Terms and Rules proposed amendment to II.3 (scripture)

Discussion in 'Announcements' started by Phoenix, Jan 30, 2020.

  1. Phoenix

    Phoenix Moderator Staff Member Anglican

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    Currently the text reads:
    The proposed amendment would read:
    Purpose for the amendment:
    The intent is to bring the defense of Scripture closer to the traditional and historic formulations and understanding of it. Instead of considering the Scripture to be a scientific manual, the fathers and the divines saw it as the word of God, with numerous genres of writing and literature contained within one volume. While they allowed human agency in the creation of Scripture, it seems to have been minimized in the context of God's providence; thus even human agency was in fact a part of God's authorship, and thereby it could be asserted without cavil that the Scriptures have been authored by God, mediately, through men. To be clear, the intent of this revision is not to lessen but to strengthen the veracity of Scripture.

    Any objections, or alterations to the new text?
     
  2. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    I think we can assume that what we read in scripture is exactly what God wants us to know about Him and about ourselves. i.e. that we are in need of a Saviour and that God is exactly the Saviour we have. In that sense God must be the author of it. But God did not write very much of it. He inspired his faithful servants to do that. 2 Pet.1:20-21.

    First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
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  3. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    For the sake of maximizing clarity (at the possible expense of a slight redundancy), I would keep the word, "erroneous" and follow it with the words, "or unreliable."
     
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  4. Phoenix

    Phoenix Moderator Staff Member Anglican

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    The challenge with the question of inerrancy is the fact that Scripture contains multiple genres of literature, some of which (like the Song of Solomon) would perhaps not need to be judged by the measure of errancy. This is the reason why historically the Church preferred to use a wider concept like the word of God. If we could just affirm that the Song of Solomon is the word of God, then that would make it trustworthy, which is ultimately what inerrancy is trying to accomplish anyway.
     
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  5. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Very interesting; I hadn't thought much about that. A question comes to mind, though: since the Bible is the word of God, and since God is inerrant, wouldn't it follow that the word of God is necessarily inerrant as well?
     
  6. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Not, as you imply, necessarily, since the Bible documents have come to us through, in every case, human agencies who were not inerrant. What can be confident of is that scripture itself attests that it is trustworthy for the formulation of doctrine, training in righteousness and the refutation of error.
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  7. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    If we take that view, wouldn't the Bible be something less than the word of God? Wouldn't it become hearsay evidence regarding the word of God?
     
  8. Phoenix

    Phoenix Moderator Staff Member Anglican

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    The traditional standpoint is that the foibles of human agency were used by God to write precisely what he intended. Say a clumsy person tripping over their feet and drawing a perfect 8 on the ground.

    If the question is, could human agency “get in the way” and thwart God’s intended revelation, the orthodox answer would have to be no. Therefore human errancy effectively doesn’t not matter. The trick is how to say that in a sentence.
     
  9. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    I get what you are saying, however we need to ensure that we are not becoming too much like the pharisees. The lawyers question 'and who is my neighbor' was designed to determine who we do not have to love, and Jesus response 'the parable of the good samaritan' suggests a response for us all. To some extent the defence of scripture is not all that essential as the words of scripture asre a clarion bell helping us encounter the living word. On the one hand Scripture is the record of the revelation, yet in a meaningful way it is also a revelation. In my experience (and that may be limited) numbers of those who stand in defence of scripture as a major priority may in deed to be standing for a particular understanding of scripture (or indeed particular scriptures).

    To me the greater issue is that we understand the canon of scripture as the guide for our understanding. I should not need to point out that it was an defence of scripture that many saw as the cause in their opposition to heliocentricity.

    Petrine or Pauline Authorship of particular passages may be an interesting question, yet in no way diminishes the reality that the works are part of the canon. It seems to me that to argue for the divine inspiration of all of Holy Writ is clear. Yet also clear to me is that God did not hold the pen and the authors treated as mere robots. That is entirely counter how we understand the God of the Scriptures who leads us on a path to liberty. The humanity of Paul we see expressed in the New Testament is an important point in understanding how God deals with us all.

    Personally I do not see any great advantage in the proposed change.
     
  10. Juliana

    Juliana Member Anglican

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    So it would be ok to say that Scripture is erroneous?
     
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  11. Juliana

    Juliana Member Anglican

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    In which case, why change anything?
     
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  12. Phoenix

    Phoenix Moderator Staff Member Anglican

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    Good point; we definitely wouldn't want that. So maybe some wording should be retained to prevent that.

    1. We should be working to recover all of the traditional loci as much as possible, and Scripture is key among them. Clearly our forefathers were not crippled by the basic questions of the precise extent to which the book of Job was a history, or to what extent one verse of St. Paul was more trustworthy than another.

    2. In the Anglican and Christian tradition it seems that the wider term was preferred to the narrower. Limiting Scripture to the narrow term opens the road to dismissing it. "Did the book of Job really happen? Was there such a person? If not, then it's 'just a story', not actually true, and need not be considered." Or as was the case made recently here on the Forums, "if some verse found in St. Paul's letters wasn't written by him, therefore maybe it's not true, or accurate; and could be disregarded." However if the book of Job is "the word of God," and if what goes by the label of St. Paul's letters is by-and-large simply "the word of God," then there is no issue.
     
  13. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    But this is an unwarrated assumption. Just because a passage may be suspected of not having originated directly from Paul himself does not mean it is necessarily either 'untrue' or 'could be disregarded'. It is there in the cannon of scripture and therefore must be considered to be 'inspired' and 'useful', with the rest of scripture.

