Some Questions for Pete Enns

Pete Enns has started to release a sort of summary, or “series of distillations” of his 38 page response. This first installment’s main point seems to be that Pete Enns holds to the authority of Scripture, and that the authority of Scripture was not really the main point of his book (though he affirms the authority of Scripture in that post). He says that the humanity of Scripture was his main point, affirmed in the face of what he believes is a practical downplaying or denial of Scripture’s humanity. It seems to me that the main point of criticism about Pete Enns’s book is his Christology. Pete says this:

Where some have stumbled, I feel, is in thinking that an emphasis on Scripture’s humanity seems to represent an irrevocable “methodological” failure to give due weight to Scripture’s divinity, indeed to the supremacy of the divine element of Scripture. As some have asserted, the book is to be faulted for failing to recognize that Scripture, like Jesus himself, is “essentially” divine while only “contingently” human (see the “HTFC Response” on the WTS website).

Frankly, I am bit perplexed, even concerned (theologically), about this criticism. If we understand the word “essential” to mean “a property without which something ceases being what it is,” Christ ceases being who he is if either element is subordinated. It is essential that Jesus of Nazareth, our Savior, be both divine and human. So, too, Scripture is not simply “contingently human”(precisely what that means is not clear to me at any rate) but essentially so, i.e., there is no Scripture apart from the human—Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek—words that the Spirit inspired biblical writers to write. To put it another way, we are not required to consider how to place one over the other, but to accept that they co-exist (if I may speak this way for sake of discussion) by God’s wise and gracious decree.

An author certainly cannot say everything in a book. And to emphasize one aspect of truth without denying another aspect of truth can certainly be done. But that is not really what I would like to know. What I would like to know is this: would Pete affirm that the human nature which Christ assumed only exists in hypostatic union with the divine? This is what I think the field committee meant by saying “contingently human.” See Lane Tipton’s excellent discussion of Chalcedonian orthodoxy in the previous post. In other words, there was not some human out there that the Second Person of the Trinity joined to Himself. We say that Christ is fully divine. But the humanity of Christ does not exist in and of itself, nor can it be abstracted from Christ’s divinity. It only exists in hypostatic union with the divine. There is only one person. This is why the statement “Christ ceases being who He is if either element is subordinated” makes me uncomfortable. Why should subordination of the human to the divine be an attack on the full humanity of Christ? If a wife is subordinated to her husband, does that make her less human? Of course, that analogy can go only a very little ways toward solving the problem. But subordination of humanity does not imply denial of humanity. Which has more fundamental importance: the fact that Scripture is divine, or the fact that Scripture is human? Both are true. But lots of OTHER writings out there are human (this is disgustingly to understate the truth). What distinguishes Scripture from other writings? That it is divine.

What I thought when I read I&I was that Pete was fighting the wrong battle. I know of no major theologians today who deny the full humanity of Scripture or Christ. I know of hardly any Christians out there who will say that Paul sounds just like Moses. I know of very few Christians who will deny the importance of studying history and literary genre (and even Second-Temple Judaism!) in order to understand some of the more obscure texts of Scripture (another question for Pete: would he acknowledge that there are parts of Scripture requiring absolutely NO study of any outside sources to understand? In other words, would he affirm that, for salvation, all that is needed is the Holy Spirit working in the Word?) I only know of the vast majority of people out there who believe that the Bible is not inspired, not inerrant, and not divine in origin. To many critics, I think what they are feeling is that Scripture is starting to come under attack again (even though, in another sense, it is always under attack), and instead of helping to blast liberalism and post-modernism’s denial of Scripture’s divinity, Pete has turned his guns on Christians who are gung-ho about defending the divinity of Scripture. I am seeking for light here, not heat. As I have said before, I respect Pete Enns, and consider myself a friend, and have learned a lot from him. I hope that he still considers me one.   

255 Comments

  1. Jim Cassidy said,

    June 4, 2008 at 9:44 pm

    Great post, Lane. I have added some further thoughts on my blog here:

    http://weblog.xanga.com/JimCassidy

  2. GLW Johnson said,

    June 5, 2008 at 4:58 am

    Lane
    Peter Lillback’s chapter in the recently released Gaffin Festschrift addresses Enns’ position and its inherit weaknesses.

  3. June 5, 2008 at 5:54 am

    Lane,

    E.J. Young (interestingly someone often appealed to by Enns and his supporters) once said that the real difficulty in biblical scholarship is not coming to accept the human origin of Scripture–the Bible was obviously written by men–but rather believing that the Scriptures are Divine in origin. It seems to me that Enns has made the human origin the most important element in Biblical interpretation. Isn’t the Divine origin the basis for which we, following Jesus’ teaching, believe that the Holy Spirit is the interpreter of Scripture–not the Midrash, Talmud, or Enuma Elis? Maybe Enns has said as much but there is at least four hundred years of Reformed writings that emphasis the fact that the Holy Spirit “superintended” the human authors as they wrote Scripture. I was also wondering if the I&I methodology breaks down by the sheer fact that Jesus was sinless in his human nature and the human authors were sinful in theirs. This is precisely the reason why the human authors of Scripture needed the Holy Spirit to superintend their writing. But Jesus, while He most certainly needed the Holy Spirit at all times, nevertheless, had a sinless nature. Maybe I am missing something here but it seems that Enns is pushing an incarnational view of inspiration too far.

  4. its.reed said,

    June 5, 2008 at 7:47 am

    Lane Tipton has provided a cogent argument that I think Enns may be interacting with, at least broadly, if not specifically.

    reed

    Incarnation, Inspiration, and Pneumatology: A Reformed Incarnational Analogy

  5. Sam Steinmann said,

    June 5, 2008 at 11:16 am

    For Christ (in contrast to Scripture, I think), maintaining proper emphasis on His humanity is necessary to avoid sliding into Gnosticism; I’ve heard statements from evangelical Christians of a form that implies that Jesus appeared (as opposed to was) human–an exceedingly dangerous error.

  6. ReformedSinner (DC) said,

    June 5, 2008 at 11:13 pm

    As the BT guys will always cry foul that ST guys don’t really understand what they are saying, I am wondering Pete’s responses are a sign that BT guys really don’t understand what the ST guys are questioning. Pete’s answer is essentially the same tune he’s sung throughout the controversy:

    1) He does not deny Divine Authority
    2) He’s only emphasizing the Humanity of Scripture
    3) He’s being victimize for not speaking in the traditional sense of Scripture

    At the end I don’t think he understands Reformed Christology, and I wonder how much has he really understood Reformed Doctrine of Scripture.

  7. GLW Johnson said,

    June 6, 2008 at 9:53 am

    ReformedSinner
    I have long since concluded that Enns really does not comprehend either the Old Princeton /Westminster tradition nor the Reformed doctrine of Scripture that was foundational to the whole tradition. Everything in Enns thought is poured through the grid of his training at Harvard and what comes out is something all together different. Van Til warned about this very thing.

  8. G.C. Berkley said,

    June 6, 2008 at 10:53 am

    Thankfully he was suspended. I’m glad the seminary is being faithful in an unfaithful age…

  9. June 6, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    I had a different take on Enns’ purpose. It seemed to me that he was in fact, in a sense, combatting the liberal denial of Scripture’s divinity. But he went about doing so in a very non-traditional manner. That is, rather than simply repeating the normal evangelical party line, he tried to demonstrate that the historical and cultural “situatedness” of Scripture is not something which evangelicals need to fear, but rather something which they can and should embrace and appreciate. The question is whether he succeeded in doing this.

  10. G.C. Berkley said,

    June 6, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    Well, I’d say he failed miserably. You are putting the best face on it though. I suppose WTS suspended him for utilizing a non-traditional manner? Or was it, perhaps, because he departed from the WCF’s position on the inerrancy of Scripture?

    I’d say the latter.

  11. June 6, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    Well, G.C., perhaps I am putting the best face on it. But if I am going to err in any direction, I’d rather err on the side of charity than on the side of suspiscion (since it is the case that “love believes all things”).

    I understand that Westminster suspended Enns for departing from WCF ch. 1. But, as it is, I still haven’t seen a place where he explicitly does so. I can see how one may conclude that some of his statements tend in such a direction (as I do think he stated quite a few things rather uncarefully and unclearly). But that is a different question entirely.

  12. GLW Johnson said,

    June 6, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    JB
    I read Enns recent post where he references comments made by individuals (like me) who keep attempting to contrast his views with those of Warfield and Machen.Enns complains that this is beside the point-they wrote what they did in a different time and confronted different issues- so he dismisses the concerns . What he is overlooking is the striking similarities his views have with individuals like C.A. Briggs. I attempted to show just how similar the two were in my chapter in the book on Warfield that I edited. To date I have yet to see either Enns or his defenders interact with that.

  13. June 6, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    Rev. Johnson,

    I do want to read that article. It’s on a long list of summer reading (and my “summer” effectively ends on June 30, with the beginning of Hebrew).

    I remain on this, as with many of the hot-topic issues in contemporary Reformedom, a man in the middle, not because I have no position, but because I think the solidified party lines have infected our communion with an air of suspicion and therefore caused each side to not really understand what the other is trying to say.

  14. its.reed said,

    June 6, 2008 at 6:37 pm

    Ref. 9:

    Jonathan:

    Enns’ argument is not directed at the liberal denial of the Scripture’s divine nature. Rather, his argument is directed at what he perceives is an over-emphasis by Evangelicals’on the Scripture’s divine nature, and the (supposedly) unnecessary problem that creates for some struggling with the liberal arguments against this divine nature.

    I.e., Enns is seeking to appropriately (what he believes) accomodate some arguments growing out of a liberal paradigm against Scripture’s divine nature with the evangelical inspiration/inerrancy position.

    The problem some of us have is that we believe Enns’ inappropriately accomodates liberal positions – to the point at least where his position hurts, rather than helps, support the divine nature of Scripture.

  15. ReformedSinner (DC) said,

    June 6, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    Excellent reply Mr. Reed. I totally agree with you. While Dr. Enns claimed he’s trying to combat liberals and help the Evangelicals, but in reality he’s actually criticizing the Evangelicals for not “advancing” the Doctrine of Scripture based on “new evidences” with “new paradigms.” His total dismissal of Warfield and Old Princeton as “situatedness” are troubling, and in the end I totally agree with Mr. Johnson: Dr. Enns is a poor theologian, and hence in my definition it also means he’s a flawed Biblical Scholar at best. Indeed he’s influenced more by scholarly Historical Criticism rather than challenged by the Bible itself.

  16. June 7, 2008 at 9:32 am

    “he’s a flawed Biblical Scholar at best.”

    Maybe my eschatology is a bit under-realized, but is there any such thing as a Biblical Scholar who is not flawed (save the prophets and apostles)?

  17. Ron Henzel said,

    June 7, 2008 at 9:49 am

    Jonathan,

    You asked:

    …is there any such thing as a Biblical Scholar who is not flawed (save the prophets and apostles)?

    I believe Enns’s approach to the theology of Scripture could be more clearly described as fatally flawed.

    Yes, since we are all flawed and none of us today can claim divine inspiration, we can expect our individual theologies to be flawed. But some flaws have more dire consequences in the long run than others. Some flaws, in fact, virtually guarantee the ultimate undermining of all truly biblical theology when taken to their logical conclusions. This has been demonstrated time and time and time again with the kind of flaw to which Enns subscribes.

  18. aboulet said,

    June 7, 2008 at 10:04 am

    GLW: You edited a book on Warfield? I think this is the first time you mentioned it.

  19. Ron Henzel said,

    June 7, 2008 at 10:14 am

    Art,

    Lane began reviewing Gary’s book last July in a post titled “The Warfield Book.”

  20. June 7, 2008 at 10:51 am

    Lane, GLW, etc.,

    You do all realize that every point you have brought up here against Enns and in support of the HTFC, Tipton, etc., has been replied to by the HFC position paper?

    GLW, your encouragement to read Lillback’s essay, which I think is a disgrace to WTS, is also perplexing considering Art Boulet devoted a great deal of time to exposing it as the shoddy pseudo-scholarship that it is. Interestingly, you commented a great deal on that post over on the conn-blog and not once did you discuss the substance of Art’s critique of Lillback. I suggest that until you or someone engages Art’s criticisms of Lillback’s essay and attempts to defend it—-showing how Art’s criticisms are misguided or wrong—-you cannot cite Lillback in this discussion for support. I realize that you might be capable of so critiquing Art and that we all might continue to disagree following your criticisms. Nevertheless, that you have not even attempted to defend Lillback’s essay but continue to cite it as helpful is ridiculous. For a further clarification, it is possible (1) that Enns is outside the Reformed tradition and (2) that Lillback failed to show that in his essay.

    Has anyone here read the HFC response to the HTFC paper? If so, you might want to address how they completely dismantle the HTFC paper on just about every level. The HFC paper explores how the HTFC paper stoops to the level of putting words in Enns’ mouth and then arguing his lack of orthodoxy based on the words they insert, showing the HTFC selectively quoting documents such that the quote makes it seem that the source is saying something very different than what the source in fact says (sometimes the opposite), showing the almost endless logical and argumentation flaws of the HTFC, showing the HTHC’s errors in historical work, etc.—and that such problems characterize the entire HTFC paper. Again, you can disagree with the HFC reply and my assessment of it. But, at this point, it is incumbent upon you do engage it before you continue to hold up the HTFC paper and the positions of its authors as valid. You may not like that you have to engage such a lengthy document with its detailed points, but such is the nature of discussion and scholarship. Until you do this, you cannot even pretend that you are asking Pete questions or that you want to engage in theological discussion and debate. I realize that not everyone can so discuss and critically-read the HFC paper (for whatever reason). But, again, to my knowledge none of you or those who agree with you have yet so addressed the HFC paper.

    Oh, and if you offer some explanation about how you just do not need to engage the HFC response for X or Y reason, it will be difficult for those of us who do not already agree with you to understand you as anything other than fideistic unreasonable people who have made their theology and views immune to discussion, conversation, and critique–from Scripture and from others IN the church (put another way, functionally denying sola-Scriptura and having a stricter view of tradition than Rome ever has had). If this is the position you in fact take, save us all the trouble and post a note at the top of your blog explaining that this is not the place for discussion but for submission to the unassailable Reformed tradition as you understand it.

  21. June 7, 2008 at 10:52 am

    Art, that (18) is funny!

  22. June 7, 2008 at 10:53 am

    the emoticon is supposed to be the number eighteen

  23. ReformedSinner (DC) said,

    June 7, 2008 at 11:28 am

    Reply #20: Dear Stephen Young:

    Before you demand that we engage in HFC and Art I suggest you practice what you preach. First DEMONSTRATE and SHOW us just HOW the HFC has “demolished”, “taken apart”, “show flaws” in the HTFC paper. You come here and sing the praises of HFC and Art’s works without demonstration of any critical interaction with their works against the HTFC, and then ridicule us for singing the praises of Lillback and HTFC works without demonstration of any critical interaction wtih HFC and Art? Now that’s funny (pun against #21.)

    Of course, you are doing exactly what HTFC has critiqued Enns of doing: demanding charity from people that holds different views than him, but yet at the same time dishing out venom against people with different views.

    So yes, let’s have a discussion. You jumped in here suggesting that Art and HFC has totally taken apart Lillback and HTFC. Ok, that’s a conclusion: now show us your work.

    Reformed Sinner

  24. ReformedSinner (DC) said,

    June 7, 2008 at 11:36 am

    #16,

    So by your definition of “flawed” I guess you would place a Liberal Biblical Scholar and John Calvin the Reformed Biblical Scholar on the same plane because both of them are “flawed” human beings.

    Please don’t place any illegitimate totality transfer into a simple conversation. The plain meaning of the text suffices.

  25. GLW Johnson said,

    June 7, 2008 at 11:37 am

    Ab has a sense of humor- I appreciate that and since SY is convinced Art did such a demolition job on Lillback(I don’t think he did )-please do the same with my rarely mentioned take on Briggs and Enns.

  26. June 7, 2008 at 12:25 pm

    ReformedSinner,

    No. There are few I’d put on the same level with Calvin. But that doesn’t change the fact that he is still flawed, and his conclusions are not beyond scrutiny and correction (though I rarely disagree with him).

    I only meant to point out that it is pretty meaningless to point out, in a general way, that someone is a “flawed” biblical scholar, as all biblical scholars are flawed. An answer to the effect of what Ron Henzel has offered would have sufficed.

    BTW: Thanks for the response, Ron.

  27. aboulet said,

    June 7, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    GLW: re: #25,

    When the library opens on Monday I will make sure that I read your chapter. I’m looking forward to it as I’ve heard so much about it.

    And thanks for appreciating my humor. I’m glad it was well received.

    RefSinDC: re:23,

    You said, “You jumped in here suggesting that Art and HFC has totally taken apart Lillback and HTFC. Ok, that’s a conclusion: now show us your work.”

    The HTFC and my review of Lillback is the work. Not one person has responded to my review of Lillback’s article with any amount of substance. I am open to critique, but no one has brought any to this point…except GLW’s passing comment that I did not seem to accomplish what I set out to.

