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episkopos
Feb 3rd 2011, 07:25 PM
Greetings to all!

We see so often the disagreements among the brethren of Christ. One takes this view and the other takes that view. Now, if we took all the possible viewpoints as option 1 and option 2 for a given statement, we would end up with a string of numbers that form an individual code for every believer? No wonder there is no agreement among Christians.

No wonder there are thousands of different denominations.

The answer to this predicament is quite simple. The truth is stated as a dialectic. A dialectic takes into account two seemingly opposite positions and makes them one. I say again, seeming contradictions.

Non-believers say constantly that the bible is full of contradictions.

Many believers simply take the one view and ignore or explain away the other.

Who is being more honest here?

It is very human to take a partisan view of truth and turn it into a truth". Not THE truth, but simply A truth.

So we have our modern denoms being the ground and pillar of A truth.

Let us look at the seeming contradictions that ONLY THE TRUTH can reconcile.

episkopos
Feb 3rd 2011, 07:38 PM
-The truth can only be seen correctly as a dialectic...a 3 dimentional view.

-Here are a few of the "contradictions."

-Resist not evil/ resist the devil and he will flee

Husbands love your wives as Christ loves the church/ He who doesn't hate his wife for my sake cannot be my disciple

-Fear the Lord/ Fear not, be bold to enter the throne room of God.

-My peace I give you (Prince of Peace)/ I came not to bring peace but a sword

Love believes all things/ test the spirits

-Wise as serpents/ harmless as doves

-Lion of Judah/ Lamb of God

-Answer a fool according to his folly/ answer not a fool according to his folly

-Judge not lest you be judged/ A spiritual man judges all things

-Speak as the oracle of God/ A fool utters all that is in his heart

-I die daily/ abundant life with rivers flowing from within

Be mature/ be as little chidren

-Doers of the law are justified/ No one is justified by works of the law ) (Rom 2:13. Rom 3:20)

-When I am weak then I am strong

-All the ways of God are Mercy AND judgment (truth)

-The letter (1 Ti 4:13)/
Follow the Spirit Not the letter.

-Pray in secret/ shout from the rooftops

-Election/ free choice

-Already saved/ working out our salvation with fear and trembling

RollTide21
Feb 3rd 2011, 07:38 PM
I would tentatively propose that the Scriptures are not intended to present a single entity of reconciled "Truth". I believe that there is one Truth: That the way to God is through the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit testifies to this Truth.

Aside from that, Scripture is intended to be used as God's Word in a daily application of our individual Walk with Christ. It is NOT meant to be a complex puzzle to be "figured out". We are to allow the Spirit to direct us to the Word He has for each of us contained in Scripture.

episkopos
Feb 3rd 2011, 07:43 PM
I would tentatively propose that the Scriptures are not intended to present a single entity of reconciled "Truth". I believe that there is one Truth: That the way to God is through the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit testifies to this Truth.

Aside from that, Scripture is intended to be used as God's Word in a daily application of our individual Walk with Christ. It is NOT meant to be a complex puzzle to be "figured out". We are to allow the Spirit to direct us to the Word He has for each of us contained in Scripture.

Very good. I would add the the scriptures judge and discern us and not we them. But the temptation is there, and followed, to set up a doctrinal STANCE.

I have seen far too many say they have a balanced approach to the word, only to reject other scriptures as "out of context" since it destroys the previously held assumption.

Do you believe there is such a thing as Christian ethics or principles? Morality?

RollTide21
Feb 3rd 2011, 07:54 PM
Very good. I would add the the scriptures judge and discern us and not we them. But the temptation is there, and followed, to set up a doctrinal STANCE.

Do you believe there is such a thing as Christian ethics or principles? Morality?Doctrinal stances are, by and large, relative to the individual experiences of those who adhere to them, I think. In my estimation, it makes perfect sense that God deals with each of us in different ways, according to His purpose. What doesn't make sense is that we have different interpretations of His Word, while we all profess to be living within the perfect Will of God. If the Word had one single message, then it stands to reason that only those who "get it" would be living in God's Will. I don't know anyone who would buy that. I think we are living within the Will of God when we SEEK Him, not when we figure Him out.

Even those who have a true desire to ignore pre-conceived doctrine and try to figure out what the Scriptures say, unfiltered, create their own doctrine based on what they interpret the Scriptures to say.

I believe that morality comes exclusively through the Spirit. Specific instruction, encouragement, or chastisement within the frame of that morality may very well come from Scripture.

episkopos
Feb 3rd 2011, 10:42 PM
Here's an idea.

