Mother Teresa

mother_teresa.jpgI’m just getting around to some thoughts about Mother Teresa’s well-publicized crisis of faith.  Hey, we can all have doubts, and it is healthy and Biblical to examine our faith.  But her doubts did seem to be rather extended and deep.

 The letters, many of them preserved against her wishes (she had requested that they be destroyed but was overruled by her church), reveal that for the last nearly half-century of her life she felt no presence of God whatsoever — or, as the book’s compiler and editor, the Rev. Brian Kolodiejchuk, writes, “neither in her heart or in the eucharist.”

That absence seems to have started at almost precisely the time she began tending the poor and dying in Calcutta, and — except for a five-week break in 1959 — never abated. Although perpetually cheery in public, the Teresa of the letters lived in a state of deep and abiding spiritual pain.

Some folks grandstanded on her doubts or let her struggles create doubts in themselves.  After all, if such a passionate and giving person as her had doubts, where does that leave the rest of us?

She did many great things and her faith may have driven her to that.  I always loved how she got in the faces of President Clinton et al for their pro-abortion stance.  What could they say to her?

But in the grand scheme it is irrelevant whether she doubted a little or a lot or for a short time or a long time.  What matters is if Jesus really lived, died and rose again. 

Could her doubt have been fueled by her Catholic faith?  I know many Catholics with a proper understanding of the doctrine of justification (i.e., we are saved by faith alone and not some faith/works combo), but the church itself could drive people like Mother Teresa to have doubts about her salvation.  That’s because when you are trying to earn God’s favor by your good deeds it will always be an exhausting failure. 

Thank God for grace!

70 thoughts on “Mother Teresa

  1. Not to digress into a lengthy criticism of Roman Catholicism, but I believe that an unshakeable faith may be hindered by the doctrine of transubstantiation and the subsequent belief that saving grace is provided piecemeal through a lifetime of sacrament after sacrament.

    The doctrine is, I believe, not supported by Scripture. The New Testament, especially Hebrews, is clear that at the cross Jesus sacrificed Himself once and for all time, and it is equally clear that He is now at the right hand of the Father interceding for us: there’s no indication He is sacrificing Himself again through untold millions of observences of communion. Beyond the lack of Scriptural support, it may be that one negative effect of transubstantiation is that it erodes the confidence that God has already done all that needs to be done for our salvation. “It is finished,” He said.

    But, moving on, I agree with this:

    But in the grand scheme it is irrelevant whether she doubted a little or a lot or for a short time or a long time. What matters is if Jesus really lived, died and rose again.

    I would put it that it may not be the quality of our faith that matters but rather the object of our faith: it’s not whether our faith is consistently strong or sometimes wracked with doubt, it’s whether our faith is in God and in the grace that He provides. Certainly, faith has be to genuine, and (ceteris paribus) genuine faith will lead to changed beliefs and a change in behavior, but the reason faith is effective isn’t because it’s faith — that the important thing is only having faith per se, as some would now have us to believe — but because it’s faith in a Creator and Father who is utterly trustworthy, and who is eager and more than able to keep His promises.

    Faith as tiny as a mustard seed can move mountains if it’s placed in the One who made those mountains: the megalomaniacal faith in one’s self that the arrogant display ain’t gonna accomplish anything in the long run.

  2. As a former Catholic, I have to say that for my part, the notion of the reality of Christ as Lord has never been an issue. In addition, the concept of faith alone vs faith plus works has never been either, merely because I’ve never really worried much about it. I’ve always considered behavior dictated by Biblical teaching, that a Christian behaves in a particular manner, and that was enough for me, whether I conducted myself in that manner or not.

    But such concepts are frustrating when pondering them as they seem very “chicken or the egg”-like. By that I mean that do I act like a Christian because I believe, or to prove I believe? Is my faith real or forced by fears of being wrong? I know a guy who has taken “by faith alone” to what is really an obvious conclusion for the uneducated, in that there is no outward sign that he does in fact believe. He was never a total scumbag, but there’s no difference between what he was and what he now is. Seems like lip service to me. Is it really true that if one’s faith is real that behavioral changes are certain to follow? Wouldn’t that take free will out of the equation?

