Monday, July 30, 2007

The Bestminister Confession

If you claim the authority of tradition but redact certain parts it has the same effect as claiming Reason and Holy Writ with exceptions. If St. Paul is incorrect on the role of women, how do you know he is correct on the Resurrection? You like one and don't like the other? This is a not very well hidden egoism. What you mean is that YOU are the authority.
If not, YOU must always ask yourself, "On what basis did I judge the tradition I rejected?" That is where your authority truly rests. You cannot appeal to an authority as a obligatory guide to others if you don't want them examining your "authority" via the higher source you used yourself. If it is just your likes and dislikes, all authority in your life rests on the claim that YOU are anointed and inspired. If only we, who also disagree with tradition but just not where you do, could be YOU. I guess we will just have to trust you.

If you don't redact any part of tradition, that tradition you choose to submit to entirely you have raised to the anointed and inspired rank. The Roman Catholics understand this obligation in their elevation of the magisterial teaching of the church to an equal place with Scripture.

In Vatican II the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation reads:
"…both sacred tradition and sacred Scripture are to be accepted and venerated with the same sense of devotion and reverence."
and
"Sacred tradition and sacred Scripture form one sacred deposit of the word of God"

The Roman Catholics are consistent. Are you?

The Oracle: If you want me to believe something, first make a truth claim about your source of knowing it.

28 comments:

Matthew N. Petersen said...

If you want me to believe something, first make a truth claim about your source of knowing it.

I'm glad you didn't say that all your life--you would never even have learned to talk with that attitude!

A man graduated from a military academy and was imedately sent into combat as the commander of a tank squadron. When he saw his first combat, he considered all his wisdom learned from the academy, and decided on a course of action. His sergant, who had seen thirty years of service, and fought in numerous engagements looked at him, and told him he was making a grave mistake. The lives of all the men in the squadron were in his hand, and the course of action he had determined would destroy the squadron. The new lieutenant was a reasonable man, and so he told the sergant that he would listen--if the sergant could demonstrate the superiority of his plan, he would follow the sergant. Unfortunately, for all his wisdom the sergant could not match the lieutenant's learning, and the lieutenant remained completely unconvinced by all his arguments, and went ahead with his plan. He walked right into the enemies trap, and the whole squadron was killed.

Matthew N. Petersen said...

Again, a certian king was attacked by his enemy and he comissioned a general to defeat the enemy. As the general was advancing on the enemy, a sizable portion of his army rebelled against his authority, and went over to join the enemy. But to further aid the enemy, they claimed that they were submitting to he king, and recognized his authority alone. If the general were to turn on the king, it would be their duty to resist the general in the name of the king. Thus, they argued, the real authority lay in them, not in the general. They would submit to the king unconditionally, but if anyone claimed the authority of the general but left the option open of redacting some of his commands, they were no better than someone who submited to the king, but redacted his commands when they so felt. Yet if someone unconditionally submitted to the general, he was raising the general's comand to the level of the king. Through such sophistry many loyal subjects were deceived and joined the enemy against the king. But the king and his general were victorious, and the leaders of the rebellion brought before the king. Hearing their case he replied "Wicked servants. If you indeed submitted to me, you would have submitted to my appointed general." And ordered them to be executed for treason.

The Oracle said...

As to your first story:
A sergeant asks an officer to change a plan. He has reasons but doesn't convince the officer. Could have been bad arguments, poorly expressed ones, or a dim officer. Anyway, he appealed unsuccessfully to wisdom in his argument but he appealed to wisdom. What we asked for in the post was that we know, from a position's advocate, on what the truth claim rests. The advocate could tell us, do his best with it, and we, like the dim academy trained officer, we might not agree with the adequacy of that position.
Is it the sergeant's intuition? Well, tell us and be done. Is it his years of battle field studies?
We just want to know what about what someone is saying makes it true. Is it because C.S. Lewis said it? Is it because it is reasonable? Is it in the Bible? What? Just tell us?

And your second story:
What?
(Digging, digging, reading multiple times)
I think I'm fine with this comment. A king delegates authority to his general. The soldiers should obey him in all assigned arenas for that is the command the king gave.
You have almost given what I asked for in the post. The RC tells us that they have been given the authority of the general. I am waiting for you to tell me if that is true or not. If not, to whom did the king give that authority and over what arena. Tell us who is speaking the very words of God.

