Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Wycliffe Bible Translators accused of downgrading Jesus ‘for Muslim sensitivities’

And not merely of ‘downgrading’, but actually ousting Him altogether from the Trinity: He is no longer the Son of the Father, because such terms are apparently offensive to Muslims, for whom Allah has no son and Mohammed is his messenger. Period. So, it appears that Wycliffe’s new Bibles are to be purged of all that which might cause offence to the heathen. God knows what John Wycliffe himself might have had to say about this: when words of truth become a stumbling block to mission, it must surely time to reassess one’s missiology, not adapt the truth.

Mission is a complex and multi-faceted pursuit, with a plethora of models of praxis. The work of Bible translation is intrinsic to and inseparable from the work, for one must be constantly sensitive to cultural shifts and developments in language, for neither is as conveniently fixed as the unchanging Logos. Some Christians view culture as antagonistic to the gospel, and so adopt a confrontational approach. Others see culture as being essentially ‘on our side’, adopting the anthropological model of contextualisation, looking for ways in which God has revealed himself in culture and building on those. Those who adopt the ‘Christ above culture’ model have a synthetic approach and adopt a mediating third way, keeping culture and faith in creative tension. And those who see Christ as the transformer of culture adopt a critical contextualisation which by no means rejects culture, but is prepared to be critical both of the context and of the way we ourselves perceive the gospel and its meaning. Thus culture itself needs to be addressed by the gospel, not simply the individuals within it, and truth is mediated through cultural spectacles.

Mission relates to every aspect of a culture in its religious, political, economic and social dimensions, and is necessarily mediated through language. From the moment God ‘translated’ himself at the Incarnation, the task of communicating a Hebrew gospel to a Greek audience became a missiological imperative. But what does ben mean in the culture of the huios? How much of an âb is a patêr?

From the moment the Holy Spirit descended at Pentecost, it became clear that the Word was to be shared in a myriad of diverse words in disparate cultures. There was some regress, of course, when Latin became the lingua franca and the élite asserted an inviolable uniformity of linguistic expression to expound their soteriological certainties. It took the Protestant Reformation to reawaken the need for the ploughboy to be able to read the scriptures once again in his own tongue, since which time the task of Bible translation has been the foundation of Christian mission, and linguistic science has become its most crucial tool.

Wycliffe Bible Translators must surely understand the imperative of witnessing to the truth in a postmodern age of aggressive secularism and relativism. Yet they stand accused of producing an Arabic Bible that uses ‘Lord’ instead of ‘Father’ and ‘Messiah’ instead of ‘Son’. They produced a Turkish translation that uses ‘guardian’ for ‘Father’ and ‘representative’ or ‘proxy’ for ‘Son’. There is also concern that God is rendered ‘Allah’. And in the Bengali Injil Sharif, references to ‘Son’ were rendered ‘Messiah’, and the succinct ‘Son of God’ becomes ‘God’s Uniquely Intimate Beloved Chosen One’. The allegation is that by excising these terms from Scripture, they fail to portray God as who He is: the familial, eternal, loving God the Father, Son and Spirit: ‘The deity of Jesus is obscured, and thus the self-sacrifice of God on our behalf.’

This has led a US group called Biblical Missiology to sponsor a petition for the retention of the terms ‘Father’ and ‘Son’ in the text of all translations. His Grace has some sympathy with the observation of John Harrower, Bishop of Tasmania, who said:
This is an impoverished and incorrect attempt at contextualisation which results in syncretism: the mixing of belief systems/religions that produces a new belief system/religion that is not true to any of the original belief systems/religions. Changing fundamental words of Scripture such as "Father" and "Son" will also fuel the Muslim claim that the Bible is corrupted, full of errors and has been abrogated by the Qur'an and example of Muhammad. For the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, please stop this malpractice.
The observation that ‘tampering’ with Scripture merely reinforces the chronic Islamic assertion and belief that the Bible is corrupted is moot. But it must be observed that it is also a strength of the Judaeo-Christian tradition, which has ever been syncretic. Christians do not believe (or most of them, at any rate) that God miraculously imparted an immutable book in an eternal language with universal meaning through an infallible agent at a single point in history: the Bible is God’s revealed truth mediated throughout millennia of history by men and women of faith, who were manifestly flawed, confined by culture and bound in time. We may disagree with each other as we struggle to distinguish which are God’s words to all peoples for all time from those which are aimed at a specific people in a particular time. But we can only engage in the process as we open our eyes to higher criticism and historical scholarship; as we examine a particular political and societal context and discern the Sitz im Leben of Scripture.

His Grace is (though he says it himself) really quite knowledgeable on such matters, and learned in Hebrew and Greek. He is also acutely aware that many Wycliffe workers operate in missiologically 'challenging' parts of the world. It is very easy for us to engage in lively academic armchair debate on contentious matters of translation while, for Wycliffe missionaries, the task is not only a matter of the eternal lives of those who are being saved, but also the reality of torture and death should their work be revealed and their confession made public. There is a long-standing convention in the missionary world that organisations do not give out the names or locations of those working in sensitive areas. All missionary organisations have agreed to this and it has been respected, until now. Some websites critical of Wycliffe and some of the emails in circulation make it possible to identify some of the people, missionaries and local believers who are in very sensitive situations. This is utterly irresponsible: indeed, it is an assault upon the work of God.

There is absolutely no question of Wycliffe Bible Translators being engaged in some subversive activity to undermine the Christian faith in order to make Scripture somehow more palatable to Muslims. All Wycliffe workers are required to sign an orthodox confession of faith; they believe unequivocally that the Son is begotten of the Father and conceived by the Spirit. One of the problems (if not the principal one) is that the sound-bite ‘Wycliffe have removed the Son of God from the Bible’ is a much easier message to impart than a nuanced discussion about the nature of the Trinity, the vagaries of language and the imprecision of meaning. There are complex and legitimate questions to be asked about the way in which terms such as the ‘Son of God’ are translated in some contexts. These cannot easily be discussed on febrile blogs or in 140-character tweets. And those who have pledged to withhold their tithes as a result are acting like children.

Wycliffe have given a public assurance that they would ever be involved in a translation which does not translate the terms ‘Son’ or ‘Father’ or ‘Son of God’. To say that they are removing them from the Bible is, they say, simply not true. However, translating the original Greek into some languages can devalue the Trinitarian relationship by reducing it to purely physical conception. This limitation is a linguistic reality (not dissimilar from the poverty of the English language when we translate ‘love’, for which the Greeks had four distinctly different words). Because of this, in some cases, translators seek to spell out the meaning of the term, rather than render it word-for-word, in order to convey the biblical concept more clearly. In cases where this is done, it is invariably with input from both local Christians and inculturated translation consultants and only after a rigorous process of checking has made sure that the translation carries the full force of the biblical message. It is also normal practice that direct translations of (say) ‘Son of God’ are included as footnotes for clarity.

Consider, for example, a culture in which to be a father involved the routine rape (by Western definition) of one’s young daughters; one in which to be a 12-year-old son involved being pimped out (by Western definition) to older men for ‘mentoring’. These ‘coming of age’ rites of passage are traumatising for children (by Western definition), though by no means aberrational: they are culturally normative, socially engrained, and inseparable from that culture’s understanding of hierarchy, patriarchy, order and justice. The Christian missionary is presented with a choice: either to devote decades if not centuries attempting to transform the culture in order that it might be receptive to what the Bible says about fatherhood and sonship, by diligently and patiently labouring incarnationally in the process of re-education while souls are being lost. Or he/she can find ways of communicating the essence of God the Father which does not present the stumbling block of the Father being an oppressive rapist; and ways of talking about God the Son which detaches the Son from the normative submissive penetrative sexual act. This might mean that ‘Father’, for that culture, is translated (say) ‘Parent of Nurture’, and ‘Son’ is rendered (say) ‘Child of Purity’, where ‘purity’ is culturally understood as being physically inviolate. These are not perfect: they are not remote equivalences: they are the initial thoughts and crude drafts of possible terms by which ‘Father’ and ‘Son’ in the biblical doctrine of the Trinity might be detached from the physical act of sex in and for this culture.

Translation is an art, not a science. There are those, of course, who will demand that we stick with the terms ‘Father’ and ‘Son’ in all languages, and insist on translating the Bible ‘as it is’, and work out our doctrine afterwards, rather than imposing translations that suit our doctrines. There are others who favour a more ‘artistic’ dynamic equivalence. There is an ongoing debate about this question and there are legitimate arguments on both sides. Inevitably, some people will be unhappy with the approach taken in and with some languages, but this should not be used to undermine one of the world’s greatest works of mission – to translate the Bible for every tribe and tongue on the planet, and they are on target to achieve this part of the Great Commission by 2025. All of Wycliffe’s translations are checked according to a set of standards agreed internationally by all Bible agencies. They would never publish a translation which systematically removed Jesus’ relationship to the Father and they certainly would not make translation choices in order to mitigate the offence of the Gospel of Christ. When many risk their lives in some hostile societies, the allegation of diluting or dumbing down Scripture is absurd.

The notion that translation can be effected by internet petition (by people many of whom will have very little understanding of the host culture situation) seems like the very worst kind of Western Christian arrogance. We may know what ‘Father’ and ‘Son’ mean in English, but it does not follow that they must have the same semantic range in another language. Who but the Greek and the scholar of Greek can know what is meant by huios? Who but the indigenous and the participant observer can begin to grapple with the difference and distinction between biological and social familial terms?

To be a father in English may be understood both biologically (imparting DNA) and socially (in nurture). In some cultures, it may refer only to the biological. We may use the term ‘step father’ to denote a non-biological father, but as our own society has developed, the ‘step’ is increasingly discarded. We may similarly observe two categories of son. When it comes to New Testament Greek, huios is translated ‘son’ in English; the Old Testament ben is similarly rendered. Neither term carries an automatic assumption of biological procreation: indeed, they are frequently used of sonship in the social sense, as is the English ‘son’. But what of languages which cannot distinguish the DNA-begat son from the adoptive-social son? This is not as straightforward as ‘dynamic’ versus ‘literal’: the important thing to grasp is that the scriptures in their original languages do not contain the words 'Father' and 'Son': they have huios and , and patêr and âb. Words which have the same semantic range as these words in English simply may not exist in other host languages which is why translation is fraught with difficulties.

And so exegesis is necessary to determine meaning: exegetes generally work from the Hebrew and Greek, and are likely to be a speaker of the language into which the Bible is being translated. There is drafting and wide consultation with members of the local community to discover if phrases or expressions capture the sense of Scripture. This is rigorous and painstaking, and is followed by revision and further revision. Translators have to learn humility as their scholarship and professionalism are constantly criticised and not infrequently amended or even completely discarded. There is then a process of testing: the translators may believe they have done a fine job, but only by testing in the receptor community can this be established. When the translation has been tested it is checked and re-checked by scholars and consultants. These obviously have a deep knowledge of the biblical texts and the local cultural context. Every verse is examined to ensure that it is an accurate reflection of the original text for the receptor culture.

While debate and discussion on such a process are to be welcome, it is only fruitful when all parties are listening, learning and interacting. When it comes to the demands of expressing the mysteries of inter-Trinitarian relationships in a host culture, honest debate and questioning are both inevitable and (hopefully) helpful. However, the idea that a few thousand signatures on a petition should short-circuit the whole process of cultural engagement and careful reflection by people who are giving their lives to reach a given community with the gospel seems extraordinary. This is the X-Factorisation of Bible translation; argumentum ad populum.

We may be justifiably concerned that the Son in one translation is apparently not ‘begotten’. We may be even more concerned that this is the approach taken with every reference to the Son, apparently ignoring a spectrum of nuanced terms. Perhaps Muslim and Jewish converts in particular might be acutely sensitive to this, since the simultaneous Fatherhood and Sonship of God must represent one of their most significant revelations. Certainly, most Muslims balk at the Bible's familial language, because the Qur'an teaches that God could not have a son. And so they are likely to be as sincerely fervent and absolute in their Sonship doctrine as ex-smokers tend to be in the purity of their lungs. But if the term ‘Son of God’ causes instant repudiation and proves an insurmountable hurdle to dialogue and relationship, why not start with ‘Messiah’ or ‘Christ’ in order to enlighten incrementally? Really, a work of mission which begins by telling the Muslim that Mohammed was a paedophile (by Western definition) isn’t going to get very far.

Which may lead some (if not a very great many) missionaries to the conclusion that a work of love which begins with those scriptures which give the impression of Jesus having been God’s procreated Son is unhelpful, and indeed likely to prove unfruitful if the inference in the receptor culture is of a blasphemous assertion that God impregnated Mary. And yet this Son, according to the Apostles’ Creed, was ‘conceived of the Holy Spirit’. But in Scripture this ‘conceived’ is not gennaō but sullambanō, and there are very subtle but important differences: while the former is the more usual term for biological begetting, the latter, while it may certainly admit that interpretation, also extends to embracing the possibility of the metaphorical. Suddenly, the ontology of conception, creation, procreation and begetting become neo-platonic theo-philosophical complexities, all bound up in the fourth-century religio-political difficulties caused by an irritant by the name of Arius, while the missionary in the field has to be concerned with communicating a gospel which may be received with the mind of a child. It is a tortuous dichotomy: mission is a work of profound depths with some joyous ecstasies. But let no-one dogmatically assert that communicating the Word is as simple as propagating and imposing the meaning of words.

158 Comments:

Blogger Di said...

So can we now expect some reciprocal sensitivity by translators of the koran, excising any terms that might be offensive to jews?

Nahh, thought not.

7 February 2012 at 07:45  
Blogger Paul Dean said...

Thank you for taking the time to write such a long and careful post.

7 February 2012 at 07:58  
Blogger G. Tingey said...

"Witnessing the truth"

Like there isn't any Big Sky Fairy AT ALL ???

That'll be the day!

