What Is Sound Doctrine concerning the Doctrinal Importance of Narratives in Scripture?

In a recent thread, the following comments were made:  

Yes, it's God doing this, but we need to keep in mind that Deuteronomy 34:6 is not law, but rather narrative, and trying to derive doctrine from narrative is extremely dangerous business. 

Again, narrative passages tell us what happened, but not always the why.  That's why it's extremely dangerous to try to derive doctrine from narrative passages. 

The passages used by Rajesh to justify his position are narrative, description and not prescription, and hence it's (again) extremely dangerous business to try and draw doctrine from these narratives.

This is one view concerning what is sound doctrine concerning the doctrinal importance of narratives in Scripture. When someone makes an assertion that something is so, they are responsible for proving that what they assert is so.

The maker of these comments, however, has provided no support for his position beyond mere assertion. Mere assertion is not proof.

What is sound doctrine concerning the doctrinal importance of narratives in Scripture? Who decides what is the correct view and what is not?

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Bert Perry's picture

What it tells us is that thousands of years before Abraham arrived in Israel, a man's body was burned "in a ritualistic way", which suggests it was not a cremation in the modern sense, but rather a rather macabre burnt offering, possibly started while the victim was still alive in the hideous tradition of the worship of Molech.

What you're doing, Rajesh, is grabbing onto any piece of evidence which can possibly be construed to support your position, but you're not doing the necessary analysis to figure out what it actually means.  Congratulations; you're proving my point that for whatever reason, you're not capable of doing decent Biblical analysis.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

RajeshG's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

What it tells us is that thousands of years before Abraham arrived in Israel, a man's body was burned "in a ritualistic way", which suggests it was not a cremation in the modern sense, but rather a rather macabre burnt offering, possibly started while the victim was still alive in the hideous tradition of the worship of Molech.

What you're doing, Rajesh, is grabbing onto any piece of evidence which can possibly be construed to support your position, but you're not doing the necessary analysis to figure out what it actually means.  Congratulations; you're proving my point that for whatever reason, you're not capable of doing decent Biblical analysis.

What it tell us is that people in biblical times did have enough fuel to cremate people in the very geographical location for which you have very erroneously claimed that cremation was not practiced and even unknown because of a supposed shortage of wood.

It also shows that people did cremate people back then in that location in a way at least somewhat similar to how millions of people have been and are still being cremated today in some parts of the world using fire without the pulverizing of the bones to reduce the body to powder.

I have now decisively refuted those claims of yours about ancient Israel with actual historical evidence. It's time that you acknowledge the falsity of those claims of yours.

I have now refuted your notions (concerning Israel in biblical times) biblically in many ways and historically with this actual documented evidence.

RajeshG's picture

To profit fully from Scripture, we must remember that the chapter divisions and verse divisions in Scripture are not inspired by God. Hebrews 11:1-12:1 is an important example of this truth.

If we fail to connect Heb. 12:1 to all that is in Heb. 11, we will miss vital truth that God has given us for our profit. In particular, note how 12:1 connects with 11:32-40 (and all that precedes it in Heb. 11) through the word "wherefore" at the beginning of 12:1:

Hebrews 11:32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: 33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. 35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: 36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: 37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; 38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. 39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: 40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect. 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

Here, the inspired writer of the book of Hebrews issues two prescriptive mutual exhortations that instruct us that we must profit in our own lives from what God has given us in all of Heb. 11.

To the extent that we do not profit from the vital connection between Heb. 12:1 and Heb. 11:1-40, we will not be fully the holy brethren that we should be.

It is a great mistake to take the position that only what is explicitly stated in the NT (or even in the rest of Scripture) is what matters for us. Rather, this passage vitally teaches us that we must profit from the numerous narrative passages in the OT that God has given us in Scripture, especially all the passages about the prophets who spoke and lived faithfully for God (Heb. 11:32).

The writer of Hebrews explicitly tells us that he had much more to say than what he did explicitly talk about in Heb. 11:

Hebrews 11:32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets.

We must not allow unsound doctrine about the doctrinal importance of narratives to deprive us of the full profit that the Spirit wants us to receive from them!

JD Miller's picture

Rajesh wrote:

It is a great mistake to take the position that only what is explicitly stated in the NT (or even in the rest of Scripture) is what matters for us. 

