Monday, March 26, 2007

God Exists?

The whole of last week was terrible for me. To relate, you'll have to imagine being shouldering the burdens which are no less than Atlas'. I couldn't read nor write. Just feel very bad, especially in the weekend.

As Christians, in bad times, we usually turn to God for help or to lament or to throw it out on Him. I tried doing that too but the things that i read numbed my reflexes and i found myself scathing in turning to God. The refusal is not due to my arrogance of not wanting to make my plea as a child to his parent, but doubt to have a parent there at all.

Why didn't i look for help? I did, not from people, but the 'spirit of truth'. I dont mean the Holy Spirit. It's the 'inclination or tendency for truth'.

It's clear that this matter is about the truth. Thus there's no point looking else where for help. Besides, part of the reluctant was due to my assumption that the responds from fellow Christians will be something like "You need to have a leap of faith... can't be a modernist with solid foundation to knowing God... must have faith... read the famous 'faith' passage in the epistle to the Hebrews.."

This i knoW! Hey, I tell people these!

The 'faith' passage in Hebrews? Ahh.... you mean the letter which was written by some obscure nameless stranger addressing some group of hard-living folks more than 1900 years ago! And by the way, the 'faith' statement in that epistle is meant only to the ancient (specific time) Hebrew (specific ethnic) people! Means those people who already assumed that God exists. The passage wouldn't have any relevance to me. Nope, i dont think it does. And by the way, i dont remember what was the exact phrase and the verse number, except that the passage is on the need to have faith.... Neither could i care less to turn the concordance.

And so I go on living as if there is still some sort of ultimate meaning in life. The mind kept thinking about Nietzsche. Not that i read any of his substantial work before, but his famous phrase was hovering over my head: 'God is dead... And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers?'

I was struggling. And i know very very clearly that this is my own struggle. My private war. No one can help, no one can give a hand, no one can show a passage. I was alone with Nietzsche.

The moment I explored on the possibility that the Bible could be true, that there is God, words like 'editors', 'diachronic', 'synchronic', 'historical-critical constraint', 'pseudo-theology', 'form', ‘Matthew 27’, 'Bultmann', 'Bultmann', 'Bultmann' ceaselessly came to mind. I knew that if i dont get out, i'll die. No one that i want turn to. I was left alone with Nietzsche.

Nevertheless, in the midst of all that, there was a small spark seemingly anchoring my theism. As dim as this spark was, it managed to retain some sort of theistic belief in me. This spark was one that enlightened me 3 years ago. It made a come back. But this time it did not clear the cloud and shine forth the elegance of Christianity as it once did. All it can do now is to put me back into my theistic shoes but not Christianity. I'm talking about C.S Lewis' morality argument for the existence of God in Mere Christianity. During that whole time, that 'faith' passage in the epistle to the Hebrews came up. I didn't really care. After some time, when the passage didn't go away, I started to feel annoyed!
With a sigh, i thought of checking out the verse. To read it again to see what is it really about. Two concordances, one NIV, one ESV, one NRSV, and one NKJV were just within grasp. But then, it seems to me, being oblivious is the more reasonable option. Dont waste my time, so i thought.

And the weekend passed, then came Sunday. Guess what, I was supposed to lead a Bible study group that morning! I didn't know why was i dragging myself to church. In such conviction, there is no reason left for such discipline. I dont know. Perhaps, I still harbour the hope that i will find an asnwer. But i didn't care anymore. Perhaps, i've a sense of responsibility for the group. I shouldnt abandon the group just like that because of my sudden conversion. And thus, i've joined the liberal camp that morning. That's the best i could be in order to fulfill my duty, to lead Bible Study. As a liberal, i can talk with much knowledge of the Bible and yet without having to acknowledge the veracity of it. At that time, that vague and irritating 'faith' passage came again. My guess was that there are still some parts in me rejecting my new stance and appealling for a reconsideration. But i need nothing less than a miracle for reconsideration.

On my way to the service, I thought of reading the Hebrews passage to clear the vagueness of the verse and to set the record straight once and for all. If i wanted, i could just flip through the ESV which was in my sling bag. But i didn't. Because even though i read and understand it rightly, it wouldnt change the fact that this passage has no relevance to me. And so, i thought. And so, i went to church.

While waiting for the service to start, i didn't pray. Didn't care to. Laura Or was the worship leader that day. She walked up to the pulpit to start her duty. I was sitting down there, on the second row from the pulpit, alone with Nietzsche. I look around the chapel to see the faces of believers. I had no sympathy nor any feelings. I observed myself.

