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LCMS kerfuffle

Started by Donald_Kirchner, December 08, 2017, 09:55:49 AM

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Brian Stoffregen

#300
Quote from: Pr. Don Kirchner on January 03, 2018, 11:15:13 AM
To put the best construction on things, I'm beginning to go along with Matthew Andersen. You don't even comprehend, or at least acknowledge, the two contexts in the comparison you make, Brian, between 1 Cor 11 and 1 Cor 12. And this response is utter nonsense and confusion.


"Utter nonsense and confusion" is what I was going for. That's what happens when a literal approach is used. We should be cutting off sinful hands and plucking out sinful eyes, etc.; but we know better to take those clear words of Jesus literally. We look for meanings that make sense in our lives and world - and yet remain connected to the range of definitions of the original words - or implied meanings by metaphors. (It's been argued that all words are metaphors.)
I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

Donald_Kirchner

#301
Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on January 03, 2018, 11:31:35 AM
Quote from: Pr. Don Kirchner on January 03, 2018, 11:15:13 AM
To put the best construction on things, I'm beginning to go along with Matthew Andersen. You don't even comprehend, or at least acknowledge, the two contexts in the comparison you make, Brian, between 1 Cor 11 and 1 Cor 12. And this response is utter nonsense and confusion.


"Utter nonsense and confusion" is what I was going for. That's what happens when a literal approach is used. We should be cutting off sinful hands and plucking out sinful eyes, etc.; but we know better to take those clear words of Jesus literally. We look for meanings that make sense in our lives and world - and yet remain connected to the range of definitions of the original words - or implied meanings by metaphors. (It's been argued that all words are metaphors.)

So, in a direct comparison, i.e., in the same context, are you suggesting that Moses changed definitions?

"Exodus 20:8 - "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Exodus 20:9 - Six days you shall labor, and do all your work,
Exodus 20:10 - but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates.
Exodus 20:11 - For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy."

Or, are you suggesting that "day" in laboring for six days and resting on the Sabbath is an indefinite period of time?
Don Kirchner

"Heaven's OK, but it's not the end of the world." Jeff Gibbs

SomeoneWrites

Quote from: Pr. Don Kirchner on January 03, 2018, 11:47:49 AM
Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on January 03, 2018, 11:31:35 AM
Quote from: Pr. Don Kirchner on January 03, 2018, 11:15:13 AM
To put the best construction on things, I'm beginning to go along with Matthew Andersen. You don't even comprehend, or at least acknowledge, the two contexts in the comparison you make, Brian, between 1 Cor 11 and 1 Cor 12. And this response is utter nonsense and confusion.


"Utter nonsense and confusion" is what I was going for. That's what happens when a literal approach is used. We should be cutting off sinful hands and plucking out sinful eyes, etc.; but we know better to take those clear words of Jesus literally. We look for meanings that make sense in our lives and world - and yet remain connected to the range of definitions of the original words - or implied meanings by metaphors. (It's been argued that all words are metaphors.)

So, in a direct comparison, i.e., in the same context, are you suggesting that Moses changed definitions?

"Exodus 20:8 - "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Exodus 20:9 - Six days you shall labor, and do all your work,
Exodus 20:10 - but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates.
Exodus 20:11 - For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy."

This is exactly what I was thinking.  It can still be interpreted that the the short day of rest is for us, and the long day was for God.  Or something.  I just don't think it fits the text. 
Even assuming Christianity is true, I still think the text is myth.  But I can't see a good argument for interpreting 6 days as not 6 24 hour days.
LCMS raised
LCMS theology major
LCMS sem grad
Atheist

MaddogLutheran

Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on January 03, 2018, 11:31:35 AM
Quote from: Pr. Don Kirchner on January 03, 2018, 11:15:13 AM
To put the best construction on things, I'm beginning to go along with Matthew Andersen. You don't even comprehend, or at least acknowledge, the two contexts in the comparison you make, Brian, between 1 Cor 11 and 1 Cor 12. And this response is utter nonsense and confusion.


"Utter nonsense and confusion" is what I was going for. That's what happens when a literal approach is used. We should be cutting off sinful hands and plucking out sinful eyes, etc.; but we know better to take those clear words of Jesus literally. We look for meanings that make sense in our lives and world - and yet remain connected to the range of definitions of the original words - or implied meanings by metaphors. (It's been argued that all words are metaphors.)
As long as you continue claiming that people have said things that they have not, just because you can imagine it, you will continue to be accused of dishonesty.  At best.

