Biblical Marriage Study--Debate Requested! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 342 Old 10-09-2005, 08:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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New thread. Waiting for my posts to come back...!
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#2 of 342 Old 10-09-2005, 08:23 PM
 
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this is gonna be good
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#3 of 342 Old 10-09-2005, 08:26 PM
 
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I am curious myself.

This is a tree on fire with love, but it's still scary since most people think love only looks like one thing instead of the whole world. *
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#4 of 342 Old 10-09-2005, 09:27 PM
 
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I totally have questions for this thread.

And I don't understand why the other thread came back in living color, but we have to PM for posts? Is that gonna make our thread a wreck?

Maybe we ought to just start from the beginning? Where-ever that is.
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#5 of 342 Old 10-09-2005, 09:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, I want my posts back, just for reference purposes.

Anybody want to start the ball rolling while we wait?

There are many many examples of marriage in the Bible, besides the admonitions of a cranky celibate named Paul! (Not that I don't like him, b/c I do, cranky can be endearing. I am often cranky myself. But he had a certain attitude towards women. Plus there is the controversy about which books attributed to him, he actually dictated. And which are more like School of Paul, with political overtones).
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#6 of 342 Old 10-09-2005, 09:58 PM
 
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I'm subscribing. Tonight is 'Date Night' for DH and I (turn off computers, etc and have just us time) so I probably won't be back until tomorrow.

I'm ready to start wherever others would like. I have two Bibles handy that I can reference as we read and discuss (the third, my very first Bible, is stored away). I have the Zondervan NIV Study Bible and I also have the Zondervan Catholic Women's Devotional Bible.

Wife of 1. Mom of 3. Conquering disability challenges, one achievement at a time.
 

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#7 of 342 Old 10-09-2005, 11:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Now I understand we are not to speak of other threads on a thread as per the UA. Suely this is a special case? We have a thread that was merged with another thread by stafl, then split by Cynthia. Some posts from the thread were saved whole and put onto a thread in Spirituality. Now the posters whose posts were deleted are to ask Cynthia for their posts back and to put them on a brand new thread. Which is this one, started for that purpose.

Some of my original posts are still relevant to our topic, some are not. I will not quote those posters whose posts I rspsonded to, but will paraphrase for context.

I hope that is all OK.
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#8 of 342 Old 10-09-2005, 11:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Matthew5:17-19 Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets, I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments
Jesus broke the Law by forcing the money-changers out of the Temple (this has nothing to do with marriage, I'm just sayin.') Jesus symbolized one of many sects of Judaism extant at the time. He was a Nazarene with Pharasaic overtones. You also had the Zealots, the Siicari, the Essenes, and the Baptists.
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#9 of 342 Old 10-09-2005, 11:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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"How can you justify ignoring parts of the Bible with false arguments like that teaching was for that time, but not relevant now?"

"False arguments?" Matter of opinion. That is why we have 10s of thousands of Xtian sects.

"How can you accurately decide what parts of scripture are relevant today?"

You can't.

"I think you're teaching a false doctrine."

Who knows? the book is 2000 yrs old or older.

"I think you might cause another Xtian to stumble."

Each person has to take reponsibility for their own interpretation. There are so many contradictions, (in the Torah, in the Prophets, in the Greek Scriptures) it is impossible to know.

"How is a Xtian assured ot salvation of salvation, without scripture, literally interpreted?"


The assurance is that God is All.
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#10 of 342 Old 10-09-2005, 11:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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God may have inspired the various authors of the Bible, but no, God didn't lower the Bible down from heaven on a rope.

How did various Biblical authors came to be considered part of the supposedly infallible canon? What makes Paul any more infallible than a TV evangelist of today?


There are fascinating books out there on this subject. Basically, it was voted on by bishops who were powerful members of the Holy Roman Empire. It was political. It took hundreds of years and the Revelation of John was the last to be accepted, as you can well imagine. The Nag Hammadi codices discovered in the mid 20th century contain many Xtian scriptures that were thrown out.

"A woman practiced "Biblical" submission for over twenty years. In spite of the fact that her husband is an arrogant, uncharitable, unfaithful jerk...She allowed him to run roughshod over her family for my entire life. For what? To prove a theological point?"



