Saturday, July 31, 2010

John Bugay, John Henry Newman, Subordinationism and the Development of Doctrine

John Bugay, in his new thread, “Catholic Nick, Meet Cardinal Newman” (at Beggars All), touches on two issues that I have spent considerable time researching: Subordinationism and the Development of Doctrine.

I posted the following in the combox of John’s above mentioned thread:

Hello John,

Though this thread appears to have to be heading down a different path, I did want to share a few of my thoughts concerning the following that you wrote:

>>But I definitely think that the whole church -- and I include those individual Roman Catholics who have genuinely trusted in Christ and are part of the "one true church" -- needs to revisit the "church history" department and rethink a lot of things.>>

Me: Agreed. Your selections from Newman are an excellent starting point, for Newman realized before most that the view of the early Church, concerning the doctrine of the Trinity and Christology, held by so many through the centuries up to his day, was seriously flawed. One modern patristic scholar summarizes the pre-Nicene CFs with flawless accuracy and clarity:

“Indeed, until Athanasius began writing, every single theologian, East and West, had postulated some form of Subordinationism. It could, about the year 300, have been described as a fixed part of catholic theology.” (R.P.C Hanson, “The Achievement of Orthodoxy in the Fourth Century AD” in Rowan Williams, ed., The Making of Orthodoxy, New York, NY: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1989, p. 153.)

I have provided a considerable amount of documentation for Dr. Hansen’s assessment in a number of threads under the labels: Subordinationism, and Development of Doctrine.

With such knowledge in place, I think the next question that needs to be asked is: if the Scriptures are “clear” on “the essentials”, why did it take so long (300+ years) to achieve “orthodoxy”?


Grace and peace,

David

23 comments:

John Bugay said...

Hi David -- I responded to you over at Beggars All, but I also wanted to leave a note for you here, and for the benefit of your readers who might not be inclined to head over there.

Just yesterday I picked up a copy of the Kostenberger/Kruger work, "The Heresy of Orthodoxy." The primary goal of that work is to address what they call the "Bauer/Ehrman" thesis, that is, that "orthdoxy" developed from among a bunch of different "heresies" -- that it developed first and therefore was able to squelch the heresies.

Kostenberger and Kruger argue, rather, that there was a "core component of Christian orthodoxy -- the belief in the divinity of Jesus and worship of him as Lord and God -- was not forged in the second century on the anvil of debate among various Christian sects. Instead, such a belief dates back to the very origins of Christianity during and immediately subsequent to Jesus' earthly ministry (65). They go on to say, "it was only considerably later that various heretical sects deviate from this existing Christological standard trajectory (66).

I'd be inclined to add that, in addition to the "heretical sects" having developed, that the apostolic fathers indeed lost some of the original understanding of that "core component" -- I've mentioned several times Torrance's study of Grace in the Apostolic Fathers, and how those writers, from Didache to Clement to Barnabas and others lost the original sense of "free grace" by which Jesus accepted all sinners to himself and which Paul preached as at the heart of "his" Gospel. I can easily see how those generations of Christians after the Apostles probably lost some sense of their original teachings.

Jnorm888 said...

David,


In saying this you would have to totally ignore the Christian East. The Christian West may have developed a totally foreign Triniterianism, but you can't really say that about the East.

I believe more than one EO person told you this over the years, but you seem to keep dismissing it.

Also alot of us disagree with Newman. Why? Authentic organic growth can't overturn the essence /gist of what came before.

Examples:
You can't turn free will into determinism.

You can't turn the Ransom / Christus Victor Atonement theories into the Satisfaction and Penal Substitution views.

So in a similar manor, when it comes to the doctrine of the Trinity, the West went in a direction that has a tendency to be at odds with the tradition that the East preserved.








ICXC NIKA

thegrandverbalizer19 said...

With the name of God, Peace be unto those who follow the guidance from their Lord,

John Bugay said,

Just yesterday I picked up a copy of the Kostenberger/Kruger work, "The Heresy of Orthodoxy." The primary goal of that work is to address what they call the "Bauer/Ehrman" thesis, that is, that "orthdoxy" developed from among a bunch of different "heresies" -- that it developed first and therefore was able to squelch the heresies

Ken recommended me this book to and I will try and avail myself to it. The thing that makes me suspicious was the need to develop a canon and not just any canon mind you but an 'authoritative canon'

This can also be seen in some of Luther's statements about some of the writings currently in the Canon that they seemed to lack certain theological appeal. Or seemed not to redress certain theological convictions that Luther felt they should.

