Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Patriarchy Workshop Clarifications

Posted on 09Jan10

(though arranged by date to appear behind the Patriarchy Video information by altering the "post options" in Blogger):

·Dr. Stan Gundry is a professor at Moody Bible Institute. (My apologies to Dr. Gundry for not recalling this under pressure! It occurred to me about an hour after the workshop concluded!)

· Concerning the Trinity, the Persons of the Godhead certainly do have different “personalities” but the same character.

· Concerning a comment I made in response to the Q&A at the end of the video that did not reveal the full discussion concerning this issue due to time constraints. I find Dr. Ware’s teachings on this subject very confusing/contradictory, as I imagine that others do as well, so articulation and summarization of this subject is difficult. I did not have the opportunity to more fully address this in the workshop and this was not captured on the video. I received word from someone who has corresponded directly with Dr. Ware on this matter, who found the material on the video inadequate to explain the full scope of the teachings regarding prayer to Jesus.

Dr. Ware maintains that we are in “theological trouble” when we teach children to pray directly to Jesus. Jesus’ authority is not Supreme authority as the Father’s is, so Jesus basically delivers our prayers to the Father. It is not sinful to pray to directly to Jesus necessarily, but is a point of theological inaccuracy. According to Dr. Ware, Jesus does not have the Supreme authority that the Father alone possesses to answer prayer. As believers, we are not given the privilege to have direct communication with Jesus in prayer.

· Within clinical settings, the term “neologism” often refers to creation of new words as well as the use of common words and terms in a unique way that is not consistent with their proper use or definition, such as seen in schizophrenia. Though it did not occur to me at the time, I realized at a later time that this definition and usage may not be consistent with theological or more common definitions.

· Turretin’s Systematic Theology was used at Princeton in the 1800s and not the 1900s. I corrected a similar mistake shortly thereafter, but I did not specify that I had also misstated this about Turretin as well.

· Russell Moore is Dean of Theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and not the “Southwestern” Baptist Theological Seminary as I incorrectly stated. (The slide was correct, however.)

· There is some controversy regarding the epistemology and whether coherentists can actually be Christians. (Some maintain that because of sola scriptura, Christians must either be hard or soft epistemic foundationalists.) I maintain that Christians can be coherentists, and empirical information is accepted, granting that it is submitted to the authority of Scripture. Personally, I believe that all truth is transcendent by nature (whether it is axiomatic or evidential/experiential) and that truth validates itself and is its own defense. We should certainly be well prepared to declare truth, however.

· Though not mentioned in the lecture (but included on a slide), per the neurophysiology of PTSD and findings on 3 camera SPECT (blood perfusion nuclear imaging of the brain) and functional MRI, there are three major responses in the brain affected by PTSD.

Because the brain affected by PTSD becomes caught up in an emotionally mediated stress response, three notable responses occur in the brain during positive self-messages (e.g. “You are the righteousness of God in Christ. You are wonderful.”):

1.) As mentioned in the workshop, the Posterior Cingulate Cortex area
(“Yes, that’s me!” area – BA 23) does not become active or perfuse

2.) General activation of the anxiety center in the brain (amygdala)

3.) General suppression of critical thought or reasoning occurs in certain areas in the PreFrontal Cortex consistent with depression

· Personally, I hold to a traditional, complementarian view wherein women can be ordained but do not meet Biblical qualification to be senior pastors or elders. I am not intimidated by those who believe that women can be pastors, co-pastors or elders; but I believe that the Holy Spirit would have caused Tyndale and others to translate some of these passages more specifically if that were the case. I do believe that the disparagements between egalitarians and complementarians are intramural and not essential doctrines, however. Some of the arguments made by the egalitarians are actually appeals to ignorance or arguments from silence, so I personally (and currently) maintain a view that restricts women from the roles of senior pastor and elder, but they certainly can minister as a members of pastoral staff.

There was a comment made that Bruce Ware doesn't teach that Jesus can be prayed to because he wants to stay away from modalism. I happen to know that this isn't the case. Bruce Ware told me through email conversations with him that we are not allowed to pray to Jesus because only the Father is Supreme in the Trinity and so only the Father has the authority of hearing and answering prayers. Apparently Jesus' position regarding prayer is that it is in his authority in which we come to the Father and the Son then is the one who delivers our prayers directly to the Father. Ware says that we are theologically in trouble when we teach or let our children pray to Jesus. I presented strong scriptural evidence to Ware concerning the equality of Jesus' authority to hear and answer our prayers and he responded with the admission that the verses I quoted did give his position some problems. As such, he continues to hold to the position that Jesus' authority is not Supreme authority as the Father's is, therefore Jesus does not have the authority that the Father alone possesses that allows the Father alone with the authority to answer our prayers. He did say that the early disciples apparently had a special relationship with Jesus that carried on after his death, but we are not given the privilege to have a direct communication with Jesus in prayer.

· During the opening prayer, I made a play on words in prayer from Romans 8:29. As Christians (those who are of Christ), we are commanded to go and make disciples. I'd hoped that in that sense, the listener would understand that I was suggesting that those who come into truth as a result of our witness are born into truth, not that I thought in any such way the heresy that Christians are on par with Deity in the person of Jesus Christ. We are not and are never the Firstborn from the Dead. At that time, I assumed that those listening would understand the weak analogy and would not interpret the prayer as any kind of idolatry or suggestion that we are deity in any sense. Redemption puts us in right standing with God, but as the content of the lecture suggests, I personally do not believe or would ever suggest that mankind is anything more than a sinner saved by grace. I apologize if I worded that prayer in such a way as to cause offense to anyone, particularly the Almighty God Himself!

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