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Lewis and Dostoevsky

The man. The myth.

Postby Stanley Anderson » 06 Apr 2008, 01:36

Dan65802 wrote:
Stanley Anderson wrote:The point is that if the women are too corrupt to teach, the men are only far moreso by the extensive descriptions given of them. Why does Paul then single out the women?


I don't think you're getting the context of what Paul is saying. The "corrupt" men Paul refers to are not in the church, so Paul doesn't really need to say they shouldn't be teachers, does he? The decieved women that Timothy was dealing with were in the church, so Paul singles out the women whom Timothy was having problems with.


Speaking of context, I hope it is clear that I haven't really expressed my own opinion about what women should do or not do in the church in this case -- only that the conclusions you draw on this issue are not at all as clearly defined, as you would have us believe, by Scripture interpreting Scripture.

On the contrary, it is you that are interpreting that the "women" Paul is saying should not teach are specific to the Ephesians. It is not at all "clear" that he is only referring to ones with the modesty, decency and propriety problems. And by the way, it is also you that brought in the male "false teachers" from 2 Timothy whom Paul is talking about as ones who will come (apparently in the future, near or far - in perilous times in the last days, not necessarily currently). Is this proper use of what you would call Scripture interpreting Scripture? Seems more like guesswork and convenient picking and choosing of what Scriptures to use to support one's own preferred interpretation.

I'm not crazy about your use of the word "dummies"


It wasn't my use, but was merely a reference to your use of the word, which was in turn a reference to R's initial use (though I didn't look back further to see if it was used even earlier in the thread)

I only meant that I appreciate you going to Scripture to explain what you believed about a passage rather than just saying, "Well, this is what my church says."


Well, thanks I guess, but even that is not my intention. As I said at the beginning of this post, my going to Scripture in this case was not to explain what I believe about a passage, or even to explain what my church says about a passage, but merely to try to demonstrate that using Scripture to interpret Scripture as the sole method of determining the truth of an interpretation does not necessarily lead to a single "correct" interpretation. Keep in mind that it can definitely be helpful for individual study, and I hope that I use it as much as possible, but only in so much as I use as a first principle, the teaching of the Church to guide my study and understanding of Scripture.

--Stanley
…on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a fair green country under a swift sunrise.
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Postby rusmeister » 06 Apr 2008, 02:37

Dan65802 wrote:
rusmeister wrote:BTW, Nobody has been talking about checking their brain at the door when they submit to the authority of the Church. (This is what you seem to think is the case.)


Not at all. I just think you are relegating the responsibility of the interpretation of Scripture to your church.

- Dan -

On this you are 100% correct, and for the reasons I gave. You may still be mistaken in assuming that 'the Church' here refers only to its living members. It is precisely the tremendous accumulation of knowledge and wisdom that makes mine look like ashes.

On everything else, I've said what can be said. Let he who has ears to hear...

God bless!
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Postby Guest » 06 Apr 2008, 21:24

Stanley Anderson wrote:On the contrary, it is you that are interpreting that the "women" Paul is saying should not teach are specific to the Ephesians.


Well if he isn't, Paul is a double minded man and the Bible is not holy, since that would mean Paul is contradicting himself. If he isn't then he's praising women in ministry one day and condemning them another day. I'm sorry that it seems like guesswork to you, but I see it as studying the context of Paul's audience.

Stanley Anderson wrote:...using Scripture to interpret Scripture as the sole method of determining the truth of an interpretation does not necessarily lead to a single "correct" interpretation.


I think when done correctly, it does.

- Dan -
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Postby Guest » 06 Apr 2008, 21:36

rusmeister wrote:You may still be mistaken in assuming that 'the Church' here refers only to its living members.


I was not referring to "the Church". I was referring to your church, and yes I know that it is not just a living hierarchy, but a cumulation of traditions of your church. When I refer to "the Church" I mean all blood-washed believers, regardless of their church tradition.

Please know that I have no problems with accepting those of other church traditions as believers in Christ. In fact, I have no problem with people of other traditions praising their traditions here in these forums. It is only when someone belittles what I believe to be the necessity and accessibility of the Scripture that I speak up. In fact, I usually let that someone criticize what I believe to be the Truth 4 or 5 times before I break my silence. So if you've truly "said what can be said" for now, you won't hear me speak on this again for a while.

- Dan -
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Postby rusmeister » 07 Apr 2008, 00:23

Dan65802 wrote:
rusmeister wrote:You may still be mistaken in assuming that 'the Church' here refers only to its living members.


