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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RajeshG's picture

In 1 Cor. 10:7, the Apostle Paul cited information from a historical narrative passage to forcefully issue an apostolic command:

1 Corinthians 10:7 Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.

In support of this apostolic command, Paul quoted from the end of a narrative statement in Exodus 32:

Exodus 32:6 And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.

Paul's use of a descriptive statement about the sinfulness of the Israelites on a particular occasion in a prescriptive command to all Christians plainly shows the use of information from a historical narrative to issue a prescriptive statement to all Christians.

Dan Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:
...

1 Corinthians 10:6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.

Numbers 11:4 ...

, we see clearly that descriptive information from a historical narrative passage was used in apostolic prescriptive teaching to all Christians.

I know I am a little late to this thread, but have you guys agreed on definitions for descriptive and prescriptive?

RajeshG's picture

Dan Miller wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:
...

 

1 Corinthians 10:6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.

Numbers 11:4 ...

, we see clearly that descriptive information from a historical narrative passage was used in apostolic prescriptive teaching to all Christians.

 

I know I am a little late to this thread, but have you guys agreed on definitions for descriptive and prescriptive?

Those terms are not biblical terms. I am only using them because those are the terms being used by some others.

What is your understanding of those terms that are not from the Bible?

RajeshG's picture

In 1 Cor. 10:8, the Apostle Paul issued an apostolic mutual exhortation to instruct believers not to be immoral:

1 Corinthians 10:8 Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.

He used information from a historical narrative passage as support for his exhortation:

Numbers 25:1 And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab. . . . 9 And those that died in the plague were twenty and four thousand.

Paul's use of narrative information (about the sinfulness of the Israelites on a particular occasion and God's judgment of them for doing so) in a negative exhortation to all Christians teaches us that he used information from a historical narrative in Scripture to issue authoritative instruction to all Christians.

RajeshG's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

Probably most important, however, is the very set of references you bring to the table that pretty much invariably describe burial as the way the bodies of the dead were handled, combined with the fact that the Torah doesn't prohibit other means of disposing of a corpse.   Any practice that is not required by law, but is done anyway, is cultural.  

Asserting that "any practice that is not required by law, but is done anyway, is cultural" is faulty theological reasoning concerning what OT Israel did, especially because God gave to Israel Moses and many other prophets who had direct supernatural access to God and provided direction to His people in many matters that were not directly covered in the Law (cf. Exod. 18:13-27). These prophets gave God's people infallible direction when they spoke as prophets and had abundant opportunities to direct His people to do God's will in a matter so basic and important as what was acceptable to God to do when someone has died.

God also gave to Israel judges and priests who served in similar capacities to teach His people what they were supposed to do.

The uniformity of Israel's practice attests to their being given definitive direction about how they were to please God in that fundamental aspect of life.

Dan Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

 

Dan Miller wrote:

I know I am a little late to this thread, but have you guys agreed on definitions for descriptive and prescriptive?

Those terms are not biblical terms. I am only using them because those are the terms being used by some others.

What is your understanding of those terms that are not from the Bible?

Rajesh, there's really no basis for you guys to have a discussion about the proper way to read narratives until you agree on precise definitions for things like narrative, description, and prescription. 

Bert Perry's picture

Really, if we're to have any coherent doctrines of the perspicuity of Scripture, Sola Scriptura, and the First Fundamental, we've got to define terms like "narrative", "description", and "prescription" according to the common usage.  That is, after all, the genius of Wycliffe, Tyndale, and Luther; the use of common language allowed the plowman to have greater expertise in theology than many priests and even academics had prior to the renewed availability of the Bible in the vernacular.  

So unless we're going to do a lot of damage to some critical doctrines, we've got to go with Webster's, or perhaps even better, you've got to go with standard methods and definitions by those who engage in literary criticism.  