Though this next argument can also work against me I think it's a sword that can indeed slice both ways and that is to say just simply look at the theological differences that Christians have once a canon was decided upon in respective churches.... continued..

thegrandverbalizer19 said...

continued from above... let alone the issues that took place before their were respective authoritative canon.

I don't want to prejudice Kostenberger/Kruger's work before I read it but I am curious how they would address this.

Infact when I study species behavior in biology it seems that the more similar a species is to another the more intense the fighting and competition is among it.

The compete for the same resources in this case the same market of people.

Matthew 7:15-23, Jude chapter 12, Galatians chapter 1 and 1 John 4:3

It seems to me that the word 'Christ' represents an image or an idea of who or what orthodoxy is.

Anyone who opposes this image of what the Christ(orthodoxy) is is Anti (Greek in place of) Christ (orthodoxy).

After all we know that Luther felt that the Catholic Church itself was the Anti Christ. Even though it shares the corpus of sacred writ and so many doctrines in common.


I find it odd the people who deny that their were docetist or gnostics within the 1st century after Jesus and within the same breath want all the new testament writings to be within 50 years of Jesus departure. Amazing.

Let's remember just like the dispute between Catholics and Lutherans or even between Protestants themselves what is Orthodoxy to one is often Heresy to the other.

John Bugay said...

thegrandverbalizer19: Ken recommended me this book to and I will try and avail myself to it. The thing that makes me suspicious was the need to develop a canon and not just any canon mind you but an 'authoritative canon' ... Though this next argument can also work against me I think it's a sword that can indeed slice both ways and that is to say just simply look at the theological differences that Christians have once a canon was decided upon in respective churches ... let alone the issues that took place before their were respective authoritative canon.

The authors of course are writing about a thesis that was proposed in 1934 by an individual named Walter Bauer, who suggested that what became "orthodox Christianity" was merely one of a number of competing "Christianities" during the second century that in effect "won out" over the competing "Christianities," marginalizing and excluding them in the process. This "Bauer thesis" has sort of been resurrected and popularized by an individual named Bart Ehrman, a once-respected New Testament scholar who has gone on to become a critic of Christianity.

The authors point out several things: The Bauer thesis has been rebutted on a number of occasions since 1934. One of the most critical elements is that Bauer's critique does not take into account the New Testament documents at all; Bauer only started with literature written long after the year 150. They continue to make the case that contra Bauer, the New Testament:

"bears credible and early witness to the unified doctrinal core, in particular with regard to Christology, centered on Jesus and his apostles, a core that is, in turn, grounded in Old Testament messianic prophecy. This Christological core, for its part, is in essential continuity with the gospel Paul and the early Christians preached, a gospel that centered on Jesus crucified, buried, and risen according to the Scriptures (1 Cor 15:3-4). Preexisting liturgical materials (including Christological hymns), confessional formulas acknowledging Jesus as Messiah, Lord, and Son of God, and New Testament references to theological standards (such as Jude's reference to "the faith once for all delivered to the saints") all combine to present early, New Testament Christianity as doctrinally unified and standing in essential continuity with the teaching of the Old Testament Scriptures and the message of Jesus and his apostles." (81)

John Bugay said...

Infact when I study species behavior in biology it seems that the more similar a species is to another the more intense the fighting and competition is among it. The compete for the same resources in this case the same market of people. Matthew 7:15-23, Jude chapter 12, Galatians chapter 1 and 1 John 4:3

One of the reasons for all the disagreements among Christians (and as you say, there are many things that we agree on, such as the same corpus of sacred writ and many doctrines we agree on) is precisely this desire to be watchful that "wolves" don't come into the flock.