Imagine a Martian who has only read brochures of the earth...meeting an earthling and discussing water. The Martian says that he has read that water gives life. The earthling says that water can also destroy, and that men can drown. The Martian refuses to believe this as it is the exact opposite of what he has read.

The Martian concludes that the earthling is preaching a false message that water kills rather than gives life.

This is the experience of they who see and know the kingdom and try to explain the kingdom of God to those who's views have only been influenced through reading an account of it.

Neanias
Feb 3rd 2011, 11:50 PM
I think the moment you read the scriptures and say "There, now I understand it!" and stop looking to understand it better, you just lost it... Like the Martian, what you have understood might very well be true; you read the message and as you read your understanding is opened and you see that water gives life. But you CANNOT take this and stop learning MORE about water and you cannot assume it cant do something that seems opposite to what it already does.

The enemy is not what you have learnt, but the belief that what you have learnt is all there is to learn about it. The stumbling block is thinking we have arrived, when we have not. We ARE on the path, but we are NOT yet there.

Neanias
Feb 4th 2011, 12:12 AM
If we accept the truth (revelation of it) that we receive from God, but reject the truth revealed to our brother, then we are accepting part of the truth of God, but also rejecting a part of it.

little watchman
Feb 4th 2011, 01:08 AM
The truth is stated as a dialectic. A dialectic takes into account two seemingly opposite positions and makes them one.

I want to be clear that you are not speaking of Hegel's dialectic, in which thesis and antithesis give way to a synthesis of opposites. What apparent contradictions exist in scripture seem to be on a spectrum of, on one side, semantic constructs that disappear with proper understanding and context, somewhere in the middle there is genuine tension that reflects actual tension in the world, and on the opposite side there are mysteries (possibly the sovereign election / free will debate). In no case are we to synthesize this tension, and if we do, we go beyond what is written (1 Corinthians 4:6) and usually end up error. I would even say that synthesis is one of the devil's favorite tools to lead God's people to compromise the Truth.

Neanias
Feb 4th 2011, 01:48 AM
That's interesting, lw. This definitely has nothing to do with Hegel. According to my understanding of this, it is not a thesis and an antithesis that are synthesized... But it is two thesis' (no 'anti' thesis, because one is not against the other) that are both true though they seem opposite.

I'll use episkopos' example. If a martian learns that water gives life, and is necessary to life, it would say that to say it can kill (drown) a person seems contradictory, but better understanding shows it isn't.

I think the danger is taking one side of the truth and leaving out the other, as we will then err.

What apparent contradictions exist in scripture seem to be on a spectrum of, on one side, semantic constructs that disappear with proper understanding and context, somewhere in the middle there is genuine tension that reflects actual tension in the world, and on the opposite side there are mysteries (possibly the sovereign election / free will debate).If I understood you right, I agree :) . I think the semantic constructs disappear with proper understanding, as you say; the understanding that is of the Lord. If we have that understanding, we can follow the Spirit. We know when and where to apply "judge no thing before it's time" and when and where to apply "a spiritual man judges all things". The whole thing does in a sense remain a mystery, I think, as there are things that are beyond our ability to grasp. Yet with God, we can understand all things (see the dialectic here ;) )

I'm not sure I get what you mean by 'synthesizing the tension' though.

In no case are we to synthesize this tensionI think it is important to see both sides of the issue. But again, without neglecting one or the other. Again, not sure exactly what you meant :)

little watchman
Feb 4th 2011, 02:39 AM
Neanias, yes, I think we agree. When I say we shouldn't synthesize the tension, I mean we should seek to understand apparent Biblical contradictions on their own terms rather than make them fit a theory that gets rid of the tension either by ignoring one side of the argument or seeking a compromise that doesn't have much direct Biblical support. It's pretty abstract stuff, though. I'd rather not have to think of an example!

An example of danger in the dialectic process could be:

thesis: "I AM the way, the truth, and the life."
antithesis: Muslims, Buddhists, and Atheists disagree. Peace is the highest good.
synthesis: Love and forgiveness is the way, the truth, and the life.

Butch5
Feb 4th 2011, 02:52 AM
-The truth can only be seen correctly as a dialectic...a 3 dimentional view.

-Here are a few of the "contradictions."

-Resist not evil/ resist the devil and he will flee

Husbands love your wives as Christ loves the church/ He who doesn't hate his wife for my sake cannot be my disciple

-Fear the Lord/ Fear not, be bold to enter the throne room of God.

