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 Sufficiency of the Scriptures

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caleb
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PostSubject: Sufficiency of the Scriptures   Mon Nov 30, 2009 11:42 am

I'll just open this up very generally based off of the discussion in the Utilities thread. This discussion will obviously be in regards to a biblical form of government. The implications of this can go to the other spheres of life as well though. (Family, church, important decisions, etc.)

Is the Bible fully sufficient for everything involved in making and running a government?
Or
Does the Bible only give general principles, but not specific mandates for every aspect of government?

In other words,
Can we use only Scripture to determine how to make and run a government?
Or
Do we start with Scripture but need to use history and other sources to make and run a government?

(Please feel free to rephrase the questions if you feel I haven't done justice to both sides.)

To God be the glory,
-Caleb
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PostSubject: Re: Sufficiency of the Scriptures   Tue Dec 01, 2009 7:11 am

Well, a quick thought here: this forum was founded for those who agreed that we only need the Bible to figure out how God wants every nation to be constructed (things that are variable can be determined by outside factors, of course). In other words: we should all already agree on this. But it should also be discussed to clarify what we mean by it and how it is applied. Make sense?

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May I never forsake abiding in Him, and may His ways never cease to thrive within my heart, for He only is my strength and hope.
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Peter G.
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PostSubject: Re: Sufficiency of the Scriptures   Tue Dec 01, 2009 8:59 am

Well, I think that God has written the Bible to directly cover all things that are the most important, and to indirectly cover all else. Some of the topics might be principles that would apply to several things. For example, the Bible talks about how if a man does not work, he does not eat. This can be used for several topics, because of several meanings it has. (Remember, this is just one example, and somewhat not the best either) The Bible does indeed talk about the government in several verses. (Isaiah has a good one. Very Happy) But we must keep a few things in mind when we talk about the Bible and how it applies to the world. We cannot fully interpert the Scriptures correctly because we are man. Man is sinful and makes mistakes, therefore, we cannot completely trust our interpertations. Also, most people probably haven't fully read, let alone, use and understand the whole Bible. This also shows how even though we might have a few verses that talk about the government, that doesn't mean that the Bible doesn't talk about it more indirectly through other verses that we have not yet looked at. Make sense?

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Peter G.
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PostSubject: Re: Sufficiency of the Scriptures   Tue Dec 01, 2009 10:08 am

Peter G. wrote:
Well, I think that God has written the Bible to directly cover all things that are the most important, and to indirectly cover all else. Some of the topics might be principles that would apply to several things. For example, the Bible talks about how if a man does not work, he does not eat. This can be used for several topics, because of several meanings it has. (Remember, this is just one example, and somewhat not the best either) The Bible does indeed talk about the government in several verses. (Isaiah has a good one. Very Happy) But we must keep a few things in mind when we talk about the Bible and how it applies to the world. We cannot fully interpert the Scriptures correctly because we are man. Man is sinful and makes mistakes, therefore, we cannot completely trust our interpertations. Also, most people probably haven't fully read, let alone, use and understand the whole Bible. This also shows how even though we might have a few verses that talk about the government, that doesn't mean that the Bible doesn't talk about it more indirectly through other verses that we have not yet looked at. Make sense?

In Christ,
Peter G.

No, I am sorry, I am not understanding what you are trying to say. Are you saying that we cannot say that the Bible makes any clear mandate about anything?

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May I never forsake abiding in Him, and may His ways never cease to thrive within my heart, for He only is my strength and hope.
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Peter G.
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PostSubject: Re: Sufficiency of the Scriptures   Tue Dec 01, 2009 10:42 am

I'm sorry for being confusing. (apparently.) What I meant was that somethings (like the 10 Commandments) are direct instructions for us. Others (like if "you do not work; you do not eat.") are indirect instructions for us. And that the Bible should cover almost everything at least, but we cannot say with 100 percent certainty that the Bible covers everything because we cannot read and understand the whole Bible. (Our sinful nature prevents that.) Does this make more sense?

In Christ,
Peter G.
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PostSubject: Re: Sufficiency of the Scriptures   Tue Dec 01, 2009 5:23 pm

The Scripture is absolutely sufficient in discovering everything that is involved in running and creating government! First of all, we are forming a completely biblical-based government here; we do not focus on looking through general history and discovering what aspects of other governments have worked best in the past. That is not our calling, and it is not what we are striving to accomplish. The actual principles that we are seeking to implicate within our government system is based completely and entirely on Scripture and must have Scriptural support.