But as Kostenberger/Kruger address, it was precisely the unity around those core doctrines that marked "orthodoxy," while permitting what they called "a legitimate or acceptable diversity ... that does not compromise [orthodoxy's] underlying doctrinal uity but merely reflects different, mutually reconcilable perspectives that are a function of the individuality of the New Testament writers." (81-82)

It seems to me that the word 'Christ' represents an image or an idea of who or what orthodoxy is. Anyone who opposes this image of what the Christ(orthodoxy) is is Anti (Greek in place of) Christ (orthodoxy). ... I find it odd the people who deny that their were docetist or gnostics within the 1st century after Jesus and within the same breath want all the new testament writings to be within 50 years of Jesus departure. Amazing.

The New Testament is rich with items that can be cross-referenced to events in secular history, referenced by secular historians. Paul Barnett makes this case in his "Is the New Testament Reliable?" he charts fully 12 events in the New Testament that are cited by secular historians or other extra-biblical sources. (Herod killing all the male children, the revolt of Judas the Galilean (Acts 5:37), the execution of Jesus, the death of Agrippa, famine in the days of Claudius, etc.)

These events enable New Testament scholars to provide dates in very precise ways for a number of other events in the New Testament, and to create accurate histories.

From a theological perspective, such "pre-existing hymns" or "confessions" that have been identified (1 Cor 15, Phil 2, Col 1) point to a very early and definite Christological tradition of Christ as God. These were inscripturated in Paul's letters at a very early date -- [It is generally accepted that Paul wrote during the 50's and early 60's].

David Waltz said...

Hi John,

Don’t know if you remember, but in the combox of the “Voting About God” thread (HERE), I wrote:

==I am looking forward to see if Andreas Köstenberger and Michael Kruger’s new book is as good as H.E.W. Turner’s, The Pattern of Christian Truth:
A Study in the Relations Between Orthodoxy and Heresy in the Early Church
. (See HERE for the 2004 reprint – I own the original 1954 edition.)==

I am still waiting for the Andreas Köstenberger-Michael Kruger book (it is coming via Media Mail which can be very slow), and will probably start a new thread to discuss the book after I have read it (comparing it to Turner’s exhaustive work).

In the meantime, would like to say that there is a huge gap between the Gnostic/Ebionite type sects, and those whom we call the “Church Fathers”. With the latter, I would argue that there was not a loss of “the original sense” concerning the doctrines of God, Christology and soteriology, but rather as Hanson puts it, there was a “search” going on—i.e. they were trying to understand the apostolic deposit of faith. I do not believe that the apostles were teaching the doctrine of the Trinity as expounded in the later creeds; I do not believe that they were teaching the ‘hypostatic union’; and I do not believe that they were teaching justification by faith alone, through imputation of Christ’s righteousness alone—these were/are all later doctrinal developments. I also believe that there was a considerable amount of diversity and differences among the CFs. So, to make a very long and complex ‘story’ short, I would agree with those who argue that “orthodoxy” was not a fixed feature of the early Church; and yet, certain doctrinal boundaries existed (i.e. the regula fidei), and those who embraced doctrines clearly outside of those boundaries were deemed heretical.


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hi Jnorm,

You wrote:

>> In saying this you would have to totally ignore the Christian East. The Christian West may have developed a totally foreign Triniterianism, but you can't really say that about the East.

I believe more than one EO person told you this over the years, but you seem to keep dismissing it.>>

Me: Could you clarify what you meant by “this”? Also, could you be a bit more precise in what you believe I “keep dismissing”?

Thanks much…

Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hello again John,

In your response to GV19, you wrote:

>> From a theological perspective, such "pre-existing hymns" or "confessions" that have been identified (1 Cor 15, Phil 2, Col 1) point to a very early and definite Christological tradition of Christ as God. These were inscripturated in Paul's letters at a very early date -- [It is generally accepted that Paul wrote during the 50's and early 60's].>>

Me: Perhaps it is the way you phrased it, “definite Christological tradition of Christ as God”, but I think Paul was very careful in making a clear distinction between Christ and God. For Paul, there is “but one God, the Father”. Certainly Paul believed that Jesus Christ was in a very real sense ‘divine’, but he also clearly retained a strong sense of monotheism—the “one God” for Paul was never Jesus, but rather, it was God the Father.