    You can see why I don’t trouble myself with the issue as the above constitute only a few of the possible mind bending possibilities. I fall back on the fact that for me, I just could never shake the feeling, if not the internal knowledge, that God exists, Christ is my Savior, and that I OUGHT to act accordingly as a result.

  3. Ok you gotta stop using that word “combo”. I feel like going to the nearest fast food and getting one with a small drink. No ice. LOL.

    So, having had my humorous moment for the decade, let me say that I agree with you Neil. Mother Teresa’s good works while laudable could not insulate her from doubts about her faith. I doubt at times too. And I repent for that. Because I give in to the weakness of my mind and perhaps fear is not the right thing to do.

    Too many people look to people to sustain their faith, sort of a third party relationship with God which invariably end in utter dissappointment.

  4. I find it so sad that Mother Teresa kept to her apostate Catholic faith right into hell. If only someone could have shown her the heresy of the Catholic Church and directed her towards Biblical Christianity. What a waste.

  5. After many years of observance, I have noticed a few things that seem to be unique among Catholics. One of these things is the number of people with various stages of mental disorders such as paranoid schizophrenia, acute depression, bi-polar disorder, obssesive compulsive disorder, and multiple personality disorder, to name a few. My observation is that there seems to be a lot more of these disorders manifesting themselves in Catholics than any other Christian religion.

    I have my theory that accounts for this phenonoma. I believe when one attempts to gain forgiveness from a man rather than God, the guilt is not assuaged, and continues to fester until it manifests itself in serious mental disorders. Priests, for all their sanctity, are still only men, and as such, have no authority to forgive us for our sins.

    Likewise, any feelings of doubt cannot be aleved by council of mortal man, but only by relying, by faith, in God, for assurance.

    Mother Teresa was no doubt a righteous woman, but might have been an even greater witness for the power of God if she had received her commission directly from God, rather than the Pope or various cardinals and Bishops.

    I’m not saying she didn’t, but the presence of such a nagging doubt throughout her remaining years makes one suspect she might hacve received her “Great Commission” from a mediator rather than from God.

  6. Neil said: She did many great things and her faith may have driven her to that

    Which great things?

    “Mother Teresa, for her part, extolled the virtue of suffering and ran her well-financed missions accordingly: their sick patrons were offered plenty of prayer but harsh conditions, few analgesics and dangerously primitive medical care.” – Stephen Pinker

    Neil said: She didn’t do anything to help the poor, ’cause you have a quote from some guy questioning it! She obviously deliberately withheld care from them. :-)

    I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt on her motives. I was just going with the conventional wisdom since that wasn’t central to the post.

    Seriously, the biggest beef I had with her was her universalist approach. She had ample opportunities to share the Gospel but allegedly said she wanted to help them be good Hindus or whatever they were.

  7. Penn and Teller had a video trashing mother Theresa and her role as a martyr. She loved suffering because it helped atone for her sins. They had some conspiracy theories about her helping the sick. They removed the video off youtube.

    God knows our hearts and we can rest assure he will judge us rightly.

  8. I wonder if she wasn’t subjected to deeper self-questioning because of her faith? Satan obviously knew here weaknesses and tried to block her works.

    I’m not Catholic, but I prefer to think she was legitimately saved and did her works to try to further His kingdom and make His creations a little better. Maybe she was off on some of the details, but I probably am too.

  9. Neil said: She obviously deliberately withheld care from them

    I was simply trying to point out that she didn’t help the poor as much as is made out. She provided a place for them to die without treatment and care which could have saved their lives.

    Perhaps her heart was in the right place, but her influence and organisation could have helped to save peoples lives instead of making letting people die in some slight comfort.

  10. I agree with Neil. Tough statement, but she did not further the gospel a whole lot, and that forces us to wonder about her faith. She tried to be solely a character witness, which only goes so far. And, yes, Havok, her work is exaggerated.

    That said, we are in no position to say if she was saved or not. She certainly had many of the fruits of a true Christian. She also did many good things, probably about just as much as she could under her resources, so bashing her for “not helping people” when she sacrificed more to help the suffering (at least, physically) than any of us has is a little hypocritical. This reminds me of the story of the widow and her mite in the temple. There were people standing around who had much more to give who mocked her for her sacrifice. Jesus, however, rebuked them, even though, in all probability, those men had more details right about the law and salvation. Just like Mother Teresa, doesn’t make her saved any more than Darwin or Hitler, but should make us reflect on our own lives a little bit.