Jeff Moss said...

Evan,

Your post makes some good points, but doesn't sufficiently account for the fact that there are different kinds and levels of authority.

The Living God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) is the only ultimate authority, and all other authorities must bow to Him. The Bible is an infallible authority because it is the voice of God. The Tradition of the Church includes the Creeds, various confessions of faith and catechisms, the writings of assorted saints (including Lewis), a hodgepodge of church architectural styles, the Bible's table of contents, hymns, praise choruses, and the sermons of Evan Wilson; it is a true authority but not an infallible one.

When a wife claims the authority of her husband, do you immediately contradict her because she occasionally disobeys him for principled reasons? What about Larry who claims to be under the authority of the state, but broke the speed limit when his wife went into labor and he rushed her to the hospital? Would you tell these people, "all authority in your life rests on the claim that YOU are anointed and inspired"? Or would you recognize that these people submit to legitimate human authority in ordinary circumstances, even while making exceptions when that authority comes into conflict with their allegiance to God and to principles derived from His Word? You would (and ought to) still counsel the wife to submit to her husband, and Larry to submit to the state, even though you support the "exceptions" that they have taken. There is no contradiction here.

It is the Roman Catholics who are the inconsistent ones, not those of us who are Reformed Christians. They have an unwieldy pile of "infallible" authorities that contradict one another. I submit, instead, to a hierarchy of authorities. God is at the apex of the hierarchy, and He alone is to be obeyed without exception. But many intermediate authorities are still to be submitted to, within proper bounds, because they are His gifts and exist to serve His glory.

The Bible is to be obeyed without exception, as it is the Word of God. Reason, on the other hand, is an inferior and flawed authority, though it is a genuine one all the same. "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: 'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.' Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men." (1 Cor. 1:18-25)

P.S. Wow, it seems like Matt and I are becoming some kind of tag team here!

Matthew N. Petersen said...

Evan, regarding my second story, the soldiers don't and shouldn't give unqualified obedience to the general. If the general defects and attempts to take his army with him, the soldiers have a duty to rebel against him. They have a duty to redact some of his commands.

The Oracle said...

Jeff,
The church becomes an authority when who wants it too? It is not infallible and who decides when it errs? I agree with you that there are different types of authority but what is being mixed here is that which has authority over my actions and in extremis, my life and that which wants authority over my beliefs about truth.
I understand your confusion. Original sin cannot be shown from Scripture or rational necessity. The Greek Orthodox do not believe in it. Some one tells me that I must because... you finish the sentence.

And Matt,
I agree with you but the redaction must proceed from an appeal to the higher authority.

Matthew N. Petersen said...

This is silly. You say "it is nonsense to have the church be an authority." We point out your arguments are seriously lacking. You conceed the point, yet stand by our original argument.

The Oracle said...

Matt,
You have said I said something I don't think I said. The church has authority. Different traditions claim different "truths" so I think it helpful to know if it were based on a mystic fit thrown by Theresa of Avila or a rational argument of Thomas of Aquinas. We are talking about our own basis for believing one and not the other.
Did God give the church authority? Over what? It would be nice to know what the church considers causes its truth claim to be true. Is it by revelation? Please tell me if it is. When they tell me that God has revealed something to the Church, on what basis can I question? And by the way, just who is the Church? Have some in the church claimed more authority than they were given. Ex. The general who tells a private, "You must now dogmatically believe that 2+2=5."
Jeremiah 23
[34] And as for the prophet, priest, or one of the people who says, `The burden of the LORD,' I will punish that man and his household.
[35] Thus shall you say, every one to his neighbor and every one to his brother, `What has the LORD answered?' or `What has the LORD spoken?'
[36] But `the burden of the LORD' you shall mention no more, for the burden is every man's own word, and you pervert the words of the living God, the LORD of hosts, our God.
[37] Thus you shall say to the prophet, `What has the LORD answered you?' or `What has the LORD spoken?'

Mark said...

