A few questions for Baptists

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by DanPC, Dec 29, 2002.

  1. DanPC

    DanPC
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    These are not meant to be argumentative. I am interested in how Baptists view these questions. The first three and last one I am not looking for bibilical citations.

    1) Do Baptists believe that they can trace their beginnings to Jesus without going through the Catholic Church? I am looking for objective historical evidence, as in a secular history book.

    2) How did Sola Scriptura work for the earliest Christians when some of the NT had not yet been written and it was not canonized for another 3 centuries?

    3) Can we really be assured of our salvation where it can not be lost? I hear Baptists say that they have it but when someone else who said the same abandons their faith or converts to Catholicism I hear that they never were saved. If they felt the same way as you do now, how can you be sure that you are assured of salvation? (This is not a theological or biblical question--just how do you reconcile this?)

    4) Symbolic eating of flesh and drinking of blood in the Bible means persecuting someone. (Ps 27:2. Is 9:18-20, Is 49:26, 2 Sam 23:15-17 and Rev !7:6 and 16) Why would Jesus say for us to remember him by persecuting him in John 6?

    5) Is remarriage after divorce allowed? Most Baptists I know are against divorce but not against remarriage after divorce?
     
  2. Bible-belted

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    1) I am fairly certain that some do. I am not one of those, so don't ask me for the historical evidence for it.

    2) It didn't. At least not in the same way as it does now, when we don't have ongoing special revelation of a scriptural variety.

    3) Subjectively, no, I don't believe so. But our feelings do not alter the facts. The fact that our salvation is in God's hands, not ours, is always objectively true.

    4) The premise is false. It does not mean to persecute in John 6. Jesus Himself provided the key to understanding his metaphor. See John 6:35, and then read John 54, and it makes sense.

    5) You'll get a variety of responses from Baptists on that.
     
  3. Ps104_33

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  4. DojoGrant

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    As to number 5, how can any Baptist possibly disagree? Jesus Christ said that anyone who divorces and remarries commits adultery. Exactly where is the room for confusion?

    God bless,

    Grant
     
  5. DanPC

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    " "Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. (1 Corinthians 11:27-29, KJV)"

    Seems to make sense if the bread is really the body of Christ. Why the condemnation if only a symbol?
     
  6. swaimj

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    Some Baptists believe this (I would think it is a minority position). I do not believe it nor do I think it is necessary.
    The very earliest Christians did not have sola scriptura because they had living apostles and they had sign gifts which were still active. As for canonization, the scriptures were collected, circulated, and recognized by the churches long before the third century. The practice of circulating apostolic letters to various churches is as old as the letters themselves.
    In practical experience, some people make professions and later fall back into sin. This is a phenomenom which we observe. To describe/explain this activity we have to determine what the scriptures teach. Can a person lose salvation or not? If one concludes salvation can be lost, they would say this person lost their salvation. If one concludes that salvation cannot be lost, they would say the person was never saved. In either case, the goal of Christians should be to reach out to this person and bring them to Christ. Theologically, I am convinced of the second position, however, at a practical level there is a certain sense in which the Christian's responsibility is the same and is recognized to be the same to the fallen person no matter what the theoligical position is.
    Not all of these references refer to symbolic consumption and not all of them refer to persecution. Even if they did, the fact remains that metaphors and symbols are used in different ways in different contexts. A particular metaphor or symbol does not necessarily have one consistent meaning throughout scripture. For instance, water sometimes refers to baptism. However, we cannot say that every time the word "water" occurs in the Bible it is referring to baptism. Such a method amounts to allegorization and leads away from a clear understanding of the meaning of the writer and glorifies in the imagination of the reader. Use of this method does not lead us to an understanding of the text.
    I hold that in some cases remarriage is possible after divorce. However, there is no uniform view on this topic among Baptists.
     
  7. Bible-belted

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    Again, the answer is in the context. Condemnation is for failure to "discern the Body of Christ". In context, where Paul is getting on the Corinthans for their lack of unity in the Lord's Supper, failure to discern the Body rfers to the basic unity of the Body, which he also refers to in 1Co. 10.

    Remember that symbols represent something real. By dishonouring the symbol you also dishonour the represented reality. It is not necessary to equate the reality with the symbol for the warning to make sense.
     
  8. DHK

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    I don't believe that divorce or remarriage is ever allowed by the Bible. Neither one is taught or allowed.
    DHK
     
  9. DanPC

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    "The Scriptures did not need 3 centuries to be canonized. That is purely a Catholic belief."

