Thom Stark responds to Mike Gantt


Mike Gantt has written what he seems to think is a scathing review of my book. (It is a review in twelve parts, and begins here.) He has stated on numerous occasions that I won’t be “very pleased” with what he has to say. In response, I’ll start by stating up front that it’s not that I’m not pleased with the criticisms he makes of my book because they’re good criticisms. I’m not pleased with them because they were a complete waste of my time, many of them bordering on unintelligible. His review is long; I’ll give him that. But part of that is due to the repetition of assertions that appeal only to people who already share his views, and that will otherwise persuade no one else. In reality, many of Gantt’s criticisms don’t even apply to my book. He has beaten a number of straw men; he has concocted claims I am supposed to have made; he has displayed a predilection for guessing at my unspoken motives, and in every case, he has misdiagnosed me. It’s really a sad review. So why am I responding? Honestly, because I’m bored, and because I’m procrastinating on projects I ought rather to be doing. With that said, I’ll get to the blah blah blah, whatever.

via The Human Faces of God.

Why Thom, why?

Maybe Thom was bored?

It is a good book, by the way… and one you should buy.

Post By Joel L. Watts (10,153 Posts)

Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

Website: → Unsettled Christianity

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380 thoughts on “Thom Stark responds to Mike Gantt

    • RODOFA,

      I don’t present my writing as scholarly, so “pseudo-scholarship” could hardly apply.

      In any case, the word of God was not given to us for the primary purpose of scholarship. Rather, its primary purpose is to read it, trust it, and obey it.

      • Oh puleeeeze!

        Get off your high horse. Were you born speaking Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek?

        No, okay then, you need to admit that translation and interpretation go together. That even when Moses gave the Law to the priests, it was the priests’ duties to interpret, share, and teach that Law.

      • The Word of God is only identified as Christ.

        Further, how would you get to read it and I assume, with an attempt to understand it, without Scholarship?

        • I didn’t say we should do without scholarship – only that scholarship was not the primary purpose.

          The best scholarship is that which presents the text most faithfully to today’s readers. That which obstructs the process of reading, trusting, and obeying could be said to be pseudo-scholarship.

          As for “the word of God” being Christ only, what do you make of 1 Thess 2:13 and similar scriptures?

          • Who determines what is the “most faithfully” rendered interpretation? No, scholarship was not the primary purpose, but without scholarship, we would not know what it means, much less even how to read it.

            No, pseudo-scholarship is, in one way, the attempt at ‘apologetics’ which only reinforces a preconceived notion.

            Do you think Paul laid into the hands of the Thessalonians a New Testament? No. The phrase means preaching, and would not have been attributed to anything written, and as a matter of fact, never was in Scripture. Paul used other terms.

          • To repeat, I do not eschew scholarship or its benefits. It’s the exaltation of scholarship above faith and obedience to which I was objecting.

            There’s more than one kind of pseudo-scholarship.

            No, I don’t think Paul passed on a New Testament to the Thessalonians. And I think understanding “the word of God” as Christ is its finest expression. However, if you’re going beyond that and saying that “the word of God” never applied to the Hebrew Bible or its contents, then I don’t take your point.

          • Who determines what is the “most faithfully” rendered interpretation?

            And? So you are telling me that you believe that Jesus was saying that the ‘written’ Hebrew bible was the ‘word of God’ and not the oral declaration delivered to Moses?

          • Hey Mike,

            Since you insist on dissing critical scholarship, do you believe that everything that conservative Christians throughout history about the Bible is valid?

            You know nothing about the history of interpretation sir. If it was not for critical scholars, Christians would still be thinking that slaving people of African descent due to the “curse of Ham” was normal. And some still do. Thanks Conservative Christians!

          • Again, I am not “dissing” scholarship. I’m arguing against making it more important than trusting and obeying. The Scriptures were meant primarily to help people live, not as the exclusive province of academia.

          • Who determines what is the “most faithfully” rendered interpretation?

            That is a matter of individual judgment. I prefer the more literal translations (NASB, ESV, KJV) but I recognize that being literal is not the only way to be faithful.

            And? So you are telling me that you believe that Jesus was saying that the ‘written’ Hebrew bible was the ‘word of God’ and not the oral declaration delivered to Moses? Both. It was the word of God when spoken to Moses, but it didn’t cease to be the word of God when he wrote it down.

          • I said interpretation, Mike, not translation. Unless, of course, you are arguing for a plain sense understanding of Scripture… Interpretation isn’t translation, you know.

            You do realize that you are adding to Scripture, with no proof of your theories except what you have already believed, right?

          • Joel, I was confusing your comments with RODOFA who said “translation and interpretation go together.” Viewing them separately, the most faithful interpretation is that which is given by the Holy Spirit (2 Pet 1:20-21).

            “You do realize that you are adding to Scripture, with no proof of your theories except what you have already believed, right?”

            Please be more specific; I don’t know what you mean.

          • First, 2 Peter is speaking about the interpretation of prophecy not Scripture over all.

            Translations are often interpretations, no doubt, but theological interpretations go beyond that, and require scholarship just as translation does.

            Well, for example, your confusion of ‘word of God’ and Scripture as well as the obvious one in this paragraph.

          • “Who said that the Scriptures were the exclusive province of anything?

            People who act as if the Bible is more a matter of scholarly discussion than a matter of morality, faith, and obedience for every human being.

          • “First, 2 Peter is speaking about the interpretation of prophecy not Scripture over all.”

            All Scripture is prophecy about Jesus Christ (Rev 19:10; Jn 5:39; Lk 24:25-27, 44-48). Go back and read the 2 Pet passage in context, and you will see. Besides, as you yourself said, “The word of God is Christ.”

            “Translations are often interpretations, no doubt, but theological interpretations go beyond that, and require scholarship just as translation does.”

            No, translation requires scholarship. Interpretation requires the Holy Spirit. To say otherwise is to make the Scriptures the province of academia.

            “Well, for example, your confusion of ‘word of God’ and Scripture as well as the obvious one in this paragraph.”

            I think the confusion is yours.

          • Wow….

            You have no issue proof texting, do you Mike? Prophecy is a specific genre within Scripture. Nothing in Scripture states that all Scripture is prophecy – more addition to scripture by you.

            And you don’t think that the Spirit moves in Scholarship? That means that Paul and others who used Scholarship were, what, in your eyes? That the doctors of the church were what? That Calvin, Luther and others were what? Further, considering that we are told to test the spirits, and to test one another, to simply leave every interpretation up ‘to the Spirit’ is to allow that either everyone is right, or that everyone is wrong… or maybe that you and you alone know what the Spirit says… and that even if ‘what the Spirit says’ goes against Scholarship, then Scholarship is wrong…

            But, nevertheless, you haven’t proved first that Spirit must interpretation all of Scripture, that Scripture is all prophecy – even the wrong parts – or that the word usually translated as ‘interpretation’ does instead mean ‘given’ as in the following verse, Peter is speaking directly about the Spirit giving prophecy and not interpretation.

          • “You have no issue proof texting, do you Mike?”

            I don’t know what you mean by this sentence.

            “Prophecy is a specific genre within Scripture.” That’s an academic way of looking at it. From God’s point of view, a prophecy is someone speaking on His behalf.

            “Nothing in Scripture states that all Scripture is prophecy – more addition to scripture by you.”

            All Scripture is someone speaking on God’s behalf, and is therefore, in that sense, prophecy.

            “And you don’t think that the Spirit moves in Scholarship?</i"

            The Spirit can move in any moral activity.

            “That means that Paul and others who used Scholarship were, what, in your eyes?”

            “Scholarship” is a broad term. Can some of Paul’s activities be described as scholarship? Yes. Was he promoting JEPD and other doctrines which undermine the word of God? No.

            “That the doctors of the church were what? That Calvin, Luther and others were what?”

            Again, you’re twisting my words to make anti-scholarship. I’m only insisting that scholarship be used in service to faith and obedience.

            “Further, considering that we are told to test the spirits, and to test one another, to simply leave every interpretation up ‘to the Spirit’ is to allow that either everyone is right, or that everyone is wrong… or maybe that you and you alone know what the Spirit says… and that even if ‘what the Spirit says’ goes against Scholarship, then Scholarship is wrong…”

            Of course we should test the spirits. That’s how we know some scholarship is off-base – because it works against faith and obedience to the word of God.

            “But, nevertheless, you haven’t proved first that Spirit must interpretation all of Scripture, that Scripture is all prophecy – even the wrong parts – or that the word usually translated as ‘interpretation’ does instead mean ‘given’ as in the following verse, Peter is speaking directly about the Spirit giving prophecy and not interpretation.

            Without the Holy Spirit, there would be no Scripture for He inspired it all. Even if Peter hadn’t written 2 Pet 1, we’d still know that He who wrote the Scripture would be the best one to interpret it, for who is a better interpreter of a sentence spoken than the one who spoke it?

          • Mike, it’s difficult to talk to someone who redefines words and concepts to fit his beliefs.

            Wow… i don’t even know where to start…

            Prophets speak on behalf of God, but not all Scripture is ‘speaking on behalf of God.’ You actually have no proof for your claims…. You are just pulling stuff out of thin air and applying at whim… Wow…

            Wait… how does Redactional Criticism undermine anything – unless your faith is built on myths and superstitious nonsense. And again, you keep using that phrase but you don’t have proof that it actually means what you say it means.

            Again, you have answered my question. Your view of ‘scholarship’ is only what promotes your views. This is pseudo-scholarship.

            So… things that make you question whether or not what you are believing is right is now wrong? Again, there goes the Reformation.

            I didn’t say that Scriptures aren’t inspired – What I am saying is that you have yet to understand the following concepts – Scripture, Prophecy, word of God.

          • No, you are arguing from ignorance, Mike, and I don’t approve of that. It’s like arguing that Hitler was wrong, by first assuming that he was right.

          • Joel, I don’t follow your Hitler analogy. Nor do I understand what you mean when you say I am arguing from ignorance.

            Here’s what I do know: the question you’ve been unwilling to answer is one that Paul settled:

            “All Scripture is inspired by God” (2 Tim 3:16).

            Therefore to say that the Scriptures are inspired by God and to say that they are the word of God is to say the same thing.

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_ignorance

            I’ve answered the question repeatedly, I just refuse to use bad terminology. All Scripture is inspired by God, but that doesn’t mean that they are the ‘word of God.’

            Here’s 2 Tim according to Mike Gantt:

            “All Scripture, and by this, I mean whatever is agreed on by whom I think needs to agree, and is God-breathed, which must mean that wrote everything down and is thus ‘the word of God’ although nothing in any other part of Scriptures says this”

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_ignorance

            Thanks for the Wikipedia link, but I don’t see how it applies here.

            I’ve answered the question repeatedly, I just refuse to use bad terminology.

            Well then,  this “good terminology” you are using has made your argument utterly unrecognizable in each and every one of its repetitions so far.  So, I ask you again.  If you don’t believe the Bible is the word of God, whose word do you think it is?  (And you can define Bible as whatever Scriptures you want to include.)

            All Scripture is inspired by God, but that doesn’t mean that they are the ‘word of God.’

            Sure it does.

            Here’s 2 Tim according to Mike Gantt:

            “All Scripture, and by this, I mean whatever is agreed on by whom I think needs to agree, and is God-breathed, which must mean that wrote everything down and is thus ‘the word of God’ although nothing in any other part of Scriptures says this”

            No, by “All Scripture” I mean what they give you if you walk into Barnes and Noble and tell them you want to buy a Bible.

          • You first want me to assume that your position is correct and then to argue against it. That is part of that definition.

            Mike, you continue to use bad terminology. I don’t. I have stated time and time against what Scripture is. I can’t help it if it doesn’t fit into your bad theological terminology.

            No, actually it doesn’t. You are trying to conflate two things that Scripture doesn’t, meaning that you are adding to Scripture.

            So, Barnes and Nobles tells us what Scripture is?

            hahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahaha

          • You first want me to assume that your position is correct and then to argue against it. That is part of that definition.

            No, I don’t want that.  I’m just honestly trying to understand what you believe.  You keep repeating what you don’t believe, but when I ask you to repeat what you do believe you say you’ve already stated it.  Why are you so willing to repeat over and over what you don’t believe (“The Scripture is not the word of God”) and so unwilling to repeat what you do believe (“The Scripture is…”)?

            Mike, you continue to use bad terminology. I don’t. I have stated time and time against what Scripture is. I can’t help it if it doesn’t fit into your bad theological terminology.

            I’m using Scriptural terms (“the word of God,” “the Scripture,” etc.).  Which terms are bad?

            No, actually it doesn’t. You are trying to conflate two things that Scripture doesn’t, meaning that you are adding to Scripture.

            If Scripture is not the word of God then why are you bothered if someone adds to it?

            So, Barnes and Nobles tells us what Scripture is?

            No, Barnes and Noble tells us what we think Scripture is.  Bookstores only want to sell books that people want.  If they don’t stock OT’s without the 39 books (24 in the HB), and they don’t sell NT’s without the 27, that ought to tell you something.

          • Mike, I’ve said it numerous times what I believe.

            The word sun is found in Scripture, but if I apply it to the moon, it doesn’t make it right. You can use ‘scriptural terms’ but you aren’t doing so with the context which they are used in Scripture.

            Mike, you’ve already admitted that you have no issue adding to Scripture, so you must feel that they aren’t as inspired as you are or that you are the word of God.

