Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The power of the message

I am working on material for the next Theology House Lenten Studies book, Risk: Through Lent with Acts (January, 2017). In Acts 20:32, Paul farewelling the Ephesian elders says,

"And now I commend you to God and to the message of his grace."

A first thought is that commending someone to God's grace is sufficient so the additional "and to the message of his grace" is unexpected. Why?

An implication is that God chooses both to work in the believer through his indwelling Spirit and also through the medium of his Word, the message of his grace, the gospel.

God can and does build us up through the Spirit working within each believer but also through the medium of the Word.

This message of grace, Paul continues in Acts 20:32, is

"a message that is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all who are sanctified."

In the particular context of Paul's warning of savage wolves threatening to tear the flock of God apart in Ephesus, he is saying that a critical factor in preventing the savagery is attention to the message of God's grace.

This is an always pertinent message to the church in every era and every place.

In terms of some currents in the church today, it is also a message which reminds us that the power to nurture the soul does not lie solely in the "ministry of the Sacrament." Vital to Christian growth, steadfastness and liveliness is the "ministry of the Word."

47 comments:

Father Ron said...

Dear Peter, may I presume on you to publish this 'Thought for today' from the Jesuit web-site that promotes daily retreats? :

"Love changes everything. It changes all that we do and say. Jesus embodies the love of God for us. This love was seen in Jesus’ preaching and healing, his interaction with sinners, and his compassion for the poor. Jesus so loved his Father that his only mission was to do the will of the One who sent him. Jesus reveals to us the face of God. As we come to know God through Jesus, we are drawn into love with the Father. As we grow in this relationship, our love spills over to others, and the circle of love keeps growing." - Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison, Kyrie eleison!

Shawn Herles said...

Hi Peter.

"God can and does build us up through the Spirit working within each believer but also through the medium of the Word."

Yes, they are tied at the hip. The work of the Spirit within, and the ministry of the written Word, complement each other, and are both essential.

"it is also a message which reminds us that the power to nurture the soul does not lie solely in the "ministry of the Sacrament." Vital to Christian growth, steadfastness and liveliness is the "ministry of the Word."

Whether its Scripture, the sacraments, or the power of God working within us, it's all the one work of the one Holy Spirit. Privileging one over the others can lead to imbalance, both in our spiritual growth and in our understanding of doctrinal truth.

Brendan McNeill said...

Hi Peter

Pew research when polling Christians on moral issues like abortion, gay marriage etc. found that Evangelicals were more conservative than Catholics. This despite the fact that Catholics have very clear teaching and doctrine on these matters.

One observer suggested that this is due to both streams having a different ‘starting point’. Catholics start with Sacraments and Liturgy, whereas Evangelicals start with the Word of God. The implication being that where you start from may also affect where you end up.

I have been pondering this, and wondered how much this affects what you describe as ‘some currents in the church today’, - how a different ‘weighting’ upon Scripture in the context of church life might lead to different understandings.

Viva the ministry of the Word!

Father Ron said...

I'm reminded of the old adage about teaching one's grandmother how to suck eggs. I guess, in the end, we are products of our upbringing; some follow it, some struggle against it. Openness to God is all. Some learn from experience, others may be autodidacts; but, where is wisdom found? Only in God.

Shawn Herles said...

Where is God's wisdom found? Only in Scripture.

Peter Carrell said...

Not on any blogs?
:)

Shawn Herles said...

"Not on any blogs?"

Sometimes... :)

Andrei said...

"Pew research when polling Christians on moral issues like abortion, gay marriage etc. found that Evangelicals were more conservative than Catholics. This despite the fact that Catholics have very clear teaching and doctrine on these matters.

One observer suggested that this is due to both streams having a different ‘starting point’. Catholics start with Sacraments and Liturgy, whereas Evangelicals start with the Word of God. The implication being that where you start from may also affect where you end up."


Pew research Brendon?

American nonsense.

For a start those who end up recorded as Catholic in their surveys may not have been inside a church for years, maybe not even since childhood

Secondly in all Christian liturgies the first part of the Liturgy is known as the "Liturgy of the Word" or more correctly "Liturgy of the Catechumens" and culminates in the reading of scripture culminating with the Gospels

What strikes me about the less liturgical approach to worship is missing the feeling reverence as we approach God but Brendon the Word is there in the Liturgy and in a way that is up front and center

I'd wouldn't take Pew surveys as meaning anything

Shawn Herles said...

"Pew research Brendon? American nonsense."

Pew Research has a very good reputation for reliability. And simply stating that something is American is not an argument.