“And when all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, that God may be all in all.” (1 Cor. 15:28 – NAS)


Grace and peace,

David

John Bugay said...

According to Schreiner's "Paul," Jesus is "the Second Adam," "the Image of God," "the Seed of Abraham," "Lord" (which, in the LXX, is frequently the translation for Yahweh." There are two instances in Paul's letters, where Jesus is specifically identified with "Theou": Romans 9:4-5 and Titus 2:13. It's true that both of these are contested translations, but Schreiner deals thoroughly with the objections. The primary objection is theological, and the primary support is grammatical. And he says the primary theological objection -- that the attribution of Jesus as God is rare in Paul's writings -- can be answered in "a satisfying way." (181)

In addition, Philippians 2:6, Jesus is both "in the form of God" and "equal to God." This, as we have mentioned, is Paul picking up and reproducing a hymn of the earliest church (pre-60), and in Colossians 1:15,-20, "God's fullness dwells in him."

With all that Paul says of Jesus Christ, it does not seem to be appropriate to say that Paul "was very careful in making a clear distinction." Paul's language in talking about Christ is full of love and worship and praise, which, in a monotheistic culture, would have seemed very reckless indeed.

David Waltz said...

Hello John,

Thanks for responding; you wrote:

>> According to Schreiner's "Paul," Jesus is "the Second Adam," "the Image of God," "the Seed of Abraham," "Lord" (which, in the LXX, is frequently the translation for Yahweh." There are two instances in Paul's letters, where Jesus is specifically identified with "Theou": Romans 9:4-5 and Titus 2:13. It's true that both of these are contested translations, but Schreiner deals thoroughly with the objections. The primary objection is theological, and the primary support is grammatical. And he says the primary theological objection -- that the attribution of Jesus as God is rare in Paul's writings -- can be answered in "a satisfying way." (181)

In addition, Philippians 2:6, Jesus is both "in the form of God" and "equal to God." This, as we have mentioned, is Paul picking up and reproducing a hymn of the earliest church (pre-60), and in Colossians 1:15,-20, "God's fullness dwells in him."

With all that Paul says of Jesus Christ, it does not seem to be appropriate to say that Paul "was very careful in making a clear distinction." Paul's language in talking about Christ is full of love and worship and praise, which, in a monotheistic culture, would have seemed very reckless indeed.>>

Me: I think you should read Prof. Ezra Abbot’s exhaustive essay, “On the Construction of Romans ix. 5” (Journal of the Society of Biblical Literature, June and December 1881, pp. 87-154 [pdf – 92-159].)

Not only does Dr. Abbot present solid grammatical reasons for attributing “God blessed” to the Father, but also substantial historical and theological reasons.

In a follow-up essay, “Recent Discussions of Romans ix. 5” (use the above link - Journal of the Society of Biblical Literature, June and December 1883, pp. 90-112 [pdf – 475-497]), Abbot answers criticisms that were leveled against his earlier article.

Personally, I remain a bit wary of those who either quickly dismiss Dr. Abbot’s extremely thorough treatments, or ignore him all together.

As for Phil. 2:6-11, did you read my EARLIER THREAD on this?


Grace and peace,

David

John Bugay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Bugay said...

Hi David -- I looked at the Abbot piece you linked to. I really don't have a lot of time to spend on this, but it seems like with this thread, it's really become evident to me where you're headed with this.

Abbot seems to be arguing in favor of a construction that you may be happy with, and I can't speak directly to his work, but what I can do is provide a survey of recent work.

Here is Romans 9:5 in three fairly important translations of the Critical Text:

Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen. (NIV)

To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen. (ESV)

... whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen. (NIV)

Here's that verse in KJV and NKJV, which rely on the other important text type, the "Received" or "Byzantine" text:

Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. 5 of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen. (KJV)

...of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen. (NKJV)



Now, those working with the Critical Text, and the translators of the NKJV, have something that the Abbot and the KJV folks didn't have access to, and that would be the Papyrii.

I have a copy of the UBS 4, and the apparatus here gave that particular variant ("Christ as God") a "C" -- meaning that the committee arrived at that decision with some difficulty.

