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  • Serious Questions about Biblical Interpretation (NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART)

    We've heard it all before. The Protestants, Catholics, Orthodox, and a few other groups of Christians all differ on one central topic of Christianity - the Bible. Each comes to the intellectual arena with differing systems of logic, demands, and Biblical interpretation. While it is not my hope to solve Christianity in a single post, I desire to gain some understanding of Protestantism's interpretation of the Bible. I will start with what has traditionally been offered- (if a MOD thinks this thread should be moved, sorry in advance for posting this in the wrong section).

    My main struggle with the Bible has been the interpretation of doctrines throughout the history of Christianity. Most Protestants oppose some of the more "recent" doctrines of Catholicism that they hold on par with scripture (and I do as well). But, it seems unlikely to me that Christians would believe a doctrine, teach it throughout the entire church, and not teach otherwise if said doctrine were not true.

    I hear many protestants demand (and not unrighty) "but where is it in the BIBLE?" when talking about things like infant baptism. But the reality of the situtation is the doctrine of "believer's baptism" was not taught in the Church for many centuries without exception. (this is fact, disagree as you might, we are not going to talk about this, although if you have a good argument otherwise, please post it).

    My first question is-

    1. Do you, as a Protestant Christian, have a problem believing a relatively "recent" doctrine (i.e. taught recently), as long as it can be logically deduced from the Bible? For the sake of the thread, let's use as an example "The Real Presence".

    and

    2. What are the "essential" doctrines (Biblical citations please!) Christians must believe if they are to be Christian? How much can we deviate from these doctrines and still be a Christian?

    and

    3. Where does the Bible mention a system of "essential doctrines"?

    If you have any other info you would like to throw in, please do so!

  • #2
    1. What is "the real presence?" I'm unfamiliar with this term.

    2. This is difficult to answer, unless I could cite entire epistles. Essentially, anything that could be considered "essential doctrine" comes from the authority of Jesus (who in turn affirmed the authority of the prophets) and from the apostles. Of course, deviation from "essential doctrine" would be questionable (for example, having faith in Christ is an "essential doctrine"), but as your thread points out, it is the interpretation that causes differences, so what one denomination may see as "deviation" from an "essential doctrine," the other may simply see it as how it should be interpreted and that it isn't "deviation."

    3. The ten commandments, maybe for starters?
    To This Day

    Comment


    • #3
      First of all, Kata, you've basically answered your questions already - but have not provided support for them (specifically, your assertions about baptism).

      Second, you'll need to be a little more clear about these "recent doctrines" you're referring to.

      Third, regarding the essentials of faith? Well, we need to believe in God - and in Jesus, the Son of the Living God. That belief needs to become faith that compels us to turn away from what is contrary to God, and to confess our faith in Jesus the Christ (though not necessarily in front of an assembly). We are called to be baptized into Christ, for the remission of our sins. We are called to remember the sacrifice of Jesus through communion. As as result of these things, our lives are to reflect our relationship with God in Christ.


      I don't know if that's what you're looking for, but if it's not I'd appreciate some clarification.

      Comment


      • #4
        1. Not familiar with "The Real Presence"...

        2. The essential doctrines would be any all content in the Bible more so the NT seeing how the Old is done away with as far as following its commands. Note: Col 2:13-15; Heb 8:7; All of Galatians note chapter 5 it states that we if obey are part of the old law we are to do it all and Christ profits us nothing.

        As far as how far we can deviate I would say none... look at Galatians once again notice Gal 1:6-12

        "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. 10For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. 11But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. 12For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.



        Note how serious it is that they changed just a wee thing in the NT order... all they tried to add if you read it in context is apply part of the old Law mainly circumcision. Paul tells them in chapter 5 if you do this Christ profits you nothing... we can't change or add/subtract anything from the NT. We need to follow it all to the letter crossing our T's and dotting our i's.



        3. There is no system of essential doctrines at noted before its the entire NT that we are to follow. How one becomes a Christian is just as important as how we partake of the Lords Supper... it all matters, note in Cor 11 how those who partook of the Lords Supper wrong they where spiritually dead.

        Since you brought this up and how so many people are like "Its not in the Bible"... "rightly so" but it amazes me how many of those people have all kinds of different answers for how one becomes a Christian... which guess what isn't mentioned in the Bible such as "The Sinners Prayer", "Accept Christ as your Personal Savior", "Just believe Christ is the Son of God", etc...

