DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Biblical Study - Lo-Fi Tribe

The Narrative Wonder of the Christian Storybook

God intends to be known. We all desire to know God intimately, deeply, and personally. Our instinctive longing for authentic intimacy with God is often hijacked by a subtle and deceptive misappropriation powered by a variety of seductive, carnal, and detrimental vices and temptations of a corporeal nature. It’s quite hard to figure out what to do with this “God-shaped hole” living deep within each one of us. We are offered a myriad of substitutions, fillers, and replacements, but the real thing is the only thing that will ever do. We all need God. So, where do we look for God? Where can we hear from God? The answer to this question is ridiculously simple, in spite of the seemingly endless stream of audible ideological voices and philosophical sales pitches persistently vying for our immediate attention and allegiance. Read More »

House Church, Lectio Divina, and Markan Sandwiches

Our weekly house church gathering is built around the practice of Lectio Divina. Yes, house churches can take many, many shapes, forms, and identities; many methodologies can be tracked in these intimate and sacred gatherings. House churches are as diverse as the communities from which they spring. This is a good thing! Our gathering centers upon group Lectio Divina, or the spiritual reading/praying of scripture. This particular spiritual practice is an ancient one. It is a spiritual practice dedicated to silence, prayer, scripture, and the individual engagement of God, in a group setting. It offers participants a time wherein they chatter less about God, and instead actually listen for God in extended periods of reading, re-reading, and silence. It is an awesome group experience. Read More »

Roaming Immediate and Future Soteriology in Luke

There is no shortage of big and small talk regarding “apocalyptic themes,” “end times scenarios,” and the “anti-Christ” in North American Christian circles. It is an interesting phenomenon, to say the least. Perhaps Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins have something to do with it? Maybe it is all of those late night Cable TV “prophets?” I really can’t cite one reason for the subject matter’s popularity in the United States. There are probably many reasons. I do know that there is plenty of contextual material to seriously consider before jumping willy-nilly into apocalyptic conclusions and preaching them as if they were the gospel itself (e.g., Jewish and Christian Sacred Texts, Culture, etc.). One example of this sort of material consideration follows: Read More »

Lord, Forgive Us Our Crudely Literalistic Terms

This is the sixth and final installment of a series of posts collectively titled: “The Literal Tenor of the Metaphorical Hell: A Literary Critique of Scriptural Language concerning Hell, The Human Soul and a Defense of Metaphorical Conditionalism.” The following is a chronological, hyper-linked table of contents, of sorts: 1. The Literal Tenor of the Metaphorical Hell. 2. Mechanics of Metaphor: Hell is a Shabby Hotel of Vicious Circles. 3. Jesus of Nazareth’s Dialogue Regarding Hell. 4. Mixed Up Metaphors: Confusing Tenor and Vehicle. 5. Plato Won’t Surf Metaphorical Conditionalism.

Christianity is a faith which asks individuals to make a decision regarding life in this present. This decision consequently affects the next life. The Scriptures are clear – the alternative to life is death. Death is final; death is permanent. This is a message of cataclysmic importance for the humanity. It is a message that should not be lost to traditional and/or interpretive preferences, or, even worse, an illiterate handling of the Scriptures which are founded upon basic literary mechanics. A messenger is proportionately equal to his or her preparation; poorly prepared students of Scripture only advance poor interpretations of the Scriptures. The only fruit to be plucked from such a sickly tree is miscommunication, misunderstanding, and misleading. In other words, a messenger of this sort, sadly misses the target. Hell is a reality with which contemporary believers and non-believers must wrestle. The consequences – for both sides – are divinely ordained and tremendous, as the following excerpt illustrates: Read More »

Plato Won’t Surf Metaphorical Conditionalism

This is the fifth installment of a series of posts collectively titled: “The Literal Tenor of the Metaphorical Hell: A Literary Critique of Scriptural Language concerning Hell, The Human Soul and a Defense of Metaphorical Conditionalism.” The following is a chronological, hyper-linked table of contents, of sorts: 1. The Literal Tenor of the Metaphorical Hell. 2. Mechanics of Metaphor: Hell is a Shabby Hotel of Vicious Circles. 3. Jesus of Nazareth’s Dialogue Regarding Hell. 4. Mixed Up Metaphors: Confusing Tenor and Vehicle.

