Category Archives: Accommodation & fellowship

Augustine on over enthusiastic “purists”

there are some men who see in Scripture nothing else except those passages which admonish us to be strict, to rebuke the unruly, not to give what is holy to dogs, to regard as a heathen any man who does not heed the Church, to cut off from the body any member that gives scandal. Such persons only make trouble for the Church; they try to separate the cockle from the wheat before the appointed time. But because of their blindness they themselves rather are separated from union with Christ [1]

[1] Lombardo, G. J. with St. Augustine. (1988). St. Augustine on Faith and Works. (W. J. Burghardt & T. C. Lawler, Eds., G. J. Lombardo, Trans.) (Vol. 48, pp. 11–12). New York; Mahwah, NJ: The Newman Press.

“The Way” was open to facts and new readings of Scripture – are we?

We all imagine we have arrived.  We talk about “The Truth” as if we have arrived.  Yet the Bible shows discipleship means growing and sometimes obtaining new insights into God.  Practical experience, cold hard facts sometimes prompt these insights.  Like we know humans have continually existed longer than 6,000 years.  We see this growth based on fact in Acts.

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Do you want an Adam based faith for Xmas? We don’t.

“If the Genesis account is metaphorical there is no literal serpent, no tree of knowledge of good and evil, no lie, no fruit, no sin, no sentence of death; Jesus Christ, our Saviour and his Gospel of salvation have no rationale or basis, as set forward by the Apostle Paul in Romans etc.” According to The Lampstand Magazine no Adam = no Jesus. Which one is more important in this equation???

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Job – notes on the readings

Job had to fine tune his theology when the facts of life challenged his previous view.  His three friends – stalwarts of the establishment – castigated him increasingly brutally.  The elders insist their traditional understanding is valid.  They had the truth and they would defend it regardless.  Job’s factual observations are angrily discounted.  He became a social outcast, partly due to his condition and then due to his unwelcome new opinions.  Ultimately Job wasn’t exactly right – but he was closer than the elders.  While we thankfully haven’t experienced the suffering of Job we see other echoes in human behaviour.

Roberts on the bounds of salvation

In the Blood of Christ Robert Roberts made a surprisingly broad comment about the reach of salvation. Not super relevant to the creation debate but found it liked it so shared it.

It is impossible not to respect the spirit and intent of many who do not share these views. There are men with almost agonizing sincerity of purpose who cannot see through the fogs that envelop the truth in an age when there is no living voice of authoritative guidance, and when the power of correctly interpreting the written Word is the only rule of conviction. It is natural to wish to think that in such a situation of divine truth on the earth, the same consideration will at the last be shown towards those who earnestly do their best in the dimness, that was shown, on the intercession of Hezekiah, towards the multitude in Israel who “had not cleansed themselves, and yet did eat the Passover otherwise than it was written” (2 Chron. 30:18). God is not unrighteous or unreasonable. At the same time, in such a situation, when the truth can with difficulty be kept alive at all, it is not for those who know the truth to work by a may be. We must be governed by what is revealed, leaving the Lord to revoke the present rule of probation, or make His own allowances in its application. [1]

[1] Quoted in Mansfield, GE (1990). Atonement: Salvation Through the Blood of Christ (pp. 174–175).

John Thomas on fellowship in 1 John 2:19

“The apostles did not chase them out, but they went out of their own accord, not being able to endure sound doctrine (2 Tim. 4:3). Then preach the word, etc., and exhort with all long-suffering and teaching. This is the purifying agent. Ignore brother this and brother that in said teaching; for personalities do not help the argument. Declare what you as a body believe to be the apostles’ doctrines. Invite fellowship upon that basis alone. If upon that declaration any take the bread and wine, not being offered by you, they do so upon their own responsibility, and not on yours. If they help themselves to the elements, they endorse your declaration of doctrine, and eat condemnation to themselves.”

John Thomas in 1870 as quoted by George Booker in “Biblical Fellowship”

J Carter on Adam’s nature

In taking the fruit in Eden Adam yielded to his own nature. If I said this literalist campaigners/heresy hunters would be up in arms. Yet John Carter – the crafter of the creedal additions heresy hunters rely on wrote it. Literalists make claims about Adam for which they have no Scriptural support, this leads to all sorts of contradictory statements. Here is Carter’s comments (made in the context of debate about the serpent be literal or not – can you imagine this discussion getting a free run today!?)

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Be of one mind

We have too long and too often taken the words “be of the same mind” to mean, functionally, “if you agree with me on these points of doctrine, then we can be sisters and brothers, have fellowship and experience God together.” As Paul has structured Philippians 2:1–4, the experience of God is primary: since you have received encouragement from Christ, since you have shared in the one Spirit of God, live in full accord with one another, being of one mind. We are prone to be disputatious and to place victory in theological debates higher than the bond of unity. This is not Paul’s way except in issues that truly cut to the core of being Christian (and most issues, let us be honest, do not). Rather than seek to “have it our way” in terms of every dispute, we again find an opportunity for laying down our lives, or at least our egos, for our sisters and brothers as we put love, peace and unity with one another ahead of being right all the time. Paul makes it clear that no one has all the facts (1 Cor 13:12–13 is strong and necessary medicine for our conceited race), and therefore disagreements are not ultimate. Our agreement—our common experience of God through the Spirit—is of greater importance than our disagreement based on finer points of theology, liturgical practice and interpretation. Our agreement is founded on God’s act on our behalf; our disagreements on our own thoughts, minds and hearts. To place greater importance on the latter than the former is an act of pride, of hybris, an affront to God. To be “like-minded” is not to agree on everything; it is to put foremost in our minds what is central and common to the believing community in every place, what makes for building up the church of God in the bond of love.”

[deSilva, D. A. (2012). Honor, patronage, kinship & purity: unlocking new testament culture (pp. 219–220). Westmont, IL: InterVarsity Press.]

deSilva’s book is well worth a read – its discussion of grace and the patronage culture in particular is excellent. The above section just took our fancy as relevant to this page. To repeat again, we don’t care if you hold to a literal 7 day creation – as a theological position it’s fine and has a long happy tradition.

Is your kingdom vision killing evolutionists? Perhaps it should be!

Using a sword on evolutionary creationists in the kingdom featured as just another normal day at Swanwick Bible School 2016.  ECs, according to Jonathan Bowen – Brantford ecclesia, are morally equivalent to Nazis or those who committed religiously motivated atrocities in the reformation.  Inspiring stuff.  Hope the sword is sharp, as blunt ones hurt more apparently. Continue reading