I am not aware of anyone having claimed in this or the other thread what was just suggested in the above statement.  There is a big difference between asking for clarification on how a narrative should be used prescriptively while questioning a particular application of a narrative, and saying the narrative does not matter.  

RajeshG's picture

In this thread, I have provided numerous biblical examples of the formulation of prescriptive statements from descriptive passages. I hold and have argued that formulating such prescriptive statements from certain kinds of narratives is both legitimate and necessary for us to do.

A second key aspect of sound doctrine concerning the doctrinal importance of narratives is the importance of correlating what narrative passages reveal about certain subjects. In my previous post, I treated Hebrews 11, which cites numerous narrative passages to provide vital instruction to believers concerning faith that pleases God and other important matters.

Plainly, those passages were not parallel passages of the same events or even about the same people. Nonetheless, the writer of Hebrews brought out vital truths for us by correlating those numerous narrative passages for what they reveal about certain key matters.

Scripture provides us with another excellent example of such correlating of narrative passages that are not parallel passages about the same events or even about the same people:

2 Pet. 2:4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;

5 And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;

6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; 7 And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: 8 (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)

Peter here refers to three different events involving three completely different sets of living beings (either angels or people) to support the vital doctrinal instruction that he provides us with both before (2:1-4) and after these verses (2:9ff.).

9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:

What we see Peter doing here is what we must do in deriving our proper theological understanding and practice concerning certain subjects for which God has provided abundant revelation to us in multiple narrative passages. We must correlate narrative passages about such subjects even though the passages are about different events and different people.

Doing such subject studies that thoroughly account for what truths God has revealed about such subjects in numerous narrative passages (along with what He has revealed in non-narrative passages about the same subjects) is fully legitimate and necessary. If we fail to account for what God has revealed in narrative passages about these subjects, our doctrinal understanding of them will not be what God wants it to be.

RajeshG's picture

Before presenting more on what is sound doctrine concerning the doctrinal importance of narratives, I want to address the misuse of logical consequence that at least two people on SI have used against me. Here is what Bert Perry said in that regard concerning me earlier in this thread:

If we refuse to discuss the logical consequences of ideas, what we're doing is short-circuiting the ordinary processes of exegesis and hermeneutics--it is a body blow to the First Fundamental and Sola Scriptura.  Logical consequences are part and parcel of the rhetorical process, not some kind of sin that needs to be expunged. 

 

In Romans 5:20b-6:2, Scripture shows how an apostle addressed a potential instance of the misuse of logical consequence:

Rom. 5:20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: 21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

In 5:20, Paul sets forth as true the theological reality that where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.

In 6:1, he then raises the issue (through the use a question) of what should be said (What shall we say then?) in view of what someone would say is a logical consequence of what he said in 5:20: "Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?"

Here Paul raises the issue of someone setting forth a statement as a logical consequence of the truth that grace did much more abound when sin abounded--if grace abounded much more when sin abounded, then we should continue in sin so that grace may abound even more.

In 6:2, Paul decisively condemns affirming that particular logical consequence (of the valid theological truth and reality that he actually did state in 5:20): "God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?"

Paul did not affirm and would never have affirmed that particular logical consequence of his original statement that he declared to be true.

With this teaching, Paul and the Spirit teach us that just because someone affirms something to be true does not establish that they also thereby affirm any particular logical consequence of the statement to be true.

It is dishonest and unethical to say that someone affirms as true a particular logical consequence of an original statement that they have affirmed to be true.

Moreover, Scripture plainly teaches us here that a statement that is a valid theological truth does not necessitate our holding that a particular logical consequence of that statement is also a valid theological truth.

Bert Perry's picture

RajeshG wrote:

 

Bert Perry wrote:

 

What it tells us is that thousands of years before Abraham arrived in Israel, a man's body was burned "in a ritualistic way", which suggests it was not a cremation in the modern sense, but rather a rather macabre burnt offering, possibly started while the victim was still alive in the hideous tradition of the worship of Molech.

What you're doing, Rajesh, is grabbing onto any piece of evidence which can possibly be construed to support your position, but you're not doing the necessary analysis to figure out what it actually means.  Congratulations; you're proving my point that for whatever reason, you're not capable of doing decent Biblical analysis.

 

 

What it tell us is that people in biblical times did have enough fuel to cremate people in the very geographical location for which you have very erroneously claimed that cremation was not practiced and even unknown because of a supposed shortage of wood.