The service starts. Laura made her welcoming speech, as usual. That's the liturgy of the youth service. The worship leader will welcome the congregation. Then there will be a short prayer and worship-songs singing before proceeding to annoucement and, after that, Bible study. During the worship, unfailingly, the worship leader will lead the congregation with any one passage or passages from the Bible, to meditation, to prayer, or just as an encouragement-as though the Bible is an all-in-all inspirational manual.

As that time came, Laura read:

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him
~
Hebrews 11.6

And I stunned.

Theological debate on God ceased speaking to His people, what is this?

That morning, I ended up leading the group to see Jesus of Nazareth as the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the living God.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for taking the time to write this post, I have been reading your blog for a couple of weeks after finding it by chance.

My faith was almost destroyed two years ago, I say almost because I am hanging on to life and faith by a single thread and not knowing how much time I have left makes this subject of increasing importance to me. I have been battling a serious illness for many years and to add to this I lost everyone I love in 2004.

I have been searching for a light in this ever increasing darkness in the hope that my faith may be restored, and then my life.

As I started to read your post I was thinking, "no no, please don't let him go down the road that I am walking" and I continued to read with increasing anxiety. I was dreading the outcome and in my mind was the image of Gandalf fighting the Balrog. At that point I thought you would be crushed, then I read the next paragraph:

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him
~Hebrews 11.6

And I think I was as stunned as you!

At the moment when I was just to about to let go of life, you have given me hope. I know that in everything there is a purpose, and maybe part of the purpose of your experience was to help me. I know I have a long way to go but today I feel as if that single thread has been reinforced, just as it was about to break. Thank you again.

Nalika said...

For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "The just shall live by faith."

Romans 1:17

Sze Zeng said...

Dear Anonymous,
my heart sored when i read about your life. It just show that the fallen world is indeed really dark. Therefore pilgrims like us always feel like abandoned children. We are informed by our faith that there is someone who care and love us, yet the burdens, weaknesses, and imperfections in our lives made us feel cheated and, sometimes, stupid in our faith. It's a struggle.

Nonetheless, our informed faith hinges on the strange and remarkable event revolved around this young Galilean, Jesus. His re-appearance after his death seem to tell us something about these dark forces in the world.

To draw from your illustration with the battle between Gandalf and Balrog, we thought that Gandalf was dead in the LOTR 1: Fellowship of the Ring. Gandalf's character represents the 'light' and the 'wisdom' of the fellowship that guide the pilgrims' journey. Yet he died after a fierce battle with Balrog.

But here's the catch, in the 2nd episode, when we saw Gandalf reappearing, being sent back to the Middle Earth, were not we thrilled with excitement and hope? It seems that Gandalf's re-appearance tell us something about his battle with Balrog and death. He won and was vindicated. With his reappearance, hope and joy were urshered. We, the viewers/readers, anticipate such victory.

The resurrection of Jesus is like Gandalf's re-appearance. That strange event gives hope. It tells us that death was defeated! Thus we in our role not only as audience that anticipate but as actors to participate in such joy and hope.

For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience...Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?...No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~ Romans 8

Anonymous said...

Have a heart of reverence for the Word of God.

Sometimes its better to obey wrongly (thru misinterpretation) than to have a heart that always challenges the word of God because at least the person is still sincere abeit maybe sometimes sincerely wrong. In due time, God may show the person the correct way. So it all boils down to our attitude towards the Word of God.

Keep seeking, doing it prayerfully and with reverence and God will definately guide you.

"Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason - I do not accept the authority of the popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other - my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. God help me. Amen."

"Here I stand. I cannot do otherwise."

Sze Zeng said...

Hi anonymous (the second),

'Sometimes its better to obey wrongly ...'

Precisely because it is the Word of God that we are dealing with, thus i dare not obey unchecked. Who knows the devil use our false interpretation for something bad? (eg. Hitler). We are on thin thread here.

Can we simply 'obey without clarifying'?

But i understand the later point that you make, my friend.

Sze Zeng said...

Hey friends, can all who comment 'anonymously' leave at least a nick, if not a name? Simply for reference purposes. Many thanks.

Annoymous2 said...

You are right in that we should not obey without clarifying first and it is never my intention that we make a excuse for ourlselves.

Rather my point, if you have not yet noticed, is that no one can ever say that he has perfectly understood and obeyed the Word other than our Lord Himself.

