Shuck and Jive

Friday, September 29, 2006

The Bible and the Modern World

Roy Hoover compiled this helpful chart of the difference between the biblical view of the history of the world and human life and the modern view of the history of the world and human life. This will be helpful as we construct a theology for the 21st century. More on Creation next time!

The Biblical View of the History of the World
and Human Life


The Modern View of the History of the World
and Human Life

1. The origin of the universe

God created the heavens and the earth and all of the forms of life in the in six days by commanding them into being (Genesis 1). God rested from his creating work on the seventh day, thus establishing it as a day of rest for as long as the world lasts.

1. The origin of the universe

The universe came into being fifteen billion years ago, or so, following a “big bang.” Life on earth in its many forms has evolved and developed across hundreds of millions of years.

2. Space

The earth occupies the center of the whole cosmos. The sun, moon, and stars circle around it.

2. Space

Space is many light years in extent and seems to be still expanding. The earth is one of several planets orbiting the sun in a solar system that is part of the Milky Way galaxy.

3. Human origins

God created human beings in his image, made them male and female, commanded them to propagate and fill the earth, and delegated to them authority over and responsibility for the care of the plants and animals God had created (Genesis 1:26-31; 2:15).

3. Human origins

Human beings emerged comparatively late in the history of the earth from earlier forms of life and continue to be sustained by the whole ecosystem of the planet.

4. God

God is the world’s lord and king; he rules over it from his throne high in the heavens.

4. God

God is the symbolic term we use to refer to the ultimate reality and mystery with which we have to do. Theology is and always has been the constructive work of human beings and is useful only insofar as it succeeds in depicting the way things really are and in pointing out how we may live humanely amid the realities of the world.

5. History

God is directing the course of history to its final consummation which he determined for it from the beginning.

5. History

Human beings are characterized by self-conscious, self-transcending intelligence and imagination. This capacity gives us the ability to create culture and to shape history. It also gives us the inclination and ability to search for and recognize the meaning of our experience in the world, which we often express in the form of a religion.

6. Bible

God revealed, through Moses, the basic law by which human life is to be ordered, and sent prophets, apostles and other messengers to communicate his will to humankind. These revealed truths, recorded in scripture, make the Bible the Word of God.

6. Bible

God [esp. the rule of God] is the principal subject of the Bible, not its author. The writings—of priests, prophets, wisdom teachers, psalmists, anonymous gospel narrators, and apostles—that have been collected to form the Christian Bible are an irreplaceable source of information about the origins of the characteristically Jewish and Christian ways of viewing the human condition and a primary resource for theological reflection and public worship.

7. Jesus

God sent his only son, Jesus Christ, to preach the gospel and to die on the cross to save us from our sins. God raised Jesus from the dead and will likewise raise all who believe in him. This incarnation of the eternal son of God marks the beginning of the consummation of all things, which is even now playing out under God’s providential direction.

7. Jesus

Jesus of Nazareth was the pioneer and exemplar of a new form of ancient Israel’s faith that emphasized its universal rather than its ethnic meaning. The message Jesus preached was about “the Kingdom of God,” a vision of life ruled by the union of power and goodness. The political and religious establishments of that time regarded the threat to their legitimacy posed by this vision sufficient reason to execute him.

8. The future

The resurrected Jesus will return on the clouds of heaven at the end of history when God will defeat the powers of sin and death and bring into being his kingdom which will have no end.

8. The future

The literal statements about the resurrection lost their literal meaning when the modern view of the world displaced the ancient. The real core of ancient resurrection faith is the recognition that justice and moral virtue are indispensable for a truly human life, and that human life can be transformed in the direction of greater fulfillment.

Prepared by Roy W. Hoover
February, 2003
Some of the phrasing is drawn from Gordon D. Kaufman, In Face of Mystery. A Constructive Theology.
Printed from the January-February 2004 issue of the Fourth R, p. 3


  1. Coincidentally, I have just started reading Spong's Rescuing the Bible From Fundamentalism, and he mentions fairly early on that the writers of the Bible assumed a cosmology that we know not to be true--they assumed that the earth was the center of the universe, that the dome of the sky contained the sun and moon and stars, that God reigned kinglike literally above this dome, and so on. (The first of the two creation myths in Genesis assumed that there were waters above the earth in the sky and waters below it, and that God formed the earth between those sets of waters. )

    I think that church understood all too well that the Bible's creation myths rested on a certain kind of cosmology, which is no doubt why they resisted Galileo so severely. Galileo challenged the very cosmology that was assumed in the Bible. Of course, Galileo wasn't the only one who challenged the old understandings of the world, and the church couldn't resist the march of science forever. Instead, the church conveniently ignores the fact that there was a cosmology built into the Bible's creation myths.