7 February 2012 at 08:03  
Blogger Bishop Alan Wilson said...

In fairness to Mr Wyclif, your Grace seems to take a diametrically opposite view of such matters to Saint Paul in I Corinthians 9...

7 February 2012 at 08:18  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

+Alan, that's curious. His Grace is of the view that his approach coheres perfectly with 1Cor9... His Grace knows it's a long article. Did you read it?

7 February 2012 at 08:45  
Blogger Windsor Tripehound said...

YG, thank you for this long and thoughtful post.

I will need to re-read it (several times I expect), but it strikes me that in addition to the immediate issues it is also very relevant to the discussion about Biblical authority, or otherwise, for the creation of women bishops.

Pity about Tingey's ignorant intervention but then I suppose it was no better than we have come to expect.

7 February 2012 at 09:07  
Blogger Derek said...

Mr Tingey,

This is a discussion for Christian adults, not 66-year-old teenagers. I suggest that you sit this one out.

7 February 2012 at 09:14  
Blogger Albert said...

If not being offensive to Muslims is the criterion, then presumably they are expunging all references to the crucifixion and the resurrection as well. Bishop Alan: I think Dr Cranmer is right, 1 Cor 9 and 1 Cor.1 are in the same letter after all.

7 February 2012 at 09:16  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

Sadly this is a sign of a far greater issue than just this one thing. It is the tip of the iceberg of trying to make Christianity more palatable so that it will be more easily accepted. Just look at the CofE's recent comments about it's interfaith dialogue, saying it's no longer about conversion but about understanding!

Jesus didn't say "must say nice things so that they like me", He spoke the truth regardless of that!

7 February 2012 at 09:28  
Blogger broadwood said...

Your Grace,

You have made some important points about sensitivity in witness, but we are on thin ice if we fail to recognise the Gospel always was and still is necessarily an offence to many, as it directly challenges any view of God which omits the divine necessity of the incarnation. Therefore, not only is it a stumbling block to Jews - 1 Cor 1:23, but Muslims too; and for this very reason. Many of the Jews who witnessed the earthly ministry of Christ found his claims to divine sonship utterly offensive, but He did not attempt to 'incrementally enlighten' them, but continued to witness to the unvarnished truth.

No amount of linguistic shuffling can enable anyone to genuinely come to Christ unless they can fully understand and embrace the reality of who He is; and any rendering of scripture which attempts to evade the very heart of the Gospel is worse than useless.

7 February 2012 at 10:00  
Blogger Hereward said...

YG. Thank you for your comprehensive and reasoned discourse.
The problems of Bible translation are immense. For instance, when one Wycliffe translator was testing a draft passage relating to the Holy Spirit the locals asked "Is he the chief of the demons?" Getting it right is essential and takes a lot of painstaking revisions.
Critics of the Wycliffe organisation have jumped in with both feet and a woeful lack of appreciation of the difficulty of conveying the Scriptures to disparate cultures without compromising their accuracy.

7 February 2012 at 10:40  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

Thank you for this interesting and enlightening article which needs to be read a few times. Obviously linguistic and cultural implications are things which need to be taken into account when translating of a text.

Ultimately one will always be offended by certain cultural differences that are alien to ones own culture e.g the 'mentoring'(euphemistic term) of children which is repugnant to our beliefs and it's hard to believe that anyone was really comfortable with this.There is no way of knowing.

The thing about culture is that there are certain concepts of other cultures that we may find more find more appealing than our own when we are exposed to them .

We must respect that intelligent analytical people who are present in all cultures, and by the nature of being so, are open to new concepts and ideas which seem so much better than those present in the person's own culture

Living in another culture I have had first hand experience of this. It seems that Christian culture has a lot of appeal in its basic tenets of justice and equality to both Moslems and Hindus.

A lot of atheists are unaware they are leading Christian lives the tenets of which have been enshrined in western culture for centuries.

This is probably non pc but the Christian ethic in orignal intention is the best way to live.
Even Dawkins said it has worked best so far.


On another point, how can anyone think
that Jesus is the genetic human son of God. I have always understood that Jesus was a kind of human manifestation of God. God is divine .Terms like Father and Son are not meant to be taken literally in the human biological sense. Surely that is why the Trinity is so mind bending to understand.

There is a lot of food for thought
to digest here and I very much appreciate the Greek and Hebrew explanatory references as I speak
neither and probably never will which is more the pity.Chapeau!

7 February 2012 at 11:03  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Cranmer

Very interesting, thoughtful and considered. I found this thought provoking to read.

Of course you do realise it supports the position of the Catholic Church all those centuries ago in resisting unauthorised translations of the Bible and widespread publication of such translations?

Just a thought and not an attempt to rile or goad you.

7 February 2012 at 11:16  
Blogger Vince said...

Personally I am an atheist, but as someone who's studied both Hebrew and Greek myself I thought this was a very interesting read. It poses challenges for translation in general, as well as the Bible. As I understand it, your point is that we should recognise that languages do not mechanically represent single objects, but have a host of context which needs to be taken into account by any translator hoping to get a specific point across. That is certainly an important and valuable point to make, especially when the precise meaning is as important as in the Bible.

7 February 2012 at 11:44  
Blogger Rory Martin said...

Translation is indeed a difficult task in any language. I do find it despicable how Christians can be worse gossips and slanderers rather than the children of light that we are supposed to be. So these missionaries lives are put at risk.
However, I don't accept that translation philosophy. Preferring an essentially literal translation like the ESV. The Trinity is a primary doctrine upon which in every language we must get the language right. The bible itself has it's own language and we must remain faithful to the text while also taking an account for the language. In taking the bible into any culture there is always going to be a clash, as the message of the bible is counter-cultural.
The relationship between the Father, Son, and Holy spirit eternally co-existing 3 distinct persons as one God, is one doctrine that can not be ignored. Nonetheless, the work of missionaries is of course to explain such things those who they are reaching in language that they understand.
As for it's application for rape victims. I think that even in a western culture - highly sexualised - there is an abhorrence to such things. Jesus may be the only man that they will ever trusted. And the relationship with the Father through him may only be the only proper relationship he/she may have had. It is only though explaining the gospel that the trinity makes sense.

7 February 2012 at 12:03  
Blogger Hugh said...

Your Grace,
So many thanks for the effort you have put into this. It opens so many lines of enquiry.

7 February 2012 at 12:22  
Blogger Owl said...

Excellent YG.

Bart Ehrman's "Misquoting Jesus" gives some very interesting background to this thorny problem which you have taken a step further.

Mr. Ehrman's contention that, among other reasons, the Bible was sometimes altered to agree with current beliefs of the translator(s) has now received a new dimension.

Translating differently to cater for different target societies.

One of the main difficulties Mr. Ehrman explained was in getting back to the original text (as far as that is at all possible).

Now different versions of the Bible are being deliberately created (for a good reason) but is this not a further removal from the original?

What happens when one of these Bibles is then transported to a different society which has a different understanding of specific words or phrases?

This is a lot trickier than what it appears on the surface.

7 February 2012 at 13:11  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

Surely - if we are not even going to listen to common-sense - we should at least listen to the indigenous Christian community in these dangerous mission fields. It is their opinion that this will make their witness & evangelism harder, not easier.

Are we not aware that the Lord Jesus was Himself accused of blasphemy for referring to Yaweh as "Father"? Do we seriously believe that the Almighty didn't have the prescience to foresee any "cultural barriers" to the terms Heavenly Father, or Son Of God?

For Christ's sake, stop salami slicing the truth with intellectual piety.

7 February 2012 at 13:53  
Blogger Albert said...

That's a very good point Rebel Saint. When Jesus describes himself as the Bread of Life, some of those around him grumble. But instead of saying "Sorry if that offends you, I'll find a different way of speaking" he rubs their noses in it:

I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.

Now they get really cross, so Jesus goes even further:

unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.


Some scholars say he even heightens the language by changing the word for "eat" to something more like "munch". But the language here is profoundly offensive to the Jews. And typically, those who do not believe in him fall away: at each point he hardens his language and seems to play right into their worries.

7 February 2012 at 14:08  
Blogger Elwin Daniels said...

The (please forgive me for using this cliche) 'elephant in the room' is that if Jesus of Nazareth was God's only begotten Son, died for our sins and rose again (as all Christians believe?), then Muhammad must inevitably be a false prophet of the '...will lead many astray: by their works shall ye know them' variety.

The Nigerian Muhammadan group Boko Haram appears to understand this perfectly well. That's why they bombed churches in Nigeria on Christmas Day, killing 40 unarmed believers while they were worshipping Jesus, and scores more since. And their brethren attack Andrew White's church in Baghdad for the same reason.

The existence of the Koran offends me, and yes I have read it-it's a death warrant for western civilisation.

The Wyclife translators have an unenviable task, as do all Christians working in Muslim countries. I wish them well. However I am more concerned about the right to speak freely in England. I do not wish to become a dhimmi in the land of my birth.
We need an English Bill of Rights with a strong free speech clause and we need it NOW.

7 February 2012 at 14:51  
Blogger Oswin said...

Old John must be spinning in his grave; spitting too, probably.

Fortunately, it is but a name, borrowed during the early 1940's, by an American missionary drop-out, who became a Bible salesman. (Thank you Wiki!)

7 February 2012 at 15:01  
Blogger scottspeig said...

YG,

Surely the main point of this article should read:

"Some folk are claiming wycliffe translators are changing Christ's relationship to the Father. Wycliffe folk says its nonsense"

Apart from that, I liked the article for an insight to translating! :)

7 February 2012 at 15:44  
Blogger cping500 said...

I notice that the following denial has appeared.

The Wycliffe Global Alliance organisations and their personnel are not omitting or removing the familial terms, translated in English as “Son of God” or “Father,” from any Scripture translation. Erroneous information and rumours on the internet have recently raised questions concerning this issue.

Wycliffe never has and never will be involved in a translation which does not translate these terms. To say that we are removing any familial terms from the Bible is simply not true. Wycliffe continues to be faithful to accurate and clear translation of Scripture. The eternal deity of Jesus Christ and the understanding of Jesus’ relationship with God the Father must be preserved in every translation.

Wycliffe personnel from nations around the world are committed to working alongside language communities and other partners to translate God’s Word with great care from the original languages of Scripture into the languages of the world’s people so that all may know the redeeming love and glory of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

from www.wycliffe.org.uk

7 February 2012 at 15:58  
Blogger non mouse said...

Thank you for an erudite and thoughtful post, Your Grace. I also shall read it again.

In the meantime, may I record that I am deeply offended by all who fail to recognise the superiority of both Wyclif and the KJV writers.

Of course, I understand that my sensitivities are irrelevant. In particular, I know that my perceptions and my diction are wrong, before ever I try to utter them. I need the benefit of foreigners, to teach me English.

You see, foreigners have taught me this. We are the stupidest people on earth: we are the only ones who do not know our own language. No amount of education (beating into shape) can help us!

There. Is that a good enough grovel for them?
[[I doubt it. They won't be happy until we, our country, our language and the faith that informs it, are ground into desert-dust: and they 'stamp o'er our heads.']]

wv: purfi
______________

Sorry if this shows twice: disappearing post syndrome. Have cleared the memory.

7 February 2012 at 16:02  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Characteristically thought-provoking and well written Cranmer. Thanks.

7 February 2012 at 16:46  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Albert

An insightful comment but Jesus was communicating with Jews in their own language. There was no confusion about what He said or meant i.e. eat My Body and drink My Blood. And in the light of the Last Supper we know how this is made possible - the Real Presence at the Eucharist.

That said, the 'real' meaning is a source of dispute between Catholics and Protestants. Even though we agree on what Jesus said we differ on whether He was being literal or allegorical? Andlook at Matthew 16 too!

The Bible is a book to be approached with caution as well as reverence. Understanding its layers of meaning is difficult enough without the added complexity of translation to enable it be 'understood' in different cultures.

7 February 2012 at 16:58  
Blogger Albert said...

Dodo,

Even though we agree on what Jesus said we differ on whether He was being literal or allegorical?

As far as John 6 is concerned, I think that if Jesus was speaking in an allegorical sense, the people who took offence were misunderstanding him but were right to take offence ("How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" - he doesn't, if it's allegorical). It is very odd that Jesus does not correct them therefore, but rather heightens his language, especially as they are rejecting him for the truth! This stands in contrast in John to the usual pattern in which Jesus (or John) corrects people when they misunderstand him (e.g. Jn.4.11; 8.33; 11.11; 14.5-8). But there is nothing of that in John 6.

7 February 2012 at 17:28  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Your Grace. The Inspector welcomes anything that reveals the mystery of the Trinity. The society denies they are pandering to muslim sensibilities and the Inspector is minded to believe them…

7 February 2012 at 18:35  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Your Grace; I have met some Wycliffe translators who have spent years in the field and their work is truly amazing. Not only do they have to learn the tribal language, but then they have to create a written form of the language. Only then are they able to start to translate the Bible into that particular language.
I can quite understand that minor adjustments might have to be made in order that it can be conceptualised in an understandable form for the new language. They may have no idea of what a cart with wheels is or even what family means. I would not have expected Wycliffe to make allowances for the avoidance of offence. As has been pointed out, Jesus never failed to cause offence when he felt it necessary.
The danger of multiple translations is best illustrated in the old ditty from the 1st world war. The commander at the front sent a message to HQ “Send reinforcements were going to advance”. By the time the message got to HQ it read “Send three and four pence, were going to a dance”.

7 February 2012 at 18:54  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Albert

I'm in full agreement with you.

7 February 2012 at 18:59  
Blogger Albert said...

I had a feeling you would be Dodo!

7 February 2012 at 20:31  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Albert

Never! And I like to be unpredictble. Must be losing me touch!

7 February 2012 at 20:49  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Albert

I'm in full agreement with you.

7 February 2012 18:59

Albert said

I had a feeling you would be Dodo!

