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1/14/2014 4:00 pm  #1


Condescension of God: A Review

I am making this thread to discuss the content of the book, Condescention of God (CoG). I am going to begin reading it next week and will be posting my thoughts and observations. Anyone else who is reading it may do the same.

Though it is long, and probably a difficult read, I think we need to thoroughly understand this book in order to more thoroughly understand CoW. After all, The Doctrine of Judgement used to be their #1 document for new recruits. Now, they are being given a copy of CoG to read. (See: Preethi's testimony.)

Who else is with me? Remember, my background in theology is limited. I am going to be looking at the arguements, structure, language, and proofs. Additionally, I'll be looking for anything that may manifest itself in their social practices. I would love it if someone with more theological and historical training read it alone with me for a well-rounded view of the book.

Just to qualify myself as a reviewer, part of my Masters degree envolves an art called "rhetorical criticism." Much of my work (to no surprise) has been interpreting and criticizing documents of a religious nature. For example, Lewis' Abolition of Man, various works of The Watchtower Society, and even CoW's piece on Slander. For fun, I am working on a piece to submit for publication comparing the narrative structure of LeBron James to the narrative of King David. 

What is a rhetorical critic, you ask? I'll borrow from Wiki.

What is called "rhetorical criticism" in the Speech Communication discipline is often called "rhetorical analysis" in English. Through the process of criticism, a rhetorician defines, classifies, analyzes, interprets and evaluates a rhetorical artifact. Through this process a critic explores, by means of various approaches, the manifest and latent meaning of a piece of rhetoric thereby offering further insight into the field of rhetorical studies generally and into an artifact or rhetor specifically. Such an analysis, for example may reveal the particular motivations or ideologies of a rhetor, how he or she interprets the aspects of a rhetorical situation, or how cultural ideologies are manifested in an artifact. It could also demonstrate how the constraints of a particular situation shape the rhetoric that responds to it. Certain approaches also examine how rhetorical elements compare with the traditional elements of a narrative or drama.[3]

Lastly, to Sean Morris and any CoW readers. I've invited you multiple times to talk before. But, here I am, deconstruction your chief piece of literature. I welcome your feedback and educated dialogue. 

Cheers,
AG3

Last edited by Aegonis3 (1/15/2014 11:37 pm)

 

1/15/2014 11:20 pm  #2


Re: Condescension of God: A Review

Section 1: To the Reader (pp. 1-4). 

Here we go. This is Morris' message to the reader. This is where he defines his audience. And, thus, this is where it already gets confusing. This section is also where he starts the repeated use of metaphor as a thematic device. Remember, chosen metaphors say a lot about the author's perspective on a subject. I'm going to proceed through my observation in a topic format. 

I: Let's talk about "we." Morris refers to "we" and "our generation" many times. This is problematic because he vascilates between a positive tone and an accusatory tone. So, what I am really reading is that there are two different types of "we" and "generations," though he does not make this clear. Take a look.

Indeed we have, in this generation, set forth to prove the narrow entrance of “the strait Gate”...(p. 1)

So, this generation is up to some good stuff?

We live in a generation of spiritual babies who have lost their appetite for meat! (p.1)

I guess not... 

II: Regenerate Circles? Take a look at some interesting circular reasoning:

There is much left unsaid concerning this holy “Way” (John 14:6), and we, in regenerate circles, are too often coveting the high chair of spiritual infancy! (p. 1)

So, from what I know and have seen from CoW year after year is that to be "regenerate" means to be spiritually grown up; to be well along the path of righteousness. We see it in all of their doctrines and testimony. After all, that's why they often wait - begging and pleading to be made holy before salvation (i.e. regeneration). Here, Morris seems to be suggesting that one can still crave infancy and be regenerate at the same time. That's definitely new to CoW doctrine. 

III: Morris' thesis statement. We will need to keep this in mind as we interpret the rest of the book.

my burden is to prove and make clear the light of God’s wisdom for the pathway beyond.(p. 1)

A pathway beyond? Alright. So we are going to hear about those secrets of the Christian life that the Bible doesn't tell us about... got it.

IV: Morris' audience. Here, Morris tells us who is audience is. What is interesting here is that this book is given to those outside the intended audience. By this, I mean that the book is given to persons interested in joining the group before the are formally recognized members. See: Preethi's apologia for the group. It seems that CoW practices giving new recruits (i.e. the unregenerate) a copy of this book and a copy of The Doctrine of Judgment as they work their way "to the gate of salvation" - but this book is intended for those who have already passed through it. 

So, who then is this book intended for?

