Monday, March 14, 2011

"Applicational" Teaching

There is no section in the Bible titled, "How to Have a Godly Marriage and How to Raise Kids."
Surely, the Bible has things to say about those topics. But they are scattered against a background of general Judeo-Christian belief and world-view. The Bible itself is a story of God's dealings with man. We treat our spouses properly, and raise our children properly, as an outpouring of what we already have in Him. Our dealings in this life in whatever positions we find ourselves in are informed and guided by our understanding of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no right or wrong for the Christian outside of the mind of Christ, which operates in love according to His goodness and mercy to all of man's predicament and suffering.
This is why I do not like applicational teaching. The silver, gold, and precious stones of I Cor 3 are not workbooks on how to do some-thing or how to be the best some-one in a particular relationship or area of life. They are the teachings of the word of God as they inform us of Christ's mind towards our lives and the world. We go to Him, we learn of Him, we stand in awe of Him, and we come away automatically equipped in the Spirit for whatever calling God places in our lives.
Applicational teaching, then, not only refocuses our view of Scripture from a book detailing the love, grace, and holiness of God to a how-to manual, but in doing so it trends toward legalism. This is what we would expect when it is suggested that our lives in a certain area be lived according to particular guidelines not explicitly stated in Scripture.
"'Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.'"
-Matthew 11:28-30 NRSV

Friday, March 11, 2011

APU / AMU /APUS Class Discussion Board Assignments

As a student of APU (American Public University), discussion board postings make up a large part of my class work. I have found it rather frustrating to digest all the different requirements of each class's discussion board posting guidelines and deadlines which often results in me losing points the first few weeks. To remedy this, I have created a sheet to be filled out the first day of class. I am posting it here so other APU / AMU / APUS students can benefit. This sheet will quickly help you determine the DB requirements for your classes. You can copy and save as a Word doc for future use.

Be certain to reference the Announcements page, the Syllabus, and the instructor’s initial post for the Week 1 DB assignment. The information you need may not be included or the same in all of these places.
IMPORTANT: Additional DB assignments on any given week not listed elsewhere may be nested within other DB assignments for that week, and/or with the instructor’s posts on that week’s assignments, and/or as an instructor response to another student. Multiple DB assignments typically only occur on week 1 but keep an eye out for them throughout the course.
IMPORTANT: Directly email your instructor in the case of any discrepancy or any items below that are not explicitly spelled out in your course pages or materials.





LENGTH: 2-3 Para




ADDT’L WEEK 1 DBs NUM & TITLES: 3 - APA style, Checkin, Introduction





LENGTH: No req




ADDT’L WEEK 1 DBs NUM & TITLES: 1 - Introduction

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Looking for Answers

My church posts their sermons on, as well as many other conservative churches. So I hop on there to look up sermons on existentialism. Maybe I can find a good Biblical response in the mix. But nooooo.... what I find makes me question my Christian affiliation even more. Among the mix, I got:

Launching into an abortion tirade as the "grinding-up" of babies
An older sermon where the speaker called "All in the Family" a dangerous show

The older sermon that called "All in the Family" a dangerous show was the only sermon that attempted to speak at length on Søren Kierkegaard, a man whose teachings are an essential part of any Christian consideration of existentialism.

My Road

I don't have all the answers
Can't have them
I would do what seems best and be at peace
But for the fear of being wrong
I walk against my will
But I must remember
They don't have all the answers either
Their self-assurance itself
Is a product of fear
In fear they will hurt me
I fear they are right
If I take my leave of fear
I will hurt them,
Not directly,
But in the calling forth of their fears
And in the challenging of their systems
And assumptions
And every other thing they hold dear

My own Lord
Whose love ought to cast out fear
Seems to be one to relate to in fear
Fear of hell,
Fear of punishment,
Fear of bad "luck",
Is He these things
Or are these things the false answers
Of a limited and yet trained mind

What if I let go of fear
What if I went out
Knowing not wither I went
Went out from among them,
And they will say I was not of them
Will the Lord bring down all these things
Of which I am told?
Of which I fear?

