Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Another David, more errancy

One of David Bryan's readers, David W, made some more comments in support of biblical errancy. I guess it's not only the Roman church that has problems with encroaching liberalism.

this nothing injures the truth of what they have said.

Except this: They got stuff WRONG. And it becomes simply a question of fideistic special pleading to say, "Well, they got some things over there wrong, but on the stuff that's really important to me, they totally got it right!"
AKA reshaping God's Word in your own image. Usually mainline American evangellyfish like to rewrite it to write out the things that make them uncomfy, so they can believe in their Word of Faith confess it and possess it type stuff. But you're doing the same thing toward a different end.


that God became man

Maybe. Unless that part was errant.


that He wrought miracles

Unless those parts were mistaken. Don't forget, a lot of the miracle accts don't match!


that He was crucified

Or maybe He wasn't, maybe they got that part wrong. After all, only one of the Gospels mentions Simon of Cyrene. The accts of the thieves on the crosses differ. etc.


I think that Scripture itself also argues against inerrancy.

But maybe those parts are errant, so your case is self-refuting.


Jeremiah 8:8.

You do realise there were multiple copies and lines of transmission of the Scr, don't you?
Or is this another case of special pleading - you're just SURE that THIS passage is inerrant. Somehow.
It's like one of the elders of my church says: It's inspired in spots, and you have to be inspired to spot the spots.


Jeremiah 7:22

Context, my friend. Context.
22 “For I did not speak to your fathers, or command them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices. 23 “But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you will be My people; and you will walk in all the way which I command you, that it may be well with you.


1 Corinthians 7:10-14 makes very clear that he is stating his own opinion

Paul usually referred to Jesus Christ as "Lord". He was saying he had no clear command from Jesus' own mouth. But that's not the only way God inspires Scr.
He goes on to say:
25 Now concerning virgins I have no command of the Lord, but I give an opinion as one who by the mercy of the Lord is trustworthy.
40 But in my opinion she is happier if she remains as she is; and I think that I also have the Spirit of God.

Further, once again we have to check the context. This is a letter from Paul. Not everything in the letter is straight command. It's what he said. If he intended to command, OK, it's a command. If he intended to dispense advice but not enjoin the advice with a "you MUST do this", then it's advice. This is the latter. We can tell by reading it with a heart and mind disposed to understand it, not to prove a point that is totally foreign to it.
Finally, how do you know he really said what you think he said? Maybe that part was errant.


2 Tim 3:16...is here referring to what we call the Old Testament

Which you just called out as errant in your comments on Jeremiah.
One thing we're seeing clearly, that humans, devoid of the Spirit, can be VERY errant.


Comparing the Islamic ideas regarding the Koran (that it is entirely inerrant and has existed in heaven with God since before Creation) is a little unsettling.

The Islamic doctrine of the Qur'an is better matched to the Christian doctrine of the Logos, Christ, just FYI.



David Bryan said,
I fail to see how, but I do not possess all knowledge, obviously.

You seem to be vacillating when it suits you - you were just SURE that the Cross inscription accts were irreconcilably inconsistent, I pointed out you don't have all knowledge, Seth explained it, and you didn't say "I do not possess all knowledge, obviously" or anything like that. Why the change now?


John said,
The question then becomes, is one of the gospels in error because it isn't laid out in the order I want it to be laid out?

EXCELLENT question, and one that David Bryan and his errantists comrades need to, and (according to what I've seen, fail to) grapple with.

17 comments:

David Bryan said...

Just to answer your question: I didn't respond in kind because I didn't consider Seth's explanation to be sufficient. If someone were to provide what I considered sufficient reconciliation concerning these things, I'd agree. But I'm not going to just say that something that doesn't look to make sense, makes sense.

Just like you do -- if I explain an EO doctrine in a way you don't buy, you're not going to accept it, but that doesn't mean I've never convinced you of anything before, does it?

Were someone to show me how saying that Christ went immediately into the desert following His baptism (Mark) is the same thing as meeting the apostles and starting ministry "the next day" after being baptized (John), I'd concede.

That's all.

Rhology said...

Sure, you've convinced me of things before. Things that honored God by their recognition. It's a little difficult to see how saying that God screwed up honors Him, though.

You didn't buy his explanation, but you provided no refutation. What is your refutation?

Further, you never answered the most serious points in my original post, which add up to how you, a mere man, would presume to put God's Word in its place. I'd appreciate it if you could address that when you get a chance (though I know your chances are few and far between, so I appreciate all comments you end up being able to spare).

