The fight against dogmatism

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by stilllearning, Sep 10, 2009.

  1. stilllearning

    stilllearning
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    It is clear(at least to me), that today’s Church is being taught to hate dogmatism.
    Anyone who is dogmatic about anything, is call a nut, in one way or another.

    A few years ago, I received a brochure from a Bible college(I don’t remember which one), encouraging me to send young people there university. Included in this brochure, was a letter from one of there “respected professors”, explaining to me why I should send my young people to his college.

    The message that I got from this letter, is that he would be using “higher criticism”, in his attempt to abolish any and all dogmatism, from the minds of his students.
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    The one area that I am strictly dogmatic about, is God’s Word;
    i.e. (The Bible that I hold in my hand, is 100% without error.)

    Now, it is not hard to see how higher criticism, could be used to accomplish this task.
    In fact, higher criticism(if left unchallenged), can destroy the faith of a young Christian.
     
  2. Johnv

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    It's somewhat ambiguous to say "I am strictly dogmatic about God’s Word". I'd venture to say most people would concur with that phrase to describe themselves. Simply bring "dogmatic" about God's word does not solve the church's woes, nor does it resolve debate and dissention amongst Christians. A Calvinist can be dogmatic about God’s Word, and an Arminian can be dogmatic about God's Word. Yet they will have diverse opinions about scriptural interpretation and application.

    Higher Criticism is the critical study of biblical texts to ascertain their literary origins and history and the meaning and intention of the authors. This requires the reader to take into account the context of a biblical passage. This is extremely important, because, without that context, the intent of the author, and then desired meaning of the passage, is lost. This results in misapplication, and, often times, perversion of scripture. Common past misapplications include bans on divorce, women wearing pants, mandated headcoverings, a flat earth, a geocentric universe, and the list goes on and on.
     
  3. Revmitchell

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    This is exactly right because it tends to be a science which often intentionally ignores the supernatural. It often creates authors out of thin air ( JEPD Theory) and promotes excessive allegory.
     
  4. stilllearning

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    Hello Johnv

    Your definition of Higher Criticism, sounds rather harmless.

    Here is a definition that I found online, that seems to be the consensus view......
    Higher criticism:
    "The study of the sources and literary methods employed by the biblical authors."

    You may or may not agree with this definition, but I have big problems with it.
    Saying that the Bible has “sources”, slaps God in the face; (He is the Author!)

    Higher criticism, is clearly a product of “prideful man”, thinking that they are smarter than God.
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    As for your statement.......
    “A Calvinist can be dogmatic about God’s Word, and an Arminian can be dogmatic about God's Word. Yet they will have diverse opinions about scriptural interpretation and application.”

    The fact is, anybody can “say”, that they are dogmatic about God’s Word, but the proof is in the pudding!
     
  5. Johnv

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    That's the definition, and that's what's demanded in order to have a proper understanding of scripture.
    You're grossly mistaken. To say "God is the author" ignores all context, and has the potential to result in misapplication. God authored via inspiration, not dictation. The author of scripture was men like Paul, John, Luke, etc. To understand what they wrote, one must understand why they wrote, to whom they were writing, and why they were writing to the audience they were addressing.

    In regards to "sources", you're likewise mistaken. Scripture has not always existed as we know it. A source text of the NIV is the Septuagint, a source of the KJV is the Textus Receptus, and so on. Having an understanding of these sources is crucial to scriptural understanding.
    On the contrary. Applying scripture with ignorance to their context is the product of a prideful man, presuming he knows what God meant. Employing higher criticism, however, is an acknowlegement that men are not smarter, but must instead study the context to understand the message. This is consistent with the admonition that we should study to show ourselves approved.
     
  6. Lux et veritas

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    For the record ...

    I am absolutely, unequivocally, and irrevocably against all forms of dogmatism!

    :laugh::laugh:
     
  7. stilllearning

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    Hello again Johnv

    Nice to hear from you again.

    This looks like it is going to turn out to be a very interesting conversation.
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    You said, about “your” definition of higher Criticism..........
    And that defined was.........
    Well if you believe, that those who God used to write His Word, inserted there own ideas, than you are right; “higher Criticism is demanded in order to have a proper understanding of scripture.”

    But praise the Lord, this is not the case.
    This would lower the Bible, down to the same level as commentaries.

    These individuals were chosen by God, because they were going to honor God’s Word the point, were they would write down the words God’s gave them, regardless of there own understanding..........
    1 Peter 1:10-12
    V.10 Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace [that should come] unto you:
    V.11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.
    V.12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

    --------------------------------------------------
    Next I said........
    And first you responded with........
    I agree, that when you said “sources”, that you were not talking about authorship.
    But my response was intended to point out that “authorship” is all that matters.

    So the question boils down to, “what did God inspire?” (The Words or the ideas?)
    Well Jesus made this clear for us........
    Matthew 4:4
    “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

    Here and many other places, the Bible makes it clear, that God inspired “Words”, not simply ideas.

    As we study the Bible, we quickly see the “writing styles” of Paul, John, Luke, etc., but all that means, is that God was able to give them, “His” selected words and phrases, out of there own vocabularies.
    Remember, this is God that we are talking about.
    --------------------------------------------------
    Next you said........
    These are two interesting questions;
    1) “Why they wrote?" & “Why they were writing?” There is no way that we can grasp, what it was like to be “moved by the Holy Spirit”, as they were, but they must have been led to write the things they wrote.

    2) “To whom they were writing?” This is one of the cardinal rules of interpretation; “Who is the passage talking to or about”, and I fully agree that this is important.
    (But we don’t need higher Criticism for this!)
    --------------------------------------------------
    Then you finished up this point with........
    This is a mouthful, and I kind of agree with it.
    The reason that I agree, is because, as I searched and studied, I found out some things. And from what I have learned about the “source” of the MV’s, is what leads me to reject them as inferior.