    Because this was a cosmology that assumed that God reigned physically as a monarch above the sky, Jesus was portrayed as ascending upward to heaven. This, too, is simply not a credible myth anymore given the current rational understanding.

    One of the problems I have with Huston Smith, by the way, is that he criticizes process theology as well as people like Marcus Borg because Smith believes that religion should evolve in response to worldly knowledge. To me, this is absurd, since the earlier religious traditions that he thinks we should adhere to emerged out of a given cosmology and understanding of the world that we now no longer accept. So when the cosmologies that certain theologies and myths emerged from have been replaced by newer understandings, to then remain a believer in those old theologies is not a rational position to take.

  2. Correction--I meant to say that Huston Smith believes that religion should NOT evolve in response to worldly knowledge.

  3. I need to ask a question:

    How consistent is it to say that when Biblical authors use geocentric language (language that we still use today, despite 500 - or even 2500 - years of knowing better) they believe it hook, line, and sinker and are definitely not using phenomenal language but displaying their actual scientific cosmology and then turn around and say that when Biblical authors talk about Jesus' crucified body being resurrected and somehow transformed, they are using metaphorical language to describe a spiritual reality?

    I dare say that most of us can more easily comprehend the possibility of a person who died being brought back to life (by whatever means) than to have more than a tenuous mental grasp of the scope of the universe. One is very concrete, the other so abstract that we have to use abstractions (numbers) and further abstractions (formulae and hypotheses) to describe it.


  4. I would comment on the above question by suggesting that we need to understand what we are talking about when we consider the role of scientific knowledge in myths. The Genesis creation myths are first and foremost myths. I have no idea if the people who constructed them (or relayed them) thought that they represented accurate scientific statements, but I am guessing that they didn't necessarily. The point of myths like these is not that they claim to be literally true, but that they point to some deeper truth by inspiring a rich cluster of metaphors.

    The implication of the cosmological underpinnings of the Genesis creation myths (or any myths, for that matter) is therefore not whether they were believed to be literally true scientifically, but rather that these myths (and therefore the theology that they pointed to) were informed by their cosmological underpinnings. Because the myths are constructed out of the toolbox of their available cosmology, the deeper theological truths that these myths point to are also informed by that same cosmology. It is a cosmology that places God as a monarchical ruler who resides "above" us in a heaven that lies above the dome of the sky. Here we have what Borg calls "supernatural theism" manifesting itself in the creation myths. It leads to all sorts of implications about how God relates to the world. It is this same cosmological underpinning, by the way, that leads to the idea of Jesus "ascending" to heaven after his supposed bodily resurrection. (As Spong wrote, "If Jesus ascended physically into the sky, and if he rose as rapidly as the speed of light,...he would not yet have reached the edges of our own galaxy.")

    That doesn't mean that there aren't some deeper truths that Christians can still draw from the Genesis creation myths. Marcus Borg has pointed out several valuable ways of drawing theological truths from these myths. But overall, I think that if we alter the cosmological underpinnings that inform and influence a myth, it might be time to consider relooking at those myths.

  5. We therefore condemn all who deny a real resurrection of the flesh (II Tim 2:18), or who with John of Jerusalem, against whom Jerome wrote, do not have a correct view of the glorification of bodies…..

  6. Thank you pew person.

    And in here is some advice from the Good Book in return:

    "Whatsoever goeth upon the belly, and whatsoever goeth upon all four, or whatsoever hath more feet among all creeping things that creep upon the earth, them ye shall not eat; for they are an abomination."

    Leviticus 11:42

  7. Ah Shucks...I guess the B-I-B-L-E just isn't the book for you.

  8. The previous post was a lame attempt at humor.

    What I should have said was that I recommend that all of you on this blog put down all the other books you are reading and, instead, read the bible and take it seriously.

  9. Hi Person in the Pew,

    OK, a moment to talk honestly.

    I take the Bible very seriously. I may in the end be wrong, but I believe to really understand the Bible we have to understand the times, cosmos, etc. in which the Bible was written.

    My attempt is not to diss the Bible, quite the contrary. I want to better understand the Bible so that its powerful, liberating, hopeful message can come through and be heard in our time and context.

