Weak and beggarly elements

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by trustitl, Dec 15, 2007.

  1. trustitl

    trustitl
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    In Galatians 4:8 Paul refers to weak and beggarly elements. In the book of Colossians he speaks of the rudiments of the world. Both of these are talking about things that believers are turning to for spiritual reasons.

    What do you think Paul is getting at in these passages? What did it mean to the people he was writing to and how does it apply to believers today?
     
  2. BobRyan

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    He refers to a "return to paganism" NOT to a "return to scripture".

    In Romans 14 Paul strongly DEFENDS Bible based practices relating to the outdated annual ceremonial sabbaths saying that anyone who observed them should not be judged or condemned in any way.

    In Gal 4:7-11 Paul speaks to GENTILE Christians about their FORMER pagan system of worship --- worshipping those things "which are no gods at all" -- flatly condemning their FORMER practice AND condemning any CURRENT return to that FORMER practice.

    No way to spin Gal 4:7-11 back onto Rom 14 as if Paul is condemning in Gal 4 what he is defending in Romans 14.

    in Christ,

    bob
     
  3. trustitl

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    In Romans 14 Paul is addressing our relationships with each other. The whole context of Romans 12-16 is about relationships with others.

    Rom. 12:5 "So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another."
    12:18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
    13:8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

    Then to start chapter 14 he begins with "Him that is weak in the faith receive" and "another, who is weak, eateth herbs".

    Paul is not advocating such behaviors as being Law or ordinances for the church. Rather he is admitting that when people are saved they can bring a lot weakness of faith to this new salvation. Since we are a body, we are to function with each other out of love. He is telling people to get along with one another and grow in faith together. We are not to break fellowship with others just because they are vegetarians or vice versa. "But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? :)10)

    Rather than focusing on what we disagree on he is telling us to look at what we have in common.
    :19 "Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another." This is telling both sides on the issues here in Rome that they are wrong and need to not push their agenda.

    How are we to "practice" these differences? :22 "have it to thyself before God."

    This is where the Galations were running into problems. Some were not keeping these things to themselves "before God". We know this was happening in Phillipi, Colosse, Ephesus, and Crete. It is probably safe to say that it probably happens wherever the gospel is preached.

    Paul looked very differently at those who were practicing these carnal commandments than he did at those who were preaching it. Those preaching "touch not, taste not handle not" (Col 2) were said to be taking people back into bondage to the rudiments of the world and removing them from Christ.

    To use Romans 14 in a defense of carnal commands exhibits a lack of understanding regarding the kingdom of God.
     
  4. BobRyan

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    Indeed - Paul argues that condemning people for observing the worship practices of scripture - should not be done at all.

    Very different from Gal 4 where the former pagan worship practices of the gentiles in Galatia are identified as the "worship of those things that are not gods at all".

    So while it is ok in Gal 4 to condemn a "return to paganism" it is "NOT" ok in Rom 14 to condemn those who are following scripture OR to call obedience to scripture "weak and beggerly".

    Obviously.

    in Christ,

    Bob
     
  5. BobRyan

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    In Romans 14 there are two practices identified -

    1. Those who eat Bible approved meats vs those who eat Bible approved vegetables only.

    (No command in the Bible to eat vegetables only - but as Paul points out to the church of Corinth in the matter of eathing vegetables only - the issue is over avoiding meat offerred to idols. A strict command from the Acts 15 council).

    2. Those who observe ALL the annual Sabbath feasts of Lev 23 vs those who "observe ONE above the other".

    Paul argues that EACH of these is a case of individual devotion to God and no one should be condemned for practicing any of these options.

    In Gal 4 by contrast Paul flatly condemns the entire "Former" worship practices of the gentiles AND condemns anyone tryin got go back to those practices.

    Paul does not argue in Gal 4 "the worship of that which is not god at all used to be the god-ordained blessed path but now if you go back to it -- God is no longer in favor of that kind of worhip" -- as much as people some times imagine Gal 4:7-11 that way.

    in Christ,

    Bob
     
  6. BobRyan

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    Romans 14
    Principles of Conscience: Meat vs Vegetables-only


    1 Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions.

    2 One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only.
    [/b]
    Clearly the first case is the one who is strong in faith - the SECOND case is the one who is weak.

