[GCFL-discuss] Soul Journey for May 29, 2004
gcfl-discuss at gcfl.net
gcfl-discuss at gcfl.net
Sun May 30 18:36:11 CDT 2004
On Sat, 29 May 2004 23:07:41 -0700 gcfl-discuss at gcfl.net writes:
<<CITATION DELETED, SINCE EVERYONE HAS SEEN IT ALREADY>>
>STEALING OR BORROWING?
<<STORY DELETED, SINCE EVERYONE HAS SEEN IT ALREADY>>
>Right & Wrong: A Case For Moral Absolutes
>bottom line: New views on sin don't change God's standard.
>What you propose Siarlys, is to personalizing the Bible for self
>without recognizing God's absolute truths. That's TERRIBLY wrong!
Now, whoever you are, you have failed to sign your name. As several other
discussion participants have pointed out, that's terribly wrong.
You also fail to identify WHAT I, or anyone, have contributed to any
discussion which is "personalizing the Bible for self without recognizing
God's absolute truths."
But I will try, briefly, to respond anyway. God is absolute. God said "I
am the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, I change not." I can't recall
anything I have ever said which denies that truth.
I HAVE said that everyone must READ Scripture for themselves -- which is
fundamental to the Protestant Reformation, even before that to Wycliffe's
translation of the Bible into English, to the motivation for doing the
King James translation. The Roman Catholic Church has for the past few
centuries also recognized the value of printing the Bible in vernacular
languages, not keeping it in Latin while the priests and the bishops tell
people what they need to know about what is in it.
Unless you get some hedonistic pleasure out of reading the Bible, or you
read it for purely literary interest, the purpose of reading it is not
"for self." It is to bring your self closer to what God has in mind. As
the modern Gospel song says "What God has for me is for me." That doesn't
mean I am the center of the universe, it means I need to find what God
has for me and follow it.
What I have denied is that any human authority can tell any other human
being WHAT it is that the Bible says, or what it means. God knows, and
God's word is true, but no bishop, no patriarch, no theologian, no priest
or pastor, is God's representative on earth. All of the above are
falliable human beings. They have their places and purposes, but it is
not to beat us over the head with a Bible and say "do it my way."
This is why it is dangerous to equate moral law with the law of the
state. It may or may not be sinful to "borrow" a fellow student's bicycle
without permission. But if a campus, or a local court, imposes penalties,
it is not for sinful behavior, but for violating a secular law adopted
through some legal process by a majority of those concerned.
Thomas Aquinas wrote that the moral law will not always be the same as
the civil law. Some moral laws have to be established by persuasion, not
by criminal penalties. Some unacceptable behavior has to be limited by
physical penalties, enforced through some consistent legal process.
The student who thought it OK to borrow a bicycle: the material wrong is,
when the owner expects the bike to be there to ride across campus, it
won't, because someone else "borrowed" it. That may be worth imposing a
penalty for. Most of us would also agree there is a strong case for
calling such "borrowing" a violation of the commandment "Thou shalt not
steal." However, I personally consider reciting the Pledge of Allegiance,
with or without the words "under God," a violation of the Second
Commandment. Does this mean that you should be prohibited from reciting
There are absolute moral truths, but they are not simple or easy to
learn, or to cultivate, and are not always possible for humans to
enforce. God generally builds in automatic enforcement without the need
for human retaliation or special miracles.
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