Alexandrian School of Theology

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by Ray Berrian, Jul 3, 2003.

  1. Ray Berrian

    Ray Berrian
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    'The average Christian is unaware that the manuscripts from which the modern "Bibles" have been translated are Egyptian in origin; more specifically, Alexandrian.' Dr. William P. Grady, "Final Authority" p.73.

    These scholars turned the literal interpretation of the Bible into allegories or what they viewed as a higher spiritual understanding of the Word of God. These men like Aristobulus, the founder of such thinking, plus Philo and Origen commingled theology with Aristotelian and Platonic philosophy. They viewed these latter two men and philosophies as being in possession of vast amounts of truth and mixed it with the teachings of Christ. Paul warned about this in Colossians 2:11 where he said, 'Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.'

    As a result of this school we have those who think the Allegorical method of interpretation is of God, while denying the more literal method of Bible interpretation. This is how we came up with ideas like Amillennialism or 'no millennium.'
     
  2. Carson Weber

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    Hi Ray,

    You wrote, "These scholars turned the literal interpretation of the Bible into allegories or what they viewed as a higher spiritual understanding of the Word of God."

    Let's not forget that Paul was an avid advocate of interpreting the Bible through the spiritual senses, namely the allegorical sense.

    Here is one example:

    "For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave and one by a free woman. But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, the son of the free woman through promise. Now this is an allegory: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children." (Gal 4:22-25)
     
  3. Ray Berrian

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    Carson Weber,

    I would have gone over Galatians 4:21-31 but I wanted one of you to 'milk' these verses for what they are worth to you in trying to hold to an Allegorical method of interpretation.

    In all the N.T. God only uses this one allegory/allusion to explain the difference between Law and Grace. The bondwoman's son portrayed the Law, while the freewoman's son became the son of promise or Grace. The bondwoman's son speaks of Mount Sinai while the freewoman's son bespeaks of Jerusalem above, namely Heaven.

    While God used only this one allegory, this does not in any way sanction the universal use of an allegorical method of interpretation throughout all of the Bible. Dr. F.W. Farrar, "History of Interpretation" p. 217 says,

    'The better Jewish theory, purified in Christianity, takes the teachings of the Old Dispensation literally, but sees in them, as did St. Paul, the shadow and germ of future developments. Allegory, though once used by Paul by way of passing illustration, is unknown to the other Apostles, and is never sanctioned by Christ.'

    Dr. Bernard Ramm, "Protestant Biblical Interpretation, W.A. Wilde Company, Boston, 1950, p. 6 says,

    ' . . . to state that the principle meaning of the Bible is a second-sense meaning, and that the principle method of interpreting is "spiritualizing" is to open the door to almost uncontrolled speculation and imagination. For this reason we have insisted that the control in interpretation is the literal method.'

    Drs. Angus-Green express the same danger when they write:

    'There is . . . .unlimited scope for fancy, if once the principle be admitted, and the only basis of the exposition is found in the mind of the expositor. The scheme can yield no interpretation, properly so called, although possibly some valuable truths may be illustrated.' {Drs. Joseph Angus and Samuel G. Green, "The Bible Handbook," Fleming H. Revell Company, New York, p. 5.
     
  4. DHK

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    There is another more obvious difference. Nowhere in the Bible are we instructed to interpret the Bible in an allegoric manner. We are instructed to "rightly divide the word of truth," but not allegorize it. Allegory was probably the furthest thing from Paul's mind. The New Testament was written in Koine Greek, not in Classical Greek. It was written in Koine, or common greek to appeal to the masses; to make it as simple as possible for the common person to understand. History was not meant to be allegorized, which much of the Bible is. Neither was doctrine, which much of the New Testament epistles are.

    The Holy Spirit of God has the perogative to insert an allegory. We do not.
    DHK
     
  5. Carson Weber

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    Hi Ray,

    You wrote, "While God used only this one allegory, this does not in any way sanction the universal use of an allegorical method of interpretation throughout all of the Bible."

    That's your opinion. I disagree. I see St. Paul as setting a precedent that we should follow. If it's good enough for him, it's good enough for me.

