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Monday, March 12, 2012

Question Redux

Yesterday I asked why the Church changes positions on issues when they follow a God who does not change.  I wonder if Romans 12:2 is the answer.  I wonder if we are allowing ourselves as believers to be conformed to the world.  Are we as believers, apprentices of Christ, focused on what He thinks is important or what the world thinks is important.
Is it because we place our thoughts above God's that the Church that follows an unchangeable God changes?

1 John 2:15 – 17 tells us that the things that drive the world, the “critical” ideas and needs are going to pass away.  As we looked at yesterday God does not change; further His Word does not change Isaiah 40:8 tell us the Word of God stands forever.  In Isaiah 55:11 we read that God’s Word accomplishes what God intends.  There are more passages on the Word in the Bible; a whole lot more.  They pretty much say the same thing it is authoritative and should be followed.

Perhaps we forget that.  Perhaps we forget whose story this is.  Perhaps we have confused who created who.  Maybe we think that the pressures of this world’s culture should somehow inform and change the way that we understand God’s Word.  We are so much smarter now.  We know so much more than when the Bible was written.  Surely, that should count for something.  Surely, the things we think the Bible should say are more important than what it says.  Or maybe we can just explain it away by relegating the Bible to a past irrelevant culture or one that is different that did not understand all that we know now.  Yeah, that will work.


  1. Maybe we need to look at it a different way. I think we have some cultural influences but that might not be the entire story. The early part of the old testament give a long list of things we are to do and not to do. Then we get to the new testament and it gets even harder because it is not only about the list but it's about the heart. The women's rights increase between the old and new. Is God the one changing or is it us moving closer to what he truly desires. Is God changing our paradigm, our culture in chunks so that we will eventually get to the correct place. Are the gifts of the Spirit limited by race or sex?

    1. Thanks for you comments. I appreciate your point of view it is not uncommon. You said, "The women's rights increase between the old and new." From whose perspective? Man's? God's? Woman was created as a helper, a person with co-dominion over the earth that God created. She was created as the human source of life, one of the reasons Satan hates her.

      I would challenge you to validate from God's point of view, Biblically not culturally, that He has ever changed His position on the value of women. I would suggest that Man has. God has remained steadfast in His regard for her.

    2. My point is that God hasn't changed but that God has increasingly included women that were culturally more outcast. My question is what thing were intended for the cultural dynamic of the time. Paul makes reference that some of is instructions are what he instructed but may not be directly inspired by God.

      In some of these internal church dialoged we need to asked what was God's heart and what was designed to deal with the cultural at the time of the writing. Nothing about that is simple but we can end up legalistic trying to go by the letter and miss the overarching direction that the Lord is attempting to take us.

    3. Again I appreciate your thoughts you seem to be quoting from the base thesis of "Slaves, Women & Homosexuals."

      You stated: "My point is that God hasn't changed but that God has increasingly included women that were culturally more outcast." I understood and still understand your point. This response does not seem to address the question I asked nor does it validate your position Biblically.

      Your understanding of Paul's statements reflect a different position on inspiration than I hold. However, that argument has been utilized by some "theologians" to vacate portions of scripture that do not align with their positions. I am not suggesting that you are doing that.

      If you are suggesting that to follow what the Bible says about women and men is somehow legalistic, rather that the application of Scripture is to be arbitrated by the dialog of the church, I would suggest that the Word of God trumps that dialog, which dialog is at some level being shaped by response to the cultural pressures of this world. Which was the original point of the posts.

      Thanks again for your engagement with this - can I assume this is the same anonymous that revealed themselves at church last Sunday? ;-)

    4. I am just thinking off the cuff not quoting anyone to my knowledge. Sometime people take scripture and take it completely literally when the context or cultural aspect can change the overall interpretation. A great example is when people take prophecy literally. If you did that with some of the prophetic scriptures form the old testament and ran the same literal interpretation we would end up completely missing it.

      As per Paul I think we need to at least consider that the specific portions that Paul refers to as his interpretation we to read though the lens of the historical cultural picture and not take the just literally. Since it is the Word of God it would be silly to forget the asterisks that God put on the passage.

      The answer to your last question is yes.

  2. This is a valuable discussion. The limits of "cultural adaptation" are worth wrestling with. Gospel grace trumps the Law in some very important ways, for example Jesus in John 8:1ff. What are the "meat offered to idols" issues for our day and context? What about our view of idol shelves in the context in which we work? Or relationships with ancestors?

    On the one hand, we want to rigorously maintain the truth of Romans 12:1,2 and on the other avoid erecting unnecessary hindrances to the grace of the Gospel as in Galatians.