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Old 11-07-2006, 07:55 PM   #256
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Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar


Paul couldn't even see women as being worthy of teaching in the church, is that timeless?

I've asked before, do you uphold Paul's "command"?
Keep asking.

Although I'm kind of afraid of the answer.
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Old 11-07-2006, 08:13 PM   #257
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Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar
Paul couldn't even see women as being worthy of teaching in the church, is that timeless?

I've asked before, do you uphold Paul's "command"?
Kind of laughably, I've heard from conservative Christians that that passage was--get ready--"misinterpreted" and "taken out of context."

Good to know that they'll accept historical and cultural context in some instances, at least.
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Old 11-07-2006, 08:20 PM   #258
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Keep asking.

Although I'm kind of afraid of the answer.
I already discussed this months ago -

It was not until my study of Romans 7 did it all come into focus for me. For those who do not know, it is Paul’s famous treatise of the Law and it’s relation to us as Christians.

To wrap this up, I essentially learned on what Melon already touched on. A great deal of flexibility is found in the use of the term “law” in the New Testament. A few of the uses are as follows. Some cut and paste from study materials is mixed into this.

1. This term is used of the entire Old Testament (John 10:34; 12:34; 1 Cor. 14:21). John 10:34 is a quotation from Psalm 82:6, and 1 Corinthians 14:21 is a quote from Isaiah 28:11-12. Technically neither the Psalms nor Isaiah are a part of the Old Testament “law,” but sometimes the term “law” was applied to the entire Old Testament because it constituted God’s special revelation of instruction for Israel and ultimately for man.

2. It is used with such terms as the prophets, and writings, again as a title for the entire Old Testament Scripture, but in this way it looks at them in their division (Luke 24:27, 44).

3. It is especially used of the first five books of the Old Testament or the Mosaic Law (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy). (Compare Luke 2:23; John 8:5; 1 Cor. 9:9; Gal. 3:10).

4. The term is used of the entire specific Mosaic code given to the nation Israel to govern and guide their moral, religious and secular life, and covers parts of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy (Deut. 4:8, 44-45).

5. The term is used of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:3-17).

6. Law is used of a principle, force or influence that impels one to action or behavior (Rom. 7:21, 23a, 25).

7. It is used of law in general (Rom 3:27 and possibly Rom. 5:13b).

It is the Mosaic Law that causes the most controversy and can be broken down into 3 parts:
• Part 1: The Moral Law or the Ten Commandments. This part of the Law governed the moral life giving guidance to Israel in principles of right and wrong in relation to God and man (Exodus 20:1-17).
• Part 2: The Judgments, or the Social Law. This part of the Law governed Israel in her secular, social, political, and economic life (Exodus 21:1–23:13).
• Part 3: The Ordinances or the Ceremonial Law. This was the religious portion of Law which guided and provided for Israel in her worship and spiritual relationship and fellowship with God. It included the priesthood, tabernacle and sacrifices (Exodus 25:-31: Leviticus).

However, at the end of the day – the Law has only one purpose - to show man his total helpless and hopeless condition before a righteous and just God.

Several passages of Scripture clearly establish that the coming of Christ has brought an end to the Mosaic Law. Paul specifically states that “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (Rom. 10:4). This instituted a new law or principle of life, i.e., the law of the Spirit, the one of liberty and grace (Rom. 8:2, 13).

This fact was also clearly settled by the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15. (Melon already discussed this) A council was convened in the church at Jerusalem to look into the issue of the Law and its place in the life of believers because some were saying “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved,” and because even certain of the Pharisees who had believed were also saying “It is necessary to circumcise the Gentiles and to order them to observe the law of Moses.” The conclusion of the council, consisting of apostles and elders, was to reject the concept of placing New Testament believers under the yoke of the Law (15:6-11).

The only thing the Jerusalem Council asked was that Gentile believers control their liberty in matters that might be offensive to Jewish believers, but they did not seek to place the believers under the yoke of the Law for they realized the Law had come to an end.

Finally, the book of Hebrews demonstrates that the old covenant of the Mosaic Law was only temporary and has been replaced by the coming of Christ whose ministry is based on (1) a better priesthood, one after the order of Melchizedek which is superior to Aaron’s, and (2) a better covenant with better promises (see Heb. 7-10). The old covenant was only a shadow of heavenly things, and if it had been able to make men perfect before God there would have been no occasion for a second or new covenant (see Heb. 7:11-12; 8:1-13). This change in the priesthood also necessitates a change in the Law. Such a change shows the Law has been terminated or done away.

So what are Christians to do regading the Mosaic Law?