  11. Mark,

    “One of these things is the number of people with various stages of mental disorders…”

    Considering the mammoth size of this denomination, your comments are worthless until put into comparative percentages. As big as they are, they’re bound to have more of everything.

  12. She did further the Gospel; it was just her version of it. You may disagree with her, but she probably believed she was right.

    What saddens me most about this whole episode is the cynical manner in which the Catholic Church published letters containing her most private thoughts, fears and doubts, even after she asked them not to.

  13. Re, “she did not further the gospel a whole lot, and that forces us to wonder about her faith. She tried to be solely a character witness, which only goes so far.”

    This is wack — a sign of thinking that says “winning souls” is the thing, when winning PEOPLE is the thing. Mother Teresa LIVED the Gospel, rather than merely TELLING people about it.

    Being a “character witness,” by giving of ourselves and our treasure, by emptying ourselves of our selves, is all Jesus asked us to do — in His name. I’d say Mother Teresa was pretty empty of herself, which may be exactly why we despaired. I think most of what people attribute to God in their life are the warm fuzzy feelings we get when we meditate on God’s love and Grace, which has to be nearly impossible when you’re surrounded by real need and want. It’s church organizations that want to chalk up “souls.”

    So sayeth s recovering Baptist.

  14. Oh, as for the publishing of the letters, I actually saw it as a refreshing change of pace for the Catholic bureaucracy: It showed the real humanity of one of its servants. As for her wishes: she turned them over to the church.

  15. seas,

    I wasn’t saying Darwin was “evil” on a level with Hitler, merely that he had not accepted God’s salvation, and had in fact vigorously denied it. Salvation isn’t about being good or bad.

    ER,

    There is nothing wrong with being a character witness, however, the Great Commission says nothing about living a righteous life. It tells us to “preach the Gospel to all people” and “baptize.” The Greek definitions for the word “preach” are these:

    1) to be a herald, to officiate as a herald

    a) to proclaim after the manner of a herald

    b) always with the suggestion of formality, gravity and an authority which must be listened to and obeyed

    2) to publish, proclaim openly: something which has been done

    3) used of the public proclamation of the gospel and matters pertaining to it, made by John the Baptist, by Jesus, by the apostles and other Christian teachers.

    Sounds like we’re supposed to say it out loud to me.

  16. Washed, how dare you bring up the so-called Great Commission when ER wants us to focus only on “all Jesus asked us to do.”

    It’s not like that commission from Jesus directly…

  17. Gee, I hope no one ever finds the writing I did during my crisis of faith. I actually look at some of them now and cringe. As a result, I really didn’t have the same reaction to her letters that many others had, whether they be atheists or theists. In fact, I listened to a news program where it was stated that her last words were “Jesus, I love you.” I don’t know if Mother Theresa was actually saved. I can assume that she was. What I do know for sure is that believers have ups and downs in life…some worse than others.

  18. Tell, yes. But ears have to be ready to hear! And they are not, generally, if bellies aren’t fed. Funny how the body works.

    Go ye thereofr and teach, it sdays, doesn’t it? Not “preach,” which suggests persuasion.

    The message of the Gospel is not “Have you been saved?” it’s “You ARE saved. Can I feed you/clothe you/house you/ love you/”

  19. “The message of the Gospel is not “Have you been saved?” it’s “You ARE saved.”

    That is a man-made message. Look up “Gospel” in the Bible and show me how that applies.

  20. Just being saved only scratches the surface of what God wants for us. If we follow his advice there are advantages in this world, No I don’t mean you will be rich in material things, but God can teach you peace and contentment.

    If some of these reports are true, perhaps that is what Mother Teresa needed.

  21. Re, “perhaps that is what Mother Teresa needed.”

    Jesus offers “peace that passes all understanding.” Yes. But what is “peace”? It might be that in her case, she didn’t recognize that she had it; it might be that that is exactly why she was able to perservere.

    “Desiderata” comes to mind. Point being: Often we don’t know we’re being carried through the Slough of Despondency until we’re out of it. Maybe she didn’t ever “get” it until she passed from this mortal coil.

