Tag Archives: T C Robinson

Inerrancy and Violence: John 7:53-8:11, The Golden Rule & Paul

That Golden Rule

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Over at T.C. Robinson’s New Leaven on the conversation on the Trinity, I argued that PRAXIS comes prior to official church teaching, epistemologically speaking. Today, I set forth a few practical examples from a couple of professed inerrantists. In my post on INERRANCY AS WHITE EVANGELICAL FOLKLORE, I argued that evangelicals that affirm the standard definition of inerrancy set themselves up in a myriad of quandries (that poor young fellow at the Bible study on Colossians is a case in point). That not only that inerrancy in the sense that we have some magical undiscovered manuscripts is both leaving the debate in the abstract, and that abstraction leads to having discussions that are unnecessarily divisive, revealing the real politik behind doctrinaire Chicago-style infalliblists.

First, I present exhibit A, a pastor in the Calvinist tradition who has decided what is and what is not an original manuscript. The debated passage of John 7:53 through 8:11 are contested by scholars of all stripes, do they belong or do they not belong in the canon? Does it matter that Jesus saves a woman from stoning, and should we include this story in our story, even if it is a late addition? I think that it of no little coincidence for this preacher on one hand, decide to exclude John 7:53-8:11, claim to be an inerrantist and respect the church fathers like Athanasius, but at the same time, advise that a wife accept domestic abuse in another instance. These stances are all connected. If one considers it natural for a MAN to practice violence as part of the order of things, then it stands that in that persons’ interpretation of Scripture, a passage such as John 7:53-8:11 needs to be excluded from the canon. At this point, can this preacher really claim to be objective and an inerrantist, trusting God’s word? To suffice to say, no. If this person really did believe in inerrancy, then accepting the final form of the canon would be part of this, yes, as canonical theists say? Indeed, it is the presuppositions, and post-suppositions (thanks Mitchell) from his interpretation of certain texts that the pastor sees as inerrant, rather than scripture itself.

In a more recent example, there are inerrantists who deride higher criticism constantly on one hand, particularly historical criticism (in favor of “lower” or theological interpretation) but when it comes to arriving at conclusions in which they agree (in order to support a vision of the violent male as inherent), they are all for it. For example, yesterday, James McGrath referred to an article that suggested the historical Jesus did not really give the golden rule. Like the preacher mentioned above, the inerrantists have already determined what exactly counts as “an original manuscript,” golden rule and women who commit adultery excluded.

The question becomes, who exactly determines what is authentic? And also, what does it matter, in the end? What matters is that the inerrantists have their infallible hermeneutic, as well as their views of masculinity affirmed by God HIMself. I find it no coincidence that the same writers who would write off “the Golden Rule,” condemn early Christians as “sinners” for allowing women and children to become martyrs, while dismissing cases for nonviolent Christianity time and again on appeals to emotion. It is a political, subjective reading of the Bible. Praise MMA Jesus!

McGrath is right to find John P. Meier’s views as lacking, from both an unconvincing view of history, as well as theological. Matthew 7:12/Luke 6:31 (NRSV):

“In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.” as well as “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” are not inconsistent with Jesus’ teachings. In fact, the writer of James did not consider these words to be the nice liberal sounding “golden rule” but “You do well if you really fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’.” It was the ROYAL LAW, in the fulfilling of Scripture. This is how Jesus fulfills the law. The apostle Paul recognizes how the law is fulfilled (perfected, made complete), that the law was summed up with these words, “For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ “(Galatians 5:14) Again, the apostle Paul remains consistent, in his letter to the Romans, (13:10, NRSV): “Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.” So, contrary to the subjective opinions of inerrantists, there is an objective morality, and it is called “The Royal Law.” It is royal since it came down first from YHWH, king of Israel and Judah, and shared to us Gentiles in the life, death, resurrection, and reign of Christ. As Joel said via phone conversation, the King of Israel in Deuteronomy had to know the law and follow the law; what would make Christ Jesus any different?

So, I ask you, who does more violence to the text and to the tradition? Inerrantists in their subjectivity [read: violent male dominant], or non-inerrantists who trust God’s word, and the saints who came before them?

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Against Trinitarian Dogma/For Trinitarian Ethics?

cuadro que representa a la Trinidad (santuario...

