a POLITE discussion of the 5 fundamentals

juantoo3

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(paraphrased) The five fundamentals include:

1. Biblical inerrancy
2. The divinity of Jesus
3. The virgin birth
4. The belief that Jesus died to redeem man
5. An expectation of the Second Coming, or physical return of Jesus Christ to initiate his 1000-year rule on the earth

There are also the Essential Doctrines of Christianity.

1. The Deity of Christ.
2. Salvation by Grace.
3. The Resurrection of Christ.
4. The Gospel.

First, I want to say thank you very much to Dor for providing this information. I was not aware of this set of…parameters…to indicate Christian Fundamentalism.

Before I continue, I want to address this in as delicate a way as I can. I admire Dor and Faithfulservant, I respect them and appreciate their contributions. They have been very good sports in light of the razzing some inconsiderate people can level, ignorantly, at Christian Fundamentalism.

CYBERPI said:
Well then get to the thumping... don't hold back on my account. I can see some of the scriptural support but my interpretations of their significance have been different so far. I would love to see a compiled list of the related scripture for this divinity fundamental and deity essential doctrine.

That said, I do want to look at this list in a scholarly manner if at all possible. I think Cyberpi hit on the essence of my questioning attitude.

For the sake of polite argument, I will go down the list quickly.

Biblical Inerrancy:

This is probably the underlying foundational point, without which the others do seemingly come into question. No doubt, this is the motivation behind many “anti”-Christian scholars attempting to undermine the faith, and equally the cause of concern and consternation among those who uphold these tenets. I am very sensitive to this, so please do not consider my series of questions as an assault, they are not. They are an exploration. I believe G-d is real. I also believe that because G-d is real, He can handle questions, and being questioned. I also do not consider this an affront to G-d Himself by challenging the traditions of mere mortal men. That is, afterall, precisely the issue here…looking at a particular tradition collection, nothing more. In that light I will begin.

Inerrancy is a toughie to boldly state without something concrete to back it up. I am not familiar with the collection of essays alluded to, but I have a little working knowledge of some of the linguistic and translational issues. The first place I would begin is by asking, “which Bible” is inerrant? A blanket statement like, “well, all of them, of course,” would simply not be true. There are a multitude of English translations alone, and quite honestly they do not all say the same things, even in different ways.

So, for simplicity, I will stick with the King James Version. The KJV is the version I am most familiar with, it is the one I have read pretty much cover to cover, and it seems to be the one most commonly referenced by outside sources. Now, it should be apparent I am a big fan of the KJV, so let’s remove that tired argument from the beginning. I have no need to undermine my own faith. Now, if the KJV is inerrant, then everything in it should be unquestionably true, yes? In that case, unicorns exist as real living creatures. I forget where just now, but a cursory look through the Strong’s Concordance will immediately bring up a couple of references to unicorns in the Old Testament. Now, I haven’t ever taken the time to pursue this (shame on me), but I have always suspected it was referring to an animal that Europeans, or at least the specific Englishmen translating the Textus Receptus, were not familiar with. Then again, there might be some translational issue that factors in. And then there may be a valid and truthful reason that escapes my reasoning. Either way, one little matter like this is sufficient to suggest that the Bible is *not* inerrant.

Now, let us be absolutely clear, not being inerrant is not cause to dismiss the Bible or its teachings. And it is certainly important to note, that the error here that I just pointed to is a human error, one that may well not exist in the original text. (In fact, that would be the direction I would immediately lean towards) But it does make a pretty clear case against the English translation about absolute inerrancy.

Another point worthy of note with translational application, is that Jesus, Paul and the rest of the gang did not speak English. The New Testament was not composed in English. Therefore, the grammar, context and nuance are decidedly not English. Subtle things, like the word virgin, have historically and culturally different definitions than we tend to automatically assume coming from a European point of view.

The divinity of Jesus

In fairness, my jury is still out on this one.