    It's purpose for being there however might not be what at first sight it might seem to be. If it conflicts with other clear teaching from the same author, it would be wrong to unaquivocally attribute it to him though, if it might make the author appear to contradict himself. But is too late now to 'remove' from scripture what has long been accepted as orinating from an Apostolic authority, just because it appears to depart from the Author's usual theological line of thought, just as it is too late now to add to the scriptures explanatory words and sentences, thought by some individuals to be expositionally 'helpful'.
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  14. Juliana

    Juliana Member Anglican

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    Inerrancy should not mean that the Bible becomes a history book, or a science book. That is to lose sight of the essence, which surely must be Christ the Word. The Sciptures are 'able to make us wise to salvation', and in that sense they have got to be inerrant. (But lots of scholars have debated this for years, so I don't want to sound pedantic! :) )
    I agree that the key is that it 'is the Word of God', not that it 'contains the Word of God'. And whoever wrote it was inspired by God to write it for our learning and salvation.
     
  15. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    It might be the 'word of God', all in lower case, or even 'the message of God', but it is most certainly not THE 'Word of God' with an upper case 'W' and an exclusive 'The' in front. The Word of God is Jesus Christ alone, and there is only ONE of Him. John 1:1. Absolutely unique, no copies or rivals for the title. :laugh:
     
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  16. Juliana

    Juliana Member Anglican

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    Are you being pedantic now? :D
     
  17. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Just trying to be theologically accurate. Scripture refers to Jesus Christ alone as The Word, and never refers to itself as even 'The word of God' with a lower case 'w'.

    So if we are basing out theology on scripture, where is our warrant to call scripture 'The word of God'?

    Not from scripture it would seem.
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  18. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I was under the assumption that 'The word of God' is our customary of referring to scripture?

    The verses which come to mind are,
    James 1:22, "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says."
    Matthew 4:4, Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
    Psalm 33:4, "For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does."
    Psalm 130:5, "I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope."
    Hebrews 4:12, "For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."
     
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  19. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    All very good verses when considering whether God keeps his word or not, but none of them refer to The Bible. Much of The Bible did not even exist at the time these words were written. God's word however DID exist at the time all these words were written, and that Word was and is Jesus Christ, even before the foundation of the world. The Bible nowhere refers to itself as 'The word of God', so the term itself is therefore 'unbiblical', or at very least extrabiblical.

    I have no objection to the fact that the scriptures are often referred to as "The word of God", I even sometimes do so myself. As a pious convention of men it is OK. But as a theological proposition, implying that the text is unquestionably perfect and a binding authority ridgidly regulating conduct is tantamount to idolatry and nothing short of the error of Pharisaism.

    As Anglicans we have profound respect for The Bible. We are Reformed believers. The Thirty Nine Articles state clearly exactly what we should believe concerning its authority and effectiveness.

    Does the phrase 'The word of God' in conection with the Bible, appear anywhere in those 39 Articles? If it does I trust you'll let me know.

    I'll save you the trouble of searching them. Not even the word Bible appears anywhere in any of them, let alone a reference to the Bible as 'The word of God'.

    Anglicans customarily throughout the 39 articles, refer to the Bible as 'the scriptures'.

    That would mean listen to Jesus.

    That would mean listen to Jesus too.

    This means Jesus too.

    This also means Jesus.

    This is obviously not a book. A floppy black book is not alive and active. Jesus certainly is though, who knew the hearts of men. The Bible has an uncanny way of reading us as human beings though. And we reveal our innermost character by the way we interpret what we read there.
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    Last edited: Feb 5, 2020
  20. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Before anyone else does it, I will correct myself. The phrase 'The Word of God" does appear in the 39 Articles.

    XVII. Of Predestination and Election
    . . . . . . . Furthermore, we must receive God's promises in such wise, as they be generally set forth to us in holy Scripture: and, in our doings, that Will of God is to be followed, which we have expressly declared unto us in the Word of God.

    XXII. Of Purgatory
    The Romish Doctrine concerning Purgatory, Pardons, Worshipping, and Adoration, as well of Images as of Reliques, and also invocation of Saints, is a fond thing vainly invented, and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture, but rather repugnant to the Word of God.

    XXVI. Of the Unworthiness of the Ministers, which hinders not the effect of the Sacrament
    Although in the visible Church the evil be ever mingled with the good, and sometimes the evil have chief authority in the Ministration of the Word and Sacraments, yet forasmuch as they do not the same in their own name, but in Christ's, and do minister by his commission and authority, we may use their Ministry, both in hearing the Word of God, and in receiving of the Sacraments.

    XXIV. Of speaking in the Congregation in such a tongue as the people understandeth
    It is a thing plainly repugnant to the Word of God, and the custom of the Primitive Church, to have publick Prayer in the Church, or to minister the Sacraments in a tongue not understanded of the people.

    XXXIV. Of the Traditions of the Church
    It is not necessary that Traditions and Ceremonies be in all places one, and utterly like; for at all times they have been divers, and may be changed according to the diversities of countries, times, and men's manners, so that nothing be ordained against God's Word. Whosoever through his private judgement, willingly and purposely, doth openly break the traditions and ceremonies of the Church, which be not repugnant to the Word of God,

    But the phrase still does not appear in scripture referring to itself and the word 'Bible' does not appear in the 39 articles. Unless someone can correct me on that also.
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    Last edited: Feb 5, 2020