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5/24/2006

STANLEY HAUERWAS INTERVIEW PART 2: TONTO

The scene is classic. The Lone Ranger and Tonto are surrounded by the enemy. The Lone Ranger turns to his Native American (in those days, Indian) friend and says something in 1950s speak similar to our present day "We're screwed." Tonto replies calmly, "What you mean WE kemosabe?"

According to Stanley Hauerwas, this is very much the conversation that should be had between Christians and the nation-state (America, in my case). Hauerwas explains this odd illustration himself in Part 2 of this Hauerwas audio series in which he answers questions posed by a noticeably uncomfortable interviewer. Hear part 1 if you missed it here.

Click below to listen.

this is an audio post - click to play

24 Comments:

Blogger Roger said...

Shaun,
The last time that you brought up Hauerwas, someone on here commented that they had heard him speak on heaven and hell and that his views were confusing and seemed to be in conflict with scripture. That was the last I heard about that. Were you able to find any more info on what Hauerwas believes? I think we really need to know more about his core beliefs before we start to think deeply about his views on war and pacifism.

5/25/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Roger, do you believe all religions have some elements of truth in them? Hinduism and Buddhism, for example, teach that stress causes physical harm to us and that preservation of animals from needless harm is virtuous.

Do you believe something labeled "secular" can have sacred meaning? Seven, for example, makes the point that sin is so prevalent in society that it goes unnoticed and unpunished.

If you believe a non-Christian can tell us something true about God's priorities and that a "Secular" film can do the same, why must we make sure a CHRISTIAN is completely orthodox (as we see orthodox today) in order to believe he is capable of speaking truth?

5/25/2006  
Blogger Seth Ward said...

This is an incredible interview. Thanks for sharing.

5/25/2006  
Blogger Roger said...

>Roger, do you believe all religions have some elements of truth in them?

In the sense that the enemy cannot create and can only distort, and lie about God's creation. Cults and false religions have some elements of truth in them. But because of the nature of deception, the end result is error and decisions based on error result in costly eternal destinations.

>If you believe a non-Christian can tell us something true about God's priorities and that a "Secular" film can do the same, why must we make sure a CHRISTIAN is completely orthodox (as we see orthodox today) in order to believe he is capable of speaking truth?

I just care if a 'Christian' is born-again or not. I believe there are many people (including those folks that are labeled 'theologians' or 'Christians') that honestly think they are saved but are not because they have made a conscious decision to not take God at his word. They may take Jesus' words and stand on them, but then fight against scripture in the OT. If they do such, are they not coming to God as he is, but rather as they want him to be? Isn't that idol worship? Isn't that the worship of a modern, man-made icon called 'Jesus' - instead of the true God? Right now, I don't know enough about Hauerwas to say he is born-again, and from lessons learned in the past, it would be foolish for me to assume that he is. That's not a legalistic standing - I'm just wanting the church's theologians to be born-again believers, that's all. How prevalent is deception these days? For example, http://www.ecapc.org/endorsements.asp lists JOHN DOMINIC CROSSAN as a 'church leader'. That shocked me considering that Crossan is not a believer. Nothing is more important than understanding what it means to be saved - and here's a example of the church believing that the lost are indeed saved.


>See? What is orthodox ENOUGH to be used by God to tell the truth on is behalf?

Scripture. So, I think it's important for us to know whether Hauerwas believes it is the final arbiter of truth, or whether academia or culture are? Hauerwas is talking about some deep topics - questions that relate to God's nature and the realities of history as recorded for us in scripture - things that many people of the world don't understand or have been deceived into error by choosing to believe a lie instead of scripture. Truth is of the utmost importance here because of what's at stake: an understanding of God, who he is, and what he desires of us.

If you know of any online resources for his views on scripture and truth, forward them my way. I'll check them out.

5/25/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Roger, you articulate your perspective well. I'm honestly wondering though, if I understand your litmus test correctly, do you apply this standard of being "born again" as you understand it to ALL theologians/pastors/Christian leaders/communicators or just those you disagree with?

Has anyone ever espoused a view or interpretation of scripture you agreed with but not been "born again" as you understand it? Do you check their credentials if they see things as you see them or only when they don't?

Seriously. I understand these questions in print may sound a bit rhetorical and even sarcastic. That understood, I want to make it clear that they are not. How do you personally go about checking people out, so to speak, before deciding if what they say is true? Seems like a time intensive task that would leave one listening to a very small number of people. Is that the case for you?

How do you know I'M "born again"?

5/25/2006  
Blogger Roger said...

>do you apply this standard of being "born again" as you understand it to ALL theologians/pastors/Christian leaders/communicators or just those you disagree with?

The issue is not whether I agree with preachers or theologians. It's whether they have a regard for scripture which can be deduced by asking them, listening to them, etc. Is what they are teaching from scripture? From what source do they proclaim truth?

