Thursday, May 3, 2012

Keene’s Requiem

For tiny eyes--sweet innocence, thy life is worth this dirge,
Crushing silence masks thy death, tis good that I can purge,
And voice thy tears and voice thy rage of Keene’s demonic scourge.
Palace of jackals, thieves, slaves! Within fine and foul merge. 
O holy city of chaos, with devotion thou dost cling 
to righteous shadows and remnant; thin, so thin thy string. 
Behold! thy angel of light! See his darkened wing!
Blind to children’s ashes, deaf to death knell’s ring.
Keene’s offspring imprisoned, by artful doctrines pent
in Ellen’s Sonless labyrinth, all smiling mirrors bent
in terroristic hubris, to cuddle with torment. 
And thus I cry. Alone, I cry my soulful Keene lament.

Conversations, Pt. III

You say that you have no other choice than to only go by what your heart tells you, correct?

I don't know anyone else I can trust but the Holy Spirit.
Do scriptures teach that you can only trust the Holy Spirit in you to interpret scripture?
The scriptures don't address the issue of interpreting itself.
So you are saying that the scriptures do not tell us how to interpret scripture?
Not that I know of, so we are left to interpreting it ourselves.
What about the Ethiopian in Acts 8? Do you know what he did when he wasn't sure what passages in the book of Isaiah meant?
Yes, God sent Philip to show him what it meant and baptize him.
Why didn't the Lord just sent Him the Holy Spirit to interpret the text?
Because He wasn't a Christian, yet.
Why do you think the Lord gave teachers to the Body of Christ if He had meant for the Holy Spirit to directly bring you as an individual Christian to the fullness of Truth?
I think we are all teachers.... We all help each other know truth. Those are gifts we all can have.
Why would we need teachers, if the Holy Spirit was sent to the individual to bring him into all truth? 

(no answer)

Does the Bible tell us where a Christian should go to find a correct interpretation of scripture?
Could you read Matthew 18, verses 15-17, please.
If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.
So where is the Christian supposed to go?
That isn't about scriptural interpretation, it specifically says sin; if you see your brother sin.
How would a person know if another person is sinning?
The Bible tells us what sin is.
You say that we know what sin is from the Bible. If we go to the Bible to find out sin is and then we see our brother sinning, we then go to our brother and warn them to stop sinning. What if your Christian brother who is sinning doesn't accept your interpretation of scripture and says the Holy Spirit tells him that scripture means something different than you think and what he is doing isn't a sin according to his interpretation? What--according to this scriptural passage-- are you supposed to do then? 
Take two or three witness.
So you are to back up your interpretation of sin in the Bible with other people, right? 

      Yes, I guess so.

Why doesn't the text then say that you should take your Bible to the person and show him in the Bible that he is sinning?

I think you probably should.
So now you and a couple of other Christians show someone you think is sinning a passage from scripture that in your mind proves he is sinning. Okay. And if he still refuses, who does the text consider the final authority?
The church.
Is the Bible or the Old Testament scriptures or the gospels or letters of Paul consulted anywhere explicitly written about in this scenario?
If the Bible is the final authority for the Christian, why would Christ in this passage say the final authority is the church.
The church would, as a church go to the Bible, I guess.
So in the final analysis, you are saying it is the corporate church, an organization who gets to interpret what sin is from the Bible. 
I am not sure, I am still thinking about that. Because what about our conscience? We can't go against our conscience no matter what the church says.
If the Bible is the final authority, why do you think Jesus didn't mention scripture in this passage? 
This must have been because Christ knew the New Testament wasn't written yet. 
Can you give me one place in all of scripture that states that we are given the authority to interpret scripture?
Can you give me one place in all of scripture that states that we are not given the authority to interpret scripture?
May I read for you II Peter 1:20-21? "But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God."
That is about prophecy, not scripture.
But Peter does tell us that we are not to self-interpet prophecy, correct?
Prophecy is not a matter of one's own interpretation. But if person has the Holy Spirit then the Holy Spirit can interpret it. 
You are free to interpret scripture when you are led by the Holy Spirit. Am I stating your position correctly?
If in your opinion you are filled with the Holy Spirit, then who is Peter speaking of when he says we are not to self-interpret? 
Those who don't have the Holy Spirit.
Again, everything in your scenario ends up back upon your own judgment of yourself (whether you have the Holy Spirit) and of scripture. Every interpretation of every text ends up making you the infallible interpreter or the fallible interpreter, doesn't it?
No. It is Christ in me that is the infallible interpreter. 
Then you do consider yourself infallible in interpreting scripture?
No. Christ is infallible.
Christ will not allow you to make a wrong interpretation of scripture?
I have faith that is true.
At this moment are all your interpretations of scripture, all your understandings of doctrine perfect and infallible?
That brings us back to my question. Where is your interpretation of scripture wrong, how do you know its wrong, and does it matter that it is wrong? 
I am tired. This is just ridiculous. All we are doing is going in circles! I have my opinion and that it just what I believe. 
Stick with me for just a moment more. I just want to clarify for everyone here. You realize that your understanding of God and His Holy Word is fallible--you could have some important doctrines wrong. But that you do not know where you are wrong, because the Holy Spirit has not yet revealed to you where you are wrong. You, however, are not worried about it because you trust that if you are wrong, the Holy Spirit will point it out to you at a later date. Is that your position? 
Can you show me any text in scripture that tells us that your position is Biblical--one text that says the Holy Spirit directly tells us the correct interpretation of scripture?

