Wednesday, February 15, 2017

You Are the Light of the World



“You are the light of the world.”

That's what Jesus said.

He said that I am the light of the world!

The sort of light that makes people 
smile and whistle with delight, that
brightens the very fields of the earth
making the grass sing golden songs.

Jesus said that 
you and I 
are this beautiful
powerful
world-changing light...
 
a light like 
the very sun above us,
a light that can not be hidden or
turned off.

That's what Jesus said about us!

That's some kind of pressure...

but who are we to disagree?

62 comments:

Marshall Art said...

Well, "light of the world" if one lives by His actual teachings. Not so much if one lives by a distorted, only-superficially similar version of His teachings. The former is a "natural" light. The latter an "artificial" light. If one teaches a gospel other than what what passed down to us, that is an artificial light. It might draw all manner of creature, but it tends to compel joyful whistling by those for whom natural light affects them as it does your typical vampire. It certainly doesn't provoke Christ to whistle.

Craig said...

The question that I would ask is, "In what sense are we "the light"?".

Are we the light in the way that the sun is the light? In other words, do we within ourselves provide what is necessary to generate light?

Or are we light like the moon is light? Do we simply reflect the light of something greater. Or do we reflect the original light?

Anonymous said...

Good questions, Craig. Jesus didn't tell us, did he? What do you think?

Marshall, is that how you're striving to be the light of the world? By telling other people they are embracing only a superficial likeness to Jesus' teaching? Is that a light to the world, in your mind?

~Dan

Craig said...

I thought they were interesting questions, that's why I asked them. Of course I also asked them because your post is making claims. They appear to be claims of fact, but I really don't know. So, while I certainly have thoughts on the questions. I'm mildly curious about what you meant when you made the statements you made. I'm sure you would understand my curiosity.

Anonymous said...

Blogger Stan's message February 26 was on the idolatry of disapproving of God's choices. I am reminded of well-meaning modern believers wanting to water down what the Bible has to say on slaves, or "servants" to use their preferred term. The Bible is talking about owning another person, beating that person to keep him in line, and passing him down as property to the owner's children. One wonders if Stan clings to idolatry when it comes to this topic.

Anonymous said...

Craig, perhaps you can't tell but this was written in the form of a poem. Thus, I'm not making fact claims. I'm waxing poetic about Jesus' own poetic words about the people - his followers - being the light of the world.

So, what fact claims do you think I'm making?

Dan

Anonymous said...

Before continuing, it may be helpful to look at the context of Jesus' teaching here. This is from Matt 5, where Jesus is speaking to a crowd, presumably of his specific disciples AND those more general followers, those who were at least somewhat interested in what he said. To this mixed crowd he said, "YOU are the light of the world... Let YOUR light shine..."

Dan

Craig said...

Are you suggesting that using poetic form precludes fact claims?

Again, that's why I asked the question and why I responded the way I did. I'm trying to understand your point.

The two most likely choices are that you are claiming that:

1. Jesus said "You are the light of the world", but simply asserting the fact that it was said and not drawing any conclusions about content.

2. You are asserting that "You" are as a point of fact the "light of the world".

With 1, you are not actually saying much of anything.

With 2 you are seemingly making a claim and assigning some meaning to the term "light of the world".

If you'd prefer not to elaborate on your point and meaning, please just say so and I'll move on. I'm just trying to understand and any help you could provide would be appreciated.

Anonymous said...

In the passage, Jesus us speaking to a crowd of people. To them, he appears to be saying, "Y'all are the light of the world. Let YOUR light shine." Just taking what he says at face value.

Do you agree?

Dan

Anonymous said...

Looking further at the passage, Jesus seems to clarify his meaning, saying to the listeners, "Let your good deeds and moral nature" be like that shining light, there for all to see. Again, a fairly straightforward reading of Jesus' words.

Do you agree that is what is said here?

Craig said...

I agree that the passage accurately reflects the words used, I'm more curious about what point your trying to make. It's seeming likely that you'd prefer not to elaborate.

If you'd rather not, just say so.

Anonymous said...

