Gafcon IV

Discussion in 'The Commons' started by anglican74, Apr 17, 2023.

  1. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Excellent point! 1 Cor. 5 is worth a quote:

    It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father's wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you...you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?...Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

    Did Paul write a vitriolic, hate-filled letter to the Corinthian believers? Of course not. But there are people in the church today who probably would point the finger of accusation at Paul for being unloving, hateful, and judgmental; to be consistent, they'd have to do that.
     
  2. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Had you noticed though that Paul gave no indication that the person concerned would forfeit his salvation, won for us by Christ. By destruction of his FLESH by Satan, ( i.e. his death), this individual would, according to St. Paul, "be saved in the day of the Lord". So Paul is suggesting that this person's sin has not deprived him of his salvation, but should deprive him of membership of the assembly of God's people in Corinth, until his death, unless he proves to be repentant.
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  3. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    To be clear, in the first post here that I queried your use of the term 'The Gospels and the Epistles' I was not limiting it to 'The Gospels' and had you said 'The New Testament' I would have been OK. However you used the term, and presumably, it had meaning. I fully understand that the matter is addressed in the Epistles, and indeed I even gave a number of references to show I understood this.

    I now ask you to explain your use of the word 'Gospels' in the post quoted AND I now must ask you to explain the phrase 'your mistaken use of the word'.
     
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  4. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    That, and Paul's epistles are occasional letters, not legal treatises or works of moral philosophy. To extrapolate from 1 Corinthians to an even harsher attitude toward modern circumstances is to 'speak for the dead' and to generalize Paul's statement without warrant.

    It's important to also note that relationships in the ancient world were hierarchical, with one exception: friendship. Much of what ancient texts have to say about marriage and the family doesn't translate very well in our era because we simply don't think about relationships the same way, and that's a good thing. The Bible condoned a lot of different relationships that are against the law today (and in some cases are actually war crimes), and rightly so.
     
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  5. Ananias

    Ananias Well-Known Member Anglican

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    That is completely wrong -- though I understand that this is a popular idea among liberals (when they admit that Paul was actually the author at all). That's why I keep saying that you are the intellectual children of Bultmann and Von Harnack (and ultimately Schleirmacher by way of Hegel) whether you know it or not.

    Just read Romans and tell me it is not a towering work of theology and moral philosophy.

    There is much evidence that Paul wrote his letters as general epistles (i.e., to be read publicly at churches), which is why the letters were kept and circulated by Christian churches even after Paul's death. It is clear from early church history that his letters were treated as general epistles (even the so-called "pastoral" epistles to Timothy and Titus). And this general nature of his letters is why they were accepted as Holy Scripture. A situation at a given church may have prompted a letter, but it is ridiculous to assert that Paul's missives applied only to those churches. Paul's apostolic teaching has authority for all time -- the specific situation being the initiating event, but not the only target.
    No, it is not. There is nothing that elevates our own age above any other age. We operate under the same Biblical injunctions of generations past -- God is not giving us some kind of special dispensation to ignore His holy Word. To say otherwise is to elevate your own judgement over God's. God commands, and we either obey or face judgement.

    Modern thinking on relationships is warped and distorted. Trying to elevate the chaotic mess we see all about us as something good is just twisted and wrong. The answer to modern relational confusion is not to embrace it, but to denounce it and bring the repentant back to Christ.
     
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  6. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Now I understand what you are getting at. I concede that same-sex sexual sin is not covered in the Gospels per se; that was an inaccuracy of wording on my part. The Gospels do address sexual sin in more general terms, and that is what I had in the back of my mind when I wrote it; I should have simply said "the New Testament" but I instead called the NT "the Gospel and Epistles". I apologize for misunderstanding the thrust of your comment.
     
  7. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I've always understood the implication to be that the sinner may still be saved if he repents, and that the actions of the church help to nudge him toward repentance. But all of that misses the main point I was making from this scripture, to wit: the proper response of the church is to aid in correction of members who fall into sin and to exclude them when they are unrepentant, rather than show understanding, sympathy, and unconditional welcome.
     
