Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Teachings of Jesus


I was reading a conservative brother encouraging us to take Jesus at his word. To that, I can only shout, Amen!

Let us, please, take Jesus ExACTLY at his word, not adding to it things like "virgin birth," "sola Scriptura," "penal substitutionary atonement," "sometimes, it's okay for governments to bomb cities and kill innocents," "inerrancy," "you must take Genesis to be a literal history," "you must be opposed to gay folk getting married" and other nonsense that Jesus NEVER one time even mentioned, much less made an "essential"  component of his teachings (something that is never discussed by a teacher can not reasonably be called "essential...").

But let us please take Jesus at his word and take THAT word seriously, IF we are going to be followers of Jesus.

To that end, Jesus' words (some of them), as reminder:

Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.

Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied.

But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.

Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry.

Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.

If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?

[D]o not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?  ...Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Do not store up treasures here on earth.

You cannot serve God and money.

Sell your belongings, give to the poor.

When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed.
Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.
No one of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.

I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.

And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.

And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.

Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.


Neither do I condemn you.

Sabbath was made for humanity, not humanity for the Sabbath.

Come to me ALL you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

If anyone wants to follow in my footsteps, he must give up all right to himself, carry his cross every day and keep close behind me. For the man who wants to save his life will lose it, but the man who loses his life for my sake will save it. For what is the use of a man gaining the whole world if he loses or forfeits his own soul?

Anyone who accepts a little child in my name is really accepting me, and the man who accepts me is really accepting the one who sent me. It is the humblest among you all who is really the greatest.

You must not stop him. The man who is not against you is on your side.


Yes, and I do blame you experts in the Law! For you pile up back-breaking burdens for men to bear, but you yourselves will not raise a finger to lift them. Alas for you, for you build memorial tombs for the prophets - the very men whom your fathers murdered. You show clearly enough how you approve your father's actions. They did the actual killing and you put up a memorial to it...

Alas for you experts in the Law, for you have taken away the key of knowledge. You have never gone in yourselves and you have hindered everyone else who was at the door!

Why don't you judge for yourselves what is right?!

If your brother offends you, take him to task about it, and if he is sorry, forgive him.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

I have loved you just as the Father has loved me. You must go on living in my love. If you keep my commandments you will live in my love just as I have kept my Father's commandments and live in his love.

There is no greater love than this - that a man should lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I tell you to do. I shall not call you servants any longer, for a servant does not share his master's confidence. No, I call you friends, now...

May your kingdom come, and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day the bread we need, Forgive us what we owe to you, as we have also forgiven those who owe anything to us. Keep us clear of temptation, and save us from evil...

Don't criticise people, and you will not be criticised. For you will be judged by the way you criticise others.

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; ...He will do even greater things than these...

The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free,

For I deserve mercy, not sacrifice.

Follow me.

...for starters.

58 comments:

Bubba said...

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."

“Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

“Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

“You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban”’ (that is, given to God)—then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.”

“The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise.”

“Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Bubba said...

“This generation is an evil generation. It seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah. For as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here. The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.”

“Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot—they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all—so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed.”

“These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”

“Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope. For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”

Bubba said...

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.”

Dan Trabue said...

Yes, those, too, are teachings of Jesus. Perhaps not as central or as common or obvious as the ones I cited, but certainly teachings of Jesus. And we should seek to embrace them all, if we are followers of Jesus.

For instance, that last one about deliberately false teachers, those who deliberately are "as ravenous wolves" with malicious intent... obviously, we should be wary of such people.

Just as true, however, is that we ought not confuse those who merely disagree with us (ie, likely most of our disagreements) with the deliberately malicious. After all, as Jesus taught, those who are not against us are on our side.

Dan Trabue said...

Likewise, we ought not confuse Jesus' actual words for mere human theories. For instance, when Jesus says, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them..." we should not confuse this as "...therefore, Jesus is demanding that sola scriptura is an essential teaching of his..." It's fine to promote that as a human theory (however irrational or self-defeating that argument may or may not be), but we should not confuse the human theory with Jesus' actual teachings.

Agreed?

Similarly, we ought not confuse Jesus saying "Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female" with the human theory that espouses that God or Jesus would be opposed to gay folk marrying. That is literally and precisely NOT what Jesus is saying. At all. So, while it's fine to hold that human theory as an idea (however harmful or grace-less that idea may be), but we ought not suggest that Jesus is endorsing what quite literally he factually did not.

Similarly, when Jesus says, "Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” we ought not conflate that obviously metaphorical quote with an endorsement of the human theory of penal substitutionary atonement. Again, offer that human theory AS a human theory if you wish (no matter how ridiculous or irrational it may seem), but don't conflate that human hunch with Jesus' actual words.

Or, from the other side of things, when Jesus says "turn the other cheek," "love your enemies" and other similiar teachings, we ought not confuse the human theory of Just Peacemaking or Christian pacifism with Jesus' actual words (no matter how obvious or rational it may be).

Agreed?

Do you agree, Bubba, that there's a difference between offering a human hunch - AS a hunch - and saying, "I think perhaps this is what Jesus is getting at..." in a spirit of humility and grace... between doing that and saying "No, these extrapolations ARE what Jesus taught, I am able to speak for Jesus on this point..."?

Bubba said...

