Sufficiency of Scripture, Christian Liberty, and the Culture Wars

Discussion in 'Natural Revelation and God's Creation' started by ChristianTrader, Feb 12, 2011.

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  1. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    A short article on what the Sufficiency of Scripture means and does not mean:

    Relentlessly Biblical: The Sufficiency of Scripture

    John Piper on the same topic:

    Thoughts on the Sufficiency of Scripture What It Does and Doesn't Mean - Desiring God

    A longer article on how evangelicals have began to take the view that whatever the Bible does not explicitly condemn then it is morally neutral and why that does not hold up. In addition, there is a critique of the view that a person's tastes are morally neutral and therefore beyond critique.

    Forgotten Texts and Doctrines in Current Evangelical Responses to Culture
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2011
  2. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    I think the problem comes when people try adopt simple lists of what is commanded: "tell me what I can't do on the Sabbath." Everything else then becomes "neutral." This reflects a Greek intellectual approach to knowing God and the scriptures. Loving God, walking with Him day to day, trying to do what is pleasing to Him requires a far greater examination of the nuances of the scriptures, far greater wisdom in applying them to our daily situations, and caution when seeing what is and isn't described under Christian liberty.
  3. Skyler

    Skyler Puritan Board Graduate

    How do you study natural revelation to discover moral norms?
  4. jogri17

    jogri17 Puritan Board Junior

    Common experience and what Scripture has revealed to be moral norms?
  5. Skyler

    Skyler Puritan Board Graduate

    Scripture is special revelation. ChristianTrader's position (as I understand it) is that natural revelation contains moral norms that are not given in special revelation.
  6. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    Depends on how you want to deal with the phrase "moral norms". Do you think Scripture reveals the moral norms concerning men having short hair while women have long hair?

  7. Skyler

    Skyler Puritan Board Graduate


    Deuteronomy 21:12 seems to clearly indicate that it is shameful for a woman to have her hair shorn off.

    Ezekiel 44:20 teaches that the Levitical priests should not let their hair grow long, because they were held to a higher standard of holiness than the rest of the camp. They were not even permitted to dress in mourning except for a close relative.
  8. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    I agree that Scripture reveals moral norms but I disagree that Ezekiel 44:20 teaches such a norm concerning authority any more than Samson's not being allowed wine from birth indicates that we also are to avoid alcohol. The principle is one of authority and not acting in any way that contradicts that reality.

    I think my position is captured fairly well by the two above articles on the sufficiency of Scripture. My real concern is that some wish to demand a great deal too explicit a condemnation from Scripture before they consider it addressed in Scripture (an issue addressed in the Makujina article.)
  9. Skyler

    Skyler Puritan Board Graduate

    The issue of hair, for the record, is not described as sin but as shameful. It is not wrong for a man to wear his hair long, but it is a disgrace. (Hence the prohibition against the Levites wearing their hair long.)

    I agree, we shouldn't demand an explicit command from Scripture (e.g., "thou shalt not yoga" to borrow from a recent thread), but our basis for condemning something should be Scriptural. We should be able to show the principle (the "moral norm", if you will) that we are applying to the given situation.
  10. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    I haven't researched this, but it seems to me that general revelation would only help to focus special revelation -- that it would not generate any moral norms. The law is special revelation and is part of redemptive history. Any moral standard outside of that would suggest general revelation can contribute to what is necessary for salvation. (Think here law as a goad, law as kept perfectly by Christ, and so forth.) However, in nature, we see God's perfection and beauty. I believe it is natural for a believer to have his thoughts lifted to God by such revelation and in doing so, may be pressed in further godliness, repentant where we fall short, and so forth.
  11. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    What other places in Scripture is nature used to ground a command where it is optional? It seems that you wish to render Paul as saying, "Nature says it is a disgrace but if you want to do it anyway, okay"?
  12. satz

    satz Puritan Board Senior

    The example of hair is a little different because Paul gives us the intepretation in scripture.

    What are some other examples of nature teaching us moral norms outside of the bible?
  13. Leslie

    Leslie Puritan Board Junior

    How about cannibalism. O.K. the 6th commandment states, "Thou shalt not kill." But if a human dies accidentally and bleeds out, is it morally defensible to use the meat from that body? Doesn't your inner nature say, not only, "Yuk," but also "It's also morally wrong for someone else to do it?"
  14. Skyler

    Skyler Puritan Board Graduate

    I don't think we have any other instances of Scripture using nature to ground a command. I may be mistaken.

    It seems to me that you wish to equate "disgraceful" with "wrong". I don't think that's the way the Bible uses the term. Job, for instance, claimed to be righteous and yet disgraced. If I am wrong here, I'm open to correction. Certainly we do not get the feeling that Paul approved of men having long hair; however, he doesn't seem to me to be giving it a sense of moral urgency. I would compare it with living in a filthy house--it's a disgrace, but not immoral (though the reasons the house is dirty may well be).

    ---------- Post added at 10:57 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:54 PM ----------

    For two reasons. One, it is a violation of God's image in that person; two, while vegetables and animals were given to man for food, man was not.
  15. Leslie

    Leslie Puritan Board Junior

    I thought God's image consisted in the human spirit, not in his dead body. Also, the church presently (although I disagree) makes no dietary restrictions. People with certain diseases have a craving to eat dirt. Is it morally wrong for them to do so, just because dirt is neither vegetable nor animal? I think not.
  16. satz

    satz Puritan Board Senior

    I think cannabalism can be condemned for the same reasons some oppose cremation, which is for biblically based reasons of God's ownership of our bodies.
  17. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    I think Romans 1 is such a case.

    If it was just a preference, then why the appeal to nature?

  18. Skyler

    Skyler Puritan Board Graduate

    Romans 1 is not uniquely grounded in nature. Scripture clearly lays out the moral principles in question.

    I don't believe I said it was a preference. It's universal, but not morally binding.
  19. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    My point is that referencing nature is not done on morally ambiguous issues.

    When you use the phrase morally binding, do you mean something without exceptions? If so the Sabbath is a counter, work is not to be done morally, but there are works of necessity that are not considered violations.

  20. Skyler

    Skyler Puritan Board Graduate

    As nature is only referenced twice in Scripture to support a moral injunction, one of which is the point of contention, I don't think we have sufficient grounds to make that generalization.

    No. Almost all moral principles in Scripture are stated in general terms and then narrowed with exceptions. But I'm distinguishing between something that is good in a moral sense (like honesty) and something that is good in a non-moral sense (like cleanliness).
  21. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    I think two issues would be nudity in art

    And musical forms: Media

    To be fair, I think there are ways that Scripture speak to the topics but it is too non specific for some.

  22. Skyler

    Skyler Puritan Board Graduate

    I don't think those are unique moral norms. They seem more like applications of moral principles found in Scripture.
  23. MarieP

    MarieP Puritan Board Senior

    I hope you don't think I'm ganging up on you, but I read this and am wondering what you mean by this?
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