What's the distinction between a good book and scripture?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Skandelon, Mar 18, 2010.

  1. Skandelon

    Skandelon
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    If indeed God decrees whatsoever comes to pass (as the Westminster Confession of Faith states) then what is the difference in your favorite Christian book and the bible?

    Weren't both brought about by God's sovereign decree?

    Don't you believe both are truth?

    Don't you believe God was "in control" over the author while writing the words?

    Besides the "title" what is the distinction between the two books?
     
  2. Winman

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    Well, I personally only trust the KJV. The other versions are very different.

    For me it is a question of faith. I believe that the scriptures are the exact words of Jesus. Jesus is the Word of God.

    Rev 19:13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.

    Jesus said his words would not pass away.

    Matt 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

    As Jesus is perfect and without corruption, I cannot imagine his words being corrupted. I believe his true word exists and can be identified. I did some extensive study years ago and believe the KJV to be the correct version. If someone wants to argue that another version is the correct version, I guess that could be debated. But that his exact words exist and can be identified cannot be debated.

    So, why are there many versions? Well, from the beginning Satan has either added to or subtracted from God's word. When he tempted Eve he added one word to scripture, when he tempted Jesus he left out a portion of a verse. He doesn't want people to know the truth, and he wants people to be confused about which version is truth. After all, how can you truly have faith in a Bible you believe to be corrupt? I don't know about others, but I would constantly be questioning whether the verse I was reading were the actual words of God, or simply a verse some man had inserted into the text. It would be very difficult to find assurance if that were the case.

    And that is the very idea. Satan wants us all to doubt, because we are saved by faith. He understands this perfectly.
     
  3. Skandelon

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    WHOA! With all due respect, I don't want this to become a thread about KJV only or a debate about versions. Please take that discussion to that forum.

    This thread is about the distinction between scripture and a good book that you think teaches truth. Please.

    Thank you.
     
  4. Winman

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    Oh, I know where that forum exists, but rarely go there. I was trying to answer your question as I understood it, maybe I misunderstood. I thought you were asking if all the various versions were decreed.

    As far as good Christian books, I think they can be helpful, but they can be harmful as well.

    Do I think these Christian books were decreed by God? Well, God never tempts man to sin, so a book full of false doctrine could not be decreed, on the other hand it is obvious God allows sin.

    I read an analogy once, that God's determinate will is like a passenger ship. The passengers onboard are all doing their own thing (free will), but the ship is carrying them to the predetermined destination.

    I don't believe everything is decreed. The scriptures show man doing things that God said he never commanded or came into his heart or mind.

    Jer 19:5 They have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spake it, neither came it into my mind:

    This is a terrible analogy, and I will probably regret saying it, but I kinda see it like a game of chess. We are allowed to make whatever move we wish, however God can forsee what we will do and even make a move to influence the move we will willingly make. But in the end God is going to say Checkmate!
     
    #4 Winman, Mar 18, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 18, 2010
  5. Skandelon

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    My purpose in this question is to try to find Calvinist's distinction in what God decrees "plainly" (as in the latest John Piper book) and what he decrees "sacredly" (as in scripture). If God decrees all things in the manner they seem to argue then what is the uniqueness of HIS work and every other work? Are they all HIS works? Are some truths more true than others?
     
  6. Benjamin

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    I find John Piper’s theological gymnastics to force fit a system so very aggravating! A couple years ago I laid into criticizing his philosophical techniques, which I consider atrocious, on another board and was threatened to be band for “dishonoring a brother” ...this idolized brother! …so I just left the board. I consider his writings held in way to high of regard, and his philosophical debating practices unethical. Now, I typically just avoid even discussing him, so this is an exception.
     
    #6 Benjamin, Mar 18, 2010
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  7. The Archangel

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    Talk about a new low in attacking Calvinism! This is a red-herring, strawman, etc.

    As you well know, the Bible is said to be "God-breathed" whereas other books are never given that unique status.

    You know, over the past weeks your outright hatred of Calvinism has really come to the fore.

    The Westminster Confession, in it's entirety on this point, says:

    I. God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established. (emphasis mine; source)
    There is a great and grand difference to a Calvinist between "Decree" and "Ordain." Everything is "ordained" in some sense; not everything is decreed. The calling of Abraham, for example, would be--I think--an example of a decree. Whereas the sin of the Samaritan woman (at the well) would be ordained.

    So, what you are asking is neither an honest question nor a valid question.