Part of the purpose of the Law was to point men to the coming Savior through its shadows and types. Through the moral law, man could see God’s holy character as well as his own sinfulness and the infinite gulf that separates God and man. Through the ceremonial part of the Law (the priesthood, sacrifices, and tabernacle), man could find the solution to his sin by faith in what this part of the Law represented, a suffering Savior, one who would die as the Lamb of God. But even though no one could perfectly keep the Law, it was also designed for Israel’s immediate blessing by setting forth righteous principles that would show them how to love God and their fellow man. This would produce a stable and secure society as well as a testimony to the nations (Deut. 4:6-8).

Thus, in 613 commands the Mosaic Law represented an ethical code given by God to Israel to govern the nation until the coming of Messiah, but at their heart, they represented the moral law of God—righteous principles vital to humanity. Today, we are not under this code, but many of its righteous principles, the eternal laws of God, have been carried over and are part of the law of the Spirit of life in Christ (Rom. 8:2) or the law of Christ (1 Cor. 9:21; Gal. 6:2). In this, some of the former commands are carried over (Rom. 13:9), some new commands and guidelines are added (Eph. 4:11f; 1 Tim. 3:1f; 4:4), and some have been revised, as in the case of capitol punishment which is to be exercised by human government (Rom. 13:4).

It needs to be emphasized that the end of the Mosaic law, including the Ten Commandments, does not cancel or detract one iota from the eternal moral law of God. The moral principles of the ten laws did not begin with Sinai but are as eternal and immutable as the character of God. To understand this should dispel the fears of those who think the abolition of the Mosaic law leaves only a state of lawlessness.

The moral principles embodied in the law of Moses Paul calls “the righteousness of the law” (Rom 8:4), and shows that such principles are the goal of the Spirit-directed life in the same context in which he teaches the believer is not under the Mosaic law (Rom 6—8).

(Not my words but I love the analogy) This should be no more difficult to understand than the fact that a citizen of the United States is not under the laws of Canada, even though the moral principles underlying the laws of the two countries are the same. When a citizen of the United States becomes a citizen of Canada he does not remain under ten of the best laws of the United States. Nor does the fact that some of the laws of the United States are quite similar to some of the laws of Canada confuse or compromise his new exclusive responsibility to Canada. So the believing Jew of the first century moved entirely from the Mosaic economy of law into the new economy of grace instituted by Jesus Christ (John 1:17).
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Old 11-07-2006, 08:36 PM   #259
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It's disheartening to see how this thread has gone. I know there's a lot of anger at Christians over this subject. It seems like this thread throws more logs on the fire.

Here's where I struggle with this whole conversation: context. No discussion of scripture can be divorced from interpretation, for interpretation is all we have. We don't know the specific issues the Corinthian church faced, since we don't have the letters they wrote to Paul asking for his guidance. Therefore, Melon's arguments, as radical as they may be when compared to more conservative interpretations, are certainly no more or less valid than those of 80s, AEON, or whatever. All interpretation is valid of its own accord -- this is the beauty of having a Bible we can actually read and interpret for ourselves. (A relatively new phenomenon, that.)

However, interpretation is ultimately justified or not based on its role in a larger context. It's the larger context of this issue of sexuality as it applies to the entire Bible that seems to be getting lost here. If -- and I say if, since not everyone on this thread believes God was the author of the Bible, writing through man -- but let's say, for the sake of argument, that it's so -- then you have look at the holistic treatment of sexuality throughout the entire scripture. When you do, it seems pretty clear that one man/one woman is the promoted ideal. (God's choice at creation, Jesus' first miracle being performed at a wedding, Paul's advice against other sexual practices in Romans and 1 Corinthians, the picture in Ephesians of Christ and the church being reflected in the husband/wife relationship). Arguing that silence on an issue gives license for that issue is a mistake, as there are a host of social issues we have to grapple with today that aren't dealt with explicitly in the Bible, but which when the principle is applied. (Is God for or against the mass production and distribution of assault weapons? I don't know, but I do know "thou shalt not murder" and "turn the other cheek" are good places to start.) It's the principle of the thing that seems most important, and when scriptures repeatedly endorse the idea of marriage as one man/one woman, for the sake of order, it seems like you have to work pretty hard and do a lot of reinvention to shoe-horn other interpretations to fit.