I am so sorry. I have a similar family member going through this and it sucks for her and her kids.
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#11 of 342 Old 10-09-2005, 11:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The Hebrew Scriptures were written down approx 500-300 BCE. The Greek Scriptures were composed, edited, redacted and collected in the first few centuries CE. The Greek Scriptures were chosen (canonized) by the catholic (Greek for universal) "One Church" of the early centuries CE, as a code for the Roman Empire's state religion. Other forms of Christianities were declared heretical (mostly because they emphasized individual thought and choice), but understandably continued to be quite popular. The first slaughter of the Inquisition was against a large group of these so-called heretics, the Cathars, in the 13th century.

"Are you saying is that there is error in Gods word?"


That is correct. The majority of Xtian believers do not think the Bible is inerrant. This you must know.
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#12 of 342 Old 10-09-2005, 11:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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"The problem with some Christians is they pick and chose which parts they will follow."

So do Jews. And Muslims.

Everybody picks and chooses. If one thinks/says one doesn't, one is lying...or ignorant. I don't mean that in a rude way.

The Bible reinterprets itself. Deutoronomy reinterprets earlier books. The "New Testament" reinterprets the "Old." Christianity is not Judaism. Islam takes both Testaments and expands them, as does Mormonism.

Abrahamic believers have been arguing for at least 2500 years and they are never going to stop. The Books are just that hard to understand. They don't line up. (And that is after the early church fathers threw out the majority of them!)
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#13 of 342 Old 10-09-2005, 11:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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"We are not to pick and choose and I don't! Most believers I know do believe Gods word is inerrant. I believe much of the church today is apostate, because men have decided what is or isn't pertinent to us as Christians today.That is how the world has crept into the church. I believe we must follow Christ totally or not at all, there is no middle of the road."



That is your belief and your choice. It is a discernment you have made to take certain things literally and certain things symbolically or allegorically. You have chosen the black and white, no grey area, interpretation. There is no chart or code in the Bible saying, this is literal, this is symbolic. If you understand Hebrew and Mediterannean writing of the times, you will see they did not set out to write a historically accurate book the way we would today. (If that ever can be done, as all histories are biased.)

Jews believe there are 4 levels of understanding their Scriptures, leading from literal meaning to esoteric. The literal meaning, the rabbis teach, is for children.

As for choosing between verses, here are a couple:

John 10:30 I and my Father are one.

or

John 14:28 ... I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.

PRO 4:7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.

or

ECC 1:18 For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.

ISA 14:21 Prepare slaughter for his children for the iniquity of their fathers;

or

DEU 24:16 The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.

Matt.5:1,2: "And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying...."

or


Luke6:17,20: "And he came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people...came to hear him.. And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples and said..."

KI2 24:8 Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign...

or

CH2 36:9 Jehoiachin was eight years old when he began to reign...
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#14 of 342 Old 10-09-2005, 11:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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"I tried to get my dh to agree to not circing our newborn son. He would not agree and I submitted to him.

Finally, a dr his friends recced to him told him not to and he decided we wouldn't."

Altho that has a happy ending, I find that a very very sad story. The patriarchy won. You were just "lucky" to get a MALE pediatrician who was against RIC. Your dh was guilty of worshipping the idol in the white coat, and not loving you as Christ loves his Church. IMHO. Or put another way, following the doctrine put forth by an authoritative "priest" of a new kind of church --medical "science."

It was just an example of the men deciding between themselves and leaving the wishes and intellect and fears and anxiety and research and love of the "little woman" out of the equation.

Sad example for your ds that his intact penis is due to the casual remarks of a stranger wearing a stethoscope (instead of a cross/mitre/tab-collar) and not to the love and forthrightness and protectiveness of his own mother and father.
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#15 of 342 Old 10-09-2005, 11:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Don't even the most "fundie fundamentalists" pick and choose?




Of course. That is why sometimes they (or their pastors/favorite authors) will say, for ex, we are no longer under the law (this acc to Paul), or else quote the verse about not one jot or tittle of the law passing away (acc to "Jesus"). These 2 admonitions obviously contradict and it takes mental gymnastics, which they call apologetics and I call cognitive dissonance, to harmonize.