The chapters henceforth written, though vast and exhausting, are meant to guide and direct the regenerate man into the pathway of life... This is not a message to the unconverted public. (p. 1)

V: What does the bible say about supplemental works? I think that God loves it when brilliant men write commentaries and supplemental works for the earnest seeker. But, I feel that Morris goes too far here. How he describes his own works hints that it is able to do and reveal things that scripture alone can not. 

This is written to God’s true people, to the end that truth might be established, unity might be perfected, faith might be purified, and the Bride might be beautified.(p. 1)

We are not leaving these first principles so as to study other things which are irrelevant to them, but rather we are building upon them.(p. 2)

The Bible is explicitly clear that we can not add or subtract from scripture. Personally, I take this to not only mean in a literal sense (like altering/adding/removing words) but also in a figurative sense (declaring additional meanings that God never intended). See Deut. 4:2, Proverbs 30:6, Psalms 199:160, and the most scathing warning, Rev. 22:18-29:

For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this Book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this Book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the Book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the Book of Life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this Book

VI: Metaphor 1: The Mountains. 

The 66 books of the Bible have become like a 66-mile high Mountain, and when men cower at its height long enough, they become satisfied at its foundation.(p. 1) 

The chapters henceforth written, though vast and exhausting, are meant to guide and direct the regenerate man into the pathway of life, which is, without variableness, up this 66-mile high Mountain of glory.(p. 1)

So wait, I have to climb up a mountain to reach glory? Does this mean salvation and regeneration? This sounds a lot like the principles of enlightenment in Eastern religions.

Let's talk about the implications of scripture being a mountain. One, scripture as a mountain to climb implies that there is a heirarchy. How does one (or even Morris) determine what scripture is at the base of the mountain, and what scripture is at the peak? Why isn't scripture being compared to as a journey or a path? I don't like this one bit.

Additionally, a mountain implies some sense of difficulty. Yes, Christ does state that his commands can be tough to follow, but other times declares His truths so simple that children can understand it. 

VII: Methodology. Morris states that repetition is what he uses to judge importance (or something like that) and derive meaning. Got it. I'll save that for later.

Repetition is a methodology used in the inspired scripture of the Bible, thus one should never despise the use of repetition, for then one would have to despise the Bible. (p. 2)

I guess this means that the more something is repeated, the more important or valid it is? Let's keep that in mind as we progess.

VIII: His work is Logically Dependent.

Also, it is absolutely necessary that you read the chapters in order to understand what I am saying and meaning with the words or phraseology that I am using, lest you misunderstand, misinterpret, misbalance, or misapply what I am teaching through the scripture. (p. 2) 

Oh good. This will make my analysis even more fun. I'll be looking out of contradictions then.... It fits with the theme of "mountains."

IX: He admits he could be wrong. That's good. Or, does he?

Whatever we are ingratiated to say or pen, there is some ugly smudge of self and sin which lurks about the uninspired text. We cannot tell where it is, otherwise, by God’s grace, we would remove it with all speed. It is therefore impossible, except by God’s own exhale of grace, that a writing could be so clear a depiction of God’s entire heart on a certain matter. (p. 3)

So, is Morris here stating that he could be wrong? That his sin and falliability could lead into writing? Or...

May God have mercy upon our foul breath, our finite fingers; for we endeavor to write letters and words which shall never pass away. We are of all men most needy for grace! The commandment of God does lay heavy upon us: “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God” (1 Peter 4:11). May God have mercy upon us! (p. 3, emphasis mine)

Interesting. And again, dangerous.

X: But what about the mountains? 

My reader, I do state all of this because most chapters in this book (“The Condescension of God”) were not meant to guide you “to the top of Pisgah” that you might see the Promised Land (Deut. 34:1). (p.4)

But, I thought that's what his purpose was? See above commentary. 

XI: More Mountains: Pisgah and Sinai

So, Moses saw the Promised Land from the top of Pisgah, but that's not where Morris wants to take us. He wants to take up to the top of Mount Sinai. Siniai is where the Ten Commandments (the Law) were recieved. So, Morris would rather lead us to the Law than to the whole Promised Land? Bummer. I don't know about you, but I would rather climb the mountain to the Promised Land than the mountain to the Law. 

This book, according to my burden, is a guide to lead you to Mount Sinai, that you might learn to fear. (p. 4) 

XII: More Spiritual Secrets. Morris continues to press the importance and authority only his book can contain.

Nay, this book was to prove what is left unproven, to a generation who has unfounded confidence while in a spiritual position of woe and wrath. (p. 4)

I thought that the BIble was the full revelation of God? I guess not. Also, Morris again seems to vaciliate on his opinions about this "generation." 

XIII: Wounds? He finishes up this introduction with an addition to his thesis and central purpose... with an interesting choice of words and scripture.

I am seeking to wound you with an injury, given by a true friend (Prov. 27:6).(p. 4) 

So much for edification and encouragement...

