Christianity’s Living Core is Theological Argumentation and Not Miracles

This is how The Truth Once Delivered to the Saints was handled:

Jesus argues with his parents. (Luke 2: 44 - 50 & John 2: 1 - 4)

Jesus argues with the Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes.

Jesus argues with the common Jewish people he came to teach.

Jesus argues with the Apostles.

The Apostles argue among themselves.

The Jerusalem Jewish Jesus sect (under James and Peter) argue with the Hellenists.

Paul argues in his letters against Peter.

Paul argues with unnamed Judaizers and boasts that he only preaches the truth in his churches.

Paul argues with Barnabas and John Mark ending with their splits.

The Early Church Fathers argue amongst themselves over who is really orthodox and who is heretical.

The Western Christians argue with the Eastern Christians over dogmas and who is really the true Church; ending in a split forming the Roman Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox traditions.

Catholic Monastic Orders argue, fight (in some cases kill members of the other Orders) and split into new traditions under the Pope.

Luther argues with the Catholic Church labeling the Pope as the Anti-Christ and splits.

Calvin argues with the Catholic Church and with Luther and splits.

Henry VIII argues with the Pope ending in a split and starting the Church of England.

Puritans argue with both Catholics and Protestants and sail to the New World to get freedom of religious truth: But only as they themselves under stand Biblical truth.

Once the issue of freedom of religion was established in the United States, the “Made in American” new Christian religions argued their way into existence: Mormons, Seventh Day Adventist and Christian Science.

The five present day Book of Mormon sects attack and argue with each other. The Branch Davidians split off from and argue with the regular Adventist Church and the Christian Science argues with Unity Christianity.

Alexander Campbell travels the early 19th century United States and argues with the established Christian sects and churches over Biblical orthodox truth starting the Campbellites.

Christian Fundamentalist argue with Christian Liberals.

The King James 1611 Version (The Textus Receptus) group argue and debate with Westcott - Hort's eclectic Greek text.

For the last 2,000 years, Christianity has survived by argumentation and its so called debate to established the real orthodox Christian truth.

Based on its cantankerous tradition, it is little wonder that the Dark Ages commenced after Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Rome Empire.

People such as JP Holding, Joe Hinman, Jason, District Super. Harvey Burnett and many Christians who stop by DC to challenge postings are simply only doing what the earliest New Testament traditions (The Pauline Corpus) demand that should be done: The argumentation of the illusive orthodox Christian truth.

In my next post, I’ll present a radical new thesis as to how Christianity was born and why, by its very nature, it is so argumentative.

26 comments:

ahswan said...

Will you also explain why you are argumentative? Perhaps this is just how humans function (my kids naturally know how to argue... and did, as soon as they could say "no!").

And, who said that Christianity's "living core" was supposed to be miracles?

AIGBusted said...

You will present a "racial new view"? You mean "radical", right?

Kenn said...

Syllogy:

Christianity is argumentative.

Argumentation is innately human.

Conclusion: Christianity is innately human.

Kenn said...

Question:

Atheism is a term that expresses one's disbelief in God.

Is there a term that expresses one's belief in the supernatural?

Samphire said...

"In my next post, I’ll present a racial new thesis as to how Christianity was born and why, by its very nature, it is so argumentative."

No, you won't.

Brad Haggard said...

One point, Harry, even though this doesn't attack the whole post.

You really mis-characterized the Stone=Campbell Movement, because it was born as a unity movement. It was a coalition of Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, and Episcopalians. It did split about a century later, but not on issues of core faith. Even today the groups are reconciling, especially the Christian Church with the non-instrumental Churches of Christ. And in turn they are reconciling with other denominations.

Plus, (there's no way you could have known this because the area is so small and remote) there are strong ministerial alliances around, of which I was a part. It consisted of just about every faith tradition in the area, and we worked together especially to combat a pernicious drug problem. It's a small area, but it showed me there is a little more than your broad sweep of church history suggests.

Harry McCall said...

Thanks AIG. Corrected.
Harry

Annoyed Pinoy said...

Often polemics has been the "core" of Christianity. While I do believe it's an important and essential aspect of Biblical Christianity, I also believe it was meant to be just as supernatural. Many other Christians agree on this. For example, John Wimber in his books "Power Evangelism" and "Power Healing" pointed out, Jesus always accompanied the preaching of the Gospel with a demonstration of it's power.