"Then how can a marriage be biblical if it doesn't follow Ephesians 5:22-33 (following the metaphor of the relationship of Christ and the Church?


I think there are other teachings in the Bible that temper that one comment of Paul's. Like, for ex: sayings of Jesus, the Levites, sages from Proverbs and YHWH Himself. I see clearly annettmarie and DB have already made that point.

Taking out one pericope and agreeing to Debi Pearl's (!), or other literalist's interpretation of it does not convince (or "convict") everyone. I made the point there are other ways to interpret the Bible than literally.

BTW, I object to the use of the word "traditional" to describe the wife-only submission template of marriage.
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#16 of 342 Old 10-09-2005, 11:40 PM
 
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Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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#17 of 342 Old 10-09-2005, 11:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Christian men should be washing their wives' feet and handfeeding them bread and wine at the end of the day...

Why is it all on the women? B/c it is the patriarchy coloring this whole thing. The dh can do whatever he wants, drink, carouse, have affairs or otherwise neglect his wife's sexual needs, make ridiculous business decisions plunging the family into bankruptcy, and wifey just has to suck it up?

Even my hyper fundie parents IL hold that if there is abuse (emotional as well as physical, or extreme irresponsibility of the dh), the wife is off the hook. And they support their dd, my SIL, in her move towards financial independence and divorce.

Here is a Christian woman's role according to the fathers of your church, and evangelical Christianity:

http://atheism.about.com/b/a/152227.htm

Quote:

"St" Clement of Alexandria (150?-215?): "Every woman should be filled with shame by the thought that she is a woman."

Tertullian (160?-220?): "Woman is a temple built over a sewer, the gateway to the devil. Woman, you are the devil's doorway. You led astray one whom the devil would not dare attack directly. It was your fault that the Son of God had to die; you should always go in mourning and rags."

"St" Ambrose (339-97): "Adam was deceived by Eve, not Eve by Adam... it is right that he whom that woman induced to sin should assume the role of guide lest he fall again through feminine instability."

"St" Augustine (354-430): "Woman was merely man's helpmate, a function which pertains to her alone. She is not the image of God but as far as man is concerned, he is by himself the image of God."

Pope Gregory I (540-604): "Woman is slow in understanding and her unstable and naive mind renders her by way of natural weakness to the necessity of a strong hand in her husband. Her 'use' is two fold; [carnal] sex and motherhood."

"St" Thomas Aquinas (1225-74): "[Woman] was made only to assist with procreation."

John Knox (1513-72): "Woman was made for only one reason, to serve and obey man."

John Wesley (1703-91): "Wife: Be content to be insignificant. What loss would it be to God or man had you never been born."

Southern Baptist Convention (2000): "A wife should submit herself to the leadership of her husband. Leadership in the church should always be male."

Local church in Holland (2004): "More and more we see women being placed in the position of Elder or Pastor in churches. Is this a good thing? Well, if your goal is to undermine the authority of the Word of God, it's a good thing."

The position of women in Christianity is much better today than it was even just a few decades ago, never mind a few centuries ago, but it's interesting to note the degree to which many traditionalists continue to fight against treating women as if they were fully equal. They insist that women have a "different" role in life than men, conveniently ignoring the fact that this "different" role inevitably becomes a "lesser" role as soon as the cameras leave the press conference.
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#18 of 342 Old 10-09-2005, 11:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Those are accurate quotes from fathers of your church, Catholic and Protestant. Saints and Popes and founders of sects. (Look em up, they are not created by atheists.) They are ugly, are they not? The second to last one is from the Southern Baptist Convention and is no doubt quoted by Debi Pearl in her book and other books like hers.

AngelBee is Catholic. Catholics do not believe in sola scriptura (well, she claims to be Catholic, but does not seem to understand, as far as I can tell, the doctrine of her church as AM pointed out), so the Catholic Fathers quotes are quite relevant. Let's not be hypocritical. All you women here have not just been quoting Bible verses. You have been offering opinions as laypeople on how to interpret the Bible. Here are some learned men actually qualified to interpret, and I offer their thoughts.