    My methods may be flawed. I may miss the point. But, I really am trying to do that.

    Many Blessings,

  10. I want to respond to the question that Chris has proposed regarding whether the authors of the Gospels (and their subsequent readers) were speaking literally or metaphorically regarding the resurrection, ascension, and the miracles of Jesus.

    I wrestle with this a great deal. Here is my "best guess."

    I think it was a mix. I think some early Christians thought of these stories as stories that reflected a deeper spiritual meaning and that others interpreted them literally (we have both kinds of Christians today).

    I think the earliest experiences were about the sense of Jesus alive with them. They gathered and told stories about him by reflecting back on their experience and the stories in the Hebrew scriptures and the stories that surrounded them (Greek and Roman mythology, and so forth).

    As the early church developed, I think these stories became "historicized", that is, they came to be understood in a more literal or journalistic sense.

    The canonical gospels seem to reflect a middle period, where you have both a myth-teller and a journalist in one.

    Eventually, those Christians (ie. the Gnostics and others) who regarded these stories as myths or metaphors were excluded from the conversation.

    That is my "best guess" at this point!


  11. This doesn't answer the question of whether the authors did or not. It merely speculates on a possible milieu for a differentiation between those who took the reports historically and those who took them metaphorically.

    What do you think the authors believed and meant?

  12. Honestly, I am really not sure. My "best guess" is that they meant them metaphorically. But, again, they were in that inbetween period where the line between journalistic reporting and metaphorical storytelling is not so clear (at least to me).

    What do you think?

  13. Pretty basic, really. I think that the best explanation for the reception and continued benefit of the canonical books of the New Testament is their apostolicity. They were written by apostles or by disciples of the apostles. They were received as apostolic in churches which the apostles had founded. They claim to be apostolic.

    Further, I believe that Luke was writing good, Greek-style history. Anyone who reads the prologues contained in Luke-Acts and then compares them with contemporary histories will see that this was Luke's intention. Yes, that means that he was writing this particular history because he felt that it was instructive and life changing. Yes, that means that he took his source materials and selected and arranged items so that they would make the most impact. It does not mean, however, that he was free to add new items. Nor does it mean that he was free to infer that metaphorical interpretations were on par with the history he was writing.

    I have yet to see one shred of evidence that within a 30 year period you can take a historical character and fool first-hand witnesses with that interpretation. Look at the Alexiad or other historical accounts of the day. Even after 300 years, there are virtually no metaphorical interpretations or passages. They purport to be history and we have confirmed everything that we could confirm in those ancient histories.

    Why not give Dr. Luke the same benefit of the doubt?

  14. Hi Chris,

    Thanks for your views. I find myself in disagreement about authorship. Modern scholarship suggests that none of the gospels were written by disciples or apostles. They were simply given the names of the apostles to augment their authority.

    Let's look at some of the gospels that were "voted off the island" so to speak.

    What was the author thinking when he or she wrote "The Infancy Gospel of Thomas"? Did he or she really seek to report acts of Jesus as a child?

    How about the Gospel of Mary, the Gospel of Peter, the Gospel of Judas? What was their authors' intent?

    Or, take the Acts of Andrew and the Acts of Paul and Thecla. They sound to me to be very similar to the canonical Acts in many ways. That is they were romantic stories of adventure.

    A different viewpoint.


  15. Play fair, John.

    Even at the height of critical skepticism about Lukan authorship (coming out of the Tubingen school) scholars like Blass, Credner, Hawkins, Hobart, Klostermann, Plummer, Ramsay, Renan, Vogel, and Zahn, stood by Lukan authorship. Harnack was the one having fits about it – and that was more on the basis of his presuppositions of late authorship. You can't say "modern scholarship" because there still isn't a consensus. More people agree that the author was a companion of Paul who was highly educated, and that fits with what we know from the earliest testimony of those who received the work. There are more scholars who agree on Lukan authorship than on any other proposed candidate. And though I haven't tallied it, I suspect that if you add all those who in some way deny Lukan authorship and compare it with those who do hold Lukan authorship, I'd say that Luke still wins. But it's that same dubious trait that the Jesus Seminar uses (touting to have scholarly consensus when they actually represent an extreme fringe) that I'm seeing at work here.

    Similarly, it is not honest to history to place the so-called gospels of Thomas, Mary, etc. on a level plane with the canonical ones. (Not even C'67 defends that!) The precise reason they were "voted off the island" is because they were fantastical and metaphorical. They never enjoyed the ubiquity that the canonical gospels had. They were recognized as pseudonymous early on, and we have no patristic record of their apostolicity.

