon himself the lore about God from intertestamental and apocalyptic literature, and the diverse genre employed by the authors. I give only one example not only for time sake, but because I only need one.

The book of John is written to the audience of Asia Minor. It is no coincidence that the miracles of Jesus that are recorded are the same exact miracles attributed to the pagan deities of Asia Minor. Notably, among these is the ability to turn water into wine. In effect John is putting a red "s" on Jesus along with a cape and calling Him superman, as he records him flying around. The miracle account finishes with a statement about the disciples' response to this. They put their faith in Him.
 
Old 01-16-2001, 07:51 PM   #47
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Josephus:
You mentioned numerous times that you did not take the gospels as historically accurate. Aside from judging this position, I am curious what evidence makes you conclude this?
</font>
I do not remember saying this directly? I do remember saying what I understood the meaning of particular accounts in scripture to be, and I remember saying that I felt that meaning remained reguardless of whether the account was literal or non-literal. So for me, to make a big arguement FOR or AGAINST a literal interpretation is to really miss the point. My basic take is, "you guys fight about taht if you want, meanwhile I'll continue to understanding deeper and more universal truths to which the accounts point in either case."

However, IF you are asking on what basis do people who argue SPECIFICALLY for a non-literal (or as you as you put it non-historical) understanding then I would suggest you go back and read my VERY FIRST POST which was a pretty extensive account of the kind of differing interpretive process that could lead two Christians to different conlcusions, including process that could lead some Christians to interpret things like mirculous accounts as symbolic and so on and so forth.

This was not meant to be a dodge. I cannot answer your question from personal experience because the dilemma is not my experience, and I have already done my best to give an answer suggestion some of the things that may factor into why some Christians interpret things differently than others. One thing that is certain is that quite a bit goes into the whole process for any side, and it is foolish to simply arbitarily dismiss it.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
I would disagree with the statement that no where do the gospels declare Jesus to be God. I do not rely on the statement "son of God" alone, because I realize that this can be taken to be an average human being (I also am aware of its intertestamental references to God himself). I rely also on implications, the literary structure of the books, the comparisons to Caesar, responses of people treating Jesus with worship only to be given to God (and these are portrayed as favorable examples to the reader), Jesus taking upon himself the lore about God from intertestamental and apocalyptic literature, and the diverse genre employed by the authors. I give only one example not only for time sake, but because I only need one.
</font>
Keep in mind that the quoted passage I gave above was an attempt to get back on topic, and as such it was something written from the perspective of the "liberal" (such a stupid divisive stereotype) -- it does not necessarily reflect my position. But it does show some reasonable and criticial thought into the heart of Christian faith, and it does result in the arrival at conclusions that do not include a belief that certain fantasic and miraculous event actually occured.

My own take on the matter, is a bit different, because I'm not interested in prove or disproving the literalness of any account, because I don't think it matters.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
The book of John is written to the audience of Asia Minor. It is no coincidence that the miracles of Jesus that are recorded are the same exact miracles attributed to the pagan deities of Asia Minor. Notably, among these is the ability to turn water into wine. In effect John is putting a red "s" on Jesus along with a cape and calling Him superman, as he records him flying around. The miracle account finishes with a statement about the disciples' response to this. They put their faith in Him.</font>
This is pretty interesting. From fact like these there is a lot of freedom to come to some pretty diverse interpetations. Which is why the proper attitude towards those who do come to differin interpretations should be one of patience and a refraining from judgment or condemnation.

Andrew

 
Old 01-16-2001, 09:18 PM   #48
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Captain Bloodloss,

Do you not believe Hitler was dead four days after he died?

Yes, I do believe he was dead four days after he died. What do you believe?

Yet he was fully human. There was no Johannine attempt to prove his divinity, no virgin birth mythology is found here....The simplistic claim that Jesus is God is nowhere made in the biblical story. Nowhere!

John 1:1-4 -- In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

John 1:14 -- And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

John 8:58 -- Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.


For in this Jesus, John had found Christpower....

"Christpower?" Sounds like a protein drink.

An unconverted life could never understand. An uncommitted life could never comprehend.

Ah, but enough about you....

The key to this book, I believe, is our ability to distinguish between Jesus and Christ. They are not the same. Jesus was a person; Christ is a title, a theological principle.

1 John 2:22 -- Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.

Jesus was of history; Christ is beyond history. Jesus was human, finite, limited; Christ is power that is divine, infinite, unlimited.