On another topic, this quote of Rajesh's was interesting:  

Asserting that "any practice that is not required by law, but is done anyway, is cultural" is faulty theological reasoning concerning what OT Israel did, especially because God gave to Israel Moses and many other prophets who had direct supernatural access to God and provided direction to His people in many matters that were not directly covered in the Law (cf. Exod. 18:13-27). These prophets gave God's people infallible direction when they spoke as prophets and had abundant opportunities to direct His people to do God's will in a matter so basic and important as what was acceptable to God to do when someone has died.

What's being said here is that Rajesh is assuming that because Moses was at some times a prophet (among others), that any narrative involving Moses, to include the Torah as a whole, must be assumed to implicitly reflect additional knowledge not in the written Torah.  Put simply, "what Moses did was Godly", which is somewhat hard to defend in light of Exodus 2:11-12 and Numbers 27:14.

It is also incredibly problematic because more or less, it allows Rajesh (or anyone else) to presume knowledge in the text that is simply not there--it is, more or less, the reason that the Torah is about 200 pages, and the Talmuds are 15 volumes.  One is Scripture, the other is not, and we ought to be rightly suspicious of anyone reading into the text the way Rajesh tends to do.  It's a gateway to all kinds of problems in the church, and quite frankly is a huge undermining of Sola Scriptura.

Reality here as well is that we need to resort to Ockham's Razor; given two satisfactory explanations of a phenomenon, the simpler one is generally correct.  In this case, Rajesh's "spectral evidence" and my "cultural patterns" will explain what went on.  However, my explanation is far simpler, and unlike Rajesh's, would also be admissible in court.  Any judge or opposition lawyer worth his salt would say "not in evidence" to Rajesh, and that would be that.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

RajeshG's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

On another topic, this quote of Rajesh's was interesting:  

Asserting that "any practice that is not required by law, but is done anyway, is cultural" is faulty theological reasoning concerning what OT Israel did, especially because God gave to Israel Moses and many other prophets who had direct supernatural access to God and provided direction to His people in many matters that were not directly covered in the Law (cf. Exod. 18:13-27). These prophets gave God's people infallible direction when they spoke as prophets and had abundant opportunities to direct His people to do God's will in a matter so basic and important as what was acceptable to God to do when someone has died.

What's being said here is that Rajesh is assuming that because Moses was at some times a prophet (among others), that any narrative involving Moses, to include the Torah as a whole, must be assumed to implicitly reflect additional knowledge not in the written Torah.  Put simply, "what Moses did was Godly", which is somewhat hard to defend in light of Exodus 2:11-12 and Numbers 27:14.

It is also incredibly problematic because more or less, it allows Rajesh (or anyone else) to presume knowledge in the text that is simply not there--it is, more or less, the reason that the Torah is about 200 pages, and the Talmuds are 15 volumes.  One is Scripture, the other is not, and we ought to be rightly suspicious of anyone reading into the text the way Rajesh tends to do.  It's a gateway to all kinds of problems in the church, and quite frankly is a huge undermining of Sola Scriptura.

Not at all. As far as we know, the only Scripture that the Israelites had when they entered the Promised Land was the Pentateuch, all of which was written by Moses so there is no denial of anything. (We do not know if they had access to the book of Job at that time or not; none of the rest of Scripture had been written at that time.)

Furthermore, it is in the Scripture in the Pentateuch itself that we learn that Moses met regularly with God and went to God to get direction directly from Him on difficult matters (Exod. 18).

It is absurd then to assert that the Israelites had no idea what was pleasing to God about what to do with such a foundational and basic matter as what He wanted to be done with dead bodies when they had in their midst the only prophet that we know of who was only a human and had direct access to God to speak to Him face to face.

What denying this actually does is to beg the question that God had (and has) no will of His own about the matter and did not care one way or the other what they would do with dead bodies; He merely went along with whatever the Israelites wanted to do in their own culture.

JNoël's picture

RajeshG wrote:

#1:  https://sharperiron.org/comment/128191#comment-128191
#2:  https://sharperiron.org/comment/128252#comment-128252
#3:  https://sharperiron.org/comment/128256#comment-128256
#4:  https://sharperiron.org/comment/128266#comment-128266

Can you please post the Descriptive--->Prescriptive analysis that supports your position on whole-body burial?