The virgin birth

It wasn’t intentional on my part, though maybe it was a subconscious connection to the subject that made me point to the issue of the word “virgin” having a different meaning in the source culture from which the story of Jesus’ birth came. I would dearly love to hear BananaBrain chime in on this, but it is my understanding that Mary, as Joseph’s betrothed, was considered “virgin” even if they may have been having pre-marital sex (which contrary to prudish Christian tradition should not have been). In light of certain teachings of Paul included in the canon, along with the Mother Church’s inordinate emphasis on Mary’s motherhood at a much later point in history, pre-marital sex and prudish virginity became a matter of orthodox doctrine that had to be edited for and politically defined (of necessity). But this is a cultural issue among Christians, not Jewish culture, of which Mary, Joseph and Jesus all were culturally Jews.

The belief that Jesus died to redeem man

Now, this to me is a non-issue, in that, without Jesus’ sacrifice, what purpose does Christianity serve? In my mind, none. Ergo, this had to be at least a significant portion of Jesus’ purpose and ministry, if not the defining purpose. Textually and culturally I find nothing yet to refute it.

An expectation of the Second Coming, or physical return of Jesus Christ to initiate his 1000-year rule on the earth

Now, I haven’t any issue directly with this either, as I see the Time of Jacob’s Trouble written of in the Book of Revelations as the threshold defining event(s) leading into the promises of Isaiah. Now, contextually and linguistically, I see this as directly translated, even if some of the events in both Revelations and Isaiah may well be metaphorical and illustrative rather than literal. The distinction I make because I do not see evidence of the tradition called “rapture.” This is covered in depth elsewhere, but this teaching is rather new, dating only to about 1820 or so coming from England. Rather, I see the return of the Messiah to set right what the adversary and humanity have polluted.

I must stop for now, I think there are sufficient talking points. I will try to return to the balance later.

As always, respectful comments, even if they disagree, are welcome. But lets keep in mind these are teachings that are central and, well, fundamental, to a great many people, some of whom we count as friends here. So please guys and gals, lets be mindful of this as we make our points of discussion.
 
Thanks, Juan for what I'm sure will be an excellent thread.

For the record, I believe in all 5 fundamentals with a small variation on #5.

I believe Jesus will take us with Him to Heaven for a 1000-year reign and then the "new Jerusalem" will come to earth for eternity.

I believe #5 should end at the word "Christ".

Absolutely no doubt on my of the other four as they stand.
 
The belief that Jesus died to redeem man[/b]

Now, this to me is a non-issue, in that, without Jesus’ sacrifice, what purpose does Christianity serve? In my mind, none. Ergo, this had to be at least a significant portion of Jesus’ purpose and ministry, if not the defining purpose. Textually and culturally I find nothing yet to refute it.

Brother Juan,

You might be walking a tightrope over a puddle of circular reasoning here old friend, and it is a point of agony with some here at CR because of what this sacrifice implies. Before things get going I would like to point out (perhaps a moot point) That the type of thinking implied in right/wrong or provable/unprovable tends to ignore other possibilites of understanding Christianity. If we were to say that the above beliefs are what fundamentalist Christians believe, we could simply let it be at that.
I find it interesting to note that different personality types will be attracted to a black and white belief system, and those capable of more abstract thought to a mystical or metaphorical interpretation of the Bible.
Personally I find that if the Bible turns out to be just a wonderful story rich with metaphorical underpinnings, and that Jesus was born in the usual manner but was an unusual or even the greatest of mystics ever I should love him and his teachings no less.
It is with this understanding thus far in my path that I can say Jesus showed the way, and in a higher level understanding "Is" the way I can walk in unbounded gratitutde to be saved from the perceptions of life that ego has shown me.

Peace
Mark
 
All those that know me or my writings know that I actually love the bible and its books, and the thought contained therein and while I consider myself a Christian, others see me otherwise....nothing I contribute should surprise anyone.

1. Biblical inerrancy

If this we mean that the Bible is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth...I've got issues. If I can stretch this to mean without error ie what is written is written for the purpose in which it is written...I can go along with that. However I don't beleive Moses brought down 5 books off the moutain part of which described his demise. There a numerouse places where the Gospels contradict each other, the list of issues with litteral innerancy is easily found and exaustive and requires much twisting and turning to 'explain' away...most of which requires a few 'well if you don't believe you are (pick your own favorite put down, christian and biblical based of course)"

2. The divinity of Jesus

No worries here, I believe we all are.

3. The virgin birth


Right back to number one, and we go from mistranslation, to misunderstanding, to a required component in all previous religions of the lead character.

