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LCMS kerfuffle

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

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Brian Stoffregen

Quote from: pearson on January 03, 2018, 04:00:47 PM
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.


I don't buy that argument completely. A word has a range of meanings. That is one can't see the Hebrew word יוֹם and conclude that it must refer to a "dog" because that fits the context. Or to use my illustration of "bar," while it has many different meanings depending on the context, to say, "I had to walk the bar," doesn't make sense. That use of "bar" is outside the range of meanings for the word. Lexicons and concordances and word studies help define the parameters around the meanings of a word. The context then narrows the meaning within the parameters.
I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

pearson

Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on January 03, 2018, 03:52:47 PM

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?


We do theology.  That means giving up the modern myth that studying ancient words will give us ancient "meanings."  It is not unlike the "LCMS kerfuffle" that originated this thread: if we can just secure the high ground when it comes to "origins," that will empower us to explain everything.  I would rather do theology with the western tradition of catholic Christianity, which would offer a much narrower range of legitimate interpretations, and clear the ground of the really goofy ones.

Tom Pearson

Brian Stoffregen

Quote from: pearson on January 03, 2018, 04:17:28 PM
Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on January 03, 2018, 03:52:47 PM

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?


We do theology.  That means giving up the modern myth that studying ancient words will give us ancient "meanings."  It is not unlike the "LCMS kerfuffle" that originated this thread: if we can just secure the high ground when it comes to "origins," that will empower us to explain everything.  I would rather do theology with the western tradition of catholic Christianity, which would offer a much narrower range of legitimate interpretations, and clear the ground of the really goofy ones.


We know what happened when the western tradition of catholic Christianity began to become "goofy." Luther returned to scriptures as the authority and the root of theology. When church fathers affirmed what he read in scriptures, he also used them. Scripture became the authority, not the church. (We could then argue whether or not that was good.)
I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

Dave Likeness

As I endure another bone-freezing wintry day in the Midwest, it warms my heart to hear
the word "Kittel" mentioned in an above post.   Every pastor needs Gerhard Kittel's
Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (9 volumes) in his library.  It is an excellent
resource for teaching and preaching God's Word. 

Donald_Kirchner

#319
Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on January 03, 2018, 04:10:22 PM
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.

What makes you think the light of verse 3 refers to the sun, moon, or planets?

It doesn't.

A day is measured by one rotation of the earth on its axis. But, I read a survey that found that "Twenty-six percent in a survey of 2200 people conducted in 2012 answered that the Sun revolves around the Earth." Perhaps you're in that category.
Don Kirchner

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

Dave Benke

Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on January 03, 2018, 04:25:56 PM
Quote from: pearson on January 03, 2018, 04:17:28 PM
Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on January 03, 2018, 03:52:47 PM

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?


We do theology.  That means giving up the modern myth that studying ancient words will give us ancient "meanings."  It is not unlike the "LCMS kerfuffle" that originated this thread: if we can just secure the high ground when it comes to "origins," that will empower us to explain everything.  I would rather do theology with the western tradition of catholic Christianity, which would offer a much narrower range of legitimate interpretations, and clear the ground of the really goofy ones.


We know what happened when the western tradition of catholic Christianity began to become "goofy." Luther returned to scriptures as the authority and the root of theology. When church fathers affirmed what he read in scriptures, he also used them. Scripture became the authority, not the church. (We could then argue whether or not that was good.)

I'm not a Luther scholar (but I play one on TV - not); however, the proof-texters use the axioms attributed to Luther as their primary hermeneutic to the great disadvantage of actually searching the Scriptures.  Their efforts truly are just word-play, like Bob in "What About Bob" doing goofy word associations.  And in my opinion Luther the Reformer wanted and needed to dispense with the thick crust of overlay that was crippling the Church just as the Renaissance began.  Which was (my opinion) good, real good.  The baby-with-bathwater division then absconded with the kind of rigor Luther demanded of Scriptural study and of the study of history itself and replaced it with a Bible trivia quiz.  In fact, the Confessions are example 1A of the Church being, or at the very least giving it a hard whirl, catholic.

Dave Benke
It's OK to Pray

Brian Stoffregen

Quote from: Pr. Don Kirchner on January 03, 2018, 05:11:04 PM
Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on January 03, 2018, 04:10:22 PM
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.

What makes you think the light of verse 3 refers to the sun, moon, or planets?

It doesn't.

A day is measured by one rotation of the earth on its axis. But, I read a survey that found that "Twenty-six percent in a survey of 2200 people conducted in 2012 answered that the Sun revolves around the Earth." Perhaps you're in that category.


Light needs an energy source. Darkness does not. Sun(s?) and moon were not created until v. 14 on day 4. How would anyone know that the earth was rotating on its axis if they had no reference point like the sun and moon? BTW, on what "day" was the earth created? And another thing, does יוֹם in 1:14, 16, 18 have the same definition it does in the other verses of chapter 1? How long would a "day" have been if it wasn't separated from the night?
I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

Rev Mathew Andersen

#322
Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on January 04, 2018, 02:38:58 AM
Quote from: Pr. Don Kirchner on January 03, 2018, 05:11:04 PM
Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on January 03, 2018, 04:10:22 PM
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.

What makes you think the light of verse 3 refers to the sun, moon, or planets?

It doesn't.

A day is measured by one rotation of the earth on its axis. But, I read a survey that found that "Twenty-six percent in a survey of 2200 people conducted in 2012 answered that the Sun revolves around the Earth." Perhaps you're in that category.