    Moreover, they largely date to the second half of the second century (or later!), when there was a clear increase in gnostic teaching and an impulse towards a corpus of inspirational literature for Christians. They sought to answer questions that hero-worshipers ask (such as, "what was my hero like before he was a hero?"). You'll notice, though, that the Gospels avoid hero worship and instead give historical accounts to the best of their abilities.

    Those so-called gospels fail chronologically, genealogically, and theologically. They represent wild flights of fancy and were recognized by virtually everyone as devotional reading or fairy tales. However, the historical claims of the canonical gospels were pressed and maintained from the beginning. And chief among their assertions was the physical resurrection of the dead (because only a physical resurrection would be ridiculed in Greco-Roman society). If you don’t believe me, just look at the apologists of the second century (esp. 1 Clement, Justin Martyr, and Polycarp).


  16. Not only does modern scholarship tell us that the apostles not write the gospels, but they were probably long dead by the time the gospels were written. The earliest Gospel, Mark, was written around 70 CE, which would be around 40 years after the death of Jesus. Both Paul and Peter were almost certainly dead by then.

    As for Luke, he may have written his Gospel as much as another 20 years after that--or maybe 60 years after the death of Jesus. He used Mark and Q as sources, added some of his own material, and in the process modified Mark's portrayal of Jesus's personality to make him seem a little more divine and a little less human--serenely confident in the face of his execution and showing little sign of inner turmoil and suffering that Mark occasionally relayed, for example. Comparing Markian passages and the same passages in Luke is revealing as to Luke's theological agenda.

    Mark had no birth narrative, but Luke, feeling compelled to give this Galilean man a Bethlehem birth, concocted a birth narrative that was, unfortunately, historically inaccurate, since (among other problems with that birth tale) he got the date of Quirinius's rule wrong. (This has been such an obvious flaw in Luke's historicity that conservative apologists have concocted untrue claims that Quirinius ruled Judea at an earlier time when Herod was king.) We can't blame Luke for getting his facts wrong about the census, though--he didn't have the internet and couldn't place a call to a local county librarian to verify such things. In any case, the literal truth of Luke's message is not so important as the theological claims that his mythical birth and resurrection narratives were pointing to.

    If you compare the resurrection stories, it becomes even more clear how this understanding of Jesus evolved over time. Paul did not even claim that a resurrected Jesus rose in bodily form; instead, he said that Jesus "appeared" to Peter and the apostles and Paul, in each case using the same verb and thus strongly implying that each appearance occured in all the same way--and Paul did not see Jesus as a physical presence during his purported physical resurrection. Mark says nothing about any resurrection appearances and his gospel ends with the women fleeing an empty tomb. Matthew is the first to depict any resurrection appearances at all--and he wrote his gospel maybe 50 years after Jesus's death. He has Jesus briefly showing up at the tomb and then mysteriously heading to a mountaintop in Galilee to deliver his message. Luke moves the focus of the reusurrection from Galilee to Jerusalem. John, as one might expect, goes further, and has Jesus walking through walls and such. At each stage, the resurrection myths become more embellished.

    Once one moves beyond fundamentalist dogma and one compares the gospels and reads these books in the order they were written, one comes to appreciate just how human these gospels were, how they reflected the agendas of their authors, how the myths they contains expressed certain theological notions, and how they reflected an evolving understanding of Jesus as time became more removed from his life.

  17. Chris,

    Play fair!!?? : )

    OK, I have in front of me the New Interpreter's Bible, the latest in mainline scholarship for preachers and teachers.

    The section on Luke is written by R. Alan Culpepper, Dean of School of Theology, Mercer University, Atlanta, GA.

    He is not a fellow of the Jesus Seminar.

    From page 4: "Like the other Gospels, Luke's author is anonymous; it does not indicate who wrote it or where or when it was written. According to early tradition that can be traced to the second century, Luke, the physician and companion of Paul, wrote both Luke and Acts. The earliest manuscript of the Gsopel, P-75, dates from 175-225 CE and contains extensive portions of the Gospel. This manuscript contains the earliest occurence of the title "Gospel According to Luke." How much earlier the titles of the Gospels may be traced is a matter of debate. The titles were apparently attached to the Gospels, however, when they began to circulate and it became necessary to distinguish one from another."

