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 Post subject: Re: PAUL'S EPISTLES
PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 12:57 pm 
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For what it's worth, this is my take on this.

1. The expression 'divinely inspired' would more accurately have been translated 'God-breathed'. The difference might seem minor but it is, in my view, significant.
2. The bible - which is not a single book but 66 books written over millennia - becomes precious, wonderful, wise and inspiring rather than an absolute and infallible rule on everything. Common sense, in any event, makes the latter impossible because it doesn't know every situation and also is occasionally contradictory.
3. Given that there is even perfectly justifiable dispute over who wrote Paul's letters, how can they become God's absolute word?
4. They - as all the NT books - are included in the bible because a very human church church council decided so.
5. People who claim to take the bible literally are mistaken in their use of the word 'literal'. They don't use the word 'literal' literally! They do not take it as absolutely God's word because they cannot possibly follow it in its entirety. They claim to take it literally, infallibly and absolutely but in doing so cannot possibly take it seriously.
6. The words of Jesus Christ are something else. But few follow these absolutely, in, for example, the beatitudes and sermon on the mount. I don't and I should. I do try.
7. I prefer to use the word 'christian' as an adjective rather than a noun. People first had the term applied because observers noted Christlike attributes. But it became a religion - nothing wrong with order and organisation - and in modern times something you join or become on saying a few rather trite words and 'accepting Jesus into my heart'. Evidence of Christian as an adjective is not a modern requirement.
8. It is important to recognise that whilst Paul's words have value for all time, they were originally written in a context which might or might not be relevant in another time or context. His rules for running a small local church, for example, has value but cannot possible apply in absolute terms in a much larger and more complex situation. Similarly with marriage and employment. For example, whilst not condoning slavery he acknowledges its existence and suggests how owning or being a slave might be done. But who today would revert to slavery in order to fulfill Paul's instruction on acceptable behaviour towards your slave or master?

With best wishes to all, especially those, who like me, have spent many hours and days and sleepless nights trying to make sense of it all. I sometimes, but rarely, envy those who retain a simplistic view. Life might be easier. But I value intellectual integrity.


Last edited by The Questioner on Sun Feb 19, 2017 9:10 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: PAUL'S EPISTLES
PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 3:58 pm 
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I don't have a problem WITH 'Pauls ministry' .I have a big problem with how people have USED it ( mainly to serve their own ends ie:carefully selecting the bits they like setting up and maintaining control and ignoring anything that condemns them,EB were really good at that ) Paul told the Philipeans in ch 2:12 to 'work out your own salvation' indicating the scriptures are to be used as a guide for everyday living not just mindlessly providing simplistic answers (other than the 'non negotiables' ie: do not steal, do not be drunk,do not commit adultry-those are pretty specific ,there's not a lot of wiggle room there ,'ambushes' and being in 'Liberty' notwithstanding ,sorry about that.)

But to those who litterally hang in every word,a lot it depends on what translation is used and given the number of translations required from the original languages to modern day English ,consider in Pauls letter in 1 Timothy 2:9 is the admonition that women are to be 'shame faced' (KJV) whereas the JND version translates that as women are to be 'discreet' and dress 'modestly'( but even there dressing 'modestly' depends much on what time and culture one is in) -a vastly diferent connotation in a single word depending on what translation is used,and why several translations are useful in bible study to understand the meaning

And while are those who disparagingly dismiss the scriptures as 'old fashioned,out of date, irrelevant 'holy books',I suggest that while technology has changed beyond comprehension of the writers( 'if Paul were here today' he would probably use SKYPE and E mail and not lose any letters or speculate on who wrote them ) human nature remains pretty much the same over the millennia,human kind is still beset with the same temptations of greed,lust and avarice no matter what millennia we find ourselves in.The admonitions to 'love your neighbour as yourself' and 'forgive as we are forgiven' is as timeless and relevant as in any age and in any language


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 Post subject: Re: PAUL'S EPISTLES
PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 6:47 pm 
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I agree that people pick and choose with Paul. I don't entirely disagree with that: I feel I need to question. See what I wrote about slaves which is nothing to do with translation.

People also pick and choose with Jesus Christ, who never mentioned homosexuality but had a lot to say about poverty. Modern Evangelicalism has a lot to say about homosexuality but is quite reserved when it comes to poverty.


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 Post subject: Re: PAUL'S EPISTLES
PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 7:45 pm 
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I agree, Christians tend to be rather selective on what they choose to 'stand against',and while I personaly abhor abortion which is often the subject of public denouncement in churches,I rarely find the same fervour denouncing adultery and even fewer taking the kids in...( being Foster parents these are not theoretical discussions but very real life situations, our position is while we canot condone abortion,neither do we condemn the women, and support them as much as we can) Indeed I find it rather incongruous for middle class men in stable relationships,living in good homes and with good jobs condemning women who often homeless, alone,struggling with addictions , living in poverty and have none of the benefits we tend to take for granted...but weren't these the SAME marginalized people Christ came to minister to? Christianity was never meant to be a theory...