"What strikes me about the less liturgical approach to worship is missing the feeling reverence as we approach God."

Not true. In the non liturgical church I attend on Sunday evenings there is great reverence. Of course, what counts as reverence may differ from one culture to another. In Old Testament descriptions of worship there is dancing, the waving of palms, wailing and singing, and banging on cymbals and drums. To someone in a middle class English Anglican church, or an Orthodox church in Moscow, this would all seem very irreverent. And to me, it sounds a lot like Pentecostal worship.

Father Ron said...

I'm with Andrei on his appreciation of liturgical worship. There is a place for 'letting one's hair down' in pentecostal prayer meetings (I've enjoyed that myself many years ago) but that may not match the experience available in the beautiful formality of ordered liturgical worship. Christ is at the Centre in ordered liturgy - both the Word in Scripture - 3 separate Readings: from the O.T., an Epistle and the Gospel of the day as well as a Psalm, with accompanying homily - and with the Word-made-Flesh, Christ's Bodily Presence in the Sacrament that he left with the Church, to be consumed as His guarantee of provenance in the gathered community of the Body of Christ.

Also, of course, one needs periods of pure Silence at the heart of the Liturgy - something often notably absent in the excitement of pentecostal worship-fests.

The discipline of the Lectionary - used in the daily Liturgy - ensures a proper overview of the whole of Scripture - without the trap of being haphazardly led to concentrating on favourite bits of Scripture that suit one's personal mission agenda. Words in The Book - together with The Word made Flesh - this is the recipe for balanced Christian worship - par excellence.

Glen Young said...


Hi Peter,

Many years ago,a barrister moved to my home village.He had won several cases of renown and made a practice of writing up cases for other Barristers in the city.Besides law,he was lettered in Theology,Science and Philosophy.As he was a bachelor living alone,my father would pick him after Kirk and bring home to share our Sunday roast.After lunch and over a glass of wine,they would discuss all and sundry.He had a large influence on my hopes and aspirations as a growing lad.When he died,his family passed onto me, an old loose leaf Bible which was lying beside him, on his bed.On the front page he had written:


"We've travelled together my Bible and I,
Through all kinds of weather,with smile or with sigh,
In sorrow or sunshine,in tempest or calm.
Thy friendship unchanging,my lamp and my Psalm.

We've travelled together my Bible and I,
when life had grown weary and death was nigh;
but all through the darkness of mist or of wrong,
I found in Thee,a solace,a prayer and a song.

So now who shall part us,my Bible and I?
Shall "isms" and "schisms" or new lights who try?
Shall shadow for substance or stone for good bread,
Supplant Divine Wisdom and give folly instead?

Ah,no,my dear Bible,exponent of light!
Thou sword of the Spirit,put error to flight!
And still through life's journey,until my last sigh,
we'll travel together,my Bible and I.

Andrei said...

I guess Shawn that when people identify as Catholic or Orthodox that does not mean they are faithful church attenders or well founded in the Faith - that may also be true for others who identify shall we say denominationally whereas I'd suggest those who identify as Evangelical or Pentecostal on such forms probably are almost certainly regular church goers maybe be in multiple venues?

The four wheeled Pravoslavnyy, a priest once said in a homily I heard many years ago, - they come in a pram to be baptized, a car to be married and a hearse to be buried and never in between

The homily was on "The labourers in the vineyard" and how we should labour and how it was never to late to start and there was hope for our loved ones who were missing from Church that day and every Sunday and Holy day.

And that many come to God in their own time and how they were our brethren - it must have been a good homily because it has stuck and I haven't done it justice

But a major point is that we shouldn't be " four wheeled 'Pravoslavnyy'" so that when they do come home we are there to welcome them so they may grow in the Faith even at the eleventh hour

But the way that people identify their Christianity means when confronted with a survey is that people who have identified as Catholic, say, may well provide other answers on that survey that contradict Catholic teaching and thus provide an opportunity for some subtle Catholic bashing...

Andrei said...

"To someone in a middle class English Anglican church, or an Orthodox church in Moscow, this would all seem very irreverent."

There is plenty of joy in the Orthodox ways Shawn

" To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

...


4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;"


Good Friday is a solemn day with a quiet solemn service - Pascha see a service of joy and celebration "Christos Anesti!" the Priest shouts out "Alithos Anesti!" comes the reply, "Christos Voskrese" shouts the priest "Voistinu voskrese!" comes the reply, "Christ is risen" shouts the priest "truly he has risen" comes the reply

You are right about the cultural aspects of course Shawn but the liturgical year has its seasons as does our every day life and our journey through it

There is a rhythm to it all

And as we follow that rhythm we become wiser in the Faith (we hope) year after year growing in Faith and understanding as we mature and imparting it to those around us by our words and actions

Shawn Herles said...