It also shows that people did cremate people back then in that location in a way at least somewhat similar to how millions of people have been and are still being cremated today in some parts of the world using fire without the pulverizing of the bones to reduce the body to powder.

I have now decisively refuted those claims of yours about ancient Israel with actual historical evidence. It's time that you acknowledge the falsity of those claims of yours.

I have now refuted your notions (concerning Israel in biblical times) biblically in many ways and historically with this actual documented evidence.

Rajesh, you're shouting people down, not refuting anything.  You seriously need to learn the difference.

Regarding the case in point, what you have is that someone, theoretically centuries or millenia before Abraham arrived in Canaan, chose to devote a few hundred kG of wood to an immolation.  The site does not indicate that this was an actual crematorium that was used repeatedly, but rather was "ritualistic", and only a few bones from one body burned in that urn remain to tell us what happened.  It's really far more consistent with a pagan sacrifice or rich people showing what they can do than evidence of any consistent practice on their part.

What you're arguing from this is that thousands of years later, there was enough wood available not only for routine sacrifices to God (and yes, pagan "gods" recorded in the Prophets), baking and heating, but also routine cremations that are for some reason not recorded in Scripture, nor is evidence for this found in the archeological record.  To me, it's inexplicable why the gap of thousands of years, entirely different cultures, anecdotal vs. statistical evidence (e.g. we have evidence of only one immolation) and lack of archeological evidence doesn't seem to penetrate your mind. 

What it does demonstrate clearly to me is that in the hands of the careless, trying to use narrative, "what happened", to derive doctrine is extremely dangerous business.  

I'm not going to go through things line by line, as I don't have the time, but your attempt to use the story of Elisha's bones in 2 Kings 13:20 to argue that somehow the Spirit is working through bones/dust is another great example.  There is so much that we don't know about how and why God did this, drawing a conclusion from this is just plain reckless.  If you had wanted to demonstrate the huge hazard of trying to derive doctrine from narrative, you're doing a great job.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

RajeshG's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

Regarding the case in point, what you have is that someone, theoretically centuries or millenia before Abraham arrived in Canaan, chose to devote a few hundred kG of wood to an immolation.  The site does not indicate that this was an actual crematorium that was used repeatedly, but rather was "ritualistic", and only a few bones from one body burned in that urn remain to tell us what happened.  It's really far more consistent with a pagan sacrifice or rich people showing what they can do than evidence of any consistent practice on their part.

What you're arguing from this is that thousands of years later, there was enough wood available not only for routine sacrifices to God (and yes, pagan "gods" recorded in the Prophets), baking and heating, but also routine cremations that are for some reason not recorded in Scripture, nor is evidence for this found in the archeological record.

We should note that the time from Abraham to Ezekiel's time was at least 1200 years (1800 B.C. to 600 B.C.). Yet Bert Perry wants to argue that the same thing was true (a shortage of wood that precluded cremation being prevalent) of the Promised Land in Abraham's time and in Ezekiel's time. More than 1200 years is a huge amount of time. Note also how he tries to argue in this very same way in his comments about the elapsing of a vast amount of time . . .

Moreover, in between those two periods, God's judgments abounded on Israel to devastate the land for its sinfulness.

What's also worth noting is that in Ezekiel's time, God speaks of His judging the Israelites in a way that is very interesting:

Ezekiel 16:41 And they shall burn thine houses with fire, and execute judgments upon thee in the sight of many women: and I will cause thee to cease from playing the harlot, and thou also shalt give no hire any more.

Ezekiel 23:47 And the company shall stone them with stones, and dispatch them with their swords; they shall slay their sons and their daughters, and burn up their houses with fire.

If the houses of the Israelites were going to be burned with fire, that would mean that those houses were made of flammable materials. One wonders what the material(s) might have been given that Bert Perry has claimed that there was such a shortage of wood in Ezekiel's time.

In any case, his assertions are baseless and not supported by Scripture. Had they wanted to do so, the Israelites in ancient Israel had plenty of wood to cremate people.

The reason that they did not do so was not because of a shortage of wood. Rather, God had profoundly and unmistakably taught them that His will for them was to bury His people.

Bert Perry's picture

I responded to Rajesh's latest post this morning.  Wonder who took it down, and on what grounds?

But since I apparently have to repeat, I'll simply point out that Rajesh's comment really doesn't address my point, which is that there are a number of logical steps between "pre-Abrahamic example of immolation" and "evidence for routine cremation in the time of Israel".   