-My peace I give you (Prince of Peace)/ I came not to bring peace but a sword

Love believes all things/ test the spirits

-Wise as serpents/ harmless as doves

-Lion of Judah/ Lamb of God

-Answer a fool according to his folly/ answer not a fool according to his folly

-Judge not lest you be judged/ A spiritual man judges all things

-Speak as the oracle of God/ A fool utters all that is in his heart

-I die daily/ abundant life with rivers flowing from within

Be mature/ be as little chidren

-Doers of the law are justified/ No one is justified by works of the law ) (Rom 2:13. Rom 3:20)

-When I am weak then I am strong

-All the ways of God are Mercy AND judgment (truth)

-The letter (1 Ti 4:13)/
Follow the Spirit Not the letter.

-Pray in secret/ shout from the rooftops

-Election/ free choice

-Already saved/ working out our salvation with fear and trembling

I think a lot of the apparent contradictions are really just an illusion created from a lack of understanding. Many Christians attempt to interpret the Scriptures without an understanding of what and who was being addressed, with little or no understanding of what was going on, and I think without thinking through all of the implications of their conclusions.

PneumaPsucheSoma
Feb 4th 2011, 03:00 AM
-The truth can only be seen correctly as a dialectic...a 3 dimentional view.

-Here are a few of the "contradictions."

-Resist not evil/ resist the devil and he will flee

Husbands love your wives as Christ loves the church/ He who doesn't hate his wife for my sake cannot be my disciple

-Fear the Lord/ Fear not, be bold to enter the throne room of God.

-My peace I give you (Prince of Peace)/ I came not to bring peace but a sword

Love believes all things/ test the spirits

-Wise as serpents/ harmless as doves

-Lion of Judah/ Lamb of God

-Answer a fool according to his folly/ answer not a fool according to his folly

-Judge not lest you be judged/ A spiritual man judges all things

-Speak as the oracle of God/ A fool utters all that is in his heart

-I die daily/ abundant life with rivers flowing from within

Be mature/ be as little chidren

-Doers of the law are justified/ No one is justified by works of the law ) (Rom 2:13. Rom 3:20)

-When I am weak then I am strong

-All the ways of God are Mercy AND judgment (truth)

-The letter (1 Ti 4:13)/
Follow the Spirit Not the letter.

-Pray in secret/ shout from the rooftops

-Election/ free choice

-Already saved/ working out our salvation with fear and trembling

Many of these apparent "opposites" can be clarified by original language word studies. English-English is woefully inadequate.

episkopos
Feb 4th 2011, 03:59 PM
Many of these apparent "opposites" can be clarified by original language word studies. English-English is woefully inadequate.

Actually we are not meant to explain away the dificulties. A Christian is not to seek to end the tension that truth has with the present reality.

We are to be in the world but nor OF the world. This is a tension that must be lived daily. As Paul said...we die daily. We don't belong here.

Now many will seek to reconcile their belief with the present world. They build their house here, so to speak. But the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head. the world is a hostile place. The world resists the kingdom of God. The world has a puppet master (the devil) that is the enemy of our souls.

We see some Christians reconciling the kingdom with the world through what I call the "crusader" spirit. This makes our western countries into the "good guys". We then make men our enemies and hate them just as the world tells us to.

But we are to be different than the world. We are to love our enemies. We are to lay down our lives, not kill in Jesus name. We are to refuse to wield temporal powers. We look to Christ and HIS power. We are as sheep among wolves! This is a scandal that violates our manhood!!!! We shirk from such a weak position!!! We are men, no???

A Christian who smooths over the tension of BEING a Christian in the world, has lost his saltiness, and light. They hated our Master. And they would hate us too if we lived from HIS life.

little watchman
Feb 4th 2011, 04:20 PM
Many of these apparent "opposites" can be clarified by original language word studies. English-English is woefully inadequate.

Though I agree with episkopos and neanias is theory, that we are not meant to explain away genuine tension in the Bible, I also agree with PPS and Butch5 that most of the examples on the list don't have genuine tension and would disappear with proper understanding and context.

Fenris
Feb 4th 2011, 04:22 PM
I think a lot of the apparent contradictions are really just an illusion created from a lack of understanding.
Yes, I believe this to be so.

RollTide21
Feb 4th 2011, 04:32 PM
I think a lot of the apparent contradictions are really just an illusion created from a lack of understanding. Many Christians attempt to interpret the Scriptures without an understanding of what and who was being addressed, with little or no understanding of what was going on, and I think without thinking through all of the implications of their conclusions.The problem is that this theory indicts, I might argue, the MAJORITY of believers. What you propose is that there is a single idea of what God had in mind in terms of His Plan for Earth, and that those of us who understand what that is are the ones who REALLY know God. Those who miss something...take something out of context...or simply CAN'T mentally grasp this complicated reconciliation of Scripture...are outside the understanding of Truth.

