The Corinthian Errors - RR274e10a

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Lesson[edit]

Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: The Corinthian Errors
Course: Course - Godly Social Order - 1 Corinthians
Subject: Subject:Sociology
Lesson#: 17
Length: 0:23:33
TapeCode: rr274e10a
Audio: Chalcedon Archive
Transcript: .docx Format
Godly Social Order - Corinthians.jpg

This transcript is unedited. It was:
Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library
Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules
Posted by with permission.


Let us worship God. Blessed is the man who Thou chooseth and causeth to approach unto Thee. That he may dwell in Thy courts. We shall be satisfied with t goodness of Thy house, even of thy holy temple. Let us pray.

Oh Lord our God we thank Thee that our times are in Thy hands, not in ours. We thank Thee that all things come from Thee and not of our ordination. For Thou lord only are all wise, all holy and all righteous. Teach us therefore to take hands of our lives and to commit them into Thy keeping. Instruct us our Father, that we look back on our years and see how much Thy hand has protected, guided and blessed us. Give us grateful hearts. Grant now that we behold wonderous things out of Thy law and that we give ourselves afresh unto Thee with thanksgiving and praise. In Christ’s name, Amen.

Our Scripture is First Corinthians 6:12-20. Our subject: The Corinthian Errors.

“All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body. And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power. Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? For two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.” [00:03:38]

This is a very important text that tells us much about...[edit]

This is a very important text that tells us much about Paul’s problem with the Corinthian church. Paul cites here some of the basic premises of Corinthian antinomianism. [00:04:07]

First, they are saying all things are lawful unto me...[edit]

First, they are saying all things are lawful unto me, that is, I as a believer am bound by no law. Second, They would say meats for the belly and the belly for meats. This is an assertion typical of Greek views of the unimportance of the body and the moral irrelevance physical. Third, the implications of these two premises is that physical acts are morally neutral. Paul has already condemned the wisdom of the Greek philosophers in the first chapter and he now is very specific about their moral failure. Clearly in view is the perspectives of the cynics, the stoics, the Gnostics and other like schools. For whom ethics was not important and for whom metaphysics was the primary concern. Incidentally we must remember that for the Greeks ethics morality did not mean what it does for us for as it God-related. For them it was politically related. When Aristotle spoke about morality he was talking about politics. Well these philosophers the bodies concerns were purely physical and not moral. Socrates could give a discourse on virtue at a banquet table well indulging in homosexual play with a friend. Having made clear earlier his radical dissent from Greek wisdom Paul here draws the moral conclusions. First, he deals with a premise ‘all things are lawful unto me or for me’. The word translated as lawful is a Greek form of the word [unintelligible] which refers to the power manifested in legal, political, social, or moral affairs. [00:07:02]

It is the power of persons not of nature...[edit]

It is the power of persons not of nature. The New Testament often uses the word [Greek word]right, power, authority, ascotologically. So that it is oriented rather to God’s kingdom not to man. According to a scholar in the language, Bess, and I quote: “The authority of a Christian believer is founded on the rule of Christ and the disarming of all powers. It implies both freedom and service.” Unquote. Luther saw the meaning clearly when he wrote and I quote: “A Christian is a perfectly free lord of all, subject to none. A Christian is also a perfect and dutiful servant of all, subject to all.” Unquote. Paul’s answers are very interesting, we know that by his admission that he went to Corinth in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. All the same he does not hesitate to call for the excommunication of the man who married his own step-mother. He’s already demonstrated his readiness to require severity. Now he wants them to apply the same severity to themselves. He cites their premise, all things are lawful for me, and then adds ‘but not all things are beneficial or expedient’. The word he uses is a Greek word meaning to bring together. It’s not wise, expedient; you don’t bring certain things together. He turns their premise against them. To illustrate, fire and gasoline are both legitimate things but it’s hardly expedient to bring fire and gasoline together. We live in a world of people and things; how we bring them together is a moral issue. If we transgress God’s law we are brought under the power of what we have used. Paul says all things are lawful for me but I will not be brought under the power of any. [00:10:18]

Now a snake is a God-created animal, why we don’t know...[edit]