Light needs an energy source. Darkness does not. Sun(s?) and moon were not created until v. 14 on day 4. How would anyone know that the earth was rotating on its axis if they had no reference point like the sun and moon? BTW, on what "day" was the earth created? And another thing, does יוֹם in 1:14, 16, 18 have the same definition it does in the other verses of chapter 1? How long would a "day" have been if it wasn't separated from the night?
It is interesting that you seem unaware of, for instance, the cosmic microwave background which, according to the Big Bang cosmology, predates stars.  Microwaves, of course, are on the same electromagnetic spectrum as visible light. 

There are four fundamental interactions or events in the universe: Strong atomic, weak atomic, gravity and electromagnetic.  These used to be called forces but now they are called interactions because we know what they do but we don't know what they actually ARE or how they do what they do.  So the terminology of event or interaction more clearly conveys our understanding of them.  (by the way, we also do not know what space and time ARE, only how we perceive them).

In short, the existence of the universe implies the existence of electromagnetic interaction with or without the sun or stars.

Also, let's clarify something else.  I know very few serious old earth creationists who claim that the word "day" in Genesis 1 implies millions of years or a long period of time.  The point of being an old earth, or, more accurately, an old universe creationist, is to reconcile the indications of age in the universe with the Genesis account without violating either.  Extending the word "day" does not do that.  First, the addition of "morning and evening" indicate the author was indeed thinking of a 24 hour day or something close to that.  Secondly, placing light before the sun is no problem but placing plants before the sun for a period of millions of years is a problem. Since the point of old earth creationism is to avoid altering the intended meaning of the text, extending the world day is inadequate and does not solve the problem.

That being said, there are some old earth  creationists who really are not concerned with the text and are not that really into the whole  origin question.  (actually most old earth creationists probably fall into this category). If one is going to be an old earth creationist of that stripe, then extending the word "day" is fine.  but they don't really tend to get into debates about the subject anyway.

I say this by the way, as an old universe/young earth creationist.

D. Engebretson

President Matthew Harrison's response:
https://blogs.lcms.org/2018/64959 "Concerning the Six-Day Creation"
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

SomeoneWrites

Quote from: Mathew Andersen on January 04, 2018, 08:05:53 AM

I say this by the way, as an old universe/young earth creationist.

When you say this, do you mean it appears old, but is in fact young? Or the universe is old, and the earth itself is demonstrably young?

Quote from: D. Engebretson on January 04, 2018, 08:45:34 AM
President Matthew Harrison's response:
https://blogs.lcms.org/2018/64959 "Concerning the Six-Day Creation"

His response is what I expected, and yet I'm still a bit disappointed.

Quote
If I reject what Scripture teaches as history about creation, why should I not then reject everything else (including the resurrection itself) that appears contrary to reason?
An errant premise often reaches an errant conclusion. 
LCMS raised
LCMS theology major
LCMS sem grad
Atheist

John_Hannah

"If I reject what Scripture teaches as history about creation, why should I not then reject everything else (including the resurrection itself) that appears contrary to reason?"

That is the logic of rationalism and the Enlightenment. We do not know that it is God's logic.

Peace, JOHN


Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

Donald_Kirchner

Quote from: John_Hannah on January 04, 2018, 09:26:58 AM
"If I reject what Scripture teaches as history about creation, why should I not then reject everything else (including the resurrection itself) that appears contrary to reason?"

That is the logic of rationalism and the Enlightenment. We do not know that it is God's logic.

Peace, JOHN

Actually, it's illogic, a logical fallacy. In this context a fallacy often set forth by Fundamentalists.
Don Kirchner

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

Richard Johnson

#327
Quote from: Dave Likeness on January 03, 2018, 04:39:41 PM
As I endure another bone-freezing wintry day in the Midwest, it warms my heart to hear
the word "Kittel" mentioned in an above post.   Every pastor needs Gerhard Kittel's
Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (9 volumes) in his library.  It is an excellent
resource for teaching and preaching God's Word.

Actually ten volumes. I have a set I'd love to sell, if anyone's interested. (Selling it only because I'm retired and so not really using it; more to the point, I don't have shelf space, and it isn't doing me much good in a box.) When
get home from Houston (where we're helping with a brand new granddaughter, born Dec. 29), I'm going to list it on eBay probably for $75 plus shipping, but if you're interested, message me and make me an offer.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

mj4

Quote from: Dave Likeness on January 03, 2018, 04:39:41 PM
As I endure another bone-freezing wintry day in the Midwest, it warms my heart to hear
the word "Kittel" mentioned in an above post.   Every pastor needs Gerhard Kittel's
Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (9 volumes) in his library.  It is an excellent
resource for teaching and preaching God's Word.

Yes, I know that his dictionary is highly regarded, but doesn't it give you pause that Kittel was a Nazi and anti-Semite?

D. Engebretson

Quote from: mj4 on January 04, 2018, 11:07:52 AM
Quote from: Dave Likeness on January 03, 2018, 04:39:41 PM
As I endure another bone-freezing wintry day in the Midwest, it warms my heart to hear
the word "Kittel" mentioned in an above post.   Every pastor needs Gerhard Kittel's
Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (9 volumes) in his library.  It is an excellent
resource for teaching and preaching God's Word.

Yes, I know that his dictionary is highly regarded, but doesn't it give you pause that Kittel was a Nazi and anti-Semite?

I never heard this before.  Have you seen that reflected in his scholarship?
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

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