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Bluefinger

The Slippery Slope Argument

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Posted (edited)

Many conservative, evangelical Christians claim that denial of the innerancy of Scripture is a slippery slope to apostasy. While I do not agree with that position, I would like to hear your point of view.

While you are thinking of what to type, here are some of my thoughts on the topic:

- Biblical claims of inerrancy were made by New Testament authors about the Old Testament canon.

- Books in the New Testament quote a book that was deliberately omitted from the OT canon.

- The NT writers likely came from one of the three Jewish sects: Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenses.

- Early Church fathers disagreed on whether some books should have been in the canon.

- The Apocalypse was among those books.

- If Paul's second letter to the Corinthians was found, would it be included (II Corinthians is the third)?

- Did the New Testament writings establish apostolic teachings or did they confirm them? (Chicken or egg)

I look forward to your responses. God bless you and good night.

Edited by Bluefinger

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The good folk of Nicea made very deliberate choices about what constitutes the current cannon and what does not. It's always bothered me, I see it as an act of confirmation bias. They held a distinct view about the nature of God and that which is divinely inspired v that which is not and they actively promoted those views (their views), denying the voice of those who saw it differently and even accusing some of being "heretical texts" up to and including the killing of those then judged heretics. Apostasy is a tool used to judge those who hold different views from those promoted by the canon - it is nefarious and a danger unto itself to claim anyone an apostate based on what a bunch of humans decided were and were not divinely inspired texts.

A genuine seeker will want and need access to all information, not a canon cherry picked 300 years after the primary events. We need to be able to inform our view on the nature of God with all the evidence at hand, else we are in danger of becoming the inadvertent tools of actual apostasy at the hands of those who deny us the information that will flesh out our understanding of the people who have provided the canonical texts in the first place.

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Posted (edited)

If there is a God, the very nature of God is unknowable. What's been written in books is but a fake plaster coat..

Edited by Likely Guy
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If there is a God, the very nature of God is unknowable. What's been written in books is but a fake plaster coat..

Isaiah 46:9,10 explains the issue succinctly:

I am God, and there is no one like Me, 10Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done.

THIS is the difference for those of us who believe. Anyone who pretends to "understand" the Creator is at best misguided. BUT Christ said he would tell us what was coming so that WHEN it came we would see it be fulfilled and believe him. Those books explain a time far distant future to their writing that we see unfolding before us today. God said that Jerusalem would be a burdensome stone for ALL who tried to move it. He mentions his great displeasure and the coming judgement against those who would "divide my land". I tremble for my country when I think of the several presidents who have forced Israel into bad peace deal attempts and basically demand they give in to all demands for land to be given for peace that NEVER arrives. America is due a great judgement for this alone, not to mention the many other sins we commit as a nation. I agree that man cannot really understand God but I reject that the books are untrustworthy since they were compiled by human designs. The essential message of our Lord is crystal clear and those who want to marginalize that message because they find reason to be skeptical of the text are fooling themselves in a dangerous way. If the text is accepted to be potentially error filled then the message can be set aside and people can make their own rules. Picking and choosing what they will or will not agree with may make them feel better but unless they respect the gospel message they will be lost. One need not be a scholar, or even educated, to obtain salvation. If they internalize and PUBLICLY state the facts that Christ was born a man, was executed as a sacrifice for all humanity's transgressions, was buried and rose bodily to life on the third day then they are promised eternal life. That and nothing more is required for salvation. He said of Himself - "my yoke is easy and my burden light".

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Isaiah 46:9,10 explains the issue succinctly:

I am God, and there is no one like Me, 10Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done.