Jeff,
How are you? I missed the recent Drones meeting you attended, my loss. I hope to see you there again soon.
In your comments, after declaring God the Supreme Authority, you write '...But many intermediate authorities are still to be submitted to, within proper bounds...'. Who determines what the 'bounds' are? You do, I assume. And isn't that exactly Evan's point?
Take care,
Mark Knecht

Jeff Moss said...

Evan,

The church becomes an authority when who wants it too?

I'm still learning myself about how all this works, but I'd refer you to Scriptures like the following:

Hebrews 13:17 "Obey those who rule over you [i.e. in the church], and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you."

Matthew 18:15-18 (Jesus speaking) "Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that 'by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.' And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector. Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."

Jeff Moss said...

Mark,

Thanks for the kind words. I'll see you at Drones again sometime, when I'm not as busy as I am currently.

In your comments, after declaring God the Supreme Authority, you write '...But many intermediate authorities are still to be submitted to, within proper bounds...'. Who determines what the 'bounds' are? You do, I assume. And isn't that exactly Evan's point?

Actually, the "bounds" are determined by at least two things: the statements of the Word of God, and the inherent limits on different kinds of authority. (The second of these depends ultimately on the first.)

For example, Saul tells his son Jonathan to kill David (1 Samuel 19:1). But in this case, Saul's general authority as both a father and a king is trumped by the specific Scriptural command, "You shall not murder" (Exodus 20:13). Jonathan disobeys his father's ordinary authority because it is going against the higher authority of God's Word.

As for the inherent limits of different kinds of authority, Jesus clearly indicates some of the differences when He says, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's" (Matthew 22:15-22). The state has the right to assess taxes, to raise an army, to execute murderers, etc.; incidentally, you can find many of the state's rightful powers spelled out in the Bible. The church may not do any of those things, but it has the authority to give spiritual guidance, to interpret the Word of God to people, to administer the sacraments, etc.--all of these in accordance with the Scriptures, and all of these being things that are prohibited to the state.

When any authority oversteps its bounds--as determined by the inherent nature of the authority, with that nature being spelled out broadly in the Bible--then other human authorities have the right to rebuke the misbehaving authority. And when they do so, they can be confident that they are speaking on behalf of God.

Matthew N. Petersen said...

Ok, the Church has authority precisely because She is the Body of Christ. That is she is Truth Himself. She has authority just as Christ has authority. Reason's authority is derived from Christ's authority. Similarly even reason's authority is derived from the Church. She is the Body of God.

Likewise, Scripture has authority which is derived ontologically from Christ. But the Church is Christ. Therefore the authority of the Scriptures are derived ontologically from the Church. She is not in submission to truth, but is the pilar and ground of truth.

In the same way, God has authority not because He reasons best, but because even Truth is somehow derived from Him.

Matthew N. Petersen said...

You say you aren't claiming the Church has no authority. But when I appeal to the authority of the Church, you insult me, say I deny the gospel, and tell me I don't look to scripture. Even when I don't actually appeal to the Church for what is true, but appeal to the Church to demonstrate what she actually teaches, as opposed to a straw man you are attacking, you ridicule me. But not because you don't think the Church has authority. No--you mock me for looking to her authority because I'm doing what I ought.

That's silly.

Second, you actually have denied the authority of the Church. If anyone in debate with you says "but the Church teaches such and such" even if we say "but Jim Wilson teaches such and such" you say "yeah, well they're wrong".

Again, you give the Church authority, but that authority only exists in and through reason and scripture. In one sense this is true. But the way you apply it, it means it has authority only if She reasons from logic or scripture persuasively for you. In otherwords, She has authority so long as you agree with Her. She has no more authority over you than Gunn does.

Matthew N. Petersen said...

Or again, must a teacher when questioned give an explination every time? Must every teacher be able to give an explination? Must every student who would defend the teacher be able to give an explination every time?

The Oracle said...

"apt to teach"
"Able to confute those who contradict sound doctrine."
I don't construe these to mean delivering the sentence, "Because I, or someone I deem important, said so."
It is not wrong to know of what famous Christians said and thought but what is its claim to my mind is the discussion point. I know you believe these guys (to whatever extent). I just want to know why.
This way, when we are contending for the soul of some undecided questioner, you can confidently affirm that you trust the history of the church to whatever degree you do and this person should as well. I will then say "Hogwash! Believe what God has said. Learn by us not to go beyond what is written."