So far from listening to the audio of Hauerwas, I can deduce he was influenced by the writings of a couple of theologians. I was hoping for some scripture references so I can find out how the views he/they hold harmonize with it. Then the debate can be about scripture and truth instead of a man. Now, we're at the stage where all we're doing is talking about his views. Well, he shouldn't have a view. His view should be scripture. Correct?

>Has anyone ever espoused a view or interpretation of scripture you agreed with but not been "born again" as you understand it?

The question that I wonder about is: Can a person be born-again and actively work against scripture as being inerrant and propositional truth? If all of God's word is not true, can they be sure that the parts they do believe are true? Is that taking God at His word? Is that indicative of making Jesus Lord? I don't believe propositional truth is a view or interpretation; it's reality.

>How do you know I'M "born again"?

Well, by listening to you and talking to you, I can observe that you don't have issues with scripture as truth. You don't put the external above the internal - i.e. - Salvation is a matter of the heart. You have faith. No more, no less.

Frankly, I don't understand the views of Hauerwas. Why? Well, because they seem to be more academic than scriptural. So, yeah, I'm bothered by that as I want to know the truth. Am I missing something? Am I doomed to forever be not as smart as Hauerwas and be forced to take him at his word? Wait. But if I take his word as truth, now he's come between me and God. Where is the scripture in his worldview?

Where is the scripture in the worldview of Chuck Colson, Jack Hayford, Adrian Rogers, Charles Stanley, Pat Robertson, Max Lucado, Joni Eareckson Tada - just to mention a few? Where are their testimonies? Well, after a short time of reading them and listening to them, we'll quickly learn of their love of scripture and their eagerness to talk about what God has done in their lives. I'm not saying Hauerwas doesn't have that, I just haven't heard it yet. I hope I do... (How can a theologian be a true theologian and not want to talk about what scripture means to him and want to share about God's goodness in his life?)

Remember, there is no downside to being bold in fleshing out someone's core beliefs. We'll either find out that they don't have faith (and we can subsequently share the truth with them), or we'll rejoice that they do. However, if we assume that they do and in reality they don't, then the enemy wins.

5/25/2006  
Anonymous Seth said...

Sorry to but in here, but I have some questions for Roger

You said: "The question that I wonder about is: Can a person be born-again and actively work against scripture as being inerrant and propositional truth? If all of God's word is not true, can they be sure that the parts they do believe are true? Is that taking God at His word? Is that indicative of making Jesus Lord? I don't believe propositional truth is a view or interpretation; it's reality."


Do you believe the Garden of Eden Story to be literal or Allegory? If you believe it literal then what do you make of what Jesus says at the Last super "THIS is My Body" and "This is My Blood" If you say Allegory and symbolic then you are not taking the bible literal therefore by your own standards your Christianity should be questioned. Do you believe that when Jesus says "you are Kepha and upon this Kephas I will build my church" Do you think he was talking about Peter or Peter's revelation? Even though he said only Peter's name and not the revelation. If you say revelation you are not taking it as the literal truth. You are interpreting and by YOUR standards my Catholic friends COULD say (but wouldn't) that possibly you are not Born Again.

BTW, Paul says "Confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord and you will be saved" It does not say "believe in your heart in Jesus and believe that the bible is the inherant word of God and you will be saved" The bible is not the fourth part of the God-head. Nor is it the Savior of mankind. There have been people throughout the ages who have believed upon his name and could not read and never read the bible that were saved. It is his word, spoken to the prophets, but your idea of inerrancy my differ from mine and that should never put you or I on the Judgement seat. And if it does then you have to ask on whose authority?

Jesus is the ultimate truth in this universe not the Holy Bible. I do believe the bible to be inerrantly true, but again my Idea of inherency at times probably differs from yours. The Canon means measuring stick. Which is what it is. We read it to know the Charachter of God so that we may see where God wants us to be by meeting and trusting the Truth of God, Jesus Chirst.

The true Word of God is Jesus Christ. The truth of God is Jesus Christ. If we Christians could get this into our heads then maybe we would stop pointing our fingers at each other and claiming that the other is not saved.

5/26/2006  
Blogger Roger said...

Seth, thanks for the good questions.

>Do you believe the Garden of Eden Story to be literal or Allegory? If you believe it literal then what do you make of what Jesus says at the Last super "THIS is My Body" and "This is My Blood" If you say Allegory and symbolic then you are not taking the bible literal therefore by your own standards your Christianity should be questioned. Do you believe that when Jesus says "you are Kepha and upon this Kephas I will build my church" Do you think he was talking about Peter or Peter's revelation? Even though he said only Peter's name and not the revelation. If you say revelation you are not taking it as the literal truth. You are interpreting and by YOUR standards my Catholic friends COULD say (but wouldn't) that possibly you are not Born Again.

Context is the key. What is there in scripture to get us to think that the Garden of Eden was not a literal place? What is there in the last supper account to make us believe that Jesus was saying it was his actual blood and body? We don't apply those rigid rules to each other when we speak. Why must we insist on that when we read scripture? Context is the key.

