Kierkegaard on Christian scholarship.

Escoffier posted this quote from Kierkegaard yesterday in the discussion of Vox’s riff on my CBMW post:

The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined. How would I ever get on in this world? Herein lies the real place of Christian scholarship. Christian scholarship is the Church’s prodigious invention to defend itself against the Bible, to ensure that we can continue to be good Christians without the Bible coming too close. Oh, priceless scholarship, what would we do without you? Dreadful it is to fall into the hands of the living God. Yes, it is even dreadful to be alone with the New Testament.

 

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85 Responses to Kierkegaard on Christian scholarship.

  1. REASON says:

    Brilliant………absolutely Brilliant!

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  4. DeNihilist says:

    I am obviously going to have to start reading more then the internet!

  5. BillyS says:

    I agree in general, but everything in the Scriptures is not simple. We are told we have to dig things out and that is true at times.

    I do not believe that is applicable in the topics Dalrock addresses, but it is dangerous to assume all things in the Scriptures are crystal clear.

  6. Hmm says:

    I think Kierkegaard’s point is that we duck even what we do understand, because of the consequences to our comfortable way of life. As Mark Twain said, “It ain’t the parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it’s the parts I do understand.”

  7. M.W. Peak says:

    The only problem with rejecting “Christian scholarship” is that every bible-reading Christian practices it in some small way. For example, take the hot button passage of Ephesians 5:22-23:

    Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior (ESV).

    It is obvious to any bible reader what this says. There is no theology or scholarship needed. You read it and you either follow or reject it. But what about Matthew 5:29-30?

    If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell (ESV).

    Would we say it is obvious, that we should read it and either obey it or reject? Of course not.

    What do Christians say? That Jesus did not literally mean to mutilate one’s self, that he was speaking metaphorically or symbolically. However, whenever a Christian uses his mental faculties to place a lay of interpretation between reading the bible and applying it (so that he does not mutilate himself in obedience to the words of Jesus), he has done, in a small way, some form of theology / scholarship. Christianity is a rational religion because it allows this layer of intellectual work between reading scripture and obeying it.

    There is nothing wrong with Christian theology or scholarship. The issue is, I believe, that such theology and scholarship has been high jacked by the weakness of modernity, which to me is a subtle form of atheism. It wraps itself in the language of Christian theology and proclaiming itself Christian while pretending that it is not asking, “Did God really say”?

  8. feeriker says:

    Perfectly summed up!

    “Christian” scholarship is very much like the U.S. Supreme Court’s endless “interpreting” of the U.S. Constitution: an exercise in attempting to convince the rest of us that specific passages of said document mean something other (often the polar opposite) than what they obviously mean as written.

  9. Jeff says:

    Dalrock,

    Some what connected is the fact that seminary teachers go like this: “Your assignment is to read book xyz, chapter xyz, verses xyz and come up with 25 meanings for it.”

    On the premise, this is good. The next day, however, said teacher will have them add 25 meanings to the exact verses. All good, but this will lead to adding to the verses’ simple and easy to understand meaning. After decades of this the pastor who was once a student will omitt the easily understood meaning with convoluted sheet that isn’t there, only to support his sermon or beliefs.

    Before you know it they have convinced themselves and others that submission is suggestion.

  10. Neguy says:

    I had a real-life incident with this recently. I shared my writeups on attraction and feminism in the church with my pastor. His reception to it was varied and was positive in many ways. Here was one passage I wrote immediately following a consolidated presentation of every major Biblical passage on marriage and sex roles:

    These verses are overwhelming, self-explanatory, and their message is quite clear, even if you are a textual skeptic who rejects the pastoral epistles and think 1 Cor 14:34-35 is an interpolation.

    Men and women are equally made in the image of God. Women were made to be a helper for their husband. Husbands are in authority over their wives. Wives are not to deny sex to their husbands (and vice versa). Women are not to be in authority over men in the church. Women are not to be supported by the church except in limited, special circumstances (legitimate widows over age 60 without family to care for them).

    He disagreed that they were self-explanatory. He thought we needed to understand exactly what those terms meant (headship, helper, etc) in the context in which they were originally written, etc. In other words, without advanced scholarship, they can’t be understood as things like the Hebrew word ezer are not direct analogs to our English words.

    I don’t doubt his sincerity in any way. But it seems to me he would not think that way unless at some level he was troubled by the obvious and plain interpretation of the text. Otherwise why go back and do Hebrew word studies?

    Some parts of the Bible are confusing. Peter even wrote that Paul was difficult to understand. But Kierkegaard is onto something when he suggests that our confusion in many cases results from some intrinsic rebellion at the thought of doing what scripture says.

  11. Jimmy Pacek says:

    The problem with Vox’s post is that theology=/=scriptural interpretation

  12. Avraham rosenblum says:

    I am pretty impressed with Aquinas. Medieval scholarship tends towards the direction of taking the Bible OT and NT as a whole an ironing out the contradictions. That is fine and not unusual for the Middle Ages. This is largely what the Talmud is doing with the OT. And the Middle ages was a unique period for this kind of process because the best minds was working on these problems. Circular thinking or fuzzy thinking was rigorously excluded. Rigorous philosophical thinking ceased to exist after the Middle Ages. Books that would not even get a hearing in the middle ages because of circular reasoning or illogical thinking became best sellers and influenced everyone’s thinking.