  22. “Look up “teach” in the Great Commission, in a concordance, and tell me if I’m wrong. (I might be. But more likely is there is support for both sides.)”

    Look up all the Gospel presentations in the Bible and find one that says anything close to, “Good news! You’re saved already!”

    I think you’re more likely to find things like Romans 10:9 – That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

  23. OK. So salvation depends on a “sinner’s prayer” that has its origins at a time when “Caaser is Lord” was the test. OK. So, Grace has less to do with it than an understanding of Grace. So, profession really IS the thing. OK.

    Hmmm.

    I know the tradition is “God offers the gift, but we must accept it.” And I acknowledge that that is the broad interpretation of the thing. But I doubt that.

    God has given the gift. People need to be told that God has given the gift, so they can enjoy it. Otherwise, it’s a transaction — another bargain — not a gift at all.

    Neil said: Hi ER – I’ll try to keep it general and not get into the Arminian / Calvinist distinctions.

    You used scare quotes on “sinner’s prayer” so my guess is that we both agree there isn’t a magic prayer to say. My point is that someone needs an authentic repent / believe situation at some point in time while you claim they are already saved. That’s a big difference. So broadly speaking I’d say that yes, people need to hear it. See the story of Cornelius in Acts 10, for example – great guy, but he needed to hear the Gospel.

    It isn’t an either/or – yes, grace is “the thing,” but we need to communicate what it means.

    What does the concordance say about the word translated “teach” in the Great Commission? … I’ll look in my Strong’s. …

    It means to instruct, or make a disciple — which means to, well, teach them the truth of what IS, rather than to tell them what might be IF they say a prayer or something. Doesn’ it?

    Ah. But you are right. Other verses say other acts are required to “activate” the work of the Cross. “Belief.” “Be baptized.” “Repent.”

    It’s very confusing. Contradictory, actually.

    Neil said: I wouldn’t call it contradictory. Yes, we need to teach. But the Lord may have just summarized the whole process, a part of which is the implicit assumption that they must repent and believe and then be discipled. I doubt that you have too many atheists and Muslims sign up for your discipleship classes.

    Which points to the truth of the matter: The message is “Here is the truth: Jesus saves. Do with it what you will.”

    Which is very close, actually, to your own view. And, which, I argue, if Mother Teresa talked of the Gospel, is what she did — but she did not insist that those she helped be “converted” — which was not her task as a Christian, since that is up to God to accomplish.

    Sounded to me like your complaint about her allegfed “universalism” was a complaint that ashe helped people reagrdless of whether they converted or not, which, actually, is the task of the Christian. Isn’t it?

    Neil said: No, that wasn’t my complaint at all. We have some agreement there. We should never insist that people convert to receive support. That would be wrong on multiple levels (not Biblical, encourages false conversions). At CareNet Pregnancy Center, for example, we offer to share the Gospel with all the clients but if they don’t want to hear it they get all the same love and care regardless of whether they are Muslim, atheist, etc.

    But while she shouldn’t have insisted on conversion as a condition to get help, she shouldn’t have assumed that helping someone be a good Hindu was the right thing, either (Again, that is my understanding of her worldview. Perhaps I am mistaken and she shared the true Gospel left and right.)

  24. ER, you first dismissed evangelism as being extraneous to “all Jesus asked us to do”, despite the Great Commission.

    You then argue that the content of our evanglism should be the message of “You ARE saved”, despite the many parables of Jesus that make absolutely clear that that’s not universally true: the sheep and the goats, the wheat and the weeds, the narrow gate and the broad path.

    You now argue that the Bible contains contradictory teachings about what is necessary for salvation.

    What you actual believe remains unclear, and what is equally unclear is why you ever appeal to either the Bible or the teachings of Christ, since you seem willing to argue that the Bible contains contradiction, since you seem willing to ignore those teachings of Christ that don’t fit whatever it is you believe, and since you seem so very eager to do all this.

  25. Heard a great quote once that may have some application here. Forgot who said it.

    “Preach the gospel at all times – if necessary, use words”

  26. TotalT – looking forward to your discoveries! Havok did bring up an interesting point regardless of what Mother T (any relation?) did. We need to use discernment with our good deeds to ensure we are really helping people in the most effective way.

