Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A question that may set off some yellow and red lights

Building off yesterday's little poser/chuckler....

Is it possible that our (or a previous) generation could legitimately see a pattern or truth in Scripture that earlier generations never put together, even though they were looking at exactly the same data as we?

21 comments:

Kaffinator said...

It is not only possible, we have documented cases of it, such as the development of the doctrine of the Trinity.

New "patterns and truths" can be gained from a study of the same corpus in literally any body of knowledge. Why would the knowledge of scripture be any different?

Terry Rayburn said...

If I understand your question, I would say, "Sure".

Two examples would be Dispensationalism and New Covenant Theology.

Protestantism legalistically limped under the Old Covenant law-based system of Covenant Theology -- many still do :)-- until forms of Dispensationalism (speaking generically, not a specific system) illuminated some more significant differences in God's economies.

New Covenant Theology has gone even further to distinguish between Moses as Old Covenant lawgiver, and Jesus as New Covenant lawgiver, while preserving the concept of a spiritual Israel, the Church.

But even Dispensationalism and NCT are often taught as though we are merely "under" a New Law. They often compete with Covenant Theology by in effect saying something like, "Don't call us Antinomians just because we teach we're not under Old Covenant Law. We have our OWN law that we're "under", New Covenant Law, and it's even higher than Old Covenant Law, so there!"

And thus even they have not fully addressed Romans 6:14, which indicates that we are not "under" ANY law, OC or NC, and that this is the very basis for sin no longer being master over us.

Sidenote: If we are no longer "under" law, if all things are "lawful" for us, if we died to the law as the New Covenant teaches...

...then what is the purpose of the New Covenant imperatives?

Answer --

1) They show us the heart and mind of the One we now love, Who's heart we desire to know in our innermost being. We love Him, and hate sin in our heart of hearts, our new nature; and

2) They act as red flags when we are not walking by the Spirit, but by the flesh. Whereupon ideally we repent, and walk again in His Spirit, thus not fulfilling the lust of the flesh.

But walking by the Spirit in Grace, with God working in His "new creatures" both to will and to do for His good pleasure, is the New "rule of life", not some Performance-based Law-based earning of God's favor.

This is new ground, but Scriptural ground, which abhors Antinomianism, and loves the laws of God, but recognizes that we are not "under" them as regards the blessings of God which are past-tense secured through the unilateral New Covenant.

A "Grace Awakening" beyond even the scope of Swindoll's book of the same name.

Mesa Mike said...

On the other hand....

Strong Tower said...

Well, it cannot show us what was never there.

Did you see the bear pick the pocket of the guy at the end?

I counted only twelve, one was a hand off, not really a pass.

It all depends on how many generations we are talking about. Certainly we cannot go back any further than the original authors, can we?

Simply because things are defined, do they come to our awareness? Or, are we aware, though there is no definition and no need to define it. We all saw the bear, but we did not need to define it until it became an issue, and only then we did see it.

Did you see the graffitti? How many guys in black wore white socks?

Well there probably isn't any graffitti, but I could imagine it there nonetheless. And, I counted one.

Panneberg studied numerology in Scripture. And definitely there are patterns there. There are in any writting. There are patterns in the night sky, dragons and sombrarros, lions, bears, crosses and triangles everywhere. Are they significant, or is the significance a matter of imagination?

Could dispensationalism be variations of the same singular theme which is not dispensations at all, not patterns distinct? Could the New Covenant, be the same one given in eternity, expressed in manifold stories and Thus saith's...

I think that I will take a clue from Scripture: What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun, and say that it is just an over active imagination that amazes what it once blinded.

Carlo said...

Given that there is the living, indwelling, sovereignty of the Holy Spirit in the life of the church and combine that with believers living both in the spirit and the flesh, the answer to your question is, yes, it is possible with the exception of the writers of the NT when they penned the NT books by the inspiration of God. There was no pattern or truth in Scripture that they never could put together.

Rob Mellen Jr. said...

I say sure it is possible...but I also maintain it is possible to see patterns and systems of theology that are NOT there, such as the dispys and NCT antinomians do. I never underestimate human ability to miss the obvious and/or connect the dots even when there aren't any....