If bamamom can recommend (a questionable) book by modern people who have opinions on this subject (and also BTW rec child beating as a way of life), why not the opinions of men who lived only a couple hundred years after the life of your savior?
========

More old quotes and modern comments pertaining to this subject:

Quote:
The recent national convention of Southern Baptists reminds us that the same emotional violence still continues to this day by biblical Christianity against women. The Baptists announced to the world that women could never be ministers or pastors, and only macho men need apply. Why? Because the Bible says so.

This is a continuation of the history of the Christian church in degrading women with emotional abuse.

In the year 584 A.D. the Council of Macon met in Lyons, France. The subject for debate at that Council was this: "Are Women Human?" Finally, after days of debate, a vote was taken. Women were voted human by only one vote of the majority.

Listen to the Christian church fathers:

- St. John Chrysostom (345-407 A.D.) "Among all the savage beasts, none is so bestial as woman."

- St. Augustine (345-430 a.d.) "Any woman who does not give birth to as many children as she is capable of is guilty of murder."

- Martin Luther: "Women should stay at home, keep house and bear children. If a women dies from childbearing, let her die. That is all she is here for."

- John Wesley (of Methodist fame) in a letter to his wife: "Wife: Be content to be insignificant. What loss would it be to God or man had you never been born."

- John Knox (of Presbyterian fame) "Woman was made for only one reason, to serve and obey man."

- And now for the year 2000, from the Baptist potentates; " A wife should submit herself to the leadership of her husband. Leadership in the church should always be male."

It is simply beyond human comprehension that today, in the year 2000, this degradation of women still persists in the Mormon and Roman Catholic church, as well as fundamentalist churches and many mainline Christian denominations, with their male Bishops, male pastors, male run churches, and male husbands keeping the women in their place.

Will this phallic imperialism of the last 2000 years ever end?

The spiritual violence against gays and lesbians, as well as the emotional [and physical, of course] abuse against women is one of the great crimes of human history, a crime that continues to this very day.

Oh yes... don't forget, the men are in their pulpits every Sunday morning preaching to their flock (of sheep) about something they call... love.
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#19 of 342 Old 10-09-2005, 11:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Almost done with the old stuff...

" I don't see the point of quoting a bunch of dead guys."


Those "dead guys" you dismiss so arrogantly are ancient founders of Christian thought just as much as "Scripture" is. These men's words are studied by ministers and priests-to-be in seminaries. Tertullian is considered to be the founder of Christian theology. I am sorry you are not aware of the history of your own church (the Christian Church as a whole, not your particular denomination).The modern quotes which you conveniently agree with also shape women's role today.

If you dismiss these quotes, you must dismiss the words of every pastor who ever preached from a pulpit. You must pick and choose. You pick words that feel right. You dismiss those that make you uncomfortable.
========

Some Christians think the gospel narratives were also written by mortal men. Most believe they were writing of an experience of God they had. But each believer or student of Bible history must interpret their words through her own lens of perception, colored by her life experiences. Some pray and believe the Holy Spirit is guiding them in their beliefs. Why then, are there so many different beliefs? Does the Spirit tell different people different things?

I am attempting to help people "learn" (as you request) about the role of women historically, as decreed by Catholic saints and founders of Protestantism.

If you choose to submit, and your dh is a nice guy and smart man, I can see how it might work. If you are submitting to an abuser, a drunk, a drug addict, a sexual cheater, a man who is pro-vax or pro-circ, a man who won't give you money for food, well, good luck to you. You will get your reward in heaven (?), after a life of pain and putting your children in danger.

I understand the Catholic church has softened its opinion and dogma on women's role since Augustine's time (as AM pointed out and which has not been acknowledged by Catholic AngelBee for some reason), but I think Augustine's words still have a huge impact, not just on Christians, but on all people, as an example of the patriarchal system we have the misfortune to live under. You don't believe women should have leadership roles in the church or home. You choose to ignore Paul's words that "in Christ, there is no male or female," and that God said, "men and women were created in my image."