    Woz – yep – I wrote a piece on that a while back – I always liked that saying but have seen some take it too literally – https://4simpsons.wordpress.com/2006/12/14/taking-st-francis-too-literally/

  27. Bubba, re:

    “What you actual believe remains unclear, and what is equally unclear is why you ever appeal to either the Bible or the teachings of Christ, since you seem willing to argue that the Bible contains contradiction, since you seem willing to ignore those teachings of Christ that don’t fit whatever it is you believe, and since you seem so very eager to do all this.”

    Yes. With some caveats:

    What I believe, and why I refer to the Bible (I’m not sure I “appeal” to it in the way you probably mean), are unclear to you, not to me, and not to those who follow my comments closely, and don’t hostility to them as a matter of course, as you (and some others) do; I do not argue that the Bible is contradictory, I point out that fact; and I ignore no teachings of Christ, that I know of, only some interpretations of some teachings of Christ, including some in the Bible — because I deny that it is inerrant or infallible, only sufficient unto salvation.

    Well, dang. I guess I can’t say “yes” to your comment at all. My bad. Never mind.

    Why don’t you try conversing with me, discussing topics with me, even arguing points with me, rather than dismissing and (weakly, I’ll admit) attacking me?

  28. Here’s a clue, Bubba:

    People ’round here ocassionally say overly simple things like, “ER picks and chooses” from the Bible. Well, I do, but not by whim. I do deliberately. And no one ever asks me how I (and others!) make such determinations, on specific issues and passages. Next time a specific issue or passage comes up, ask.

    But beware: For one to synthesize the Bible, as if it the writers had one clear message in mind, is silly, because they did, and they could not, no matter how inspired they were, unless they were mere stenographers, which I HOPE has disappeared as a legitimate way to treat the writings; to synthesize the New Testament, for the same reasons, is equally dangerous; and, most of all, to synthesize the four gospels themselves into ONE story, ignoring the CLEAR and OBVIOUS contradictions, is just outrageous — since each writer clearly wrote what he wrote to stand alone, to make the assertions and arguments he meant to make and no other — and did NOT intend his voicre and his view to be lost in the swirl of a larger narrative!

    Jesus Christ, despite the dripping humanity of the collected Scriptures, shines through and from them. Jesus Christ, not the various boxes He comes in, is the source, and the object, of my faith and worship.

    And you are dang right I’m eager to help people to see the difference.

  29. Hi ER,

    God had messages in mind, and the writers conveyed that. He used their lives and experiences to end up with just what He wanted and without it being a dictation experience. You appear to think that there are things He’d like to edit at this point. I disagree.

    Re. your alleged contradictions – you might enjoy this site – http://www.tektonics.org/index2.html – just use the drop down box for the book of the Bible and it lists quite a few difficulties.

  30. ER, I cannot take seriously your claim to adhere to Jesus Christ as the source and object of your faith and worship when you disregard as “silly” the very approach to Scripture that Jesus Himself both exhibited and explicitly taught.

    Indeed, when Jesus appealed to Scripture as God’s authoritative revelation and explicitly affirmed its authority to the smallest penstroke, He was referring to Jewish Scripture. But if you reject as impossible the coherence and infallibility of the works of John, Peter, Matthew, Luke, James, and Paul — all Apostles or their close associates, all contemporaries, and all experiencing the indwelling of the Holy Spirit — I don’t see how you could possibly treat the books of Moses and David and Isaiah with the same reverence that Jesus exhibitied. After all, centuries passed between the writing of the Torah and the last canonical books of prophecy.

    In order to treat Scripture as flippantly as you do, you must defy both the teaching and the example of Jesus Himself.

    I don’t care what you would invoke to justify this, much less do I care what convoluted system you use to discover that — lo and behold — the passages you like just happent to be the only ones that authoritative. And to converse with you about these mental contortions is a fool’s errand: since Jesus affirmed Scripture’s authority and since Scripture is what provides us our only authoritative picture of who Jesus is and what He has done, it’s impossible to set the living Word against the written word in any coherent sense. Your attempt to do so shouldn’t be discussed as if it is conceivably rational; it should be criticized and rejected for the fraud that it is.