7 February 2012 20:31
The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Albert

Never! And I like to be unpredictble. Must be losing me touch!

7 February 2012 20:49

Ernst said 'NO Shi'ites Sherlock'...HeHeHE

It's like an online gathering of the psyches of the legion of mary!

Ernst presumes that the horrendous weather has played havoc with evening services at the Roman church of the inaccurate misconception..Brrrrr. cold enough to freeze the catechisms of a cardinal!
*raucous laughter + guffaws*

Ernst

WV bringlee. INDEED

8 February 2012 at 02:32  
Blogger len said...

This ' Christless gospel'is exactly what is expected(by those who study Bible prophesy) to happen during these' last days'.
The main thing dividing Christianity and Islam is the Divinity of Christ.
Remove Christ from the Trinity and the very basics of Christianity fall apart.Without Christ there is no salvation , no Gospel and all we have left is a meaningless religion.
Perhaps this is the intention of those who advocate the multi faith deception.?.

8 February 2012 at 08:22  
Blogger IanCad said...

Len,

As Dodo said to Albert,
"I'm in full agreement with you."

8 February 2012 at 08:51  
Blogger Kevill Davies said...

The translation of scripture has always been a problem, especially where the original is not available and the translator is working from a text, not in the language of the original. Sometimes, it is thought that translation is impossible because of the idiomatic nuances of the original as in the case of the Qu'ran, where many insist that the true word of God can only be appreciated in the poetic beauty of sixth and seventh century Arabic as understood by the 'Messenger'.

It has always amazed me that translations are needed at all. Why is it that these so called works of God were not simultaneously made available to all the peoples of the world in their own language? We are told that God, Allah or Yahweh has dominion over the universe, having created the heavens and earth before turning his hand to man and the other creatures. Why then does he choose to pass on his confusing messages solely to people who reside in the Middle East? Why were these revelations not shown simultaneously to, for instance, the northern Europeans, the Ennuits or peoples of South America in their own languages so that the entire World would know of His Works? Could it be because there is no such thing as a God? Isn't it the truth that the whole Judaeo-Christian-Muslim tradition was created by and for the priest classes using the words of the time to subjugate the people and they are still at it?

It wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't for the fervour with which the adherents attach to the texts, giving them authority to impose their deluded ideology on others, regardless of alternative, more realistic approaches to life. A Muslim believes that the Qu'ran is the Word of God and cannot be disputed or changed. A Muslim may not, therefore, ask the questions, but I can. Why then, after fifteen hundred years do Muslims not know whether it is better or more correct to be either Shia or Sunni. Why did Allah, not send the Angel Gabriel to enlighten Abu Bakr or Uthman about the role of Ali, the cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad? The Qu'ran strangely makes no prediction of this anomoly, just as it stuck in the culture of seventh century Arabia with little relevance to life today, except to create unrest and war causing millions of deaths worldwide as evident today in Syria, Iraq and Egypt.

8 February 2012 at 09:40  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Kevill Davies

I know, God is so unreasonable.

Why doesn't He just appear everyday and let everyone know who He is? And as for language, well who needs it? God can simply communicate Himself to us all. No need to search or seek. And why give us intelligence at all? Look how we misuse it. And as for free will, surely that's a burden we can all do without?

God is just so inconsiderate!

8 February 2012 at 11:08  
Blogger scottspeig said...

@Dodo the Dude

While you are being sarcastic, I actually do feel that free will is a burden I'd rather not have!! Ah, well, the mysteries of God will surely be answered at judgement day (Either that or I'll cease to care!)

8 February 2012 at 11:23  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

len said...

"This ' Christless gospel'is exactly what is expected(by those who study Bible prophesy) to happen during these' last days'.
The main thing dividing Christianity and Islam is the Divinity of Christ."


And a few days ago said ...

"It was the Catholic teaching of the Trinity that caused Mohammed to reject Christianity!.
In that way Catholics manufactured their enemy.


Talking with you is like trying to give a fish a bath!

So what objection do you have to the teaching of the Trinity that was around when the Koran was written? Remember the doctrine was formulated in the 4th century when the Church was catholic and apostolic.

I'd be interested to hear and for you to clairify your understanding of the Incarnation and of the Trinity - something you give inconsistent and contradictory messages about.

Ernie

Effect of the medication running out? Try to take it regularly, there's a good fellow.

Weather up in Scotland is beautiful and, in any event, the Legion of Mary wouldn't let a small thing like snow bother it.

8 February 2012 at 11:52  
Blogger David B said...

Interesting article on the difficulties of explaining the magnificence of the emperor's clothes to cultures with different ideas of dress sense, coupled with the difficulties of understanding the magnificence of the emperor's clothes when the descriptions of them come from cultures with different ideas of dress sense.

David B

8 February 2012 at 12:01  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

"While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:18)

I'll take the "emperor's clothes" any day.

8 February 2012 at 13:29  
Blogger Jon said...

It's been a while since anyone schooled me in theology (I don't count Dodo's latin lessons), but I'd have thought that one of the things that ought to be fairly universally applicable are the concepts of "father" and "son". When I was growing up in the church, we were told that, oftentimes in the Bible, God was referred to with a word that was closer to "Daddy" than the more formal "Father". This was something which emphasised for me the requirement of a relationship with God the Father through his Son, and the combination of love and respect, and to a certain extent, fear with which we were to hold God.

Since every culture has children, and therefore are likely to have familiar names for parents, this would seem one of the more easy things to translate without loss of meaning? The fact that it may not be palatable to certain people is a "message" rather than a "presentation" problem? After all, if the idea of God begetting a son is problematic for a possible convert, it's either going to be something you don't focus on from the off, or you admit defeat in the evangelism of the subject - you can't negotiate it away.

There's a better case for using different analogies in the parables based upon locale and custom to maintain their meaning, than altering concepts which are as close to universal in the human experience as we're going to get, I'd have thought?

Anyway - this is a really interesting topic, thank you for the post.

8 February 2012 at 13:41  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

scottspeig said...

"While you are being sarcastic, I actually do feel that free will is a burden I'd rather not have!!

I agree with you!

We can freely surrender our will and join it to that of to Christ's. Isn't that the real challenge of life?

8 February 2012 at 16:11  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Kevill: "Why then does he choose to pass on his confusing messages solely to people who reside in the Middle East?"

That's obvious. The South Americans were cutting the heads off people for punishment and sacrifice rather than using crosses. It just wouldn't work as a religious symbol, you see.

8 February 2012 at 16:59  
Blogger len said...

Dodo, Muslims are told that the Christian trinity consists of Father , Son ,and Mary.
They apparently got the idea of the Divinity of Mary from Catholicism?.So Muslims assume that Christians worship' three Gods'.

'And (remember) when Allah will say (on the Day of Resurrection): 'O 'Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary) ! Did you say unto men: Worship me and my mother as two gods besides Allah?' He will say: 'Glory be to you! It was not for me to say that which I had no right (to say)(Qu'ran 55:116- 117)

The Trinity is an obvious stumbling block to Muslims and Jews regarding the Christian faith.

Perhaps we could redress the error by stating that our(Christian )God is One.Saint Augustine, one of the greatest thinkers of the early church, described the Trinity as comparable to the three parts of an individual human being: mind, spirit, and will. They are three distinct aspects, yet they are inseparable and together constitute one unified human being.

8 February 2012 at 18:33  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

len

So it wasn't "the Catholic teaching of the Trinity" that Mohammed rejected.

Augustine:

... the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit intimate a divine unity of one and the same substance in an indivisible equality; and therefore that they are not three Gods, but one God: although the Father hath begotten the Son, and so He who is the Father is not the Son; and the Son is begotten by the Father, and so He who is the Son is not the Father; and the Holy Spirit is neither the Father nor the Son, but only the Spirit of the Father and of the Son, Himself also co-equal with the Father and the Son, and pertaining to the unity of the Trinity.
Yet not that this Trinity was born of the Virgin Mary, and crucified under Pontius Pilate, and buried, and rose, again the third day, and ascended into heaven, but only the Son.

Nor, again, that this Trinity descended in the form of a dove upon Jesus when He was baptized; nor that, on the day of Pentecost, after the ascension of the Lord, when "there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind," [Acts 2:2] the same Trinity "sat upon each of them with cloven tongues like as of fire," but only the Holy Spirit.

Nor yet that this Trinity said from heaven, "Thou art my Son," [Luke 3:22] whether when He was baptised by John, or when the three disciples were with Him in the mount, or when the voice sounded, saying, "I have both glorified it,and will glorify it again;" [John 12:28] but that it was a word of the Father only, spoken to the Son.

Although the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, as they are indivisible, so work indivisibly.

This is also my faith, since it is the Catholic faith."


I think the most helpul comparison in Augustine is when he talks about - One that loves (Father), that which is loved (Son), and love (Spirit).

"For so, too, we find a trinity in man also, i.e. mind, and the knowledge wherewith mind knows itself, and the love wherewith it loves itself."

8 February 2012 at 19:45  
Blogger len said...

Dodo, I repeat..... it was the implied 'divinity' of Mary( Catholic teaching) that caused Mohammed to reject Christianity.

9 February 2012 at 08:21  
Blogger len said...

Dodo,The false doctrine of the Roman Catholic church, which started in 606 AD, drove Muhammad away from Christianity. It is well known by anyone who has read the Bible that praying to Mary, adoration of Mary, the assumption of Mary into heaven, the perpetual virginity of Mary are not found in the Bible. Perhaps calling Mary "mother of God" was the single most repulsive and confusing thing Muhammad saw in what he thought was true Christianity.

9 February 2012 at 08:24  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

len

And I repeat, there is no implied Divinity in Catholic teaching about Mary. This all comes back to our understanding of the Incarnation. It is this that Jews and Muslims find so offensive.

Question: - was Jesus conceived of a virgin by the power of the Holy Spirit?

Question: - was Jesus, from conception, the Second Person of the Trinity made flesh?

Question: - was Jesus, born of a woman, both fully man and fully God?

9 February 2012 at 08:28  
Blogger Windsor Tripehound said...

Dodo

Question: where in the Bible does it say that the Virgin Mary was born without original sin?

9 February 2012 at 09:41  
Blogger Jim McLean at Acoustic Village said...

Thankyou Cranmer, for posting such considered thoughts. Such a topic could rightly fill hundreds of pages in scholarly books, but you have managed to get at the essence and summarise it sufficiently for us to be aware of the issue.

We must all now, as individuals reflect on what we must do now, and ask ourselves how we can demonstrate our belief - if we hold it - that God is our "Daddy" (Abba) and that we wish to share His love with each other.

9 February 2012 at 10:44  
Blogger Albert said...

Len,

The false doctrine of the Roman Catholic church, which started in 606 AD, drove Muhammad away from Christianity. It is well known by anyone who has read the Bible that praying to Mary, adoration of Mary, the assumption of Mary into heaven, the perpetual virginity of Mary are not found in the Bible. Perhaps calling Mary "mother of God" was the single most repulsive and confusing thing Muhammad saw in what he thought was true Christianity.

Well, that's odd. You've given the date 606, you normally complain it is 431. Anyway, I see you are still banging on about Mary being Mother of God. How many times do we have to go through this?

That Mary is Mother of God is a doctrine which is first and foremost about Jesus being God. We have seen that it follows of logical necessity from the doctrine of the incarnation itself (i.e. deny and you don't believe in Jesus). We have seen that it can be proved of logical necessity from scripture (i.e. deny it and you must deny at least one statement of scripture about Jesus as the Son of God). We have also seen that the title was used by Luther and the theology behind it was explicitly used by Calvin (and Zwingli - though I'll drop him as you've never heard of him). What can we conclude, now that you have condemned this most sublime title, in which is contained the whole mystery of our salvation (that Jesus is Emmanuel)? It looks like you believe neither in Jesus, nor in scripture. Such is the price you pay for refusing what you believe (mistakenly) to be a purely Catholic doctrine. "Mother of God" is just Mere Christianity. I understand you don't like it, and don't want to use it. Fine. But you cannot deny it without denying your Saviour's divinity,and if you deny your Saviours divinity, you deny the salvation of the world.

9 February 2012 at 14:03  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9 February 2012 at 16:05  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

len, you really do need to give some straight answers to Albert.

It seems to me when you say: "Perhaps calling Mary "mother of God" was the single most repulsive and confusing thing Muhammad saw in what he thought was true Christianity" you could well be talking about yourself!"

As we know Muhmmad had a whole series of, let's say, *issues*.

Windsor Tripehound said...
"Question: where in the Bible does it say that the Virgin Mary was born without original sin?"

Do you seriously doubt it? Will you 'protest' it is a 'Catholic Tradition' not stated in Scripture?

"In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
And he came to her and said, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!"


Some interpret it as "O favored one" in place of the Latin "full of grace", and this is the traditional interpretation of the Greek. The tense in Greek indicates "from the beginning" implying that that Mary was full of grace from her conception by a special act of God.

Jesus, as God, was able to pre-exist His own mother. Don't you think that our Blessed Lord, who had infinite power to make her just what He chose, would make her completely pure and loving? Surely the Son of God, who hates sin, would have made His own mother sinless, and He who hates moral ugliness, would have made her immaculately beautiful?

9 February 2012 at 16:12  
Blogger Windsor Tripehound said...

Dodo, you're hardly making a convincing case. I think the answer to my direct question is "nowhere". There's a vast difference between tradition and truth.

And do I seriously doubt it? Yes, I do as a matter of fact.

9 February 2012 at 16:31  
Blogger Albert said...

Windsor,

What do you mean by "original sin", and where is it stated in scripture?

9 February 2012 at 17:43  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Tripe Hound

Agreed, there is no direct or categorical statement supporting it that can be quoted from Scripture

The reference to Mary being the "highly favoured one", from the beginning, or the Latin, "full of grace" means what?

St Augustine stated "As regards the mother of God, I will not allow any question whatever of sin."