The Bible is not an easy read if one is attempting to make every passage make sense with every other passage. Who could be expected to reconcile Scripture aside from THE most learned and intelligent among us? Having said that, is this what God expects of Believers?

episkopos
Feb 4th 2011, 05:58 PM
Yes, I believe this to be so.

Is there not an overiding tension in being IN the world but not OF it?

keck553
Feb 4th 2011, 07:57 PM
This can go on and on and on, but in the end what remains is that people do what they want to do. Neither was there religious unity in 1st century Israel. There were at least 14 sects/brotherhoods in the small area of Judea.

The bottom line isn't found in dissention, theologies, rules and distractions. We'll be dancing around forever focusing on the subjective tendancies of human beings.

What God wants is relationship.

Amos_with_goats
Feb 4th 2011, 08:16 PM
Great thread. :thumbsup:

The false distinction distilled down into labels does nothing for our understanding of scripture, and does great harm to the body of Christ.

PneumaPsucheSoma
Feb 4th 2011, 11:53 PM
Though I agree with episkopos and neanias is theory, that we are not meant to explain away genuine tension in the Bible, I also agree with PPS and Butch5 that most of the examples on the list don't have genuine tension and would disappear with proper understanding and context.

...which was my simple point. Basic misunderstood word meanings, along with appropriate hermeneutics, etc. Not everything is authentic tension; and some tension needs a bit of attention. There's tension about this topic... I'll just unsubscribe...

episkopos
Feb 5th 2011, 04:01 PM
The bible shows us the precedences, (the options, as it were) but we must be led of the Spirit. I have spoken to many long term believers who simply cannot trust that they can be led by the Spirit. They have either experienced, or else have heard of horror stories of, people who have followed an inner voice into oblivion.

These experiences can be divided into 2 different catagories in my view.

1. They actually heard nothing but their own heart speaking.

2. They actually DID hear from the Lord but hit a "dead end" much like the Israelites did when they reached the red sea with Pharoahs army at their back. Panic sets in. (God always leads us to a dead end in order to test our faith). So they miss the opportunity from God to move forward in the kingdom.

The bible is very useful but remember that the early Christians did not have a bible under their arms ....they were led of the Spirit. The bible is a huge bonus IF it doesn't replace the Spirit in our lives. After all, those who are led of the ____ (bible or Spirit?) these are the sons of God.

We could see the bible as a map, and the Spirit as a compass. One helps the other. A friend of mine related an incident where one hiker had a compass and the other a map, while arguing which way to go as they were lost. Only by ceasing quarrreling and working together were they able to find their way home.

Here again we see a dialectic.

On one extreme you have the bible only crowd. They venerate the bible as if it were Jesus Christ Himself.

On the other extreme we have spirit revival seekers. These are trying to feel the vibes off of both animate and inanimate objects.

The truth is neither. But encompasses both the word AND the Spirit.

episkopos
Feb 7th 2011, 12:43 AM
Another tension is what we see exemplified by the 2 positions known as Calvanism and Armenianism.

Of course both have an aspect of the truth. But neither view holds up on it's own. We are not meant to divide over which position comes closest to our own experience

Fenris
Feb 7th 2011, 02:41 PM
Is there not an overiding tension in being IN the world but not OF it?
Not sure I get your point. In Judaism, at least, we're not to ignore the world but rather to influence it and make it a more spiritual place. Hence, the law.

episkopos
Feb 7th 2011, 04:51 PM
Not sure I get your point. In Judaism, at least, we're not to ignore the world but rather to influence it and make it a more spiritual place. Hence, the law.

Precisely! We are to be salt and light to the world. We influence the world to a place where we may bring a reconciliation with God.

We, as spiritual Israel are to continue to promote righteousness in an unrighteous world. We do this not through the law but by abiding in holiness and being subject to the law of the Spirit in Christ's power.

The law is a gauge like a volt meter. A volt meter cannot power anything. It simply reveals the PRESENCE of power. No, Christ within us is as a dynamo or battery that powers our "lights" to the world.

Fenris
Feb 7th 2011, 05:32 PM
The law is a gauge like a volt meter. A volt meter cannot power anything. It simply reveals the PRESENCE of power. No, A Christ within us is as a dynamo or battery that powers our "lights" to the world.
Mmm. An interesting perspective. Not how Jews see it, however.

episkopos
Feb 7th 2011, 06:50 PM
Mmm. An interesting perspective. Not how Jews see it, however.

At least not yet! ;) Be-ezrat Hashem!