The witness remains silent. 

Thank you and I hope you understand that the questions were not to harm you in any way, but to explore how you think? 
Yes, I know you well. You are the Catholic me. I am the Protestant me. We argue like this all the time. Now, get to work and quit messing on your blog....

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Conversation, Pt. II

As a Christian, who prays and studies scripture, you admit that your interpretation of God's Holy Word is not infallible; that you are most likely not perfectly correct in everything you believe. You admit that it can be important to know where you are wrong, but you also admit that there is no way to know where you are wrong unless the Holy Spirit shows you. I'm I correctly stating your position. 

I don't know. On the surface that sounds like a dilemma all Christians have. We just have to wait on the Lord to show us where we are wrong and there is really no other way. We have to have faith that we "grow in grace."
May I start with another line of questioning? One I feel will help clarify the unworkable epistomological situation you have placed yourself in.
You believe in the doctrine of Sola Scriptura. For the sake of this discussion we will identify it as meaning that the scriptures are your final source of authority. It trumps everything else. Can we use that definition for the purpose of this cross-examination? 
You stated earlier that the determining factor for your beliefs is the scriptures. Is that a correct statement. 
Yes, but I would add, because I am a born-again Christian, the meaning of the scriptures are revealed through the Holy Spirit. 
Yes, thank you for clarifying. I believe that the premise you just stated is a faulty premise. Where do you derive the belief that the Holy Spirit will reveal the meaning of scripture to you? 
(Witness pulls out iPod and finds text in John 16: 13.) Here it is, "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth."
How does this Spirit guide you into all truth?
I don't understand the question. 
How does this truth reach you? Are you given all truth downloaded into your brain during prayer? What method or vehicle or by what means is this truth given to you? 
Through prayer you have thoughts, inspirations and you hear a little voice. 
Is that an infallible voice? 
Yes, maybe. It might be. 
How do you know? 
You have to check it through the Bible. The Bible will tell you if the voice is true. 
So, the Holy Spirit must be "checked" through the Bible, correct? 
So the Bible is the authority over the Holy Spirit. 
No. We just can't always trust our own hearts, so we have to check it by the Bible. 
Please read the scripture you just read earlier. 
"But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth." 
Does the text include the Bible in this transfer of truth? 
Not specifically, no. 
So where do you get the idea that the Bible is used to "check" the Holy Spirit? 
(The witness remains quiet.) 
Do you agree that the idea that the Bible bring us to all truth through the Holy Spirit is not a Biblical concept--that there is not specific text in the Bible that says the Holy Spirit uses the Bible to bring us into all truth? 
(The witness remains silent.) 
I want to now look at that text in another way. Do you believe that the text promising the Holy Spirit to guide you into all truth is interpreted to mean you specifically or any Christian as an individual Christian--that Christ was promising that the Holy Spirit would guide the individual Christian independently of other Christians into all truth? 
How do you know that is the correct interpretation of that text? 
Because it plainly states it. Anyone who reads it honestly--and isn't twisting it around-- would get that. 
How do you know that you are not twisting it around? 
Because I know. I love Jesus and I am born-again! The Spirit wouldn't send me the wrong way. It says it right there that the Holy Spirit is going to lead us to all truth and that is that! Why are you trying to complicate things? 
May I suggest another reading, taking in the context of that passage?
Okay, go ahead.
Jesus is with His disciples at the Last Supper. Judas runs out to betray Him and Jesus begins His famous discourse with "Do not let your hearts be troubled, ye believe in God, believe also in Me..." This discourse continues for several chapters without a break. In chapter 14, Jesus begins telling the eleven disciples that He will send them the Holy Spirit. In verse sixteen Jesus says that He will ask the Father and the Father will give them a Helper--forever---the Spirit of Truth. Why would Jesus say that He is leaving the Spirit of Truth to His disciples forever
Obviously because the Holy Spirit is going to continue in the hearts and minds of the believers AFTER the disciples are dead.... So we know by this passage that it IS going to be among us. 
Yes, so the Spirit of Truth was promised to continue forever. Therefore it wasn't specifically promised to the individual Apostles alone, correct? 
Yes, I answered that. 
The Spirit of Truth began with the Apostles and is going to continue from that point with someone right? 