    On page 7, Culpepper writes:

    "For comparative purposes, the commentary adopts the widely held view that Mark was the earliest of the Gospels and that Luke used a second written source, indentified by the letter Q. The latter seems to have been a collection of the teachings of Jesus that pre-dated the writing of the narrative Gospels. Luke, like Matthew, also contains material that is not found in any other Gospel. The resulting patteron of relationships can be diagrammed as follows."

    (I cannot reproduce the diagram but imagine lines connecting Mark to Matthew and Luke. A line connecting M to Matthew and L to Luke and Q to Matthew and Luke.

    Mark Q
    M L
    Matthew Luke

    Do you disagree with the four source hypothesis?

    Fair enough?


  18. Every single one of the canonical gospels dates from the second half of the first century--and John probably dates from around the year 100. Some of the New Testament epistles may date from the early second century. And some of the works that were considered by early Christians to be of the same level of inspiration as what is now in the New Testament (such as the Didache and the episle of Clement) probably date from earlier than some of those late epistles that eventually made it into the New Testament. There was no clearly defined canon in the first and second century, and those works that were collected as "scripture" varied considerably and what was "scripural" was a matter of dispute.

    I don't know what the scholarly consensus is on the dating of the Gospel of Thomas, but I believe that at least some scholars date it to the mid-first century.

  19. John,

    I've studied the 2SH hypothesis. While I disagree with it, it is a solid and viable experimental platform. In my early days, I leaned toward the Griesbach Hypothesis (and still find it very persuasive), but I tend to assume Markan priority for the purposes of public scholarship. I do, however, follow closely Mark Goodacre's work on 2SH, 2GH, and the Farrer hypothesis. Like him, I believe that there are only three Qs - the Q in James Bond, the Q in Star Trek TNG, and the Q in NT scholarship. And all three of them are fictional.

    (you can learn more here )

    As to your quote from Culpepper, it really doesn't discredit anything I said beforehand. As Luke-Acts was written to an individual (patron?), a title would have been unnecessary. It is only as it made the rounds that authorial attribution was necessary. Remember that a Gospel is not a letter, so we should expect there to be some initial ambiguity.

    The only source we have for knowledge of who the first circulators thereof said authored it is the testimony of the early church. It is unanimous and early - they attribute it to Luke. The only thing left for us in the modern era is to test their statement and see if if comports with what we can know of history. And at every turn, Luke's hellenistic (medical) education and use of Semitic primary sources is the best explanation for what we find in the Gospel and Acts.

    All of this is beside the point that I initially took: there is very good evidence that suggests early authorship of the canon of the NT - especially the Gospels - and that they were considered authoritative in the early Church precisely because they were abstracted from the apostles and concordant with their teaching.


    PS For the creation of the canon, see

  20. Chris,

    I am not familiar with Griesbach, 2GH, or Farrer. Could you explain?


    Q may be fictional. So are Mark, Mathtew, Luke and John : )


    Thank you for your analysis. This is a good discussion!

  21. John,

    I would suggest following the link I gave to explain the varying compositional hypotheses. That way, we needn't glut your blog with replicated material.

    According to Merriam Webster, fiction is defined as:
    1. a) something invented by the imagination or feigned; specifically: an invented story. b) fictitious literature (as novels or short stories). c) a work of fiction.

    2. a) an assumption of a possibility as a fact irrespective of the question of its truth "a legal fiction". b) a useful illusion or pretense.

    3. the action of feigning or of creating with the imagination

    Which of these definitions do you intend when you say that the canonical gospels are "fictional."

    More importantly, can you tell me precisely which parts of the Gospels are fictional? I'd really like to get rid of them because - unlike those silly apostles & martyrs - I'm not willing to stake my reputation (much less my very life) - on a flight of fantasy.

    If we get to choose, I'd like to do away with some of the things he said and did that stick in my craw. Is it up to a vote? Or do we have to get PhDese first?


  22. Hi Chris,

    I was hoping you would explain those hypothose in easy to understand language. I guess I will have to look them up.


    probably definition b.

    Not unlike, the infancy Gospel of Thomas, the parting of the Red Sea, the creation accounts in Genesis, the Samuel and David stories, Jonah and the big fish, shall I go on?

    If you are putting all your faith in these stories, legends, fictions, (whatever we might call them) as historical or factual accounts, then I think your faith will be in for a rough ride.


  23. I advised you (and your audience) to go to the site because it is very plain language. More importantly, it has colored diagrams with arrows (which you lamented not being able to show) so I thought it best for everyone involved. I have a little brain, so pictures help me a lot.

