Jesus as the criterion

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by rlvaughn, Aug 2, 2003.

  1. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
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    If the criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted is Jesus Christ, does that mean:

    </font>
    • Since Jesus said that the flood came in the days of Noah, we should believe that it did?</font>
    • Since Jesus said that Jonah was 3 days and 3 nights in the whale's belly, we should believe that he was?</font>
    • Since Jesus said that Abel shed his blood, we should believe he did?</font>
    • Since Jesus said that Sodom was destroyed, we should believe that it was?</font>
    • etc., etc., etc.</font>
     
  2. Joseph_Botwinick

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    Robert,

    I believe if Jesus said it, it is true. I am not sure exactly what your point is. :confused:

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  3. Watchman

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    If the criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted is Jesus Christ, does that mean:
    [*]Since Jesus said that the flood came in the days of Noah, we should believe that it did?
    [*]Since Jesus said that Jonah was 3 days and 3 nights in the whale's belly, we should believe that he was?
    [*]Since Jesus said that Abel shed his blood, we should believe he did?
    [*]Since Jesus said that Sodom was destroyed, we should believe that it was?
    [*]etc., etc., etc.
    __________________________________________________

    All of this, I agree, actually happened. If you mean to take aim at liberals who discount the miracles contained in the Bible, I also agree, even the literal three days, and three nights that was a sign that Jesus was in the grave three days and three nights (placed in the tomb Wednesday evening, came out Saturday evening).
    But I also am wondering where you are going here.
     
  4. Hardsheller

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    What it means is exactly what the composers of the 1963 BF&M meant for it to mean.

    "Baptists are a people who profess a living faith. This faith is rooted and grounded in Jesus Christ who is "the same yesterday, and today, and forever." Therefore, the sole authority for faith and practice among Baptists is Jesus Christ whose will is revealed in the Holy Scriptures."

    We know nothing about Jesus that we don't find substantiated and revealed in Scripture.

    The problem with the Criterion statement in the BF&M of 1963 is that modern Baptists have a tendency of reading into the Bible what they think Jesus would have said or done about modern issues based on their own experiences or their own feelings.

    For example, Jesus would not have condemned homosexuality, he would have affirmed it because he loved all people.
     
  5. Bible-boy

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    What it means is exactly what the composers of the 1963 BF&M meant for it to mean.

    "Baptists are a people who profess a living faith. This faith is rooted and grounded in Jesus Christ who is "the same yesterday, and today, and forever." Therefore, the sole authority for faith and practice among Baptists is Jesus Christ whose will is revealed in the Holy Scriptures."

    We know nothing about Jesus that we don't find substantiated and revealed in Scripture.

    The problem with the Criterion statement in the BF&M of 1963 is that modern Baptists have a tendency of reading into the Bible what they think Jesus would have said or done about modern issues based on their own experiences or their own feelings.

    For example, Jesus would not have condemned homosexuality, he would have affirmed it because he loved all people.
    </font>[/QUOTE]Hello Hardsheller,

    Yours is a very clear and good assessment of the problem with the 1963 BF&M statement. It was just vague enough to allow for the liberal minded Baptist to wiggle a totally unintended meaning out of the statement of faith.

    Again, I ask those who fall in behind the "Jesus Christ is the criterion for understanding the Scriptures" to please provide a cogent explanation of how the know the Jesus Christ that they wish to use as the criterion for understanding the Scriptures?
     
  6. Mark Osgatharp

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    BibleBoyII,

    Don't hold your breath! I debated extensively with some of this ilk on the Baptist Life forum and never could get a lucid statement of how their "Jesus" speaks to them apart from the Scriptures.

    The "Jesus is the criterion" philosophy of the Liberal Baptists is very similar to the "inner Spirit" philosophy that was espoused by the Quakers. Simply as a matter of historical inquiry, it would interesting to know if, perhaps, the Quaker movement had any direct influence on the modern Liberal Baptists.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  7. Jim1999

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    If the bible is our only evidence of our religion, is Jesus Christ the chief criterion or what we believe about the bible as the word of God?

    We can establish that a Jesus existed in history by profane evidence, but we rely on scriptures to define His divinity. In the early days we separated liberals from conservatives by their view of scripture.

    For example, Barth believed the bible becomes the word as we experience it (briefly stated..we know there is more to Barthianism than that). Hence. some areas can be incomplete or even wrong, but it does not change that the bible contains the very word of God. They will ultimately state that Jesus is the Word.

    This affirms the importance of what we believe about the bible as the very word of God, and from there understand the person of the Christ. Jesus is because He said He was. Where? In the bible.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  8. Mark Osgatharp

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    Jim,

    The Old Testament Scriptures had been established in the minds of God's people by miracles, signs, fulfilled prophecies and promises. Therfore, they could be relied on as a sure guide to identify the Messiah when He came.