Ashamed of Jesus! of that Friend On whom for heaven my hopes depend! It must not be! be this my shame, That I no more revere His name. -Joseph Grigg (1720-1768)

RajeshG's picture

JNoël wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

#1:  https://sharperiron.org/comment/128191#comment-128191
#2:  https://sharperiron.org/comment/128252#comment-128252
#3:  https://sharperiron.org/comment/128256#comment-128256
#4:  https://sharperiron.org/comment/128266#comment-128266

 

 

Can you please post the Descriptive--->Prescriptive analysis that supports your position on whole-body burial?

I am working on doing just that, but there is a lot of material to treat to support my position properly. Do you have any comments on the first four examples that I have provided so far?

JNoël's picture

RajeshG wrote:

Do you have any comments on the first four examples that I have provided so far?

No, I do not - because those are all easy. The Holy Spirit used Paul to communicate a clear prescription and used descriptive narrative portions of scripture to support it. There are many prescriptions that do not have supporting descriptive narrative, too - your four examples would stand as prescriptive even without the narrative descriptive support. God can communicate prescriptive requirements any way he wants, but humans should not create prescriptions that are based solely on narrative/descriptive passages. This is why I am waiting patiently for your Descriptive--->Prescriptive support for your whole-body burial position.

Ashamed of Jesus! of that Friend On whom for heaven my hopes depend! It must not be! be this my shame, That I no more revere His name. -Joseph Grigg (1720-1768)

RajeshG's picture

JNoël wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

Do you have any comments on the first four examples that I have provided so far?

 

 

No, I do not - because those are all easy. The Holy Spirit used Paul to communicate a clear prescription and used descriptive narrative portions of scripture to support it. There are many prescriptions that do not have supporting descriptive narrative, too - your four examples would stand as prescriptive even without the narrative descriptive support. God can communicate prescriptive requirements any way he wants, but humans should not create prescriptions that are based solely on narrative/descriptive passages. This is why I am waiting patiently for your Descriptive--->Prescriptive support is for your whole-body burial position.

Just to clarify, the primary purpose of this thread is not to provide my full support for my position on that subject. That is the purpose of the other thread. If you are really interested in the subject, why not interact with my treatment of every passage that I have treated in that thread?

One of the major purposes of this thread is to address faulty attacks on my handling of Scripture based on wrong statements put forth by others about how Scripture should be interpreted.

RajeshG's picture

In 1 Cor. 10:9, Paul instructed believers by issuing an apostolic mutual exhortation not to tempt Christ:

1 Corinthians 10:9 Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.

He based his exhortation on a historical narrative passage:

Exodus 17:2 Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, Why chide ye with me? wherefore do ye tempt the Lord? . . . 7 And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the Lord, saying, Is the Lord among us, or not?

As in 1 Cor. 10:8, Paul's use of narrative information (about the sinfulness of the Israelites on a particular occasion and God's judgment of them for doing so) in a negative exhortation to all Christians in 1 Cor. 10:9 teaches us that he used information from a historical narrative in Scripture to issue authoritative instruction to all Christians.

JNoël's picture

RajeshG wrote:

In 1 Cor. 10:9, Paul instructed believers not to tempt Christ by issuing an apostolic mutual exhortation:

As in 1 Cor. 10:8, Paul's use of narrative information (about the sinfulness of the Israelites on a particular occasion and God's judgment of them for doing so) in a negative exhortation to all Christians in 1 Cor. 10:9 teaches us that he used information from a historical narrative in Scripture to issue authoritative instruction to all Christians.

Again, we have prescriptive language in verse 9 ("neither let us tempt Christ"), with descriptive narrative support. The narrative support helps the audience understand the concept of tempting Christ, but the command itself is clear.

This is another example that is beyond the scope of what you are really seeking to do, which is to prove that you can build a case for a position that lacks any prescriptive scriptural support. But I am still listening, waiting patiently for when you will show us an example of God's command (prescription) for whole-body interment.