    1.b. (a fictitious story) or 2.b (a useful illusion or pretense)?

    I never took the infancy fables of Thomas (or really anything purportedly by "Thomas") as historical or factual. I especially don't take as factual the notion that some sort of Thomas gospel existed before the middle of the second century. There's a fiction we could all do without.

    Alright, I'll avoid the canard of OT unhistoricity and ask the question again:

    You said that the canonical Gospels are fiction. Which part(s)?

    You can't just throw that out there and then not elaborate on it, surely.


    P.S. Seeker, I don't think your question was answered. While the folks of the Westar Institute, the idiosyncratics behind the Jesus Seminar, claim a very early date for Thomas (50AD), the consensus is that it is from the middle of the 2nd century. Bruce Metzger, famed NT text critic, placed it around 140AD. It's clearly influenced by gnosticism (since it's free online, check it for yourself).

    The best examinations of the date are still written in German, but in English you can see Christopher M. Tuckett, "Thomas and the Synoptics," Novum Testamentum 30 (1988), 132-57; and John P. Meier, A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus, vol. 1 (New York: Doubleday, 1991), 123-39.

  24. Reviewing my own literature on the subject, it appears that there is no scholarly consensus on the date of the Gospel of Thomas. Estimates vary all the way from 140 CE on the far end to the mid-first century on the other, with some intermediate positions that argue for multiple layers of development.

  25. MS - Can you tell us who it is you are reading? I'm wary of assertions without citations.


  26. Chris,

    I have already elaborated on it. My first post, "What if We Found the Body of Jesus?" speaks about the resurrection as metaphorical.

    OK, the parable of the Good Samaritan. I used to assume that everybody thought that was fiction, but after meeting you, I can no longer assume that.

    Let me know, but I think that is a story Jesus either made up or repeated from earlier stories.

    I think most people would think it is a fictional story. Yet, it has inspired people. "Good Samaritan" hospitals are found all over the country.

    In other words, it didn't matter that the story was fiction, it was powerful and hopeful and it inspired people to great acts of charity and compassion.

    From another tradition: The Bhagavad Gita is the conversation between Lord Krishna and Arjuna before Arjuna goes into battle. It was written perhaps five to six hundred years before Christ.

    Is the story an actual account of the conversation between Krishna and Arjuna? Is the story a fiction? If someone decided that it could only be true and valuable if the story was an account of an actual conversation and event, then that person might go to a great deal of work to 'prove" that that story was or at least could be historically accurate. For instance, if someone believed that the Bhagavad Gita was the Word of God, and to be Word of God, it must be accurate, (not just a fiction) then one could spend a lifetime discounting anything that would suggest otherwise.

    However, the Bhagavad Gita is a powerful spiritual story, filled with truth for many people, whether or not they think it is historical or fictional.


    You don't have to believe an event actually happened to appreciate its spiritual significance and to have your life changed by that.

    If you disagree fundamentally with what I have said above, no amount of quibbling over details is going to help us understand each other.


  27. John,

    I agree with you whole-heartedly that you don't have to agree about the facticity of an account to draw spiritual truth from it.

    I don't believe that the parable of the good Samaritan is a historical account. I do believe that the Gospel is being historical when it tells us that Jesus told that story to teach his disciples. In other words, I don't think that the NT is merely a human document chocked full of motivational stories. Rather, I believe that it is the voice of God thundering down through the ages and commanding my obedience. No other book, no matter how spiritual or wise or beneficial commands my obedience. Not Calvin's Institutes, not Crossan's Who Killed Jesus, not even our Book of Order. And certainly not the Bhagavad Gita.

    And perhaps that's the difference between you and me. I am bound by the Scriptures, the confessions of this church, my ordination vows, and my experience of the risen Christ to submit all truth claims to the revealed truth in Holy Writ. I'm not free to take "spiritual truth" from other religions when it contradicts what is clear in the Word of God.


  28. Chris,

    So what's wrong with the Bhagavad Gita?


  29. I'm not sure I understand your question, John. Are you asking me to provide examples of how it teaches doctrines that are antithetical to Jesus? Or are you asking if there are things I find incredible in it?


  30. Of the works you mentioned, you said and certainly not the Bhagavad Gita and highlighted it in bold.

    I personally happen to really like it and what it says. Ghandi noticed that it was a lot like the Sermon on the Mount. It reminded me of Paul's letter to the Philippians.

    No big deal...