Paul said in 1 Cor. 2:3-5, "I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God."

Paul said in 1 Cor. 4:20 "For the kingdom of God does not consist in words but in power."

Jesus commanded his disciples (the 12 then later the 70) "And as you go, preach, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.'"Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give." (Matt. 10:7-8).

James gives instructions for the healing of the sick in James chapter 5 as if healing were normative for and in the Church.

Matthew ends with Jesus commanding the disciples to teach everything he taught to *their* disciples. Since Jesus included teaching on the miraculous, the Great Commission therefore ought to include thaumaturgical works.

Not only that, but supernatural ministry has been part of the Church throughout her history. It's only waned due to the cessationistic tendancies of the Reformers. But things are changing such that there are more and more Christians who believe both deep doctrine and supernatural "signs and wonders" should go hand in hand.

Here's a link to an article I wrote where I (briefly) document through quotes how miracles have (yes, "allegedly") been a part of the Christian Church from it's beginning to the present.

The "Charismatic" Gifts Documented Down Through Church History
http://n.1asphost.com/bestrong/The%20'Charismatic'%20Gifts%20Documented%20Down%20Through%20Church%20History.html

Harry McCall said...

Ashwan, without miracles, just what good is Christianity? Is it just a long religious debate?

Miracles are only used to add boost to the theological debates. Read the Gospels and Acts!

Isn't the whole concept of salvation a "miracle " form God?

Did or did not the argumentative points occur as I have listed in the New Testament and Christian history?

Harry McCall said...

Samphire, bet on it!

Annoyed Pinoy said...

Having said what I said about the need and importance of the miraculous, I do think that apologetics is also very, very important. While both have their place, I feel that theology and apologetics is logically prior to "signs and wonders", even though "signs and wonders" ought to be temporally prior.

That's why I highly appreciate the Triabloggers (whom John has interacted with many times).

www.triablogue.blogspot.com



P.S.
By the way, many of the quotes I give come from A. J. Gordon's book "The Ministry of Healing"

http://books.google.com/books?id=FEAXAAAAYAAJ&printsec=titlepage&source=gbs_summary_r&cad=0"

or here

http://glorifyhisname.com/sys-tmpl/moh/

Harry McCall said...

Fact is, the entire New Testament is nothing but one long theological argument ending with the deaths of many of its leaders who stirred up hate.

The religious debate issue trumps the love issue by a major margin!

Samphire said...

"Fact is, the entire New Testament is nothing but one long theological argument ending with the deaths of many of its leaders who stirred up hate."


Harry, I'm pretty sure that if you do a little more research you will find that they all died.

As for the bet, I see that you have already done a Turkel and changed the subject from a racial to a radical thesis. So I win.

Either way, I'm looking forward to reading it.

Harry McCall said...

Annoyed Pinoy:

Early Christianity was packaged and sold with the promise of the coming of the Kingdom within a generation. To prove this, “signs and wonders” were to be worked.

Thus, if one accepted Jesus, the average Christian would be able to work signs an wonders, just like, and as promised by Jesus himself.

Thus, to be a Messianic believer would convey the working of signs and wonders on the new believers as well or as now the new Christs (Pural).

As such, the Gospel of John has Jesus promise healing power and works to all who believe because Jesus goes to the Father who is the foundation of all such power.

In this respect, the Gospel of John is one long theological argument and the only Gospel in which Jesus does not talk in riddles / parables. In John, Jesus clearly states: "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.”

But, with the issue if healing miracles now in the past (as far as I’ve seen as studies of Benny Hinn’s ministry proves), the only thing Christianity has left giong for it is argumentation and debate.

Harry McCall said...

"Fact is, the entire New Testament is nothing but one long theological argument ending with the deaths of many of its leaders who stirred up hate."


Harry, I'm pretty sure that if you do a little more research you will find that they all died.

As for the bet, I see that you have already done a Turkel and changed the subject from a racial to a radical thesis. So I win

Samphire, I meant violent deaths as in the cases of both Jesus and Stephen.

A type-o is not a basis for a thesis. And just how can you win something I have not posted yet?

I’ll be referencing Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek terms in that post. Hope you have a basic lexicon.