    Faith is a funny thing; You can have faith in the wrong things.
    I have found that most of today’s professing Christians, put faith in scholars and there scholarly works. But I chose to put faith in God, and His promise to preserve His Word.

    Every modern version of the Bible(post 1900), is influenced by the works of Westcott & Hort. And what I have learned about “their concocted manuscript”, causes me to conclude that today’s Church is lifting scholarship above God’s Word.

    In reality, there are not multiple sources of “God’s Word”. This would be telling God that He was unable to preserve His Word for us. This whole idea of “multiple sources”, is a ploy, to confuse God’s people, and boy is it working.
    --------------------------------------------------
    Finally you responded to my statement.......
    Then you said......
    I truly appreciate your cordial response here. I truly am “still learning”.

    In this paragraph, you seem to be talking about “Context”, and I agree, that “we must study the context to understand the message”.
    But neither of our definitions of higher Criticism, talk about studying the “context”.



    Sorry for the long-winded response.
     
  8. stilllearning

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    Hello Lux et veritas

    You said.......
    I am not surprised at this statement.

    As I was writing the OP, I took a quick look at an online definition of "dogmatism", and here is what I found.....

    dogmatism
    1. A statement of a point of view as if it were an established fact.
    2. The use of a system of ideas based upon insufficiently examined premises.

    This doesn’t sound very good does it.
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    But Biblical dogmatism, is very important. Because God’s truths transcend man’s truth.

    What I mean is, this first definition.......
    “A statement of a point of view as if it were an established fact.”

    Well to say, “The Bible is God’s Word and is incapable of error:”
    This is an established fact; A fact that every Christian should be building there lives upon.

    The world’s idea of dogmatism, just does not fit in, with a Biblical dogmatism!
    --------------------------------------------------

    Oh, by the way, I saw the smilies at the bottom of your response, and figured that you were only joking, but I wanted to make a point.



    See you later.
     
  9. Lux et veritas

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    I know. I just wanted to make a point as well. I hear people get so adamant in their discussions against being dogmatic ... and they're always very dogmatic about their view being right!

    Your thread is interesting and I'm enjoying the comments thus far.
     
  10. Johnv

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    No, not that they inserted their own ideas, that they wrote with a specific context in mind. That's not a matter of belief, that's a matter of fact.
    What you're doing, though, is misapplying authorship. You're saying that, since God is the author of scripture, it is not necessary to consider a passage's context. That's wrong.
    ??? When did this turn into a version debate? Or is this a veiled attempt to assert one version over another under the guise of asserting dogmatism? Version-onlyism is not supported by scripture.
    Indeed. Applying scripture without applying hermeneutics is a good example of having faith in the wrong thing.
    There aren't? So the Dead Sea Scrolls, Septaguint, and Textus Receptus don't exist? Interesting, because I have a copy of those in front of me right now.
    On the contrary, higher criticism demands hermeneutics (which is, in part, an application of context), where dogmatism typically ignores hermeneutics. Having an understanding of scripture as God intended requires a hermeneutical application.
     
  11. Carico

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    Jesus warns us that we will be hated by the world. And the church today is becoming increasingly secularized because most of them are not Christians. I read a survey of mainline churches in the paper not too long ago and a whopping 83% of people who call themselves Christians do not believe that Jesus is the only way to God. And it is they who are hiring false teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

    So only the true "elect' will be left and as Jesus says, we will be few. So we will be called "nuts" by more and more people until the end.
     
  12. Johnv

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    And, you're able to discern the salvific state of people, how? And, what, exactly, does that have to do with the OP topic?
     
  13. HankD

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    So that means you have a combined Hebrew-Greek Bible, I've seen those.

    Yes you should be dogmatic about that just as were the translators of the most popular English Bible in the History of Christianity:

    HankD
     
  14. ReformedBaptist

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    How nice of a university to come out and tell you they will try to destroy biblical Christianity if you send your child here. It's like the devil saying, "Hey, im the devil and I want to convert you."

    Very convienient. lol
     
  15. Johnv

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    ??? There's no way whatsoever anyone can glean that out of the earlier post. None.
     
  16. ReformedBaptist

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    Don't be so dogmatic. lol

    Seriously, rather than just say, no way, uh-uh, not possible. lol How about ask me why I got that impression from this statement. Unless you don't care..lol

    Either way..
     
  17. Johnv

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    I'm understandably curious, because the statement in and of itself does not in any reasonable way support the conclusion to which you came.
     
  18. ReformedBaptist

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    So says your hypothesis. I believe it does. It may warrant contacting the university and seeing what they mean by dogmatism. Dogmatics is a theological field of study.

    Yet, what I read by the profession saying such things is that he is against absolutes. Those who believe and hold to absolute truth will be dogmatic.

    Jesus is the only way to God. All other ways/paths are false. That is a dogmatic statement.

    How I take the statement is that the professor is basically a theological liberal and has abandoned biblcial truth and most likely the Bible as the Word of God, the only Word of God, and without error. If he sees it as his job to undermine and destroy trust in absolutes/Word of God, then this professor is an enemy of Christ and the Gospel.

    This is the impression that the statement gives me. If it were my child wanting to go that school...I would be having a conversation with that professor.
     
  19. Johnv

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    There's nothing in the statement that suggests that. It takes a fair amount of imagination to get your conclusion to fit the statement.

    Out of curiosity, what is your opposition to hermeneutics and source text study?
     
  20. ReformedBaptist

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    Actually, it would be nice if you explained why you think "there is nothing in the statement that suggests that" Restating your assertion really doesn't lend to a discussion.

    Then we can move on to other questions.
     

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