9 February 2012 at 17:52  
Blogger len said...

Albert,(here we go again!)

Albert, you state that Mary is 'Mother of God'.(according to Catholic theologians)

Jesus is God..Right got no problem with that!.
Therefore(Catholic reasoning)Mary is the mother of God..big problem!.

NEVER in God`s Word is Mary called 'The Mother of God'.Mary is called 'The Mother of Jesus'(John 2:1,3 19:25-26 Acts 1 :14).John 17:5 refutes false speculations about 'Mary being the Mother of God ' recording that Jesus said "And now O Father ,glorify me with thine own self with the glory I had with thee before the World was".
Jesus Christ is God incarnate in the flesh and He is our Alpha and Omega. Jesus said he was with the Father before the World was.Mary gave Jesus His physical body.Mary could not be
'The Mother of God'because she did not give birth to God who is not a physical being but a Spiritual being.Mary was a physical being and could not give birth to a Spiritual being.
Furthermore never does it say in God`s Word that we are to pray to Mary but to God the Father through Jesus Christ.

Mary was undoubtedly highly favoured but the speculation that she was' the Mother of God' is false.

9 February 2012 at 19:51  
Blogger len said...

Original sin.

The Psalmist says Ps.58:3: "the wicked go astray from the womb, they err from their birth speaking lies. Ps.51:5 David claimed that he was conceived in iniquity."

Job asks the question "What is man, that he could be pure? And he who is born of a woman, that he could be righteous?" (Job 15:14) Job 25:4: "How then can man be righteous before God? Or how can he be pure who is born of a woman?"

Eph. 2:3: "Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others."

If their is no sin nature passed on then we have the potential to be perfect by not doing any wrong. But there is no one who can do this as Paul states
Rom 3:10: "As it is written: "There is none righteous, no, not one" v.12 "They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one."

(That is why we all need a Saviour and the New Birth.)

9 February 2012 at 20:01  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

len

They're not trick questions - answer them. I repeat:

Question: - was Jesus conceived of a virgin by the power of the Holy Spirit?

Question: - was Jesus, from conception, the Second Person of the Trinity made flesh?

Question: - was Jesus, born of a woman, both fully man and fully God?

Nobody's suggesting or ever has suggested that Mary gave birth to the Godhead!

And you do know that Albert's question was tongue in cheek? It was meant to illustrate the point that the doctrine of "original sin" was developed by the Church Fathers and the Church and is understood from Scriture without being expressly stated there.

9 February 2012 at 20:23  
Blogger Albert said...

Len,

The irony of your posts! In the first you say NEVER in God`s Word is Mary called 'The Mother of God' and in the second you talk about something called "original sin". Where are the words "original sin" in the Bible?

Surely, the point is not whether these words are there, but whether the doctrines they signify are.

So answer this question, you who separate the divinity from the humanity: when the disciples touched Jesus, did they touch God or not?

9 February 2012 at 20:45  
Blogger IanCad said...

Len,

Original Sin and a sinful nature are two different things. Maybe I misunderstand your post, if so, please excuse me.
Christ was born as we are; Of the seed of Abraham he inherited the same sin weakened condition of all of Adam's descendants. (Hebrews 2:16-18)
Had it been otherwise He could not be our Saviour. He had no advantage over us and was tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)
If we do not accept the notion that "We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us,"(Philipians 4:13) then we deny the Gospel and Christ's sacrifice would be in vain.
The fact that we all have a sinful nature is sound Biblical truth. The doctrine of Original Sin is an invention of man.

9 February 2012 at 21:21  
Blogger Albert said...

Ian,

I'll let Len defend the doctrine of original sin! But may I just pick up on one thing? If Christ inherited the same sin weakened condition that we have, why does Paul say that he comes in the likeness of sinful flesh? (Rom.8.3). Likeness implies some level of difference. Hence man is made in God's likeness, but does not thereby share God's nature. In the same way the word "likeness" indicates that Christ does not in fact receive sinful flesh in the incarnation.

9 February 2012 at 22:06  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

IanCad said ...

"The doctrine of Original Sin is an invention of man."

On the contrary, St Paul explains original sin in Romans 5:12-21 and in 1 Corinthians 15:21-22.

9 February 2012 at 22:40  
Blogger Oswin said...

Len @ 08:21 : ... and here was me thinking it was all because old Mo' was a murdering swine and fancied himself Master of the Universe! Get a grip for God's sake. You actually believe the lies of that man; where would you begin/stop with the rest of it?

10 February 2012 at 00:47  
Blogger IanCad said...

Dodo,

Both of the texts you cited, essentially describe the act of Christ's sacrifice, as giving humanity a second chance. He freed us from the condemnation of Adam's sin.

Albert,

So; Likeness is now "Unlikeness."?!
I think not. Romans 1:3 confirms Romans 8:3

Original Sin is primarily an Augustinian construct derived from Manichaeism. It was unknown to the Apostolic Church.

10 February 2012 at 08:15  
Blogger len said...

Oswin,

I present the case of one of the reasons that Muslims are deceived.It is very important to discover the roots of error.

For you to accept this as a defence of Islam is IMO to put you in the same league as Dodo(firing from the hip without pausing for thought or reflection)
I am very disappointed at your lack of perception.I thought better of you!.

10 February 2012 at 08:20  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

IanCad said ...

"He (Christ) freed us from the condemnation of Adam's sin."

But why would He need to if Adam's sin was personal to him?

10 February 2012 at 13:03  
Blogger Oswin said...

Len: your point is too subtle for me; would you please reiterate your exact meaning?

10 February 2012 at 13:11  
Blogger Albert said...

Ian,

So; Likeness is now "Unlikeness."?!

No, it's just that likeness is not the same as being (well) the same. There is similarity and difference. If your point were true it would have said "He came in sinful flesh" - i.e. exactly as we do. The word "likeness" indicates similarity, not identity.

Original Sin is primarily an Augustinian construct derived from Manichaeism. It was unknown to the Apostolic Church.

Actually, Augustine reacted against Manichaeism, his doctrine of original sin was clarified as against Pelagianism. The doctrine already appears before Augustine, for example in Tertullian or Ambrosiaster. Whether it is in the Apostolic Church depends rather on exactly what you are objecting to. Do you object to the belief that no one can be saved without the grace of Christ?

10 February 2012 at 13:40  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

I would like some clarity on original sin. Does it mean that
all humans are born with a sinful nature which is intrinsic to the nature of man? Whereas Jesus was without sin because he was a deity in human guise,which means he was not human because no human is perfect.

10 February 2012 at 14:34  
Blogger Albert said...

Not really, no Cressida.

Views vary as to what it means. Some people think that it means we all inherit Adam's guilt. Others think that it means that as a result of Adam's sin, all of humanity that followed was cut off from God's grace, so that, left to ourselves, we could not be righteous. We need Christ to make us righteous by restoring the grace Adam lost. Catholics and Protestants tend to differ a bit here. Protestantism tends to has a more pessimistic view of man post fall than Catholicism. Catholics see man as damaged and wounded by original sin. Protestants may see man as totally depraved.

Either way, sin is not part of human nature. It is an absence of the full goodness God intended for human nature. Hence, Christ (and for most Christians Mary too) being without sin, does not separate him from humanity, it means he is the more perfect exemplar of humanity. Consequently, without denying original sin in us, we can say that Christ is truly God and truly man - like unto us in all things except sin.

10 February 2012 at 14:52  
Blogger IanCad said...

Dodo,
Christ came to Earth to save All mankind.

Albert,
Of Course! We can only be saved through the Grace of Christ.

10 February 2012 at 15:05  
Blogger Albert said...

Ian,

So what part of original sin are you objecting to?

10 February 2012 at 15:10  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

IanCad

Of course Christ came to save all mankind! He also told us what we must do to be saved. Where have I said or implied otherwise? And how does the doctrine of original sin change this?

10 February 2012 at 15:26  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Oswin. Len may consider himself a Christian, but he is first and foremost an anti Catholic. If the teachings of Islam come in useful for this end, he will willingly grasp them, embrace them and quote them. What you had from at 10 February 2012 08:20 is a warning; stay out of his way and don’t question his reasoning lest you too feel his wrath…

10 February 2012 at 19:01  
Blogger len said...

Adam had a choice(free will) to either have a life derived from God or a life derived from 'other sources', a 'self life' apart from God.(This move by man opened man up and aligned him, and put him under the influence of, all the spiritual forces that oppose God.)
There was the tree of Life(life derived from God) or the tree of the knowledge of good and evil(life derived through' other sources'.)God knew evil as being something outside of Himself. Man(having eaten of the tree) was to know evil by direct experience.

Adam chose the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and sin entered the World.Adam as the father of the human race passed his nature to all humanity.

Jesus Christ (the second and last Adam) cam to regain all that was lost through the 'first Adam'.God was the Father of Jesus Christ so there was no inherited sin nature.
Jesus Christ was the perfect God/man, Jesus Christ (who atoned for the sins of the World)became the perfect(and only) mediator between a Holy God and an unholy Humanity.

So it is written: "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit.

Salvation is only found through Jesus Christ there is no other way back to God .

Jesus Christ came to restore God`s Creation to God`s original intention for humanity.
The salvation offered by Jesus is God`s very Life given to the believer ,call this redemption, salvation, being 'born again' this is God restoring His Creation to His original intention "Let us make man in our image after our likeness"

10 February 2012 at 21:56  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

len

Yes, we know. Now back to the point, what about the doctrine of original sin?

And what about the questions on Christ's Incarnation which you always dodge?

Question: - was Jesus conceived of a virgin by the power of the Holy Spirit?

Question: - was Jesus, from conception, the Second Person of the Trinity made flesh?

Question: - was Jesus, born of a woman, both fully man and fully God?

10 February 2012 at 22:03  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

It is said that Mary remained a virgin throughout her life. This would mean that her marriage to Joseph was a marriage of convenience (the purpose of marriage in the jewish religion is pro creation)

10 February 2012 at 23:57  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Cressida

If you say so.

Do understand that this was a union for the prime purpose of raising the child Jesus and protecting Him. A man, a woman and a child. Sounds like a legitimate family to me.

11 February 2012 at 00:16  
Blogger Salaam C said...

Greetings. Thank you for the explanation of translation challenges. I wonder if, however the perspective of the global church needs to weigh in to this discussion?
The Pakistani Presbyterian Church deemed these new 'Muslim sensitive' translations as "convenient translation." For more see their letter at http://biblicalmissiology.org/press-releases/
I noticed that several Turkish pastors have weighed in as well at the petiton site, not to mention a church from Bangladesh. Shall we value these voices as we must?
Shalom

11 February 2012 at 00:25  
Blogger PierreRashad said...

Sure, all the linguistic theory sounds great, but if you could see the translation in your own language, you'd see that it's foolish.

Any Arabic speaker can see how big of a mistranslation it is to call Jesus "khalifatulla" (Caliph of God), as Wycliffe's "Stories of the Prophets" audio Bible does.

And the lame excuse that "son" and "father" have "sexual connotations" is a fabrication.

11 February 2012 at 05:18  
Blogger len said...

Dodo, The doctrine of original sin.
Romans 5,
12' Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned.'

The answer to your questions(10 February 2012 22:03) Yes.

11 February 2012 at 08:04  
Blogger len said...

Cressida, The perpetual virginity of Mary?.(Mother of Jesus)

Mary`s 'Perpetual virginity, it is claimed by the church that Mary remained a virgin all of her life. This is a teaching that directly contradicts the teaching of the Bible. Their claim that the term "brothers" either means the children of Joseph by a previous marriage or else it means a cousin, neighbor, any man in the village or nation. While the definition of "brothers" could mean that as well as a blood brother, the term also used along with it is "sisters" and that word in the Greek is Only used of a Blood Relative, and never of anyone else. So we see by the Bible that Mary Did have additional children and so did not remain a virgin all of her life. There is another verse. Mat. 1:25 "And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and called his name JESUS." There are 2 things here. First: Knew her not till .. .. A search of the bible will show that the Biblical meaning of "know her" is to have intercourse, this verse says that Joseph had intercourse with Mary only after the birth of Jesus, but not before. Second; the term used here, "firstborn" clearly says that it is the first of more than one. Either would show that Mary did not remain a virgin even if the Bible had not also named his brothers and said that he also had sisters. The Bible does not teach Perpetual virginity, the Apostles did not teach this, and the Early Church Fathers, the ones who personally knew both the Apostles and Mary, never taught this. Stay with the truth of the Bible. Who better knew the truth on this than the Apostles.

11 February 2012 at 08:16  
Blogger Albert said...

Len,

While the definition of "brothers" could mean that as well as a blood brother, the term also used along with it is "sisters" and that word in the Greek is Only used of a Blood Relative, and never of anyone else

Do you just make this stuff up? Of course the word sister is used of a non-blood relative. The Greek word used for sister is ἀδελφή. See how this word appears in the following:

While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. But he replied to the man who told him, "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?" And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother, and sister ἀδελφή, and mother."

The whole point is that those he is referring to as sisters are not his blood-sisters.

And see here:

Do not rebuke an older man but exhort him as you would a father; treat younger men like brothers, older women like mothers, younger women like sisters ἀδελφή , in all purity.

In asking if you make this stuff up, I know full well that you've got this from an Evangelical website. And you will go on believing that writer even though he plainly and explicitly contradicts the Bible. The important thing it seems, is not being biblical, it is not being Catholic.

The rest of the argument is almost as bad:

There is another verse. Mat. 1:25 "And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and called his name JESUS." There are 2 things here. First: Knew her not till .. .. A search of the bible will show that the Biblical meaning of "know her" is to have intercourse, this verse says that Joseph had intercourse with Mary only after the birth of Jesus, but not before. Second; the term used here, "firstborn" clearly says that it is the first of more than one.

