Wednesday, December 16, 2009

another comment too long to be a comment...

My thanks to Bill Mounce for his edifying post on his blog. I encourage all to read it (and not just because what I have written below will make more sense if you do).

I actually agree with you, Bill. That which is called "blessed" is the product of obedience to God and to nothing else. A "salvation experience" is not enough. One must live out the sermon on the mount, as best one can, one's ability to do so improving over time with each small success in the way we treat others.

I am a Quaker. What any text says is the test of nothing beyond what it says. The Bible is not the highest authority--God is. The Bible is not the "word of God" it's words about God. The word of God came and comes to all of us--heeded or not, understood or not--directly from the source every day. So it says in John's gospel and so it proves to be, empirically, every day.

The question is not so much about one's theology, it's about one's transformation--spiritual (and therefore moral). It's about, as I say (and as you say), living it out. Theology has nothing to do with it and may even be a cumber to it getting done.

We are to be proved by the fruit, it is also written, represented in our lives and our moral transformation. That is not only "written" it's been tested in my own life and the lives of Friends for more than three centuries (and in the lives of others for much longer).

Evidence of being "saved"--transformed--will be apparent in the way we act--the fruits of the spirit manifest in our lives. You are correct that the fruit is pleasing to God when it is that fruit which results from obedience to God--not from affirmation of propositional "beliefs" based on interpretation or parsing of texts and the rationalizations on the "nuances" of those interpretations and parsings. If it's fruit from obedience to God then we know what it will look like. We also know what it looks like if it's fruit from deductive reasoning based on scriptural interpretation.

The Truth you point out, here (and it is true), would be just as true--and no less true--if there were no Greek Bible or even if that Greek Bible said the opposite. We know that because that Truth is sent to us constantly from it's source: the one who must be obeyed.


Can we support and encourage others to aspire with their behavior to transformed lives in ways that do not accuse them, divide them from us (or others) and cause them to resist?

Does the form of our exhortation to others testify to our own meekness, mournfulness, poverty of spirit and to the purity of our own hearts in making those exhortations?

Do our actions show us to be (or are they contributing to our becoming) peacemakers?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Timothy, gracias...
Talmud says:
"The Voice of the Lord flies out from Sinai every day." Ergo it is our responsibility to listen and re-interpret it in the language and needs of our day.
It also says:
"Of all the myriad things, great and small, that ha-Shem the Eternal One has to think about every day, the last thing He worries about is religion (and theology)."
paz, ~dpablo 8^)>