There are more example of God telling lies, but one example should be enough to demonstrate that God can tell lies.
I agree one example is enough. I think I agree that God would tell lies, or at least tell others to tell lies, but I don't think your examples are sufficient.
Despite your objections to it, most (or all?) Christians, and in this case myself included, believe that Adam most certainly did die in the day he ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The death, however, was spiritual, not physical.
And I don't see how Deut 13:1-3 involves lying. God sends a person to test people by encouraging them to worship other gods. He tells them in advance that he's going to do this. Where's the lie?
He did send a lying spirit to deceive, uh...shoot, memory's giving out...I think it's Ahab. He agreed to the lie suggested by the spirit and then sent the spirit to deceive Ahab.
So, being honest about telling a lie is honest, surely there is still a lie involved?
I nearly had a short circuit in my brain thinking about this LOL:
Yeah, but we're reading this a lot different. Maybe it's unusual for me to read it the way I do. I'm not sure.
I would agree with you if Deut 13 involved prophecy. In the story of Ahab and the prophets, they were telling him a lie about what would happen. Deut 13 does not involve prophecy. The "dreamer of dreams" in that passage may give a prophecy, but if so, it comes to pass. No lie there. The person then encourages the Israelites to worship other gods. Bad advice, but no lies involved.
I agree with holding God responsible for whatever this person says who was sent by him to test Israel, but this person is not lying, as far as I can see. Am I missing something that seems obvious to you?
As for Genesis three, I don't think I can point to a spot in the text where it implies that Adam suffered a spiritual death, but the reason that it's "the usual reply from a Christian perspective" is because spiritual death is the primary concern of the Scriptures from a Christian perspective. Romans five says that Adam was dead in his sins, just as, according to Ephesians, we all are.
In a classroom, reading back into a text may not impress the professor, but since the "Christian perspective" is that the Scriptures are spiritual, we've always read back into the text.
This is not a challenge or a demand for you to justify your faith. Please take this as the question it is. If you could see my face, it would be easy to ask this in a non-challenging tone, but you can't, so I'm prefacing this.
quote:In particular I've noticed that often they (literalists)quote a single line when the very next line either contradicts what they have quoted or expands on it changing the meaning.
I'm thinking I remember you saying that you are a Christian, though a non-literalist. Knowing that Paul is very prone to quoting a single line out of context, I'm curious how you view Paul or the Bible.
I'm not asking you to give a general dissertation on the subject. I'm asking specifically about the literalist issue and taking quotes out of context.
It's an issue I've had to give thought to that was rough to me, because while I am not a literalist, I am very historic in my faith. I count Paul and those in his churches as my spiritual forefathers, and it was a doctrine of theirs (this gleaned from reading the church fathers) that the inspiration of the Scriptures meant that it was quite okay to pull sentences out of context, because God dropped them in there as prophecy.
What other source should one use to interpret scripture?
How about the same source Paul used?
I don't think you can use Scripture to interpret Scripture in most cases. If we did that, then we would take Isaiah 7 in context and deny that 7:14 is a prophecy of the virgin birth. The apostles didn't mind pulling that verse out of context, because they didn't believe Scripture interpreted Scripture. They believed God interpreted Scripture.
When Scripture interprets Scripture, you're still talking about people figuring things out, and as you said, humans aren't able to discern Scripture, nor spiritual things in general.
So who has the revelation of God about Scripture. According to Jesus, the person who has fruit...who produces results. That's how you tell true prophets from false prophets. You don't just reject all prophets and interpret Scripture by Scripture. Where is it said to do that? Instead, you judge prophets by their results.
I accept your challenge but you have to do it my way. Here is a good American preacher. Pick ANY of his sermons and show me ANY flaws in his logic.
I think you're missing Berberry's point, Phatboy. The logic or lack of it in Charles Stanley's sermons has nothing to do with the logic Berberry is referencing. He is saying that just because you say you got something from the Word of God by the help of the Holy Spirit, that doesn't mean it's safe.
His point is obviously true, and you agree with the general point, which is that not everyone who defends their actions or viewpoints by the Bible, claiming to be guided by the Spirit of God, is trustworthy.
An example would be you and me. Both of us claim to be Biblical. Both of us claim to be following the Holy Spirit. Yet I would consider Charles Stanley to be espousing 2,000 years of deviation from the writings of the apostles, while you would use his sermons as an example of perfect Biblical logic. The specifics of that disagreement between you and I are not pertinent to this topic, but the fact that we could both honor Scripture and desire to follow the Holy Spirit yet disagree as much as we do proves Berberry's point.
And mine. Scripture interpreting Scripture is not enough. Millions of people do that, and the majority of them disagree on Scripture. Even trying to follow the Holy Spirit and Scripture is not enough, as you and I prove.
Are you speaking of the fruit of the spirit mentioned in Galations?
Not specifically. I don't think Y'shua's statement is to be taken that specifically. In general, I do think the result you want from religion is love, kindness, etc., but I think he meant "judge the results for yourself." Good results come from a good source, so if the prophet is producing good results, then he's a trustworthy prophet. ("Make the tree good if the fruit is good. A good tree does not produce bad fruit, nor does a bad tree produce good fruit.")
Can you give an example of how to use a prophets results to judge what they have written?
