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4 hours ago, thormas said:

I have read most of Spong and I know his education. However, I believe he has said of himself that he is not a biblical scholar (not that he has not been immersed in them) and, frankly, I have never read such wild speculation ( ex.Paul and Mary) from biblical scholars. So I take some of what he says with grain of salt. I do like him better as a theologian.

 

 

It was JS Spong that introduced me to Progressive Christianity and lead me to this website. When I first came here, like 5-6 years ago I expected this forum to be a bit more Spong-y and be more about his ideas and outlooks. Since then I've come to realize that PC covers a wider umbrella, though Spong's ideas are still appreciated and celebrated.

For myself, I don't know if I care so much if ideas come from biblical theologians or biblical scholars. Bart Ehrman is considered to be one of this countries leading biblical scholars, it would be interesting to see what he has to say about Paul specifically.  Most people, including biblical scholars tend to stick to their own agenda and find information and ideas and evidence that supports their own point of view. I don't expect many people to be much different.

Actually, I don't think I care so much if an idea comes from a scholar or a theologian or an insightful layperson, or even a child or just an everyday person. What matters the most is if an idea or outlook is good or not. If it is good, insightful, helpful and if it reflects the Light and Insight and Spirit of God. Not whether it was written or expressed by person A, B or C...

What "wild speculation" are you talking about? I don't quite understand your statement.

Thanks for reading

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Saint Paul is highly regarded because he was touched by God, and because he sacrificed his life and his career in order to evangelize the gentiles.  Paul is the reason Christianity is the foundation of Western civilization.

Spong is almost completely unknown, and he has had zero influence on Christian exegesis.  He is just another privileged white male priest who had a couple radical ideas which failed to gain acceptance.

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13 minutes ago, Elen1107 said:

It was JS Spong that introduced me to Progressive Christianity and lead me to this website. When I first came here, like 5-6 years ago I expected this forum to be a bit more Spong-y and be more about his ideas and outlooks. Since then I've come to realize that PC covers a wider umbrella, though Spong's ideas are still appreciated and celebrated.

For myself, I don't know if I care so much if ideas come from biblical theologians or biblical scholars. Bart Ehrman is considered to be one of this countries leading biblical scholars, it would be interesting to see what he has to say about Paul specifically.  Most people, including biblical scholars tend to stick to their own agenda and find information and ideas and evidence that supports their own point of view. I don't expect many people to be much different.

Actually, I don't think I care so much if an idea comes from a scholar or a theologian or an insightful layperson, or even a child or just an everyday person. What matters the most is if an idea or outlook is good or not. If it is good, insightful, helpful and if it reflects the Light and Insight and Spirit of God. Not whether it was written or expressed by person A, B or C...

What "wild speculation" are you talking about? I don't quite understand your statement.

Thanks for reading

Check out Ehrman's blog and he wrote a book entitled "Peter, Paul and Mary Magdalene.'

My feeling is that for medical issues I really want to deal with experts. So too for the Bible: I value the best of these biblical scholars who are in agreement on numerous issue and I also compare and contrast them on other issue where  there is a difference of opinion. As evident in our discussion of Paul, it makes a difference if one understands that Paul did not write much of what he is accused. Plus, I think some of Paul's writings are dense and an expert interpreter is helpful. 

I disagree with your comments on biblical scholars. Of course, since they are human, they have their histories, education, limitations, etc. - however, the best, that means the 'critical biblical scholars' follow the evidence and do their best to present their research, honestly wrestle with issues and freely admit their limitations. So too the theologians. To dismiss them wholesale seems to be pre-judging them.

I distinguish between wisdom and knowledge: I agree that wisdom can come from anyone but these scholars are first providing knowledge. I have found that these scholars 'light the way' so that the Spirit of God can be more clearly discerned (for me). 

 

p.s I consider Spong's comments on Paul and Mary (previously mentioned) to be wild speculation not based on the readings but imposed on the letters and gospels.

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36 minutes ago, Burl said:

Saint Paul is highly regarded because he was touched by God, and because he sacrificed his life and his career in order to evangelize the gentiles.  Paul is the reason Christianity is the foundation of Western civilization.

Spong is almost completely unknown, and he has had zero influence on Christian exegesis.  He is just another privileged white male priest who had a couple radical ideas which failed to gain acceptance.

A bit harsh on Spong as he was a trail blazer both as a priest/bishop and as a writer. Plus he is extremely well known in progressive Christian circles.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, thormas said:

As I read Burl and as I understand it, Paul is so highly regarded because of his brilliance (and sacrifice) in the early year of Christianity which culminated in his execution by Rome. When you mention Spirit of Christ and the Holy Spirit, I have no real idea what you actually mean in progressive Christian terms. Paul never met Jesus but he did know some of his disciples including his brother James and Peter. 

