Friday, August 17, 2007

Good stuff....

Well, I guess I asked for it! :-)
(Smiling nervously, flipping hair back, looking furtively around for an exit route) ;-}
It's all good stuff!! Some of the consensus is that a heretic causes division in a group, so that would make Jesus a heretic because He caused a major division. Now, that is not news to anyone, of course, but it personally takes the sting of the name "heretic" out of it for me....although I'm not trying to cause a division, but that may be the result--but I won't be the one moving out of love with anyone who disagrees with me. SO...sounds like we're all okay!
Anyway...CP poses this:
Do you take this shining truth, this possibly true truth, and amputate yourself from the body of Christ with it? Can you, do you, fellowship in love and harmony with those who lack this truth? Do you extend God's grace to those in the church to which you are called?
No, sadly, CP.....the body of Christ will more likely amputate ME from them; not the other way around.
I haven't decided if this is the Truth or not. I'm searching, as we are to search, for God conceals things from us and it's a glory for us to seek out His Truth. And, interestingly enough, I've been amputated by a few Universalists who found my suggestion for open minds on all sides to be annoying, thereby making me worthy of being shunned. Can't win! :-)
So, Karen, if you embrace the idea that all souls will be saved, I say you're embracing an error - and I pull just that little bit closer to you for it. If it bothers you that I reject that doctrine, I won't back away from either my conclusions or from you. If, at the end of the day, we can both build each other up and reach Christ together, then there's error on my side or yours, but no heresy.
Thank you, CP, that you'll pull closer to me even when we might disagree! That's awesome and it means the world!...and the way it's supposed to work. It doesn't bother me that you reject that doctrine. I'm looking at words, the (closest to) originals and trying to figure out what it all means. I know you are, too!
Read and I'll be back!

Missy said...
K - I guess I got prideful and acted like I am more enlightened. I am sorry for the childish response.
I watch so many people change and evolve over their lives growing in faith, waning in faith, changing perspective, understanding more clearly or being set in tradition that I guess it just doesn't seem right to label and reject people that are simply learning, just as I am, when they get stuck on a crazy idea - and especially when that crazy idea has merit or even better, love, at the heart of it.
We really hold each other to a higher standard than ourselves sometimes. That really seems about as far away from Jesus as I can be.
(BTW, my comments were not directed to anyone and I find myself in agreement with most of those made, I just had a gut reaction as a rebellious child of God!)
I am thinking about your ideas on forgiveness. I'll get back to you.


Kansas Bob said...
Hi Karen,
You and I have batted this idea around a few times. I have noticed in the UR community that some wear 'heretic' and 'heresy' as some kind of badge of honor ... I really don't find that to be helpful because it is labelling and sort-of name calling.
I would rather just discuss the idea of eternal judgment that you have surfaced. To frame the discussion maybe it would be good to ask questions like:
Does the bible speak of eternal judgment? If so, what are the scriptures that support it and which ones do not support it.
Not sure if this helps or not - feel free to deep six. I just don't want to get into a name calling exercise.
Blessings,
Sanctimonious Bob
:)


Kansas Bob said...
About this:
Anyway, so, when Jesus talks about fire and damnation for an eternity, it's stated an "eon" or set period of time.
I think that God ("I AM") exists outside of time and that time is only relevant in our fleshly earthly experience. So I think that words like eternity could represent such a timeless existence after after death.
This is problematic for a temporary (non-eternal) judgment.
Sanctimoniously speaking of course :)


Missy said...
KB, I am proud to call you friend! What a mature response. Now I am envious. :)
Karen, your response did not provoke my apology - a little time to think did. I think this is a great discussion to have. But, I'm still thinkin'...


