1. Hmmm . . .
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    13 Jan '10 20:28
    Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, a one-time Chabad Hasid and leader of the Jewish Renewal movement (found more among Reform and Reconstructionist Jews), once pointed out: “Judaism is not a religion of submission, but of covenant.”

    Islam defines itself as a religion of submission. (I should note that Zalman is very much into inter-faith dialogue and respect for other religions, so his distinction should be taken as just that—not necessarily a critique of “the other”.)

    Christians often speak of the “new covenant in Christ”. Now, I am not asking about the whys and wherefores of belief that Jesus was messiah (Christos); had I not been steeped in that from childhood to middle-age, I could read plenty on here.

    What I am asking for is some of your thoughts on that difference (or dialectic, perhaps?) between covenant and submission in a Christian context. To help with my own thinking on that subject. That’s all.

    I do not promise not to argue with anything that might be posted, but that is not my purpose, and I will mostly just read and consider whatever various responses there might be.

    Thanks in advance.
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    13 Jan '10 20:432 edits
    Originally posted by vistesd
    Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, a one-time Chabad Hasid and leader of the Jewish Renewal movement (found more among Reform and Reconstructionist Jews), once pointed out: “[b]Judaism is not a religion of submission, but of covenant.”

    Islam defines itself as a religion of submission. (I should note that Zalman is very much into inter-faith dialogue an ...[text shortened]... l mostly just read and consider whatever various responses there might be.

    Thanks in advance.[/b]
    my friend, i do not know if i can answer you question, but i shall provide all the background information, in a biblical context, for you, and perhaps others, to use their own powers of discernment, please consider the following.

    COVENANT

    An agreement between two or more persons to do or refrain from doing some act; a compact; a contract. The Hebrew word berith, whose etymology is uncertain, appears over 280 times in the Hebrew Scriptures; more than 80 of these occurrences are in the five books of Moses. That its basic meaning is “covenant,” comparable to our modern legal word “contract,” is seen from cuneiform tablets found in 1927 at Qatna, an ancient non-Israelite city SE of Hamath. “The contents of the two tablets [of 15 found] are simple. Tablet A contains a list of names . . . Tablet B is a ration list . . . List A is thus a compact in which the men in question . . . agree to enter someone’s service or to carry out certain obligations. List B, written by the same scribe, then illustrates the nature of the compact; the men were to receive specified rations in return for their services. . . . the Israelite concept of berit, ‘covenant,’ was a central theme in Yahwist theology. Here we have the first published extra-biblical occurrence of the word from early times—not later than the first third of the fourteenth century B.C.”—Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, February 1951, p. 22.

    In some translations of the Christian Greek Scriptures the word diatheke is variously rendered “covenant,” “will,” “testament” (testamentum, Vg). However, M’Clintock and Strong’s Cyclopaedia (1891) says, under “Covenant”: “There seems, however, to be no necessity for the introduction of a new word [other than “covenant”] conveying a new idea. The Septuagint having rendered [berith] (which never means will or testament, but always covenant or agreement) by [diatheke] consistently throughout the O.T., the N.T. writers, in adopting that word, may naturally be supposed to intend to convey to their readers, most of them familiar with the Greek O.T., the same idea. Moreover, in the majority of cases, the same thing which has been called a ‘covenant’ (berith) in the O.T. is referred to in the N.T. (e.g. 2Cor. iii, 14; Heb. vii, ix; Rev. xi, 19); while in the same context the same word and thing in the Greek are in the English [in KJ] sometimes represented by ‘covenant,’ and sometimes by ‘testament’ (Heb. vii, 22; viii, 8-13; ix, 15).”—See also NW appendix, pp. 1584, 1585.

    Repeatedly in the book of Hebrews (Heb 7:22; 8:6, 8, 9, 10; 9:4, 15, 16, 17, 20) the writer uses the word diatheke with undeniable reference to a covenant in the old Hebrew sense, even quoting from Jeremiah 31:31-34 and referring to “the ark of the covenant.” In translating these verses of Jeremiah, the Greek Septuagint uses diatheke for the ancient Hebrew berith, meaning “covenant.” Also, Hebrews 9:20 quotes from Exodus 24:6-8, where a covenant is unmistakably spoken of.