  13. thedeti says:

    Reminds me of this quote:

    “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.”

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  15. Jason says:

    The apostles themselves said that they “see in a mirror dimly” (1 Cor. 13:12). If even they don’t have it all figured out, what hope does a schlub like me have of getting it right?

    I understand the author’s point though. Most of what is taught in churches is pure apostasy, and they can defend their false doctrines with so many layers of scriptural misinterpretation that you can’t counter them with any amount of truth.

  16. Dave says:

    This has always been my understanding of so-called “Bible commentaries”. They cause more distraction than help, and they tend to insulate the reader to the claims of God, because they will always explain away everything in the Bible. Everything.
    The Bible, for the most part, was written originally by peasants, for peasants. We were never asked to analyze, critique, torture or mutilate the word. We are commanded to read, hear, believe and obey. The Bible is clear enough even for kids to understand.

    “God loves the world so much, He gave His Son for the world. If you believe in God’s Son you will be saved; if you don’t believe you will be lost.”

    Nothing is clearer than that. We don’t need the theologians to interpret our father’s letter to us.
    Scripture itself says we don’t need anyone to teach us. The Holy Spirit teaches us everything we need to know so long as we are willing to learn from Him.

    As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit–just as it has taught you, remain in him.
    1 John 2:27

    The Holy Spirit guides us into all truth:
    But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.
    John 16:13

    The Holy Spirit even teaches us what to say when we appear stumped:
    But when they hand you over, do not worry about how to respond or what to say. In that hour you will be given what to say. For it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you
    Matthew 10:19, 20

    Theologians are distractors and almost totally useless when it comes to the impartation of divine knowledge. They may be useful in giving geographical or historical information in a biblical narrative, but the moment they claim to know the “special meanings” of biblical passages, they err.
    All that is required in profiting from Scripture is to approach it in humility, with an open mind, with an intention to read, believe and promptly obey what is learned. Nothing more.

  17. Lost Patrol says:

    @M.W.Peak

    Your point is well made. Jesus always meant everything He said – but what did He mean? You can deal with this yourself or have someone do it for you – either way the water will get too deep for me sooner rather than later.

    @Hmm

    You found the quote with my name on it. Right where my problems really get started is when I’m fairly confident of exactly what He meant. “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”

  18. feeriker says:

    I understand the author’s point though. Most of what is taught in churches is pure apostasy, and they can defend their false doctrines with so many layers of scriptural misinterpretation that you can’t counter them with any amount of truth.

    The purpose of most “churches” as they are today constituted is to make their customers “feel good,” to provide them with a veneer of “Christian” sanctification of the worldly lives they’re living.

    I’m often led to point out that if Christians in the Western world were to have to start living the lives of their First Century forebears (a VERY distinct possibility given today’s sociopolitical trends), the number of people calling themselves Christians would be about one percent of what it is today, if that. Churches as they’re currently known and constituted will either disappear altogether and go underground to avoid persecution, or will abandon any pretense of Scriptural adherence and become the equivalent of Nazi Germany’s “Reichskirche” or the Potemkin shells that were KGB fronts in the former Soviet Union and its satellites. The remnant will indeed be tiny.

  19. Robert What? says:

    That is precisely why Paul said to approach your salvation “with fear and trembling”.

  20. Anon says:

    The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand we are obliged to act accordingly.

    This is another way of saying :

    a) A good religion like Christianity makes people, especially women, submit to a more productive life’s purpose.
    b) Women’s innate nature is anti-civilization. Their brain has evolved less over the last 50,000 years than the male brain has.
    c) Democracy give women too much power. In a Democracy, the teachings of Christianity can be fully suppressed so that the erstwhile Christian society devolves. The Female Imperative (FI) is the most obsolete of the components of the human id.

    That, as they say, is that.

  21. The most egregious way that Christians use “scholarship” to rationalize their way out of obvious, unpleasant Biblical truths is by denying the concept of apostasy- the idea that one can go from being a believer destined for Heaven to being a non-believer destined for Hell by rejecting God. People call it “losing your salvation,” but it’s more like voluntarily throwing it away.

    There aren’t just one or two “problem passages” in Hebrews that make it sound like you can lose your salvation- there are countless warnings about falling away in the NT and plain-sense reading of those passages says that they are probably talking about losing salvation.

  22. What’s frustrating about the way that modern churches deal with the idea that you can lose your salvation is that (at least in my church, which is a very scholarly one) many of the leaders are scholars who went to seminary and they *privately* believe that you can lose your salvation. But that never gets taught at church. They see that idea as “solid food” that should be for scholars and mature believers who are getting into the Bible deeply, and we should only be giving the general congregation “milk.” Even though the NT emphasizes the danger of falling away constantly- it’s not some non-essential obscure doctrine, it’s a very central one.

