Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Thom Wade

Patriotism and the Christian Faith

115 posts in this topic

Does "solidly, faithfully and without error" also mean "without contradiction"?

Going back to the original example, I would simply say that the contrasting details in Ex. 18 and Deut. 1 point to two different sources, one of which is concerned with promoting Moses' role in setting up the government, and one of which wants to give the tribes more credit ... just as in the books of Chronicles you get the government-approved versions of events whereas Samuel sometimes gives you a behind-the-scenes look. Even while conveying to us "that truth which God wanted put into sacred writings for the sake of salvation," the Bible's authors often manage to give us contrasting points of view about that truth. To go all Sgt. Friday on the text would be to miss the point(s).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Does "solidly, faithfully and without error" also mean "without contradiction"?

The law of noncontradiction would seem to require it.

Going back to the original example, I would simply say that the contrasting details in Ex. 18 and Deut. 1 point to two different sources, one of which is concerned with promoting Moses' role in setting up the government, and one of which wants to give the tribes more credit ... just as in the books of Chronicles you get the government-approved versions of events whereas Samuel sometimes gives you a behind-the-scenes look. Even while conveying to us "that truth which God wanted put into sacred writings for the sake of salvation," the Bible's authors often manage to give us contrasting points of view about that truth. To go all Sgt. Friday on the text would be to miss the point(s).

I'm not sure what "going all Sgt. Friday" means. I can't see that "contrasting points of view about that truth" poses a difficulty for the point of view in question.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not sure what "going all Sgt. Friday" means.

It means trying to boil everything down to just the facts. Sgt. Friday would be irritated with contrasting points of view.

Contra Persiflage, I might want to maintain that the presence of contrasting points of view in Ex. 18 and Deut. 1 suggests that the Bible does not necessarily speak with a unified voice about the nature of government.

Edited by mrmando

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I would call myself an inerrantist -- though I'd have to unpack what that means -- and I would say the "literary framework" theory is a very attractive way of reading Genesis 1.

But an inerrantist has to maintain that both chapters are written by the same author — who apparently gives great attention to a strict, ordered chronology in ch. 1, and then goes off his meds in ch. 2, since the chapters don't have a prayer of being reconciled unless you assume that ch. 2 is completely non-linear.

This is not what I understand to be required by an inerrantist view of scripture.

Are such views attractive to inerrantists, though? I suppose there may be some exceptions, but I figure most people who want to argue for inerrancy would also prefer a reading of these texts that is literal to some degree.

In my experience, these views are relatively popular--or at least part of the open discussion, without outright dismissal--among inerrantists of a not-so-deeply fundamentalist stripe. After all, many definitions of inerrancy allow for genre to inform how we understand what the text does and doesn't suggest.

Exactly.

I'll second what SDG said here. I'm an inerrantist who holds to the Framework Theory of Genesis 1. And the caricatures of inerrantist beliefs here bear very little resemblance to the robust inerrantism that characterizes much contemporary Evangelical and Catholic theology. We have no fear of historical criticism, or textual criticism, though we don't accept them whole hog.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll second what SDG said here. I'm an inerrantist who holds to the Framework Theory of Genesis 1. And the caricatures of inerrantist beliefs here ...

They're not caricatures, just the beliefs I grew up with. That I was raised in an intellectually impoverished brand of Christianity is not my fault.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm not sure what "going all Sgt. Friday" means.

It means trying to boil everything down to just the facts. Sgt. Friday would be irritated with contrasting points of view.

Ah. I am not.

Contra Persiflage, I might want to maintain that the presence of contrasting points of view in Ex. 18 and Deut. 1 suggests that the Bible does not necessarily speak with a unified voice about the nature of government.

I am not committed to the proposition that the Bible always speaks in a unified voice on every subject. I am committed to the proposition that what is asserted by the human author is asserted by the Holy Spirit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll second what SDG said here. I'm an inerrantist who holds to the Framework Theory of Genesis 1. And the caricatures of inerrantist beliefs here ...

They're not caricatures, just the beliefs I grew up with. That I was raised in an intellectually impoverished brand of Christianity is not my fault.

What...now are you going to try nd say you don't get to choose your family?