I was not referring to "the Church". I was referring to your church, and yes I know that it is not just a living hierarchy, but a cumulation of traditions of your church. When I refer to "the Church" I mean all blood-washed believers, regardless of their church tradition.

Please know that I have no problems with accepting those of other church traditions as believers in Christ. In fact, I have no problem with people of other traditions praising their traditions here in these forums. It is only when someone belittles what I believe to be the necessity and accessibility of the Scripture that I speak up. In fact, I usually let that someone criticize what I believe to be the Truth 4 or 5 times before I break my silence. So if you've truly "said what can be said" for now, you won't hear me speak on this again for a while.

- Dan -

The issue of where the Church is should not distract from the prime question here of who is interpreting Scripture. On that, I've said all I can - if we were to ever reach agreement on who exactly is doing the interpreting we might begin to discuss where the Church is. Neither Orthodox nor Catholics belittle the necessity or accessibility of Scripture. We belittle only our own ability to correctly interpret it. Yes, an idiot can be saved, and perhaps even outside of the Church - wherever that is (seems to me that God can save whomever He wants, but it's a really good idea to find out what the Apostles taught). But on theological questions, which require more than idiocy, the question of who is the authority that we turn to to explain what this means and what that means of what Christ said and what the Apostles said (ex - "rightly dividing the Word of Truth") you keep replying that it is oneself.
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Postby Dan65802 » 07 Apr 2008, 13:30

rusmeister wrote:But on theological questions, which require more than idiocy, the question of who is the authority that we turn to to explain what this means and what that means of what Christ said and what the Apostles said (ex - "rightly dividing the Word of Truth") you keep replying that it is oneself.


Well, I am part of the Church, as much as Luther, Augustine or Peter was, but I think you misunderstand me. My point is not that I'm the authority to explain what the Bible says. My point is that if we correctly handle the Word of Truth it's pretty self-explanatory.

- Dan -
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Postby reveal » 08 Apr 2008, 07:22

Dan65802 wrote:
rusmeister wrote:But on theological questions, which require more than idiocy, the question of who is the authority that we turn to to explain what this means and what that means of what Christ said and what the Apostles said (ex - "rightly dividing the Word of Truth") you keep replying that it is oneself.


Well, I am part of the Church, as much as Luther, Augustine or Peter was, but I think you misunderstand me. My point is not that I'm the authority to explain what the Bible says. My point is that if we correctly handle the Word of Truth it's pretty self-explanatory.

- Dan -


But how do we handle the Word of Truth correctly? Didn't you need other books to do so?
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Postby Dan65802 » 08 Apr 2008, 14:11

reveal wrote:But how do we handle the Word of Truth correctly? Didn't you need other books to do so?


Absolutely. I'm sola scriptura when it comes to inerrant Truth, but other books allow us to understand the culture, history, and languages of the writers and audiences of the books of the Bible.

- Dan -
"Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that." - Martin Luther King
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Postby JRosemary » 09 Apr 2008, 00:07

Hi all!

I've been following this conversation with interest, and I have a question for both the Protestant 'sola-Scriptura' side and the Catholic/Orthodox Christian 'tradition' side.

Two weeks ago, the Torah portion in the Jewish calendar was from Leviticus and it included that scene wherein Aaron's sons introduce 'strange fire' into the Tent of Meeting and are consumed by fire from God:

The sons of Aaron, Nadav and Avihu, took a pan, and placed fire within, and put incense upon the fire. They brought before God a strange fire which they had not been commanded to bring. A fire came out from in front of God and consumed them; they died in front of God. Moses said to Aaron, 'This is what God had referred to, "I will be sanctified by those close to me, thus I will be honored by the entire people,"' and Aaron was silent. (Leviticus 10:1-3)


There are tons of rabbinic (and, no doubt, Christian) commentaries on what the 'alien fire' was or what it represented--or what caused Aaron's sons to toy with it in the first place. Was it the fire of dangerous and unwarrented innovations, or of ambition, or of conceit? Those are popular interpretations.

Most of the commentaries assume that Nadav and Avihu committed a grave sin, but not all of them. A minority think that Nadav and Avihu's mistake--if it can be called a mistake--was loving God too much. They loved God so much that they desired union with Him and didn't hide their faces from His Presence. They simply came too near to God--and only they can answer whether or not it was worth it.

