I've always wanted perfect Christian theology, but...

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kdm1984
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28 Aug 2018, 1:32 pm

Prometheus18 wrote:
kdm1984 wrote:
Prometheus18 wrote:
You should read Dostoyevsky's Brothers Karamazov; ultimately all theology is just hot air. The only thing that matters is our humility before the presence of God in everyday life. No analytical reasoning will ever or can ever justify a concept beyond the bounds of analysis.


Thanks; I've read that novel before, and respect it. I do have a bit more kinship toward Tolstoy's points in Anna Karenina and War and Peace, though (I particularly like Karenina's ending, but I think the scope of War and Peace is deeper overall).

I'm of the inclination right now to think that while we need some basis of sound theology and analytical reasoning, these things in and of themselves don't change us or inspire us. Humility is also indeed required, and few possess it. This is a world of clanging cymbals, to be sure.


As far as Tolstoy is concerned, he considered his Twenty-three Tales to be his greatest work, precisely because it is concerned with simple Christian innocence and humility rather than being a grand vision of the heroic human spirit. His work on the gospels is also important in this respect.

I liked War and Peace, though I thought Anna Karenina extremely disappointing - just a tedious romance about an egoistic woman intent on getting her own frivolous way regardless of the consequences to her family. She reminded me of Flaubert's Madame Bovary, an equally repulsive and adolescent woman.

Going back to theology, there is not, even in principle, any way of coming to terms with the nature of God through analytical reasoning. This was demonstrated conclusively by Kant. The only way of justifying Christian belief, as Kant recognised, is through PRACTICAL rather than pure reason.


I actually agree with you on the character of Karenina herself (and find it interesting that you compare her to Bovary -- I couldn't finish Bovary because I had no sympathy for her whatsoever), but I found the rest of the novel very compelling -- I think it would have been better for Tolstoy to title the book on Levin instead of her, as I found him to be the most redeeming person in the novel. I also loved the ending's religious and philosophical thinking, whereas I found the end of Peace lacking by comparison.

Your point on theology helps explain why I found Calvinism so arrogant and unfulfilling. Calvinists especially think they have the ultimate handle on God, His will, sovereignty, and Biblical knowledge, analytic exegesis, and scholarship. Instead of producing love, it produces some of the most condescending individuals I've ever come across in my life (and is notorious for this effect, for those who have dealt with Calvinists). Some hide it better than others, but it always comes out in various ways the longer you know and interact with them.


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28 Aug 2018, 2:25 pm

Theology is inherently alogical. Notice how I didn't say "illogical."

Take a squirrel in a park. Try to explain photosynthesis to that squirrel. Will it ever understand? No. It's a squirrel. Some aspects of reality will forever allude it.


We, as humans, are given dominion of the earth. But we are still essentially complex animals-- the most complex and sophisticated form of nature ourselves. To think that our minds could grasp what salvation and God is is preposterous.


You've mentioned Orthodoxy. I'm myself looking to convert to that religion. It emphasizes that salvation is not a science; it's a mystery. God is a mystery, and accepting ambiguity and not knowing things is one of the things that separates Orthodoxy from scholastic Western Christianity, such as Catholicism and Protestantism.


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29 Aug 2018, 4:44 am

kdm1984 wrote:

I actually agree with you on the character of Karenina herself (and find it interesting that you compare her to Bovary -- I couldn't finish Bovary because I had no sympathy for her whatsoever), but I found the rest of the novel very compelling -- I think it would have been better for Tolstoy to title the book on Levin instead of her, as I found him to be the most redeeming person in the novel. I also loved the ending's religious and philosophical thinking, whereas I found the end of Peace lacking by comparison.

Your point on theology helps explain why I found Calvinism so arrogant and unfulfilling. Calvinists especially think they have the ultimate handle on God, His will, sovereignty, and Biblical knowledge, analytic exegesis, and scholarship. Instead of producing love, it produces some of the most condescending individuals I've ever come across in my life (and is notorious for this effect, for those who have dealt with Calvinists). Some hide it better than others, but it always comes out in various ways the longer you know and interact with them.