Don R said...
Excellent reply, Karen. It shows you are using your brain and spirit. You're not just accepting a doctrine because it's always been that way. Maybe it's always been wrong! I have read enough to know that Christianity in the first century was very different from what we see today in most mainline Christian churches. Quite a few doctrines were introduced into the church in the 2nd and 3rd century by the Church/state (Rome) to insure adherence to the govt/Church's line; I believe so that the Church/state could maintain control of the masses of ignorant people. The practice of not letting the people read the NT in Greek (the lingua franca of the day), then Jerome's very poor transcription of the Greek (a language he hated)NT into Latin (the Vulgate)insured that the NT said exactly what the Church/state wanted. How much of it was significantly changed. It's hard to pin down. But, thanks to Augustine, the doctrine of ECT or ET became firmly rooted in the Latin version of the NT. The threat of eternal conscious torment (ECT), being separated from God forever, is a pretty good way to insure that the people will "toe the line". The firming up of the doctrine of the Trinity also came about after the Latin edition was created. I have a lot of unanswered questions about the differences between the writings of the early followers of Jesus and the Latin Vulgate. When it comes right down to it, everything we "believe" as result of faith. Proof, scientific or otherwise will not and cannot enter the picture. Whoa, didn't mean to go on so long. All this is just my own musings. No one has to accept a single word of it. However, I would encourage you to check it out for yourself.

Don R said...
CP- Almost forgot to answer your question. I believe many of Paul"s ideas were called heresy by the church in Jerusalem, when Paul said that Gentiles didn't have to follow Jewish Law. Check out Galatians, I believe.

Don R said...
Karen- I agree with your point on mistranslation. Does it really matter that much?? You bet it does! I can think of two words that have been mistranslated in the KJV NT and other similar NTs. Those words are HELL and ETERNAL. If you mistranlate what the Greek said in every place those words are used in context, you've changed the whole meaning of the authors words. You have created an idea, ECT or ET, which was never meant to be there.

Don R said...
I think we have to remember who Jesus was addressing in the Gospels. Jews. So when He taught about a judgement coming, it was not a distant future event. He even said it would happen within that generation. He was speaking of a national judgement of the Jews, because they would reject His mission. That judgement came in 70 CE at the hands of the Romans. The Jews have not worshipped in the temple since. Context is everything. Everything Jesus said has to be searched for its context in order to better understand His message. An example: the word Gehenna, usually translated Hell. Jesus used it numerous times when He was speaking to Jews about a future national judgement. He used the word because He knew Jews understood the connotation of it, knew its physical location (the valley of Hinnom)and its purpose in the history of the Jews. It was not a place of eternal torment, but a reference to the coming national judgement. I apologize for such a long comment. Again, just my musings. No one has to believe a thing I write. I love you all as brothers and sisters in God's great plan!!

Don R said...
KB- I guess the only exception to any of the creed would be the word (you already know the one) HELL. I believe it would be better translated sheol or the grave. He went there and released the captives He found there. How many do you suppose He spoke to and released. Hmm.. I think it was probably all of them.

codepoke said...
> So, I'm looking at this Creed from a whole 'nother angle. I believe in His forgiveness of sins. Period.
Ah. I see. I missed the point the first time around.
> does that make me a heretic?
Sigh.
The question is backwards.
You may be right or wrong. I suspect wrong, but Don R would say something highly informed and pointed about that. There's always someone to agree with you, and no matter what you believe, there'll always be more people to disagree. That's alright.
The question is whether you are joined to the body of Christ? Are you joined to the Head? Do saints who touch you with the Lord's love and wisdom appreciate that you are their friend? Do you destroy the body of Christ, or build it up?
Assume you are right. Assume every living soul will one day taste the forgiving power of Christ's love. Do you take this shining truth, this possibly true truth, and amputate yourself from the body of Christ with it? Can you, do you, fellowship in love and harmony with those who lack this truth? Do you extend God's grace to those in the church to which you are called?
If not, then - THEN - you are a heretic. You are a heretic with the truth, which is a little odd, but a heretic nonetheless. I said Paul's definition of a heretic had been forgotten. Here it is:
I Cor 11:17 Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse. 18 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. 19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
Divisions are the mark of heresy. We've made error the mark of heresy, but it's really division. Any teaching that pulls people together and pulls them closer to the Lord does not qualify as heresy. Peter refers to damnable heresies, and there are definitely damnable errors, but those always lead to division. When people are drawn to Christ, it's always good.
Please forgive me, Karen, if I put a question in your mouth that is not really there. I suspect it is not, but I have to argue against it.
FAQ: So, what can you do when people reject you, because you have the truth? They rejected Jesus, so why should I be surprised when they reject me over the truth?
Answer: That is a "guy's" question. It deals in weighty matters and the red badge of courage. And it's completely wrong-headed.
Us dudes need to scale back the thinking that asks that question. Instead of thinking about "The Cause of God and Truth," let's think about sisters and brothers whom we love and who love us, people whom we know adore the Lord and are rich in His life. When those people reject our little truth and we allow that fact to separate us from them, we have become heretics. I've been there and done that, and it is sin - plain and simple.
So, Karen, if you embrace the idea that all souls will be saved, I say you're embracing an error - and I pull just that little bit closer to you for it. If it bothers you that I reject that doctrine, I won't back away from either my conclusions or from you. If, at the end of the day, we can both build each other up and reach Christ together, then there's error on my side or yours, but no heresy.
codepoke said...
Also, Karen, you more or less ask how to study the word, "Aionios."
Far and away the easiest and best way to do so is to look at every instance of the word in Greek. That's simple to do using crosswalk.com or several other tools. Crosswalk shows 69 instances of aionios in the new testament. Take a look at all of them, and see whether they tend to mean something with or without a beginning, end, or whatever.
If possible, look at the way John uses the word in his gospel and his epistles. Then look at Peter's gospel (Mark) and epistles. Then look at all Paul's letters. By breaking the study up into a single-person's meaning, you are more likely to be comparing apples to apples. If no pattern emerges, then you dig into lexicons and the like, but where scripture can interpret scripture you know you're on solid ground.
Here's the link to crosswalk on aionios:
http://bible.crosswalk.com/Lexicons/Greek/grk.cgi?number=166&version=kjv

