Brandon E’s Objections: #2 – I Don’t Respect Other Believers from the Past – Not True!

For an explanation of this series, see Brandon E’s Objections:  #1.

Brandon wrote (which can be found in context here):

Simply saying that your word is only what the apostles taught and therefore you need to stand against all the believers who disagree with you as if they were the Jewish Sanhedrin is question begging and special pleading. It also indicates how little you actually regard that the views you contradict and antagonize have been held by many believers who were lifelong prayerful students of the Scripture and would appear to be at least as spiritual as you.

That is, you’re arbitrarily applying such passages like Acts 4:19-20, 1 Cor. 11:1, and Heb. 13:7 to yourself in your favor but not to others who have prayerfully studied the words of the apostles and come to conclusions that you contradict and antagonize. By arbitrary, I mean that when it’s your convictions you treat yourself like an apostle, or co-opt God and the apostles for your view, as if you have some direct line to God over and against anybody else. But when its others’ convictions and they disagree with you you assign it no value; they’re just like Sanhedrin, or the Jews who persecuted the churches in Judea. But in actuality you are in thesame position to know scriptural truth as those believers in Christ who proclaim Jesus as Lord and take the same body of completed Scriptures as their source of truth. This is my point, and you’re missing it quite thoroughly.

I hold other the believers who have come before us in the highest regard.  Where would we be today without the saints who have gone before us?  I would not be faithful to their example, however, if I soft-peddled truths God had made known to me just because they themselves did not articulate these truths.

The saints of the Protestant Reformation stood firm, and often shed their blood, for the primacy of the Scriptures over human leadership.  If the Reformers had not held high the Scriptures we might all still be under the darkness of Rome.  Even a light like Father Barron (search for “barron” on this blog to see more) is obscured from view by that great darkness.

The best way to honor those who risked their lives for the Protestant Reformation is not to thwart God’s desire to build in us on the revelations He gave them, but rather to let God continue in us the work He began in them.  See The Protestant Reformation Fell Short.

6 Replies to “Brandon E’s Objections: #2 – I Don’t Respect Other Believers from the Past – Not True!”

  1. Mike, this is an oversimplified misrepresentation of my point. I didn’t say that you “don’t disrespect other believers from the past” in a general way. Rather, my point is that you disregard their testimony concerning the truth revealed in Scripture in specific ways, that is, when you contradict them on major topics in Scripture, claim that your position is the very revelation of God in the Scripture over and against everybody else, and comment upon the spiritual condition of those who would disagree with you.

    Referring back my comments in their original context, my point was this:

    You’ve accused me of being fleshly-minded, not spiritually-minded, not repentant, not kingdom seeking, trusting men instead of God, not faithful to God and Scripture, etc., when I gave scriptural reasonings for the belief that God is triune and that Lord’s second coming and the resurrection of the dead are not invisible “spiritual” events that happened in the first century but spiritual, bodily, and visible events that are yet to come.

    I asked how you can say such things, when many lifelong students of Scripture, men of God, seekers of Christ, and martyrs have strongly affirmed that this is the teaching of Scripture. Or why should we think that God has spoken to you and not them?
    I stated my position that agreeing or disagreeing with your or my position once they’ve heard it doesn’t automatically make someone more or less spiritual, so how can you feel so privileged to comment upon the spiritual condition of those who would disagree with what you told them is the truth in Scripture? Eventually I listed some examples of persons since the Reformation who did affirm these views that you antagonize and contradict.

    I also pointed out that, based on how you repeatedly portray those who believe that God is triune, you seem to dwell on those whom you think are less spiritual or dependent upon Scripture when characterizing those who hold views that you contradict and antagonize, and not to spend a lot of time considering that those who would appear to be at least as spiritual or a servant of God as you have strongly affirmed that these same views you antagonize and contradict are what is taught in Scripture.

    Based on your response or lack of response to this, I felt that you basically wrote this off and assigned it little to no weight, as if you thought that if only such persons could hear what you would tell them they would gladly accept it as the very revelation of God, or else they are unfaithful to God.

    But is this really respectful of what they said in writing? What reasons do you have to think like this? It is not as if these matters in Scripture have not received plenty of attention, both before and after the Reformation. Many of your claims that are crucial to your theological system (e.g., the Father and Son not existing at the same time, the Spirit being a separate being from God, the resurrection of the dead being an invisible event and it being fleshly to think otherwise, etc.) are hardly anything new, even from the earliest centuries of Christianity, and what the persons I mentioned claimed is the teaching of Scripture flatly contradicts what you claimed. And are your reasonings really that convincing? How about your claim about that the words “heir” and “inheritance” when used as a metaphor and applied to God must mean that the Father must “die” and cease to exist as Father, even though the Scriptures reveals the Father and God as existing at the same time as the Son and the believers as the many sons and heirs of God (Rom. 8:17; Gal. 4:7)? When the Bible metaphorically speaks of people “inheriting” eternal life, or of those who disrespect their household “inheriting” the wind, or of the simple “inheriting” folly, does this mean that someone must first die and cease to be possessor of eternal life, wind, or folly in order for someone to inherit eternal life, wind, or folly?
    If I don’t find your reasonings so splendidly convincing as you apparently do, what makes you think that those who have the same views would think so?

    Since you contradict what they claimed you are not building upon what was revealed to them, but in many ways tearing down what they affirmed.