Oh...uh...wait... ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My family chose the church they attended. Perhaps they could have chosen better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I apologize for caricaturing inerrantism. That was not my intent, and I should have shown more respect for its many subtleties, gradations and frameworks.

I do have a couple of questions though. On the subject of theodicy, and Genesis 2 (rather than 1), wouldn't an inerrantist, of whatever stripe, pretty much have to believe that all suffering and death, creation-wide, is ultimately a result of Adam's disobedience to God, i.e. human sin? I mean, wouldn't one's allegiance to inerrantism require this or, at the very least, make it difficult to "interpret" one's way around it?

In fact, I've done a little checking on my own, on the internets, as George W. Bush used to say. And I did find a blog post, by a professor of Biblical Studies named Kenton Sparks, who evocatively described the usual causal nexus, ironically enough, in the context of an essay that argued against inerrantism! My guess, however, is that most inerrantists wouldn't be persuaded by his argument, even though they likely would endorse, wholeheartedly, this premise and analogy of his:

Let us begin with God's creation. It is beautiful ... in fact, unbelievable beautiful. Yet it also includes terrors and evils that are unspeakable ... rapes, murders and wars ... famine, disease and disaster ... pain indescribable. Given that God has created everything that exists, how do Christians avoid the possible (some skeptics would say inevitable) implication that the blame for creation's evils and horrors can be pinned on God? Following Paul's lead in Rom 8:20-22, Christians dogmatically assert that the cosmos is broken because of human sin. So it is not God, but human beings, who are finally culpable for the messy side of creation. Creation is good and beautiful because it is God's creation, but warped and broken because of human influence.

To make the point clearer, imagine with me a beautiful painting by Renoir or Monet. And then imagine that someone seizes the painting, rips it from its frame, crumples it up and stomps on it for about ten minutes. What does one end up with? One ends up with a beautiful painting that is everywhere warped and twisted. In some places the former beauty of the unmolested painting is more visible than in others, but there is no quarter of the painting that has escaped the damage. This, I would say, suitably describes God's creation. It is beautiful but also broken, and in such a way that one cannot really separate what's beautiful from what's not. Because it is the good thing itself that is warped and damaged.

Over against this line of thought, there is Knud E. Løgstrup (1905-81), Danish philosopher, theologian and contrarian, about whom I've written previously on this forum, in the context of the Bresson film, A Man Escaped. Here is something Løgstrup wrote in his book Skabelse og tilintetgørelse (Creation and Annihilation), substantial portions of which were translated into English in Metaphyics, vol. I, by Russell L. Dees (the passage cited here begins on p. 271, and the emphasis is mine):

Today there are many Christian and religiously-minded people who will not face up to the fact that there is physical suffering, disease and death which is impossible to understand as an effect of the evil in humanity. As if suffering, disease and death could be found only among humankind and not also in the animal world. There are passions that the higher species of animals have in common with us and they know physical pain as well as we do. But that pain cannot be due to the evil in the human world. It cannot be for that reason alone that animals suffered and died on our globe before humankind existed. And if we keep to the human world, then there is a deterioration of the body and the soul in disease, aging and death which is biologically conditioned and has nothing to do with evil. Nor have such misfortunes as earthquakes, floods and all other natural catastrophes that take place. One speculates mythologically about creation and finds that all suffering and death have their cause in the evil in humanity. It is true that we inflict upon each other nameless suffering and sudden early death in war, in struggle, in apathy, but there is also a suffering that will occur as long as disease and natural catastrophes occur – even if everyone were saints. Certainly, this suffering and death that belongs to the biological process of development and decay or has geological causes must be interpreted religiously, but to deny that there is suffering and death that is biologically or geologically conditioned and instead claim mythologically that it is due to evil is to deny facts. We can argue about interpretations, we must bend before facts.