I believe that we should certainly distinguish between divine revelation and merely human speculation. Jesus Himself distinguished between God's commandments and human tradition, and in one of the passages I quoted -- from Mark 7:9-13 -- Jesus clearly equates what Moses said and what God commanded.

It's almost as if He affirmed the unique authority of Scripture.

When it's not always clear what we should conclude from Jesus' teachings, we fortunately have the teachings of the Apostles, who Jesus personally authorized to teach in His name and who claimed to teach with the authority of Christ rather than, say, the authority of the church He founded.

What could we possibly make of Jesus claim that His blood was shed for the forgiveness of sin? Well...

- Paul taught that God put forward Jesus as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.

- John taught that the blood of Jesus God's Son cleanses us from all sin.

- Peter taught that Jesus bore our sins in his body on the tree: by his wounds we have been healed.

And Jesus affirmed the lasting authority of Scripture to the smallest pen-stroke, frequently cited it as the final authority in resolving controversies, and claimed that all three parts of Jewish Scripture wrote about Him. Supposing that isn't enough to draw any conclusions, the Apostolic teaching is that Scripture is God-breathed and the Apostles impart their teaching in words taught by the Spirit of God.

And one might wonder whether Jesus required personal non-retaliation or a governmental policy of pacifism (and de facto anarchy, if one were logicially consistent), but the Apostles teach that the government does not bear the sword in vain, and this teaching immediately follows -- and is presented as implicitly complementary to -- the command to bless those who persecute you and to feed your enemies.

Jesus promised the men in the Upper Room that the Spirit would teach them all things: we should then expect that the Apostles would clarify and amplify what He taught, and as we read what they taught, doctrines like sola scriptura become ever more unavoidable, and doctrines like strict pacifism become ever more implausible.

Bubba said...

What I find very interesting is that you denigrate what I cited, however slightly: they are "[p]erhaps not as central or as common or obvious as the ones I cited."

I quote Matthew 5:17-20, you quote Matthew 5:39-42, which is arguably an example of the higher righteousness that Christ demands in what I quoted.

I quote Matthew 19:4-6, you quote part of Matthew 19:21.

You quote the teaching in the Upper Room that there is no greater love than a man laying down his life for his friends, and I quote the teaching from the same night in which Jesus makes clear what He is accomplishing in laying down His life for us, in part of what He instituted as the one ceremony that His followers were to repeat in His absence: "Do this in remembrance of me."

But what I quote is "[p]erhaps not as central or as common or obvious as the ones I cited."

Those passages certainly aren't convenient to you, as they demonstrate just how much Jesus did in fact teach about the authority of Scripture, the meaning of His death, and God's will regarding sexuality.

But not obvious? They're in the same four gospels you cite, often on the same page and as part of the same conversation. Some copies of the New Testament put Jesus' words in red ink; I had no idea that other copies only emphasize His obvious teachings, putting the rest in light gray or some other color.

Not common? Some of what I quote is frequently repeated in wedding ceremonies, in observances of the Lord's Supper, and in Easter services; I suppose they're not as useful to community organizers and radical agitators, but the passages are quite common among people who actually follow Christ rather than just try to invoke Christ to advance their own political agenda.

And not central? In one case, what I quote from Matthew 5 is the overarching principle from which Jesus derived the six antitheses that you quoted. From both what Jesus Himself taught and what the writers emphasize, it is clear that the climax of Jesus' ministry was His death and not the preaching of some sermon or political manifesto. And in the few hours of interaction with His followers following the Resurrection, Jesus spent the time showing how His death and resurrection fulfilled Jewish Scripture, pointing to the importance of the former and the authority of the latter.

It's amazing that the sayings of Jesus that you didn't quote -- the ones you don't think are central or obvious -- just happen to be the ones that point to the theological and ethical issues that you scoff at as unrelated to the call to be His serious followers. What are the odds?

Obvious cherry-picking is obvious.

And we can judge you by that fruit.

See ya around.

Dan Trabue said...

It's almost as if He affirmed the unique authority of Scripture.

Almost. It certainly seems that way to some people. Many humans HAVE offered that up as a HUMAN THEORY. One that I think is irrational, unbiblical and self-defeating, from a simple logical point of view. But certainly many people have offered their hunch about a "unique authority," because it "almost" seems that way TO THEM.

Do you understand the difference, though Bubba, between what it "almost SEEMS LIKE" to some humans and that some humans have developed a Human Theory about a "unique authority" and Jesus himself actually affirming this theory?

Do you understand the difference between human theory and what the text literally says?

Dan Trabue said...

It's amazing that the sayings of Jesus that you didn't quote -- the ones you don't think are central or obvious -- just happen to be the ones that point to the theological and ethical issues that you scoff at as unrelated to the call to be His serious followers. What are the odds?


I did not quote some of Jesus' sayings that many humans have lifted out of context and offered theories that are not what Jesus said (and I'd argue are often antithetical to what Jesus literally said) and instead offered the ones that I think are more "essential" or of the essence and clear meaning of Jesus' teachings. Why wouldn't I? I was speaking of what I think are Jesus' most clear teachings and of following those teachings, not some human theories, and certainly not some human theories that many humans have insisted are "essential" to "Christianity" - but are not part of anything Jesus taught.