However, we do use and analyze historical events and government systems for a purpose on here; they are used to determine what human errors have been made in the past concerning governmental policy. History in and of itself does not completely determine any aspect of Biblical government, but rather it provides further support for an aspect that has already been supported and recognized within Scripture. Scripture determines what government is to do, while history can only affirm what Scripture has already given us.

Furthermore, each of those questions are somewhat dangerous. If we said that Scripture is not sufficient enough to discover how to run and start governments, what are we really saying? By claiming that the Absolute Truth (God's Word) falls short in one aspect of life, we are taking a possibly dangerous turn and running the risk of stating that God's Word is not really Absolute Truth. God's Word is sufficient for all our needs (2 Timothy 3:16-17) and provides the only foundation that we can truly stand upon with no fear of it caving in.

I believe that we can be one hundred percent certain in the completeness of God's Word in every aspect because it is God-breathed, even if we cannot truly grasp every part of it as mere human beings.

Blessings,
Hannah Marie

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PostSubject: Re: Sufficiency of the Scriptures   Tue Dec 01, 2009 5:30 pm

That is pretty much what I said. Very Happy

(Devil's Advocate, again. Wink Sorry Hannah. Wink)

On the 2 Timothy 3:16-17, my version states: (sorry, as of right now, I don't have a KJV, Embarassed this is NIV)

"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."

I think most of you will still agree with that version of the verse. Anyway, the verse does say that it is God breathed, however, it does NOT say it is useful for everything. It is saying that it will help in, "every good work" and also it is useful for, "teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righeousness." Not everything. I think you will agree with me that the Bible does not say that it is useful for everything based on this verse. It is merely saying that the Bible is good for helping others in their walk with God. Make sense? Or did I miss something?


In Christ,
Peter G.
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PostSubject: Re: Sufficiency of the Scriptures   Tue Dec 01, 2009 5:49 pm

A simple answer to your statement is that everything in this world is either good or bad; black or white, no gray. Therefore, if we create a "bad" item within our government system, we will not find Scripture affirmation for that law or rule or action. If we create a "good" or "righteous" law, power, or action within our government system, then it will be backed by Scripture. "Every good work" encompasses anything that is not sinful; therefore, the boundaries and actions of our government system will fall into the "every good work" category because it will be supported by Scripture or it will not be implicated.

Furthermore, are we not seeking to create a government that is full of "righteousness?" If that is the case, then that verse is definitely applicable! It is teaching us through Scripture what institutes a righteous seeking government, it is rebuking and training us through the historical mistakes of man when they have failed to follow the foundations of a Biblical governmental system found within Scripture, and it is training us through our seeking of all the principles of a Biblical government within His Word!

Blessings,
Hannah Marie

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PostSubject: Re: Sufficiency of the Scriptures   Tue Dec 01, 2009 6:01 pm

So your basically saying that there is no such thing as grey areas? I highly doubt that. And then you are saying that the Bible will not affirm a bad action. However, would the Bible not say don't do something because it is bad? and "every good work" will not encompass everything that is not sinful. Would you like to restate that? Because picking your flavor of ice cream is not sinful. And you are saying that anything that is not addressed in the Bible is wrong? But I thought you said that the Bible encompasses eveything?

And you would be right, the verse is applicable in that sense. And just one clearifing question, did you mean that the Bible teaches us through past history? Because unless you are talking about governments that were described in the Bible, the Bible wouldn't talk about past governments in history.

In Christ,
Peter G.
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PostSubject: Re: Sufficiency of the Scriptures   Tue Dec 01, 2009 6:23 pm

Oh, there are absolutely gray areas, or also known as permissible yet not beneficial actions (see 1 Corinthians 10:23 for example). We are referring to a Biblical government though... so everything we decide to implicate in the government has to be beneficial and permissible. Therefore, our laws and boundaries are defined by black and white; not gray.

I think you may confusing principles with specific situations. Certainly the Bible does not address every specific situation, but it does address every principle we will ever need to build off in life. In an answer to your questions, come up with one principle that is not covered in the Bible and maybe then you can sufficiently argue a point.

