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Sunday: Hold Fast What is Good — 19 Comments

  1. Discussions about culture often lead to the issues of contamination by worldly culture and just what is meant by tolerance. A fitting preface to our discussion this week is the experience and practice of Jesus.

    Jesus was a cultural rebel. He overturned cultural barriers. Notice this passage:

    Later, as Jesus and his disciples were eating dinner at Matthew’s house, there were many notorious swindlers there as guests! The Pharisees were indignant. “Why does your teacher associate with men like that?”
    “Because people who are well don’t need a doctor! It’s the sick people who do!” was Jesus’ reply.
    Then he added, “Now go away and learn the meaning of this verse of Scripture,
    ‘It isn’t your sacrifices and your gifts I want—I want you to be merciful.’
    For I have come to urge sinners, not the self-righteous, back to God.” Matt 9:10-13 TLB

    Jesus was willing to cross cultural boundaries to eat with the "unclean" publicans and tax collectors because they were the ones who needed to hear his message. In fact

    Seventh-day Adventists often feel uncomfortable in the unchurched cultures of today and we tend to be separatist for fear that we will be influenced by them. How do we follow the example of Jesus in dealing with culture today?

    Amen!(40)
    • Hi Maurice,
      Another example of Jesus tearing down cultural practices was in Matthew 12:1:

      "At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn and to eat."

      It was not a sin to pick corn from the potter's field on the Sabbath and eat it. But it has grown to be a cultural practice that the Jews didn't do anything secular or non-religious related, on the Sabbath. They didn't even want to take Sabbath walks. Some churches in the SDA church have similar strict Sabbath observances, that are not based on scripture, but have been handed down as cultural practices; then they wonder why their children grow up and leave the church (but that's a whole different discussion). What we should do is get the entire family involved in planning and implementing Sabbath worship and observance, instead of following cultural Sabbath practices. I think that is what Jesus was trying to show us, that we don't have to compromise to keep the Sabbath, and we don't pigeon-toed to a lot of cultural Sabbath practices either.

      There's nothing wrong with children running around outside, after church, in the church yard (that old sda cultural practice of, no playing on the Sabbath). Children naturally need to burn off energy; it might even help to show the community that we actually have children attending our churches (very few children at my church), and perhaps drew them and their children to come to our church because it looks like we are having a nice time with each other. Let's try that this week!

      Be blessed!

      Amen!(17)
  2. I am intrigued and challenged by the final question in today's lesson. The older I get, I cannot escape an undeniable truth that my views of truth have been colored by my rearing in this country and in my family of origin being of the Baptist faith. It is imperceptible. It colors everything your read in Scripture and think about in terms of God, etc.

    For example, (and please don't get side tracked from my story I am about to share) after having spent two years reading my way into the SDA Church from a short contact with a "coming back to their faith" SDA member, and having entered the ministry some eight years after my baptism, I encountered a flyer at the 1990 General Conference proclaiming pro women's ordination convictions. It was the first time I really got immersed in the topic. I had been busy with school, pastoring a new congregation, working as a bible worker two years traversing the States, and now newly married pastoring in an out-of-the-way-place in south-central-eastern Utah to pay any real attention to the ordination debate.

    But there in the parking lot reading a flyer that had fluttered in the wind stopping beneath my feet I got half way through its content, and with surety claimed it false, untrue, worse yet, unbiblical. Women, in my mind, at the moment in my sense of ability to discern the truth, could not be ordained. God had made it that way. How could members of the SDA Church reach any other conclusion being the "people of the book"? I found it simply incredulous to the extreme.

    So, from that point on of enlightenment I was certain I possessed, I entered the fray to join with anti-women's ordination with gusto.

    Let me hasten to say, I am not interested in starting a debate over WO. I am saying this for this reason. In the process of my maturity as a biblical reader and nascent scholar I have come to an opposite conclusion, at least the point that there is no biblical prohibition as such, nor is there any positive injunction as such. What I learned in this chapter of my life with Jesus is that I was not aware of how much my culture colored my views of "truth." I am convinced we have more to wrestle with on this matter than we dare admit, because to admit that is in itself a bit destabilizing in one's personal faith experience.

    Sorting out cultural bias isn't easy. Accepting the bible as having been written in a time far, far removed from our present existence, realizing that its expressions of truth are colored by situations on the ground, isn't an easy thing to embrace. You feel like the vital message of saving truth is somehow diluted if you do. Or our beliefs somehow less compelling than at first held.

