The Bible isn’t Biblical

A link from the WordPress dashboard took me to one of the many post-Christian, de-conversion blogs. I didn’t realise that’s where I was heading when I clicked on the link, but I find it interesting to understand better the loss of faith. Most of the people I deal with daily are of the never-had-faith type.

I think we all go through the dark night of the soul. Different people deal with it in different ways. Unlike well-meaning commenters on these blogs, I have no interest in Bible proof-texting them back to faith. In fact, I find most of these well-meaning attempts using an approach that has been directly rejected by the de-converting or de-converted.

I certainly haven’t seen lots of these blogs, so I don’t presume that the crisis of faith comes to each person in the same way. However, the ones I have seen seem to have a similar background. I have see ex-Catholics mostly describing their disaffection with things that’s aren’t actually Catholic dogma. However, most of the deconversion seems to be from Evangelicalism. The former evangelicals are sometimes pastors or other sorts of leaders. They are well-versed in the Scriptures.

Herein seems to lie the problem. They find internal inconsistencies – or have long been aware of what appear to be internal inconsistencies – in the Scriptures and finally admit that in their Protestant paradigm if the Bible fails everything fails. This exposes a weakness, not in Christianity, but in that Protestant paradigm.

The further a group eschews the Holy Tradition the more it has to adopt a sola scriptura approach. This means that the Word of God is exactly what the text says and the key to the Truth is in finding exactly what the text says. God specifically spoke certain words in Hebrew or Greek and we have to find out exactly which words He used.

Then He put them all together in One Big Book. Now it’s like a giant jigsaw and the work of the biblical scholar is to fit all of the pieces together so that there is a single internal consistency. That’s not to say that there is any consistency in the scholars – otherwise we wouldn’t have the vast discrepancies in commentaries, surveys, handbooks, and other reference materials that span the Protestant theological gamut.

The only problem is the the One Big Book view of the Bible isn’t biblical. The closest thing to a collective reference is Jesus’ reference to the Law and the Prophets. This does not refer to the whole Old Testament, as He makes no reference to the Writings (Ketuvim). References in different biblical sources to “the Word of God” do not somehow look ahead to 66 writings eventually recognised as canonical by Protestants, the 74 recognised by Rome, or even the 77 recognised by Orthodoxy.

Long before I was Orthodox, I realised that using verses like Proverbs 30:5-6 or Revelation 22:18-19 to refer to the unified Bible was completely non-contextual. That would somehow suppose that the Church did not have the full Truth before an agreement was reached over time about even the New Testament canon.

This does not mean that the Bible isn’t inspired by God. The Church, being led by the Holy Spirit, recognised those writings which have been specially inspired by the Holy Spirit. But this is why I don’t have a problem with Protestant Bibles. They may lack 11 writings used by Jesus and the early Church, but what they have is inspired.

As a quick aside. . . It’s not that the Protestant Bible has lacked these writings for a long time. Stories vary slightly as to when they were commonly removed – from just after the American Revolution to the 1820’s – but it seems to be universally agreed that the reason was to save printing costs. Because Protestants refer to them as the Apocrypha, put them in a separate group and sadly, as they were not read often, no one seemed to miss them. It is only post-Revolutionary homegrown American denominations and their progeny that completely rejected them.

But back to my point. . . Once you remove the One Big Book view, it doesn’t matter that there are different ways of saying things, or even times when the individual books say different things. Each book is a way of God telling us things, but God is bigger than all the writings.

Back

The grandparents are on their way back across the ocean. We wanted to get out and do more things while they were here, but as is typical of the summer half-term, the weather did not cooperate. The first nice day was yesterday when I took them to the hotel near the airport to catch this morning’s flight.

It is unheard of for me to go so long without blogging, but since we only see them a couple of weeks out of the year, faithful readers had to take a backseat. Sorry. I know you’ve all missed me.

Posted in Family, Life. Tags: , . 3 Comments »

One Ring (of Ministers) to Rule Them All

In a move regarded by the Conservative Party and much of the media as evidence of the further Stalinisation of the UK, the Government is planning to further centralised the police. Until now, chief constables of the 43 police forces across the country have been appointed by local police authorities, comprised of local councillors, magistrates, and others.  Now they will be hired and fired by the Home Secretary or other Home Office ministers.

They will become political pawns. If they do not carry out Government policy effectively enough, they will face the sack. Missing Government targets on cutting crime will be regarded as poor job performance. It will also ensure that police chiefs will not be critical of the Government, and especially of the Home Secretary.

If they can hire and hire the bosses, there will be nothing to stop them getting rid of troublesome lesser mortals. Jan Berry, head of the Police Federation, would have to think twice before publically accusing Home Secretary Jacqui Smith of fraud for refusing to abide by decision of the independent arbiter regarding police pay. Ms Berry probably wouldn’t even dare to bring up Ms Smith’s past as a admitted user of illegal drugs.

The Labour Party knows you can’t trust local people to carry out the Governments totalitarian rule. Only the highest officials can be trusted to stay on message and guide the country.

Women in Pointy Hats

The principal beneficiary will be the Roman Catholic Church, but Orthodoxy in Britian may also benefit from the decision made by the Church of England House of Bishops. The bishops have decided that it is time for the purported consecration of women to join their number. At the same time, they have left opponents out in the cold.