Blessings,
Hannah Marie

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PostSubject: Re: Sufficiency of the Scriptures   Tue Dec 01, 2009 6:30 pm

And yet, we have yet to see verses for everything concerning goverment. I will admit that the Bible does talk about government, though I'm doubtful that it talks about every aspect of government. Unless you can prove me wrong there...

Well that's a little not fair. Why? Because in order for me to do that, I would have to have read the whole Bible and understand it all. Which is not possible. So that I would argue is not a very good point since we can never know all that the Bible addresses and doesn't address. Make sense? And then also, I thought you were talking about only the government applications? Not all of life.


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Peter G.
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PostSubject: Re: Sufficiency of the Scriptures   Tue Dec 01, 2009 6:35 pm

Okay... then find me one aspect (speaking principles to implicate within a Constitution) in relation to government that is not found within God's Word.

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PostSubject: Re: Sufficiency of the Scriptures   Tue Dec 01, 2009 6:43 pm

Since we have not gone over all aspects of government, and I have not thought about all aspects of government, I cannot come up with one now. However, since I have yet to understand the whole Bible, (and read the whole Bible) there could still be something that the Bible doesn't cover.

In Christ,
Peter G.
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PostSubject: Re: Sufficiency of the Scriptures   Tue Dec 01, 2009 6:46 pm

You have just proved my point though, Peter. You do not need to understand the entire scope of the Bible; if you cannot come up with one aspect that is not covered within the Scripture, short and to the point, the Scripture encompasses all. Every ideal we need for government is found within Scripture, as it is sufficient in its foundation in all areas of humanity.

Blessings,
Hannah Marie

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PostSubject: Re: Sufficiency of the Scriptures   Tue Dec 01, 2009 6:49 pm

Not quite. You are saying that since we cannot think of something that the Bible does not cover, that the Bible encompasses everything. That is a logical fallacy. (Proof without evidence I believe is what its called.) And so your saying that even though we do not completely understand the Bible, the Bible can still encompass anything? What proof do you have for this?

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PostSubject: Re: Sufficiency of the Scriptures   Tue Dec 01, 2009 7:00 pm

Your argument is going askew. In order to test your argument, you would have to test every aspect of life. Since this is impossible to do so, we must go back to the foundation that God's Word is Absolute Truth. If you can prove that God's Word is not Absolute Truth, then you can prove that it does not provide all necessary principles for every aspect of life. Simply put, we have reached a dead end because you provide just as much as lack of proof or evidence as you claim I do.

Blessings,
Hannah Marie

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PostSubject: Re: Sufficiency of the Scriptures   Tue Dec 01, 2009 7:03 pm

I was wondering if you would catch that. Wink (And yes I did use that logical fallacy) Basically, there is no way to prove that God's word is Absolutly true because we cannot fully test the Word. Therefore, we are at a tie since neither of us can prove that absolutely the Bible is true for all things, or the government.

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Peter G.
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PostSubject: Re: Sufficiency of the Scriptures   Tue Dec 01, 2009 7:11 pm

That is a dangerous thing to say; God's Word is not to be tested as it holds all that is good and true within its teachings (Rev. 22:18-19, Hebrews 4:12-13, Matthew 24:35, John 8:31, Isaiah 55:11). God's Word is the final authority on all things.

Blessings,
Hannah

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PostSubject: Re: Sufficiency of the Scriptures   Tue Dec 01, 2009 7:31 pm

Hannah Marie wrote:
That is a dangerous thing to say; God's Word is not to be tested as it holds all that is good and true within its teachings (Rev. 22:18-19, Hebrews 4:12-13, Matthew 24:35, John 8:31, Isaiah 55:11). God's Word is the final authority on all things.

Blessings,
Hannah

Ah, but that is just the thing, it is good "within its teachings" Then you make the jump to all things. You have yet to prove that.

In Christ,
Peter G.
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PostSubject: Re: Sufficiency of the Scriptures   Wed Dec 02, 2009 3:12 am

Peter G. wrote:
Hannah Marie wrote:
That is a dangerous thing to say; God's Word is not to be tested as it holds all that is good and true within its teachings (Rev. 22:18-19, Hebrews 4:12-13, Matthew 24:35, John 8:31, Isaiah 55:11). God's Word is the final authority on all things.