I did not say those texts are not there. I do not deny they say what they say. I did not attempt to cite all of Jesus' words. Just some of the most, in my mind, central to his actual collection of teachings and powerful and obvious. You certainly cited some others. Very good. We should seek wisdom and truth in all these teachings, seems to me.

What we shouldn't do, I'd say (and I imagine you would agree) is say that "these texts say X and many humans think they also mean Z, therefore, Jesus literally taught Z..." because that is simply not reality.

Good to hear from you, hope you've been well.

Dan Trabue said...

Those passages certainly aren't convenient to you, as they demonstrate just how much Jesus did in fact teach about the authority of Scripture

1. Since I disagree with your human theories about how they "demonstrate" Jesus teaching about Scripture's "authority."
2. It really has nothing to do with convenience.
3. Rather, I cited some but not all of Jesus' teachings and affirmed that Jesus' followers should rationally follow Jesus' teachings. All of them. All of the ACTUAL teachings.
4. If people want to extrapolate out some human theories about "sola scriptura" or "Christian pacifism" I have no problems at all with that. I just think it's appropriate to separate out human theories from what Jesus actually taught when we speak of Jesus' teachings.

So, no, it has nothing to do with "convenience." Everything to do with following Jesus, as best as I understand Jesus. You were simply mistaken, no problem though, it happens. Glad to clear up the misunderstanding.

Dan Trabue said...

Regarding your "not convenient" mistake, let's look at just one of those passages you cite...

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”

Clearly, to me, this is a metaphorical passage speaking of following Jesus. It is NOT speaking of eating Jesus' literal flesh or blood. It is NOT speaking of the human theory of atonement. It is speaking, metaphorically, of following Jesus and embracing his way of Grace. I agree with following Jesus. I agree with embracing grace. There is nothing at all controversial to me about this passage. It is abundantly clear and easy to agree with.

Thus, there is zero "inconvenience" for me with this passage.

Now, some humans have taken this passage and others like it and extrapolated out what I think are bad theology, using what I think is bad reasoning and irrational and extrabiblical presumptions. Okay, so I disagree with some human conclusions that people have extrapolated out misusing (in my opinion) passages such as this one. That I disagree with those people and their human theories does not, in even the slightest manner, make this passage inconvenient. I agree with this passage entirely, as I understand it.

Do you get my point and see how it was not, as a point of fact, anything to do with "inconvenience" in my not citing it or your other passages?

Marshall Art said...

Once again, we see that you cite the gospel that says "blessed are the poor" as opposed to that which says "blessed are the poor in spirit". Why? Are you suggesting these two sermons are meant to teach different lessons? Were the hungry to whom Jesus spoke fed to the degree that your favored citation suggests?

Dan Trabue said...

There appear to be two sermons. Clearly, Luke's is speaking more literally of the poor, the hungry, the rich, the full. It would appear that in the Matthew sermon, it is speaking more metaphorically.

Are you suggesting that Luke or Matthew got it wrong?

Dan Trabue said...

As to your last question, I'm not sure what you mean. Jesus literally said, "blessed are you who are poor, for you will be blessed... blessed are you who now hunger, for you will be fed..." and "woe to you who are wealthy... woe to you who are well-fed now..." That's what he literally said. There is nothing there to suggest he was speaking metaphorically.

Taking these verses in the greater context of Jesus' teaching, I'd say we find great blessedness in Jesus' Way of Grace, where we work, share, eat, pull together to build the Realm of God. AS and WHEN we walk in this Way of Grace, building this Kingdom of God, the poor literally are fed and blessed and have opportunities for justice.

I see no reason at all to try to make a metaphor of this passage.

Craig said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dan Trabue said...

Well played? He cited other verses with which I don't disagree. My point was to follow Jesus' teachings. He cited Jesus' teachings.

It's not a game, Craig, and we're not opposing teams, men.

If you're not against Jesus, then we're all for Jesus, together, fellas.

That I disagree with some of your human cultural or political positions and you disagree with some of mine is neither here nor there. If we're going to make it teams, then let's all choose together the side of grace and love.

Craig said...

Yes Dan, well played. You selectively citing some of Jesus teachings (which you using your vaunted human Reason) have decided are not "central or as common or obvious" enough for you, while suggesting that we should embrace all of Jesus teachings (especially your interpretation of them) just seems a bit contradictory of you. But, self contradictory is not unusual for you.

"‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels."

Since you quoted this, can we assume that you agree that there actually is an eternal conscious punishment for "the devil", "his angels" and "you cursed"?

Dan Trabue said...

Is there something wrong with the teachings I selected?

Have I not agreed that, yes, Bubba's quotes are also from Jesus?

Yes, I do use my reason. What do you use?

What is "well-played" about citing quotes with which I agree? Is this a game to you, Craig?

Since you quoted this, can we assume that you agree that there actually is an eternal conscious punishment for "the devil", "his angels" and "you cursed"?

I do not know as a point of fact if Jesus was speaking metaphorically (this came from a a fictional parable, after all) in this story or if it is referencing an actual "eternal conscious punishment" for some.

Do you know this as a point of fact, Craig?

Please provide data, if so. If not, then it would appear that you and I hold unprovable opinions about the topic, what of it?

Do you think your hunch is more valid or rational than mine? Based on what?

Do you think that a ten year old child who has committed, say, 10,000 relatively petty sins is condemned to an eternity of inescapable torment? A 16 year old child who has committed 20,000 relatively petty sins?

