Acts 5:1-11

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gmx
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Acts 5:1-11

Post by gmx » Tue Mar 29, 2016 3:26 am

Probably the wrong forum for this question, but I'll ask it anyway. I'm assuming Christians are expected to interpret Acts 5:1-11 as accurate and literal history. How does the church explain away the requirement for modern parishioners to sell everything and donate it to the church? One out would be to assert that the passage is non-historical and figurative (a type of parable), but surely that wouldn't be tolerable.

andrewcriddle
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Re: Acts 5:1-11

Post by andrewcriddle » Tue Mar 29, 2016 4:23 am

gmx wrote:Probably the wrong forum for this question, but I'll ask it anyway. I'm assuming Christians are expected to interpret Acts 5:1-11 as accurate and literal history. How does the church explain away the requirement for modern parishioners to sell everything and donate it to the church? One out would be to assert that the passage is non-historical and figurative (a type of parable), but surely that wouldn't be tolerable.
I don't think that that is what the text implies.
Peter says in verse 5
... Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.”
This implies that the offense of Ananias and Sapphira was not keeping some of the money for the sale for themselves, (this would apparently have been reluctantly tolerated), their offense was deceitfully pretending to be more generous than they really were.

Matthew Henry says.
The crime of Ananias was not his retaining part of the price of the land; he might have kept it all, had he pleased; but his endeavouring to impose upon the apostles with an awful lie, from a desire to make a vain show, joined with covetousness.
In general, commentators take the passage as a warning against lying and hypocrisy, rather than about a requirement to give away all ones property.

Origen in the Philocalia says
And then there is the case of Peter, who, when with the sword of his mouth he slew Ananias and Sapphira, because they sinned by lying, not to men but to the Lord, had in view not only the edification of such as seeing what was done would show more reverence towards the Faith of Christ, but also the welfare of the offenders visited with death. He wished them to depart from the body purified by their sudden and unexpected death; for they had some right on their side, inasmuch as they gave even the half of their possessions for the wants of the needy.
Andrew Criddle

gmx
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Re: Acts 5:1-11

Post by gmx » Tue Mar 29, 2016 5:16 am

andrewcriddle wrote:
gmx wrote:Probably the wrong forum for this question, but I'll ask it anyway. I'm assuming Christians are expected to interpret Acts 5:1-11 as accurate and literal history. How does the church explain away the requirement for modern parishioners to sell everything and donate it to the church? One out would be to assert that the passage is non-historical and figurative (a type of parable), but surely that wouldn't be tolerable.
I don't think that that is what the text implies. Peter (verse 5) says:
... Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.”
This implies that the offense of Ananias and Sapphira was not keeping some of the money for the sale for themselves, (this would apparently have been reluctantly tolerated), their offense was deceitfully pretending to be more generous than they really were.
Thanks Andrew. I disagree with you. The text does not seem to allow Ananias to keep some of the proceeds for himself.
[1] Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property.
[2] With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet.
[3] Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land?

Nowhere does it explicitly say that Ananias promised the proceeds of the sale to the church. It charges Ananias (explicitly) with keeping "part of the money for himself". I agree that the commentaries spin the story as being about lying, but nowhere in the text does Ananias promise to donate the full proceeds. In fact the charge is that he has "lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land", which seems to imply that there was never any acceptable mechanism for him to retain some of the proceeds for himself and his beautiful wife.

g_n_o_s_i_s
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Re: Acts 5:1-11

Post by g_n_o_s_i_s » Tue Mar 29, 2016 6:20 am

Jesus links giving away your possessions with salvation (Mk, Mt & Lk). I think it was as expected of you to give away all you had as it was expected of you to be baptized when converting to Christianity.

gmx
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Re: Acts 5:1-11

Post by gmx » Tue Mar 29, 2016 2:15 pm

And moving to Matthew 19:24:

Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.

There are many many wealthy people who are church-going Christians. How does the church skirt around that particular doctrine, and make it acceptable to retain material wealth and still achieve salvation? Is it the interpretation of justification by faith alone?

Charles Wilson
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Re: Acts 5:1-11

Post by Charles Wilson » Tue Mar 29, 2016 2:52 pm

This one may bring out the pitchforks and torches and mobs trying to find me but...

This passage appears to me to be a rewrite of Claudius' wife Messalina when she "married" Gaius Silius.