Sterling Spatz
Sterling Spatz
ELCA pew-sitter

MaddogLutheran

Quote from: Team Hesse on December 31, 2017, 09:09:30 AM
The moments that matter to me are the ones like the one that happened a couple of days ago. A young woman confessed to me that she was sure she was going to hell because she had had an abortion years ago and "God cannot possibly forgive someone who murders a child." She told me she kept a gun and would end her life herself when the suffering seemed unbearable. I told her about the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world--all of it. Romans 8 and Jeremiah 31 figured prominently. When I left, she told me the gun was now only for target practice.
Your moving story makes me reflect on the "problem" of evangelism, even to our own children.  Last year the president of the Philadelphia seminary gave a talk at my congregation which touched on the challenge in keeping our youth in the church as young adults.  He mentioned that one critical point of those that remained included a non-parent adult speaking personally to them about why faith was important.

Trying to apply that advice in teaching 7th grade Sunday school, I've come to realize another difficulty in reaching both youth and the unchurched:  convincing them they need a Savior in the first place.  Your story, Pr. Hesse, demonstrates how powerful the message of God's love can be, in the right circumstance.  I continue to struggle with how to "sell church" to those who are not conflicted by sin.  Talking about a Savior ends up coming off as "judgmental" to those who don't think they need one at the moment.

It is why I like to challenge the kids with the question, as we go through all the bad stuff that happened in the Old Testament:  is there any sin God cannot forgive?  Sometimes that gets them thinking, if even for a moment.

All this is also why I find the "confessional" reaction to a scientific response to 6-day creation thoroughly unhelpful.  I think Gary Schnitkey's prior post diagnoses this dilemma very well.  If you start by making such stark choices without dealing with reasonable objections, people will tune you out.  That's not an argument for compromising teaching to reach a broader audience.  It's a request for a completely different kind of conversation.

Sterling Spatz
Sterling Spatz
ELCA pew-sitter

SomeoneWrites

Quote from: MaddogLutheran on January 03, 2018, 01:18:25 PM
Quote from: Team Hesse on December 31, 2017, 09:09:30 AM
The moments that matter to me are the ones like the one that happened a couple of days ago. A young woman confessed to me that she was sure she was going to hell because she had had an abortion years ago and "God cannot possibly forgive someone who murders a child." She told me she kept a gun and would end her life herself when the suffering seemed unbearable. I told her about the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world--all of it. Romans 8 and Jeremiah 31 figured prominently. When I left, she told me the gun was now only for target practice.
Your moving story makes me reflect on the "problem" of evangelism, even to our own children.  Last year the president of the Philadelphia seminary gave a talk at my congregation which touched on the challenge in keeping our youth in the church as young adults.  He mentioned that one critical point of those that remained included a non-parent adult speaking personally to them about why faith was important.

Trying to apply that advice in teaching 7th grade Sunday school, I've come to realize another difficulty in reaching both youth and the unchurched:  convincing them they need a Savior in the first place.  Your story, Pr. Hesse, demonstrates how powerful the message of God's love can be, in the right circumstance.  I continue to struggle with how to "sell church" to those who are not conflicted by sin.  Talking about a Savior ends up coming off as "judgmental" to those who don't think they need one at the moment.

It is why I like to challenge the kids with the question, as we go through all the bad stuff that happened in the Old Testament:  is there any sin God cannot forgive?  Sometimes that gets them thinking, if even for a moment.

All this is also why I find the "confessional" reaction to a scientific response to 6-day creation thoroughly unhelpful.  I think Gary Schnitkey's prior post diagnoses this dilemma very well.  If you start by making such stark choices without dealing with reasonable objections, people will tune you out.  That's not an argument for compromising teaching to reach a broader audience.  It's a request for a completely different kind of conversation.

Sterling Spatz

I agree with your assessment entirely. 
LCMS raised
LCMS theology major
LCMS sem grad
Atheist

Rev Mathew Andersen

Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on January 03, 2018, 11:31:35 AM
Quote from: Pr. Don Kirchner on January 03, 2018, 11:15:13 AM
To put the best construction on things, I'm beginning to go along with Matthew Andersen. You don't even comprehend, or at least acknowledge, the two contexts in the comparison you make, Brian, between 1 Cor 11 and 1 Cor 12. And this response is utter nonsense and confusion.