Is this just your hunch or do you have something to prove it?


You appear to want to fight, Craig. You ask questions in a rather accusing manner, which is fine, I've answered your questions clearly and directly. Please demonstrate that you're not just being a troll but that you are open to actual dialog and answer the questions I'm asking you.

Thank you.

If you're just trying to be a troll, then please quit. Do you agree that this is a reasonable request?

Craig said...

No fight just asking one single simple question.

Dan Trabue said...

So, no, you are not interested in answering questions, only asking? That is the behavior of a troll. I'd ask that you not troll here.

Any time you want to engage in two way conversation and respectful dialog, let me know.

Craig said...

You do realize how ironic it is that you are complaining about my not answering questions. Especially given my continued repeating of why I have no desire to engage on this topic in this forum.

No just go back to misrepresentation, presumption, and goading, it suits you. You can keep pretending if you like.

Dan Trabue said...

Craig, do you have anything to say on the topic of this post? I'm positing that we, who follow Jesus should follow his teachings. Not add to them. Not to say "Jesus says" about something he didn't say.

This is the point of the post.

Do you have anything to say to the point of this post?

If not, I invite you to take your opinions about me elsewhere, as I am not the topic of the post.

Respectfully,

Dan

Dan Trabue said...

And it is not goading to politely ask people to stay on topic and to quit with ad hom attacks. It is not goading to point out how you are asking questions which I answer, but opting out of answering questions in return. It is expecting adult, respectful conversation.

Marshall Art said...

"Are you suggesting that Luke or Matthew got it wrong?"

No. Why would I suggest that? The very thought is absurd.

I am, however, suggesting, no, stating emphatically, that YOU have gotten it wrong. Luke is NOT speaking of the literal poor or rich as this essay explains in great detail. It's amazing what truly serious study of Scripture can expose for us. This link gives insights on the context and the culture of the time, as well as providing sound reason why these two gospels speak of the same sermon. Indeed, it explains that Matthew provides for us the meaning that would have easily been understood by the people to whom Jesus was addressing...a meaning understood without benefit of the words "in spirit". I encourage you to study the essay thoroughly.

Marshall Art said...

In the meantime, I refer once again to your poor understanding of the Matthew 6:19 verse. It does not teach us to avoid wealth at all. Verse 33 is the key. It says, But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Your version of Scripture suggests that there were among Christ's disciples no one who had bucks. This is absurd. He was not concerned with material wealth as much as He was spiritual wealth. If this was not the case, then His suggestions for using worldly wealth in Luke 16 would be contradictory and counter-intuitive. Furthermore, He goes on to tell the Pharisees in verse 15 What is highly valued among men is detestable in God's sight. That doesn't mean that one who puts God first cannot attain wealth. One who puts God first can certainly do so and do so in a Godly manner, utilizing his wealth in a Godly manner while never allowing his wealth to consume him and take the place of God. YOU might be incapable of maintaining the proper perspective with regards to wealth and money, but that doesn't mean no one else is or that God has a problem with wealthy people in general.

Dan Trabue said...

So, you're not suggesting look got it wrong, you're just suggesting that he said literally poor, literally rich and it is your human theory that the crowd would have guessed, "well, he means "spiritually poor," he's speaking metaphorically..."?

Okay, you're welcome to that theory. You are welcome to make Jesus' literal words figurative. I disagree with that theory. I don't think, given the text, given the context, given the reality of the rest of Jesus' teachings, we have any reason to suspect he was not speaking literally.

Tell me, when John the Baptist asked Jesus if he really was the One, and Jesus responded, "Tell John that the poor are being preached the gospel..." do you think there Jesus meant "figuratively speaking, of course..."?

Your version of Scripture suggests that there were among Christ's disciples no one who had bucks. This is absurd.

Of course, I have not said this nor have I suggested it. Of course there were some few people amongst Jesus' followers who had at least some wealth. So, it is absurd to suggest this is my position, since clearly, it isn't.

Again, I and you and most people I know are wealthy, relatively speaking. So, no, you have misunderstood me (in spite of me clarifying this repeatedly): I do not think that wealthy people can't be followers of Jesus. Clearly, I am a follower of Jesus and I am wealthy, thus I do believe in the possibility.

I'll look at your linked essay later.

Dan Trabue said...

While I'm reading that link, here are some more questions for you:

Did Mary, in her Magnificat, mean that God had lifted up the "poor" metaphorically, not literally? Did she mean that the rich and powerful being torn down were only metaphorically rich and powerful? If so, what does that mean, to be metaphorically rich and powerful?

And in the Lukan sermon, where Jesus says...

But woe to you who are rich,
for you have already received your comfort.
25
Woe to you who are well fed now,
for you will go hungry.


What does it mean if "rich" is metaphorical? Who are the metaphorically rich and well fed?

And Jesus, when he began his ministry, said that he'd come to preach good news to the poor - literal or metaphorical?

James, when he said "Is it not the rich who oppress you?" - literal or metaphorical?

Look, I appreciate a willingness to consider passages from the Bible might have a figurative or non-literal sense. I just question why it is applied mainly to Jesus' teachings and the teachings about wealth and poverty, but not to, say, Genesis? Indeed, why demonize those who find Genesis to be figurative but insist that Jesus must be speaking figuratively?

