Re: personal revelations

From: Graham E. Morbey (
Date: Fri Feb 21 2003 - 09:34:54 EST

  • Next message: Jan de Koning: "Re: personal revelations"

    My thanks to George for his concise and to the point remarks.

            1. Indeed, I was referring to the "letter from Laodicea." The
    possibility of a letter, distinct from Ephesians is suggested in
    Colossians 4:16.

            2. In this case, I was imagining something a little more that a
    shopping list from Peter. The letter mentioned in Colossians would
    probably be treated as canon today by those with a high view of
    scripture since Paul encourages its reading. Then, in order to press my
    point, I considered that it contained something new that would not have
    been able to be deduced from the canon as we have it today, i.e.., new

            3. I am particularly pleased with George's grasp of what I meant
    regarding Christianity not having a sacred language. To me, it is a very
    beautiful evangelical thought and should be made more of in our
    interfaith discussions. No sacred language must come between the
    intimate relationship between God and humanity. (this also goes for
    sacred rules, laws or liturgical actions and therefore might plead for
    the Eucharist or communion as an evangelism tool, but forgive me, I

            4. Terry and one of the Rich's have been very sensitive to my use of
    term motivations. Perhaps I caused the confusion for which I am sorry.
    First, I do not want to impute motivations to anyone, if only for the
    reason that I am introducing thought experiments in the last few emails.
    Also, when I used the term "clear motivations" I meant factors spoken,
    written or right on the surface. I also suggested the possibility that
    some motivations are hidden from the person being motivated and if
    brought into the discussion might be acknowledged or disputed.

            5. Further, an attempt to understand the concepts of general
    revelation/special revelation and common grace/special grace in
    relationship to what is revealed in the bible lies smoldering in my
    mind. How's that for revealing a motivation tenuously connected to my
    emails? How useful are these dichotomies? Have they captured any or
    enough of the mysteries of our views of the world and salvation? Are
    they first, stumbling, heuristic even, scaffolding that needs replacing?
    So I think vital issues regarding faith and science!

    Kind regards,

    George Murphy wrote:
    > Comments on the items below -
    > 1) I'd guess that the "document mentioned in the New Testament that we have
    > never come across yet" is "the letter from Laodicea." It is possible that this letter
    > is extant as the Epistle to the Ephesians. The mss evidence for "in Ephesus" in 1:1 of
    > that Epistle is relatively weak and there's nothing else in the epistle to indicate that
    > it was sent to that particular church - no personal greetings &c. It may have been a
    > circular letter sent to a number of congregations in the area including Laodicea &
    > Ephesus & somehow the latter name got attached to it.
    > 2) If we found one of St. Peter's grocery lists in the original Aramaic it
    > wouldn't automatically become canonical scripture - which is merely an extreme way of
    > saying that not everything written by an apostle is part of the canon. Conversely, some
    > parts of the NT were not written by apostles.
    > 3) Graham can elaborate on his comments on "sacred language" but he is surely
    > correct. While the most profound theological study requires treatment of the original
    > languages, the gospel translates or, to use physicists' language, it is "covariant."
    > This seems to be one of the implications of the Pentecost story & contrasts sharply with
    > the Muslim notion that the Qur'an can't, properly speaking, be translated from Arabic.
    > But that's one difference between revelation being a person and being a book.
    > Shalom,
    > George
    > Rich Blinne wrote:
    > >
    > > Graham E. Morbey wrote:
    > >
    > > >To my way of thinking, the original autograph theory is an invention
    > > >with some clear motivations in front of it. Likewise, cessationism is
    > > >also an invention with some clear motivation behind it. Neither are
    > > >necessary to claim the Bible as the inspired Word of God. If we can
    > > >control the beginning and the end, then we have truth where we want it.
    > > >Christianity is unique among the World religions because it alone
    > > >doesn't have a sacred language. It also may not need a fixed beginning
    > > >and a fixed ending in the way autograph and cessation are used by some.
    > > >But such thinking will suggest further reflection on the relationship of
    > > >general and special revelation. And such thinking does impinge on the
    > > >bible/ science discussion. Rich, there is a document mentioned in the
    > > >New Testament that we have never come across yet. If found it would
    > > >constitute new canon and it might even contain new revelation - like now
    > > >we see in a glass darkly (which we knew already) but, further, that some
    > > >of our pet ideas were bunk!
    > > >
    > > >
    > > Terry knows me personally so he already knows this, but I am a pretty
    > > open-ended kind of guy. Truth rarely is this neatly packaged thing. So
    > > as for myself if there is no beginnning or end that would be fine, but
    > > it simply doesn't match the facts. Imputing of motives is a bad idea
    > > and is also critiqued in Scripture (cf. Nehemiah 6:8). Just as it is
    > > bad to assume all Muslims are crypto-terrorists, it is a bad idea to say
    > > inerrantists are motivated by things which they (I) deny. Futhermore, I
    > > know quite a few inerrantists and I am not aware of any of us motivated
    > > like you stated. Both Terry and I allow for further general
    > > revelation. General revelation is arrived at and critiqued naturally.
    > > Special revelation is arrived at supernaturally and if consistent with
    > > the rest of special revelation is to be received and not critiqued. It
    > > is only the latter category which has a fixed begin/end date. There is
    > > nothing in the nature of special revelation that requires the fixed
    > > begin/end date, however. So, inerrantists/cessations believe in the
    > > fixed start/end date because of what special revelation says about
    > > itself and not because of some sort of a priori epistomological theory.
    > >
    > > Your hypothetical doesn't scare me because one of the reasons I am an
    > > inerrantist is because of the thematic unity of all of Scripture. Even
    > > if we did discover new canon (i.e., a verified writing of a verifiied
    > > Apostle who witnessed Christ's resurrection etc. etc.) I would seriously
    > > doubt that we would think our pet ideas are bunk based solely on this
    > > new writing. If our ideas are bunk the rest of Scripture should be able
    > > to debunk them already.
    > >
    > > Please elaborate on "Christianity is unique among the World religions
    > > because it alone doesn't have a sacred language." because I do not have
    > > the foggiest idea what this means. If you mean pure subjectivism then
    > > it wouldn't be unique because out here in Colorado there are quite a few
    > > of those already.
    > --
    > George L. Murphy

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