Yes, this is a reflection of the character of Calvin himself, who was insecure, bigoted and entirely un-Christian; not as much so as Luther, however.

Whale_Tuune wrote:
Theology is inherently alogical. Notice how I didn't say "illogical."

Take a squirrel in a park. Try to explain photosynthesis to that squirrel. Will it ever understand? No. It's a squirrel. Some aspects of reality will forever allude it.


We, as humans, are given dominion of the earth. But we are still essentially complex animals-- the most complex and sophisticated form of nature ourselves. To think that our minds could grasp what salvation and God is is preposterous.


You've mentioned Orthodoxy. I'm myself looking to convert to that religion. It emphasizes that salvation is not a science; it's a mystery. God is a mystery, and accepting ambiguity and not knowing things is one of the things that separates Orthodoxy from scholastic Western Christianity, such as Catholicism and Protestantism.


The first part of what you said is exactly what I meant to say above, using exactly the same metaphor I've always been fond of.

What you say about the Orthodox church is also interesting; I know next to nothing of the theology of the Eastern Orthodox church, but it makes sense given the notoriously piquant mysticism and superstition of the Russian peasantry I (and probably kdm too) am so fond of reading about.



kdm1984
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29 Aug 2018, 7:49 am

So you think Luther was worse than Calvin? Luther did have his major faults, as we all do -- in reference to the bigotry you mentioned, he was of course notoriously anti-Semitic (even the LCMS admits this on their web site and said Luther was wrong to be that way), and exceedingly sharp-tempered and tongued at times.

I know less about Calvin himself, other than reading various perspectives on the Servetus controversy -- but if his followers are any indication, then his character must have had some degree of being haughty/pompous, legalistic, excessively black-and-white and left-brained/analytic, and prone to judge others more harshly and sternly than self.

There is also the infamous double predestination doctrine of Calvinism, which can make a person very smug: I mean, think about it...God chose you, you don't have to worry about anything, you're part of the elect, go you! -- and to hell (literally) with everyone else, so Calvinite is free to live an insulated and severe little life, come out occasionally to openly condemn others to show holiness and reverence, not think too much about the Great Commission (I mean, if others are predestined to hell, where is the logic of needing to go out and spread the gospel anyway?), and bask in the glow of winning the eternal spiritual lottery.

They will try to exegete, split hairs, and argue to death over this in attempts to justify their belief system in any way (losing sight of the big picture and refusing to consider any other viewpoints in the process) -- but whether they accept it or not, it's a very logical corollary of what their beliefs lead toward, and their arrogance is a well-documented and well-founded assertion of various Arminians, moderates, and other non-Calvinists. As previously stated, some can hide this better than others, but it always comes out the more you learn about and interact with them. They are consistently the most prideful of the Christian sects I've dealt with, thinking they have the absolute monopoly on truth and rightness. It's hard to have a debate with anyone, but hardest with them.


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29 Aug 2018, 10:49 pm

I'm sorry that you had a bad experience with some Eastern Orthodox. I converted to Orthodoxy about 14 years ago, and can vouch for the fact that there are, unfortunately, some pretty negative groups out there. I don't want to derail your thread, so PM me if you want to talk about your experience or learn about mine.



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31 Aug 2018, 5:20 pm

I also was raised and confirmed LCMS. However, I wandered away from the faith for several years. When I was 30 I thought to be fair I should read the bible. Slowly over decades my inquiries led me to a deeper and more full understanding. I think that you, like the Bereans, are on a more "noble" path. However, it is not one many tred as most prefer the settled comfort of where they have come to nest.

I have tried a few different churches over the years and usually found them all lacking. I think the primary reason is that most churches are organized as systems. The nature of systems seems antithetical to relationships. I have come to see relationships (us with God and each other) as being essential to authentic Christianity.

Consider just one element of church practice, doctrine. The bible describes a process of correcting error which cannot be accomplished without the earnest seeking of the Christian. However most church systems are oriented towards error prevention which places the Christian in the position of a rule follower and sort of disconnects him from a participative Christian life. Doctrine and theology that cannot accommodate error as a process of learning and discovery seem to relegate the Christian to a passive role of compliance.