To address martha's and BVS' comment, you have to do the same thing with the role of women and female leadership. Given the prominence that women enjoy in both Old and New Testaments -- Ruth, Esther, Deborah, Rachel, off the top of my head in the OT; Priscilla, Lidia, Euodia, Syntyche, John Mark's mother Mary (who bankrolled the early church), Dorcas (who was raised from the dead), Mary, the mother of Jesus, to name just a few -- to take Paul's advice to a group of disruptive women in the Corinthian church and say that it applies to all churches is a gross distortion of scripture, given the prominent female leaders Paul worked with and the role of female deacons and prophetesses he himself endorsed. This seems to show a much more nuanced role of women in the church than casual stereotypes might allow... one that ultra-conservative Christians should probably take into consideration.
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Old 11-07-2006, 08:47 PM   #260
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Originally posted by nathan1977
Arguing that silence on an issue gives license for that issue is a mistake, as there are a host of social issues we have to grapple with today that aren't dealt with explicitly in the Bible, but which when the principle is applied. (Is God for or against the mass production and distribution of assault weapons? I don't know, but I do know "thou shalt not murder" and "turn the other cheek" are good places to start.)
And that's where I cite the wisdom of Romans 13, which I shall repeat again for simplicity's sake:

"Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, 'You shall not commit adultery; you shall not kill; you shall not steal; you shall not covet,' and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this saying, (namely) 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law." - Romans 13:8-10

There are many issues that we will encounter in life that were not issues within the Bible, and there are many issues within the Bible that are no longer issues in today's society (true idolatry in any form amongst Judeo-Christians, for instance, has long not been an issue).

I believe that the concept of same-sex love and unions are one of those issues that the Bible was not meant to address specifically, if only because it could not be fathomed in the narrow culture that formed the Bible. However, through the lens of love, I feel that the Bible does not even need to address it. "Love does no evil to the neighbor. Love is the fulfillment of the law."

As such, I think it is quite unfortunate that many modern Christians cannot lift their veil of traditional prejudice against homosexuality, much in the same way that they have been able to lift it to no longer justify slavery, anti-Semitism, and the oppression of women. All three offenses are clearly violations against Jesus' law of love, regardless of the fact that the Old Testament allows for slavery or whether Paul tells slaves to be obedient to their masters. Or whether Paul believes that women should never teach over men. Looks like centuries of female teachers in co-ed or personal tutor environments will be rotting in hell!

I believe that all of these works are part of the continuing fruits of the Holy Spirit, who I believe still works today to lift the veil of this last major prejudice amongst Christians. That is ultimately my enduring prayer for humanity.
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Old 11-07-2006, 08:55 PM   #261
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I believe that all of these works are part of the continuing fruits of the Holy Spirit, who I believe still works today to lift the veil of this last major prejudice amongst Christians. That is ultimately my enduring prayer for humanity.
Melon, this was really moving to read, especially with Window in the Skies playing in the background.
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Old 11-07-2006, 08:55 PM   #262
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Here's where I struggle with this whole conversation: context.
Nice post. And just like you pointed out interpretation is all we have and context is key.

I obviously asked the question to AEON and 80's about divorce and women in the church obviously knowing the answer, but to show the dangers of their logic. The logic that anything said by Paul is something directly from God's mouth or that Jesus had to say SPECIFICALLY say something for it to ever be true. The fact that heterosexual relationships were the promoted ideal doesn't mean there aren't other relationships that can be recognized by God. There are no mentions of mixed racial marriages, except those scriptures in the OT that have been interpreted to be against. How many mentions of widows who've gotten remarried, heterosexual couples who didn't have children, how many mention of relationships between divorced couples.

Or do we need to stick with the natural use of women?

Narrow culture requires narrow talk. It's just a fact of life.
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Old 11-07-2006, 09:29 PM   #263
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And that's where I cite the wisdom of Romans 13, which I shall repeat again for simplicity's sake:

"Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, 'You shall not commit adultery; you shall not kill; you shall not steal; you shall not covet,' and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this saying, (namely) 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law." - Romans 13:8-10

There are many issues that we will encounter in life that were not issues within the Bible, and there are many issues within the Bible that are no longer issues in today's society (true idolatry in any form amongst Judeo-Christians, for instance, has long not been an issue).

I believe that the concept of same-sex love and unions are one of those issues that the Bible was not meant to address specifically, if only because it could not be fathomed in the narrow culture that formed the Bible. However, through the lens of love, I feel that the Bible does not even need to address it. "Love does no evil to the neighbor. Love is the fulfillment of the law."

As such, I think it is quite unfortunate that many modern Christians cannot lift their veil of traditional prejudice against homosexuality, much in the same way that they have been able to lift it to no longer justify slavery, anti-Semitism, and the oppression of women. All three offenses are clearly violations against Jesus' law of love, regardless of the fact that the Old Testament allows for slavery or whether Paul tells slaves to be obedient to their masters. Or whether Paul believes that women should never teach over men. Looks like centuries of female teachers in co-ed or personal tutor environments will be rotting in hell!

