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HolyGround >> The Sufficiency of The Word


7/4/12 1:41 AM
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Ridgeback
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reverend john - It is a journey towards Christ likeness. It never is complete. Christ calls us to follow Him, to be filled with the Spirit, and to obey. As we walk in obedience, as we partake in His grace and mercy we are to become transformed by the renewing of our mind. To be set free from the bondage of this earth, and culture, and free from its slavery.

The problem I find is that in recognizing "saints" according to criteria such as a certain amount of miracles must be attested to the person and so on, it by its very specialness, takes away the impetus for the "normal" people to strive towards true discipleship.

Though I know the word saint is a biblical word, I believe that it can become unhelpful in certain conversations. I believe like Ridge does that the ultimate goal of the church is to encourage and support people in becoming disciples of Christ. Not fans, not the crowds, but real followers. Too often we see these people as unattainable holy people and lean almost to worship of them, but what is more healthy is to see them as men and women who have gone before us and inspire and encourage us towards Christ.

rev

 I think to some degree this is more of a Catholic issue.  The process by which Orthodox "Saints" are recognized is much more organic.  At worst it is a form of "professionalism" of the faith, but I see every tradition as  prone to that (think of how Billy Graham is deified for instance) but at best the champions of the faith tell us that this is very much possible, that we are likewise called to that same attainment, and that we can (best of all) ask for their prayers because they have done this and they are now part of that "great cloud of witnesses.... of just men made perfect."  

I think saints are worthy of veneration because we see Christ in them.  We don't worship them, but I think it is fatal to fall into the "well, they are just the same as you and me" fallancy as well.  
7/4/12 11:29 AM
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reverend john
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its fatal? Do you believe that or is it just hyperbole?, not an attack, I am fond of hyperbole myself.

rev
7/4/12 4:08 PM
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Ali
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without presuming to know whether someone else in particular is knowingly hyperbolic or not...

*generally*.... the word "fatal" is a bit of academe-sanctioned hyperbole. (Hyperbowl!)

"Fatal" flaws in arguments and such. So it's often not speaking of the death of a reader, or anybody's body. Or even soul. But "fatal" to the logic of the argument, or "fatal" to a next step in a syllogism.
7/4/12 5:33 PM
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Ridgeback
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Ali - without presuming to know whether someone else in particular is knowingly hyperbolic or not...

*generally*.... the word "fatal" is a bit of academe-sanctioned hyperbole. (Hyperbowl!)

"Fatal" flaws in arguments and such. So it's often not speaking of the death of a reader, or anybody's body. Or even soul. But "fatal" to the logic of the argument, or "fatal" to a next step in a syllogism.

 Correct.  The reason it is fatal is because it implies that there is no difference between the average struggling Christian and those few who have achieved this higher degree of sanctity, implying every person is equally full of Christ and every person is equally in communion with God, which I don't believe any person really believes.   And this is demonstrated in the fact that the Rev. is admiring Dorothy Day and taking her words and life seriously becuase she did demonstrate something that stood out.  


7/4/12 5:43 PM
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reverend john
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I know the way in which he was using the word but I do not find it to be correct. It may just be a distinction in word usage or perspective but I believe Dorothy day is very much just like anyone else. She has just walked more obediently and for longer in the way of the cross. So she is of the same essence with the same spirit and we all can and I believe should walk in similar faith and obedience. I think the distinction is important and is what she was talking about

The tendency in our world to think that others are just born better than us is very great. If you work your ass off study all the technique and have all the courage in the world if you are not 6'10" 265 you will not be Lebron James. But anyone can be a "saint" if they practice obedience and faith

hope that makes sense

rev Phone Post
7/4/12 6:48 PM
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Ali
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are you talking about the word "fatal" or the word "saint", now?
7/4/12 7:06 PM
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reverend john
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The idea that it is a "fatal flaw" to see those called saints as like us

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7/4/12 8:31 PM
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Ridgeback
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I know what you are saying and I disagree.  I think Lewis has the right idea here:

I think the "low" church milieu that I grew up in did tend to be too cosily at ease in Sion. My grandfather, I'm told, used to say that he "looked forward to having some very interesting conversations with St. Paul when he got to heaven." Two clerical gentlemen talking at ease in a club! It never seemed to cross his mind that an encounter with St. Paul might be rather an overwhelming experience for an Evagelical clergyman of good family. But when Dante saw the great apostles in heaven they affected him like mountains. There's lots to be said against devotions to saints; but at least they keep on reminding us that we are very small people compared with them. How much smaller before their Master?

