Thursday, June 28, 2007

Keeping the conversation going...

...or at least trying to.

Two previous posts, Universalism and Apostates, have brought up a couple of things I want to address. I am sad that Mr. Thompson of Bride has decided not to discuss his recent theological shift. But who needs him! We have some pretty sharp people stopping by and commenting. I am honored and glad that you all have taken the time to talk about what's on my mind.

Dr. Lobojo has raised some questions about the authorship of the book of Hebrews. I think he and I would agree that it probably does not matter nor can we really know for sure who the author is. So, then why write about it? I would say maybe there is a bigger picture.

That would be of canonicity. But more on that in a little bit. As stated, I don't know that it matters, but here are my thoughts on authorship of Hebrews. It was probably not Paul. Dr. Lobojo suggests it was a Roman Greek; i.e. it was written in Greek by a Roman (see Heb 13:24-Those from Italy send you greetings.) At first I disagreed. But he does have a point. It was written in Greek and seemingly from Italy. And among all the possible candidates a "Roman Greek" could be possible. Here is the list of potentials

  • Barnabas
  • Apollos
  • Silas
  • Priscilla and/or Aquila
  • Clement of Rome
  • Peter
  • Luke
  • and others that I have not come across
So, if you look at the list most of them could be situated in Rome and writing the book of Hebrews in Greek. (I have personal doubts about Peter, his Greek is atrocious and the Greek of the author of Hebrews seems to be "polished.") At first, I understood "Roman Greek" to be a Greek national who had been Romanized culturally. And maybe these were, but in my mind I was thinking someone who had no connection to Judaism, and the author of Hebrews is intimately familiar with Judaism of the day and is addressing a "Messianic" people. Therefore, the author and audience couldn't have been completely Gentile (a Roman Greek) without any connection to Judaism.

Now that that is out of the way. Dr. Lobojo and ER both are supicious of the canon. ER is more concerned over conveying the Word of God instead of being the Word of God. Dr. Lobojo questions the canon's legitamacy. So, before we stone them for being heretics (smile), let's hear them out.

First, who got to decide what it was that God wanted to communicate? And who got to decide which books and writings were communicating God's words? There are tons of books out there that were written along beside the ones we have in our Bibles; and if you're Catholic there's even more.

Second, can we trust the Church Councils on their decisions in relationship to the canon? And what do we do if we mistrust their decisions? For instance, the question of authorship of the book of Hebrews caused it to be delayed as canon until the 4th century. Even Martin Luther questioned whether it should have been in the canon, but later agreed it should have. (The point is, he questioned the canon, and he was a Reformer.)

Thirdly, many of you may have already figured this out, help the rest of us.


Erudite Redneck said...

Luther also thought Revelation should've been left out of the Canon.

Hey, I'm not suspicious of the Canon. I just don't think the Canon is closed. I respect the Bible, as it is, for what it is.

But I disagree with those who say it's complete, or infallible, or inerrant. I believe it is sacred because of its place in Christian history, not because of its supposed origins. I no longer believe it is "God's revelation to man," although revelations (small R) can be found therein. And I no longer believe, if I ever actually believed it in the way people mean it, that it is "the Word of God." I do believe the Word can be found in it.

It is a measure of, and the definitive record of, the experience of the Christians who won the religious and political arguments that resulted in the Canon. But the winners weren't the only Christians.

Mysterious, ain't it? And I still have peace about it. What's the source of that? It's not because "God said it, I believe it, that settles it," obviously. It's not my own understanding. It's the peace that passes understanding that it testified to IN the Bible, and that I experrience every day as a follower -- messed up but 'fessed up -- follower of Jesus. :-)

drlobojo said...

I am skeptical of the canon, because of the political way it was formed in the fifth century. Granted that most of the canon is there because it was the most popular, i.e. most read, and spoke most strongly to the soul of the reader (or most probably listeners), but the final of the say on the content was a political act.
As I have said those who win are those who write the history. Take the Vandels for example. They were the Christians that lost. Yes, really. So what does their name mean today? Who gave them their negative connotation?

Now I am not anti-Bible. I am anti-sacred-Bible. It has been altered, editied, falsified, mistranslated, poorly copied, "improved upon", and used by false people so much that it needs a hard look every so often. The Good News is still there, but to accept every word as inerrent is to ignore the reality of history and scholarship. God inspires, but he does not edit.
Man edits, man alters, for man's reasons.

pecheur said...

Er and Dr. Lobo,

I am going to have to defere my comments, even though I am the one who wanted to talk about this.

Sorry guys. There is nothing like trying to talk to me, a brick wall.

But thanks anyway for talking...

drlobojo said...

We are a bit much to swallow most days. Ever wonder why you attracted two old reprobate apostates to your site?

pecheur said...

Dr. Lobo,

Hahaha. I wouldn't say too much to swallow, just thought provoking and engaging. Old? naw, Reprobate Apostates? Negative. Troublemaker is more like it.=) (Just kidding-I enjoy the dialogue, it keeps me on my toes)

You two are always welcome. I appreciate the patience.

And I plan to get back to this subject. It, along with many other topics, may take me awhile to get my head around.