"Utter nonsense and confusion" is what I was going for. That's what happens when a literal approach is used. We should be cutting off sinful hands and plucking out sinful eyes, etc.; but we know better to take those clear words of Jesus literally. We look for meanings that make sense in our lives and world - and yet remain connected to the range of definitions of the original words - or implied meanings by metaphors. (It's been argued that all words are metaphors.)
Well in that case, you are just being stupid instead of suffering from some kind of inability to comprehend.  No one here take everything in a directly "literal" approach and no one has ever pretended to. So whatever you are addressing it is not here on this board.  Might be best to go and find whoever it is you think you are talking to and talk to them instead.

pearson

Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on January 03, 2018, 02:06:35 AM

It is metaphorical language. We need to interpret the words by what they meant to the original author and hearers.


I'm not sure that we can ever know "what it meant" to the original author and hearers.  As you, and others here, have often pointed out, language is fluid and dynamic.  "Meaning" does not attach to words in isolation; "meaning" attaches to contexts, and words gesture toward those contexts.  That's what gives words their metaphorical implications.  In the end, or so I think, "word studies" become an artificial exercise, particularly when we are dealing with words in ancient languages.

Tom Pearson

SomeoneWrites

Quote from: pearson on January 03, 2018, 03:08:13 PM
Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on January 03, 2018, 02:06:35 AM

It is metaphorical language. We need to interpret the words by what they meant to the original author and hearers.


I'm not sure that we can ever know "what it meant" to the original author and hearers.  As you, and others here, have often pointed out, language is fluid and dynamic.  "Meaning" does not attach to words in isolation; "meaning" attaches to contexts, and words gesture toward those contexts.  That's what gives words their metaphorical implications.  In the end, or so I think, "word studies" become an artificial exercise, particularly when we are dealing with words in ancient languages.

Tom Pearson

I appreciate your level of agnosticism in regard to KNOWING what it meant to the original author and hearers.  It's one of my issues with the bible and religion in general, particularly regarding sacred texts.  I do think there's some degree of what can be known, or at least that some arguments are much more compelling than others. 
LCMS raised
LCMS theology major
LCMS sem grad
Atheist

Dave Benke

Quote from: pearson on January 03, 2018, 03:08:13 PM
Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on January 03, 2018, 02:06:35 AM

It is metaphorical language. We need to interpret the words by what they meant to the original author and hearers.


I'm not sure that we can ever know "what it meant" to the original author and hearers.  As you, and others here, have often pointed out, language is fluid and dynamic.  "Meaning" does not attach to words in isolation; "meaning" attaches to contexts, and words gesture toward those contexts.  That's what gives words their metaphorical implications.  In the end, or so I think, "word studies" become an artificial exercise, particularly when we are dealing with words in ancient languages.

Tom Pearson

The proof-texting methodology popular in some circles is context-free and simply attaches one passage anywhere to another passage anywhere else - "Judas went out and hanged himself......Go and do thou likewise."  While in my grad studies at the seminary aeons ago I did many pre-computer word study comparisons, often examining a word from Canaanite roots (Ugaritic) through to Philo of Alexandria, which is a swath of time and cultural difference.  What had to be taken into account throughout was the immediate and more distant context.  And even that was imprecise at best.  Kittel and others like that do a great job of giving the history of the word in context in a variety of historical eras and through a variety of authors biblical and non-biblical.  So although artifical, the exercise can and does lead to relatively firm conclusions.  And yet, those words and phrases may have taken on a very different meaning in the intervening 2000 years.

Dave Benke
It's OK to Pray

pearson

Quote from: Charles Austin on January 03, 2018, 10:29:54 AM

Some of you, I believe, (and of course I could be wrong) want to have meaning and interpretation nailed down or limited or formed to fit a setting, doctrine, or "church".


Well, "nailed down" may be an exaggeration.  But, yes, "meaning and interpretation. . .limited or formed to fit a setting, doctrine, or 'church'" is just what it means to do theology.  "Word studies" (of ancient Greek or Hebrew, say) is not the same thing as doing theology.  "Word studies" may be one ingredient in doing theology, but theological method and lexical method are two entirely different things.  Theological meaning and interpretation is a much bigger playground, and go far beyond the artificial construct of parsing definitions of ancient terms.  And "exploring a range of possibilities" may be an entertaining literary exercise, but it is not integral to theological method.

Tom Pearson 

Jim Butler

Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on January 03, 2018, 11:27:20 AM
Quote from: jebutler on January 03, 2018, 09:41:03 AM
1) Brian, you still haven't answered my earlier question. You said that the word "day" is not used in Genesis 1. You stated that was put there by English translators. What word would you use to translate yom?