Harry McCall said...

Samphire:

Since, it seems that you have the basic knack for argumentation down, you might want to become a Christian if your are not one already.

Kevin H said...

Looks too much like the Genetic Fallacy to me. Of course, I'm just being argumentative :)

In fact, why are we arguing this post?

K

Samphire said...

"Since, it seems that you have the basic knack for argumentation down, you might want to become a Christian if your are not one already.”

Not me; I was only joshing. Anyway, my bro-in-law says I don’t argue but bicker.

As an example of my talent, you said "Fact is, the entire New Testament is nothing but one long theological argument ending with the deaths of many of its leaders who stirred up hate." But is that true?

According to Acts 6:7 and before Stephen had been martyred the number of disciples had “greatly increased”. Notwithstanding this assertion, counting Jesus, the original twelve (including the late substitute Matthias), Stephen and Paul there were at least 15 “leaders” of whom we know only Jesus, James and Stephen were put to death. We know nothing definite from contemporary documentation of the deaths of Paul or Peter both of whom seemed to have lived to a pretty good age for those days. Despite the legends perhaps they died of natural causes.

So is it correct to assert that “many”” leaders were killed? 3 out of an absolute minimum of 15 doesn’t seem like that many to me. Allowing for the deaths of Paul and Peter, 5 out of, say, 500 is an even smaller proportion.

Harry McCall said...

Samphire stated: “…ending with the deaths of many of its leaders who stirred up hate…" But is that true?"

A few notes here Samphire:

I established a time line (Fact is, the entire New Testament…), did I not?

The last time I checked, the Book of Revelation ended the New Testament; does it not?

I would suggest J. Webb Mealy’s PhD thesis done at the University of Sheffield and published in 1992 as Supplement 70 for the Journal for the Study of the New Testament: After the Thousand Years: Resurrection and Judgment in Revelation 20

Point is, Samphire, if you are going claim I jumped the gun and misstated a fact, please save us some trouble and engage your brain next time.

Samphire Stated: So is it correct to assert that “many”” leaders were killed? 3 out of an absolute minimum of 15 doesn’t seem like that many to me. Allowing for the deaths of Paul and Peter, 5 out of, say, 500 is an even smaller proportion.

Again, Samphire, you completely left out John the Baptist! Plus, if one includes the story of the slaughter of all children in Jerusalem (2 and under by Herod the Great), your statistics are "Weighed in the scales and found wanting".

Finally, if you think the facts you have drawn from the Book of Acts (500)is correct and Acts is a accurate historical document, then you need to published a harmonization with Paul’s letters and how you got them to fit the Book of Acts time line.

You might start with: A Chronology of Paul's Life by Robert Jewett.

As John tells people like yourself: “Educate yourself first and then come back and intelligently discuss the subject.

Samphire said...

”I established a time line (Fact is, the entire New Testament…), did I not?”

Yes, you did - did I miss out any martyred NT Christian leaders in my list?


”I would suggest J. Webb Mealy’s PhD thesis done at the University of Sheffield and published in 1992 as Supplement 70 for the Journal for the Study of the New Testament: After the Thousand Years: Resurrection and Judgment in Revelation 20”

What does Mealy’s thesis on premillenialism have to do with the present discussion?


”Point is, Samphire, if you are going claim I jumped the gun and misstated a fact, please save us some trouble and engage your brain next time.

I asked a simple question about the use of the word “many” in one of your posts - nothing to do with your upcoming article so no gun-jumping implied by me. I am here to question and learn so please don’t come back at me in a bad and arrogant mood. This is not Judge Judy.

In framing my question I gave you a list of leaders of the early church who were martyred supposedly for their Christian beliefs. Are you telling me that John the Baptist was murdered for promulgation of the Gospel? Are you also suggesting that the ahistorical Bethlehem (why Jerusalem?) Babes were all leaders of the early church?



”Finally, if you think the facts you have drawn from the Book of Acts (500)is correct and Acts is a accurate historical document, then you need to published a harmonization with Paul’s letters and how you got them to fit the Book of Acts time line.

I prefaced my guesstimate with “say”. Acts speaks of 150, Paul mentions 500 - I’ve no idea if either figure reflects the accuracy of the number of believers shortly after the resurrection (let alone for the full timeline of the NT) but even if I had chosen a minimal 30 your reply still doesn’t explain why you wrote “many” when the only total I could come up with was 3 biblical “definites” and an additional couple of non-biblical “possibles”.

Nor was I discussing the many inconsistencies between Acts and the Epistles so I fail to understand why you raise the subject. Like you, I am not a believer.



”You might start with: A Chronology of Paul's Life by Robert Jewett.

I’ve recently finished Pervo’s The Mystery of Acts which carries quite an extensive and critical discussion of Paul’s travels. I don’t know Jewett’s work so I ask in what way would it assist this particular discussion?



”As John tells people like yourself: “Educate yourself first and then come back and intelligently discuss the subject.”

But it is John’s website. He is entitled to be insufferable if he so chooses. The rest of us - including your goodself - are just guests and we should treat each other accordingly. In an odd turn of fate you as an American seem to adopt an eristic approach to debate where as I as a limey prefer a more irenic atmosphere. Furthermore, as you have no idea whatsoever of the extent of my education do you not think on reflection that your last impertinence was not a little excessive? Or is tapeino not in your Greek lexicon?

Obviously, words and their meanings are important in any discussion. Your response did not tell me why you used “many” so please may I have a more polite and informative reply.

John W. Loftus said...

Samphire, no, it it YOU who are our guest. Play nicely or else.

Harry McCall said...

Samphire: Or is tapeino not in your Greek lexicon?

Your choice of ταπεινοω would have been better expressed as ταπεινωσις since ταπεινοω as used by Paul in 2 Corth. 12: 21 means “that God may humiliate me before you.” or a meaning I will not accept from you.

As to the reference to the 500 it is drawn form an early creedal confession as Paul understands Jesus: “3 For I passed on to you the most important points that I received: The Messiah died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4he was buried, he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures—and is still alive!— 5 and he was seen by Cephas, and then by the twelve disciples. 6 After that, he was seen by more than 500 brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. 7 Next he was seen by James, then by all the apostles, 8 and finally he was seen by me, as though I were born abnormally late.” I Corth. 15. (Which appears to be Paul’s understanding of Acts 1)

Can you define “many”?

Samphire: In framing my question I gave you a list of leaders of the early church who were martyred supposedly for their Christian beliefs. Are you telling me that John the Baptist was murdered for promulgation of the Gospel? Are you also suggesting that the ahistorical Bethlehem (why Jerusalem?) Babes were all leaders of the early church?

Re: John was killed as Jesus processor who Jesus honored and was baptized by. Churches today are named in honor of John the Baptist and he is a saint in the Catholic Church. So I’m not sure where you are coming form here.

The 2 year old Jewish children are the righteous innocents killed to show how the leadership would suffer, since in Matthew, Jesus is the new Moses who is to lead his people and the children’s murder is expressed in term of the faithful promise of the Hebrew Bible.

Samphire, this discussion is not related to my original post.

You show up here with a personal axe to grind as expressed in your very first comment: “No, you won't.”

Since when do you know my mind and you are my leader?

Enough said on these non-related issue to this post. I'm moving on.
Go argue with Holding.

Have a nice spring.

PS: Thanks John for the observation on Samphire.

Samphire said...

Dear Harry,

I seem to have unintentionally got off on the wrong foot with you. I really have no axe to grind. At least, certainly not on this blog. My ire, such that it is, is reserved for the YEC brigade.

Please would you drop me a return email to johnbebbington@ladygate.co.uk so that I might respond privately.

Harry McCall said...

Samphire:
It has been my policy for, the last three years, that I give my personal email address out to only John and his team members here at DC.

Regards,
Harry McCall

Lvka said...

Ever read the Bible or the Lives of the Saints?

Samphire said...

Harry,

OK.

Lvka; If your post was addressed to me then yes & no. However, a kind YECist sent me some discs of Riplinger's dreadful In Awe of thy Word which also contained Fox's Book of Martyrs which will remain unread.

The gift was a response to a book I had sent him: Prothero's marvellous "Evolution. What the fossils say & and why it matters" which I suspect also went unread.

But how does "the Lives of the Saints" assist Harry's claim that many Christian leaders were martyred within the timeline of the NT, i.e. 30 ADish to 120 ADish?