    You wrote, "Allegory, though once used by Paul by way of passing illustration, is unknown to the other Apostles, and is never sanctioned by Christ.'"

    Are you so sure about that? ;)

    The typological category of the spiritual sense of Scripture is employed by Paul in 1 Cor 10:1-2 when he portrays the crossing of the Red Sea as a symbol of the victory of Christ and a type of the freeing of mankind from sin by Baptism.

    John employs the typological sense, like Paul, when he quotes Jesus who uses the brazen serpent of Numbers 21:8 as a type of himself in John 3:14.

    Jesus uses the metaphorical category of the spiritual sense in Mt 21:42 when he shows how Ps 118:22 refers to himself.

    These are only a few examples. New Testament Scripture is chalk full of this sort of interpretation, contrary to the image you're painting.
     
  6. CatholicConvert

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    What a bunch of c*ap from someone who wouldn't DARE take John 6: 53 literally!!

    :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

    Brother Ed

    [ July 07, 2003, 11:25 AM: Message edited by: Clint Kritzer ]
     
  7. Ray Berrian

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    You wrote, "Allegory, though once used by Paul by way of passing illustration, is unknown to the other Apostles, and is never sanctioned by Christ.'"

    Carson is saying, 'Are you so sure about that?'

    Yes, I am more than absolutely convinced of this fact.

    Carson is saying, 'The typological category of the spiritual sense of Scripture is employed by Paul in 1 Cor 10:1-2 when he portrays the crossing of the Red Sea as a symbol of the victory of Christ and a type of the freeing of mankind from sin by Baptism.

    John employs the typological sense, like Paul, when he quotes Jesus who
    uses the brazen serpent of Numbers 21:8 as a type of himself in John 3:14.

    Jesus uses the metaphorical category of the spiritual sense in Mt 21:42
    when he shows how Ps 118:22 refers to himself.' (end quote)

    Ray is saying, 'It is fine that God the Holy Spirit uses allegory in the Word of God, and we gladly welcome this. When the Lord uses allegory He also explains it. When modern day interpreters read the Word of God, they take the unwarranted authority to interpret it by use of their own new allegory. This is wrong, divisive, and not of God, because it often sheds a totally new meaning other than what the Lord desires for us to understand. We know you have a real 'self worth' Carson, but you have not yet obtained the position of the Holy Spirit. Your kind of quasi-theologians tend to interpret the Bible like,the whim descending from a gentle breeze. Each word or phrase of Biblical verses are to be interpreted from its historical setting, grammatically and it is to be dovetailed with other Scriptures, so Popes do not come up with the myth of Purgatory, for example.

    One dreary day a pope said I guess I'll call I Corinthians 3:11-15 Purgatory and will tell the foks that they are going to a state of limbo, a hopefully short stop off period of time, in route to Heaven. I'll use a Latin word, meaning to purge, and they won't even know the language. I will use the allegory type of interpretation because they have been taught that I rule.

    We don't have to make it up as we go along and then introduce new alleged truth in different centuries. II Corinthians 5:10 explains the future judgment for only Christians which will take place after Christ come for His church. The simple understanding of the masses of people, in their own language will explain God's truth; there is no secret code known only to the private interpreter. [II Peter 1:20]
     
  8. Carson Weber

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    Hi Ray,

    You wrote, "One dreary day a pope said I guess I'll call I Corinthians 3:11-15 Purgatory and will tell the foks that they are going to a state of limbo, a hopefully short stop off period of time, in route to Heaven. I'll use a Latin word, meaning to purge, and they won't even know the language. I will use the allegory type of interpretation because they have been taught that I rule."

    Which pope was this, and in what decree did he take the above actions that you say he did?

    Or, are you speaking on pretense?
     
  9. Ray Berrian

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    The subject of Purgatory:

    "The Moody Handbook of Theology", by Dr. Paul Enns, Moody Press, Chicago, p.533.

    "Systematic Theology", by Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer, Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, Vol. IV, p. 426.