        However when you do look at the Bible it clearly states what we are to do... What did Peter say when he was ask what a sinner must do? Acts 2:37-38 he told them to repent and be baptized... which is a common theme thought the entire Bible everyone was to repent and be baptized not once was any of the said above mentioned... anyway just a ironic thought.
        Isaiah 6:8 "Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!" We should always be willing to do God's bidding, seek ye first the kingdom of God.

        I use Linux because I don't like Windows

        Comment


        • #5
          1. What is "the real presence?" I'm unfamiliar with this term.
          For those who don't know, the "real presence" is the belief that Communion is more than a symbol. The bread and wine (or grape juice, if you want to be PC) become the body of God. I have Early Church Writings published by Penguin right in front of me, and it seems like the earliest Christians seemed to assign more value to communion than we do today. If anyone has a good study or article, I would love to see it.

          Second, you'll need to be a little more clear about these "recent doctrines" you're referring to.
          Older Christians (before 300 AD) seem to assign more honor to mary, seem to believe in intercession of saints, the real presence, infant baptism, Grace through Baptism, being "Born again" in Baptism, and basically a whole bunch of other things that we would consider crazy. Mind you, most of the people who taught this knew someone who knew Jesus!

          Pick one if you want to discuss it.

          It seems hard to believe that the Church would become so completely under satan's control in a matter of decades!

          Comment


          • #6
            2. The essential doctrines would be any all content in the Bible more so the NT seeing how the Old is done away with as far as following its commands.
            ...
            As far as how far we can deviate I would say none... look at Galatians once again notice Gal 1:6-12
            I don't think this recognizes the difference between scripture and your opinion of what scripture says.

            I would begin a list with those clearly identified:

            Romans 1 gives a list of doctrines, which the denial of, makes God angry.
            That He is God (he alone)
            That He is invisible, powerful, and the creator.

            Others:
            Jesus rose from the dead in the flesh.
            Salvation by grace alone. (Dead to the law)

            I think many doctrines are secondary and permit for differences of "constructs" as we grow in knowledge of Christ.

            Important to me is a lifestyle that shows growth in obedience to Christ.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by KATA_LOUKAN View Post
              Older Christians (before 300 AD) seem to assign more honor to mary, seem to believe in intercession of saints, the real presence, infant baptism, Grace through Baptism, being "Born again" in Baptism, and basically a whole bunch of other things that we would consider crazy. Mind you, most of the people who taught this knew someone who knew Jesus!

              Pick one if you want to discuss it.

              It seems hard to believe that the Church would become so completely under satan's control in a matter of decades!
              First of all, when you're studying the "early Church" you have to determine which early Church you're studying. There were marked differences between church in say, Egypt, and churches in Asia Minor. There was not one universal writing that basically spoke for all of them.

              Second, I know of no early orthodox writings that espouse and promote infant sprinkling. It's evident that The Didache, for instance, is NOT talking about infant sprinkling.
              Chapter 7. Concerning Baptism. And concerning baptism, baptize this way: Having first said all these things, baptize into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in living water. But if you have no living water, baptize into other water; and if you cannot do so in cold water, do so in warm. But if you have neither, pour out water three times upon the head into the name of Father and Son and Holy Spirit. But before the baptism let the baptizer fast, and the baptized, and whoever else can; but you shall order the baptized to fast one or two days before.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by jeffreys View Post
                First of all, when you're studying the "early Church" you have to determine which early Church you're studying. There were marked differences between church in say, Egypt, and churches in Asia Minor. There was not one universal writing that basically spoke for all of them.
                True... even overall not all Early Christian Writers were in agreement. Nonetheless, it appears once they started something, they started something that has carried on ever since then. Sometimes people assumed that since those Early Writers believed something or another, then their belief today is "justified", or "affirmed". I guess one could refer to heathens of old ages to "affirm" things.

                What Early Christian Writings are good for are their antiquity and things going on in those times.

                Second, I know of no early orthodox writings that espouse and promote infant sprinkling. It's evident that The Didache, for instance, is NOT talking about infant sprinkling.
                "sprinkling", The Didache? The OP did not mention what the element of the baptism he was referring to (water, holy spirit, into the name...). I was wondering how anyone can determine if an infant was baptized or not (one of the "spiritual baptisms"). Yea, water as the element of baptisms, like in the movies?

                Actually, The Essenes, which it is believed John The Immerser was associated with (though not in total agreement with them) would dip their infants in water as follows: 30 days for male, 32 days for females. But as for doing that today? I'll leave that alone. You did see baptism referenced in Didache 9, regarding thanksgiving[?], didn't ya? I was under the assumption that was a spiritual elemental form of baptism.