Religiously understood, the eternal, divine creative power has built in annihilation and to annihilation it has united suffering and accidentalness in its creation. Certainly, the creation is full of splendors; without them we would not have the spirit to exist – on the other hand, we cannot rely on them, because we only have them on annihilation's terms. If we undertake a religious comprehensive interpretation of existence and the universe as created, we must face the fact that there is suffering and pain in the world of human beings that comes from the Creator, just as it also comes from the Creator that they strike indiscriminately and that the Creator has coupled development and decay together in his Creation, a coupling we ascertain biologically. Just as we ascertain biologically that reproduction occurs under conditions of cruelty. One species survives at the cost of another. God's act of creation is terrifying in its splendor and annihilation; it exceeds our intellectual and emotional apprehension. Jakob Knudsen saw this as speaking to God's pagan essence. Martin Buber saw it as saying that God in His creative might is an impersonal being and that it is an irrational limitation of our conception of God only to imagine God as a person; God makes Himself into a person only for the sake of allowing humankind to meet Him. In the deeds and words of the meeting, God becomes a person for the human being, but as the power to exist in everything that exists, God is beyond all personality. And no one struggled with this question with such intensity, indeed with such violence, as Luther, especially in "The Bondage of the Will."

The coming of God's Kingdom with Jesus of Nazareth – the decisive content of Christian faith – must therefore be understood against a background of the work of creation and annihilation, placed as it is in the greatest tension with the Kingdom, a tension that one must not try to reduce. With the coming of God's Kingdom, no insight into the creation follows, no explanation of why splendor and annihilation go together, we get no chance to explain or justify suffering, haphazardness or death with the fact that they have their cause, not in God, but in humankind. We are supplied with no defense of God, no theodicy. Seen in human terms, God in the creation is extravagant with splendor, cruel with suffering, unjust with accidents. This is the manner in which his pagan essence, his impersonal being, appears for the human being, the moral being. We are outraged by everything. In the name of morality, we border on blasphemy, because we want to have God, the universe, the world order and destiny on our moral terms, not on God's. In our cultural situation, indignation is expressed as blasphemy. In the name of the misfortune of our fellow creatures, in the name of their suffering, we are indignant to the point of profaning God.

The un-reduced tension between creation and the Kingdom of God means that the substance of the Christian message is set up against one self-evident thing after another. It sets itself up against the self-evidence of a moral conception of God. And it sets itself up against the self-evidence that the eternal is the same as the unchanging. The coming of God's Kingdom means that the work of creation and annihilation, its splendors, suffering and haphazardness is not God's last word or act. Something new happens. In spite of His creative and annihilative essence, God makes Himself personal, human, but on His own god/human terms, not on our moral/human terms. He does not comply with our morality. We do not get to know that, on our moral conditions, the profanation of God makes no sense. If we insist on our morality, we hand ourselves over to blasphemy. Christianity does not turn on our morality but on hope and the promise of faith.

I am reminded of the Book of Job:

Then answered the LORD unto Job out of the whirlwind, and said,

Gird up thy loins now like a man: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.

Wilt thou also disannul my judgment? wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous?

We ought not to minimize human sinfulness – which is grievous, and grievous to be borne – but to insist as we do that "Creation is good and beautiful because it is God's creation, but warped and broken because of human influence," as though we would or could shield God from being implicated in his own creation, for both "the good" and "the bad" of it, according to our own, paltry, moral assignations – is there not a hidden element of considerable hubris here? Shall we imagine that because we have sinned, and brought our own race low, that we are practically co-equal authors of the universe with God? that we can make a sword to approach unto behemoth and draw out leviathian with an hook? or douse supernova and outweigh black hole?

Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it.
Edited by tenpenny

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I do have a couple of questions though. On the subject of theodicy, and Genesis 2 (rather than 1), wouldn't an inerrantist, of whatever stripe, pretty much have to believe that all suffering and death, creation-wide, is ultimately a result of Adam's disobedience to God, i.e. human sin? I mean, wouldn't one's allegiance to inerrantism require this or, at the very least, make it difficult to "interpret" one's way around it?

...We ought not to minimize human sinfulness – which is grievous, and grievous to be borne – but to insist as we do that "Creation is good and beautiful because it is God's creation, but warped and broken because of human influence," as though we would or could shield God from being implicated in his own creation, for both "the good" and "the bad" of it, according to our own, paltry, moral assignations – is there not a hidden element of considerable hubris here? Shall we imagine that because we have sinned, and brought our own race low, that we are practically co-equal authors of the universe with God? that we can make a sword to approach unto behemoth and draw out leviathian with an hook? or douse supernova and outweigh black hole?