Ashamed of Jesus! of that Friend On whom for heaven my hopes depend! It must not be! be this my shame, That I no more revere His name. -Joseph Grigg (1720-1768)

RajeshG's picture

In 1 Cor. 10:10, Paul commanded believers not to murmur:

1 Corinthians 10:10 Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.

He supported his command to all believers by referring to information provided to us in some historical narrative passages:

Num. 14:2 And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness!

Num. 14:36 And the men, which Moses sent to search the land, who returned, and made all the congregation to murmur against him, by bringing up a slander upon the land,

Num. 16:3 And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the Lord?

Num. 16:32 And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods.

Num. 16: 41 But on the morrow all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron, saying, Ye have killed the people of the Lord.

42 And it came to pass, when the congregation was gathered against Moses and against Aaron, that they looked toward the tabernacle of the congregation: and, behold, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the Lord appeared.

43 And Moses and Aaron came before the tabernacle of the congregation.

44 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

45 Get you up from among this congregation, that I may consume them as in a moment. And they fell upon their faces.

46 And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a censer, and put fire therein from off the altar, and put on incense, and go quickly unto the congregation, and make an atonement for them: for there is wrath gone out from the Lord; the plague is begun.

47 And Aaron took as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the congregation; and, behold, the plague was begun among the people: and he put on incense, and made an atonement for the people.

48 And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed.

49 Now they that died in the plague were fourteen thousand and seven hundred, beside them that died about the matter of Korah.

Paul's issuing a prescriptive statement to all believers that has as its basis biblical revelation provided in various descriptive passages shows the use of information from historical narrative passages to issue a prescriptive statement to all Christians.

RajeshG's picture

JNoël wrote:

This is another example that is beyond the scope of what you are really seeking to do, which is to prove that you can build a case for a position that lacks any prescriptive scriptural support. But I am still listening, waiting patiently for when you will show us an example of God's command (prescription) for whole-body interment.

I already have done this in the other thread. Here's my treatment of Deut. 21:22-23 from that thread:
 

Deut. 21:22 And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree: 23 His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.

Before Israel ever came into the Promised Land, God commanded them to bury at least certain people--those who had been hanged for having committed a sin worthy of death. Plainly, this command did not have anything to do with OT Hebrew preference, culture, or tradition--it was an explicit divine mandate given by supernatural revelation.

This was a divine mandate and clearly communicated the mind of God to His specially chosen and unique people and nation. Moreover, this divine command was one key reason that Jesus was buried and was not burned or cremated in any manner (cf. Gal. 3:13, which talks about Christ's being made a curse for us and then uses this very passage [Deut. 21:23] as Scriptural support for that fact).

Arguing from the greater to the lesser, because God did not permit His people to burn to powder the bodies of even heinous sinners who experienced capital punishment by hanging, how much less so would He have approved of their burning to powder the bodies of His righteous saints. This reasoning is fully corroborated by the witness of the entire Bible because Scripture never states explicitly that God's people ever burned anyone's dead body to powder.

Burning a dead body to powder by burning alone or in combination with any other actions has zero Scripture to support it, and God's command in Deut. 21 is one of several biblical passages that (either implicitly [as in Deut. 21] or explicitly [as in other passages]) show that God has never approved of humans doing so.

JNoël's picture

RajeshG wrote:

I already have done this in the other thread. See my treatment there of Deut. 21:23.

Yikes! What is your treatment of Deut. 21:18-21? I mean that in all seriousness! Your prescriptive support for whole-body interment is in the context of a bunch of other things that I certainly hope you do not also take as prescriptive!

Ashamed of Jesus! of that Friend On whom for heaven my hopes depend! It must not be! be this my shame, That I no more revere His name. -Joseph Grigg (1720-1768)

RajeshG's picture

JNoël wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

I already have done this in the other thread. See my treatment there of Deut. 21:23.

 

 

Yikes! What is your treatment of Deut. 21:18-21? I mean that in all seriousness! Your prescriptive support for whole-body interment is in the context of a bunch of other things that I certainly hope you do not also take as prescriptive!

Really? You are denying that Deut. 21:23 was a command in the Law of God?