Regarding houses being burned with fire, houses can burn due to their contents, as millions of Ukrainians made homeless as their mostly masonry homes were shelled by the Russians can attest. Plus, anyone who follows Biblical archeology, or for that matter reads how the Law tells Israelites to deal with mold and mildew (remove the stones affected), knows very well that the primary material for Israelite homes was rock/masonry.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Larry's picture

Moderator

Posts that have personal attacks are removed when we see them.

RajeshG's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

I'll simply point out that Rajesh's comment really doesn't address my point, which is that there are a number of logical steps between "pre-Abrahamic example of immolation" and "evidence for routine cremation in the time of Israel".   

I have never said that there was or is "evidence for routine cremation in the time of Israel."

I have repeatedly addressed your false notion that the reason that cremation was not routine in Israel and that burial is uniformly seen in Scripture is because there was a shortage of wood that was needed for cremation to be done routinely.

As I have pointed out several times in the past, there is not a single authoritative source that you have produced who has argued that was the case.

You have merely made assertions that are not backed by any factual evidence that proves that the reason that we do not see in Scripture cremation performed in Israel was because they did not have enough wood to cremate those people.

Bert Perry's picture

RajeshG wrote:

 

Bert Perry wrote:

 

I'll simply point out that Rajesh's comment really doesn't address my point, which is that there are a number of logical steps between "pre-Abrahamic example of immolation" and "evidence for routine cremation in the time of Israel".   

 

 

I have never said that there was or is "evidence for routine cremation in the time of Israel."

I have repeatedly addressed your false notion that the reason that cremation was not routine in Israel and that burial is uniformly seen in Scripture is because there was a shortage of wood that was needed for cremation to be done routinely.

As I have pointed out several times in the past, there is not a single authoritative source that you have produced who has argued that was the case.

You have merely made assertions that are not backed by any factual evidence that proves that the reason that we do not see in Scripture cremation performed in Israel was because they did not have enough wood to cremate those people.

Rajesh, yes, you have been arguing for a while that there was sufficient fuel for routine cremation, and that the presence of a single archeological site verifies your hermeneutic.  Let's not split hairs here.

Regarding the impracticality of cremation in the ancient Orient due to a lack of fuel, here is my initial comment to that effect.  Notice that not only (contrary to your repeated falsehood) do I provide evidence for my position, I also did not say that it was "the" reason they didn't cremate, only that it would factor into their calculations.   If a resource isn't abundant, you prioritize its use--in this case, first for sacrifices, second for putting a roof on your house, and third for cooking your food and heating that house.  

Come on, we've been over this a bunch of times.  The presence of some forests in Israel does not negate this--it's not like the Hebrews could take their pickup truck to the forest and drive it back to Beer-Sheba full of wood.  They were bound by the resources they could find within a few miles of their homes, by and large.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

RajeshG's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

 

Bert Perry wrote:

 

I'll simply point out that Rajesh's comment really doesn't address my point, which is that there are a number of logical steps between "pre-Abrahamic example of immolation" and "evidence for routine cremation in the time of Israel".   

 

 

I have never said that there was or is "evidence for routine cremation in the time of Israel."

I have repeatedly addressed your false notion that the reason that cremation was not routine in Israel and that burial is uniformly seen in Scripture is because there was a shortage of wood that was needed for cremation to be done routinely.

As I have pointed out several times in the past, there is not a single authoritative source that you have produced who has argued that was the case.

You have merely made assertions that are not backed by any factual evidence that proves that the reason that we do not see in Scripture cremation performed in Israel was because they did not have enough wood to cremate those people.

 

 

Rajesh, yes, you have been arguing for a while that there was sufficient fuel for routine cremation, and that the presence of a single archeological site verifies your hermeneutic.  Let's not split hairs here.

Yeah, right, I am not splitting hairs.

I have said that they had sufficient fuel to do cremation, if they had wanted to do so. I never said that they actually did so. There is a huge difference between those two statements.

They did not do so because God taught them conclusively that it was His will that they bury His own.

Larry's picture

Moderator

As I said, we are starting to remove them when we see them. Obviously if we don't see them, we don't remove them. We gave a lot of room early on giving both the opportunity to police yourselves. However the nonsense between Bert and Rajesh has gone on way too long. Both of you are making some very weak arguments and poor argumentation in pursuit of a position that has no value whatsoever to the overall issue. So knock it off. Move on.