As for your John and Mark thing, you're reaching pretty bad. And that's a common characteristic for most of these "contradictions" that skeptics and people who ape skeptics bring up.

The text from Mark is straightfwd, you're right. Here's the text from John 1:

29The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 “This is He on behalf of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’ 31 “I did not recognize Him, but so that He might be manifested to Israel, I came baptizing in water.” 32 John testified saying, “I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him. 33 “I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’ 34 “I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God.”

Jesus’ Public Ministry, First Converts

35 Again the next day John was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. 38 And Jesus turned and saw them following, and said to them, “What do you seek?” They said to Him, “Rabbi (which translated means Teacher), where are You staying?” 39 He said to them, “Come, and you will see.” So they came and saw where He was staying; and they stayed with Him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.


It doesn't say what you said it says.

Peace,
Rhology

Lucian said...

Since David Bryan closed the comments on his post, I'm gonna print this here:

And the diffs between the 2 [MT and LXX] are not very large.

Not unless Your entire religion depends upon the otherwise insignifficant diference between almah and parthenos.

And God did not inspire error, He inspired the Scriptures. That He made the authors to pin-point or pin-down details is not said there. (And I also don't care about what You and Your atheist antagonists consider "errors").

Rhology said...

John, one of David Bryan's readers, made this comment, and I think it's worth a response. So here it is.

John,

No other writing in the world is like God's Word, which is the very foundation and basis for the only workable epistemology available to humans. So yes, I do of course treat it as a special case, as indeed it demands to be:
Heb 6:13 For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, 14 saying, “I WILL SURELY BLESS YOU AND I WILL SURELY MULTIPLY YOU.”


Rhology's response of "So what?" to Luther's meddling in the canon seems to make inerrancy a minor issue.

Luther was wrong. Are you happy now? ;-)
Seriously, y'all do realise that Luther is not in a similar position to Sola Scripturists as even a patriarch is to EO-dox, right? And that nobody had formally declared a Canon of Scripture by his time either, not Rome, not the East? (In fact, neither Rome nor the East have a finished Canon to this very day.)

Rhology said...

Lucian,
What about what DB and David consider "errors"?

And no, my religion doesn't depend on the otherwise insignifficant difference between almah and parthenos. The proper interp is provided by the NT when it quotes the OT. It's not like we take the MT to be always and in everythg superior to the LXX.

Lucian said...

I don't know if they consider them `errors`, or if they TRULY do as such (i.e., not just using the word because others [such as You] have done so first), what is it or what are they exactly.

John said...

"Seriously, y'all do realise that Luther is not in a similar position to Sola Scripturists as even a patriarch is to EO-dox, right?"

Well a patriarch can't define doctrine either. But I think "I am captive to the word of God, I can do no other", resonates through the protestant psyche making him more important to protestantism than you would care to admit.

I take your point that Luther can't proclaim authoritatively the protestant canon. But the point is, who can? That the founder of the protestant movement couldn't keep his hands off the canon is a classic, and begs the question why anyone should keep their hands off it.

"And that nobody had formally declared a Canon of Scripture by his time either, not Rome, not the East?"

So is "formal proclamation" what's important? If it is, you're in trouble, right?

And by bringing this up you mean to imply... that Luther was within his rights? Yet you say "Luther was wrong". And you know that... how?

We've got this thing called Tradition which means we don't mess with what's gone before. We have that apart from official proclamations. You don't have that principle to fall back on.

Rhology said...

But the point is, who can?

1) God.
2) This question's force is directed against YOUR position, not mine. I'm not the one who claims some churchly authority to define the Canon.


So is "formal proclamation" what's important? If it is, you're in trouble, right?

It's trouble for YOUR position. This is an internal critique.


Luther was within his rights?

How many times do I have to say that he was wrong?


And you know that... how?

By studying the issue and analysing the arguments on each side.
Besides, Luther apparently didn't realise that James is not a problem in any way for sola fide. But we are not so limited these days, thankfully.


We've got this thing called Tradition which means we don't mess with what's gone before.

1) So does that mean you'll never close your Canon?
2) No, sorry, this statement is far too simplistic to accurately reflect the reality of EOC dogma.

Peace,
Rhology

John said...

">But the point is, who can?

1) God."

Since the question was about proclaiming the canon, the next question is: where did he do that? And how do you know that is where he did it?

"How many times do I have to say that he was wrong?"

It sounds like you are saying he was within his rights to pick his own canon, even though he picked it wrongly.

"Besides, Luther apparently didn't realise that James is not a problem in any way for sola fide."

Sounds like I need to be smarter than Martin Luther. And he was a smart guy.