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Recently, T.C. Robinson commented on Roger Olson’s assessment of the Trinity as a non-essential. That is, Olson believes that Christians do not have to affirm the doctrine of the Trinity as traditionally understood. Joel “Olsteen” Watts calls the Trinity IDLE SPECULATION. Brian LePort is wrestling with just how different is the Muslim and Christian God, given Miroslav Volf’s views of the TRINITY. Each blogger has given me quite a lot to think about, and I have been working out my position for a while. How do I, a confessing (high) Trinitarian, still remain open to fellowship with non-trinitarian or Low-Trinitarian thinkers?

When I first was looking for alternatives to Piper Calvinism in late 2006, the first book I read was The Trinitarian Ethics of Jonathan Edwards. This work pointed me in the right direction (I believe) in that I started to say Trinity, Triune, God of community every chance I could. I have no regrets about this. I recall after a recitation of bible verse during chapel, instead of simply saying “this is the word of God for the people of God,” I said, “This is the Word of the Triune God for the people of the Triune God.” Yeah, people gave me quizzical looks but I didn’t care, and still don’t. So, I am all for Trinitarian theology, Father/Mother Son/Child Holy spirit/Bond of Love, three equal persons sharing one nature, living in community, I affirm perichoresis (all three living mutually in one anothers, etc., etc.).

However, what I did not understand from the book aforementioned is how could Jonathan Edwards be so “Trinitarian” and affirm human enslavement? Then, after that book, I read Jurgen Moltmann‘s The Trinity and the Kingdom, and he completely turned my theology upside down and then right side up. The equality within the Triune Godhead, the freedom that Christ exercised, as well as the indwelling of the Holy spirit in us to transform us into holiness cannot be separated from human responses. Both Jonathan Edwards and his contemporary secular thinker, Thomas Jefferson both affirmed human bondage as a way of life (sin as a affront against the Creator); Edwards was orthodox and trinitarian, Jefferson out right rejects the Trinity as well as the divinity of Jesus. So the question is, what does is matter in our lives, if we do or do not accept ousia or homoouisios terminology for God’s relationship within Godself and with humanity? What about the Christians who do not have or do not want to embrace a worldview that depends on Greek terminology that is NOT found in Scripture? I think this is a valid question. How can a Christian keep talking abstractly about homousios or hypostasis when there are women kidnapped around the world by men who use them for the sex slave trade?

An O or OO or OU is incapable of saving us. What matters more than Trinitarian doctrine and tradition is Trinitarian Ethics. What does Trinitarian Ethics look like? I would say it looks similar to Wesleyan views of Holiness or the Eastern Church’s proposal for theosis, where humanity is able to participate in the divine nature, to be holy as YHWH is holy. Key word is BEING. No, this does not mean that Christians are literally “perfect” or morally inerrant, but by sharing in God’s mission and becoming, believers witness to Christ’s victory in the world, a victory accomplished through suffering love. For example, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. rejected traditional dogma, among others, the Trinity. I would say, however that he practiced a Trinitarian Ethics, of non-violence, embodying the way of the cross. The crucifixion of Christ was a prominent symbol in King, Jr.’s theology. Having a Cross-Eyed vision is what Trinitarian Ethics, the partaking in God’s life is all about: affirming God’s lordship of service for the sake of human beings being liberated to serve and commune together. Any Christian who supports barriers to this fellowship and freedom cannot appropriately call themselves Christian, let alone Trinitarian.


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Sunday Funnies: The Walmartization of Theo-Blogs

The New Sunday Amens. 🙂

Sunday Amens had a long run here on PJ; but because God is laughing on high apparently according to the Psalmist, I thought it would be a good idea to take the Sabbath to do some humor.

Dan Thompson inspired me to change the title of this post. While we no longer can find the heart of Wal-Mart like those South Park kids, I thought it would be fun to do a re-make of some classic 1990’s commercials.

From the makers of Hatorade, we have a campaign for N T Wright, rather than “Like Mike,” how about “Sometimes I dream that he is me, I dream preach, I dream reach, Like Wright, if I could be like Wright, if I could be like Wright. I dream I preach, I dream I reach, Like Wright, I could be like Wright.”

I nominate Chad, T. C. Robinson, and Brian LePort to star in this commercial, and of course the Bishop himself.

Or perhaps the best commercial, might be a spin off the Diet Pepsi commericals, starring Ray Charles.

Can’t you see it?;

“You Got the (W)right one baby! New Perspective, uh huh, uh huh, uh huh. You got the (W)right one baby!”