How does human responsibility for sin make humans "practically equal co-authors of the universe with God"? To use the example you used earlier, if a vandal slashes a Matisse painting, thus altering it forever, does make the vandal a "co-artist" of the work?

There's more in your post I'd like to respond to, but time is against me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

to use the example you used earlier, if a vandal slashes a Matisse painting, thus altering it forever, does make the vandal a "co-artist" of the work?

In the case of Matisse, the answer is quite possibly yes. ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do have a couple of questions though. On the subject of theodicy, and Genesis 2 (rather than 1), wouldn't an inerrantist, of whatever stripe, pretty much have to believe that all suffering and death, creation-wide, is ultimately a result of Adam's disobedience to God, i.e. human sin? I mean, wouldn't one's allegiance to inerrantism require this or, at the very least, make it difficult to "interpret" one's way around it?

...We ought not to minimize human sinfulness – which is grievous, and grievous to be borne – but to insist as we do that "Creation is good and beautiful because it is God's creation, but warped and broken because of human influence," as though we would or could shield God from being implicated in his own creation, for both "the good" and "the bad" of it, according to our own, paltry, moral assignations – is there not a hidden element of considerable hubris here? Shall we imagine that because we have sinned, and brought our own race low, that we are practically co-equal authors of the universe with God? that we can make a sword to approach unto behemoth and draw out leviathian with an hook? or douse supernova and outweigh black hole?

How does human responsibility for sin make humans "practically equal co-authors of the universe with God"? To use the example you used earlier, if a vandal slashes a Matisse painting, thus altering it forever, does make the vandal a "co-artist" of the work?

There's more in your post I'd like to respond to, but time is against me.

Pardon me, but the phrase "human responsibility for sin" could give the appearance of being carefully worded to avoid any cosmic implications. As an inerrantist, do you deny the cosmic implications of human sin?

In cosmic-space terms, if God's universe is analogized to a Matisse painting, and the entire earth is defaced by human sin (which it is not, yet, but let's exaggerate for the sake of the analogy), an "outside" observer of the painting would not be able to detect the effects of human sin even with an electron-microscopic examination of the canvas. And this analogy entirely neglects cosmic-time, on which scale man's life-span as a species is not even as long as one beat-cycle of an "outside" hummingbird's wings.

Edited by tenpenny

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

... if God's universe is analogized to a Matisse painting, and the entire earth is defaced by human sin (which it is not, yet, but let's exaggerate for the sake of the analogy),

My entire contribution to this thread seems to be throwing out isolated scripture passage, so forgive me if I seem obnoxious in doing so. However... how do you square this with Romans 8:18-23?

18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

... if God's universe is analogized to a Matisse painting, and the entire earth is defaced by human sin (which it is not, yet, but let's exaggerate for the sake of the analogy),

My entire contribution to this thread seems to be throwing out isolated scripture passage, so forgive me if I seem obnoxious in doing so. However... how do you square this with Romans 8:18-23?

18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.

Pardon me, but I think you may have mistaken me for an inerrantist. I am not attempting to "square" anything, much less everything – that is the burden of the inerrantist camp. And a heavy burden it is.

Actually, I am not trying to deny the cosmic importance of humanity, but many Christians so take this for granted that a "stealth" sense of entitlement takes root, and a consequent hubris and noblesse oblige towards the rest of creation has built up, over time, to the point that it is completely out of all proportion to our true physical punyness. God is not only spiritually mighty, he is physically mighty as well – besides being God, he is God-of-the-cosmos – and we need to be reminded of this, lest we become too ant-like in our breadth of vision.

Regarding Romans 8:19, N.F.S. Grundtvig delivered a terrific sermon on this verse in 1838, which I have translated from the Danish (expanding on A. M. Allchin's translation of some short passages from the same sermon) in this post on my blog site (where my current post translates some additional material about Løgstrup, in case anyone else is intrigued by his thought).

Edited by tenpenny

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So there are strains of "inerrantism" that allow for some of the assertions made by historical-critical scholars, e.g., that the shift in style, focus, and vocabulary (Elohim vs. YHWH) between Gen. 1 & Gen. 2, as well as the differing chronologies, all point to these stories being collected from two different sources?