Matthew N. Petersen said...

I thought you'd come back to rejecting tradition. I thought it was just a ruse that you really believed it had authority. Do you seriously expect me to try to reply to a position that is "I believe tradition has authority that is completely hogwash"?

The Oracle said...

In the interests of detente:
"swine cleaner"

Matthew N. Petersen said...

Ok,

Perhaps you weren't entirely clear. It sounds like your post concludes with a rhetorical question, and is filled with attacks on believing tradition is an authority. But if you insist that you are just setting forth a problem that you have, and asking a reasonable question (But then why call tradition hogwash?) I'll try to answer.

First, you claim you do not go beyond what is written. But using that verse is dishonest. Everyone believes they are doing exegesis. You do, I do, Augustine does. We all do. If you are actually interested in understanding rather than mockery, leave off use of that verse, at least without further argument. It is only relevant if you have already established that your method of interpretation is the valid one.

Second, it tells against you. St. Paul says he does not go beyond what is written. But then he makes allegorical interpretations. That means that allegorical interpretations are not beyond what is written.

Second, you quote the passage where Paul tells Timothy to appoint people apt to teach. But again, this tells against you. Read the whole passage and you will discover St. Paul tells Timothy to keep what was handed down to him in the Church, the pilar and ground of truth. Perhaps there is a way to disagree with the Church but it isn't "my interpretation of scripture is such and such." If it is, strength meets with strength in mere oppugnancy.

Again, when we point out that Christ and the Apostles make doctrine from narrative and allegorize, you reply "yeah, but they're inspired." It's a nonsequitur, but nevertheless, it again tells against you. On your reading there are ways to discover something about Go through knowing Him, that is through other means than simple scripture. That doesn't mean we are inspired, or that we can say what scripture doesn't, but it does say that, if we know God, our connections to Scripture need not be terribly close. They should still be there, but we don't necessarialy need scripture every verse. And the Church is the Body of God. If Christ has authority in Himself She has authority in Herself.

Third, you seem to elevate Reason to infallibility. This is historic nonsense. If reason were infallible, no one would ever disagree. Even the smartest of people disagree. Would Plato bow before Aristotle? Or Aristotle before the next philosopher who disagrees with him all the way down to the present? If not, reason obviously isn't infallible. At least your reason isn't infallible. Or stay to scriptural exegesis. Yes, Scripture is sufficient, but do you realy believe that no one disagrees on whether Christ is physical when looking at Scripture? You seem to base the whole gospel on that point. But isn't there evience in the Bible that at least a confused person could take to be conclusive? Again, if the only answer that can be given is "my argument is better than yours" force meets force in mere oppugnancy.

And I am made the arbiter. What is absolutely fundamental is determined by me. You seek to pull down tradition, but instead raise up yourself.

Or perhaps you aren't really innocently questioning? Attack me with sarcasm, when I reply to the attack retreat "I'm not meaning to attack!! I'm just wondering!" That's called dishonesty. If you want to debate, debate. If you want to reasonably question and discuss, seek to learn. But don't seek to debate, and then turn tail and hide behind "I'm only looking to learn."

Matthew N. Petersen said...

Your son had a good post back in May that said in short "I don't know anything so I look to wiser people." There is a great deal of wisdom in this. But if you insist that you be able to see the scriptural connection, or if you insist that your scriptural connection is necessarialy correct, you are in essence saying "I'm way too smart for all those guys." It's simply arrogance.

Matthew N. Petersen said...

Here's his post:

http://evangw.blogspot.com/2007/05/i-should-first-start-off-by-saying-its.html

Matthew N. Petersen said...

Or to go back to the verse you raised about "apt to teach" that means the others (and by extension the leaders themselves) should be "apt to learn" but people don't learn through logical arguments. And often if people are to learn they have to just say "I don't know. It looks to me like its this way, but I'll learn from you and believe you." Then later they can learn the error of their way.

You're talking complete nonsense. You give with one hand, and take it back with the other. And elder is to be apt to teach, but if I listen to the elder, I'm in rebellion. If I have an interpretation of scripture, its up to the elder to prove it wrong, to me. I should be taught, unles I disagree with the teacher.