    (Of course there was NO law among the Jews demanding that they eat only vegetables. This discussion is over eating foods sacrificed to idols 1Cor 8).


    Jamieson Faussett Brown
    http://eword.gospelcom.net/comments/romans/jfb/romans14.htm

    Romans 14

    2. one believeth that he may eat all things--See Ac 10:16.
    another, who is weak, eateth herbs--restricting himself probably to a vegetable diet, for fear of eating what might have been offered to idols, and so would be unclean.



    Rom 14


    3 The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him.

    4 Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

    And so in the "first example"

    #1. The principle is shown to be between the Strong vs the Weak

    #2. The issue if food - (vegetarian vs meat eating) but the reason for the differences is not given explicitly

    #3. The issues is not connected in any way to an Old Testament command at first review.

    #4 The Issue defined
    But on closer inspection we DO find a New Testament issue being argued - that of being vegeterian BECAUSE one does not want to eath meat that has been offerred to idols. All meat is not "unclean" in the OT - but Meat offered to Idols is forbidden by the Acts 15 council and "unclean".

    Paul identifies this more clearly in Romans chapter 14


    14 I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.
    15 For if because of food your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died.


    Still in that case the FIRST example is that of the strong in faith - one who eats the meat (as 1 Cor 8 says - knowing that idols are nothing).

    That would be the "jew" - for the Gentile pagan has been raised to view eating meat offerred to idols as having meaning and that the idols themselves are false gods - but gods none-the-less
     
  7. BobRyan

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    Paganism -- the weak and beggerly things of this world -- not of "God's Word"!!

    Gal 4
    6 Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, "" Abba! Father!''
    7
    Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.

    This is the “conversion” moment – when the lost becomes born again – an adopted child of God. It is a ‘contrast in faith’ between the lost state and the saved stated. It is not a contrast between the saved OT saint and the saved NT saint as many have vainly hoped in recent years.

    Gal 4
    7 therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.

    This ends the section applicable to all mankind “in general” apart from anything specific at Galatia.

    But then Paul starts to focus “specifically” on the condition of the pagans-turned-Christian IN the church of Galatia. Comparing their condition before salvation with their condition afterwards and the errors they were starting to lapse BACK into.

    Lets take a look at Gal 4 again where it specifically focuses on the error of the gentiles in Galatia worshipping pagan idols.

    Gentiles who "did not even KNOW the ONE true creator God".

    Gentiles who worshipped "THINGS" that were "BY NATURE" not gods at all.

    Gentiles who are "turning back AGAIN" to the "Weak and elemental things of the WORLD"

    Gentiles who USED to observe "days and months and seasons and years." in their old system of emperor worship and are now introducing something like it mixed with Christianity.

    Gal 4
    8 However at that time, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those which by nature are no gods[b/].
    9 But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again?

    The reference here for this GENTILE church composed of former pagans who USED to worship those things that “by nature were NO gods at all” and in fact as pagans they did not even KNOW of the TRUE God of scripture – is that they should not return to paganism.

    This mix of scripture and paganism is often confronted by Paul –

    The commandments of men” Col 2:22. Titus 1:14 shows the source of this to be the Jewish “myths” being promoted primarily from “outside” the Christian church. (Which shows the tight link between Christians and Jews in the first century – with both attending the same worship services Acts 15: 21)

    Titus 1
    13 This testimony is true. For this reason reprove them severely so that they may be sound in the faith,
    14 not paying attention to Jewish
    myths and commandments of men[/b] who turn away from the truth.


    The term “elementary principles of the world” is a reference to the base superstition of paganism


    Gal 4
    10 You observe days and months and seasons and years.
    11 I fear for you, that perhaps I have labored over you in vain


    Obviously the problem with these Galatians pre-conversion is not about Gentiles in Galatia being obedient to the Law of God prior to being a Christian!
    Obviously the problem IS about …

    Gal 4
    8 however at that time, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those which by nature are no Gods.



    Clearly Paul addresses the gentile churches in Galatia and mentions that in their lost state - before becoming Christian they were worshipping false gods. The Hebrew nation-church by contrast was established by the one true God of creation who was to send his only son as messiah-Christ-savior was known by the Hebrews and Paul agrees to this in Romans 3:1-3 as well as his reference to Timothy's up-bringing.


    Gal 4
    8 however at that time, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those which by nature are no Gods.
    9 but now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again?[/I]
    10 you observe days and months and seasons and years.