Not my grandpa's inerrantism, but terribly interesting.

Yeah, whenever I hear people try to redefine "inerrancy" so that it means something other than what most people mean by it, I wonder why we should even bother going to bat for that word in the first place.

How does human responsibility for sin make humans "practically equal co-authors of the universe with God"? To use the example you used earlier, if a vandal slashes a Matisse painting, thus altering it forever, does make the vandal a "co-artist" of the work?

One of the problems with the humans-are-mere-vandals approach is that there is an awful lot of death woven into the very DESIGN of the universe. My favorite example of this is the spider web: it speaks of design in so many ways, and yet what is the PURPOSE of that design? To trap and kill other animals. Is this the fault of anyone's "vandalism"? Maybe, maybe not, but even if it were, it's kind of hard to imagine how spiders would function WITHOUT those webs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

John F. Hobbins wrote:

: But this cannot be the route of a theology which treasures the heritage of the Reformation. It is not the route that the Catholic Church has taken either.

Well, I'm Eastern Orthodox now, so I don't know where that leaves me.

Certainly I don't subscribe to the views of, say, Martin Luther or Conrad Grebel, who held that their private interpretations of Scripture were sufficient to instantaneously overthrow nearly a millennium and a half of church tradition. Nor do I care to redefine the canon, as virtually all Protestants have done. (Luther, of course, toyed with excluding certain books from the New Testament; but beyond that, there are very few Protestants of any stripe these days who accept the so-called "Apocrypha" as part of the Old Testament. And the so-called "Apocrypha", of course, would have been part of the "God-breathed scripture" that Paul told Timothy about, so there's another problem that Protestant inerrantists have to deal with.)

Nor do I find the Catholic approach suggested here all that satisfying, since not only does it redefine "inerrancy" to mean something other than what the average parishioner might expect, but it goes on to suggest that other words, like "asserts", might not mean what you thought they meant either. Again, I just don't see the point in playing this sort of word-game.

There may indeed be a form of "inerrancy" within Orthodox thought, I don't know. Indeed, it wouldn't surprise me if there were, since, in my own early explorations into Orthodoxy, I came across "patristic fundamentalists" (as a friend of mine calls them) who thought that any argument could be settled by proof-texting the Fathers. I certainly wouldn't want to veer to THAT extreme, and indeed, I kind of put off my conversion to Orthodoxy until I was assured by my priest and others that I really didn't have to pay attention to those people.

: . . . there is an almost universal consensus that Scripture is the norma normans of Christian thought and practice, the norm which norms all other norms.

Well, yes. That's why the scriptures are called "canonical". The Greek word "canon" refers to a "ruler", or a "guideline". The scriptures are the "guideline" by which we measure everything else.

: The example of Zwingli demonstrates - though his approach to the nexus between Word and Spirit has problems of its own – that the doxological use, not just of inerrancy language, but of other forms of "love-language" for scripture, is the sign of a healthy theology, full of comfort and praise.

Perhaps. I'm a little suspicious of abundant praise, though. Which, yes, makes it interesting that I attend a church where the services frequently refer to the "holy" this and the "holy" that. But sometimes abundant praise gets taken seriously, even literally, and I'd like to avoid those sorts of problems wherever possible.

: There really are cogent reasons for retaining the language of inerrancy and qualifying it properly. It makes no sense to set aside traditional vocabulary because it is subject to misunderstanding. If that is a sufficient reason, let's do away with other traditional frameworks of understanding, such as justification, atonement, the Lordship of Christ, predestination, the Trinity . . .

If "inerrancy" has enjoyed as long a history as most (or even all) of those other theological categories, then someone older than the Reformation is going to have to be quoted to make that point.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been meaning to just start a separate thread on the Doctrine of Inerrancy. I'll try to when I get the chance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pardon me, but the phrase "human responsibility for sin" could give the appearance of being carefully worded to avoid any cosmic implications. As an inerrantist, do you deny the cosmic implications of human sin?

In cosmic-space terms, if God's universe is analogized to a Matisse painting, and the entire earth is defaced by human sin (which it is not, yet, but let's exaggerate for the sake of the analogy), an "outside" observer of the painting would not be able to detect the effects of human sin even with an electron-microscopic examination of the canvas. And this analogy entirely neglects cosmic-time, on which scale man's life-span as a species is not even as long as one beat-cycle of an "outside" hummingbird's wings.