4. The belief that Jesus died to redeem man

He had to go through the door to show us it worked...yes. What would be the use of him just telling us? Demonstration was required.

5. An expectation of the Second Coming, or physical return of Jesus Christ to initiate his 1000-year rule on the earth

Back to number one yet again...most interesting part is that this was interpretted to mean during the lifetimes of the writers...and pretty much has been the same ever since...most everyone I know that speaks about this is positve it is imminent.

I think the presence is within each of us, waiting not for Him, but for us.


My five fundamentals.

The bible is an amazing collection of mystical traditions containing historical references, analogy, parables, metaphor and morals, it is your autobiography written millenia ago, available for you now and tommorow for your own personal growth and understanding.

The stories of our elder brother and wayshower Jesus the Christ will assist us in our travels and growth on this planet. He is one of many shining examples of a child of spirit realizing his divine inheritance and realizing oneness with all.

All comes from one source G-d, there is nothing else required. We can spend our lives studying, extrapolating, 'divining' the works of others and the universe, or with another understanding we can realize the spirit is born within each of us.

Our saviour showed us how to save ourselves. His work is done. It is upto us now to decide to save ourselves, the path is blazed it is upto us to follow.

The sun is shining on the other side of the curtain, it is but for us to open it and bask in it, and enter the kingdom.
 
Hi Paladin,

Although you didn't direct this to me, I have to comment...

I find it interesting to note that different personality types will be attracted to a black and white belief system, and those capable of more abstract thought to a mystical or metaphorical interpretation of the Bible.
I believe in a black and white system supporting mystical and metaphorical thoughts and possibilities.
Personally I find that if the Bible turns out to be just a wonderful story rich with metaphorical underpinnings, and that Jesus was born in the usual manner but was an unusual or even the greatest of mystics ever I should love him and his teachings no less.
I completely agree.
It is with this understanding thus far in my path that I can say Jesus showed the way, and in a higher level understanding "Is" the way I can walk in unbounded gratitutde to be saved from the perceptions of life that ego has shown me.

Peace
Mark
Amen! (beg pardon the intrussion...)

Regards,
Mark
 
Amen! (beg pardon the intrussion...)
hmmm, how does one intrude on an open forum online discussion?? Well I could see how one could...but not in the context of providing valuable feedback and info...or am I intruding...that is probably it....me and boundaries....
 
hmmm, how does one intrude on an open forum online discussion?? Well I could see how one could...but not in the context of providing valuable feedback and info...or am I intruding...that is probably it....me and boundaries....


Yeah Wil, there you go intruding on someone else's intrusion... uh sorry for intruding:D

Mark, you constantly amaze me with your capacity for abstract thinking!

Peace
Mark
 
Yeah Wil, there you go intruding on someone else's intrusion... uh sorry for intruding:D

Mark, you constantly amaze me with your capacity for abstract thinking!

Peace
Mark

Thanks, Mark.

In other words, I believe that behind the concept of King Arthur (for example) is a real something from which the King Arthur myth or metaphor springs.

I believe in the real thing AND can enjoy and learn from the mythical and / or additions to the real thing.

Or something like that.:)
 
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The Deity of Christ.

I believe I already mentioned that my jury is out on this point, considering some other struggles I have with various points I do wonder sometimes. Not enough to doubt that Jesus serves as an agent of G-d, certainly miracles seem to come about through diligent prayer and belief in calling upon this very name. I simply question whether Jesus defacto is a manifestation of G-d directly. I keep coming back in my mind to the passage in Isaiah is it?, that says that G-d bare His right arm into the world. Obviously G-d wrought a mighty work through the person Jesus…but G-d has wrought mighty works through others as well, others that are not considered G-d incarnate: Moses, Abraham, Noah. Melchizedek.

So I do struggle with this.

Salvation by Grace.

I think anybody who has seen my posts would say I unequivocally disagree with this, and they would be correct. All one need do is read the book of James in context.

The Resurrection of Christ.

In my mind, this is absolutely the most key issue short of the sacrifice, the two go hand-in-hand. It is by the resurrection that Christians hope our faith is not in vain.

The Gospel.