Letters to Malcolm, letter 2 
7/4/12 8:44 PM
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reverend john
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But if we are so much lower than is than how are we to attain? If st john of the cross thought he would never be like st Francis or Benedict he would not strive to be st john

I have no illusions I am not st Francis but that is not because he was "special" but because he was obedient and as I become obedient I become more like him as he was more like Christ

Rev Phone Post
7/4/12 11:14 PM
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Ridgeback
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 I don't see it as a contradiction anymore than the first time you roll against a black belt as a white belt and realize the gulf between you means you will never be a black belt yourself. The gulf can be closed with hard work and many, many hours on the mat, but that doesn't change the difference in skills.

And yes I agree that a Saint is not special from the rest of us.  I see that both as verification that Christianity "works" and that we are without excuse if we don't become saints ourselves.  And I have agreed with your point that for some people the difference becomes an excuse to not work.  Lots of people have in fact rolled with black belts as white belts and said "screw it, I will never be that good" but I think it is a cop-out.  In fact, it is very much a thread of tradition theology that Jesus was not some super human with godlike powers, but rather a fully human man who realized the potential we were all called to.  His calming of the storms and power over death weren't supposed to be seen as exceptional, but rather what we lost in the Fall.  

Honestly I don't think we disagree except where our anxieties lie.  You came from a Catholic background where the Saints tend to be put on pedestals that no mere Catholic can ever attain to and I came from fundamentalist churches where Mary was never mentioned except on Christmas and many a pastor said "she was nothing special."  I guess like most things it comes down to which side of the horse we are afraid of falling off of.  


7/4/12 11:41 PM
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reverend john
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Well I think where the analogy falls apart is that certain people, like Cobrinho for instance have a god given talent, flexibility, and athleticism that no matter how hard you or I train we will never be as good as he is. I don't believe it is like that with the saints.

but yeah, like I said earlier it is a matter of wording things. And I think in this discussion we are talking about Day's statement, and what it meant.

for what its worth, I think the protestants ignoring of Mary is sickening

rev
7/9/12 9:47 PM
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Lahi
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Just started reading 'The Life You Save May Be Your Own.' Thanks Rev and Ridge for the recommendation, really good so far.
7/10/12 7:31 AM
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PastorJosh
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colubrid1 - The Sufficiency of The Word


It is significant that one of the biblical names of Christ is Wonderful Counselor (Isa. 9:6). He is the highest and ultimate One to whom we may turn for counsel, and His Word is the well from which we may draw divine wisdom. What could be more wonderful than that? In fact, one of the most glorious aspects of Christ’s perfect sufficiency is the wonderful counsel and great wisdom He supplies in our times of despair, confusion, fear, anxiety, and sorrow. He is the quintessential Counselor.

This is not to denigrate the importance of Christians counseling each other. There certainly is a crucial need for biblically sound counseling ministries within the Church, and this need is met by those who are spiritually gifted to offer encouragement, discernment, comfort, advice, compassion, and help to others. In fact, one of the very problems that has led to the current plague of bad counsel is that churches have not done as well as they could in equipping people with those kinds of gifts to minister effectively. In addition, the complexities of this modern age have made it more difficult to take the time necessary to listen well, serve others through compassionate personal involvement, and otherwise provide the close fellowship necessary for the church body to enjoy health and vitality.