>BTW, Paul says "Confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord and you will be saved" It does not say "believe in your heart in Jesus and believe that the bible is the inherant word of God and you will be saved" The bible is not the fourth part of the God-head. Nor is it the Savior of mankind. There have been people throughout the ages who have believed upon his name and could not read and never read the bible that were saved. It is his word, spoken to the prophets, but your idea of inerrancy my differ from mine and that should never put you or I on the Judgement seat. And if it does then you have to ask on whose authority?


I didn't say that we need belief in inerrancy to be saved. We're spiritual babes when we first come to Him. We don't even know what inerrancy is. But as we grow and mature, can we actively work against that principle? Why would someone who believes in Jesus not believe in His word? You can't separate God from His word, just like you can't separate me or you from the words we use. From out of the abundance of the heart flows our words. In John 15:7, Jesus says that we should abide in Him and then in the next breath mentions His word. To Jesus, abiding in HIm and abiding in His word are the same in actuality. Scripture is revelation. What man is capable of knowing it if it weren't for God giving it to us? Why would we not be grateful for every bit of it? By the way, where does "Confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord and you will be saved" come from? The word. Would we know that if God hadn't revealed it to us? Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

>The bible is not the fourth part of the God-head.

I agree. Am I guilty of bibliolatry? I write in my bible. I stack other books on my bible. I don't keep it on a top shelf at my home.

>Jesus is the ultimate truth in this universe not the Holy Bible. I do believe the bible to be inerrantly true, but again my Idea of inherency at times probably differs from yours. The Canon means measuring stick. Which is what it is. We read it to know the Charachter of God so that we may see where God wants us to be by meeting and trusting the Truth of God, Jesus Chirst.

How does Jesus conflict with God's word? Jesus was the God/Man, right? God doesn't change, correct? You don't have to answer these. I just want us to think deeply about those truths. Let's not miss out on the blessings of God's word by only focusing on the red letter print and not the other pages.

>The true Word of God is Jesus Christ. The truth of God is Jesus Christ. If we Christians could get this into our heads then maybe we would stop pointing our fingers at each other and claiming that the other is not saved.

Is God's word not 'as' true as Jesus Christ as well? There aren't degrees of truth.


>If we Christians could get this into our heads then maybe we would stop pointing our fingers at each other and claiming that the other is not saved.

I hope I'm not misunderstood. I don't want to point fingers - I hope I'm not coming across as that way. I just want us to side with truth and not cave to public pressure, cultural attitudes/norms, 'cool' theology, etc...
For example, belief in God's word as being true, inerrant, alive and active are subject to ridicule by the world. It's seen as 'backward' or not modern, etc. Let's push past that as the enemy is behind that assault. Let's not be ashamed of the truth or feel like we have to apologize for it.

By the way, the enemy may try to get us to fall for the lie that no one can know if someone is saved or not. That's not true. How do we know? We ask them! What do they confess? (Rom 10:9) How do we ever witness to someone on a one on one basis if we don't find out where they are spiritually? Just as we know how we came to be saved, we can share that with others. Like I said before, there's no downside to asking someone these questions. We'll either find out they're saved or we'll learn they're not and we'll share the truth with them. However, if we fall for the lie that the better thing to do is 'not inquire' - what if they're lost? It's dangerous to assume those things. There will be great temptation for us to not ask these questions and to just go with the flow. I never claimed that anybody wasn't saved. I just stated my observation from the little I've heard of Hauerwas that I didn't have enough info to say at this point. Just because someone talks about Jesus, doesn't mean they have a relationship with Him. Take for example, John Dominic Crossan that I mentioned earlier. He's written so much about Jesus, yet he's not writing from experience. Faith is experiential.

5/26/2006  
Anonymous Stephen said...

"I didn't say that we need belief in inerrancy to be saved. We're spiritual babes when we first come to Him. We don't even know what inerrancy is. But as we grow and mature, can we actively work against that principle?"

Roger, so are you saying that you can be saved without believing in inerrancy, but after a certain period (how long?) if you still don't believe in inerrancy you're not saved anymore? Or that you weren't saved in the first place because you didn't agree with inerrancy?

When/where do you draw the line?

5/26/2006  
Blogger Roger said...

>Roger, so are you saying that you can be saved without believing in inerrancy, but after a certain period (how long?) if you still don't believe in inerrancy you're not saved anymore? Or that you weren't saved in the first place because you didn't agree with inerrancy?

What would prompt someone to not believe in inerrancy? What evidence do they have? Anyway, that just comes to my mind after reading your question. My point on inerrancy is that when we see someone habitually and actively fighting against that principle, can it be that they are not born-again? Why would someone actively fight against the very word by which they were saved? It doesn't make sense if they believe that scripture is true, that it is revelation, and that faith comes by hearing of it.

5/27/2006  
Anonymous Seth said...