Over the last thirty years I have experienced just about every kind of Christian worship there is. Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Anglican in several forms, Quaker, Baptist, old school Pentecostal and contemporary Evangelical, Russian Orthodox and Greek Orthodox. What I have learned in that time is that the outward form has little if anything to do with the spiritual quality and the sense of reverence. I have experienced liturgical churches where there was a genuine sense of reverence and God's presence, and some where there was just dry repetition of rote forms, people just going through the motions. And the same with non liturgical churches.

As Jesus taught, it's about the heart, not the outward form. No matter the type and culture of worship, if there is a genuine craving for, and seeking after, God's power and presence, the quality of the worship will reflect that.

Glen Young said...


Hi Peter,

Several times in your introduction to this blogg,you use the rather interesting word "BUILD".It is interesting, because the Church is the place where the saints (the congregation), are educated and edified,2nd Tim.3:16;and where they are perfected and receive the necessary "Spiritual Gifts" to fulfill their Godly ministries and missions. EPH.6:11 and 1st Cor.1

The members of the Church are temple of God.1 Cor.3:16 & 17 and 6:19 & 20.
As you say,God can and does build us up.Acts 20:32.

Brendon makes a cogent observation :"The implication being, that where you start may also affect where you end up."Oct 18th @ 10:33 AM. Jesus is recorded in Matt. 7:24.26,as saying that the house must be built on rock and not sand.But our temples are multi-storied and hence the importance of calculating the correct structural requirements. Isaiah 28 lays down the building technique:"Precept upon precept,precept upon precept,line upon line,line upon line,here a little and there a little." In building the temple,you must start with a properly engineered foundation and then work story by story.There are no short cuts.Where you start and how you construct will determine whether you have a leaking building or not.

Paul writes:"When I was a child,I spake as a child,I understood as a child,I thought as a child:but when I became a man,I put away childish things.1 Cor
13:11. A vital part of Church life to encourage this and in the correct manner.

The FEAR of the LORD is the beginning of WISDOM,and the KNOWLEDGE of the HOLY is UNDERSTANDING. Prov.9:10



Bryden Black said...

Where do we find the command "Do this in rememberance of me"?

Shawn Herles said...

"There is plenty of joy in the Orthodox ways Shawn"

That wasn't my point. I was talking about different cultural perceptions of what reverence means in practice.

"I guess Shawn that when people identify as Catholic or Orthodox that does not mean they are faithful church attenders or well founded in the Faith"

I suspect Pew Research accounted for that.

Andrei said...

"I have experienced liturgical churches where there was a genuine sense of reverence and God's presence, and some where there was just dry repetition of rote forms, people just going through the motions. And the same with non liturgical churches."

That is to do with you not the church - it is your experience of the occasion which may not match the experience of others present

"The long dark night of the soul" - Mother Teresa apparently felt spiritual dryness through much of her life.

Part of the struggle

How many times might a liturgically minded Christian say the Lord's Prayer during their lifetime - It could easily exceed 30,000 times maybe even double that, and it can trip off the tongue without a thought of what it means or you could focus on each phrase

When said in church some will have their minds on what they are going to do after church (or other matters) as they say the words while others will be savouring the meaning of the prayer (I'll bet all of us have done both at different times)

Being a Faithful Christian is a long haul and we know people fall by the wayside (see the parable of the sower) - When we feel God's presence we are blessed, when He feels distant we must persist and trust

Andrew Reid said...

Just a fun fact, the only other time the phrase "message of his grace" appears in the Bible is Acts 14:3, where God confirms the messsage of his grace through Paul & Barnabas at Iconium through signs and wonders. Elsewhere in the NT, "message" usually occurs on its own without a descriptor ("the message") or with a generic descriptor like gospel, Lord, or Christ. However, sometimes words like salvation, wisdom, truth, or reconciliation are used to highlight a particular aspect of the message. I think the Ephesians passage is the only place where people are commended to the message. Overwhelmingly, that message is spoken, received/heard or obeyed/rejected. Perhaps 2 Corinthians 5 where God "commits" to the apostles the message of reconciliation is the closest parallel.

Andrei said...

"That wasn't my point. I was talking about different cultural perceptions of what reverence means in practice."

Be aware Shawn - Acts 20

"28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.

30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them."


And you know that many terrible things have occurred even in our own times at the instigation hands of charismatic leaders professing a pseudo Christianity - The Peoples Temple of the Disciples of Christ is one notorious example or the Branch Davidians.

