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#434798 1 Cor 8

Posted by Phil on 27 August 2011 - 04:22 PM in Theology

Blimey. Here's a blast from the past. Back to the good old days when Fort and I (and Ev and I) didn't speak to each other except to have a ripsnorter of an argument.

#434567 "Reasons"

Posted by Phil on 15 August 2011 - 12:01 AM in Apologetics

This looks fantastic. Ordered my copy earlier this evening, although i won't get to read it til late November :(

#433910 Arguments the Christian apologist should avoid

Posted by Phil on 18 July 2011 - 06:48 PM in Apologetics

I just tried to report Unbound68's post above, but the board won't let me. I'm tired of people thinking it's acceptable to be nasty, just because they're hiding behind a computer screen.

#433773 The Shema in I Corinthians 8:6

Posted by Phil on 12 July 2011 - 08:07 AM in Theology

Excellent stuff. And very timely. I'm giving a talk on "Did Jesus make all things?" this sunday...

#433747 The Fig Tree shooting forth

Posted by Phil on 11 July 2011 - 06:48 PM in Theology

Incidently i notice that an article in the recent eJournal dabbled a little bit in this, albeit with fancier language and more sources :)

I am not especially tied to the need for the fig tree to represent Israel, though I think there is a case, not totally convincing, that could be made (The "naughty figs", the similarity to the undisputed symbol of the vine, the use of the cursed fig tree by Jesus). However I do think that things that go on "behind the scenes" in scripture are a very powerful argument, perhaps the most powerful argument.

Well if people want the fig tree in this context to be Israel, then it's probably the only argument :)

But it still doesn't make it a good one, especially when Jesus actually gives us the answer. If he had stopped at "you know that summer is nigh", it might be completely reasonable to start on about trees representing nations, the fig tree Israel, etc etc... because then we actually have to look for a meaning, but he does follow it up with a definition. "so also, when you see these things taking place, you know..."

So Jesus tells us exactly what he means. And i appreciate that people like Matthew and Paul drew much longer bows than this one (Hagar comes to mind). But they were inspired; they've got the right. Many of the passages used to prove the prophecy of the death of Christ came directly from Christ himself (road to Emmaeus style) I just can't see that we, 2000 years after the fact, have got the right to use passages for purposes that contradict the self-defined meaning, and pretend that it's anything other than fantasy. Otherwise it really is up for grabs, and the post-modernists had it right all along.

And i strongly suspect you agree with me, so i'll stop there :)

#433743 The Fig Tree shooting forth

Posted by Phil on 11 July 2011 - 03:05 PM in Theology

I reckon there's a bunch of reasons that people cling to this interpretation.

1. They've been taught it since day one. I can remember this being taught fairly regularly when i was little. Or not this so much as some variation on the idea (Israel is the fig tree, the budding of the figtree is the establishment of the nation of Israel, etc). it's a cherished idea, and since the re-establishment of the nation of israel was the founding element of the faith for many (or the capture of jerusalem, depending on the era), they're very reluctant to let it go.
2. People are bad readers. They can't distinguish between metaphor and simile, they invent causal relationships where there are none given or ignore an explicit one in favour of something they made up.
3. People want scripture to have secret meanings and impressive connections and behind-the-scenes stuff. I remember a young brother from Britain telling me that's exactly what excited him so much about scripture. I told him that was bizarre and all backwards, and he candidly told me that if that wasn't the way God wrote the bible then he'd lose his faith.
4. People will read what Jesus said about the day and the hour, ignore the spirit of it completely, and use it as a justification to find some odd means to turn it into an exhortation to scrutinise the scriptures looking for clues as to the time-frame, the month, the season. Anything but the day and the hour.

In short, people are weird and irrational. and sometimes the more you challenge them on their weird irrationalities the more entrenched they become.

#433715 The Bible Does Not Always Speak The Truth

Posted by Phil on 09 July 2011 - 10:12 PM in Theology

Ha :)

Probably the best example of large and dangerous is this: i wrote the control program for a massive friction saw in a steel pipe mill. We had two saw blades (each around 1.2m diameter and 8mm thick), one mounted each side of the pipe on a trolley controlled by hydraulic ram. The whole unit weighed around 8 tonnes. As the pipe was formed (from steel strip coils between 4mm and 13mm in thickness) and traveled down the line (at something around walking pace, so not high speed), the trolley would synchronise with the pipe, clamp, and then punch the saw blades (a 250kW motor driving each blade) through the material, before releasing and travelling back to the starting position to await the next cut.

Not the kind of thing you want to get wrong :)

#433713 The Bible Does Not Always Speak The Truth

Posted by Phil on 09 July 2011 - 08:24 PM in Theology

Nah, moving across to be closer to Bonnie's family. We'll be looking to sharing property with them, and in the longer term taking over the care of Bonnie's sister Claire. The fact that my mum and dad (and one sister) are there is a bit of a bonus.