                On the water baptism, and Didache 7, never heard of anyone these days fasting before preforming such a baptism.
                Maybe in the movies.
                "A text without context is a pretext."

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Clifton View Post
                  "sprinkling", The Didache? The OP did not mention what the element of the baptism he was referring to (water, holy spirit, into the name...). I was wondering how anyone can determine if an infant was baptized or not (one of the "spiritual baptisms"). Yea, water as the element of baptisms, like in the movies?

                  Actually, The Essenes, which it is believed John The Immerser was associated with (though not in total agreement with them) would dip their infants in water as follows: 30 days for male, 32 days for females. But as for doing that today? I'll leave that alone. You did see baptism referenced in Didache 9, regarding thanksgiving[?], didn't ya? I was under the assumption that was a spiritual elemental form of baptism.

                  On the water baptism, and Didache 7, never heard of anyone these days fasting before preforming such a baptism.
                  Maybe in the movies.
                  Ummmmmm... What? What is your repeated reference to "in the movies" about?

                  In Chapter 9 of The Didache, it's pretty clear that only baptized believers were to partake of the Eucharist/Communion.

                  Chapter 7 of The Didache is quite clearly about baptism in water - preferably cold, running (as in a river or stream) water. And it's also clear that the person to be baptized was to be spiritually/mentally prepared. Babies cannot do that.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by jeffreys View Post
                    Ummmmmm... What? What is your repeated reference to "in the movies" about?
                    Well, when I thought maybe the OP might be referring to water (hopefully, not blood!) as the element of the immersion (re: baptism), my reference was to these movies where some priest was splashing water on some baby in a little tub. The Preface to the VW Bible alludes to water "...being the dabbing of some water on one's head, or other pagan practices of flinging water outwards upon congregations of people..." (as erroneous immersions).

                    In Chapter 9 of The Didache, it's pretty clear that only baptized believers were to partake of the Eucharist/Communion.
                    Yes, but what was "element" of the immersion being referred to? We might assume it referred to water due to 7:1, but much can change in just a few sentences, as is show in the Greek Scriptures. In 9:5, It looks like a spiritual immersion, i.e. being immersed "into the name of the Lord", (which occurs when one is born from above, John 3:3) but the same phrase is used (in the English) for 7:1, so one cannot be sure (unless he has an extant MS or copy of it) of what the "element" of the immersion was - not that it really matters - forgive me please, though I be American, I'm classified as a Greek Orthodox. Do you know where I can obtain a Greek Copy of the Didache, if it is being translated from Greek? Otherwise, if it is Latin, well I can't read any Latin, but have the tools to find out. It might be nice to have for my project, and my thread Immersions: Their Instruments, Modes, Agents, Etc. that I am so SLOWLY posting in for the benefits of referencing material for others, and to dispel the error of some "churches" claiming, in short, "we have sent countless numbers to hell by not baptizing them correctly, contact us and please return to be rebaptized as soon as possible!" (re: erroneously upsetting people about loved ones that have died).

                    If you know, or any other here does, where I can access the original language of the Didache, it would be appreciated. If not, that's okay - it really is not needed.

                    Chapter 7 of The Didache is quite clearly about baptism in water -
                    Yea, I got that much out of the English translation. Looks more like being immersed with water [calling] upon The Name Of The Father, Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Somehow I doubt the Greek εις (“into”) is used - Maybe επι ("upon") or εν ("in") is, then it would be grammatically correct as well as the syntax would be proper.

                    preferably cold,
                    No wonder The Didache didn't have a majority value upon it. My water immersion was in warm water - I will not partake in it again for the sake of this verse.

                    running (as in a river or stream) water.
                    Well, as you originally quoted, "running water (as in a river or stream)" was not always available - especially when it came to cold climates, not to mention, with some areas of the world, are always under. Of course, now and days better heat and warm tubs are available in the world, mostly.

                    And it's also clear that the person to be baptized was to be spiritually/mentally prepared. Babies cannot do that.
                    And where is this in the Didache? I've been acquainted with Greek for years, and studying it's Dictionary for the NT for years, and I have yet to see any mention in reference to babies concerning any elements of immersion: materialistic or spiritual. However, "immersion" can be inferred from a context, e.g. we see that John The Immerser was immersed with the Holy Spirit from his mother's womb (Luke 1:15, 41), as those in Acts 2, etc. But in reference to water as the element, I thought babies always loved bathes Is that the issue against sprinkling?
                    "A text without context is a pretext."