A brief look at Metzger's "Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament" notes that "evidence from the Church Fathers, who were almost unanimous in understanding the passage as referring to ho Christos, is "opposed" by the fact that four uncial manuscripts and at least twenty-six miniscule manuscripts have a point after sarka (which would place the doxology to God outside of being "Christ".) These two factors are both of "questionable authority."

But he also does say that "the interpretation that refers the passage to Christ suits the structure of the sentence, whereas the interpretation that takes the words as an asyndetic doxology to God the Father is awkward and unnatural." That counts for something.

He also discusses Abbot. And as Schreiner noted (in my post above), the primary objection is that such language does not appear frequently in Paul.

None of this is easy stuff, and I am not anywhere close to being able to say that I understand all the grammatical considerations. But I would be inclined to stick with UBS 4, NIV, ESV, NASB, and NKJV on this one.

John Bugay said...

Sorry for the double post. Blogger seems to be having some difficulty with its comments.

John Bugay said...

That KJV translation of Romans 9.5 from above should be:

Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever.

John Bugay said...

Personally, I remain a bit wary of those who either quickly dismiss Dr. Abbot’s extremely thorough treatments, or ignore him all together.

As I suggested from Metzger and some of the other translations, I don't think anyone "quickly dismisses" Abbot, or ignores him. If he was a textual critic of any weight, I'm sure (a) the UBS (and presumably the NA27) committees all took his work seriously, and (b) also the translators of NIV, NASB, ESV, and NKJV all took his work seriously. Nevertheless, it is "Christ who is God overall" in each of those translations.

There is a similar accounting of Titus 2:13 -- "Christ is God" in all of the important translations, and the UBS apparatus gives the decision a C, meaning it was difficult. But nevertheless, the result is what you see.


As for Phil 2:6-11, O'Brien's treatment of that passage runs 90 pages. I certainly haven't read all of it -- my understanding is that his treatment of it is best -- I would also feel confident to refer you to his commentary for anything that I might be able to say on that topic.

David Waltz said...

Hello again John,

Sincerely appreciate the continuing dialogue; you posted:

>>Hi David -- I looked at the Abbot piece you linked to. I really don't have a lot of time to spend on this, but it seems like with this thread, it's really become evident to me where you're headed with this.>>

Me: I find this more than a bit interesting, because I am not sure at all were I am “headed with this”; perhaps you could elaborate a bit.

>>Abbot seems to be arguing in favor of a construction that you may be happy with, and I can't speak directly to his work, but what I can do is provide a survey of recent work.>>

Me: I would not say that I am “happy” with Abbot’s in depth treatments, but I believe that he demonstrated that the text is anything but ‘clear’.

>>Here is Romans 9:5 in three fairly important translations of the Critical Text…Here's that verse in KJV and NKJV, which rely on the other important text type, the "Received" or "Byzantine" text:>>

Me: I will get back to the English translations a bit later.

>>Now, those working with the Critical Text, and the translators of the NKJV, have something that the Abbot and the KJV folks didn't have access to, and that would be the Papyrii.

I have a copy of the UBS 4, and the apparatus here gave that particular variant ("Christ as God") a "C" -- meaning that the committee arrived at that decision with some difficulty.>>

Me: John, you have completely misread the apparatus pertaining to Rom. 9:5 in USB 4. The text is on page 543, and the apparatus for verse 5 starts with: “NO C: NJB TOB //”. On page 42* of the introduction, the explanation for “NO C” is given:

“NO C indicates that no break between clauses or words occurs in the editions or translations cited.”

You have confused the above with “The Evaluation of Evidence for the Text” which is on page 3* of the introduction.

Now, the fact is that the Greek papyri have NO bearing on Rom. 9:5; and further, there are NO important GREEK MANUSCRIPT TEXTUAL VARIANTS for Rom. 9:5.

>>A brief look at Metzger's "Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament" notes that "evidence from the Church Fathers, who were almost unanimous in understanding the passage as referring to ho Christos, is "opposed" by the fact that four uncial manuscripts and at least twenty-six miniscule manuscripts have a point after sarka (which would place the doxology to God outside of being "Christ".) These two factors are both of "questionable authority.">>

Me: Note the following from Metzger’s A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament:

“On the other hand, in the opinion of the majority of the Committee, none of these considerations [concerning the use a comma instead of a point] seemed to be decisive, particularly since nowhere else in his genuine epistles does Paul ever designate ὁ Χριστός as θεὁς. In fact, on the basis of the general tenor of his theology it was considered tantamount to impossible that Paul would have expressed Christ’s greatness by calling him God blessed for ever.” (3rd edition, page 522.)