How do we stay safe?

We stick to the Church and its ways and its teachings!

There are wolves out there Shawn - I've encountered them and sometimes their works have tested my Faith

Shawn Herles said...

"That is to do with you not the church - it is your experience of the occasion which may not match the experience of others present"

If you know how, either through gifting or practice, it's possible to objectively discern spiritual things.

"And you know that many terrible things have occurred even in our own times at the instigation hands of charismatic leaders"

Terrible things have occurred in all sorts of churches. The Serbian Orthodox churches that promoted genocide in the 1990's for example, or the Russian Orthodox churches that promoted antisemitism and pogroms against Jews.

"The Peoples Temple of the Disciples of Christ is one notorious example or the Branch Davidians."

Neither of those churches were charismatic/Pentecostal.

"How do we stay safe?

We stick to the Church and its ways and its teachings!"

Only if the church and it's teachings are right and consistent with Scripture. That's why we had the Reformation, which brings us back to Peter's post and the importance of the Word.

The only way to safe is to immerse ourselves in the Bible, and cling to God and the covering of the blood of Christ.

Andrei said...

"Neither of those churches were charismatic/Pentecostal".

When I use the word "charismatic" I use it in its usual meaning not as a descriptor for a religious movement Shawn

" The Serbian Orthodox churches that promoted genocide in the 1990's "

Don't slander the Orthodox Church Shawn - the Patriarch of Serbia condemned strongly the violence that was taking place in his Nation and added petitions to the litanies praying for fraternal love between the peoples of Yugoslavia and peace

Yugoslavia, Shawn, was a sovereign nation with an independent foreign policy - it was one of the founder members of the non aligned movement after WW2

After the fall of communism this was not allowed to stand and it was dismembered. Today much of it is occupied by NATO who use it to keep the Western World's Jackboot over the peoples of the Balkans - the majority of whom are Orthodox Christians and to allow Western conglomerates to loot its resources

And in the NATO occupied parts the Orthodox populations have largely been ethnically cleansed from their ancient homelands and their churches destroyed

Furthermore where the Orthodox populations remain they are insulted by having Gay Pride Parades flaunt themselves by marching past Orthodox Cathedrals

Shawn Herles said...

Getting back to Brendan's point, more evidence can be found from voting patterns. Despite being the party of social liberalism, on many issues such as gay marriage, abortion, and euthanasia, practicing Catholics tend to vote overwhelmingly for the Democrats. This suggests that the moral teaching of the RC is being ignored and sidelined by most Catholic voters. I don't buy the claim that this arises from a concern for social justice and poverty, as the Dem's don't have a remotely good track record on that issue. (And in the current election they have abandoned the poor and working class in favor of global capitalism)

And in the Anglican Communion there is a discernible pattern with liturgy; the more high church a parish is, the more likely it is to be liberal on moral issues, and theology.

I think there is a good argument to be made that when a church is in submission to the Bible as it's supreme authority, that is, when it is Sola Scriptura, not just in theory, but in the hearts and lives of the congregation, then this generally tends to a stronger grounding in Biblical morality.

Note that I say generally. There are always exceptions to the rule.

Shawn Herles said...

"Don't slander the Orthodox Church Shawn"

'A convicted war criminal who burned alive scores of Bosniak civilians and systematically tortured and raped Bosniak women and under-age girls enjoys the uncritical endorsement of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

The Humanitarian Law Center in Belgrade reports that the Serbian Orthodox Church has hosted a book launch at the parish house of the Cathedral of St. Sava in Belgrade to promote a prison memoir, “Ispovest haškog sužnja” (“Testimony of a Hague prisoner”). The book’s author is the convicted war criminal Milan Lukić — a ruthless mass murderer and serial rapist.'

https://srebrenica-genocide.blogspot.co.nz/2011/08/serbian-orthodox-church-endorses-war.html

And before the usual "Western propaganda" claim is made, the Humanitarian Law Center is a Serbian NGO.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humanitarian_Law_Center

Andrei said...

"And before the usual "Western propaganda" claim is made, the Humanitarian Law Center is a Serbian NGO."