THIS is the difference for those of us who believe. Anyone who pretends to "understand" the Creator is at best misguided. BUT Christ said he would tell us what was coming so that WHEN it came we would see it be fulfilled and believe him. Those books explain a time far distant future to their writing that we see unfolding before us today. God said that Jerusalem would be a burdensome stone for ALL who tried to move it. He mentions his great displeasure and the coming judgement against those who would "divide my land". I tremble for my country when I think of the several presidents who have forced Israel into bad peace deal attempts and basically demand they give in to all demands for land to be given for peace that NEVER arrives. America is due a great judgement for this alone, not to mention the many other sins we commit as a nation. I agree that man cannot really understand God but I reject that the books are untrustworthy since they were compiled by human designs. The essential message of our Lord is crystal clear and those who want to marginalize that message because they find reason to be skeptical of the text are fooling themselves in a dangerous way. If the text is accepted to be potentially error filled then the message can be set aside and people can make their own rules. Picking and choosing what they will or will not agree with may make them feel better but unless they respect the gospel message they will be lost. One need not be a scholar, or even educated, to obtain salvation. If they internalize and PUBLICLY state the facts that Christ was born a man, was executed as a sacrifice for all humanity's transgressions, was buried and rose bodily to life on the third day then they are promised eternal life. That and nothing more is required for salvation. He said of Himself - "my yoke is easy and my burden light".

I didn't say they were untrustworthy - I believe they are incomplete and that denying others the right to question their completeness because of the choices made by human beings at Nicea is the real apostasy. Many of the books not included in the canon are as much attributed to apostolic writings as those that were included. The notion of Heresy and Apostasy are human not divine and designed to marginalize anyone who does not hold to the dogmas of organized religion.

Outside of this, will there ever be a discussion where you do not sidetrack into the Israeli conflict and the judgement of America?

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Posted (edited)

...Anyone who pretends to "understand" the Creator is at best misguided.

On that point my friend, I agree!

But you said, "I agree that man cannot really understand God but I reject that the books are untrustworthy since they were compiled by human designs. The essential message of our Lord is crystal clear and those who want to marginalize that message because they find reason to be skeptical of the text are fooling themselves in a dangerous way. If the text is accepted to be potentially error filled then the message can be set aside and people can make their own rules. Picking and choosing what they will or will not agree with may make them feel better but unless they respect the gospel message they will be lost."

Can't the message be a universal truth, rather than a Christian or theist truth? Weren't we all good before God made us bad? And yes, I agree that 'the message' can never be set aside. 'The message', is after all a unversal truth. it wasn't invented by Jesus. It predates him.

Edited by Likely Guy

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The good folk of Nicea made very deliberate choices about what constitutes the current cannon and what does not. It's always bothered me, I see it as an act of confirmation bias. They held a distinct view about the nature of God and that which is divinely inspired v that which is not and they actively promoted those views (their views), denying the voice of those who saw it differently and even accusing some of being "heretical texts" up to and including the killing of those then judged heretics.

It was very largely for political reasons, and mainly for reasons of maintaining the Authorities' position of authority over the people. The church was, since Constantine's time (with one or two lapses), inseperable from the state, after all, so it was natural that they'd choose scriptures that emphasised how important it was to follow all the rules and respect Authority, wasn't it. Even if Jesus might not necessarily have always agreed, which was why they put such an emphasis on other people's views about Jesus (notably Paul), rather than putting the emphasis on what he himself said. (Which to be fair, they couldn't be absolutely certain about, of course, since even the Gospels were the writers' personal interpretations.)
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It was very largely for political reasons, and mainly for reasons of maintaining the Authorities' position of authority over the people. The church was, since Constantine's time (with one or two lapses), inseperable from the state, after all, so it was natural that they'd choose scriptures that emphasised how important it was to follow all the rules and respect Authority, wasn't it. Even if Jesus might not necessarily have always agreed, which was why they put such an emphasis on other people's views about Jesus (notably Paul), rather than putting the emphasis on what he himself said. (Which to be fair, they couldn't be absolutely certain about, of course, since even the Gospels were the writers' personal interpretations.)