    "Ray"
     
  10. Ray Berrian

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    It is our understanding that in Catholicism when a sinner comes into your branch of the faith, their sins of the past are forgiven but not past, present, and future sins. This allows the church to hold in hand a large hammer, so if a person sins a venial or mortal sin they must return to the priest at confessional. And if that new born believers, slips on a banana peel, and leaves this life they will pass through Purgatory if they have committed venial sins. Not being Catholic I am not sure about the moral sins.

    Christ never told us through His apostolate that Christ only died for the sins of the past. I John 2:2 submits that Jesus paid for all of the sins of Christians and, therefore, will not come into the condemnation of Hell. [Romans 8:1] Also, I Corinthians 15:3 says, ' . . . that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.' If a person becomes a child of God through his or her faith, it would be foolish for Christ to damn said persons if He really died for all our sins, being Christians. But, then that is why John 3:16 does not say that He gives to believers a temporary spiritual life, but rather everlasting life.

    No church holds the 'hammer' over Christians lives; Jesus will judge each of us when we stand before Him. [John 5:22b] God is loving toward His people and does not stand ready with His big sledge hammer ready to send us off to Hell.
     
  11. Carson Weber

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    Hi Ray,

    You made the accusation above:

    "One dreary day a pope said I guess I'll call I Corinthians 3:11-15 Purgatory and will tell the foks that they are going to a state of limbo, a hopefully short stop off period of time, in route to Heaven. I'll use a Latin word, meaning to purge, and they won't even know the language. I will use the allegory type of interpretation because they have been taught that I rule."

    And I asked you in turn, "Which pope was this, and in what decree did he take the above actions that you say he did? Or, are you speaking on pretense?"

    Your lack of response is telling. It tells me that you are recreating Catholic history and bearing false witness upon Catholicism.

    Your misunderstandings and misrepresentations of the Catholic Church show that you do reject only what you think Catholic teaching is, not the real deal.

    For instance.. you wrote, "if a person sins a venial or mortal sin they must return to the priest at confessional."

    You are incorrect. If a person commits a venial (not deadly/moral) sin, he only has to ask God for forgiveness. If a person commits a deadly/mortal (that's what mortal means: deadly) sin, he must receive the Holy Spirit through the forgiveness of sin based upon the Biblical precept of John 20:21-23.

    All of this is in accord with what St. John writes:

    "If any one sees his brother committing what is not a mortal sin, he will ask, and God will give him life for those whose sin is not mortal. There is sin which is mortal; I do not say that one is to pray for that." (1 John 5)

    And if that new born believers [snipped the derogatory banana peal comment; no sin is merely "slipping"; all sin is wrongdoing] leave this life they will pass through Purgatory if they have committed venial sins.

    You are correct.

    Please tell me what you think about this article:

    http://www.cin.org/users/james/files/how2purg.htm
     
  12. Ray Berrian

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    Carson Weber,

    I know my wife told me even before your post that venial sins only have to be confessed to God. My question is, does the Christian then have to go to the priest to admit the sin after God has forgiven him?

    I John 5:16 is not referring to spiritual death, but physical death. This is a Catholic error.

    Ray
     
  13. Ray Berrian

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    "How to Explain Purgatory to Protestants"

    What do I think about this article.

    Some of the ideas that you use relative to Purgatory we use in relation to the future and one time event that all Christians will have to go through by way of purification and the rewarding of Christians for their good works and ministry. We call it the Judgment Seat of Christ as noted in II Cor. 5:10. This judgment will take place for everyone all at one time directly after the rapture of the church into Heaven, and not at the hour of death for every individual Christian. The rewarding of our works is recorded in I Cor. 3:11.

    Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was rather tentative and I would have thought that someone of his spiritual level in Catholicism would have nailed the issue down more clearly. For example, he said, 'Purgatory may involve existential rather than "temporal" duration. Which is it Reverend?

    7. (at the conclusion) said, 'Purgatory may simply be an instantaneous 'in the twinkling of an eye transformation.' I am sure he is inconclusive because nothing is dilineated about this in the concept of Purgatory.