I have always found the term "theology" to be a bit ambitious. The study of God seems to imply that he is a subject to be mastered. This in itself can lead to a hubris that is an impediment to much in the Christian life (i.e. wisdom, truth, and maturity).

You may find this web site of interest in regard to a path of Christian discovery.

christianpioneer.com



kdm1984
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31 Aug 2018, 6:02 pm

timf wrote:
I also was raised and confirmed LCMS. However, I wandered away from the faith for several years. When I was 30 I thought to be fair I should read the bible. Slowly over decades my inquiries led me to a deeper and more full understanding. I think that you, like the Bereans, are on a more "noble" path. However, it is not one many tred as most prefer the settled comfort of where they have come to nest.

I have tried a few different churches over the years and usually found them all lacking. I think the primary reason is that most churches are organized as systems. The nature of systems seems antithetical to relationships. I have come to see relationships (us with God and each other) as being essential to authentic Christianity.

Consider just one element of church practice, doctrine. The bible describes a process of correcting error which cannot be accomplished without the earnest seeking of the Christian. However most church systems are oriented towards error prevention which places the Christian in the position of a rule follower and sort of disconnects him from a participative Christian life. Doctrine and theology that cannot accommodate error as a process of learning and discovery seem to relegate the Christian to a passive role of compliance.

I have always found the term "theology" to be a bit ambitious. The study of God seems to imply that he is a subject to be mastered. This in itself can lead to a hubris that is an impediment to much in the Christian life (i.e. wisdom, truth, and maturity).

You may find this web site of interest in regard to a path of Christian discovery.

christianpioneer.com


I'm at the point where I see flaws with both the relationship vs. the doctrine aspect, if taken too far.

The "relationship with God" oriented folks can turn the Biblical God into a touchy-feely, boundary-free, effeminate and emotive "deity" whose commandments, holiness, reverence, and awe get overlooked. Calvary Chapels are prone to this. Most Protestant denominations, even ones that claim to be somewhat conservative, have fallen into this way of viewing God, from what I've observed.

The "God is lawgiver" oriented folks do what you described, which is the opposite of the relationship folks -- they over-correct people, argue a lot, see their ways as the only ways, legalize God, think all of His will can be understood, and turn Him into a closed system that can be analyzed, systemized, and put into a "box," so to speak. The most conservative of Reformed Calvinists are prone to this.

I cannot reconcile what I see of the Biblical God with either tendencies of these sorts of Christians. I think Lutherans manage to avoid these extremes pretty well, but I still have lots of questions...

I'll check out that link you gave.


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kdm1984
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31 Aug 2018, 6:14 pm

Oh wow! That link you gave mentions patriarchy, Vision Forum, and dominionism. Those are the exact kinds of Reformed Calvinists I was referring to in my post above. I knew a family heavily into that sort of thing, and was online friends with them for a number of years. Their views really messed me up, and part of the reason I got so influenced by them was how vehement they were about Absolute Truths, which made them quite different from the generic moderately conservative Protestantism most people are familiar with when it comes to modern Christianity.

Anyway, suffice to say that I don't have high views of Doug Phillips, Doug Wilson, Voddie Baucham, Bill Gothard, the Duggar family, and "teachers"/practitioners of that ilk. Their ways and hermeneutics were a catastrophe when people tried to live them out practically, and their followers have been very evasive pertaining to -- or else too quick to defend -- the moral errors of many of their leaders. Baucham's daughter is one exception -- lately she has distanced herself quite clearly from the movement. My former friends, last I checked on them, are still holding onto some form of reconstructionism, though. They are still deluded into thinking they can turn the nation back into the times of the Puritans, or at least something resembling the 1950s. It's so ridiculous. The Bible never teaches that the Christians' aim should be earthly political rule. That's not what the early church sought to do, and Christ plainly stated that His kingdom is not of the world.