Permit me to quote from St Jerome:

When God by the mouth of the prophet says to certain persons, ‘Even to old age I am he.’ Will he cease to be God when they have grown old? And the Saviour in the Gospels tells the Apostles, ‘Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.’ Will the Lord then after the end of the world forsake His disciples, and at the very time when seated on twelve thrones they are to judge to the twelve tribes of Israel will they be bereft of the company of their Lord?

It doesn't matter what the word "to know" means. It matters that "until" does not mean that it happened later.

As for the first-born, stuff. A child is first-born because he is, well, first-born. A woman in a maternity ward joyfully telling the midwife that it is her first child, would be surprised at the accusation that she is necessarily lying on the grounds that for him to be the first-born she would need younger children. And when the angel of death smote the first-born sons of the Egyptians it would have been a little odd if he had left all the only sons, on the grounds that they wouldn't be first-born sons until there was a second son. No, the term simply reiterates (a) Jesus' status as the first-born (it conveyed particular duties as at the Presentation in the Temple) and it reminded us that Mary was a virgin at the time as she did not have any earlier.

11 February 2012 at 09:30  
Blogger Dodo the Gay Dude said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11 February 2012 at 10:20  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

I often wonder where the hatred and hostility shown by some prostestants towards Our Blessed Lady really comes from.

Could it be:

"And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed"

Satan really had no power over Mary - none. Just think how it must gall him in his pride and malice that he was undone by a young, innocent girl. She who responded so openly to the request of God's Angel. He'll be seething for all eternity that he didn't seee it coming.

11 February 2012 at 10:26  
Blogger Albert said...

You may be right Dodo. It does all seem to stem from a failure to grasp who Jesus is (not to mention a failure to read scripture with anything like the attention it deserves).

11 February 2012 at 10:44  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

len said ...
"The answer to your questions(10 February 2012 22:03) Yes."

Mary, a virgin, gave birth to Jesus, fully man and fully God, therefore was the earthly Mother of God!

11 February 2012 at 11:01  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

I agree with Len with regard to Matthew's quote." And knew her not till she had brought forth her first born son"..till is the pivotal word. It can only mean until after.If this is not the meaning the translator wished to convey he would have said
"And knew her not even after she had brought forth her first born son" You see this is the problem I referred to in an earlier post of
translation and semantics.

On the contrary I don't see a problem with Mary not remaining a virgin after the birth of Jesus. She was married and her religious obligation required the marriage to be consummated otherwise it would not have been a marriage so it makes a lot more sense.As Joseph was a lot older, this could explain why Mary did not have any more children.

As for some Protestants hating Catholics..well it has always been the historical way of things.

However time to stop for a while.. there is a more pressing need now for Christians and Christian supporters to unite
against a hostile foe that has infiltrated our ranks whose belief system is antithetic to Christianity and is increasing in numbers.

11 February 2012 at 14:56  
Blogger Oswin said...

Of course Mary had other children; who still disputes this? I thought even the most die-hard of R.C's, had glossed over this aberrant assertion?

Mary is Mary, honoured, blessed, and more, with no need for extra gilding. To do so is, at best, unnecessary, and at worse, an insult to Mary.

11 February 2012 at 16:12  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Cressida and Oswin

Such confident assertions about Our Blessed Lady!

I'm with Albert on this one and stand full square with the Catholic Church.

11 February 2012 at 17:01  
Blogger IanCad said...

Albert @ 15:10,

I've already yet voiced my objections. It is another unbiblical, man-made doctrine that can be added to the following human inventions:
Petrine Inheritance, Immaculate Conception, The Assumption of Mary, Transubstantiation, Infant Baptism, Sunday Worship, Eternally Burning Hell, Purgatory, Priestly Celibacy, The State of the Dead and the Veneration of Saints and Relics.

11 February 2012 at 18:06  
Blogger Albert said...

Cressida,

till is the pivotal word. It can only mean until after.

If a parent says "Be good till I get back", he does not mean you can mess about afterwards.

If this is not the meaning the translator wished to convey he would have said "And knew her not even after she had brought forth her first born son".

This is not an issue of translation as the issue is the same in English and Greek. The reason he didn't say what you've said is that he wasn't interested in the perpetual virginity of the BVM, he was only interested in the story he was telling.

I don't see a problem with Mary not remaining a virgin after the birth of Jesus.

Well, if you don't see it, there can't be a problem then!

11 February 2012 at 20:59  
Blogger Albert said...

Oswin,

Of course Mary had other children; who still disputes this? I thought even the most die-hard of R.C's, had glossed over this aberrant assertion?

No, it's a clear teaching of the Catholic Church. It was of course held by Protestants too, until their doubts about the incarnation came to affect their beliefs about Mary.

11 February 2012 at 21:00  
Blogger Albert said...

Ian,

It is another unbiblical, man-made doctrine that can be added to the following human inventions:
Petrine Inheritance, Immaculate Conception, The Assumption of Mary, Transubstantiation, Infant Baptism, Sunday Worship, Eternally Burning Hell, Purgatory, Priestly Celibacy, The State of the Dead and the Veneration of Saints and Relics.


Wow! You must be the only person to whom the Gospel has come in its purity. Congratulations!

11 February 2012 at 21:01  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

IanCad

So now you don't believe Hell is eternal? Interesting. The other 'objections' are more familiar to me, this is a new one.

12 February 2012 at 00:56  
Blogger IanCad said...

Albert,

"Wow! You must be the only person to whom the Gospel has come in its purity. Congratulations!"

I deserved that. Making a list of errors presupposes that the author has it all right. Don't I wish! Let me also add that it was non-denominational and thus not directed solely at Catholics.

Dodo,

Allow me to point out that the C of E holds that Hell is not eternal. This position was adopted in 1996 by the General Synod.

12 February 2012 at 08:22  
Blogger Albert said...

Ian,

Very gracious response! What I meant by asking about what you object to in original sin, is what part of the doctrine. What do you understand by original sin? The reason I asked is that you agree we can only be saved through the grace of Christ. But to some people, that is the doctrine of original sin!

Allow me to point out that the C of E holds that Hell is not eternal. This position was adopted in 1996 by the General Synod

The fact that the Synod says something is not a sign that the CofE has adopted that position. Consider the ordination of women. Way back (in the 1970s I think) they said there were no theological objections to women's ordination. In 1992 they voted to allow women to be priests. Yet, to this day they specifically ordain bishops who are opposed to the innovation specifically to look after like minded traditionalists. Even after '92 they made David Hope Archbishop of York (the second most senior position in the CofE), even though he opposed the ordination of women, and even at this time, the Bishop of London (third most senior) is opposed. The arguments at the moment in Synod are because they agree the matter isn't settled theologically, and they don't know how to move forward as a result.

General Synod is not the Anglican version of the Pope.

12 February 2012 at 10:13  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12 February 2012 at 13:05  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

IanCad said ...

"Allow me to point out that the C of E holds that Hell is not eternal. This position was adopted in 1996 by the General Synod."

Notwithstanding Albert's qualification, I'm stunned!

Is it correct that Anglicans (well, some of them) actually now teach that Hell is not eternal? What do they base this on?

According to my understanding, Jesus taugth an awful lot about eternal damnation and the need for repentance and joining with Him for salvation.

Is this yet more redefining of the meaning of Hebrew, Greek and Latin words to reinterpret God's word in ways that make us more comfortable?

12 February 2012 at 13:09  
Blogger Albert said...

Why should you be so stunned, Dodo? The CofE doesn't follow Our Lord on divorce and remarriage, or on the ordination of women. Since the war, huge numbers of an Anglicans, even bishops have come out against key doctrines of the Christian faith, virgin birth, resurrection, even, in the case of some clergy, the existence of God! During the Enlightenment, the Episcopal Church in America, tried to expunge references to the Trinity from the BCP because it did not fit with prevailing opinions etc.

So why should dismissing our Lord on hell be so shocking? Here's why: because they still believe his teaching on heaven.

12 February 2012 at 13:25  
Blogger IanCad said...

Albert,

Yes, perhaps definitions would be helpful here. As I see it OS, in its severest form, is the belief that we are wholly irredeemable. By degrees this stern interpretation is abated until the relatively gentle position of merely having a sinful nature warrants the definition.
A sinful nature may also be defined as having the genetic heritage of our forefathers. It does not necessarily predispose us to sin. This is my position.
Through Christ we have freedom of choice whether to sin or no. He had the same nature as we have and is our pattern.
Calvinism and the writings of Augustine logically lead to the theory of Predestination which essentially eliminates the free will that God gave to all Heaven and mankind.

You are correct regarding the General Synod's role in the subject of Eternal Hell. I used it as an example for Dodo as he seemed unaware of quite how much opposition there is to this belief.
The late John Stott was prominent in his promotion of "Annihilationism" and it is a view held by a growing number of Christians.

12 February 2012 at 14:51  
Blogger Albert said...

Ian,

John Stott was prominent in his promotion of "Annihilationism"

I wonder if Len knows such an influential Evangelical took that view! As a matter of interest, what is the biblical evidence that hell is not eternal, or that annihiliationism is true?

sinful nature may also be defined as having the genetic heritage of our forefathers. It does not necessarily predispose us to sin. This is my position.

And it looks contradictory to me, I'm afraid. Firstly, as a Catholic, I don't think we have a sinful nature. That would make God the author of sin, which is impossible. Rather, I believe that God created us good, but that by sin, we have damaged our nature. Our nature is wounded, and like many wounded things, cannot function properly. Accordingly it needs healing.

So, as to the contradiction I think I see in your position: on the one hand you have a much more pessimistic view of humanity than Catholicism does: sin is part of its nature, you say. Yet, on the other hand we are not predisposed to sin. Do you see the problem? I suppose, I am asking what you mean by having a sinful nature. What actual difference to it make to a human life?

In addition, since you think we have a sinful nature and cannot be saved without Christ, in what way are you not already committed to OS? As I say, I only hold one of those positions, and yet I am certainly a believer in original sin.

12 February 2012 at 17:19  
Blogger len said...

The only point of the speculation with the 'perpetual virginity ' of Mary the Mother of Jesus' is if you want to 'deify 'Mary.

To elevate Mary to the position of 'co redeemer is to put Mary on an equal footing as Christ which is clearly a heresy to anyone outside of
Catholicism.


Just out of interest does the Catholic Church still hold to the teaching on 'purgatory?'or has that been revised...yet?.

12 February 2012 at 17:28  
Blogger Albert said...

Len,

The only point of the speculation with the 'perpetual virginity ' of Mary the Mother of Jesus' is if you want to 'deify 'Mary.

How does saying Mary was perpetually a virgin make Mary a deity? I know quite a lot of nuns. I assume they (or most of them) are virgins. Does that deify them?

Yes, we still believe in purgatory. I do not see how it could be removed from our belief.

I find it odd though Len that you are worrying away at these beliefs when original sin and eternal damnation are being doubted. But don't you worry, you can leave defending basic Christian doctrine to the Catholics, we've been defending the faith for rather longer than you chaps have!

12 February 2012 at 17:42  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Albert

I'm afraid len is obsessed with attacking the Catholic Church. He's consumned with the idea that early Christianity was infiltrated by Babylonian mystery religions and Catholicism emerged from this. Hence his complete fixation with what he thinks are Catholic teachings on Mary and his refusal to accept her as the Mother of God.

As for original sin and the eternal nature of hell and the immortality of the soul, I doubt these matters are on his radar as protestants are so disunited on them too. You see, there's no evangelical manual attacking Catholic beliefs so he'd have to make his own mind up!

12 February 2012 at 20:14  
Blogger Albert said...

Dodo,

It is odd. He's picking on the perpetual virginity of the BVM, but not coming to the light about the incarnation. You asked him some pretty clear questions which he hasn't answered:

Question: - was Jesus conceived of a virgin by the power of the Holy Spirit?

Question: - was Jesus, from conception, the Second Person of the Trinity made flesh?

Question: - was Jesus, born of a woman, both fully man and fully God?


Why is it more important to proclaim that Mary was not perpetually a virgin than to proclaim that Jesus Christ is God made man?

As for original sin and the eternal nature of hell and the immortality of the soul, I doubt these matters are on his radar as protestants are so disunited on them too. You see, there's no evangelical manual attacking Catholic beliefs so he'd have to make his own mind up!

Here, for once, I must disagree with you. I am going to pay Len the compliment of believing he is absolutely orthodox on both doctrines, whatever his Protestant brethren, guided by the principle of sola scriptura may say.

12 February 2012 at 20:22  
Blogger "Stepping Up young fathers" said...

We can debate this till we are blue in the face. But here it is folks, we lose the trinity we loose the cross, we loose the cross we loose the power. Let's all read it again, shall we! 1Cor 1:18

12 February 2012 at 20:43  
Blogger IanCad said...

Albert,

"I don't think we have a sinful nature. That would make God the author of sin, which is impossible--"
I absolutely agree. Perhaps I wasn't very clear although my definition of "Sinful Nature" seems to make sense to me. therefore I do not see a contradiction. I'm not suggesting that I have never made one though. Perhaps another reading of the second paragraph in my previous post would clear things up.
We are endeavouring to settle a subject that has probably had more time devoted to it than any theological issue, with the possible exception of Predestination. I believe that we have, at least, made a start. to define the issue.
As to Biblical evidence of the falsity of an eternally burning Hell let's start with John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
This verse describes the two options open to us; Life or Death. An everlasting Hell is not death. 1 John 5:12 makes a similar statement as do Romans 5:8-9 and John 3:36.
In Psalms 9:17 "The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God." The word "Hell" refers to the grave.
In Old English the word "Hell" meant, to cover, or bury.
The words "everlasting" and "unquenchable" relate to their effects not to their eternity.
Oh Dear! This could be an all-nighter. Let me finish with a couple of quotations which, to me,are slanders upon the character of a just and merciful God.

"The view of the misery of the damned will double the ardour of the love and gratitude of the saints of heaven." Jonathan Edwards.