    For me, Truth is centered in and flows from Jesus Christ, the Way, the TRUTH, and the Life. By coming to know Jesus Christ, His life and teachings as recorded for us by His followers in the preservative protection of the Holy Spirit, keeps truth moored in something more than culture. It comes from God Himself as it relates to His character. This allows me the freedom not to become enamored with peripheral issues that seem to dominate our discussions much of the time, and compels me to learn to be more like Jesus in the truth as it is in Him.

    Holding Fast to That Which is Good, is holding to that which alone is good, God Himself.

    [Moderator's Note: When responding to this comment, please address the issue of cultural bias. Women's ordination is not the issue here.]

    Amen!(19)
    • Thank you Kevin for presenting your experience and views on WO. Sticking to general principles, also in view of related issues, I` like to ask the question, in what kind of relationship should scripture and culture be seen? If we say, God`s revelation is entangled with culture and has to be interpreted from culture: does that mean that culture is the interpretative key to get to the right conclusion? If so, what about the principle "Sola Scriptura"? Would the authority of scripture be transferred to culture?

      It seems to me that God`s revelation has a specific message in and to every culture, as also seen in the first angel`s message pointing out creation and adoration to the one God who is our creator and redeemer for any and every culture. (Revelation 14:6-7; 5:12)

      Winfried Stolpmann

      Amen!(5)
      • Hello Winfried:

        I have been on vacation and am behind in answering emails, and even questions that come up on SSNET.

        As to your question: first, my issue with culture in this case was the culture of my Baptist faith that pretty much runs on patriarchy. From that experience I was molded in my understanding of a given text. As I am maturing in my walk with Christ I realize that my view of texts are complicated by my experience and up bringing. That was my main point.

        Secondly, you state your question prefaced with "revelation is entangled with culture and has to be interpreted from culture." I don't believe the Bible is to be interpreted from culture. What we have to be aware of is that revelation/inspiration is a mix of divine and human and culture plays a part in what is written for us to read and understand. Paying attention to that is important as we seek to discern God's truth through a given statement. It doesn't do us well to rush off to place meaning upon something that may not support our conclusions.

        Hence, in the southern states of the United States during the 1800's churches took up the belief that the bible supported and condoned slavery: hence, you have Northern and Southern Baptist, and Northern and Southern Methodists, in which a given denomination split over this interpretation. It is true that the bible makes no clear denunciation of slavery in its pages. Why? Well, during that time slavery was part and partial of societies around the globe. God often accommodates Himself to the situation on the ground as it is presented.

        So, if we stay with the idea that God doesn't denounce slavery outright we, in that sense, are allowing culture to interpret, or be the controlling factor, and are not seeing it as such. There are other places in Scripture that a case could be made for banning slavery, and that view, as we know, eventually won out. And, part of that insight about slavery (that it isn't right), came with a change in cultural attitudes placing different emphasis upon parts of Scripture than upon others.

        To discern meaning within the confines of culture that affect expression of truth in the Bible is not an easy task. It is just important that we are all affected by our "cultures" in our home cultures, our community cultures, our national cultures, and to be aware of it as we seek to understand God's will for our lives.

        Amen!(1)
        • Thank you for your comment. As to slavery, revelation explicitly condemns that brutal culure. (Revelation 18:13) Slavery is seen as a babylonian cultural tradition heading up to final judgement.

          Revelation/inspiration stands in confrontation against culture that exists in contradition to Scripture. Slavery as a brutal tradition is the object of redemption, wich is seen in the sabbath commandment where slaves together with the household were resting in the promise of redemption.

          Slavery today as an "unculture" is continued in various forms (proclamation of freedom in sin resulting in sin slavery 2 Peter 2:19 and many other forms of sin).

          The history of revelation versus culture in the Old Testament ends up in the babylonian captivity, continueing there and even in post-exilic time (Esra and Nehemia),continueing in the New Testament (Revelation 2:14)and in post-apostolic time, increasing in end time. I think we will have to be aware of that problem.

