Comments: opinion at the end of August

I really liked Marcus Borg's article about the chronological Christian Scriptures or New Testament.
Unless one believes that the Bible is the literal, absolutely true, and inerrant Word of God -- I swear I once heard an evangelical Christian minister preach that God handed Moses the King James Version on Mount Sinai -- (which I emphatically don't believe), it is clear that Christianity evolved in its first 100 years of existence, as different people came to understand what Jesus of Nazareth's life and ministry meant. How Paul sees Jesus of Nazareth in his letters is very different than how John saw Jesus in his Gospel, for example.
Also, I didn't know that some of the letters or epistles were written after the Book of Revelation. I always assumed it was the last book written.

Posted by peterpi - Peter Gross at Saturday, 1 September 2012 at 8:02pm BST

"it is still a mistake to suppose that it is assent to the propositions that makes you a believer. It is the feelings that are primary. I assent to the ideas because I have the feelings; I don't have the feelings because I've assented to the ideas."

The heart&soul of Spufford's piece (mostly excellent, if a bit long), almost entirely ignored by the a(nti)theist critics (who predictably conformed to both Spufford's characterization, and the Guardian commenting-stereotypes).

But does Spufford protest too much? Too defensive? Yes, probably. Christians get crucified for the sins of Christianists---but then again, as Christians we should EXPECT crucifiction. We SHOULD properly be more concerned w/ the sins of Christianists (1. to make sure we aren't participating IN them, then 2. to offer admonition in Jesus's Name TO the Christianists), than the sins of the anti-theists against us. Log/Splinter.

Posted by JCF at Sunday, 2 September 2012 at 7:03am BST

I do like the 'Church Times' Leader, which opens up the question about who is entitled to be baptized in the Church.

As a priest in ACANZP, I have long believed that the church must always be hospitable to anyone who requests the Sacrament of Baptism - if only because of the fact that the Holy Spirit may have been the motivating force behind the request. I am mindful of the Lord's invitation - "Come to me, all you that are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest". This does not imply that there should be hoops to jump through or dogma to be swallowed.
The requirement of a simple assent to basic Church doctrine should be sufficient. We can be assured that God will make up any lack we might discern.

If we believe that Baptism is a sacrament which is mainly God's action in our human lives, then we must be ever watchful that we do no impede any one's entry into the Body of Christ by Baptism.

I've always remembered the words of a favourite priest friend of mine: "Come in, the water's fine"

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Sunday, 2 September 2012 at 11:16am BST

A modern take on the Anglican via media: "Zombies to the left of me, crazies to the right, here I am, stuck in the middle with you."

Posted by Gerry Lynch at Monday, 3 September 2012 at 7:33pm BST

Yes the Chronological NT looks an interesting project. Peterpi above outlines a pretty gruesome way that some evangelical folk look at the reception of scripture, but (speaking as an evangelical myself) I believe that's pretty much confined to the margins - that kind of 'dictation' model certainly isn't how informed evangelicals would look at its creation - although Revelation is an interesting case. No doubt, though, the writers were very prayerful about what they wrote so there were no doubt some 'lightbulb moments'!

There are limitations to Borg's approach. A couple that occur to me are firstly the difficulty in actually working out the chronology. To use Borg's example, yes most scholars accept Markan priority in the gospels, but discerning the construction beyond that is pretty complex, as any Google search of 'Synoptic Problem' will show!

And that leads to the second issue - what does a chronological NT actually show? Yes it might show in a concrete way that the gospels weren't written first, and might shed interesting light on the importance of Galatians, Thessalonians etc, but it's not as though the gospels arose out of those communities anyway. Borg and Jesus Seminar scholars love to reinforce the idea of the NT coming out of the early church community, but will this really demonstrate that?

So I think Borg's comments that the independent evangelicals will blacklist the Chron NT is a bit unfair. Any decent study bible that Evangelicals use (and they sell in hundreds of thousands in America) has a timeline anyway, so it's not as though they're being obscurantist. Rather I suspect that rearranging the books will raise some interesting questions but won't quite blow the roof off in the way Borg suggests.

Posted by Peter Kay at Tuesday, 4 September 2012 at 11:43am BST

Mark Sandlin is, of course, wrong about Sunday being the Sabbath. It is not, but rather "the Lord's Day." They are not the same. It's unfortunate that English names for the days of the week do not make this clear, as the Spanish and Portuguese do.

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Sunday, 9 September 2012 at 9:05pm BST
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Please note that comments are limited to 400 words. Comments that are longer than 400 words will not be approved.

Cookies are used to remember your personal information between visits to the site. This information is stored on your computer and used to refill the text boxes on your next visit. Any cookie is deleted if you select 'No'. By ticking 'Yes' you agree to this use of a cookie by this site. No third-party cookies are used, and cookies are not used for analytical, advertising, or other purposes.