We all have some point in our lives misinterpretated and misapplied the Word and very often we find ourselves in situations where the Word just seems so unclear. Why is that?

The answer is simple.
It is unclear because we do not submit to His Word.
It is unclear because we do not submit to the guidance of the HS
It is unclear because our logic and reasoning is tainted by sin.

Logic and reasoning has its limits and our experience in life tells us that in fact we can be very illogical beings.

At times the only thing we can do is to humble ourselves and pray "Lord, please have mercy and preserve me for I really don't know what is right and wrong. Please guide my path so that I will not fall into the wrong teachings."

The spirit will teach us, help us and guide us to all truth and this is the promise of God himself to those who sincerely seeks him.

But for those who is forever bent on challenging and doubting His Infallible Word, I honestly fear for them. The authority of the Bible itself is based upon the testimony of the Spirit himself and not by any other methodology like rationalism or scienticfic reasoning. All will fail. The Holy Spirit is the only fit witness of the Holy Bible because only God himself is fit to testify about Himself.

We accept the authority of the Bible because we are born of the spirit, not because we are more clever or that we can find proofs for the bible. When we read the bible we understand, and this understanding is also given by the Spirit. There's no other way.

So it doesn't mean that people in seminary will always know the bible very well, it doesnt mean that people with PhD in theology will definately know the Bible very well. One may know a great deal about God without much knowledge of him.

To end of, let me ask this.
Can we next time, instead of believing that phd holders or bible scholers will definately know the bible well, can we instead of believing so, instead believe that it is possible, highly possible that they do not understand the bible and thats why some are PhD doctorate students? Can this be possible?

I'll leave that answer for you to meditate upon.

May we always remember to ask the Lord to constantly search our hearts and test us so that He will lead us to the way everylasting.

Sze Zeng said...

Hi Anonymous2,

granted all your observation its points:
1) that our reasoning and logic has its limit.
2) our reasoning ability marred by sin, thus unreliable.
3) phd holders, those who spend their lives studying the Bible, are not reliable because they themselves dont understand the Bible.

What are your suggestion for us to be able to understand and interpret the Bible clearly?

You seem to suggest 2 ways: (a) Pray for understanding (b) Submit to the authority of the Scripture. Am i right to say so?

Blessings,
Joshua

Annoymous2 said...

Point 3 is a challenge to the possiblility that some so called bible scholars do not really know the bible or God at all.
This is not to deny the fact that of course there are scholars who are the opposite and a godly examples of what a proper study of theology should lead to.

And yes, having a prayerful attitude and reverence for the Word I would think is the basic.

Sze Zeng said...

Annoymous2,
Many thanks that you clarify point 3.

Ok, now, granted all your points again, what's the next practical step? Let's say how can one understand Matt 5.30 and Matt 18.8?

Was Jesus really asking sinners to chop up themselves to prevent sins?

How would you understand that verse?
=)

Anonymous2 said...

By using our common sense.
That is clearly a hyperbole.
If it was to be taken literally, I think none of us would have any eyes or hands left.

Sze Zeng said...

Anonymous2,

Our 'common sense'?
Which in another term is known as 'rationality' or 'reasoning ability' or 'epistemic capability' or whatever.

And since according to your point (2) that our rationality is marred/influenced by sin, how then can we trust our common sense?

Matt 5 and 18 are very clear that Jesus asked sinners to chop up themselves to rid of sin. When you read it, you use your 'common sense' which is marred by sin and thus unreliable, to interpret it as a hyperbole. Perhaps the reason why you prefer to read it as hyperbole because you dont want to obey the authority of God through his written word.

Now you are in a dilemma:

1) You can't use your 'common sense' to understand those passages because rationality is marred by sin and thus unreliable. So you will have to do as Matt 5 and 18 suggest. You can't read it as a hyperbole; OR

2) You can use your 'common sense' to read these passages as hyperbole. But that would means you are finding ways around those passages that dont appeal to you. You like your hands and legs, thus you prefer to understand the passage as a hyperbole, through your reason.

Of cos you can convinced yourself that it was the Holy Spirit that guided you to interpret the passage as a hyperbole. That's why it is 'clearly an hyperbole' to you. Thus you took the (2) option. But isn't that argument an exploitation of the HS? With the same argument, one is (mis)using the HS to justify what his 'common sense' has told him.

My friend, i'm glad that you brought this up. This matter has been in my mind for quite some time. Having all that said, there is actually option (3). But i would like to know what's your view here so far.

Anonymous2 said...

Lets hear your option 3 first.

Sze Zeng said...