Roger, thank you for your thoughtful responses. Before I ask you any other question or respond to some of your great points, would it be possible for you to define your idea of inerrancy? Some people do not claim context as important and some pick and choose their context. This is a great discussion so I just want to be clear on what you mean when you say "inerrant" so I don't assume something I should not. (if you have time!)

thanks again.

Seth

5/27/2006  
Blogger Roger said...

No problem Seth,
Inerrancy can pretty much be summed up by 2 Timothy 3:16-17 ...

"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."

Technically, it could be defined as believing that all scripture is true and trustworthy - i.e. free from error.

5/27/2006  
Blogger Seth Ward said...

Hey Roger, thanks again. To summarize your argument so to clarify where I disagree with your argument, so far looks like this:

To be born again:
1. Confess with your mouth and believe in your heart…
2. As you grow believe in the inerrant word of God (bible) because it is the same thing as believing in God.
3. So that if you do not believe the Bible inerrant then you are not really believing in God so you are probably not born again.
4. To discern the true meaning of the inerrant Bible, context is key.

You use Scripture as your source for the definiton of inerrancy AND suggest that we consider scripture in context. Then should we not consider the context of this passage you gave and let it be subject for contextual debate? Lets back up a few verses and investigate:

3:14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, 3:15 and how from childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 3:16 All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 3:17 so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.

This passage in Timothy, taken in Context was not referring to the letter of Timothy or possibly even the Gospels at all but rather the books of the Old testament and was written as an encouragement to keep teaching the truth about what had grown up learning which "are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.which Jesus Christ." They had no “New Testament” yet. There was not even a definitive version of the Old testament by this time. Here we run into the same problem people have when they use the verse in Revelation where John warns anyone who “adds to this book” -People take it to mean that John was speaking of the entire Bible when he was not.

So by taking into account context and using this verse to describe the inerrancy of the Bible as we know it could be construed by a believer as an anachronism. I am not saying that it is, but using the guidelines of “context” could this not be the case?

So my question to you in terms of inerrancy is Just how inerrantly true does Hauerwas or anyone else have to take the Bible in order to meet the criteria of being Born again and not guilty of “Idol worship”? Whose standard do you use when measuring the inerrancy of the bible? Do they need to be a literalist? Do they need to adhere to certain theologians interpretations of certain passages? Because when you say:

“I just care if a 'Christian' is born-again or not. I believe there are many people (including those folks that are labeled 'theologians' or 'Christians') that honestly think they are saved but are not because they have made a conscious decision to not take God at his word.”

you imply that someone not only needs to put their faith in Christ but needs to believe the inerrant word of God to be saved. If you make this claim then I think you should have answers ready for these questions. (you may have)

I think that anyone should be wary of the tendency to bring to a table a list of requirements other than “confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord” that includes believing the Scripture as inerrant because there are several different ways of looking at inerrancy. But God only looks one way upon “even to those who believe upon His name” -born again.

about this question: "Is God's word not 'as' true as Jesus Christ as well? There aren't degrees of truth"

There are no degrees of truth but I believe that there are degrees of inerrancy which is what I am discussing and how "taking God at His word (bible)" can conflict with the absolute truth of God that is Jesus Chirst. Consider these words from C.S. Lewis "Therefore, I think, RULE OUT the view that any one passage taken in isolation can be assumed to be inerrant in exactly the same sense as any other: e.g., that the numbers of O.T. armies (which in view of the size of the country, if true, involve continuous miracle) are statistically correct because the story of the Resurrection is historically correct. That the over-all operation of Scripture is to convey God’s Word to the reader (he also needs his inspiration) who reads it in the right spirit, I fully believe. That it also gives true answers to all the questions (often religiously irrelevant) which he might ask, I don’t. The very kind of truth we are often demanding was, in my opinion, not even envisaged by the ancients."

Apologies again if I misrepresent any of your views here...

thanks again

5/28/2006  
Blogger Roger said...

There are some things I need to clarify.

>To be born again:
1. Confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord


That's it. Nothing more is needed. Salvation is a matter of the heart, right?
Jesus said in Matt. 7:21 that not everyone that appears to know Him actually does. I was thinking along the lines of faith and works and the way James talks about it. Faith always leads to works, but works aren't always indicative of faith.

>2. As you grow believe in the inerrant word of God (bible) because it is the same thing as believing in God.

What evidence do we have that scripture is not trustworthy? Logically, if we don't take someone at their word, we don't trust them. What is true of earthly relationships is true of our relationship with God and His Word. That has nothing to do with a technical definition of 'inerrancy' - that's a heart condition and that's what I'm most concerned about.

>3. So that if you do not believe the Bible inerrant then you are not really believing in God so you are probably not born again.

Why would a true believer *actively* work against this principle? (You know, the person that would *fight* for the position that the bible is not inerrant.) I don't know. That baffles me.

>4. To discern the true meaning of the inerrant Bible, context is key.

To discern the meaning of any written passage, the context is key. The bible is no different.