I love the Gospel message, I want to be absolutely certain that is very clear up front. I think there is a wealth of wisdom, peace and love contained in the combined message. I also feel that without Jesus' sacrifice and resurrection the Gospel message is really no different than the wisdom and love messages of many other faith walks. The Golden Rule for intents and purposes is universally taught. Love your neighbor as yourself, seems like common sense, even logical. But the hope of eternal life in the bosom of the Father is missing without the sacrifice and resurrection of the Christian Messiah.

Perhaps it is a fool's hope, perhaps in the end there is nothing to defend or support it. But that is the message that, to me, distinguishes Christianity from all others. Without it, Christianity is "just another" generic religion.

Anyway, that is pretty much my take on this whole thing in a very condensed manner.
 
If you've read my posts, you would probably catagorize me among the fundamentalists. However, I do not feel exclusively so, for I do indeed question some of the issues presented here.

Biblical inerrancy

I would really like to believe that the bible I hold in my hand (a KJV, in fact) is inerrant. However, as wil mentioned, there is just no way to reconcile the differences is comparision of parallel texts, such as the Gospels, Samuel/Kings/Chronicles, the various accounts of Paul's conversion in Acts, etc.

So I recognize the human element in the scriptures, that some things just cannot be reconciled. However, that said, I would go so far to say that the Bible is inerrant as far as it's teachings and revelations are concerned. That despite the hand of man writing the pages of scripture, that the Holy Spirit drove the prophets and apostles to reveal the Truths, Wisdom, and Nature of God and our own human condition before God.

The divinity of Jesus

This, too, I struggled for a time over. The scripture repeatly declares that Jesus was sinless, in perfect obedience to God. No ordinary human could accomplish this. There had to be a divine element within Jesus to do and say the things He said. I agree with C.S. Lewis who said:

"A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to."

There's just something about this Man who is by far the most influential person in the history of the world that gives me pause to regard him in human terms only.

The virgin birth

There are basically two reasons that this doctrine has such a precedence in the belief about Jesus:

1) It explains the reason that Jesus was able to be sinless, for being born of the Holy Spirit, He would have the nature of God which would prevent Him from sinning.

2) If He wasn't born of a virgin, then He would be a bastard child, which would be problematic for many reasons. For one, it would mean that He was born by accident, as most illegitmate children are, and not design by God. It would mean that His parents had illicite relations and by law ought to have been stoned.

So I tend to give the virgin birth the benefit of the doubt.

The belief that Jesus died to redeem man

This is the central theme of the NT. Without the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, I do not see how anyone has any hope in the future. If Christ is not risen, we are not going to be risen, and we are dead in our sins.

An expectation of the Second Coming, or physical return of Jesus Christ to initiate his 1000-year rule on the earth

I can't shake off the feeling that the world events are shaping up for such a scenerio. I could write a long post concerning the formation of modern-day Israel after a nearly 2,000 year absence, the economic and political landscape of the European Union, the coalition of Russia with some of the Arab states, the rise of China and the reality of a possible 200 million man army. These are the types of things that are all foretold in the pages of the apocalyptical scriptures. I'm not trying to stand here and be a doomsday prophet (I just observe the field), but we are at a day and age where we have the capability of destroying the entire earth in a nuclear deluge where "the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up." (2 Peter 3:10). It's scary to think about.

I'm just saying.
 
There are also the Essential Doctrines of Christianity.

The Deity of Christ

I've already summed up my belief in the deity of Christ in my above post. I would add that if He wasn't Deity, then He at least showed us how to we can experience the Deity of God through the implementation of the Holy Spirit in our lives. That the Divine Nature is essential in having a relationship with God and necessary in living the life God intended us as we rely on Him in our daily walk.

Salvation by Grace

j3,

I struggled a bit with the James/Romans debate in regards to Salvation by Grace vs Salvation by Works. What I noticed different between what Paul wrote in Romans 4 and what James wrote in James 2 is the type of works in question. I beleive that Paul referred to the works of the Law as being in strict obedience to the Law. When the certain ruler approached Jesus in Luke 18 and ask what he must do to inherit eternal life, Jesus asked him if he knew the commandments, to which the ruler stated that he observed all these since his youth. But that wasn't enough, was it? Jesus told him to let go of something, that is his riches. Not that it is wrong to have riches, but the problem with this ruler is that he didn't use his riches to bless others. His riches was worth more to him than following Jesus. He lacked love in his observance to the Law.