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31 Aug 2018, 7:14 pm

kdm1984 wrote:
Oh wow! That link you gave mentions patriarchy, Vision Forum, and dominionism. Those are the exact kinds of Reformed Calvinists I was referring to in my post above. I knew a family heavily into that sort of thing, and was online friends with them for a number of years. Their views really messed me up, and part of the reason I got so influenced by them was how vehement they were about Absolute Truths, which made them quite different from the generic moderately conservative Protestantism most people are familiar with when it comes to modern Christianity.

Anyway, suffice to say that I don't have high views of Doug Phillips, Doug Wilson, Voddie Baucham, Bill Gothard, the Duggar family, and "teachers"/practitioners of that ilk. .


What about Joel Osteen? Since youre talking about TV personalities like the Duggars.



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31 Aug 2018, 7:57 pm

I should have been more clear in my use of the term “relational”. I understand your concern about liberal churches in general where the term is employed like “community” and “diversity”.

By relational I meant rather an investment in the lives of other Christians even in the face of difficulty. I suspect that the reason Christians are told to love one another so often is because we are basically so un-lovable. Christians seem to be able to show our best character in only persecution or other hardship. For example, our family visited a typical church where the adults were so starved for any relational connection that they let their children run loose while they visited with other adults. An elderly lady was sort of pushed off to the side by the raucous behavior of the un-supervised children. My wife and I sat down next to her and began to visit. I asked her how she was doing financially and she admitted that she was having some difficulty. We were able to help out a little, but I was struck by the fact that she had attended the church for 30 years and even her best friend did not know she was having trouble.

I understand what you mean about reformed Calvinism. I tend to ignore individual quirks (we Christians can be pretty quirky). However, in recent years I have run afoul of a number of Calvinists who have been smug, rude, condescending and even abusive. When you begin to see a pattern, it raises some interesting questions of cause and effect. Are these personality types drawn to this theology or do these doctrines produce these effects. I suspect the latter given Luke 18:9.

Just avoiding extremes may not produce a satisfactory moderation. I have come to the point where I am less interested in doctrine, churches, or theology. I taught a bi-weekly bible study for several years in a juvenile detention facility. Frequently the boys would ask what church they should go to. It was rather sad that I could not name the “good” denomination. I told them that no matter which church they went to, they would be seen as a “youth” and packed off to go roller skating and have a pizza. They could not rely on a church to help them learn to grow as a Christian.

I then suggested that if they went to a church, to observe who clearly showed the light and love of Jesus and ask that person to help teach them to know Jesus as well as they did. They could also keep an eye out for the people on the margins who might need help. There are ways of living the Christian life that do not need to be scripted or ritualistic.

I was once talking with a friend who had gone to seminary. I was listing some of the deficiencies I had observed with organized religion. He was getting a little frustrated with me and finally said, “OK what would your system be”. I was sort of dumbfounded. He could only visualize the Christian life in system terms and I could not explain my perspective in those terms. I am sure my response of “live the Christian life” sounded pretty lame to him.

I have come to see most franchise brand Christianity (denominations) as encumbrances that are best set aside (Heb 12:1). Crying out for wisdom, seeking out older wiser Christians, seeking out those to whom I can minister, and growing in my familiarity with the bible have proven much more fulfilling for me that trying to get the “right” doctrinal statement parsed out.

Here are some interesting questions to consider;

Was the Great Commission given to the church or Israel?
Is Hell infinitely eternal or just age lasting (aion) - YLT
If spiritual gifts ceased, why?
Are Christians to obey their leaders or allow themselves to be persuaded?
Are Christians ever criticized in the bible for not evangelizing?

These are the sort of questions that are fun to research and speculate. However, one can encounter those for whom questioning is forbidden and to be condemned. It is best not to raise them with those so easily angered.



kdm1984
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31 Aug 2018, 8:13 pm

naturalplastic wrote:
kdm1984 wrote:
Oh wow! That link you gave mentions patriarchy, Vision Forum, and dominionism. Those are the exact kinds of Reformed Calvinists I was referring to in my post above. I knew a family heavily into that sort of thing, and was online friends with them for a number of years. Their views really messed me up, and part of the reason I got so influenced by them was how vehement they were about Absolute Truths, which made them quite different from the generic moderately conservative Protestantism most people are familiar with when it comes to modern Christianity.

