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    June 19th, 2012 @ 11:51 am by Kevin

    Over at Video! Audio! Disco!, Joshua M. Walters has posted a great little excerpt from The Indispensable Guide to God’s Word by Donald J. Brash that helps you sort through the four main options for how you might understand the inspiration of the Bible (or any religious text for that matter). Well worth the ten-minute read.

    BTW: I think this discussion is fundamental to any discussion about hell, b/c if we can’t agree on what the Bible actually is, experience has shown me the conversation can’t really progress very far from there.

leave a comment on this post (5 Comments)

  1. Thanks for the link. Great article. Also, thought I’d let you know that I really enjoyed the Beyond The Box interview.


    • Glad you enjoyed it, Heath. And thanks so much for your comments here. The free will debate is far from simple. And as even Sam Harris admits, the true motivations for our choices is a wilderness. So I see plenty of room for what you’re talking about in terms of the “light of Christ” inside a person. I don’t think Beck would disagree either. I don’t think anyone is negating the idea of humans having a will. The question is, what is influencing our will, and to what extent? I also think that many discussions about free will tend to be highly individualistic. For example, where does my will end and yours begin? As Rene Girard says, we aren’t so much individuals as we are “interdividuals.” This is the irony: Many Christians who defend hell with a strong view of free will criticize universalists like Beck or Rob Bell of pandering to post-modern culture. Meanwhile, their view of hell is so highly individualistic that I think you can make a much stronger case that the so-called conservatives are merely products of the culture they criticize.

      • Another aspect to the free will debate is the fact that some people have personalities that are more inclined to not be followers. Some people are more inclined to align themselves with Christ’s will for their lives. ect. ect.

        Another aspect is what science is learning about “Morphogenic Fields” or the idea that there is energy connected to people which stores some of their memory (It’s hard to explain). Some scientist think that one persons morphogenic field can influence another person under certain conditions. If true this is then another possible influence on our wills.

        As to so called conservatives, one of the great ironies is that in our day and age the “conservatives” have a system that has bought into a great number of the changes that have been made to Christianity over the last 2,000 years (including the Augustinian understanding of the fall and human nature, the penal substitution atonement theory, and the Dantes Inferno influenced view of “hell”. The “conservatives” are often really the “old liberals” .

  2. i think the bible is a conversation between god and man. it’s man’s account of the conversation as it’s gone on for the last several thousand years. it has in it things god said, things people said in response, questions people asked and answers (or silence) god gave, adventures god went on with man and fights god and man had. on the one hand, it’s man lovingly recording some of the most important parts of his life with god, and on the other hand it’s god’s love letter to future generations, saying, “this is what we can be like. this is a taste of what living with me can be like, this is what it was like for others and what it can be for you.”

    in that narrative a whole lot of themes–including man’s purposes, sin, organized religion, the calling of israel, and the kingdom of god–become important. i think what we ultimately need to realize is that while the bible does present a holistic story, it is not just one thing, it’s many different themes and narratives culminating and interweaving together, with both man’s and god’s voices intertwined.

  3. This is a comment from Phillip @ godslovewins.com:

    “I was recently reading Andrew Jukes on this very subject. He expands this idea of the incarnational nature of the Scriptures to say that it is necessary for the Word to be rejected in its humanness and even “crucified” before it can be raised in our hearts. The whole chapter on the “Nature of Scripture” is just phenomenal: http://tgulcm.tripod.com/cu/jukes2.html#p004

    From “The Restitution of All Things” by Andrew Jukes (1867)
    “On why the Scriptures must first be rejected as human before seeing their divine origin. Like Christ they are both human and divine.”

    “Now just as the fact that Jesus was man, and as such grew by degrees in wisdom and stature here, and lived our life, which is a process of corruption, and had our members of shame, and was made sin for us, by no means disproves that He was also Son of God, but is only a witness of the love which brought Him here in human form; so the fact that Holy Scripture is human proves nothing against its being divine also, exactly as Christ was. I would that those who are now dissecting Scripture, and finding it under their hands to be, what indeed it is, thoroughly and truly human, would but pause and ask themselves, what they could have found in Christ’s flesh, had they tortured it as they now are torturing the letter. Had it been possible for them to have dissected that Body,–I must say it when I see what men are doing now,–would they have found, with the eye of sense at least, anything there which was not purely human? The scourge, the nails, the spear, the bitter cry, and death at last, proved that that wounded form was indeed most truly human. The Bishop of Natal has dissected the letter of Scripture till it is to him as the flesh of Christ would have been to a mere anatomist. It is not to him a living thing to teach him, but a dead thing to be dissected and criticized. ..”

    “The deeper question, why God has thus revealed Himself should not be passed by; for it opens the heart of God. God alone of all teachers has had two methods, law and gospel, flesh and spirit,–one working where we are, the other to bring us in rest where He is,–one to be done away, the other to abide (2 Cor. iii. 11),–which at least looks like inconsistency. The reason is that God is love, and that in no other way could He ever have reached us where we were, or brought us where He is. God therefore was willing to seem inconsistent, and for awhile to come into man’s likeness, to bring man back to His likeness.”

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