When you go to James 2, the type of works James describes are acts of mercy and compassion:

"What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?

If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works." - James 2:14-18

If you read the chapter carefully, you will see that James goes beyond strict observance of the Law and into a spirit of love. It is this love that comes from walking in the Spirit of God, who provides this love (see Galatians 5:22-23). The acts of faith are a result of being obedience to the Spirit who prods us to love others.

The Resurrection of Christ

I've also stated my point in the above post. this is too central an issue in all four Gospels to ignore.

The Gospel

The Gospel mean Good News. Which is what this world needs. It speaks of hope to a dying world, it speaks of love to a hurting world, it speaks of a relationship with God despite our shortcomings.
 
Kindest Regards, Dondi!

Thank you for your thoughtful input!
2) If He wasn't born of a virgin, then He would be a bastard child, which would be problematic for many reasons... It would mean that His parents had illicite relations and by law ought to have been stoned.
I am struggling over whether to respond or not, but this comment in isolation I feel bears response.

This is what I was referring to about Christian culture contrasted against Jewish culture of Palestine circa 1AD +/-. If Mary was betrothed to Joseph, as she was, then the unborn child would not be a mamzar (bastard). There may be question regarding the passage (Matthew?) saying that Joseph considered having Mary stoned to death for being pregnant prior to them coming together, and if so it would be legitimate. But, as with so many other things discussed among scholarship surrounding these hot button issues throughout the New Testament, how are we to be certain this incidental passage (which if memory serves is unique to only one of the Gospels, a synoptic no less) may have been a spurious addition to promote a specific political agenda. I do not know with anything approaching certainty that this is so...but in light of other literary considerations, it gives me what I feel is legitimate pause to consider.

In my mind this would in absolutely no way whatsoever detract from the core message central to the teachings of Jesus...although it does seem to conflict with the ability to rise from the dead solo if there were not some intimate connection with the Divine.

As for Mary's "continued" virginity...ahem...I never saw that as a point of focus necessary to my faith walk to begin with. With due apologies to my Catholic brothers and sisters.
 
Kindest Regards, Paladin!
You might be walking a tightrope over a puddle of circular reasoning here old friend, and it is a point of agony with some here at CR because of what this sacrifice implies.

That is certainly one possibility.

While I have entertained thoughts in this direction from time to time, I have not gelled anything coherent. Would you be so kind as to elaborate?

Before things get going I would like to point out (perhaps a moot point) That the type of thinking implied in right/wrong or provable/unprovable tends to ignore other possibilites of understanding Christianity. If we were to say that the above beliefs are what fundamentalist Christians believe, we could simply let it be at that.

Every Christian of my acquaintance has their own private orthodoxy. Only those brainwashed souls who effectively are apathetic to reason mimic a party line without question. Everybody else, of which there are a rainbow spectrum of types, call into question one or another doctrine formally espoused. Officially, especially if there is political position to maintain, these questions go unasked. Unofficially, privately, in prayer closets and among close friends; these types of questions are asked continually.

Why else does CR have such an active Christian component? Everyone here is struggling, freed by anonymity, with one or more tenets of the faith. One need only look though the posts here past and present, and the subject matter considered.

I find it interesting to note that different personality types will be attracted to a black and white belief system, and those capable of more abstract thought to a mystical or metaphorical interpretation of the Bible.

And so you label with your perception and look with your perception and color your view with your perception...we all do.

Personally I find that if the Bible turns out to be just a wonderful story rich with metaphorical underpinnings, and that Jesus was born in the usual manner but was an unusual or even the greatest of mystics ever I should love him and his teachings no less.

Perhaps. Of course, if Jesus is "even the greatest of mystics ever" it would impact substantially on my view, not that that should be an issue of your personal concern. Without the sacrifice and resurrection, no matter how foolish it appears to logic, Christianity serves no unique purpose that cannot be served adequately and admirably by any other faith walk.

It is with this understanding thus far in my path that I can say Jesus showed the way, and in a higher level understanding "Is" the way I can walk in unbounded gratitutde to be saved from the perceptions of life that ego has shown me.

This is well and good...I would merely punctuate it with a promise of eternal life in the bosom of the Heavenly Father.
 