  31. Neil, “God had messages in mind, and the writers conveyed that. He used their lives and experiences to end up with just what He wanted and without it being a dictation experience.”

    Snort. Yes. We DO disagree. You’ve just described a kind of voodoo, as far as I’m concerned, AND a form of veneration of the Bible that lapses into idolatry. Sorry!

    Bubba:

    Your smugness belies your claims to Grace …

    Re, “to converse with you about these mental contortions is a fool’s errand …”

    Then quit running errands! Ignore me if you disagree with me, like every other supposed intelligent person here does, and quit attacking me in the name of Jesus, and quit sullying the Lord in favor of exalting your SELF and your understanding.

    I profess that I don’t know much. I profess likewise, that you don’t know much. That’s all.

    Re, “I don’t care what you would invoke to justify this, much less do I care what convoluted system you use to discover that …”

    THEN you’ve shown your bias. So leave me alone and quit pretending you give a damn one way or another.

    Better yet, start your own blog, where you can do more than REACT, which is the lamest form of “though,.” and where people can actually engage you.

  32. Being a “character witness,” by giving of ourselves and our treasure, by emptying ourselves of our selves, is all Jesus asked us to do — in His name.

    That is not ALL Jesus asked us to do. And we were commanded (not asked) to “…Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”

    What is the gospel?

    “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”

    ER, may I ask a question of you? I don’t know that I’ve ever seen you address this issue.

    Do you believe in the literal bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ?

  33. And, I agree that that is the gospel. The question we are discussing is what the salvific response is to that message — or-and, whether that message requires any response at all. And, we were talking about whether that message is clear in the Bible. And i say it is not. It’s THERE. But it’s not clear. It requires interpretation. And I agree with that interepretation.

  34. “Snort. Yes. We DO disagree. You’ve just described a kind of voodoo, as far as I’m concerned, AND a form of veneration of the Bible that lapses into idolatry. Sorry!”

    Your heresies and baseless insults are there for all to see. Calling orthodox views voodoo and idolatry are just comical, ER, especially for someone who insists on universalism and cherry picks the verses he cites as authoritative. Like a good little theological liberal you think everyone is going to Heaven and that all paths lead to Jesus, unless, of course, if you believe the whole Bible is the word of God then you are guilty of idolatry. What a joke.

    You are the poster boy for Dalmatian Theology. Seriously. You are so certain of your preferred views and have the audacity to mock those of us who believe all of the Bible is the inspired word of God.

  35. What do we do after we accept salvation? That is indeed the question.

    As a farmer, that is one I have thought about a lot. Not much chance to give testimony in a corn field.

    Here is what I think. Jesus said follow me; which suggents to me that he will lead.

    Each of us has talents and abilities that can be used to further the great commission. In a perfect world, where every Christian followed his calling, I don’t thing we would all be called to be missionaries or pastors.

    I think the important thiings then are:
    1. Find God and get to know him.
    2. Pray for guidance and try to follow where he leads. Sometimes you will stray, but if you keep praying, like the good shepherd he is, Jesus will bring you back.

    So whether you are called to be a missionary or a ditch digger, do your work as if it is for the Lord, for in the end, if you have the faith and folow Jesus, it will be..

  36. ER, I’m not conversing with you about the methods by which you claim to be able to ascertain what’s authoritative within Scripture: I’m repudiating the claim in the most emphatic way possible.

    Because the claim ought to be repudiated, I won’t ignore the claim, either, though I’m sure you would find it very convenient if I did.

    To be clear, I don’t have too much of a problem with the denial, per se, of the infallible authority of the Bible. Muslims and atheists deny it all the time, but their doing so is consistent with their belief system. My problem is with ostensibly devout Christians who deny inerrancy. Because their denial leads to all sorts of trouble, spiritually and theologically, their denial should be examined so its incoherence can be demonstrated and rebuked.

    Implausibly, you claim this:

    I profess that I don’t know much. I profess likewise, that you don’t know much. That’s all.

    See, if you had displayed the sort of humility of admitting not to much, that’d be fine with me. I don’t have a problem with a Christian who cannot bring himself to believe that he knows Scripture is infallible, if, that is, the Christian — knowing that they have no trustworthy standard by which to evaluate individual passages — gives the Bible the benefit of the doubt, treats it as inerrant, and trusts that God will forgive him for any resulting mistakes. That is an honest and coherent position.

