Archive for the ‘exegesis’ Category

American Humanist Association ads part 2

November 14, 2010 3 comments

Regarding the recent AHA ads that display quotes from religious texts and then popular humanist-centric quotes. There is then a prompt to readers to; “Consider humanism”. How deliberately dishonest of an ad campaign because they fail at proper interpretation of the Bible and they fail at appropriately defining humanism as well with their bad interpretive principles. The correct reading of 1 Timothy 2:11-12 as I have already shown in the previous posts actually derives not just from it and Galatians context but there is even more context that remains consistent with the interpretation I laid out and yet again throws inconsistency at the face of AHA with their interpretation. I would like them to justify their implicit stance of the Bible being evil, and opposing woman as their website implies as well.

The other context is from Ephesians 5:28-39;

28So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30because we are members of His body.

Consider making up your own morals as a humanist in society? Or, let the framework of time tested, common sense religious text based ethics that demand high conduct stand? The choice is obvious to me.


American Humanist Association new ads

November 13, 2010 Comments off

The American Humanist Association has an expensive ad campaign to combat, not what Scriptures actually say through critical exegesis,  but rather their own false ideas (eisegesis) read into Scripture. It is to show that humanist values are mainstream while religious fundamentalists that read the Bible are not. But don’t worry many are fighting back, like on Ricochet by being… depressed!? Don’t just sit there, report on the story and claim depression. This isn’t how the Bible reads and furthering lack of proper reading by not pointing out the clear fallacies is telling. It is dishonest work by the AHA as their interpretation gleaned from the passages quoted CLEARLY lack any context and thus critical exegesis. Typical of Christian critics they remain dishonest in their approach of reading the Bible.

The main AHA biblical quotes are; 1 Timothy 2 and Hosea 13:16. They juxtapose those Scriptural fragments with quotes of prominent scientists and the like and use their words to contradict the false interpretation that AHA has presented. So instead of being depressed and crying about it, this blog will actually analyze these pieces of Scripture to determine if indeed they represent exactly the notions that are implied by the AHA. If the Scriptural exegesis I present is not the same as the AHA, then one of us has a dishonest agenda. I would hope the eisegetical nature of AHA would sharply show which is the guilty party.

1 Timothy 2:11-12 (NASB):

11A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness.12But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.

To think that the writer of 1 Timothy was bashing woman verbally is wishful neo-liberal feminist thinking (feminazi for those in  Rio Linda). What in fact is happening is that the writer is addressing the women of his time and how Christian woman act. The writer was not attempting to use religion to mold future subjugation of woman by man but rather conveying certain characteristics of Christian woman. Namely you should not talk if receiving instruction, much like anybody shouldn’t talk while receiving instruction. Thus, the writer specifies that it is wrong for a woman to exorcise authority over the man if at that time the man was trying to instruct the woman. Modesty and that the true nature of woman is to help man and to give birth to life were highlighted. This is taking into consideration the context of Galatians 3:28 (which the AHA didn’t do because it would of cost them more money to be honest as they had to purchase space to write it) in which clearly favoritism by gender is rejected through equality inherent in biblical Christianity. Check here for more as well.

Galatians 3:28 (NASB);

28There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

The AHA opposition to the exegesis of Scripture I have laid out would mean that they don’t endorse respect to a teacher, but rather I guess endorse nonsensical outbursts by woman within the teacher-student setting. Good anti-learning values AHA, really feminist of you. Next up on the laughable AHA quote mining (lack of context) list is Hosea 13:16 (NASB), it states;

16Samaria will be held guilty, For she has rebelled against her God They will fall by the sword, Their little ones will be dashed in pieces, And their pregnant women will be ripped open.