I'm not trying to avoid anything. I do believe that human sin has cosmic implications. All of creation has been subjected to futility by its rulers, humanity. Futility - inability to reach its purpose. Death entered the world through human sin, but neither Genesis nor Romans requires that this mean animal or plant death, or that it cover all entropy throughout space and time. I don't claim to understand all of the ways that human sin defaced creation and subjected it to futility. But what "outside observer" would you postulate who would be unable to detect the impact of human sin? All of Christian theology - whether you're inerrantist or not - declares that the only "outside observer" who matters not only detected the impact of human sin, but indeed made the ultimate sacrifice in order to rectify it.

Edited by CrimsonLine

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ryan H. wrote:

: : But sometimes abundant praise gets taken seriously, even literally, and I'd like to avoid those sorts of problems wherever possible.

:

: But I don't see those problems as being so particularly awful. So, yeah, I'm not overly concerned about that possibility.

Well... I can think of at least one example that, according to some, led to a major church split, but anyhoo.

: : If "inerrancy" has enjoyed as long a history as most (or even all) of those other theological categories, then someone older than the Reformation is going to have to be quoted to make that point.

:

: Your wish is my command, good sir.

Heh. Well, I've already said I'm not a "patristic fundamentalist". And hey, all but one of your examples were based in the Latin West! :)

: Justin Martyr:

:

: "And Trypho said, 'Being shaken by so many Scriptures, I know not what to say about the Scripture which Isaiah writes, in which God says that He gives not His glory to another, speaking thus 'I am the Lord God; this is my name; my glory will I not give to another, nor my virtues.'And I answered, 'If you spoke these words, Trypho, and then kept silence in simplicity and with no ill intent, neither repeating what goes before nor adding what comes after, you must be forgiven; but if[you have done so] because you imagined that you could throw doubt on the passage, in order that I might say the Scriptures contradicted each other, you have erred. But I shall not venture to suppose or to say such a thing; and if a Scripture which appears to be of such a kind be brought forward, and if there be a pretext[for saying] that it is contrary[to some other], since I am entirely convinced that no Scripture contradicts another, I shall admit rather that I do not understand what is recorded, and shall strive to persuade those who imagine that the Scriptures are contradictory, to be rather of the same opinion as myself."

While I think it's a matter of plain simple fact that some scriptures DO contradict each other (not necessarily in any important ways, but still), I have to say it's not obvious to me just what kind of "contradiction" Justin Martyr has in mind here -- especially if he is responding to Trypho's use of that one passage from Isaiah. It sounds to me more like a difference in nuance, or context, or something.

: Hippolytus of Rome:

:

: "Therefore they [the followers of Artemon's heresy] have laid their hands boldly upon the Divine Scriptures, alleging that they have corrected them...But how daring this offense is, it is not likely that they themselves are ignorant. For either they do not believe that the Divine Scriptures were spoken by the Holy Spirit, and thus are unbelievers, or else they think themselves wiser than the Holy Spirit, and in that case what else are they than demoniacs?"

Again, I don't know who these Artemon people are, so I don't know what would have constituted a "correction" of the scriptures to them. (I can think of one or two passages in the canonical scriptures, incidentally, that could be construed as "corrections" of one sort or another.)

: Jerome:

:

: "I am not, I repeat, so ignorant as to suppose that any of the Lord's words is either in need of correction or is not divinely inspired."

By "Lord's words", is he referring to the scriptures or to what we might call the "red letter" sections of the Bible? (Note, too, that Jerome played a key role in sowing doubt within the West about the canonicity of the so-called Apocrypha.)

: And then there's Gregory of Nanzianzus:

:

: " . . . We however, who extend the accuracy of the Spirit to the merest stroke and tittle, will never admit the impious assertion that even the smallest matters were dealt with haphazard by those who have recorded them, and have thus been borne in mind down to the present day: on the contrary, their purpose has been to supply memorials and instructions for our consideration under similar circumstances, should such befall us, and that the examples of the past might serve as rules and models, for our warning and imitation."