  8. Ananias

    Ananias Well-Known Member Anglican

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    The unrepentant are not saved because they never truly accepted Christ (for who can continue to live in sin if they died to it?). Christ himself taught this (Matt. 18:15-20).
     
  9. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    That's what you and I want it to say; that's not what it actually does say. It's really a rather cryptic passage, once you stop to think about it. It's a pity we don't know more about what was going on at Corinth, since what we do know seems to raise more questions than it answers. And it doesn't seem to fit all that well with an overly literal reading of Paul's "vice lists," such as the one in the very next chapter (1 Cor. 6:9-11), in which Paul stated not once but twice that wrongdoers "will not inherit the kingdom of God" (NRSV). 1 Cor. 5:5, as we've already seen, says the exact opposite with respect to the situation it addresses, without any mention of repentance or a change of heart on the part of the sinner. So, the rationale for what Paul counseled in ch. 5 regarding a particular situation was contrary to the more general principle he cited later in ch. 6. Was Paul just confused, or was his thinking simply more complex and nuanced that it might appear at first glance? I opt for the latter, the consequence of which is that when it comes to matters of discipline (i.e., dealing with sin) rather than doctrine, we do not know and indeed cannot know how Paul would have responded to any number of hypothetical situations, just based on the few examples we have in his genuine epistles that made it into the canon. These are just short letters, after all; they're hardly systematic or exhaustive, and they certainly weren't Paul's answer to something like the Mishnah or the Midrash or Philo's commentaries. To read them that way misses the whole point of why they were written in the first place.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2023
  10. Ananias

    Ananias Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Romans is extremely systematic in its theology. Paul was highly rigorous in teaching while still being pastoral, and was so from very early on (you don't see a lot of fundamental theological development from Galatians to Romans in terms of basic principle, though as Paul aged he became more expansive).

    Liberals have never given Paul his due as a theologian -- this is something Barth really makes apparent in his commentary on Romans (Der Romerbrief).

    To dismiss the Pauline corpus as just "short letters" represents a ghastly short-sightedness of the entire New Testament. They weren't just chummy letters to specific churches. They were statements and summa of Christian theology and eschatology. They were inspired words of God to his people, for that time and for all time. That's why Paul's letters form the backbone of the entire New Testament.

    Further: Paul's letters apart from Philemon aren't particularly short. In fact, compared to other literary epistles of the time, they are quite long and intricate. Paul's genius lay in his ability to do complex theology concisely and with precision. His letters are models of theology, appreciated even by non-Christians who study the form.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2023
  11. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    You're a smart guy, and you know what it means to say that Paul's letters aren't systematic or exhaustive. No one here is saying that Paul wasn't rigorous in his thinking, or that he wasn't a profound theologian. Yet the fact remains that Paul didn't write like a Greek philosopher, trying to work out all the implications of, and objections to, a particular position, before leaving it to the readers to decide the truth of the matter. Nor were his letters organized like Roman legal treatises, proceeding logically category by category until the subject was fully covered. The arguments in Paul's letters, much like Seneca's, are short, to the point, and typically don't spend too much time on any one subject. He wasn't a philosopher, nor was he trying to be. Not everything that Paul thought made its way into his epistles, and where the latter aren't clear, we are left to surmise what might have been in his mind.
     
  12. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    So a "Repentant" sinner becomes 'sinless', in your estimation? Even repentant sinners often continue to sin thereafter but God continues to sanctify them through discipline, which as 'disciples' they usually accept, - perhaps even only eventually. I agree that a repentant sinner may be 'justified' by God thereafter, but justification does not impute 'SINLESSNESS'. It only justifies by God's Grace. No one has inherent righteousness of their own, not even repentant believers. You are mistaken my friend if you think you are less sinful than even unrepentant homsexuals, by God's exacting standards.