Blessings,
Hannah

Ah, but that is just the thing, it is good "within its teachings" Then you make the jump to all things. You have yet to prove that.

In Christ,
Peter G.

You misunderstood her: she said that everything that is good and true is contained within its teachings, not that everything within its teachings is good and true, although that is also true.

Alright you two, settle down. I would prefer that we all focus on what we actually believe and figure out how to apply it to this forum in particular, instead of endlessly debating the fundamental doctrines of Christianity. Make sense?

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May I never forsake abiding in Him, and may His ways never cease to thrive within my heart, for He only is my strength and hope.
note: emeth is Hebrew for truth, right, faithful;
mimetes is Greek for an imitator or follower.
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PostSubject: Re: Sufficiency of the Scriptures   Wed Dec 02, 2009 9:52 pm

Sir Emeth Mimetes wrote:
Well, a quick thought here: this forum was founded for those who agreed that we only need the Bible to figure out how God wants every nation to be constructed (things that are variable can be determined by outside factors, of course). In other words: we should all already agree on this. But it should also be discussed to clarify what we mean by it and how it is applied. Make sense?

Oh, boy. Sounds like I'll need my rights read to me before we continue with the discussion. Smile in all seriousness, though, I do believe that we only need the Bible to figure out what God wants in the sense that He commands it.

"What God wants" has several different meanings. For example, God did not want Christ to be crucified because for the soldiers to do it was a sin. Yet He wanted Christ to be crucified, because He wanted to save sinners and glorify Jesus through it. So there are several different meanings of what God wants.

What I'm trying to do is avoid confusion on the word "want." God always wants the government to administer justice. For this, the Bible sets up clear boundaries. God loves his people, thus, in a sense, he always wants the government to make wise decisions within those boundaries so that the people will prosper. However, our prosperity isn't highest on God's agenda, so He may sometimes want to bring glory to himself through unwise decisions from the government (still withing their boundaries) that cause the people some harm. God may want to glorify Himself through a government which usurps its boundaries and administers injustice, such as Russia's government under Stalin.
The Scripture is absolutely sufficient in discovering everything that is involved in running and creating government! First of all, we are forming a completely biblical-based government here; we do not focus on looking through general history and discovering what aspects of other governments have worked best in the past. That is not our calling, and it is not what we are striving to accomplish. The actual principles that we are seeking to implicate within our government system is based completely and entirely on Scripture and must have Scriptural support. Some of these wants may seem contradictory, however, they are not. Even a human may want to eat a cookie because it will taste good, and at the same time not want to eat it because they don't want to get fat. My main point here is that God has different kind of wants. I can think of at least three kinds. In this post I will call them His Will of Command (that we would obey Him), His Will of Blessing (that we would make wise decisions and reap the fruits of them) and His Sovereign Will (what He predestines and what, ultimately, happens.)

We both agree that we need only the Bible to determine God's will of Command. This includes what government is allowed to do, and isn't allowed to do. Government is allowed to punish criminals. Government isn't allowed to persecute Christians for their faith. This is where God wants us to obey Him. I think you believe that whether or not the government should build roads is an issue of command.

God's Will of Blessing cannot always be determined with Scripture. When Solomon ordered that the baby be cut in half in order to determine who his real mother was, he was seeking wisdom from God, but he didn't see anything in Scripture about giving false orders, or even anything that said it was okay to give false orders. This action was shown favorably in the Bible, but that doesn't mean that Solomon would have been sinning if he had done something else. If he hadn't thought of this trick, he might have ordered the women to share the child, like maybe each one would have him for a month at a time or something. This wouldn't have been as wise, but I don't think it could be called a sin. but God gave Solomon wisdom and creativity to solve the problem in a much better way. This, I believe, is a good example of what I'm calling God's Will of Blessing, where He wants the government to act wisely, so that the people will benefit. We can look for principles in scripture and seek wisdom from God, but for things like this, there is no direct command. If God wants it one way or the other, it's not because it would be a sin to do it differently, but only because it would be easier for the people to have it a certain way.
I believe that whether or not the government should build roads falls into this category.

Lastly, there is God's will of decree. Everything falls into this category. Either God allows it to happen, or He does not. Almost none of it can be determined with Scripture, except for the prophecies that have not yet been fulfilled. Whether or not government builds roads obviously falls into this category, because ultimately, right or wrong, wise or unwise, the government will either build roads, or the government will not build roads, and whatever happens is in a sense God's will. There's no point debating about this because we won't know until after it's already happened.