>You use Scripture as your source for the definiton of inerrancy AND suggest that we consider scripture in context. Then should we not consider the context of this passage you gave and let it be subject for contextual debate? Lets back up a few verses and investigate:

>Here we run into the same problem people have when they use the verse in Revelation where John warns anyone who “adds to this book” -People take it to mean that John was speaking of the entire Bible when he was not.


What in scripture do we have to pursuade us to go down the road of doubting any of scripture's trustworthiness?

>People take it to mean that John was speaking of the entire Bible when he was not.

The Mormons use this same interpretation to allow for the book of Mormon. Are they correct?

>I think that anyone should be wary of the tendency to bring to a table a list of requirements other than “confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord” that includes believing the Scripture as inerrant because there are several different ways of looking at inerrancy. But God only looks one way upon “even to those who believe upon His name” -born again.

I'm speaking of the principle of inerrancy - not in some legalistic way. Inerrancy in a nutshell is that when the world makes fun of us for standing on the word, that at the end of the day we can go home and get out our bible and believe that it's true no matter what an unbelieving world will say, no matter how 'uncool' it is, no matter how foolish they will say we are.

>There are no degrees of truth but I believe that there are degrees of inerrancy which is what I am discussing and how "taking God at His word (bible)" can conflict with the absolute truth of God that is Jesus Chirst.

Jesus was the God/Man, right? God doesn't change, corect? There aren't degrees of truth. The OT is true. The NT is true. We don't have to apologize for that.

My concern about being born-again was referring to those that *actively* fight against the principle of scripture inerrancy - those that are consumed by it and try to hinder the believers that believe all of scripture is true. I'm not talking about the born-again issue in regards of those that believe scripture is true but feel some pressure from the culture or somewhere to leave an open door that it might not be 100% accurate. However, you can see how serious that can be. That kind of doubt can progress into an attitude which can consume some and lead them astray.

If you're interested, here are some links I've compiled on truth in the last year or so...

Can we know truth?

Thanks for your patience as I struggle to accurately convey my thoughts on this issue. I hope you understand what I'm trying to say.

5/29/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

I'm not knowledgeable enough to add much to this discussion about inerrancy. So I won't try. But good discussion guys.

What I'd like to know though, Roger, is...

Can you, using scripture, defend a war in which a large advanced force from a non-Christian nation (nation not made up 100% of Christians) fights a smaller force in order to free the innocent (physical freedom) and/or defend a political philosophy (democracy) and kills any number of Christians as a result? Saying, effectively, "But the Jews fought in the OT" is not a scriptural argument FOR wars of this kind. You've not made a scriptural argument here FOR war. In so doing you are essentially guilty of the crime you accuse Hauerwas of now: Not quoting scripture while making a theological argument. If you think we're wrong prove it by the same standard you demand: scripture.

If you can't do this then you are obviously not born again ; ) God have mercy on your soul.

SG

5/29/2006  
Blogger Roger said...

>If you can't do this then you are obviously not born again ; )

Man, I knew somehow getting off on the inerrancy debate would come back to haunt me. ;) The context in which I brought up the 'born-again' issue is not easily explainable and any time I bring up that I'm putting myself on the line - that's not news to you given the current discussion, huh?


My offer still stands for you to help me understand Hauerwas and his view of scripture though. I believe the issue it too important to make light of. I really do. Do we believe Hauerwas because we want to? Or because he makes his case from scripture? You basically are saying that I failed to make my case from scripture. That's fair. But I'm saying that Hauerwas failed to make his case from scripture as well. What would attract us to his view at this point? From scripture we do know this: man is still sinful even after Jesus came and the Holy Spirit was given. God is still holy. Does that help us understand the context of scripture (i.e. - we're still sinners, living in a sinful world) and the case for war?

>Can you, using scripture, defend a war in which a large advanced force from a non-Christian nation (nation not made up 100% of Christians) fights a smaller force in order to free the innocent (physical freedom) and/or defend a political philosophy (democracy) and kills any number of Christians as a result? Saying, effectively, "But the Jews fought in the OT" is not a scriptural argument FOR wars of this kind. You've not made a scriptural argument here FOR war. In so doing you are essentially guilty of the crime you accuse Hauerwas of now: Not quoting scripture while making a theological argument. If you think we're wrong prove it by the same standard you demand: scripture.

Jesus said in Matt 24:6 that there would be wars and rumors of wars. Note that he didn't say that war was no longer necessary. The Zondervan Bible dictionary states it like this: "Jesus accepted war as an inevitable part of the present sinful world order (Matt. 24:6), but warned that those who take the sword must perish by it (Matt. 26:52)."

Are we going to war against the command of God? The verse in Matt. 26:52 can't be understood to be a blanket statement against war because if that's the case, God broke that principle in the OT, and God doesn't change. So, we dig deeper. One Bible commentary I read stated this regarding Matt. 26:52 - "perish by the sword: Peter's action was vigilantism. No matter how unjust the arrest of Jesus, Peter had no right to take the law into his own hands in order to stop it. Jesus' reply was a restatement of the Gen. 9:6 principle: 'Whoever sheds man's blood, by man his blood shall be shed,' an affirmation that capital punishment is an appropriate penalty for murder."

