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Saturday, May 17, 2014

What's the question?

Fifth Sunday of Easter May 18 2014. *Acts 7:55-60 Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16 I Peter 2:2-10 John 14:1-14
The writer Gertrude Stein is reputed to have asked
as she was being wheeled into the operating theatre
for what would prove to be a fatal procedure.
"What is the answer?" 
When there was no reply,
 Stein said, 
"In that case, what is the question?"
It had been a major part of her life's work
to steer people away from trying to find answers
and towards asking the right question.

It could be observed that this is wise advice
for those of us who dare to read the Scriptures
or who believe we know the mind of God.
It is not so much  the answers that we find in the Bible
that are important
But what are the questions 
I am being asked 
by my encounter with God.

Jesus says I am the Way, the Truth and the Life

These statements all ask questions of our life:

What  does it mean to follow this Way?

What is Truth?

And indeed What does it mean for me 
to live properly and well?

I am struck in this week when we have seen 
political harshness in the form of a Budget.
When we are particularly being told
that these are the answers
to problems 
that many of us don't actually think we have.

What questions does our political process 
ask of me, of our country,
of our government?
One question that occurs to me: 
and a number of people 
have articulated it both publicly and personally during the week
is:
Why do the poor, the weak, the disenfranchised
appear to be being required to carry a disproportionate 
part of the burden?

Perhaps you and I today
can only be expected to 
ask:
What questions does this pose for me?

But let's not fall into the trap
so beloved my politicians and religious people alike
of posing pat answers, 
instead of asking hard questions.



2 comments:

Steve Finnell said...

DID THE 1ST CENTURY CHURCH HAVE NEW TESTAMENT SCRIPTURES?

The prevailing thought of many is that since the Bible was not canonized until sometime between 300 and 400 A.D. that the church of Christ did not have New Covenant Scriptures as their guide for faith and practice. That is simply factually incorrect.

The Lord's church of the first 400 years did not rely on the man-made traditions of men for New Testament guidance.

Jesus gave the terms for pardon 33 A.D. after His death and resurrecting. (Mark 16:16) All the words of Jesus were Scripture.Jesus did not have to wait for canonization of the New Testament in order for His word to be authorized.

The terms for pardon were repeated by the apostle Peter 33 A.D. on the Day of Pentecost. (Acts 2:22-42) The teachings of the apostles were Scripture. The words of the apostles were Scripture before they were canonized.

The apostle Peter said the apostle Paul's words were Scripture. (2 Peter 3:15-16...just as also our beloved brother Paul , according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, 16 as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand,which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures...

The apostle Paul's letters and words were Scriptures when he wrote and spoke them. Paul did not have to wait for canonization to authorize his doctrine.

John 14:25-26 'These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to you remembrance all that I said to you.

The words and writings of the apostles were Scripture and they did not have to wait for canonization to be deemed authoritative. The apostle did not use man-made creed books of the church or man-made oral traditions to teach the gospel of the New Covenant.

Did the early church have written New testament Scriptures? Yes, and they were shared among the different congregations. (Colossians 4:16 When the letter is read among you, have it read in the church of the Laodiceans and you, for your part read my letter that is coming from Laodica.) Paul's letters were Scripture and they were read in different churches.

They were New Testament Scriptures long before they were canonized.

WRITTEN

Matthew A.D. 70
Mark A.D. 55
Luke between A.D. 59 and 63
John A.D. 85
Acts A.D. 63
Romans A.D. 57
1 Corinthians A.D. 55
2 Corinthians A.D. 55
Galatians A.D. 50
Ephesians A.D. 60
Philippians A.D. 61
Colossians A. D. 60
1 Thessalonians A.D. 51
2 Thessalonians A.D. 51 or 52
1 Timothy A.D. 64
2 Timothy A.D. 66
Titus A.D. 64
Philemon A.D. 64
Hebrews A.D. 70
James A.D. 50
1 Peter A.D. 64
2 Peter A.D. 66
1 John A.D. 90
2 John A.d. 90
3 John A.D. 90
Jude A.D. 65
Revelation A.D. 95

All 27 books of the New Testament were Scripture when they were written. They did not have wait until they were canonized before they became God's word to mankind.

Jesus told the eleven disciples make disciples and teach them all that He commanded. (Matthew 28:16-19) That was A.D. 33, They were teaching New Covenant Scripture from A.D. 33 forward. The apostles did not wait to preach the gospel until canonization occurred 300 to 400 years later.

THE WORDS OF JESUS AND THE APOSTLES WERE SCRIPTURE WHEN THEY WERE SPOKEN AND WRITTEN. THEY DID NOT HAVE TO WAIT FOR CANONIZATION TO BE THE AUTHORIZED WORD OF GOD.

MAN-MADE CREED BOOKS AND MAN-MADE ORAL TRADITION WAS AND IS NOT SCRIPTURE.

YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY BLOG. http//:steve-finnell.blogspot.com

stephen clark said...

Steve you don't seem to have understood the thrust of what I was saying, which is that the Bible is not a rule book.
Paul himself warns against this sort of legalism.

I don't agree or disagree with the thrust of what you are saying. Though I do note you are promoting your own blog which has its own narrow agenda.

I think there is a difference between what the writers of the New Testament thought they were doing by, say, writing a letter to a Christian Church. And what the Church decided sometime later was worth including in the Canon of Scripture.
It could be noted that there were many 'writings' going around the early Church which were not subsequently included as The New Testament. The authority comes not from the fact that God was dictating to the writers (this is a much more Islamic view of Scripture where Muslims believe the Prophet received the Holy Quran by angelic dictation) but rather that the Church, inspired by the Spirit, was able to discern God's hand in some of the many writings. Indeed a minority.
Scholarship, including conservative scholars, would suggest it took at least two Centuries for this process.
I don't know any reputable scholars who would or could validate the the dating of the individual books contained in your list.
Apart from the fact that there would seem to be no extant documents before the second century, I think you need to do more to validate your assertions than just assert!