    Application of the Word.
    Covenants always involved two or more parties. They could be unilateral (where the party on one side was solely responsible to carry out the terms) or bilateral (where parties on both sides had terms to carry out). Besides the covenants in which God is a party, the Bible records the making of covenants between men, and between tribes, nations, or groups of persons. To break a covenant was a grievous sin.—Eze 17:11-20; Ro 1:31, 32.

    The term “covenant” is applied to a sure ordinance, such as that concerning the showbread (Le 24:8), or to God’s creation governed by his laws, as the unchangeable succession of day and night (Jer 33:20); it is also used figuratively, as in the expression “covenant with Death.” (Isa 28:18) Jehovah also speaks of a covenant in connection with the wild beasts. (Ho 2:18) The marriage compact is called a covenant. (Mal 2:14) The expression “owners (masters) of the covenant” has the sense of “confederates,” as at Genesis 14:13.

    In effect, any promise made by Jehovah is a covenant; it is certain to be carried out; it can be relied on with confidence for its fulfillment. (Heb 6:18) A covenant is in force as long as the terms of it are operative and the obligation to perform rests on one or both parties. The results or the blessings brought about by the covenant may continue, even forever.
  3. Hmmm . . .
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    13 Jan '10 21:31
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    my friend, i do not know if i can answer you question, but i shall provide all the background information, in a biblical context, for you, and perhaps others, to use their own powers of discernment, please consider the following.

    COVENANT

    An agreement between two or more persons to do or refrain from doing some act; a compact; a contract. The H ...[text shortened]... parties. The results or the blessings brought about by the covenant may continue, even forever.
    Thanks, Robbie. That provides a good background, covering several aspects—which is good, too, because sometimes one can lose sight of the different aspects (such as unilateral or bilateral). I’ll wait now till some more people (hopefully) respond as well…
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    13 Jan '10 21:431 edit
    Originally posted by vistesd
    Thanks, Robbie. That provides a good background, covering several aspects—which is good, too, because sometimes one can lose sight of the different aspects (such as unilateral or bilateral). I’ll wait now till some more people (hopefully) respond as well…
    actually my friend, there was zillions more,

    the application of a covenant, Methods of Ratifying a Covenant, Written Instruments, The Edenic Promise, Covenant With Noah, Rainbow Covenant, Covenant With Abraham, Covenant of Circumcision, Law Covenant, Covenant With the Tribe of Levi, Covenant With Israel at Moab, Covenant With King David, Covenant to Be a Priest Like Melchizedek (Christ), New Covenant, Jesus Covenant With His Followers, Various Other Covenants.

    i deliberately left these out because i did not want it to cloud your discussion, as requested, however, if you need any info on any of them in the course of your discussion, you are most welcome 🙂
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    14 Jan '10 07:46
    Here's where I wish I knew more about Islam and therefore I'm in no position to dialogue on distinctions between Islam and Christianity.

    *sigh* I do have a book that I guess I should read....
  6. Hmmm . . .
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    14 Jan '10 07:581 edit
    Originally posted by Badwater
    Here's where I wish I knew more about Islam and therefore I'm in no position to dialogue on distinctions between Islam and Christianity.

    *sigh* I do have a book that I guess I should read....
    Well, my basis here is Judaism, not Islam. I only mentioned Islam because it does define itself as a religion of submission (which is what the word "Islam" means; and is related to salaam). So, it might be taken as a kind of clear case.

    I was more interested in how Christians would see covenant versus submission.

    I'm trying not to impose my own biases at the outset, but (having been a fairly studious Christian for most of my life, till middle-age, and reading what is posted on here) I would tend to see Christianity as being more about submission, i.e. submission in faith (which seems to often involve some degree of cognitive submission: i.e., required belief) to Christ. But I don't want to argue that; maybe I'm wrong.

    I understand the sigh: too many books, not enough time! 😞
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    15 Jan '10 00:41
    Originally posted by vistesd
    Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, a one-time Chabad Hasid and leader of the Jewish Renewal movement (found more among Reform and Reconstructionist Jews), once pointed out: “[b]Judaism is not a religion of submission, but of covenant.”

    Islam defines itself as a religion of submission. (I should note that Zalman is very much into inter-faith dialogue an ...[text shortened]... l mostly just read and consider whatever various responses there might be.