I know, I know.
For the Parallel-O-Maniacs out there, the Key Phrase is, "Hark, the feet of those that have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out."
Messalina is at her mother's feet when the Goon Squad enters...

CW

PS: Tacitus, Annals, Book 11:

"Hurrying on before with all speed to the gardens, he found Messalina stretched upon the ground, while by her side sat Lepida, her mother, who, though estranged from her daughter in prosperity, was now melted to pity by her inevitable doom, and urged her not to wait for the executioner..."
Last edited by Charles Wilson on Tue Mar 29, 2016 7:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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MrMacSon
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Re: Acts 5:1-11

Post by MrMacSon » Tue Mar 29, 2016 5:54 pm

Charles Wilson wrote: For the Parallel-O-Maniacs out there ...
Parallels are interesting -
  • it depends on whether one is interested in seeing how valid they might be, or if one is more keen to diss them in favour of 'NT primacy'

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arnoldo
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Re: Acts 5:1-11

Post by arnoldo » Sat Oct 22, 2016 6:54 am

Another parallel of christians sharing common property is in the Lucian of Samosata : THE PASSING OF PEREGRINUS

13. “Indeed, people came even from the cities in Asia, sent by the Christians at their common expense, to succour and defend and encourage the hero. They show incredible speed whenever any such public action is taken; for in no time they lavish their all. So it was then in the case of Peregrinus; much money came to him from them by reason of his imprisonment, and he procured not a little revenue from it. The poor wretches have convinced themselves, first and foremost, that they are going to be immortal and live for all time, in consequence of which they despise death and even willingly give themselves into custody; most of them. Furthermore, their first lawgiver12 persuaded them that they are all brothers of one another after they have transgressed once, for all by denying the Greek gods and by worshipping that crucified sophist himself and living under his laws. Therefore they despise all things indiscriminately and consider them common property, receiving such doctrines traditionally without any definite evidence. So if any charlatan and trickster, able to profit by occasions, comes among them, he quickly acquires sudden wealth by imposing upon simple folk.
http://www.tertullian.org/rpearse/lucian/peregrinus.htm

. . which in turn Peregrinus may be a parallel to Igantius of Antioch.

Bernard Muller
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Re: Acts 5:1-11

Post by Bernard Muller » Sat Oct 22, 2016 8:08 am

I always thought that passage of Acts is about Peter blaming Ananias and his wife for not giving the whole cash (resulting from the sale of a piece of property) to the apostles. Instead they keep a part of the cash for themselves, which is what Peter objects to.
Acts 5:1-3 RSV:
But a man named Anani'as with his wife Sapphi'ra sold a piece of property,
and with his wife's knowledge he kept back some of the proceeds, and brought only a part and laid it at the apostles' feet.
But Peter said, "Anani'as, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back part of the proceeds of the land?


Cordially, Bernard
I believe freedom of expression should not be curtailed

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MrMacSon
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Re: Acts 5:1-11

Post by MrMacSon » Sun Oct 23, 2016 12:44 pm

arnoldo wrote:
Another parallel of christians sharing common property is in the Lucian of Samosata : THE PASSING OF PEREGRINUS

13. “Indeed, people came even from the cities in Asia, sent by the Christians at their common expense, to succour and defend and encourage the hero. They show incredible speed whenever any such public action is taken; for in no time they lavish their all. So it was then in the case of Peregrinus; much money came to him from them by reason of his imprisonment, and he procured not a little revenue from it. The poor wretches have convinced themselves, first and foremost, that they are going to be immortal and live for all time, in consequence of which they despise death and even willingly give themselves into custody; most of them. Furthermore, their first lawgiver12 persuaded them that they are all brothers of one another after they have transgressed once, for all by denying the Greek gods and by worshipping that crucified sophist himself and living under his laws. Therefore they despise all things indiscriminately and consider them common property, receiving such doctrines traditionally without any definite evidence. So if any charlatan and trickster, able to profit by occasions, comes among them, he quickly acquires sudden wealth by imposing upon simple folk.
http://www.tertullian.org/rpearse/lucian/peregrinus.htm

. . which in turn Peregrinus may be a parallel to Igantius of Antioch.
Roger Parvus has "argued that Ignatius was Peregrinus" - http://www.earlywritings.com/forum/view ... 455#p48455

Herman Detering has wondered if Lucian’s ”On the Death of Peregrinus” is a Satire on Marcion

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