  28. aboulet said,

    June 7, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    Lane:

    You wrote, “another question for Pete: would he acknowledge that there are parts of Scripture requiring absolutely NO study of any outside sources to understand? In other words, would he affirm that, for salvation, all that is needed is the Holy Spirit working in the Word?”

    Did you really read I&I? He says this in the book. I don’t have it in front of me, but when I get back home I will post the page number.

    It’s not fair to ask questions, especially unfair questions like this, when Pete has already answered them. It just makes you look like you really don’t understand the issues and, instead, are reverting to asking rhetorically charged questions that, at the end of the day, are already answered by Pete.

  29. GLW Johnson said,

    June 7, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    Gee, Art, go buy a copy or better yet send me the money-I can get you the editor’s discount-I sign for you and sent back to you!

  30. ReformedSinner (DC) said,

    June 7, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    #26,

    No Jonathan. You did not get my point, but since you are satisfied with an answer already I’ll just leave it at that.

  31. ReformedSinner (DC) said,

    June 7, 2008 at 1:48 pm

    Heh, who say theologians can’t have fun in conversations?

  32. June 7, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    GLW, perhaps we can get Enns to get you the author discount for his future books…: ) ?

  33. June 7, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    ReformedSinner (23),

    I do have a bit of frustration that I vented in my post. I agree with Art (27), the HFC paper and Art’s work (and the discussions of many others) are the “work” showing the flaws of the HTFC and Lillback’s essays. How exactly can I go about “showing” you that? Would you like me to copy and paste the 70 page HFC paper here? Have you read it? I did already point out some of the general things the HFC paper does, “The HFC paper explores how the HTFC paper stoops to the level of putting words in Enns’ mouth and then arguing his lack of orthodoxy based on the words they insert, showing the HTFC selectively quoting documents such that the quote makes it seem that the source is saying something very different than what the source in fact says (sometimes the opposite), showing the almost endless logical and argumentation flaws of the HTFC, showing the HTHC’s errors in historical work, etc.—and that such problems characterize the entire HTFC paper.”

    We are at the point in the discussion when people who agree with the HTFC and disagree with the HFC must engage the HFC paper. Put another way, the burden of discussion, if you will, is on those who side with Lillback and the HTFC. All we would be doing is rehashing the points of the HFC paper at this point.

  34. its.reed said,

    June 7, 2008 at 5:18 pm

    Ref. 33:

    Stephen:

    I’ve read both papers, as well as Enns’ book.

    The error you reference in the HTFC was acknowledged by its authors in subsequent communication. The authors of the HTC, as is appropriate for Christian brothers, accepted their brothers apology and correction of their error.

    You err yourself brother in your use of perjorative language, accusing the authors of HFC paper of “stooping to the level”. The gracious and Christlike thing to do is accept these brothers at their word, that it was a mistake.

    Further, one such error does not warrant your accusation of “selectively quoting.” You make it sound as if that is all they did. Having read both documents, as well as Enns’ book, you know this is not the case.

    Seriously brother, I urge you to take caution in your words. Such rash accusations is not the way of the Lord. Man’s anger never acheive’s God’s ends. Seek peace, even with those you perceive to be enemies.

  35. ReformedSinner (DC) said,

    June 7, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    Ok Mr. Young, so your best “demonstration” that you have critically interact with HTFC, HFC, Art, GWL Johnson, etc. is this paragraph:

    “The HFC paper explores how the HTFC paper stoops to the level of putting words in Enns’ mouth and then arguing his lack of orthodoxy based on the words they insert, showing the HTFC selectively quoting documents such that the quote makes it seem that the source is saying something very different than what the source in fact says (sometimes the opposite), showing the almost endless logical and argumentation flaws of the HTFC, showing the HTHC’s errors in historical work, etc.—and that such problems characterize the entire HTFC paper.”

    Ok, so here’s my response. Yes I have read everything under the sun that can be read about Pete Enns. So here’s my analysis:

    “The HTFC paper has sufficiently demonstrated how Dr. Enns’ work is dangerously anti-Reformed Doctrince of Scripture, and more closely associated with Barthian than Evangelicalism. The Incarnational Analogy is a flawed one at best, and does not at all solve any problems that he wishes to solve. Enns paradigm’s origin is not in the Holy Spirit’s guidance in reading the Holy Book in of itself, but rather uses Historical Criticism, Archaeological findings, and extrabiblical sources to no longer just informed, but dictate and even demands absolute conformity from the definition and meanings of Biblical events, accounts, and teachings. Finally, HTFC has successfully demonstrated how Dr. Enns, while crying for charity for his view, is very unchariable to views that he disagrees with, for example his hostile stance against the people that held to the view that there may be two cleansing of Holy Temple by Jesus instead of one.”

    There, I have done what you have done. Are we no longer Romanish Cardinals now?

  36. ReformedSinner (DC) said,

    June 7, 2008 at 8:55 pm

    More serious note:

    Dear Stephen Young, seriously. Why not make an appointment with Trueman, Poythress or Tipton and asked them how they think of HFC’s response? I’m sure they will find the time and be very glad to sit down and talk with you.

    Go straight to the sources if you are so frustrated and bothering your faith so much.

  37. greenbaggins said,

    June 7, 2008 at 9:43 pm

    Art, what is happening here is that Pete affirms one thing, but then other things he says are at least in tension with those affirmations. It is a question of consistency. I have read a great deal about this controversy, so the put-down comments are really out of line, especially given the fact that my tone in the post bends over backwards to Pete. I am after light, not heat. So, don’t provide any heat right now.

  38. aboulet said,

    June 8, 2008 at 11:20 am

    So, Lane, what statement of Pete’s would you say led you to the question, “would he affirm that, for salvation, all that is needed is the Holy Spirit working in the Word?”

    Do you honestly think that an WTS trained, ordained PCA elder would say that we need Second Temple sources instead of the Spirit for salvation?

    If the answer is no, then the question is: why even pose this question, if not just for rhetorical effect?

    If the answer is yes, then: are you serious?

  39. aboulet said,

    June 8, 2008 at 11:23 am

    Question for all:

    How do you think B.B. Warfield would have dealt with the Enuma Elish, had it been readily available during his lifetime? On the same note, how do you think he would have dealt with the explosion of interest in 2nd Temple hermeneutics and how that relates to NT studies and our understanding of the way the NT authors used the OT?

    I’d really like to know an answer.

  40. June 8, 2008 at 11:34 am

    To add to Art’s question, the Dead Sea Scrolls were not available to BB Warfield or Old Princeton. Our knowledge of Early Judaism increased exponentially with the unearthing and publication(s) of the scrolls. More than that, a renewed general interest in Early Judaism followed and sources previously available began to be re-approached in light of our better understandings of Early Judaism and the broader Hellenistic ancient-Mediterranean world. The varried phenomenon of Early Judaism began to be understood very differently than when Warfield was alive (I am not just talking about Sanders’ theories). Would Warfield have seen such developments as a call to re-engage the NT documents in their ever better-understood cultural and religious horizons? If so, how would he have done so?

  41. GLW Johnson said,

    June 8, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    Why stop at Warfield, what would the Apostle Paul do if he had know that Genesis 1-11 was composed of myths ( stories that are ‘made-up’)derived fron ANE?

  42. aboulet said,

    June 8, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    GLW: You didn’t answer the question.

  43. June 8, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    Indeed, GLW, you did not answer the question.

  44. GLW Johnson said,

    June 8, 2008 at 12:15 pm

    AB
    Read my chapter. Now, answer mine Art.Do you think the Apostle Paul had room in his ‘pre-modern’ theological framework for the notion that ANE myths were embedded in the OT?

  45. aboulet said,

    June 8, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    This is getting humorous.

    You still didn’t answer the question. “Read my chapter” is not an answer to the questions that we are asking.

    I’m pretty sure the apostle Paul, being a first century Jew, was in tune with the creation myths of the surrounding cultures. Much of this mythopoeic language comprises not only the Psalms, but also the midrash, with which Paul was very familiar.

    So…will you now answer our questions?

  46. June 8, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    If you want us to read your essay right now, perhaps you could email us an electronic version. Otherwise we have to wait until tomorrow when we can get into the WTS library and photocopy it. My email is Stephen.L.Young-at-Gmail.com. I will fwd it to Art.

  47. GLW Johnson said,

    June 8, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    Art
    I address this in that chapter-so read that. You do know that the Apostle Paul had some very unflattering things to say about the concept of myths don’t you? So did the Apostle Peter. Do you need references?

  48. June 8, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    its.reed,

    How do I put this nicely? I was supremely unimpressed by the acknowledgement of the HTFC’s “error” on the attached preface. They present it as though it was an isolated error. As best I can tell, it was far from that. They structured one of their main points of critique about Enns around those inserted words. The members of the HFC may have “accepted the apology,” but I am unaware of any of them viewing the insertion of words as an isolated mistake. I am not claiming they consciously and maliciously sought inserted the words. But, the inserted words played a much larger part in the original HTFC paper than the “apology” on the preface leads one to believe. Even if it was a mistake, this is the type of mistake that would cause the HTFC paper, if it were a paper turned in for a grade in a course, to receive a low grade. At best it was sloppy scholarship on a point that was, actually, important within the flow of the paper.

    Also, if we in fact read the same HTFC paper (and HFC paper), the HTFC did “selectively quote” throughout the document. Again, since the HFC paper documents numerous instances of this, I will not redo the work that has already been done.

    You see, this is one of our frustrations. The HTFC composed a paper crying “fire” through a collection of accusations. This is my way of saying what Lane Tipton himself says about the HTFC paper: it was a shot-gun blast trying to point out various issues without much order, precise-targeting, or substantive argument. It was not meant to stand on its own. Tipton has expressed regret that the HTFC paper was released since he does not think it is that helpful.

    The HFC, in response, took great time and energy composing a lengthy and detailed reply in which they show the unfounded nature of the accusations in the HTFC, expose the aggressively-uncharitable readings of Enns in the HTFC paper, etc. This does not mean the HTFC does not have grounds for accusing Enns of being outside the Reformed tradition. It just means they failed to do so through the paper that has been released. I imagine we all recognize that the HTFC had and has much more to say than is in the paper they released.

    So, why the frustration? The HFC took time and energy to respond to the HTFC and people, such as you all here, functionally ignore it and continue to act as though the questions and accusations leveled in the HTFC paper have not already been answered, thoroughly. You may not find the answers given satisfactory, but, in that case, you need to acknowledge the answer given and to explain why it is not satisfactory. Allow me to put this another way, you must engage in discussion. This is how discussion (and scholarship!) works. You cannot ignore the answers already given to questions you want to ask; especially when you want “to ask” them as though they have not yet been answered. You cannot act as though it is the burden of those calling you out on this to re-invent the wheel and reproduce the answers already given. If I may, I feel as though you are asking Art and myself (and others like us) to do your homework for you.

    Just for fun, Lane Tipton and Jeff Jue wrote a commendably concise and well focused reply (5pg) to the HFC paper. Interestingly, in it they do not take issue with the HFC paper. Rather, it appears they claim the HFC paper did a good job, but they still have an issue with Enns since Enns and the HFC paper are not “really” of one mind. They seek to drive a wedge between Enns and the HFC paper. If I may quote from the first page of the reply to give one example of this tactic, “The HFC Reply provides in chapter two a helpful discussion of the role played by biblical phenomena in relation to Scripture’s own self-witness—a discussion with which, in large part, we agree. However, as the quotations in the HFC Reply (cited below) from Charles Hodge and Raymond Dillard suggest, the doctrine of Scripture defended in the HFC Reply is not the doctrine of Scripture presented in I&I.”

    So, interestingly, two members of the HTFC (I am not sure if this paper was signed by the rest of the HTFC) acknowledge the value of the HFC paper. They do not continue the discussion by re-asking the exact same questions as though they had not already been addressed. Instead, they focus on clarifying a previous point with greater focus. Even if I found their reply unhelpful and, well, wrong-headed (which I did), I now must address their concerns and arguments (which I am trying to do through meetings with at least one of them).

  49. aboulet said,

    June 8, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    You address how BBW would have dealt with the Enuma Elish, the explosion of interest in Early Judaism, other ancient creation myths and the DSS? Wow. How long is the chapter?

    Is this the same Paul that believes in a movable rock that followed Israel around the wilderness? The same Paul who names Moses’ advesaries Jannes and Jambres, which was lifted from Jewish folklore?

    You mean that Paul?

    I do hope that your chapter answers all of these questions. If not, I will continue to ask them until I get an answer.

  50. June 8, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    …The same Paul who certainly “engaged” his Early Jewish-Hellenistic context (often unconsciouly) since he was, after all, a product of it!

  51. June 8, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    My comment (48) brings me to one of the points of ReformedSinner. As you may be aware, I live in Philadelphia—at least for the next couple of months until my wife and I move to Providence, Rhode Island. I have been meeting with members of the HTFC to discuss the situation with Enns and their paper, especially Gaffin, Tipton, and Lillback. I continue to line up meetings with them. I have discussed with Peter Lillback (in his office) what I think of his paper and informed him of my intentions to post several comments on it. He was very gracious and patient. I am currently awaiting a response from Lane Tipton about another meeting I want to have with him about some of these various issues. Since he is a busy man, I imagine it may take several more days. In the past he has been very willing to dialogue. Richard Gaffin has also made himself available for discussion with me. So, in answer to your comment, I have been meeting with various members of the HTFC. I have held off making some posts on the connverstaion blog about this until I could have some more of these meetings.

    At what point have you so scheduled a meeting (even by phone) with Enns or members of the HFC? Have you at least emailed any of them prior to voicing your accusations and conclusions (see comments 6 and 15)?

    Also, how has summarizing the thrust of the HTFC paper doing what I have done? I have asked you to engage the HFC paper, which claims to respond thoroughly to the HTFC paper. At what point will you start telling me where you disagree with the HFC response? Any examples? Where have they gone wrong in their analysis and critique of the HTFC?

  52. June 8, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    Ok, the emoticon is supposed to be a 48

  53. its.reed said,

    June 8, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    Stephen:

    In ref. 51, you say,

    “I have discussed with Peter Lillback (in his office) what I think of his paper and informed him of my intentions to post several comments on it. He was very gracious and patient.”

    I urge you to show the same patience and graciousness. Your original comment to which I was responding was definitely less than gracious.

  54. aboulet said,

    June 8, 2008 at 1:13 pm

    So now that we are all going to be patient and gracious, is anyone actually going to deal with the content of the HTFC document? Or did the 5 page rebuttal do the trick?

  55. its.reed said,

    June 8, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    Art:

    Your sarcasm encourages me to ignore you.

  56. aboulet said,

    June 8, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    itsreed: 55

    Your lack of dealing with the content of the HTFC encourages me to ignore you.

    GLW: 47

    Could you give me a brief sketch of what you say about BBW in relationship to the Enuma Elish, DSS, early Judaism, etc?

    Could you also explain how you deal with those texts in relationship to your understanding of Scripture.

    Also, do you think that the five times muthos occurs in the NT that it is referring to modern conceptions of myth?

  57. GLW Johnson said,

    June 8, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    AB
    Let’s cut to the chase- do you believe that Adam, Eve, the serpent and what Genesis describes in the Garden of Eden to have occurred in time, space, history (as Schaeffer would have put it)-or was this derived fron purely mythical souces? More importantly -do you actually think Paul would have had no problem with Enns’ defintion of myth?

  58. GLW Johnson said,

    June 8, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    No, I will not sent you jokers my chapter in e-form. To quote Das Machen ‘Don’t be tightwads boys!’ I know it is out of context but you get my point.

  59. aboulet said,

    June 8, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    GLW: 57

    Once again you have not answered my question and, yet, are asking more questions.

    Please answer my questions before you start asking questions. That is normal etiquette.

  60. June 8, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    GLW et. all,

    I continue to agree with Art. None of you are addressing the questions we ask. How would Warfield have handled the DSS and all the adjustments to our knowledge of the context of Early Christianity?

    One of the biggest bones I have to pick with the HTFC and many of you who disagree with Enns is that at no point do you really engage any of his Biblical points and/or the historical points he raises–at no point do you do this yourselves. You lock up the discussion in the realm of Historical Theology and, at times, in the abstract realm of presuppositions that you have consciously shielded from being impacted by any possible reunderstandings of the Bible. I do not think the realm of historical theology is unimportant. Indeed, since the charge of the HTFC is a Historical Theological charge (Enns is outside the Reformed Tradition) the HFC has responded on Historical Theological grounds, among other things.

    But, since some of you here have claimed to have read “everything” on Enns, let us venture into the area where Enns claims to be doing work: the Bible and ancient sources.