    But what are you doing, ER?

    You write, “I do not argue that the Bible is contradictory, I point out that fact.” In the face of far wiser and more scholarly students of the Bible who believe that the Bible isn’t contradictory and in fact offer plausible ways to reconcile difficult passages, you assert as self-evident the supposed fact that the Bible’s contradictory.

    In presuming to have a method by which to determine which passages are authoritative, you position yourself above even Moses, Isaiah, Peter, James, John, and Paul. You think that God didn’t and even couldn’t have guided them to craft inerrant books that form one coherent whole, but you have the breathtaking arrogance to presume that you have the ability to figure out where these prophets and Apostles went astray.

    And, the Bible clearly records that, in both His explicit teaching and in His example of appealing to Scripture as the final word, Jesus Christ Himself affirmed the inerrant authority of Scripture. Despite this, you display the arrogance to denigrate His approach as silly and criticize it as idolatrous, all while doing this dance about how you worship and revere Christ and even while you have the audacity to criticize the church and do ostensibly in His name.

    “I profess that I don’t know much.”

    The bulk of the rest of what you have written demonstrates the inauthenticity of this professed humility.

  37. Bubba, you write very well, but you need to learn to be more succinct.

    You and I will never see the Bible the same way. That’s all. I can’t fathom any able scholar of the Bible not seeing the contradictions unless blinded by blind faith.

    Neil: “You are so certain of your preferred views and have the audacity to mock those of us who believe all of the Bible is the inspired word of God.

    No. I am not certain of my views. I am emphatic in presenting them. And I don’ t think I mock those who believe all of the Bible is the inspired word off God, whatever THAT means. I do, in fact, think it is dangerous, it does disservice to the Gospel, and that it is a formk of idolatry. It IS an audacious assertion, though.

  38. Re, “doing this dance about how you worship and revere Christ and even while you have the audacity to criticize the church and do ostensibly in His name.”

    I mispoke once when I jumped ugly on “the church,” and I took it back. But I do, in fact, gleefully jump ugly on all forms od fundamentalism, and I do, in fact, do it in Jesus’s name. Priesthood of the believer … Christian liberty … and so on.

  39. Actually, Bubba does not have to be more succinct, at least on my blog. Kind of a petty dig in my view, considering how well he skewers your un-Biblical opinions.

    Thanks for the grins that we are dangerous, idolatrous and do a disservice to the Gospel just for proclaiming that the Bible is an accurate representation of that Gospel.

    I blocked one guy from posting here because, while he shared your core views, he was very sneaky about it. He’d try to act as if he believed the Bible was the word of God, then he’d undermine it left and right.

    Your apostacy is transparent and your logic so lacking that I don’t mind you posting those things. They are self-refuting, in a sense.

  40. Re, “proclaiming that the Bible is an accurate representation of that Gospel.”

    Either tell me where I have denied this, or admit that you really can’t comprehend the words I write.

    What part of “the Bible is sufficient unto salvation” is unclear???

    Your are digging a hole behind the bulwark of inerrancy — and if THAT is the basis of of your salvation, GOOD LUCK. Because luck is all you have have.

    Ban me. DO IT.

    It will do us both good.

  41. Oh, some of my opinions absolutely ARE un-Biblical!. That’s my whole point! The Bible is NOT, through some faux “faith,” INFALLIBLE.

    Jesus shines though it anyway!

    BAN ME.

    You WANT to.

    DO IT.

    Or dare to let me speak. I dare you to let me speak, and I dare to assert my faith in Christ, yet honestly, freely, openly and in good FAITH, deny the idolatry evident in proclamations of the Bible’s “inerrancy.”

  42. This is why: “I blocked one guy from posting here because, while he shared your core views, he was very sneaky about it.”

    Thinley veiled threat, ot poor choice of words.

    I am upset. I can’t stand it,and I will never understand, how any one dare say the things to me, personally, like Bubba does, in absolute defiiance of my professions! UTTER ARROGANCE on his part.

    I’m going to bed.

    I AM UNDER THIS TENT, UNDER THE CROSS.

