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Unity of Traditions

Sep 10, 1995 09:38 PM
by Arthur Paul Patterson

>As a layman of biblical theology and one who
>TRUELY respects the Word, I find it necessary
>to counter or refute teachings that do not line up
>with biblical theology.

While I usually have difficulty with the word layman I do understand what
you are are trying to say. There is no doubt about the love you have for
the light you have been given in the Word. I am not sure but I think most
of us would affirm that desire for truth. Your respect for the Word is

What I don't get is that while not a trained Biblical Theologian you would
take it upon yourself to make the necessary corrections concerning the
beliefs of Theos-l. Biblical theology is one step removed from exegesis or
from direct Biblical Interpretion. It relies on an understanding of the
history, languages, and literary forms of the text.

You have a lot of training to do before you could be competant to deal
with this issue. I accept whole heartedly your passionate desire to serve
God but I am not as confident in your interpretations. I know that laymen
and women can have deep insights into faith and I would never put that down
but I would not attribute to the untrained person a professional status as
an interpreter. There is however another level on which anyone can be the
carrier of true and that is when someone has lived with his faith,
regardless of what faith it is, with intergrity and love in such as way as
their words have authenticating value. In my best estimate you can tell
this by their compassion, love and service to all people.

>If you are aware of the bible and its contents you
>would find that the bible does not teach preexistence
>of man, only foreknowledge of a living God.

In my opinion while the Bible does contain truth it is not exhaustive
truth. There is no mention of computers in the bible but it wouldn't take
us a lot reflection to see that we are using one right now. It is not a
driving question to Paul who used scrolls. Pre-existence was not a driving
issue for the Biblical writers although there are some interesting
suggestions that imply different models of existence within the text.
Pre-existence was a huge idea in Platonic thought and whenChristians who
were influenced by Plato throught about preexistence they could affirm it
as a good metphor too. Origen, Clement and the Alexandrian school did just

>As a man

I have an idea of your gender but why do you not say as a "person"? Is
there something intrinsically masculine in the perspective you are trying
to get through to us?

 who chooses to follow the teachers such
>as Paul and then I am confronted by the teachings
>of Zen or any other New Age beliefs and they are
>at absolute contradiction to my established faith
>and established truth then what is a man in time
>supposed to do?

Explore both.

>Can anyone tell me who Jesus is?

When we try to do this you are not satisfied. During the Scriptural times
they asked the quesiton who am I? It is a burning question down through
history. Lewis framed it as Liar, Lunatic or Lord? But the issue is Christ
is who he is and even the historial Jesus didn't always know the full
impact of that. In my estimate Jesus Christ is a historical manifestation
of hope and New Being, a human who was so conscious of Transcendence that
he was enlightened and could not be tolerated because his consciousness was
beyond the collective. I have sought to learn from him how to live and
sought to identify the same spirit in other great teachers as I have
encountered in him.

And if he is not
>God declaring Himself Savior of a broken people
>that are destined to HELL if they do not accept the
>advocates declaration of emancipation through the
>shed blood of Jesus Christ...then he is an idiot with
>delusions of grandeur.

Jesus only spoke of hell twice, or rather Matthew had Jesus speak about
hell twice. Paul never mentioned it at all. Why so much emphasis on a minor

>Why can't anyone on this list tell me who Jesus is?

We thought you knew.

>And how do you know what you say about Him is
>the truth?

For me I don't trust truth language like that. How do I know anything is a
big question. Ask Plato, Hegel, and others.

Of course this discussion is as open to others as it is to Daniel.
Personally I am not convinced that Daniel can or will hear what I am saying
at all. I wouldn't mind others joining the dialogue, not so much to refute
Daniel, but, to take seriously the issues he brings up. Then again this
may not be the place for this sort of discussion. It might be through.
Since the issues Daniel raises are of the spiritual nature and Theosophy
claims to be the underpinning of the traditions it would be good to hear
from the Theosophical perspective a response to our discussions. If however
there are some who are offended or feel that this discussion is not in
keeping with our goals I would be glad to accomodate and shift topics.


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