I think Jesus was speaking of "the people" being the light of the world, and by that I think Jesus was speaking of people doing good towards others. That's what I was shooting for in my poem. You were asking about "reflected light," and that isn't what I was speaking of, so I had no great opinion on something I was speaking about.

Which is why I asked you for your answer to your own question. If you'd rather not address your own question that you raised, just say so.

Dan

Craig said...

I'd happily address the questions. It's just that I asked them in order to gain understanding of what message you were trying to convey. You've been reluctant to go into detail and I'm trying to respect your reluctance. I have no agenda, beyond understanding.

My problem at this point is, that your responses raise more questions than they answer, yet your reluctance seems to suggest that further clarifying questions will be unwelcome.

My concern with simply answering my questions here is that if you choose to disagree, there is a possibility of driving the conversation away from my attempt to understand your point, and toward a potential disagreement.

I trust that you understand my desire to accurately discern your point is simply a manifestation of your insistence that I constantly misrepresent you. My desire would be to be able to understand you as well as I can, yet sometimes that's difficult when you're reluctant to share.

How about this, I'll answer the questions at my place, and if you want to address my answers do it there, while we keep this thread as a way for me to better understand you?

Anonymous said...

I've already answered what I meant, Craig, do you understand that? I've answered that my intent was just the same as Jesus appears to be intending, which you appeared to agree with. Are you wanting me to answer these additional questions that you've asked that don't get to my intention?

Dan

Anonymous said...

Re: "been reluctant to go into detail..." I am specifically speaking of we people being the light of the world, by which I mean, generally do good to one another. We can be/are being the light of the world, according to Jesus, by these good acts, by loving our neighbors and even our enemies. What details do you wish to hear from me? In what ways we should be good? I don't think that is the intent of your question.

I think it sounds like you want me to go into details on some topic I'm not raising, but that you are. Is that right?

If so, maybe you should ask more like, "As an aside to your point here, Dan, I'm curious... Do you think that we are a light, or a goodness, ourselves? Or do you think only God is good and nothing we do on our own is/can be called Good...?" Or whatever question you're asking.

Dan

Anonymous said...

Anonymous from earlier, re some who might seem to cling to an almost idolatrous position regarding their interpretations/opinions about what God may think or want, I certainly think it's something to watch out for... Either idolizing the Bible or self-idolizing our own opinions. I'd say that's something we all should be wary of...

Dan

Craig said...

Ok, lets start with a couple and see how things go.

Are you suggesting that Jesus was speaking specifically to those who were His followers or just to any random passers by?

When Jesus speaks of "the light", is He referring to some generalized "light" or something specific?

When Jesus claims elsewhere "I Am The Light", is He referring to something different than what you refer to here?

Dan Trabue said...

In the text, Jesus is literally speaking to "the crowds" who had come to the mountain to hear him, apparently.

Here is what we have in the text, beginning in Chap 4...

"Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them..."

Did he begin to teach his disciples? The crowd of people who were following him? Generally? We just don't know, the text doesn't tell us literally. I'd say it's reasonable to conclude that he's speaking to the crowd of general followers, but we don't know to what degree they are following him and/or any random passers by.

When Jesus speaks of "the light", is He referring to some generalized "light" or something specific?

When Jesus is speaking of the light, he tells us that he is speaking of good works.

"You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."

In the text, when he is speaking of light and salt, he is speaking of our behavior. If you take Jesus' own explanation fairly literally.

When Jesus claims elsewhere "I Am The Light", is He referring to something different than what you refer to here?

Jesus mentions being the light in John 8, where he says...

"When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

So, in this context, I'd say that Yes, Jesus is speaking of something different than our good works. More of a Day and/or Way of Salvation metaphor.

However, in John 9, we find the story of the blind man being healed where Jesus says...

“It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work.

As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

So there, he appears to be speaking of something closer to the notion of Light as being Good Works.

Further, in Isaiah, God is speaking and says to Israel...

I am the LORD, I have called You in righteousness, I will also hold You by the hand and watch over You, And I will appoint You as a covenant to the people,
As a light to the nations...

There, too, you see Light as a metaphor for a Good Witness, I'd say.

In John 12, Jesus says...

"I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness."