    It would have been foolish of anyone to accept Jesus as the Christ merely because He claimed to be. There were many who had made that claim (John 10). The only reason they had to accept His claim as true is because He fulfilled that which was written in the Law, Psalms, and Prophets.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  9. Jim1999

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    Mark, I don't disagree with you on the the Old Testament witness. I was addressing modernity, where our only witness is the bible itself. We can affirm some things historically, but it does come down to what the bible says and whether or not we accept that de facto.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  10. Mark Osgatharp

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    Jim,

    I wasn't disagreeing with you. I was just adding to your thoughts.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  11. rlvaughn

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    I was somewhat surprised that you folks found my post confusing. Maybe you are confused because you can't imagine anyone answering the questions in the negative!
     
  12. Jonathan

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    How would those, who claim that Jesus is the Criterion for biblical interpretation, answer in the negative to these questions?
     
  13. Helen

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    They say it is allegory, Jonathan, and that Jesus was using these allegories to demonstrate or explain about other real things...

    go figure...
     
  14. rlvaughn

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    If the creation account and surrounding stories (i.e. Cain & Abel) are myths (um, I mean allegories), then what lesson would we learn from Jesus implying that Abel was just as real as Zacharias the son of Barachias? (Mt. 23:35). That he really was a person? That we shouldn't undermine the faith of people in their fables? That Jesus didn't know that Abel wasn't really a person? Either way, it would appear that some of the loudest proponents of "Jesus as the criterion" have a little problem.
     
  15. rlvaughn

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    I was hoping that some of those who hold "Jesus as the criterion" from the more moderate viewpoint would give their take on these questions. So far I've been disappointed. Anyone?
     
  16. Joseph_Botwinick

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    Robert,

    Why would you want to hear this point of view and why are you disappointed to not have heard wrong teaching? I think I am confused.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  17. rlvaughn

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    I think you are, too! ;)

    Wrong teaching needs to be brought to the light.
     
  18. Baptist Believer

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    I’m not sure what you are looking for here…

    I believe that the criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted is Jesus Christ (frankly, the criterion by which all of life is to be interpreted is Jesus Christ!), but that does not necessarily require that certain aspects of the biblical story be affirmed as “literally” true.

    The ancient world was well aware of the use of symbols, myth and allegory, and it is quite possible that the hearers of Jesus were not concerned about whether or not the events that Jesus referenced were literal.

    I toured a magnificent collection of artifacts from the tombs of ancient Egypt this afternoon (circa 2000 B.C.) and was struck by the way the ancient mind freely used myth and symbols to express what they believed to be religious truth. People in the Western world’s “modern” era are very concerned about “literalness” due to the influence of modern science, but that trend is changing due to the empty rationalism of the age.

    At the same time, Jesus often spoke in parables and figures of speech that left the crowds confused before they took his words too literally.

    Therefore, I don’t think we can take references to Old Testament stories by Jesus as complete and final evidence of their “literalness.”

    But since you are asking questions, I was answer according to the way I believe:

    Sure. But the most important thing about the flood is not that it might have literally happened, but what it teaches about the severity of sin and the available mercy of God.

    Sure. But if we focus on the issue of Jonah being in the sea creature’s (not necessarily a whale) belly, we’ve missed the point of the story of Jonah.

    Sure. But the point of the story is not whether Cain and Abel were “literal”, but that sin has corrupted humanity and that God is working out judgment, redemption and reconciliation in our world.

    Sure. But we shouldn’t get too worked up if we can’t locate all the cities of the Sodom and Gomorrah region.

    Sure. But I think you get my point about not getting caught up trying to nail down the historicity of it. [​IMG]
     
  19. Jim1999

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    And, of course, the three children in Egypt were not actually in a fiery furnace. They were just near by, round about, where they could warm their hands.

    And, of course, no one will actually be in hell. They will just be near by, round about...........

    We do spin ourselves into a backroom, do we not?

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  20. rlvaughn

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    I would say the issue is not just about the "literalness" or "historicity" of the stories that Jesus referenced. I expect that all but a select few would recognize that the main reason that Old Testament stories are recorded is for the spiritual lessons that they teach, not just for a history lesson - as Paul, "now all these things...are written for our admonition..."

    Nevertheless, there is an issue of dealing with these "stories" in relation to Jesus' use of them. It would seem that there are three possibilities: [1] Jesus was aware that the referenced people and/or incidents were historical, [2] Jesus was NOT aware that the referenced people and/or incidents were not historical, [3] Jesus was aware that the referenced people and/or incidents were not historical. If Jesus were not aware that the referenced people and/or incidents were not historical, we could forgive him for referencing the stories as if they were, but then it would be hard to accept his claims of deity. If Jesus were aware that the referenced people and/or incidents were not historical, and yet referenced them with no disclaimer, it should at least bring in question why any Christian who doesn't accept their historicity doesn't just use them for lessons and not destroy the confidence of the people in them.

    Western/Eastern/Ancient/Modern cultural differences aside (we also use symbol, myth, allegory, etc. for teaching purposes), it is hard to understand why they as well as we would not/should not take this as an historical reference - Matthew 23:35 "That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar." Jesus makes no distinction between the blood of Abel and the blood of one whom they well knew was historical.
     

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