JNoël's picture

RajeshG wrote:

Really? You are denying that Deut. 21:23 was a command in the Law of God?

Of course not! And do you obey every command in the Law of God that has not been specifically superseded in the New Testament? If you do, then I think we are so far apart in our interpretation of scripture that it would take far more for me to understand your whole-body interment position than "description--->prescription" examples.

Ashamed of Jesus! of that Friend On whom for heaven my hopes depend! It must not be! be this my shame, That I no more revere His name. -Joseph Grigg (1720-1768)

RajeshG's picture

JNoël wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

Really? You are denying that Deut. 21:23 was a command in the Law of God?

 

 

Of course not! And do you obey every command in the Law of God that has not been specifically superseded in the New Testament? If you do, then I think we are so far apart in our interpretation of scripture that it would take far more for me to understand your whole-body interment position than "description--->prescription" examples.

What? Where did I talk about the NT in my treatment of that passage? You apparently misunderstood what I meant by "righteous saints" in that treatment (notice the tenses of the verbs carefully in what I said). The OT refers to God's people as saints (as does the NT with the Church). If God yet commanded the burial of those among His people who were unrighteous to the extent that they were to be hanged publicly, how much more so was it that those who were righteous among His people were to be buried.

JNoël's picture

RajeshG wrote:

What? Where did I talk about the NT in my treatment of that passage? You apparently misunderstood what I meant by "righteous saints" in that treatment (notice the tenses of the verbs carefully in what I said). The OT refers to God's people as saints (as does the NT with the Church). If God commanded the burial of those among His people who were unrighteous to the extent that they were to be hanged publicly, how much more so those who were righteous among His people.

Forgive me, but I am going to have to bow out of this discussion. I'll still look at the things you post that you are using to try to prove your whole-body interment position as being a for-all-time command of God, but I am not very optimistic, as nothing you have said or posted thus far to support that position has done anything but cause me to scratch my head in disbelief even further. Perhaps if I knew you personally and we sat down for a long discussion I could better understand the disconnect you and I have on this topic. Thank you for the interaction - I do appreciate it!

Ashamed of Jesus! of that Friend On whom for heaven my hopes depend! It must not be! be this my shame, That I no more revere His name. -Joseph Grigg (1720-1768)

RajeshG's picture

JNoël wrote:

Forgive me, but I am going to have to bow out of this discussion. I'll still look at the things you post that you are using to try to prove your whole-body interment position as being a for-all-time command of God, but I am not very optimistic, as nothing you have said or posted thus far to support that position has done anything but cause me to scratch my head in disbelief even further. Perhaps if I knew you personally and we sat down for a long discussion I could better understand the disconnect you and I have on this topic. Thank you for the interaction - I do appreciate it!

Ok. Thanks.

RajeshG's picture

All 6 of the biblical examples of descriptive---->prescriptive that I have treated so far had in common divine judgment against human sinfulness, and that judgment was recorded within the narrative passages themselves.

This analysis supports going to other narrative passages that speak explicitly of divine judgment against human sinfulness and issuing prescriptive statements to Christians not to sin in those same ways. Other factors must also be considered in formulating such prescriptive statements from such narrative passages, such as explicit NT teaching that would indicate that making such prescriptive statements to Christians would not be legitimate.

The ultimate justification for formulating such prescriptive statements comes directly from explicit teaching by Scripture about itself that all Scripture is profitable not just for doctrine but also for reproof (convicting us of sinfulness), correction, and instruction in righteousness.

 

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

All 6 of the biblical examples of descriptive---->prescriptive that I have treated so far had in common divine judgment against human sinfulness, and that judgment was recorded within the narrative passages themselves.

This analysis supports going to other narrative passages that speak explicitly of divine judgment against human sinfulness and issuing prescriptive statements to Christians not to sin in those same ways.

First off, the 6 examples you gave were one prescriptive statement from Jesus and five from one chapter of the Bible that Paul wrote. So there really are only two passages that you've used so far. That not much of a sample yet, and they all involve declarations against sin. Declarations against sin are fairly easy to discern from Scripture, especially when someone who is divine or someone who is being inspired by God is making the prescriptive declaration.