    And lastly, II Maccabees 12 is not a part of our canon of Scripture so we consider these books spurious.

    Hope this sheds some light. I do think that it does give more information to Catholic Christians about this dogma of your church.
     
  14. Carson Weber

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    Hi Ray,

    You asked, "does the Christian then have to go to the priest to admit the sin after God has forgiven him?"

    Of course not. It's been forgiven. But, you can if it makes you feel better.

    You wrote, "1 John 5:16 is not referring to spiritual death, but physical death."

    *Whew*.. I sure am glad that we have Sacred Scripture to clear this matter up for us. I mean, where would we be if we didn't have St. John to tell us that some sins result in our physical death? Huh. We would probably think our dead friends were still alive, and that might cause a stink. But, thanks to good ol' John, we now know what we couldn't have figured out on our own.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Ray Berrian

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    One of the best ways we can know if we are interpreting Scripture correctly is because of the prophetic past. The Prophet Isaiah declared that ' . . . a virgin would conceive and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel.' [Isaiah 7:14] The prophet some six hundred years before the birth of our Lord, promised a child would be born and would be a male and that He would be called Wonderful . . . . the Prince of peace.'

    The words prophesied later became the Word incarnate some 600 years down the line in time. 'In the beginning as the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was/is God.' [John 1:1] What if modern interpreters of the Bible would have said, "Well, it is only an allegory about a virgin bringing forth a son, just to spice up the story, to make it interesting. If we had done this Protestants and Catholics would have not what we both believe to be an important doctrine, as to the virgin birth of Jesus our Lord, and the Roman Catholic Church would be without their view as to the perpetual virginity of Mary. Neither branches of the church failed to insist on a literal interpretation and translation of what God was and is saying to us. So from the past we know that a prophecy predicted 2,603 years ago was fulfilled by Jesus' first Advent approximately 2,000 years ago.

    Dr. Charles Feinberg in his book, "Premillennialism or Amillennialism?" Zondervan Publishing House, 1936, Grand Rapids, p. 39 says,

    ' . . . in the interpretation of prophecy that has not yet been fulfilled, those prophecies which have been fulfilled are to form the pattern. The only way to know how God will fulfill prophecy in the future is to ascertain how He has done it in the past. All the prophecies of the suffering Messiah were literally fulfilled in the first advent of Christ. We have no reason to believe that the predictions of a glorified and reigning Messiah will be brought to pass in any other way.'

    Just as Jesus birth was literally, fulfilled prophecy through the prediction of Isaiah, so too the prophet's prediction as to the world government one day being on 'the shoulders' of Christ the Messiah will also come to pass in time. [Isaiah 9:6]

    The prophecy of Isaiah is confirmed by many other prophets and apostles, one of which is Micah in the first part of the fifth chapter where he say, that a male person will come forth and will become a 'Ruler in Israel', an individual who never had a beginning or will ever have an ending, namely, the 'everlasting' One. [Micah 5:2] To date we have not had an with a profile of an everlasting existence who has ruled in Israel; at the Second Coming of Christ He will set up His theocracy in Jerusalem. [Zechariah 14:16]

    We dare not allegorize or place our own, private interpretation on Zechariah fourteen where the prophet says His blessed feet one day will set down at the site of the 'Mount of Olives' and eight times the prophet makes reference to a real city called Jerusalem in this chapter. There is no secret, spiritual insight in these prophecies that comes out of a non-literal interpretation of words coming from the mind and heart of Almighty God.

    Hermaneutically, allegorizing or quasi-spiritualizing away God's truth is forbidden and where it is done it is a grave and serious mistake to the ones who do this. It undermines what the Lord wants His people to understand and to look forward to in hope.
     
  16. Ray Berrian

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    Carson Weber,

    I would have hoped that you would have come to the spiritual understanding of I John 5:16 yourself. You might not be at the point in your spiritual walk with the Lord to accept what I am saying to you, but perhaps others, who do not know this truth I'll explain.