And it seems a female president is a long way off as well.
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#20 of 342 Old 10-09-2005, 11:46 PM
 
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Christian men should be washing their wives' feet and handfeeding them bread and wine at the end of the day...
yes, i'll vote for this !
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#21 of 342 Old 10-09-2005, 11:46 PM
 
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What exactly IS Biblical marriage? Is this a specifically Christian concept?

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#22 of 342 Old 10-09-2005, 11:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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"Daryl, you have a disdain for the Scriptures. I do not see why you posts on threads about the Bible."

I do not have a "disdain for the scriptures."

Since I was 16 I have had a burning passion to explore religion and spirituality. I have just spent the last 4 yrs on the Bible, the history of Judaism and Christianity, and this thread is right up my alley.

In that time I have read and reread the Bible, Apocrypha and Gnostic Scripture, other Jewish and Christian writings, studied Church Fathers, the history and religions of the Middle East (Israel, Judah, Egypt, Babylon, Persia, Assyria) and Greece and Rome, and read many many modern Bible commentaries.

Prev to my study in this area, I studied Hinduism, Buddhism and ancient Celtic religion. Joseph Campbell, Jung and Plato have also informed my research.
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#23 of 342 Old 10-09-2005, 11:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ruthla, as a Jew, please! Tell us how you define and practice a Biblical marriage.
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#24 of 342 Old 10-09-2005, 11:51 PM
 
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Jesus broke the Law by forcing the money-changers out of the Temple (this has nothing to do with marriage, I'm just sayin.') Jesus symbolized one of many sects of Judaism extant at the time. He was a Nazarene with Pharasaic overtones. You also had the Zealots, the Siicari, the Essenes, and the Baptists.
So not only do you not believe Scripture is inerrant you do not believe that Jesus is God. He is only symbolic of a certain sect of the Jews. Not God the Son, not divine, not the Saviour...????

Laurie (46) Wife to : Mom to 4 Grandma to :
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#25 of 342 Old 10-10-2005, 01:45 AM
 
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Originally Posted by massaginmommy
DaryLLL

So not only do you not believe Scripture is inerrant you do not believe that Jesus is God. He is only symbolic of a certain sect of the Jews. Not God the Son, not divine, not the Saviour...????
I'm not DaryLLL, but I think the idea that Jesus is God is quite silly. Jesus was a man, conceived and born under difficult circumstances, but that doesn't make him divine.

None of which negates the value of his words, IMO.
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#26 of 342 Old 10-10-2005, 01:45 AM
 
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I still wanna know if it counts if I submit to my girlfriend.
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#27 of 342 Old 10-10-2005, 02:08 AM
 
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Originally Posted by thismama
I still wanna know if it counts if I submit to my girlfriend.

I was seriously wondering about this tonight when I was making dinner; if wife submission is the only way to a real relationship, what happens in a relationship with two women....I thought about asking but I figured that those that believe in this also belive that same sex relationships are not acceptable to God too....

This is a tree on fire with love, but it's still scary since most people think love only looks like one thing instead of the whole world. *
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#28 of 342 Old 10-10-2005, 02:59 AM
 
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Originally Posted by eightyferrettoes
I'm not DaryLLL, but I think the idea that Jesus is God is quite silly. Jesus was a man, conceived and born under difficult circumstances, but that doesn't make him divine.

None of which negates the value of his words, IMO.
I'll tell ya, learning that the early church was responsible for declaring Jesus divine, that it was NOT Jesus himself who claimed divinity, was pretty eye-opening for me. My respect and interest in Xtianity (as a recovering Catholic) grew greatly at that point...and the more I learn about what Jesus the MAN was like, the more I like him.

Looking forward to hearing more on what the Bible says about marriage, relationships, etc...
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#29 of 342 Old 10-10-2005, 03:33 AM
 
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Originally Posted by CanOBeans
I'll tell ya, learning that the early church was responsible for declaring Jesus divine, that it was NOT Jesus himself who claimed divinity, was pretty eye-opening for me. My respect and interest in Xtianity (as a recovering Catholic) grew greatly at that point...and the more I learn about what Jesus the MAN was like, the more I like him.