    How do all of you approach understanding the message and functions of Genesis 1, 2-3, 1-11, etc., in view of all the various ANE texts and inscriptions now available—material that has greatly advanced our knowledge of many things about the ANE (the purposes and functions of creation accounts and royal ideologies, how writings and accounts grew and were handled in the ANE, various ANE conceptions of the world and reality, etc.)? For those of you with any familiarity with ANE studies and the Hebrew Bible within that world, you will know Enns barely scratches the surface of issues facing the scholar/reader of the OT; especially the Evangelical reader. To stick with some of Enns’ examples, what about Genesis 1 (and the rest of the writings of the Hebrew Bible, for that matter) assuming the same view of reality as much of the rest of the Ancient Near East: the sky is a solid dome holding back the water; it has waters above it (interestingly, EJ Young upholds this understanding of Gen 1.6-8)? As we study the functions of various ANE creation accounts and ideologies, how do we approach Gen 1, 2-3, 1-11 (and other reflections on creation in the Hebrew Bible)? If you are not familiar with such areas of study, you can ask us or read the helpful works of Richard Clifford (Creation Accounts in the Ancient Near East and in the Bible), Jon Levenson (Creation and the Persistence of Evil), or even the more popular level work of J.R. Middleton (The Liberating Image). Perhaps you could read the Atrahasis epic, Enuma Elish, the Baal Cycle, the Gilgamesh Epic, etc.

    Since God inspired his Word back in the ANE, if you want to read it you need to read it in context. Just as we study various shades of Biblical Hebrew and Aramaic and Koine Greek (the historical languages) in order to read the writings of the Protestant Bible, so we need to study other parts of the historical horizons of said writings in order to understand them. How would you people here go about so historically studying Genesis 1-11, especially in view of our ever growing knowledge of the ANE? GLW, how does Enuma Elish, Atrahasis, the Baal Cylce, etc., factor into your readings of the writings of the Hebrew Bible?

    In all this we have not even come close to other huge areas of historical issues: theological diversity among the OT writings (and NT writings!), the NT’s use of the OT—even the OT’s use of other parts of the OT (see Michael Fishbane’s excellent work, “Biblical Interpretation in Ancient Israel”)—the development and functions of Jewish Apocalyptic thought and the writings of the NT (and Daniel!), etc.

  61. GLW Johnson said,

    June 8, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    NO- go back and check out my previous posts- you have avoided answering my questions by asking your own. Cheap debater’s trick, you ol’trickster you!

  62. greenbaggins said,

    June 8, 2008 at 3:14 pm

    Stephen, this is not the issue. I don’t know of anyone who is critiquing Enns right now who says that extra-biblical sources are useless in the study of the Bible. I know of many critics of Enns who would not interpret Genesis 1 in a literal manner. The point is this: from whence do we get our actual doctrine of Scripture itself? From sola Scriptura, or from Scripture as interpreted by outside sources? Enns posits the latter. The discussion, in other words, is not actually exegetical. It is a doctrinal discussion.

  63. aboulet said,

    June 8, 2008 at 3:18 pm

    Actually, you asked me to read your essay in 25 and 29, which I said I would do.

    Then I pose a question in 39, to which you continually responded with questions in 41 and 44 without answering my questions.

    I then posed another question in 56, to which you, again, answered with a question in 57.

    I have answered your questions. You have not answered mine.

  64. GLW Johnson said,

    June 8, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    Art
    I bet your favorite MLB team is the Dodgers.

  65. aboulet said,

    June 8, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    Not a fan of the Trolly Dodgers or any LA team right now, considering I’m a Boston fan.

    But apparently you were attempting to make a joke in order to dodge the questions posed to you.

    At least you’re not asking more questions again.

    Honestly, are you not going to answer the questions I posed to you? If not, then this is just a waste of time because you are not bringing the conversation anywhere, except, perhaps, to your chapter in the BBW book.

  66. June 8, 2008 at 5:34 pm

    Let me try this again…

    GLW et. all,

    I continue to agree with Art. None of you are addressing the questions we ask. How would Warfield have handled the DSS and all the adjustments to our knowledge of the context of Early Christianity?

    One of the biggest bones I have to pick with the HTFC and many of you who disagree with Enns is that at no point do you really engage any of his Biblical points and/or the historical points he raises–at no point do you do this yourselves. You lock up the discussion in the realm of Historical Theology and, at times, in the abstract realm of presuppositions that you have consciously shielded from being impacted by any possible reunderstandings of the Bible. I do not think the realm of historical theology is unimportant. Indeed, since the charge of the HTFC is a Historical Theological charge (Enns is outside the Reformed Tradition) the HFC has responded on Historical Theological grounds, among other things.

    But, since some of you here have claimed to have read “everything” on Enns, let us venture into the area where Enns claims to be doing work: the Bible and ancient sources.

    How do all of you approach understanding the message and functions of Genesis 1, 2-3, 1-11, etc., in view of all the various ANE texts and inscriptions now available—material that has greatly advanced our knowledge of many things about the ANE (the purposes and functions of creation accounts and royal ideologies, how writings and accounts grew and were handled in the ANE, various ANE conceptions of the world and reality, etc.)? For those of you with any familiarity with ANE studies and the Hebrew Bible within that world, you will know Enns barely scratches the surface of issues facing the scholar/reader of the OT; especially the Evangelical reader. To stick with some of Enns’ examples, what about Genesis 1 (and the rest of the writings of the Hebrew Bible, for that matter) assuming the same view of reality as much of the rest of the Ancient Near East: the sky is a solid dome holding back the water; it has waters above it (interestingly, EJ Young upholds this understanding of Gen 1.6-8)? As we study the functions of various ANE creation accounts and ideologies, how do we approach Gen 1, 2-3, 1-11 (and other reflections on creation in the Hebrew Bible)? If you are not familiar with such areas of study, you can ask us or read the helpful works of Richard Clifford (Creation Accounts in the Ancient Near East and in the Bible), Jon Levenson (Creation and the Persistence of Evil), or even the more popular level work of J.R. Middleton (The Liberating Image). Perhaps you could read the Atrahasis epic, Enuma Elish, the Baal Cycle, the Gilgamesh Epic, etc.

    Since God inspired his Word back in the ANE, if you want to read it you need to read it in context. Just as we study various shades of Biblical Hebrew and Aramaic and Koine Greek (the historical languages) in order to read the writings of the Protestant Bible, so we need to study other parts of the historical horizons of said writings in order to understand them. How would you people here go about so historically studying Genesis 1-11, especially in view of our ever growing knowledge of the ANE? GLW, how does Enuma Elish, Atrahasis, the Baal Cylce, etc., factor into your readings of the writings of the Hebrew Bible?

    In all this we have not even come close to other huge areas of historical issues: theological diversity among the OT writings (and NT writings!), the NT’s use of the OT—even the OT’s use of other parts of the OT (see Michael Fishbane’s excellent work, “Biblical Interpretation in Ancient Israel”)—the development and functions of Jewish Apocalyptic thought and the writings of the NT (and Daniel!), etc.

  67. June 8, 2008 at 5:36 pm

    Lane,

    You wrote, “The point is this: from whence do we get our actual doctrine of Scripture itself? From sola Scriptura, or from Scripture as interpreted by outside sources? Enns posits the latter.”

    Please give me examples of Enns doing this, from his book, asap.

  68. June 8, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    Lane,

    BTW, you cannot tell me to look at the HTFC paper. They make similar claims both in that paper and in Tipton and Jue’s 5pg reply to the HFC paper. They too fail to give a single example—if I remember correctly.

    Also, GLW, I await your discussion of Gen 1-11 in ANE context. I am happy to move onto Jewish Apocalyptic Thought and Paul…

  69. ReformedSinner (DC) said,

    June 8, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    #60: how would Warfield sees DSS and would he adjusts his views? The answer is we don’t know. We can only judge a person by what he wrote, and not put words into Warfield’s mouth by speculations. Just like it’s pointless to ask if John Calvin would join the OPC or the PCA if he’s alive today. We don’t know.

    As for not giving Enns an honest day in the “Biblical realm.” We believed we have. Stop acting like only Historical/Theological guys are picking on Enns. Richard Pratt last time I checked is an OT scholar through and through. Poythress is the major player in today’s hermeneutical studies. There are plenty of BT/OT guys that are distressing over Enns’ view. I wonder have you taken their concerns seriously or do you just dismissed them as “dead orthodoxy”, doing the very same thing that you accused us of doing (simply dismissing arguments one doesn’t like.)

    The finding of ANE materials, Gilgamesh Epic, Enuma Elish, etc. does give us new data to work with. But does these new data necessarily means a “new paradigm” that suggest new “provisions” and pretty much turning out understanding of Doctrine of Scripture upside-down? Enns says yes, but plenty of others with equally impressive BT/OT credentials say no. Have you taken their claims seriously or are you just going to protrait Enns as victim of truth that none of us are capable of understanding?

  70. ReformedSinner (DC) said,

    June 8, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    #51,

    To use your own quote: what do you want me to do, post the HTFC paper for you to read? You have not done any critical interacton but simply make conclusions yourself on your conclusions towards HTFC and Lillback’s works, and then you turn around and demand that I show my work for my conclusions while it’s perfectly ok for you not to do so?

    Sorry, I play on level rules. You show your work on your challenges toward HTFC and Lillback, and then I’ll counter it with mine.

  71. June 8, 2008 at 5:45 pm

    Also, yet again, I bring the discussion back to how NO ONE HERE has yet engaged the HFC paper. Yet, you all continue to stand behind criticisms that paper answered. See again comment 50. You can disagree with the answers of the HFC, but you have to explain why—you cannot simply ignore it.

  72. aboulet said,

    June 8, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    #70

    See my critique if Lillback’s essay.

    Your turn.

  73. GLW Johnson said,

    June 8, 2008 at 6:29 pm

    SY & AB
    Fellows -you sit yourselves up as judges -‘We ask the questions around here!’ Anyone who questions you gets dismissed with a wave of the hand. You pose ‘trap’ questions to mask you own presuppositions and avoid anything that would reveal your agenda. You accept at face value the starting point of liberal critical ‘scholarship’ -that is nothing more than a subtle form of ‘hath God said?’ Really, you two are operating in the realm of Charles Briggs-pure and simple. The disgraceful part of all of this is that you do so as WTS students. Machen, Van Til & co. would be appalled, as am I.

  74. aboulet said,

    June 8, 2008 at 6:46 pm

    GLW: #74

    You say that we set ourselves up as judges, yet you are the one judging our presuppositions, especially relating to critical biblical scholarship.

    If you have answers to the questions posed then please give them. You seem to be implying that there are better ways to answer the questions Pete raised.

    That is what we are after. If you will not provide these answers, then you leave us with little choice.

    If you are not satisfied with Pete’s answers, please give us another alternative. Please tell us how you answer these questions.

  75. aboulet said,

    June 8, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    I meant #73

  76. Bob Suden said,

    June 8, 2008 at 9:32 pm

    Gentlemen,

    As a troll in training and seeing’s how there is a lull in the exchange, allow me a few comments.

    As in this is really a schoolboy debate, if not that somebody’s slip is showing.

    AB & SY in #49 & 50 give it all away.

    “Is this the same Paul that believes in a movable rock that followed Israel around the wilderness? The same Paul who names Moses’ advesaries Jannes and Jambres, which was lifted from Jewish folklore?

    You mean that Paul?”

    “…The same Paul who certainly “engaged” his Early Jewish-Hellenistic context (often unconsciouly) since he was, after all, a product of it!”

    That” says it all. Who is setting themselves up as a judge of Paul #74, if not a fundamentalist when it comes to 1 Cor 10?

    Among other things, one is reminded of modern theories of literature. The classics need to be deconstructed because their authors were unaware/unconscious of the oppressive patriarchal/racist/sexist/capitalist nature of these works, but not to worry, Derrida to the rescue.

    Likewise Paul really didn’t know what he was talking about, but modern biblical scholars (critics) do. Oh goody. Now we will finally be able to get a biblical theology chair for GL&TG studies.

    Even worse, #59, 60, 63 & 74 fail to realize/understand that GLW in #57 has answered your questions of 41 & 44 implicitly. As in answered and raised, if not trumped your comments/questions. ‘Forget about BBW, what about Paul?’

    But you already have told us in #49 & 50 what you think of Paul and it is pretty hard not to take “You mean that Paul?” as anything but a derisive sneer. But you do affirm WCF 1 and the infallible and plenary inspiration of scripture, I am sure.

    In short, gentlemen, in the opinion of this troll, you are over your heads and you really don’t understand the level at which the discussion is being conducted, no matter how honest, thorough and plaintive your requests and objections might seem to be.

    Unless you are really aware of it, in which case deception comes into play. But we won’t go there, nor do we mean to insinuate it. The situation as it stands now, is bad enough regarding competency and command of the issue, not character. It is only when people won’t admit their mistakes that the last comes into play.

    Further if the stated desiderata for this site is light, not heat, I trust enough of the former has been presented to adequately account for and justify any of the latter.

    cordially

  77. G.C Berkley said,

    June 8, 2008 at 10:52 pm

    Doesn’t Stephen Young believe that women could and should be Pastors? I think that cleary says enough about his position on Scripture, doesn’t it?

    I think GLW’s questions are good ones. Why don’t you fellas just answer them and demonstrate your magnanimity? Or would your answers expose you, and therefore undermine your credibility with those in full agreement with WCF 1?

    I hope I’m wrong…

  78. aboulet said,

    June 8, 2008 at 11:23 pm

    #76

    1) You didn’t answer anythng.

    2) Does the Enuma Elish show similarities to Genesis? Does Paul show similarities to other second Temple interpreters?

    3) How do you deal with these similarities?

    4) What does this say about your doctrine of Scripture?

  79. GLW Johnson said,

    June 9, 2008 at 6:26 am

    AB
    You don’t really believe any such conversation took place in a literal Garden of Eden between the serpent and the woman, do you? You would have us believe ,on the testimony of Pete Enns I guess, that the Apostle Paul was completely at home with the concept that the OT was sated with myths, ‘urban legends’, camp fire stories, fables, saga and just down right falsehoods. And yet you have the effrontery to contend that all of is complete harmony with Old Princeton/ Westminster! That Warfield and Machen-if only they knew as much as Enns- they would jump for joy.I don’t know if I should pity you or treated you according to 1 Tim.6:3-5.

  80. June 9, 2008 at 7:34 am

    Art and Stephen,

    This is an answer for the question Art asked in post 39:

    “Question for all:

    How do you think B.B. Warfield would have dealt with the Enuma Elish, had it been readily available during his lifetime? On the same note, how do you think he would have dealt with the explosion of interest in 2nd Temple hermeneutics and how that relates to NT studies and our understanding of the way the NT authors used the OT?

    I’d really like to know an answer.”

    Answer:

    While it is important to note that B.B. Warfield would need to be here to tell us what he would have done, he did leave us a corpus of writing that explains where he stood on almost every theological loci I think its safe to say he would never have gone anywhere close to where you, Pete Enns, and N.T. Wright have gone.

    As far as the Enuma Elish is concerned I doubt that Warfield would have considered it “literal history writing” like so many of the ANE scholars today do when dealing with mythography. He would have deemed it pagan literature, which it is. I also think he would have defended the analogy of faith and the analogy of Scripture like any other Reformed writing of his generation. First of all, they did know about the ANE literature that was being unearthed in their day. They also had plenty of other extra-biblical materials, like Second Temple writings–and guess what, they didn’t use them the way you are. For over four hundred years Reformed theologians have answered your questions and yet you and Peter Enns have not wanted to hear. Do you know why not? Because, according to your faithful leader (Enns), you cannot have any serious dialogue with archeologists or historians if you say that the pagans corrupted what was given by revelation of God to his people. Enns even goes so far as to say, in I & I, that this is a possibility but that we cannot accept it for fear of loosing a voice at places like Harvard and Duke (where all your buddies go to study theology). Simply put, all the creation and flood accounts were literally, historically, and orally revealed by God to HIS people, and after the flood they were adapted, borrowed, learned and changed by those who rejected the pure worship of the true and living God.
    Same goes for pagan sacrifice. Are you going to tell us soon that the Jews learned to sacrafice because of some similarities of sacrificial worship in mythography. Oh please, please, please don’t do that.

    You asked specifically about similarities. Why are the similarities in those writings and the HB more important to you than the dissimilarities? Let me put it simply. Any biblical scholar should be willing and ready to look at ANE and Second Temple writings and learn what they can from them. But the conclusions drawn always fall outside the realm of dependancy. If you make Scripture everywhere dependent on those things you broaden the canon, and as you will see in the near future, you produce a whole lot of guys who will end up denying the authority and inspiration of Scripture. But, if you use those extra-biblical writings in a compare-and-contrast method for illustrative purposes you stay on the safe side of hermeneutics and you preach some pretty boring sermons.

    BTW, you don’t need any Second Temple writings to explain how Paul got from the rock in the wilderness to Christ. First, the Holy Spirit superintended what he wrote in 1 Cor. 10. Second, the text in Exodus tells us that the LORD can and stood on the rock. Well, Art, seems to me that Paul knew that Jesus was the LORD, and that if he came and stood on the rock it was a theophany. Seems like a pretty easy jump to what Paul wrote in 1 Cor. 10. For your information, I sat in Enns’ class when he taught that lesson and did not see why the Rabbinical writings he produced were the foundation for Paul’s Christology. In fact, the writings he put on the overhead said nothing about the Messiah and the rock, they were simply Rabbinical commentary on Exodus. If that substantiates your theology I feel very, very sorry for you.

