Jeremiad, August 30, 2013

    1. Jeremiah
    2. Prophetic words?
    3. Tradition

1

The Bible Prophet Jeremiah was called to prophesy against a degenerate Israel. With Jerusalem surrounded by enemies, smugly confident that it was invincible (both because of prior misunderstood prophecies about the “forever” establishment of the throne of David and because God was thought to dwell in the temple there), Jeremiah told the King to spare the city by surrendering.

That went over like the proverbial lead baloon. He was not a popular guy, and still today, “Jeremiad” is a noun with dubious connotations.

Sometimes the prophets experienced fierce opposition from the authorities – kings, priests, and even other prophets – who resented the condemnatory message being delivered … According to tradition, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Exekiel and Amos all were executed, as was John the Baptist.

(Orthodox Study Bible note on the Prophets)

And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: … they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

(Hebrews 11:32-38)

Who are today’s prophets? Not me. I’m just a guy who reads the news and thinks things are headed nowhere good.

2

Another way things are headed nowhere good:

There are lessons here of importance to Jews. Wherever Jewish religious freedom has come under attack in Europe—in attempts toban circumcision in Germany, or ban shechitah in the Netherlands andPoland, or to change the definition of Jewish status in England—the Catholic Church has defended our right to practice our religion as we see fit. But there is a different self-interested reason for Jews to hope for the Catholic Church’s success. In the United States, the Catholic Church has become the canary in the coal mine; if militant secularism succeeds in restricting the religious freedom of the country’s largest religious denomination, we will be next. We find ourselves in the same foxhole with the Catholics on the issue of religious freedom, and cannot be indifferent to its predicament.

Gay marriage was political poison just a decade ago, but has triumphed today because of the sudden shrinkage in conservative Christian ranks. The gay marriage issue is a lightning-rod for the gathering storm of secularism, and for an obvious reason: sexual liberty has been the most effective adversary of biblical religion since Pinchas killed Zimri and his Midianite mistress. From the Temple prostitutes of Ishtar to the pederasty of classical Greece, paganism has offered sexual license while biblical religion restricted sex to marriage. Anyone who came of age during the 1960s remembers why traditional culture cratered in the handful of years before 1968: my generation was the first that was told that we could have all the sex we wanted without having to get married. The sexualized ambient culture has eaten the young of the Christian conservatives.

(David P Goldman at Torah Musings) H/T Rod Dreher.

3

How, by the way, did the author of Hebrew know about the gruesome ways various prophets were dispatched:  stoned, sawn asunder, slain with the sword?

Unwritten Jewish tradition, which the author felt was reliable and profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.  II Timothy 3:16, dear Protestant reader, does not say only scripture or sola scriptura is so profitable.

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“The remarks made in this essay do not represent scholarly research. They are intended as topical stimulations for conversation among intelligent and informed people.” (Gerhart Niemeyer)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.

One thought on “Jeremiad, August 30, 2013

  1. II Timothy 3:16, dear Protestant reader, does not say only scripture or sola scriptura is so profitable

    Indeed. Nor is 16 the only verse in II Timothy 3. Verse 14 advises Timothy to continue in the things which thou hast learned, trusting in those who had traditioned those things to him (knowing from whom thou hast learned them), So even the favorite “Sola Scriptura” verse sets the authority of Scripture in the context of a person-to-person oral transmission of the faith.

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