            Your point on the B&N is silly. They sell all sorts of bibles, with all sorts of canons, and all sorts of ‘missing books.’ yet, you want the market forces to decide what the ‘bible’ is? Laughable.

          • Mike, you’ve already admitted that you have no issue adding to Scripture, so you must feel that they aren’t as inspired as you are or that you are the word of God.

            I shudder to think that I would try to add to Scripture.

            Here’s what I actually said to you:  If Scripture is not the word of God then why are you bothered if someone adds to it?

            The warnings we have from God are that we should not add to, or take away from, the word of God.  For me, this warning would include Scripture.  But for you, since you draw a sharp distinction between the word of God and Scripture, the warning would seem not to apply to Scripture.  I was looking for your response to this.

            Your point on the B&N is silly. They sell all sorts of bibles, with all sorts of canons, and all sorts of ‘missing books.’ yet, you want the market forces to decide what the ‘bible’ is? Laughable.

            To let market forces decide what the Bible is would indeed be a silly idea.  I wasn’t suggesting it.  I was suggesting that no one wants a Bible without all 39 of the OT books.  I saw where you did a video review of the NLT Study Bible.  Would you have recommended this Bible to others if it had been missing the Psalms, or the minor prophets, or Chronicles?  Of course not.   Now ask yourself, would you have recommended it if it was missing Enoch and the Assumption of Moses?  Sure you would have…and you did.  Thus you, too, have a core “canon.”

          • You should shudder, because you make a habit of it. Actually, the only warnings are made in Deuteronomy, about that Covenant, and in Revelation, for that book. So, I guess. The only ‘bible’ you should have is Deuteronomy.

            Actually, I consider the canon varied across time. I recommend the translation, but have repeatedly called for the NLT to reproduce the 1996 deuterocanon for their 2007 edition

          • Actually, I consider the canon varied across time. I recommend the translation, but have repeatedly called for the NLT to reproduce the 1996 deuterocanon for their 2007 edition

            But what about now?  Are you saying that the Protestant canon plus the Deutero-canon is the canon you accept as Scripture?

             

          • You could apologize for getting me wrong…

            I accept the canon of the Church, even if the ancient books are in use today, such as the Psalms of Solomon, which includes the Creeds, and Liturgy.

          • “By the way, everyone from time to time will recommend incomplete canons… You know, like the NT only with maybe the Psalms.”

            Yes, but no one thinks that this means that the rest of the Old Testament is being rejected. This is just a practical matter of reducing the weight of what’s being carried around. It nothing to do with canon the way we’ve been discussing it.

  1. Oh my, I thought Thom was going to start out with a thoughtful response, and instead he starts out with namecalling.

    Next!

          • I’m fine with anyone examining my words.

            As for name-calling, Jesus called people “serpents,” “vipers,” “hypocrites,” and He called Herod a “fox.” This does not embolden me to call anyone a name, but it does convey to me that it’s gratuitous name-calling that is probably the problem and not using name-calling per se. I think the rule would be not to call anyone a name unless you can do it with the love that was motivating Jesus to get people’s attention and make a redemptive point.

        • “As for name-calling, Jesus called people “serpents,” “vipers,” “hypocrites,” and He called Herod a “fox.” This does not embolden me to call anyone a name, but it does convey to me that it’s gratuitous name-calling that is probably the problem and not using name-calling per se. I think the rule would be not to call anyone a name unless you can do it with the love that was motivating Jesus to get people’s attention and make a redemptive point.”

          So much for believing that the Bible is the Word of God! It’s only the passages you see as valid that matters!:

          “But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.”- Matthew 5:22, NIV

          • You act as if you’ve caught Jesus violating his own teaching. It’s obvious the Matthew passage is not referring to people who are seeking attention to make a redemptive point.

      • Sure, he says that Mike writes stuff that borders on the unintelligible and is a waste of Thom’s time.

        That’s name calling.

        Of course, Thom may have a different interpretation of name calling…mine is the liberal interpretation!

        Thom, you are so funny. Why don’t you have the guts to just come out with it like your pal Loftus?

        • Jim,

          Loftus is not my pal. And calling people derogatory names does not take “guts.”

          Stating the fact that Gantt’s criticisms were often unintelligible and that he wasted my time is not name-calling.

          Your attempt to portray me as a name-caller is very transparent.

        • To say that someone’s writing is “unintelligible” is name calling?

          Ummmmm, no it is just saying that Gannt’s writing (and not Gannt himself) is not comprehensible. It’s not a personal attack.

  2. Mike,

    That is all phffoooooeeeey! and you know it! You say you are neither liberal or conservative, but you hammered away at Thom Stark for being a liberal!

    Oh geesh. This is just mind-numbingly redundant. Obviously, you have taken the conservative side of things, and need to be forthcoming.

    • I made it clear in my review that I was using “liberal Christian” in a descriptive and not pejorative sense. I also made it clear that I value contributions from both liberal and conservative Christians. I also made it clear on which major points I sided with, and which against, conservative Christians. For example, I adopt Jesus’ attitude toward the Scriptures, which is to say I seek to conform my life to them, but I do not see the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy as a helpful document in that regard.

          • Mike,

            Even with only using English interpretations, I feel like you are one of the worst interpreters of Scripture:

            “You act as if you’ve caught Jesus violating his own teaching. It’s obvious the Matthew passage is not referring to people who are seeking attention to make a redemptive point.”

            Come again? Redemption is the point of Jesus being confrontational and calling the Pharisees names? Oh boy. Saved by insults. What is that? A new doctrine you have discovered along side the inerrancy of America’s founders, and universalism. Bah hum bug.

          • Oh? So when he said… Moses said this, but you do this, that’s not going against Scripture? Or when he says eat anything you like, that’s not going against Scripture? Or when he changed the rules of the Sabbath?

          • RODOFA,

            If you don’t think Jesus was speaking redemptively in Matt 23, I encourage you to re-think your position.

            A loving parent will sometimes have to speak sternly to a rebellious child. That severity should always be animated by love. And in Jesus’ case, it always was.

          • Wow, trying to avoid valid criticism by defending conservatives and attacking liberals as non-believers, but then claiming you aren’t conservative even though you take the inerrantist position. So original.

          • “Wow, trying to avoid valid criticism by defending conservatives and attacking liberals as non-believers, but then claiming you aren’t conservative even though you take the inerrantist position. So original.”

            Again, you make this unfair and unsubstantiated charge that I “attack liberals as non-believers.”

            I do believe that Jesus regarded the Scriptures as “Thus saith the Lord” and therefore without error, but I do not embrace the CSBI in doing so.

            I do acknowledge that while most of your views may be consistent with liberal Christians that 1) this is a broad categorization which embraces many variations, and 2) that you may hold to certain positions which would remove you completely from this category. Why then do you insist on pigeon-holing me?

          • “Oh? So when he said… Moses said this, but you do this, that’s not going against Scripture? Or when he says eat anything you like, that’s not going against Scripture? Or when he changed the rules of the Sabbath?”

            No, none of those are cases of Jesus’ going against Scripture. They are cases of His interpreting them according to the spirit instead of according to the flesh.

          • Um…. you realize that this is circular logic, right? You are denying Scripture and chalking everything up to some supersecret gnostic thing you got going on.

      • No, you did not mean it to be descriptive, because you put Thom in the same boat as non-believers. You were using liberal, and you took the conservative scholarship side over and against Thom. Let’s start being honest, okay?

        Quotes:

        “As you can tell from the title, the endorsements, the foreword, and the preface, this book presents a liberal Christian view and is an argument against conservative Christianity.”

        “My purpose in this review therefore is to stand up for Jesus Christ and for the Scriptures. I believe Thom’s book is destructive of faith in both, even though he may not intend it to be so.”

        Liberal=s destructive of Christian faith, of you know, Conservatives.

        Oh, so Conservatives take the side of Jesus, all of the time. Conservativism equals the gospel? Why else pin Thom as undermining your faith. Bah hum.

        “Thom’s view of the Scriptures and Jesus’ are diametrically opposed.”

        oH, there we go again. Thom, liberal. Jesus, conservative.

        “In this chapter, Thom, a liberal Christian, takes to task his conservative Christian brethren.”

        Wait, Thom sees Conservatives as his brethren? How dare he undermine their faith, and call them brothers in the same breath?!?! Contradiction anyone?

        Two can play this game, Mike.

        “This is because both are simply repackaging the long-held liberal view of Scripture which is, generally speaking, less committed to the idea that the Bible is the word of God than the conservative view.”

        Wait, Liberals hate the Bible. Oh me, oh my! NEVER HEARD THAT BEFORE ever! Must be an inerrantist argument, oh wait!

        Last quote Mike:

        “Practically speaking, all agnostics and atheists are errantists. That is, they don’t believe the Bible is wholly true as Jesus did. As we have seen, liberal Christians, like Thom, are also errantists but do believe in some parts of the Bible – though they vary on how much and which parts. The odd thing to me is that Thom seems to feel much more comfortable with other errantists – regardless of their stripe – than he does his own self-confessed fellow Christians. Likewise, atheists and agnostics have professed affinity for Thom’s book (notably John Loftus and Ed Babinski, both self-professed former Christians). Thus I am puzzled that while Thom professes an allegiance to the cause of Christ, he writes a book that is extolled by those who are against Christ.”

        Wait, all errantists are non-believers, therefore Thom should just become a non-believer officially. Great. Now we know what liberals are. Non-believers with churchly-masks. Thanks, Mike. I have learned a lot!

        Sho nuff!

        • RODOFA,

          I stand by all my quotes, but I do not stand by your mis-quotes of them. For example, I said “all agnostics and atheists are errantists,” but you changed it to “all errantists are non-believers” which I did not say.

          You seem far more caught up in this liberal-conservative divide than I am.

          • “You seem far more caught up in this liberal-conservative divide than I am.”

            Obviously I am. You transcend the whole left/right dichotomy, dontca, Mike?

            It’s not like you have called people who disagree with you non-Christians. Oh wait…

            Nope, never mind.

  3. Mike G.

    No, Jesus was not speaking redemptively. He was judging the Pharisees and his other religious peers. Oh wait, I forgot, your Universalist Jesus does not dare judge anyone. My bad!

    • While it is true that everyone is going to heaven, it is also true that we are judged for everything – even every idle word that comes out of our mouths. Some of these judgments occur while we are here, the rest in heaven. Judgment is very, very real. But so is mercy.

      • “While it is true that everyone is going to heaven”

        False. Not everyone is going to have eternal bliss, and there is no place called heaven we get teleported to live forever.

          • No I won’t be surprised. I’ve read Revelation. Heaven lands here on Earth as the New Creation.

            No surprises except for the time that Jesus returns.

          • No, Mike, I don’t think Rod will. The idea of ‘going to heaven when we die’ is a sign of poor exegetical work made by pseudo-scholars

          • Why? Because contrary to actual words and scholarship, you believe that the Spirit has told you something which the Spirit didn’t tell the original authors?

          • All that the original authors thought when they wrote, I cannot say. I can only know what they wrote. And through what they wrote, the Holy Spirit can teach me. This is no different than what is available to every human being who has a Bible – unless someone convinces them that they should not trust what they read in it.

          • Um, not every person knows Hebrew, Greek or Aramaic. Your argument falls flat there.

            What have just said is that what ‘the Spirit’ tells you may in fact be different than what the authors had in mind… again, you have liberalized Scripture.

          • “Um, not every person knows Hebrew, Greek or Aramaic. Your argument falls flat there.

            My argument wasn’t contingent on every person knowing Greek, Hebrew, or Aramaic.

            “What have just said is that what ‘the Spirit’ tells you may in fact be different than what the authors had in mind… again, you have liberalized Scripture.”

            Please tell RODOFA as he thinks I can only think conservative ideas.

          • This is no different than what is available to every human being who has a Bible

            Those are your words, Mike. The problem is, all we have are translations. If they actually had ‘the bible’, it would be Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. Further, even if they knew those ancient languages, that doesn’t tell anyone what the context of the original author was, nor his audience, or how Scripture came together over the centuries. The issue is, is that people think that because they can read Scriptures in their own language that they think they know what it means. Lexicons and translations only tell you what word goes where, not what they actually mean. Words are representational, and unless we get to what they represent, we only have a bare-surface representational theology – in other words, false.

          • “And Isaiah… Rod…. the New Creation is always on earth.”

            Yes, it is here now in our midst. Just as it was in Jesus in Luke 17:20-21, recognized only by the believing.

          • “Those are your words, Mike. The problem is, all we have are translations. If they actually had ‘the bible’, it would be Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. Further, even if they knew those ancient languages, that doesn’t tell anyone what the context of the original author was, nor his audience, or how Scripture came together over the centuries. The issue is, is that people think that because they can read Scriptures in their own language that they think they know what it means. Lexicons and translations only tell you what word goes where, not what they actually mean. Words are representational, and unless we get to what they represent, we only have a bare-surface representational theology – in other words, false.”

            That’s why we have to depend on the Holy Spirit…not the educated elites. We do need laboring scholars to faithfully translate, and we can benefit from other scholars who help us with context. But when the scholars start elevating themselves above the Holy Spirit and decree that only they are qualified to declare what God’s word means to the people, then trouble is brewing. As Jesus said, “Woe to you for you shut off the kingdom of God from men; you do not enter yourselves, and you do not allow those who are entering to go in.”