 

I agree that he was "brilliant", he was also sometimes, 'not so brilliant'. This is not so uncommon among people who are considered brilliant or even geniuses. 

I'm sorry that he got executed in Rome and that I don't, and that a number of people don't agree with All of his ideas, but there it is. I suppose I don't agree with All of Socrates ideas  either although he died for the sake of Athens and Democracy. It doesn't mean that I don't like Democracy any less.

How much time and acquaintance Paul actually had with Peter and James is another matter. Did he only spend 15 days with them, and this was after he himself had been in ministry for 3 years? When were is letters written in relation to this meeting? Before and after or just after? I'd have to research this more before I have a full perspective on the subject. Here is an interesting article on this

https://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/paul-meets-peter-and-james/

-------------------------------

Concerning the "Spirit of Christ and the "Holy Spirit", one can read in the New Testament that people were filled with the Holy Spirit and or the Spirt of Christ and or God.

I've heard many modern sermons and messages from the pulpit concerning this. I'm pretty sure that I've heard Marcus Borg talk/preach about this (online). I'm thinking that many of the sermons that I've heard, a good number of them online, would consider themselves part of Progressive Christianity, whether they would use a small or capital 'p' I can't be completely exact about. It hasn't been something that focused on that much, (whether they identify with the 'p' word or not), though I'm sure that most if not all of the sermons that I do listen to are what I certainly would consider progressive, that's what I'm looking for when I go online or looking for a church or a talk on Christianity. In fact that's all I'm looking for.

They say things like, "Let us be filled with the Holy Spirt" or "Let us be gathered in the Name and the Spirit of Christ", "Let us be filled with the Spirit of God and Es Grace and Es Wisdom" If I have time I'll try to find you some examples, or the next time I watch one I'll post you a link.

Edited by Elen1107

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On 7/26/2020 at 6:44 PM, Elen1107 said:

Sometimes it's enough just to forget and eventually let go, and leave the rest up to the All Mighty. If forgiveness comes it comes.

If one can forgive that's good, but people don't always honestly have a choice Just like some people can't swim the English Channel or climb Mt. Everest. We can't go around asking people to do things they simply can't do.

Well, i can't agree that people don't have a choice. While they may not be ready at this time to forgive, the choice will remain until they make it or destroy themselves. When Jesus is recorded saying  "as you forgive others it shall be forgiven you " it seems to me he understood that lack of forgiveness was a self destructive tendency from which the only way out is forgiveness of the other. My personal experience is a testimony to that precept. There are physical laws and there are spiritual laws and forgiveness in my view is a spiritual one.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Elen1107 said:

I agree that he was "brilliant", he was also sometimes, 'not so brilliant'. This is not so uncommon among people who are considered brilliant or even geniuses. 

I'm sorry that he got executed in Rome and that I don't, and that a number of people don't agree with All of his ideas, but there it is. I suppose I don't agree with All of Socrates ideas  either although he died for the sake of Athens and Democracy. It doesn't mean that I don't like Democracy.

How much time and acquaintance Paul actually had with Peter and James is another matter. Did he only spend 15 days with them, and this was after he himself had been in ministry for 3 years? When were is letters written in relation to this meeting? Before and after or just after? I'd have to research this more before I have a full perspective on the subject. Here is an interesting article on this

Perhaps this is for a separate post but where was he not so brilliant - acknowledging of course that he was a 1st C man writing with the insights and limitations of that time and understanding Jesus in his Jewish context?

I wasn't looking for sympathy for Paul, I was just acknowledging the fact of his commitment. So too Socrates (where do you disagree with Socrates?).

Indeed 'there it is' and it seems rather obvious that some of those people have no idea what writings (as we have discussed) are actually Paul's and/or how to understand him.

 

The time spend with Peter and James is indeed a question as is when in his ministry he visited them. However, without having a definitive answer it is a bit unfair to judge and/or dismiss Paul. Paul and Acts disagree on when Paul went to Jerusalem to meet with the apostles of Jesus. 

Larry Hurtado writes that Paul (the letters, written in the 50/60s) reflects an understanding of what the earliest community was doing in the early 30s: "....Jesus-devotion reflected in Paul’s letters, including the incorporation of the exalted/resurrected Jesus into the liturgical life of believers all goes back to the earliest circles of the Jesus-movement in Jerusalem." The conclusion is that Paul did not invent but inherited the earliest community's take on Jesus. The question is then when and how often did Paul interact with either James and Peter or members of that community who traveled outside of Jerusalem. 

Did Paul receive his knowledge from Jesus directly (as he describes) or did he 'receive' it from others? And there is some interesting commentary on that from some of the scholars.