So, we're back to the notion of Jesus as a Way of Salvation.

In my poem, I am using Light as a metaphor in the fairly simple way Jesus is using it in Matthew 5, speaking of the good works of people.

WE are the light of the world, Jesus says. We are a people made for good works. Let us live up to that. Rather a sobering thought, I'm positing in my poem, but who are we to disagree?

Does that help?

Craig said...

Not much, but I see no value in belaboring this any further. It's clear that you're just throwing out opinions and there's nothing to be gained in going further.

But thank you for your responses.

Dan Trabue said...

What are you not understanding?

I've explained now repeatedly the point of this post:

That Jesus says WE are the light of the world.

That this means WE can make things better by our actions. Our good works make the world a better place.

That Jesus saying this is a big deal and intimidating, but who are we to disagree?

Do you understand the point of the post?

I don't really see it as a confusing point.

Do good.

Right?

Beyond that, I answered your questions not related directly to my point.

That Jesus is probably speaking to "the crowds" in this text.

That we don't know the make up of the crowd, but most likely it's people who are at least interested in Jesus' teachings.

That in this text, Jesus is using Light as imagery for Good Works.

Do you understand those answers? Do you disagree with them? If so, what are you disagreeing with?

And finally, having answered your questions, are you going to answer any of mine?

~Dan

Craig said...

What part of my explanation did you not understand? Are you just intent on engaging in an argument? Why is it so difficult for you to accept the fact that I'm honestly trying to understand your point, and have realized that it's not worth pursuing any further.

Look, if you really want answers to your questions, I can do that. i just see no value in arguing about your opinion.

Marshall Art said...

"That in this text, Jesus is using Light as imagery for Good Works."

That's what you want it to mean. I think a more accurate explanation is that He is using Light as a metaphor for truth...specifically HIS truth...with regard to how we should live. Good Works alone won't do it, especially given they are as rags to God. No. Being "light" is far more than mere "good works". But leaving it as that allows one to determine what constitutes "good" for one's own purposes.

As I continue to consider this discussion, as well as you petulant admonishment to me at Craig's blog, I am struck by your own literal legalism with respect to Christ's words, as well as other parts of the Bible. This is never more true than your presuming a definition for "good", or what is pure, noble, kind, etc., that reflects your progressive taint far more than anything Scripture teaches about such things. It is why I have constantly asked about on whose terms one should do or be any of those things. With all you've said over the years, I can't see any way to rationally align any of it with Christ's terms.

Dan Trabue said...

Marshall...

That's what you want it to mean.

No, it is literally what Jesus literally said.

"In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."

Jesus literally spelled out what he meant in the text and said that he is using light to refer to "good deeds."

But you are right about one thing... I do tend to take Jesus' words pretty literally. But then, I'm a follower of Jesus, so...

Dan Trabue said...

As to "presuming a definition for good..." I speak English. You speak English. When, in English, people use the word, "Good," they tend to mean Good as it is commonly defined.

Now, if you want to define it some other way, some non-standard way, go ahead. But then, the onus is on you to explain how you are using it, since you're not using it normally.

What is wrong with presuming that words are defined as commonly understood?

Dan Trabue said...

What part of my explanation did you not understand?

You didn't explain anything, other than you, for some unspecified reason, didn't want to answer your own questions or explain what you are failing to understand, even though I'm being pretty clear, so far as I can see.

And why is asking for clarification somehow associated with starting an argument, in your mind?

I'm not asking you to argue about my opinions, I'm asking you what you're failing to understand. See the difference?

Craig...

It's clear that you're just throwing out opinions and there's nothing to be gained in going further

You mean, when I clearly said I was offering my opinions, you somehow find it odd that I'm "throwing out my opinions..."? What is to be gained is you could answer your own questions that you are asking me and, in so doing, may perhaps shed some light into what you had in your mind when you asked the questions. Also, by trying to explain what you are failing to understand in my words that don't seem very complicated or difficult to understand, you help me understand why someone wouldn't understand what seems clear to me.

Why would you find that troubling?

Dan Trabue said...