RajeshG's picture

Larry wrote:

As I said, we are starting to remove them when we see them. Obviously if we don't see them, we don't remove them. We gave a lot of room early on giving both the opportunity to police yourselves. However the nonsense between Bert and Rajesh has gone on way too long. Both of you are making some very weak arguments and poor argumentation in pursuit of a position that has no value whatsoever to the overall issue. So knock it off. Move on.

I have moved on. I have continued to address the subject of this thread--the doctrinal importance of narratives. I also have begun to address another related issue (the misuse of logical consequence) that pertains to my subject. I also have another dimension of the doctrinal importance of narratives that I intend to address shortly.

He brought up the wood issue, etc. again so I have responded to what he has said.

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

Larry wrote:

As I said, we are starting to remove them when we see them. Obviously if we don't see them, we don't remove them.

To flesh this out a bit, I have at times just excised portions of posts if I thought the rest was salvageable.  Other times, I have just removed them wholesale.  And as Larry said, sometimes we miss things that need moderating.  This time I wasn't involved at all.  We have several moderators, and each operates more or less as he sees fit, with sometimes some discussion amongst ourselves.  This means that at times, it may seem that some posters get different treatment.  That's not really our intent, but it can happen, and given all the moderators here do this as a labor of love rather than as a day job, this will likely happen in the future.

Moderators have their own thoughts on what is being argued, and guess what?  We don't always agree on the topic.  Big surprise.  That doesn't mean any of us are "cheering" for one of the participants over the other.  We are at least attempting to moderate based on the site standards.  The calls of umpires are not always agreed with by one side or the other, but that's life.  The other option is to not play the game.

Dave Barnhart

RajeshG's picture

In Romans 6:14-15, Scripture shows how Paul addressed another potential instance of the misuse of logical consequence:

 

Rom. 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

 

In 6:14, Paul sets forth as true the theological realities that (1) sin will not have dominion over us because (2) we are not under the law, but under grace.

In 6:15a, he then raises the issue (through the use a question) of what we are to understand as a result ("What then?") of those theological truths and realities.

In 6:15b, Paul raises the issue of a particular logical consequence of what he said in 6:14b: "Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace?"

Here, using a question, Paul raises the issue of whether we should sin because someone would argue that doing so is a logical consequence of the truth that we are not under law but grace.

In 6:15c (and through his further teaching in the following verses), Paul decisively condemns acting in keeping with that particular logical consequence (of the valid theological truths and realities that he actually did state in 6:14): "God forbid."

Paul did not teach and would never have taught that we should act in keeping with that particular logical consequence of his original statement that he declared to be true.

 

With this teaching, Paul and the Spirit teach us again (as they did in 5:20-6:2) that just because someone affirms that something is true does not establish that he also thereby affirms any particular logical consequence of the statement to be true.

Moreover, Scripture plainly teaches us here that a statement that is a valid theological truth does not necessitate our holding that a particular logical consequence of that statement is also a valid theological truth.

Bert Perry's picture

.....is non sequitur, literally "it does not follow".  In the case of Romans 6:14-15, the exegetical principle of context would lead us to take a look at Romans 6:16, which tells us exactly why it does not follow that because we are under grace, and not law, that we ought to sin.  He tells us that we are slaves to whom we serve.

So there is no "misuse of logical consequence", just the simple question of whether premises hold, and whether the conclusion follows from the premises.  Really, it's nothing more than a rehashing of "assailment by entailment", where you also tried to argue that if a person explicitly denies a conclusion that follows from their logic, that it was wrong (even lying) to point out the logical consequences of other premises held by a person.

The danger of this is that that's simply not how logic and thinking works.  There are certain inescapable conclusions when the premises hold, and the conclusion follows from the premises.  And if one disassociates the study of Scripture from the rules of logic, you basically undermine the entirety of the authority of Scripture.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

RajeshG's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

In the case of Romans 6:14-15, the exegetical principle of context would lead us to take a look at Romans 6:16, which tells us exactly why it does not follow that because we are under grace, and not law, that we ought to sin.  He tells us that we are slaves to whom we serve.

Just as you say that the context of Romans 6:14-15  (in Romans 6:16) shows in this case why it does not follow, so in the instances that you have misused logical consequence to misrepresent me, I have either had biblical truth or had some other factual basis to show why your false statements about my views either do not follow or are not true on some other basis.