Now, back to the English translations that you listed—fact is they go against the scholarly consensus of “the Committee” behind the United Bible Societies Greek New Testament (3rd and 4th editions).

With this information now before you, are you at least willing to reconsider your current stance?



Grace and peace,

David

Lvka said...

I... still don't understand what your problem with subordinationism is.

-- That sons listen to their fathers?
-- That the Son listens to His Father?

-- If children listen to their parents, does this in any way make them less human?
-- If the Son listens to the Father, does this in any way make him a lesser divine being, or a lesser god?

John Bugay said...

David: John, you have completely misread the apparatus pertaining to Rom. 9:5 in USB 4.

That's what I get for trying to show that I know something. I have been listening to Dr. Moises Silva's WTS seminary course (through iTunesU) on "Introduction to the New Testament," which, among other things, talked about the development of the UPS and Nestle-Aland texts. It really was a fascinating overview -- nothing that I expected from an "Introduction to the New Testament" course -- but Silva talked about the Jewish background to the NT, then focused on textual criticism, the development of these texts over the centuries, and eventually the emergence of the NT Canon. If you haven't listened to it yet, it's fascinating, and Silva really is an excellent person to teach this kind of thing.

Be that as it may, this particular topic is not high up on my list of "things to do." But I do want to answer you on it -- I'm not trying to read your mind, although I know a little bit about your background, and it makes sense to me that you might be seeking some way to justify a belief that lends itself toward Arianism. I could be wrong about that, too, and if so, I apologize.

But I'll tell you a little bit about how I do things. This topic that we have taken an interest in -- broadly, church history and theology, and even more broadly, OT history and theology -- is a huge one, and there are millions of things that you have to know. When getting started, I have found that it's helpful to identify knowledgeable people that I can trust, as guides. Even identifying those people is not easy, though it's not rocket science. But it does mean having some presuppositions, and I don't mind having those -- having lived for a period of time, I did come to form some impressions, and I don't mind to begin from those presuppositions. Test them, to be sure, but you can't start out in the middle of the ocean and then hope to get somewhere fast. You need a place to stand.

I met some folks a while ago -- you may know them as the folks from NTRMin, generally, who had the same interests I had, and who were generally knowledgeable in these areas, and more importantly, to me, who always seemed to want to be honest with the sources and the information. From there, I expanded outward -- I tended to trust the sources they were relying on, and so I expanded out from there, and found a network of other sources.

I've seen somewhere that you own a library of some 15,000 books -- that's nice, but when will you read them all, and how will you put the information into context? I have many books too, and I haven't read them all (though I'd like to).

I don't know who Abbot is, I don't know his reputation as a New Testament scholar. He seems to know what he's talking about. But he's not the final voice on this particular topic either.

Schreiner and Moo, in their commentaries on Romans, both seem to hold that the translation of Romans 9:5 is a difficult one. There was no punctuation in the original manuscripts, and you are correct, there are no textual variations here. And so the question is not one of textual criticism, it is one of grammar and theology. And in doing the translation, the only thing that must be decided is how to place the punctuation.

cont

John Bugay said...

So I can live with Schreiner and Moo and what the KJV says and what the ESV says. NIV even gives the alternate translation. It doesn't seem to me that any of these folks are trying to be dishonest with how difficult the decision was. I'll trust that Metzger's committee did a good job on the text, too, but it seems as if they are a bit less qualified to decide on the punctuation.

There is more to it, as well. Romans 9.5 and Titus 2:13 are not the only verses that address this topic. I'm grateful for folks like Ken, who are able to shed some light on some of the questions in the original text.

Greek grammar points to Sola Scriptura

I just turned 50, and I'm sure you know what that's like. I have a lot of interests, and a lot of responsibilities. There are a couple of things I want to say to the world, and for now, James Swan has given me an opportunity to say them. I'm going to try to say them the best that I can.