Anyway, sorry about the long post. Basically, I agree that we only need the Bible to figure out how God wants a nation to be constructed in the sense of His Will of Command. I do not believe the Bible tells us how God wants a nation to be constructed in the sense of His will of Blessing. And of course the Bible doesn't tell us how He wants a nation to be constructed in the sense of how He has decreed it to be.

Do you agree about this, or do you believe that there is no Will of Blessing, and that there is a right or wrong for every decision to be made in government? (By the way, the phrase, "Will of Blessing" was the best I could think of on the spot, so if you can think of a better phrase to describe it, please feel free to do so. Smile )
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PostSubject: Re: Sufficiency of the Scriptures   Fri Dec 04, 2009 10:32 pm

Hey everyone, long time no see.

I wanted to comment on this topic, because as has already been said, it is foundational to everything else.

YES, the God has given us everything we need for life and godliness, and he has given it through his Word, the Scriptures. Yet I have to agree with Dr. Hipopotamo on this one, in that the Bible does not give specific instructions for government. He made an excellent case for this idea in the preceding post.

So here's my two cents to add to the argument: Nowhere in Scripture does God give a direct command on how a government other than Israel's is supposed to function. Neither does he give a list of duties of government. The only times that the duties of government are explicitly mentioned, God is not talking about government's duties, but about our response to government. (Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2:11-17)

if then, God has given us everything we need for life and godliness in his word, where does government fit in? I believe that there are many general principles given that apply to government. For instance: do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony.

Here's an example of how those apply to the duties of government: If a president wants to decide whether to implement a program, roads for instance (since this is sort of a part of the utilities thread), that president must first decide if doing so would break any of God's laws. Would collecting taxes for the purpose of road building be stealing? No. He is using tax money to provide something that all the citizens will want and use. How about if he wants to provide health care for low income families? Well, that would be stealing, because he is taking money from one section of the populace to benefit another section.

Here is Webster's 1828 definition of stealing: 1. To take and carry away feloniously, as the personal goods of another. To constitute stealing or theft, the taking must be felonious, that is, with an intent to take what belongs to another, and without his consent.

If the Government follows the general laws given in the Bible, won't it be automatically in accord with the Law of God? Since there seems to be no direct command about what government should do, it must follow general laws that apply to everyone.

Can't wait to hear what y'all think.

In Christ,

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PostSubject: Re: Sufficiency of the Scriptures   Sat Dec 05, 2009 5:26 am

I only have time to respond to one part of your post Johnathan, and I'll tackle the part about the duties of Government.

In Isaiah 33:22 the prophet Isaiah states,

"For the LORD is our judge,
the LORD is our lawgiver,
the LORD is our King.
" (NIV)

Isaiah is saying, from the lips of God, that God has instituted a government. The three branches of government we have today. Judicial, Legislative, and Executive. And He has instituted duties for each. To rule, or have the face of a ruler. (The King) To make laws for the land. (The Lawgiver) And to judge for things that happen in our nation, such as murder. (The Judge) As you can see, God actually has instituted what our government should look like, and its duties. Make sense?

In Christ,
Peter G.
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Jonathan S.
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PostSubject: Re: Sufficiency of the Scriptures   Sat Dec 05, 2009 9:50 am

Peter,

You have used a serious exegetical fallacy. Namely, you are taking the passage out of context. In its context, it is command to Israel to love the Lord. No matter how you try to interpret it, you cannot show that it is a command to governments, or about governments. It is saying who God is. Be careful when you use Scripture that you don't take one verse out of context and use it to make a point that it was not intended to make.

In Christ,

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For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power and love and discipline. --2 Tim 1:7
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PostSubject: Re: Sufficiency of the Scriptures   Sat Dec 05, 2009 7:07 pm

I have only two things to say in response to your post Johnathan:

First, what context clues are you refering too? You only state that it is out of context, but don't really say how.

Second, do you know about Teen Pact? Because that was one of the verses that they used to support Government. Teen Pact is very respected and also quotes Romans 13 and other verses to support government. I doubt that people like Tim Echols wouldn't make that kind of mistake. He is very respected in that realm.

In Christ,
Peter G.
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