Ok. I can't write comprehensively here in the comment section. But here are the few main points on my take on the dynamic between our 'reason' and the role of the HS in Bible reading.

1) Our rationality is fallible NOT unreliable.
2) Holy Spirit works ONLY through our rationality in guiding us to understand the Bible.
3) There is a community of people of God which He sovereignly rules over.
4) Through the HS, this community able to preserves certain understandings which God determined for His people to preserve.
5) This community comprises biblical scholars of all kind, theologians of all kind, and lay-Christians of all kind.
6) The HS guides individuals within this community to do check-and-balance whenever the group comes to read a certain difficult passage.

Thus, there is no tension between our rationality, the reading community, and the HS. In fact this is how the Church comes to preserve doctrines. This models works well in (1) settling the tension between HS and our rationality, (2) take into serious consideration all contribution of individual in the community, no one is left out without being heard and examined, (3) the HS is being seen actively working within individual AND the community at all time to preserve the truth of Chritianity, (4) even the lay-regular church goers able to benefit from this model, and finally, (5) this model doesnt bring up another 'infallible magisterium'.

From these 6 main points, we can build up a 'practical' method to read the Bible. For practical method, confer 'The Bible For Theology' by Gerald O'Collins & Daniel Kendall, anything from Kevin Vanhoozer, and the publications edited by Craig Bartholomew et al, from the Scripture and Hermeneutic Seminar.

Pls comment, critique and refine. I dont believe this is a perfect or the best model, but this one coherent model that i observe and could think of.

Anonymous said...

A bit lengthy, here, I cut parts of my entry in my church blog. But the point i want to demonstrate is that community learning is vital and I believe we should rediscover this essence inspite of western individualism. Also although their culture does not advocate it, western scholarship has always been communal in certain sense (marked especially by tonnes of footnotes and reference to other books) and we can certainly celebrate the development of "scholar guild" such as the SBL and the scripture hermeneutic seminar where all sorts of folks come to learn and teach one another:

From
http://yacht.nicklim.com/blog.php#

"Finally, there is the level of community stories, stories shared by people who form a community, whether religious or cultural or political. Stories shared by christians, buddhists, democrats, republicans, communists, stamp collectors, lawyers, housewives. We may as well call them traditions. Of course, traditions or community stories can be wrong, well a whole community may live in illusion (and commit suicide en masse?), therefore the warnings to not follow traditions blindly are sound and valid. Yet, let us also realize that most of the time, our stories do not come from nowhere. I cannot possible conduct every experiment or experience every events in the whole of reality to be able to construct a meaning story about the Truth. No, i am the beneficieary of the community stories. These are stories which 1) are formed with each individuals contributing their personal stories, 2) are formed with the whole community acting out the Metanarrative together. Stories which I bring into a community will be challenged by and will challenge the stories which are already treasured in it. The community stories will then help to form my understanding and shape it in the way acceptable to them.

How then can we know the truth? I propose within the Christian community, three active actions:

1) Rigorous study - incl. reading and dialogue
2) Rigorous prayers
3) Community

I believe this is how we should apply in studies the injunction by Jesus when he said, be perfect for your Father is perfect. We are to go all out to search for the truth, like the man who found a field of buried treasures and sold all he has to purchase the field. As we engage in studies, in reading, in discussions, in dialogue, we are in essence allowing our stories to be challenged by the possibly different stories we will encounter. There will be a mental clash in which the stories wihch conform most to the Metanarrative will prevail. Of course, the more stories we have, the more coherence story we will form. In fact i would love to think of the stories we retain not as building blocks, one above another, but as pieces of jigsaw puzzle, forming together to give us a picture of reality. As we engage, the awkward pieces will be moved to the right places and the wrong pieces will be discarded.

Prayers, as Christians, we believe in a god who is Wisdom and who claims to be the Truth and who is our Teacher. We believe that there is no reality apart from god and therefore, it is imperative that we should seek him rigorously in our quest for the Truth.

Community, the Church has treasured community stories and will continue to have new and fresh stories as she goes tru different ages and times. It is within this community that we should allow ourselves to be humbled and challenged and taught. This is what is means to sharpen one another, to edify one another as we assemble as god's people.
May god have mercy on our petty minds. Let us exercise our minds and exercise our minds in the service of the Lord."

Jack

Sze Zeng said...

Thanks Jack! I think we should co-author a book on this.

Anonymous2 said...

You wrote:
1) You can't use your 'common sense' to understand those passages because rationality is marred by sin and thus unreliable.


