Friday, February 20, 2009

how to make a puppet Paul the Apostle

On his blog, Tony Jones has continued his debate on original sin.

One thing he tried to do was to post some kind of new translation of Romans 5, which is one place where Paul talks about how Adam's sin effected the rest of us. The translation was done by a Brian (likely not McLaren).

But at least at the moment, it looks like the translation of another chapter in Romans is up, likely chapter 14.

This isn't about that mistake itself, such things happens; rather, it's about the translation. Here is a link to it, and some snippets.

A New Translation of Romans 5

Welcome those who are traditional in faith, those who still believe in original sin, but not for the purpose of quarreling over opinions. Emergent Christians believe in deconstructing all theologies, while the Traditional Christians only deconstruct certain theologies. Those who deconstruct must not despise those who abstain, and those who abstain must not pass judgment on those who deconstruct; for God has welcomed them. Who are you to pass judgment on servants of another? It is before their own God that they stand or fall. And they will be upheld, for God is able to make them stand.

I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that no theology is un-deconstructible in itself; but it is un-deconstructiblble for anyone who thinks it's un-deconstructible. If your brother or sister is being injured by the theology you deconstruct, you are no longer walking in love. Do not let the theology that you deconstruct cause the ruin of one for whom Christ died. So do not let your good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not about certain theologies or particular dogma but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

The Emergent Christians, who are progressive in faith, ought to put up with the stagnation of the Traditional Christians, and not to please ourselves

And here's the real thing.

Romans 14 (New International Version)

1Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. 2One man's faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. 4Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

14As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food[b] is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean. 15If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died. 16Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil. 17For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.

I tried to match up the Bible verses with the "translation" at the first. It was a bit tricky.

So, let's see...

Brian equates Paul's words about eating to this undefined thing called deconstruction. Paul was talking about a real issue concerning a real thing. Brian's making him talk about something that no one has much of an idea what it is.

Brian's Paul says that "the kingdom of God is not about certain theologies or particular dogma". Perhaps his Paul forgot how much he writes about theologies and dogmas in other places. Perhaps as well the real Paul didn't see what one ate as being near as important as what one believed.

And, in a typical instance of emergent arrogance, Brian's Paul calls traditional Christians "stagnant", which kind of puts paid to all the "nice" things he had his Paul say before.

In fact, this whole things can be set on a shelf about being a shining example of emergent arrogance. I wouldn't even take it seriously, except that Jones seems to think it's somehow serious.


Tones said...

Interesting Post! I've studied Romans a couple of times in my day. Brian's translation is one heck of a streth - you may call it decontructing, I might call it destruction!

Paul is saying that if your brother has a viewpoint with regard to a "disputable" manner, or if your brother, of the same belief in Christ, lives a life where he embraces the old law with regard to tradition, let him do it! Don't get on his case, don't attempt to lead him from it - it's not a big deal!

However, emergents would claim that there is nothing in scripture that is NOT disputable - it's all up for grabs.

jazzact13 said...

Interestingly, the weekend before, I had been to a church where the pastor taught on this passage that day. I remember at that time wondering what were the limits to what Paul was teaching here, and how easy it would be for someone to take this passage and misuse it.

I wasn't exactly expecting what Jones posted, but I think it fits right in with ways of misusing it.

Paul's teaching here would have to balanced with his teachings elsewhere; for example, he did not have such an attitude in the Corinthian letters in regard to the man who had married his mother-in-law, nor to those who were preaching circumcision and the law.

As you said, it is in regards to disputable matters that Paul is speaking. To use a modern example, some thing drinking anything alcoholic is wrong, while others have no problem so long as one does not get drunk. For the first to drink while thinking it is wrong, then that would be a sinful act, while for the other to flaunt his or her freedom over the other would be equally wrong.

But there are things about which such leeway is not given. Paul is clear that to deny Christ's resurrection is not acceptable in the church. This is not compromisable of "deconstructible", it is the truth and to deny it is to deny Christ.