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PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 12:34 am 
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The Questioner wrote:
Perhaps Paul was not perfect. Perhaps he sometimes got it wrong or changed his mind on occasion. Perhaps he was not setting out absolute rules for all things for all times.


Maybe Paul usurped Christianity? A view held in some arenas. Who of the actual witnesses to the crucifixion and resurrection did he meet and converse with? He had a vision and direct communicaton with upstairs, sounds a bit Halesian to me.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 3:34 am 
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Those are some possibilities for sure. We know Paul was not perfect, after all he was persecuting Jesus' followers when we first start to read about him. Also he admitted to making a mistake when he told someone that "God will smite thee thou whited wall" or something of the sort. I think he may have sort of disobeyed the Spirit somewhere too. For me it is more a question of inspired scripture, not Pauls failings. If Paul got it wrong or changed his mind, I wouldn't expect to find the mistake or flip flop in scripture presented as doctrine. I would rather decide I don't get it clearly yet.

Appeasing the Jews is a possible reason for him circumcising Timothy while telling the Galatians it has no force either way. The problem I have with that concept is that it implies a double standard. One for Jewish Christians and another for non Jewish Christians. That has lots of obvious problems. The middle wall has been removed and there is no difference. Besides, Paul is apostle to gentiles, not Jews. Timothy is not Paul, so the Corinthian comment doesn't apply in my opinion. The other problem with it is that it appears to me this idea was being leveled at him by way of accusation to attach his name and doctrine to justification by works by the Galatians, or at least their "troublers", to which he replies He would not be Christ's servant if it were so. He says he doesn't do things to please man, if he did it would prove him to be not Christ's servant. The way I would put that all together is to conclude that the appeasement idea if true would be proof on Pauls testimony, of his own inauthenticity.

If he was delusional about his vision and the source of the glad tidings he announced, that would seem to require the removal of all of his epistles as any sort of doctrinal base, along with Peters writings and possibly others who seem to have supported him. That leaves the Old Testament, the gospels, Acts, the epistles of John James and Jude, and Revelation. Maybe the book of Acts would have to go also since it relates so much about Paul. Since Acts is more or less second Luke, maybe Luke should be removed as unreliable too. Paul says only Luke was with him, and asks that Mark be brought. So now I think Mark is also unduly influenced by Paul and his book should be removed. Since Marks Gospel is really Peters gospel written by Mark (according to some), Peter is really in the tank. So while the idea that Paul usurped Christianity may be held by some, it is not an idea I would find compelling at this point.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 7:58 am 
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If we discarded any books that contain anything inaccurate or inauthentic, we would lose all or most of our main repositories of knowledge and wisdom. A book, like a person, does not have to be perfect to be immensely valuable.

We know that Paul was not perfect. Even after his conversion he made mistakes and committed sins. He says so himself. He also says that parts of his writings he did not get from the Lord. His account of events does not always agree with the account of the same events in the Acts. His practice of being all things to all people also looks a bit hypocritical. And some bits of the epistles attributed to him were almost certainly written by someone else. We can recognise these limitations without throwing his epistles in the bin.

The Brethren exaggerate the virtues of Paul and exaggerate the reliability of his writings, because the totalitarian nature of EBism depends on a claim of absolute certainty and absolute inerrancy.

However, Christianity does not depend on anything of the sort. We have to recognise the falsehoods and mistakes and travesties that have often attached themselves to Christianity if we want to hold on to its core and essence. As Paul said to the Thessalonians, test all things and hold fast what is good.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 8:37 am 
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We shouldn't worry over much about contradictions: then we can avoiding getting ourselves tied in knots defending obvious contradictions, of which there are many. The bible becomes more attractive and more worth holding close to our hearts when we no longer worship it - or Paul.

Denying contradictions is pointless: they are there. Celebrate the humanity and human-ness of the writers.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 9:15 am 
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Quote:
Mailonline the UK web newspaper had an article on the rapture today.

Projected date 23 September


Can't be. That's a Saturday. We all know it's happening on the Lord's Day.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 10:34 am 
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Good work PC. You have been brave enough to follow your path of reason and sensibility, to conclude that the Bible should not be held as an authority. From this conclusion one can move forward, valuing the Bible for what it is, rather than what various followings claim it to be. Having divested the Scriptures from historically imposed authority you may invite the sacred word to converse profitably with you, and then accept the consequences. Hold yourself and nobody else responsible for your conclusions.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 7:19 am 
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Peter and other scriptures claim divine inspiration for the scriptures. Paul claims divine revelation as his source of doctrine. Jesus says something about his words not passing away. Not even the punctuation.

 As Ian says, Paul lets us know when he is offering his opinion rather than expounding on divine revelation. Almost never or just once I think, in his biblical writings. To me that means everything else is not just his opinion, but rather relaying divine revelation.

I think divine inspiration makes the scriptures unique. That belief sort of requires them to be considered authoritative. True it is that there is disagreement as to which books, portions of books, sentences, words, punctuation and spaces belong. Which always tends to bring us back to what we most all agree about. Love God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself. Which raises the question as to how that is done, which takes us back to scripture to find out what God wants, which starts the conversation all over again. Sort of like a new covenant perhaps better understood as a covenant of newness. 

True enough we don't want our faith in a book, but rather in the Word. But then it's being sharper than a double edged sword, dividing between soul and spirit indicates to me that it is an authority over me, teaches me, and transcends my logic. His ways and thoughts being higher than mine leave me unsurprised but searching when I find seeming inconsistency or contradictions.

As far as the Paul circumcision thing, I suppose there is a logical perspective available somewhere. I don't think the inspired word will give me opposite directions, so I must misunderstand Paul. Peter thought he was sometimes difficult to understand, and says people twist his words. 

So no, I won't blame others for my conclusions Mr. H, nor will I adopt theirs even if my brave logic seems to support it.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 7:55 am 
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The claims about 'every scripture is God-breathed' were made long before the bible was actually put together - even before some were written, so it is not entirely clear which writings it refers to.

At the same time, I like the more literal translation of God-breathed. I do not doubt this description which is quite different to saying they were entirely accurate in every detail and must be worshipped. "Father, Son and Holy Bible".

It has been asked if me more than once, "Are you still a Christian?"

At first I was a little embarrassed that someone should feel that this was a legitimate question. I now have much more equanimity about this. Given that I do not espouse Biblical literalism and inerrancy, this is, I guess, a reasonable question. My answer is, in part, that taking the whole Bible seriously is certainly no less Christian than quoting it selectively while pretending to believe it all and take it all literally.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 3:00 pm 
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add to this the various translations which can result in very diferent conotations-in the KJV Paul says in 1 Timothy 2:9 ' women should be 'shamefaced' ,whereas in the JND version women should be 'discrete' raising the question,if you take 'every word' as 'divinely inspired',which version do you use?.. Further complicating this words tend to change their meaning over time...I suggest looking at the overall intent or meaning rather than individual words is more likely to be accurate ,although there isn't much wiggle room in the admonition not to be drunk or 'thou shalt not commit adultry' although even that may be dependant on whether it's an 'ambush' or not... I suggest the EB have a very strong 'judgement' of evil-depending on who it is..


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 1:23 am 
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PosterChild wrote:
Peter and other scriptures claim divine inspiration for the scriptures. Paul claims divine revelation as his source of doctrine. Jesus says something about his words not passing away. Not even the punctuation.


Not even punctuation? Really?

When did punctuation arrive on the scene?

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