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by KATA_LOUKAN View Post
                      We've heard it all before. The Protestants, Catholics, Orthodox, and a few other groups of Christians all differ on one central topic of Christianity - the Bible. Each comes to the intellectual arena with differing systems of logic, demands, and Biblical interpretation. While it is not my hope to solve Christianity in a single post, I desire to gain some understanding of Protestantism's interpretation of the Bible.
                      As an Orthodox, though American, I'm attempting to do the same - one of the reasons I started reading USENET group posts and this BibleForums System. Looks like people have pretty much read the Bible contextually, like chapter to chapter, so much does look good.

                      You say you desire to gain some understanding of Protestantism's interpretation of the Bible. Are you Orthodox or Catholic? Are you acquainted with Koine Greek? I see your handle here uses Greek. The issue with Protestantism's interpretation of the Bible no doubt stems from just using English as a source of the scriptures.

                      My main struggle with the Bible has been the interpretation of doctrines throughout the history of Christianity. Most Protestants oppose some of the more "recent" doctrines of Catholicism that they hold on par with scripture (and I do as well). But, it seems unlikely to me that Christians would believe a doctrine, teach it throughout the entire church, and not teach otherwise if said doctrine were not true.
                      We know from history, not to mention the Greek Scriptures themselves, that opposing doctrines were introduced in the communities (or, "assemblies") of Christians. Some of those, if not all, have NOT vanished, but in fact have grown over the centuries.

                      I hear many protestants demand (and not unrighty) "but where is it in the BIBLE?" when talking about things like infant baptism. But the reality of the situtation is the doctrine of "believer's baptism" was not taught in the Church for many centuries without exception. (this is fact, disagree as you might, we are not going to talk about this, although if you have a good argument otherwise, please post it).
                      Believer's Baptism (or "immersion") is spiritual immersion, as opposed to materialistic immersion like water, blood, or vinegar solution to make pickles!
                      "...because Yochanan truly immersed in water, but you shall be immersed in the Set-apart Spirit not many days from now.” (Acts 1:5 The Scriptures 1998+)

                      "not many days from now" appears later, like in Chapter two and so on. The element for immersion is with, or in the "Holy (Set-apart) Spirit". Water was the element John ("Yochanan") used. They got a better immersion. Water was not the element for any immersions until Acts 8:36, where is the first occurrence of a "water immersion" took place, and even then it was questionable as to whether they could be forbidden from participating in a water immersion. As we see, they were not forbidden (my point towards those that say water immersions are "old" covenant, etc.). Water immersions took place in a couple of places or more later in Acts (beyond 8:36-39), e.g. 10:46-48, 22:16.

                      When you say "infant baptism", do you refer to water as the element?

                      My first question is-

                      1. Do you, as a Protestant Christian, have a problem believing a relatively "recent" doctrine (i.e. taught recently), as long as it can be logically deduced from the Bible? For the sake of the thread, let's use as an example "The Real Presence".

                      and

                      2. What are the "essential" doctrines (Biblical citations please!) Christians must believe if they are to be Christian? How much can we deviate from these doctrines and still be a Christian?

                      and

                      3. Where does the Bible mention a system of "essential doctrines"?

                      If you have any other info you would like to throw in, please do so!
                      I was a protestant years ago... we just took some snippets of The Bible and lived by them, like "drink and be merry" so we could stay drunk, though I would feel not "all" protestants are like that.
                      "A text without context is a pretext."

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Clifton View Post
                        And where is this in the Didache? I've been acquainted with Greek for years, and studying it's Dictionary for the NT for years, and I have yet to see any mention in reference to babies concerning any elements of immersion: materialistic or spiritual. However, "immersion" can be inferred from a context, e.g. we see that John The Immerser was immersed with the Holy Spirit from his mother's womb (Luke 1:15, 41), as those in Acts 2, etc. But in reference to water as the element, I thought babies always loved bathes Is that the issue against sprinkling?
                        What does the Greek word for baptize - baptizo - mean?

                        I think the definition of that word alone makes it pretty clear.


                        There is a different Greek word for "sprinkle," and a different Greek word for "pour." Neither of them is even remotely close to the word baptizo.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by jeffreys View Post
                          What does the Greek word for baptize - baptizo - mean?
                          907 βαπτιζω: fut. baptiso, from bapto (911), to dip. Immerse, submerge for a religious purpose, to overwhelm, saturate, baptize.