Just wondering: Who here really wants to defend the accuracy of every "merest stroke and tittle" in the scriptures as we have them? Who would even want to defend them in the original manuscripts? (Are we seriously ruling out the possibility that the authors of the original manuscripts might not have, e.g., written something down and crossed it out before continuing with their writing?)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been meaning to just start a separate thread on the Doctrine of Inerrancy. I'll try to when I get the chance.

Here's the separate thread, since I'm afraid Nezpop's original (and interesting) topic of discussion has been completely ignored for a couple pages now.

I'd suggest hitting "Reply" to comments here, cutting and pasting the comment you intend to respond to, and then moving it over. Biblical Inerrancy is a big enough subject to get its own thread anyhow.

Edited by Persiflage

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

An Independence Day meditation on patriotism from the writings of Chesterton.

The man who loves his own children is much more universal, is much more fully in the general order, than the man who dandles the infant hippopotamus or puts the young crocodile in a perambulator. For in loving his own children he is doing something which is (if I may use the phrase) far more essentially hippopotamic than dandling hippopotami; he is doing as they do. It is the same with patriotism. A man who loves humanity and ignores patriotism is ignoring humanity. The man who loves his country may not happen to pay extravagant verbal compliments to humanity, but he is paying to it the greatest of compliments - imitation.

The fundamental spiritual advantage of patriotism and such sentiments is this: that by means of it all things are loved adequately, because all things are loved individually. Cosmopolitanism gives us one country, and it is good; nationalism gives us a hundred countries, and every one of them is the best. Cosmopolitanism offers a positive, patriotism a chorus of superlatives. Patriotism begins the praise of the world at the nearest thing, instead of beginning it at the most distant, and thus it insures what is, perhaps, the most essential of all earthly considerations, that nothing upon earth shall go without its due appreciation. Wherever there is a strangely-shaped mountain upon some lonely island, wherever there is a nameless kind of fruit growing in some obscure forest, patriotism insures that this shall not go into darkness without being remembered in a song.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

An Independence Day meditation on patriotism from the writings of Chesterton.

The man who loves his own children is much more universal, is much more fully in the general order, than the man who dandles the infant hippopotamus or puts the young crocodile in a perambulator. For in loving his own children he is doing something which is (if I may use the phrase) far more essentially hippopotamic than dandling hippopotami; he is doing as they do. It is the same with patriotism. A man who loves humanity and ignores patriotism is ignoring humanity. The man who loves his country may not happen to pay extravagant verbal compliments to humanity, but he is paying to it the greatest of compliments - imitation.

The fundamental spiritual advantage of patriotism and such sentiments is this: that by means of it all things are loved adequately, because all things are loved individually. Cosmopolitanism gives us one country, and it is good; nationalism gives us a hundred countries, and every one of them is the best. Cosmopolitanism offers a positive, patriotism a chorus of superlatives. Patriotism begins the praise of the world at the nearest thing, instead of beginning it at the most distant, and thus it insures what is, perhaps, the most essential of all earthly considerations, that nothing upon earth shall go without its due appreciation. Wherever there is a strangely-shaped mountain upon some lonely island, wherever there is a nameless kind of fruit growing in some obscure forest, patriotism insures that this shall not go into darkness without being remembered in a song.

I know we're past the Fourth of July, and I relish freedom and fireworks as much as the next guy, but I still find this a curious and naive piece of writing.

I think it's worth noting that Chesterton wrote this passage in 1904, well before the outbreaks of nationalism that resulted in the first and second world wars. I wonder if he would have been so optimistic if he had written in, say, 1942.

These days we don't fight wars because we value the uniqueness of the fruit of our native land, or the peculiar shape of its mountains, but because we covet the oil of somebody else's unique oilfields. "Our country is the best" thinking has been ruinous to many cultures historically, and certainly to the cultures that have come under the imperial clutches of such thinking. It also strikes me as a view that is indefensible from a Christian standpoint, which ought to uphold the inherent worth and dignity of all human beings, regardless of where they live. I love Chesterton, but I most assuredly don't love that quote. I think it's completely wrongheaded.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think it's worth noting that Chesterton wrote this passage in 1904, well before the outbreaks of nationalism that resulted in the first and second world wars. I wonder if he would have been so optimistic if he had written in, say, 1942.