Looking forward to hearing more on what the Bible says about marriage, relationships, etc...
Where did you read/hear this?? (Asking nicely ) In the bible I read over and over again Jesus saying he is from the Father; noone can come to the Father except thru Him...
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#30 of 342 Old 10-10-2005, 03:57 AM
 
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Here's my post. I just happened to have it saved in a word file. I had a baby 14 hours later so I don't really have time to contribute more to this conversation.

I am a little confused about what the heck happend to the thread since I was busy having a baby when it all went down.

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Originally Posted by beccaboomom
I'm still waiting for you to explain how you decide which things must be cultural.

Notice this isn't a commandent that says you have to have slaves it says you may.


Compare that to the tone of this verse. Ephesians 5:22-24 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church his body of which is is the saviour. Now as the church submits to Christ , so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Notice it says should not you may. Clearly this is setting up the framework for the church and marriage. Read further into Ephesians and it gives what is expected of the husband. Is task is no easier than ours and it is also compared to how christ takes care of the church. I don't think the comparison is cultural or a mistake, it is something to strive for to emulate Jesus.

You are taking this Ephesians passage out of context. In the Greek, verse 22 relies grammatically on verse 21 relies grammatically on the verses preceding it. So lets look at it in context:

...be filled with the Spirit,
19. as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts,
20. giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
21. Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.
22. Wives, be subject to your husbands as you are to the Lord.
23. For the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church, the body of which he is the Savior.
24. Just as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives ought to be, in everything, to their husbands.
25. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,
26. in order to make her holy by cleansing her with the washing of water by the word,
27. so as to present the church to himself in splendor, without a spot or wrinkle or anything of the kind-- yes, so that she may be holy and without blemish.
28. In the same way, husbands should love their wives as they do their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
29. For no one ever hates his own body, but he nourishes and tenderly cares for it, just as Christ does for the church,
30. because we are members of his body.
31. "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh."
32. This is a great mystery, and I am applying it to Christ and the church.
33. Each of you, however, should love his wife as himself, and a wife should respect her husband.

In the Greek the verbs in the first verses I quoted would read: singing psalms... giving thanks...being subject (submitting). They are explaining how we (all Christians) are to “filled with the Spirit”. In the Greek, verse 22, if taken out of context as you have reads “Wives, to your husbands as to the Lord”. It doesn’t make any sense as a stand alone statement because there is no verb (submit/be subject). The translators have added the verb to make it more understandable to the reader but in doing so they have unfortunately made it very easily divorceable from the verses that precede it. In fact, most translations put a subheading before verse 22 which makes it seem that this is the beginning of a new thought and these subheadings have contributed heavily to the misunderstanding of these verses. Verse 21 makes it clear that this passage is to be about mutual submission. The writer then goes on to tell wives HOW they are to submit (“as to the Lord”). He is not saying that only wives submit. Verse 21 makes it clear that ALL Christians submit to one another.

Verse 25 tells husbands to love their wives. At the time this passage was written this statement would have been much more shocking to the listeners than the passage about the wives submitting. It was taken as a given at the time that women submitted to men, first to their fathers, as Debra pointed out, then to their husbands. This was already an obligation in their society. What is surprising about this passage is that the writer tells husbands to love their wives. While husbands were not obligated or expected to love their wives, wives were expected to love their husbands. The writer turns this cultural idea on its head and shocks the husbands with his statement that they should love their wives. Another interesting thing to note is that the form of the Greek word for love used in this passage is a type of love that one chooses, putting the other ahead of one’s self, whether or not it feels good. This is not a lovey-dovey romantic love. It is another way to say “submit”. Husbands are being told to submit to their wives just as wives are told to submit to their husbands. It all goes back to verse 21: mutual submission/mutual unselfish or self-sacrificing love.

Verse 32 seems to indicate that all along the writer was really talking more about Christians and Christ in general through an analogy although this also applies to Christian marriage as well (verse 33). The following verses about slaves and masters and children and parents should be interpreted in the same context as the above verses: mutual submission. When seen in the context of the family (including wives, children, and slaves) lead by the pater familias (as Debra has explained) it all starts to make sense.
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