[CS-FSLUG] Open Source Theology

Chris Brault gginorio at sbcglobal.net
Thu Jun 15 23:53:11 CDT 2006


>> But I must ask what is your measuring stick for determining the bounds 
>> of heresy? If your answer is "the Holy Bible, and it alone" then I must 
>> ask you, based on your reading of the Bible, how it is that you know 
>> precisely which books, chapters and verses belong in the Canon?  If you 
>> admit that this "table of contents" is itself extra-Biblical then you 
>> must explain to me why you give credence to this particular Church 
>> Tradition and not to others.
> I do not agree with the predicate that the contents of
> the canon are based on tradition, I believe that the more
> accurate phrase would be Holy Spirit inspired preservation.

Perhaps an even better answer is that those who walked and talked with 
Jesus or those that wrote the teachings of those that walked and talked 
with Jesus are accepted as scripture. Such appeared to be the general 
criterion when it came to "common acceptance" in the early church. 
Letters from genuine Apostles, those who were Christ's disciples and 
those who accurately recorded/rendered their teachings/journeys were 
generally accepted by the time the council met "officially" declare what 
was Canon and what wasn't.

Besides that, we know that some of the Early church fathers, even 
including Eusebus made errors that come from their distance from the 
source events. Therefore, in Evangelical circles it is generally 
accepted that the Word we have today (or at least the original 
manuscripts) can be trusted. All else can, and in most cases does, 
contain errors that got worse as the time from the source events increased.

Thus our trust in the Holy Spirit that properly divided the perfect from 
the non-perfect in the minds of early believers so that only the books 
that were real were generally accepted by all when the time came to 
"officially" promote a Canon.


>> In fact, in the age immediately following that of the Apostles, the 
>> verifiable claim to having been instructed and appointed (to church 
>> leadership) by the Apostles and/or their immediate disciples and 
>> appointees was a *truly critical* means of protecting the flocks of 
>> believers by the rampant false teachings and teachers that were popping 
>> up left and right (as the always have, and always do in years BC and 
>> AD).  So to read their writings, carefully comparing the differences and 
>> similarities in what they taught, and ultimately in light of what the 
>> Church's leaders expounded when gathered in ecumenical (and other local) 
>> councils in the proceeding centuries, is an important means to 
>> discerning what exactly the Apostles taught the early Church apart from 
>> those things written down in what became known as the NT, and how the 
>> early Christians themselves interpreted and employed the texts of both 
>> the OT and NT.
> The challenge being to rightly discern which claims to
> Apostolic anointing are genuine and which not is almost
> impossible conjecture.  The record is highly suspect.
> That said, such is unnecessary.  One may readily discern
> 100% of what is necessary to salvation and righteous
> living from the Bible alone -- no external texts are
> necessary.

Indeed, you'll learn alot about how the early church fathers applied 
what they knew to the times in which they lived. You can also learn how 
they understood the Apostles teachings. You can not trust them to be 
inspired by God nor to have heard it directly from Jesus Himself. They 
are great reading as reference material but not scriptural nor on the 
same level as scripture.


>> Again, what is the measure of that?  What if two Christians arrive at 
>> irreconcilable positions of interpretation, what decides between them, 
>> or does it even matter?  Can it be of help to look to what and how the 
>> early church believed, worshipped, interpreted the Scriptures, etc.?

Yes, I agree that each man must be convinced in their own mind, since it 
is their conscious that matters (if you think it is sin, and you do it, 
it is sin). It is the rebellious attitude God doesn't like.

Besides that, most of the time culture can not be separated from 
Biblical interpretation, and a close look at culture can make the reason 
for different interpretations quite clear.


> It has been my experience and observation that the
> study of non-Biblical history is a far more precarious
> pathway to truth than a reference to the Source.



> As previously observed even the original apostles
> erred in application, how much more probable that
> those further distant from Christ would inject
> greater error?

True again.


>> But does that condemnation apply to the Book of Revelation itself? To 
>> the whole of the NT? To the NT and OT together?  If the latter, how do 
>> you know what constitutes the OT and NT to begin with?  [Yes I realize 
>> it's a repeat of my earlier question; I've repeated it for emphasis.]
> Last I checked God did not die after the translation
> of the Latin Vulgate, KJV, or Message translations of
> His Word.
> I believe that He always has and always will preserve
> the essential integrity of His Word for those of good
> will who seek after His truth.

The passage in the Revelation of John is referring to the book of 
Revelations, not to the New Testament Canon, which didn't exist at the time.


>> On the other hand, what about a *tradition* that was handed on by an 
>> Apostle yet was not so clear in Scripture that one could hold to a 
>> different position. For example, the perpetual virginity of the Virgin 
>> Mary.  The Fathers defend this belief as being wholly Apostolic.  John 
>> Calvin in his day wrote that only a person who was fond of disputation 
>> would deny her perpetual virginity.  Yet many Christians today do deny it.
> I am neither a fan or Calvin nor of the so-called church
> fathers, so their opinions bear little weight with me.
> The Word of God makes no mention of "the perpetual virginity
> of the Virgin Mary", quite the contrary -- she had children
> by Joseph.

Of course, Jesus's mother and brothers visited him. James was his 
half-brother. Besides, Joseph lived for a long time after Jesus was born 
and Mary was still a human woman (no matter what people may think). 
Indeed, some of the Church Father's were wrong on this ... as was 
Calvin. Of course, coming from the mother church they probably were so 
indoctrinated that they couldn't see past it. As I've pointed out, the 
farther you get from Jesus means farther you get from His words.



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