    Forgive us our sins as we forgive the sinners who get our goat, - (That's the deal for repentant believers).
    Interesting though that what Christ taught there is immedialy followed up by the parable of the unforgiving servant. Where does 'forgive us our debts as we forgive our debters' fit into the philosophical scheme of things? :yes: Not all of the enemies we are commanded to love will ever be repentant you know, but we are told to forgive them. God does not expect more from US than God is/was, prepared to do himself.
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    Last edited: May 5, 2023
  13. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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  14. CRfromQld

    CRfromQld Moderator Staff Member

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    I would prefer to think otherwise; but that's not what the Bible teaches.

    But some would prefer to pick and choose which teachings are binding as if the Bible is a mere collection of books. We can't just say our ultimate standard is Jesus because we can only know Jesus through that "mere collection"; hence this approach becomes self refuting. But the Bible is not just a mere collection. All the books in the NT, including the gospels, were written by Apostles or close associates and are inspired of the Holy Spirit to preserve the teachings of Jesus. All were written during the lifetimes of those Apostles and and false texts could be, and were, identified and rejected.

    Jesus welcomed society's sinners so that they could hear the Word and repent of their sins and follow Him. Nowhere do we read that he commended their sin and encouraged them to continue in it.
     
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  15. CRfromQld

    CRfromQld Moderator Staff Member

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    They are occasional letters not in the sense of casual or incidental but of having been written for a specific occasion, addressing specific moral and theological issues that had arisen in the various churches.
     
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  16. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    Right, exactly.
     
  17. Ananias

    Ananias Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Sure, but the teaching of the letters is not restricted only to those churches in those specific circumstances. Paul's pastoral teaching was always general in application, whether motivated by specific circumstances or not. He always gives general rather than specific reasons for his theological teaching (e.g., 1 Tim.2:8-15). If Paul's canonical letters were topical and specific, there would be no need to include them in the Bible at all since they would not even apply to any other Christian people. The fact that the early church treated them as circular (i.e., general) rather than occasional letters should tell you something important: everybody including Paul himself understood that his Divinely-inspired epistles came from God. (For Paul surely wrote many other letters that were not of Divine origin -- think of the "severe letter" he refers to in 2 Corinthians 2:4. Not everything Paul wrote was Divinely inspired, and the early church recognized this.)

    It is a signal mistake to think of Paul's epistles as simply a product of their time and place. The local church drama in places like Corinth, Ephesus, Galatia, and elsewhere were initiating events that led God to speak through Paul to the entire Christian church. The teaching is general and eternal, not temporal and specific.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2023
  18. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    Everything that has ever been written has been a product of its time and circumstances. The fact that we may recognize insight and find value today in works written in other times and places far removed from our own does not mean that the applicability of that insight and value is something that can be known or determined in advance. Plato, St. Augustine, Shakespeare, and Burke continue to be profitably read today, and rightfully so, but in ways and for reasons Plato, St. Augustine, Shakespeare, and Burke did not and could not have anticipated. What is general and of abiding applicability in the genuine letters of St. Paul must be demonstrated, not merely assumed. But we can never arrive at those insights if we do not first properly exegete what his letters would have meant to their original audiences in their own times and places.
     
  19. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Try reading Chapters 10 - 11 - 12 of 2 Corinthians. Some think that is where the Corinthians tried to hide the 'severe letter away at the back'. :laugh: Quite a lot of shenannigans went on at Corinth in the church. Paul had quite a lot to say to them too.
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  20. Ananias

    Ananias Well-Known Member Anglican

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    None of those people were writing the word of God himself. If you are placing the Bible on the same level of Shakespeare or even St. Augustine, you have already left the path. God wrote Scripture. God is eternal and does not change; his Word does not change. That he spoke through Spirit-led human beings should not confuse you: Scripture comes from God, not from men.

    Ezekiel 2:6-7:
    Hosea 12:9-10:
    2 Peter 1:21: