For some ‘Evangelicals’ today the ‘doctrine’ of inerrancy is nothing other than the old and inadequate ‘doctrine’ (read, false teaching) of transubstantiation transferred to Scripture. Scripture, for these ‘Evangelicals’, is God enfleshed and astonishingly they do not recognize the inappropriateness of their viewpoint even though most recognize the inappropriateness of ‘transubstantiation’.
[With many thanks to Brian Le Port for pointing me down this path by remarking "... is it just me, or does his views sound like transubstantiation moved from Eucharist to Scripture?" on the twitter].
Advent is that blessed time of the year when Christians try to persuade God that their Lenten ‘repentance’ ‘stuck’ and they really, really are ready for the Coming of Christ… and oh, if they could also get lots of awesome stuff for Christmas Santa, erm, they mean God, that would be super.
This is the point of his doctrine of predestination, in fact: faith does not depend on the subject who believes. Even though Calvin’s doctrine of double predestination is open to criticism, this notion of divine initiative remains essential, in that it denies all attempts to manipulate God for ulterior purposes and to inject materialistic desires into our vision of God. – Christophe Chalamet
Usually doesn’t result in greater devotion to God but in licentiousness. The massa perditionis interpret the phrase to mean ‘God loves you now go and feel free to do what you want’. To be sure, they will not admit it- but their lives prove it. Yet that interpretation is fraught with the greatest of all lies: i.e., that mankind is autonomous.
Satan is eager either to tear us by any means [necessary] from the Church, or stealthily to seduce us from it. – John Calvin
1- What God is is perhaps above human understanding, but not that God is.
2- Knowledge of God which we credit to some natural agency is really from God.
3- I think it is clearly apparent that nearly all the heathen have agreed in acknowledging that God exists, though some have made Him many, others have made Him fewer, and a very few have made Him one. Yet from slowness of mind and confidence in their own wisdom they have disregarded Him, have held such views of Him as pleased them, and likewise have worshiped Him as they chose.
4- How it comes about that the pious hold this view of God, and do not, after the fashion of the heathen, make just any unknown power God, is easy for a pious man to explain: It comes about through the power and grace of Him in whom we believe; for as far as the nature and endowment of man are concerned, there is no difference between the pious man and the impious.
5- Furthermore, what God is, we have just as little knowledge of from ourselves as a beetle has of what man is. Nay, this infinite and eternal divine is much farther separated from man than man is from the beetle, because a comparison between any kinds of created things can more properly be made than between any created thing and the Creator, and all perishable things are nearer and more closely related to each other than to the eternal and unbounded divine, however much you may find in them a likeness and footprints, as they say, of that divine.
For myself, there are two suppositions and one consequence of those two suppositions which lead me to the assertion that self avowed atheists cannot correctly interpret the biblical text.
Supposition 1) atheists deny the existence of God and accordingly God’s intervention in history.
Supposition 2) the Bible is, from cover to cover, a book about God’s intervention in history.
Consequence of the suppositions: if someone doesn’t accept 1, how can they properly evaluate 2?
Therefore, atheists cannot correctly interpret the biblical text. Others are free to come to their own conclusions based on their own suppositions- but I challenge anyone to accept the preceding 2 assertions and come to a different conclusion.*
* Please do not assume from the observation here stated that I dislike or have disrespect for my atheist friends and atheists in general. That is not the case. The fact that they are not deemed appropriate interpreters of the Bible is no insult any more than the assertion that 95% of the people who think they are fine singers are in fact horrible at it. Atheists are, by their own decisions, horrible exegetes. And that’s ok. No one is good at everything.
For more on the topic of atheists as exegetes, see Adolf Schlatter’s Atheistic Methods in Theology. He states things in a more congenial (and lengthy) manner.
Doubt is the refusal to pay the rent to the owner of the vineyard: unwillingness to give up usurped rights over property; the assertion of the autonomy and sovereignty of reason in opposition to the summons to return to dependence on the God who gives and who demands. – Emil Brunner
[via Emil Brunner on the twitter].