Quite so - so why do we continue to seek the truth as though we are malleable tools of that same political expediency today? Searching deeper and looking beyond the canon is not a license to be labelled an "apostate" or "heretic", it is an imperative of the human spirit to do what it can to discover truth and especially that which has been hidden or cast aside because of past political expediencies.

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I didn't say they were untrustworthy - I believe they are incomplete and that denying others the right to question their completeness because of the choices made by human beings at Nicea is the real apostasy. Many of the books not included in the canon are as much attributed to apostolic writings as those that were included. The notion of Heresy and Apostasy are human not divine and designed to marginalize anyone who does not hold to the dogmas of organized religion.

Outside of this, will there ever be a discussion where you do not sidetrack into the Israeli conflict and the judgement of America?

Considering the timeliness of that particular situation in the world today I'd say it has a place in most discussions but I also can see how it would tend to get on the nerves of most who couldn't care less about it. It will find it's own place in it's own good time. And I said nothing about denying anyone anything regarding their faith - I simply shared my own. I feel that all people have the right - indeed the obligation - to make their own choices regarding what they believe and why. The remonstration is duly noted.

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On that point my friend, I agree!

But you said, "I agree that man cannot really understand God but I reject that the books are untrustworthy since they were compiled by human designs. The essential message of our Lord is crystal clear and those who want to marginalize that message because they find reason to be skeptical of the text are fooling themselves in a dangerous way. If the text is accepted to be potentially error filled then the message can be set aside and people can make their own rules. Picking and choosing what they will or will not agree with may make them feel better but unless they respect the gospel message they will be lost."

Can't the message be a universal truth, rather than a Christian or theist truth? Weren't we all good before God made us bad? And yes, I agree that 'the message' can never be set aside. 'The message', is after all a unversal truth. it wasn't invented by Jesus. It predates him.

If we were good and it was the giving of the law that "made us bad" then I have to wonder where mankind would be had we never gotten the law? I think the great preponderance of evidence is that mankind is far from being naturally bent towards kindness or morality. Had we been I think we might never have survived our evolution into our modern state. It isn't my intention to say that my faith HAS to be the faith of others or THEY are wrong. Indeed, I have from earliest childhood wondered how a loving God could condemn (apparently) the great majority of His creation just due to a circumstance of birth and geography. I don't have those answers but it seems to me that if one applies Christ's message of loving all then you get past those problems readily. He is judge.

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It was very largely for political reasons, and mainly for reasons of maintaining the Authorities' position of authority over the people. The church was, since Constantine's time (with one or two lapses), inseperable from the state, after all, so it was natural that they'd choose scriptures that emphasised how important it was to follow all the rules and respect Authority, wasn't it. Even if Jesus might not necessarily have always agreed, which was why they put such an emphasis on other people's views about Jesus (notably Paul), rather than putting the emphasis on what he himself said. (Which to be fair, they couldn't be absolutely certain about, of course, since even the Gospels were the writers' personal interpretations.)

There is evidence that a basic list of inspired Scriptures were with the Church since the 2nd century, nearly two hundred years before the canon was formed.

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There is evidence that a basic list of inspired Scriptures were with the Church since the 2nd century, nearly two hundred years before the canon was formed.

Well you would hope so wouldn't you? I mean we would hate to discover that the texts in the canon were all written 300 years after the event. Fact is, the non-canonical texts were also a part of many christians schools of the time for 100s of years. The powers that be of Nicea chose from the texts which were all available which would form the canon and which would not, I don't think the idea is that they themselves "created" any of the texts.

Edited by libstaK

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Well you would hope so wouldn't you? I mean we would hate to discover that the texts in the canon were all written 300 years after the event.

I don't think we will discover that.

Fact is, the non-canonical texts were also a part of many christians schools of the time for 100s of years.

You mean before Nicea? There was no such thing as a Christian school. If there was, it would have been in Alexandria. But taking into account that the Romans burned all the churches and scriptures they found starting around 250 CE, its hard to say for sure.