Anyway, suffice to say that I don't have high views of Doug Phillips, Doug Wilson, Voddie Baucham, Bill Gothard, the Duggar family, and "teachers"/practitioners of that ilk. .


What about Joel Osteen? Since youre talking about TV personalities like the Duggars.


I was writing in the context of patriarchal and legalistic figures; the Duggars happen to be the most famous of that line of thinking. Osteen is famous for other things -- his brand of Christianity is also flawed, but for entirely different reasons. Osteen isn't patriarchal or legalistic, but rather appeals to the most casual, worldly, and least discerning of so-called Christians who want lots of success, money, and happiness. Almost all of his books are "you" or "me" focused, treating God as a magic genie who can be used or manipulated to get what you want. Even much of the media can easily see through his nonsense, but somehow, he has managed quite the following. It's sickening and very sad.


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kdm1984
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31 Aug 2018, 8:38 pm

timf wrote:
I should have been more clear in my use of the term “relational”. I understand your concern about liberal churches in general where the term is employed like “community” and “diversity”.

By relational I meant rather an investment in the lives of other Christians even in the face of difficulty. I suspect that the reason Christians are told to love one another so often is because we are basically so un-lovable. Christians seem to be able to show our best character in only persecution or other hardship. For example, our family visited a typical church where the adults were so starved for any relational connection that they let their children run loose while they visited with other adults. An elderly lady was sort of pushed off to the side by the raucous behavior of the un-supervised children. My wife and I sat down next to her and began to visit. I asked her how she was doing financially and she admitted that she was having some difficulty. We were able to help out a little, but I was struck by the fact that she had attended the church for 30 years and even her best friend did not know she was having trouble.

I understand what you mean about reformed Calvinism. I tend to ignore individual quirks (we Christians can be pretty quirky). However, in recent years I have run afoul of a number of Calvinists who have been smug, rude, condescending and even abusive. When you begin to see a pattern, it raises some interesting questions of cause and effect. Are these personality types drawn to this theology or do these doctrines produce these effects. I suspect the latter given Luke 18:9.

Just avoiding extremes may not produce a satisfactory moderation. I have come to the point where I am less interested in doctrine, churches, or theology. I taught a bi-weekly bible study for several years in a juvenile detention facility. Frequently the boys would ask what church they should go to. It was rather sad that I could not name the “good” denomination. I told them that no matter which church they went to, they would be seen as a “youth” and packed off to go roller skating and have a pizza. They could not rely on a church to help them learn to grow as a Christian.

I then suggested that if they went to a church, to observe who clearly showed the light and love of Jesus and ask that person to help teach them to know Jesus as well as they did. They could also keep an eye out for the people on the margins who might need help. There are ways of living the Christian life that do not need to be scripted or ritualistic.

I was once talking with a friend who had gone to seminary. I was listing some of the deficiencies I had observed with organized religion. He was getting a little frustrated with me and finally said, “OK what would your system be”. I was sort of dumbfounded. He could only visualize the Christian life in system terms and I could not explain my perspective in those terms. I am sure my response of “live the Christian life” sounded pretty lame to him.

I have come to see most franchise brand Christianity (denominations) as encumbrances that are best set aside (Heb 12:1). Crying out for wisdom, seeking out older wiser Christians, seeking out those to whom I can minister, and growing in my familiarity with the bible have proven much more fulfilling for me that trying to get the “right” doctrinal statement parsed out.

Here are some interesting questions to consider;

Was the Great Commission given to the church or Israel?
Is Hell infinitely eternal or just age lasting (aion) - YLT
If spiritual gifts ceased, why?
Are Christians to obey their leaders or allow themselves to be persuaded?
Are Christians ever criticized in the bible for not evangelizing?

These are the sort of questions that are fun to research and speculate. However, one can encounter those for whom questioning is forbidden and to be condemned. It is best not to raise them with those so easily angered.