  23. Matamoros says:

    Definitely a Protestant position. Catholic scholarship has always been to understand God better, so as to draw closer to Him as Lord of all Creation.

  24. Gunner Q says:

    Avraham rosenblum @ 12:54 pm:
    “Medieval scholarship tends towards the direction of taking the Bible OT and NT as a whole an ironing out the contradictions. That is fine and not unusual for the Middle Ages. This is largely what the Talmud is doing with the OT. And the Middle ages was a unique period for this kind of process because the best minds was working on these problems. Circular thinking or fuzzy thinking was rigorously excluded. Rigorous philosophical thinking ceased to exist after the Middle Ages.”

    Medieval scholarship was neither more nor less effective than modern (well, pre-1950) scholarship. One early example of poor hermeneutics (Bible interpretation principles) was the use of allegory. There were also efforts to reconcile the Bible with Aristotle with unflattering results and, yes, combining the OT and NT, which shouldn’t have been attempted because they are completely different systems serving different purposes.

    There was never a Golden Age of Christianity free of conflict, debate and dissent.

  25. Spike says:

    Kierkegaard is right. Unfortunately. The result is bad news for modern man.
    Any Christian who studies Scripture for any length of time realizes that there is a massive gap between what he is called to be and what he actually is.
    We are however, “a bunch of scheming swindlers” and we sweep under the carpet the bits that we don’t like. And we do, until those parts turn around and start biting us via our consciences.

    Not so women. Since women have a far more plastic conscience, they can mould and fit Scripture to what it is they like while pretending the parts that they don’t like either don’t exist, that their sin never happened, or that scholars say that that part of Scripture doesn’t in fact means what it clearly says.

  26. mmaier2112 says:

    “That is precisely why Paul said to approach your salvation “with fear and trembling”.”

    That is precisely why I will answer any questions an Italian phrase: “BOH????”

  27. Tarl says:

    Any Christian who studies Scripture for any length of time realizes that there is a massive gap between what he is called to be and what he actually is.

    Any Christian who studies Scripture for any length of time realizes that all the so -called Christians today are definitely going to Hell, especially the women and the church leaders.

  28. feeriker says:

    Not so women. Since women have a far more plastic conscience, they can mould and fit Scripture to what it is they like while pretending the parts that they don’t like either don’t exist, that their sin never happened, or that scholars say that that part of Scripture doesn’t in fact means what it clearly says.

    This is why all-women’s “Bible studies” need to be looked at with a very jaundiced eye, especially any material that is written especially for that purpose. Bright red flags and alarms if the material is written by women.

  29. DeNihilist says:

    2 things that jumped out at me from this OT article – most of the couples had their kids in their mid to late thirties. And all of these couples still have not grown up.

    http://nypost.com/2016/07/18/with-kids-away-at-camp-parents-revel-in-drug-fueled-sex-parties/

  30. feeriker says:

    DeNihilist says:
    July 18, 2016 at 9:33 pm

    Absolutely repulsive excuses for human beings, but not at all surprising.

    Wait until one of these selfish douchebags gets a call from camp while they’re stoned, drunk, or in the middle of an orgy, informing them that their kid is critically injured and in the ICU.

  31. They Call Me Tom says:

    The Bible, is simple enough I suppose, but wisdom is a little more challenging… which is why Solomon and quite a good number of others have prayed for wisdom over the course of humanity’s existence.

    That said, the problem is not failure to achieve the ideal, pursuit is sufficient I suspect. It’s when you turn in away for some other ideal that you become a scheming swindler in my opinion.

  32. Red Pill Latecomer says:

    Anon: Women’s innate nature is anti-civilization. Their brain has evolved less over the last 50,000 years than the male brain has.

    Yet I’ve heard some women argue that men are the less evolved sex. As evidence, they point out that men are hairier than women. Thus, men are more like Neanderthals. So apparently, women are more evolved in every way.

    This corresponds to our society’s near-universal message that women are more civilized. Men are savages, dwelling in their “man caves.” Men are hairy, grunting, brawling, meat-eating, sex-crazed beasts, who need the spiritual, civilizing effect of “a woman’s touch.”

  33. Avraham rosenblum says:

    To GunnrQ: Allegory is a good idea when it comes to the OT and also the NT. The actual problems with Medieval scholarship was in axioms. Not in logic. But trying to combine Faith with reason was a good idea and also in medieval scholarship you never see circular reasoning while is almost all philosophy after the middle ages you always see it. They always assume what they set out to prove. Especially Hume.

  34. Avraham rosenblum says:

    The idea of Medieval scholarship. The idea is to overlook drawbacks from the Middle Ages while trying to get to the positive things. That is let’s take the example I used here a few times: Aquinas. The idea would be to look a little deeper than that medieval wrapping paper. This is not unusual to have to do this for other great thinkers. For example Kant. On the surface he can can outrageous things but if you have patience and get get through the surface level you can see the amazing core idea which was hidden.

  35. BillyS says:

    And many were catching up “for what they missed” even then DeNihilist! We are really doomed….

    ====

    Many comments on seeking wisdom and understanding in the Scriptures, especially in Proverbs.