We are getting off topic Shawn but who do you think is behind the "NGO" the "the Humanitarian Law Center"

It is primarily one of George Soros' babies

"NGOs" are fronts that are set up in other peoples countries to undermine them and destroy them. Many of them are funded directly by the CIA such as "THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR DEMOCRACY"

And I'll tell you something else Shawn they even use "Christian" Missions as fronts to turn people against their own Governments and destabilize civil society and that should send chills down your spine

Foreign "Christian" missionaries can be just as dangerous as Salafist preachers to the well being of Sovereign nations

The wolves are out there Shawn and we live in dangerous times which is why sometimes I use terms like the anti-Christ

The Anglican Church needs to restore itself as the authentic voice of Christ in these lands and bring people back into the fold - smearing your fellow Christians using sources set up funded by those who hate Christ and his Church is not the way to do it

The destroyed churches of Kosovo, some of them built before Christopher Columbus discovered America, should tell you all you need to know about whose purpose is really being served

Shawn Herles said...

"but who do you think is behind the "NGO" the "the Humanitarian Law Center"

It is primarily one of George Soros' babies"

It was founded in 1992 by a Serbian women, Nataša Kandić. Soros may well fund it now, but it's not his baby, or a front for the CIA.

"And I'll tell you something else Shawn they even use "Christian" Missions as fronts to turn people against their own Governments and destabilize civil society and that should send chills down your spine"

It would if I thought it was a credible claim. I don't.

"The wolves are out there Shawn and we live in dangerous times which is why sometimes I use terms like the anti-Christ"

The "wolves" you talk about always just happen to be Western or American. That is why I chose the examples of Russian and Serbian churches also doing bad things. To provide some balance.

"smearing your fellow Christians"

Like this?

"they even use "Christian" Missions as fronts to turn people against their own Governments"

Or calling the US "Godless"?

And it's not smearing when it's true. The role of Serbian churches in the genocide is well documented. As was the role of Russian Orthodoxy in the pogroms against Jews.

Evil does not reside exclusively in the West Andrei.

Anyway, as you say this is getting off topic, so this is my last comment on the issue.

Shawn Herles said...

Getting back to the theme of God and the message of His grace, while I agree that this is a reference to Scripture, it also points back to God Himself. God is the gospel.

Baptist minister John Piper has this to say about the nature the good news: "The gospel of Jesus and his many precious blessings are not ultimately what makes the good news good, but means of seeing and savoring the Savior himself. Forgiveness is good because it opens the way to enjoying God himself. Justification is good because it wins access to the presence and pleasure of God himself. Eternal life is good because it becomes the everlasting enjoyment of Jesus.

All God’s good gifts are loving to the degree that they lead us to God himself. This is the love of God: doing everything necessary, most painfully in the death of his Son, to enthrall us with what is most deeply and durably satisfying—namely, himself."

http://www.desiringgod.org/books/god-is-the-gospel

I'm not a Calvinist myself, as Piper is, but I found the book 'God is the Gospel' insightful, and it is worth reading. Piper has made it available in pdf form for free.

Anonymous said...

Peter, if US Catholics vote democrat (and Hispanic Catholics might on the whole ), it doesn't suggest they have sidelined church teaching. It could just as easily mean that they are scared of Republicans and anti-immigration. Nor does it follow that traditional Catholics (who prefer Trent to V2) are like "high" Anglicans. Trads (most of whom are in communion with Rome) don't warm to the Protestant solas, but they criticise the writings of liberal Cardinals. Rorate Caeli is a good example. In fact, today's Rorate Caeli has a link to a 1 hour session on demonic spirits . Hardly a topic for the unity in diversity crowd.

Nick

Jean said...

Just coming back to the blog post:

I suppose the message of God's grace, Christ crucified and risen, was what the Apostles spent their life witnessing to. I suppose this message is also present in the sacraments of Baptism and Communion if understood (and perhaps they cannot be understood without first hearing the message). And I suppose scripture being, "God breathed through the Holy Spirit"... witnesses to this same message. I suppose when the Holy Spirit reveals the word directly to someone the same message is also being told.

I know lots of suppositions!

As for needing both the working of the Spirit in us and the knowledge of the Grace of God through Jesus, "the true worshippers shall worship the Father in Spirit and Truth."

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Andrei
Sorry but I am not happy with two sentences in your comment below ... they may be true but I don't think they are helpful.
P

""Anyway, as you say this is getting off topic, so this is my last comment on the issue.

[]

My point is this The Bible is the Book of the Church and should be read with the Church

It is easy by cherry picking verses to make cases for anything you want and this has been done through the ages

Jehovah's Witnesses will take a verse from a Psalm then another from Revelations and then flick to an Epistle to build a narrative for example

There are preachers who have made themselves rich in earthly goods, turned the Gospel into a business - and don't those who hate the Church leap for joy when such get caught with "rent boys"

It is all very confusing for us living in a post Christian world filled with inane babble

But we have the Church to guide us c.f. Acts 8:26-40

We need more than the Bible though - it is a Book

You can read all the books on welding ever written but you still wont be able to weld - you need to do it

So we need more than the Bible, it is our guide with the Church and our worship in the Church - that is the bigger picture

I think we live in a society that has turned its face away from God and that a judgement is about to fall on us - that's what I think
"

Shawn Herles said...

