What I Read Online – 02/24/2012 (a.m.)

    • evangelical Protestants nevertheless stand on the conviction that Scripture’s clarity is rationally and empirically defendable.
    • Logically speaking, an explanation of one’s ultimate beliefs always involves a degree of circularity. The Protestant relies on Scripture to define his belief in Scripture as the supreme source of authority;
    • This is not to espouse fideism—that faith is independent of reason. The foundation of our beliefs should be regularly scrutinized. Intellectual honesty requires it, as does the deepening of our faith. Nevertheless, the circular pattern of ultimate truth claims is an unavoidable function of the fact that every view stands upon some sort of epistemic ground. In other words, there is no such thing as a view from nowhere.
    • Evidence for perspicuity is based on the premise that God has spoken in order to be understood.
    • describing how they reveal our sin-darkened intelligence
    • Scripture lacks any example of an infallible teaching office; nor does it have a revealed interest in one. Instead, it portrays an eschatological reality in which we now see but a poor reflection as in a mirror, awaiting the day when we will see truth face to face (1 Cor. 13:12). This reality should infuse the activity of biblical interpretation with a conscious balance of grace and truth, or, in Richard Baxter’s words, “unity in necessary things; liberty in doubtful things; and charity in all things.” We contend for the faith (Jude 1:3) while simultaneously preserving the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:3).
    • Undermines the perceived integrity and reliability of the Scriptures;

       

      2. Robs the Church of centuries of theological reflection and meaning, including Trinitarian orthodoxy, Christology, and more;

       

      3. Betrays the radical sacrifices that believers are making in these lands for these truths; and,

       

