Friday, December 11, 2009

Dialogue with Austin on a Bunch of Stuff

Decided it would be cool if as a 50th post I posted some dialogue Austin and I had a few years back now. This was during my Modern Christianity class, so that would've been Fall of 2006, that this was happening. At the time I was just learning about the initial debates between Arminias and the others in the Reformed camp and the formation of TULIP, and was about to learn about Pietism. The cool thing about this conversation is how it wanders and meanders. We didn't actually type like this; the text has been sort of regulated to be more dialogue-quality, but ideas should be all there. That doesn't imply that the ideas are necessarily accurate ones, to history or to our current modes of thinking; I've made at least a few corrections in footnote format based on errors I made or based on my developing thoughts since; for example, I've gotten more Catholic and Austin's gotten less into more traditionally Calvinist/Reformed modes of worship. If Austin wants to add some footnotes or reflection of his own to this post, that would be awesome.
KKairos: ...What exactly do you mean by 'Wesleyan books'?
Xeirxes: Well, the teachings of Wesley; bear with me, I'm not familiar with Arminianism at all.
KKairos: Um, not really considered canon.. they're considered sources of Wesleyan-Arminian thought and theology, obviously. as would Arminias's stuff. (Remember that Arminias started out in the reformed tradition.)
Xeirxes: I see. Hmm.
KKairos: The thing is. Arminias said some stuff. Many people disagreed. TULIP was actually a reaction to that stuff he least that's what my church history reading is indicating.
Xeirxes: Hmm. I also heard, the Arminians came up with a spinoff that was intended to contradict TULIP.
KKairos: They may have, but I think we're talking about the same thing.
Xeirxes: After it was made, but it was really controversial and not all AArminians believed it. I think.
KKairos: At any rate there was controversy in the reformed tradition. Obviously, even though Arminianism lives on in the Wesleyan tradition, Calvinism wins in the reformed. I’d have to reread. There wasn't really any acronym listed for either system. Just that the councils were post-Arminias..
Xeirxes: Ah, ok.
KKairos: (The TULIP thing was listed in passing in my book.)
Xeirxes: Passing. Oh. I read that "as passing" rather than "in passing."
KKairos: In other words, tacked on at the end of a paragraph that explained it in more detail. Heh.
Xeirxes: So, I got a ton of sola scriptura verses. But they basically say that proverbs thing.
KKairos: That's good. ...Hrm. I’m still interested in seeing them.
Xeirxes: Galatians 1:8 is good too.
KKairos: I do think Wesley adopted sola scriptura, sort of. Remember that Luther wasn't opposed to using tradition in liturgy. That was more Calvin's thing.
Xeirxes: Ah, Ok.
KKairos: Wesley's quadrilateral makes scripture the trump card.
Xeirxes: Wait, just to clarify--
KKairos: If tradition, reason, OR experience is contrabiblical, than the bible wins
Xeirxes: Liturgy would be literature used in the religion?
KKairos: Ok. So for worship and stuff. This is the way it was explained to me in modern Christianity, is that for Luther, anything that scripture didn't forbid was allowed. But for Calvin, anything that wasn't commanded was forbidden. Obviously there's quite a difference in those two attitudes.[1]
Xeirxes: Yes, okay.
KKairos: So early Calvinists, apparently, took their hymns directly from the scriptures. My understanding, assuming I understand correctly, is that Lutherans would've been allowed a bit more leeway as to, say, the words or tune of a hymn.
Xeirxes: That makes sense; we really don't have much other than a piano and hymns in our church.
KKairos: Yes, but you're still not the same as the very early Calvinists. at least, not if you've sung anything like “You Are My All in All.”[2]
Xeirxes: They probably made their women cover their hair, right?
KKairos: As I think I may have picked up [reference to the hymn.]
Xeirxes: Yeah, we've sung that :)
KKairos: ...It's crazy how all these different ideas grow and develop.
Xeirxes: Yeah, it is :D
KKairos: There was one guy I thought was especially cool; unfortunately in his immediate time his ideas didn't make much impact. They basically had to do with what could be considered essential belief for salvation. Can't remember his name. But basically his theory was that while we could look at scripture and find new things that we considered part of Christian belief, that was fine. However. the only stuff that could make someone heretical would have to be found somewhere in the first 500 years or so of the church. Because in that time there was sort of much more unity as to who was a heretic and who was saved and whatnot.
