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October 27, 2006



Open arms and drawing lines held in tension. The author of the book you mentioned drew such a line here.


I'm aware that Scot McKnight didn't think too highly of everything Spencer Burke wrote in his latest book. In fact I'm pretty sure I've read that post...or at least skimmed it!

Is there a specific reason why you pointed me there?


Skeptical, Critical, Discerning. The ifrst two words our cultutre would not care for all that much. Webster would connect the 3. Specifically a critic being one who can discern. Let me say first that what follows is simply opinion. Only opoinion. Educated a bit, but opinion. I believe in Christianity I have reason to believe what I believe. That is, it is reasonable to believe Jesus, the Gospel witnesses, the Apostles. It makes sense to believe one's testimony, unless of course his or her witness is less than credible. I admittedly want to learn the line between being a sketic, a critic, a discerner. I want to learn it well. Those great theologians Paul and Bill Arnold would certainly say that the same love that bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things, rejoices in the truth. Your post provokes me to think. Thanks you.


I've looked at that passage as "trust in", "have faith in", and "give the benefit of the doubt to".

We should err on the side of caution. In the blog world that would mean not reading a negative tone into a post/comment, not thinking that someone has an ulterior motive and not reading things looking for error.


I agree, Deb. That last one is hard for me to get over. I end up writing comments, realizing I'm just nitpicking about something negative and then just erasing the whole thing.


Here's a struggle though, Bill I think at least, and again some of this is my opinion. if we are taking this passage in the context in which you've stated. Jesus, the ultimate example of love, John2:23 says "He wouldn't entrust himself to any man, because he knew what was in them."


Honestly, I'm having trouble understanding what John is getting at there.

In any case, I think that because God knows everything, it's a little different to talk about him trusting someone. If we reason that God knows all things in advance then it's not really an issue for him. Know what I mean?

What would your interpretation of the phrase "believes all things" be?


I think it is in the context of using Spiritual gifts and you eould have to interject "about people" to get at the context you speak of. I think it is more about God. You would have to distort a Biblical view of man's nature to think it is talking abuot people.


Bill, let me explain a little further what I was referring to in the John passage as far as God's knowledge. Knowing everything, and loving everyone, he did not entrust himself to people because he knew what was in them. The nature of men is less than holy. Paul, even as a believer called himself a wretched man and thanked God for the victory in Christ. I, knowing myself, would have to give the same estimation in myself. I certainly would say that we believe Christ will take the imperfection we are and make it perfect. There is hope for even me to move toward this. I have rambled a bit, let me come back. I am saying that this text, I don't think can mean that we are to believe the best about people, because Jesus, though he loved, did not, and because we know ourselves well. I do not know if this makes sense, not that I would ask for agreement, but if it makes sense as to my understanding of the passage.?


Chase, to me it sounds as if you've articulated pretty well what I've been struggling to put into words since reading the question in the first place! Thank you.



I'm not understanding what you're talking about two comments above. Sorry.

In the next comment, you wrote: "I am saying that this text, I don't think can mean that we are to believe the best about people, because Jesus, though he loved, did not, and because we know ourselves well."

I'm not saying we should blindly believe the best about people. There's a middle ground here. I'm aware of the sinful nature at work in all people, but that doesn't mean we assume the worst from them. I guess what I'm saying is that we need to guard ourselves against being too quick to jump to negative conclusions about people.


I would agree equally that we cannot assume anything, the best or the worst of people, until we have knowledge fo who they are and what they are abuot. Then it it reasonable, based on what we know, to go from there.


1 Thess 5:21 says, "but test everything; hold fast what is good."

Sorry for a long interlude (just back from camping) but I pointed you to the the Mc Knight post because it illustrates a man who thought the best, examined the material, then identified error. He didn't jump to conclusions as you rightly warn against.

The author of the Jesus Creed was indeed trusting and in fact was a guest in Spencer Burke's home. That didn't stop him from measuring Burke's writing by biblical truth.

Should I be less critical? Yes. Skepticisim is a deep flaw of mine. Should I humbly examine things by the standard of scripture? Yes. I believe that I can judge a man's words without judging him. Do you?


I think we can (and should) judge without being judgmental.

I also think (as I mentioned in the post) that there's something ingrained in our Protestant culture that makes us "protest" too much. It's like we're constantly looking for excuses to splinter off from each other instead of building relationships.


Bill, I can agree with this to an extent. A Seminary just voted to ban private prayer language- the private making it difficult to enforce. There are areas where I see this. We can protest too much, we can protest too little. Admittedly finding balance is difficult, but necessary.

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