    Whose testimony exactly are you building upon when you claim that the Father “became” the Son and ceased to exist as Father, or that the Lord’s second coming happened in full in the first century but only the spiritual persons (like yourself, apparently) are aware of it? Just asserting “Why, Christ and the apostles!” is question begging and special pleading. And when you assert (as you have done) that your views in these matters are nothing less than the very word of God in Scripture, that it is not possible that you are mistaken, and even go so far as to say that I am simply taking Satan’s side in opposing God’s word because I do not agree with you, it does indicate a lack of regard or consideration for the voices of those who have gone before us, have given these topics much consideration, and whose views you contradict.

    Do others not have evidence of being at least as reliable interpreter of Scriptures as you? So, why is it that you are the only person you and I are aware of who has arrived at and is promoting your combination of views through their own reading of Scriptures? Minding all these things we’ve talked about, is it more likely that everyone else you and I are aware of is ignorant of, biased against, or unwilling to accept the truth, or simply that you have your own mistaken biases that you bring to your reading of Scripture?

    1. Shouldn’t it be evident? For one thing, those Jewish leaders denied that Jesus is Lord and were rejecting new testament revelation. For the apostles, Stephen, the apostolic community that was witness to the Lord’s resurrection, the choice between the Lord Jesus and the Sanhedrin was obvious and should be obvious to anyone who confesses Jesus as Lord. Besides, we would know that the Sanhedrin was wrong about Moses, and our basis for believing so is the New Testament.

      In contrast, the believers I am “invoking” whose views you contradict on major topics in Scripture all confess Jesus as Lord and had the same completed body of Scriptures as you. And we’re talking about what is in them. The choice between your interpretations–of which you are the only one we know of who has arrived at them in combination–being the very revelation of God and accepting the views you contradict (e.g.,God being triune, the Spirit being God, the Lord’s coming being bodily and visible, etc.) is by no means as obvious as the choice between confessing or denying the Lord Jesus. The apostles, Stephen, and the believers, weren’t individuals who were the only ones who believed as they did concerning Jesus being Lord. They were standing firm against the Jewish leaders who opposed the name of Jesus, and no one was alone in their views in this. It was not as if one of them was standing against many believers in Jesus who believed differently than they did concerning how to interpret the same completed body of Scriptures, saying that he was absolutely right and comparing them to the Sanhedrin if they would not disagree with him.

    1. Mike, it really depends upon that person’s situation, and what are their reasons for rejecting your doctrinal particulars in favor of those who contradict you in the first place. If it’s just out of some arbitrary preference, with no reasons behind it, then I don’t see the benefit of me telling them what view to accept. They may as just as arbitrarily favor your views again or the views of some other arbitrary person. I haven’t asked you or anyone else to just trade their views at once for the views of somebody else, and my purpose isn’t to tell people who or what to arbitrarily believe.

      If, however, they rejected your views for a likely reason why Mike Gantt is the only one we know of who has arrived at his combination of views, for example, that he has a combination of improbable reasonings about scripture that very little believers in Christ would find convincing, then so be it. If they saw for themselves in Scripture that–contrary to the claims of Mike Gantt, and not because the majority is always right–the Father and the Son are revealed as existing at the same time and yet are one, or that Spirit is the Lord and the Lord Spirit (2 Cor. 3:17-18) and not a separate being from the Lord God, then so be it. If they had a positive experience of fellowship and functioning in community as a member of the Body of Christ that contradicted Mike Gantt’s black-and-white individual morality = good, communal = bad dichotomy, and they saw such things verified in Scripture (1 Cor. 12:14-27; 14:1-40; Eph. 4:1-16; 2:19-22; Rom. 12:4-5; Col. 2:2, 19; 1 Pet. 2:1-10), that would be a solid reason not to accept your views. If they asked me what is the scriptural evidence for a view that Mike Gantt contradicts and antagonizes, in some cases I provide it for them, or direct them to some resources, or help them so see why it matters in their practical Christian life, and let them decide. I do think that many areas in which there tend to be more doctrinal diversity are of a more secondary importance, like partial preterism versus futurism, or post- mid- and pre-tribulation. If someone is confused about who or what to believe, if not Mike Gantt of all people, in most cases I wouldn’t try to contend for one view in these secondary matters, because I doubt that this is what they really need at this point.

      As I said earlier, I haven’t asked you or anyone else to just trade their views at once for the views of somebody else. But I since you are the only person we know of who has arrived at your theological system through their reading of Scripture, I have asked you to be open to the possibility of being mistaken.

      But you denied the very possibility of being mistaken and attempted to portray my request as “absurd” and “delusional.” As if it were infinitely more likely that the reason why Mike Gantt is the only one known by us to have arrived at his doctrinal particulars through their own reading of Scripture is that everyone who disagrees with him is ignorant of, biased against, or unwilling to accept the truth, and not that his own fallible or mistaken biases are at work! As if when Mike Gantt prays he is sure to know when has arrived at absolute and infallible state of “knowingness” about his doctrinal particulars, but when others pray, even if they have evidence of being at least as spiritual as he is, and reach conclusions he contradicts, for some reason it doesn’t count–they’re doing it wrong!

      I’m open to the possibility that you are justified in your position, pending very good reasons, but I have yet to see you give reasons that no one but a person who is extremely biased in Mike Gantt’s favor–one who, if you did happen to be mistaken, could not discover it on your terms–would believe. But why would anyone want to go down that black hole, Mike? Concerning the things you say are most important–that Jesus is Lord, that the Bible is the word of God, practicing the presence of the Lord–I’ve heard it said richer, fuller, and more gloriously by believers who hold the views you contradict who founded their beliefs upon the Scriptures. I have yet to see you give any reasons for why you cannot possibly be mistaken that doesn’t amount to exaggerated special treatment for you of all people.

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