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Posted (edited)

Hello there,

The other day I went to a Bible study in a local Church.  The study was one of a series of studies in the book of Jonah.  

Except for the repeated comment that it did not matter what one believed concerning the story of Jonah being swallowed by a big fish, that what mattered was the truth it was intended to convey, I enjoyed the study. It was not in depth, being largely anecdotal, which would offend nobody.

I was not happy about that repeated statement because our Lord Jesus Christ Himself endorsed what happened to Jonah: so that alone elevated the record of the events that took place in Jonah's life to absolute Truth;  therefore to fudge it in order to make it palatable to the unbelieving, regardless of the 'truth' it revealed was wrong, and sent up warning signals in my mind regarding the ministry I was sat under.

Then, at the end, I was informed that the study of the book of Jonah was being engaged in by churches around Britain, organised by,'The World Council of Churches'. Again, I heard those warning bells.

Later, on another day, I switched on the radio to radio 4, and happened to tune into a broadcast of the day's, 'Act of Worship', and once again the message delivered was from the book of Jonah. Indicating, to me, that this was all part of the unifying influence of that same organisation. 

* The believer in the Lord Jesus Christ has a 'unity' to 'keep', which is of God's making, (Eph.4) and any attempt on the part of man to create a unity of their own making worries me.

* The word, 'counterfeit', was on my mind as I began writing this, which is the strategy of the enemy of our souls, it being his object to deceive. Only while pondering this, did this come to mind to share with you, so obviously, in my mind, the two thoughts are linked.

Any comment?

In Christ Jesus

Chris

Edited by Christine
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17 minutes ago, Christine said:

Hello there,

The other day I went to a Bible study in a local Church.  The study was one of a series of studies in the book of Jonah.  

Except for the repeated comment that it did not matter what one believed concerning the story of Jonah being swallowed by a big fish, that what mattered was the truth it was intended to convey, I enjoyed the study. It was not in depth, being largely anecdotal, which would offend nobody.

I was not happy about that repeated statement because our Lord Jesus Christ Himself endorsed what happened to Jonah: so that alone elevated the record of the events that took place in Jonah's life to absolute Truth;  therefore to fudge it in order to make it palatable to the unbelieving, regardless of the 'truth' it revealed was wrong, and sent up warning signals in my mind regarding the ministry I was sat under.

Then, at the end, I was informed that the study of the book of Jonah was being engaged in by churches around Britain, organised by,'The World Council of Churches'. Again, I heard those warning bells.

Later, on another day, I switched on the radio to radio 4, and happened to tune into a broadcast of the day's, 'Act of Worship', and once again the message delivered was from the book of Jonah. Indicating, to me, that this was all part of the unifying influence of that same organisation. 

* The believer in the Lord Jesus Christ has a 'unity' to 'keep', which is of God's making, (Eph.4) and any attempt on the part of man to create a unity of their own making worries me.

* The word, 'counterfeit', was on my mind as I began writing this, which is the strategy of the enemy of our souls, it being his object to deceive. Only while pondering this, did this come to mind to share with you, so obviously, in my mind, the two thoughts are linked.

Any comment?

In Christ Jesus

Chris

The phrase 'classical theological liberalism' comes to mind. I'd stay clear...imagine, 'the words aren't that important, it's the meaning that counts'...give me a break.

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Hi Christine,

I agree it was an actual event.

There are words in the Bible to support my opinion, and gives certain "stories" credibility,  such words as - as in the day of...a certain man/woman etc....if Jesus said it happened, then that 100% seals it for me.

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14 hours ago, Christine said:

Any comment?

Something doesn’t necessarily have to be literally true to be true. I don’t believe the story of Jonah and the big fish actually happened in a literal way, just like I don’t believe in a literal 6-day creation or that everything in the book of Job literally happened. But that doesn’t mean those stories are false. 

These stories are not meant to be historical accounts. They are meant to be allegorical, or stories told which convey truths but not in a literal, historical way. So to take them as literal, historical truth would be against what their authors intended.

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If one believes in God then the story of Jonah is not hard to believe... But if you do not really believe in an all powerful Creator who can cause anything to happen just by His will then believing in the story of Jonah is very very very hard indeed..

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Posted (edited)
38 minutes ago, MeaCulpa3 said:

These stories are not meant to be historical accounts. They are meant to be allegorical, or stories told which convey truths but not in a literal, historical way. So to take them as literal, historical truth would be against what their authors intended.

 

Hello @MeaCulpa3,

Thank you for your input. 