Phillipians 2:5-11 -- Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of [things] in heaven, and [things] in earth, and [things] under the earth; And [that] every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ [is] Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

God is seen wherever life is lived, and he is not alien or separated from that life.

John 1:18 -- No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared [him].

"You are the Christ, Jesus" -- that was the claim. "You are the Christ, for in your life we have seen the meaning of life. In your love we have seen the meaning of love. In your being we have seen the ground of being."

Matthew 16:16 -- And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

1 John 4:9-10 -- In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins.


To be in this Christ is to come alive.

1 John 4:13-15 -- Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son [to be] the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.

"Martha, listen to my being, not my doing. I am resurrection. I am life. If you are touched by me, even though you die, you will live. If you are inside my power, you will never die. Human life is not eternal, Martha. Human life is like grass, and as the prophet says, grass perishes, flowers fade (Isa. 40: 8). But the Word of God, the logos, the Christpower, will never pass away. I can make you live, Martha, now and forever; for human life touched by Christpower will transcend every limit. It will share in eternity. Do you believe this, Martha? Do you believe that I can give you resurrection and life?"

"Yes, Lord," Martha answered, "I believe that you are the Christ. I believe that God’s life, his love, his being are breaking into human history through your life. I believe that in you time stands still."


John 11:25-26 -- Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

John 11:27 -- She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.


He revealed the meaning of God, the nature of God, by living, loving, being.

Colossians 1:12-22 -- Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated [us] into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, [even] the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether [they be] thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all [things] he might have the preeminence. For it pleased [the Father] that in him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, [I say], whether [they be] things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in [your] mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight....

We are loved, we are accepted, we are forgiven. That is the meaning of Christ. All we must do is be open to it, accept that love, accept that acceptance, accept that forgiveness....

1 John 5:1-13 -- Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, [even] our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? This is he that came by water and blood, [even] Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; [and] he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

This understanding of the power behind the narrative story of the ressurection has nothing to do with its historical literalness or non-literalness.

1 Corinthians 15:12-19 -- Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then [is] our preaching vain, and your faith [is] also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith [is] vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

And, because you asked for it....

...there are some who say that Jesus was merely a receptacle of Christ....But again, those who assert that He was simply a mere man, begotten by Joseph, remaining in the bondage of the old disobedience, are in a state of death having been not as yet joined to the Word of God the Father, nor receiving liberty through the Son, as He does Himself declare: “If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” But, being ignorant of Him who from the Virgin is Emmanuel, they are deprived of His gift, which is eternal life; and not receiving the incorruptible Word, they remain in mortal flesh, and are debtors to death, not obtaining the antidote of life. To whom the Word says, mentioning His own gift of grace: “I said, Ye are all the sons of the Highest, and gods; but ye shall die like men.” He speaks undoubtedly these words to those who have not received the gift of adoption, but who despise the incarnation of the pure generation of the Word of God, defraud human nature of promotion into God, and prove themselves ungrateful to the Word of God, who became flesh for them. For it was for this end that the Word of God was made man, and He who was the Son of God became the Son of man, that man, having been taken into the Word, and receiving the adoption, might become the son of God.

For this reason [it is, said], “Who shall declare His generation? ” since “He is a man, and who shall recognise Him? ” But he to whom the Father which is in heaven has revealed Him, knows Him, so that he understands that He who “was not born either by the will of the flesh, or by the will of man,” is the Son of man, this is Christ, the Son of the living God. For I have shown from the Scriptures, that no one of the sons of Adam is as to everything, and absolutely, called God, or named Lord. But that He is Himself in His own right, beyond all men who ever lived, God, and Lord, and King Eternal, and the Incarnate Word, proclaimed by all the prophets, the apostles, and by the Spirit Himself, may be seen by all who have attained to even a small portion of the truth. Now, the Scriptures would not have testified these things of Him, if, like others, He had been a mere man. But that He had, beyond all others, in Himself that pre-eminent birth which is from the Most High Father, and also experienced that pre-eminent generation which is from the Virgin, the divine Scriptures do in both respects testify of Him: also, that He was a man without comeliness, and liable to suffering; that He sat upon the foal of an ass; that He received for drink, vinegar and gall; that He was despised among the people, and humbled Himself even to death and that He is the holy Lord, the Wonderful, the Counsellor, the Beautiful in appearance, and the Mighty God, coming on the clouds as the Judge of all men; —all these things did the Scriptures prophesy of Him.