I believe that all of these works are part of the continuing fruits of the Holy Spirit, who I believe still works today to lift the veil of this last major prejudice amongst Christians. That is ultimately my enduring prayer for humanity.
Melon, I think that was by far the most beautiful post I have ever read. You said everything I believe too...though way more articulate than I ever could have.

Bless you! It is so affirming to know that there are others who believe what I do. In a world where there is so much discrimination and misunderstanding, it warms my heart and gives me hope to know that there is someone else out there who believes in what I do.
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Old 11-07-2006, 09:32 PM   #264
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Originally posted by Ormus

As such, I think it is quite unfortunate that many modern Christians cannot lift their veil of traditional prejudice against homosexuality, much in the same way that they have been able to lift it to no longer justify slavery, anti-Semitism, and the oppression of women. All three offenses are clearly violations against Jesus' law of love, regardless of the fact that the Old Testament allows for slavery or whether Paul tells slaves to be obedient to their masters. Or whether Paul believes that women should never teach over men. Looks like centuries of female teachers in co-ed or personal tutor environments will be rotting in hell!
One of my mentors once made it pretty clear to me that there are certain issues that are central to Christianity -- and then there are others that will be debated throughout time. As CS Lewis pointed out, sexuality isn't the central sin issue of Christianity -- pride is. So know that as important as these issues are (and I do think they are, for reasons I'll get to in a second), they are ultimately secondary to the sacrifice of Jesus and His offer of life abundantly to those who would deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow Him. (A call to heterosexuals, homosexuals, etc.) So I think the female teachers you talked about will be okay.

At the same time, 1 Cor does make it clear that sexual sins are different from others ("All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body."). We don't have to look far to see religious people with sexual brokenness (addiction, abusiveness, pedophilia, etc), so at the very least we have to deal with sexuality, because it's so central to our identity as human beings. I'm not saying there's an easy answers, but to say, "what's the big deal about sex?", seems to undercut the idea that sex -- no matter your take on it -- is a big deal, whether you accept the passage in 1 Cor, Freud's analysis, or what we see on the news...
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Old 11-07-2006, 09:41 PM   #265
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Lesbian relations are indeed mentioned in the New Testament:

But are there pictures? I mean just mentioning it is not good for me...I am a visual learner.
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Old 11-07-2006, 09:43 PM   #266
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("All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.")
So how are gluttony, addiction, or drunkeness defined?
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Old 11-07-2006, 09:44 PM   #267
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At the same time, 1 Cor does make it clear that sexual sins are different from others ("All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body."). We don't have to look far to see religious people with sexual brokenness (addiction, abusiveness, pedophilia, etc), so at the very least we have to deal with sexuality, because it's so central to our identity as human beings. I'm not saying there's an easy answers, but to say, "what's the big deal about sex?", seems to undercut the idea that sex -- no matter your take on it -- is a big deal, whether you accept the passage in 1 Cor, Freud's analysis, or what we see on the news...
Accepting that same-sex love and unions can exist does not negate the responsibilities that are entailed in any relationship. Addiction, abusiveness, pedophilia, etc. are issues that affect heterosexuality as much as homosexuality; but for people to brashly assume that homosexuality is nothing but abuse and victimization (as has been done in society and history) is quite wrong.
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Old 11-07-2006, 10:02 PM   #268
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As such, I think it is quite unfortunate that many modern Christians cannot lift their veil of traditional prejudice against homosexuality, much in the same way that they have been able to lift it to no longer justify slavery, anti-Semitism, and the oppression of women. All three offenses are clearly violations against Jesus' law of love, regardless of the fact that the Old Testament allows for slavery or whether Paul tells slaves to be obedient to their masters. Or whether Paul believes that women should never teach over men.
"How numerous the slaves were in Roman society when Christianity made its appearance, how hard was their lot........what Christianity has done for slaves and against slavery, first in the Roman world and lastly in the modern world".

This offfers good perspective of what Paul was dealing with. Paste link:
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14036a.htm
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Old 11-07-2006, 10:16 PM   #269
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"How numerous the slaves were in Roman society when Christianity made its appearance, how hard was their lot........what Christianity has done for slaves and against slavery, first in the Roman world and lastly in the modern world".

This offfers good perspective of what Paul was dealing with. Paste link:
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14036a.htm
I don't deny that Christians had their hand in ending slavery in America, for instance. Their role in the abolitionist movement cannot be denied. However, they were the "liberal Christians" of their time, and it took many years of hard work and dedication to get their cause into the mainstream. You can say much of the same about the ending of segregation, as well.
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Old 11-07-2006, 10:30 PM   #270
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I already discussed this months ago -

I think you missed the point of my question, for your cut and paste job pretty much avoided the question all together. I think if you see the discussion between Melon, Nathan, and I you will see what I was asking...
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