So, to recap Part I (actually, this will be much easier to follow, with a couple points I forgot to mention.)
- Much Church doctrine comes out of the epistles.
- I believe this is a bad Idea.
- 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.
- 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.
- Jesus was God. They weren't. Why in the hell would somebody view their words with equal authority?
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 :
- Headstrong, and Transparent, and prone to making sure your ass is covered.
- A good Jew.
- You're also The Pope. Yeah. A Jewish Pope.
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.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.
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.