    [Pro 4:7 KJV] 7 Wisdom [is] the principal thing; [therefore] get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.

    We need to devote the time to find true understanding through wisdom. Though it would help if we quite arguing about the clearly plain stuff, such as in Ephesians 5. Many waste their efforts on the obvious and ignore the parts that do need pondering.

  36. Anon says:

    Red Pill Latecomer,

    I used to never think that one gender was more evolved than the other, until women had to go out of their way to claim that men are ‘less evolved’, which induced me the examine the issue. Sort of like how no one ever notices that almost no comedians are female, until women start complaining and drawing attention to the deficit, forcing us to evaluate why women are incapable of comedy.

    Back to evolution :

    1) Women obstruct any and all productivity gains, even though productivity gains are the only sources of increased prosperity.
    2) The more important a subject is to moving civilization forward, the less women are interested in it. The inverse correlation is very precise. What subjects are women the *least* interested in? The hard sciences (particularly astronomy, energy, etc.), engineering, and economics.
    3) Women get gina tingles based exclusively on traits that established male dominance in prehistoric times, while women have zero interest in male accomplishments that move us forward in modern times. Does a brilliant male inventor generate gina tingles? Or does a violent thug? Why is criminality in and of itself attractive?

    There is no doubt which gender has evolved more in the last several thousand years.

  37. feeriker says:

    “2) The more important a subject is to moving civilization forward, the less women are interested in it and the more they try to impede or stop it.”

    FIFY

  38. Anon says:

    “2) The more important a subject is to moving civilization forward, the less women are interested in it and the more they try to impede or stop it.”

    Yes, unfortunately. I didn’t want to go that far, but you are right, sadly.

    Look no further than ‘Women in Tech’…. precisely zero interest in technological innovation, with full interest in extorting money, abusing beta males, and obstructing real work.

  39. feeriker says:

    Look no further than ‘Women in Tech’…. precisely zero interest in technological innovation, with full interest in extorting money, abusing beta males, and obstructing real work.

    I’m on the board of directors for a regional chapter of an international IT standards body and at our last general membership meeting I openly and loudly guffawed in a highly sarcastic and dismissive manner when someone mentioned in passing the topic of “more women in tech.”

    Mind you, there are NO women among the 50 or so members of the regional chapter (which national headquarters is bitching about, even though we’ve done NOTHING to prevent women from joining; THERE ARE OBVIOUSLY NO WOMEN INTERESTED IN JOINING). NONE of the guys have demonstrated any particular overriding justification to see more women in tech. However, I might wind up actually getting kicked off the Board of Directors, if not out of the chapter, for my expression of bemused disgust at the idea of “more women in tech.” Should they decide to expel me, I might have to go full-on “what-the-hell-do-I-have-left-to-lose?” mode and start off on how I want to see FAR FEWER WOMEN IN TECH – AS IN “AS CLOSE TO ZE-RO AS POSSIBLE.”

    Not one of these guys has ever provided an example of a woman who has made a significant contribution to the technical IT security field.

    Not one of these guys has ever had anything positive to say about women they’ve worked with or for.

    Our chapter president, who is Regional CIO for a Fortune 100 company, has never mentioned women in any connection with his work other than their hindrance to getting things done.

    And yet I’M the bad guy for “telling it like it is.”

    The “good” news is that this body has become so useless and irrelevant as a standards organization that I’m seriously considering letting my professional certification lapse and pulling out of it altogether. Not coincidentally, this organization used to enjoy considerable prestige and credibility as a standards body. All of that changed once 1) their certifications became a requirement for certain government jobs, and 2) they launched a full-on, over-the-top “campaign” to get “more women and minorities in tech” while allowing their standards body of knowledge and training curriculum to deteriorate.

    Another lesson in SJW corruption and co-opting of a once-vital sector that’s going into a slow decline.

  40. Hrodgar says:

    Might be worth checking out 2 Peter 1:20 and 3:16.

    I would agree that Scripture is OFTEN obvious, but not as often as it might seem. A good example of possible complications in apparently straightforward passages might be this recent post over at Malcolm’s: https://malcolmthecynic.wordpress.com/2016/07/19/tentatively-breaking-silence/

    Of course Scriptural interpretation is complicated not only by honest ignorance but also by vanity, confirmation bias, the war of sinful appetites and passions against the intellect, and so on, but that most certainly does NOT mean the truth is always simple. No one (that I’m aware of, at any rate) proposes that because scientists often rationalize false-to-facts positions in the face of heavy evidence, apparently for selfish motives, that therefore science is always bunk and the natural world is always simple and straightforward. False theology used to rationalize our favorite vices no more disproves the utility of theologians than, say, phlogiston disproved the utility of chemists.

  41. sipcode says:

    Paul says in 2Cor11:3 “minds corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” Christ is the word; The word is simple, that is, easy to understand EXCEPT when we lie to ourselves. Eve was not deceived by Satan. She was tempted by Satan. Eve deceived herself. She knew the truth, the command, and then lied to herself that she could be better off without it. Jesus is simple and we understand Him; we ‘make’ Him hard by lying. And as Shakespeare side, if we are true to ourselves then we can lie to no one else. Thanks for your blog Dalrock: exposing the fables of the church!