Churches have looked to psychology to fill the gap, but it isn’t going to work. Professional psychologists are no substitute for spiritually gifted people, and the counsel that psychology offers cannot replace biblical wisdom and divine power. Moreover, psychology tends to make people dependent on a therapist, whereas those exercising true spiritual gifts always turn people back to all-sufficient Savior and His all-sufficient Word.

A Psalm on Scripture’s Sufficiency Psalm 19:7–9 is the most monumental and concise statement on the sufficiency of Scripture ever made. Penned by David under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, these three verses offer unwavering testimony from God Himself about the sufficiency of His Word for every situation and thereby counter the teaching of those who believe that God’s Word must be augmented with truth gleaned from modern psychology. In this passage David makes six statements, each highlighting a characteristic of Scripture and describing its effect in the life of the one who embraces it. Taken together, these statements paint a beautiful picture of the sufficiency of God’s Word.

Scripture Is Perfect, Restoring the Soul In the first statement (v. 7), David says, “The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul.” This word “perfect” is the translation of a common Hebrew word meaning “whole,” “complete,” or “sufficient.” It conveys the idea of something that is comprehensive, so as to cover all aspects of an issue. Scripture is comprehensive, embodying all that is necessary to one’s spiritual life. David’s implied contrast here is with the imperfect, insufficient, flawed reasoning of men.

God’s perfect law, David says, affects people by “restoring the soul” (v. 7). To paraphrase David’s words, Scripture is so powerful and comprehensive that it can convert or transform the entire person, changing someone into precisely the person God wants him to be. God’s Word is sufficient to restore through salvation even the most broken life—a fact to which David himself gave abundant testimony.

Scripture Is Trustworthy, Imparting Wisdom David further expands the sweep of scriptural sufficiency in Psalm 19:7, writing, “The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.” David’s use of the word “sure” means that the Lord’s testimony is unwavering, immovable, unmistakable, reliable, and worthy to be trusted. It provides a foundation on which to build one’s life and eternal destiny.

God’s sure Word makes the simple wise (v. 7). The Hebrew word translated “simple” comes from an expression meaning “an open door.” It evokes the image of a naive person who doesn’t know to shut his mind to false or impure teaching. He is undiscerning, ignorant, and gullible, but God’s Word makes him wise. Such a man is skilled in the art of godly living: He submits to Scripture and knows how to apply it to his circumstances. The Word of God thus takes a simple mind with no discernment and makes it skilled in the issues of life.

Scripture Is Right, Causing Joy In verse 8, David adds a third statement about Scripture’s sufficiency: “The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart.” Rather than simply indicating what is right as opposed to wrong, the word translated “right” has the sense of showing someone the true path. The truths of Scripture lay out the proper path through the difficult maze of life. That brings a wonderful confidence. So many people are distressed or despondent because they lack direction and purpose, and most of them seek answers from the wrong sources. God’s Word not only provides the light to our path (Ps. 119:105), but also sets the route before us.

Because it steers us through the right course of life, God’s Word brings great joy. If one is depressed, anxious, fearful, or doubting, the solution is found not in self-indulgent pursuits like self-esteem and self-fulfillment. The solution is found in learning to obey God’s counsel and sharing in the resulting delight. Divine truth is the fount of true and lasting joy. All other sources are shallow and fleeting.

Scripture Is Pure, Enlightening the Eyes Psalm 19:8 gives a fourth characteristic of Scripture’s utter sufficiency: “The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.” This word “pure” could better be translated “clear” or “lucid,” and it indicates that Scripture is not mystifying, confusing, or puzzling. God’s Word reveals truth to make the dark things light, bringing eternity into bright focus. Granted, there are things in Scripture that are hard to understand (2 Pet. 3:16), but taken as a whole, the Bible is not a bewildering book. It is clear and lucid.

Because of its absolute clarity, Scripture brings understanding where there is ignorance, order where there is confusion, and light where there is spiritual and moral darkness. It stands in stark contrast to the muddled musings of unredeemed men, who themselves are blind and unable to discern truth or live righteously. God’s Word clearly reveals the blessed, hopeful truths they can never see.