How about this little gem from Isaac Watts?
"What bliss will fill the ransomed souls,
When they in glory dwell,
to see the sinner as he rolls, in quenchless fires of hell."


Thomas Aquinas and Augustine echo, in more words, the same sentiments.

12 February 2012 at 21:16  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

IanCad

I confess this is all new territory to me as I've always accepted that Hell was everlasting torment. The notion that souls are not immortal and those souls not saved die, is alien to me and one I react against as being inconsistent with scripture.

Honestly, the idea of the Saints gloating at the damned in agony in Hell is obscene to me. If anything it is more likely to temper the joys of Heaven, if such a thing were possible. No one and especially Our Lord, can take any pleasure from witnessing such agony.

Albert

To be fair, len did answer in the affirmative to my questions but never confirmed that having done so he accepted that Mary was the mother of God.

If len is, as you say, absolutely orthodox on original sin and Hell being eternal then he should be on here defending these doctrines rather than obsessing over Mary. However, he may well feel disinclined to associate himself with Catholicism.

12 February 2012 at 23:54  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

Albert, I agree that perpetual virginity doe not make Mary a deity but I disagree with your assertion that the Matthew quote given by len earlier is not proof that Mary was only a virgin until Jesus was born

(20:59) The example you have given
'be good till I get home ' is not convincing
one could also say
'don't ring Dodo till I get home'
which is the most common meaning of the word 'till'

At least admit there is room fo doubt. I note that in a situation like this where there is an obvious dilemma you constantly refer to Church teaching which means you don't have to think about it anymore.

Even if overwhelming evidence was presented to you and it was not Church belief you would refuse to accept it.The Church can make mistakes.They were mistaken about the existence of Limbo where souls languished for light years,

Is the issue of Mary's perpetual virginity really so important...as important as the resurrection, virgin birth, the trinity or transubstantiation.

If the Bible wanted to portray Jesus as living in a nuclear family, surely it would have been a normal one.

13 February 2012 at 01:56  
Blogger IanCad said...

Dodo,

"The notion that souls are not immortal and those souls not saved die, is alien to me and one I react against as being inconsistent with scripture."

The immortality of the soul and an eternally burning hell are imprinted on our culture. Myth becoming reality, so to speak.
Here are a couple of quotes that may offer a different perspective:

Ezekiel 18:4 "Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die."

Ezekiel 18:20 "The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him."

Revelation 20:14 " And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death."

13 February 2012 at 07:30  
Blogger Albert said...

Cressida,

At least admit there is room fo doubt.

I think there is some confusion here. Len was seeking to show that Mary was not perpetually a virgin, and he appealed to this passage to prove it. As it is his argument, he must prove his point from this passage. I don't need to show that the passage proves Mary was perpetually a virgin, I just need to show that that doctrine is not necessarily contradicted by this passage. In admitting that there is doubt about this passage, you have agreed with me: you cannot prove anything either way from this passage.

I note that in a situation like this where there is an obvious dilemma you constantly refer to Church teaching which means you don't have to think about it anymore.

That's not true at all. When I was a Protestant I didn't need to think much because I was the final arbiter of truth. If I didn't think a doctrine was convincing, that was the last I needed to think about it. But when I became a Catholic I had to think again because some of the teachings contradicted what I had previously and thoughtlessly assumed.

Even if overwhelming evidence was presented to you and it was not Church belief you would refuse to accept it.

Does that not contradict your previous statement?

The Church can make mistakes.They were mistaken about the existence of Limbo where souls languished for light years

By carefully defining the limits of the Church's infallibly, the Church is showing that she can, at times, be mistaken. Limbo was never dogma. I'm not sure that it is false and it hasn't been declared to be false. I hope, incidentally, that it is false. The most that has happened is that it has been shown to be a theological opinion.

Is the issue of Mary's perpetual virginity really so important...as important as the resurrection, virgin birth, the trinity or transubstantiation.

It is not without theological significance, but you are right, it is not at all in the same category as the the resurrection or the Trinity etc. It's significance in this discussion is that Len likes to try to find ways of showing Catholicism is false. It then becomes important for Catholics to show that the doctrine is either true, or could be held by a Catholic to be false. In this case, it is easier enough to show that biblical arguments against the doctrine are not compelling.

If the Bible wanted to portray Jesus as living in a nuclear family, surely it would have been a normal one.

The Bible does not portray Jesus as living in a normal family. According to the Bible, at the time of his conception, his mother was a virgin. His Father was God in heaven. His adopting father was not just not his biological father, not just a different species from his real Father, but infinitely beneath him. As God he was his own Mother's maker. As God he was the law-giver of the universe, but as a child, he was subject to his parents. Is it any wonder then, that at the times when we would expect references to his siblings, if this were a "normal" family, (e.g. Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple, or at the giving of Mary to St John for him to look after as his mother), such siblings are strangely absent. But why should any of this be a surprise? Given the list above, it is evident this was not a normal family. Indeed, there never was a more unnormal family in history. Nor will there be. It is the attempt to crow-bar the Holy Family into normality that violates scriptural witness about this family.

13 February 2012 at 16:18  
Blogger Albert said...

Ian,

Perhaps another reading of the second paragraph in my previous post would clear things up.

No, it just makes me more confused!

The words "everlasting" and "unquenchable" relate to their effects not to their eternity.

Jesus said, And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.

The Greek word for "eternal" (αἰώνιος) is the same both times. Therefore, if you qualify the first "eternal" in terms of punishment, don't you have to qualify also the second eternal: it's not the "life" that is eternal, it's the effect of that life, that is eternal? (And what on earth (or in heaven) would that mean?)

Let me finish with a couple of quotations which, to me,are slanders upon the character of a just and merciful God. You later refer to Aquinas.

Again, I am really struggling here. For this is what Aquinas says:

Charity is the principle of pity when it is possible for us out of charity to wish the cessation of a person's unhappiness. But the saints cannot desire this for the damned, since it would be contrary to Divine justice...A thing may be a matter of rejoicing in two ways. First directly, when one rejoices in a thing as such: and thus the saints will not rejoice in the punishment of the wicked. Secondly, indirectly, by reason namely of something annexed to it: and in this way the saints will rejoice in the punishment of the wicked, by considering therein the order of Divine justice...To rejoice in another's evil as such belongs to hatred, but not to rejoice in another's evil by reason of something annexed to it. Thus a person sometimes rejoices in his own evil as when we rejoice in our own afflictions, as helping us to merit life: "My brethren, count it all joy when you shall fall into divers temptations" (James 1:2)...Although God rejoices not in punishments as such, He rejoices in them as being ordered by His justice.

If divine justice is the cause of this rejoicing, how can this be contrary to divine justice?

13 February 2012 at 16:38  
Blogger Albert said...

PS

In the Ezekiel passages you cite, the word "Soul" refers to the person's life, not to "soul" in the Greek philosophical sense. It is therefore of no use in answering Dodo.

13 February 2012 at 16:40  
Blogger IanCad said...

Albert,
I seem to be having as much trouble deciphering the tortuous reasoning in your quote from Thomas Aquinas as you seem to have in my attempt to explain a sinful nature.
It seems that Thomas is another of those sorry souls who seem to delight in the agony of others.
A couple of his shorter quotes should serve to illustrate the savagery of his theology:

"In order that the happiness of the saints may be more delightful to them and that they may render more copious thanks to God for it, they are allowed to see perfectly the sufferings of the damned. . .So that they may be urged the more to praise God. . .The saints in heaven know distinctly all that happens. . .to the damned."

“The same fire torments the damned in hell and the just in purgatory…The least pain in purgatory exceeds the greatest in this life."

As to the translation of the word eternal we are required to consider the context.

Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
It is impossible to burn forever if you are dead.

The Law of Moses (the ceremonial law) was an "everlasting covenant" (Leviticus 24:8.} In 2 Corinthians 3:11-13 we see this was "abolished."
There are many other similar examples which do require us to use our common sense.

13 February 2012 at 21:22  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

IanCad

I thought the quotes from Albert perfectly clear and the quotes from you do not to my mind support your contention that Aquinas said the saints enjoy the suffering of the damned, more that they delight in the purity and justice of God.

The quote from Romans has always been understood as meaning Adam's sin brought physical death to mankind whereas Jesus' sacrifice brings spiritual and eternal life through unity with Him.

13 February 2012 at 21:59  
Blogger Albert said...

Ian,

I think what Aquinas is saying is that it is not so much that the just take pleasure in the pains themselves, but that the just take pleasure in that justice is being done. Then in your quotation, the sufferings of the damned show them how much gratitude they owe to God that he has saved them from such pains.

As to the translation of the word eternal we are required to consider the context. Romans 6:23

But that isn't the context in Matthew. There the context is the same word "eternal" used to describe both states. You cannot weaken one without weakening the other. In any case, your argument about being dead is refuted by Acts 24.15: there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust. and John 5.29: those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment

They can thus burn for ever as they are raised again (and that's without thinking about the soul).

13 February 2012 at 22:03  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

Albert you are being slippery. The doubt is not mine in len's quote it should be yours.You have closed your mind to witnessing a very clear statement because it is not Church belief.
'and knew her not till she brought forth her first son'
This quote does not state that there were more children. This quote states irrefutably that Mary did not remain a virgin.In this semantical construction "till" can only mean until after.

Are you member of the clergy or do you hold some significant position in the Church? You knowledge of Catholic theology and the fact that your read hebrew and ancient greek seems more advanced than that of a cradle catholic or lay person.

I understand your criticism about Protestanism but then again even though it is far too liberal and seemingly encompassing of anything that goes, it does lend more of a human face to Christianity in the sense of not exerting so much pressure and stress on the individual.

It must be so difficult if you are trying to be a real Catholic ( not those hypocritical types I have referred to in earlier posts.)

I don't think I could ever be one.I can't imagine why you did that Tiber crossing . Obviously you are devout.I think if one were very very old and just about to die one could be a good catholic.

I know I sound like Richard Dawkins wanting evidence for everything but I am not.He is so desperate not to believe in God that he undermines his own case.
I am interested in explanations.
Yours are interesting but I can't agree with a lot of them.

14 February 2012 at 01:13  
Blogger Albert said...

Cressida,

No you don't have to be clergy to have the kind of knowledge I have. I have a couple of degrees in theology from ordinary universities. I keep up my theology by reading. I don't have Hebrew, and my Greek is very poor, but good enough to deal with questions of which word is used when. Some of the best theologians and philosophers in the Church are lay people. I think of John Haldane or Tracey Rowland.

I think if one were very very old and just about to die one could be a good catholic. I know I sound like Richard Dawkins

No, you sound more like Oscar Wilde who said he could never live as a Catholic but couldn't die not being one! Certainly, the standards of Catholicism are high, but the compassion is great too (and not normally recognised from outside).

I understand your criticism about Protestanism

I don't really have a downer on Protestantism. It gave me my faith, taught me the scriptures and baptized me into Christ and for those things I am eternally grateful to it. But it also gave me anti-Catholic prejudice which prevented me from reading the Bible fairly and held me back from even considering Catholicism properly. As Catholicism is the great joy of my life, I deeply regret this. Len doesn't just disagree with us, he thinks we are spawn of Satan and not Christians at all. Why would I not defend my adopting Church - I believe her to be the Bride of Christ!

This quote states irrefutably that Mary did not remain a virgin.In this semantical construction "till" can only mean until after.

I really don't think that is true. Certainly, if all we had was this line, I would probably assume they consummated the relationship. But it's not the only consideration. All I say is that the expression is not conclusive, by itself. Consider this expression:

Till I come, attend to the public reading of scripture, to preaching, to teaching.

Now if we follow you, we must assume Paul meant they would stop those things when he comes. It's possible I suppose, but unlikely, and in any case, the point is we couldn't say for sure.

In my opinion, I don't think Matthew was interested in Mary's virginity after the birth. He had probably never thought about it. He meant us to know that Joseph was definitely not the father. He meant us to know that Joseph refused to consummate the relationship with Mary while she was carrying God made Man (why would he?). But the same logic which means Joseph wouldn't have sex with Mary while she was carrying God himself, would presumably apply once she had delivered him - once something (Mary) is that holy, it/she is always holy.

By the way, you mentioned the doubt not being yours. In fact, I picked up the word doubt from you!

14 February 2012 at 10:08  
Blogger IanCad said...

Dodo,

If the happiness of the saints is rendered the more delightful through the viewing of such an outrage then, to be perfectly frank, they are no saints.
To my mind there is a certain perversion, maybe sexual, probably psychopathic, definitely sadistic and thoroughly unchristian in those who write with such gusto about the horrors of a supposed hell.
Tell me that this quote by Richard Baxter is the product of a sound mind:
"It is not a terrible thing to a wretched soul, when it shall lie roaring perpetually in the flames of hell, and the God of mercy himself shall laugh at them; when…God shall mock them instead of relieving them; when none in heaven or earth can help them but God, and he shall rejoice over them in their calamity."

Romans 6:23. Yes, I agree with you. I could have used a better example. Perhaps Revelation 20:14, "And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death."

Again, if you are dead you are dead.

14 February 2012 at 13:52  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

A few questions about transubstantiation. From the gospel quotes you gave some time back it is obvious that the bread and wine is meant to be much more than symbolic of Jesus/God. So is the eucharist actually God rather than symbolic of God?

If this is the case who would be worthy to take the Eucharist. If I were a Catholic and I believed this, I would never take the eucharist because it is too much of a responsibility for an ordinary person to accept.A sensitive person could not cope with this.But then again if the archangel had asked me to be the mother of God I would have said No to that too:)

I am sure when you were a Protestant you found the concept of transubstantiation difficult to accept.You can't be surprised that people are skeptical about this..
that a priest blessing a host can transform a wafer into God

This is another example I think where there might have been a mistake in the translation..when things are
seemingly preposterous..I expect things to be reasonable (of reason)

I did not know Oscar Wilde was a Catholic.The only thing we share
is a dislike of hideous wallpaper.