I'm going to be working remotely for my current company, at least until i go crazy with lack of interpersonal contact :)

#433691 The Bible Does Not Always Speak The Truth

Posted by Phil on 08 July 2011 - 09:52 AM in Theology

I had actually been meaning to read that one for a while, but dad wouldn't give it to me when they moved to Perth.

Problem solved - we're moving to perth in November :)

#433681 Recent Developments in NT Textual Criticism

Posted by Phil on 07 July 2011 - 07:38 PM in Theology

Or bung it up here as an attachment, flapster. I'd like a squiz too, if you wouldn't mind :)

#433679 The Bible Does Not Always Speak The Truth

Posted by Phil on 07 July 2011 - 07:16 PM in Theology

Good find, Ken. That's a great series of points. Utterly fundamental you'd think, but quite often neglected. I spent some time the other day talking to the brothers and sisters here in Quito and saying that the chief error of bible exposition is not taking the passage on it's own terms, but instead simply reading the literal words and applying that unthinkingly...

I can remember listening to many expositions on the tabernacle which were determined to wring types of Christ out of every cultic object

I think we've got RR to blame for that one. I think it's in the Law of Moses (one of the few 'pioneer' works i've read) where he says something horrific like "Christ is the veil, the altar, the shewbread, the candlesticks, the laver, the everything".... i can't remember the exact phrasing, but i remember reading "...the everything" and thinking "you can't say that!" But he did.

#432889 The Bible is not a love letter to the individual

Posted by Phil on 13 June 2011 - 09:53 PM in Theology

That's all a little bit off topic though. The article referenced at the start relates to one of many points which could be made about considering the nature of the literature, the author & the audience, the unmentioned context. Letters are by nature part of a conversation between parties which have a relationship which has to be defined in order to figure out what the letter is about, and the reasons why things are expressed the way that are. Every chat i have with my wife carries with it the baggage and context of a thousand past conversations, and the ways in which we use language are shaped by those experiences. And while epistles aren't exactly the same, i think the analogy probably goes some way to informing why some passages make so little sense without a whole bunch of effort.

By and large i think we're relatively good at that. Any study of an epistle will usually spend some time talking about "the background", which helps to establish a bunch of that context. And that's a pretty good nod to the genre. But then it's often quickly dispensed with, in favour of the assumption that every "you" means "us" or maybe "me", that every "us" means "us", and that every "I" also means "I", normally without stopping to think about whether or not that's reasonable...

I think it'd be healthier to maintain more distance from the text than that, and realise that applications to "we" and "i" can't be made automatically, but comes after we've figured out what Paul (or James or John or...) was saying, and why, to the Galatians (or Corinthians, Philippians, etc). Having established that, we can work out the general Christian principles and what it means for us.

#432888 The Bible is not a love letter to the individual

Posted by Phil on 13 June 2011 - 09:37 PM in Theology

I'll see what I can do, but for a start any time we say 'Now we can only understand what Paul says here if we first go to three other passages in two other epistles', we're doing something wrong.

It's a good start. When i first started doing talks i had subconsciously inherited that kind of approach, that for a talk to be a good talk it had to weave an intricate tapestry of passages drawn from all over the shop. The reason i used that model was simple - i was just imitating the dominant technique i'd seen since day one.

The older i got the more i think i realised it was a fairly lazy approach, and probably misses a lot of the nuance. If a passage in Collosians is tricky, it might not necessarily help to go to Philippians, because that's not the letter that Paul wrote to the Colossians, which can and should be understood on it's own terms.

#432886 The Bible is not a love letter to the individual

Posted by Phil on 13 June 2011 - 08:33 PM in Theology

Hey Fort, that's not really an example, that's just repeating the problem ;)

I completely agree with you, and i know i've had the same reaction many times when hearing different talks. But right now i can't think of a particular moment when someone did it and it lead to a glaring error of exposition, and i'd love it if you could think of an example, if only to confirm my bias :P

#432684 James McGrath - Penal Atonement is wrong

Posted by Phil on 08 June 2011 - 07:52 AM in Theology

That is a ripsnorter. Bring it.

#432535 Christian Restoration Centre

Posted by Phil on 31 May 2011 - 08:22 AM in Theology

Yeah, i don't think it's a front for another Duncan venture, but i'm guessing they're probably very friendly. There's a "Trip to Latvia" on the audio lectures page, and i doubt that's coincidence.

#432532 Christian Restoration Centre

Posted by Phil on 31 May 2011 - 08:07 AM in Theology

This is very strange. Sometimes they obviously acknowledge their debt to Christadelphian publications, but then they go and do something like this. Compare this contents of this bulletin with minute meditations:


Smells a bit weird to me.