Scripture Is Clean, Enduring Forever In Psalm 19:9 David uses the term “fear” as a synonym for God’s Word: “The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever.” This “fear” speaks of the reverential awe for God that compels believers to worship Him. Scripture, in this sense, is the divine manual on how to worship the Lord. The Hebrew word “clean” speaks of the absence of impurity, filthiness, defilement, or imperfection. Scripture is without sin, evil, corruption, or error. The truth it conveys is therefore absolutely undefiled and without blemish.

Because it is flawless, Scripture endures fo
My friend, wonderful post. Sola Scriptura, Sola gratia, sola fide!

Be blessed Phone Post
7/10/12 9:52 PM
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Grakman
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Edited: 07/10/12 9:56 PM
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It's interesting that the man credited with coining the phrase 'sola scriptura', Martin Luther, didn't really trust the scriptures all that much himself. He wanted to have the books of James, Jude, Hebrews, and Revelation removed from the canon. He also believed in the doctrine of soul sleep and discounted the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus. And then of course there is the rabid anti-Semitism of his later years, which was so egregious that his plan for the eradication of the Jews from Germany has been called a 'blueprint' for the Nazi final solution. So while everyone else is debating homosexual Christians and adulterous Christians, and whether one can 'be' a homosexual or adulterous Christian, what do we say about a man like Martin Luther, the Father of the Reformation? Not to mention that the men who are credited with selecting the books of the Bible and making them the 'official' canon were, well, probably heretics according to the sola scriptura crowd, since they believed in things like salvation by baptism and priestly confession, not to mention purgatory, the communion of saints, the Blessed Virgin....
7/10/12 11:08 PM
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Lahi
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Edited: 07/10/12 11:12 PM
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Good post Grakman.

Pastor Josh, would you be kind enough to give some specific things the Rev believes or does that you see as terribly heretical? Maybe you've gotten into this more in posts I haven't seen, but lately I've just read general denunciations and name calling from you, and I'm genuinely curious.

I was thinking today about ways the Rev has led me astray: a few are by encouraging me to take Jesus seriously when it comes to loving our enemies, and not living a life based on violence; seeing Christ in the poor and hurting, and trying to stand in solidarity with them; taking the gospels seriously, really studying them, and working to live them out with others; spending time in prayer regularly; not sleeping around, and taking God's call to sex belonging in faithful marriage seriously. Just a few things that come to mind. These are areas where very real changes have been made in my life, struggle as I still do. It just seems obvious to me that these aren't the fruits of a false or wicked teacher, wherever else you may disagree with him.

Not to butt in on your conversation, and I know the Rev doesn't need me defending him. But since I'm gullible (or however you put it), and being led astray, I thought I would share my thoughts here.
7/16/12 1:36 AM
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DyingBreed
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Lahi - Good post Grakman.

Pastor Josh, would you be kind enough to give some specific things the Rev believes or does that you see as terribly heretical? Maybe you've gotten into this more in posts I haven't seen, but lately I've just read general denunciations and name calling from you, and I'm genuinely curious.

I was thinking today about ways the Rev has led me astray: a few are by encouraging me to take Jesus seriously when it comes to loving our enemies, and not living a life based on violence; seeing Christ in the poor and hurting, and trying to stand in solidarity with them; taking the gospels seriously, really studying them, and working to live them out with others; spending time in prayer regularly; not sleeping around, and taking God's call to sex belonging in faithful marriage seriously. Just a few things that come to mind. These are areas where very real changes have been made in my life, struggle as I still do. It just seems obvious to me that these aren't the fruits of a false or wicked teacher, wherever else you may disagree with him.

Not to butt in on your conversation, and I know the Rev doesn't need me defending him. But since I'm gullible (or however you put it), and being led astray, I thought I would share my thoughts here.
Sounds to me like the rev taught you some things that need to be taught (and acted out) more often in the church. We get so caught up in who is right and who is wrong theologically and who is in and who is out that we miss entirely what really matters to God.


I am curious as well the details of where and how the rev has led some astray. Phone Post

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