          Winfried Stolpmann

          Amen!(2)
          • Hello Winfried:

            Appreciate your sharing further in your thinking on this topic. I think you are reading into the statement in Revelation 18:13. Revelation's statement isn't a condemnation of slavery, unless it is condemning the rest of the items on the list. It's simply saying that all of that has come to ruin in the fall of Babylon. No more of anything in her. She is destroyed.

            I think we can say that slavery is a product of a sin cursed world. A broken, fallen humanity, and to go back to the ideal is where we derive the basis for slavery being extinguished if it is in the Christian's power to do so. The same with polygamy, another practice no officially condemned in Scripture.

            Blessings,

            Amen!(2)
          • Hello Kevin

            As to the culture of slavery mentioned in revelation 18:13, this morning I just red Early Writings from Ellen G. White, the chapter entitled: The Sins of Babylon. With prophetic courage she is vehemently denouncing slavery as contemporary culture in the US back then. I also noticed that she repeatedly quoted passages from revelation 18 as scriptural basis of condemning slavery.

            Also looking at revelation 17 and 18, it becomes obvious that revelation 18 recapitulates chapter 17 deliniating a process of investigative judgement climaxing in the execution of that judgement -- with the issue of slavery belonging to the sins reaching up to heaven.(Revelation 18:5) Inasmuch as slavery of any kind was and is degrading the image of God in man, it indeed belongs to all the other sins reaching up to heaven.

            Judgement can only be averted by the redemptive action of redemption as promised in the Elijah-Message, which is the topic of our lesson next sabbath. (Malachi 4:5-6) There we are confronted with the controversy between the culture of baal service on one hand and the covenant of God with his people on the other. The battle of which is extended in the church of Thyatira, both local and in church history, being repeated in endtime. (Revelation 2:20; Revelation 13:11-18)

            Summing it all up, I come to the conclusion: While we are called to be sensitive in missionary efforts over against different cultures, moving whith caution, worldly culture not in harmony with scripture will be converting the church to the world and not the other way round. The ship is moving on the water, bat the water is not to be invited into the ship.

            Thank you for your input in this question.

            Winfried Stolpmann

            Amen!(1)
  3. My favorite stories from church history are the stories of those who have so lived for Christ that even when their trials have been the greatest, they have remained steadfast in their faith. For instance, Stephen, in the book of Acts, was killed for preaching Jesus. He held fast until the end. While being pelted with rocks, he called on the Lord and said, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!" (Acts 7:59). "Then, falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, 'Lord, do not hold this sin against them!" (Acts 7:60). I love that story, because it shows that even in the midst of great hatred and hostility, the love of Jesus is so strong, that can strengthen you to pray for the forgiveness of those who are murdering you.

    Another example comes from the life of Polycarp. He lived in the first century and was a disciple of the apostle John. In his old age, he was placed before the Roman proconsul, who told him, "Swear by the fortune of Caesar. Take the oath and I will release you. Curse Christ!" But, Polycarp held fast to His faith and said, "Eighty-six years have I served the Lord Jesus Christ, and He never once wronged me. How can I blaspheme my King who has saved me?" The proconsul threatened, "I have wild beasts ready, and I will throw you to them if you do not change your mind." "Let them come, for my purpose in unchangeable," replied Polycarp. "If the wild beasts don't scare you, then I will burn you with fire," said the proconsul. "You will threaten me with a fire which will burn for an hour and then will go out, but you are ignorant of the fire of the future judgment of God reserved for the everlasting torment of the ungodly. But why do you delay? Bring on the beasts, or the fire, or whatever you chose; you shall not move me to deny Christ, my Lord and Savior." [1] Polycarp was soon afterwards burned at the stake....

    These sorts of stories encourage my faith, because it shows that Jesus Christ is not only worth living for, but He is also worth dying for. But for every story that I have told of those who have held fast to the Lord Jesus Christ until their death, there are dozens more to be told. I've told you before of this book entitled, "Jesus Freaks." Both volumes of this book are filled with story after story after story of those who gave their lives for Jesus Christ, holding fast until the end.

    But, it's not just martyrdoms that are encouraging to me. I'm greatly encouraged by those who face great opposition,in the church,circular world but still hold on fast to Jesus, rather than to their comforts in life. I've been encouraged by Martin Luther, who stood before the authorities of the Roman Catholic Church, who had the authority to banish him from the church as a heretic. Copies of his writings were all laid out on a table before them all. He was asked two questions: (1) Are these your books? (2) Do you stand by their contents? He was granted until the next day to answer the questions.
    The next day, Martin Luther held fast, saying, "Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. May God help me. Amen". After this, his life was filled with turmoil and hardship, as he was constantly on the run, as he was fleeing from those who wanted to kill him. But Martin Luther held fast until the end.