The powers that be of Nicea chose from the texts which were all available which would form the canon and which would not, I don't think the idea is that they themselves "created" any of the texts.

They certainly were not politically motivated. The debate at the Council of Nicea was a culmination of internal religious debate that had been going on for over a hundred years. It was traditional teaching verses unorthodox interpretation. Any other conclusion than that has a case on its hands trying to prove that it isn't a personally motivated conclusion.

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I don't think we will discover that.

You mean before Nicea? There was no such thing as a Christian school. If there was, it would have been in Alexandria. But taking into account that the Romans burned all the churches and scriptures they found starting around 250 CE, its hard to say for sure.

Excuse my "shorthand" - christian school of thought is what I was meaning.

They certainly were not politically motivated. The debate at the Council of Nicea was a culmination of internal religious debate that had been going on for over a hundred years. It was traditional teaching verses unorthodox interpretation. Any other conclusion than that has a case on its hands trying to prove that it isn't a personally motivated conclusion.

Really? Constantine's vision of a state religion didn't encourage anybody to end the 100 years of speculation and debate?

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They certainly were not politically motivated. The debate at the Council of Nicea was a culmination of internal religious debate that had been going on for over a hundred years.

Yes, to organise the scriptures into an official canon that suited their purposes. Politics. Anything done by any authoritative body invariably is political first and foremost. Organised churches particularly so. This may well be for a perfectly valid purpose; any organisation has to have its rules and procedures and official doctrines, of course, but I do think it was mainly for practical and political reasons (since the Church was, even then, rapidly becoming one of the most powerful political organisations in the world, as the Roman empire faded), rather than concern for the niceties of this particular interpretation of the meaning of Jesus' crucifixion compared to that one,.

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For consideration:

First Council of Nicea was convened in 325ce by Emperor Constantine. No, no political motivation to arrive a consensus whatsoever :whistle:

http://en.wikipedia....uncil_of_Nicaea

Edit to add:

The seven Ecumenical Councils, from which the canon was finally established and matters of East V West Schisms etc

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_seven_Ecumenical_Councils

Edited by libstaK

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Many conservative, evangelical Christians claim that denial of the innerancy of Scripture is a slippery slope to apostasy. While I do not agree with that position, I would like to hear your point of view.

While you are thinking of what to type, here are some of my thoughts on the topic:

- Biblical claims of inerrancy were made by New Testament authors about the Old Testament canon.

- Books in the New Testament quote a book that was deliberately omitted from the OT canon.

- The NT writers likely came from one of the three Jewish sects: Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenses.

- Early Church fathers disagreed on whether some books should have been in the canon.

- The Apocalypse was among those books.

- If Paul's second letter to the Corinthians was found, would it be included (II Corinthians is the third)?

- Did the New Testament writings establish apostolic teachings or did they confirm them? (Chicken or egg)

I look forward to your responses. God bless you and good night.

I argue for biblical inerrancy. For the simple reason that if the authors can be wrong on one thing, they can be wrong on any thing, including vitally important doctrinal considerations in the Christian faith. This is a faith-based assertion with the view that God inspired the authors to write the texts. And at Nicea, God inspired the Council to properly select the "official" canon. I use inverted commas for that to note that while the official canon won't change, it is by no means all inclusive. I believe that there are people right now, at this very moment, writing or dictating "the word of God". But it's not official, never will be, but they are expounding theological truths. What the Bible does do is provide a base text for interpreting these other authors and other texts, if what they write or say is consistent with the canon, then it is biblically appropriate, maybe even "the inspired word of God". If it does not line up with the Bible, then it is simply wrong. This is my belief.

Now to address specific points made in the opening post of the thread:

- Biblical claims of inerrancy were made by New Testament authors about the Old Testament canon - Claims of inerrancy are also aimed at the New Testament (at least to the writings of Paul). Though largely thought of to be pseudepigraphal, 2 Peter 3:16 refers to the writings of Paul as "scripture".