Heretofore, those in the C of E who have faithfully received the sacraments from men of God were cared for under the shepherding guidance of “flying bishops” – officially known as episcopal visitors – authorised to cross diocesan boundaries to care for parishes objecting to women priests. If the General Synod approves the legislation, flying bishops will be no more and all of the Church of England will be ruled by women. For many Anglicans, any pretense of valid orders and valid sacraments will be gone.

As far as I’m concerned the C of E can do what it wants to do. I’m not opposed to women priestesses or bishopettes. As far as I’m concerned, just like any other Protestants they don’t have valid sacraments, so it doesn’t matter what they do. Since this new development will push more people out of the C of E, perhaps I should even view it as a positive development.

Being rather ecumenical as I am toward Rome, I’m not bothered that most of them will swim the Tiber. I know that most western Christians find Orthodoxy a difficult fit – something that I think is probably as much to do with the non-essential cultural and liturgical aspects of Orthodoxy as anything – but Rome has valid sacraments despite some theological deficiencies. Some, due in part to lingering anti-papal attitudes, will cross the Bosphorus instead.

The huge number of clergy threatening to defect to Rome will boost the declining numbers in vocations there. Perhaps this will enlighten the Holy Father to the possibility of extending the Eastern Catholic practice of married priests to the West as a normality rather than a concession to certain converted clergy. Thus, if played right, the knock-on effect of the Anglican decision could be quite significant. I’d still call it a long shot, though.

Even if they are only Protestant clergy, I still can’t get over the cringe factor of seeing a woman pose as a priest in a black shirt and white collar. No doubt I will double cringe at a woman in a cope and mitre.

For Love or Money

In the wake of Parliament declaring that children do not need fathers and that the need for a father cannot be taken into account when someone gets IVF treatment, the Daily Mail has exposed the truth behind Tracy Lagondino (or “Thomas Beatie”, as she prefers) and the “man having a baby” story. Seems it’s mostly about militant gay rights and lots of money.

Wow. There’s a big surprise.

They have a book coming out. (“Nancy and Thomas declined to be interviewed because, Nancy told me: ‘We’ve got a book coming out in September and we want to have stuff left to say so people buy the book.’ “) They have a deal with a picture agency and a contract with People magazine.  They say they weren’t paid for all of exposure on Oprah.

They became well-known campaigners for gay marriage and other gay rights, and once walked through the streets carrying a coffin bearing the names of ‘hate crime’ victims persecuted for their sexuality.

In 2000, Tracy and Nancy, both avid body-builders, posed in their bikinis for a gay magazine called Odyssey.

Well before Tracy got pregnant, they called their screen printing business “Define Normal”.

Parliament was concerned about the creation of human-animal hybrids. Those aren’t the only worrying sort of hybrids.

When he had surgery to become a man, he had his breasts removed and was given testosterone to make him look and sound like a man, but he chose to keep his female reproductive organs.

So Beatie is really a man/woman hybrid. Call him a freak, if you like.

The One and the Many

I would not have thought Steven Curtis Chapman would be so well known that the terrible news of his daughter’s death would be mentioned on BBC Radio 2. Thus it was a double surprise when I heard it on the way to work this morning.

I don’t want to take away from my sympathy for the Chapman family nor fail to pray for the soul of little Maria Sue.

At the same time, I couldn’t help but think that there are so many other families who face the tragedy of the loss of a child. Because they are not celebrities, Christian or otherwise, they don’t have countless blogs eulogising with strings of commenters offering condolences and sympathy. They don’t have the prayers of millions.

I wonder how many families lost a child today. I’m glad they are known to God, even if they are unknown to me. May His mercy and grace, His peace and comfort surround them. May the souls of all those departed children find a place of peace and rest in the bosom of the Father.

Culture of Death is Alive and Well

Well, the great debate is over. I’m sure there have already been plenty of post-vote post mortems in the blogosphere, though I have trawled through to read them. Between marking exams and getting ready for the arrival of the grandparents, I haven’t had the time.

The culture of death is alive and well in Britain. We will continue to have some of the most liberal laws in Europe and babies will continue to die at a rate exceeding 500 per day. There has been no change to 24-week social abortion limit. Supporters tried to play this down by emphasising that only 1.5% of abortions occur between 20 and 24 weeks, Of course if you do the math, that’s over 3000 babies chopped up and pulled out of wombs each year. That’s more than eight per day. It’s also an increase of 44% over the last ten years. For those aged over 17 weeks, and there were 7,123 abortions, or more than 19 per day. Those children were also removed one amputated part at a time.

And speaking of eight, that’s the highest number of previous abortions recorded. In other words, in the statistics available, they only note individuals (we can’t really call them mothers, can we?) who have had eight or more previous abortions. This number obviously continues to increase. The 2006 figures – the latest available – show that 54 women had procured at least eight abortions. There were 65 who had six abortions before they were 30 years old.

Then the numbers get really scary. In just the year 2006, 1300 women had their what was at least their fifth termination. More than 3,800 were on their fourth and nearly 15,000 were killing their third child. I suppose it is some comfort that of those achieving a hat trick, only 82 of those were under 18.

Most all of this is at taxpayer expense. Don’t be fooled by hearing that less than 25% are carried out by the NHS. A further 67% take place in private clinics that are funded by the NHS. That’s 92% in total.

As for the rest of the legislation, MP voted for human-animal hybrids, against children of IVF needing a father, and for the production of children as saviour siblings.