I apologize. You did "explain" that when I said, "I'm offering my opinion here in this poem," that you didn't see any value in exploring further my opinions. Which is fine, but that doesn't explain why you don't want to answer your own questions. Or my questions related to points you raised.

Craig said...

My reason for pointing out that this is about your opinions, is that historically you've been reluctant to provide any significant backing for your opinions, and to lapse back to not defending them because they're opinions. I see no reason to get involved with that tar baby.

As to my questions, I quite clearly have said that I would answer them if you wanted me to. I gave you the reason why I don't see much value in doing so, but clearly have not said I wouldn't answer them.

FYI, just because I'm not answering them now doesn't mean I won't, it means I need to leave for work.

Dan Trabue said...

My opinion that it's Good to do Good Works? That Jesus taught us that WE are literally the light of the world, by which he literally explained that he was literally speaking of doing good works?

Are you seriously saying I have not offered sufficient support for these rather self-evident claims?

I always offer my reasons why I believe things. Always. Now, you may find my reasoning not sufficient to hold the positions, but it's simply not factual to say that I don't provide any significant backing.

There's a difference between saying, "Dan, I don't think that your reasoning is sufficient for me to agree with your conclusion" and "you have been reluctant to provide any significant backing for your opinions."

The former is perhaps justifiable, if that's your feeling, the latter is demonstrably false.

That's fine to answer them when you wish. It just seems like a simple few questions and that it wouldn't be difficult to answer, if you have hunches on the matter. But sure, answer at your own pace.

Craig said...

Historically you've gone between little or no back up and unconvincing back up. In this case it's more that you've chosen a wooden literal reading of parts of this one text, then cherry picked some proof texts.

Your transformation of the adjective "good" into the noun ( or whatever) "Good" is also seemingly a strange attempt to give it more gravitas or something. Or to elevate it to some sort of divine status.

Again, perhaps you have significant amounts of free time to devote to this, I don't.


Anonymous said...

You, of course, cannot support your claim, as it is clearly false, as I always explain myself. But setting aside your false claim, what do you even mean by it??

Consider this post. The point of this poem, that Jesus calls us to be Light to the world. That, indeed, we ARE the light of the world.

Jesus clearly said it in the Bible. There is nothing to prove or support. The text is there.

SP, presumably you are not asking me to provide support for the reality of the text, right?

So what is it you're asking me to support? Reality?

I clarified for you that I just meant what Jesus said he meant... That we are the light of the world, meaning we were made to do good.

That is an opinion, to be sure, but it's not exactly a remarkable or controversial one. "We should do good!? Wow, Dan, I don't know... Can you prove it, provide support for that claim?!"

Do I really need to provide support for the notion that we should be good? Do you understand how weird that sounds?

What is it in this post that I am saying do you want me to provide support for?

I suspect that you're looking for me to provide support for something beyond what I'm saying here, but I just don't know for sure what it is you're asking because you're not answering any questions.

So, until such time as you do answer, I'll just wait...

As to your not understanding what I mean by Good, I just mean good works, which Jesus equated with being the light of the world, so I felt that worthy of gravitas. If the capital G throws you off, just ignore it.

I just am always amazed at what you guys find controversial. I never would have thought my citing Jesus' call for us to be the light of the world to be anything hard to grasp or understand, at least not for followers of Jesus.

Dan

Craig said...

Thanks for demonstrating once again why my initial response was correct.

I'll answer when I have time and a computer, then I'm done.

Dan Trabue said...

Your initial response was a few questions. Questions that you yourself have left unanswered, thus far.

Are you saying that you were correct to raise questions? What response?

Again, until you begin answering some questions, I'll continue to wait. Peace.

Anonymous said...

It occurs to me, based upon the questions and comments you two are making, that perhaps you're not understanding the point of this post. Maybe it would be helpful if you just stated, "The points that Dan is making here, as I understand them, are..." and supply your understanding. Given how simple, unobjectionable and clear the post seems, I tend to believe that you do understand, but the various comments and questions raised makes it seem as if you think I'm talking about something else.

Just a thought.

Dan

Craig said...

I'm unaware of any obligation to answer my questions to you.

I'm saying that my desire to avoid getting sucked into an argument with you is correct. I just haven't done a good job of avoiding it.

