Thanks for responding.

About what you called your "poor, unclear English", I wasn't thinking in those terms at all. My home is in a neighborhood where English is certainly not the first language, and I have had 2 children who were nearly unintelligible to anyone but myself as toddlers, and a 3rd who spoke only Mandarin when newly in our family, so I have learned a few ways to get to the heart of what someone is trying to communicate. I would not have raised a challenge to your use of "whenever" if it might have been just a poorly chosen word; I did so because your use of it went along with other statements--your recent "opposition" line, earlier comments about having little trust in historical records (apparently accepted by majorities) come to mind--which make it seem that you have very little use for the consensus of the church.

Now that you have clarified yourself that the real issue for you is not minority vs. majority:
Originally Posted by hisalone
my mind was on them not going against conscience because of their Holy fear of God yet able to stand because of their infallible trust of God
please tell me this--

with regard to an essential doctrine of the faith, how do you resolve any conflict between your conscience and the overwhelming historical testimony of the church, when both yourself and the testimony of the church claim a biblical foundation for the doctrine?

About your expansion of the "forcing beliefs" issue, I would appreciate more about this statement:
Originally Posted by hisalone
My x and x were about biblical/Christian ethics, not a matter of doctrinal belief
because it sounds like you're saying that it's fine to tell someone what to do about biblical/Christian ethics, but it's not right to tell someone that they are personally wrong about a point of doctrine. I'm not sure that's what you're saying, though, and would appreciate clarification.

And since you clearly have the treatment carlos123 received in mind, specifics would be very appropriate since you have now made general charges about:
  • "belittl(ing)",
  • absence of "gentleness",
  • "muscling their truth on people",
  • not "allow(ing) the Spirit to speak",
  • "discourag(ing)",
  • "hammering our truth down their throats",
  • assuming we were "given the job of the Holy Spirit",
  • causing "trouble in the church",
  • not being "more Christlike in how we relate to each other"

These are very serious charges, hisalone. You must substantiate them or withdraw them.

Now onto the lessons you draw from the Pharisees. Here it was not lack of clarity, but that you were--in your original post--and continue--in your clarification--misrepresenting the clear exegesis of the Lord's rebuke of them, making your application--comparing the Pharisees' and Catholics' approach to tradition to the biblical Christian's approach to the consensus of the church--a strawman.

You err greatly in implying that the Pharisees were guilty of protecting the Law so much that they shut out the work of the Holy Spirit. This is a great error because it sets the Law and the Spirit--who breathed the Law!--in opposition. May it never be! The Pharisees, and all who remain under condemnation in their native self-righteousness, demonstrated rather, by their fruitlessness and hatred of Christ, that they DESPISED THE LAW OF GOD, always supplanting it with their own innovations, emendations, re-interpretations and self-aggrandizing misapplications, rather than embracing it, as intended, as it drove them to the cross--and they were doubtless quite secure in their consciences.

How can you have too much of the Law? Jesus cries through the Psalms "Oh how I love Thy Law!" and "I come to do Thy will!" Can He be accused of "too staunchly" protecting the Law? By thus misinterpreting the Pharisees, you are implying that the church can somehow have too much reliance on its own consensus with the Word of God, and that the individual conscience, led by a Spirit who is somehow not shackled by the Law, should be the ultimate arbiter of truth. Is that your intent?

About your 3rd alternative, please let me know--does "having the mind of Christ" cause any individual Christian's mind to become something other than finite? (If you are thinking of going into "know this love of Christ which surpasses knowledge", please understand that the distinction I am hoping to draw is not natural vs revealed knowledge or even varying degrees of knowledge, but simply this: can any human being have a mind which is other than finite?)

It looks like most of your remaining paragraphs have been addressed above. One last thing, however, since you said "I am not a philosopher". While Paul soundly whacks philosophy/philosophers in 1 Cor. 1:28 and Col. 2:8, in both verses he makes it clear that he is talking about those of this world system rather than philosophy in general (if that were not the case, he would be denying scholarship and wisdom as well, in contradiction to Scripture). Not knowing you personally, I am still quite confident in issuing a new challenge--against your denial of being a philosopher--because the word itself simply means:

"one who loves knowledge"

and I strongly doubt you would deny that characterizes you! I strongly exhort you, however, to value more highly the Berean-approved wealth of wisdom that has preceded you among those who cared more for the church of Christ they served than their own lives, not least by using all their powers to preserve that wisdom and truth intact and without innovation for our own generation.

In Christ,
Paul S