Yes, earlier in this thread I remarked how Calvinists are consistently the most smug and condescending of the various Christian groups I've encountered, and this reputation has been well-documented by others online. They will insist they are simply being firm to the truth, and demonstrate seeming theological rigor -- but having lots of knowledge and speaking it without love makes them clanging cymbals, as Paul wrote in Corinthians. Their obsession with public fault-finding of others, whether individuals or groups they deem as beneath them morally, makes them intolerable over time. They are eager to correct, but not to receive correction of any kind. Of course, when you think you have all Scriptural knowledge in proper context, why would you think you need any correction? It is no surprise they continually exhibit such behavioral tendencies, and resist all other people or viewpoints, becoming insular in their Calvinry and complacent in their conviction that they are the uber-special elect, better than everyone else.

The questions you raise are interesting. Jesus gave His Great Commission to the disciples, that much is clear, and they followed suit. The church then grew from there. As to whether it applies to other, broader groups like the ones you mentioned, or any others (I recently raised a question on Michelle Lesley's blog as to whether or not women are to carry out the GC, for example), that is debatable.

As for the second, my dad has an unorthodox view on that. Like the Seventh-day Adventists, he's an annihilationist. I've read debates on how to exegete passages like "day and night forever and ever" and "destroy both soul and body in hell." I don't really know what to make of it all. But the world doesn't depend on kdm1984's interpretation, so I let others try to figure it out for themselves.

Also not sure about cessationism or continuationism. I do have skepticism of a lot of the tongues and wildness exhibited in some of the Charismatic churches. My mother was into this sort of thing for a time; I always found it a little weird. I guess I lean toward cessationism, but I haven't ruled out completely that there still may be legitimate tongues or other spiritual gifts somewhere out there. I think this is the LCMS' position, too; they aren't dogmatic either way, IIRC from their web site.

Leadership: it seems to make most sense to follow them so long as they are not coercing you to violate a clear Biblical command. This is why women must be very careful in choosing husbands; just as there are some women who would like to wrongly throw out the submission passage in Scripture, there are also some men who would wrongly use the submission passage as an excuse to exercise abusive authority over women. A proper Biblical picture of submission is a woman obeying godly authority, not a woman exercising power, or a man exercising abusive power.

As for the final question, I can't think of any offhand. I left a fundamentlist Baptist church because they thought women had to evangelize. I pointed out there is no such Scripture mandating that, and that it's fine for me to be "just" a quiet wife.


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04 Sep 2018, 4:00 pm

Very interesting posts. Keep it up!

I don't know if I can answer any one particular question, there's just so much that's been brought up in this topic.

I'm a Southern Baptist and hold to a literal view of the Bible. I'm not a cessationist because the idea that miracles don't happen, in my view, false. I think God still shows up, even if sometimes it's entirely a personal experience, and even if others fail to recognize it or just refuse to acknowledge it. Early miracles in the ancient church where a way of demonstrating legitimacy, i.e. only someone with the authority of God Himself could do such things. Well, who says nobody can possibly that authority anymore? And the idea that miracles can't happen anymore undermines God's power. If God wants to do something extraordinary, God has power to do so. I think more Christians would witness amazing things if they lived lives in which they expected it. To not expect amazing things from God is essentially confining Him to the sidelines of your life.

As far as the role of women goes... All I can say is if YOU want to completely submit to your husband and stay in the home, that is between you, your conscience, and God. And, of course, your husband. There's nothing wrong with that. It's just that there are so many opportunities for women out there, and I think it's important to decide whether living for anything more than home is really what you want.

As far as what the Bible says, I think the Bible speaks to social norms that existed at the time it was given. That meant that, depending on the culture, women might be viewed and treated as chattel. Because of the vulnerability of women and marginalization of them, the Old Testament took the position that IF this is to be the status quo for women, then the community is responsibility for making any relevant institutions livable. Husband-wife relationships were not meant to subjugate women to further slavery, but rather to bring them into an institution that cared for them, keeping their best interests foremost in mind. It elevated their status in Israel. A captive slave girl who married her captor enjoyed the same social status as any another married woman in Israel.

And that's just one example from the Old Testament.