Juan,

Many of my points are really quite obvious as you point out, but I brought them up to define certain parameters that seem to cause trouble in other discussions of such a tender nature.
I'm not sure what it is you wish explained as far as the first paragraph goes, the circular reasoning or the implication of sacrifice? I will assume the second, for this post. There are those who have struggled mightily with the concept of Jesus having to die to appease a law of God. The idea that our souls were purchased with the Blood of Christ is humbling, and evokes strong emotions in all of us because of the truth of scripture that says " greater love hath no man..." But the idea that God could be so capricious to insist the death of his own son to appease a rule he set up seems to many quite evil. And to say that we simply don't understand isn't enough either. It goes against the very grain of our God given reason and we have to ask why this should be so. If the "wages of sin" are death, who set up this rule? GOD having established this rule as being something he would like to change, but cannot because well.. it is a rule after all, but" if Jesus offers himself as a blood sacrifice I guess I can change my mind. But for anyone who just can't buy into the model, I have a fiery lake of eternal damnation and suffering in store for you!"
You see, it seems that the reality of why Jesus allowed himself to be led to slaughter must have a motive beyond this, for I and many others cannot (though not for lack of trying) believe that God is such a cosmic sadist, an evil butcher who would do such a thing.
Daily, I contemplate the mystery of these things, and daily pray for understanding. for forty years now I have sought to understand and have come to a conclusion about the death and resurrection, but the caveat being that I might be wrong. And if so, I would bow to the truth, just don't let it come from an egoistic desire (within myself) to be special or merely to appease the mass opinion for the sake of consensus thinking.

Peace
Mark
 
OK, my turn.

Biblical Inerrancy:
The Bible is a set of books agreed upon as being the tennants of God (in accordance with a group of "learned" clergymen circa the 4th century AD (ACE). Of the 66 books accepted into what is now known as the KJV, there were dozens of other "scriptures" excluded for one reason or another (and a couple included by the first counsil, before Martin Luther in the 1500s, excluded them). In reality there is only one "book" that warns man not to add nor take away one word of it, or suffer the consequences (John's Revelation). The exact wording of the Bible being perfect and original is not of concern, as the message of God comes through quite clearly. I for one would consider the Pentateuch to be pretty much the basis for the original part of the Old testament, and as such those books to be inerrant. Likewise I would consider (under pain of consequence), John's Revelation to be inerrant. We know for fact that each of the accepted four cannon Gospels tell slightly different stories, yet the lessons learned are the same (so they meet the spirit of the law if not the letter). The rest in my opinion, are books of lessons and encouragement.

The divinity of Jesus:
There is no question of the Divinity of Jesus. What seems to be a sticking point is the God Head of Jesus. That He is Divine in nature has much proof to back up the claim. He did things no one else could do (and can't do today), yet He did such on a regular basis. He lay down His life, and took it up again, and claims to have done so for proof that He has power over life and death. He offered that as proof to us (in hope that we would have life after death). The man died. Three days later the same "dead" man was walking amongst hundreds of witnesses, and was witnessed again by many folk to ascend into heaven (or at least the clouds in the sky). And again there were witnesses who heard "strangers" ask them why they were looking into the clouds when the "Lord" would return the same way He departed. Is that not enough for a nature that is "divine"? Certainly not normal, or mortal...

The virgin birth:

In the Jewish tradition, the betrothed was put up in a place, while the Groom to be established a home for them. She was to remain pure and chaste for as long as it took for the man to set up house. She never knew when he would return for her, but was to be on her guard and remain his in body and spirit. If, she were to be found lacking (upon the Groom's return, like a thief in the night), she could be subject to death by stoning...pretty strong enticement to keep pure both in body and in heart. Imagine her anx when she had to tell Joseph she was with child...imagine his strength of Love, temperment and self discipline when he decided to divorce her quietly, rather than expose her for a harlot...then in the course of a night's dream he radically changed his thinking? Not likely for a typical Jewish man at the time, unless something radically changed his mind...that had to be one hell of a dream!

The belief that Jesus died to redeem man:

You said you have no issue with this...nor do I.


An expectation of the Second Coming, or physical return of Jesus Christ to initiate his 1000-year rule on the earth:

Your only concern seems to be the "Rapture". I personally don't think we'll be around to see it, nor our children, nor our childrens' children...after that? Who knows?