  81. June 9, 2008 at 7:35 am

    I meant to put “legitimate history writing” in the second paragraph above.

  82. G.C. Berkley said,

    June 9, 2008 at 8:19 am

    Not sure why my previous comments were deleted, but…

    I think AB and SY’s doctrine of Scripture has become clear enough. Let them follow Enns to the end.

  83. aboulet said,

    June 9, 2008 at 10:05 am

    Nicholas: #79

    You said: “he did leave us a corpus of writing that explains where he stood on almost every theological loci I think its safe to say he would never have gone anywhere close to where you, Pete Enns, and N.T. Wright have gone.”

    You conclusion is not supported by any argumentation. You can feel safe to say whatever you wish. But that is not convincing until you actually prove it.

    You said: “ As far as the Enuma Elish is concerned I doubt that Warfield would have considered it “literal history writing” like so many of the ANE scholars today do when dealing with mythography. He would have deemed it pagan literature, which it is.

    Which ANE scholars consider it “literal history writing”? That is new information to me. Does Enns say this in his work? Or do you think that Enns also holds to the fact that the EE is pagan myth?

    You said: “First of all, they did know about the ANE literature that was being unearthed in their day. They also had plenty of other extra-biblical materials, like Second Temple writings–and guess what, they didn’t use them the way you are. For over four hundred years Reformed theologians have answered your questions and yet you and Peter Enns have not wanted to hear.

    That’s interesting. I was under the impression that the Enuma Elish, DSS, Nag Hammadi documents, other ANE creation myths, etc. were all discovered within the past 150 years, which they actually were. How could Reformed people have answered these questions when they did not even have these documents?

    You said: “Do you know why not? Because, according to your faithful leader (Enns), you cannot have any serious dialogue with archeologists or historians if you say that the pagans corrupted what was given by revelation of God to his people. Enns even goes so far as to say, in I & I, that this is a possibility but that we cannot accept it for fear of loosing a voice at places like Harvard and Duke (where all your buddies go to study theology).

    Did he really say that? Please quote it for me.

    You said: “Simply put, all the creation and flood accounts were literally, historically, and orally revealed by God to HIS people, and after the flood they were adapted, borrowed, learned and changed by those who rejected the pure worship of the true and living God.

    That is your conclusion. I understand that. But you have not argued for it nor proven it. You have only stated what you believe without demonstrating why this is the case, especially with the dating of the documents in question. You have also not approached dealing with the issues of Scripture mirroring the ANE worldview (flat earth, dome, pillars of the earth, etc.). If you did then it might be helpful.

    You said: You asked specifically about similarities. Why are the similarities in those writings and the HB more important to you than the dissimilarities?

    Because everyone mentions the dissimilarities. Its the similarities that people have a hard time dealing with, as you have shown by not dealing with them.

    You said: First, the Holy Spirit superintended what he wrote in 1 Cor. 10. Second, the text in Exodus tells us that the LORD can and stood on the rock. Well, Art, seems to me that Paul knew that Jesus was the LORD, and that if he came and stood on the rock it was a theophany.

    So where, in Exodus, does it talk about the rock following around Israel?

    You said: In fact, the writings he put on the overhead said nothing about the Messiah and the rock, they were simply Rabbinical commentary on Exodus. If that substantiates your theology I feel very, very sorry for you.

    Thank you for your pity. I appreciate it.

    And the point of the overheads and the Jewish literature was to show that within Jewish traditions, they believed a rock to have followed Israel. That’s the point Pete was making. Paul, knowing these traditions, then flips them on their head and says that the Rock was Christ. He was partitipating in their interpretive world. Pete did not use those to make a point about the Messiah.

    That explanation makes much more sense than yours, since it actually deals with the issue of a rock following Israel.

  84. ReformedSinner (DC) said,

    June 9, 2008 at 10:12 am

    #71,

    I have engaged in HFC paper the same way you have engaged in HTFC paper. I don’t know why you keep crying for “engagement.” I played by your rules, post a bunch of conclusions.

    GLW Johnson is right, you want to be judge, jury and executioner at the same time. The world doesn’t work that way and you can’t cry foul when someone called you out on it.

  85. ReformedSinner (DC) said,

    June 9, 2008 at 10:35 am

    #82:

    “And the point of the overheads and the Jewish literature was to show that within Jewish traditions, they believed a rock to have followed Israel. That’s the point Pete was making. Paul, knowing these traditions, then flips them on their head and says that the Rock was Christ. He was partitipating in their interpretive world. Pete did not use those to make a point about the Messiah.

    That explanation makes much more sense than yours, since it actually deals with the issue of a rock following Israel.”

    This is the problem for Dr. Enns and you guys (and many others of likemindedness in general), that easy answers are the way to go without countering with the balance of the whole loci of theology that the Church has done for the last 2000 years (as some continues to have done, but as in every generation there are calls to ditch it for the purpose of ‘advancement.’), and at the same time did not taken into the consideration the complexity of ANE/Second-Temple period in of itself.

    Many problems to your “easy” answer.

    1) There are still many traditions in the Second-Temple Judaism that we don’t know about. Hence the unearthing of many ANE/Second Temple writings have not only given us a broader picture, but also at the same time a more complex picture, just like many new knowledge they not only given us answers but also more questions to be answered. True student of Second Temple period (of which I’m sure AB and SY are on top fo things) will realize this. Pete Enns posting ONE tradition and use it to bound Paul is not good scholarship, but force reading.

    2) As related to 1 the only Paul we know is the Paul of Scripture, which provides not much data on Paul’s attitude towards the many Rabbinical traditions of his time. To say that Paul “has to” use a particular one Rabbinical tradition that looks similar to 1 Cor. 10 on 1 Cor. 10 is a leap of faith, one you are free to make, don’t be surprise when not many people follow.

    3) The alternative provided by Batzig (and many other alternatives provided elsewhere) are perfectly feasible. You reject them simply on presuppositional grounds, but to quote SY you made no engagement on why they are wrong and your answers are better. “Easier” does not make it the “right” answer. Easy is never the pre-requisite for truth.

  86. aboulet said,

    June 9, 2008 at 10:51 am

    #84

    You said:“Pete Enns posting ONE tradition and use it to bound Paul is not good scholarship, but force reading.”

    What are the other traditions about the rock following around Israel? Are their many traditions?

    I understand that Early Judaism is complex, but that does not mean that there are no shared characteristics of the different strands of Early Judaism.

    You said: “As related to 1 the only Paul we know is the Paul of Scripture, which provides not much data on Paul’s attitude towards the many Rabbinical traditions of his time.”

    Well, the fact that Scripture states that he was a trained and educated member of the Jewish elite, I think we have a good idea.

    You said: “The alternative provided by Batzig (and many other alternatives provided elsewhere) are perfectly feasible. You reject them simply on presuppositional grounds.”

    I rejected them, as you can see in my comment, because he did not provide reasoning, he simply stated his conclusions. There needs to be evidence before you can say that they are “perfectly feasible.”

  87. Jeff Waddington said,

    June 9, 2008 at 11:06 am

    Just some thoughts…

    I think ANE and 2nd TJ literature can be informative but never normative. Pete Enns seems to make or allow the secondary literature to be normative for how we understand Scripture itself. And when we add that error to the other error of not taking what Scripture says about itself over the phenomena of Scripture, we end up with a very deadly combination for the doctrine of Scripture.

    All of this still stems, IMHO, from a failure to distinguish Scripture from the surrounding culture in which it comes to us. Again, the exchange between Perrin and Waters in the WTJ is very instructive at this point. And then you add the third problem of not allowing our subordinate standards (WCF, WLC, WSC) any practical hermeneutical weight, you end up with the hermeneutical equivalent of the problem of the book of Judges: every scholar handles the Bible as he deems best in his own eyes. Enns and co treat the WS as a hypothesis at best, and in most instances as a disproved or likely disproved or outdated hypothesis.

  88. June 9, 2008 at 11:25 am

    Art,

    You responded to my answers by saying things like, “Thats just your conclusion,” and “you haven’t provided any argumentation.” Well, I am not going to write you a book on Greenbaggins blog. I might write you one in the future however. My argumentation is that the Bible is God’s word, and as such was given by revelation. We know that there were prophets prior to Moses writing the Pentateuch and that from Adam to Noah there was supernatural revelation (otherwise how could anyone be saved?) How’s that for argumentation. Its called good and necessary consequence and it is a tenet of Reformed Presbyterianism (please read the Confession). If you don’t want to use the confession then please leave the PCA and start a N.T. Wright loving community church.

    Secondly, while this is my conclusion, yours, it seems to me, is less substantiated because you are arguing that God used pagan material (which he coincidentally told Israel to destroy when they came into the Promised Land) to reveal Himself, His works and His worship to His people. That is not only an unsubstantiated argument–it is a contradiction to what God tells Israel to do to their contextual neighbors of the ANE. The Lord said to Israel in Deuteronomy 7, “2 and when the LORD your God gives them over to you, and you defeat them, then you must devote them to complete destruction. You shall make no covenant with them and show no mercy to them. 3 You shall not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons, 4 for they would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods. Then the anger of the LORD would be kindled against you, and he would destroy you quickly.5 But thus shall you deal with them: you shall break down their altars and dash in pieces their pillars and chop down their Asherim and burn their carved images with fire. 6 “For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.

    Your conclusions are also unsubstantiated because you have argued that the ANE materials used in constructing the Hebrew Bible were used because of their cultural nearness (propinquity) to Israel. The problem with propinquity, as you should well know, is that no one can be certain how close Israel actually was in time, space, and language to these ANE writings. Even the most well known ANE scholars (of which you are not included yet) will admit this. Read Walton’s book again.

    You asked me where I learned that Enns and others claim that ANE writing is “legitimate history writing”? This is the whole basis of the works of Walton, Yamauchi, Hallo, Younger, Averbeck, Chavales, etc. This is a well known fact. I thought you were doing some work at Penn. You can certainly find their works in the Biblical Studies section of the Van Pelt library. Haven’t you read any of the works of these guys. If not, you are not even in the evangelical wing of this discussion.

    As far as where I found Enn’s statement that we could say that the pagan’s copied the people of God–although doing so would mean no more talks with Princeton, Duke and Harvard:

    Enns’ treatment of the Genesis myth begins on page 49 and goes to page 56. I think I remembered reading what concerned me most on page 51-53. Enns dismisses the idea that Genesis 1-11 is historic, timeless truth and explains that Israel got the creation/flood stories from pagan nations. Because it was refurbished a bit with the name of Jehovah they had to worship Him because He is the true God (who really didn’t create or flood the world I guess?). Enns even acknowledges the possibility of the position that the pagan nations learned their creation/flood accounts as it was passed down by oral tradition (from Noah, etc. Though he doesn’t mention Noah in that context) and this is what he concludes:

    “If pressed, one could attempt to mount the argument that the Israelite stories were actually older than the ancient Near Eastern Stories but were only recorded later in Hebrew. Such a theory, for that is what it is, a theory, would need to assume that the biblical stories were the originals and that all the other stories were parodies and perversions of the Israleite original, even though the available evidence would be very difficult to square with such a conclusion. But could it have happened this way? I suppose that one could insist on such a thing, but it would be very difficult for someone holding such a view to have a meaningful conversation with linguists and historians of the ancient world. To argue in such hypothetical terms can sometimes become an excuss for maintaining a way of thinking that is otherwise unsupportable.”

    Please know that I am praying that the Lord will lead you away from your mistaken conclusions. I know that the Triune God is able to open your eyes to the danger of what you have embraced. I am sincerely praying for you.

    Nick

  89. GLW Johnson said,

    June 9, 2008 at 11:36 am

    Getting Art and Steve to answer questions is like getting proof positive that Big Foot exist- but a little minor issue on the purpose and function of Scripture down through the history of the Church- are we to believe that until NT Wright and his colleagues promoting the NPP came along- no one, absolutely nobody for the last 1900 plus years understood the Apostle Paul’s doctrine of justification ( actually the good bishop makes that outrageous claim) and that the Christians down through the centuries staggered around in blissful ignorance of the true character of the genre’ of Scripture, esp. the opening chapters of Genesis.Pity the sad spectacle of those deluded divines that gather at the ancient conventual church of Westminster Abbey. Poor saps- they labored under the delusion that the book of Genesis was historical-not composed of ANE myths-but, like you and your fearless leader keep reminding us -what they did is merely ‘provisional'( and badly so given their woeful knowledge of ANE and 2TJ). Don’t you think that inlight of your brilliant insights that it is high time to either overhaul the Wetminster Standards or scrape them altogether and appoint Enns and Wright as OT and NT chairmen ( please no Church historians or Systematic theologians on this committee) to oversee a new and updated ‘provisional’ (but of course it would have to be) confession?

  90. June 9, 2008 at 11:56 am

    Art,

    Your logic is faulty when you charge me with only giving my conclusion without evidence. You have not given any evidence. All you have shown is that similarities exist. From this observation you have concluded that the HB “mirrored” (you should use the word borrowed instead) from the ANE writings. How could we ever conclude that the writers of Scripture “mirrored” anything. That is a presupposition that you are coming to the table with. I have talked with ANE scholars in a class far above you who have admitted that we really don;t know who borrowed from who. This is even Walton’s conclusion–though he equivocates and in the end attributes every similarity to Israel borrowing from the pagans.

    The point of all this is to say that I have drawn conclusions based on systematic and biblical theology. You have drawn conclusions based on extra-biblical writings of men and women who hated the God we serve.

  91. June 9, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    This is not going anywhere. I am done here. If any of you are in Philadelphia in the next couple of months (or in Providence, RI after August), drop me an email and perhaps we can get together and discuss this over a meal and/or beer—in person. Maybe we could worship together as well?

    Stephen.L.Young-at-Gmail.com

  92. June 9, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    I almost forgot. In my opinion, what has happened here only serves to show why Enns wrote his book.

  93. June 9, 2008 at 1:32 pm

    Oops, I checked out before I saw Jeff Waddington’s comment 86. Jeff, I pose to you the same questions I posted to Lane Keister in comments 67 and 68. Please provide me with examples of Enns allowing extra-Biblical sources to be “normative.” You, the HTFC, and others continue to spout this claim, but NOT ONCE provide an example. If you can produce some specific examples, please explain how said extra-Biblical material should be handled and understood and if it has any bearing on how we understand the Bible (i.e., does it inform us about the historical context thus helping us read the writings in context?).

  94. June 9, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    For Lane and Jeff, I realize you may not have time right now to provide the examples for which I ask. Would you mind letting me know if you plan to provide the examples when you have time? This would be helpful. Thanks.

  95. Jeff Waddington said,

    June 9, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    Stephen:

    This is debate over how one uses and assesses the ANE and 2TJ literature.

    Would you grant that Scripture can in principle be unique and distinguishable in the above two contexts?

  96. June 9, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    Jeff, you have not provided the examples I requested. Until you do so I will consider both your position and the HTFC’s that Enns makes extrabiblical sources “normative” to be nothing more than unsupported rhetoric designed to sound sophisticated but lacking any real content.

  97. June 9, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    Steve,

    Enns wrote his book because he wants to have “meaningful conversation with linguists and historians (including unbelieving linguists and historians) of the ancient world. If he adopts the methodology that has been employed by Reformed theologians in the history of Reformed theology he cannot have any “meaningful conversation” with scholars of ANE literature. He says as much in his book (see p.52 paragraph 2).

  98. Jeff Waddington said,

    June 9, 2008 at 2:03 pm

    Stephen

    Undoubtedly any and every example of an extra-biblical source that I believe Pete Enns is allowing to become normative in his own doctrine of Scripture you will dispute. So I am not sure how valuable that exercise would be, although if I had the time, I would not mind doing it.

    Besides Pete Enns has apparently not been persuaded by the likes of biblical scholars such as D. A. Carson, Greg Beale, and Guy Waters. Ah yes, they are not the cutting edge, avant garde types. And of course since I am an ST/HT/AP guy I know absolutely nothing about the Bible. I am dependent for everything I know on guys like you.

    Then again, maybe not…

  99. June 9, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    GLW, as annoyed as you may be by this point I am about to make, you still have not answered our questions. Neither has Batzig. Repeating the standard Evangelical position (interspersed with sarcastic jabs) that ANE myths are corruptions of pure revelation and religion still does not speak to our questions. We have such myths and inscriptions and they help us understand how various ANE people viewed the world, understood reality, how royal and creation ideologies functioned, etc. How do you contextualize Gen 1-11 in this world? Do you not need such ANE contextual information? If not, then you do not think you need to read the Bible in context—why read it in Hebrew? If you do need it, how do you (specifically, you GLW) use it? What do you do when Gen presumes the same view of reality (solid dome holding back water, for example) as other parts of the ANE? What do you do when you want to undestand the functions of God creating by defeating the chaos/sea in Gen 1 and other ANE myths help shed light on the functions and meanings of such thought in various sectors of the ANE? Does not all this help us read the Bible better—just as knowing Biblical Hebrew, Biblical Aramaic (not listed in WCF ch1), and Koine/Hellenistic Greek “helps” us read the writings of the Protestant Bible?