Xeirxes: Hmm. Well...
KKairos: It's a flawed theory sort of, but I enjoyed learning about the possible origins of the idea about essential and non-essential belief.
Xeirxes: There've definitely been some heretics recently :)
KKairos: Yes.
Xeirxes: Harold Camping, saying that the bible says we shouldn't go to church and they should just listen to his radio show.
KKairos: Who are you thinking of specifically?
Xeirxes: Also this one pastor of my church. He was, like, really doing a bad job, and not caring at all.
KKairos: Well the bible does not really say "go to church on Sunday at 11:00 am and worship God for approximately an hour and fifteen minutes." But it's certainly one of the better methods that's been developed for fulfilling the commandment :). What do you mean by not caring?
Xeirxes: Nope, but he said that the church is going to become evil and that you don't need to gather on Sundays
KKairos: Hrm.. that's...kind of stupid :)
Xeirxes: At least, from what I gather. He was sort of into the Revelations stuff. Eschatology.
KKairos: Eschatology is great.
Xeirxes: So, Arminians DO believe in sola scriptura.
KKairos: Unless you get to being one of those people who won't buy a house or settle down anywhere because Christ could come any day. It sort of misses the point :/
Xeirxes: Yeah :D
KKairos: I would guess that the oldest Arminians would have. For instance Jacobus Arminias himself. I’m not sure what Wesleyan-Arminianism says on the subject. The thing is--
Xeirxes: Hmm.
KKairos: I’m thinking that sola scripture doesn't necessarily mean that no tradition is allowed. but I’d have to check on the subject. Because if that's what it meant it seems Luther wouldn't have allowed any tradition in liturgy.
Xeirxes: Well, even we have tradition.
KKairos: Also I get to read about Pietism next, which means I get to read about john and Charles Wesley and the earliest Methodists. Yes.
Xeirxes: But the argument Calvinists make, or at least in my church is, you do not need ANYTHING other than the bible to come to saving knowledge.
KKairos: Oh.. I agree with that.
Xeirxes: And also, the bible is the sole word of God, and no other books are required for advice or anything.
Xeirxes: Like in terms of running the church, counseling, etc.
KKairos: As far as what's necessary for salvation I agree. However I would not take that so far as to say that extrabiblical sources (particularly spiritual ones) would be necessarily bad sources of those things.
Xeirxes: Well, the extrabiblical sources should preferably be based entirely on scripture.
KKairos: For instance josh harris is an extrabiblical source, but he's not necessarily contrabiblical (I’m making up words here, but I think you understand what they mean). Yes. but the ultimate test (for me) is "does this tradition contradict scripture?"
Xeirxes: Ah, I see.
KKairos: Or "does this author contradict scripture?". and wherever they do, either a) the contradiction must be reconciled or b) the scriptural position must be accepted.
Xeirxes: Well, that's where our church would differ.
KKairos: And of course making things more complicated are the dozens of interpretations coming out of almost any particular passage of scripture.
Xeirxes: Because a lot of things could be accepted, for instance Rick Warren's teaching and stuff. Because it does not have a solid biblical base (he quotes scriptures out of context) we simply do not recommend his books or sell them at the bookstore.
KKairos: But Rick Warren's teaching still isn't considered scripture.
Xeirxes: True, but it's not based on scripture. So we don't look to it for any sort of guidance.
KKairos: In Wesleyan thought nothing that's not scripture (aside from, I would hope, God) can be even on par with scripture, much less be above it.
Xeirxes: Hmm
KKairos: As for Rick Warren. He's...seeming interesting.[3]
Xeirxes: He scares me :o
KKairos: I’d have to read what he's got to say and see how it works with or against the scriptures. Well if certain reports are true he definitely scares me. (I believe certain reports say he's backing some 'Christian' video game where you can pick your side, or something). I don't really like the idea of 'Christian' video games; I think it'd be awesome if someone could convey allegory or Christian morality IN a video game.
Xeirxes: Oh, that stupid left behind series game. Where you can play as an anti-Christian as well.