Craig said...

Although, I said I would, which means I've obligated myself. But prior to that no obligation existed.

Marshall Art said...

"No, it is literally what Jesus literally said."

But the question is "what does He mean by what He literally said"? We're dealing once again with your misunderstanding (or willful misrepresentation) of what Christ/God means when He says anything. As I said at Craig's blog, Chapter 6 teaches us that Christ warned us against doing "acts of righteousness" before men, "to be seen by them". That truly and directly contradict what you appear to be insisting that Christ means by "good deeds". Thus, you wallow in ambiguity at best, and at worst are not so much taking Christ literally as much as injecting meaning you prefer into His words. You want it to mean "doing good in the world", as in charitable acts, when later verses oppose that understanding. What's more, one is still left wondering "on whose terms" do we rely for understanding what "good" even means? Clearly, in your case, that would be "good" according to Dan more than according to Christ.

Craig said...

I think there are 2 questions.

1. What did Jesus mean?
2. What's Dan's version of what Jesus said?
3. (Or). What is Dan trying to suggest that Jesus means?

Dan Trabue said...

1. What Jesus said was, "YOU are the light of the world..." to the group of people listening to him, probably mostly his followers of some level or the other. I think he meant, figuratively speaking, THOSE who are listening to him are the light of the world.

1a. Jesus went on to clarify that the light imagery is a metaphor for good deeds...

"In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."

1b. I think then, clearly, Jesus meant that when/as we literally do good deeds that we figuratively light up the world, make the world brighter, meaning more literally that we make the world a better place.

Do you disagree? (or are you still only asking questions?)

1c. And finally, Jesus clarified that as we do these good deeds and lighten the world, we bring glory to God.

2. The ABOVE is my version of what Jesus meant, but it's pretty straightforward literally from what Jesus said. The main place where I'm inserting my opinion is that when Jesus says our good deeds are like light, that this means the world is a better place. But it's just an obvious observation and really difficult to dispute. Do you disagree that good deeds make the world a better place?

Do you hold the opinion that Jesus absolutely did not mean that?

Craig said...

Yes, I disagree.

1. I disagree that Jesus was referring to those who were not His followers. He routinely laid expectations and commandments on those who followed Him that He did not expect from those who didn't. Further, it seems buzzards that those who don't follow Him would be interested in glorifying God.

1a. Actually He clarified that "the light" referred to doing things that glorified God.

1b. I understand that you have this opinion, that's not the same as stating a fact. You've added your opinion to Jesus words.

1c. Again, your assuming that "we" means everyone who's ever done what you define as good. You're also assuming that the English dictionary definition of "good" is the binding on God.

Yes, it is your version. And that's all it is. It's your opinion filtered through your worldview. It's not anything more.

Craig said...

"Jesus didn't tell us, did he?"

I guess if you mean that Jesus didn't say "This is specifically what I meant...", then you could make that argument. I'd suggest that as long as you cherry pick one small slice of scripture out of context, you could also make that claim. I'd suggest, that a by expending the context as both Stan and Marshall have done (which you haven't refuted) it's possible to draw some conclusions.

"What do you think?"

I think that Jesus is "The Light" and that any "light" we might demonstrate is a function of how closely we follow Him.

Dan Trabue said...

. I disagree that Jesus was referring to those who were not His followers.

And that is your opinion, like my thought is that it is not specifically clear who he was speaking to... although it primarily seems to be his followers (followers to some degree, but to what degree is unknown...)

I presume you can agree with me that it is not spelled out specifically who he is speaking to, beyond "the crowd," and we're both just offering our best guesses?

1a. Actually He clarified that "the light" referred to doing things that glorified God.

Which is what I said. That it is a metaphor for doing good (i.e., "Doing things" in your wording) and I went on to include those things glorify God. I further posited that these good deeds also make the world better, not that Jesus specifically said it, but I find it inferred in that they are the LIGHT of the world, light being a good thing to the world.

Again I ask: Are you actually disagreeing that good deeds don't make the world a better place?

Not sure that you're disagreeing with me here, as much as it seems you want to make it a disagreement.