 

 

Edited by thormas

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1 hour ago, Elen1107 said:

Concerning the "Spirit of Christ and the "Holy Spirit", one can read in the New Testament that people were filled with the Holy Spirit and or the Spirt of Christ and or God.

I've heard many modern sermons and messages from the pulpit concerning this. I'm pretty sure that I've heard Marcus Borg talk/preach about this (online). I'm thinking that many of the sermons that I've heard, a good number of them online, would consider themselves part of Progressive Christianity, whether they would use a small or capital 'p' I can't be completely exact about. It hasn't been something that focused on that much, (whether they identify with the 'p' word or not), though I'm sure that most if not all of the sermons that I do listen to are what I certainly would consider progressive, that's what I'm looking for when I go online or looking for a church or a talk on Christianity. In fact that's all I'm looking for.

They say things like, "Let us be filled with the Holy Spirt" or "Let us be gathered in the Name and the Spirit of Christ", "Let us be filled with the Spirit of God and Es Grace and Es Wisdom" If I have time I'll try to find you some examples, or the next time I watch one I'll post you a link.

Okay but what does that mean from (not from a theistic viewpoint) a progressive Christian perspective?

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16 minutes ago, thormas said:

Okay but what does that mean from (not from a theistic viewpoint) a progressive Christian perspective?

In the climax of Exodus 50:34 the glory of Adonai fills the tabernacle.  The same Hebrew verbal phrase is used elsewhere as “fills a spear” to describe a warrior’s commission - like filling a job.

I think a fair non-theistic reading would be accepting a missionary commitment.

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41 minutes ago, thormas said:

Did Paul receive his knowledge from Jesus directly (as he describes) or did he 'receive' it from others? And there is some interesting commentary on that from some of the scholars.

Considering that Saul turned traitor to the Romans and became persecuted himself to the point of martyrdom it’s fair to say Paul’s belief that he experienced a theophany was authentic.

 

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1 hour ago, thormas said:

A bit harsh on Spong as he was a trail blazer both as a priest/bishop and as a writer. Plus he is extremely well known in progressive Christian circles.

Yeah, maybe a bit harsh but what trails did he blaze?   He seems negative to me; always doubting, nitpicking and fault-finding.

Fill me in on the trail blazing bit, pardner.

 

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Posted (edited)
18 minutes ago, Burl said:

Yeah, maybe a bit harsh but what trails did he blaze?   He seems negative to me; always doubting, nitpicking and fault-finding.

Fill me in on the trail blazing bit, pardner.

 

He blazed trails for many/some in their quest/need for a Christianity that resonates in their 20th/21st C lives. He was not the first (or the best) but he was among the most influential in the lives of some progressives, including me (although I add again I am far from always in agreement with him). 

He was a gadfly - and they doubt and find fault.............but that is their role.

He also provided answers or, at least, possibilities.

Edited by thormas

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25 minutes ago, Burl said:

Considering that Saul turned traitor to the Romans and became persecuted himself to the point of martyrdom it’s fair to say Paul’s belief that he experienced a theophany was authentic.

Was Paul or Saul in cahoots with the Romans?

I don't doubt the 'theophany' but the question I asked remains. It was Ehrman I believe who provided interesting insight on the use of 'received' in Paul.

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37 minutes ago, Burl said:

I think a fair non-theistic reading would be accepting a missionary commitment.

It could certainly include that but seemingly it is not limited to that.

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33 minutes ago, thormas said:

Was Paul or Saul in cahoots with the Romans?

I don't doubt the 'theophany' but the question I asked remains. It was Ehrman I believe who provided interesting insight on the use of 'received' in Paul.

Saul changed his name to Paul after his theophany.  Saul was in cahoots with the Romans.

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1 hour ago, Burl said:

Saul changed his name to Paul after his theophany.  Saul was in cahoots with the Romans.

I do know about Saul to Paul as it is written.

Source for Paul and the Romans?

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4 minutes ago, Burl said:

Eusebius, chap. XXII.  Also the source for Paul as the author of 1&2 Timothy.

Thanks, will explore but is Eusebius to be trusted as a historian?  It's been a while since I thought about him.

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38 minutes ago, thormas said:

Thanks, will explore but is Eusebius to be trusted as a historian?  It's been a while since I thought about him.

Eusebius is the sole source for early church history except for Acts and a few lines of Josephus.

The old GoogleDoc scan is painful to read.  Paul Meier (sp?) has a great modern translation.  That really should be on your bookshelf, or order it from a library.

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11 minutes ago, Burl said:

Eusebius is the sole source for early church history except for Acts and a few lines of Josephus.

The old GoogleDoc scan is painful to read.  Paul Meier (sp?) has a great modern translation.  That really should be on your bookshelf, or order it from a library.

