Saturday, January 09, 2010

Avoid the profane chatter and absurdities of so-called “knowledge.” By professing it, some have strayed from the faith

So Paul advised Timothy (1 Tim 6:20-21)noting that believing in trying to win and retain converts through "knowledge" (gr, 'gnosis'), you run a risk of losing them to those arguments. That is because Paul recognizes the basis of belief is a relationship to the Spirit:
12Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Cor 2:12-14
Paul is not saying we should not seek for knowledge. Indeed, he and Peter both admonish us to add knowledge to faith (2 Cor 8:7; 2 Pet 1:5).

Anti-Mormons routinely assail the faith of Latter-day Saints, mocking the very real yet personal revelation of the truth of the restoration by the Spirit. But the Bible is clear that such experiential "knowledge" is real though not discerned by the world, and therefore neither objective nor rational, but rather subjective and irrational.

A stumbling block to traditional Christians, foolishness to secular Anti-Mormons.

A recent comment on this blog by an anonymous commentator stressed how Christians have science and facts on their side, and have no need to rely upon the Spirit to discern truth. Such is not faith, nor is it even a part of Christianity. It is the pride of man to believe they can "know" what is true through study. Worse, this type of rationalism is precisely why the formerly "Christian" nations of Europe have now "converted" to various forms of existentialism, mysticism and self-awareness.

For the "Wisdom of God is foolishness". Interestingly, Paul's use of the word "Foolishness" is derived from the Greek word "musterion", normally translated as "mystery", meaning something which is revealed to those initiated into a system of thinking. In Paul's writings, mysteries are things which are delivered by the Spirit or Church leaders to new members. "Wisdom" of man is that which is only discerned by rational deduction by men, and has no connection to divine inspiration. Thus we see many of the great scholars in Biblical studies either losing their faith (such as Bart Ehrman or William Dever), or being attacked by fellow-Christians for acknowledging the problems in the traditional interpretation of Biblical doctrine, such as the false doctrines around the inerrancy of scripture, the supposed monotheism of Biblical teachings, or the lack of archeological support for almost everything in the first 6 books of the Old Testament.

I believe the Bible is true on its own merits, and not on any imposed temporary rational observations which are more sacred to their defenders than the communication between God and man the Bible illustrates.

So I am happy to declare my beliefs to be completely foolish, irrational and subjective. Exactly in the Biblical model.