    I'm encouraged by those who forsake the riches of this world to follow Christ. I'm encouraged by the life of many rich and famous who devoted and followed Christ..
    I'm encouraged by the life of Moses. In book of Hebrews 11, verse 24 we are told that;

    Hebrews 11:24-25
    by faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin ... considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward.

    In this way, Moses was holding fast to Christ. There are countless others that I might not capture...
    "At the same time, God’s truth must not be compromised. Church history sadly shows that compromise and accommodation to cultures has yielded a patchwork of pseudo-Christian beliefs posing as authentic Christianity. Satan claims to be the god of this world and happily spreads confusion, but Jesus has redeemed this world, and His Spirit guides His followers into all truth (John 16:13)"
    As the author of the lesson has put it.

    Amen!(20)
  4. IT'S NOT THAT EASY

    What would you do in these situations?

    When you find yourself in a culture where the dowry include beer made from honey for the elders and you have to drink it first.

    Where a man's funeral rites are incomplete until his widow has been inherited.

    When a ritual to accompany the spirit of the deceased has to be performed that is driving his cows to the river and bringing them back to the house of the deceased shouting and singing.

    When a ritual of shaving your nice hair has to be performed to free you from mourning taboo.

    Where a copse must spend time at home with the coffin left open for all to see the dead person and interact with them.

    Where the wife of the deceased is supposed to sleep with the deceased, sit next to the dead husband's body and question him until he is buried.

    Where an infant has to be buried in the floor of the house.

    A church elder one day faced the culture head-on instead of the disco that the young men demanded he brought the church piano, instead of the cigarettes and chapatis he prepared a very healthy potatoes dish. The young men were violent they smeared the food on the walls of the house, broke the fence, stole whatever they could and left.

    Should we give to Caesar what is his and God what is His?

    Should we be in Rome and do as the Roman's do?

    Should we face the culture head-on?

    What should we do?

    Amen!(13)
    • Cyrus, you raise a number of situations that to us are quite confronting, and it would be difficult for me, from the comfort of my computer screen to offer any sort of advice. I have not lived in or near a culture where those practices are extant.

      However, I think we can learn from the mistakes of some of our missionaries in the past here in the Pacific. They rushed in to convert folk with all the finesse of a bull in a china shop, assuming that almost everything that the indigenous people were doing was satanic and should be replaced by western cultural norms. It is only today that we are recognizing that we threw out some very good things and we replaced them with some inappropriate practices. For example, for many years Seventh-day Adventists in some area of the Pacific would only wear black suits (Sabbath clothes) to church in spite of the high temperatures and humidity. The legacy of some of this inappropriate adoption of western culture lingers with us still.

      Cross-cultural issues are complicated and it takes a fair bit of sensitivity to sort out what should be kept and what should be replaced. Typically, it cannot be sorted out by administative decisions in distant places.

      Amen!(6)
      • True. In our churches today in Zimbabwe, if as a guy you go to church wearing a shirt and a pair of trousers only, elders are offended. They feel you should wear a complete suit and tie. Outside that you are naked before God. However in our culture before the missionaries came we used to wear animal skin, semi-naked.As a result non-Adventist feel they need many suits to match to the standards. This is the sterotype in our community and somehow hinders the gospel. How can we be helped?

        Amen!(2)
    • Oh yes brother cyrus, these unfortunately are the cultures some of us have had to face. As you said its not easy.
      Its in this similar situation that Daniel and his friends find themselves in while in Babylon,for Moses it was the wealth and glory of being called Pharao's son.
      For us its the culture that will allow us be "part" of the society we come from and most of them are tied to these rites of passage like marriage and death.

      Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of
      righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
      (i.e We are willing to stand up for God’s laws even if we are teased or insulted.)

      Amen!(2)
    • Agreed, it isn't that easy. Without being immersed in the culture from which the practices are done that you share it is impossible to share what could or should be done. Even in Paul's days some decorum was important to ascribe to (head coverings for women, for example) in order not to bring poor views upon the faith, though wearing a head covering today isn't even on the radar in the Western World for most faiths.