Ken said...

Grandverbalizer19 wrote:
"I find it odd the people who deny that their were docetist or gnostics within the 1st century after Jesus and within the same breath want all the new testament writings to be within 50 years of Jesus departure. Amazing."

Who does this? Who denies that there docetists teaching false teaching when I - 2 - 3 John was written?

Others may deny that Gnosticism was in full form in Valentinian, Marcion, Basiledes, Carpocrites, Tatian's form, etc. (they flourished later, from 140-200s - as Irenaeus and Tertullian wrote about them) but good scholars who believe the NT was written from 48-70 or 48-96 all certainly believe there was a proto-gnosticism (Greek philosophy that struggled with the body-soul interaction; Plato did also and was way before this time) going on in Colossae and Ephesus (I Timothy) - obviously Greek culture and philosophy was there- Corinth also.

So, I know you are not right about this. They acknowledge the Greek culture of philosophy and various forms of the same kind of body-soul radical dualism that has always been around, seen in Plato and beyond, and by the way, is in Hinduism and a lot of Sufism/Darvishes.

Ken said...

John and David -
Interesting discussion on Romans 9:5 and Titus 2:13. (And Philippians 2)

Wish I had time to get deeper into right now; but cannot until at least tomorrow. (maybe later today)

David Waltz said...

Hello John,

Thanks once again for taking the time to continue our discussion; you posted:

>> Be that as it may, this particular topic is not high up on my list of "things to do." But I do want to answer you on it -- I'm not trying to read your mind, although I know a little bit about your background, and it makes sense to me that you might be seeking some way to justify a belief that lends itself toward Arianism. I could be wrong about that, too, and if so, I apologize.>>

Me: No need to apologize, but just the same, thanks. My JW days are behind me (officially left in 1983), and with that said, I would say that I am currently being influenced by what the Bible actually says on such important issues, and then look at the history of the development of doctrine with a fine-tooth comb is see if missteps have taken place—and importantly, if they took place early.

You have related online more than once that you believe the ECFs took a number of missteps—e.g. grace, sacraments, ecclesiology—but I seriously doubt that you have deeply examined whether or not the ECFs, whilst getting so many other doctrinal issues wrong, were getting the doctrine of God right. Over the next couple of months, I hope to explore this issue in greater depth on this blog.

>>But I'll tell you a little bit about how I do things. This topic that we have taken an interest in -- broadly, church history and theology, and even more broadly, OT history and theology -- is a huge one, and there are millions of things that you have to know. When getting started, I have found that it's helpful to identify knowledgeable people that I can trust, as guides. Even identifying those people is not easy, though it's not rocket science. But it does mean having some presuppositions, and I don't mind having those -- having lived for a period of time, I did come to form some impressions, and I don't mind to begin from those presuppositions. Test them, to be sure, but you can't start out in the middle of the ocean and then hope to get somewhere fast. You need a place to stand.>>

Me: Understood, and I sincerely appreciate the candor here; however, if history has taught this beachbum anything (as pertaining to theology in particular) it is that sincere, brilliant minds, often 'get it wrong'. This is probably why I am more open to reading more than one side of each important issue, and then attempt to weigh the evidence as objectively as possible.

>>I've seen somewhere that you own a library of some 15,000 books -- that's nice, but when will you read them all, and how will you put the information into context? I have many books too, and I haven't read them all (though I'd like to).>>

Me: I don't quite understand your question; when you get a chance, could you rephrase it?

Now, a little of my perspective on "sources". I have learned to try to determine how any given author approaches his/her subject; I then try to establish the methodology of the author, and then assess whether or not the 'sword' being used 'cuts both ways'. To do all the above requires knowledge of the worldview/s that are being addressed by the author, but also the worldview of the author too.

I am about to head outdoors, but would like to mention before leaving, that I would like to apply the above principles to the authors you have recently reviewed at Beggars All; hope to do so sometime next week, the Lord willing.

Hope you have a great weekend!

Grace and peace,

David

P.S. Congrats on your 50th birthday; back in June I turned 55, and blogged a bit about it http://articulifidei.blogspot.com/2010/06/month-of-june-being-55-and-other.html.