Last edited by Aegonis3 (1/15/2014 11:24 pm)

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1/15/2014 11:25 pm  #3


Re: Condescension of God: A Review

Reserved for more. (Can I do this Admin? Sorry if this breaks the rules... just thought I'd keep it all together and then provide a change-log as I progress.)

Last edited by Aegonis3 (1/15/2014 11:31 pm)

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1/15/2014 11:28 pm  #4


Re: Condescension of God: A Review

Reserved

Last edited by Aegonis3 (1/15/2014 11:30 pm)

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1/15/2014 11:29 pm  #5


Re: Condescension of God: A Review

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Last edited by Aegonis3 (1/15/2014 11:30 pm)

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1/15/2014 11:31 pm  #6


Re: Condescension of God: A Review

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1/31/2014 12:58 pm  #7


Re: Condescension of God: A Review

Moved to "Condescension of God" for further discussion. The three volumes by the Welldurs are listed by name in this section.
http://faith.boardhost.com/viewtopic.php?pid=3134#p3134




The Condescension of God - Sean Morris (Page 2)
(Sean Morris warning to those who do not take the time to study his entire book or you will be found a slanderous criminal in the sight of God.)

The chapters, principles, doctrines, and ideas build upon one another. Some chapters can be read outside of the context of the former chapters, and behold, much truth can still be gleaned, but I assure you that you will not understand what I am saying or meaning in full. Beware lest you
wrest my words to your own destruction, lest you are found a slanderous criminal in
the sight of God. I say this, especially, to those who refuse to study the whole context
of each chapter, who do not take the time to study the entire book. May the Lord have
mercy, in Jesus’ Name.
 

The Condescension of God - Sean Morris (Page 2)
(Sean Morris explains the purpose of the book is to lead you to Mount Sinai, that you might learn to fear and to wound you with an injury, given by a true friend.)


The Condescension of God - Sean Morris (Page 689)
(Sean Morris explains that the Father is only pleased with a certain amount of fruit, but the Son (The Vine) is pleased to accept us how we are in unmerited favor, fill us with His own life and power, empowering us to meet the required yield of fruit the Father demands.)

The Father is only pleased with a certain amount of fruit yielded by the
branch. It is easy for us to be motivated by the waiting and expectant eyes of the
Father that will judge our fruit without compromise. It is easy to remember that our
Father is He “Who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s
work” (1 Peter 1:17), and therefore it is easy to be gripped with a consciousness of an
expectant, judging, righteous Husbandman. Nevertheless, all our strivings to bring
forth the right measure of fruit to the Father will be to no avail if we don’t first look
to The Vine. Jesus said, “without Me ye can do nothing.” The Father is only pleased
with a certain amount of fruit, but the Son (The Vine) is pleased to accept us how we
are in unmerited favor, fill us with His own life and power, empowering us to meet
the required yield of fruit the Father demands. The Son (The Vine) is pleased to
accept us because we have been engrafted into Him already. He is pleased to accept
us freely and in unmerited favor. He knows our powerless estate to bring forth fruit.
He knows we are dead and cursed. Jesus said, “Without Me ye can do nothing”, and
herein is His matchless love – saying to us, without Me, DO NOTHING.


The Condescension of God - Sean Morris (Page 75)
(Moses and Jonah would have lost their savlation during the time period they were running from God, because God was trying to kill them and had they died in their sin, they would be in hell.)

If Moses and Jonah had believed it was impossible that the
arrows of God’s wrath were ever aimed at them, then they would not have been
saved!


The Condescension of God - Sean Morris (Page 105/106)
(Willful sin after being saved is unatoneable, because you are commiting adultery against God.)

Willful sin is unatonable sin. If this was the severity of the Judgment of God in the Mosaic
Covenant, how much more severe is the justice of God toward the rejection of a
greater and more wonderful Covenant in Christ – thus it is said, “Of how much sorer
punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot
the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the Covenant, wherewith he was
sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace” (Heb.
10:29). If one wishes to argue that Hebrews 10 is a warning to an unregenerate
unbeliever, then one must conclude that an unbeliever can be sanctified by the blood
of the Covenant (the blood of Jesus, Heb. 10:20)! If one wishes to argue that
Hebrews 6 is a warning to an unregenerate unbeliever, then one must conclude that
an unbeliever can repent acceptably and savingly before God (Heb. 6:6, note “renew
again”).

Nay, this is to regenerate believers who have become “adversaries” (Heb.
10:27), to whom will undergo the “vengeance” of God, and why? They are “enemies
of God” through the crime of adultery (James 4:4), as it is written, “Ye adulterers
and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God?
Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4).



 

Last edited by Admin (1/31/2014 3:29 pm)

 

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