"Day" is the word that it used. What is meant by that word? There are eight definitions in It is used as a literary device to separate and organize the acts of creation into three or four parallel acts: day 1 is connected to day 4; day 2 is connected to day 5; both days 3 and 6 have two acts of creation. Genesis 1 is a marvelous literary work of art where the style of the text also conveys the meaning of the words - God is creating order out of chaos and the composer of the text has created a well-structured piece of literature that emphasizes and explains why Jews rest on the seventh day.

What is the antecedent to "it"? I assume the Bible, but I would like to make sure.

If "'Day' is the word that it used" then why did you say that the English translators put the word there? (This is an assertion you made; I'm just trying to figure out why you made it.)

The rest of your paragraph is correct as far as it goes, but it does not explain why one should not understand "day" to be a 24 hour period, especially since Moses consistently uses the phrase "evening and morning." As Don K points out above, that definitely fits in with Exodus 20.

Now, you can argue that Moses (or the Priestly writer or whoever) thought God created the world in six days, but we know much better; it was really billions and trillions of years. But you can't argue that the author of Genesis thought it was anything else than six 24 hour days. It just doesn't work. (By your own admission, you said one of the purposes of writing this was to explain why Jews did not work on the Sabbath. Obviously, you don't think they take billions of years off.)

Of course, you can always go with Isaac Asimov's explanation: Moses really knew it was billions of years, but he only had enough scroll length to describe seven days.

Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on January 03, 2018, 11:27:20 AM
Quote from: jebutler on January 03, 2018, 09:41:03 AM2) 1 Cor 12:27a--Wow. You like to take stuff out of context don't you? I mean, why not quote the entire passage: "and each of you is a part of it"? Except, of course, it would destroy your point.

That doesn't make any difference to my point. Does "body" change meanings when it's in the sentences: "This is my body" and "You are the body of Christ"?

Yes, "body" changes meaning: the first is a statement of fact; the second is a metaphor.

But if you want to say that Jesus is only speaking metaphorically when he says "This is my body" and that the Eucharist really isn't his body, then go ahead. Calvinists, Zwinglians, etc. have been making it for years. Just don't argue that you're Lutheran, because Lutherans have always denied that argument.

Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on January 03, 2018, 11:27:20 AM
Quote from: jebutler on January 03, 2018, 09:41:03 AM
3) 1 Cor 15:54--Again, you like to rip out of context. The point Paul is making is contrasting our mortal bodies with the immortal. In Philippians, he notes that our bodies will be like Christ's "glorious body" which is saying the same thing.

So, you agree with me that context is important for understanding the meaning of a word: - that "day" in Genesis 1 could mean something different than in Exodus 20 because the contexts are different? The context of 1 Corinthians 15 comes from the context of what we know about our human bodies - they get old, they deteriorate, they do not last forever. Even when bodies are placed in our graves, they continue to decay and deteriorate. The stuff God gave us for our bodies during our short stay on earth just won't work for an eternal, resurrected life. If that's true for our bodies, why not also for Christ's resurrected, eternal body?

A. Yes, context is important. Has anyone said otherwise? If anything, you are the one who has consistently denied the importance of context. Seriously, reading your comments reminds me of Humpty Dumpty in Alice in Wonderland "When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less."

B. Yes, "day" could mean something different in Genesis 1 and Ex. 20. Except that would completely destroy Moses' argument in Exodus 20. In fact, it would destroy your own statement, that Genesis 1 "explains why Jews rest on the seventh day." If "day" has a different meaning in Gen. 1 and Ex. 20, then it can't explain "why Jews rest on the seventh day." So it either has different meanings or it makes that explanation; it can't do both.

Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on January 03, 2018, 11:27:20 AM
Quote from: jebutler on January 03, 2018, 09:41:03 AM
4) "God's right hand"--you are correct, that is a metaphor. BTW, one interprets metaphors literally when one interprets it as a metaphor, because that is what it literally is.

So, why shouldn't "day" be considered a metaphor in Genesis 1? E.g., a reference to a huge division of time? Or just a literary divice?

Explain how a "huge division of time" can have an "evening and a morning." Explain how that works with Ex. 20, which clearly bases its argument on Genesis 1.

Now, you might argue that Genesis is wrong. It was billions of years (or maybe quadrillions--quintillions anyone?) but the question is: what did the author of Genesis understand it to be? Since, by your own admission, one of the purposes was to explain why the Jews rest on the seventh day, then the understanding must be an ordinary day.
"Pastor Butler... [is] deaf to the cries of people like me, dismissing our concerns as Satanic scenarios, denouncing our faith and our very existence."--Charles Austin

Brian Stoffregen

Quote from: pearson on January 03, 2018, 03:08:13 PM
Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on January 03, 2018, 02:06:35 AM

It is metaphorical language. We need to interpret the words by what they meant to the original author and hearers.