Bert Perry's picture

The passage that you used for your premises to argue that logical consequences does not follow is Romans 6:14-16, and when taken in context, what we find is that your initial premise was wrong, and hence your conclusion is wrong.  There is no such thing as "misuse of logical consequences", as any competent logician would tell you.  (nor is there any fallacy of "assailment by entailment", which is basically the same thing)  Logical consequences proceed whether we like it or not.

And this is key, because if we have arbiters of what is, or is not, permissible inference, what we have, when we're talking about Scripture, is in effect a new Magisterium or Pope.  This is a direct contradiction to Sola Scriptura and the First Fundamental.  This is a big deal, Rajesh, and this is why we really, really, really don't want to try to redefine logic to suit our needs.  The consequences are too brutal.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

RajeshG's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

The passage that you used for your premises to argue that logical consequences does not follow is Romans 6:14-16, and when taken in context, what we find is that your initial premise was wrong, and hence your conclusion is wrong.

I did not write what Rom. 6:14-15 say. Under inspiration of the Spirit, the apostle Paul wrote those words inerrantly and infallibly.

1. In 6:14, as support for what he commanded believers to do in 6:12-13, Paul (not I) declared a valid theological truth and reality: sin will not have dominion over us, because we are not under the law, but under grace.

2. In 6:15a, he (not I) raised the issue of what should be concluded as a result of what he declared to be true in 6:14b.

3. In 6:15b, he (not I) raised the issue of the conclusion that we should sin because we are not under the law but under grace.

4. In 6:15c, he (not I) categorically rejected that someone should conclude that we should do so.

The additional information in 6:16 and following is his inspired argumentation for why we should not do so, but his argument in those verses was not that they had arrived at a faulty conclusion because they had argued from faulty premises in the truth that was given in 6:14b. Although logically, based on what is taught in 6:14b, someone could argue that what is stated in 6:15b is what should be done, Paul denounced anyone arguing that is what should be done. 

Paul and the Spirit show us here that people can go from valid and true theological statements to theological conclusions that are false and must be rejected.

You need to submit your fallible human understanding and logic to divine revelation.

RajeshG's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

As I've demonstrated in other threads, if we allow guilt by association arguments, we can basically discredit anything, because Romans 3:23.  Everybody's guilty, thereby nothing is clean, so we might as well just stop breathing, I guess.

These are seriously faulty statements.

The bottom line is that God in His perfect wisdom and universal authority has prohibited our associating with certain evil peoples and their practices.

We are not wiser than God. We do not have the authority to set aside divine prohibitions and divine instruction by using faulty human reasoning and wrong notions about the implications of passages like Romans 3:23 to dismiss divine revelation against walking in the counsel of the ungodly, being conformed to the world, having fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, and so much more.

Bert Perry's picture

Rajesh, let's work through the syllogism Biblically:

1.  Every thing associated with sin is to be avoided.

2.  After the fall, everything (except for God) is associated with sin.  See Romans 3:23

3.  Ergo, guilt by association condemns everything.

The person with faulty thinking here is the guy (you) arguing that the rules of logic do not apply because they are somehow "worldly".  God's Word needs to be interpreted according to the common rules of language, which are the common rules of logic.  God gave us language, after all, and if the doctrine of the perspicuity of Scripture means anything, it means that we have to have common ground for interpreting it.  Again, that's dictionaries, linguistics, and logic.

You have a pattern of trying to look superficially very pious by claiming that you somehow have a better way of interpreting things, but what you're actually doing is to insert yourself between the Scripture and the reader.  We Protestants have been trying to stop doing that since 1517.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

RajeshG's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

Rajesh, let's work through the syllogism Biblically:

1.  Every thing associated with sin is to be avoided.

2.  After the fall, everything (except for God) is associated with sin.  See Romans 3:23

3.  Ergo, guilt by association condemns everything.

The person with faulty thinking here is the guy (you) arguing that the rules of logic do not apply because they are somehow "worldly".  God's Word needs to be interpreted according to the common rules of language, which are the common rules of logic.  God gave us language, after all, and if the doctrine of the perspicuity of Scripture means anything, it means that we have to have common ground for interpreting it.  Again, that's dictionaries, linguistics, and logic.

Your syllogism is faulty; your theology is even more faulty. Using the word "associated" as you do in your syllogism is loose, squishy language that you have to use in order to try to get it to work. But it does not work.