Again, its not Scripture that is defficient, but our reading. I for instance, believe Scripture says "as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ." And "Repent and be baptized for the remission of sins." Perhaps it doesn't really mean what it says, but I have scriptural reasons to doubt your interpretation that "baptize" doesn't mean "baptize." So should I only come around when I see the arguments? What about a person who isn't so bright, but is raised Lutheran? Should he switch when he hears an argument that persuades him? But if so, a similar evangelical should become Mormon when the elders come to his door. Or if instead he should talk to his elders as well, s he then the arbiter? What if he isn't qualified to be? Or what if somehow the Mormon presentation strikes a chord?

Moreover, no one is like that. People don't go one way or another because of simple reason, but because they have loyalties here or there. If a Lutheran explained to a baptist lady what baptism really does she would say "but you're attacking the gospel, that can't be true." She isn't using reason to reject his view. (Or if that isn't clear, if a Baptist were to explain to a Lutheran that baptism doesn't really do anything, the Lutheran would say "But you're teaching justification by works." And similarly would reject the arguments out of hand.)

Finally, if you are so devoted to reason, why do you always use rhetoric? Its inconsistent!

The Oracle said...

All I ask is that when someone suggests that I believe something that said by a long dead but important Christian, and I ask them why, they will give one of the following responses.
1} "He supported it with Scripture, let's look at those Scriptures to see if he is correct."
2) "What he said was rationally based. Let us consider his argument and see if he had it right."
3) "He has been made God's general on earth. Let me show you how that rank was attained and how you as a foot soldier in God's army must think what the general says."

That is all I ask.
That is all I originally wanted.
In this post anyway.

Matthew N. Petersen said...

Ok, the original question sounded like an argument in rhetorical question form.

1) This seems to be a genra confusion. If he is doing commentary, that's acceptable. But what if I were to say "as a Christian, you have a duty to forgive." And leave it there. Now I obviously could point to an argument, and if challenged, would. But what if I were dead? This example is a little silly, but what if it were a more obscure (though equally water tight) argument?

Moreover, in his preface to Athanasius, Lewis says one of the chief reasons for reading old books is to see where our assumptions are false, or at least doubitable. But in doing that we will come against their assumptions. Now our assumptions are caught up with scripture and modern philosophy, theirs with scripture and their modern philosophy. Our assumptions would seem to them as radically different from scripture. To actually heed Lewis' advice and learn from previous generations we have to provisionally set aside our reading of scripture. Or rather we have to, in humility, recognize that our assumptions will seem equally unscriptural in a couple hundred years, and so we should be willing to have them challenged--even when we dont imedately see their appeal to reason.

Regarding the second, the exact same answer suffices.

But there is for both a further answer--not only are our interpretations biased by out time, our method is too. They might derive something from scripture in a way that seems quite reasonable to them, but to us seems ridiculous. Since it seems only natural to them, they aren't going to defend it. We will look in vain for a defense. And if we can't in humility say "but our assumptions are equally silly" we will scorn them for being idiots.

And there is scriptural evidence that they aren't idiots. When you say "if I had apostolic authority I could allegorize" you appeal to the Apostle's authority. But at the time the authority was not so evident. And he didn't (except in Galatians) go in saying "just believe me, I'm an apostle" and even in Galatians, he appeals to reason. And the Bereans were more noble for seeing if St. Paul were actually interpreting scripture correctly. The recipients of the New Testemant did not receive it as scripture, but as letters to be evaluated and judged. And if your methods of judging were used, it would fail.

This leads us into the third issue. First, a rational argument. How do you know James is scripture? (My guess is that you know because it's in the Bible, that that has a rhetorical effect on you that even if you don't recognize, sways your reason.) Do you look out or in? If out, you are acknowledging the authority of certian bishops. If in, what if I get a burning in my boosom reading The Book of Mormon? Or what if I am just misjudging my heart? Or what if I mistake reverence for the cover for inward burning? You say the apocropha says weird things. As weird as Noah being saved by water? Are you absolutely sure you don't say "That's odd, I don't know what to do with it" in the one case and "that's odd, this isn't scripture" in the other?