          • So you’re saying none of the Apostles were ‘educated elites?’

            Wow…. You really have no basis for your argument except your subjective and circular logic of ‘the Spirit told me so.’ You do realize the problem in this, right?

          • Everyone knows that the twelve were common folk. Why are you feigning ignorance about this?

            Paul had been a trained Pharisee, but he chucked all that for Christ, calling it “rubbish” in the process (Philippians 3).

          • Um…. What?

            No, actually, most of the Twelve weren’t ‘common folk.’ Just the opposite.

            And your mischaracterization of Paul’s words, ignoring the volume of his work, is again, denying Scripture.

          • No, actually, most of the Twelve weren’t ‘common folk.’ Just the opposite.

            Then why did the Jewish rulers call Peter and John “uneducated and untrained men” in Acts 4:13?

            And your mischaracterization of Paul’s words, ignoring the volume of his work, is again, denying Scripture.

            I didn’t mischaracterize Paul – I quoted him.  Here it is again: “rubbish” (Philippians 3:8).


            He honored Christ above all…and we can do the same!

          • So, since the Jews said that Jesus wasn’t the Messiah, I guess he wasn’t the Messiah? See where your logic falls? Look at the words in that passage, and then look at the fact that the writers of the Gospels were, well, writers which is a stand out oddity. Further, they used rhetoric, meaning that they had classical education. Further, they knew Scripture, meaning that they had education in the synagogues. Further, John and James worked for their father who was rich enough to employ others.

            No, you quoted only one part, and not the parts where Paul said that he was still a Pharisee…. Further, you fail to note the way of comparison, and instead take it ‘plain sense’ and out of context to boot! This is not honoring Christ

          • Joel,

            I don’t care enough about this point to argue it. I will say that though I have heard others argue for the legitimacy of seminary educations and degrees, I have never heard someone go so far as to assert as you have that the Twelve carried the sort of educational credentials that Nicodemus, Gamaliel, and other Pharisees and Sadducees bore.

            I view Jesus’ initial followers as honest, good-hearted, and humble men who were willing to learn what Jesus taught them and teach it to others, and that they were not interested lengthening the tassels of the robes to impress people.

            Thus while the apostles were as educable as Nicodemus and the rest, they were wiser in the wisdom that really matters.

            If you choose to believe that they had the same sort of spirit as those who today seek recognition in the academy, then so be it. I’d rather devote my energy to declaring that Jesus is Lord and that He lives in our midst that we might live for Him.

          • You don’t care enough to discuss a point which would undermine your position? Shocking.

            I’m not sure I said that they carried the same educational credentials as those others, but I would say pretty close. It is in the writings themselves.

            Your view is pointless because it doesn’t answer the questions.

            Your last line is laughable. Mike, you can continue to worship the spirit of the antichrist or you can worship God. See, I can make off the wall statements too that have no basis in reality.

          • You don’t care enough to discuss a point which would undermine your position? Shocking.

            If that’s the way you feel about it, then let’s continue on this point.

            I’m not sure I said that they carried the same educational credentials as those others, but I would say pretty close. It is in the writings themselves.

            I’m glad you’re admitting that the apostles didn’t carry the same educational credentials as the Sadducees and Pharisees because it’s obvious 1) that they didn’t, and 2) that they eschewed the Pharisaical pecking order entirely, just as Jesus had.

            Educational elites have a pecking order.  They quote each other.  A person with a PhD has more authority than a person with a Master’s, and so on.  Jesus and His apostles quoted God, did not enter the pecking order, and it drove the educated elite batty.

            Re-read 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:16 and see that God chooses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise.

            Your view is pointless because it doesn’t answer the questions.

            And which questions are those?  I’ll be happy to make the connection for you.

            Your last line is laughable. Mike, you can continue to worship the spirit of the antichrist or you can worship God. See, I can make off the wall statements too that have no basis in reality.

            Actually, to say that we can “continue to worship the spirit of the antichrist or we can worship God” is not an off-the-wall statement.  You could make the case that it’s not germane to this point, but you can’t say it’s off-the-wall because it’s an idea that comes from Scripture – which even you concede is “inspired by God” and “cannot be broken.”

          • Wait… you get all that because I said that I’m not sure that they carried the same educational credentials as the various sects of the Jews? Oh my…. First, the Apostles were educated, and one can be educated without having the same credentials as someone else. Jesus was a Pharisee, so was Paul. Further, there was still a ‘pecking order’ in the New Testament. Further, you are judging an ancient culture by today’s standards. Jesus and his apostles quoted the prophets and others, as well as each other, so your point is rather wrong….

            It doesn’t say that God chose foolish people, Mike. If so, then Peter, Paul, and others wouldn’t have been chosen.

            Your connections are only in your head, and not in Scripture.

            I don’t think you get logical discourse, Mike. You can continue to make off-the-wall statements which are not based in reality if you want, but at this point, you are only showing yourself exactly as Thom said you where.

          • The Pharisees and Sadducees operated a system of credentialing similar to what we see in Christian academic circles today. Advancement is based on approval which is granted based on the accumulation of knowledge. It is a worldly system, not different from the way secular academic credentialing operates.

            The system on which Jesus and His apostles operated was different. Advancement with God is based not on what you know, but on what you do with what you know. Being able to recite the entire Bible by heart is worthless if you don’t obey the command to love your brother as yourself. To know the will of God is worthless if we don’t do it.

            I never said that Peter, Paul, and the others were foolish. Rather they were considered foolish in the eyes of the world. God however considered them wise, and that’s why His anointing was so strong upon them.

          • Mike, you are pretty far off base here. Remember, Paul didn’t advance until after he studied.

            They were consider foolish for their beliefs, not this educational status. Paul was a master at rhetoric, and Peter knew it as well. So did Mark. They were prety educated. Unfortunately, for you, to allow them to be would be to destroy your premise.

          • I have the highest possible view of the abilities and work ethic of Paul, Peter, Mark, and the rest. They impress me no end. And part of what impresses me about them is that they put more weight on obeying the word of God than on academic credentials and the approval of other people. They feared God. And it cost them their lives. Because they did these things, we are privileged to read their words…and mimic them if we can.

          • The only thing I’m dodging is the box you’re trying to put me into.

            As I’ve said, they were educated. And I’m proud of all they learned. How much they knew when Jesus found them and how much they learn later, I don’t know. However much they knew when Jesus found them I’m sure they learned even more later. This is because having to go into all the world with His message would require knowledge that they wouldn’t have needed in Palestine.

            My point has never been that they weren’t learners. It has been that they didn’t buy into the caste system practiced by the Sadducees and Pharisees. In other words, they didn’t take pride in educational credentials. They took pride in their Lord.

  4. Mike,

    Is inerrancy a liberal position or a conservative position?

    That’s what I thought. Once you embrace the label of inerrantist, you are a conservative. No such thing as a nonbeliever or atheist who is an inerrantist.

    Unless you are setting us up for a really bad joke.

    • The argument about “inerrancy” is to me off the point. The point is that Jesus regarded the Scriptures as the word of God. Is the word of God without error? Of course, but that’s not its most salient characteristic.

      • My point:

        Only conservatives push inerrancy as a doctrine. Who cares what statement it comes from or whose definition you’re using.

        Plus, any critical engagement with the text to you is taboo. Otherwise you wouldn’t have had a problem with Thom’s use of the Documentary Hypothesis anyhow.

        You are just trying to escape being criticized, so you and your interpretation can be deemed inerrant.

        • “Only conservatives push inerrancy as a doctrine. Who cares what statement it comes from or whose definition you’re using.

          As I wrote just above, I don’t push inerrancy as a doctrine.

          “Plus, any critical engagement with the text to you is taboo. Otherwise you wouldn’t have had a problem with Thom’s use of the Documentary Hypothesis anyhow.”

          The findings of scholars can be interesting but I do not put them on a par with the word of God.

          “You are just trying to escape being criticized, so you and your interpretation can be deemed inerrant.

          If I’m “just trying to escape being criticized,” I’m failing miserably.

          • I don’t see anything there that is inconsistent with what I’ve said here. They are two different contexts.

            As I keep saying, the term “inerrancy” is of little utility to me. I’m more interested in the Scriptures being regarded as the word of God.

        • Whose word do you think He thought it was?

          I gave you some of the scriptures from which I draw the conclusion that He regarded it as the word of God. Please give me some of the scriptures that convince you that He didn’t.

          • So you want me to prove a negative? You have yet to give me a verse which states that anyone thought Scripture was the ‘word of God.’

          • I’ve given you several. Here’s another: John 10:55.

            By the way, you didn’t answer my question: If you don’t think that Jesus thought that the Bible was the word of God, whose word do you think He thought it was?

          • You mean Joh 10.35. First, there are two concepts going on there. One is by Jesus and the other is by John. To tie the two together, you would have to believe that the Old Testament was given in written form, because that is what Scripture is, written. Further, note what John says about logos. Jesus is talking about the verbal communication from God through the Prophet to the ancestors. Scripture as a witness to what God has done, his revelation, cannot be broken.

            Well, you didn’t exactly ask the right question. First, you are still calling Scripture ‘word’ as in ‘word of God.’ I could quote John 10.34 which the Law is said to be the Jews’ and not God’s, but I’m not. Instead, Jesus believed, as others Jews did, that the writings where Holy, but considering that he assigned ownership, so as Moses or Isaiah, I’d say that Jesus believed that Scripture was the human witness to God’s revelation, inspired by God – as other Jews did.

          • Yes, John 10:35. Thank you. Note that “Scripture” and “the word of God” are used synonymously.

            By the way, if you don’t think that the Scripture is a faithful rendering of what God spoke orally, why do you have any confidence that you actually know the contents of His oral word?

          • Uh, no, it’s not. John is using Scripture in his editing….

            Tell me, in the Gospels, when they record different statements and different words of the account… I guess Jesus was speaking multiple times?

            In other words, unless Scripture – contrary to every known ANE and Greek format – matches up with your 21st century Western European mindset, then it is wrong?

            That’s what I mean when i say you deny Scripture.

          • Uh, no, it’s not. John is using Scripture in his editing….

            So you think John was misrepresenting Jesus’ view?

            Tell me, in the Gospels, when they record different statements and different words of the account… I guess Jesus was speaking multiple times?

            Sometimes.  Other times, it was different human memories of the same event.  When they are different accounts of the same event, they are identical in their gist, their essence, their meaning.  And where variations in phrasings occur (e.g. “kingdom of heaven” in Matthew versus “kingdom of God” in Mark), such variation are instructive for us because they teach us the synonymity of terms.

            In other words, unless Scripture – contrary to every known ANE and Greek format – matches up with your 21st century Western European mindset, then it is wrong?

            Scripture seldom matches to my mindset.  I am constantly trying to get mymindset to match up to it.

            That’s what I mean when i say you deny Scripture.

            I cannot deny that which gives me life.

          • Ugh… John includes his editorial thought along side the story he is relating for his readers.

            So, now Scripture contains human memories which do not always match up… well, you are on the right track… and then you go south… no, sometimes they aren’t relating the same meaning in their use of previous material… You are forcing Scripture together shows that you have no respect for Scripture. Shame, really..

            Mike, you are creating a circular pattern which even you contradict. Wow….

          • There is nothing circular about my path. Watch the progression:

            1. I am an agnostic and don’t read the Bible until I reach my late 20’s.

            2. I begin reading it believing it to be entirely the work of men – an anthology of great literature and no more.

            3. I become persuaded in my reading that it is something more. I come to realize that God is touching my heart through Jesus Christ, about whom I am reading.

            4. I give my life to Jesus Christ and seek to adopt His attitude toward the Scriptures. He holds it in the highest possible regard, using it to shape His life…and death. He sought to do everything “as it is written.”

            I’m not saying that my progression that path was as swift as it should have been, but there is nothing circular about it. I was there…and now I am here.

          • The graphic is cute, but it doesn’t represent the flow of my logic. I’ve stated how I think about this already, but let me restate it in a little more detail:

            1) the New Testament documents are what they present themselves to be until proven otherwise (i.e. actual correspondence between 1st-century Jews and others about a man raised from the dead according to the promises of God), 2) I find their message logical and compelling (though not necessarily the word of God), 3) accepting their message (the centrality of which is Jesus as the Messiah, raised from the dead), I believe that the Old Testament is the word of God (because this is what Jesus believed) 4) due to its similarity to the Old Testament, I conclude that the New Testament is also the word of God.

            You can disagree with my logic if you like, but there is nothing circular about it.

          • Mike, the circular logic comes in at the point in which you predetermine what you think Jesus thought and how you define your terminology, and then, base other evidences on that, which feed your presuppositions. Very circular.

          • But I didn’t predetermine what I thought Jesus thought. Rather I read in the Scripture passages like Matt 4:1-11; 15:1-9; 5:17-48, and others I have quoted, of the regard that Jesus had for the written word. Does He ever explicitly say in the NT, “The Scriptures are the word of God”? No. But that’s the only thing I can infer from all that He does say about them.

            Similarly, He never explicitly says, “I am God,” but I cannot help but conclude that He is.

            I certainly didn’t approach the Scriptures with these notions, so the accusation that my reasoning on them is circular just lacks merit.