If you wish to receive the grace to interpret some passages metaphorically (and I certainly support you in that, even while disagreeing with your hunches on it), why not extend that same grace to others who take other passages (nothing so critical as Jesus' direct teachings, but still, other passages) as not likely literal?

One last question: As I note your linked source rightly notes that Luke references Isaiah heavily and the Prophet's teachings about wealth and poverty, do you take all the concerns about wealth and poverty raised by the prophets as figurative, too? When Israel is being oppressed by rich tyrants and the poor Israelis call out for help, do you take that as figurative, too?

Craig said...

Your concern for staying on topic is impressive, if only this concern extended to your comments on other blogs. It would gladden my heart to see you apply equal deference and respect for all of Jesus teachings and commands. It would gladden my heart to see you not minimize some of those teaching and prioritize others. It would gladden my heart to see you take the plain teaching of Jesus at face value and not to dance between plain teaching and metaphor depending on convenience.

So by all means study and give equal weight to all of Jesus teachings, without filtering them or denigrating others for accepting the plain meaning of the text.

Craig said...

One or two more on topic.

You say that you don't know if the phrase "Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.", represents a literal or metaphorical statement.

Do you take " For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me." as something that we are literally expected/commanded/encouraged to do?

If, "eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels" is a metaphor, then what does it represent? What is the metaphorical meaning of the phrase?



Dan Trabue said...

It would gladden my heart to see you apply equal deference and respect for all of Jesus teachings and commands.

Is that just a vague and unsupported ad hom attack (attacking my person rather than the topic at hand, which is exactly what that comment is) or do you have something to actually support your false accusation?

And does it worry you that you are stepping into the role of accuser?

It would gladden my heart to see you not minimize some of those teaching and prioritize others.

Do you think it is inappropriate to say, "Jesus spoke repeatedly of concern for the poor, of concern for how we wealthy may be trapped in unloving or unjust traditions because of our wealth, of taking up the cause of the oppressed... clearly concern for the poor is a central teaching of Jesus?" and at the same time note, "Jesus never condemned any gay behavior and certainly not two gay guys marrying, therefore, this is NOT a central teaching of Jesus," and thereby prioritize popular teachings/topics as to whether or not they line up with Jesus' actual teachings?

I don't think so.

Again, is this just an empty accusation or do you have some specific concern in mind? Is there any actual teaching that Jesus actually taught that I have minimized? If so, I do encourage you to share, as that is a legitimate concern. And here, I'm not speaking of human traditions that some have ascribed to "christianity" but I'm speaking of Jesus' actual teachings.

It would gladden my heart to see you take the plain teaching of Jesus at face value and not to dance between plain teaching and metaphor depending on convenience.

Again, an empty, unsupported charge. I rather doubt you can list any specific instance of me actually doing this. Rather, I suspect that you mean that I disagree with some human traditions that some of you have assigned to Jesus, but not Jesus' actual teaching.

Beyond that, we certainly should strive to separate and understand which teachings are metaphorical, not literal. If Jesus was speaking of an actual literal eternity of torment for being mistaken about some points, that would be a serious concern to take into consideration. If on the other hand, the point is a metaphorical point to warn of the serious dangers and trappings of harmful, sinful behavior, that is a different point and a slightly different concern.

The former, for instance, could be telling us that salvation comes by personal righteousness and not being mistaken or fallible on some vague subset of rules or beliefs and that would be good to know if that is what Jesus is actually teaching/if that is actually true. The latter, on the other hand, falls safely within the notion of salvation by grace and is still important to know, but for a very different reason.

Dan Trabue said...

You say that you don't know if the phrase "Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.", represents a literal or metaphorical statement.

Do you take " For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me." as something that we are literally expected/commanded/encouraged to do?


Glad to answer your question in response to my answer to your previous question. As soon as you demonstrate you're not a troll and willing to engage in civil discourse. Please answer my questions to you.

Although, to demonstrate how it is done, I will go ahead and answer this next question of yours: Yes, I think feeding the poor, etc is what we literally should do. We should do it, though, not because there is a line in the Bible saying "do this" but out of a heart of grace and love because it is the right (and I'd argue, smart) thing to do.

Answered that question of yours. Are you just here to be the Accuser, or will you engage in respectful dialog and answer my questions to you?

Craig said...

Are you incapable of reading what I have written? I am not going to engage you again on this topic, especially not here. I've explained why and it has nothing to do with anything other than your previous behavior. That's it.

Once again, I must point out the irony. You get angry and huffy when I ask you to answer previously asked questions before moving on, yet you have no problem whatsoever expecting that I do what you won't.

"...because it is the right..."

So you are suggesting that it is objectively "right" to feed the poor etc.? By what objective standard?

Nice dodge by the way, well played.

Dan Trabue said...

I'm sorry, you're coming here to comment that you won't be commenting? And then repeatedly commenting? Without engaging in responding to questions, only accusing and questioning?

Trolls aren't welcome here, Craig. Move on.

I would, for your sake, just ask you to look at your comments with an outsider's eye, to see how ridiculous and comical and petty you are making yourself appear. I'll ask you to commenting on this post if you don't want to actually engage because I don't want you to be a troll, but also for your sake. You're just embarrassing yourself. Seriously, man, for your own sake and the sake of the more conservative view of Christianity, stop it. You all are collectively making yourselves a laughingstock.

