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Author Topic: Reading and Understanding the Bible  (Read 7596 times)
Oscar
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« on: November 05, 2005, 10:41:31 pm »

Folks,

Here is a link to a page from an article that explains the interpretive method taught at Talbot Seminary.  It is by Dr. Walt Russell, Professor of New Testament and Biblical Exposition.   It is clearly written and explains the problem with the sort of "proof text" teaching that was so common in the assemblies.

The link is to the most important page of the article.  If you wish, the article provides links to the other pages.

I hope it is helpful.   Smiley

http://boundless.org/features/a0000853.html

Blessings,

Thomas Maddux
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Marty
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« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2005, 01:37:27 am »

Folks,

Here is a link to a page from an article that explains the interpretive method taught at Talbot Seminary.  It is by Dr. Walt Russell, Professor of New Testament and Biblical Exposition.   It is clearly written and explains the problem with the sort of "proof text" teaching that was so common in the assemblies.

The link is to the most important page of the article.  If you wish, the article provides links to the other pages.

I hope it is helpful.   Smiley

http://boundless.org/features/a0000853.html

Blessings,

Thomas Maddux




From this article are we then to conclude that Jesus frequented brothels and taverns just hanging out with the drunks, addicts, and prostitutes? Are we to say it is a wise choice for us to spend our Friday and Saturday nights at strip clubs where drug dealers and pimps conduct their business? Just sort of having a coke at the bar and visiting with the locals? After all, the bible doesn’t really tell us to “abstain from the appearance of evil”.

I would suggest if one saw thier teenage son or daughter coming out of one of these establishments they would be somewhat alarmed and concerned. I would suggest that they may see this as at a least appearing as evil and would exhort their child to abstain from such. But now that we are enlightened by this author that we are not called to abstain from the appearance of evil, this practice should then be accepted. After all we are just having a coke.

If you want to talk context this author takes the ministry of the Lord Jesus completely out of context. If you read Matt 9, Mk 2, and Lk 5 you will see that the sinners and publicans came to Jesus and sat with Him while in the house of Levi. His message was these people are sick and need the Great Physician to heal them.  They don’t need clean needles and condoms.

Many today serve the Lord at homeless shelters and food banks taking a message of hope to the hopeless. This is not the “appearance of evil” as this author suggests it is. This is a response to Gods call from Matt 25:45. This is a single verse but many stand upon it. According to the author of this article, they are wrong.

If we are to label this as “proof text teaching” it wasn't just the assembly but many true servants of God practice this. Btw, the assembly taught chapter summary. Yes, context is important, but there are many scriptures that can stand on their own statement such as “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved”. The context of this was Paul was speaking in response to the jail guard’s inquiry. Does that mean only jail guards and if we stretch it perhaps the warden can be saved by this method? I don’t think so, but I am not a Talbot graduate.




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outdeep
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« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2005, 04:54:50 am »

From this article are we then to conclude that Jesus frequented brothels and taverns just hanging out with the drunks, addicts, and prostitutes? Are we to say it is a wise choice for us to spend our Friday and Saturday nights at strip clubs where drug dealers and pimps conduct their business? Just sort of having a coke at the bar and visiting with the locals? After all, the bible doesn’t really tell us to “abstain from the appearance of evil”.
Actually, no.  The article isn't saying anythign about how we should conduct outreaches.  The point of the article was that "Avoid all appearances of evil" had a very specific meaning in 1 Thessalonians.  We have interpreted that verse to mean much more and applied it much more generally than Paul intended because we divorse the verse from its immediate context.  While I would agree that it is a good idea to "abstain from the appearance of evil" by not going into a strip joint, this does not mean that this is what Paul had in mind when he was talking to the Thessalonians.  Jesus did indeed do things that indeed appeared evil to the religious leaders of the day (mingling with sinners) even though he committed no sin.  There may be times where we may have to follow this example and do something that "appears evil" to some because it is the right thing to do.  A good example of this would be (while we were in the Assembly) befriending someone who left and is walking apart from Christ.  In this case we should not "avoid all appearence of evil" and reach out to the fallen brother even though we will get flack for it. 

This is why the author was arguing that Paul was not arguing a general principle of "abstain for the appearance of evil" in every possible case but was talking about a specific situation at the church in Thesslonica.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2005, 04:57:13 am by Dave Sable » Logged
Mark C.
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« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2005, 05:03:00 am »

Hi Marty!