  42. Damn Crackers says:

    Maybe this is trite, but all NT commentary should begin with the two greatest commandments:

    Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
    Love your neighbor as yourself.

    Where Churchians get into trouble is they forget that Love can be Tough Love, to borrow a phrase from 90s after-school specials.

  43. @feeriker One reason I got into tech was it purported to be a meritocracy. Then the women in tech because diversity message started getting preached. My career is getting assaulted by these SJWs and if I do nothing then I won’t have a job in the future. So I stamp on it whenever I see it. Thanks for helping, nice to see there are old guard who will stand up for us.

  44. Red Pill Latecomer says:

    feericker, here in Los Angeles, I’ve long heard about the lack of women writers. Lack of women sitcom writers. Lack of women producers. Lack of women sci-fi novelists and award winners. Lack of women directors — and the lack of women horror film directors in particular (I kid you not).

    Several women-only horror film festivals were founded and folded over the past decade. The horror film magazines bent over backward to promote them, yet they folded.

    And there are tons of women-only film awards.

    Recently, women assumed all the top jobs in the actors union. Everyone — manginas especially — rejoiced over how refreshing and “about time” it was.

    In Santa Monica, women recently assumed the top spots in all the “fraternities” (Lions, Rotary, etc.) More rejoicing by feminists and manginas.

    And still, every time another film comes out with a kick-ass heroine, the critics and fanboys and genre organizations all say, “Finally. A strong woman. It’s about time.” As though kick-ass heroines were so rare on screen.

  45. Kevin says:

    Kierkegaard remains one of the greatest thinkers in faith and Christianity.

    However as BillyS said it is not all clear. This is self evident by the fact we have 1000 Christian churches and 100000 ways of looking at each scripture.

    The moral teachings are fairly clear, but not always. The doctrines are not clear at all. Someone will tell you – just study more or you are doing it wrong, but ultimately it is clear people of equal intelligence, devotion, and study disagree on huge portions of doctrine.

    The more recent attempts in our culture are to pervert the moral teachings about family, headship, homosexuality. Churches now openly declare the moral teachings as antiquated, and that is apostasy of a whole new level. As a culture we have devolved from honest disagreements about doctrine to dishonest lies about morals. Satan has our culture right where he wants us.

  46. Linx says:

    @ Kevin

    “The moral teachings are fairly clear, but not always. The doctrines are not clear at all.”

    Matthew 11:25 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children;26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.

    Might want to start reading the Bible like a child to clear things up.

  47. feeriker says:

    Satan has our culture right where he wants us.

    And, tragically, too many of our churches too.

  48. Dave says:

    Might want to start reading the Bible like a child to clear things up.

    Exactly how to walk with God–like a sweet little kid. When you talk to a kid, he doesn’t analyze, dissect, torture or otherwise question what you tell him. He simply and promptly believes you. He can even begin to boast to his friends purely on the strength of what he was told. A kid’s faith is total and complete. And that is how God wants us to walk with Him.

    “Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it”
    Mark 10:15

    These theologians have outgrown the word of God.

  49. feeriker says:

    These theologians have outgrown the word of God.

    Indeed. NEVER automatically assume that “theologian” and “Christian/Christ-follower” are the same person.

  50. BillyS says:

    We certainly need to accept the Kingdom of God as a child.

    [Luk 18:17 KJV] 17 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.

    But we should not stay there.

    [1Co 13:11 KJV] 11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

    God expects us to think as we follow Him.

    This doesn’t mean we need to make clear things not say what they say, but we need to not be arrogant enough to think that our entire Christian walk is like being a child.

    The ones ruining our culture rely on people acting like children!

  51. Red Pill Latecomer says:

    Letter to My Future Spouse
    http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=1018181

    The sort of letter that every woman expects as her rightful due

    But were a woman asked to sign it and live by it until she met her future husband, she would rebel in disgust. The letter would have her live for the sake of a man, and thus restrict her choices as a strong, independent woman — with her own mind, and career, and life path.

    I can see many modern women swooning at a man reading the letter. And recoiling in horror were the same letter read by a woman.

  52. Dave says:

    God expects us to think as we follow Him.

    This doesn’t mean we need to make clear things not say what they say, but we need to not be arrogant enough to think that our entire Christian walk is like being a child.

    Apples and oranges. You are equating childishness with childlikeness. The two are as wide apart as today’s Christianity is to NT Christianity.
    While we are expected to mature as we walk with God, and God Himself will not reveal much to us as long as we remain spiritual babies (Isaiah 28:9, KJV), at no time in our Christian journey are we expected to do away with having an unshakeable, unquestioning, child-like faith in our Lord, and being promptly and fully obedient to whatever His commands might be, as we understand those commands at various times. We are never allowed to question, dissect and mutilate God’s word in an effort to appear “educated” or “informed”, the way today’s theologians do.
    The very act of doing away with spiritual childishness makes us more childlike before God.