>Can you, using scripture, defend a war in which a large advanced force from a non-Christian nation (nation not made up 100% of Christians)

Can we say that there ever has been a Christian nation on the earth? Was Israel fighting behind a 100% believer population?

>fights a smaller force in order to free the innocent (physical freedom) and/or defend a political philosophy (democracy) and kills any number of Christians as a result?

Should the innocent never be freed because of the risk involved?

The context of scripture is a sinful world. We learn from scripture that this world is going to get worse before it gets better. We are looking for Jesus to return instead of looking for government to make it all right, or for the wars to cease - as the former is promised to us in scripture and the latter is not.

5/30/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

"Was Israel fighting behind a 100% believer population? "

Yes.

"Should the innocent never be freed because of the risk involved? "

"Freed" but not by killing.

"The context of scripture is a sinful world. We learn from scripture that this world is going to get worse before it gets better. "

Jesus said the wheat and the weeds will grow. Both good and evil will progress. God will harvest us all one day. This is a parable about the kingdom of God, Jesus says, in which good continues in spite of the progression of evil. We will always have the poor yet we progress against this evil by feeding the hungry, educating the unemployed, paying a fair wage, refusing to buy from those who mistreat laborers, not supporting those who support slavery etc etc. Poverty will progress and not end until Christ's return but alongside this evil progression is the progression of peace (shalom=wholeness), the advancement of "enough" for everyone.

In the same way we will always have wars. War was at one time deplorable to Christians. In fact, it is hard still to find a non-American theologian who writes in favor of war as liberally as American theologians have since WW1. War has progressed and evolved until it is now the supposed "correct" stance for evangelical Americans. War grows. But along side it peace (shalom=wholeness) grows too. Millions of us are willing to be killed rather than kill and to go further and invest our lives and money and time into "freedom" without human sacrifice.

You SEEM to be saying that because the world is sinful we are to go beyond accepting war as a reality of the Fall (Genesis 3) to endorsing it. Jesus said there would be war, there would be pobverty, there would be persecution. But we are to grow like wheat beside these weeds, not behave like weeds ourselves. Jesus wasn't calling us to conform, to accept and even engage in sin. He was stating a reality: there will be war. And grows as a reminder of the Fall of all mankind.

But beside this reminder grows a billboard for the kingdom that has come and is coming: God's kingdom. It's a reminder that Jesus has declared the kingdom's arrival, loved us while we were His enemies, forgiven us, and empowered us to love our enemies and bring spiritual freedom to the nations and "freedom" of all other kinds as a result.

The choice isn't war or nothing. The choice is war or spiritual transformation, mercy showing, education, feeding, clothing, building, etc. The choice is believe in the Church's ability to bring the amount of peace God wants on earth today before perfect peace washes over the planet at His return OR believe the government knows when to fight and who to kill and what peace and justice even are apart from having knowledge of Jesus.

Finally, I will not help you understand Hauerwas' view of scripture. I don't know it. I have no reason to doubt it. You "heard" from someone somewhere that you should doubt Hauerwas' orthodoxy. That's not reason enough for me to dig farther than his own words and ideas in his many books and interviews. He's not said anything in all the words I've pored over that leads me to believe he has an inaccurate view of scripture and is not "born again." We will know our brothers by their unearthly love. He loves his enemies. And he does so because he believes it's what Jesus taught for the purpose of best representing the character of God on earth. That's perhaps the greatest proof that he is inhabited by something otherworldly. He's certainly not inhabited by practical self-serving spirits that say, "kill so you won't be killed."

One last thought on all this. We can say our wars are about freeing the enslaved but it doesn't hold up. Is that a factor? Sure. But we fight those who can't win against us. We don't fight Iran or China. And we fight for our own, not for others only. On 9/11 3000 people who look like us died. We got angry and began a war against terror that will never end. We did this in part for ourselves. We've spent and will spend billions on this war to spread our philosophies of economics and way of government and to avenge our friends' deaths AND to give people a life more like our own. Our motive is not pure. Israel's seems to have been - For God's Name's sake (Ezekiel 36).

Now if we were purely focussed on the unfortunate of the world we'd spend billions to save the 30,000 children who die every day because they don't have the medicine and food and shelter we have. TEN TIMES the number that died by the hand of Terror on 9/11 die by the hand of our selfishness and apathy every day.

Don't anybody try to convince me that America is doing God's work in war. If we want to do God's work He's made it clear what that is. Whatever you do to the least of these...

Peace is not an absence of war but the presence of wholeness war undermines.

5/30/2006  
Anonymous Stephen said...

Last time I was in Seattle, I saw a sign in a yard that I thought was really good. It said "Wage Peace".

5/30/2006  
Blogger Roger said...