I understand that you have this opinion, that's not the same as stating a fact. You've added your opinion to Jesus words

I've added my opinion that good deeds make the world a better place. I didn't say that Jesus said it. I've been quite clear that this is all my opinion. Just as it is your opinion (or is it?) that Jesus did NOT intend to imply that good deeds make the world a better place.

Again, your assuming that "we" means everyone who's ever done what you define as good.

It is my opinion (and what the Bible says) that ALL GOOD THINGS come (at least in some sense) from God. So if someone does a good thing, then it comes from God. That doesn't matter if it's a pagan, a Christian, a Muslim or a donkey on the trail. Do you think that all good things do not come from God? You're welcome to the opinion, if you want to hold it. I would disagree.

Would we agree that, in either case, it is our opinions?

You're also assuming that the English dictionary definition of "good" is the binding on God.

No. I'm not. I'm assuming that we're using English and when someone says "Good," in an English sentence, they mean Good as it is defined in English. If they mean that God does "good," but, by "good," they mean that "God eats babies and spits out the bones in the faces of their horrified parents... you know, good..." and they use "good" differently, it is incumbent upon them to clarify what they mean beyond the normal definition.

But expecting English speakers to communicate in English is not the same as binding God to the English definition.

Do you not understand the difference? If not, try to find someone else you trust to explain it to you, because there is a difference. You really need to quit putting that out there as if it's something I'm doing. If you don't understand, ask.

Dan Trabue said...

I think that Jesus is "The Light" and that any "light" we might demonstrate is a function of how closely we follow Him

So, when Jesus literally called those listening "THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD," do you think he was mistaken or he was using it in this other sense, without explaining that he didn't really mean literally what he said?

Craig said...

I'm pretty sure that the ALL CAPS isn't a direct quote.

Dan Trabue said...

Really? You're just not going to answer any questions here? You've just come to poo-poo the very simple notion that it's good to do good and that Jesus thinks it makes us the light of the world (lower case, if that makes you feel better) ask a bunch of questions but answer none?

I guess you're right, someone here was really apparently intent on looking for a fight. You just got the wrong guy.

Peace, my good brother.

Craig said...

I answered the questions you wanted answered. Now your going to complain that the location of the answers determines their viability.

I've said what I'm going to say, if you feel the need to taunt and hector me for more I can't stop you.

Anonymous said...

Said the man who has just spent several hours taunting and hectoring me?

Look, I will repeat my premise here:

Jesus said that we are the light of the world.

We are the light of the world when/as we do good works, making the world a lighter, better place.

That's pretty amazing coming from the son of God, but who are we to disagree with Jesus?

If you want to argue against simply doing good, feel free, but I can't imagine you truly believe it, so it just makes it difficult to understand why you continued for so long to imply there was something crazy or wrong with the notion that it's good to do good and that Jesus considers us the light of the world when/as we do so.

It sounds like, from everything you've said so far, that your problem is more with Jesus than with me, so maybe you could take it up with him.

Peace.

~Dan

Craig said...

Of course you're right.



Except the part about me taunting and hectoring you.

But you're right

Dan Trabue said...

I know I'm right. It IS good to do good. It's rather a no-brainer.

So why the many questions and innuendos and simple false claims about me, when I've only posted about something that is very obvious?

Craig said...

I'm sorry. I thought asking questions was important. As for the rest, it's just opinion, and you keep saying it's fine to have different opinions.

Anonymous said...

I am fine with it. So tell me: Do you disagree with the premises of this post?

Those premises being

1. That Jesus called US the light of the world. Period.

Do you hold another opinion on that topic? (well, that one is not so much an opinion as just a fact, the text literally has Jesus saying that "you are the light of the world" to the crowd...)

2. That Jesus clarified that this means that as we do good works, we are the light of the world.

Do you hold another opinion to that fairly straightforward reading of the text?

3. That this is pretty profound, that Jesus calls US the light of the world, and says that OUR good deeds "light up" the world.

Do you disagree with that opinion? Do you think it is not profound at all that Jesus calls us the light of the world and says that our good deeds light up the world?