No, the claims that you make in the following two sentences are not true: "After the fall, everything (except for God) is associated with sin.  See Romans 3:23."

You are misusing Romans 3:23. Romans 3:23 only speaks about and applies to human beings--it does not show that anything else that was directly created by God is sinful. Of course, you will object that you did not say that it was sinful but that it was "associated with sin."

Such use of loose phraseology is essential in your trying to get where you want to go. Saying in an unspecified manner that everything other than God is "associated with sin," however, is a useless claim that does not support your positions.

For example, long after the Fall, Scripture says that the animals that God created are still good:

1 Tim. 4:4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:

If you want to say that all the animals in an unspecified manner are "associated with sin," you will have to prove biblically how that assertion is legitimate and supportive of your positions. As it stands, merely saying that is useless.

 

On a different note, you have a pattern of making many patronizing, condescending comments about how badly I handle Scripture. I take such statements with the utmost seriousness and will continue to intensely combat all such statements.

After I was saved, I have devoted my entire life to intensive and careful study of the Bible and to handling it properly. I am not going to allow you to routinely take cheap shots at me.

It would be good if you would stop making such remarks, but the choice is yours.

RajeshG's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

A side note is that it's also historically incorrect, as African voodoo was a religion not of the Yoruba, but the neighboring G'be

Information from several sources shows that this statement about African voodoo not being a religion of the Yoruba is not true.

That said, there are recognizable threads that unite the varying traditions of Voodoo. The African elements of the religious practice are derived mainly from the Dahomey region of West Africa (modern Benin) and from the Yoruba, Fon, and Ewe peoples of West Africa and the Kongo people from Central Africa. Many elements of African spirituality continue to exist in modern Voodoo, in the practices of transcendental drumming and dancing, worship of the ancestral dead, and worship of the spirits called lwa. [bold added to the original]

Far less known are the connections between the Yoruba [original has accent marks on this word that are not reproduced here] faith and the African-based religions of Haiti (Vodou) and New Orleans (Voodoo/Voudou).

Vodou, also spelled VoodooVoudouVodun, or French Vaudou, a traditional Afro-Haitian religion. Vodou represents a syncretism of the West African Vodun religion and Roman Catholicism by the descendants of the Dahomean, Kongo, *Yoruba,* and other ethnic groups who had been enslaved and transported to colonial Saint-Domingue (as Haiti was known then) and partly Christianized by Roman Catholic missionaries in the 16th and 17th centuries. The word Vodou means “spirit” or “deity” in the Fon language of the African kingdom of Dahomey (now Benin). [From the article on Vodou in Encyclopedia Brittanica online; asterisks added to the original on "Yoruba"]

Vodou developed among Afro-Haitian communities amid the Atlantic slave trade of the 16th to 19th centuries. Its structure arose from the blending of the traditional religions of those enslaved West and Central Africans, among them *Yoruba,* Fon, and Kongo, who had been brought to the island of Hispaniola. There, it absorbed influences from the culture of the French colonialists who controlled the colony of Saint-Domingue, most notably Roman Catholicism but also Freemasonry. Many Vodouists were involved in the Haitian Revolution of 1791 to 1804 which overthrew the French colonial government, abolished slavery, and transformed Saint-Domingue into the republic of Haiti. The Roman Catholic Church left for several decades following the Revolution, allowing Vodou to become Haiti's dominant religion. In the 20th century, growing emigration spread Vodou abroad. The late 20th century saw growing links between Vodou and related traditions in West Africa and the Americas, such as Cuban Santería and Brazilian Candomblé, while some practitioners influenced by the Négritude movement have sought to remove Roman Catholic influences. [From Wikipedia; asterisks added to the the word Yoruba in the original]

 

*****Of course, my citing these statements does not mean that I endorse any of these sources in general or any specific statements that they make about any other subject. By citing these statements from these sources, I also am not endorsing anything else that they may or do say about voodoo. The only point that I am using these sources to establish is that multiple published sources say that Voodoo did develop from the religion of the Yoruba (as well as the religons of other peoples).*****

RajeshG's picture

dcbii wrote:

Quote:
I'll stop there, but suffice it to say that one could write a book length refutation of the links Rajesh endorses.

I won't disagree with that . . .

Dave,

I did not engage with these comments earlier because I did not want my thread to be potentially seriously derailed by addressing Bert's statements back then.

I hope that you will do due diligence and consider carefully the matter of the sources that I have cited in my preceding comment that call into serious question the veracity of Bert's claim that African voodoo is not from the religion of the Yoruba.