>Finally, I will not help you understand Hauerwas' view of scripture. I don't know it.

Given that statement, how can we call him a theologian then? Granted, you've read and heard more of him than me, but from what I've heard, it sounds like he's more of a political scientist/historian/teacher than a theologian. Many people take that same attitude towards Barry Lynn or John Dominic Crossan and unfortunately they are deceived because they choose not to dig a little deeper. Remember that no one suspected Judas was a traitor, and that Jesus says in Matt 7:21 that not everyone one that appears to do his work is actually saved. Salvation is a matter of the heart, and I believe that attitudes toward God's word are very telling in where someone is spiritually. I'm not interested in pointing fingers, just having clarity. I don't want to assume more than what is there.

Just in the same way that you rightly suggest that we not trust everything we see our political and governmental leaders do in the name of God without thinking deeply about the issues, I suggest that we not trust everything that we see and hear from our theological/church leaders without digging deeper. We're on the same page.

For the record, I thought the debate was on whether war was immoral, not on whether worldliness and politics have tainted our theology here in America. That's a *whole other* debate.

>The choice isn't war or nothing. The choice is war or spiritual transformation, mercy showing, education, feeding, clothing, building, etc.

And the choice isn't mutually exclusive either. Sometimes it takes war to open up a closed door for spiritual transformation, mercy showing, education, feeding, clothing, building, etc.

>Now if we were purely focussed on the unfortunate of the world we'd spend billions to save the 30,000 children who die every day because they don't have the medicine and food and shelter we have. TEN TIMES the number that died by the hand of Terror on 9/11 die by the hand of our selfishness and apathy every day.

Who do you mean by 'we'? Don't blur the lines of church and government. Are you expecting government to do the role of the church? I know you don't want that. Your interview a couple years ago where you mentioned how there were no 'quick fixes' convicted me of me being guilty of that mindset as I was attracted to the lure of politics and the massive size of it all (in numbers and dollars) to bring about change - shortly after that, God started to take away my interest in politics and focused me on spiritual things. So, don't YOU go and get sucked into the 'quick fix' mentality. The church has no one to blame but itself if there seems to be an absence of salt and light in the world today. We can't blame it on budgetary spending, etc...

We need revival, no doubt. But we can't hurry the harvest. Let's not get frustrated as we continue to plant seeds.

5/30/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Again, Roger, you have NEVER shown here how Hauerwas is "deceiving" me or the rest of his audience, how his positions contradict scripture. I do not need to know his take on the specific issue of "inerrancy" to hear his theologies of war and peace and nation and church, research these ideas of his in scripture and church history and make up my mind which part - if any - of his theologies are true.

I do not swallow anything a communicator puts forth - EVEN IF THEY DO BELIEVE THE BIBLE IS "INERRANT." I check everything that sounds "different" or
"new" (relative to what I have previously believed to be true) against history, other theologians, personal experience, scripture and do this with much prayer and questioning of wiser people in my life.

THAT is what I mean by not needing to know Hauerwas' view on scripture. You ahev failed to do two things I've requested:

1) Show, using scripture, how Hauerwas in what specific ways Hauerwas is in error, is contradicting scripture and "deceiving" me.

2)Produce any written or recorded example of "Hauerwas the deceiver", of Hauewas saying anything contrary to your view of inerrancy, anythig saying he does not believe in heaven, a virgin birth, a Triune God, a salvation by faith...anything. You've produced no proof but instead accused Hauerwas based on something you "heard" once about how he might not view scripture as you do. Very unconvincing reason to ignore this man.

Let me turn the light away from Hauerwas for a minute...When a president who is a Christian declares war is he not a theologian? He is saying by his actions what He believes God's thoughts on war to be. Do you believe Bush's theology of war - that war is approved of by God in the current circumstances? If so, can you tell me WHAT IS BUSH'S VIEW OF SCRIPTURE? DOES HE BELIEVE IN INERRANCY? He's Episcopalian you know. ANd you're baptist. There's some theological difference there. Are those differences enough to make you question his wisdom, his ability to speak God's mind, or, even better, act as God's punisher? Why not? Could Bush be deceiving you? Isn't this a double standard? DO you see my point?

Every action is a theology in that it denotes a belief about God. Why do you question Hauerwas and not Bush?

I'm not being rhetorical here. I seriously don't understand your position and maybe I never will. Why can't you listen to Hauerwas' view and then search scripture to see if it's contradictory to the teaching and example of Christ and the character of God throughout the big book? Why?

5/31/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Again, Roger, you have NEVER shown here how Hauerwas is "deceiving" me or the rest of his audience, how his positions contradict scripture. I do not need to know his take on the specific issue of "inerrancy" to hear his theologies of war and peace and nation and church, research these ideas of his in scripture and church history and make up my mind which part - if any - of his theologies are true.

I do not swallow anything a communicator puts forth - EVEN IF THEY DO BELIEVE THE BIBLE IS "INERRANT." I check everything that sounds "different" or
"new" (relative to what I have previously believed to be true) against history, other theologians, personal experience, scripture and do this with much prayer and questioning of wiser people in my life.