For insightful commentary that does not let you read into the text what you want by leaving out context, read John Calvins’ commentary here. I say to you, what is so depressing about dishonest representation of the biblical text Ricochet? Nothing, when you can use your standing on a high-traffic site to rebut such laughable uncritical organizations like AHA, of which their little ad campaign clearly shows. The fact that space is required to write down the context and fully understand the texts in question, essentially means that the amount of truth allowed by the AHA ad campaign is determined by the amount of money they spend, how ridiculous.

Two debates are online

October 25, 2010 Comments off

I have posted two major debates about Intelligent Design and Biblical exegesis. You can also use the Debates tab to find them and other future debates as I try to find at least some people trying to be honest and critical with their thinking and debate approach. You be the judge.

Please read and sign-up on the Geopolicy Forums to comment or bring a challenge.

Calvinism revisited and free will superiority, Part 3

October 12, 2010 1 comment

Recently I did some commentary on an article that appeared in The Economist. My main problem was that they glanced over theology and were so eager to reveal statistical divisions and the flexible nature of American Christianity.

Part 1 can be found here. Part two is here.

I have been thinking a bit since I last posted on American Christianity. I don’t think I dealt with free will as well as I should. I was browsing my library late around midnight the other day and came across a book I had forgotten about. The book is called Major Bible Themes by Lewis Sperry Chafer, revised by John F. Walvoord, 1974 Dallas Theological Seminary.  It sparked some thoughts I felt needed to be addressed within my commentary upon Calvinism. I flipped randomly and immediately I landed upon page 234 section C – Defense of the Doctrine of Election. In some ways the substance of Calvinist arguments are silently admitted to within my previous writing parts, although not explicitly mentioned as Calvinist-centric. I mentioned the need for God to ultimately take into account the human component of free will. Calvinists do accept free will of choice of man to determine himself elect or not. The book also lists some problems with free will of man and that of Gods will. Calvinists essentially believe that prior to our creation, and thus our ability to have  any choice at all, the purpose of God was that a specific elect shall come to know Him and His love. The question is of course, if this is so, who’s free will is superior? Why is a sovereign and complete purpose of God not wholly dependent upon Himself, but the will of His creation, which is outside of Himself and thus does not share the same characteristics? Does the dependency on human free will diminish God’s sovereignty? I do not see any contradictory notion within the logic of Scripture that would eliminate God’s sovereignty if the free will of man is taken into consideration as a determining factor for His purpose of salvation.

There is God’s will and our will. In Genesis, we see the creation of free will, it consisted of an original will of which was being followed, and then a choice that helps determine for yourself, if you live for Gods will or your own will. Actions present influence to all, and thus original sin or the choice exorcised by Adam and Eve has influenced mankind ever since. This influence as well as God compete for our choice and then ultimately produces an action based on that influence. God does not become subordinate by free will but rather either accepted or denied. From atheism to satanism, the idea of eliminating God as a source of will is a deep intellectual tradition coming out of the Age of Enlightenment if trying to place it in a modern context. It is the idea of a perfectible man, without need for God’s will, it is mankind’s faculties through rationalism and the social sciences that the human condition is to be diagnosed and fixed. Forming a new man from the old, education is key yet the Enlightenment eliminates the truths of will by God. It eliminates God as an influence and feeds upon the intellectual stimuli created by man to build humanity, molding the true human will, which will manifest choice and then action. To say  there is no permanent human condition, or that it is indeed changeable as the Enlightenment declares, is to create a type of god on earth called intellectual rationalism. This molds hearts and minds not towards something outside of themselves but is wholly built upon human ideals and values which humanity itself becomes a type of god. This would be called humanism. This is the same process used by the original ancestors of the human race when choice was implemented. Adam and Eve used intellectual rationalism, by an influence that was antithetical to God. The choice brought action and thus immense influence of humanism than originally implemented. Instead of established law and order built upon Christ (or what is God’s revelation to mankind) and righteous action to form a change. The enlightenment decided that mankind can bring about change, in which humanity becomes like God, and thus can change the very nature of man.