    Go through Scripture. You’ll see folks who used their “common sense” in their obedience to God’s clear, unmistakable commands, and see the price that they paid for their “maturity” and “thinking capabilities”. King Saul lost a throne because he thought God must have been mistaken in His order to “kill all the Amalekites, leaving no one to piss against the wall”.

  53. feeriker says:

    Letter to My Future Spouse
    http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=1018181

    Why any man would post a letter like that on a site like CAF that is dominated by rebellious, ungrateful twats is beyond me.

  54. craig says:

    Red Pill Latecomer, I can see many modern women swooning in the sense that they imagine themselves as the object of such worship, but I cannot see them having an actual attraction to the kind of man who writes such a letter.

  55. Avraham rosenblum says:

    In the Middle Ages the point of Christian scholarship was to iron out the contradictions plus work out the problems of theology based on the Neo Platonic school. One such problem was Divine simplicity. The way this was done by Boethius was mainly to stick to Neo Platonism. This was serious work and was not made irrelevant by subsequent people, nor Martin Luther. The Jewish world faced a similar problem. To iron out the contradictions and meaning of the OT and in the Talmud. Plus similar problems in Theology. In any case, all this is based on one idea. There is no essential contradiction in the word of God. What Protestants do is to ignore all these problems. If a certain verse appeals to one, then he or she grabs it and that is that. Divine simplicity never bothers Protestant at all. All the problems facing the Middle Ages were simply swept under the carpet, not answered.
    As about a thousand years of trouble with Divine simplicity did not get very far, Aquinas simply went to Aristotle following Maimonides.This was very helpful as far as Divine simplicity was concerned but made other problems. Kelley Ross thinks the problems with Aristotle are so great that the logical thing to do was to go back to Plato. [Not that Aquinas or Maimonides could have done that since they were busy working out their system. But later on people when they saw the problems could have simply gone back to a Neo Platonic approach. But in the West that is not what happened. People went into a far more radical empirical-ism than that contemplated by Aristotle. So the Western Judaic Christian world tends to be pretty secular.

  56. Gunner Q says:

    Avraham rosenblum @ 9:44 am:
    “In the Middle Ages the point of Christian scholarship was to iron out the contradictions plus work out the problems of theology based on the Neo Platonic school.”

    And today, these people iron out the contradictions between Christianity and feminism. Nothing has changed. They keep trying to make peace with the world.

  57. Avraham rosenblum says:

    What I meant was contradictions between the NT and the OT plus the church fathers. Aquinas was not trying to make peace with the world. Not were any of the Christian scholars of the Middle Ages that I have heard about. Peace with the world is for modern pseudo scholars.

  58. BillyS says:

    King Saul lost a throne because he thought God must have been mistaken in His order to “kill all the Amalekites, leaving no one to piss against the wall”.

    That is a unique interpretation of what happened Dave.

    I think I will instead believe that Saul simply rebelled against God’s command (through Samuel), as that is what is written.

    Who is complicating things now?

  59. Drew says:

    ALEXIA FERNÁNDEZ CAMPBELL, The Atlantic opinion writer joins the backwards causality narrative that low education and poverty causes higher illegitimacy rates.
    http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/07/why-are-so-many-millennials-having-children-out-of-wedlock/491753/

  60. Gunner Q says:

    Avraham rosenblum @ 10:17 am:
    “What I meant was contradictions between the NT and the OT plus the church fathers.”

    Reconciling NT and OT led medieval scholars to reject Christ’s example of apprenticeship in favor of professional, entrenched clergy who ruled as masters instead of the servants Christ described at the Last Supper. Reconciling NT with the (mis)behavior of early church leaders led them to worship Mary despite Christ’s direct refutation and insist on speaking Latin long after it became a linguistic barrier to the Great Commission. Such is always the consequence of “ironing out the contradictions” between Christianity and whatever.

    Your analogy to the Talmud is apt. Christ had some words for it in Mark 7:9-13.

    “Peace with the world is for modern pseudo scholars.”

    Oh come on. Making peace with the world started with Apostle Peter backsliding against his own supernatural revelation that Gentiles can be Christians, too.

  61. RichardP says:

    “All that is required in profiting from Scripture is to approach it in humility, with an open mind, with an intention to read, believe and promptly obey what is learned. Nothing more.”

    “I would agree that Scripture is OFTEN obvious, but not as often as it might seem.”

    “The moral teachings are fairly clear, but not always.”

    Those are quotes from this thread. I’m not identifying the authors of the above comments because it is the ideas expressed that I wish to focus on. I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments expressed above – so long as one is reading in the language in which the scriptures were originally written – and so long as one has an excellent grasp of cultural idioms and figures of speech that were in use at the time of the writing. Everything else is suspect – for all of the reasons laid out in this thread.

    Which only highlights the necessity of the Holy Spirit in our lives, revealing God’s truth to us. But we should expect that all of these truths the Holy Spirit reveals in thousands if not millions of lives will be consistant with one another, and there should be no disagreement (hence, only one denomination). Unless the requirements for salvation are maybe unique to each and every individual that the Holy Spirit visits. Man looks on the outside, but God looks on the heart, and all that.
    ———

    If we had the original writing in the original language, this question would no doubt be irrelevant. But, from the writing in English, which of these two translations are the correct translation (considered in the context of the first sentence of this post – open mind, promptly obey)? What of the people who have only been exposed to one of these translations, and never to both? Simple to understand – is no guarantee that the understanding will be correct.

