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Friday, November 6, 2009

Heresy, Part II

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Okay, I am probably not gonna have another 'to be continued...' blogpost. The pressure was horrible. Plus, thinking about Part II made me wonder if Part I sucked. It was totally different from posting and forgetting about it. Not good. And fair warning, BTW. This is a post on theology. It may be boring... and is contrary to what I have been taught in Church.

So, to recap Part I (actually, this will be much easier to follow, with a couple points I forgot to mention.)
  1. Much Church doctrine comes out of the epistles.
  2. I believe this is a bad Idea.
  3. The Apostolic Writer's Alliance (Peter, John, James, The Unknown Author of Hebrews, and of course, Paul) are surely special, and men to be taken seriously, but they should not be confused with Jesus.
  4. The Bible, in many ways idolized by mainstream evangelicals and put on a higher plane than Jesus himself, makes clear that even Church Fathers are capable of grave misjudgment. This is a clear distinction from Jesus, who never botched it.
  5. Jesus was God. They weren't. Why in the hell would somebody view their words with equal authority?
In Acts chapter 15, when Peter and the Boys hold palaver on the Issue of Making Gentiles Cut Off Pieces of Their Penises, they draft a letter for Paul's posse to carry back to the newbies explaining it was a false alarm. Which is all good. Nobody today seriously thinks you have to be circumcised to Go to Heaven.

But there is verse that catches my eye.
For it seemed best to the Holy Spirit and to us 88 not to place any greater burden on you than these necessary rules: 89 15:29 that you abstain from meat that has been sacrificed to idols 90 and from blood and from what has been strangled 91 and from sexual immorality. 92 If you keep yourselves from doing these things, 93 you will do well. Farewell.
Now, as they saying goes "Did it ever occur to you, that nothing occurs to God?"

Think about it. You're Peter. This means you are :
  1. Headstrong, and Transparent, and prone to making sure your ass is covered.
  2. A good Jew.
  3. You're also The Pope. Yeah. A Jewish Pope.
You are a Jerusalem Rock Star. A redneck fisherman, you hung with Jesus, and You have healed people miraculously in public. More then once, the bible portrays you as having a defective filter between your brain and your mouth. Now if this man hears audible direction from God, in an environment where such things were known to happen, He says "God told me that was WRONG." he doesn't use the word "seems".

It is from the Epistles that we get much of the doctrine regarding marriage, sexual morality, treatment of divorcees, treatment of homosexuals, and what to tell people about about the Good News That You Go To Hell If You Don't Believe What We Believe. If we rank scripture hierarchically, placing the speech of Jesus at the top, followed by His canon (The Old Testament), then the epistles, we can construct and entirely different set of protocols for how the church should behave about these matters. My point is that getting doctrine from the pulpit, is contrary to Jesus' directive in Matthew:
23:1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, 23:2 “The 1 experts in the law 2 and the Pharisees 3 sit on Moses’ seat. 23:3 Therefore pay attention to what they tell you and do it. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they teach. 4 23:4 They 5 tie up heavy loads, hard to carry, and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing even to lift a finger to move them. 23:5 They 6 do all their deeds to be seen by people, for they make their phylacteries 7 wide and their tassels 8 long. 23:6 They 9 love the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues 10 23:7 and elaborate greetings 11 in the marketplaces, and to have people call them ‘Rabbi.’ 23:8 But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher and you are all brothers. 23:9 And call no one your ‘father’ on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. 23:10 Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ for you have one teacher, the Christ. 12 23:11 The 13 greatest among you will be your servant. 23:12 And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

23:13 “But woe to you, experts in the law 14 and you Pharisees, hypocrites! 15 You keep locking people out of the kingdom of heaven! 16 For you neither enter nor permit those trying to enter to go in.
I think a good argument can be made, that we should read for ourselves, and never think we are in a position to decide people should be denied things we have because their moral performance is lower than ours.

1 comment:

  1. I like to turn to the epistles for generally good advice many times, though I often filter it through the knowledge that Jesus kept it pretty simple, and translation is a bitch (often attaching more or less impact...or WRONG various passages compared to what the writers intended.

    But you are completely right. Jesus is where we should be looking, and to the general principles of the Old Testament (as opposed to the minutae of the law, which Jesus railed about more than once).

    I've started to look more and more to a mindset of: "If Jesus didn't talk about it enough for it to make it into the gospels, perhaps it isn't a topic we need to dwell on overmuch."


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