.

- Books in the New Testament quote a book that was deliberately omitted from the OT canon. - You refer to the book of Jude quoting Enoch??? I agree, the NT quotes non-canonical material. This I suppose goes into my comment that the Bible is the "official" canon, but is not necessarily everything God ever wrote. The Bible is sufficient for the knowledge of salvation, but not necessarily everything God ever said.

- The NT writers likely came from one of the three Jewish sects: Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenses. - Well Paul was a former Pharisee, and his writings consist most of the New Testament.

- Early Church fathers disagreed on whether some books should have been in the canon.

- The Apocalypse was among those books. - I'll address these two together. I agree that not all the early leaders agreed, but Nicea was there to smooth out the differences and find out what the majority believe. As noted earlier, I have faith that God led the collective church to canonise scripture despite differences in opinions between the individuals.

- If Paul's second letter to the Corinthians was found, would it be included (II Corinthians is the third)? - As official canon, most likely not. That's not to say that it wouldn't be beneficial to understanding Christianity further, but as "scripture", that boat sailed long ago. The Bible stands as a sounding board to understand other writings about God. Where other writings differ with the Bible, the Bible is right (that's a faith-based belief of mine).

- Did the New Testament writings establish apostolic teachings or did they confirm them? (Chicken or egg) - Not quite sure your meaning on this one. The apostles taught what Jesus taught, while Paul (who never met the earthly Jesus) taught the local churches and his writings were often either admonishments to continue in the teachings passed on to them, or encouragements to continue in said teachings, so I suppose for the most part his writings are a "confirmation" of what they had been told elsewhere verbally.

Anyhow, that's my view on the matter. Not everyone agrees, and I acknowledge that this is a leap of faith on my part, but the scriptures are the inerrant word of God, in my biased opinion.

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I don't take the Bible too seriously.

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To PA and Bluefinger - so why aren't you both Catholics then? Given that God placed all the intended protagonists in the history of Christianity where they belong and inspired them directly, does it not then follow that the original church they created must have been God inspired?

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Many conservative, evangelical Christians claim that denial of the innerancy of Scripture is a slippery slope to apostasy. While I do not agree with that position, I would like to hear your point of view.

While you are thinking of what to type, here are some of my thoughts on the topic:

- Biblical claims of inerrancy were made by New Testament authors about the Old Testament canon.

- Books in the New Testament quote a book that was deliberately omitted from the OT canon.

- The NT writers likely came from one of the three Jewish sects: Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenses.

- Early Church fathers disagreed on whether some books should have been in the canon.

- The Apocalypse was among those books.

- If Paul's second letter to the Corinthians was found, would it be included (II Corinthians is the third)?

- Did the New Testament writings establish apostolic teachings or did they confirm them? (Chicken or egg)

I look forward to your responses. God bless you and good night.

Can you post your source(s) that informed your thoughts?

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To PA and Bluefinger - so why aren't you both Catholics then? Given that God placed all the intended protagonists in the history of Christianity where they belong and inspired them directly, does it not then follow that the original church they created must have been God inspired?

Catholic means universal. By extension, all Christians that adhere to the Nicene Creed are Catholics. The term Roman Catholic did not come about until the great schism of 1054, over a thousand years after Paul began his first missionary trip.

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To PA and Bluefinger - so why aren't you both Catholics then? Given that God placed all the intended protagonists in the history of Christianity where they belong and inspired them directly, does it not then follow that the original church they created must have been God inspired?

The Catholic Church isn't the original church. Though it claims origin all the way to the apostle Peter, the reality is that the Catholic Church (capital "C" Catholic) historically goes back only to the 10th Century, when the church split into the Roman Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox brands. It's during this period that heresy such as papal infallibility and the authority of the magesterium became just as important as the word of God in the Bible. The Reformation is, I believe, the movement that took Christianity back to what it was in the first few centuries of the Jesus movement.
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