    The Archangel
     
  8. Skandelon

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    Attack?!? I asked a question. I made no accusation, false assumptions, misrepresentations or arguments. I simply asked how you made a distinction between the two. I never claimed you didn't distinguish the two, in fact I assumed that you did. I just asked HOW considering what you believe about God's control over all things.

    Maybe it's your outright hatred of me that is causing such a violent response to an honest question?

    .
    I understand that, but I'm asking you to define that. Explain how one book that you believe to teach truth is different from the scripture. What does it mean to say it is "God-breathed" if indeed both are just as equally brought about by God's sovereign decree and both are true?

    You accuse me of not being "honest" because I (and presumably those reading this post) don't fully understand the distinction between the words "ordain" and "decree" within the complex and often redefined system of Calvinism? I bet we can find dozens of "Calvinists" who define these words differently than you have.

    Plus, in your accusations you have still not really answered the question as to the distinction between the book that you believe teaches truth and the scripture. Presumably you would say that the book is merely ordained, while the scripture is decreed? So, what is the distinction besides the adjective used to describe them?
     
  9. Crabtownboy

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    I do not really have a side, at least not yet, in this discussion, but it does bring up an interesting question.

    In your opinion, what is the value of a well written Christian book ... say like D. Bonehoeffer's "The Cost of Discipleship"? Or Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress"?

    I have known a few Christians who hold there is no value in any book outside the Bible.


    Can you explain to me what is the difference between decree and ordain?
     
    #9 Crabtownboy, Mar 18, 2010
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  10. MNJacob

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    To the OP. Authority. The Bible is the authority by which the book is judged, not the other way around.

    I work in contracts administration and we usually have and "order of precedence" in our various contractual documents. In other words, in the event of a conflct, which document is determinative in interpretation.

    That is the Bible, God breathed. The arbiter and interpreter of all other books.
     
  11. The Archangel

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    Crabtownboy, Skandelon,

    I think The Cost of Discipleship or Pilgrim's Progress and many other books have great value for the Christian. However, the value is not equal to that of scripture. In many cases, these extra-biblical books can shed much good light on the text of scripture and bring very needed application to the lives of the individuals who read them. But, not every book is as valuable as Pilgrim's Progress. I think Joel Osteen's books, for example, are the books of a heretic and should not be taken seriously. There are many other examples of good, God-centered books that take the scriptures and apply them to the life of the reader.

    As far as the difference between "decree" and "ordain," allow me to describe them this way:

    A decree is something God stands behind. Something that is ordained, on the other hand, God stands to the side. To put it another way, God decrees (stands behind as the cause) the world to come into being, Abraham to be chosen, David's dynasty to rule forever, etc. God ordains (stands to the side so as to allow things to happen) sin, destruction, war, etc.

    This is why reformed theologians say that "God fore-ordains the free actions of man to accomplish His purposes." God does not decree man's sinful actions, but He does stand aside and allow man's sin to run its course (He ordains the actions).

    Election (including the proper understanding of foreknowledge as choosing) is a decree of God. A decree is something where God acts by Sovereign intervention to bring about His desired result where, left to ordinance, such a thing would not naturally happen (think of creation ex-nihilo as opposed to theistic evolution).

    Hope that clarifies things!

    The Archangel
     
  12. Crabtownboy

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    I agree. I believe that great Christians minds of the past and present can, in the writings, give us insights that we would not gain otherwise.


    Thanks for the reply. I'll chew on this for a while.
     
  13. Skandelon

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    Why? Because the scripture is decreed while the others are merely ordained, right?

    So, wouldn't it be fair to say that all good things come from God? Didn't God bring the story of Pilgrim's Progress to Bunyan, or do you think he came up with it himself? See, I'm trying to get to the distinction between what Paul wrote in the NT and what Bunyan wrote. Assuming both are true and good then aren't both OF GOD? How can one be more "of God" than something else, or more "true" than something else?


    So, God ordained Joel's books and Bunyan's books equally? Is there a difference in how they came to be?

    But what about good things like Bunyan's writing of PP? Was that ordained in the same way as "sin, destruction and war?" Understand my question?

    What about man's free good actions?

    Thanks
     
  14. Jarthur001

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    Yes


    Holy Spirit moves on believers. Bynyan was moved to write PP.


    Yes I know. What Paul wrote was Revelation. Bunyan wrote theology.


    Theology is based on scripture, which has no error. Theology, (which i include translations in theology) must go back to the source, or it is in error. You asked about WMC. WMC and LBC 1689, and all others are only good and I would add, true, because they are based on Gods revelation of the Word. If at any time, we were to find that WMC is not lined up with scripture, we must change the WMC.