If what I describe is Calvinism, then I suppose I am a Calvinist, however in this light I would be Baptist as well. This is why I like to consider doctrine not based on denomination but whether it is Biblical or not.

American Christianity and the pointless source of division, Part 2

October 10, 2010 2 comments

To recap the division was by theology, and was summed up in The Economist article in this way;

Calvinism emphasises that Jesus died only for the elect; Baptists believe Jesus died for everyone. Baptists, by definition, believe that baptism must be an informed choice by the individual, therefore limited to adults; Calvinists believe infants may be baptised. Calvinists think that God selects certain people for damnation; Baptists are more easy-going.

Jesus died only for the elect? A very restrictive sentiment can be attached to that theology. One which does not measure up when taking the Biblical text as a whole into consideration. The Calvinists and Baptists are denominations, or theological traditions of Christianity, there must be a return to a true theology of the Bible by studying it in the most scientific, logical and critical way possible. That type of reading, especially of religious documents is called exegesis, and it is underpinned by historical-critical methodologies.

The exegesis of ancient literature including the Bible helps illuminate the origin, nature, and reliability of the ancient history, people and places described. There are many criticisms differing in the types of substantive knowledge that is used to facilitate Biblical exegesis. There is philological criticism dealing with writing style and grammar, literary criticism tries to deduce original authorship and audience. Redaction criticism analyzes the way the author structures the narrative for theological goals (significantly used within Christian theology) and form criticism which presupposes the Bible as written through a revered oral tradition passed down for generations. In their cohesive form they are called Biblical criticisms. When applied in the process of exegesis incorporation of many scientific disciplines help maintain and thus constitutes a historical-critical or historical-grammatical Biblical exegesis.

The historical-critical interpretation allows the text to speak for itself and is an important way of reading ancient documents that first and foremost considers immediate contextual surroundings of a specific verse or verses in question. As scope widens study of many other historical contexts based in the authors, not readers, contemporary generation occurs. This imparts a great need for a varied spectrum of knowledge bases that can be pulled from and utilized when the comparison of the various contexts is done. This includes detailed research into the culture of the author, scientific discoveries, laws and theories, social structures as well as political and economic surroundings. In short the socio-historical contexts of the author are used by a skilled exegete or student of Scripture as a determining factor in deriving accurate interpretation. The critical investigation into the author of a text can sometimes be referred to as background studies. The ultimate goal of the historical-critical exegesis is to eliminate potential for eisegesis.

The 5 main points of Calvinism are;

  1. Total Depravity
  2. Unconditional Election
  3. Limited Atonement
  4. Irresistible Grace
  5. Perseverance of the Saints (also called Eternal Security)

God preordained…a part of the human race, without any merit of their own, to eternal salvation, and another part, in just punishment of their sin, to eternal damnation. -John Calvinreference

If harmony can be found between the particular Christian theological traditions of Calvinists and Baptists, through a historical-critical exegesis without contradicting other Scripture, then the establishments need to get their act together. I believe the harmony is found by implementing free will into the second and third points, and then determining God’s pre-ordainment. Man was not preordained into salvation, free will is the essence of the human psyche and of God’s plan for mankind, as the Bible clearly points to even in its first book of Genesis.

It is very simple!

A consistent Biblical exegesis can emerge by merely looking at it outside of either entrenched theological viewpoint. What I personally do when I survey the intellectual battlefield of Christian theological criticism, both from internal and external sources, is see if what theology is being preached is in fact Biblical. The Bible presents itself by itself, then one can easily come to a harmonious conclusion based completely within Scripture. The historical-critical exegesis I have reached in my personal studies is quite simple. It is this; Christ died for the sins every single human being alive at the time of His life death and resurrection, as well as from that point forward into the future. The elect are not chosen without regard to free will. The elect are those who have chosen to believe in their heart and minds, as well as confess truthfully by their mouth that Christ is Lord. The non-elect are those that do not and thus do not live a Christian life based on such principles. The elect are only predestined by God in accordance but not subjugated by the free will of every human being. In other words yes there are few elect, not all will come to the Father through Christ. Yet God still provided the choice of Christ’s life, death and resurrection for all. To come to any other conclusion is absolutely unacceptable and provides basis for the uselessness of spreading the Christian Gospel.

