Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The Bible and Issues We Face



Welcome to Conversations with Bob! Bob and I are trying to figure out The Christian faith and the Bible for our time. My turn.


Hi Bob!

I think you put the issues of texts very well. They are a mixture of imaginative remembering and reflection of historical events over a long period of time. I am more of a literary type, so I see the work of authors and storytellers. Yet, that for me does not mean they are not "true." I think God can use imaginative storytelling as well as historical reportage to get the point across.

As far as 4000 BCE is concerned, yes of course Bishop Ussher dated Creation quite precisely. I think it is ironic that the texts themselves through their genealogies and so forth helped him to calculate that date. My point is that all mythologies reflect this rise in human consciousness, that is the rise of civilization. I won't belabor that point.

You provided some answers to my questions. I am still seeking!

But let us get to an interesting task. The title of your last post was How Do We Use the Bible?

I am going to play devil's advocate. I am going to pick a few issues that the church has debated over the years regarding how we use the Bible. Here are some of these issues:

Women, Slavery, Jews, and War.

Here are texts from the Bible, which as I understand you to say is the Word of God in its entirety.

(As in all the churches of the saints, women should be silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as the law also says. If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church. Or did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only ones it has reached?) I Corinthians 14:33-36
The plain sense of scripture suggests that women should not teach or preach in the church. This is the Word of God.

Tell slaves to be submissive to their masters and to give satisfaction in every respect; they are not to answer back, not to pilfer, but to show complete and perfect fidelity, so that in everything they may be an ornament to the doctrine of God our Saviour. Titus 2:9-10

The plain sense of scripture suggests that slaves should be submissive and that slavery is approved by God our Savior. This is the Word of God.

20Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus killed. 21The governor again said to them, ‘Which of the two do you want me to release for you?’ And they said, ‘Barabbas.’ 22Pilate said to them, ‘Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?’ All of them said, ‘Let him be crucified!’ 23Then he asked, ‘Why, what evil has he done?’ But they shouted all the more, ‘Let him be crucified!’

24 So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, ‘I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.’ 25Then the people as a whole answered, ‘His blood be on us and on our children!’ 26So he released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.Matthew 27:20-26
The plain sense of scripture is that the Jews killed our Lord. It is fitting that they suffer the consequences of having his blood upon them to this current day. This is the Word of God.
8The Lord said to Joshua, ‘Do not fear them, for I have handed them over to you; not one of them shall stand before you.’ 9So Joshua came upon them suddenly, having marched up all night from Gilgal. 10And the Lord threw them into a panic before Israel, who inflicted a great slaughter on them at Gibeon, chased them by the way of the ascent of Beth-horon, and struck them down as far as Azekah and Makkedah. 11As they fled before Israel, while they were going down the slope of Beth-horon, the Lord threw down huge stones from heaven on them as far as Azekah, and they died; there were more who died because of the hailstones than the Israelites killed with the sword. Joshua 10:8-11

The plain sense of scripture is that God desires and assists in the destruction of enemies. Are not the Muslims who deny the deity of Christ our enemies? This is the Word of God.

I am playing with you, Bob. But I would be curious how you interpret these texts as Word of God.

Peace,
John
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