Hi Andrei

"My point is this The Bible is the Book of the Church and should be read with the Church"

I have no problem reading the Bible with the Church, but it does beggar the question of which church. And I don't think doing so requires liturgy, not that there is anything wrong with liturgy, I just don't see it as a an absolute necessity. However, I disagree that the Bible is the book of the Church, if I understand you correctly. It is God's book. That God's Word stands in judgement over all churches is something the Protestant Reformation got right.

"It is easy by cherry picking verses to make cases for anything you want and this has been done through the ages "

It can yes, but that can happen in any church. I pointed out further up that liberal/progressive churches are usually liturgical, and read the Bible with the Church in that sense, but that does not stop cherry picking.

"There are preachers who have made themselves rich in earthly goods"

Yes, and that has been happening since day one in the Church, and in all types and all denominations. It happens in Protestant, RC and Orthodox churches. That's just human nature. Its not a good thing obviously, but it's not exclusive to Evangelical or Pentecostal churches. Nor is it the norm in either.

Honestly I am not entirely sure what your point is here. If it is a critique of non liturgical Protestant churches, I am not convinced it works.

Andrei said...

There is only one Church Shawn - everyone who comes to it comes by their own path

Muslims believe the Quran was dictated to Mohammed by the Angel Gabriel

Our Scriptures have a variety of books with different authors writing at different times

It was the Church (working through the Holy Spirit we believe) that determined the Canon, that which should be included and that which while worthy perhaps shouldn't

Most Christians who ever lived never had their own Bible Shawn - most couldn't read and through most of Christian history books were very expensive

They grew in Faith through the Church, learned the scriptures through the Church

The reason why you have your Bible is the Church preserved and guarded it through the ages

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Ron
Yesterday you twice offered comments which IMHO were a dig at one or more commenters here.
No.
I am not going down the path of time spent untangling an unnecessary brouhaha.
Regards
Peter

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Andrei
I think the reason why commenters here are reading the Bible in English is because some folk wrenched the Bible out of the control of the priestly power of the church, a priestly power which was prepared to hunt down and execute those who would translate it from the Latin.

Yes, I am looking at you St Thomas More!

Anonymous said...

Huh! More Protestant revisionism :)

Nick

Andrei said...

"Yes, I am looking at you St Thomas More!"

He was a politician not a priest. A politician at a time when politicians didn't get voted out of office but rather lost their heads :)

The Bible was translated into Anglo Saxon in earlier times, there was nothing sacrosanct about Latin - Of course Anglo Saxon would probably be more arcane than Latin or Greek to a modern English speaker - but I'm sure that English Bibles would have come one way or another - things were just messy in the 16th century, I'm glad I didn't live then

The burning of bible translations was a late medieval early renaissance thing in England, I suppose for political rather than theological reasons though I guess the two were tangled back then - maybe they still are now.

Thomas More must be confusing to you since the Church of England recognizes him as a saint :)

All of this is why I suggest the Bible needs to be read through the Church - translations are controversial because languages don't translate precisely and people interpret words differently

Just like Shawn did when I used "charismatic" earlier in this thread - it meant something different to him than it did to me

Glen Young said...


"The burning of Bible translations ...........,I suppose for political rather than theological reasons though I guess the two were tangled back then-maybe they still are now."Andrei-above.

They certainly are !!!!Except that politics has become a false Religion and they do not wish to get rid of "Bible translations" but the Bible itself.They want the Church to read from the book of the UN.as is happening in TEC.
It all starts with challenging the AUTHORITY OF THE SCRIPTURES;and very quickly becomes the teaching of a false doctrine.This doctrine is man made ideologies on sustainability and social justice and can only be blessed by the ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT.In part it is known as "AGENDA 20/30. The question is,do we wish for the ACANZP to become a denomination of that false church?

Shawn Herles said...

"There is only one Church Shawn - everyone who comes to it comes by their own path"

Yes, but the one Church to me does not exclusively correspond to any particular tradition or denomination.

"Our Scriptures have a variety of books with different authors writing at different times"

All of the writers were inspired by God so that all of Scripture is God's Word.

"It was the Church (working through the Holy Spirit we believe) that determined the Canon."

No, the Church merely confirmed the Canon that already existed. The Holy Spirit determined the canon.