Dan Trabue said...

I'll ask you to STOP commenting... of course, I meant to say.

Dan Trabue said...

And what dodge? Directly answering yet another question of yours with a reasonable answer while you refuse to answer questions put to you - even your OWN question, THAT dodge?

Please, you're embarrassing yourself.

Craig said...

Of course trolls are welcomed here, you put up with several of them for years because they agreed with you.

I ask an on topic question, and now I'm a troll.

For the record, I've continued to comment not so much to say that I'm not going to comment, but to clarify that your characterization of why I am not commenting is false and self serving.

Oh, and your "simple" "direct" answer just conveniently leaves you a the loophole so you don't have to make a commitment. So yes, I'd call it a dodge. You call it whatever you want, because that's what you tend to do. You cast things in whatever light is most serving to your hunch, or equivocate so much that you can claim that your right no matter what.

Dan Trabue said...

I've answered your question, except for one, Craig. I'm giving you a chance to demonstrate that you are not a mere thuggish troll. So far, you are living up to the troll definition, which is to say, you only question and attack, but do not answer questions.

As to the one that is outstanding:

So you are suggesting that it is objectively "right" to feed the poor etc.? By what objective standard?

I'm suggesting it is right and good and helpful to help the poor. As one who believes in the teachings of Jesus (the ones he actually taught, not the silliness ascribed to him by others), I think it is clear that the intent of his message includes siding with/taking care of the least of these. I'm not claiming it is or isn't objective, I'm saying it is right as I understand it and as I understand the teachings of Jesus.

I don't need an objective standard to do what I think is obviously right. Do you?

Here's the thing, Craig, your questions are not that hard to answer, deal with. They tend to be tied up into your human worldview and thus, they may seem compelling to you, but they're rather pointless from my worldview. And so, now I have answered all your questions and you have established yourself as an accuser, a divisive person, not interested in engaging in two way conversation. You are establishing yourself as a troll.

Now that you have established that, move on. That, or make up for your divisive behavior and start conversing decently, like a respectful adult.

Craig said...

I'm amazed that you have nothing better than name calling. You wonder why I don't engage with you the way you would prefer, perhaps it has something to do with this kind of behavior on your part. I know it's hard for you to understand, but how you behave affects how others respond to you. So when you behave in this almost paranoid manner you make it difficult for others to take you seriously. Maybe in your world a respectful adult resorts to name calling and strange accusations, but that's just not how the rest of the world operates. Maybe a sober reflective look inward would be a good, rational, healthy move for you right now.

Craig said...

Actually, my questions tend toward one of two objectives.

1. To try to ascertain specifically what you believe.
2. To get you on record contradicting or undermining some other statement you previously made.

Usually #1 is frustrating while #2 is pretty successful. Just so you know.

Dan Trabue said...

I am amazingly underwhelmed by your consistent, off topic personal attacks, Craig.

Do you have anything to say on the topic, here, or are you only here to accuse?

You know who else is known as the Accuser, don't you? Is that really the company you want to keep?

If you're only engaging in demonstrable ad hom attacks, and not engage in conversation, move on, Craig.

Dan Trabue said...

It is a bit ironic and sad that you choose this topic - the teachings of Jesus - to go on a repeated personal attack. Perhaps we really need to hold more tightly to Jesus' teachings?

Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned. "Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure--pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.

Or Paul's?

For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: "Love your neighbor as yourself. If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other...

The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition...


Or James'...

Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door.

On the topic of Jesus' teachings, Craig - and not your personal feelings for Dan - do you have anything constructive to say? If not, I will kindly note that your personal antagonism towards me has been noted and respectfully invite you to move on.

Dan Trabue said...

Lest it is unclear: We ALL should do better at heeding these teachings. Myself being chief in need of doing so. I'm truly not trying to be quarrelsome with you, just asking politely that you keep to the topic and, if you're not willing to answer questions (as I have demonstrated I am prepared to do, seeing as how I answered each of your questions), then please don't bother to comment here.

Craig said...

I'm a bit underwhelmed at your constant assertions of personal attacks where none exist. I'm not the one who has resorted to name calling and misrepresenting the positions of others, that would be you. I've asked some on topic questions, you've grudgingly responded to them, so I think I'm done here. You're false piety does get old, you know, but it seems to help you continue to feel superior so I doubt you'll stop.

I do love how you on the one hand say that we shouldn't do things because of some line in the Bible, then when it's convenient for you you trot out some out of context lines from the Bible as if they should be obeyed. Your inconsistency is on full display here.

Craig said...

On the topic of the teachings of Jesus, these teachings sure sound a lot like Jesus expects us to actually follow them. They almost sound like Jesus telling us that if we don't follow them there will be negative consequences. In fact that almost sound like commandments, interesting.

Dan Trabue said...

I'm a bit underwhelmed at your constant assertions of personal attacks where none exist.

It's all you've done, Craig. Question without respectfully acknowleding my real and direct answers and then refusing to answer reasonable questions put to you (including YOUR OWN QUESTION you asked me!).

I have not misrepresented your position. False claim. You can't point to one single place where I've done this, Craig. False charge with no support. Come on, brother, be reasonable!

In fact that almost sound like commandments, interesting.