          • Inference is predetermination, Mike. You are doing the inference, based on your viewpoint of what is going on. This is the basis of your circular logic. What you think is happening will be proved because you interpret it based on what you think is happening

        • hang on.. which scriptures are we talking about here? Cant be the New Testament.. must be the Older Testament, but hang on, which books exactly? We know some passages and therefore some books that Jesus quoted from.. but we dont know what form they were in, nor did he quote every passage, so we dont really know…

          People who make such claims, as you know Joel, just prove they dont know what the heck they are talking about..

          • Check any Tanakh. Check any Old Testament from any of the three major branches of Christianity. There is no discrepancy in the core canon.

            If all of modernity testifies to the canon that 1st Century Judaism and Christianity has given us, why are you two guys scratching your heads about what’s in it?

          • Wait? Have you see the Old Testament in Catholic, Orthodox, Coptic, and Armenian traditions? Do you not know the ‘discrepancies’ which abound? Further, since canon came much, much later than Jesus’ time on earth, what does a modern canon have to do with the discussion?

            ‘all modernity’? I’m not sure you actually understand the roles of the Canon.

          • Have you see the Old Testament in Catholic, Orthodox, Coptic, and Armenian traditions?

            Yes.

            Do you not know the ‘discrepancies’ which abound?

            The only discrepancies in listing are those having to do with the Apocrypha (or Deutero-canon).  The core canon is the same for all.

            Further, since canon came much, much later than Jesus’ time on earth, what does a modern canon have to do with the discussion?

            Formalization of the canon came later, but that was simply ratification of what was already acknowledged.  Read the New Testament and see that that there was no controversy about which books were sacred.

            ‘all modernity’? I’m not sure you actually understand the roles of the Canon.

            There is no controversy in modern times about which books were sacred in ancient times.  If there were, no one could have a discussion about the Bible without first defining which “Bible” he wanted to discuss.

             

          • Mike, your ‘core canon’, then, is only what you agree with? That’s pretty subjective, don’t you think?

            The New Testament made use of what you call the Deuterocanon. Oh, wait, that’s not in your core canon. The New Testament doesn’t given a canonical list, Mike.

            Actually, yes, there is a controversy, just as it was in ancient times. Some considered Sirach, some Psalms of Solomon, some Wisdom, some Enoch – Jude quotes Enoch and the Assumption of Moses – so, yeah, there are the controversies which remain.

            Well, since the ‘Bible’ is a human invention… why are we talking about the bible anyway. I thought we were talking about the Scriptures.

          • Mike, your ‘core canon’, then, is only what you agree with? That’s pretty subjective, don’t you think?

            The core canon is what Jews and Christians all agree upon.  It’s objective fact that they do. What I agree with is irrelevant to that fact.

            The New Testament made use of what you call the Deuterocanon. Oh, wait, that’s not in your core canon.

            No problem.  I don’t reject the deutero-canon.  I just say it’s not, by definition, in the core.  But this is not me saying this, it’s all Judaism and Christianity.

            The New Testament doesn’t given a canonical list, Mike.

            No, but we can observe the books they quote.

            Actually, yes, there is a controversy, just as it was in ancient times. Some considered Sirach, some Psalms of Solomon, some Wisdom, some Enoch – Jude quotes Enoch and the Assumption of Moses – so, yeah, there are the controversies which remain.

            This proves what I’m saying.  None of these books you mention are in the core canon of Judaism and Christianity.

            Well, since the ‘Bible’ is a human invention… why are we talking about the bible anyway. I thought we were talking about the Scriptures.

            “Bible” and “Scripture” are synonyms.  It was put together by the hand of men who were inspired by the Spirit of God.

          • You realize that you are only stating, in reality, that only what you agree with is fact.

            Actually, there are sects of Jews who only accept the Torah. So, also, we let the Jews decide which books for the Christians to accept? Oh my….

            Umm… I suspect that you have given yourself the right to decide and define the ‘core.’

            The NT doesn’t quote a lot of OT books, Mike…

            Um, how does saying that the NT doesn’t give a canonical list, quotes from some not in most OT canons, and doesn’t quote from some in most OT canons prove your point?

            No, actually, Bible is an invention of humans. Scripture is a word which it calls itself.

            You need a real lexicon, and not one you created.

          • You realize that you are only stating, in reality, that only what you agree with is fact.

            No, but I do agree with facts.

            Actually, there are sects of Jews who only accept the Torah.

            There are always strange sects.  My point is that if you go into your local bookstore whether it be a Barnes and Noble, a Christian bookstore, or a Jewish bookstore – or local library, for that matter – the core contents of the Hebrew Bible (i.e. the Old Testament) will be the same in all the Bibles.  Not only is that a fact, it’s a remarkable fact.

            Yes, some of the Old Testaments will have some extra books (i.e. the Apocrypha or Deutero-canon, etc.), but none will have fewer than the core 39 books (and though the Jews arrange and count them differently, the contents are the same).

            And when it comes to the New Testaments, those are all identical – the same 27 in every edition.

            So, also, we let the Jews decide which books for the Christians to accept? Oh my….

            I’m not saying that at all.  I’m just saying that you should admit that Jews and Christians have decided on the same contents of the HB/OT.

            Umm… I suspect that you have given yourself the right to decide and define the ‘core.’

            Not at all.  I’m just recognizing, along with everyone else, what the core is.  You just don’t seem to want to admit it for some reason.

            The NT doesn’t quote a lot of OT books, Mike…

            The NT is constantly referring to the OT.  In fact, the NT seldom if ever refers to itself.  When it speaks of Scripture it is almost always speaking of the Hebrew Bible.

            I have found Christ in every book of the Old Testament.  But even if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t go ripping a book out of my OT just because I couldn’t find a quote from it in the NT.

            I think the core canon of the OT represents the core canon in Jesus’ day.  I want the Bible He trusted.  And I believe we have it.

            Um, how does saying that the NT doesn’t give a canonical list, quotes from some not in most OT canons, and doesn’t quote from some in most OT canons prove your point?

            I think it’s you saying those things, and I don’t know what your point is.  My point is that Jesus gives us confidence to trust the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) as the word of God.  And the apostles He sent give us confidence to accept the New Testament on that same basis.

            Aren’t you attending a seminary in pursuit of a theological degree?  If you don’t think the Bible is the word of God, whose word do you think it is?

            No, actually, Bible is an invention of humans. Scripture is a word which it calls itself.

            It’s true that the word “Bible” is not in the Bible, unless you consider verses such as Josh 1:8.  Nevertheless, calling the Scripture “the Book” – which is what we’re doing when we call it the Bible – seems perfectly appropriate.  After all, it is THE book.  What other book approaches it in value?

            You need a real lexicon, and not one you created.

            I wouldn’t have the patience to create a lexicon.  I do, however, try to pay close attention to how the Bible writers used words, and I try to lean on them most for my understanding of what they’re trying to say – especially when one of them is commenting on something one of the others has written.  That said, I do reference dictionaries, lexicons, and other tools because they can be helpful.

          • Oddly enough, the only facts you accept are those you agree with…

            Oh look, speaking of ignoring facts and choosing those that you’ll accept…. I wouldn’t call the fact that people accept some of the same books a miraculous fact, Mike. It’s part of a concerted effort by the faith traditions to gel together a set of books, as Tertullian said – who, by the way, like Jude, used Enoch.

            And tell me, who set that canon?

            Um, no, actually, the Jews and Christians haven’t accepted the same books… but I would expect you to understand or acknowledge that. I could go on about the Greek church and the Septuagint, but you would only make an excuse of why this fits into, only, your world…

            #facepalm. Considering that there wasn’t an ‘old testament’ when the NT was being written, the NT wasn’t quoting from a solid OT, it was, as I said, quoting from various books while not quoting from others. And, rarely did the NT quote from the Hebrew Bible.

            Jesus didn’t quote the Hebrew BIble by the way. Further, since Jude quoted Enoch, do you trust it? Or the Assumption of Moses? Or the books of Wisdom? Or what about those books Jesus didn’t quote? Remember, he didn’t quote the OT – he quoted various books and even some we don’t know about yet.

            You still don’t get the fact that the Scriptures aren’t the word of God, although I’ve asked, and you’ve failed to show your position. The Scriptures are, as I’ve said numerous times, human witnesses of God’s revelation inspired by God. Duh.

            Um, wow… Joshua 1.8 refers to Deuteronomy. Further, to solidify the Scriptures which are always plural into one singular book only denies them their voices, something you don’t have a problem doing.

            Wow… that lexicon comment flew over your head, didn’t it? You have, like Mormons and others, created your own theo-speak which allows you to speak in circles so that only you understand – and allows you to hear others according to your own understanding, not about what is actually being said. Further, noting a use of a word in Scripture – and I assume you mean the English – is not understanding what the author meant to say.

          • Oddly enough, the only facts you accept are those you agree with…

            Facts are facts – whether you agree with them or not is nonsensical concept.  It’s a fact that my dog died.  I don’t like that fact, but to ask whether I agree with it doesn’t make sense.  Facts have to be accepted whether we like them or not.  To ask whether we agree with them is just silly.

            I accept as fact all the information I determine to be factual.  This is what every sane person does – you included.

            Oh look, speaking of ignoring facts and choosing those that you’ll accept…. I wouldn’t call the fact that people accept some of the same books a miraculous fact, Mike. It’s part of a concerted effort by the faith traditions to gel together a set of books, as Tertullian said – who, by the way, like Jude, used Enoch.

            I didn’t call it miraculous; I called it remarkable.

            And tell me, who set that canon?

            Canon is pronounced by a group’s leaders but they are usually only ratifying and formalizing what has already generally accepted in the group.

            Um, no, actually, the Jews and Christians haven’t accepted the same books… but I would expect you to understand or acknowledge that. I could go on about the Greek church and the Septuagint, but you would only make an excuse of why this fits into, only, your world…

            The Septuagint is simply the Hebrew Bible translated plus some extra books.  Protestants stick with the Tanakh, Catholics add the Deutero-canon, and the Greek church a few more.  When I say core canon I’m talking about the Hebrew Bible where the Old Testament is concerned. It is this inner boundary of canon that I’m focused on.  I don’t have a hard opinion on the outer boundary of the canon.  That is, I don’t object to the larger canon of the Roman or Greek churches.  Nor do I object to anyone who wants to include Enoch or the Assumption of Moses.  I remain struck by the remarkable fact that there is no major disagreement on the core canon.

            #facepalm. Considering that there wasn’t an ‘old testament’ when the NT was being written, the NT wasn’t quoting from a solid OT, it was, as I said, quoting from various books while not quoting from others. And, rarely did the NT quote from the Hebrew Bible.

            The NT generally quoted from the Septuagint.  It was indeed “a solid OT,” though it could carry extra books, as I mentioned above.  Of course, none of the apostles called this collection “the Old Testament.”  Even so, to say that the collection didn’t exist is to deny a fact.

            Jesus didn’t quote the Hebrew BIble by the way.

            If He spoke Aramaic He could well have quoted the Targum.  What language He used doesn’t present a problem as long as He had a good translation.

            Further, since Jude quoted Enoch, do you trust it?  Or the Assumption of Moses? Or the books of Wisdom?

            I haven’t studied them enough to have a hard opinion.  I don’t have an issue with others who accept or reject them.

            I have some interest in books near the outer boundaries of the canon because I may find Christ in them.  But in the meantime, I know I can find Christ in the books of the core canon so I keep learning of Him there.

            Or what about those books Jesus didn’t quote? Remember, he didn’t quote the OT – he quoted various books and even some we don’t know about yet.

            He quoted Moses and the Prophets far more than any other source.  That’s what most interests me: He quoted them, and they wrote of Him.

            You still don’t get the fact that the Scriptures aren’t the word of God, although I’ve asked, and you’ve failed to show your position. The Scriptures are, as I’ve said numerous times, human witnesses of God’s revelation inspired by God. Duh.

            But that doesn’t tell me why you believe Christ is the word of God.  If the Scriptures are just human witnesses inspired by God but not the word of God, then how do you know Christ is the word of God?  That is, why do you believe it…and whom are you believing when you believe it?

            Um, wow… Joshua 1.8 refers to Deuteronomy. Further, to solidify the Scriptures which are always plural into one singular book only denies them their voices, something you don’t have a problem doing.

            The Bible can be cacophonous, but it comes together in Christ.

            Wow… that lexicon comment flew over your head, didn’t it? You have, like Mormons and others, created your own theo-speak which allows you to speak in circles so that only you understand – and allows you to hear others according to your own understanding, not about what is actually being said. 

            No, I pretty much draw my vocabulary for God from the Scriptures.  Obviously, using the word “Bible” may be an exception, but I presume you use the word “Bible,” too.  In fact, my thinking and speech are so saturated with Scripture that I often have to remind myself to speak in terms that those less familiar with the Bible can understand.

            Further, noting a use of a word in Scripture – and I assume you mean the English – is not understanding what the author meant to say.

            Then people who spoke only Aramaic in Jesus’ day could not have understood the words of Moses and the prophets?

          • Mike, you constantly disparage the facts you don’t agree with, such as the fact that the Scriptures aren’t the word of God, or JDEP, etc…

            You have no idea what the Septuagint is. It is not just a translation, Mike. If you had actually studied it, you would know it. You know, a fact…

            Mike, the OT was not canonized during the time of the NT. This is why they quoted from lots of books, not others, and some which didn’t make it into later canon lists. Not sure you understand this fact.

            See my previous comments about the Septuagint. In several places, the Septuagint is vastly different than the Hebrew. Not just books, but passages, and even order of those passages. Of course, this is a fact. I thought you were okay with facts.