    GLW, you are engaging a basic argumentative fallacy in distracting everyone from our questions by claiming that your questions “really get to the heart of the matter.” Perhaps they do. But, clearly, we are too ignorant to realize this so perhaps you should meet us on our level and answer our questions—and from there show us how your question gets at the “real issues.”

  100. June 9, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    Jeff, I take it you will not provide example of HOW Enns’ handling of such material shows that he makes it “normative.” Why not humor me even if you think I will dispute it? This is the point of a conversation.

    So, again, let me know if you plan to offer said examples. Lane, I make this request of you as well. I will check back tonight. If you have not at least notified me that you will provide such examples, then…well, the following obtains:

    This is not going anywhere. I am done here. If any of you are in Philadelphia in the next couple of months (or in Providence, RI after August), drop me an email and perhaps we can get together and discuss this over a meal and/or beer—in person. Maybe we could worship together as well?

    Stephen.L.Young-at-Gmail.com

  101. Jeff Waddington said,

    June 9, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    Stephen:

    Pete’s whole I&I book is an exercise in making ANE literature normative for an Evangelical doctrine of Scripture. Otherwise he has wasted his time writing it.

  102. June 9, 2008 at 2:36 pm

    Steven,

    In regard to your set of loaded questions posed to GLWJohnson, I will attempt to answer:

    You asked: “How do you contextualize Gen 1-11 in this world?”

    Answer: We contextualize Genesis 1-11 by reading it in light of Genesis 12-50 and the rest of the Bible (starting with the HB). This is the analogy of faith and the analogy of Scripture.

    You asked: “Do you not need such ANE contextual information?”

    No, you do not “need” any ANE contextual materials. This is Jeff and Lane’s point about your making ANE material NORMATIVE rather than INFORMATIVE (or I prefer illustrative). All you NEED is Scripture.

    You asked: “If not, then you do not think you need to read the Bible in context—why read it in Hebrew?”

    We read it in Hebrew because God the Holy Spirit inspired it in Hebrew. He did not inspire any other semitic writings no matter how many similarities they have.

    You asked: “What do you do when Gen presumes the same view of reality (solid dome holding back water, for example) as other parts of the ANE?”

    We’ve answered how we veiw similarities already and you have only spouted that our answers are the reason why Enns wrote his book. No one is disputing that similarities exist. You seem to be saying that the HB is dependnant (as to its source) on these other writings. If so please say that. Then you will have answered Jeff’s claim that you are making ANE Normative to the interpretation of Scripture.

    You asked: “What do you do when you want to undestand the functions of God creating by defeating the chaos/sea in Gen 1 and other ANE myths help shed light on the functions and meanings of such thought in various sectors of the ANE?”

    Answer: You are presupposing that the ANE myths shed light on Gen. 1. I have presupoosed otherwise. Why is this so hard to understand. Could you please produce some examples and explain how you understand the relation to exist?

    You asked: “Does not all this help us read the Bible better—just as knowing Biblical Hebrew, Biblical Aramaic (not listed in WCF ch1), and Koine/Hellenistic Greek “helps” us read the writings of the Protestant Bible?”

    Answer: You are comparing apples and oranges. God inspired the words of Scripture in the languages in which they were written. No respectable theologian would deny that. The philological question does not pertain to the cultural contextual weltanshauung question Enns and you are promoting. We are dealing with history not linguistics. Furthermore, the burden of proof falls on you to explain how anyone could understand the Bible prior to the late 1800’s when the ANE material were discovered. I guess God decided to give the church something then that He had not given His people for 1800 years. Funny how this is not the case with linguistics. Please do more thinking on this subject.

    Now, a few questions you can answer:

    1) Do you adhere to the analogy of faith and the analogy of Scripture? Do you accept the most fundamentsal (yes, I did use the word fundamental) Reformed hermenuetic principle, “Scripture is its own interpreter?”

    2) If you do not agree with Jeff’s assessment that you are making ANE materials normative to the interpretation of scripture then would you agree that they are not necessary to have if someone wishes to understand the correct interpretation of scripture? In short, Do we need ANE materials to understand the Bible? If not, then please throw in the towel.

  103. aboulet said,

    June 9, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    #88

    Watch the History Channel.

    He exists.

  104. GLW Johnson said,

    June 9, 2008 at 3:39 pm

    Art
    You are a gem! Steve, you’re not.

  105. June 9, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    Art,

    I want to ask your forgiveness for posting the comment about my praying for you (see #88). I should not have used any personal reference to you. Please accept my sincere repentance.

    Nick

  106. steve hays said,

    June 9, 2008 at 6:54 pm

    I notice that Art and Stephen Young are both using the tactic of trying to put the opponents of Enns on the defensive by peppering them with questions. Paul Seely employed the same tactic. Permit me a few brief observations:

    1. When Seely’s bluff was called, he quickly became very agitated. We were supposed to make a case for our position, but he was under no obligation to make a case for his position.

    2. Stephen Young kept pestering commenters to respond to his questions. When I took the time to do that, he quickly dropped out of the conversation:

    http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2008/04/ents.html

    Now, however, he repeats the same tactic as if no one had ever answered him before. This suggests to me that he’s not dealing in good faith.

    3. Because both these guys are seminarians with access to a good research library, they bank on the fact that many of Lane’s reader’s cannot respond on the same level. And they only volunteer the information that supports their side of the argument.

    To take just one counterexample, consider the following article, which dismantled some of Seely’s exercise in comparative semitics:

    WTJ 68:2 (Fall 2006)
    Cosmology In Historical Context
    By: Noel K. Weeks

  107. cbovell said,

    June 9, 2008 at 8:18 pm

    Nick (#102):
    Thanks for that helpful list of answers. Might I engage you on the points you make?

    1) When you talk about contextualizing scripture by means of the analogy of faith, I personally would see a need to talk about a hermeneutical dialectic between determining what Gen 1 seems to be saying in its own right and then determining how that can be contextualized into what the rest of scripture seems to be saying. I say it this way (and not vice versa) only because I can only read one pericope at a time. I don’t think I can read one pericope and forego judgment with respect to what it means until I’ve finished reading all of scripture or a particular ecclesial confession for that matter. Another thing I remind myself of is: going from story to system is tricky business for me and perhaps may not always be the best thing since God gave us a whole lot of story and very little system.

    2) When you say “all you NEED is scripture,” I wonder, “all you need for what?” Scripture was written piecemeal, it has a very complicated history. The Holy Spirit apparently took part in a piecemeal, complex, historical event called scripture. This suggests to me that it isn’t all a bad thing to refer to this piecemeal, complex, historical cultural development to get an idea about what the Bible actually is meant to be. Scripture may not tell me to go look at extra-biblical materials in order to better understand it, but to my knowledge, it doesn’t advise me not to. Along these lines I notice that Scripture doesn’t provide readers with the tools necessary for genre analysis. ANE myths can certainly help there. NT doesn’t give us manual explaining the prevalent rhetorical devices used in 1st cent judaism in order to help me read Acts and the epistles; Greco-Roman lit does.

    3) The similarities between scripture and other writings might result from a dissemination of an original sacred version. But there might be other explanations, too. Why would any other explanation prima facie be making the other literature in question normative? Is normative even the right word, is it appropriate to the context? I have tried to set forth an argument in my book, Inerrancy and the Spiritual Formation of Younger Evangelicals, that to say that the Bible has ultimate authority is not practically meaningful. The Bible has taken is so much a part of the culture in which it was written and so much a part of the ecclesiastical traditions to which it belongs to act as an ULTIMATE authority. That is to say that it has entered into a fundamental dialectic with the various traditions of which it has, as it were, submitted itself to precisely in order to redirect those various traditions toward the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Nick, I would like also to try to give some answer to the two questions you pose to Steve and Art. I cannot speak for them; I answer only for myself.

    1) I would say that Scripture should be its own interpreter when it comes to canonical, doctrinal questions. But even granting that, it cannot answer all our questions. It only answers certain ones. To take a pedantic example, I do not think that scripture answers whether Christ has one will or two or whether he is one person or two. Believers answer those in light of what churchmen and believing scholars happen to know and understand at the time of aksing.

    2) I wonder if thinking in terms of “the correct interpretation” of scripture is a helpful way of framing the matter. There are a multitude of interpretations of biblical pericopes. Hermeneutics is a rich and supple enterprise that grasps at various facets of scripture at different times. A person does not need ANE to understand that Christ died for the sins of many, but that person would need ANE in order to understand the literary aspects of Gen and that person would need ANE to make a reasoned judgment regarding what genre a 21st century reader should best consider it.

  108. Jeff Waddington said,

    June 9, 2008 at 8:29 pm

    Stephen

    Here is a quotation from p. 15 of Pete Enns’s I&I which illustrates how external ANE literature (and 2TJ lit for the NT) is to alter our doctrine of Scripture:

    [The] aim is to allow the collective evidence to affect not just how we understand a biblical passage or story here and there (italics added) within the parameters of earlier doctrinal formulations. Rather, I want to move beyond that by allowing the evidence (italics added) to affect how we think about what Scripture as a whole is.

    That means that ANE and 2TJ literature becomes normative.

  109. cbovell said,

    June 9, 2008 at 8:30 pm

    GLW (89):
    What is the purpose and function of scripture? Is there only one and has it always been the same?

  110. ReformedSinner (DC) said,

    June 9, 2008 at 8:32 pm

    “What are the other traditions about the rock following around Israel? Are their many traditions?”

    Depends on what holes or digging the “cutting edge scholarship” will find for us next. So are you ready to totally correct your Doctrine of Scripture again because instead of bounding it on the Word of God you have bound it on the latest “cutting edge” hold digging of the day?

    “I understand that Early Judaism is complex, but that does not mean that there are no shared characteristics of the different strands of Early Judaism.”

    So are you saying all Early Judaism believed in this rolling rock theory?

    “Well, the fact that Scripture states that he was a trained and educated member of the Jewish elite, I think we have a good idea.”

    That doesn’t prove anything about Paul and his use of Rabbinical literature (if any.) You are making conclusion based on association. A flawed one at best since Paul, when talking about Judaism of his day, is hostile most of the time instead of charitable.

    “I rejected them, as you can see in my comment, because he did not provide reasoning, he simply stated his conclusions. There needs to be evidence before you can say that they are “perfectly feasible.””

    I suggest you do the same, simply throwing out fancy ANE names does not prove anything if you have not done the same homework you demand of others.

  111. ReformedSinner (DC) said,

    June 9, 2008 at 8:42 pm

    Jeff #106,

    (By no way demeaning to AB and SY); I don’t really think AB and SY understand the terms “Normative” and “Informative” the way ST has so richly defined them and use them on the Doctrine of Scripture. It’s too “ST” for them.

    I remember almost felling out of my chair when I read Enns rebuke of HTFC and he disapprove of the term “contingent” on the humanity of Christ (as in contingent to the divine nature.) The term is only use by Church throughout history to carefully distinguish between the natures of Christ, and yet Enns truly (in his reply) has no familiarity with that richness of ST but questions it purely on “Oxford Dictionary level.”

    I am beginning to understand what people mean when they say BT and ST can’t talk to each other because they don’t understand each other.

  112. Jeff Waddington said,

    June 9, 2008 at 9:16 pm

    Let’s not equate what Enns does with proper biblical theology. It is no such thing. Biblical theology properly conceived is not at odds with ST.

    If I may plug the book I just co-edited, “Resurrection and Eschatology,” there is a very good chapter in that about the difference between biblical theology as conceived by Geerhardus Vos and the so-called biblical theology of Johann Gabler. I will leave it to readers to discern which form is legitimate.

    But ST needs BT and BT needs ST, as both need AP and HT and PT. Properly done they are all mutually reinforcing and correcting.

  113. Ron Henzel said,

    June 9, 2008 at 9:16 pm

    RE: #108:

    This is the sad legacy of the rationalistic approach of Johann Gabler.

  114. ReformedSinner (DC) said,

    June 10, 2008 at 1:09 am

    #109 Jeff,

    of course Jeff, I wholeheartedly agree with you. But I am merely pointing out on what Enns (and apparently the disciples of Enns too) are showing in their answers.

    #110 Ron,

    Unfortunately many times seminaries reinforces “separatism”. Outside of WTS are there many seminary that conciously try to have an organic relationship between all the departments (apparently even WTS isn’t immune of the separatist mentality.)

  115. Ron Henzel said,

    June 10, 2008 at 4:34 am

    RS(DC),

    Regarding the portion of comment 111 you directed to me: While I do not know the specifics of WTS/P on how they either did or did not integrate their systematics with their biblical theology curricula (GLWJ and perhaps others can fill us in here), I believe you are essentially correct. However, that leads me back to my point, because the separatism of which you speak originated with Gabler, who is generally considered the father of biblical theology. As I understand it, those who reinforce the separation of biblical and systematic theology are simply carrying on with the original program. To consciously attempt to have an organic relationship between the two constitutes a modification of that program, and some of the more zealous BT people I’ve met would complain that such a relationship would ultimately undermine BT. Not that I am entirely sympathetic to their concerns…

  116. Joseph Minich said,

    June 10, 2008 at 6:30 am

    Jeff (Post #106),

    You expressed concern that Enns’ makes ANE literature normative when he says that it should modify our view of what scripture IS. Do you have the same concern over Meredith Kline’s approach to scripture in The Structure of Biblical Authority? As I am sure you are aware, he argues that ANE covenant documents do precisely what you seem to find problematic…namely…modify our view of what the biblical canon actually IS. Does Kline concern you as well? Understand, I don’t mind if he does necessarily . I’m just asking. But if he doesn’t, what is the difference between him and Enns in this specific respect?

  117. Jeff Waddington said,

    June 10, 2008 at 7:09 am

    Joseph (113)

    In fact, no.

  118. Jeff Waddington said,

    June 10, 2008 at 7:15 am

    Kline does not allow the ANE to determine what Scripture IS, but he does notes that it can help us to understand certain aspects of Scripture. So Kline viewed his own work as informative but not as normative. Kline himself says, “[i]t is not, however, the ever increasing witness of archaeology but the self-witness of the divine Word which leaves all negative criticism of that Word without acceptable excuse in the sight of its Author,” M. G. Kline, “Is the History of the Old Testament Accurate?” in Can I Trust My Bible? Important Questions Often Asked about the Bible, with Some Answers by Eight Evangelical Scholars (Chicago: Moody Press, 1963), 151. What Kline notes
    about the help of archeology can be analogously applied to comparative literature as well.
    Hope that helps.

  119. June 10, 2008 at 7:20 am

    Joseph,

    Some of the guys who have posted on this particular blog post contra Enns would have an issue with Kline’s emphasis on the Hittite treaties and other would not because Kline did not say that we cannot understand biblical covenants without the ANE material. He was not, therefore, technically modifying his view of Scripture. As Jeff pointed out earlier this is a common grace issue.

    Some would take issue however at the order in which Kline places the ANE material. Kline modified what George Mendenhall had abused. Mendenhall basically said Moses patterned the biblical covenants after the Hittite King practice. Kline said that God used a practice known in that culture and revealed His promises–of both life and death–to Israel in that particular form.

    Enns has reformulated our doctrine of Scripture based on ANE mythography. This is very different. Kline never denied historicity of Genesis 1-11. Kline did not seem to be doing this.

    I personally do not accept Kline’s hypothesis but I acknowledge that similarities exist and am not against comparing the Suzerainty treaties with the covenant passages in the Pentateuch.

  120. Joseph Minich said,

    June 10, 2008 at 7:23 am

    Thanks fellas.

  121. June 10, 2008 at 7:31 am

    Joseph, it was a good and naturally question on your part.

  122. June 10, 2008 at 7:32 am

    good and natural

  123. Jeff Waddington said,

    June 10, 2008 at 7:52 am

    Yes, it is good to note that we who reject the approach of Enns do not ourselves all agree on every last detail about someone like Kline. But Kline certainly cannot be used to further the reformulation of the doctrine of Scripture.

  124. Jim Cassidy said,

    June 10, 2008 at 9:18 am

    It might also be worth pointing out that Kline used ANE texts to support a traditional doctrine of Scripture. Whereas, Enns uses them to attack a traditional doctrine of Scripture.

    I believe that Kline argues that the biblical text is actually reflective of an older and more ancient oral tradition than the pagan myths. So, its not like the Bible “rips off” the pagan myths, reformulating them in the likeness of their particularly local and provincial theology. Rather, the Bible reflects the ancient account of creation, flood, etc. and this then becomes the standard by which we meassure the other myths. And never the other way around.

    What would Warfield say about the ancient myths and traditions found in the DSS? I think he would say something remarkable close to what Kline has said.