      4. Tends toward a denial of the uniqueness of the gospel witness itself.

    • Here lies the boundary of a Christian church that knows itself to be bound by the authority of Scripture. Those who urge the church to change the norm of its teaching on this matter must know that they are promoting schism. If a church were to let itself be pushed to the point where it ceased to treat homosexual activity as a departure from the biblical norm, and recognized homosexual unions as a personal partnership of love equivalent to marriage, such a church would stand no longer on biblical ground but against the unequivocal witness of Scripture. A church that took this step would cease to be the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church. (“Should We Support Gay Marriage? No“)
    • Christ died to include Jew and Gentile in one body.
    • And Christ died to bring repentant sinners into the kingdom of God.
    • Should one stay in such “churches” to work against their delusions? Bonhoeffer gave his answer: “If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the opposite direction.”
    • Bocek, 40, now a pastor and church planter in the coastal town of Izmir, Turkey, tells Western mission agencies to be more patient for faith to ripen in Muslims in his country, and not to alter key biblical phrases in translations for the sake of outreach. The phrase “Son of God” is offensive to Muslims because it seems to imply that God was a physical father to Jesus through a sexual union with Mary, so some translators have sought to find alternate terms to describe that relationship. “They get involved in these translations because they see that there is no fruit,” Bocek said. “We have results. But you have to be patient and take it really, really slow.” He and his fellow pastors address the offensive connotations of “Son of God” by explaining what it really means. “For centuries,” he said, “that’s the way it went.”
    • At least a dozen Turkish pastors, as well as some whole churches from the Turkish cities of Adana, Samsun, and Bodrum, have signed a petition condemning a new Turkish translation of Matthew. Harun Ibrahim, the director of Al Hayat TV, a Christian satellite television station that broadcasts to millions in the Middle East, also signed the petition. And the Pakistan Bible Society is ending its two decades of partnership with SIL, a translation partner of Wycliffe Bible Translators, over the issue.
    • Bocek, however, said Turks are unlikely to read the literal version on the left-hand side, where the Turkish words run underneath the Greek, but rather the right-hand page that is just Turkish.
    • The translators emphasize their desire to promote evangelism. Bob Blincoe, the U.S. director of Frontiers, cited in an email lack of growth as one reason for the translation: “The big problem is that church planting among the tens of millions of religious Muslims in Turkey has not been successful; it has not even begun.”
    • a Frontiers missionary consulted with Bocek about the book. Bocek said he objected to the alterations to the familial terms, but that wasn’t the only problem with the translation: He said the Turkish was unnatural and contained grammatical errors. A Turkish translation of the Bible exists already, but the Frontiers translators explained to supporters that they needed another translation to reach conservative Muslims.
    • He and the other Protestant pastors he knows oppose it—not just Reformed pastors like himself, but also those at “extreme charismatic” churches. “They’re not listening,” he said about the missions agencies: “They come with theories and they leave with theories. … We are going to be the ones who are going to be sweeping up all their mistakes.”
    • “This translation is not seeking to emphasize the value of the incarnation,” he wrote. “Should the trend continue, who knows where it will lead the coming generation? If Athanasius of old would have encountered such departure from biblical Christology he would have placed these redactors far below the Arians.” He continued: “Undoubtedly the people who are working hard on this paraphrase have given much of their valuable time, probably meaning well. I wish I had a positive word concerning their efforts, but I regret that this is not the case. In this paraphrase the stakes are high; the pitfalls dismal.”
    • “Many of the pastors don’t even know that this curse is being imposed on us. … Then they will have to face the repercussions.”
    • After 20 years of work together, the Bible society and SIL are parting ways over the issue, which is a blow to SIL because now it must operate without the imprimatur of the premier local publisher. SIL said in a statement that the decision not to work together on one project was mutual, the result of “translation style differences,” not just the debate on divine familial terms.
    • “We the Pakistan Bible Society will not promote experiments with the translation at the cost of hurting the church.”
    • “It has eroded their faith in the authority of the Word of God and in us as foreigners who are supposed to be the ‘teachers’ but can’t seem to agree on some basic truths of who Christ said he was. … Sadly it raises doubts and endless discussion, wasting a lot of time.”
    • Anwar Hussain, the head of the Bangladesh Bible Society, has been at the forefront of efforts in his country the last few years to repel Bible translations from various groups that change divine familial terms.
    • “I want to die for the Bible,” not a misleading translation, Ayub said. “The harm they are doing now for the church will be long-lasting.”
    • “He realized his heart was corrupt.” When the man became a Christian, his parents sought to kill him, and the church had to hide him for two years. “These are the kinds of things that happen,” Bocek said, “when they say there’s no fruit.”
    • Good systematic theology will be anchored in good exegesis. The sum of the whole is only as true as the individual parts. No Christian should be interested in constructing a big theological system that grows out of a shallow and misinformed understanding of the smaller individual passages.
    • In contrast [to this one way street], I want to argue not only that the exegete may address theological issues and suggest what bearing the text may have on theological reflection–I go a daring step further: my systematic theology should actually inform my exegesis. To put it in the most shocking way possible, my theological system should tell me how to exegete. (Interpreting Galatians, 207)
    • “In the first place, we should remind ourselves that systematic theology is, to a large extent, the attempt to reformulate the teaching of Scripture in ways that are meaningful and understandable to us in our present context” (208).
    • “In the second place, our evangelical view of the unity of Scripture demands that we see the whole Bible as the context of any one part” (208).
    • “Third, and finally, my proposal will sound a lot less shocking once we remember that, as a matter of fact, everyone does it anyway” (209).
    • So rather than pretend to be theologically unprejudiced, why not acknowledge our own preconceptions and use them in the exegetical process? If we are honest about our theological systems we will be better equipped to reformulate our grid when it doesn’t work and better equipped to deal openly with the hard spots in the text.
    • Let me give you my first set of top tips:

           

      1.      Buy a dog

         

      2.      Talk to your dog at home

         

      3.      Take your dog for a walk

         

      4.      Whilst on your walk talk to other peoples’ dogs

         

      5.      The owners of the other dogs will talk to your dog

         

      6.      You talk to the owner of the dog through their dog

         

      7.      Make sure you walk in the same park every day, at the same time, in the same place so you get to know the dogs. (Absolutely essential for being missional – get rhythm into your life)

         

      8.      Pray for opportunities for your dog; that it would be a friendly dog and intentionally speak to other dogs about the gospel. Pray for opportunities for you with other dogs.

         

      9.      You are now walking the dog ”missionally”. Never, ever think you’re just walking the dog. You’re doing something much more significant than that. You’re walking the dog ”missionally”. You can apply this to every area of life, no matter how ridiculous.

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About Joe Fleener

Lover of Christ & His Gospel, Husband to Mandy, Father to three wonderful children, Servant to the Local Church, Bible College Lecturer
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One Response to What I Read Online – 02/24/2012 (a.m.)

  1. Pingback: Resources for Acts 4:27 - 28

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