   The title of this thread is "reading and understanding the bible" and I don't think your response to the article is indicative of you doing either of these two things very well.

  The article is not advocating "hanging out at strip clubs,etc." it is just dealing with learning how to interpret the bible in context.

   The "chapter summary," method that the Assembly used, was not a "study" of the Bible at all,  (GG disliked the word "study" because he saw it as a "dead" intellectual pursuit) as he preferred what he called "revelatory experiences" in Bible reading.

   This meant that one person would see one thing in a chapter and another person would see something completely contradictory, but that did not matter because "the Spirit was speaking to each individual as they opened their hearts to God."

  Of course, if GG saw something his interpretation trumped all, as he saw like none of us could the true meaning of a passage. Wink

  I think you can see the danger in turning the bible into a shifting muddle of mystical meanings where basic hermenutical principles are considered "dead works."

                                       God Bless,  Mark C.
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Oscar
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« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2005, 05:58:05 am »

 Marty,

You siad:

From this article are we then to conclude that Jesus frequented brothels and taverns just hanging out with the drunks, addicts, and prostitutes? Are we to say it is a wise choice for us to spend our Friday and Saturday nights at strip clubs where drug dealers and pimps conduct their business? Just sort of having a coke at the bar and visiting with the locals? After all, the bible doesn’t really tell us to “abstain from the appearance of evil”.

I would suggest if one saw thier teenage son or daughter coming out of one of these establishments they would be somewhat alarmed and concerned. I would suggest that they may see this as at a least appearing as evil and would exhort their child to abstain from such. But now that we are enlightened by this author that we are not called to abstain from the appearance of evil, this practice should then be accepted. After all we are just having a coke.

If you want to talk context this author takes the ministry of the Lord Jesus completely out of context. If you read Matt 9, Mk 2, and Lk 5 you will see that the sinners and publicans came to Jesus and sat with Him while in the house of Levi. His message was these people are sick and need the Great Physician to heal them.  They don’t need clean needles and condoms.

Many today serve the Lord at homeless shelters and food banks taking a message of hope to the hopeless. This is not the “appearance of evil” as this author suggests it is. This is a response to Gods call from Matt 25:45. This is a single verse but many stand upon it. According to the author of this article, they are wrong.

If we are to label this as “proof text teaching” it wasn't just the assembly but many true servants of God practice this. Btw, the assembly taught chapter summary. Yes, context is important, but there are many scriptures that can stand on their own statement such as “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved”. The context of this was Paul was speaking in response to the jail guard’s inquiry. Does that mean only jail guards and if we stretch it perhaps the warden can be saved by this method? I don’t think so, but I am not a Talbot graduate.


Marty,

You seem to have profoundly misunderstood what the man is saying in the article.  I just re-read it and I see nothing in it that suggests that there is nothing wrong with doing evil things.  What he is arguing against is the practice of "baptising" current man-made religious rules and regulations and using them to determine what is right and wrong, rather than applying biblical standards to situations.

In Jesus' times the Pharisees taught that a Jew should never under any circumstances associate with Samaritans, (John 4:9) or associate with people who dealt with Gentiles and/or did not rigourously keep the traditions of the Pharisees (Matt. 9:9-12).  Doing these things was considered an "appearance of evil" in the sense that you seem to uderstand it. To them doing these things was seen as just as evil as the examples you give.

Russell is saying that this is an improper use of the phrase, and that is not what it means.

If you wish to argue that it is sinful to go into a bar and drink a coke, you need to make a positive argument for the position.  Perhaps you can.  But just calling anything you disapprove of an "appearance of evil" is not legitimate.  Christians have done this to condemn all sorts of things, including: Playing cards, attending plays and movies of all types, reading novels, watching television, driving cars, dancing, drinking alcohol under any circumstances, on and on.

I have passed out gospel tracts in bars.  Did I sin?  I have witnessed to prostitutes as they stood on the streets.  Did I sin?  Someone passing by could have thought I was negotiating for services.  Definitely an "appearance of evil" in the traditional sense.

But I do not believe I sinned in either case.  To convince me of that, one would need to present clear biblical evidence that what I did was wrong, not just claim it was an "appearance of evil."

Blessings,

Thomas Maddux
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