Thursday, May 05, 2005

Bible is NOT a Moral Handbook--Got it?

Shrimp here:

You humans funny. Bible says, "Your word is a lamp unto my feet. When the Hebrew people spoke of how they lived they used as the main figure of speech, halak, to walk. Now Bishop Margaret Payne in "Saints and Sinners" says Lutherans do not think the Bible is a moral handbook.

Next we will hear what?

There are several factors to talks about when we look at why Christian tradition has never followed some of the Jewish cultic laws, but we have always considered the moral law of the Hebrew Scriptures as OURS.

As William Witt notes:

“Biblical interpreters understood that other biblical material besides the Ten Commandments contains moral law—the creation narratives of Genesis 1 and 2, other Mosaic material, the Wisdom literature, the Psalms, the Prophets, and, of course, New Testament material, including the Sermon on the Mount and the moral expositions in the Epistles. When Haller states that because the biblical prohibitions against same-sex activity are not part of the Ten Commandments,they are “precisely the sort of law the church has the power to reject or enforce as it sees fit,” he has it exactly backward. Because these prohibitions are part of the moral material of the Old Testament that is summed up in the Ten Commandments, and endorsed again in the New Testament with no qualifications and no exceptions, they are precisely the sorts of law the Church has never felt itself free to reject or enforce as it sees fit.”


Eli said...

"# This church accepts the canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the inspired Word of God and the authoritative source and norm of its proclamation, faith, and life. "

Direct quote from ELCA statement of faith. I am a simple person, but "authoritative source and norm" sounds a lot like it just might qualify it as a moral handbook. But that's just me.

Mwalimu Daudi said...

Do we stop seeking justice for widows and orphans and loving our enemies because they are not explicitly written in the Ten Commandments? Haller and Payne sound like lawyers trying to spring a guilty client on a technicality rather than sinners honestly wrestling with the meaning of Scripture.

Shrimp said...

Mwalimu is a kind human. I would have thought that "enemy of God and man" (and crustaceans, too) would be more like it.

I got an insight reading Larry Woods "The Radical Wesley." One of the most important calls a church has upon it is to pass on the faith it received. Because of what is going on, ours will be the first generation since the original apostles to fail to do that. The ELCA is poised to do that in August.

Anonymous said...

To say that the Bible is our source and norm for faith and life and then to say that is not a moral handbook are not mutually exclusive.

The Bible is not a moral handbook, although there is a lot of moral law in it.

Scripture is, first and foremost, a witness to Jesus Christ and our need for him. The Moral Handbook part only comes in to show us our need for Jesus due to our failures.

The problem with Payne et al is that they are anti-nomians who think they know more than the Biblical writers and/or Author.


Shrimp said...

TS is right, of course, to say that the law drives man to need for Saviour. BUT Shrimp think that "The Bible is not a moral handbook, although there is a lot of moral law in it." is clever human words.
Might well say "Bible is a moral handbook, and more"

The good ship ELCA...

The good ship ELCA...
Or the Shellfish blog...