It is quite another thing altogether for someone who is not divine, or is not being inspired by God, to look at an action in a narrative and then definitively assert that that action is being commanded by God for all people at all times.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

All 6 of the biblical examples of descriptive---->prescriptive that I have treated so far had in common divine judgment against human sinfulness, and that judgment was recorded within the narrative passages themselves.

This analysis supports going to other narrative passages that speak explicitly of divine judgment against human sinfulness and issuing prescriptive statements to Christians not to sin in those same ways.

 

First off, the 6 examples you gave were one prescriptive statement from Jesus and five from one chapter of the Bible that Paul wrote. So there really are only two passages that you've used so far. That not much of a sample yet, and they all involve declarations against sin. Declarations against sin are fairly easy to discern from Scripture, especially when someone who is divine or someone who is being inspired by God is making the prescriptive declaration.

It is quite another thing altogether for someone who is not divine, or is not being inspired by God, to look at an action in a narrative and then definitively assert that that action is being commanded by God for all people at all times.

So who decides how many examples are enough and on what basis will that be a valid criterion and who decides what that valid criterion will be?

Again, my comment to which you are responding was specifically about narratives that have the elements that I stated. There are other biblical examples that I have not yet treated that do not have those elements.

What God says in 2 Tim. 3:16-17 answers your concern in your second paragraph. Any human who reads such biblical narratives is supposed to be profited from them in the same ways as anyone else is for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness. Because of the universal profitability of Scripture in that respect, formulating a prescriptive statement from such passages is fully legitimate because it is the same truth that anyone and everyone is supposed to understand and accept from that narrative passage about what sinful behavior(s) humans are not to engage in.

JNoël's picture

RajeshG wrote:

 

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

All 6 of the biblical examples of descriptive---->prescriptive that I have treated so far had in common divine judgment against human sinfulness, and that judgment was recorded within the narrative passages themselves.

This analysis supports going to other narrative passages that speak explicitly of divine judgment against human sinfulness and issuing prescriptive statements to Christians not to sin in those same ways.

 

First off, the 6 examples you gave were one prescriptive statement from Jesus and five from one chapter of the Bible that Paul wrote. So there really are only two passages that you've used so far. That not much of a sample yet, and they all involve declarations against sin. Declarations against sin are fairly easy to discern from Scripture, especially when someone who is divine or someone who is being inspired by God is making the prescriptive declaration.

It is quite another thing altogether for someone who is not divine, or is not being inspired by God, to look at an action in a narrative and then definitively assert that that action is being commanded by God for all people at all times.

 

 

So who decides how many examples are enough and on what basis will that be a valid criterion and who decides what that valid criterion will be?

Again, my comment to which you are responding was specifically about narratives that have the elements that I stated. There are other biblical examples that I have not yet treated that do not have those elements.

What God says in 2 Tim. 3:16-17 answers your concern in your second paragraph. Any human who reads such biblical narratives is supposed to be profited from them in the same ways as anyone else is for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness. Because of the universal profitability of Scripture in that respect, formulating a prescriptive statement from such passages is fully legitimate because it is the same truth that anyone and everyone is supposed to understand and accept from that narrative passage about what sinful behavior(s) humans are not to engage in.

Then you had better start proclaiming that God commands us to stone our rebellious sons, because that is all you are doing with your demand that whole-body interment is a for-today prescription of God. There are exactly zero NT prescriptive statements calling for it. Your D-->C statements include clear NT inspired commands, but you will find not one prescribing whole-body (same day, too) interment. You are creating binding doctrine on your own, out of your own mind, and doing this is adding to scripture. It is dangerous, it creates unnecessary division in the body - it is sin in itself, and I am calling you out on it.

Ashamed of Jesus! of that Friend On whom for heaven my hopes depend! It must not be! be this my shame, That I no more revere His name. -Joseph Grigg (1720-1768)

RajeshG's picture

JNoël wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

 

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

All 6 of the biblical examples of descriptive---->prescriptive that I have treated so far had in common divine judgment against human sinfulness, and that judgment was recorded within the narrative passages themselves.