I'm not sure that we can ever know "what it meant" to the original author and hearers.  As you, and others here, have often pointed out, language is fluid and dynamic.  "Meaning" does not attach to words in isolation; "meaning" attaches to contexts, and words gesture toward those contexts.  That's what gives words their metaphorical implications.  In the end, or so I think, "word studies" become an artificial exercise, particularly when we are dealing with words in ancient languages.


If we aren't seeking the meaning(s) to the original author and hearers, what then becomes the criteria for determining if an interpretation is accurate or far-fetched? The other extreme is to let the text mean whatever a reader thinks it means to him/her. 100 people could read a text and all come up with different interpretations. How would one argue that some might be wrong?
I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

pearson

#313
Quote from: Dave Benke on January 03, 2018, 03:28:49 PM

The proof-texting methodology popular in some circles is context-free and simply attaches one passage anywhere to another passage anywhere else - "Judas went out and hanged himself......Go and do thou likewise."  While in my grad studies at the seminary aeons ago I did many pre-computer word study comparisons, often examining a word from Canaanite roots (Ugaritic) through to Philo of Alexandria, which is a swath of time and cultural difference.  What had to be taken into account throughout was the immediate and more distant context.  And even that was imprecise at best.  Kittel and others like that do a great job of giving the history of the word in context in a variety of historical eras and through a variety of authors biblical and non-biblical.  So although artifical, the exercise can and does lead to relatively firm conclusions.  And yet, those words and phrases may have taken on a very different meaning in the intervening 2000 years.


This is good; thank you, Pr. Benke.  Part of what I want to contest is the commonplace notion that language is a "container" for "meaning," or that whatever counts as "meaning" is linguistically constructed.  I think that is simply wrong.  A lot of people (Mark Johnson is one; George Lakoff is another; Wittgenstein before any of them) have convincingly shown (or so it seems to me) that "meaning is use"; that is, "meaning" emerges from the way language is used in human contexts, and it is those contexts that determine the "meaning."  Our contemporary north American context provides a supple framework within which the various uses of language generate "meaning(s)", and we can grasp those "meaning(s)" because we are comfortably ensconced within that framework.  Trying to capture the framework of the ancient Hebrews or of the Hellenistic period of the Roman Empire by inspecting their respective vocabularies and assigning lexical significance to those vocabularies is like busywork in a vacuum.  In itself, that effort will tell us nothing.  A more modest enterprise would be to make an effort to immerse ourselves in the ordinary culture of that time and place, to try to absorb the way those folks made sense of the world, and the way in which they used language to engage that worldview.  It was that worldview that supplied the context of "meaning," and their vocabularies were molded around that "meaning."  So, in the end, I suppose, what rankles is the presentation of linguistic analysis as if it were the description of historical and cultural "meaning."  That ain't right.

Tom Pearson

Brian Stoffregen

Quote from: jebutler on January 03, 2018, 03:32:31 PM
Explain how a "huge division of time" can have an "evening and a morning." Explain how that works with Ex. 20, which clearly bases its argument on Genesis 1.


The same way that there can be an "evening and a morning" and light before there was a sun, moon, and planets. The text is poetic.

QuoteNow, you might argue that Genesis is wrong. It was billions of years (or maybe quadrillions--quintillions anyone?) but the question is: what did the author of Genesis understand it to be? Since, by your own admission, one of the purposes was to explain why the Jews rest on the seventh day, then the understanding must be an ordinary day.


Genesis 1 (as well as Genesis 2) are mythic. They were written to explain things that were already known. Long before "P" compiled Genesis 1, Jews were resting on the seventh day. Why? A reason given in Genesis 1 and Exodus 20 is because God rested on the seventh day. (That commandment in Deuteronomy 5 gives a different reason for observing the sabbath day, but that was created by a different compiler.)


Why are humans different from all other animals? Genesis 1 says it's because humans were created last and only humans were created in the image of God - both males and females. Genesis 2 has God forming the man first and God breathed the breath of life into him - then woman was made from the rib (or middle) of the man. At the same time, there are similarities between humans and animals. Genesis 1 indicates we were all created in the same way - God spoke and it happened. Genesis 2 has the man and all the animals being formed from the ground ('adamah).
I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

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