RE: Jonah et al

From: Vandergraaf, Chuck (
Date: Tue Aug 14 2001 - 17:47:17 EDT

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    A few comments:

    1. There are only a limited number of ways by which you and I (by God's
    grace) were made aware of the His saving faith: we were either taught at
    home, in schools, and/or in church. My guess is that, for most of us, the
    Bible played an important role as an instruction manual for us, our parents,
    and the clergy. If, as you suggest, all Bibles on this planet were converted
    into ashes, YOUR faith might not be shaken, nor that of your children, but
    within a few generations we'd be back in the days before the printing press
    was invented, or worse, because the clergy still had access to the Bible at
    that time. History tells us what happened when access to the Bible is
    limited: we'd probably be back into selling and buying indulgences in no
    time at all. I think we can safely assume that God gave us the Bible as His
    revelation and that, by removing the Bible from the equation, we'd be left
    with "tradition."

    2. To touch on your example of the interpretation that goes into
    translations of the Bible. Obviously, this happens or we would not have
    that many versions. But, if there is some latitude in translating Jesus'
    activity on/near/by the water (I did not take New Testament Greek), what
    would the point of the story be if Jesus had simply walked along or by the

    3. I agree that the Bible is not "God" nor should we venerate it as if it

    4. You may be aghast that some denominations set pretty stiff entrance
    exams as a requirement to be a member and, by extension, to eternal life
    (from a human perspective). Just look at some of the home pages of the more
    conservative denominations (I won't name any) that stipulate a belief in a
    literal, six-day creation. This does not mean that one cannot be taught in
    churches belonging to these denominations. Is it bad planning? That all
    depends on what the plan is. There are many "mainline" denominations that
    are pretty flexible. If church growth is their goal, they're not doing so
    well, by and large. Ideally, we should perhaps all return to the fold of the
    (Roman) Catholic church and accommodate the wide range of interpretations.
    It would also, conveniently, answer many of the questions on homosexuality
    that Burgy posted (and I am being quite serious here). As I mentioned in an
    earlier post, since we don't know what the Bible is trying to tell us (other
    than that Christ died for sinners and we can't even agree on how many
    sinners He died for), are we deluding ourselves by interpreting that which
    should not be interpreted?


    -----Original Message-----
    From: Lucy Masters []
    Sent: Tuesday August 14, 2001 4:02 PM
    Subject: Jonah et al

    Chuck wrote:

    "...this puts the ENTIRE contents of the Bible on a very shaky
    foundation, including the cross and the resurrection. Your solution
    would, then, include the possibility that the disciples "imagined" the
    resurrection, that Jesus did not really
    die, that his followers stole the body and covered up the crime, that
    they "imagined" Jesus walking on the water, that He didn't really healed
    the blind or threw out demons, or turned water into wine."

    Lucy responds:

    Well...from my perspective, I don't think it matters if the whole Bible
    is put on very shaky foundations. What matters to me is if my **faith**
    is on a shaky foundation. If the Bible is one's foundation of faith,
    then naturally one would not want that foundation shaken. But my faith
    has no foundation in the Bible. Don't get me wrong - it's a great book
    - the finest ever written. However, if every Bible on the planet were
    systematically burned to ashes through some demonic plot, I can assure
    you my faith would not be altered one bit. Nor would that of my
    children who, at that point, would have no way of reading the Bible.
    Again, I see the Bible as an instruction booklet for life - and
    certainly not as my foundation in faith. This is a classic problem, of
    course. I remember when taking New Testament Greek (I was in my forties
    by then) that many of the very young seminary students were aghast to
    discover how much interpretation goes into translation of the original
    text (did Jesus walk ON the water, or NEAR the water, or IN the
    water???). By having the Bible as an anchor to their faith rather than
    using it as an instruction book, they began "floating away" from their
    faith when the anchor was tampered with. "Thou shalt have no other gods
    before me." I don't think the Bible should be a "God." It's a book.

    Chuck wrote:

    "...making their acceptance an entrance requirement into a denomination
    and/or eternal life?"

    Lucy responds:

    Heavens! I think it's terribly naughty to make someone accept as an
    entrance requirement into a church or denomination a rigid set of
    beliefs. It's bad planning, too. I mean, the whole purpose of the
    church is to teach. How can one teach if one shuts out the ignorant at
    the threshold? Not only that, how can one teach if one refuses to learn
    himself? I believe that flexibility, the sharing of different thoughts,
    and so on is the truest nature of religious education. Of all places on
    earth, the church should surely be the most accepting and open for just
    those reasons.

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