"But we are not so limited these days, thankfully."

So a few more centuries of reflection buys us a better canon.

I wonder how much better a canon we might get if we wait a few centuries more.

"So does that mean you'll never close your Canon?"

We do what we do in a concilliar fashion. We don't have every man and his dog picking his own canon.

Rhology said...

where did he do that? And how do you know that is where he did it?

He did that in His people, the church. I know it b/c it's the only option.
And I can identify the correct church by seeing which one conforms to the Scr. Even if the Canon is in question, in reality we're still only asking about the DCs, Shepherd of Hermas, Ep of Barnabas, 1st Clement, etc. 1st Clement has a wonderfully clear psg in which he delineates sola fide, 2 Macc doesn't support prayer to the dead though it is said to, and the Protestant Canon says what it says. Point is, even if I grant a wider EOC-type Canon, EOC is still totally out of step with Scriptural teaching on a wide range of topics. So there's no reason to trust the EO Canon.


It sounds like you are saying he was within his rights to pick his own canon, even though he picked it wrongly.

I was responding on the terms YOUR CHURCH lays out. You get after him for removing a book you consider definitely part of the Canon, but you don't even have a closed Canon. Also, it's anachronistic to be so harsh when ppl still considered the Canon in flux. Cardinal Cajetan, the guy who grilled Luther at Worms, didn't consider the DCs canonical. There's example after example of that. Luther was wrong, but his mistake is understandable, is all I'm saying.


Sounds like I need to be smarter than Martin Luther. And he was a smart guy.

It's not just smarts. You're committed to your religion, and no matter how many times you're shown in the Scr that you're wrong, you won't accept it.


So a few more centuries of reflection buys us a better canon.

Sorry, I don't understand what "a better canon" means. Could you restate it, please?


We do what we do in a concilliar fashion. We don't have every man and his dog picking his own canon.

Unless you agree with Kallistos Ware, you apparently DO have every man picking his own. It's amazing you can neglect to rebut the obvious point against your position and then have the gall to say "we don't have individuals picking their own canon". Wake up.

John said...

"And I can identify the correct church by seeing which one conforms to the Scr."

So does that mean the 4th century church that finalised this list is the correct church, or did we have to wait till someone after Luther to actually settle the canon by finally furnishing the correct interpretation?

And just how closely must it conform? Are presbyterians not a witness to this event since their practices, from your viewpoint, don't conform to scripture? Maybe we need to wait for the perfectly conforming church to be the true witness of the correct canon? Maybe a new church will spring up that can much more closely conform to scripture... only thing is they decide to abandon the Pauline writings to do so. Maybe they will be the better witness.

"So there's no reason to trust the EO Canon."

I think most people would admit that the 4th century church is extremely close to modern Eastern Orthodoxy. Certainly much much closer than protestants. But you inherit the decisions made in that time period. I think you are seriously in denial to pretend that early protestants were not influenced by the decisions of this church that you claim to have no reason to trust. We know Calvin and Luther did a lot of quoting of 4th century figures. Clearly they were not uninfluenced by the people you don't trust. Since your heritage is clearly heavily under the influence of untrustworthy churches, what does that say about your canon? Sounds to me like you are within your rights to start from scratch and revisit all those decisions.

"but you don't even have a closed Canon."

We don't have a closed canon? And your proof of this is... a lack of a council document? So by your fabricated criteria you have an open canon?

"Also, it's anachronistic to be so harsh when ppl still considered the Canon in flux."

So... Revelation was then in flux, but not now? Is that your contention? "it makes me consider it to be neither apostolic nor prophetic"

"Cardinal Cajetan, the guy who grilled Luther at Worms, didn't consider the DCs canonical."

I bet he considered Revelation to be canonical.

"It's not just smarts. You're committed to your religion, and no matter how many times you're shown in the Scr that you're wrong, you won't accept it."

I'm a convert. I lived on your side of the fence until I could come to terms with which things I knew, and which things were merely part of my presuppositions. I know why you believe like you believe. I understand the points that make that view compelling. I also know the presuppositions on which they rest.

"So a few more centuries of reflection buys us a better canon.

Sorry, I don't understand what "a better canon" means. Could you restate it, please"

It was supposedly "understandable" that Luther could fiddle with the canon, saying Revelation is not apostolic, or about Esther that "I am such an enemy to the book of Esther that I wish it did not exist". But you seem to be saying that with more centuries of reflection we don't have to succumb to Luther's errors in the canon.

"Unless you agree with Kallistos Ware, you apparently DO have every man picking his own."