Perhaps, you may want to reconsider your expressing that you concur with Bert's claim about the writing of "a book length refutation . . ."

Bert Perry's picture

Now Rajesh, it could be that I'm wrongly picking on you, but the reality is that every thread of yours that gets beyond about six comments has a common pattern; it's about half a dozen to a dozen people objecting to your exegesis and hermeneutic.  So either you're Luther before the Diet of Worms, or you need to deal with the fact that dozens of Bible believing people have trouble with various portions of your exegetical methods.  All of us have cared enough about you to point out the weaknesses in your evidence and logic.

I'm a little more pointed than others, pointing to your logical flaws, and really, the reason it comes across as condescending is because the errors you're making are really pretty basic, and the logical results of your errors are so drastic.  

Case in point is the most recent set of references.  You pointedly disavow them, which makes me wonder why you cited them in the first place, and they still don't say what Brennan said, which is that it was from the Yoruba specifically.  There's nothing contradictory in what you cited vs. what I originally pointed out.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

RajeshG wrote:

Dave,

I did not engage with these comments earlier because I did not want my thread to be potentially seriously derailed by addressing Bert's statements back then.

I hope that you will do due diligence and consider carefully the matter of the sources that I have cited in my preceding comment that call into serious question the veracity of Bert's claim that African voodoo is not from the religion of the Yoruba.

Perhaps, you may want to reconsider your expressing that you concur with Bert's claim about the writing of "a book length refutation . . ."

Rajesh, my quick quotation and response were inexact.  I apologize for that.  Reading the material at those links back then gave me no confidence that the material in them was trustworthy (even if any of it was accurate).  I meant to agree with the idea that the links did not appear to be good evidence/support.  I haven't gone back to them, but I haven't changed my mind on that.  That was all I was saying there.  I haven't researched which peoples use Voodoo, etc., so I can't comment on that specific point.

Dave Barnhart

RajeshG's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

I'm a little more pointed than others, pointing to your logical flaws, and really, the reason it comes across as condescending is because the errors you're making are really pretty basic, and the logical results of your errors are so drastic.  

Case in point is the most recent set of references.  You pointedly disavow them, which makes me wonder why you cited them in the first place, and they still don't say what Brennan said, which is that it was from the Yoruba specifically.  There's nothing contradictory in what you cited vs. what I originally pointed out.  

You are the one who desperately needs help in handling the Bible correctly.

You are the one who has done all of the following:

--misused Rom. 3:23 to argue that everything other than God is "associated with sin"

--falsely made multiple claims about my views and positions based on your faulty reasoning with what I have actually said

--wrongly asserted that deriving doctrine from narratives is extremely dangerous

--repeatedly misused GBA to attack me by claiming that I got my views and positions from people whose views have some similarities to mine but were not the basis for my positions

It's way past time that you put an end to your putting forth false information about me and my views.

As for my pointed disavowal of those sources, I did that so that you would not be able to engage in more nonsense tactics of finding something outrageous in one of those sources and then saying repeatedly that I endorsed it because I cited one specific piece of information from the source.

Moreover, based on the information from the sources that I presented, you are the one who has set forth historically false information by saying that voodoo is not from the religion of the Yoruba. Your one source that you put forth does not show that all the sources that I have presented are wrong. At best, what that means is there are conflicting views about what is and is not true about that matter.

RajeshG's picture

dcbii wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

Dave,

I did not engage with these comments earlier because I did not want my thread to be potentially seriously derailed by addressing Bert's statements back then.

I hope that you will do due diligence and consider carefully the matter of the sources that I have cited in my preceding comment that call into serious question the veracity of Bert's claim that African voodoo is not from the religion of the Yoruba.

Perhaps, you may want to reconsider your expressing that you concur with Bert's claim about the writing of "a book length refutation . . ."

 

 

Rajesh, my quick quotation and response were inexact.  I apologize for that.  Reading the material at those links back then gave me no confidence that the material in them was trustworthy (even if any of it was accurate).  I meant to agree with the idea that the links did not appear to be good evidence/support.  I haven't gone back to them, but I haven't changed my mind on that.  That was all I was saying there.  I haven't researched which peoples use Voodoo, etc., so I can't comment on that specific point.

Thanks, Dave. It's too bad that you have not gone back and more thoroughly assessed the information for yourself.

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