For as He became man in order to undergo temptation, so also was He the Word that He might be glorified; the Word remaining quiescent, that He might be capable of being tempted, dishonoured, crucified, and of suffering death, but the human nature being swallowed up in it (the divine), when it conquered, and endured [without yielding], and performed acts of kindness, and rose again, and was received up [into heaven]. He therefore, the Son of God, our Lord, being the Word of the Father, and the Son of man, since He had a generation as to His human nature from Mary—who was descended from mankind, and who was herself a human being—was made the Son of man. Wherefore also the Lord Himself gave us a sign, in the depth below, and in the height above, which man did not ask for, because he never expected that a virgin could conceive, or that it was possible that one remaining a virgin could bring forth a son, and that what was thus born should be” God with us....


-- from Against Heresies III:16:1 and III:19:1-3; Bishop Irenaeus of Lyons, c. 189A.D.

--Mike
 
Old 01-17-2001, 09:23 AM   #49
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
An unconverted life could never understand. An uncommitted life could never comprehend.

Ah, but enough about you....
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Mike, I have never done this to you. I have never engaged you with the level of contempt -- its really getting to feel almost like hatered -- and mean-spiritedness that you continually, constantly engage me with. We've been intense before, but never to this level. The bulk of your posts to me on this thread have been of a level of meanness and combativeness that I've never really seen before from you.

You know a great deal about my religious convictions, I've shared probably more than I should with you, because I'm always too trusting of other people. But now, it is not fair for you to contstantly berate my convictions, look for any opportunity to snidely comment on how pathetic (your word) counterfit (your word) naieve (your word) bullshit (your word) hyporcritical (your word) and decietful my life is.

Mike, you ask me questions, and then when you don't like my answers, you totally berate not only me, but the things that are the most important part of who I am in my life. Comments like the one above prevail in all of your writing to me now. All of our conversations have become a "you against me" and it is you, you who have been the agressor. This is no longer a free exchange of differing view points -- you treat me as though you hate me, you make fun of my opinion at any point you possibly can, you berate the convictions I hold most deeply, you scoff at everything that I value, and you attribute evil motives to why I believe what I believe.

It is not fair that you have so poisoned this discussion in such a fashion. Did you want to hurt me Mike, is that what you hoped to accomplish? Well, I'm not ashamed to admit it -- your continual berages against me in anger and bitterness have indeed hurt me. And you know what? I shouldn't have to put up with that.

In response to the article I posted (not my words, nor necessarily my posistion, but a representation of some liberal thinking) you attacked it as though we were in a debate over who was right and who was wrong. But that was never the point of this thread!! I already knew you disagreed with that point of view, and you knew I disagreed with your point of view.

You had asked me for some information on the thought that is behind some liberal viewpoints, and for some insight into the interpretative process, and I gave that -- that article was NEVER intended as a PROOF of any particluar position. It was intended as an EXAMPLE of a differing viewpoint. If your response was intended as an example of a particular position, then great -- we see differing positions clearly, and that's that. But if your attempt was to somehow provide PROOFTEXT for the absolute rightness of your position, and you chose to use "Against Heresies" as your text!-- well uh, you've got a LOT to learn about Chrisitan history in that case.

You have a point of view.

I have a different point of view.

Congratulations, you have succeeded in tearing me down verbally, being sarcastic with me at every turn, spewing your viciousness towards me and what I think, showing me a level of disdain and contempt that I never expected -- and this comes from your position that you are the "authentic Christian." Something about that just doesn't compute for me.

Congratulations, you have without a doubt, hurt my feelings deeply if that was your intention. You don't dissuade me from my convictions, but if you wanted to make me feel bad, you have succeeded at that. I hope that gives you the kind of satisfaction you are hoping for.

Congratulations, you have made one more thing very clear to me --- I may or may not fit well under the umbrella of the official label of Christian -- but if you are right, and I am not a Chrisitan while you are the true Christian... then there is no possible way I would ever become one. If being a Christian means treating people like you've treated me here, not just in that one saying (which of course I could have dismissed on its own) but in constant and repeated barrage against me -- if being a Christian means the fruits of that are anger, sarcasm, bitterness, intolerance, a refusal to listen, a inability to be open, joylessness, no compassion or understanding, no desire to strive for peace, but instead a desire to be "right" at any cost, even if that means sowing more discord...

...if the witness of the Chrisitan life is what you have reflected in your posts here, then I would never, even want to be a Christian.