"Most Christians who ever lived never had their own Bible Shawn"

This was not a good thing. They may have grown in the faith, but over time that faith became corrupted, and the people were led into grave errors such as purgatory, praying to dead human beings, and the turning of the mother of Jesus into a quasi- pagan goddess.

"The reason why you have your Bible is the Church preserved and guarded it through the ages"

The reason I have my Bible, and in English, is because God preserved it through the ages, and the Protestant Reformers wrenched it out of the hands of the Roman ecclesiastical authority.

Father Ron said...

"No, the Church merely confirmed the Canon that already existed. The Holy Spirit determined the canon."

So, God doesn't need human beings to bring about God's plan of salvation for the world, then? One wonders why Jesus even bothered to become human! Especially when it was by the human being, Jesus, that humanity has been redeemed.!!!

Whatever happened to God's gift of free-will in this strange theology - that belongs to the School of Automatic Writing?

Andrei said...

"Yes, but the one Church to me does not exclusively correspond to any particular tradition or denomination."

I didn't say it did Shawn

"All of the writers were inspired by God so that all of Scripture is God's Word."

That is not my mode of expression but yes of course. I would say God and his will are revealed in the Scripture

"The reason I have my Bible, and in English, is because God preserved it through the ages, and the Protestant Reformers wrenched it out of the hands of the Roman ecclesiastical authority."

The Latin Church was not sole custodian of the Bible and in fact the Latin version is a translation

The Custodian of the original version of the Scriptures in its original language is the Greek Church and it is still held as it was in the time of the Apostles

And even in the now protestant areas of Europe the Latin version was translated into the vernacular very early in the history of Christianity - perhaps not in its entirety but the Gospels and the
psalms as well as other books used in Liturgical settings were

The issues over translating scripture into vernacular in the West only appeared after the Great Schism and after the fall of Constantinople.

The reformation Shawn was a bloody and violent time - you cannot airbrush this away - The Christians of Western Europe Catholic and Protestant alike behaved like ISIS towards each other. The thirty years war was a horror that wiped out 2/3s of central Europe's population

And Protestant reformers not only dismembered Catholics but they burned each other as well

Why did this happen? I don't know. Why did God allow it? I don't know that either -but as warned in the Scriptures the wolves got amongst the flock - but as also promised in the Scriptures the Church survived

Shawn Herles said...

"So, God doesn't need human beings to bring about God's plan of salvation for the world, then?"

Need? No. But He does use them to bring it about. I was not taking human beings out of the picture, but pointing out that God is in charge, not the human beings, or the church.

"Whatever happened to God's gift of free-will in this strange theology"

The Protestant Faith is a strange theology? That would make the Anglican church a strange theology, as classical Anglicanism affirms the Divine inspiration of Scripture.

God is sovereign. He uses the free will of human beings to bring about His sovereign purposes.

"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness" 2 Timothy 3:16

"For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit." - 2 Peter 1:21

Bryden Black said...

What a delightful and curious thing providence is!

Here we are focusing on Acts 20 and “the power of the message”; and then folk get all tied up re the Church and the canon and the Bible and the priority of which and what versus the other and others ... And along comes the latest edition of IJST (International Journal of Systematic Theology), to which I have subscribed since its inception, and of which John Webster was a founding editor. And this October, vol.18/4, edition has a powerful In Memoriam article on Webster by Ivor Davidson (sometime of Otago Uni, and until recently a colleague of the late Webster at St Andrews) heading up the journal. And why mention all this?

Well; in the first place, Ivor correctly observes that John Webster was “probably the most gifted Anglican theologian of his generation.” Two key components of his entire approach to theology are relevant to this thread. Firstly, his attention to the triune God of the economy of grace, where this God is preeminently the One who personally communicates himself through this economy; and as such, we need to be wary of false forms of mediation which have over the centuries cropped up to usurp the absolute sovereignty and freedom of this Lord of Grace. And then secondly, and right on the heels of this absolute first step, is this second step regarding Holy Scripture, and how we in the church may duly recognise these Scriptures as both the singular witness to and the unique instrument in the saving economy of the triune God, and so as “the divinely appointed servant” (after John Webster) of this economy.

For those who wish to explore the rationale of these two key steps (and much more), a good place to start is Webster’s Holy Scripture: A Dogmatic Sketch. Current Issues in Theology (Cambridge University Press, 2003)—which I have to say is an absolute classic on the entire matter, and in a mere 144 pages. Then subsequently there’s The Domain of the Word: Scripture and Theological Reason (T&T Clark, 2012). An awful lot of heat might be dissipated and a large degree of light shed, if we were to duly attend to these things as John Webster did.