    Non canonized books/letters were read in services (Letter of Clement, etc). Do you have a source that has the NT intact in the first century or early second century? I would like to read it. As I recall there was some debate about Revelation, Hebrews and others for decades as to whether they were inspired or not.
     
  10. Bible-belted

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    Nevertheless it is, in a sense, true that the scriptures did not require 3 centuries to be canonised.

    Consider that such things as Athanasisu festal letter represent already existing practices. That makes such collections existing prior to the publication of those dates.

    There is evidence that Paul's letters were ciruclated and treated as Scripture in his lifetime. Same goes for at least one gospel.

    It is also worth considering that, since the call to have a standard canon came not from the ecclesiastical authorities, but the secular authorities, it is reasonable to suggest that the reason ther was no standard canon was due to no felt need to hagve one, not any serious disagreement over which books were inspired.
     
  11. DanPC

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    From Eusebius History Book 6 Chapter 14--
    "To put it briefly, [Clement] has given in the Sketches abridged accounts of all of the canonical Scripture, and he does not omit the DISPUTED books--I mena Jude and the rest of the Catholic Epsitles, and Barnabas and the so-called Apocalypse of Peter."

    again Eusebius Book 3 Chapter 3
    "There is but one Epistle of Peter agreed upon, that called his first; and the ancient presbyters used it unquestioned in their own writings. We have determined, indeed, that the alleged second is not canonical; but neverthelss, since it has appeared useful to many, it is studied with the other Scriptures....it is not right to ignore that some have disputed the Epistle to the Hebrews, saying that it was rejected by the Church at Rome as notbeing by Paul."

    Book 3 chapter 25
    "Among the disputed books, which are nevertheless known to most, there are extant the Epistles said to be of James, and of Jude, and the second of Peter; and the second and third attributed to John...Among the spurious writings must be reckoned..the Apocalypse of John, if it be so judged. For, as I said, some reject it, while others included it among the recognized books."

    St Cyril of Jerusalem circa 350 appears to leave out Revelation in his list of NT books.

    I haven't looked very hard for it but I believe the Letter of Clement, the Shepherd of Hermas and others were read in churches in the second century and perhaps later.

    "Consider that such things as Athanasisu festal letter..."
    Yes but Athanasius wrote that around 350. Just about 30 years before Eusebius in his history did not have the canon quite like it is today. There were questions and it required a council to hammer them out. As you might recall, Athanasius had plenty of trouble of his own with the Arians. He wasn't in the majority in the Church on that issue. Perhaps his writings may not have held much weight in the Church as a whole when he wrote them since so many bishops were against him.
     
  12. DanPC

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    "It is also worth considering that, since the call to have a standard canon came not from the ecclesiastical authorities, but the secular authorities,"

    Do you have a source for that? While councils in N Africa set the canon around 390s, it wasn't until Trent in the 16 century that the Church as a whole defined the canon.
    Perhaps you are thinking of the Arian controversy and the council of Nicea, the one that brought us the Nicean Creed.
     
  13. Bible-belted

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    Dan,

    "Yes but Athanasius wrote that around 350. Just about 30 years before Eusebius in his history did not have the canon quite like it is today. There were questions and it required a council to hammer them out. As you might recall, Athanasius had plenty of trouble of his own with the Arians. He wasn't in the majority in the Church on that issue. Perhaps his writings may not have held much weight in the Church as a whole when he wrote them since so many bishops were against him."

    You miss the point. Athansiaus represented a consensus in his area, and it was formed without a council. Even Eusebius having disputed books implies that he knew of books that were NOT disputed, and that again without a council. So indeed it is reasonable to speak of there having been always a canon, a list of accepted books. It was not a closed canon in the sense you seem to be thinking of it though. It does not have to be. After all canonisation is a process. That is the point. You make it sound like before we had the canon in its final form we had nothing. That isn't true.

    "Do you have a source for that? While councils in N Africa set the canon around 390s, it wasn't until Trent in the 16 century that the Church as a whole defined the canon.
    Perhaps you are thinking of the Arian controversy and the council of Nicea, the one that brought us the Nicean Creed."

    Actually Carthage and Hippo, being regional councils, and not ecumenical councils (and having in some cases different books listed than those which Trent listed later) ddi not define the canon. I believe that New Catholic Encyclopedia will corroborate that part if you care to look it up. But even those councils, like Athansius festal letter, did not ceate a consensus so much as it reflected one.