But more explicately, St. Paul charges Timothy to keep the faith handed down etc. Particularly in calling the Church the Pilar and Ground of Truth. And he likewise says that the elders have been given care of the souls of their charges. That means that we should look at least to the pastors in the Church as generals. Perhaps not to St. Terese of Avila, but to St. John of the Cross.

Matthew N. Petersen said...

How about if I answer like this: in my second example, the foot soldiers would know that they could at times reject the general's authority, and would in practice have a very easy time rejecting his authority only when necessary. But it would also be almost impossible for any of them to point out exactly when they should and should not rebel against the general. For the foot soldiers, the practice preceeds the theory, and most likely the theory could only be wisely formulated by a loyal foot soldier who was finally forced to rebel against the general, and written many years later.

To insist that the theory be given up front is silly. Even if the fathers do not have authority--that is it is not the case that they ought to be obeyed--but do have weight--that is, what they say should be taken into consideration--the exact same thing happens. Anyone reasonable person who tries to give them weight, and listen to them would have a difficult time explaining exactly how they reject some of their sayings. That's just because of how people work.

But I can say that their weight comes from God, which means mostly from Scripture. But if the Scripture is well integrated into their thought, they will be influenced by scripture in almost unnoticable and undefendable ways. They may have trouble saying exactly where they got certian ideas. Most people would have difficulty explaining why they prefer civilization to savagery. Similarly most people who have truly integrated Scripture will say things that do not seem directly linked to Scripture.

So their knowledge should be derived from Scripture, but you should listen even if the link is not easily seen.

As an example: Davis challanged me on something I said on Josh's blog. He thought I was after some sort of Zen Christianity. He couldn't see my link to Scripture. Now maybe that derivation wasn't good, but that's not my point. But when challanged, I was able to give him a lengthy argument from Scripture. I think that sort of think happens often with the Fathers. They'll say something that is derived from scripture, but it is hard for us to see the connection. They have authority from Scripture, but have authority over us in themselves.

Matthew N. Petersen said...

So in practice, the answer is: when what they say is discordant with Scripture, or unloving. On this we agree.

The difficulty comes not from the overarching theory, but from the practical application of the theory. How do I decide when they are unloving or discordant with scripture?

We can see the same thing in my example of the general. Every foot soldier could easily say "We should submit unless he rebells against the king." But when the road meets the rubber it would get far more difficult. "The general was ordered to capture that city, but he is marching from it, toward our capital. He must be in rebellion. Or perhaps, he's just feigning. How, before the critical moment, would the soldiers decide that "this is treason by the general". How would they distinguish between an uptight soldier and a loyal one?

Matthew N. Petersen said...

In short, knowing when to agree with the Fathers, and when to disagree, is a virtue. It is only acquired through practice, and though it may be interesting speculating where the golden mean is, until we already posses the virtue, it is rather silly to attempt. We don't even know what data to consider. We don't fully understand what the virtue is aiming for. How could a coward talk about what really is courage? Everything would seem foolhardy.

Matthew N. Petersen said...

Or again, what do you do about contradictions in Scripture? Do you say "No John! Christ says that broad is the way that leads to destruction, narrow the way that leads to life. Christ is not the propitiation for all sins, expecially for those who believe! Your authority is from Christ, but you are contradicting him. I'm not believing you!"

(Or if that doesn't bother you, think of some other passage where it seemed to you at first to be a contradiction.)

Don't you rather say "There's something here I don't understand. Let me think about it and see how to reconcile these two points."

But if Scripture can be in agreement with Scripture, yet seem to be contradiction it, can't authors? Perhaps father you despise says something you take to be in contradiction with scripture. If you just simply reject it "that's a contradiction" you are relying on your reason. You are saying "your reason is incompetant, I'm looking to mine."

Maybe he is wrong. But then maybe becuase of your incomplete understanding of him and of Scripture he only seems wrong. Or maybe he is kinda right, but not completely. But if you say "that's just wrong" you aren't engaging him. You aren't humbly considering others better than you. You are holding him to a standard you don't even hold Scripture--that it never seem to you to be contradicting Scripture. That is, you are comiting the sin of pride.

Jeff Moss said...

A word of warning to everyone involved in this thread (including myself, of course):

Confucius say, "Man who jumps off cliff, jumps to conclusion."