So--on the sola scriptura side, does one expect that there is only one correct interpretation of this scene and that the Holy Spirit will guide you to it? Or are there instances when there are multiple lessons to be learned from an ambivilent passage, and the Holy Spirit will guide you to set aside a demand for one correct reading?

My question is the same when it comes to the 'tradition' side. Does the Catholic or Orthodox Church have one 'correct' interpretation for ambiguous passages like this? Or is the Church more concerned with proclaiming doctrine rather than deciding among multiple interpretations for tricky passages? (Especially one that might not involve a doctrinal issue...)

Hopefully, these questions make sense. If not, chalk it up to me being a clueless outsider :toothy-grin: In fact, given that there are both Catholics and Baptists in my family, I'm a little ashamed that I don't already know the answer!
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Postby Stanley Anderson » 09 Apr 2008, 03:34

JRosemary wrote:...Does the Catholic or Orthodox Church have one 'correct' interpretation for ambiguous passages like this? Or is the Church more concerned with proclaiming doctrine rather than deciding among multiple interpretations for tricky passages? (Especially one that might not involve a doctrinal issue...)


Closer to the second case, I should think. One thing that I think many people may misunderstand about the Catholic Church in its "proclamation" of doctrine is that they get the impression that it has stated exact interpretations for every jot and tittle of Scripture (and in every other area of life), but this is not the case. It declares various parts of doctrine that are "required" and these can involve specific Scriptures and interpretations of specific Scriptures, but it is not "exhaustive" of Scripture. In fact, this is what allows the "development" of doctrine. And of course "development" is to be understood carefully here. Basically (and please don't overly trust my "baby Catholic" explanation -- Ben or Jesse are probably better at saying these sorts of things), later doctrine cannot contradict earlier doctrine nor can it even introduce "new" doctrine, but only serves to "develop", or make more clear and more sharp, doctrine that was "already there" as it were. Thus, as an example of something we all (Christians, anyway) accept, the Church would say that the concept of the Trinity was always contained in Scripture, but that it took time for a "clear" and "sharp" definition of it to be developed by the Church (and of course even now we still recognize the concept as a mystery to a large degree).

And equally, for instance, Catholics do not think of the "troublesome for Protestants" Marian issues as the Pope suddenly one day declaring out of the blue that Mary was without original sin and "bang" all Catholics must now believe some new thing. No, in this case (as in the others), the doctrine was essentially believed and edified Catholics throughout Church history. The Pope essentially clarifies and gives authority and official form to something that already exists. This sense, by the way, is what comes through so very strongly by reading about the various saints and martyrs and Church Fathers and doctors of the Church and Church history -- one realizes how pervasive these issues were throughout Church history and not at all the odd, spurious or random sounding, head-scratching doctrines that some of these things sound like to the "uneducated" modern ear.

So no, I am not aware of any "official" interpretation of that particular passage (and by the way, even if there were, it would not necessarily exclude other interpretations that could lay "in harmony" on top of any official interpretation -- the Church recognizes that Scripture can have many layers of meaning and purpose. But it does insist that in those areas (and again they are not even close to being exhaustive of all of Scripture) that an official doctrine has been declared, that "additional" interpretations do not contradict or conflict with official Church doctrine.

--Stanley
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Postby rusmeister » 09 Apr 2008, 04:00

Stanley Anderson wrote:
JRosemary wrote:...Does the Catholic or Orthodox Church have one 'correct' interpretation for ambiguous passages like this? Or is the Church more concerned with proclaiming doctrine rather than deciding among multiple interpretations for tricky passages? (Especially one that might not involve a doctrinal issue...)


Closer to the second case, I should think. One thing that I think many people may misunderstand about the Catholic Church in its "proclamation" of doctrine is that they get the impression that it has stated exact interpretations for every jot and tittle of Scripture (and in every other area of life), but this is not the case. It declares various parts of doctrine that are "required" and these can involve specific Scriptures and interpretations of specific Scriptures, but it is not "exhaustive" of Scripture. In fact, this is what allows the "development" of doctrine. And of course "development" is to be understood carefully here. Basically (and please don't overly trust my "baby Catholic" explanation -- Ben or Jesse are probably better at saying these sorts of things), later doctrine cannot contradict earlier doctrine nor can it even introduce "new" doctrine, but only serves to "develop", or make more clear and more sharp, doctrine that was "already there" as it were. Thus, as an example of something we all (Christians, anyway) accept, the Church would say that the concept of the Trinity was always contained in Scripture, but that it took time for a "clear" and "sharp" definition of it to be developed by the Church (and of course even now we still recognize the concept as a mystery to a large degree).