Shawn Herles said...

"The Latin Church was not sole custodian of the Bible and in fact the Latin version is a translation"

All versions are translations, including the Orthodox versions. The original languages of Scripture were Biblical Hebrew and common Greek. Orthodox churches have translated them both into other languages. In the English speaking world Orthodox churches are developing or using English language translations.

"The reformation Shawn was a bloody and violent time - you cannot airbrush this away"

So what? I don't see the relevancy of that to the issue we are debating. That issue is whether or not the Protestant Reformers were right, not the issue of the wars which resulted from the Reformation.

The schism in the Russian Orthodox church over the reforms introduced by Patriarch Nikon and the splitting away of the Old Believers led to tortures and executions.

Shawn Herles said...

Our Lord Himself has commanded bloody wars at times. In the OT He commanded the Israelite's to wage total war against the Canaanites and to take dominion over the land by force.

"The LORD is a warrior; the LORD is his name." - Exodus 15:3

"Blessed be the LORD, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle" - Psalm 144:1

Glen Young said...


Hi Bryden,
Many hearty thanks,I am well known in the family for being a lousy Xmas shopper;but now have a couple of books for our shared library; where as Sir Tony would say, "I have a cunning Baldrick plan, where I can both give and receive at the same time".

But all this issue, of which version of the Scriptures and where they should be read;will pale into insignificance when Obama and his ilk have pushed Agenda 20/30 through the UN. Agenda 20/30 deals with sustainability and social justice. He has stated in a UN. address in Sept. this year that Nations will have to give up much of their SOVEREIGN POWERS to the UN., if terrorism is to be defeated.The Roman Catholic Church in America has been put on notice,to come into line or be legislated against.

The ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT of the UN.is not interested in which Bible Translation a Church uses,but which Bible/bible.I see no mention of the separation of the Church and the State in any of their literature;because under their DICTATORSHIP,the Church will conform to their humanistic, neo-Darwinism/cultural marxist doctrine. TEC has led the charge into this brave new world, and Canada now follows. Terrorism will be allowed to continue till the Christian Churches have been forced into conformity. UNESCO recently voted on a motion,which will become part of the education curriculum for schools.It states that the Jews have no historical association with the "MOUNT".

This is the REAL WAR that the free West faces.It is being conducted against us by own politicians using our own money and assets to turn us into serfs.

This is the re

Shawn Herles said...

'Is Sola Scriptura a Protestant Concoction? A Biblical Defense of Sola Scriptura'

http://www.christiantruth.com/articles/bahnsen.html

'In Defense of Sola Scriptura'

http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/content/Parchmentandpen/In-Defense-of-Sola-Scriptura.pdf

'The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy'

http://www.etsjets.org/files/documents/Chicago_Statement.pdf

Glen Young said...


Shawn, You don't have to convince me about the correctness of Sola Scriptura, but you may have to justify to the RELIGIOUS POLICE of the ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT, why you even have a Bible in your possession; if Hillary wins the election. She will continue Obama's push for the subjection of Western Nations to the control of the UN.and its objectives of Agenda 20/30.There ain't no room for Christianity in that obnoxious document.It is based on a eclectic mix of socialism and corporatism;where the newly created surfs in the West, will provide the finances to support the UN.Dictators in the under privileged Nations.
Anyone who doubts that the Roman Catholic Church in America is not under threat by Clinton and her cohorts; needs to go to "virtueonline news" and read "Clinton camp disses Evangelical and Catholics in WikiLeaks Emails" by Mary Ann Mueller.
I say again, that this is the real WAR that Christians in the West face.Mueller points out that MOLES are being put into the Catholic Church to ferment an uprising and push gender issues.
And who is promoting this???? None other than John Podesta (Chairman of Hillary for President campaign) and Jennifer Palmiere (Hillary for President
campaign's communication director).In 2003 Podesta founded the liberal DC based think tank "Center for American Progress" (CAP).Who is now in the midst of CAP-none other than retired +Gene Robinson following his divorce from his "beloved" Mark Andrews.
On Feb 11th 2012,"Voices for Progress" President Sanford Newman,emailed Podesta about creating a "Catholic Spring", to bring a little democracy into the Church:"There needs to be a spring, in which Catholics themselves demand the end of a middle ages dictatorship and the beginning of a little democracy and respect for gender equality in the Catholic Church".
Podesta is alleged to have responded by suggesting that:"We created Catholics In Alliance For The Common Good (CACG),to help Catholics into opposing Official Church Doctrine.