            I would say, that you haven’t studied much, actually, and as I have pointed out, it shows. Repeatedly.

            Some people find Christ in the Buddhist canon, or the Quran… I guess by your understanding, we should get those books too….

            or Plato, Aristotle and others….

            Do you even understand what inspiration is? You don’t know what ‘word of God’ is, or canonization… Inspiration doesn’t mean transcription. Not sure if you know that fact or not.

            Let me show you an example of your dodginess: You mention, in relation to your theory about the Bible being not a human invention, Josh 1.8. I give you the appropriate answer. You reply,

            The Bible can be cacophonous, but it comes together in Christ.

            In other words, when you got an answer you didn’t like, you simply moved the question over and provided your own answer…. that’s not honest.

            Mike, you use the words of an English translation without knowing what they actually mean. Using the same words found in Scripture doesn’t mean you are speaking ‘Scripturally’. A little arrogant there.

            Actually, no… that’s why they had teachers, and expounders, and rabbis, and scribes, and different – lots of different – sects.

          • Mike, you constantly disparage the facts you don’t agree with, such as the fact that the Scriptures aren’t the word of God, or JDEP, etc…

            Ah, you may consider these facts, but not everyone does.

            I consider the Scriptures to be the word of God and you do not.  I have at least offered you what I mean by that and how I arrived at that conviction.  By contrast, I’m still waiting for you to tell me what you think the Scriptures are and how you came to that conclusion.

            As for JEPD, it’s called the Documentary Hypothesis for a reason – it’s a theory, not a fact.

            You have no idea what the Septuagint is. It is not just a translation, Mike. If you had actually studied it, you would know it. You know, a fact…

            I have an English copy of it on my desk and find it useful.

            As for your saying it is not a translation, I quote the first sentence of the Wikipedia article on the Septuagint:  The Septuagint “is an ancient Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible.”

            Mike, the OT was not canonized during the time of the NT. This is why they quoted from lots of books, not others, and some which didn’t make it into later canon lists. Not sure you understand this fact.

            I understand that while we have no list or record of a formal canonization of OT books in the NT, it is not as though Jesus and His apostles sent the crowds into utter confusion when they referred to “Moses and the Prophets,”  “the Law and the Prophets and the Writings,” or “the Scriptures,” or any of the other synonyms they used.  If no one understood what might be included in those terms, how could the terms have had any useful meaning to the hearers?

            See my previous comments about the Septuagint. In several places, the Septuagint is vastly different than the Hebrew. Not just books, but passages, and even order of those passages. Of course, this is a fact. I thought you were okay with facts.

            Yes, these are facts, but the differences do not alter the main themes of the Scriptures. The fact that the NT quotes both the LXX and the HB without making an issue of which is which testifies to the fact that the translation was faithful in all important respects to the original.

            I would say, that you haven’t studied much, actually, and as I have pointed out, it shows. Repeatedly.

            “Studied much” is a relative term.  I’ve studied the Bible more than some and less than others.

            Some people find Christ in the Buddhist canon, or the Quran… I guess by your understanding, we should get those books too….or Plato, Aristotle and others….

            As long as people find Christ, I’m not going to complain about their sources.  I will tell you that He is presented clearly and comprehensively in the Bible.  In fact, He is its theme.

            Do you even understand what inspiration is?

            “God-breathed” would be a literal rendering.  It’s the spirit of God infusing a person’s spirit   with the thoughts of God.  Positive emotions can be generated by those thoughts, which is why some people associate inspiration with a feeling.

            You don’t know what ‘word of God’ is,

            Isn’t it the word that comes from God?

            or canonization…

            A listing of accepted books.

            Inspiration doesn’t mean transcription. Not sure if you know that fact or not.

            I do.

            Let me show you an example of your dodginess: You mention, in relation to your theory about the Bible being not a human invention, Josh 1.8. I give you the appropriate answer. You reply,

            The Bible can be cacophonous, but it comes together in Christ.

            In other words, when you got an answer you didn’t like, you simply moved the question over and provided your own answer…. that’s not honest.

            I did not say that the Bible was not a human invention, I said it was not exclusively a human invention.  I explicitly said that the documents were produced by the hand of men but with the inspiration of the Spirit of God.  That is, we may consider them a joint effort – a work of God through humanity.

            I see nothing dishonest or dodgy about saying this.

            Mike, you use the words of an English translation without knowing what they actually mean. Using the same words found in Scripture doesn’t mean you are speaking ‘Scripturally’. A little arrogant there.

            Are you saying that it’s impossible for a person who reads an English translation of the Bible to speak scripturally – that one has to speak all the original languages in order to be able to speak scripturally?

            Actually, no… that’s why they had teachers, and expounders, and rabbis, and scribes, and different – lots of different – sects.

            And because of this Jesus had to point out that the true meaning of the scriptures was being obscured by these educational elite.  Jesus kept taking the disciples back to the scriptures themselves.  He did not send His disciples to sit at the feet of Nicodemus or Caiaphas.

            Someone who speaks only English can go to a bookstore, buy an English translation of the Bible, read it, and come to learn about God just a 1st-century Jew could go to an Aramaic targum and hear the word of God for himself.  Better to hear a few words directly from God than unending words from the Pharisees and Sadducees of the world.  Or, as Jesus would have put it, beware of the leaven that is added to the bread.

          • Mike, some people do not believe the fact that we landed on the moon. It doesn’t make it any less a fact. To argue that people need to believe facts, as you seem to do, in order for them to be facts, is the height of subjectivity.

            Actually, I know what JDEP is, and I believe that it is, for the most part, a pretty good settled fact. You really can’t state otherwise.

            Mike, let me show you how bad you are at reading words for what they are:

            I said…

            It is not just a translation

            You quoted me as saying,

            As for your saying it is not a translation

            You forgot the word ‘just.’ Further, while Wiki is good for things, you should be better prepared. You didn’t answer the other points I raised in discussing the Septuagint. Again, it is not just a translation, but a reauthoring at points and at other points, an interpretation. Further, it is a different canonical message than the Hebrew Bible.

            Mike, do you realize that the Sadduccees only accepted the Torah? Or that the Essenes had tons of other books? Since Jesus was speaking mainly to the Pharisees, he was no doubt using their books list(s). Further, there is the point of merisms which occur frequently in ancient literature. What you have done is applied meaning, your meaning, to those words, and not sought to understand what they actually meant.

            So in other words, you are just making up ways to avoid reality. Rarely is the Hebrew bible quoted in the NT. For the most part, since that is what they had, the NT authors quote from the LXX. In many different aspects, the LXX provides for a more ‘Christian’ foundation for the NT than the Hebrew bible does. For example, the use of it by the author of Hebrews or even the Virgin Birth. And yet, because you don’t know the differences, you assume that they are the same. How odd… I mean you ignoring facts…

            The ‘Bible’ is a human invention. No doubt, you have studied only the human invention.

            So the Quran is as inspired as the Scriptures?

            You realized that ‘God-breathed’ is a term coined by the author of Timothy, right? And here, you are applying your meaning to it.

            The word of God is used in the OT when God told the prophets to go and tell, oral, the people of Israel something. In the NT, it is Christ, who came from God to tell the people of Israel something. It is not the written Scriptures.

            Canonization is not just a listing of accepted books. It is a very long process, generally made as a reaction against outside forces.

            You still aren’t answering for your misuse of Joshua 1.8 in an attempt to prove that the ancient writers would have agreed with the use of a singular book for all of Scriptures and instead, dodge it even more.

            I am saying that just because someone can quote a phrase or use a word found in Scripture, it doesn’t mean that they are doing so correctly.

            You really are an anti-intellectual, aren’t you? Jesus wasn’t. Neither were the writers of the Gospels or the New Testament. Further, it wasn’t the ‘educational elite’ which obscured the Scriptures.

            I know you don’t realize, but the 1st-Century Jew, who couldn’t read, had to go to a sect leader to hear and then to have Scripture expounded. They just didn’t pick up a text and read it for themselves, because it was almost blasphemous to do so. See, they had respect for the things of God.

          • Mike, some people do not believe the fact that we landed on the moon. It doesn’t make it any less a fact. To argue that people need to believe facts, as you seem to do, in order for them to be facts, is the height of subjectivity.

            I don’t argue that.  I just argue that some of your opinions are not as well established as the moon landing.

            Actually, I know what JDEP is, and I believe that it is, for the most part, a pretty good settled fact. You really can’t state otherwise.

            I believe that you believe that.

            As for your distinctions between the Hebrew Bible and the Septuagint, I’m glad you are well briefed.  However, those distinctions are all minor in view of the thrust of the Scriptures.  They testify about Christ, and whether one is using the HB or the LXX, he will still be led to the Christ of the New Testament.

            As for the Quran, I do not believe it is inspired by God.  Do you?

            You realized that ‘God-breathed’ is a term coined by the author of Timothy, right? And here, you are applying your meaning to it.

            No, 2 Timothy is the primary place I get my understanding of the term.

            You still aren’t answering for your misuse of Joshua 1.8 in an attempt to prove that the ancient writers would have agreed with the use of a singular book for all of Scriptures and instead, dodge it even more.

            Here’s what I said:  It’s true that the word “Bible” is not in the Bible, unless you consider verses such as Josh 1:8.   That’s all.  You’re inferring an argument I wasn’t making.

            As for your assertion that Josh 1:8 must refer to Deuteronomy and cannot refer to the Pentateuch, I don’t see that in the text nor do I recall you offering a scriptural basis for your view.

            You really are an anti-intellectual, aren’t you? Jesus wasn’t. Neither were the writers of the Gospels or the New Testament. Further, it wasn’t the ‘educational elite’ which obscured the Scriptures.

            I’m only anti-intellectual when someone implies that advanced academic degrees are required before someone can know and understand the word of God well enough to obey it and please God.

            I know you don’t realize, but the 1st-Century Jew, who couldn’t read, had to go to a sect leader to hear and then to have Scripture expounded. They just didn’t pick up a text and read it for themselves, because it was almost blasphemous to do so. See, they had respect for the things of God.

            Yes, and this is why Jesus was so upset with those leaders who were not helping people find God.

          • No, I think you confuse opinions and facts. I and others find it pretty established.

            And I believe that you think you study the bible. I can actually prove my stuff… You, on the other hand….

            Your refusal to accept the differences between the LXX and the HB are telling, Mike. They indicate that when presented with facts, you will reinterpret them to fit your premise instead of accepting that you may be wrong.

            As for the Quran, you seem to accept anything that points to Christ, although this only the Christ you think it is.

            Okay, let’s try this again. The author of 2 Tim. Made the word up. We do not have a real lexicon of ancient times to understand exactl what he was getting at.

            Um, first, because the Torah was written when Joshua was around. Seconded, Joshua follows Deuteronomy and is a Deuteronomistic history. Logic and history dictate that Joshua was referring to Deuteronomy.

            In other words, when someone disagrees with you and shows you, through ‘advance study’ that you are wrong, then they are wrong. Further, you realize that it takes advance study to translate the Scriptures. According to you, then, they are wrong.

            Um, no, that’s not why Jesus was upset, actually.

          • No, I think you confuse opinions and facts. I and others find it pretty established.

            I’m aware that a lot of people accept the JEPD theory; I’m also aware that a lot don’t.  God knows who is right.

            And I believe that you think you study the bible. I can actually prove my stuff… You, on the other hand….

            I don’t expect anyone to believe what I say apart from scriptural proof.

            Your refusal to accept the differences between the LXX and the HB are telling, Mike. They indicate that when presented with facts, you will reinterpret them to fit your premise instead of accepting that you may be wrong.

            But I do accept those differences.  I just say that the two collections don’t differ on any important truth.  I actually prefer the LXX because, as you rightly point out, it seems to be the one the writers of the NT used more often.  Thus I think the LXX will get us to the NT meaning  more quickly.

            As for the Quran, you seem to accept anything that points to Christ, although this only the Christ you think it is.

            Since Muhammad exalts himself above Christ, I don’t see the Quran as a good source.  No one who is of God would exalt himself above Christ.

            Okay, let’s try this again. The author of 2 Tim. Made the word up. We do not have a real lexicon of ancient times to understand exactl what he was getting at.

            I don’t think you and I differ on the meaning of 2 Tim 3:16.

            Um, first, because the Torah was written when Joshua was around. Seconded, Joshua follows Deuteronomy and is a Deuteronomistic history. Logic and history dictate that Joshua was referring to Deuteronomy.

            That’s inference.  I don’t object to inference.  As you know, I use it.  I just wanted you to recognize that you use it, too.

            (By the way, when I do infer something, I try to have a stronger basis than what you just demonstrated.  I’m not saying you’re wrong; I’m just saying I try not to leap that far.)

            In other words, when someone disagrees with you and shows you, through ‘advance study’ that you are wrong, then they are wrong. Further, you realize that it takes advance study to translate the Scriptures. According to you, then, they are wrong.

            That’s a generalization and it really doesn’t apply.  I think it’s my responsibility to be open to correction from anyone – whether a PhD or a little child.  The point is not who is the smartest, but rather who speaks the will of Christ.

            Um, no, that’s not why Jesus was upset, actually.

            I was thinking of Matt 23:13.

          • But you don’t have Scriptural proof…

            Come on, admit it, you just discovered the LXX.

            That’s not inference – that is historical reality. It’s not a leap, it’s actual historical fact.