Is this alien cage
True salvation?
Or is it mere posturing,
Mere insecurity
Was I never one of His loved
If I do not want these bonds
If I see them as negative
And hold them as unfit
And esteem them as unwelcome

Dessicating, windy place
That provides nourishment to others
Why do you not provide it to me?
Is this my fault?
Or do I see truth?
Or is it neither,
Am I called to walk a different road
We are both right in a way
Such as is not to be understood by "right",
It is merely fitting.
What are we to understand?
We cannot confirm ourselves,
Yet we attempt to constrain others
The theologian and the scholar and the preacher
Speak with some measure of authority
Are they my masters?
Or are they your masters?
Are they not as weak as we?

Our learning is the pulling of a string
We obtain more precise knowledge at the expense of our wholeness
The sweater is undone
In much learning is sorrow,
And ignorance is bliss.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Riplinger's Opposites: Part 1, New Testament

I have run across a listing online, provided by Grace and Truth Church, of places where the KJV allegedly reads the exact opposite of modern versions. The listing takes its information from none other than KJVO icon Gail Anne Riplinger. I have completed reviewing the New Testament references so far, and found her assertions seriously wanting. Her Old Testament references are to come in the future.

Colossians 2:18
"not seen" KJV/NKJV
"seen" others

The difference here is textual rather than translational (which is the case most of the time that the KJV/NKJV stand against other modern versions in the NT). Does it affect our understanding of the text?
The easiest way to understand this verse is to look at this "middle of the road" way of translating it, courtesy of the NET:
"Let no one who delights in humility and the worship of angels pass judgment on you. That person goes on at great lengths about what he has supposedly seen, but he is puffed up with empty notions by his fleshly mind."
We are told such a man claims to see certain things, but he has not really seen them, because they are creations of his own mind. To say he HAS seen them is merely to repeat his claim, to say he HAS NOT seen them is to point out reality. There is no conflict expressing it both ways.
As regards the textual difference, the earlier manuscripts leave out "not," while the majority of manuscripts have it. However, of those that have it, two of them apparently use a different Greek form of "not," lending more weight to the idea that it is a later addition.

1 Peter 3:3
[Do not let your adornment be outward] - KJV
[Do not let your adornment be merely outward] - Many others

The Greek word for adornment is "kosmos", which is used elsewhere in Scripture to refer to the system of this present world. In relation to personal appearance, it takes on the concept of arrangement, a person's specific arrangement of clothes, makeup, jewelry, and whatever else is placed on the body. Adornment, as used here, is NOT referring to clothes directly.
This difference is entirely translational. The difference between "not ... outward" and "not ... merely outward" is one of obviousness; which is to say that obviously you WILL have some arrangement of clothes, etc. on your body--everyone does. So then "not ... merely outward" is an exhortation to ALSO focus inward on the spirit.
"Not outward" says it differently; your focus should be on your spirit rather than on your fashion.
I like "not outward" better because it fits the thrust of the message more directly. However it's important to recognize two things here: saying it both ways doesn't create a contradiction, and "not outward" also finds a home in several modern versions, such as the NIV and NRSV.

Galatians 2:20
"I live" - KJV
"I no longer live" - NIV

This certainly looks damning until you read the entire verse in each:

"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." NIV

"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live ; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." KJV

The difference is purely translational. Incidentally, the NIV is more formal/literal here than the KJV, IMO.

Colossians 4:8
"He might know your estate" - KJV
"You may know about our circumstances" - NIV

The most important to thing to note here is that verse 8 in the KJV contradicts the entire purpose of Tychicus' visit as expressed in the verses around it:
v.7a KJV - "All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you"
v.9b KJV - "They shall make known unto you all things which are done here."
Lest you, dear reader, think that v.8 in the KJV is Paul stating that Tychicus was ALSO to find out how the Colossians were doing, and not a contradiction after all, I present the entire verse:
"Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that he might know your estate, and comfort your hearts;"
"same purpose" is referring to "that he might know your estate," which is a contradiction since "same purpose" also points back to v.7, "all my state shall Tychicus declare unto you."
This verse brings up some very interesting observations regarding the battle between critical and majority text advocates. The KJV reading here is not merely the reading of the Textus Receptus, it is the reading of the Majority Text, and furthermore, it is the reading of the Byzantine MS tradition at large. However, such a reading is an obvious, unambiguous error. The KJV and the Byzantine/Majority text are flat-out wrong here.
The fact that the NA/UBS critical text reading is the obvious right choice here is a unique example of the value of modern, eclectic textual criticism.

A vast majority of KJVO "defense" material is merely chart after chart comparing select words in verses, such the above. So zealous are these people to demonstrate a scandalous difference that they end up listing the most petty and worthless "differences."