  125. G.C. Berkley said,

    June 10, 2008 at 9:45 am

    Why would a Christian want to defend a position that makes Scripture subservient to pagan mythology? Would anyone in favor of Enns’ work care to elaborate?

  126. cbovell said,

    June 10, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    #124
    “Subservient” grasps at the right idea, but may not be the best word. I suggested “dialectic” in #106 above, in a positive vein, that is.

  127. markhorne said,

    June 10, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    Kline didn’t deny the historicity of Genesis 1…? Really?

  128. G.C. Berkley said,

    June 10, 2008 at 4:10 pm

    #125

    That’s great, but logical argumentation has limits when it comes to faith, does it not? Or do we have to satisfy our intellect before we’ll believe in the inerrancy of Scripture (as in WCF 1)?

  129. cbovell said,

    June 10, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    #127
    Yes, indeed, reason has its limits, and there is plenty of room for faith. But, in my case at least, even after extending faith to the effect that Jesus is Lord and after trusting the story the scriptures tell, there is always a chance that the articulation of that trust is not quite right. And I think this is what happened with inerrancy. There is a very basic trust extended to scriptures but the articulation of that fundamental trust is not quite right when expressed through inerrancy as traditionally understood. People like Enns, Sparks and McGowan are trying to voice this concern, each in their own way.

  130. steve hays said,

    June 10, 2008 at 7:56 pm

    Although I have my disagreements with Lee Irons, he’s done a useful comparison and contrast between Warfield and Enns:

    http://www.upper-register.com/blog/?p=175

  131. ReformedSinner (DC) said,

    June 10, 2008 at 9:21 pm

    #131,

    Yes, truth is never static but each generation will enriched it further by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and the illumination of Scripture. However, the objection against Enns and others is not against their heart. Everyone here would believe Enns is a Christ loving soul that loves our LORD. But the objection is their methodoloxy and argumentation are wrongheaded, and no matter how well intended they wishes to be, at the end they tear down rather than build up.

  132. June 10, 2008 at 10:00 pm

    Mark Horne,

    In response to your post #127 this may be the only time in my life when I agree with you!

  133. cbovell said,

    June 10, 2008 at 10:12 pm

    #131
    Enns may appear to tear down, but I would say he rather complements. He’s taking seriously how the Holy Spirit actually superintended the Bible, using the surrounding culture, drawing upon prevalent literatures, making use of existing genres and communicating through the mediums at hand. This aspect of biblical studies does not appear to me to be wrongheaded, it’s more like bringing to the fore an underappreciated facet of what we call holy scripture.

  134. June 11, 2008 at 6:06 am

    Art,

    I am planning to respond to your critique of Dr. Lillback’s paper in the days ahead. Would you like me to send it to you before putting it on the web? I’d be glad to do so.

  135. GLW Johnson said,

    June 11, 2008 at 8:27 am

    Mark and Nick
    Both of you are wrong- Kline affirmed the historicity of everything associated with the Fall. I had his class , ‘Old Testment Biblical Theology’ and he underscored this repeatedly.It would help if either one of you could site chapter and verse in his writings to the contrary. I can understand Horne’s wisecrack-Mark has an axe to grind against Kline-to my knowledge Nick does not.

  136. markhorne said,

    June 11, 2008 at 8:32 am

    Gary, Fall is Genesis 3. Irrelevant to my comment.

  137. June 11, 2008 at 8:44 am

    So maybe I wouldn’t agree with Mark on something after all!

  138. markhorne said,

    June 11, 2008 at 8:45 am

    #132

    I’m sure if you continue to attend to your intellectual hygiene you can be pretty sure you will never have such an uncomfortable experience again.

    I mean really–how many statements from me have you actually allowed yourself to encounter?

    http://hornes.org/mark/
    http://hornes.org/theologia/

  139. June 11, 2008 at 8:46 am

    Gary,

    Whatever the case may have been with Kline on Genesis 1, one thing I know, he knew that God entered into a covenant of works with Adam as our federal head.

  140. June 11, 2008 at 8:48 am

    Mark,

    It was of course hyperbole. I’m sure I would agree with you on something.

    P.S. I have read plenty of your statements–which was the reason for my hyperbole.

  141. markhorne said,

    June 11, 2008 at 8:53 am

    #137 What? Gary asserts that I spoke to Genesis 3 and you just believe him? Are you deficient?

    I asked about Genesis 1 with the obvious question that has yet to be dealt with in these comments that what is disapproved of in Enns is the continuation of what began with Kline. Perhaps what is done in Genesis 1 has implications for Genesis 3 if one works out the hermeneutical principles.

    Or not. I’m not pronouncing a verdict one way or the other. I’ve pretty much made peace with the PCA’s bubble around the days of Genesis even if I don’t agree with it. I wouldn’t want everyone who doesn’t believe in the historical, phenomenal days to be excised from the denomination. That would be devestating, would hack off many good men, and would be a form of utopian radicalism. Presbyterians caved on this (in my opinion) back in the days of Charles Hodge. We can’t just fix things now.

    But since Enns thinks he’s following a trajectory that is bona fide reformed, and many agree with him, it is worth discussing. And I say that as one not having an answer to the question.

    Not that such a discussion will ever happen here.

    But a summary statement was made about Kline that included Genesis 1 and I questioned the accuracy about Genesis 1 not 3.

    If this is how well you track reality Nicholas, I don’t think I need to pay attention to anything you say about agreeing or disagreeing with me. I have no reason to trust that you remember anything I’ve said. You know I’m a “bad guy” so what need do you have to think about it further?

  142. June 11, 2008 at 9:04 am

    Mark,

    No need for the harsh criticism. I understood that Gary misunderstood what you were referring to. I was being tongue in cheek about not agreeing with you after his statement.

    Since I am a 6 literal day guy I would agree with what you said concerning Gen. 1 and Kline view. I do believe that let extra biblical evidence govern his interpretation of the days of creation (well, extra-biblical evidence and a hyper-redemptive historical understanding of the pre-lapsarian Sabbath trajectory). Please do not mistake what I am saying. I do believe that Kline was correct about the emphasis of the eschatological goal of the covenant of works. This was in Vos long before it was in Kline. But I do think you are essentially correct about Kline’s understanding of Gen. 1 and extra-biblical influence.

    I shouldn’t have been so antagonistic towards you on this matter. I shoudn’t have responded to you the way I did after Gary’s post. Please forgive me for that.

    More work needs to be done on the views of creation and the use of extra-biblical materials. This is, like Enns’ view, a hermeneutical issue. Kline did not come anywhere near Enns in the way he worked out the use of extra-biblical materials. Enns has called for a reformulation of the doctrine of Scripture.

  143. June 11, 2008 at 9:08 am

    Mark,

    I would acknowledge what Gary said in post # 136. I do not have an ax to grind against Kline.

  144. markhorne said,

    June 11, 2008 at 9:52 am

    Nicholas, (Nick?)

    Please forgive my over-the-top performance. Thanks for singling out the issues I raised and dealing with them.

    And I’m completely with Kline/Vos on an eschatological goal to the covenant of works.

    I have an axe to grind with the writer of “The Gospel under Attack.” With the guy who wrote _Images of the Spirit_ I’m quite impressed and learned much. _By Oath Consigned_ had much great stuff in it, though I don’t think his considerations rule out the view that the sacraments are primarily gracious. _Treaty of the Great King_ is a great help in understanding Deuteronomy, thought I would want to be clear that the insights don’t depend on dependence between God’s revelation and pagan treaties of the time. Deuternomy is different as well as similar.

    And I continue to find stellar insights.

  145. Ron Henzel said,

    June 11, 2008 at 10:07 am

    Mark,

    Regarding your comment #136: are you saying that the creation of Adam is in no way associated with the fall of Adam?

  146. markhorne said,

    June 11, 2008 at 10:27 am

    No. See #141, if you can screen out the snarkiness, to see that I think that connections can be made and ought to be considered.

  147. June 12, 2008 at 10:15 am

    Batzig 134,

    I just posted a critique of Lillback’s paper on the Conn blog. Perhaps you could engage it in your response as well. It is meant to compliment Art’s by focusing on a specific point of Lillback’s work.

  148. ReformedSinner (DC) said,

    June 12, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    SY,

    I really hope you don’t feel proud of your “critique” of Lillback. First off you sounded like a mean-spirited madman trying to settle a score, rather than sound academic exchange and debate. The piece will be better served with civility and charity – something Dr. Enns keep reminding his students to do when reading things different (and against) their viewpoints. As a proud disciple of Dr. Enns you should keep note of that.

    Second, your work is weak because you made the same mistakes you claimed Lillback did. You simply take quotes out of context and at many times, over analyze individual word choices as if you’re doing exegetical parsing. That’s not scholarship.

    Finally, quoting a few “orthodox” words Dr. Enns use hardly is a defense of Enns. Quoting Enns saying “we trust the Bible”, “we trust God” is hardly a knock-down defense on Enns orthodoxy. Everybody says they trust the Bible or they trust God. Now this is just an analogy so don’t go crazy. Most of heretics in the history of the Church say they trust God and trust the Bible. It’s HOW they articulate what they mean by trusting God and the Bible that is troubling, not the lack of mentioning of trusting God and the Bible.

    In short, your piece does not exposed Lillback of any wrong-doing at all (the proofs are suspect at best) but only shows the shallowness of your ability to critically interact with Lillback’s article.

  149. June 12, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    Steven,

    I would be gald to. I will try to get both done by the end of next week. Send me your email address via my blog account and I will send it to you. Thanks.

    Nick

  150. June 12, 2008 at 9:37 pm

    I don’t see why Enns would deny that the humanity of Christ is fully enhypostacized, that is, it exists and can exist only in union with the Logos. Here are some historical reasons why subordination was problamatic. In the Arian controversy, the Arians took a platonic viewpoint where matter and the created world existed in a subordinating, that is, in an opposing relationship to God, by its very nature. God and creation were therefore distinguished by opposite properties. If God was good, matter had to be bad and therefore God could never become incarnate, some other less than fully divine figure had to do that work. The relationship had to be an extrinsic and intstrumental one. Another reason to worry about subordination would be the idea that the image of God is eternal, since Christ is the image and we are made in his image. Humanity then may be subject to and derived from, but is not subordinated to or opposed to God.

    I don’t know how Enns would respond, but why not say that the humanity and divinity of Scripture are both of equal importance since humanity is from God via his image? One could argue that while other writings are human, only Scripture is fully human. What would distinguish Scripture is that it is truly human whereas Shakespeare while wonderful is deficient.

    I think an analogous way to look at what Enns is saying is through the death of Christ. Christ’s death is unique in that Christ’s death is not a passive happening but a divine act or activity. Christ’s going into death is a kind of laying hold of death from the inside out. Consequently his death implies no compromise with divine impassability. Scripture’s “weakenesses” are like the death of Christ.

    Moreover, the thrust of his view seems to view inspiration as theanthropic, with Christ at the center, rather than instrumental via penumatology. God’s relationship with his Word is closer than that of a tool, and that has serious Christological import. It excludes not only Arianism, but Adoptionism and Nestorianism in so far as the Nestorians saw the unified entity as the product of an instrumental relationship with the divine subordinating the human as a workman to a tool. It also rules out Gnostic views of Creation since God’s relation to creation is immediate rather than instrumental and extrinsic. This seems to be the problem with the Lipton piece cited below. The Spirit is not an intervening principle in the generation of the Logos since given homoousious, there is no such thing.

    If the discussion is doctrinal because Enns gets his doctrine of Scripture from Scripture plus outside sources, I don’t understand how it is possible to have some theory neutral doctrine of scripture. Any construction of a doctrine of scripture will necessarily entail the employment of experience and cultural information, either from the contemporary reader or the past, but probably both. To say that such information is informative and not normative is specious since the apparatus by which you read the text has intrinsic normative components which are culture and theory laden.

  151. Jeff Waddington said,

    June 13, 2008 at 6:52 am

    Perry (150)

    It is not immediately clear to me that you are maintaining the Creator/creature distinction, which is not predicated upon a notion of subordination that implies or entails sinfulness on the part of creation. Even without the fall, creation would be subordinate to the Creator. This Creator/creature distinction is not obliterated in the incarnation. You also refer to Christ when you should more properly refer to the eternal Son who is united to a human nature in the incarnation and then is the Christ.

    I am curious. Do you affirm the logos asarkos? Do you believe that the eternal Son existed prior to the incarnation? If so, how then is the human nature of the Christ not subordinate to the divine nature? Did the God-man voluntarily enter into the covenant of redemption with the Father and Spirit or was it the eternal Logos (or Son) who did this? Or are you affirming some sort of eternal incarnation? It seems to me that once we grant that there was a time when the eternal Son was not incarnate then we must see that the incarnation is not constitutive of the Son’s nature.

    This in no way denies the reality of the incarnation nor does it belittle humanity, unless you assume that recognizing this fact of subordination of the creature to the Creator somehow automatically denigrates the creature.

    Also, how is the humanity of “equal importance” to the divinity of Christ? That is only true given the plan of redemption. And the plan of redemption was entered into voluntarily by each of the members of the Trinity. There is no absolute requirement that God save. That was an act of the divine will. That being so, then the incarnation is not a necessary aspect of who the Son is. Once, however, God does chose to save and to do it by the life and death of the God-man, then the humanity of Christ becomes essential-but only contingently essential-contingent upon the plan of redemption.

    With regard to Scripture you appear to fall into the same fallacy of failing to grant the primacy of the divine to the human by assuming that experience and culture are normative for a doctrine of Scripture. As if God could not control his creation. I am wondering if your view is not more consistent with the Platonic notion of the demiurge who works with eternal pre-existent matter over which he has little control other than to shape in very limited ways.

    You may want to revisit the Creator/creature distinction again.

  152. June 13, 2008 at 8:56 am

    Jeff ,

    I never claimed I believe that a distinction between God and creation entailed the sinfulness of creation. Historically though a subordinating relationship has often or tended to do so. I think it is better to say that creation is subject to the creator for the reasons I spelled out regarding what constituted a subordinating relationship in Greek philosophy, specifically Platonism. Historically, that has caused no small amount of trouble in getting clear as to who Jesus is. (Origen, Justin, Lucian, et al.) You may wish to think about it more.
    I never claimed and nothing I wrote entailed that the c/c distinction is obliterated in the incarnation. I only maintained that distinction doesn’t entail subordination and the opposition that a subordination would entail.
    While I firmly believe that the Son pre-existed with the Father and the All Holy Spirt, I simply used “Christ” to denote that one divine person since this seems to me more often than not how Scripture refers to him.

    So yes, I affirm that Jesus is a divine person who takes into his divine person human nature whole and entire as maintained by such historical individuals as Athanasius, Cyril and Maximus. You ask how the humanity of Christ is not subordinate to the divine nature. First this is confused since it would be the nature subordinate to the person since it is the divine person which takes to himself the humanity. Second, I already explained how this does not imply a subordinating relationship since there is no intrinsic opposition between God and his creation, especially since this is part of the reconciling work of Jesus (Eph 1:10) Grace isn’t opposed to nature. The notion of distinguishing things via opposite or opposing properties/powers is central for example to Aristotle’s logic. It isn’t called the square of opposition for nothing.
    You ask about the Covenant of Redemption, as I am not Reformed I don’t subscribe to that notion. And no I do not advocate an eternal incarnation but rather that the Incarnation was always willed by God apart from the fall. In fact, in my view, the fall was an attempt to stop the incarnation from occurring by murdering humanity. (Jn 8:44)

    When you write that the “incarnation is not constitutive of the Son’s nature” this seems confused since on nobody’s account is the humanity of Christ constitutive of the divine nature, but rather his person. So to say the former as you constructed in the form of a denial would be an inverted Eutychianism or Monophysitism. I think what you meant to say was constitutive of the Son’s person. The matter more specifically is whether the Son is the product of the union or if the Son is a divine person who always remains so. The issue turns on the nature of hypostatic composition. What I am affirming via the imago dei is that the incarnation was always willed by God irrespective of the fall and more directly that the relation between God and humanity via that image is direct and immediate, rather than extrinsic, removing any kind of subordinating relationship while maintaining a distinction between humanity and divinity.

    You ask how there can be equal importance of the humanity of Christ. Since it is “contained” in and planned for in the imago dei, who is the eternal divine person of the Logos, that seems to make it of equal importance. He IS the image so it isn’t a mere conceptual possibility. We are made in his image so that the image is not a created thing. He is the template. How can the template be subordinate to itself?

    I agree that God is not necessitated to save, but I don’t view the incarnation as a response to sin, rather the other way around.

    Fallacies have to do with truth preservation so I think you mean to accuse me of is a mistake. I do not *assume* that cultural features are normative for understanding Scripture. I only *argued* that it seemed impossible for it not to be so. Consequently I gave an argument based on the fact that various features of human language for example have normative content and we bring these things to any text. To strip them of their normative content would be to cease to be a competent speaker of that language. How does one read Greek without any of its semantic normative components bearing on the meaning of Scripture for example. The semantic normativity of Greek isn’t a product of Scripture, is it? It doesn’t seem so. So if someone says we “ought” to interpret X in such a way, that term functions and is used in a way prior to and apart from Scripture, is it not? None of that though implies that God isn’t exercising or cannot exercise a providential relationship to creation. So no, my view implies nothing particular or doesn’t lend itself to platonism. Rather it is implied by certain features of language.