This 'problem' that you pointed out is actually a strawman because you had seemingly presupposed that our rationality is totally unable to make any reasonable judgement. But I'm glad when you later clarified that "our rationality is fallible NOT unreliable."


By this sin they fell from their original righteousness and communion with God (Gen_3:6-8; Ecc_7:29; Rom_3:23), and so became dead in sin (Gen_2:17; Eph_2:1), and wholly defiled in all the faculties and parts of soul and body (Gen_6:5; Jer_17:9; Rom_3:10-19; Tit_1:15).

The defiled faculties does not discount the fact that man can understand earthly things but blind to spiritual things until born again from above by the Holy Spirt. The Holy Spirit thus illuminating the dull mind of man and guides the church for ages in comprehending the truth. Those who have the Spirit belongs to Christ and our reasoning set free from the bondages of darkness. It is foolish and silly to presume that true Christains who form the church is not able to understand all teachings of Christ. Unless we disbelieve the testimony of the Scriptures that Father and Christ would sent the Holy Spirit to to illuminate their minds and hearts to understanding the heavenly things. That is why the Apostles says that they do not accept the testimony of the scriptures for they do not belong to Christ. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. Is it then unbelievable that the Spirit shall renew the dull minds of man to understand? The Holy Spirit is not to be seen as being disobeyed when He Himself told us through the Inspired Scriptures that He will grant understanding. The Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. Those who refused the testimony of the Apostles is not from God but has the spirit of falsehood (1 John 4:6).


Joh 16:15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.

1Co 2:8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
1Co 2:9 However, as it is written: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him" --
1Co 2:10 but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.
1Co 2:11 The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.
1Co 2:12 We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.
1Co 2:13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.
1Co 2:14 The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.
1Co 2:15 The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment:
1Co 2:16 "For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?"[4] But we have the mind of Christ.

Joh 16:13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.


You wrote:
You can use your 'common sense' to read these passages as hyperbole. But that would means you are finding ways around those passages that dont appeal to you. You like your hands and legs, thus you prefer to understand the passage as a hyperbole, through your reason.


Mat 5:27 "You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.'[5]
Mat 5:28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.Mat 5:29 If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.
Mat 5:30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.


The key to understanding the passage is found in the upper verse of the context( Mat 5:20)

Mat 5:20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

The only way to enter the kingdom of heaven is BY the righteousness of Christ. (Gal 2:21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!") It is not by cutting off whatever part of our bodies that the problem will be solved, but rather trusting in the atonement of Christ and His righteousness.

Sze Zeng said...

Dear Anonymous2,

Pls allow me to demonstrate the interpretation of Matt 5 and 18 with my model above.

From literary criticism, we can know how does literature works. There are literal, metaphorical, anagogical etc passages in Scripture. Thus we are able to discern these passages.

We can also discover into the immediate context where Jesus was living. Thus the languages and the literary style in that time does give us clues of how 'metaphor' works.

From further biblical studies, we know something about Israel's God. We know that He is a holy god. Holy to the extent that he cannot tolerate any hint of sin. The discovery of Jews purity system testify to this further.

Add to that, we can read how did the early church understand this passage and learn from them.

Now with all these findings, we can derived that Matt 5 and 18 conform to the mataphorical pattern of that time. Jesus wanted to point out to his hearer that God is most holy. And given His standard of holiness, everyone fall short of it. Thus Jesus used such hyperbole to bring out His point.

Sze Zeng said...

Dear Anonymous2,

Thanks for loading so many Bible verses.

Pls tell me your view on how does HS works with our rationality. Because you are interpreting those passages with rationality, which you had scrutinized badly.

If you look at the 6 points in my model carefully, i've stated that the HS works powerfully in us. So if those Bibles verses are being invoked to 'correct' me because i appeared trivilize HS, then these invocation is not timely.

But if these verses are used to 'support' the model that i proposed, which i think all of them do support it, then i'm really glad.

Anonymous2 said...

Thank you for interpretation.
I have no problems whatsoever with it and my point of contention is that ultimately it is the Holy Spirit that illuminates the truth to us.

There is a place for a proper historical critcal approach in hermeneutics but i think with the advent of neo-evangelicalism, there is a worriying trend of scholars shying away from emphasizing the doctrinal unity of Scripture and leaning towards more of highlighting the historical progression and the variety of literary genres reflected in the various books of the Bible.