You believe that it is going to be given out to each born-again, individual Christian from that point forward to bring them into all truth--not as a group--but as individuals, independent of a group, correct? 
Could you read the context of the text you brought up. Read John 14: 25 and 26, please. Could you also read John 15: 26 and 27. 
"These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.""When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning.
Are these two texts used within the same discourse of Jesus to His Apostles at Gethsemane? 
So these two texts are speaking about the same thing, the Holy Spirit coming and bringing all truth? 
"The Holy Spirit will teach you all things and bring to remembrance all the things I said to you." And The Holy Spirit will testify because "you have been with Me from the beginning." Who was with Jesus from the beginning. 
His followers.
Who was with Jesus in Gethsemane that night? 
The Apostles. 
Who would remember all the things Christ has said to the Apostles? 
The Apostles. 
Jesus specified that the Holy Spirit would be sent to those who had been with Him from the beginning and those who had heard all that He had said. Who would those people be? 
The Apostles. 
Is there any indication within the text that the Holy Spirit would bring anyone all truth besides those who had been with Him from the beginning? 
It isn't said, but it could be implied. 
How is it implied? 
We have to assume it is implied because how are we supposed to know truth unless the Holy Spirit gives it to us. 
That is why I said the premise of your belief is wrong. Your premise is that Jesus made the promise to all Christian believers independent of each other. I would find that an unbiblical premise. The Bible does not in any way imply that all truth will be given to Christians. Jesus Himself limited it to His Apostles who had been with Him from the beginning and the Holy Spirit would call to their minds all that He had said to them. 
So your premise is that the only people who can know all truth is the apostles who died? 
No, that promise was a promise forever--that the Spirit of Truth would be with the chosen apostles forever? 
That doesn't make sense why would they need that promise after they died? Why would God limit it to the eleven Apostles? Why would He say "forever?"
Is it possible that the text could be meaning that the Spirit of Truth would be given to the eleven Apostles and then would be handed on to the people who took the Apostle's office, forever? 
I don't think that it what it means. 
I did not ask you if you thought it meant that only if it could possibly mean that
I guess it could. 
Do you think I am twisting the text? 
I think you are not interpreting it right.
Since there are several possible meanings of this text, how do you know yours is the correct one? 

It is the one plainest to me. 
Since you admitted that your interpretation is not infallible, could your interpretation of this text be mistaken? 
How would you know that your interpretation of this text is correct? 
Because the Holy Spirit confirms it in my heart. 
So you are trusting your heart to tell you that you have a right understanding of this specific text?
I have to. 
Why do you have to? 
Because I don't have any other choice. What other choice do I have? 

Monday, April 30, 2012

Our Infallibility

Are your thoughts about God and His Word infallible? 
      "Of course I'm not infallible."
Can you have a wrong understanding or interpretation of God and His Word?
      "Of course I can have a wrong understanding of God and His Word." 
If you recognize that you are able to have a wrong understanding of God and His Word, then where are you wrong?
       "Obviously, I don't know.... yet. But I trust God will show me through His Holy Spirit." 
So you believe that through the Holy Spirit your understanding of God and His Word will become infallible? 
How will you be aware that your understanding of God and His Word is infallible? 
      "I won't ever think I am infallible in this life, because my understanding will never be perfect until I am in heaven."
Your understanding of God and His Word will never be perfect and infallible on this earth? 
       "My guess is no."
Then, I repeat my question, which beliefs and interpretations of God and His Holy Word are you in error on?
       "There is no way of knowing."
You admit that there is no way of knowing which one of your beliefs of God and His Word are correct, and you admit that since you are not infallible that your understanding is not perfect, you most likely have something you believe that is in error. So, is it important to know where you are in error? 

       "I suppose."

So where do you go to find out where your beliefs are wrong?
        "To prayer and to the Holy Word of God."
How do you know if your understanding of God and His Holy Word is becoming less incorrect? 
           "I guess by my fruits."
How will these fruits identify where you are in error?
            "I don't know specifically, but this line of questioning makes me suspect you are saying that I can't trust the Holy Spirit to lead me into all truth." 
No, you are misunderstanding my questions. I am simply asking you, since you admit you are and will remain until Christ changes you into perfection, fallible and can theoretically misunderstand God and misinterpret His Holy Word, then how do you know where you are wrong? 
           "I guess I just don't." 
Do you think it is important to know where you are wrong about God and His Holy Word.
           "I suppose it is where I am wrong. If I am wrong in a little thing, then it isn't important."
How do you know you are wrong in a little thing if you cannot identify where you are wrong?
           "I guess God will just have to show me where I am wrong."
How does God show us where we are wrong? 
           "Like I said before, He shows me through the Holy Spirit and His Word and through prayer. You are making this way too complicated." 
So then you could identify where you are wrong, correct? If the Holy Spirit shows us where we are wrong, could you then please identify where you are wrong?
           "I don't know. Maybe He hasn't told me yet." 
If you know you are wrong somewhere and the Holy Spirit hasn't yet shown you where you are wrong, how can you trust what you believe?