    I’d suggest and invite you therefore to think more deeply about how natural languages work and what constitutes semantic normativity. I’d also invite you to think more deeply about the imago dei. Is it created or uncreated? Is it God or something else? And I’d suggest that distinction doesn’t imply opposition and hence doesn’t entail subordination, which is why in Nicene and post Nicene Trinitarian and Christological theology, distinction was maintained but subordination was denied.

  153. steve hays said,

    June 13, 2008 at 9:03 am

    John Frame just posted a review of I&I:

    http://www.frame-poythress.org/frame_articles/2008Enns.htm

  154. Jeff Waddington said,

    June 13, 2008 at 9:13 am

    Perry (152)

    I would invite you to reconsider the idea that the incarnation would have happened without the fall. My problems with your construction do appear to stem from that error. Yes, it is an error.

  155. Jeff Waddington said,

    June 13, 2008 at 9:16 am

    Perry (152)

    Also subordination with regard to the Son is economic, not ontological. Whether you think that or not I wanted to clear that up.

    Perry, this is a Reformed blog so there are assumptions made that I do not have to go through every jot and tittle of Christology with you and how we Reformed folk differ from other traditions.

  156. Jeff Waddington said,

    June 13, 2008 at 9:16 am

    Perry again,
    Are you Anglican?

  157. Jim Cassidy said,

    June 13, 2008 at 10:28 am

    Sounds to me like Perry has more in common with T.F. Torrance and his read of Christology than Reformed theology.

  158. Jeff Waddington said,

    June 13, 2008 at 10:50 am

    Perry

    You are more than welcome to interact with us here, but know that the incarnation without the fall will not fly.

  159. June 13, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    Jeff,

    I don’t consider the idea that God always intended to become incarnate an error and lots of theologians across traditions have thought so without any serious claim of error or heterodoxy, at least as far as I know. Paul seems to think so when he writes about the mystery hidden from before the aions. Consequently I think the incarnation has more than instrumental value, it is not a mere means to an end, but here I am just reporting my views.

    I don’t take the “subordination” of the Son to be merely economic, but hypostatic and energetic, which means that I think there is a third category other than theologia and economia. Hypostatic subordination (eph 1::17) doesn’t imply inequalityof essence but only that the father is autotheos.

    And no, I am not Anglican.

    Jim Cassidy,

    My endorsement of views is closer to Torrence because I think Torrence is cloer to patristic theology. That though doesn’t bear on my understanding of Reformed theology in its own right, but rather that patristic theology and reformed theology aren’t co-extensive.

  160. steve hays said,

    June 13, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    For the record, Perry Robinson is a convert to Eastern Orthodoxy.

  161. Jeff Waddington said,

    June 13, 2008 at 3:57 pm

    Perry:

    There may be lots of theologians who think that the incarnation without the fall is sound, I do not and neither does the conservative Reformed community as a whole. Undoubtedly there are exceptions. And while I think we have much to learn from the early fathers, they are not Scripture.

    And there is a difference between saying that the pre-incarnate Son is the image or model upon which Adam was patterned, that is very different from saying that the God-man was the pattern.

    And we in the Reformed community would hold that the Son and the Holy Spirit are equally autotheos with the Father.

    We will not be able to settle all the disputes between Eastern Orthodoxy and Western Christianity, let along all the disputes between EO and Protestantism or more narrowly, EO and the Reformed community.

    As much as this may bother you, while Thomas Torrance was a brilliant theologian, he is not a representative of self-conscious, biblical, Reformed Christianity.

    This is not to say that we cannot dialog or learn from each other. However, I am not sure the comments section of a blog is conducive to the close thinking and clear writing necessary to communicate well.

    In other words, we have so many differences, it would take a very long exchange to get to the place where we understood each other well enough to intelligently interact.

  162. Jeff Waddington said,

    June 13, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    Perry

    One more point, the early fathers were not all in agreement with one another, so you would have to demonstrate a consensus across a wide spectrum of theologians and eras and areas.

  163. Jeff Waddington said,

    June 13, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    Perry

    I believe that the Son’s incarnation was planned from all eternity, but it was executed in time as a response to sin. I take this to be the meaning of the middle of the second article of the Nicene Creed which notes that the eternal Son was he, “who for us and for our salvation came down from heaven.” The incarnation was planned from the beginning, but it was because of sin and not merely because he was the capstone to some developing humanity.

  164. June 13, 2008 at 6:46 pm

    Jeff,

    I am well aware that the Father’s aren’t scripture. Of course we not only disagree about the normativity of extra biblical writings, but also about the nature of inspiration and the extent of the canon so noting these differences doesn’t really move me or the discussion.

    I agree that there is a difference between saying that the Son is the image and the theanthropos is, of course I was referring to the divine person as the image in which we are made. I am well aware that the Reformed deviate from Nicene teaching in the novelty of saying that the other persons are also autotheos, which I take to be rather ill motivated and incoherent.

    I didn’t comment here to settle disputes between the Reformation traditions and Orthodoxy, but rather to highlight the Christological differences that motivate the differences on inspiration in “Ennsgate.”

    I am not a particular devotee of Torrance and wasn’t trying to use him as some paragon of Reformed thinking. I responded to a comment concerning him in relation to me that someone else made. In fact I think Torrance’s reading of the Cappadocians for example is hopelessly confused and his synthetic Trinitarian project muddled.

    I am quite aware that not all the fathers agree with one another just as not all of the reformers agree with one another either. I could try to show a consensus, but I could also make logical arguments to show implicit support or I could just appeal to normative formal theological statements in church history. That wasn’t my purpose though, which was only again to highlight the different Christiologies at work in this discussion with Enns and I am hardly alone in thinking that this is what drives the bus. I simply offered a different way of looking at things.

    Truth be told, I can’t see that it matters at the end of the day what the Reformed *tradition* thinks since on your own principles, as you wrote it “isn’t scripture.” It seems odd for Protestants to retreat to tradition to defend their positions. So perhaps Enns for example is contradicting the Reformed tradition. The question is whether he is correct. It is not as if the Reformed tradition can’t be wrong any more than Roman tradition couldn’t be wrong on reformation principles. Calvin contradicts Nicea on autotheos for example, but isn’t the question whether he is right rather than he contradicts 1500 years of Trinitarian tradition?

    Lots of people take things out of the Creed, but I don’t think that it can be supported that the fathers at Nicea support your view and reject mine anymore than I think that you can justify a reading of baptism in the Creed that doesn’t endorse baptismal regeneration. And I don’ think I argued that Jesus was the “capstone to some developing humanity.”

  165. Jeff Waddington said,

    June 13, 2008 at 7:03 pm

    Perry

    We could go around in circles. Suffice it to say we disagree on major and minor points. As a Reformed Protestant I have no problem with tradition as long as it is not given equivalent status with Scripture. But I also have no problem pointing out that when someone has subscribed to a confessional document that they ought to abide by that. You may assume that Protestants cannot be confessional, but you would be wrong.

    I do happen to think that by affirming an incarnation regardless of the fall, you have committed yourself to some sort of view that Jesus is the capstone of an evolving or developing humanity.

    Anyway, I do appreciate the tone with which you have carried on this discussion.

  166. June 13, 2008 at 8:25 pm

    Jeff,

    Of course it is possible to formally subscribe to a document and then seek to reform it. I wonder though on your gloss how reform is feasible, though i suspect that is a matter for a different conversation. I don’t assume that Protestant’s can’t be confessional. I am well aware of the Reformed confessions. (Though it is curious that they hold to say Nicea while rejecting its teaching in varous areas and so seem to be doing exactly what they claims Enns is doing in this case.) My only point is that they are not infallible so appealing to them to adjudiate the truth of things seems inconsistent with Protestant principles. Let me put it this way. A political as in polity solution may be to exclude those who no longer subscribe or who seek to reform the confession, but that leaves untouched the matter of their truth, which I think is what people really want, rather than just maintaining a human tradition. So is WTS offering a political solution or something else by appealing to tradition?

    As for the incarnation, I think Christ is the capstone first because Scripture speaks this way in terms of him being the head and source of the body, the church, of a new humanity. Though this doesn’t imply some kind of quasi-evolutionary thinking like Chardin absurdly thought. I’d ask you to be charitable concerning what my views imply. It has taken a long time to get my head around Orthodox teaching and to be fair, few and far between are people in your tradition who are adequately familiar with it to translate across conceptual schemes let alone offer meaningful criticisms. That is, I’d think you’d want people to spend a significant amount of time in your tradition before dismissing it.

    I try to be cordial. Disagreement is sufficiently difficult without people being jerks.

  167. Jeff Waddington said,

    June 13, 2008 at 9:18 pm

    Perry

    We have divergent points of view that we apparently will not settle here. You are convinced of the Eastern Orthodox position and I am not.

    I guess we will have to agree to disagree. I would just ask you to also learn the Reformed tradition as you ask that I learn the Eastern Orthodox position.

  168. June 13, 2008 at 9:56 pm

    Jeff,

    I spent a fair amount of time as a Calvinist in the REC and continue to read various Reformed and Lutheran writers, both historical figures and contemporary writers.

  169. June 15, 2008 at 1:30 am

    […] have been contributing to a largely Reformed discussion of Enns over at Green Baggins. Some of Enns’ responses to various critics can be seen here, here, hereand […]

  170. Ken Hendrickson said,

    June 15, 2008 at 6:30 pm

    — Jeff Waddington wrote:
    > I would just ask you to also learn the
    > Reformed tradition

    I don’t know you, Jeff, and you don’t know me. but I do know Perry. I’ve known Perry since about 1990.

    It was Perry, along with a couple others, who taught me the Reformed Faith and saved me from Dispensationalism. Perry knows Reformed theology.

    Ken Hendrickson

    PS I’ve moved on, and I am no longer Reformed, because St. Cyril of Jerusalem and St. Ignatius of Antioch revealed so much more of the Christian Faith to me. But I am not Eastern Orthodox, and my conversion to Byzantine Catholicism had nothing to do with Perry’s path into Eastern Orthodoxy. (Or perhaps it did! God is sovereign after all.)

  171. ReformedSinner (DC) said,

    June 15, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    Ken, Perry, and other people that “know” the Reformed Faith:

    As a Reformed person I am very happy, and cautious, when I keep hearing people saying to me how they “know” the Reformed Faith. Happy to know that the Reformed faith have such an attraction that people would spend their valuable time to get to know it more. Cautious because usually after I get to “know” the person who claims to “know” the Reformed faith more and more that I realized they don’t really know the Reformed faith, but rather knows only the aspects of Reformed Faith that are very one-sided (usually TULIP and Predestination.)

    Now, I am not claiming Perry or Ken are some shallow people, reading your posts I realized you guys have invested heavily in theological knowledge, and to that I am glad. However, I am just about curious as how do you define “knowing” the Reformed Faith. It’s way more than reading Calvin, Warfield, or a few Reformed giants. Way more than getting “Covenant Theology”, “Sovereignty of God”, “Historia Salutis/Ordo Salutis”

    For one Ken’s conclusion seems to set St. Cyril of Jerusalem and St. Ignatius of Antioch against the Reformed Faith. That at least shows me Ken has not really appreciate the richness of Reformed Faith – a true Reformed person that knows the Reformed Faith will realize Reformed Faith is not another denomination, another choice, another group among many in Church History. One of the strength of Reformed Faith is its self-identification with ALL of the Church History, all the Fathers, all the Church generations, and all the saints of years past. Reformed Faith identifies their strengths, and critic their weaknesses. What basis do such people have to arrogantly think they can judge Church History? The 5 Solas.

  172. Jeff Waddington said,

    June 15, 2008 at 8:42 pm

    Perry:

    I have been reading the early fathers on and off since 1986. I am no expert, but I am familiar with them. But I also appreciate Augustine. I suspect you do not.

  173. Ken Hendrickson said,

    June 15, 2008 at 9:28 pm

    — ReformedSinner (DC) said:
    > The 5 Solas.

    I have come to reject “Sola Scriptura” as completely and utterly contrary to scripture, and therefore not only illogical, but also a false doctrine.

    In the first place, Sola Scriptura is directly contradicted by 2 Thess 2:15, which commands that we hold fast to the TRADITIONS which were taught by the Apostles, even those which were only taught orally and never written down.

    Next, Sola Scriptura is self-contradictory. Sola Scriptura is a doctrine. It posits that all doctrine be formed only from scripture. But Sola Scriptura cannot be found in the Bible. It is a *presupposition* of those who suspect Rome or Constantinople (or Moscow or Antioch, etc.) are teaching error. Sola Scriptura is therefore self-contradictory.

    If you want a more complete criticism of Sola Scriptura, see “Not by Scripture Alone: A Catholic Critique of the Protestant Doctrine of Sola Scriptura” by Robert Sungenis. (I have not yet seen a worthy and scholarly Protestant critique of Sungenis’ work.)

    Finally, let me say that I have the highest view of scripture. It *is* God’s word. (But it is not to be confused with God’s Word.) Scripture, interpreted with the mind of the Church, is absolutely True. It is a Catholic book, and it teaches the Catholic Faith. It was the Bible that drove me into Catholicism. John chapter 6, when interpreted with the grammatical-historical method, teaches what the Catholic Church has always taught.

    Ken Hendrickson

    PS To Jeff Waddington: I appreciate St. Augustine, and St. Aquinas also. This is true even though I am an *Eastern* Christian.

    PPS Enns is probably on the right track. It was the idea of Incarnationality, which I found to be a repeated theme everyplace (most especially in the Eucharist), which was the turning point in my conversion to Eastern Catholicism. The Christian religion is not merely a set of ideas which we must hold in our heads; it is not merely confessional. Instead, the Christian religion is Incarnational through and through. Each and every aspect of the Christian religion is a type of He Who Is the Incarnation.

  174. Ken Hendrickson said,

    June 15, 2008 at 9:49 pm

    I want to expound on my last post. I want to give an example of how Christianity is, through and through, an Incarnational religion. I will illustrate with the Divine Liturgy (also called the Mass in the west).

    The Divine Liturgy is a sacramental participation in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. The key word is *participation*. Through the Divine Liturgy, we participate. We are there. We see. We hear. We smell. We taste. We *experience* the Incarnation, because the Divine Liturgy is Incarnational.

    In every Liturgy, both East and West, the priest prays the words of consecration (“This is My Body. This is My Blood of the New Covenant …”). Everybody praying the Liturgy is brought back to the Last Supper in the Upper Room, and we hear Jesus say those words. We don’t hear the priest; we hear Jesus Himself. Thus we participate in the Last Supper with the Apostles.

    Next, the priest breaks one of the hosts, and we, like the disciple whom Jesus loved and His mother standing at the foot of the cross, see Him crucified. We participate in His passion.

    After some more prayers, the priest drops a piece of the Lord’s Body into His Blood. Everybody praying the Liturgy is brought back to the empty tomb, and like the disciples on the Emmaus road, we see the risen Lord. We participate in the resurrection.

    The Divine Liturgy represents those historical events to us. It “Re-Presents” those things to us. Those events in history are presented again. It is not a mere calling to mind of historical events; it is a full participation in them. It is Incarnational.

    Jesus’ words, “Do this in remembrance of Me” needs to be understood in the sense of the Greek word anemnesis, or the very Old English understanding of the word “remember”. To Re-Member is to bring the members back together. It is to re-assemble the constituent parts. Before a battle, a general would “remember” his troops. It is in this sacramental and incarnational sense that we participate in the Divine Liturgy, and partake of Jesus Himself in the Holy Eucharist. We are not only literally eating Jesus’ Body and Blood, but we are also literally present at those historical events, along with all the angels and saints, participating in the One Sacrifice Once Offered.

    Think about what the word “incarnation” means. It means to be enfleshed. It means to be composed of physical stuff. When the priest prays the words of consecration and the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ, Jesus is incarnated again. He is re-incarnated. He is re-enfleshed. We who live 2000 years after those historical events do not merely read and hear about them; we participate in them.

    This Incarnational religion — the True Faith — is quite a different thing from Protestantism which is confessional — a set of mere mental ideas which you must hold in your mind. Christianity is not merely a set of ideas. Christianity is Tangible. Christianity is Real (in the sense of realism and opposed to nominalism). Christianity is Incarnational.

    Ken Hendrickson

  175. RBerman said,

    June 15, 2008 at 11:38 pm

    That is the most creative etymology of the English word “remember” which I have ever heard. “Remember” is a combination of Latin “re-” meaning “again” and “memoria” from the root “mens” meaning “mind.” To remember something is to again have it cross one’s mind.

    And of course the etymology of the English word “remember” is quite beside the point in understanding Jesus’ words as recorded in the Greek NT, but the Greek “anemnesis” comes from the same “mens” root as the Latin word, dealing with thinking, not with re-assembling a body.

