Fwd: Re: YEC Destroying Faith

From: Rich Blinne <e-lists@blinne.org>
Date: Fri Apr 16 2004 - 16:31:21 EDT

On Fri, 16 Apr 2004 09:17:26 -0700 (PDT), "Dr. Blake Nelson"
<bnelson301@yahoo.com> said:

> The Koran claims to be from God (even more clearly and
> umambiguously than one can say about the Bible since
> it is largely a unitary text whereas the Bible is
> not), but you assert it is not. What extrinsic
> evidence do you use for that? Does that relate to the
> extrinsic evidence one may have for the inspiration of
> Hebrew and Christian scripture?

You miss my point. Because I came to the conclusion that the Koran does
not come from God and it claims as you stated that it does, I cannot come
to a middle conclusion. I must either accept it or reject it. While
both/and is often the correct answer, sometimes it truly is either/or. If
we a priori reject the either/or paradigm then we need to reject quantum
physics. So, if I have evidence that the Bible or Chruch for that matter
is not what it claims to be, I cannot hold to some middle ground. Hello,

> Given that the canon was chosen by the Church councils
> on the basis of many things -- and one can say they
> were divinely inspired in so doing -- I am still not
> sure what one means that the Bible comes from God
> given that the Bible is a canon of texts. One can
> certainly say each of the texts that the Church has
> selected for the canon are divinely inspired, somehow
> to me that gives a very different emphasis to the
> question than saying "the Bible came from God" which
> may be a shorthand way of saying what otherwise takes
> a long time to explain, but the shorthand way does
> violence, I think, to understanding what the canon is.

It doesn't matter whether you ground the authority in Scripture or the
Church. If you posit the latter you still have to deal with the Church's
dogma that Scripture is God's Word. So, if the Church claims something
concerning Scripture and it isn't true, then all I said concerning
Scripture applies mutatis mutandi to the Church's witness. This is what
is behind the spiritual crises amongst Catholics because of the sex
scandal in the Church.

> > While we
> > may disagree about how to interpret Genesis 1, it is
> > undeniable that the
> > Bible claims a divine origin.
> Why the term origin rather than inspiration?

Because of the problem that inspiration means many things and the
exegetical problem of what theopneustos means. Origin contains all the
possibilities without the false impressions that the word inspiration
might invoke.

> > If it does not have a
> > divine origin, then
> > it is a lie and it is morally reprehensible to
> > follow it. As such,
> > becoming a "liberal" as defined above really isn't
> > an option. Thus, when
> > discussing this with YECs or ex-YECs, an unequivocal
> > support of Scripture
> > being God's Word is essential.
> I thought Jesus, according to John, was God's Word.
> Am I wrong in thinking that? And the canon is a
> divinely inspired witness to that Word, not the Word
> itself.

Again, if the written Word (or the Church) is discredited then what
either or both say concerning the Living Word is also suspect. This is
the nub of the spiritual crisis. Re-read my original post and see the
doubts concerning the Living Word when doubts are sewn concerning the
Written Word.

> > Otherwise, we are
> > spreading atheism.
> Is bibliolatry better than atheism? The Bible,
> however divinely inspired, is not the Father, Son, or
> Holy Ghost.

I sure hope you don't use this in practice. The crisis is legitimate and
the people involved only want to follow the truth. Heaping false
accusations on top of this will only make matters worse. Either, the
person will be further disenfranchised with Christians or (more likely)
their doubts will be made even more pronounced.

> I think I have said before, the Orthodox, who venerate
> the canon, would think that the emphasis on the Bible
> as "divine" per se is out of place (if not heretical)
> in several respects, not least of which it is Jesus of
> Nazareth, the living, risen Christ, who is the
> informing aspect of our faith. The canon is a Church
> selected (albeit divinely inspired) witness to the
> risen and living Christ, but it is not substitute for
> Him nor for the Church which witnesses to Him and is
> His mystical body.

If you are a jury, and a witness is caught in a lie will you believe him
even when he tells the truth? Will you trust the witness' friend when he
testifies? No, everything collapses. The Orthodox theory of authority
does not extract itself from this morass. If Scripture goes down, so does
the Church.

> I am sympathetic to the idea that they would think one
> has it backwards when one looks first to the canon
> rather than to Christ and His church for the basis of
> one's faith. While there is an interrelated,
> iterative process involving Christ, church and
> scripture (as well as other things, no doubt) in
> faith, one has to consider what is most important.

There is also an iterative process away from first Scripture, then the
Church, and finally Christ. This is an order of thinking, not order of

> One should note on a lot of theological issues
> Orthodoxy is by and large pretty conservative. They
> are hardly liberals in any pejorative sense Glenn, et
> al. may want to use in either interpretation of
> scripture or veneration of scripture or morality or
> church order, etc., etc., etc. As far as I am aware,
> source criticism (or any other potential bogeyman
> about debasing scripture) has not made much of an
> impact in Orthodox theology. Yet, they have a
> radically different view of the context of the canon.

Just one note in passing. While I defined what I meant by liberal I did
not identify who was or was not one. With respect to either the Orthodox
or Catholic Church neither (at least for the traditionalists) say
Scripture is not God's Word. Liberalism is independent of which portion
of Christendom you come from. Machen was deliberate when he wrote
"Christianity AND Liberalism". According to him, Liberalism is outside
the bounds of all three branches of Christendom.

> > It is
> > the minced support of Scripture that makes the YEC
> > and ex-YEC justifiably
> > suspicious of us. Our yes needs to be yes, and our
> > no, no.
> And I think one can thoroughly support scripture and
> reject bibliolatry. Although not everyone would be
> amenable to such a view at first glance and one cannot
> always support a particular scripture in the
> particular way that a person may want to. Heck, there
> is significant disagreement in exegesis on many
> theological issues not to even get into hermeneutical
> issues, etc. If the disagreement on theological
> issues does not undermine YECs (I trust not all YECs
> have the same view about every particular piece of
> theology -- I am sure there are among others
> differences between pre and post trib YECs, I would
> venture there may even be amillenial YECs -- if such
> is the case, why would different hermeneutic
> approaches undermine them in a way that exegetical
> differences would not?) Why doesn't amillenialism
> push people into atheism? Or does it? Is the
> difference that there is more extrinsic evidence
> available in the YEC issue and thus the stakes, if you
> will, are in one sense higher? I don't know.
> Thinking about the question logically, I am hard
> pressed to find a difference between arguing against
> YEC and arguing for amillenialism in context of
> christian faith, but maybe I am missing something
> since I have not been part of a tradition where either
> debate was particularly seminal.

For the record, I was an amillenial YEC. By solving a nonexistent problem
(bibliolatry) you miss (and possibly exasperate) the real one. It is not
the YEC's view of Scripture that is wrong, it is their interpretation. No
YEC claims to be an infallable interpretter of Scripture. So, if that is
what is dealt with and they are proven wrong, no crisis occurs. In fact
the respect (not worship) of the text, can be used because the YEC wants
to exegete rather than eisegete the text. Liberalism attacks not only the
interpretation but also the text itself. It is that latter attack which
in the end pushes people to atheism.
Received on Fri Apr 16 16:32:23 2004

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