    Some Christians backslide and are so poor a testimony to the Gospel that the Lord takes them prematurely to Heaven to await the Judgment Seat of Christ. This is the death that John is speaking about. The Apostle Paul also speaks of this as to those who died in the Lord at the Eucharist. [I Cor. 11:30] In Biblical times those who died who were in the faith are spoken about as having 'fallen asleep' in Christ. [vs.30] Why did Christ take their human life away from them? Answer: Read it in I Corinthians 11:32. Jesus chastens them, as His children, so they will not be condemned along with the rest of sinners and sent on to Hell.

    This is illustrative of how all Scripture has to dovetail with one another. Sorry, I John 5:16 is not spiritual death as you have been wrongly taught somewhere along the line in your Christian education.
     
  17. Ray Berrian

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    The school of theology at Alexandria pioneered the allegorical or figurative style of interpretation while the school at Antioch taught a strict literalist mode of interpretation and orthodoxy which moved in the direction of a more exacting word-for-word copying of manuscripts.

    Philo, a Jewish scholar, mixed philosophy with the O.T. faith and Augustine followed in the same path of spirituality and erring thought.

    Origen became a believer in the allegorical method of interpretation, which gives rise to almost any kind of belief. He believed and ' . . . promoted a belief in the preexistence of the human soul, John the Baptist was previously an angel {Dr. Menzies, "Ante-Nicene Fathers"} baptismal regeneration (beginning with sprinkling of infants) and transubstantiation, {Dr. Fisher, "Christian Doctrine" p.68} that Christ's death was paid as a ransom to Satan, {Dr. Earle E. Cairns, "Christianity Through the Centuries, p. 112.} 'to allow the new birth to be entered by a "mystical kiss, {Dr. Herbert A. Musurillo, "Fathers of the Primitive Church, p. 198.} while denying both the coming "bodily" resurrection, {Dr. Cairns, "Christianity through the Centuries, p. 112.} ' . . . and the millennial Kingdom. {Dr. Fisher, "Christian Doctrine" p. 112.}

    'Because of Origen's pride he relegated the Holy Spirit to a created being.' {Dr. William P. Grady, "Final Authority" p. 93.}

    All of these ideas came about because of the allegorical method of interpretation and its philosophy of 'make up the theology as you go along' concept.

    Tertullian represented the literal interpretation of the holy Scriptures agreeing with the school of theology at Antioch. He said,

    'I hold sure title-deeds from the original owners themselves, to whom the estate belonged. I am the heir of the apostles. Just as they carefully prepared their will and testament . . . . even so do I hold it.' {Dr. Roberts and Donaldson, "Ante-Nicene Fathers, 3:261}
     
  18. KenH

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    As you probably know, the more accurate descriptive term is "realized millennium".
     
  19. Brother Adam

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    Ray and Carson,

    Snide comments aside, this conversation is absolutely excellent. You have me glued to my computer screen awaiting the next installment. Please continue!
     
  20. Carson Weber

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    Hi Ray,

    Did you ever find out which Pope in which decree said what you accused a pope of saying above? I haven't seen an answer yet on this thread. Perhaps a retraction is in order?

    I would have hoped that you would have come to the spiritual understanding of I John 5:16 yourself. You might not be at the point in your spiritual walk with the Lord to accept what I am saying to you, but perhaps others, who do not know this truth I'll explain.

    Okay, Ray, seriously.. enough with the "I'm on a higher spiritual plane than you.. come on up and join me" attitude. ;)

    Your OSAS tradition causes you to read 1 John 5 with a lens that assumes a saved person cannot lose the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, and from this presumption, you automatically rule out the clear, plain meaning of John's discourse.

    It doesn't take divine revelation to tell us that some sins result in our physical death (e.g. drinking and driving, suicide, drug abuse, etc.); that's a no-brainer, and this, if anything, is looking to the flesh.

    There's just one huge problem with your interpretation, Ray.. you've taken this tid-bit on mortal sin out of its original context. The life John is speaking of is not the type of natural life by which are are alive here on earth. He is speaking of eternal life: the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Go back up a couple of verses.

    John writes: "He who has the Son has life; he who has not the Son of God has not life." (1 John 5:12)
     

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