    It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me (John 6:25 NIV) (emphasis on taught BY God)

    It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. (John 6:25 KJV) (emphasis on taught ABOUT God)

  62. JDG says:

    John 6:25:
    25 When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?

  63. JDG says:

    John 6:
    41 So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” 43 Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. 44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me— 46 not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father. 47 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life.

    Isaiah 54:13
    “All your sons will be taught of the LORD; And the well-being of your sons will be great.

    Jeremiah 31:34
    “They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the LORD, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

  64. imnobody00 says:

    Luther wanted to only use the Bible and reject tradition and theology. A noble sentiment. He thought everybody could understand the Bible, with the help of the Holy Spirit. He produced 30 000 churches arguing about theology. It seems that the Holy Spirit was very incoherent.

    Of course, every church thinks the Bible is clear and crystaline and has an obvious interpretation: its own. The interpretation of other churches is only fruit of evil and ignorance.

    Kierkeegaard is an example of this. Every church and every Christian intellectual has the Holy Spirit on his side when it comes about interpreting the Bible.

    As a man who reads the Bible daily, I don’t find easy and crystaline its text. Many nights I have to research how seemingly contradictory texts fit together. If you go to Amazon and look for books about difficulties, you will find the Bible is full of them. These are not books written by Papists or Orthodox. They are written by the finest Protestant scholars. They are according to the Protestant theology.

    The ones that say they don’t have a philosophy, they are only ignorant of his philosophy. The same can be said about theology.

    See that text that says that “About the hour, no one knows, not even the Son but only the Father” (quoting by memory). Literal interpretation: The Son is inferior to the Father. He does not know everything, hence it is not Omniscient, hence it is not God”. Conclusion: Arrianism.

    Now you will tell me about the double nature of Christ and so on. But brethren, this is theology, the Bible is clear about that.

  65. JDG says:

    If you go to Amazon and look for books about difficulties, you will find the Bible is full of them.

    As another man who reads the Bible daily, been there done that. It’s not full of them. There are some, but most are explained well enough when looking at the customs of the times and at the text in the original languages.

    Yes the Father is over the Son, but even the Pharisees knew that Jesus was saying that He is God.

    Now you will tell me about the double nature of Christ and so on.

    God is who He is rather or not we can comprehend it.

  66. JDG says:

    rather = whether

  67. Pingback: Not the approval of Scheming Swindlers [Mt 26] | Dark Brightness

  68. Avraham rosenblum says:

    The idea of going straight to the Bible is not a bad idea. I think a lot of doubts can be settled that way.This does not mean there is not need to solve contradictions. Contradictions in metaphysical reality seems to be part of the nature of reality as Kant saw.

  69. Linx says:

    @imnobodyoo
    “See that text that says that “About the hour, no one knows, not even the Son but only the Father” (quoting by memory). Literal interpretation: The Son is inferior to the Father. He does not know everything, hence it is not Omniscient, hence it is not God”. Conclusion: Arrianism.”

    Well did Jesus also not get hungry, thirsty, tired, ect? You seem to forget that God became flesh and that He also took on the same limitations of being a man.
    John 1:14 “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
    Unless you think a man can have the same qualities as God? He only knew things to the extent that God the Father revealed it to Him whilst being a flesh and blood man. In the New Testament all the qualities of God was only attributed to Jesus after His resurrection.

    Conclusion: The scripture would contradict itself if it claimed Jesus was omniscient before His resurrection. Jesus regularly asked questions. Mark 8:27 “Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”.”

  70. Red Pill Latecomer says:

    The scripture would contradict itself if it claimed Jesus was omniscient before His resurrection. Jesus regularly asked questions. Mark 8:27 “Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”.”

    Many of Jesus’ questions were rhetorical. In the above case, he was prompting his apostles to think. How do you know that Jesus didn’t already know what they’d say?

  71. Linx says:

    @Red Pill Latecomer

    “How do you know that Jesus didn’t already know what they’d say?”

    Does Scripture say that He did?

  72. BillyS says:

    Linx,

    Jesus said to come as a child, not stay as a child, whatever the difference between childlike and childish. Modern society is both. It overly trust authorities (in practice if not always in words) and that may be childlike, but it is stupid.

    I trust God implicitly, not man.

  73. Linx says:

    @BillyS

    “I trust God implicitly, not man.”

    “God, give me the faith of a little child,
    Who trusts so implicitly,
    Who simply and gladly believes Thy Word
    And never would question Thee.” —Showerman

    Glad to see that your faith in God is childlike.