Kansas Bob said...
Thanks CP for defining a heretic as one who causes divisions - very insightful. These questions that you pose are very insightful:
Do you take this shining truth, this possibly true truth, and amputate yourself from the body of Christ with it? Can you, do you, fellowship in love and harmony with those who lack this truth? Do you extend God's grace to those in the church to which you are called?
My blogging exerience tells me that some folks can but some can't. Some have withdrawn from what they call "the institutional church" because they exalt their pet doctrine and can't deal with people who don't agree with that doctrine. Their fellowship seems to be based on an assent to their "doctrine" and not on Jesus. What they charge "the institutional church" with they do themselves ... but I could just talking sanctimoniously :)

Don R said...
KB- Don't you just "hate" "pet" doctrines and those who can't deal with others who can't agree with that doctrine. Ouch!! You, sanctimonious! I don't view it that way. Go easy on yourself...

8 comments:

Missy said...

I'm glad I came out with my fists flying and showed my immaturity. It makes it easier to bow out to more mature minds or heavier hitters, however you view it. ;-)

Thanks, Karen, for being real.

Don R said...

In my case, Missy, "old mind" works better than "mature". I act immature all the time!.

Missy said...

Ah, so you carry it like a badge, too!

Don R said...

Yep!

codepoke said...

> a heretic causes division in a group, so that would make Jesus a heretic

Hehehe.

I assume you read my careful wording that it is dividing from those alive in Christ that is the problem. There is a very real, and very practical difference.

> No, sadly, CP.....the body of Christ will more likely amputate ME from them; not the other way around.

Almost certainly not.

Really.

I attend a church right now that disagrees with me on equally significant doctrines as this. It is possible to find peace with brothers and sisters even in such disagreement. The exercise is really, really valuable and can bring real glory to the Lord.

> Read and I'll be back!

I'll be here, sister. :-)

Kansas Bob said...

I'm with Don on this:

"I act immature all the time!"

If you doubt me just check out my blog :)

Missy said...

Kevin, you know, I think you're right. I'm considering all the crazy ideas I've had both online and in my church - and although there has been definite opposition, I have not experienced rejection. I've heard a lot of stories of rejection, but never experienced it. Never realized that before. I've also never experienced the closeness to others that I've had in the past few years while I've allowed myself to be "out there."

My idea of heresy meant "out of the norm" or against tradition, not divisive. I certainly do not want to wear divisive as a badge!

Kansas Bob said...

One my favorite sayings is by Philipp Melanchthon and says:

"In essentials, unity; in differences, liberty; in all things, charity."

Maybe our (my) problem is in defining those essentials a bit too narrow. Maybe we are all a bit too quick to say heresy when we really don't understand where someone is coming from. Maybe online dialogs like these are an opportunity to embrace each other in liberty and with charity.