Thanks did a little checking and there are some questions about him. Do you know if anyone else corroborates Paul and the Romans?

 

Will check Amazon.

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Time to throw AJ into all this.

 

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7 hours ago, Burl said:

Saint Paul is highly regarded because he was touched by God, and because he sacrificed his life and his career in order to evangelize the gentiles.  Paul is the reason Christianity is the foundation of Western civilization.

I disagree - Paul is the reason 'Pauline Christianity' is the foundation of western civilization.  Paul changed Jesus' version of Christianity for how he interpreted the Jesus he never met.

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8 hours ago, Elen1107 said:

Bart Ehrman is considered to be one of this countries leading biblical scholars, it would be interesting to see what he has to say about Paul specifically.  

Some of the things Erhman's scholarship has to say about Paul (in no particular order):

I do see some continuities between what Jesus had to say and what Paul had to say (about which I’ll say some things in my next post), but at the end of the day, it sure seems to me that they had different understandings of “salvation.”   Jesus had an urgent message to deliver about the coming kingdom of God to be brought by the Son of Man for those who were obedient to God; and Paul had an urgent message to deliver about the return of Jesus for the “saved” – those who believed in Christ’s death and resurrection.

Paul inherited his understanding of the death and resurrection of Jesus from those who came before him, even if he understood its significance for Gentiles differently from his predecessors. But I am asking if the gospel that Paul preached is essentially the same or different from the message of Jesus. A very good case can be made, of course, that they are fundamentally different.

But it is safe to say that of all the early Christian thinkers and missionaries, Paul is the one we know best as the one who forcefully advocated this Christian message, in contradistinction to the message of Jesus. In the writings of Paul more clearly than almost anywhere else in the NT we see that the message *of* Jesus has become the message *about* Jesus: that is, the message that was preached by Jesus during his life was transformed into a message about the importance of his death.

Differences Between Jesus and Paul

  • Jesus taught that the coming cosmic judge of the earth who would destroy the forces of evil and bring in God’s good kingdom was a figure that he called the Son of Man, someone other than himself, who could come on the clouds of heaven in a mighty act of judgment.   Paul taught that Jesus himself was the coming cosmic judge of the earth who would destroy the forces of evil and bring in God’s good kingdom, who would come on the clouds of heaven in a mighty act of judgment.
  • Jesus taught that to escape judgment, a person must keep the central teachings of the Law as he himself interpreted them.   Paul taught that reliance on the observance of the Law in no sense would bring salvation; to escape the coming judgment a person must, instead, believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus
  • Jesus taught that “faith” involves trusting God, as a good parent, to bring his future kingdom to his people; Paul taught that “faith” involves trusting in the past death and resurrection of Jesus.  It wasn’t only faith in God but faith in the death and resurrection of Christ.
  • For Jesus, his own importance lay in his proclamation of the coming of the end and his correct interpretation of the Law.  For Paul, Jesus’ importance had nothing to do with Jesus’ own teachings (which Paul hardly ever quotes) but strictly in his death and resurrection.
  • For Jesus, people could begin to experience what life would be like in the future kingdom if they would accept his teachings and begin to implement his understanding of the Jewish law in their lives.    For Paul, people could begin to experience life in the kingdom when they “died with Christ” by being baptized and thus overcame the power of sin.

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1 hour ago, Burl said:

Time to throw AJ into all this.

 

I was just looking at two of her books. Good get.

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12 hours ago, PaulS said:

Some of the things Erhman's scholarship has to say about Paul (in no particular order):

I do see some continuities between what Jesus had to say and what Paul had to say (about which I’ll say some things in my next post), but at the end of the day, it sure seems to me that they had different understandings of “salvation.”   Jesus had an urgent message to deliver about the coming kingdom of God to be brought by the Son of Man for those who were obedient to God; and Paul had an urgent message to deliver about the return of Jesus for the “saved” – those who believed in Christ’s death and resurrection.

Paul inherited his understanding of the death and resurrection of Jesus from those who came before him, even if he understood its significance for Gentiles differently from his predecessors. But I am asking if the gospel that Paul preached is essentially the same or different from the message of Jesus. A very good case can be made, of course, that they are fundamentally different.

I have at times wondered if Christianity would have survived without Paul. The history is that they weren't doing too well as a Jesus devoted sect of Jews, as time marched on. Would they have been able to survive? Unless one takes the theistic position that God would have 'provided' and all would have worked out, the question remains.

Paul, as Ehrman states, did preach a different message. He reached out to the Gentiles and he preached Jesus and he had to deal with the delay of the fulfillment of the Kingdom Come.  

The message was changed, Christianity survived and today we can make our own decisions (while referencing both Jesus and Paul) about 'salvation' and about Jesus.

 

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