If I were you I would think carefully about the kind of witness you are leaving for others on this board. You've said elsewhere that you are here to be a kind of voice of truth, and help non Chrisitans see the light. I'm not sure how you expect them to see the light in any other place but in your own example of it. Your words, disassociated from your example are meaningless. However, words that also correspond to example and action have great power.

This is my prayer for you Mike. I pray that you would take a day or two break from angrily attacking me. I'll not writing anything to or about you during that time, if you like. My prayer is that you woudl regroup. You would remember the weightier things of the law -- Justice, Mercy, Compassion, and recover your ability to demonstrate those, WITHOUT neglecting the other things you believe strongly are important. I pray that you would recover a sense of peace and composure, and I pray that the power that you claim is the ultimate power in life would give you the ability to have peace and love in your heart, even when faced with someone as horrible and dispicable as me. I pray that you would recover a spirit of joy, peace, and love -- these are the fruits that will mean something to others. If being a Christian means you just go around pissed off at everyone who disagrees with you all the time, well....there's not too much worth haveing in that.

I believe what I believe, because my alignment with the mystical and divine elements of live, along with a healthy grounding in critical thinking and a skepitcal mindset have given me a fullness of joy and peace that I can't hardy describe. In a world where so many feel empty, and brokenhearted -- I feel the fullness and the overflow of love, and literally rejoice to be alive (I truly do, almost every night I go for a hour walk, and on those walks I am often overcome by the sheer beauty of living this life and my participation in the divine and the divine's manifestation in me"

I don't think I have everything figured out -- I know that I don't. But I do believe I am on a good path, it has produced in my life great happiness and great joy, and an intense love of myself and others. It's pretty hard for someone to come up to me and tell me I ought to think differently -- especially if they have no real manifestation of the same kind of joy and happiness I have right now, and all they are peddling is their version of how we can have eternal life. I would rather live a finite life lived in beautiy and joy, than live and enternal life it it means acting towards others as you have acted towards me, or if it means being hostile and angry and bitter. I imagine you to be a very lonely man, and that saddens me greatly. I'm sorry for whatever it is about me that you detest.

I would respectfully ask that you cease and desist personal attacks on me. My conversation with you on this subject is over. I will continue to discuss with othesr as long as it seems to be productive.

Good luck Mike, this is probably going to sound so stupid to you, and you will probably think that I am full of crap, but I care about you, friend -- I hope that you can find away to constantly convey a beautiful spirit, both to those you agree with and those you disagree with.

Andrew
 
Old 01-17-2001, 05:08 PM   #50
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Captain Bloodloss,

The bulk of your posts to me on this thread have been of a level of meanness and combativeness that I've never really seen before from you.

Okay, okay, instead of just posting what comes to mind I've actually sat back and taken a lot of deep breaths before writing this one.

First of all, understand that I took the "unconverted, uncommitted" statement to be a shot at me. I'm sure that's not how it was intended, but the fact is that I don't grasp the meaning of John's Gospel as you have described it, and it's not because I'm unconverted to Christianity or uncommitted to Christ -- it's because the understanding you have presented is so far from the truth that I wouldn't bother considering it or posting Scriptures to the contrary were it not presented with such energy and vibrancy on your part that I'm afraid somebody's going to read it and get hooked on that rather than the truth. I want to make it clear to anyone who read your post and considered incorporating it into their spiritual worldview that your post is not grounded in Scripture as you claim, but rather is grounded in your own personal opinion which you then twist and even misquote the Scriptures to support. I have done this by presenting not my own arguments, but the very words of Scripture itself, so that our audience, however large it is, may see that you are not arguing against from the Scriptures but rather against them.

Second, I have to admit I personally don't feel like arguing -- I thought we were done, but then you went and posted that huge infomercial for "Christpower" and ruined what would have been an otherwise congenial ending. Did you honestly expect me to remain silent over that? How could you, after all this? Imagine the enormity of my frustration, if you will, that the person who will not offer me even the slightest hint of truth regarding Hitler's death would then go on to write a sermon about Jesus' life! How can we credit you with any knowledge of what is spiritual when you can't even give us a straight answer about what is historical?

John 3:12 -- If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you [of] heavenly things?

In a similar sense, you have refused time and again to tell me the truth of earthly things, and now do you expect people to believe you hold any truth at all about spiritual things? Why should they? If you can't answer a straight yes-or-no question about what happened to Jesus' body, why should anybody bother to consider what you say about his life?

Mike, you ask me questions, and then when you don't like my answers, you totally berate not only me, but the things that are the most important part of who I am in my life.