    Now this is huge to say this. The Trinity is also is also theology, and must be held as all theology. This however, does not make the doctrine a error, for indeed it is not. It is truth because it comes from Gods revelation. If however, we were ever to find in Scripture that the Trinity is error, we must deny it, because it is Scripture we must follow. For this to happen after 2000 years...well...I don't see it happening.


    You must be joking.


    God ordains or allows all things.

    Yes...and yes

    All things, means all things.

    :thumbs:
     
  15. Skandelon

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    How is that different from how he inspired scipture? What is the distinction?

    no, I wasn't. I'm still asking for the distinction between how God brings about the writing of a book and scripture. Both, even by your own testimony are "of God" and I'm attempting to find out how you explain the way in which God brings these things about and on what you base the authority of scripture.
     
  16. Jarthur001

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    You may need to read up on canonization in order to understand. Many things are of God or by God, but there is only one writen word.

    [FONT=verdana,arial,helvetica]God's truth begins in his own mind, its communication must begin by his making things known to his creatures in ways understandable to them. This process is called REVELATION.

    [/FONT][FONT=verdana,arial,helvetica]
    We can know God because he has made himself known in ways understandable to us. As our Creator, he made us so that we would be physically able to receive all the means of revelation he intended to use. His revelation comes in two basic types: we call them General and Special.

    [/FONT][FONT=verdana,arial,helvetica]Since the direct means of Special Revelation have ceased, the Bible is the only way we have of knowing what God has revealed about morality and redemption. We must know with confidence that all of the Bible and only the Bible is the authoritative Word of God. [/FONT]
    [FONT=verdana,arial,helvetica]

    Here is a good place to start reading...
    http://www.ntcanon.org/
    [/FONT]
    http://web.archive.org/web/20051016...nClasses/Doctrine/Bibliology/canonicity.shtml


    I hope this helps..

    peace...james
     
  17. Skandelon

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    Awww, patronizing comments are always a great way to begin a rebuttal. It makes the one which which you are dialoguing respect and admire you so much more.

    You keep saying that but then you don't define it. How is one "word" that is true different from another "word" that is true being that both are of God? You have yet to really define that. You only have titled them differently. You have made no effort to draw a clear distinction.

    But you called Bunyan's work "truth" and said that it began with God (in that is was "of God" and brought to Bunyan by his spirit), so what is the distinction?

    I'm familiar with these and I'm wanting to know how you distinguish between the two in a system where all things are sovereignly brought about by his decree/ordination? Especially and specifically in cases where truth is being taught (i.e. Bunyan's works).

    Where does scripture teach us that special revelation of God has ceased? I'm not arguing that point, just looking for the scripture reference.

    Second, what about writings prior to the NT and during the time of the "special revelation" of God? If they taught truth (as Bunyan presumably has) then what is the distinction between those works and scripture? Both are truth and both are brought by God's effectual working, right?
     
  18. RAdam

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    Skandelon's tactics are well known to all. Is it really a surprise that he engages in attacks such as this. I've already learned it is just better to ignore him. This argument is unwinnable, largely because the premise of the argument is without sense and reason.
     
  19. quantumfaith

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    Winman

    I am much like you in that, It is my conviction that God has set all the parameters of creation (nature's physical constants and all conduct of creation). He (God) is the Alpha and Omega and he allows creation "freedom" within the constraints he has ordained. While simultaneously being omniscient about how every single variable and atom will act and interact with one another. He wrote "in the beginning" and he wrote the last chapter. He is watching the plot develop within the framework of His established parameters. At times throughout redemptive history, inserting specific roles for specific individuals to accomplish according to His overall redemptive purposes.
     
  20. Skandelon

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    Tactics?

    Attacks?

    Without sense or reason?

    ARdam, can you substantiate any of these accusation? If anyone is attacking or using some senseless tactic here it is clearly you.

    In this thread I have have simply asked questions with regard to the distinctions of those sovereign acts of God by which he effectually brings about authoritative scripture and all other acts (especially those where 'truth' is produced, such as Bunyan's works). How is that a tactic, attack or without reason?

    I have dozens of Calvinistic friends in "real life" who I discuss all these matters with in a cordial and Christlike manner. We have mutual respect for each other and rarely if ever accuse each other of such things as you have done to me. Instead of attacking me personally and making unfounded accusations why don't you stick with discussing the issues? If you don't want to do that, fine...move on and don't respond. Ignore me, I'm fine with that. But, instead you chose to accuse me of things I have not done and attack me personally. Why? Could it be that you are not objectively and honestly considering my point of view? Could it be that you are not dealing with me fairly and with reason? I think so.
     

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