1. Flavius Josephus did not, in fact, mention Jesus Christ in his Antiquities of the Jews
. We know this because copies of the writings that were not within the realm of influence by the Catholic church don't
mention Christ, whereas all others that were
within the reach of the RC church do
mention him. I'll leave it to others to decide for themselves what happened there.
2. The Bible is simplistic to those who chose to take a simplistic approach. Yes, we should approach Christ as children...Paul said it best "My righteousness is as filthy rags" (actually in the original Greek, Paul said that his righteousness was sh*t, but you get the drift).
However, Scripture admonishes us to grow in spirit...milk is for babies and all that. As we grow in spirit, we discover that Scripture has many layers of meaning with multiple concepts stacked atop one another. That's why Bible study is a lifelong process.
An example of what I'm talking about: Person A can read verse X, pray to God for the wisdom to understand what it means, and come to a conclusion. Person B can also read verse X, pray to God for the wisdom to understand what it means, and come to a different conclusion. Is someone wrong? Maybe. Or maybe verse X can mean different things to different people according to their spiritual needs.
The Psalms are an excellent example of this.
3. Finally, because of Peter's faith in Christ, Christ gave him the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven...loosed on earth, loosed in Heaven... and all that. This implies authority
. Whether you choose to go the Catholic route and say that the apostolic succession of Popes after Peter have spiritual authority, or that apostolic authority extends to all leaders of all denominations is open to debate. I'm personally cool with either one. Either way, church authority has a great deal of say-so over Scriptural interpretation. The major drawback to fragmented movements like Evangelistic Protestantism is the lack of a clearinghouse for interpretation. Scripture, I'm sorry to say, is so piecemeal, open to interpretation and plain ol' vague in many areas to such a level that a literal interpretation is not only foolhardy but impossible.
An example of the foolhardiness of literal interpretation follows: the Levitical injunction against homosexual behavior can be interpreted from the hebrew as "You will not lie in bed with another man as a woman. This is an abomination to the Lord." It can also
be interpreted as "You will not lie in a woman's bed with another man. This is an abomination to the Lord." Two different meanings since hebrew is so vague. You simply cannot have a literal interpretation, thus we run with the tradtional Jewish take on it...which is the first one.
Incidentally, in case anyone is starting to wonder what's going on: while in in my senior year in college, I was ordained a UMC minister. After graduation I immediately attended Perkins School of Theology at SMU for one and one-half years before I came to the revelation that the ministry wasn't for me. It's not for me because I don't suffer fools gladly, and you kinda sorta have to be nice to everyone if you're a minister. I dropped out, resigned my ordination and joined the Army and became a Ranger, which I made my career until I got hurt. I have an extensive educational background in early to modern church history, the development of Christian theology, and labored under some of the finest theological professors I've ever had the pleasure of knowing.
I realize that some here who cannot conceive of me walking into a church without either the church or me bursting into flames might find this tidbit completely shocking, but there you go.
Edited by CoyoteUgly, 21 September 2005 - 01:44 AM.