            Matthew 23.13 dealt with racism and ethnocentrism, by the way.

  5. “Indeed I do not call people who disagree with me non-Christians. In fact, I try to let people self-describe.”

    So you are basically denying what you said about Thom. Just retract your paragraph, you know, the one about Thom being liberal, and asking why he is a Christian in the first place.

    It’s okay to retract. It shows humility. Otherwise, you are being extremely dishonest here.

          • Hmm. You don’t believe the Bible is the word of God and you won’t tell whose word you do believe it is, but if I “start speaking Scripturally” I’ll find the question already answered. Someone might say you’re writing unintelligibly.

          • Here are some things the Scriptures say about themselves:

            All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. – 2 Tim 3:16-17

            “If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), – Jn 10:35

            “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Matt 5:17-19

            Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith; to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen.  – Rom 16:25-27

            “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; Jn 5:39

            Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” – Lk 24:44

            It is clear from these and other passages that the scriptures of the prophets and the apostles are God’s message.  They were bringing us God’s word, not their own.

             

          • Nice to know you can copy and paste proof-texts that have no bearing on your assertion that Scriptures are the ‘word of God’ and instead, states just the opposite, especially John 5.39 which actually has Jesus speaking against you, Mike, directly.

            The Scriptures are human witness to God’s revelation, not the ‘word of God’ written down maybe generations after they had occurred, and sometimes with historical hyperbole. Sometimes with poetry, in ancient languages. Which is why Scholarship is needed, because for so long, we have misunderstood so many things… like YEC, or KJVO or eschatology, or the idea that the Gospels are actual history and not (his)story)…. Or that the Scriptures are the ‘word of God.’ Or that women can’t preach, or that slavery is a-okay with Jesus, or the prosperity gospel, or a host of other things people get because they are arrogant enough to believe that they know what the ‘Bible’ says (to them).

          • Nice to know you can copy and paste proof-texts that have no bearing on your assertion that Scriptures are the ‘word of God’ and instead, states just the opposite, especially John 5.39 which actually has Jesus speaking against you, Mike, directly.

            Au contraire!  You of all people, Joel – because you are the one who rightly said that “Jesus is the word of God” – should recognize that Jesus is bearing witness to the divine origin of the Scriptures in this verse.  For if the Scriptures bear witness to Him, and He is the word of God, how could humans bear witness to Him?  Only God knew who He was!  (Matt 11:27).  Humans would only know about the Son of God what God told them.  He did tell them…and they wrote it down.  That’s what we call the Scriptures.

            The Scriptures are human witness to God’s revelation, not the ‘word of God’ written down maybe generations after they had occurred, and sometimes with historical hyperbole. Sometimes with poetry, in ancient languages. Which is why Scholarship is needed, because for so long, we have misunderstood so many things… like YEC, or KJVO or eschatology, or the idea that the Gospels are actual history and not (his)story)…. Or that the Scriptures are the ‘word of God.’ Or that women can’t preach, or that slavery is a-okay with Jesus, or the prosperity gospel, or a host of other things people get because they are arrogant enough to believe that they know what the ‘Bible’ says (to them).

            I’m not standing up for all these movements you hate.  I’m standing up for the Christ of the Scriptures.  He is alive and He deserves our constant devotion.

          • I don’t think you understand the Greek behind the English translation. He was condemning the use of Scripture as the Pharisees where using it, as you use it. Further, Matthew tells you how Scriptures testify of Christ. It was through this false notion of prophecy, but through the Matthean way of exegetical work, which Paul and then the author of Hebrews used. Shame that you miss this. I suggest you read Peter Enns work on this.

            So, God was the speaker and the writers the secretaries? Oh my… there are no verses, no history to support this claim. Further, given redactional criticism, we know that this is simply not the case. Scripture is a much more beautiful thing then you are making it out to be.

            I don’t think you rightly know the Christ of the Scriptures, Mike.

          • My view is that whatever the Scriptures say, he is. Real scholarship may redefine it from time to time, and I understand the limitations of human words, so Jesus is who Jesus is.

          • I thought you were the guy who didn’t like question dodging.

            If someone comes up to you and says, “I want to know the truth about the Christ of the Scriptures, tell me about Him,” is “Jesus is who He is” all you’d have to say to the poor guy?

          • For one, if a guy asking “Is Jesus is who he is” I would have to ask him to repeat the question. Is Jesus who the Scriptures portray him as? Yes.

          • The question I’m asking you is who do you think the Scriptures portray Him to be?

            I’ve told you that to me “the Christ of the Scriptures” is our God – our Creator and our Redeemer – holy, righteous, and true. He is the One to whom we should listen and obey (I’m being a little more expansive this time, and hoping you will, too)

          • Mike, I’m only going to quote Scripture. In some places, he is just a man. In other places, he is the Logos. In other places, he is the Son of God and Son of Man. Still yet, he is the Lamb. Sometimes he approaches the throne and other times he sits on the throne.

          • Joel, He is all those things…and more! Much more!

            “To know Him and to make Him known” is our privilege and glory. “Only one life and soon ’twill be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.” Let us therefore give ourselves to making the Christ of the Scriptures known – first to ourselves and then to others.

            (Neither of the two quotes is from Scripture, but don’t they thrill the heart of one who loves Christ?)

  6. “As I keep saying, the term “inerrancy” is of little utility to me. I’m more interested in the Scriptures being regarded as the word of God.”

    Not what you criticized Thom and other “secret nonbelievers” for, especially in your article.

      • I didn’t say you did, but you implied that Thom Stark should consider leaving Christianity since he doesn’t adhere to inerrancy, yes?

        Your quote again:

        “Practically speaking, all agnostics and atheists are errantists. That is, they don’t believe the Bible is wholly true as Jesus did. As we have seen, liberal Christians, like Thom, are also errantists but do believe in some parts of the Bible – though they vary on how much and which parts. The odd thing to me is that Thom seems to feel much more comfortable with other errantists – regardless of their stripe – than he does his own self-confessed fellow Christians. Likewise, atheists and agnostics have professed affinity for Thom’s book (notably John Loftus and Ed Babinski, both self-professed former Christians). Thus I am puzzled that while Thom professes an allegiance to the cause of Christ, he writes a book that is extolled by those who are against Christ.”

        Yeah, let’s attack Thom personally and his faith, rather than deal with his arguments.

        • RODOFA,

          You really should read more carefully. You accuse me of implying something in the first sentence. Then you quote what I said which makes it clear I wasn’t implying that.

          What I was expressing curiosity about is why Thom, since Thom declares himself a Christian, seems to have more attachment to agnostics and atheists than to his Christian brothers, some of whom adhere to CSBI inerrancy. By the way, this was the same type of point I was trying to make to you on your blog about your antipathy toward inerrantists (however you define them).

          • “What I was expressing curiosity about is why Thom, since Thom declares himself a Christian, seems to have more attachment to agnostics and atheists than to his Christian brothers, some of whom adhere to CSBI inerrancy.”

            Expressing curiosity is a passive agressive method for accusing another Christian of not being a Christian. Again, this sentence gives away your intentions:

            “Thus I am puzzled that while Thom professes an allegiance to the cause of Christ, he writes a book that is extolled by those who are against Christ.”

          • No, that’s not name calling.

            When I wrote that Thom was wrong, people said I was against Thom. Therefore, when Thom said “Jesus was wrong,” he was against Christ.

            Is it possible for Thom to say “Jesus is wrong” and still be “for Him” in a broader sense? Yes. And similarly it is possible for me to say “Thom is wrong” and still be “for him” in a broader sense? Yes.

          • Where’s the hypocrisy?

            Christ is right and His word is true. Thom contradicted both points with his book and I took issue.

            I have no regrets. Christ is right and His word is true.

          • “My soul will make its boast in the LORD;
            The humble will hear it and rejoice.” Psalm 34:2 NASB

            I made my boast in the Lord. I hoped you would have rejoiced.

            “Christ is right and His word is true” is a rallying cry for all who love Him – even when they disagree about something else.

          • “Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice, yes, and I will rejoice.” – Paul in Philippians 1:18

            Joel, I may disagree with you about a lot of things but whenever you proclaim our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, know for sure that I am for you.

          • And what is that?

            You’ve stated that you don’t believe everyone is going to heaven. When I asked you want you did believe you only said, “Everyone is going to sleep.” So, when I proclaim Christ am I supposed to say, “Because of Christ, you will all go to sleep when you die”?

          • Mike, you with your bad theology and terminology…

            When people die, they will go to sleep, like the Scripture says. When they awake, they will awaken in the New Creation, like Scripture says.

  7. Mike says,

    “As I keep saying, the term “inerrancy” is of little utility to me. I’m more interested in the Scriptures being regarded as the word of God.”

    Then, he goes on to say that Jesus was an inerrantist, and therefore, we should have the view of scripture that Jesus had:

    “Thom defines an inerrantist as “someone who believes that everything the Bible affirms is true, and good, and that it comes from the mind of a kind, loving, merciful, and just God.” He goes on to say such a person does not exist. I have a candidate: Jesus Christ. Does Thom – does anyone – think that Jesus did not regard the Bible as true, and good, and as coming from kind, loving, merciful, and just God?”

    Again, Mike, which one is it? Are you being dishonest? Tell us, please! Or are you just plain contradicting yourself on purpose?

    • In the sense that Jesus believed that the Scriptures were the word of God, He would not ascribe error to them. Does that mean He signed the CSBI? Of course, it wasn’t around then so it’s a moot point.

      Therefore, if you want to say that “someone who believes everything the Bible affirms is true, and that it comes from the mind of a kind, loving, and merciful God” is an inerrantist then so be it. But forgive me if I eschew the label for myself as it misses the more important point that the Bible is the word of God, and, besides, those who do call themselves inerrantists would probably not accept me as one of their own because I don’t subscribe to the CSBI, I believe everyone is going to heaven, I believe the kingdom of God is here now, I believe judgment is upon us, I believe that church is obsolete, and I believe the Trinity is a false concept and that we should be serving Christ with all of our hearts.

      • So you argue Jesus was an inerrantist, and you say that we should hold the same views of the Bible as Jesus, yet you are not an inerrantist?

        But wait, don’t you claim to hold the same views of the Bible as Jesus?

        Oh bother.

        “I believe that church is obsolete”

        Exactly. Your interpretation of the Bible is inerrant. We can all become our own little popes.

        • If you’re categorizing Jesus as an inerrantist, then, yes, I’m in. I want to be counted with Him on every subject.

          “We can all become our own little popes.”

          No, we can all become servants.

          • “No, we can all become servants.”

            Servitude has nothing with your rugged individualism and its interpretation of Christianity. Can’t have Xianity without discipleship. ipso facto, you shouldn’t consider yourself a Christian.

            Well, that wasn’t very charitable of me, was it? Oh wait, you did the same to Thom. Well, that sucks!

          • And I don’t believe that Jesus was an inerrantist.

            Or a Universalist. Or an anti-Trinitarian. Or person who pushed for a LONE WOLF religion where we can deem ourselves our own popes without any accountability or community. That would be just a-historical

          • “Servitude has nothing with your rugged individualism and its interpretation of Christianity. Can’t have Xianity without discipleship. ipso facto, you shouldn’t consider yourself a Christian.”

            I don’t call myself a Christ. I seek to follow Christ.

            Jesus is our example and He was a rugged individualist…as was Abraham.

            You are right that discipleship is important. Jesus is our teacher and we should be learning righteousness from Him day by day.

          • Paul (1 Cor 13:10), to mention but one. Of course, Paul is prophesying the point in this verse, not declaring it as accomplished fact. However, if you will read chapter eight of Thom’s book you will see that he makes the correct case that Jesus and the entire New Testament prophesied the coming of the kingdom to be in that generation. To say otherwise would be to deny the reliability and clarity of the Scriptures – something Thom was unwilling to do in this case (I could only wish he could maintain this stance on other issues).

          • So because Paul mentioned prophecy a few times – apart from other gifts and statements saying at times he was writing by his own hand and not moved by God, then we are to what?

          • “Mike says it, he is Inerrant, therefore it is true. Inerrancy at its finest.”

            I am by no means without error. However, Christ – the Savior of the whole world – is completely without error or sin. He is majestic in His morality and we are privileged to be able to be His disciples.

          • So because Paul mentioned prophecy a few times – apart from other gifts and statements saying at times he was writing by his own hand and not moved by God, then we are to what?

            We should take him at his word.

            Paul was commissioned by Jesus Christ to bring the gospel to the world.  What we have are not letters addressed to us, but letters addressed by Paul to his contemporaries.  By the grace of God we still have these letters today, and because Christ lives those letters can still be the means of imparting the truth of the gospel.  This is because Christ’s is an eternal gospel – not just one for that age.

            Since Paul was sent by God with a message from God, I say his letters are the word of God.    If anyone wants to argue about whether those letters are inerrant or not, he is missing the point.  They bear a message from God.  We should not be looking in them for errors, or even for the absence of errors – we should be looking in them for truth.


          • And what is his word? Oh, that’s right – whatever you say it is – not what the audience would have understood it to be, but what you say it is.

            We don’t have all of the letters by the way….

            You can say what you want, but that doesn’t make it true. Errors, by the way, have been shown to be on purpose in ancient literature…. Being inspired by God doesn’t make it the ‘word of God’.