14 February 2012 at 14:03  
Blogger Albert said...

Cressida,

Wilde apparently converted on his death-bed. For obvious reasons, it made no sense for him to convert sooner, not on account of his sins, but on account of his unwillingness to resolve to amend his life.

Transubstantiation means that the bread and wine truly (substantially) become the body and blood of Christ: that is, of God made man. It is no mere symbol.

I am sure when you were a Protestant you found the concept of transubstantiation difficult to accept.

Transubstantiation is a particular description of a more general belief in what is called the "real presence" of Christ in the Eucharist. In common with many Anglicans (e.g. Rowan Williams) I certainly believed in the real presence so transubstantiation was not such a big leap.

If I were a Catholic and I believed this, I would never take the eucharist because it is too much of a responsibility for an ordinary person to accept.

Indeed, none of us is worthy to receive it. But consider that the Eucharist absolves venial sins, and those conscious of mortal sins can be absolved through confession. This is because it is not our own worthiness that matters here, but God's graciousness. May I cite two Anglican sources which express this most beautifully?

We do not presume to come to this thy Table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in thy manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy Table. But thou art the same Lord, whose property is always to have mercy: Grant us therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of thy dear Son Jesus Christ, and to drink his blood, that our sinful bodies may be made clean by his body, and our souls washed through his most precious blood, and that we may evermore dwell in him, and he in us. Amen. From the Book of Common Prayer.

The following by George Herbert:

Love bade me welcome: yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-ey'd Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
If I lack'd anything.

A guest, I answer'd, worthy to be here:
Love said, you shall be he.
I the unkind, ungrateful: Ah, my dear,
I cannot look on thee.
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
Who made the eyes but I?

Truth Lord, but I have marr'd them: let my shame
Go where it doth deserve.
And know you not, says Love, who bore the blame?
My dear, then I will serve.
You must sit down, says Love, and taste my meat.
So I did sit and eat.


In the end, to receive Holy Communion is a command of the Lord, not a suggestion for if we feel up to it.

I expect things to be reasonable (of reason)

There's no problem of translation at all. We know full well what the Bible says in its written language. What's unreasonable about it?

14 February 2012 at 17:05  
Blogger Albert said...

Ian,

If the happiness of the saints is rendered the more delightful through the viewing of such an outrage then, to be perfectly frank, they are no saints.

Two things: justice is not an outrage. Rather it is injustice that is outrageous. Secondly, they are not taking pleasure from the pain itself, but from the justice.

There's something interesting in all this. Cressida has been shocked that a Catholic bishop could say only a few may go to hell. According to Cressida (as I understand it) this is terribly lax of God, unjust perhaps. But you say any hell at all, and any pleasure in justice being done is an outrage.

Both of you make good points, but neither of you (nor me either) is in a position to adjudicate. This just shows that our own judgment on these things isn't up to the job. Shouldn't we just leave it God who is the highest truth?

14 February 2012 at 17:13  
Blogger IanCad said...

Albert,

Granted, the words Eternal are the same in the Greek. However the words, eternal, everlasting, etc. are really better translated with the modification of until.
I claim no expertise in Greek, Hebrew or Latin.
If we were to discuss the intricacies and nuances of the various Biblical tongues this thread would become eternal. That is, until HG casts everlasting scorn on us and calls a halt. At least for a while.
I have just seen your last post. We are going to have a hard time coming to a meeting of the minds on this one.
This blog will give us another opportunity to revisit this subject, I'm sure.

14 February 2012 at 19:33  
Blogger Albert said...

Okay, good to talk to you Ian.

14 February 2012 at 20:29  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

14 February 2012 at 20:41  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

IanCad

The quote from Richard Baxter is not at all representative of way I see things!

I don't believe God or the saints
rejoice at souls in Hell or laugh or mock them. Satan and his demons will take care of that and have the hatred and malice necessary to do so. It's a sobering thought and very scary!

Cressida

To believe in the Real Presence and to accept the Body and Blood of Christ is an awesome responsibility and no Catholic should take it lightly. On the other side, just imagine the joy and strength that comes from receiving the Eucharist.

14 February 2012 at 20:44  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

@ Albert,'Real presence' and transubstantiation are the same thing then.

From what you are saying Albert, receiving the eucharist is compulsory..Your religion is so harsh.I suppose it is a sin not to take the eucharist because you don't want to, not because you are in a state of sin.What category?

According to Catholicism Rowan Williams would not be able to perform the miracle of turning bread and wine into God because he is not a real priest.

None of the Anglican priests are legit.. only Catholic priests and some Eastern orthodox ones which means the Protestant religions do not have the presence of God in their churches. I can understand why Protestants are not thrilled by this POV

Sorry Dodo I cannot imagine any joy or strength in receiving the Eucharist at all especially if I believed in the 'real presence'It is too awesome a concept and I like a quiet simple life.

I can imagine joy and strength in communicating with God through formal and informal prayer and not necessarily always in a Church.

I think I will reclassify myself as a Cultural Christian supporter rather than a fully fledged Christian because there are certain things in the bible I cannot accept.

I am hoping that in the future there will be some reasonable explanation for the
preposterous bits..transubstantiation, the virgin birth( I have heard a good explanation for this),the ressurection,

I hope that it will be discovered that incorrect translation or cultural unawareness can explain these ponderances.I don't believe in following anything blindly without questioning.

I see the bible as an important reasonable (in most part) text and necessary to fashion a civilisation.However I am not alone among Christians who also question these matters that I have raised.I do not want to believe that either of you do not question them as well.
How could you not?

15 February 2012 at 00:55  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Cressida
Of course I've questioned these things! How could any right minded person not? They fly in the face of commonsense; are counter intuitive. But then ... in the final analysis it makes so much sense!

"Does God exist?" is the firat question and from there the rest follows. To me, the Christian idea of God is the most rational one. No 'Road to Damacus' for me, just an absolute belief in the truth of the Gospel after many years of questioning. The bits I don't understand I look to the Church to explain - that's why Jesus established it.

As for the Eucharist, well left to ourselves nobody could possibly be worthy to receive the Body and Blood of Christ. That's the thing though, we're not left to ourselves and I see it as an invitation of Love rather than a command. Jesus invites us to be one with Him; to receive nourishment from Him. Who can refuse? And yes, He has said it is necessary to eat His Body and drink His Blood if we want to be one with Him. It's a command of supreme Love.

15 February 2012 at 01:23  
Blogger len said...

Dodo ,

Sounds to me like you have gained some 'head knowledge ' about the Gospel.

Does this have the ability to save anyone?.

Does the 'church' have the ability to save anyone?

Does even having 'the right theology'' have the ability to save anyone?.

'You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me,(John 5:39)


An encounter with the risen Lord gives an entirely different perspective on the whole' religious scene.'

This marks the difference between the religious Pharisee...... and Paul the servant of Christ.

15 February 2012 at 08:23  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Words, words, words len the Chief Priest and completely unhelpful for someone seeking faith in Christ.

You should be ashamed of yourself and be ready to give an account for being a stumbling block in the path of someone asking sensible questions about Christianity.

Depart!

15 February 2012 at 16:59  
Blogger liturgy said...

Your Grace

I have taken your points seriously and respond at http://liturgy.co.nz/translating-father-son/8763 that, following your points, we similarly need to abandon Father and Son language in English translations.

Blessings

Bosco

15 February 2012 at 18:45  
Blogger Albert said...

Cressida,

receiving the eucharist is compulsory..Your religion is so harsh

It's compulsory in the sense that a young, newly married couple will be expected to make love. Is that harsh?

I suppose it is a sin not to take the eucharist because you don't want to, not because you are in a state of sin.What category?

If you are in a state of mortal sin, you cannot receive communion, until you have received absolution and you should receive absolution so you can receive communion.

only Catholic priests and some Eastern orthodox ones which means the Protestant religions do not have the presence of God in their churches. I can understand why Protestants are not thrilled by this POV

When the Pope declared Anglican orders to be invalid, there was not a great deal of outrage among Anglicans. They just recognised the Pope was saying Anglican priests are not priests in the sense that Catholic priests are. Most Anglicans think so too, and rejoice that they are not priests as Catholic priests are.

I am hoping that in the future there will be some reasonable explanation for the
preposterous bits..transubstantiation, the virgin birth( I have heard a good explanation for this),the ressurection,


An almighty God can do what he likes. It would be unreasonable to deny it!

I do not want to believe that either of you do not question them as well. How could you not?

In my life, I've questioned most aspects of Christianity. What stood up to scrutiny was Catholicism.

15 February 2012 at 23:13  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

Albert, your response is biased full of throw away lines and far too defensive.

If I were being uncharitable Albert I could say that all those cliches about catholic converts are true.
( they are rigid and reactionary)
Dodo is far more measured in his responses than you are.

The comparison of receiving the Eucharist to sex for newly married couples is laughable. Maybe you were joking?

If that is what receiving Communion is like for you,I'm fairly certain that you are on the wrong track there. Perhaps you should check it out with your Catholic mentor/instructor.

You did not answer the question. If one is without mortal sin is it a sin not to receive Communion? If it is a sin ,is it a mortal sin?
Denying yourself this joyous ecstatic experience could land you in hell?...Is that right?If you don't know..that's OK too!

An Almighty God can do what what he likes...It would be unreasonable to deny it.

On the contrary it is unreasonble to use this as a throw away line and put it in the too hard to answer question basket because you do not have the answer.There are no answers to the preposterous bits
of the bible

I think if you could prove the ascension then one could accept the other far fetched concepts.

The doubting Thomas story is a good one because Jesus showed Thomas his wounds.

Evidence of the ascension is the most crucial factor...Jesus ascending into heaven.I have a hunch that if this is true, scientists will accidentally discover evidence while searching for interplanetary life here on earth or something of that nature.

In the future if archaeologists scientists and historians discover new evidence someone like me will not need to grill someone like you over these matters.

No you are wrong I am more like Richard Dawkins in my quest for evidence than Oscar Wilde pining for a Catholic death. The difference being I do believe in God because in my life experience

I do have evidence of his existence apart from the magnificence of the natural world and loads of other things.

Thank you to Dodo and yourself for attempting to give explanations.

16 February 2012 at 09:43  
Blogger Albert said...

Dear oh dear, Cressida, there's a lack of fairness here.

Firstly, I did not say that receiving communion was like sex. I was referring to your comment that it is compulsory. A Christian loves Jesus, he wants to be with Jesus, there's a kind of analogy with sex insofar as it is a loving union, which is desired by both parties. But if you thought I meant it was a sort of spiritual orgasm, then I say look fairly at what I said.

You did not answer the question. If one is without mortal sin is it a sin not to receive Communion? If it is a sin ,is it a mortal sin?

If you'd asked the question as clearly as that, I would have answered straight off. Of course, you do not have to receive communion every time you attend Mass. You must receive communion during the season of Easter. For most people however, they want to receive communion as often as they attend Mass - just as loving couples want to be together. I suspect however, that not to receive communion even during the season of Easter is not a mortal sin and this would not land you in hell (sin doesn't work like that anyway, even committing a mortal sin, does not automatically put you in danger of hell).

On the contrary it is unreasonble to use this as a throw away line and put it in the too hard to answer question basket because you do not have the answer.There are no answers to the preposterous bits
of the bible


In saying God can do what he likes, I am hoping to encourage you to bring to light why it is that you think things like (the examples you gave) the virgin birth, resurrection and transubstantiation are preposterous. They are clearly not logically impossible. They are therefore not beyond the power of an omnipotent being. So what's the problem? There may be one, but I can hardly address it if I don't know what it is.

I think if you could prove the ascension then one could accept the other far fetched concepts

What do you mean by "prove"?

Evidence of the ascension is the most crucial factor...Jesus ascending into heaven.I have a hunch that if this is true, scientists will accidentally discover evidence while searching for interplanetary life here on earth or something of that nature.

Obviously not. Heaven is not a physical space somewhere above the clouds. I think you have misunderstood the ascension.

I could say that all those cliches about catholic converts are true.
( they are rigid and reactionary)


You say the sweetest things! I would prefer to think that I am clear and orthodox however.

Why don't we narrow this down: you say the resurrection is preposterous. What are your reasons?

16 February 2012 at 11:11  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

I think you are being deliberately provocative Albert. Of course I realise that Heaven is not in the sky with God, a man with a beard seated on a cloud.

Resurrection means Jesus rose from the dead. No one who is clinically dead has ever come back to life and walked around the village.

There are medical conditions where people may appear dead but are not really dead.Although granted, with the crucifixion injuries sustained it is unlikely Jesus would have been in a fit condition to walk after three days.

So explain how Jesus was a clinically dead human and after three days wandered around an appeared to many.Your answer will be because he was not just human,he was God. But where is the evidence apart from eye witness accounts that this happened?Anyone can manufacture history so why does not the same principle apply to the Bible.

My understanding of the ascension is that after he met with a number of people (I can't remember the number of days) Jesus ascended into heaven . How?...a blinding light and then he disappeared?

I agree to perform these feats one would have to be God or an extra terrestial being (in the sense of not being from earth)If all this is true then Jesus was God. But again there is no evidence.

I am not dismissing these events entirely...who would have ever thought the parting of the waves to allow the jews to escape from Egypt could be scientifically proven..it was a tsunami in fact.

I was so excited at the discovery because it means that there is a possibility that other of these highly imaginative biblical events could be eventually explained.

I think the answers lie in science.I think science and the mysteries of religion are linked.

Of course it is also possible that some things will always remain a mystery.I don't know.Scientists need to be intuitive creative and imaginative as well as scientific to discover the secrets of the universe and the bible.

Albert I don't expect you a mere mortal(a generous one) will ever be able to explain and give me answers on these difficult questions.

However I have easier ones that I will put to you at a later date, that require knowledge of the scriptures which I do not have.
e.g is there any mention of homosexuality in the NT?