Why? Simply because all the "prophecies" leading up to rapture have yet to be completed. Granted, so far there has not been one "prophesy" in the Bible that has not come true. But there are many that have yet to come true.

I personally think, every time another man turns to God, time/Grace is pushed back a little bit, before the final countdown. I don't know why I think this, but it is a strong thought, none the less.

Maybe it is because God's time is not our time, His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts...

v/r

Joshua
 
Hi juantoo3

1. Biblical inerrancy
Two things on this point:

The first, contrary to what is often asserted, is that biblical scholars across most denominations (dare I say mainstream – Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Lutheran ... ) are in agreement that, despite translational differences, the fundamental content and theological import of the Bible is not altered, so it is not viewed as being as important as many see it.

Remember also we now have the translations and commentaries quoted by the Fathers, plus archeological sources – in Syriac, for example – so we can go quite a long way back to double-check our sources.

I use the RSV for my studies, as it is most accurate in terms of translation, but I use the Duai Rheims in my contemplation, because the language is much more poetic. There is, however, no conflict between the two.

The second, and more important point, is that the Constitution Dei Verbum, from Vatican II states:
"11. Those divinely revealed realities which are contained and presented in Sacred Scripture have been committed to writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit ... they have God as their author and have been handed on as such to the Church herself. In composing the sacred books, God chose men and while employed by Him they made use of their powers and abilities, so that with Him acting in them and through them, they, as true authors, consigned to writing everything and only those things which He wanted."

This is a nuanced reading, and basically says that God is the source of Scripture, but man is the author ... hence one can see a difference between Mark and Luke, for example, or Jeremiah and Ezekiel ... in detail this is a discussion of formal truth and material truth ... that in essence God is the inspiration, but in substance man is the author, guided by the Spirit so that those things God wants to make known are revealed in Scripture 'with no admixture of error' ... but there may be error in the 'material truth' – there might have been 4,975 people fed, not 5,000 ...

2. The divinity of Jesus

"We announce to you the eternal life which dwelt with the Father and was made visible to us. What we have seen and heard we announce to you, so that you may have fellowship with us and our common fellowship be with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ" (1 John 1:2-3). St John seems pretty convinced. So am I.

Dondi's argument from C.S. Lewis is pretty to the point as well – to emphasise "but let us not come with any patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to."

Dei Verbum
again
"This plan of revelation is realized by deeds and words having in inner unity: the deeds wrought by God in the history of salvation manifest and confirm the teaching and realities signified by the words, while the words proclaim the deeds and clarify the mystery contained in them. By this revelation then, the deepest truth about God and the salvation of man shines out for our sake in Christ, who is both the mediator and the fullness of all revelation."

3. The virgin birth

This is a constant teaching of the Church:
• That the body of Jesus Christ was not sent down from Heaven, nor taken from earth as was that of Adam, but that its matter was supplied by Mary;
• that Mary co-operated in the formation of Christ's body as every other mother co-operates in the formation of the body of her child, since otherwise Christ could not be said to be born of Mary just as Eve cannot be said to be born of Adam;
• that the germ in whose development and growth into the Infant Jesus, Mary co-operated, was fecundated not by any human action, but by the Divine power attributed to the Holy Ghost;
• that the supernatural influence of the Holy Ghost extended to the birth of Jesus Christ, not merely preserving Mary's integrity, but also causing Christ's birth or external generation to reflect his eternal birth from the Father in this, that "the Light from Light" proceeded from his mother's womb as a light shed on the world; that the "power of the Most High" passed through the barriers of nature without injuring them; that "the body of the Word" formed by the Holy Ghost penetrated another body after the manner of spirits.

Those who taught, as they had been taught:
St. Irenaeus (III, 21; see Eusebius, H.E., V, viii),
Origen (Adv. Cels., I, 35),
Tertullian (Adv. Marcion., III, 13; Adv. Judæos, IX),
St. Justin (Dial. con. Tryph., 84),
St. John Chrysostom (Hom. v in Matth., n. 3; in Isa., VII, n. 5);
St. Epiphanius (Hær., xxviii, n. 7),
Eusebius (Demonstrat. ev., VIII, i),
Rufinus (Lib. fid., 43),
St. Basil (in Isa., vii, 14; Hom. in S. Generat. Christi, n. 4, if St. Basil be the author of these two passages),
St. Jerome and Theodoretus (in Isa., vii, 14),
St. Isidore (Adv. Judæos, I, x, n. 3),
St. Ildefonsus (De perpetua virginit. s. Mariæ, iii).