I understand they sound that way to you. And there certainly are commands to the people Jesus was speaking with, at times. Especially in the way that Jesus blasted the religious zealots for the gracelessness in dealing with rules!

And I am quite specifically speaking of following Jesus' teachings, that was my point. So, I'm not sure what your snarky answer is supposed to be doing.

I do love how you on the one hand say that we shouldn't do things because of some line in the Bible, then when it's convenient

I don't say we should do ANYTHING because there is a line in the bible. I do say that we should do things because they are right, good, contribute to the general welfare of humanity, but NOT because "there's a line in the Bible."

I do point to Jesus' teachings (his actual teachings, being a follower of Jesus) and recognize how they validate this notion of living lives of goodness and grace, but quite specifically how he also validates the notion of not blindly or graclessly following rules because some zealots point to ancient rules as if the rules were a tyrant-god themselves. And I agree with that teaching, but NOT because there's a line in the Bible.

Jesus is pointing to the way of grace, which we can see all around us and can and should embrace. But not because there's a line in the Bible. That is to say: Jesus is pointing to a reality, a Way, and that Way is what should be embraced, not "but the Bible says" or "the OT teaches us to stone adulterers" but because it is the right Way.

Dan Trabue said...

I'm a bit underwhelmed at your constant assertions of personal attacks where none exist. I'm not the one who has resorted to name calling and misrepresenting the positions of others, that would be you

As to "name-calling..." When someone is engaged in trollish behavior (making ad hom attacks and unsupported allegations, refusing to engage in two way conversation, that IS trollish behavior), to say, "The behavior is trollish" is not name-calling, it's identifying someone's demonstrable bad behavior.

So, the name-calling is a false charge, now explained to you.

As to the "you've misrepresented me" you keep saying that without ever giving support. It is, then, what I am calling a false charge. I've given you opportunities to support it, you haven't. I've told you that I'd APPRECIATE it if you'd tell me specifically where I have misrepresented you, because that is not my aim at all. You've declined.

Thus, it is an unsupported charge and one that I'm calling utterly false, until you've demonstrated otherwise. And even if you ever do support the charge, what you would have then is a mistake on my part, not a deliberate "misrepresentation" of your beliefs. Do you understand how you're mistaken on that point?

And, in fact, do you recognize that making a charge ("you're misrepresenting me!") and not supporting it with data is trollish, irresponsible and impolite behavior, itself?

The ball's in your court. Answer questions and engage or not. But you can't come here, make ad hom attacks, make false and unsupported charges, ask accusing and snarky questions but refuse to actually answer questions... you can't do that sort of thing and be treated like a respectful adult conversation partner. Again, be reasonable.

Craig said...

"It's all you've done, Craig. Question without respectfully acknowleding my real and direct answers and then refusing to answer reasonable questions put to you (including YOUR OWN QUESTION you asked me!)."

So not answering your questions constitutes a "personal attack", really? I guess it's only not a personal attack when you do it. Please, by all means, actually demonstrate an actual personal attack I have made or stop with the false claims.

"demonstrable ad hom attacks"

OK, then demonstrate said "ad hom" attacks.

"So, the name-calling is a false charge, now explained to you."


" the Accuser,"
"thuggish troll."
If you'd like me to go back little further we both know that I can demonstrate that you have a documented history of both name calling as well as other vile and uncivil behavior which you have never acknowledged or apologized for.

But equating me to Satan and calling me a thug are perfectly normal and appropriate uses of name calling.


So, you don't follow the teachings of Jesus because He's Jesus, you don't follow them because of any unique authority they have, you don't follow them because of any unique authority He has, you follow them because they line up with what you perceive to be the "right" way to do things, do I have that "right'?



"I don't need an objective standard to do what I think is obviously right. Do you?"

Without an objective standard, how do you know if something is "right" or not? Or is your opinion enough for you to declare something to be "right"?

Look, you either have to realize how ridiculous you look hectoring me for not operating according to your perception of what your opinion of "respectful conversation" should be when you refuse to live up to the same standards you demand of others.

You have to realize that simply asserting "personal attack" doesn't mean there has been a "personal attack".

You have to realize that without some objective measure there can be no "right".

So I' left to wonder, if you do realize those things, yet pretend as if they don't apply to you, what does that say about you? Or, if you don't recognize those things then how is it possible to ever have a rational conversation?

Dan Trabue said...

Without an objective standard, how do you know if something is "right" or not?

We don't know, perfectly. No one ever assured us that we WOULD know perfectly and with an objective standard. Why would you presume we have an objective standard?

You appear to be making a claim that there is a definitive One Source "objective standard," for moral questions when there is no data in the real world to support that claim. The burden is on you to support the claim, not me to disprove what there is no data to support.

The ball is in your court.

Has God told you there is an objective standard for morality?

Where did God tell you this?

Are you able to back it up, objectively?

You see, your own claim undermines itself. But if you want to actually support this empty and irrational-sounding claim, by all means, give it a try.

Marshall Art said...

"You appear to be making a claim that there is a definitive One Source "objective standard," for moral questions when there is no data in the real world to support that claim."

What more "hard data" in the "real world" does a Christian need than Scripture itself? Are you suggesting that because we cannot with absolute certainty prove the Scripture is the Word of God that we cannot hold it up as legitimate source for our knowledge and understanding of what is right and wrong? That's ludicrous to an extreme I would never have thought even YOU capable, and that's saying something. Then you proceed with this sorry tripe:

"Has God told you there is an objective standard for morality?"