I don't have a problem at all if you hold different opinions (except for where you're disagreeing with reality), I just don't see what there is to hold a different opinion about on what I've actually said.

~Dan

Marshall Art said...

You have not yet resolved the question I had, that calls into question your understanding given the teachings in Chapter 6 with regard to not performing acts of righteousness before men. This teaching suggests very strongly that you misunderstand or misrepresent what Christ meant by "good deeds" in Chapter 5. One cannot take Christ literally until one understands what He is actually saying. The differences, if your understanding is correct, demonstrates a stark contradiction. When are you going to address this disparity (or where have you already done it---please indicate date and time of your comment where you might have)?

Anonymous said...

the question I had, that calls into question your understanding given the teachings in Chapter 6 with regard to not performing acts of righteousness before men.

I did not/do not understand what your questions have to do with anything.

What you said (summed up here, I believe)...

As I said at Craig's blog, Chapter 6 teaches us that Christ warned us against doing "acts of righteousness" before men, "to be seen by them". That truly and directly contradict what you appear to be insisting that Christ means by "good deeds".

What contradicts anything that I've said? I've stated that Jesus called us the light of the world. That by this, he meant our good deeds make us like the metaphorical light of the world.

What does that have to do with doing good things "to be seen by them..."? I have not advocated flaunting good deeds or boasting about them.

So, since I have not/am not advocating that (indeed, that would be gauche), I don't have the slightest idea what point you're trying to make.

Wait.

Ah! I think I see it.

I think that the specific question you asked from Craig's place was...

Thus, how does our "light" shine when we are doing "good works" in a manner that does not allow everyone to see us do them?

I guess this is the question you're seeking an answer to, so allow me to address it. (Sorry if this is it and I just didn't "get" your point earlier...)

When people take in a homeless orphan, shelters the homeless, supports and befriends a refugee family... when people do good things in the world, the world is a better place. They obviously don't do it to be seen or for bragging rights, but it is noted.

When there is a tornado that destroys a home and the Amish or the PCUSA or a mosque or other group/set of individuals step in and rebuild, the world is better, people are reminded of the good in the world, the world is a better and brighter and kinder and nicer and more just place.

This pleases God/brings glory to God.

Precisely NOT because people say, "Look at the good I did and I'm a Christian, so you know that God is good/deserves glory..." again, that would be gauche, shallow and take away a bit from the good done.

No, it brings light because the world is a better place ("light" being a metaphor for more well lit/easier to see and, thus, better...) and it brings glory to God because God's ways are being done. We are BEING the creatures created (by God) to do good works and clearly this brings glory to God.

When the children at my church (or the children from your church) are out in the world and doing good (and God bless them, they are!) and making the world a better place, it brings glory to the church as well, the church that created them to do good works. Now, these children don't need to say, "I attend Jeff St Baptist" or "I attend Marshall Art's Church," it's a given that they are giving glory to those that raised them.

I believe now that you were actually looking for that specific answer. I think. If not, please clarify, because beyond that, I don't know what you're asking.

~Dan

Anonymous said...

How specifically do you think we bring glory to God by our good behaviors?

Dan

Marshall Art said...

"No, it brings light because the world is a better place ("light" being a metaphor for more well lit/easier to see and, thus, better...) and it brings glory to God because God's ways are being done. We are BEING the creatures created (by God) to do good works and clearly this brings glory to God."

Two major problems with this bit:

1. "Light" is a metaphor for Jesus. Indeed, He uses it to describe Himself, saying "I am the Light of the world" before He ever uses to speak of His followers. As such, we are to be a reflection of His saving grace...not some separate source of light. And yet again, to the extent that being light improves conditions in the world is not the purpose, but a by-product...regardless of how gratifying to us that might be. Jesus, by the way, also refers to Himself as "Living Water" and calling Himself "Light of the World" is just another metaphor for His saving grace, which is the whole point of His existence on earth.

2. Nothing "brings" glory to God, since all glory is already His in the first place. All of creation, including ourselves generally speaking, are manifestations of His glory, not the source of it or the means by which He comes into possession of it. Indeed, it is human arrogance to suggest that any deed we can do increases His glory.