What I have just laid out by addressing point 2 specifically of the five points of Calvinism, is a universal Christian doctrine with little room to argue when using the text. For every counter-argument brought by Calvinists regarding Scripture of Him only dying for many and not all, that is true, He died for all yet only few accept it. So it is consistent within the biblical doctrine I have derived that Christ did die for all, yet its manifest truth is only for few who accept. So could I not say that Christ died for all and yes Christ truly died for the few who accepted Him? There are two truths at play, He died for all and He died for the few that ultimately will accept Him. Baptists I am sure, since their position requires little maneuvering to fit into the biblical theology I have shown, will find little to argue with. Christ dying for all yet few accept, supersedes any complaints. The counter-arguments to my doctrine of salvation may stand if that is their fate, but let them stand against an even taller, far more inviting nature and thus theology of Christianity and God. For all of mankind, as the essence of the act of Christ’s resurrection. Again Christ did not die only for those who accept Him, but those who must. It is up to the Church that survives in Christ to give all a chance to come to salvation by planting the seed, by spreading the Gospel. God is not slow as some count slowness but careful to fulfill His promises. The salvation doctrine I have laid out is fully encapsulated by John 3:16 (and 1 John 2:1, Luke 19:10, 2 Corinthians 5:14-15, Hebrews 2:9, John 1:29, Mark 16:15-16, Romans 1:16). It sums up my statements beautifully;

16“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.17“For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.18“He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

God does not just love His select few that have chosen to manifest His will in their life, but those who cannot and those who should. Those who choose not to manifest God’s will through Christ in their life, are those that when in death go into eternal death and sin. Instead of the Calvinist quibbling over who Christ was meant to die for based on it being preordained by God without regard for humankind, I think they would best pursue a better exegesis of John 3:16-18. Harmony is so very clear if theology is grounded in Scripture and the out-of-place hierarchical arrangement of what is either subordinate or complimentary theologies remain in proper order. If they don’t then logical/textual contradictions arise which are explained away by specializing the atonement of  Christ. I do not believe John 3:16-17 would be highlighted when explaining the second and third point of Calvinism. If it is the Calvinist exegete has to face directly that he/she has to explain the contradiction of the utterly superior and established doctrine of John 3:16-17. In other words, how could a specific elect be preordained into salvation by Christ’s sacrifice, if His sacrifice is intended for the world? As a Christian, I would say that yes, casually all can be saved, and that is why we are to preach the Gospel to the ends of the Earth.

You can also look at Christ’s salvation as a cause and effect. This can be likened into a logical argument if you look at the purpose of a book. A book has a fundamental superior cause or purpose. Its purpose is to be read, by well, everybody in the world. I don’t know a single author that wouldn’t want that! Similarly Christ’s sacrifice is to be considered truth, for well, everyone! Will the book be read by everyone? No. But attempts can be made, by say for instance putting it on the Internet so that it maybe accessible to anybody who wishes to look at it. Likewise will Christ’s sacrifice or the effect of His purpose be chosen as truth by all? No, but the effect does not change the original purpose. The Christian church for Christ, much like the Internet for the book, can spread His Gospel far and wide enough so that all may have a chance and choose by free will to accept. The Calvinist might say that the original purpose was obviously only for the few that will ultimately choose for Christ, this is acceptable, but MUST remain dependent upon the free will of man. God did not determine the elect outside of the consideration of the totality of every mans free will.

Now, do you see what happens when we delve a bit deeper instead of hovering on the surface of statistical division like The Economist did? How many people will do what we have just done with that article? I fear very few.