The quotation from your entry above reflects exactly the opinion of the leader of the Bible study that day. Yet, why should you believe that these recorded events are not meant to be taken literally? Who gave credence to this belief that they are mean't to be taken allegorically, as mere stories that convey a truth?  The Bible itself does not convey that impression, in fact our Lord Himself spoke of the record of Jonah and the big fish as literally true in Matthew 12:39-41:-

'But He answered and said unto them, 
An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; 
and there shall no sign be given to it, 
but the sign of the prophet Jonas:
For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; 
so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, a
nd shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; 
and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.’

(Mat 12:39-41)  

* As Son of God surely His Word takes precedence over any opinion of man! and must be most surely believed.

In Christ Jesus
Chris

Edited by Christine
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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Adstar said:

If one believes in God then the story of Jonah is not hard to believe... But if you do not really believe in an all powerful Creator who can cause anything to happen just by His will then believing in the story of Jonah is very very very hard indeed..

It isn’t about believing in God. I know God is CAPABLE of doing such things, so I’m not denying that it’s possible. But, even though God COULD have done it, doesn’t necessarily mean He DID. 

I believe God COULD have created the Earth in 6 days if He wanted to. But I don’t believe He DID. It’s not that I think He’s not powerful enough, it’s that I recognize that for some reason or another He chose to do it another way. 

I can assure you that I most certainly believe in an infinite God who is capable of everything.

3 hours ago, Christine said:

Yet, why should you believe that these recorded events are not meant to be taken literally?

There are clues which point to a story being allegorical. 

1. There is no historical evidence. (Of course, this doesn’t definitively prove that it’s allegory, it might just mean we haven’t found the proof yet.)

2. The early Christians took it allegorically. (And I can point you toward many examples where early Christians took certains tories allegorically.)

3. The language used in the story is poetic language. (Like in the creation account in Genesis, the repetition of “and he saw that it was good” is poetic language, making it more likely that the author intended to write a poem or allegory instead of history.)

The Bible doesn’t just come out and say, “oh, hey, that story was just an allegory”, but that doesn’t mean we can’t understand that the story is an allegory based on biblical and historical clues. 

There is always a chance that I’m wrong and an event in the Bible that I think is merely allegory may actually be literal history. But for now I’m sticking with the theory that the events in Jonah are allegorical.

I respect the idea that the events may be literal history, it’s just that I disagree.

Edited by MeaCulpa3
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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Christine said:

As Son of God surely His Word takes precedence over any opinion of man! and must be most surely believed.

Just because Jesus referenced the event does not mean that the event must have really happened. Jesus was merely referencing a story that was well-known to the Jews. Whether the story is literal history or allegory is not affected by Jesus’ referencing it. It’s irrelevant. 

The point of referencing the story is to put an image or idea into the Jews’ heads so they understand, NOT to prove or affirm that the event really happened.

Edited by MeaCulpa3
Fixed spelling and added a paragraph

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19 hours ago, Christine said:

Except for the repeated comment that it did not matter what one believed concerning the story of Jonah being swallowed by a big fish, that what mattered was the truth it was intended to convey,

Could it be that they might of thought that there would be someone in the class who gets stuck on the fish question? So rather then to spend an hour debating the fish, it was easier just to start off saying "it's not about the fish"so that they could just get on with the study? I mean really I can see someone in a Bible study class taking up the whole class time debating what kind of fish it was or was it not a fish ect ect. In other words, I don't think it was because the person giving the Bible study didn't believe the Bible or was lacking in faith. I think it could be that they were just doing the best they could and really just wanted to get on with the study without a debate about the fish taking up all the time. 

Anyway, just a thought. I wasn't there so I can't say for sure. 

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Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, LadyKay said:

Could it be that they might of thought that there would be someone in the class who gets stuck on the fish question? So rather then to spend an hour debating the fish, it was easier just to start off saying "it's not about the fish"so that they could just get on with the study? I mean really I can see someone in a Bible study class taking up the whole class time debating what kind of fish it was or was it not a fish ect ect. In other words, I don't think it was because the person giving the Bible study didn't believe the Bible or was lacking in faith. I think it could be that they were just doing the best they could and really just wanted to get on with the study without a debate about the fish taking up all the time. 

Anyway, just a thought. I wasn't there so I can't say for sure. 

That thought did cross my mind, @LadyKay, but it is still a dangerous precedent, and the repetition of it following the study in private conversation made it sound very much more like a principle.

Thank you, 

In Christ Jesus

Chris

 

Edited by Christine
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