  43. ER, I’m not sure why you’re invoking principles like Christian liberty and the priesthood of the believer as if they are in opposition to the Bible’s inerrancy: they aren’t, there’s no logical contradiction, and in fact the earliest Protestants to uphold the principle of Christian liberty also strongly affirmed the inerrant authority of Scripture. Many still do, as in the Baptist Faith & Message.

    More importantly, in continuing to deny in no uncertain terms the inerrancy of the Bible, you do so in defiance of both Christ’s explicit teaching and example.

    I dare you to let me speak, and I dare to assert my faith in Christ, yet honestly, freely, openly and in good FAITH, deny the idolatry evident in proclamations of the Bible’s “inerrancy.”

    Jesus Christ affirmed the inerrant authority of Scripture as it then existed (i.e., the Old Testament) to the smallest penstroke. Furthermore, when answering theological questions, He appealed to Scripture as the final word.

    What sort of “faith in Christ” is it that denies Christ’s approach to Scripture and even denounces His approach as idolatrous?

    You have yet to acknowledge this inconsistency in your position. Maybe you could begin by answering the following questions.

    1) Is idolatry evident in Matthew 5, when Jesus Christ affirmed Scripture to the smallest penstroke?

    2) Is idolatry evident in the numerous other Gospel passages — and I would be happy to list them, but we could begin with Matthew 4 — where Jesus appeals to Scripture as a final doctrinal authority?

    If your answer to these questions is “no,” then I don’t see how it’s idolatrous for Neil and me to follow the example of our Lord in our approach to Scripture.

    If your answer is “yes” , then I don’t see how you can have anything resembling a mature faith in Christ if you’re willing to accuse Christ of the sin of idolatry.

    Or if you want to argue that these (and the many similar passages) aren’t reliable documents of what Jesus did and taught, I would love to know how you determine what’s reliable. If you don’t have a plausible rationale behind your dismissing these passages, just how can you know anything about Christ with any certainty?

  44. “Your apostacy is transparent and your logic so lacking that I don’t mind you posting those things. They are self-refuting, in a sense.”

    I’m just reading this thread but ER is the only one that is making any sense at all. Thank you Erudite Redneck for standing for truth and logic even in hostile environments.

    Neil said: Hi Sarai – perhaps you could point out where you think ER makes sense and others don’t. I like ER but we pointed out above where his views don’t mesh with the Bible.

  45. That’s the problem, Neil. You think it scandalous that, from where you sit, my views don’t seem to mesh with the Bible. I think it’s absolutely OK that my views don’t seem to mesh with the Bible, since the Bible is, well, wrong about quite a bit. Not just minor things. But about some big things. Like the underlying assumption that heaven is “up there,” hell is “down there” and we, as all of reality is “right here.” Understandable that the Bible is wrong about that, but wrong it is, nonetheless.

    I think it scandalous that you and Bubba gleefully limit God and Christ to your understanding of the Bible.

    And, howdy, Sirai

  46. Hi ER,

    I always enjoy it when ideological opponents prove my points as they try to refute them.

    Re. “up there” and “down there” – wow, what a literalist! It is hard for me to relate to an argument like that because I’m a contextualist – https://4simpsons.wordpress.com/2007/12/27/contextualists-not-literalists/

    Re. gleefully limited God – I suppose it is easier to say it is “scandalous” when you mischaracterize our approach as gleeful, but your premise is flawed. If anyone limited God in his revelation it was God himself. His book, not mine.

    What is really scandalous is how you make God in your own image and pick-and-choose what you think He “really” revealed.

  47. Pingback: still protesting « Explanations of the Catholic Faith lived out in the Family

  48. Mike said: “I find it so sad that Mother Teresa kept to her apostate Catholic faith right into hell. If only someone could have shown her the heresy of the Catholic Church and directed her towards Biblical Christianity. What a waste.”

    This is a completely out of line and ignorant comment… not to mention judgmental. Judge not, lest ye be judged.

    Who is anyone to say that Mother Teresa went to hell? That judgment is for GOD ALONE.

    This is an example of Christianity at it’s finest… Well, actually, that’s a lie. But, it’s exactly the kind of attitude that keeps people from even wanting to consider Christianity.

    Sickening…

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