I'm not sure what comment by Ware you refer to. I think somewhere he says something like certain books are on a lower level, but that doesn't make them unscriptural. We consider all the books to be on a lower level than the 4 gospels.

"Wake up."

?

Rhology said...

John,
So does that mean the 4th century church that finalised this list is the correct church, or did we have to wait till someone after Luther to actually settle the canon by finally furnishing the correct interpretation?

Since you don't have a closed Canon, I don't see what the usefulness of this question is. A short answer is that the true church is invisible - Jesus' sheep from John 10, not necessarily an institution, and it's obvious that the institution of the Christian church thru time has been as a rule corrupt and doctrinally jacked-up. Fidelity to the Scr has been the exception.
Fits the remnant motif of the OT (and NT - Romans 9-11) quite well. And I can say that since I don't have a prior commitment to the truth of an institutional church like you do; you have to try to bend the biblical revelation around your ideas.
And the church is those who believe the Gospel and are regenerate. I doubt anyone has totally perfect doctrine.


I think you are seriously in denial to pretend that early protestants were not influenced by the decisions of this church that you claim to have no reason to trust.

No, I recognise and acknowledge such freely. It's just that early Prots aren't my authority. Again, Luther and Calvin aren't my Popes.


Sounds to me like you are within your rights to start from scratch and revisit all those decisions.

Sort of. The Scr demands responsibility from every individual to believe, but that does not mean at all that we reject all that has gone before. And of course, it won't do to, like the EOdox do, pick and choose what CFs and ECFs they want to believe just like they pick and choose from the Scr. It depends mostly on the quality of the argumentation. That's a far more intellectually honest methodology.


We don't have a closed canon? And your proof of this is... a lack of a council document?

No, one of your famous, published priests saying that very thing. I'm far more inclined to believe Ware than an anonymous blogger commenting on some third-rate Reformed blog.
Here and here are some help.


Revelation was then in flux, but not now?

I'm distinguishing between the existence of Canon in God's decree (Canon1) and the recognition by His church (Canon2).
Canon2 has been in flux at times, sure, but Canon1 never was, and I trust God to lead His church to a proper recognition of Canon1, to bring C2 into alignment with C1.


I bet he considered Revelation to be canonical.

But not the Maccabees, Tobit, or Sirach.


I know why you believe like you believe.

Well, I have trouble believing that statement when you say some of the things you've been saying.


But you seem to be saying that with more centuries of reflection we don't have to succumb to Luther's errors in the canon.

Sure, Luther was far from perfect.

John said...

You first say: "And I can identify the correct church by seeing which one conforms to the Scr."

but then you later say: "the true church is invisible" and "that the institution of the Christian church thru time has been as a rule corrupt"

So either you're equivocating, or else you're inconsistent. I'll let you figure out which.

"No, one of your famous, published priests saying that very thing. I'm far more inclined to believe Ware than an anonymous blogger commenting on some third-rate Reformed blog."

Even if we accepted this wrong interpretation of Ware, you don't know what an open canon is. An open canon is accepting continuing revelation and additions. Arguments over books written 2500 years ago is not an open canon.

And as I already said above, Ware does not mention anything about a canon dispute, he only mentions people who think some books are on a different level. All Orthodox believe books are on different levels. Arguments about levels are irrelevant.

Concerning the remnant and the "motif of the OT", there was a remnant WITHIN the institutional Israel. God continued to recognise and stay faithful to institutional Israel even though only a portion of it was faithful. And institutional Israel was the custodians of scripture. Not anybody and everybody who happened to possess a copy.

Concerning commitment to the institutional church, the apostles set up institutions. They didn't throw their ideas into the public square and let people do what they will, they actually went around and set up institutions.

I suspect when you said you don't have a committment to the truth of institutional church, you don't mean that. What you actually probably mean is that you reserve the right to take the surgical knife and split the invisible church and the institution of the church, and rebuild the institution from scratch if you are not happy with it. I'm not sure what verse supports that.

">>I think you are seriously in denial to pretend that early protestants were not influenced by the decisions of this church that you claim to have no reason to trust.

No, I recognise and acknowledge such freely. It's just that early Prots aren't my authority. Again, Luther and Calvin aren't my Popes."

Luther and Calvin aren't an authority. You've already ruled out the Fathers as an authority. If Calvin wasn't an authority, then your friends at church can hardly be an authority. An invisible group can't be an authority.

Who told you the canon again?

"And of course, it won't do to, like the EOdox do, pick and choose what CFs and ECFs they want to believe just like they pick and choose from the Scr. "

So you would believe.... oh say Malachi 1:11 I suppose? We would find incense burning in your baptist hall?