I didn't like your "answers" because until the very end they were not answers at all! To call my question irrelevant is not to answer it. To call the question immaterial to the Christian faith is not to answer it. To say "both yes and no" is simply a contradiction worthy of immediate discard if you do not supply additional explanation.

On the other hand, to say "I don't know" was perfectly acceptable, although less satisfying than a "yes" or "no" would have been. And, once you made it clear that was your final answer, I accepted it without further comment.

...you attribute evil motives to why I believe what I believe.

This is the one thing of which I believe I am most definitely guilty. However, I pause to wonder whether I should be ashamed of this or not. You appear to believe what you believe, using the Scriptures to support your views in spite of what they plainly say, so that you can appear almost "ecumenical" in your approach to agnosticism and Christianity. Your goal is to achieve a sort of harmony between the two disparate worldviews -- but what sort of harmony can there be?

2 Corinthians 6:14-18 -- Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in [them]; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

It is not the mixing of beliefs that God desires. Rather, God desires that Christians come together in faith to be a light in the darkness. If Christians are to diffuse their beliefs among the beliefs of those who live in darkness, how will anyone come to see the light?

In response to the article I posted (not my words, nor necessarily my posistion, but a representation of some liberal thinking) you attacked it as though we were in a debate over who was right and who was wrong. But that was never the point of this thread!! I already knew you disagreed with that point of view, and you knew I disagreed with your point of view.

Get something straight -- it's not all about you. Other people read these threads, and when you decide to post reams of error as you have chosen to do from time to time, it is my responsibility to ensure that the truth is presented as well. No, I need not always use the most sarcastic of tones to get the message across -- I relied upon Scripture for the overwhelming majority of my post for the very reason that I did not want to appear to be arguing against you so much as presenting the Scriptures upon which you were claiming to base your beliefs so that the Scriptures can be read freely, without the offbeat interpretations you provide.

You had asked me for some information on the thought that is behind some liberal viewpoints, and for some insight into the interpretative process, and I gave that....

I specifically asked for how a "liberal Christian" could look at 1 Cor 15 and not conclude that the physical resurrection of Christ was an essential doctrine of the Christian faith. The best you did was to say, "Unless we know what Paul means by 'risen', we can't know what he's saying here." That, in my opinion, is a cop-out, for if you look at all the Old Testament accounts of resurrection and the Gospel account of Lazarus' resurrection, it is clear that one rises from the dead in his or her body. Now, you might say that Christ's body was given strange properties that made it unlike a human body, but unless there is any evidence in Paul's words to say otherwise, you must still admit that the body he received is the body he left, however changed it may be -- and you never gave any evidence to the contrary except your own insistence on the "normative lens" of a non-literal interpretation according to a "gospel" which isn't the Gospel at all.

...if your attempt was to somehow provide PROOFTEXT for the absolute rightness of your position, and you chose to use "Against Heresies" as your text!....

The Scriptures speak for themselves -- whether they lend credibility to or remove credibility from your position I'll leave for the readers to decide. I quoted Against Heresies for the sake of (1) showing that your position was being officially refuted as far back as the second century and (2) exemplifying the viewpoint of orthodox Christians.

...if the witness of the Chrisitan life is what you have reflected in your posts here, then I would never, even want to be a Christian.

Consider this -- what if I am the true Christian, only I really suck at it?

Seriously, though, this seems to be your fallback position whenever I declare something that makes you uncomfortable, as in the "steal or die" dilemma we faced a while back. You ripped me up and down that time, presenting me as the moral incompetent, even calling me a Pharisees, because I felt that dying was preferable to sinning -- a position I still stand by today. I do sense a certain amount of payback from this current series, because while you ridiculed me for maintaining what appeared to you to be a morally untenable position, I now get to see you stumble over your own inability to maintain any position over the most fundamental questions of truth. Did Jesus' body crumble into dust or not? You don't know? Well, either it did or it didn't, and if it didn't, would you care to tell me what did happen to it, then? No, no, please don't start another seminar on "Christpower" -- just answer the question.

I'm not serious -- I don't expect you to answer the question. What I do want you to consider is that there is no value in trying to compromise the Scriptures for the sake of pleasing yourself. Take them or leave them, but don't try to make them say what you want them to say. If you do that, then normally even-tempered people like me will turn into rabid dogs and eat you alive.

By the way, the same person whose Gospel you mispreach with fervency is the same one who says I should give you the cold shoulder.

2 John 1:9-11 -- Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into [your] house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

--Mike
 
 

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