          • And what is his word? Oh, that’s right – whatever you say it is – not what the audience would have understood it to be, but what you say it is.

            The word of God is neither what I or the audience or you say it is.  It is what Jesus says it is.

            We don’t have all of the letters by the way….

            Agreed.

            You can say what you want, but that doesn’t make it true.

            Agreed.

            Errors, by the way, have been shown to be on purpose in ancient literature…. Being inspired by God doesn’t make it the ‘word of God’.

            What makes it the word of God is that the message, the idea, the thought being conveyed is coming from God.  The message is His, not the messengers’.  That’s precisely what it means when it says “inspired by God.”

            God wasn’t just blessing a human soul who had a good thought; He was giving the human soul that thought, and it was a blessing.  And that thought is a blessing to whomever else that human soul delivers it – if it is received in humility.

            “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”  You don’t seem to want anyone to come in the name of the Lord.  You only seem to want them to come in their own names.


          • And I guess Jesus tells you something that the audience wouldn’t know anything about, right?

            Further, the word of God is not Scripture – duh.

            So, all those times that Paul said – hey, look, this is my message and not God’s – that was a lie? You mean Paul lied!!!!

            Do you know what ‘come in the name of the Lord’ means? Boy howdy, are you messed up.

          • And I guess Jesus tells you something that the audience wouldn’t know anything about, right?

            Jesus speaks to every human heart, and He is not limited to speak only those words that His earthly audience heard.

            Further, the word of God is not Scripture – duh.

            Do you think the Scripture contains the word of God?  That is, do you think some of Scripture is the word of God?  How about when Moses’ transcribes the oral words of God spoken to him – if it was the word of God when God spoke it does it cease to be the word of God when Moses wrote it down?

            (These are not rhetorical jabs – I’m trying to understand your view.)

            So, all those times that Paul said – hey, look, this is my message and not God’s – that was a lie? You mean Paul lied!!!!

            Of course, I don’t think Paul lied.  On those occasions where he said he was speaking without a direct word of the Lord, I think he spoke the truth.

            Do you know what ‘come in the name of the Lord’ means? Boy howdy, are you messed up.

            To me it means A is bringing a message to B which the Lord – not A – originated.  In other words, A is a messenger for God to B.  A is not pursuing his own agenda; he’s pursuing God’s agenda.

            What do you think “come in the name of the Lord” means?

          • So, then, Jesus can contradict or keep hidden the real meaning which the authors didn’t know about? In other words, you really don’t need Scripture, do you?

            The Scriptures do contain the word of God, but the part doesn’t define the whole. Um, it is doubtful that Moses actually transcribed anything, but then again… I wouldn’t want to bother you with facts.

            So, those times when he spoke on his own accord, are they then inspired and then, by your own understanding, the ‘word of God.’?

            It means that they are directed by God, and representing him. However, since they aren’t God, they are still human.

          • So, then, Jesus can contradict or keep hidden the real meaning which the authors didn’t know about?

            Jesus never contradicts Himself.

            As for some meaning of the Scriptures being kept hidden for later revelation, Paul himself testified that this was the case (Rom 16:25-27; Eph 3:1-5).  I don’t think, however, there is value in us trying to parse to exact degrees how much the authors fully appreciated what they wrote.

            In other words, you really don’t need Scripture, do you?

            I wouldn’t be anywhere in my walk with God without the Scripture.  He knows this better than anyone.

            The Scriptures do contain the word of God, but the part doesn’t define the whole.

            That’s helpful to know.  Thanks for acknowledging it.  (I’m slowly beginning to discern your view.)

            Um, it is doubtful that Moses actually transcribed anything, but then again… I wouldn’t want to bother you with facts.

            Again, you are alluding to the Documentary Hypothesis.

            So, those times when he spoke on his own accord, are they then inspired and then, by your own understanding, the ‘word of God.’?

            I think we may take Paul at his word on those occasions when he makes it clear he is speaking merely for himself and not for God.  In fact, these occasional exceptions should make us all the more confident that Paul’s letters are bringing us the word of God.

            It means that they are directed by God, and representing him. However, since they aren’t God, they are still human.

            Again, this is a helpful statement for understanding your view.  Thanks for making it.

          • Mike, it seems that you think that Paul was speaking about something yet in the future. Therefore, you miss the idea of the prophetic. Further I didn’t say that Jesus contradicts himself, but according to you, he can tell you something different than what told the authors.

            I question your actual walk, Mike, and the fact that you have more straw than the scarecrow.

            I don’t know why you have to discern anything. Ive told you time and time and time again.

            Now, it is a pretty good proven fact that the Torah is be different hands.

            You aren’t answering my questions. You state, erroneously, that all of Scripture is the word of God. So, then, is Paul’s words which he flat out says they are not God’s, still, by your understanding God’s word? This requires a yes or no answer.

            By the way, you should reread this comment series, as I have stated several times my view on Scripture. I cannot help it that you fail to understand the simplicity of my words

          • Mike, it seems that you think that Paul was speaking about something yet in the future. Therefore, you miss the idea of the prophetic.

            On the contrary, Paul was speaking of something revealed to him that had not been revealed to past generations.

            Further I didn’t say that Jesus contradicts himself, but according to you, he can tell you something different than what told the authors.

            I said He could tell us more than He told the authors.  If He’s not telling you more, then you’re not listening to Him.  If you’re saying that the only speaking God can do is what’s in the Scriptures, then you’re making Him a mute.

            You aren’t answering my questions. You state, erroneously, that all of Scripture is the word of God. So, then, is Paul’s words which he flat out says they are not God’s, still, by your understanding God’s word? This requires a yes or no answer.

            Would I accept that when Paul says that he is speaking for himself and not the Lord that he is not giving us the word of God?  Of course.  But that doesn’t mean his letters aren’t the word of God.  If “the part doesn’t define the whole” (I’m quoting you), then the exceedingly small part surely doesn’t define the whole.

            By the way, you should reread this comment series, as I have stated several times my view on Scripture. I cannot help it that you fail to understand the simplicity of my words

            I’ve been collecting notes and I’m going to summarize and present it to you when complete to see if I have it right.  I am still, however, looking for how you define Scripture.  That is, what books does it include for you.

          • Something revealed in Christ… You miss Paul’s hermeneutic Mike. For him, Christ was central, and through Christ, he read the Scriptures. This is a lot different than how you do it, but it was the way which many exegetes did it in the 1st century.

            wait… so God is adding to the meaning of Scripture in an unverifiable way? Jim Jones anyone?

            You have said that the Scriptures=the word of God and that inspired=the word of God… so, when Paul says that his words are his own, are they inspired and then, if not, are they still, by your understanding, the word of God. Stop dodging the question, Mike. Be honest. See, what you have to say is that no, Paul’s words there are not inspired, and thus spoke from himself. Thus, by your understanding they are not the word of God. Meaning that the Scriptures as a whole are not the word of God, according to your logic.

            Again, I don’t like repeating myself. You can either collect notes… or you can simply read what I’ve told you.

          • Something revealed in Christ… You miss Paul’s hermeneutic Mike. For him, Christ was central, and through Christ, he read the Scriptures. This is a lot different than how you do it, but it was the way which many exegetes did it in the 1st century.

            No, Paul’s is the exact method I seek to follow:  Christ is central.  I want to understand the OT in the way that the NT writers do.  Following this method has allowed me to see that the Trinity is a false conception of God that obscures the glory of Christ.  (See http://wp.me/pKqSA-1lm)

            wait… so God is adding to the meaning of Scripture in an unverifiable way? Jim Jones anyone?

            No, that’s one of the main reasons we have Scripture – so that any so-called “message from God” can be tested.  Without such a standard, how could we confidently discern truth in other places?

            If Jim Jones’ followers had been more familiar with Scripture they would have known not to follow him.

            You have said that the Scriptures=the word of God and that inspired=the word of God… so, when Paul says that his words are his own, are they inspired and then, if not, are they still, by your understanding, the word of God. Stop dodging the question, Mike. Be honest. See, what you have to say is that no, Paul’s words there are not inspired, and thus spoke from himself. Thus, by your understanding they are not the word of God. Meaning that the Scriptures as a whole are not the word of God, according to your logic.

            So then, how much of the Scriptures do you think are the word of God?  I know it would be hard to put an actual percentage on something like that, but you do you think it’s closer to 99%, 50%, or 10%?

             

          • So, then, not all of what you consider the word of God is the word of God, and then you are free to ignore some of it…. sounds pretty liberal to me

          • “we are privileged to be able to be His disciples.”

            And who exactly is the “we” since,you know, the Church is obsolete?

            There isn’t a with your view point; only a “me me me me.”

            Hyperindividualism at its finest.

          • Jesus said it was Moses’, of the Jews’, or Isaiah’s, or the Prophets’, but we have every reason to believe that Jesus would have understood Scripture as inspired.

          • Joel said:  No, but I do think you are misrepresenting both Jesus and John, as I am already explained

            I’ve read your explanation several times and it does not make sense of the passage (Jn 10:35).  For one thing, if “the word of God” applies only to the original oral transmission, then it would have no application to Jesus and His fellow Jews – which it has to have for His argument to have meaning.  Otherwise, His antagonists could simply have said, “That was merely God speaking to our ancestors and doesn’t apply to you or us.”  Secondly, once it’s written into the Law, and Scripture cannot be broken, it is indistinguishable from the oral “word of God” because the only words that cannot be broken are those of God; all men are liars, as the Scripture also makes clear.  Lastly, you have said that “the word of God is Christ” but you also are saying that the oral words spoken by God are the word of God, so you obviously think the word of God can be manifest in more than one form.

          • Let’s see..

            Actually, the word of God as a phrase was used only as God’s message in the mouth of the prophets and never assigned to anything written. Further, your scenario is unlikely because they understood Scripture differently than you. So did Jesus, from all appearances.

            I think that the Word of God is Christ because that is what the Scriptures say. Further, the message (note the connection here with logos) from God, and not the written words, are the word of God. See, I can actually point to Scripture to show my statements. You? Not so much.

          • Joel said:  No. You are imposing a reality upon it which it never claims for itself.

            Yes, that is your opinion.  You don’t believe the Scriptures are the word of God.  But you won’t answer the question of whose word you think they are?

            Maybe it will be easier for you if stop thinking about the Scriptures as a whole and just consider one, say, the book of Haggai (which is only two short chapters).  I think both of us would agree that it is Scripture.  I think it is also the word of God through Haggai.  Do you think the book of Haggai is the word of God through Haggai or do you think it is only Haggai’s word about God?  Or is there some other category into which you would put it?

             

             

          • Mike, are you lying or just not reading? I have answered the question according to Scripture terminology. I can’t answer your question according to your terminology because it’s bad.

            In regards to Haggai, it is doubtful that Haggai recorded it himself. Further, as it is inspired, it is Scripture. Inspired means that God-breathed into those authors and their words. Duh.

          • So, it sounds like you think Haggai uttered the words but someone else wrote them. You also said that it was Scripture. How do you determine what is Scripture and what is not? What is your list (canon)?

            Also, on the inspiration part were you saying that Haggai was inspired when he spoke the words on God’s behalf or that the person who wrote them was inspired to write them on God’s behalf…or both?

            Again, I’m seeking information with these questions. It’s obvious you think you have a coherent view of these things, and I am trying to draw enough information out of you to see if I can find that coherence. I do appreciate that you’ve become responsive to some of my requests.

          • Do you have proof that Haggai wrote them?

            Yes, both. The memory of Haggai’s words are inspired.

            Not only are the coherent, but my views are scriptural, unlike yours

  8. @Mike,

    Oh,wait:

    “To say otherwise would be to deny the reliability and clarity of the Scriptures – something Thom was unwilling to do in this case (I could only wish he could maintain this stance on other issues).”

    So, if Thom does not hold your interpretation, and he is an errantist, it must mean something like in the reverse, like your interpretation is perfect? Even though you have not read or studied the original Greek or Hebrew or Aramaic?

    Is that correct to assume?

    • “So, if Thom does not hold your interpretation, and he is an errantist, it must mean something like in the reverse, like your interpretation is perfect?”

      No, it means that when Thom says “Christ is wrong,” I am going to disagree.

      “Even though you have not read or studied the original Greek or Hebrew or Aramaic?”

      The people who have translated our Bibles have.

      • “The people who have translated our Bibles have.”

        So the translators are inerrant? They can’t make mistakes? They don’t read their interpretations into their translations, even if a passage doesn’t sit well with them, right?

        Naivete, naivete.

        • Translators can make mistakes. That’s why it’s helpful to compare translations, and we are blessed to have so many in English.

          It also helps to do word studies, especially using tools such as Strong’s concordance which allow people unfamiliar with the languages to gain some familiarity with the original words.

          Lastly, we have above all the Holy Spirit bearing witness in our own conscience. After all, the laws of God are written on our hearts (Jer 31:31-34).

          Since the Savior we serve has no errors of His own, He provides in His grace the means for us to overcome our errors.

  9. I am so glad that Mike Gannt as interpreted the Bible for us. The entire human race, because we are all saved, are disciples of Jesus now. Nothing wrong with that statement. Absolutely nothing

    [that’s called snark, people]

    • I would like everyone to choose to become a disciple of Christ, rather than be forced to.

      Your universalism means a compulsory God forcing His love on people who have not chosen that God. So, do you believe that all religions believe in the same god? There is no difference in religions? Obviously, you have not thought through your universalism.