Stefan said...

More exammples: amillennialism and postmillenialism....

(Hope you appreciate that one, Dan.)

Stefan said...

Then again, you asked about legitimate patterns of truth in Scripture.

(Okay, before anyone's hackles are raised, I'm being somewhat tongue-in-cheek. And I'm still not a dispensationalist, but I am pretty solidly posttrib.)

Daryl said...

Being as we're all imperfect people, it's gotta be possible.

I think the passing of a couple millenia has to at least reduce the possiblilty somewhat (people have never been complete idiots after all).

Question: What's are last couple (legitimate) developments that cannot be found in any form at all throughout the history of the church?

DJP said...

Interesting.

So Carlo says: sure, there could be a bear.

Strong Tower says: nahh, you only THINK you see a bear. There is no bear there. Others have thought they saw bears, and they were all wrong.

Rob says: there could be a bear, but it can't be a grizzly or a black bear. Those are made-up.

Stefan says: you may have made up a bear or two of your own, Mr. Rob.

Kaffinator and Terry say: not only COULD there be bears, there HAVE been bears.

Mesa Mike says: Greg Koukl makes fun of stupid people who make up stupid bears.

LeeC said...

I wonder what the Reformers would say to this query after so long under Roman Catholic rule.
Perhaps something along the lines of "Here I stand"?
;)

DJP said...

You're singing my song, Lee. So many erstwhile Sons of the Reformation turn and channel Luther's inquisitors, betimes.

Stefan said...

For the record, I wasn't trying to pick on Rob in particular. I missed his comment when I posted mine.

Re Lee's comment, I guess the difference with sola gratia is that it was quite explicitly set out by Paul, and tenaciously embraced by a handful of the elect through the centuries down to the Reformation. But yeah, it's the ultimate biblical doctrine that has to be constantly rediscovered age after age. Semper reformanda....

DJP said...

Stefan, to flog my analogy, here's what I'd say.

Through the ages, everyone saw the picture with the bear, but nobody said it was a bear.

Some described all the guys in the picture, and said there could be another figure.

Some described all the guys, but said one of them was all in black and seemed to have ears on the top of his head.

Some described all the guys, and said one of them walked in a funny, backwards sort of way.

It was only have some generations had passed and a fresh look was taken at the same data that it all was put together and someone said, "Say, there actually IS another figure there, it isn't just one of the guys; it IS all black, it DOES have ears on the top of its head, and it IS walking backwards. I think it's a guy dressed as a bear, doing the moonwalk."

But then of course, a bunch of other people tell him, "No way. If there was a bear there, someone would have seen it."

Mesa Mike said...

> ... tenaciously embraced by a handful of
> the elect through the centuries ...

Heh. I remember that's the same sort of thing we used assert during the time that I was led astray into the United Pentecostal Cult.

Daryl said...

Mike,

Just goes to show you eh? Even true statements can be misused by the deciever.

Stefan said...

Dan: And then you get some contemporary art critics who say that what the Painter really painted was just a guy in a bear suit....

Puretext said...

Yes, but... Is it possible that WE see the bear, but that none of the players in the video ever did?

There's a question of re-discovering something that had been missed or forgotten, versus discovering a truth that the original author wasn't even aware he was saying. I think this is definitely the case in regards to the authors of the New Testament discovering things in the Old that even the authors of the Old Testament weren't actually aware that they were saying. But can we make similar discoveries from the New Testament - learn things about God that say Peter and Paul never new?

bugblaster said...

Accio Dan. We're talking about you at stillreforming.blogspot.com

candyinsierras said...

Strong Tower, I didn't understand half of what you said but I did notice that you spelled sombrero wrong. Was that a trick?

Strong Tower said...

candy-

I don't understand the other half-

Spelun ain't my fourtay...

Part of what I was saying was this. Creeds and confession in general came into existence when errors, aka heresy came forth. It wasn't until there was need for definition that the CF's defined them. The rest of what I said I don't understand. I wrote it last week, who knows what I meant ;)