                          Baptize is just a transliteral word for "βαπτιζω", which comes from the Greek Stems βαπ/βαΦ: sprinkle, dip, wash. Formations of words (nouns, adjectives, adverbs, verbs, etc.) are created upon the stems - sometimes giving more definition(s). Lately, English Bible Translations will not use transliterals of these βαπ* Greek words anymore due to the confusions in the English-Speaking countries. So far, from what I seen, is that they are using the English words, "Immers*". To put it like one Bible preface says:
                          "
                          Even the way the world speaks of things, a person who is totally committed to their career is not spoken of as being "baptized in their work." No, they are "immersed in their work."

                          I think the definition of that word alone makes it pretty clear.
                          There are 4 main Greek words used, and I am acquainted with 13 (ouch) pages of the definitions in my Greek Dictionary. It is a "process" that requires the employment of a spiritual, mental, or material "instrument/element" (spirit [or a spiritual element], death and resurrection, sufferings / calamities, water, vinegar solution [to make pickles], work, etc.). The adjuncts mark the object and effect of baptism: especially εις (-1519-), into, unto, with the acc., to baptize or to be baptized into anything means into the belief, profession or observance of anything (E.g. "...Into Moses" 1Corinthians 10:2; "Into Christ" Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:38,41; Acts 8:16; 19:5; 1Corinthians 1:13, 15, etc., as opposed to materialistic immersions like water, and fire. I'll give a breakdown of these in my thread, slowly, but surely )

                          There is a different Greek word for "sprinkle," and a different Greek word for "pour." Neither of them is even remotely close to the word baptizo.
                          Well, προσχυσις can relate to “sprinkling” and “pouring”, and ραντιζω and ραντισμοσ can relate to “sprinkling” (e.g. blood). That's not the point, since words like "dip", "immersions", "overwhelm", "saturate", and "submerge" requires an element/instrument adjoining it. Otherwise, without that, they are just words alone in a vocabulary - by themselves, as I am sure you know, does not "automatically" mean this or that (i.e. water / fire / etc.), if they have no elemental properties adjoining it. Immersions can be reasonably concluded where the word is not present, e.g.:
                          For “everyone who calls on the Name of יהוה shall be saved.”
                          Romans 10:13 The Scriptures 1998+
                          One seriously doing this, is immersed "into the name
                          of יהוה (YHWH, The Lord)"

                          Thanks for your replies. I'll work on follow ups to my thread on immersions and their elements, Lord permitting.

                          Take Care.

                          "A text without context is a pretext."

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Right.

                            Baptizo - and even related words, all have to do with immersion. Immerse, dip, overwhelm.

                            When all the dust settles, and all the fancy exegesis is done, it still comes down to that.

                            Does sprinkling of infants fit the concept of baptizo? No, it doesn't.
                            Though not Holy Writ, The Didache does indicate something about baptism - specifically that those to be baptized were to be spiritually prepared (through fasting). Does sprinkling of infants fit the directive for the person to be baptized preparing for it through fasting? No, it doesn't.

                            Regardless of what early churches did or did not do, concerning baptism, it's pretty clear what the New Testament teaches.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by jeffreys View Post
                              Right.

                              Baptizo - and even related words, all have to do with immersion. Immerse, dip, overwhelm.
                              And saturate.

                              When all the dust settles, and all the fancy exegesis is done, it still comes down to that.
                              Hmmm - Not sure I would call differentiations of elements an exegesis - the scale is too broad.

                              Does sprinkling of infants fit the concept of baptizo? No, it doesn't.
                              I doubt it. Infants were, I would say "dipped", as opposed to "submerged". 30 days after the males were born, 32 days after the females were born. John's baptism was to cease after Christ.

                              I really have no say in regards to infants where "water" is the element of immersions. I am neither a proponent or opponent of it.

                              Though not Holy Writ, The Didache does indicate something about baptism - specifically that those to be baptized were to be spiritually prepared (through fasting). Does sprinkling of infants fit the directive for the person to be baptized preparing for it through fasting? No, it doesn't.
                              That (The Didache 7:1-4) referred to "water" being the element of the immersion. I know of no scripture in the Greek New Testaments I have of talking about "fasting" before any materialistic immersions, and certainly not spiritual ones, which can be achieved by any person, any time, under any circumstances.

                              Regardless of what early churches did or did not do, concerning baptism, it's pretty clear what the New Testament teaches.
                              Adding ALL immersions and their elements, yes, The Greek Scriptures teaches all those. It is also pretty clear what the New Testament does not teach.

                              Take Care.
                              “Yochanan answered and said to them all, ‘As for me, I baptize you with water; but One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the thong of His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire’” (Luke 3:16 HNV).
                              "A text without context is a pretext."

                              Comment

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