THAT is what I mean by not needing to know Hauerwas' view on scripture. You ahev failed to do two things I've requested:

1) Show, using scripture, how Hauerwas in what specific ways Hauerwas is in error, is contradicting scripture and "deceiving" me.

2)Produce any written or recorded example of "Hauerwas the deceiver", of Hauewas saying anything contrary to your view of inerrancy, anythig saying he does not believe in heaven, a virgin birth, a Triune God, a salvation by faith...anything. You've produced no proof but instead accused Hauerwas based on something you "heard" once about how he might not view scripture as you do. Very unconvincing reason to ignore this man.

Let me turn the light away from Hauerwas for a minute...When a president who is a Christian declares war is he not a theologian? He is saying by his actions what He believes God's thoughts on war to be. Do you believe Bush's theology of war - that war is approved of by God in the current circumstances? If so, can you tell me WHAT IS BUSH'S VIEW OF SCRIPTURE? DOES HE BELIEVE IN INERRANCY? He's Episcopalian you know. ANd you're baptist. There's some theological difference there. Are those differences enough to make you question his wisdom, his ability to speak God's mind, or, even better, act as God's punisher? Why not? Could Bush be deceiving you? Isn't this a double standard? DO you see my point?

Every action is a theology in that it denotes a belief about God. Why do you question Hauerwas and not Bush?

I'm not being rhetorical here. I seriously don't understand your position and maybe I never will. Why can't you listen to Hauerwas' view and then search scripture to see if it's contradictory to the teaching and example of Christ and the character of God throughout the big book? Why?

5/31/2006  
Blogger Roger said...

>Why can't you listen to Hauerwas' view and then search scripture to see if it's contradictory to the teaching and example of Christ and the character of God throughout the big book? Why?

I don't understand his view. His answer to the caller (who also didn't understand) in the audio clip you posted was, "Well, you're wrong!" Am I wrong for wanting more than that?

In regards to the importance of inerrancy, here's a good summary. It's profound and unavoidably relatable to today's theological trends...

>Ultimately, the rejection of inerrancy leads to vast differences in one's theology in general. Subjectivity replaces objectivity as the guide to life. Salvation becomes little more than a leap of faith, rather than a confident belief in God's promises. The mission of the church is reduced to restoring the economic and social order, rather than proclaiming the spiritual nature of the kingdom of God. Evangelistic efforts are replaced by social enterprises. In every case where the doctrine of inerrancy has been forsaken, evangelical zeal has faded and churches have grown cold. It is not long before such churches begin to die.

For the record, I think we're closer on this debate than it may appear. I think these kinds of debates result in us debating not each other - but what we want to debate. You have answered questions I didn't ask, and I have projected views on you that you don't have. Sorry. So, to keep from generating more heat than light, I'll leave it at that.

6/01/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

This'll open a can of worms perhaps but since non-violence is no longer being discussed here, oh well, can't beat 'em join 'em right?

I believe what was first written down on papyrus was flawless. I don't think it remained that way. I think mistakes in translation occurred, most notably when the English translations were constructed. The King James Version for instance was skewed when discussion baptism to better line up with the good king's own religious tradition. The original language was translated in light of his culture and not word for word in a vacuum.

Another example...In most English translations "El Shaddai" is translated as "mmighty lord" or something similar. Bogus. "El" is undisputedly "God". "Shad" is undisputedly "breast". And in "El Shaddai" "breast" is plural. So, if we were to translate verbatim, with no care for what culture or other religious folks might think of us, we'd have to translate "El Shaddai" into English as "God with breasts." But we didn't. We chose "Mighty Lord." Culture influencing translation, and translation becoming, in a sense, interpretation gone wild.

Now I've never read of or found any "mistake" like this that affects core beliefs about who Jesus was and is, how one is "saved", etc. No core beliefs of mine have been undermined (so far) by these inaccuracies. But these are proof that inerrancy - as defined by some - is false.

Either A) the bible WAS wrong when written in it's original language and has now been corrected by modern translations or B)It was right and has now been distorted by modern translations. Either way it contained or contains errors. No getting around this that I can see. The bible is not, in this sense, inerrant.

This does not mean we can't trust scripture, but rather that we must sometimes work harder than wed like to to discover original meaning.

But I'm still "born again" because I still believe the story of Jesus to be true and believe it enough to live differently because of it. Grace in my heart has resulted in works in my life. That's salvation.

6/01/2006  
Blogger Rev. C. S. Roberts said...

Sahun,
Hauerwas doesn't contradict Scripture; Hauerwas contradicts the way 21st century Americans understand Scripture.
In this dialogue, Roger, has taken a typical approach to dismissing Hauerwas and those who subscribe to this narrative approach to Scripture. Thanks for posting this interview.
Peace,
Chris

This is the first time I have seen your blog -- it is great!

6/10/2006  

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