KKairos: But usually whenever someone actually makes a religious video game it just comes across hokey. Ah, that's the one, thne. then. Ack :/
Xeirxes: If I made a Biblical game I’d make a strategy game based off of the Old Testament.
KKairos: Heh.
Xeirxes: Except for the fact that like 90% of the battles were won through supernatural force :P
KKairos: Yeah.
Xeirxes: So, it'd be predictable; every time.
KKairos: Or really tedious. like having to pick out which of your soldiers lap up the water like dogs. and which ones scoop it with their hands :).
Xeirxes: Hahahahah.
KKairos: And make sure that only the right kind (I forget which) go into battle.
Xeirxes: That's a funny thought :D. Getting the pathfinding to work when they walk around Jericho's wall.
KKairos: Having to wait till EXACTLY the 7th day to blow the freakin' trumpet.
Xeirxes: Yeah, Hahaha.
KKairos: And if you're off by more than a second you lose the mission and must restart.
Xeirxes: "Ooops! You blew the trumpet too early. Start over!"
KKairos: Also, having to go in as the spies and hide in Rahab's roof
Xeirxes: Hahaha. OR even worse: David being chased through the countryside by Saul, and not being able to kill him, but he can kill you.
KKairos: Racing games :)
Xeirxes: :D. oh yeah, so back on sola scriptura. Luther said: “Unless I am overcome with testimonies from Scripture or with evident reasons -- for I believe neither the Pope nor the Councils, since they have often erred and contradicted one another -- I am overcome by the Scripture texts which I have adduced, and my conscience is bound by God's Word.” And this is quoted from And then, the Belgic Confession: “We believe that [the] holy Scriptures fully contain the will of God, and that whatsoever man ought to believe unto salvation is sufficiently taught therein...Neither may we consider any writings of men, however holy these men may have been, of equal value with those divine Scriptures nor ought we to consider custom or the great multitude, or antiquity, or succession of times and persons, or councils, decrees or statutes, as of equal value with the truth of God...Therefore, we reject with all our hearts whatsoever does not agree with this infallible rule.”
KKairos: Yeah.
Xeirxes: So, it sort of does agree.
KKairos: Yeah.
Xeirxes: Because it basically says they can't have equal value, it doesn't say NOT to use them.
KKairos: Yeah.. and if they contradict--I would add 'truly contradict,' to be safe--then scripture is the winner.
Xeirxes: Yeah. A winner is scripture!
KKairos: Of course that is reformation stuff. while there was a Catholic reformation, the Catholic church has never accepted the principle of sola scriptura.
Xeirxes: Whoa, really?
KKairos: No. scripture and tradition are considered on equal footing, at least that's my understanding. So they're considered to be in harmony with one another.
Xeirxes: Wow. that's pretty scary.
KKairos: I don't think that means that nothing in tradition can ever be challenged. Well naturally it's scary to you; you're one of them people of the Westminster confession :p
Xeirxes: Haha.
KKairos: And actually it was pretty weird to me the first time I heard it.
Xeirxes: Well, if you are curious about that. Matthew 15:2-6. That seems to sum it up for me at least.
KKairos: Heh, yeah.
Xeirxes: A lot of Catholic tradition is fine to me, but there's some stuff that 'lives on the edge' from what I’ve seen. like the veneration of the saints.
KKairos: Ah yeah, veneration :/. there's quite a few things that are sticking points for me, still.
Xeirxes: My mom said, when she was a child, they actually prayed to saints per different illnesses experienced or something like that.
KKairos: sounds about right for some families. also I highly recommend reading about the earliest Arminian/Calvinist thought. It's interesting how they make their distinctions regarding divine election.
Xeirxes: There's a joke in our church, when Peter is with Jesus and he's about to ascend to heaven, and Moses and Elijah are there, Peter wants to set up a shrine for each and my pastor interjected, "See? he's already becoming Catholic."
KKairos: Well your pastor got that wrong or you did, because that was at the transfiguration. :p
Xeirxes: Oh yeah. I did. :D
[1] I definitely got the Calvin part wrong. It's definitely that anything not expressly permitted is forbidden.
[2] Modern worship song considered by some to be a modern hymn.
[3] In years since this conversation I've actually developed a large amount of respect for Warren.

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