This is evident in popular books like "How to understand your bible for all its worth" by respected scholars Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart. In the book, the doctrine of inspiration is convenient skipped over and the reader is immediately pointed to the various type of literature in the Bible, a very dangerous move.

Anonymous2 said...

And to clarify I do not have a low view of rationality as you might think.

Perhaps you should read again:


The defiled faculties does not discount the fact that man can understand earthly things but blind to spiritual things until born again from above by the Holy Spirt. The Holy Spirit thus illuminating the dull mind of man and guides the church for ages in comprehending the truth. Those who have the Spirit belongs to Christ and our reasoning set free from the bondages of darkness. It is foolish and silly to presume that true Christains who form the church is not able to understand all teachings of Christ. Unless we disbelieve the testimony of the Scriptures that Father and Christ would sent the Holy Spirit to to illuminate their minds and hearts to understanding the heavenly things. That is why the Apostles says that they do not accept the testimony of the scriptures for they do not belong to Christ. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. Is it then unbelievable that the Spirit shall renew the dull minds of man to understand? The Holy Spirit is not to be seen as being disobeyed when He Himself told us through the Inspired Scriptures that He will grant understanding. The Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. Those who refused the testimony of the Apostles is not from God but has the spirit of falsehood (1 John 4:6).

Anonymous said...

In the begining was Doctrinal-unity-in-scripture. Doctrinal-unity-in-scripture was with all the egoistic self-sufficiency of Cain and his descendants. Doctrinal-unity-in-scripture was Ego.

And Babel became "Christian" and dwell among the Church.

God help us.

Al-fatiha

jacksons said...

Dear Anonymous2, about your worry of hermeneutics, perhaps its a reflection of Christianity waking up to reality from a medivial dream of simplistic gnostic knowledge.

Sze Zeng said...

Anonymous2,

First of all, we are not discussing about 'regeneration' or how would a person saved. Thus, there isn't a need to go back to the 'HS regenrate ppl by illuminating their minds etc'.

We are discussing about how can Christians read the Bible, the authority of God, faithfully to our best understanding.

Pls dont 'Calvinize' the whole world unnecessarily, my friend. If you want to talk about 'sensus divinitis', i'll be very glad to discuss, since i really like what Aquinas, Reid, and Plantinga developed. But not under current subject.

Current subject is on hermeneutic of believers. Not on regeneration.

Anonymous2 said...

Sorry I lost you there when u said that this was about regeneration because at no time was I thinking or talking about that so I don't really understand where u can get that from.

This is as u said a discussion on interpretation or illumination of His word and I stand by my case that the doctrine of illumination and inspiration is pivotal in the understanding of scripture and should govern our attitude towards our approach to hermeneutics.

Perhaps you have not read me clearly or maybe my english is not up to standard, if that's the case then I apologize.

The point was simple.
As important as proper historical
critical methods are (to jackson: your comment is misplaced because nowhere did i imply that they are not impt and I'm sure 2000 yrs of history in Christianity has not just 'suddenly awakened' to this fact) , the trend has shifted towards these methods and the doctrine of inspiration has not been emphasized or upheld as they were.
So I'm not sure why you would have a problem with this since you claimed to have a high view of the HS's role in this but I guess in any case we'll just have to agree to disagree.

Blessed day.

Kevin Parry said...

Hi there

Thank you for leaving a comment on my blog. I really appreciate it.

This blog looks interesting - I have added it to my RSS reader.

All the best
Kevin

Memoirs of an ex-Christian

Sze Zeng said...

Anonymous2,

Forget about all those that i said. It doesn't matter.

Now, i'm curious of your understanding between the relationship of our rationality and the role of the HS. Can you share with me a bit on that? You kept emphasizing on the role of HS, but i dont see any 'practical' approach that could help to illuminates Bible readers further. Where is the role of HS, and where is the role of rationality in our attempt to understand God's word?

Besides, even if the doctrine of inspiration is being in view, so what? How can that help to illuminate Bible reader further? I'm sure Joseph Smith's followers have no problem believing the HS works through them as well. Have you ever tried talking to other people who believed they are following what the HS show them yet what they are following is not the historic Christianity?

By the way, are you a local? If yes, i would like to meet up with you. Pls join me for a tea or something.

Sze Zeng said...

Hi Kevin,

Thanks for that. I like your blog too. In fact we read the same author: Norman Geisler.

Nice to have you dropping by here.

Sze Zeng said...

Dear Anonymous2,
Please email me for further discussion on this. I would be very glad.

joshuawoo@gmail.com

The rest can be included in the email list too, if interested. Let me know.