As far as what Paul wrote concerning women in the New Testament, his instructions were made in the same spirit as OT laws concerning women. Paul's audience typically would have been Hellenistic Jews and Greeks. Various Greek societies might not have placed the same constraints on women as perhaps Jewish religious leaders did, and either women were used to public theological discourse or the early church was encouraging and actively soliciting their participation. To me, it sounds like women were taking such an active role in church meetings that they'd become disruptive. It's not so much that teaching is inherently bad. It's more that the way in which they went about it was inappropriate.

I also think another possibility is that men were not themselves active in teaching, so wives were filling in the gaps. Well, if women themselves aren't learning good theology and spreading heresy, or if women are taking on 100% of the work, then it makes men appear weak. It hurts the church in that you restrict evangelizing to only one sex or the other.

So, to summarize, women teaching theology to men had the effect of allowing men to be weak or lazy theologically, thus Paul was in a kind of nice way telling men to "man up." Otherwise, the way in which women were participating was becoming disruptive.

This model of men as "tip of the spear" is rooted in OT theology. Basic garden of Eden stuff. Adam was created first as a representative of all of humanity. Eve was created as his companion and helper. The proper role of women in the church was the same as Eve in the garden--to work side-by-side with their husbands in spreading the gospel. Men are the ones held accountable for the message of Christ. Women are to take active roles as "the hands and feet," seeing to the needs of other women and children, while believing husbands model spiritual leadership. Make sure you understand this: Neither one is more important than the other. Men need women, women need men, and they work together symbiotically to spread the gospel.

All you really need to remember is that men and women are to love each other as a reflection of the love shared between Christ and the Church, the Church submitting to His instruction while He put her life ahead of His own.

I should mention, too, that I'm a complementation. Men and women are inherently DIFFERENT. We are EQUAL, but we are not IDENTICAL. We are not the same. We are pieces of a puzzle, and we are both necessary to completely fulfill our goals together. We each have weaknesses balanced by the strengths of the other. There is no point in treating one as less of a human than the other. There is no point in ridiculing the other for not matching one for his (or her) abilities. I can't do everything, she can't do everything, but I can do some things she can't, and all she has to do is ask. So we become extensions of each other. I think men and women were made for different purposes and we should respect each other's dignity in taking on those roles.

Last thing, and I apologize for the ramble:

Eve was taken from Adam's rib. Not from a bone in his head, to rule over him. Not from a bone in his foot, so he could trample over her. But from his rib so that they may move forward side-by-side. A husband and wife are precious gifts from God to each other.



timf
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19 Sep 2021, 10:29 am

I realize this is an old thread, but I thought I would make a few comments that relate to some of the questions raised.

First I think the place for Christian inquiry has been greatly undervalued. I suspect that the denominational (everything has already been defined) and the organizational (you will be told what to do) approach has greatly crippled Christianity.

Because those who wish to explore and inquire are pretty much on their own, I would be willing to communicate with others who seek deeper answers. Send me a PM if you are interested.

I have said that I am embarrassed by what I said five years ago and I hope to be embarrassed by what I say today five years from now. It would mean that I am still learning.

I can also be reached through christianpioneer.com

Regarding the great commission, one view might be that it was given to the disciples in preparation for and expectation of the immanent establishment of the kingdom. The first covenant was received by the entire nation. The new covenant (promised by Jeremiah) was not received by the nation. It will be in the future when very adverse circumstances bring a remnant to be "a nation born in a day".

Another interesting view is about hell. Those in Hades now may be those being held for the judgement (great white throne of Revelation). The torment (described by the rich man in Luke) that is experienced now may be that which is required to bring one to an acknowledgement of truth. The Greek word used for torment is basanos which means touchstone (used to display the purity of metal coins). The word was also used to the torment applied to Greek slaves in court testimony to assure truthfulness. ity may be what brings all to the point where every knee will bow and tongue confess that Jesus is Lord.

The final fate of the unsaved after judgment may not be an infinitely eternal torment. The word translated as eternal is aionos (age, a variable length of time from the reign of a king to a longer period of time). The concept of conditional immortality might have applicability here.

There can be a fascinating and rewarding path of discovery and inquiry with the bible if it is restricted to those who are open to considering possibilities. Those who condemn, attack, and bully pollute these waters and should be avoided.