    NOTE: . This pagan practice is also condemned in the OT



     
  8. trustitl

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    Quote Bob Ryan:
    it is "NOT" ok in Rom 14 to condemn those who are following scripture OR to call obedience to scripture "weak and beggerly".

    Don't twist words around to help your argument. Obedience to scripture was never called weak and beggarly and you know it. The "elements" are what are called weak and beggarly. Also, who said anything about condemning the weak vegetarians or people who are scared of enjoying deep fried catfish or jumbo shrimp.

    Going back under law is called foolish, not weak and beggarly. Having been saved by faith the Galatians had been "fooled" into thinking that they needed to live according to the law. Not only was it foolish, Paul says they were putting themselves under a curse.

    Gal. 3:1 O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? 2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? 4 Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. 5 He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
     
  9. trustitl

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    Gal. 4:3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world

    Who was in bondage? WE. Who is writing? Paul.

    Speaking of the time before Christ, Paul refers to the elements of the world causing them to be in bondage. The law dealt with the elements of the world:
    meat, dead bodies, menstrual cycle, food, clothes, days, ...

    These Gentile believers were in danger of going back under the "curse" of serving such things again. They were being told how to deal with the foreskins on their male member. They were being told to keep days. They were probably being told to touch not, taste not, handle not like the Colossians.

    Paul makes it clear what he is addressing:
    21 Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?

    He is pointing out the differences in
    "the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage"

    There is no question that Mount Sinai refers to the Law. He makes it clear that is was a curse ie. bondage. In his allegory Hagar is the Law.

    He gives clear direction as what to do with it:

    "Cast out the bondwoman".
     
  10. BobRyan

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    Outline for Gal 4.

    Vs 1-7 – “The Sin problem that WE have” common to ALL mankind – both pagan gentiles and Jews
    Vs 8-11 – “The return to paganism problem” specific to gentiles in Galatia
    Vs 12- end – “The Judaizer influence over gentile Christians” seen also in Acts 15


    Vs 1-7 “The general sin problem – applicable to ALL mankind”

    So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world[/b

    Christ came to redeem mankind – for mankind (not just Jews) under the curse of sin – the law demands 2nd death

    Gal 4
    4 But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law,
    5 so that He might [b]
    redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons
    .


    Vs 8-11 “the specific problem of gentile Christians in Galatia: returning to paganism”

    Gal 4
    8 However at that time, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those which by nature are no gods[b/].
    9 But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again?

    It is left as a exercise for the reader to note that you are not using any evidence at all from vs 8-11 to point to these former pagan gentiles as having formerly been practicing Jews!
     
  11. BobRyan

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    Bob points out the inconvenient fact that Trustit is trying to drive a view into Gal 4 that is totally opposed to the clear teaching of Romans 14.

    Hint for the reader - compare Romans 14 to Gal 4 and don't bend one to contradict the other.


    Hmm - "now" you appear to be making MY argument.

    A refreshing change sir.


    No shrimp mentioned in Rom 14 -- just the same old vegetarian vs meat issue that we see in 1Cor 8 and 9.

    However in your example you are deliberately selecting that which is condemned in scripture. Specifically in Lev 11.

    In other words you explicitly condemn obedience to scripture declaring this to be an example of "going back under law" and you claim this is what Paul needs to be condemning in Gal 4:8-11. Your suggestion is in error.

    Kinda like "SO LIVE and act as those who ARE to be judged by the Law of Liberty"???

    Is that what you found in Gal 4:8-11??

    If so -- please quote it. Making stuff up at this point is not helping your argument.

    Hearing with Faith - as we see in Heb 11 for the OT saints is what Paul is contrasting to "pefection by the flesh".

    details! Details!

    How they seem to deflate your suggestions.

    in Christ,

    Bob
     
    #11 BobRyan, Dec 17, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 17, 2007
  12. BobRyan

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    Rom 14 point already made --

    Gal 4:8-11 point - made on page 1

     
  13. BobRyan

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    From page 1

    --------------------------

    Outline for Gal 4.