God really has to use those words for His morality to be as objective a standard as allegedly God-fearing people should need? REALLY? I do not need to prove God's existence to non-believers in order to regard His standards as objective morality. (By "objective standard", I refer to the fact that such standards of morality exist apart from ourselves. The reason for that is due to the fact that God created everything, including morality. That any person of faith is unable to prove any aspect of that is irrelevant to how Christians respond to the concept.)

The claim does not undermine itself. YOU undermine it by doing all you can to maintain the liberty to make your own rules and call them Christian. The claim is sound. For Christians, Scripture stands as THE source for standards of morality. NOT your reason or mine.

Craig said...

"You appear to be making a claim that there is a definitive One Source "objective standard," for moral questions when there is no data in the real world to support that claim."

Things aren't always as they appear then. I am quite specifically NOT making a claim. Rather I am probing your claim that you can establish what is "good" and "right" in the absence of any sort of objective standard. You have repeatedly made claims about what is "good" and "right", yet in the absence of any sort of objective standard, all you are really claiming that that your personally believe that those things are "good" and "right" for you based on your personal opinion.

Glad to clarify, and correct your mistake.

Craig said...

"You see, your own claim undermines itself."

Clearly, you are unwilling or unable to distinguish between me making a claim and me asking you questions about claims you have made. If you have such difficulty with a relatively simple matter of understanding plain English, what would make me think that you have the ability to accurately discern (for example) when Jesus is using metaphor and what the metaphor means?

Dan Trabue said...

Things aren't always as they appear then. I am quite specifically NOT making a claim.

?

Would it be helpful if I invited you to yet again clarify your claim. I can make mistakes. It SOUNDS like that's what you're saying. If I'm mistaken, clarify. But you can't make comments that sound like you're saying one thing (and I am quite clear that this is what it SOUNDS like you're saying, I'm not saying it's your position or that I'm not possibly mistaken) and then opt to a. NOT clarify a mistake and b. but harp on me for mistaking your position.

If you want to clarify your position, please do. No one is stopping you.

Craig said...

"Would it be helpful if I invited you to yet again clarify your claim."

My claim is that I have made no claim or claims. I have asked you questions about a claim or claims that you are making but I have not actually made a claim.

You appear to believe that I have made a claim, but I have not.
It may seem to you that I have made a claim, but I have not.
You might hold the opinion that I have made a claim, but I have not.
You might have a hunch that I have made a claim, but I have not.

So, in this case the mistake being made is that you mistakenly believe that I have made a claim (or stated a position), when I have not done so.

So while you are welcome to your belief,your opinion, your hunch or what things seem to you. The fact is that I have not made a claim nor taken a position. What I have done, is to ask you some questions about that claims you are making and the position you hold.

I hope that clarifies things for you.

Dan Trabue said...

So, you are definitively NOT making the claim that there is one source of knowledge (the Bible) for matters of faith and morality? Good, then we agree.

Thanks for clarifying. I'm glad you, too, reject SS as irrational nonsense.

Craig said...

How could you take what was a very clear explanation of what I have actually said, and twist in into my agreeing with your unsupported hunch?

Once more, I have NOT made any claims in this thread, NONE, ZIP, ZERO, NADA. I have asked you questions about the claims you HAVE made.

Oh, and no I don't reject SS as irrational nonsense. For me to even consider agreeing with your hunch over all of the other voices who disagree with you hunch, would require some actual evidence that you have so far been unwilling to provide.

Look if you don't want to agree with SS, good for you, don't agree. But once you pejoratively label SS (and by extension the millions who agree with it) as "irrational nonsense" then the expectation that you can prove, or at least provide compelling evidence (hell, I'd settle for any evidence), for your claim is going to be high.

You need to understand labeling SS "irrational nonsense" IS IN FACT a claim. If you are going to make a claim, then the onus to support the claim you have made is on you as the one who made the claim.

You seem to be able to grasp this concept when you try to apply it to others, but the concept that you should do what you demand of others seems to elude you.

In conclusion.

If one makes a claim, then it is incumbent on the claimant to provide proof of said claim.
If one does NOT make a claim, then the NON CLAIMANT is not required to provide support of their non claim.

If you still can't figure this out, I just can't help you anymore. I've been as clear and blunt as I know how.

So you get your wish, I'm done here.

Dan Trabue said...

Okay, rather than "claim," I amend it to say "you appear to hold the position." Does that help you understand the point I'm making? So, since you don't reject SS as irrational nonsense, then it appears that I was correct all along. You DO appear to hold the position that SS is reasonable. Which is all I've been saying.

As to my claim, I'm making a rational claim.

IF one says "Book X holds ALL truths.";
And, IF Book X does not say that it holds all truths;
Then the claim is self-defeating.

It's a logical inherent contradiction. That is the data that I am providing. Logic.

Craig said...

Nice try, your response to being unable to support your claim is to change your claim.

Nope, you asked me to be done, and I'm done here.

Dan Trabue said...

By all means, go away. If you have nothing positive or on-topic to say, if all you wish to do is attack and tear down and accuse, go away. We don't have time for nonsense and ill-manners, none of us.