The Hell that does Exist. The Hell that does not exist. Learn to Differentiate! It’s Good for You!

The crux of the issue(s) concerning the existence or non existence of a realm called Hell are thoroughly eschatological. While many Christians find the idea/concept of eternal judgment difficult, they will easily admit and embrace the idea of eternal reward with exuberant hope and faith. However, one cannot exist without the other – especially if the Bible is used to build theology. Read More »

Mixed Up Metaphors: Confusing Tenor and Vehicle

This is the fourth installment of a series of posts collectively titled: “The Literal Tenor of the Metaphorical Hell: A Literary Critique of Scriptural Language concerning Hell, The Human Soul and a Defense of Metaphorical Conditionalism.” The first post was titled: The Literal Tenor of the Metaphorical Hell. The Second post was titled: Mechanics of Metaphor: Hell is a Shabby Hotel of Vicious Circles. The third installment was titled:Jesus of Nazareth’s Dialogue Regarding Hell

A literalist approach to the language of Scripture has been embraced not only by conservative aficionados, but also mainstream authors, poets, fictional entertainers, and dramatics. The result of this multi-faceted marketing, unfortunately, has been terrible misunderstanding and misrepresentation of metaphor as presented in Scripture. This misrepresentation is consequently accompanied by a syncretistic assimilation of misinterpretation into Christian faith and practice. The message of Jesus of Nazareth regarding a potential future state of separation between humanity and Deity, as a result, has been either demoted to cartoonish absurdity, or allied to petrifying fear and unhealthy conversion. The mishandling of metaphor (vehicle and tenor) has created a religious situation wherein it is very difficult to differentiate between fact and fiction. Read More »

Jesus Christ as The True Vine in John 15.1-7

ASV John 15:1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. Read More »

Jesus of Nazareth’s Dialogue Regarding Hell

This is the third installment of a series of posts collectively titled: “The Literal Tenor of the Metaphorical Hell: A Literary Critique of Scriptural Language concerning Hell, The Human Soul and a Defense of Metaphorical Conditionalism.” The first post was titled: The Literal Tenor of the Metaphorical Hell. The Second post was titled: Mechanics of Metaphor: Hell is a Shabby Hotel of Vicious Circles.

Jesus of Nazareth, in the Gospels, teaches his followers about a realm wherein God chooses not to eternally abide with those who consciously choose, during the first existence, to not abide with and within Him. The metaphorical characterization of this realm ranges from “gates,” “roads,” “hell,” “furnaces,” “weeping,” and “gnashing of teeth.” Read More »

Mechanics of Metaphor: Hell is a Shabby Hotel of Vicious Circles

This is the second installment of a series of posts collectively titled: “The Literal Tenor of the Metaphorical Hell: A Literary Critique of Scriptural Language concerning Hell, The Human Soul and a Defense of Metaphorical Conditionalism.” The first post was titled: The Literal Tenor of the Metaphorical Hell.

The word “metaphor” claims an etymological root in the Greek verb metapherein, meaning “to transfer.” Simply stated, a metaphor serves to transfer the sense of one word to another. Many literary critics choose to explain metaphors in terms of the two words/subjects by which larger meaning is transferred: the tenor and the vehicle. The tenor is the subject of comparison, or what is to be compared; the vehicle is the means of comparison, or that to which the subject (tenor) is compared. Read More »

The Literal Tenor of the Metaphorical Hell

This is the first installment of a series of posts collectively titled: “The Literal Tenor of the Metaphorical Hell: A Literary Critique of Scriptural Language concerning Hell, The Human Soul and a Defense of Metaphorical Conditionalism.”

The four views of Hell are categorized as Literal, Metaphorical, Purgatorial, and Conditional. The Purgatorial view is based, for the most part, upon ecclesiastic and emotional presuppositions rather than authentic exegetical research. The Literal and Metaphorical views should not even exist as two separate views; they exist as such as a result of the improper interpretation of metaphor. Once this literary issue is resolved the two views are remarkably compatible regarding not only the tenor behind the metaphorical language, but also in the foundational belief re: eternity spent in this realm. The conditional view properly interprets metaphorical language and is characterized by a solid exegetical argument for eternal annihilation over eternal suffering. Read More »