I suspect he might feel obliged to supplement it, but I don't think he would feel obliged to unsay anything.

These days we don't fight wars because we value the uniqueness of the fruit of our native land, or the peculiar shape of its mountains, but because we covet the oil of somebody else's unique oilfields.

I don't think anybody has ever fought wars for love of fruit or mountains motive, and I don't think Chesterton was saying otherwise. He wasn't talking about war. He was talking about love of one's homeland.

Fighting a war because we covet oil is not a patriotic motive, nor do we think we deserve the other country's oil because of our fruit or mountains.

"Our country is the best" thinking has been ruinous to many cultures historically, and certainly to the cultures that have come under the imperial clutches of such thinking. It also strikes me as a view that is indefensible from a Christian standpoint, which ought to uphold the inherent worth and dignity of all human beings, regardless of where they live. I love Chesterton, but I most assuredly don't love that quote. I think it's completely wrongheaded.

Patriotism can be distorted and subverted, yes. Just as the man who thinks his children are the smartest and his wife the most beautiful may be an insufferable boor, and may raise his children to be arrogant monsters. But he may also be a perfectly healthy, doting family man raising well-loved children. Upholding the inherent worth and dignity of everyone, yes, certainly, of course. But there is still a legitimate special love for one's own kith and kin, one's own people, one's own neighborhood and milieu, one's own land.

No man should be made to feel uncomfortable for praising his wife and children superlatively and preferring them to all others. No one should feel that the only healthy thing to do is go around saying all the time that other people's children are just as good as his own. That might be a necessary corrective under some circumstances, but it is medicine, not food.

Edited by SDG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let me put it this way, Steven.

Chesterton:

Cosmopolitanism gives us one country, and it is good; nationalism gives us a hundred countries, and every one of them is the best. Cosmopolitanism offers a positive, patriotism a chorus of superlatives.

No. That's not a chorus. It's a cacophony of discordant voices, each one trying to outshout the other.

I don't object to anyone loving where they live, cherishing its unique qualities, relishing the idiosyncratic delights of the 'hood, the city, the state, or the country. But why must we invoke "best" language to do this? God doesn't see "best" when it comes to neighborhoods, cities, states, or countries. He sees equally loved people. I'm not sure the planet can survive another round of "my country is the best." The winners will be chortling over a piece of charred rock.

Edited by Andy Whitman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chesterton:

Cosmopolitanism gives us one country, and it is good; nationalism gives us a hundred countries, and every one of them is the best. Cosmopolitanism offers a positive, patriotism a chorus of superlatives.

No. That's not a chorus. It's a cacophony of discordant voices, each one trying to outshout the other.

You only see the dark side; Chesterton celebrates the light side. A village in which every man thinks his wife is the most beautiful is not necessarily a cacaphony of voices trying to outshout the other. Chesterton has no interest in outshouting anyone.

I don't object to anyone loving where they live, cherishing its unique qualities, relishing the idiosyncratic delights of the 'hood, the city, the state, or the country. But why must we invoke "best" language to do this? God doesn't see "best" when it comes to neighborhoods, cities, states, or countries. He sees equally loved people. I'm not sure the planet can survive another round of "my country is the best." The winners will be chortling over a piece of charred rock.

Who wants to live in a world in which sports fans in each city aren't allowed to celebrate their team as the best? Who even wants to live in a world without rivalries, in which Dodgers and Giants fans don't razz each other? There is nothing inherently objectionable or un-Christian about this.

Obviously sports fandom can take ugly forms, e.g., Vancouver's Stanley Cup riot. But the ideal solution is not no sports fandom, but healthy sports fandom. Because the organ can become diseased is no reason to pronounce the organ itself a threat, or to insist on having it out whether it is doing harm or not.

You can argue that there will always be unhealthy patriotism, so my utopia of healthy patriotism will never exist. I reply that there will always be patriotism, period, so your cosmopolitan utopia will never exist either. I would rather put what energy and influence I have into channeling and correcting what I see as a normal, natural human impulse than try to suppress and destroy it on the grounds that it may do harm. Anything good may do harm, and probably has.

Edited by SDG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0