Re: [asa] RE: (fall-away) TE and apologetics

From: Merv Bitikofer <>
Date: Tue Sep 22 2009 - 08:16:05 EDT

Bernie, despite my dwelling on other issues below, I am in prayerful
agreement with others here, I'm sure that you come through your trials
somehow with a revived and even strengthened faith in the end. Perhaps
my exchange with William is related to your struggle or your perception
that you have already experienced a loss of faith. But I think that in
part you have been a victim of a demand for complete literalism when the
real Truth demands some intellectual sweat from us in discerning when
literal truth is indispensable and when it is peripheral.

To Bill,
I should be careful to disclaim that I am an authority enough to know
that there were no other ramifications (or "points") to his vision; so
perhaps I should have used another phrase than "sole point". But the
intent of that emphasis was to elevate the passage above and separate it
from our tendency to want everything to be a literal event before we are
willing to receive any truth from it. And I now stand by that
emphasis. I don't take it to be commentary that God couldn't / didn't /
or won't do such a literal thing -- i.e. the resurrection. Paul is
pretty explicit that the resurrection was a literal bodily event; while
other passages such as the bones seen by Ezekiel are pretty explicitly
stated to be a vision, and that these bones metaphorically ARE Israel
(Ezekiel 37:11) To the exiles in Babylonian captivity, such a message
would have seemed just as fantastic as literal bones coming to life.

I think the Spirit can lead us to apply these passages to our own modern
situations in similar ways -- if that is your concern then I am in
agreement with you. You should also be able to see my point; that to
get caught up over the peripheral questions that a child (or any of us)
might ask: "Where did this 'army' go? Were they naked? Who housed
them?" begin to distract us from the vision in the same, perhaps silly
way that someone could get caught up on questions like "what country did
the prodigal go to?" or "Did he get half the remaining inheritance again
later?" or "Did that really happen somewhere?" --surely you agree that
while such questions can be interesting to some, they are decidedly
peripheral to the central teaching of the story. If it is threatening
to the faith of some to suggest this (I know such a person who was
scandalized by the suggestion that the parables weren't literally
"true") then I certainly won't push the issue. In fact, your response
and my own dwelling on my counterpoint this long are reinforcing my
original contention, I think.


wjp wrote:
> I don't believe the "sole point of his *vision* in the first place: That the "dry bones" (Israel) could seem a hopelessly dead situation, and yet God promises that life will be breathed into their "hopeless" situation."
> It is not exactly clear what you mean by this, but you could be interpreted as saying that our "hopelessly dead situation" is troubles with our neighbors, lost job, etc. And the new life He breathes into them is perhaps a job, dissolution of trouble, or even a new attitude.
> All of this may be true. But it is quite a different story when we are really dead, as dead as dry bones, and the new life is a resurrected life. If God does such things for us, it is not unreasonable to believe He could and did to the same for the dry bones.
> If, on the other hand, Ezekiel only had a vision and there was no literal transformation from death to life, then perhaps all this resurrection talk is also just a metaphor for a new kind of attitude or the like.
> It is possible, of course, to hold, as you do I'm sure, that there is a real bodily resurrection and Ezekiel was only speaking of a vision. My only point is that it can matter a great deal what you take to be taking place.
> It makes a difference whether you are committed to the possibility that it was more than a vision. Indeed, I suggest, it makes a big difference. For, otherwise, you attest that it is impossible that, or extraordinarily unlikely that, it was anything more than a vision, a position that stands very close to a kind of metaphysics, a difference that ought to matter.
> bill
> On Mon, 21 Sep 2009 16:50:43 -0500, wrote:
>> In the junior-high Sunday school which I taught this last Sunday, we read
>> and
>> discussed Ezekiel and his vision of the dry bones. I resolved ahead of
>> time
>> that I would NOT broach the subject of whether or not this was a literal
>> event
>> (though I would gladly discuss it if they brought it up and were curious
>> about
>> that aspect.) I was delighted when it was not brought up and we focused
>> entirely on the sole point of his *vision* in the first place: That the
>> "dry
>> bones" (Israel) could seem a hopelessly dead situation, and yet God
>> promises
>> that life will be breathed into their "hopeless" situation. I think it
>> tragic
>> that our exploration of so many Biblical prophecies and passages gets
>> hijacked
>> by our modern obsession with scientific literalness so that the main
>> points
>> being communicated get lost; ---and even worse: that we dare to presume
>> that
>> its historic/scientific truth is prerequisite to our awarding it any
>> further
>> consideration of deeper profundity or truth.
>> --Merv
>> Quoting gordon brown <Gordon.Brown@Colorado.EDU>:
>>> On Mon, 21 Sep 2009, Dehler, Bernie wrote:
>>>> The idea of a firmament is wrong. Same with the idea of the Earth
>> being
>>>> stationary and unmoveable (it is moving 67,000 mph around the Sun),
>> and
>>> the
>>>> universe being geocentric.
>>> In spite of their past use to oppose Copernicanism, I Chronicles 16:30,
>>> Psalm 93:1, and Psalm 104:5 do not appear to be concerned with celestial
>>> mechanics. They contain no hint of addressing the relationship of the
>>> earth to other bodies. The poets appear to be making an analogy with a
>>> building that is so well constructed that it can't be shaken off its
>>> foundation.
>>> Gordon Brown (ASA member)

To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Tue Sep 22 08:17:13 2009

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Tue Sep 22 2009 - 08:17:13 EDT