    Thanks in advance.[/b]
    I am not sure what you mean by 'submission'. Certainly, Christianity tends to be very talkative and creed-orientated. Many Christians on this site do argue that salvation requires a kind of intellectual submission in faith. I think, however, that one of the distinguishing characteristics of Christianity is its charismatic emphasis, that is, that God became incarnate in Jesus Christ, dwells in the believers in the Holy Spirit and, consequently, all Christians receive grace. The Christian covenant therefore is not a mere submission of intellect to faith but a cooperation of the will with divine grace. Nothing unites all the Christians churches as much as this belief.
  8. Hmmm . . .
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    15 Jan '10 04:572 edits
    Originally posted by Conrau K
    I am not sure what you mean by 'submission'. Certainly, Christianity tends to be very talkative and creed-orientated. Many Christians on this site do argue that salvation requires a kind of intellectual submission in faith. I think, however, that one of the distinguishing characteristics of Christianity is its charismatic emphasis, that is, that God became ...[text shortened]... the will with divine grace. Nothing unites all the Christians churches as much as this belief.
    Deleted pending my further thinking... Thanks for your insight.
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    15 Jan '10 08:15
    Originally posted by Conrau K
    I am not sure what you mean by 'submission'. Certainly, Christianity tends to be very talkative and creed-orientated. Many Christians on this site do argue that salvation requires a kind of intellectual submission in faith. I think, however, that one of the distinguishing characteristics of Christianity is its charismatic emphasis, that is, that God became ...[text shortened]... the will with divine grace. Nothing unites all the Christians churches as much as this belief.
    'Thy will be done'
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    15 Jan '10 09:04
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    'Thy will be done'
    I am not sure I understand your point.
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    15 Jan '10 09:50
    Originally posted by Conrau K
    I am not sure I understand your point.
    It's part of a famous prayer. Clearly it expresses submission to God's will.
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    15 Jan '10 10:281 edit
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    It's part of a famous prayer. Clearly it expresses submission to God's will.
    Not necessarily. In context, it reads more as a petition for God's providence to be brought into fruition -- that His Kingdom come, His will be done and that each person receive their daily bread. Granted, it may also have a moral hortative meaning -- that each person forgo their own personal motives and bring their individual desires into conformity with God's will. Since this is a prayer of a petition howver, this is clearly a secondary meaning.

    To clarify, I am not advocating that Christianity is morally lax or is a practical Quietism in which the person does nothing but wait for God to act. What I am saying is that Christianity is primarily and possibly uniquely charismatic. St. Augustine argued that without grace, no one can be good. A moral life requires, in his words, 'a constant infusion of sanctifying grace'. This is not a distinctively Catholic belief. John Calvin went to an even more extreme view that God predestines each person to be saved or condemned. Again, the emphasis is on God's initiative. Salvation comes about by a transformative effect not merited by the individual but begun by God. Christian mysticism reinforces this point. I think of St John of the Cross who argued that sanctity came about through 'the dark night of soul' whereby God subjects the soul to purgation.

    Of course, one of the most divisive issues in Christendom is the extent of God's grace and the role of the human will. Catholicism always maintains human freedom whereas some evangelicals deny it altogether. For Catholics, grace does not overpower the will; it helps the will. At the same time, because of the transformative effect of grace on will, the will is not submitting to grace. Instead, grace and will cooperate. Neither is subordinate to the other. Both are necessary. There is not submission but communion.
  13. Hmmm . . .
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    16 Jan '10 08:18
    Originally posted by Conrau K
    Not necessarily. In context, it reads more as a petition for God's providence to be brought into fruition -- that His Kingdom come, His will be done and that each person receive their daily bread. Granted, it may also have a moral hortative meaning -- that each person forgo their own personal motives and bring their individual desires into conformity with G ...[text shortened]... is subordinate to the other. Both are necessary. There is not submission but communion.
    There is not submission but communion.

    Ah! That’s good. That’s some food for thought…

    Thanks, guys. I hope more come in here. Again, if I don’t enter the discussion, it doesn’t mean that I’m not reading, and working with what you guys offer…
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    16 Jan '10 08:26
    Originally posted by vistesd
    [b]There is not submission but communion.

    Ah! That’s good. That’s some food for thought…

    Thanks, guys. I hope more come in here. Again, if I don’t enter the discussion, it doesn’t mean that I’m not reading, and working with what you guys offer…[/b]
    Thanks for raising the discussion. I am interested to hear other perspectives.
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