      I am very glad you shared the situations that you have. Gives an excellent example of how challenging addressing culture can and is. Praying for the wisdom of Christians be granted as to how to address the examples you share.

      Amen!(2)
    • The Bible in 1 John 4:1-3 says we should "... test every spirit to see whether they are from God...".

      I believe that if we prayerfully and sincerely ask for "eye salve" and the spirit of discernment we shall be equipped for to face the trials of the day. May God help us to seek first the kingdom of God- Amen.

      Amen!(2)
  5. Bias, cultural prejudice, “-isms” of every ilk are so much of our fabric that we scarcely recognize them. It is much easier to see bias in another than in yourself. While the lesson is about families and culture might I suggest an eye opening experience?

    Some of you are no doubt aware of a collaborative project by Harvard, University of Virginia, Yale and Washington University called the “Implicit Attitude Test” or simply “Project Implicit” that exposes hidden bias. You can google “Harvard Bias Test” and, if you are willing, have an enlightening or possibly a disturbing experience when you do a few modules. Most I people have known, including me, would not have predicted an inherent or implicit bias.

    Here is a screen shot of the various tests.

    Sexuality IAT. ('Gay - Straight')
    Weight IAT. ('Fat - Thin')
    Skin-tone IAT. ('Light Skin - Dark Skin')
    Religion IAT. ('Religions').
    Weapons IAT('Weapons - Harmless Objects' )
    Native IAT. ('Native - White American')
    Presidents IAT. ('Presidential Popularity')
    Race IAT. ('Black - White')
    Gender-Science IAT ('Gender - Science')
    Disability IAT. ('Disabled - Abled')
    Gender-Career IAT. ('Gender - Career')
    Asian IAT. ('Asian - European American')
    Age IAT. ('Young - Old' IAT)
    Arab-Muslim IAT. Arab-Muslim ('Arab Muslim - Other People' IAT).

    Copyright © Project Implicit

    Please consider taking several. It only takes minutes to complete. I would also urge that you take ones that are relevant to you and which might reveal a previously unrecognized personal bias that will influence how you relate to others. Racial, gender, weight, sexuality bias may color our Biblical interpretations as well as actual treatment of others.

    I would appreciate it if some of you shared any reactions &/or learnings about yourself as you feel comfortable. I promise you that it will be eye opening and self realization can lead to fruitful areas for growth as well as a healthy caution when relating to others.

    All you have to lose is your “ignorance” and a little pride.

    Thanks for considering this challenge early this week. It might change how you view yourself and some of your certainty about people and issues

    Amen!(5)
  6. Issue: Relation of Scripture and Culture

    Hello Kevin,

    I have relplied to your comment briefly as to the culture of slavery but did not get through. So I am trying again,this time from another cultural aspect.

    After the area of enlightenment we are living in the so called post modern culture of thinking. Being confronted with the quest of scientific interpretation of scripture we have to be certain as to the firm foundation. The present culture cannot be our foundation inasmuch as the scientific culture and approach to scripture does not and cannot accept God revealing himself in scripture, as this is far beyond any possibility of rational investigation.

    Revelation as firm foundation having gone, scripture is seen only as a human product of literature and culture. The mode of operation in interpreting scripture is dealing with the interpretive key of culture back in those days or our own days mixing scripture (revelation) and culture, whereas revelation has a message in and to ever culture. The history of relation between revelation and culture was ending up in the babylonian captivity and from that time onward the antagonism between revelation and culture, inasmuch as it is seen as a product of human thinking and acting against revelation, is continueing.

    Already Aaron has used egyptian culture in order to justify and interpret the covenant with God and Israel as to symbolize God by the egyptian golden calf proclaiming the worship of the lord. (Exodus 32:5). The battle between revelation and surrounding culture becomes vehement in the New Testament (see 1 Corinthians 10:1-22; Revelation 2:14-15 ect.)

    Post modern culture today of interpreting scripture has indeed transposed the authority of scripture to man who is "revealing" himself in culture. In the end, God does not speak in history as only man within his culture is speaking with a mere human authority.

    I think we have to face that culture firmly.

