Contend for the Faith, Part I
Time for a Little House Cleaning by T.M. Moore
The article stresses the points made in the book of Jude, a book of a single chapter, that talks of ungodly men, filthy dreamers, complainers and mockers. Jude directs 'that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.' The 'true' Christians must be forever on guard for those that attack or undermine their faith.
The article moves on to discuss antinomianism, the tendency of Bible readers to assume that with the teachings of Paul, since God can forgive them, there might be less significance to sinning. The article concludes with the importance of following the law of God.
The Law of God is never clearly explained in the article though on one hand Jesus supposedly fulfilled the Law while at the end this Law is related to the Ten Commandments. The Law of God must be some combination of prophecy and commands; in other words an interpretation of the Bible. Such theological and ethical discussions, where the justifications for one's beliefs are found in the interpretation of ancient writings, are bewildering. The laws of God in the Old Testamant and during the time of Jesus and his brother James the Just were the laws of the Jews. The teachings of Saint Paul marked a diversion from those laws (the original laws of God?) because with Paul the Church moved from its believers being among the Jews (the followers of Jesus and then James) to the non-Jews (the Gentiles taught by Paul).
What are these laws of God that can be learned from the Bible? Are they the laws practiced by the Jews of the Old Testament? If that is true then perhaps the 21st Century believers in the Biblical world view should be practicing the Jewish laws and traditions of the time more than 22 centuries ago. Perhaps the directions from God recorded in Deuteronomy 20:13-14 are the still applicable laws of God, where God explicitly directed the Jews to kill all the men but to keep the women or the later directions of God (in 1 Samuel 15:2-3) where the Jews must kill everyone and everything when their armies conquered an opposing culture. These actions directed by God are now considered a crime against humanity (as expressed during Nuremberg Trials). Contemporary Christian evangelists rarely suggest this even though this is an obvious possible interpretation of the early books of the Bible.
Are the laws of God those preached by Paul to the Gentiles in the 1st Century? When comparing the teachings of Paul against the bulk of the Old Testament and much of the New Testament, should his teachings be more important? In practice, Paul's writings appear more relevant since his teachings moved the early Church away from the Jewish influence, the basis for the entire Old Testament.
How relevant are the ancient writings of a foreign culture to the 21st Century? Which writings are relevant? The answers are clearly left to those interpreting those ancient writings, who perform this task in a manner suiting the needs of the interpreter, not necessarily the followers.
The laws for ethical human behavior come directly from our human nature. The simple rules of respecting the life and property of others and honoring one's commitments to others are inherent in our social nature. Even primitive peoples, never having been visited by a Christian missionary, will still follow similar laws.
In ancient times, so much of life was unknown. Severe weather and earthquakes were considered an act of God because the survivors had no understanding of the natural phenomena. In the 21st Century, those holding the Biblical worldview are finding that the more educated people become the less likely they are to believe the Biblical stories are the infallible word of God and that everything in nature occurs at the behest of God's whim.
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