Yes, but let's add "or said" to your question. I'm not speaking of the past, but of current teachers or prophets, so I'm including what they say, not just what they write.
Paul gave an example in his letter to the Corinthians, saying that he did not need letters of commendation to them or from them, because they were his letter. Was Paul a true or good prophet? His answer was to present the Corinthians for evaluation. Did the church/community of the Corinthians demonstrate a life that showed the influence of God the Creator?
Let's take Charles Stanley as an example, since he was mentioned by Phatboy. Is Charles Stanley a true prophet of God? The answer can be found in Atlanta, at the congregation he pastors. What can be seen there?
This does leave the possibility that different people will be looking for different "good fruit." I don't think that problem can be solved. Y'shua himself is not loved by everyone. In fact, he said that the world would hate him. They did not judge his fruit as good, and they put him to death.
On the other hand, I believe good fruit is a relatively universal concept. I am part of a community that has been going forward on the basis of looking for good fruit. We try to follow God and live by his Spirit, but if we do something that doesn't bring about love, unity, holiness, kindness, freedom, etc., then we assume we missed God, and we back up and change directions. The results have been extraordinary, in our opinion, and we very commonly hear visitors and acquaintances remark "That's the way things ought to be" or "That's how people ought to live."
In religious terminology, what they mean is, "That's good fruit."
You haven't given me a concrete method of interpretation without leaving me subject to the whims of men and religious dogma.
Oh, I had no idea I was being asked for a concrete method of interpretation. I don't think there is one; not the kind most people look for, where you can just figure out what the Scriptures mean on this or that.
...without leaving me subject to the whims of men and religious dogma
Sounds like an awful thing to leave you subject to, but...
quote:...in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. - 1 Tim 3:15
The Scriptures say that the pillar and support of the truth is the church, the household of God. I'm afraid that means the teaching of the apostles was that finding truth would be tied to men and "dogma," if that's what you want to call the teaching of the church.
Paul said one time that there were people teaching in Corinth who were very proud of what they were teaching. Then he said, "When I come, I don't want to hear the words of the proud ones; I want to see their power" (1 Cor 4:19). Earlier, he had said that he didn't come with "words of man's wisdom," but in demonstration of Spirit and power.
The subject, as far as I can tell, that you and I and Phatboy are discussing is how to "know" what Scripture means. You can only know by testing. The Words of God are powerful. Where there is no power, there is no word from God. Where there is no demonstration, you do not have a correct interpretation of Scripture.
Everything else is guessing, and leads to arguing and bold claims. The Scriptures teach that the proof is in the pudding. Where there is a demonstration, arguments end. No one can argue with power and demonstration.
As far as I can tell, the ultimate proof is a message that unites people. Y'shua prayed, "Father, make them one, even as you and I are one, so the world may know that you sent me." He seemed to think that if his disciples were united in love, it would be proof to "the world."
The born-again Christians of America are not united in love, so by Christ's own words, I dismiss them as his disciples. Their interpretation of Scripture is not correct. Whatever the Scriptures mean, they don't mean what born-again Christians say they mean.
It's very hard to find those who claim to be disciples of Christ united in love, so therefore the world doesn't believe that Christ was sent from God. The early church shook the Roman empire. It was difficult to dismiss them, because they had good fruit. They had unity and love, and they could be seen to be disciples by their love for one another. The Christians of America are easy to dismiss, because they are not united in love.
You will never be able to determine the meaning of Scripture on your own, because the meaning of Scripture is proven in results, and the result it calls for is love between disciples. Demonstration and power...when you see a demonstration of the power of unity and love, you will be able to know what the Scripture means.
I will add one more thing to all that. There are promises in the Scripture that God will lead those disciples into all that's true. There are no such promises to anyone else.
Wouldn't it be more accurate to say that "Because the Roman Empire TOOK the Christian Church, Christianity thrived?" It was Constantine's co-option of Christianity as a State tool and religion that led to its rapid spread and adoption.
While some claims by pre-Constantinian Christians may be exaggerated, they can't possibly be so exaggerated as to justify that statement.
No, a hundred years before Constantine, Tertullian was able to write to the emperor and tell him that if he banished all the Christians, he'd have no one left to pay him taxes. Tertullian obviously thought the Christians were extremely numerous.
"The Great Persecution" happened because of the large numbers and influence of Christians shortly before the time of Constantine. I heard an estimate of 10% of the empire being Christian during the late 3rd century, but I can't remember whether that estimate had a good source.
One more from Tertullian. He said, "The more of us you kill, the more of us there are. The blood of the martyrs is seed."
They were doing pretty well a long time prior to Constantine. I think their early history was pretty impressive, really.
This person is saying that the prophecy comes from, say Chemosh, when it is fact comes from Yahweh, that is a lie.
Hmm...I can't say I'm sold, as the passage doesn't necessarily say that the person is attributing to a false god, or to any god, for that matter. But, since I don't believe the "God cannot lie" doctrine, there's no reason to press that point. Put me under the category of "you might have it right, but it's not certain to me."
We do both agree that lying can have a higher purpose. I like the story of the spies Joshua sent into Canaan as an example. Rahab was richly rewarded and even became Y'shua's great-great-etc.-grandmother for lying to protect the spies.