And equally, for instance, Catholics do not think of the "troublesome for Protestants" Marian issues as the Pope suddenly one day declaring out of the blue that Mary was without original sin and "bang" all Catholics must now believe some new thing. No, in this case (as in the others), the doctrine was essentially believed and edified Catholics throughout Church history. The Pope essentially clarifies and gives authority and official form to something that already exists. This sense, by the way, is what comes through so very strongly by reading about the various saints and martyrs and Church Fathers and doctors of the Church and Church history -- one realizes how pervasive these issues were throughout Church history and not at all the odd, spurious or random sounding, head-scratching doctrines that some of these things sound like to the "uneducated" modern ear.

So no, I am not aware of any "official" interpretation of that particular passage (and by the way, even if there were, it would not necessarily exclude other interpretations that could lay "in harmony" on top of any official interpretation -- the Church recognizes that Scripture can have many layers of meaning and purpose. But it does insist that in those areas (and again they are not even close to being exhaustive of all of Scripture) that an official doctrine has been declared, that "additional" interpretations do not contradict or conflict with official Church doctrine.

--Stanley

Ditto for the Orthodox Church.

We have our differences with the Roamin' Catholic Church :wink: , but I am constantly struck, esp in places like this Protestant-dominated forum, on what we have in common, and feel a special affinity towards Catholics, that strikes a terrible revenge against the anti-Catholic Jack Chick stance taken by the Baptist churches of my youth.

I think the connection with the OP (since we seem to be, of necessity, wandering pretty far afield) is that Dostoyevsky remained Christian because he submitted to an authority (wrt interpretation of Scripture) higher than himself, while Tolstoy did not because he set himself as a Sola Scripturist who took the principle even to the point of choosing only the Scripture he personally agreed with, which is the general tendency of SS. If there IS Truth, then we are bound to not like some of it, as Tolstoy evidently did not like the parts about Christ bringing a sword.
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Postby Dan65802 » 09 Apr 2008, 13:25

JRosemary wrote:So--on the sola scriptura side, does one expect that there is only one correct interpretation of this scene and that the Holy Spirit will guide you to it? Or are there instances when there are multiple lessons to be learned from an ambivilent passage, and the Holy Spirit will guide you to set aside a demand for one correct reading?


I don't mean to seem ambivilent here myself, but I think the answer might be both. There is one correct interpretation because there is one correct reason for God's actions in this case. I suppose there could have been multiple reasons for God's slaying of Aaron's sons, but those multiple reasons would still be the one correct interpretation. I don't know what that correct interpretation is off hand, but it would be an intersting study.

However, that is not to say the Holy Spirit cannot guide a Christian into a different lesson from the passage that is not tied to the correct reading. This happens most often in personal devotions and spiritual formation, but this sort of "devotional" reading can even be part of teaching. I even think Paul does this occasionally. It's just important that the audience understand that you're using the particular scripture allegorically rather than as it was originally intended.

Unfortunately, there are many ministers who use allegorical interpretation and proclaim it as if it was the original intent of the writing. "David picked up five stones, the first stone represents faith, the second stone grace, the third stone tithing," etc., etc.

- Dan -
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Postby JRosemary » 09 Apr 2008, 13:42

Hmmm...in theory, yes, there was a specific reason for what occurred. But the Torah doesn't record it--so perhaps we're meant to consider all the possibilities and draw lessons from each. (Same thing with Ham's sin against his father. We know from other sections of the Torah that 'viewing or uncovering his father's nakedness' is code for some kind of sexual sin--and something pretty unspeakable, probably incest--but we have no way to know for certain what happened.)

Thank you Dan, Stanley and Rus for answering my question as thoroughly as possible--I appreciate it!
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Postby reveal » 09 Apr 2008, 18:09

Dan65802 wrote:
reveal wrote:But how do we handle the Word of Truth correctly? Didn't you need other books to do so?


Absolutely. I'm sola scriptura when it comes to inerrant Truth, but other books allow us to understand the culture, history, and languages of the writers and audiences of the books of the Bible.

- Dan -


But sola scriptura is part of a doctrine, isn't it?
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Postby Dan65802 » 09 Apr 2008, 18:27

reveal wrote:But sola scriptura is part of a doctrine, isn't it?


If by doctrine you mean a principle of truth or that leads to truth, I'd say yes it is for many churches.

- Dan -
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