This analysis supports going to other narrative passages that speak explicitly of divine judgment against human sinfulness and issuing prescriptive statements to Christians not to sin in those same ways.

 

First off, the 6 examples you gave were one prescriptive statement from Jesus and five from one chapter of the Bible that Paul wrote. So there really are only two passages that you've used so far. That not much of a sample yet, and they all involve declarations against sin. Declarations against sin are fairly easy to discern from Scripture, especially when someone who is divine or someone who is being inspired by God is making the prescriptive declaration.

It is quite another thing altogether for someone who is not divine, or is not being inspired by God, to look at an action in a narrative and then definitively assert that that action is being commanded by God for all people at all times.

 

 

So who decides how many examples are enough and on what basis will that be a valid criterion and who decides what that valid criterion will be?

Again, my comment to which you are responding was specifically about narratives that have the elements that I stated. There are other biblical examples that I have not yet treated that do not have those elements.

What God says in 2 Tim. 3:16-17 answers your concern in your second paragraph. Any human who reads such biblical narratives is supposed to be profited from them in the same ways as anyone else is for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness. Because of the universal profitability of Scripture in that respect, formulating a prescriptive statement from such passages is fully legitimate because it is the same truth that anyone and everyone is supposed to understand and accept from that narrative passage about what sinful behavior(s) humans are not to engage in.

 

 

Then you had better start proclaiming that God commands us to stone our rebellious sons, because that is all you are doing with your demand that whole-body interment is a for-today prescription of God. There are exactly zero NT prescriptive statements calling for it. Your D-->C statements include clear NT inspired commands, but you will find not one prescribing whole-body (same day, too) interment. You are creating binding doctrine on your own, out of your own mind, and doing this is adding to scripture. It is dangerous, it creates unnecessary division in the body - it is sin in itself, and I am calling you out on it.

False. I am not doing what you claim. I have not said that Deut. 21:23 is a command to NT Christians; I have said that it was a command to OT Israel. You are misrepresenting my view. It is you who is unjustly attacking me.

Moreover, I have already answered your faulty assertions about my views necessitating that we obey the other command in Deut. 21 by stating that the NT teaches us that we do not have the governmental authority to inflict capital punishment on anyone.

JNoël's picture

RajeshG wrote:

False. I am not doing what you claim. I have not said that Deut. 21:23 is a command to NT Christians; I have said that it was a command to OT Israel. You are misrepresenting my view. It is you who are unjustly attacking me.

Moreover, I have already answered your faulty assertions about my views necessitating that we obey the other command in Deut. 21 by stating that the NT teaches us that we do not have the governmental authority to inflict capital punishment on anyone.

We are all still waiting for your for-today prescriptive biblical support for God requiring whole-body (same day, too) interment. You have not given any - and you never will be able to, because it does not exist in scripture. You are creating doctrine where there isn't any.

Ashamed of Jesus! of that Friend On whom for heaven my hopes depend! It must not be! be this my shame, That I no more revere His name. -Joseph Grigg (1720-1768)

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:
I have not said that Deut. 21:23 is a command to NT Christians; I have said that it was a command to OT Israel. You are misrepresenting my view. It is you who is unjustly attacking me.

Here are your exact words from the other thread. 

I do not claim this passage alone as what is in Scripture that teaches us that cremation is unacceptable to God and that burial is His will for what God's people are to do with the dead bodies of His saints today. The passage is a revelation of the mind of God and the righteousness of God. What it teaches cannot be set aside as unimportant for us simply because it was a command to OT Israel.

So yes, you are specifically saying that it was a command to OT Israel. But you are also quite clear that you believe this command is important for us today to know "the mind of God and the righteousness of God" in regard to burial, and only burial, being "His will for what God's people are to do with the dead bodies of His saints today." So is it your position that even though Deut 21:23 is not a command to us, we are still required to obey it since it tells us the will of God?

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