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

From: John Burgeson (ASA member) <>
Date: Tue Sep 22 2009 - 09:47:05 EDT

To Bernie:

FWIW, I once wrote out how and when I became a Christian. My path
sounds a little like yours.

If you have an interest, that story is on my web site at

On 9/22/09, Merv Bitikofer <> wrote:
> 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.
> --Merv
> 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)
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Received on Tue Sep 22 09:48:15 2009

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