Interesting comments on slavery, (and more so as my ancestors were in the trade,before they converted and became Quakers ....) historically Christians ( i.e. William Wilberforce)were influencial in outlawing slavery,and the Quakers also played a significant part in freeing slaves in North America.However,it is also a fact that not only has slavery not been eradicated,there are probably more slaves today than in any time in history....the job isn't finished.International Justice Mission is a Christian organization that 'puts their money where their mouth is '


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 Post subject: Re: PAUL'S EPISTLES
PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 1:12 am 
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Thank you Questioner. Your 'take' (19 Feb 2017) is 'worth' a lot.


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 Post subject: Re: PAUL'S EPISTLES
PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 9:37 am 
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Thanks Peter. This is not, of course, wisdom: just the consequence of being a seriously introverted questioner.


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 Post subject: Re: PAUL'S EPISTLES
PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 10:06 am 
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PAUL'S EPISTLES 2

Another interesting insight from "The Authentic Letters..." relates to Galatians 2, v16, which we will recognise through our familiar JNDarby translation as "...but knowing that a man is not justified on the principle of works of law [nor] but by faith of Jesus Christ, we also have believed on Christ Jesus, that we might be justified on the principle of faith of Christ; ...".

The authors say that, 'English translations prior to the twentieth century, including the Authorised Version, had consistently rendered the term "the faith of Jesus." A shift occurred with the American Standard Version in 1901 ... to "faith in Jesus," which still endures in all prominent translations." The difference is something which I recommend the reader should think deeply about. My suggestion is that "faith of Jesus", the faith which Jesus personally demonstrated, becomes exemplary for us personally; whereas "faith in Jesus" places Jesus as a somewhat detached object of faith.

JND in his translation seems to have got the translation right, but my feeling is that his theology slants heavily toward "faith in Christ" which tends to minimise Jesus as example and instead places the main emphasis on such things as substitutionary sacrifice and our personal unworthiness. From there it is only a small step to put our faith in "Christ's representative". It all happened so smoothly!

The difference between "faith of" and "faith in" may seem trifling but I feel lies at the root of the Christian Fundamentalism which continues to divide.

For interest I quote the Authors' own translation; "but now we see that no one becomes acceptable to God by relying on traditional religious practices. We gain this acceptance only through a confidence in God like that of Jesus, God's anointed. So we put our confidence in God along with the Anointed, Jesus, in order to be acceptable to God based on a confidence like that of God's Anointed, rather than by relying on traditional religious practises. The truth of the matter is 'no one will be acceptable to God' on the basis of traditional religious practices." Hurrah!!


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 Post subject: Re: PAUL'S EPISTLES
PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 4:20 pm 
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Quote [
Quote:
also pick and choose with Jesus Christ, who never mentioned homosexuality but had a lot to say about poverty. Modern Evangelicalism has a lot to say about homosexuality but is quite reserved when it comes to poverty.[/quote]
Quote:



You are using a broad brush in your comments re Modern Evangelicanism. I can't claim to be an Evangelical but my sympathies lie in that direction.

However you have me summed up. I am very able and ready to criticise Christian and non Christian people and groups but I fall very far short in the real work of helping the poor ,visiting the widows,etc etc. Also I fall very far short in pursuing the requirements of what has become known as the Great Commision and I am persuaded both these things are Christian duties and both should receive the same emphasis in my life.

I have concluded that my readiness to criticise individual people and groups is not only sinful but doesn't involve much perceived cost. Carrying out the Lords direction to help the poor, visiting those suffering affliction etc etc involves me in real cost. Likewise helping to spread the Good news even just a little risks personal cost. For a person like me I find it amazing that the offer of free and full salvation through repentance and bowing the knee to the Saviour is still available. Hallelujah, what a Saviour.


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 Post subject: Re: PAUL'S EPISTLES
PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 4:46 pm 
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Peter W Harrison wrote:
PAUL'S EPISTLES 2



For interest I quote the Authors' own translation; "but now we see that no one becomes acceptable to God by relying on traditional religious practices. We gain this acceptance only through a confidence in God like that of Jesus, God's anointed. So we put our confidence in God along with the Anointed, Jesus, in order to be acceptable to God based on a confidence like that of God's Anointed, rather than by relying on traditional religious practises. The truth of the matter is 'no one will be acceptable to God' on the basis of traditional religious practices." Hurrah!!



Our last postman who I think was as decent a man as you would wish to find served his church for many years as an elder ,regularly attending traditional services, helping in the Sunday school
, caring for congregational members by visiting folks of all ages in hospital.widows ,people who hit hard times. I could believe his service was probably exemplary.

He told me that a new minister had arrived and it sounds like this man started to preach the biblical gospel including ' except a man be born again'. My friend was seriously offended, very angry with this minister who had the temerity to infer that his commitment and faithful service to the church was not enough to secure his eternal salvation. For that he would need to recognise that he was a wretched sinner and ask the Saviour for forgiveness.

I have been persuaded that as you say ' no one will be acceptable to God' on the basis of traditional religious practices and I will add also good works . Isn't it all about the blood of Christ and redemption?


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 Post subject: Re: PAUL'S EPISTLES
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2017 8:48 am 
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The same bible tells us that faith without works is dead.


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