So to your final question, I don't think we "bring" glory to God at all. We may act "for" His glory, but that notion suggests acting in hopes of partaking of His glory...being a part of it, so to speak, or because of His glory. To "bring" glory to God suggests we have glory of our own to give to Him. That's not Biblical at all.

As to my point, it is explained in greater detail at Craig's blog.

Anonymous said...

"Light" is a metaphor for Jesus.

In THIS text, Jesus your Lord and Savior literally tells you that "YOU are the light of the world." In THIS text, it does not say what you just said, in THIS text, Jesus says specifically that PEOPLE are the light of the world and thus, in THIS text, light is literally NOT a metaphor for Jesus. Not at all.

Do you understand this reality?

Nothing "brings" glory to God

In THIS text, Jesus your Lord and Savior literally tells you that YOU bring glory to God by your good deeds. Taken literally, Jesus explicitly disagrees with your hunch.

Do you understand this reality?

It's like you want people to take the Bible literally... except when it's Jesus talking and/or you think it should not be taken literally.

~Dan

Marshall Art said...

So in your mind, there is no problem with the contradiction of Christ's words. In one verse He says "I am the Light of the world", and in this one "You are the Light of the world". Which is it?

One commentary I read speaks of rabbis also referred to in this manner, and now Christ tells His followers that they are as well. But the "light" is HIS Light that they reflect to the world as they live their Christian lives. As clear as I believe Scripture is, evidently you need things spelled out more clearly, especially when you get notions in your head that have personal appeal. So the metaphor of "light = Jesus" still stands as the truth, but how the metaphor is used here confuses you. Now you know.

The text does not say that anyone "brings" glory to God by their deeds. The text says that by one's belief in God men are brought to praise God or give Him glory. I explain the difference at Craig's blog and haven't the time to go over it again here.

This is not only the reality, but an example of what it truly means to take Scripture literally.

Now you know.

Anonymous said...

Damn. You're a literalist and a legalist, even when it comes to obvious metaphors. Yes, man, of course one can use the same image for different metaphors! Why could you not?

Dan

Anonymous said...

In one verse He says "I am the Light of the world", and in this one "You are the Light of the world". Which is it?

And, in case it isn't obvious to you, it's both! Or at least it certainly can be. It's not like he's using the same metaphor two different ways in the same paragraph (which could still be done, of course, but might be confusing). It's two entirely separate times and instances of Jesus speaking.

If I use "Light" today in a metaphor and then, a year from now, use it in another way - and clearly explain WHAT the light is in each instance, am I contradicting myself? No! Of course not! It's a metaphor. Once I've used a metaphor one way, I am not bound to ONLY use it that way.

You do understand that this is how metaphors work, right?

And to further expound on "glorify," the greek word can be used thusly, in the Bible (from a traditional and non-gender-inclusive source)...

1. Men may glorify God, that is, give to Him the worship and reverence which are His due

2. God, Yahweh (Yahweh), glorifies His people, His house, and in the New Testament, His Son, manifesting His approval of them and His interest in them.

In this particular text, the "glorify" is referring to humans giving glory to God because WE ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD (literally, according to Jesus) and our good deeds enable people to "see" God and thus, glorify God.

~Dan

Marshall Art said...

It's the same metaphor applied to two different entities: first Jesus, and then His followers.

And just so you know, using a source you don't actually cite (so that I can go and look at it myself to see how you again abuse sources) makes the "evidence" meaningless.

But your last line agrees with the point of distinction I made with regard to how the words "give glory/glorify" is used versus "bring glory", which, as I've said, suggests something different. This is creepy since what you're doing, in effect, is agreeing with me to argue how wrong I am. Somehow I don't feel chastised.

Anonymous said...

You mean, it's the same WORD, applied in two separate metaphors? If so, yep, you're right. But of course, it's not the same metaphor.

Dan

Marshall Art said...

I was clear about what I meant. You don't have the integrity to admit it, or the smarts to understand.

"Light" is a single metaphor applied to two different entities: Jesus and His followers. It means the same thing in both cases, which is that each is a bringer of truth, the truth of God.

Anonymous said...

Okay.

Dan