    Vs 1-7 – “The Sin problem that WE have” common to ALL mankind – both pagan gentiles and Jews
    Vs 8-11 – “The return to paganism problem” specific to gentiles in Galatia
    Vs 12- end – “The Judaizer influence over gentile Christians” seen also in Acts 15


    Vs 1-7 “The general sin problem – applicable to ALL mankind”

    Vs 8-11 “the specific problem of gentile Christians in Galatia: returning to paganism”

     
  14. BobRyan

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    In an effort to gather more interest in this topic - I am starting a thread about the comparison of Rom 14 to Gal 4 using a title that the casual reader will be able to recognize as identifying the subject.

    I will select a very easy example like "observing Passover) and use Romans 14: 5-6

    We will then contrast that with Gal 4

    And ask a few pointed questions for those who would interpret both passages as applying to OT scripture practices such as observing Passover.

    Should be fun!

    in Christ,

    Bob
     
  15. trustitl

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    In Galations 4 Paul is telling the Church in Galatia, both Jews and Gentiles, to not return to weak and beggarly elements. It is that simple. You injected this phrase"return to scripture" because you insist on utilizing these elements in your religious life: diet and days in particular.

    Saying that it is OK to preach and practice these elements because they are "in scripture" is a weak and beggarly argument because the book of Galations condemns a "scriptural" practice: circumcision.

    Until you are willing and able to let go of the Old Covenant you will continue to be in bondage to it.

    You twisted my words around like a blacksmith to make it look like I said obeying scripture is weak and beggarly. You will not admit that you do not obey all of the law, rather you do some slicing and dicing (as you have said I did in the past) to get yourself out having to obey it all.
     
  16. BobRyan

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    If you want to insert obedience to scripture into the Gal 4:8-11 topic of "a return to paganism" then go ahead - but as I point out on the Gal 4 -- Rom 14 thread this is a mistake that can not be supported from scripture.


    Once again - you attack what Paul defends in Romans 14.

    In fact Paul attacks the argument against it.

    1. You admit that scripture teaches the various regulations regarding food and ceremonial days -- then want to attack anyone who obeys scripture in that regard using the "return to paganism" argument that Paul makes in Gal 4.

    2. You then change your story when confronted with this contradiction in your view as compared to Rom 14??

    How in the world can you blame your dilemma on me??

    in Christ,

    Bob
     
  17. BobRyan

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    I have given you an incredibly easy example in the case of Passover --

    You need to rise to the challenge --


    If not on this thread - then try the Gal 4 vs Rom 14 thread.

    so far your approach here has been to choose to condemn biblically based practices such as Passover using Gal 4 calling even the former practice of them "the worship of things which were not of god at all" and condemning the continued practice of them " as a return" to the paganism practiced by the gentiles in Galatia prior to becoming Christians -- only to have Paul DEFEND the practice in Rom 14 as we see above.

    in Christ,

    Bob
     
    #17 BobRyan, Dec 21, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 21, 2007
  18. trustitl

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    I have not condemned anything or anybody. The key word is WEAK

    Romans 14:1 "Now accept the one who is weak"

    Gal. 4: 9 But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again?

    and to show that he is talking about "scripture" - Gal. 4:21 Tell me, you who want to be under law, do you not listen to the law?

    Gal. 3:1 O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? 2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

    Your argument that Paul is concerned with them going back to their pagan practices is weak. The whole book is about a return to the LAW.
     
  19. BobRyan

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    1. It is left as a simple exercise for the reader to observe that this language in Gal 4:8-11 IS condemning the very practice identified!

    2. The reader will also observe that not only is the practice condemned BUT the authority/deity in whose "service" the practice is dedicated/devoted -- is said to be "by nature -- no god at all" (hint: Paganism)

    3. The reader will also notice that this is "a return" to be "enslaved all over again" as in the state when the pagans "did not know God"

    Gal 4
    8
    However at that time, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those which by nature are no gods[b/].
    9 But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again?
     
    #19 BobRyan, Dec 22, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 22, 2007
  20. Gerhard Ebersoehn

    Gerhard Ebersoehn
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    Romans 14 and Galatians 4 have nothing in common! The thread is about Galatians 4 only; it cannot concern Romans 14 at all. BobRyan is right! The opposing idea is fallacious.

    See Book 4 Part 4 'Galatians'' The Lord's Day in the Covenant of Grace', http://www.biblestudents.co.za

    Please note well that I chose this web-title while being a South African totally ignorant of the unfortunate co-incidence some American sect would use the same title for its heresies?
     

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