      And no, I would not want all of the human race to be transported out of their bodies and magically live as ghosts in “heaven.” It’s not in Scripture, and it’s a dualism I reject.

  10. No one has ever been forced to be a disciple of Jesus Christ…and no one ever will. No one will ever be sorry he ended up in heaven.

    There is only one God. Jesus Christ (including the inheritance we have in the Scriptures from ancient Israel testifying about Him) is the clearest and fullest expression of this one God.

    I don’t believe anyone will “magically live as a ghost in heaven,” and I’m glad you don’t either.

    • “No one will ever be sorry he ended up in heaven.”

      And what if he does not want to be in heaven with a God who has allowed so much evil, for example? Your god forces his love on non-Christians. Muslims do not worship Jesus “he clearest and fullest expression of this one God” and neither do Hindus, or persons who practice African Traditional Religions.

      You are evading my questions. It’s okay, these questions are hard to answer. My point was that how people get into heaven is not of their own choosing, especially since they do not, by their own free will, recognize Jesus as the Messiah.

      At this rate, you are going to try to pull on my emotions, pleaing that I believe in your “loving” God, but in the end, it’s not really any sort of love other than the violent form, imposing His will on people who don’t love him. Sort of like a compulsory marriage. Or worse, but I am resisting such language.

      • And what if he does not want to be in heaven with a God who has allowed so much evil, for example?

        God is good, utterly good.  When we get to heaven, the blindness of this world will be left behind and everyone will see the light of God.

        Your god forces his love on non-Christians. Muslims do not worship Jesus “he clearest and fullest expression of this one God” and neither do Hindus, or persons who practice African Traditional Religions.

        God does not look at people according to their religion, He looks them according to their morality (the Scriptures call it “righteousness”).

        You are evading my questions. It’s okay, these questions are hard to answer.

        I have answered all your questions and will continue to do so as long as God gives me the grace.  I haven’t found any of your questions hard.

        My point was that how people get into heaven is not of their own choosing, especially since they do not, by their own free will, recognize Jesus as the Messiah.

        It wasn’t by our choosing that we started out on earth so why does it matter that it’s not by our choosing that we end up in heaven?

        At this rate, you are going to try to pull on my emotions, pleaing that I believe in your “loving” God, but in the end, it’s not really any sort of love other than the violent form, imposing His will on people who don’t love him. Sort of like a compulsory marriage. Or worse, but I am resisting such language.

        Don’t you write for the blog Political Jesus?  And don’t you love Jesus?

  11. Joel,

    Here’s an example of helpful scholarship (Craig Keener on the gospels as ancient biographies): http://wp.me/p1eZz8-DL

    What makes it useful is that it enables readers to clear away false expectations when they read of Jesus, putting them in a better position to trust Jesus and obey Him.

  12. This quote from Mike is a goodie:

    “We should not be looking in them for errors, or even for the absence of errors – we should be looking in them for truth.”

    Makes so much sense. So comprehensible. We should be looking for truth, and who determines whose view of the truth is correct? Is not there a need for discernment? Oh wait, we can all be our own little bishops, and discover for ourselves as individuals what the Bible means. Oh, join together in kumbaya, all of humankind.

    • Yes, the overseer of all of the souls of humanity who forces them into marriage forever, without anyone having a choice.

      -Universalism.

      • Not in the beginning, but have you not read of the apostasy that would mark the church in its last days? See Acts 20:28-30, 2 Thessalonians 2:3, and 1 John 2:18. This is how we know – though not the only way we know – that the day of the Lord came in the late 1st Century. Since it is an eternal day, we still live in it. For more, see http://wp.me/pKqSA-u

        Since the Chief Shepherd has appeared, we need no other. His name is Jesus our Lord, and we should not seat ourselves in His chair (Matthew 23:2).

        • Your quote of Matthew 23.2 is so far off base….

          Considering that some of the NT was written after the destruction of the Temple, and that those who followed the Apostles didn’t agree with you about polity, I’d say you are, once again, wrong.

          • Isaiah 9:6-7 says that the “polity” will be on His shoulders. This speaks of the kingdom of God. For this reason Peter told the shepherds to be on the look out for the Chief Shepherd. Their role was temporary. The kingdom of God would be eternal.

          • No, it says the Kingdom and Hezekiah was king who had ministers and the such. Further, in the NT, Christ establishes the Apostles as regents. We also see the separated of elders and deacons. Paul gives us gifts for administration. Yeah, keep ignoring Scripture.

          • I’m not ignoring Scripture – I’m believing it. As the Old Testament offices were rendered obsolete by the resurrection of a new Melchizedek, so the New Testament offices were rendered obsolete by the coming of the promised kingdom.

          • um…. no. there is no Scripture for your statements, nor historical proof. The Kingdom is always coming and always here, and begun with Christ.

      • Indeed God did raise up judges and priests, but those were in biblical days – before the day of the Lord had come. In the day of the Lord, only He is exalted (Isaiah 2:11, 17)

        • Yes, and with one proof-text of Scripture, you are able to wipe out any need for discipleship, the Church, or accountability between believers!

          It’s like reading the Bible is magic for you.

          • Discipleship is definitely needed, but Jesus is the only teacher we need for it (Matt 23:8).

            The church is present, but it consists of those for whom the Lord is the only pastor (Matt 23:10).

            Accountability is required, but it is much more demanding than being accountable to those who cannot see our secrets sins (Heb 4:13).

            Reading the Bible is not magical, but with the Holy Spirit’s aid it is certainly special.

          • You’re mincing words. Polity is government is hierarchy is putting one person above another. Forms of government (or polity, if you prefer) can vary – they certainly do among nations, and among churches as well. Even democracy elevates some.

          • polity is administration, is governance, which is not always hierarchial. In the Church, which still exists, Christ and His Apostles established a polity, with no recourse so as to abandon it.

          • I agree with you that “administration” and “governance” are also valid synonyms of polity. However, there is no form of human government that does not involve exaltation of some human.

            The church was to give way to the kingdom of God just as ancient Israel was to give way to the church. Just as there were Jewish leaders who were unwilling to let go of their power in deference to Messiah’s first coming, so there were Christian leaders who were unwilling to let go of their power in deference to Messiah’s Second Coming: http://wp.me/pKqSA-16

          • The polity which God gave the Church isn’t a human one.

            Oh, so you are supersessionist… lovely.

            You still have no scripture to prove anything you posit here. Wow….

  13. Heaven will not be a place of egalitarian bliss. Many who are first here, will be last there; and vice versa.

    Those who love Christ most here, will be closest to Him there. Those who disdain Him here, will be the farthest from Him there. Thus no one will be forced to have any more intimacy with Him than they want. But be assured that those who rejected intimacy with Him will regret that they did, even though they’ll be glad that He was gracious enough to give them a life that did not end with their death on earth.

        • Mike, I have shown it to you time and time again.

          For example, you start with “I believe that there is a proper core canon.” Why? “Because we have one.”

          • You misunderstand.

            Regarding the core canon idea, I’m only saying that observation reveals that of the people who have regard for the Bible (Jews and Christians) there are some books that they question but 39 that all accept for the OT; and 27 for the NT for those who accept the NT. I’m not trying to prove anything. There’s no premise leading to a conclusion. I’m just acknowledging reality.

          • Okay… Let’s see… Your premise, that there is a core canon which must be acceptable and unquestioned, is maintained by the view that book stores sell bibles that are similar. Your premise is supported by your observation and your observation by your premise. See? Rund and round we go.

          • No, that’s not what I’m saying at all.

            Rather, I’m saying that I myself do not know the exact contours of the canon. That is, I do not know how to read a book and say “This should be in the Bible, but that one should not.” What I want to know is which books Jesus regarded as Scripture. Unfortunately, the gospels don’t give us a list.

            Therefore, I look around and notice what canon or canons have come down to us from that time. I can see that while there are some discrepancies in different lists, that they are certain books (I call them “core” but I’m not using that word in any official sense) in almost everyone’s canon. This gives me confidence that they’re pretty close to what Jesus regarded as Scripture. And, when I read the New Testament, I see references to most of those books, so that is confirmation.

            Therefore, I’m not saying that the core (39+27) is “the correct canon.” I’ve already acknowledged that I am not qualified to name a canon. I’m just focusing my attention on those books that are most likely to have been the ones to which Jesus was referring. Focusing on this core, or common, set also has the benefit of putting me in the position to be able to persuade the most people of Christ. It would be inefficient, for example, to build a case for Christ using books that half the believing world doesn’t even regard as inspired. I’d be disenfranchising half my audience from the get-go.

            Therefore, your “circular reasoning” issue does not arise because I’m not trying to prove something. I’m not building premises that lead to a conclusion. I’m just observing fact and acting on it.

          • I should add that the existence of the LXX at the time of Christ leads me to believe that the Deutero-canon should probably be included in the core books, but as I said, it would put me at a disadvantage in convincing Protestants of anything about Christ if I’m quoting from books they don’t regard as inspired.

        • “For example, I can order a hamburger at McDonalds, ask someone for directions, or answer the phone without having a scriptural basis for doing so.”

          Believing in Gannt’s universalism and deity, its like going to McDonald’s. Exactly like it. If you don’t read what you are supposed to (the labels at MckieD’s; and the Bible for Gannt), you will end up dead, and full of crap to boot!

  14. By the way, Mike… one more thing…

    Jesus said that he would send the Spirit, which would guide us into all truth. Now, Jesus never said what this truth would look like or what the final destination would be. Now, since all truth is God’s truth, that means that God will work through Scholarship, even scholarship which deconstructs and uproots and destroys the fallow ground, to bring about his truth.

    You seemingly deny that because, it would seem, you either don’t like to be questioned, or you simply don’t think that you are wrong.

  15. Joel, I think I have pieced together your view on the topic that originally prompted this post and its comments. However, it’s still fuzzy in places so I am hoping that you will clear it up for me. As I’ve said, I want to understand your view. We may not be as far apart as it would seem at times in this conversation; I would at least like to know the actual gap. Here is the tentative version, awaiting your correction/confirmation:

    You believe that all Scripture is inspired. However, you do not believe that Scripture is the word of God. Nevertheless, whatever is inspired you view as trustworthy.

    You believe that Scripture contains the word of God. That is, the word of God is a subset of Scripture.

    You believe that the word of God was God’s message in the mouth of the prophets, what Christ told Israel, and Christ Himself. (I assume this means that whenever we see any of these things in Scripture that they are the word of God; does the word of God appear in any other part of Scripture – say, the voice from heaven at the baptism of Jesus, or the dream that God gave Joseph, or…?)

    You believe Scripture is “the canon of the Church, even if the ancient books are in use today, such as the Psalms of Solomon, which includes the Creeds, and Liturgy.” (On this, I’m not sure which church you mean as that would determine which creeds and liturgy would be included. I’m also not sure what you mean by “even if the ancient books are in use today” – maybe there’s just a typo there.)

    Please advise.

  16. I have no problem with your statement “All of Scripture is inspired and is the human witness to God’s revelation.” I embrace it fully.

    What I don’t get are the questions I asked, and still hope you will answer.

  17. The ones just above, posted at November 29, 2011 at 6:11 am.

    By the way, I want to explain the inclusion of “Nevertheless, whatever is inspired you view as trustworthy.” It’s because you told me that the reason that you believed that Christ was the word of God was because the Scripture said so. I think somewhere else you said that trusted Scripture. I just want to be sure I have this right. That’s why I’m seeking your correction or confirmation of the set of propositions, as well as answers to the specific questions. I’m assuming you can do this in a minute or less.

    • where did i tell you this?

      It’s because you told me that the reason that you believed that Christ was the word of God was because the Scripture said so

  18. I’ll repeat:

    Joel, I think I have pieced together your view from various statements you’ve made on the topic that originally prompted this post and its comments. However, it’s still fuzzy in places so I am hoping that you will clear it up for me. As I’ve said, I want to understand your view. We may not be as far apart as it would seem at times in this conversation; I would at least like to know the actual gap. Here is the tentative version, awaiting your correction/confirmation:
    You believe that all Scripture is inspired. However, you do not believe that Scripture is the word of God. Nevertheless, whatever is inspired you view as trustworthy.
    You believe that Scripture contains the word of God. That is, the word of God is a subset of Scripture.
    You believe that the word of God was 1) God’s message in the mouth of the prophets, 2) what Christ told Israel, and 3) Christ Himself. (I assume this means that whenever we see any of these things in Scripture that they are the word of God; does the word of God appear in any other part of Scripture – say, the voice from heaven at the baptism of Jesus, or the dream that God gave Joseph, or…?)
    You believe Scripture is “the canon of the Church, even if the ancient books are in use today, such as the Psalms of Solomon, which includes the Creeds, and Liturgy.” (On this, I’m not sure which church you mean as that would determine which creeds and liturgy would be included. I’m also not sure what you mean by “even if the ancient books are in use today” – maybe there’s just a typo there.)
    Please advise.

    • Okay, so I’m working here with an unclear understanding of what you are actually asking,

      All Scripture is a narrative which we can find fulfilled in Christ. Unless you understand the narrative theology, as expressed in Matthew, then you really will not get this point. Even the ‘fictional’ accounts are inspired narrative which we find finalized in Jesus.

      the ‘word of God’ in the OT were generally prophetic utterances calling Israel back to God. Prophecies were not made about Christ, in the way in which the word is commonly used.

      The Church Universal.

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