"It depends mostly on the quality of the argumentation. That's a far more intellectually honest methodology."

It is also individualism, not something befitting of the body of Christ. The canon by its very nature is something that governs community. It lays out information about how to live in community, but you're going to let individuals decide which bits they think are applicable.

That just doesn't make sense to me.

And so you're NOT going to pick and choose.... but... you're going to pick and choose based on the quality of the argumentation. That also doesn't make sense.

"I trust God to lead His church to a proper recognition of Canon1"

Didn't you just lecture us that the true church is invisible and visibly mostly corrupt? So this isn't going to help you in the quest for canon2. Unless you think everybody in the true church is magically led to the true canon. In which case Luther would not be part of the true church.

But you didn't answer the question. Canon2 was in flux in Luther's time, but not now? Is that your contention? When did the flux end? What put an end to it?

Rhology said...

John,

I answered you here.

David Bryan said...

I've got a spare second before I go to bed:

To address John's question from forever ago: It is my precise point that chronological discrepancies DO NOT cause the gospels to be what one would call "in error." That's the whole point. Your question, Rhology, of how "I as a mere man could put God's Word in its place," well, that begs the question of whether or not total inerrancy is unquestionably the place of the Scriptures. Perhaps I see your view of the Scriptures as twisting and distorting them as a charicature of the reality of Scriptures and, out of respect and honor for the Scriptures, strive to show them in their fullness: as a divine AND human document. This is, in fact, why I'm saying all this.

You make a good point about erring not being the only way something can be human; I agree with all your other examples, btw. My point is that it no more discredits the truth and inspiration of the Bible to say that Christ didn't, in fact, cleanse the temple twice than it would discredit the divinity of Christ to say that His human feces smelled bad. Which, if He's human, they did. But He's still God.

As for John's account of the baptism, I concede that it does not explicitly state that Christ was baptized the day before He met two apostles. It says that John gave testimony of what He saw. Perhaps in John, the baptism had already taken place. So point taken there. Any ideas about the temple cleansings? Again, I don't think one could or should use this stuff to slippery-slope their way to denying the resurrection (nor do I think the former necessitates the latter, and those who do wanted to discredit it anyway), so a comment on that would be interesting.

David Bryan said...

Ah, and your question about why I "vacillated" on knowledge: Come now. You're better than that. You don't possess all knowledge either, yet this doesn't stop you from rejecting others' views of Scripture with which you disagree. I suppose my response to Seth's explanation is that he wiggles too much in trying to justify two parts of the Lucan rendition of the sign, and that, really, all four gospels tell us the one important fact: this man was accused of being "King of the Jews." That's all that needs to be said, even if the rest of it was inexact.

Rhology said...

Hi David Bryan,

Glad you arrived safely.

Your question, Rhology, of how "I as a mere man could put God's Word in its place," well, that begs the question of whether or not total inerrancy is unquestionably the place of the Scriptures.

I don't know man, when God says He breathed sthg out, is the default position that it has mistakes or that it doesn't? You don't act like that with your church's decisions (say, conciliar decisions) that you claim are Holy Spirit-led, do you?


to say that Christ didn't, in fact, cleanse the temple twice than it would discredit the divinity of Christ to say that His human feces smelled bad

Well, the latter would mean that Christ was really human. The former would mean that He lied or made a mistake. There's an enormous difference.
Rather, as I've said multiple times on this blog and others (though not necessarily in places you'd've read, so don't worry about that), the answer to many questions of harmonisation is BOTH-AND. Christ cleansed the Temple twice.


I don't think one could or should use this stuff to slippery-slope their way to denying the resurrection

I don't see why not. Also, I don't see why, if God's making mistakes in His God-breathed text, I'd think that His instructions and commands wouldn't be suspect as well. If He can't get these small things right, why would I think He'd get the big stuff right?
John 3: 12 “If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?
Luke 16:10 “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.


You don't possess all knowledge either, yet this doesn't stop you from rejecting others' views of Scripture with which you disagree.

I really think that the key to understanding why I said this is to keep in mind why I hold the position I do. I don't hold to inerrancy b/c I've examined every single possible or suggested inconsistency in the Bible and found each untenable. Rather, it's presuppositional - God spoke, and when God speaks, there's no good reason to think that He'd garble, lie, or err. And there's plenty of reason to think He wouldn't. Finally, the consequences for our epistemology and metaphysics would be catastrophic, and not just in the religious arena. So I think my comment sticks.

Peace,
Rhology