  74. Dave says:

    The early Church trusted Christ with unquestioning, childlike faith, and they produced the saintliest of saints, and changed their world. Today’s Christians have a “more matured”, questioning faith, and have only produced heretics and rebellious “feminist” Christians.
    There is nothing childlike in childlike faith. Seriously. The ability to stand firm in the face of daunting opposition, to stand tall in the midst of frightening storms, to stay true in the face of overwhelming odds, and to steadfastly say “I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that He will come for me in the end”, even as the guillotine of a determined executioner is about to be lowered on your neck for the last time. No, that is not a childlike ability. It is the most matured form of faith. But for lack of better description, we must call it a childlike faith.
    It was the same type of faith that made Jesus surrender Himself to the cross, when he could easily prayed down hordes of angels to save him from the Romans. No; he chose to have a childlike faith in His Father who had the power and the will to raise Him from the dead.

  75. Dave says:

    @BillyS says:

    I trust God implicitly, not man.

    Implicit faith in God is childlike faith. Every other type of faith is questioning, faithless faith.

  76. Avraham rosenblum says:

    The way the Hegelian approach has been misused gives reason to think that Hegel’s opponents were closer to the truth. [That has anyway been my approach for sometime.] But that is not necessarily always the case. Systems can be misused. Still I think that the opponents of Hegel were more correct. First Hegel was misused by the Communists, then the feminists. It does give one pause.

  77. Dave says:

    @Linx says:

    Red Pill Latecomer

    “How do you know that Jesus didn’t already know what they’d say?”

    Does Scripture say that He did?

    It was Jesus’ MO to ask rhetorical questions, even when He already knew the answer. An example follows:

    John 6:5-7
    When Jesus looked up and saw a large crowd coming toward Him, He said to Philip, “Where can we buy bread for these people to eat?” But He was asking this to test him, for He knew what He was about to do. Philip answered, “Two hundred denarii would not buy enough bread for each of them to have a small piece.”…

    Even God the Father would ask questions or expect us to give Him some information when He already knew what we were going to say:

    E.g. God knows what you need even before you pray; but He won’t give you until you ask:
    Matthew 6:
    7. And when you pray, do not babble on like pagans, for they think that by their many words they will be heard.
    8. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.
    9. So then, this is how you should pray….

    Another example was the destruction of Soddom and Gomorrah. Do you think He needed to send an angel down to in order to know how wicked the inhabitants of the cities were? I don’t.

  78. Linx says:

    @Dave
    Read carefully what he wrote.

    “Many of Jesus’ questions were rhetorical. In the above case, he was prompting his apostles to think.”
    He made the claim that it was a rhetorical question. Thus the onus is on him to use Scripture to support his claim.

    Then he goes on to put the burden of proof on to me by asking “How do you know that Jesus didn’t already know what they’d say?
    He is requiring from me the impossible……to know what Jesus was thinking without Scripture saying.

    Luke5: “21But the scribes and Pharisees began to consider this and ask, “Who is this man who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 22Knowing what they were thinking, Jesus replied, “Why do you question this in your hearts?23Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk?’…”
    Scripture clearly says that Jesus knew what they were thinking and His follow up rhetorical question.

    You see I never said that Jesus did not ask rhetorical questions. Red Pill Latecomer none the less got you (and I assume others) thinking that I did.

    I have no intention of answering disingenuous questions with statements. That is why I asked my very simple question. And I am sure he knows the answer.

  79. Geraldine Werzbicki-Roach says:

    [D: See comment policy.]

  80. BillyS says:

    Dave,

    The early Church trusted Christ with unquestioning, childlike faith, and they produced the saintliest of saints, and changed their world. Today’s Christians have a “more matured”, questioning faith, and have only produced heretics and rebellious “feminist” Christians.

    Watch that you do not idolize the early church. They had serious issues themselves.

    Just a few:

    – Greeks were being ignored for a while in the redistribution of what was donated.
    – Paul and Barnabas split over whether John Mark could go on another missionary journey after failing spectacularly.
    – Wolves were already entering churches per Paul and the letters in Revelation.
    – Peter “backslid” and stopped eating with Jews and was confronted by Paul about it. (We do not know what happened after Paul’s confrontation, only that it happened.

    Many other things could be pulled out of Acts and the Epistles to show that the Church went far from the childlike ideal.

    They were just as human as we are now. We may be worse off, but a lot of the judgment of that is colored with modern glasses and we need to be very watchful idolizing any period of Church history.

    God does normally work more miraculous things with those who are completely sold out to Him, but that is not always the case. Sometimes He works with plain people going about their lives to accomplish the mundane and He transforms even that. Read through the Book of Judges for examples of plain people He used over and over. Some were even very reprobate – see Samson.

    God works where God wills. We should do what we can to put ourselves in the position to receive from Him and to help set the stage for Him to flow, but He is the one flowing.

    Also remember that many of the “saints” were very flawed human beings and we only remember the good parts. Look at David as an OT saint who was “after God’s own heart.” He committed adultery and commanded a murder to cover it as just one example.

    The Scriptures are a lot deeper than many want to dig.

  81. Gunner Q says:

    BillyS @ July 24, 2016 at 7:38 pm:
    “Watch that you do not idolize the early church. They had serious issues themselves.”

    +1. I sometimes refer to 1 & 2 Corinthians as 1 & 2 Californians. It drives home how little human nature has changed over the centuries.

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