    Winfried Stolpmann

    Amen!(2)
    • Hello Winfried:

      I think I can see what you are trying to express, but I am not sure. For example, I don't believe Aaron was using Egyptian culture to justify the golden calf. The story isn't about the culture of Egypt as it is in making god into an image because the people didn't know what had become of Moses. They resorted to false gods saying they had taken them out of Egypt. Though the golden calves were part of Egyptian society (other societies as well) it isn't necessarily Egyptian culture that was being addressed as it is the truth about the one true, and living God and idolatry. Yes, speaking against idolatry will upset culture in many areas. And today in our culture we may not be bowing to idols as such as in the days of the Bible, but we can have idols of affection that we "worship" or give most of ourselves too. The point isn't the carved object per se, but the undo worth we put into it. The focus upon it to the rejection of the true God.

      Sacrifices were interictal parts of the culture of the day of Moses and OT stories. Sacrifices were not unique to Israel. But what was important is that the sacrifices were prescribed by the true God to be done in certain ways that foretold the truth God was communicating to His people and the world. We don't live in a culture of sacrifices so we don't confront that culture today. Too, as Christians we know that the prescriptions for sacrifices that God gave prior to the Sacrifice of Christ are of no force for the believer due to the sacrifice of Jesus.

      Here is another example of culture and how modesty is understood and related to. Revelation (the Bible) speaks of modesty, but modesty will vary depending on culture though it still will be modesty. In Middle Eastern countries modesty runs the gamut from complete covering of women (burkas) and not public appearances of women, to head scarves that reveal the face. Modesty is the point, but the variation of what that means depends on very local or religious views.

      When a tribe in Indonesia had been met by missionaries of the SDA Church entire villages were converted to Christ and the understanding of truth the SDA Church embraces. A team from the General Conference was sent to observe the miracle. While GC officials and other were dining at the elders home the elders' wife, along with other women, were topless. Nothing was said about this. It was common practice by the natives.

      When a photographer for the GC set up to take pictures of the elders' family, the wife excused herself. Within a few minutes she emerged fully clothed. The elders wife was sensitive to the views of modesty in western culture and put on a dress. In that Indonesian village women's breasts were utilitarian, not sexual. Hence, the exposed breasts were not seen as immodest. Missionaries were sensitive to this reality and people in the village were sensitive to our reality.

      As to the view of what constitutes stealing villages can manifest different views, but like the Bible's standard, stealing is wrong. In some places if the fruit drops from a tree on another person's land and a person, not the owner of the land, takes that fruit it isn't stealing. But if a non owner of the land came and took the fruit from that which is still attached the tree it is stealing. For some cultures just going on someone's land other than your own would constitute trespassing and thus stealing whether the fruit was on the ground or not.

      I hope I have made sense in all have shared here. I agree that we can't let culture dictate what is truth, and that we have to be wise to discern what in culture communicates error and reject it. It is true that our culture today puts more emphasis and clout on science than it does inspiration or sacred Scripture and we have to be mindful of that, but not everything scientific or from science is necessarily against Scripture. Finally, indeed, we cannot allow ourselves to become the source of what we determine is truth about a given situation or method or saying and so forth. We want to filter life through the lens of Scripture, as God has reveled Himself to us and as we understand it.

      Blessings,

      Amen!(1)
      • Hallo Kevin

        Thank you for your comment. It has helped me to see the issue also from another aspect. True, if missionaries are working in moslem countries they will have to be sensitive to the present culture. There may be borderlines where wisdom from above is called for.

        As to pagan culture, I had in mind the basic problem Paul was facing dealing with pagan culture in Israel und Corinth at his time. Paul is using examples of ancient history to draw lessons from in application for present situations, even in end time. (1 Corinthians 10:11) Ancient culture of this kind are elements of warning even for today, in principle.

        As to scientific interpretation of scripture within the culture of our post modern time, I have written from my own study experience of Old and New Testament studies in a german University getting to know there how scripture is interpreted in the so called historical critical method and also the so called form and redactional critical approach. Basically, from a scintific approach God does not actually speak and act in history there. Prophecy is merely history in retrospect being transposed into prophecy.

        This is my background and I am disturbed at the fact that this kind of thinking does not stop at the door of our church. I am thinking of theistic evolution, which I consider to be a mixture of revelation and scintific culture, but also there, you cannot have God acting in science. Either one believes in creation or in evilution.

        Thank you for writing from your own background, which helps me to understand other views also.

        Winfried Stolpmann

        Amen!(0)

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