16 February 2012 at 13:42  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

I think you are being deliberately provocative Albert. Of course I realise that Heaven is not in the sky with God, a man with a beard seated on a cloud.

Resurrection means Jesus rose from the dead. No one who is clinically dead has ever come back to life and walked around the village.

There are medical conditions where people may appear dead but are not really dead.Although granted, with the crucifixion injuries sustained it is unlikely Jesus would have been in a fit condition to walk after three days.

So explain how Jesus was a clinically dead human and after three days wandered around an appeared to many.Your answer will be because he was not just human,he was God. But where is the evidence apart from eye witness accounts that this happened?Anyone can manufacture history so why does not the same principle apply to the Bible.

My understanding of the ascension is that after he met with a number of people (I can't remember the number of days) Jesus ascended into heaven . How?...a blinding light and then he disappeared?

I agree to perform these feats one would have to be God or an extra terrestial being (in the sense of not being from earth)If all this is true then Jesus was God. But again there is no evidence.

I am not dismissing these events entirely...who would have ever thought the parting of the waves to allow the jews to escape from Egypt could be scientifically proven..it was a tsunami in fact.

I was so excited at the discovery because it means that there is a possibility that other of these highly imaginative biblical events could be eventually explained.

I think the answers lie in science.I think science and the mysteries of religion are linked.

Of course it is also possible that some things will always remain a mystery.I don't know.Scientists need to be intuitive creative and imaginative as well as scientific to discover the secrets of the universe and the bible.

Albert I don't expect you a mere mortal(a generous one) will ever be able to explain and give me answers on these difficult questions.

However I have easier ones that I will put to you at a later date, that require knowledge of the scriptures which I do not have.
e.g is there any mention of homosexuality in the NT?

16 February 2012 at 13:43  
Blogger Albert said...

Cressida,

Of course I realise that Heaven is not in the sky

Okay, but, I'm not being provocative. You said:

Jesus ascending into heaven.I have a hunch that if this is true, scientists will accidentally discover evidence while searching for interplanetary life here on earth or something of that nature.

How can I answer that, except in the way that I did?

There are medical conditions where people may appear dead but are not really dead.Although granted, with the crucifixion injuries sustained it is unlikely Jesus would have been in a fit condition to walk after three days.

Quite. And if that had happened they would have thought Jesus hadn't properly died. They would not have welcomed such a man staggering from his tomb looking like death not terribly warmed up, as the great vanquisher of death. We exclude this possibility.

But where is the evidence apart from eye witness accounts that this happened?Anyone can manufacture history so why does not the same principle apply to the Bible.

Indeed, but as you have indicated, the miracle itself is not hard for God. Moreover, I think we have good reason already to believe in Jesus on the strength of his ministry.

So the only thing is to examine the history. There is always a possible move of just dismissing the historical evidence. But we need good reason for that - the kinds of reasons by which we examine any other kind of historical evidence.

What we know with pretty sure certainty (and neither requires a miracle) is that Jesus was crucified and that contrary to what we would expect, the disciples, with great energy and conviction started telling people he was alive again. We know that they were often put to death for saying this. In addition, historians of the period, whether they believe or not, often recognize by standard historical methods the following:

1. After his crucifixion, Jesus was buried in a tomb which was known to friend and foe alike.
2.On the Sunday following the crucifixion, Jesus’ tomb was found empty by a group of his women followers.
3. On multiple occasions and under various circumstances, different individuals and groups of people experienced appearances of Jesus alive from the dead.
4. The original disciples believed that Jesus was risen from the dead despite their having every predisposition to the contrary.

Now, assuming miracles are not excluded dogmatically (why should they be?), resurrection looks perfectly reasonable.

For more details, see the article by William Lane Craig over on his site. See here (you may need to login) Oops, it looks like it won't let you go straight through the link, go to popular articles on the left, then Jesus of Nazareth, then Resurrection of Jesus).

I think the answers lie in science.I think science and the mysteries of religion are linked.

Certainly, there is a link. But the miracles we are talking about in the NT are as Aquinas says: Those events in which something is done by God which nature could never do. Accordingly, they cannot be shown by science to be true or false. They are impossible for nature (science), but not for God.

There are a few references to homosexual acts (but not homosexual orientation) in the NT.

16 February 2012 at 14:11  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Cressida

Please don't dump somuch angst on Albert. He'sactually very calm and measured in his explanation of scripture and Catholicism. Far more so than I am. He is also teaching me about my faith and how to defend it by reference to the Gospel.

16 February 2012 at 19:17  
Blogger len said...

Cressida,

The whole point of Jesus`s mission to Earth was NOT to start a new religion!.

Religion in many cases does NOT lead one to Christ but away from Him.

We must come to a point (whenever that is ,some never come to this point!)when we realise that we need a Saviour because we can do nothing to save ourselves.

Jesus came to Earth to redeem what was lost through the first Adam.The one thing that religion cannot give us is LIFE.Jesus came to give us His Life.

In Catholic Churches( and most others) a dead Jesus hangs on a Cross.)He gave His life to atone before God for the sins of Humanity...but He gave us His LIFE to enable us to lIVE the Christian Life through the Power of His Spirit (which indwells believers.)

It is the Life of Jesus which saves us, eternal life is in Him and if we are born again we are One Spirit with Him.

This is salvation as God intended it to be, reborn, renewed,washed clean from our sins... a new creation.

The phrase "born again" literally means "born from above." Nicodemus had a real need. He needed a change of his heart—a spiritual transformation. New birth, being born again, is an act of God whereby eternal life is imparted to the person who believes (2 Corinthians 5:17; Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 1:3; 1 John 2:29; 3:9; 4:7; 5:1-4, 18). John 1:12,13 indicates that "born again" also carries the idea "to become children of God" through trust in the name of Jesus Christ.
The question logically comes, "Why does a person need to be born again?" The Apostle Paul in Ephesians 2:1 says, "And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins..." (NKJV). To the Romans in Romans 3:23, the Apostle wrote, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." So, a person needs to be born again in order to have their sins forgiven and have a relationship with God.

How does that come to be? Ephesians 2:8-9 states, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast." When one is "saved," he/she has been born again, spiritually renewed, and is now a child of God by right of new birth. Trusting in Jesus Christ, the One who paid the penalty of sin when He died on the cross, is what it means to be "born again" spiritually. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Religion will tell you that you must do certain rituals to get saved and more rituals to remain saved but it is repentance and a simple faith in Christ which God says is necessary for salvation.

16 February 2012 at 19:59  
Blogger len said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

16 February 2012 at 20:05  
Blogger len said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

16 February 2012 at 20:08  
Blogger Albert said...

Len,

You seem to have worries about this word "religion". But it's a perfectly biblical word:

If any one thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this man's religion is vain. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

I also don't get your worries about rituals. Baptism and Communion were given to us by Jesus!

16 February 2012 at 20:10  
Blogger len said...

A short prayer for salvation .

This will enable God to breathe New Life into your Spirit reviving it.... then this New Life will start to transform your soul (mind will and emotions.


“Father, I know that I have broken your laws and my sins have separated me from you. I am truly sorry, and now I want to turn away from my past sinful life toward you. Please forgive me, and help me avoid sinning again. I believe that your son, Jesus Christ died for my sins, was resurrected from the dead, is alive, and hears my prayer. I invite Jesus to become the Lord of my life, to rule and reign in my heart from this day forward. Please send your Holy Spirit to help me obey You, and to do Your will for the rest of my life. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

16 February 2012 at 20:11  
Blogger Albert said...

Thank you Dodo!

16 February 2012 at 20:11  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

len

The prayer you've posted is perfectly in accord with Catholic teaching and "religion".

What is your problem!

16 February 2012 at 20:41  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Albert

You're very welcome!

16 February 2012 at 21:28  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

len

Do you say this prayer often or once enough? Having said it, did you meet Jesus and did the Holy Spirit enter your soul?

I ask because it speaks of a journey and a process of salvation and I'm wondering how you square this with your statements that an encounter with Christ, a sudden 'rebirth' through the Holy Spirit, is necessary before one can rightly call oneself a Christian.

16 February 2012 at 22:30  
Anonymous Cressida de Nova said...

Albert can speak for himself Dodo. I think your hero worship of him is very unsubtle and rather immature.

Albert has been very generous in
attempting to provide explanations.
As for dumping my angst on him ...that sounds very bitchy, as if you are regarding me as a rival for his attention.
Fear not Dodo
He's all yours

16 February 2012 at 23:10  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Cressida

Bitchy? Not at all. Its just you ask complex and searching questions in a genuine, open way and they require detailed answers.

It just struck me that for some reason you seem to have have an underlying impatience with Christianity and some of its core beliefs. You seem annoyed with trite answers and want definate proof. One cannot "prove" the resurrection, the ascention or
the the Incarnation or virgin birth.

Albert,in my opinion, is a considered and thoughtful blogger. I rarely correspond directly with him but do pay attention to him and I'd advise you do the same and continue your discussions with him.

I said what I said because you suggested my replies to your questions were more straight forward, implying his were not.

So no bithcyness from me and no jealousy. If I offended you, I apologise. Its one of my traits to say what I think when I think it.

Do carry on.

17 February 2012 at 00:17  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Cressida

I'll share something with you now that will make me seem very childish.

When I was young I loved Jesus and loved going to Church. I just believed the Bible stories about Him. I watched everything that went on and listened carefully.

At the same time I watched Doctor Who and knew he wasn't real. Still I wanted to journey in the TARDIS back to the time of Jesus to witness the wonderous events and see Him. I wanted to sit on His lap. I wanted to stay awake in the Garden with Him when His friends slept and comfort Him and tell Him everything would be okay and He would go back to Heaven and not to worry His Father would look after Him.

It's true!

As I got older and went to University I lost my belief - sort of. Women entered mylife. It was the 60's - the time of 'peace and love'. The childish acceptance was replaced with doubt and sceptism. I argued with myself. Looked at other religions and considered no religions.

You see, in a way I too am a 'convert' as my unquestioning faith has been replaced by adult reasoning and faith. And, for me, Christianity is the only faith that makes any sense and Catholicism the only Church that faithfully represents it.

In the end I'm back to where I started and understand the words of Jesus:

"I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it."

And I'd still like to take a ride in the TARDIS and just quietly witness the events and see and hear Him! Imagine.

God Bless.

17 February 2012 at 00:43  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

Well Dodo, I am very pleased women entered your life.. I hope you are not inferring that you went astray
because women entered your life...
that like Eve, women are jezebels and temptresses and caused you to stray.

Men who don't live with women are incomplete.Every man needs the comfort and companionship of a woman. It is healthy and better than a trip in the Tardis

You are not a convert. You emit all
the radioactive signs of a cradle Catholic (that's a compliment)

You obviously have a very religious nature (kids don't like going to Church)I am surprised you were not snapped up as a priest.
I bet you thought about it before you discovered women.

That last quote is a good one.I have a different interpretation of it. Yours is ...unless you accept the difficult concept (tenets) of Christianity as a child does you will not have salvation.

Mine is.. unless you view life with the innoncence and wonder of a child you will never know God here on earth let alone anywhere else.

I have found these discussions interesting and of course a bit of snarkiness is going to occur but let us just contain it to little pin pricks rather than full onslaught sabre slashing( not that a nice Catholic boy like you would behave in that way:)

I could say Namaste which is the in greeting at the moment
but I wont because good or bad I'm a Christian (I'm stuck with it )
God bless

17 February 2012 at 02:49  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Cressida

I led the life I was intended to lead and yes, I was interested in the priesthood. How could I not be given my passion for Jesus as a child?

I love women! Their company, their femininity, their sensuality and sexuality. Being at University was like being a kiddie in a sweet shop - I'll say no more! No, I do not look upon women as "jezebels and temptresses" who caused me to stray! My hair was always long and uncut during throughout time and I was in full possession of my senses.

I like your interpretation of the words of Jesus and really they're akin to my own understanding. I'm not a 'born again' evalangelist and don't see salvation in black and white terms.

There's the old saying: "Good things come to those who wait". St Paul wrote: "To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life."

17 February 2012 at 12:31  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Grace,
As the daughter of Wycliffe missionaries and a student of both Greek and Hebrew, I cannot thank you enough for your words in support of the work that my parents and others are engaged in. I have been struggling for months with the horrible things said about us by people with no concept of what goes into the translation process. Thank you for speaking up for us.

25 February 2012 at 22:14  
Blogger Jay said...

It appears your insistence that the metaphorical language of father and son are indispensable terms to refer to the mystery of the triune God is just as misled as Muhammad's insistence that son of God could only refer to a biological son resultant of a sexual union.

12 March 2012 at 14:52  
Blogger Anonymous said...

Do not put too much hope on Greek texts as word of God. Where is Logia of Jesus in Aramaic. Where is Matthew’s Aramaic gospel?

P46 (175CE) is Greek manuscript with the largest percentage of difference on record. This just proved that Church have been changing words since early 2nd century at will.

Here is the words of the early church father, Origen (3rd century CE):
“The differences among the manuscripts have become great, either through the negligence of some copyists or through the perverse audacity of others; they either neglect to check over what they have transcribed, or, in the process of checking, they make additions or deletions as they please.” Origen, early church father in “Commentary on Matthew.”

Regarding the oldest surviving fragment, Colin Roberts compared P52 writings using ONLY 5 samples from the early 2nd century CE back in 1935 and concluded based on those 5 samples; P52 was from the early 2nd century.

(Brent Nongbri’s 2005. The Use and Abuse of P52: Papyrological Pitfalls in the Dating of the Fourth Gospel)
What I have done is to show that any serious consideration of the window of possible dates for P52 must include dates in the later second and early third centuries. – Brent

Compare with 4th century codexes. You will be surprise how Holy Spirit inside the scribes fail to prevent them from changing words of God ever since the beginning.

22 June 2013 at 03:51  

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