4. The belief that Jesus died to redeem man
It's always worth remembering that Jesus is the Son of God, for two reasons: 1 - No ordinary man can redeem humanity as a whole;
2 - In suffering the Cross, it was God's will to take this burden upon Himself.

5. An expectation of the Second Coming, or physical return of Jesus Christ to initiate his 1000-year rule on the earth
Who can say when, and for how long?

Thomas
 
Excellent posts by everybody!!!

I think the essence of wil's idea about not formally critiqing each other is a pretty good one, that was my struggle earlier, and the reason I focused, briefly, on only one point I thought clarified my earlier position.

My current comment is not a focused one, but rather brought about from the collective responses:

I have stated my reservations concerning the Diety of Jesus, and of course I have now seen others chime in on both sides of that discussion.

My question(s):

1. For the sake of discussion, how crucial is it whether Jesus is viewed as Divine? For a "Christian?" For a non-Christian?

2. Is it absolutely imperitive to salvation that Christ must be Divine, and why?

3. By extension, can a non-Christian unfamiliar or otherwise legitimately unknowing find salvation in the eyes of G-d?

I have expressed my answers elsewhere many times, as I am sure some of you have as well, but it might be illuminating to see these considerations in addition to the earlier points of discussion.

BTW, this is not meant to shut down the earlier discussion. If anyone else would care to provide their insight to the formal set 5 fundamentals, please do.
 
Excellent posts by everybody!!!

I think the essence of wil's idea about not formally critiqing each other is a pretty good one, that was my struggle earlier, and the reason I focused, briefly, on only one point I thought clarified my earlier position.

My current comment is not a focused one, but rather brought about from the collective responses:

I have stated my reservations concerning the Diety of Jesus, and of course I have now seen others chime in on both sides of that discussion.

My question(s):

1. For the sake of discussion, how crucial is it whether Jesus is viewed as Divine? For a "Christian?" For a non-Christian?

2. Is it absolutely imperitive to salvation that Christ must be Divine, and why?

3. By extension, can a non-Christian unfamiliar or otherwise legitimately unknowing find salvation in the eyes of G-d?

I have expressed my answers elsewhere many times, as I am sure some of you have as well, but it might be illuminating to see these considerations in addition to the earlier points of discussion.

BTW, this is not meant to shut down the earlier discussion. If anyone else would care to provide their insight to the formal set 5 fundamentals, please do.

I opine that for Christians, Christ's divinity is imperative. Or else He would be just another prophet. Also, without the mantle of divinity, Jesus could not be considered "perfect, without sin, blemishless".

In the third, I opine that all stand and face God at the end, and how they lived and loved will weigh heavily on their final judgement by the Creator. It is a 50/50 shot at best. But to Christians that part has been bypassed, and only variations of the reward will be considered (according to Christian tradition). I also opine that those who never "knew" Christ but lived "Christlike" lives, had the "laws" written on their hearts and acted accordingly during their lives. Thus, it could be pondered that somehow they did know Christ (though beyond our ken currently).

v/r

Joshua
 
My question(s):

1. For the sake of discussion, how crucial is it whether Jesus is viewed as Divine? For a "Christian?" For a non-Christian?
IMO Critical (to all parts of this question)
2. Is it absolutely imperitive to salvation that Christ must be Divine, and why?
IMO Yes. Why? Because there's only one G-d. G-d is divine. Only G-d could offer salvation from the punishment (death) of breaking His laws. The salvation He offered was a spotless sacrifice. Only G-d is spotless. The sacrifice would have to be G-d and thus, divine. (Maybe Q said it better:) )
3. By extension, can a non-Christian unfamiliar or otherwise legitimately unknowing find salvation in the eyes of G-d?

I think this is the "other sheep have I...and they will hear my voice...and I will be their shepherd..." thing. Everyone gets a chance to know Jesus (and by extension, G-d). So can they be unfamiliar? I don't think so. Unknowingly find salvation? Maybe by following Jesus' voice unconsciously.

I really don't know how that (the other sheep thing) works.
 
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