    But no, I am not thinking of a council at all. I am thinking othe Impr=erial government. The impetus for a standard canon did not come form the Church. It came from the secular imperial authority. Constantine is well known to have been very involed in church affairs, ordering concils, resolving dipsutes (Easter) even reconvening councils that went against his will. He ordered Eusebius to make 50 copies of the NT for the churches in Constantinople. L.M. MacDonald ("The Formation of the Christian Biblial Canon", Hendricksen, 1995, p. 190 (also cf. p. 182-189)) says:

    "[Constantine's] call for the production of fifty copies of the Scriptures for the churches in Constantinople also shows that at least Eusebius, the one charged with the duty of making copies, was aware or soon became aware of the parameters of this collection of scriptures."

    MacDonald cites Eusebius' "Life of Constantine" in this issue.

    The point being that the drive of Constantine to have one empire with one faith influenced the formation of the Canon. The drive towards a standard canon was a secular drive, not an ecclesiastical one.



    "
     
  14. hrhema

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    In honesty most protestants cannot say they did not come through the Roman Catholic Church because they adhere to a lot of Roman Catholic Dogma and Doctrines.

    Sola Scriptura is something man concocted not God.

    Not all Baptists believe in once Saved always saved. There is so much disagreement in this area.

    As far as divorce and remarriage it is again a hot topic. People say the Bible absolutely says that no one can remarry and say it is crystal clear but they ignore the fact that Jesus said Except for sexual unfaithfulness.

    I have found that many Baptist interpret things the way they want to interpret them.
     
  15. Sularis

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    Probably not

    sign gifts and such

    OSAS

    I dont know

    Sure - when their partner dies - or was granted a divorce for a Biblical reason
     
  16. Bible-belted

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    "In honesty most protestants cannot say they did not come through the Roman Catholic Church because they adhere to a lot of Roman Catholic Dogma and Doctrines."

    While I would agree that all denominations (RCC included) trace themselves back through the Catholic Church, the arguemnt you use is illegitmate. To say that there is similar (or even same) doctrine is not sufficient in itself to posit dependance.

    Interstingly though the Baptists who make the claim to being traceable al the way back do so using an understanding of "succesion" that is, in contrast to that of the RCC, correct.

    Apostolic Succession is about a succession of doctrine, not of offices as such. The doctrine validates the office not the other way around. In that the Baptists who trace themselves back to John the Baptist do so tracing doctrine, and not an office, tehy are closer to the apostolic concept of succession.

    "Sola Scriptura is something man concocted not God."

    This of course is false. Such a gratuitous assertion requires no more rfutation than that.

    "Not all Baptists believe in once Saved always saved. There is so much disagreement in this area."

    There is also no agreement on election within the RCC. Is it conditional or not? There is no one RC position. Why do you not lok to the plank in your own denominational eye?

    "I have found that many Baptist interpret things the way they want to interpret them."

    Much as RCs interpret magisterial pronouncements, historical documents and the Bible in self serving ways. What of it?
     
  17. DanPC

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    " So indeed it is reasonable to speak of there having been always a canon, a list of accepted books."
    Yes but there are not the same as what is accepted now. There were some books that were disputed by some with sources listed. Some bishops (Athanasius) and local councils got the list right and as you say reflected what was already accepted in their areas. But, because there were disputed books this was not the case everywhere. [​IMG]
     
  18. Bible-belted

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    You are confusing a closed canon with simply canon, a list. There was a list. Thst is the only point I was making. The closing of the canon took centuries. It was a process. But at every stage there was a canon, a list of accepted books.
     
  19. DanPC

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    "But at every stage there was a canon, a list of accepted books."

    This appears to damage the sola scriptura argument as the list of accepted books did not include some of the books that you accept today. From what I have read it appears that it was Catholics that set the canon or accepted books, unless you have a quote from a non-Catholic in the first few centuries of Christendom.
     
  20. Bible-belted

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    It does not damage Sola Scriptura at all since Sola scriptura is based only on whatever canon happens to exist, and is not held to hold in the same way during ongoing revelation as it does after such revelation ceases as has been pointed out already. You are making the common error of thinking that Sola Scriptura is about the extent of Scipture when it is about the nature of Scripture.

    The differnece in lists is actually mroe dmaging to RC claims to having settled the issue, for a is well known Trent defined a Canon differnet from that of the early councils which at least some RCs say were definitive. Ongoing controversy is actually evidence that the autority that RCs claim was wielded was in fact not recognised.

    As for your claim that it was "Catholics" that settled it, that history is also protestant history, as we draw our roots back through that period to Christ as well. But more to the point you seem to be making a claim that Cathlic then refers to and can be equated in some way with "Catholic" in Roman Catholic. That is not true. It si a gratuitous asumption well worth rejecting.
     

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