Now a snake is a God-created animal, why we don’t know, but God made the snake. But if I handle a rattle snake I could die! My sin then is in bringing together what should be kept separate. This is what Paul is talking about. The law is our guide in the use of God’s creation. In the use of our bodies. God created all things good but sin is the moral abuse of ourselves and God’s creation. Of bringing things together that should not be brought together. Then Paul turns to another Corinthian position. Meats for the belly and the belly for meats. Well this is true up to a point but not if it assumes the neutrality of the belly for all things including poison. God will destroy both them and their bellies for despising his law order. For bringing thing together that should not be brought together. With this Paul turns to the Corinthian antinomianism with regard to sexual sins such as adultery, fornication and prostitution. He says the body is not for fornication but for the Lord and the Lord for the body. In other words you don’t join your body to anything else in lawlessness. You bring it under the Lord’s dominion. The body is God’s creation for particular purpose, for His service and His glory. With our redemption we are restored to this calling, sin and the body are incompatible and hence God’s moral judgment, His law condemns the misuse of the body. Since we are not our own we cannot use our body at our will. Our bodies have a future, the resurrection. We are eternally to serve God’s kingdom in the new creation. We cannot trust our bodies to be separated from God and put under the dominion of our will. As though we were our own private property. We belong to God in all our being and to legislate for ourselves is sin. We see God’s creatures all around us and we are His creatures. [00:13:44]

All of us are together under His law...[edit]

All of us are together under His law. And having been taking out of the old fallen humanity of Adam by our salvation and regeneration in the last Adam Jesus Christ we are doubly God’s property by creation and by regeneration. How than can we take a body joined to Christ and join it to a prostitute. The Bible insists on a unity that results in marriage. Physically and spiritually. When we are united to Christ we then have with Him the same principle of life, the Holy Spirit. We must therefore flee from sexual sins because these sins affect and are against our own body. The Bible stresses the mystery of sexual union. We are not our own Paul insists, our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit which is in us. The Corinthian view was essentially pagan because it began and ended with the individual and his autonomous freedom. For that premise no law external to man can then bind him. For Paul man’s freedom begins when he is in Christ and under God’s law. Paul concludes: for you are bought with a price therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit which is Gods. The Greek view was that a person was a being, spiritual or mental contained in a body. And his freedom required disassociation from and a dispensing of the body. The Biblical view is radically different. Our bodies are ourselves. They may be like our spirit, now defective, but in the resurrection the glory of both shall be realized. This means as the law of God makes clear the very great relevance of the body to Christian faith. As against autonomous man Paul sets forth the man in Christ. Paul could have simply cited law after law against the Corinthians. This he did not do, although the law is always assumed and is in the background, sometimes in the foreground. Instead he shows them the context. [00:17:01]

Man versus God. Autonomy versus theonomy. He gives no ground to Corinthian antinomianism. Let us pray.

Our Father we give thanks unto Thee for Thy word. We thank Thee that Paul spoke plainly to the Corinthians and therefore to us. Give us hearing ears and believing hearts that we may hear, obey and grow in Jesus Christ. In His name we pray, Amen.

Are there any questions now about our lesson? Yes?

[Man speaking] Rush I’ve always been a little puzzled by verse sixteen, Paul is quoting Genesis 2: 24 and in that context it seems obviously the statement ‘and two shall be one flesh’ is referring to marriage. But here he seems to indicate that that’s a Biblical joining even if it’s illegitimate, it’s still somehow akin to a marital union even though it’s not marriage. Could you give your view on that?

[Rushdoony] Yes. This is a very difficult subject; it’s one that we don’t know the full meaning of. But apparently sexual union somehow consummates a greater union. That there is something whereby the two become one flesh. There is a partaking of the being of one another. Now very few people have attempted to probe the depths of that verse. One or two Catholic theologians in our time have written about it and some of what they’ve had to say has been good and some become much too far. Now animal breeders at one time held that (they don’t talk about this kind of thing much anymore) that if say a doe was bred by a mongrel it would not breed true after that. Now in recent years it has been very unpopular to say that so nothing is said on the subject. In other words somehow sexual union leads to a union physiologically. This is why very often among couples who’ve been married a great many years they begin to look like each other! They really do. You’ve perhaps noticed this in some of whom been married fifty, sixty years or more. We don’t know the full extent of what God says here but we know that it’s definitely true that there is a reality to it. In Genesis it had to do with the union of a man and woman in marriage but Paul says it is true in any and every instance.

[Man speaks again] It’s not meta-physical, it’s a very physical phenomenon.

[Rushdoony] It’s a very physical phenomenon. We’re just beginning to explore the mysteries of DNA and we have not attempted to explore the implications of something like this. Are there any other questions or comments? If not let us conclude with prayer. [00:22:04]

Our Father, we thank Thee that we live and move and...[edit]

Our Father, we thank Thee that we live and move and have our being in Thee. In the magnificence of Thy omnipotent providence undergirding plan and care. Give us grace to trust in Thee. To know that there are no accidents in Thy creation. That Thy purpose rules and over rules. That though man has brought in sin, sin is in the scope of Thy providential plan and purpose. Teach us to trust in Thy care. And now go in peace, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost. Bless you and keep you, guide and protect you, this day and always, Amen.