  176. ReformedSinner (DC) said,

    June 16, 2008 at 12:19 am

    #173, I’ve read most of the works against the Solas (and yes the one you mentioned), and yes I am not convinced, but obviously you have.

    Like Jeff said this is not the place for elaborate exegetical debates, a blog is never a good place for detailed academic exchange. Many I can say in respond to your “TRADITION” argument from 2 Thess both exegetically and systematically. Also, you have no idea what Sola Scriptura really means when you formulate your argument of “Tradition” vs. “Sola Scriptura”. Sola Scriptura is not anti-tradition, and in fact Sola Scriptura seeks to defend the orthodox traditions. But being an expert in Reformed Theology I’m sure you were just teasing me with that.

    Sola Scriptura is not anti-tradition, the Reformation itself was never anti-tradition, but it’s about the RIGHT traditions or put it another way: a tradition that’s actually, yikes, Biblical? Or put it in a more “Catholicism language”: a tradition that is actually from God Himself that teaches about God Himself and how God’s people ought to behave and not the corruption of men? Of course how can we know which traditions are actually God-honoring and which are not… let’s see, it’s not Scripture because you said that’s illogical. So only traditions are more logical. So if I as a believer wants to be sure of the received traditions that’s God-honoring I must rely on someone to tell me, and to know if he’s God-honoring I need to have someone else to tell me that, and to know if he’s God-honoring I need to again find another tradition by another person to tell me that, and so on… yes, this makes a whole lot more logical sense. Thanks Ken.

  177. ReformedSinner (DC) said,

    June 16, 2008 at 12:31 am

    #174,

    Just when I thought you are on top of things you typed these gems:

    “This Incarnational religion — the True Faith — is quite a different thing from Protestantism which is confessional — a set of mere mental ideas which you must hold in your mind. Christianity is not merely a set of ideas. Christianity is Tangible. Christianity is Real (in the sense of realism and opposed to nominalism). Christianity is Incarnational.”

    1) Protestantism does not make the claims that Christianity is just a set of ideas. Some group do (I can think of 3 in mind already), but they by far do not represent the Protestantism that you seek to stereotype. This is like me saying Eastern Orthodox don’t care about the Biblical truths but are just a bunch of mystics. Hardly an accurate statement.

    2) Jesus Christ is incarnational, the “idea” of incarnation can be very well use in many of our Church practices and teachings in analogy, but one has to be very careful how we express that. I can’t respond to your Eucharist example because I don’t believe it’s actual body and blood of Christ.

    3) It doesn’t take long to read a guy like Paul (sorry, SAINT Paul) to realize that he doesn’t use “incarnation” much, maybe you sure remind him in the future in heaven that he missed a critical doctrine. Instead he uses “Union with Christ” – which is very different than “Incarnation.” I believed that (Union with Christ) is the foundational basis of Christians and Christianity, not some mystical (sorry), I mean “incarnational” idea of body/spirit melt.

  178. ReformedSinner (DC) said,

    June 16, 2008 at 12:34 am

    #175,

    Ken needs to retake Poythress’ “Hermeneutics” class and this time pay attention when Poythress teaches on the section: “Etymology”

  179. Jeff Waddington said,

    June 16, 2008 at 5:40 am

    Ken:

    I expect you as a Catholic to be more amenable to St. Augustine, but EO as a tradition is most certainly not amenable to him, or least not its most recent advocates.

    As for your incarnation idea, it embodies the transubstantiation doctrine which you know we Protestants reject. Besides we Calvinists hold to the Holy Spirit lifting us up into the heavenlies as we commune with Christ in the Lord’s Supper by faith. This does not require a change in the elements and it is most real. However it is a spiritual reality.

    I would also suggest that your incarnation idea comes close to breaking the Creator/creature distinction. But that apparently may not bother you. It may not bother you, but it does bother the God of Scripture.

  180. Ron Henzel said,

    June 16, 2008 at 6:23 am

    Ken,

    You wrote:

    Jesus’ words, “Do this in remembrance of Me” needs to be understood in the sense of the Greek word anemnesis, or the very Old English understanding of the word “remember”. To Re-Member is to bring the members back together. It is to re-assemble the constituent parts.

    This is simply the old etymological fallacy (or as Carson calls it, the root fallacy) applied to theology. It’s dangerous when used as an exegetical tool, and frequently disastrous when used to construct a theology.

  181. Ken Hendrickson said,

    June 16, 2008 at 6:54 am

    The Latin root of the English word “remember” is not “mens”. It is rememorārī. We could go even further back to the Indo-European word “smer”. But all of that is *irrelevant*.

    In order to find out what a word means, we must find out how people use it. In a Christian context, we must find out how Christians used it. What did they mean by it?

    St. Cyril of Jerusalem tells us, in his “Lectures on the Sacraments”. St. Justin Martyr explains it. St. Ignatius likewise. Ditto for St. John Chrysostom. I could go on and on.

    Go read the Church Fathers. You will find an explanation very much like what I have given above. You will find them preaching on John 6 and 1 Cor 11 and telling us we are to interpret “This is My Body” quite literally. Even Fr. Martin Luther believed something much closer to the Real Presence doctrine of the ancient Christians than all modern Protestants do.

    As for me and my house, I’ll stick with the Bible, and with the Church Fathers.

    Ken Hendrickson

    PS When I criticize Protestantism by calling it a different religion than Christianity, being composed only of a set of ideas which you must hold in your mind, and being devoid of the Incarnational Reality which is the Christian Faith, I am not setting up a straw man. The Church Fathers taught me something and I have accepted it. It is harsh polemic, to be sure, but there is a great deal of Truth to the criticism. May God give us all eyes to see and ears to hear.

  182. June 16, 2008 at 8:04 am

    ReformedSinner,

    I can appreciate your experience as I have had the same myself when I was Reformed and now being Orthodox. I have worked through the authors you mention but others as well as Owen, Rutherford, et al among the puritans as well as people like Bucer, Vermigli and Ursinus. I am not a professional when it comes to Reformed theology, but I am not a dolt either.

    I suspect what Ken is trying to say is that he takes the Reformed claim to be not another denomination (which would be a category fallacy) and to identify with all of church history, Fathers, etc. to be false. But that is a different argument that I suspect belongs somewhere else.

  183. June 16, 2008 at 8:07 am

    Jeff Waddington,

    Since you brought it up, I do appreciate Augustine. Where I think he fits with the consensus patrum I agree with im and where doesn’t, I don’t. But given his views on the apocrypha, baptismal regeneration, episcopacy and apostolic succesison, I think you appreciate him without swallowing those ideas. In that way, we are in the same boat. I appciate Augustine like I appreciate Nyssa without swallowing say Nyssa’s universalism or Augustine’s platonic predestinarianism.

  184. Jeff Waddington said,

    June 16, 2008 at 8:50 am

    Here is a reference worth keeping in mind:

    Wherefore we do not despise the interpretations of the holy Greek and Latin fathers, nor reject their disputations and treatises as fas as they agree with the Scriptures; but we do modestly dissent from them when they are found to set down things differing from, or altogether contrary to, the Scriptures. Neither do we think that we do them any wrong in this matter; seeing they all, with one consent, will not have their writings matched with the canonical Scripture, but bid us allow of them so far forth as they either agree with them or disagree. (Second Helvetic Confession II.2)

    Ok, Perry. We each appreciate Augustine and other fathers and reject what we believe is defective. The above quotation reveals what I believe the standard to be for judging any and all theologians from the past-indeed from the present too.

  185. June 16, 2008 at 9:45 am

    Jeff,

    One differnece would be that the church judged such things to be contrary to her teaching. I am not such a judge in an ecclesial sense. The application of the rule in a normative way binding on the consciences of others is not up to me for I lack that power.

    A more fundamental difference would be that for my part, the church has codified a number of their writes which represent the infallible teaching of the church on various matters, in ecumenical councils. The difference then between us then is on the nature or what constitutes union with Christ and if deification of humanity is even possible.

    But all of that is to say that we have different ecclesiologies, soteriologies and Christologies.

  186. RBerman said,

    June 16, 2008 at 11:22 am

    Ken, re :181: “The Latin root of the English word “remember” is not “mens”. It is rememorārī. We could go even further back to the Indo-European word “smer”. But all of that is *irrelevant*.”

    I agree that the etymology of the English word is irrelevant in understanding what Jesus meant in calling for remembrance. That’s why we’re puzzled that you would spend a paragraph in #174 on the topic. Also, since you keep bringing up the etymology anyway, do you agree that PIE “smer-” also has do with “thinking”, not with the parts of a body?

  187. Jeff Waddington said,

    June 16, 2008 at 11:38 am

    Perry (185)

    You hit the nail on the head here. I do not believe conservative Reformed folk would find the idea of theosis (deification) acceptable.

    And yes, we have different ecclesiologies, etc.

  188. Ken Hendrickson said,

    June 16, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    — RBerman said:
    > do you agree that PIE “smer-” also has
    > do with “thinking”, not with the parts of
    > a body?

    I do not understand the question.

    Ken Hendrickson

    PS And you have not addressed the issue — at least the issue from my point of view. The issue is that the Church Fathers all teach the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist in a way which the Reformed deny.

    — Perry Robinson said:
    > I suspect what Ken is trying to say is
    > that he takes the Reformed claim to
    > be not another denomination (which
    > would be a category fallacy) and to
    > identify with all of church history,
    > Fathers, etc. to be false.

    That is exactly what I am saying, and attempting to defend, with the explanation I gave.

  189. RBerman said,

    June 16, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    Ken, I’ll leave it to the patristic experts among us to debate with you on that point. The patristic authors interest me, but no more than the writings of any other conscientious Christian giving his opinion on Scripture, which itself is the only infallible rule of faith and practice.

  190. steve hays said,

    June 16, 2008 at 6:29 pm

    Ken Hendrickson said,

    “In the first place, Sola Scriptura is directly contradicted by 2 Thess 2:15, which commands that we hold fast to the TRADITIONS which were taught by the Apostles, even those which were only taught orally and never written down.”

    It says nothing of the kind. You’ve taken a verse of Scripture, stripped it of its historical context, and then reapplied it willy-nilly to your denomination of choice.

    i) And what does this verse actually say:

    “So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word of by our letter.”

    This is a command…to whom? To Christians in general? Did Paul address 1 Thessalonians to Ken Hendrickson? No. Did he speak to Ken personally? No. Was IKenin the audience when he spoke? No.

    Is Paul, in this verse, enjoining *Ken* to adhere to the written and oral traditions which *he* (Paul) taught Ken by his spoken word or earlier letter? No. False on both counts.

    Is Paul enjoining Ken to follow a 5C bishop of Thessalonica—or 8C bishop of Constantinople, or 18C bishop of Moscow—who claims to be handing down an oral Pauline tradition? No. Since the text never says that, it can’t very well mean what it never said.

    Rather, the verse is directed to mid-1C members of the church of Thessalonica. It is not referring to Christians in general. It isn’t referring to apostolic succession. It isn’t referring to subapostolic oral traditions allegedly of Pauline origin.

    That’s what it says. That’s all it says. It can’t mean more than it says. No contortions. Couldn’t be more straightforward.

    ii) Of course, there are commands in Scripture which do apply beyond their immediate audience. But there’s no automatic presumption that any or every divine command is binding on all Christians at all times and places. That, rather, depends on the nature of the command, the wording of the command, and/or the context in which it’s given.

    I wonder if Ken tries to universalize Hos 1:2 in the same way he tries to universalize 2 Thes 2:15.

  191. Ken Hendrickson said,

    June 16, 2008 at 8:14 pm

    — steve hays said:
    > I wonder if Ken tries to universalize
    > Hos 1:2 in the same way he tries to
    > universalize 2 Thes 2:15.

    Yes, I think many Christians have gone off chasing harlots and worshipping golden calves.

    Ken Hendrickson

    PS If the shoe fits … repent.

  192. Ken Hendrickson said,

    June 16, 2008 at 8:29 pm

    — RBerman said:
    > Scripture … which itself is the only infallible
    > rule of faith and practice.

    Where can you find this rule of yours in scripture?

    I think you have made this rule up, because it pleases you. It isn’t scriptural. I have never read it in scripture. I cannot find it in scripture. It’s not in there.

    That is my point, and Robert Sungenis’ point, that Sola Scriptura is a false doctrine, because it is not found in scripture itself.

    Until Protestants abandon their ungodly and man-made rule of Sola Scriptura, they will have a difficult time repenting and returning to the God who became Incarnate to save them.

    Please be honest. Recognize that your use of Sola Scriptura is *presuppositional*. You start with Sola Scriptura. You are conviced, regardless of any Biblical evidence or lack thereof, that Sola Scriptura is true. It is your starting point. You accept Sola Scriptura even though you cannot find it in the Bible.

    Sola Scriptura is your Faith. It is not mine. I must be more honest. I must follow logic, for logic is God’s gift to me. I must follow what I find in scripture, because scripture is God’s gift to me. I must obey the Church, because the Church is God’s gift to me.

    Here I stand; I can do no other. I must obey God’s command to obey the Apostles’ Traditions. I must obey the Church who is the pillar and foundation of the Truth. (1 Tim 3:15) I must obey the Church Fathers who taught me what the early Church believed. I must be in the very same Church. I must have the very same Lord, for there is salvation in no other.

    Lord Have Mercy!
    Ken Hendrickson

  193. its.reed said,

    June 16, 2008 at 8:40 pm

    Ref. 192:

    So Ken,

    Your fallible logic, and the fallible logic of Church Fathers is a more reliable guide than God speaking in Scripture?

    Why should anyone accept your authorities? Because they make logical sense?

    As my daughter, now studying logic, enjoys tweaking her younger siblings with, just because an argument is (logically) valid does not mean it is true.

    I suspect quoting the Westminster Confession of Faith, chapter 1, or any other Reformed Father on the self-authenticating authoritative nature of Scripture will not persuade you that Sola Scriptura is merely made up.

    For me, with equal forcefulness directed back at you, and equally with no malice, you have merely set yourself (and others’ you are willing to follow) as THE authority here. What you argue against us who hold to Sola Scriptura is actually your own error – and a dangerous declaration of rebellious autonomy as ever ushered from the lips of man since the first one in the Garden.

  194. David Gray said,

    June 16, 2008 at 9:06 pm

    >I must obey the Church Fathers who taught me what the early Church believed.

    This would result in you becoming a Protestant. Calvin was no modern evangelical, he invoked the authority of the church fathers in his debates with Rome. It was Rome that was engaged in the promotion of novelty, and novelties that weren’t even very old, many coming out of the late medieval period. Check out Keith Mathison’s book on Sola Scriptura for a better understanding of the matter.

  195. Ken Hendrickson said,

    June 16, 2008 at 9:09 pm

    — its.reed said:
    > Your fallible logic … is a more reliable
    > guide than God speaking in Scripture?

    Of course not, but neither is yours.

    If I cannot be trusted to interpret scripture correctly (and I assure you that I cannot, because I know that I have interpreted it wrongly on so very many occasions), then likewise you also cannot be trusted to interpret scripture correctly.

    > the fallible logic of Church Fathers is a more
    > reliable guide than God speaking in Scripture?

    Here you set up a false dichotomy.

    The writings of those whom the Church has declared to be saints and doctors, interpreting the scriptures, is surely a more reliable guide than I am. They are also surely a more reliable guide than you are.

    One must not set oneself up as God, as Satan did in the garden. One must not set up his own interpretation of scripture above the Church’s interpretation. To do so would show a complete lack of humility, and it would be must un-Christ-like.

    Rebellious autonomy comes today in the form of setting up one’s self as the supreme authority to interpret scripture. Protestants today change denominations when they think they have found an error in their pastor, or when they have found some new truth themself that their denomination was not teaching properly. I know, because I did it many times. (I am such a sinner.)

    We sinners are not the final arbiter of Truth. It is the Church who is the pillar and foundation of the Truth. (1 Tim 3:15) We elevate ourselves falsely when we undertake to interpret scripture ourselves, on our own authority, ignoring the authority of the Church which Jesus founded.

    It would be better for us to be humble, and to submit ourselves to the Church, so that we may find salvation. It would be better for us to accept the writings of the Christians who have come before us whom the Church has declared to be saints, than to come up with novel interpretations of our own.

    If we come up with novel interpretations, there are two possibilities: they will be orthodox, or they will be heretical. If we accept the interpretations of the saints who have come before us, there is only one possibility: they are orthodox.

    On a risk-benefit analysis, I decline to interpret scripture myself. I have done so in the past, and I have been very wrong in the past.

    You can do your own risk-benefit analysis yourself, based upon your own history. But make sure that you have informed your conscience by a thorough reading of the saints who have come before you, lest you deceive yourself.

    Ken Hendrickson

  196. its.reed said,

    June 16, 2008 at 9:38 pm

    Ref. 195:

    Ken, you read into my questions and comments an assumption I am expressly not making.

    The question is not whether your or I am the authority on the nature of the Bible. The question is whether man (either you, me or Church Fathers), or God himself is the authority on the nature of the Bible.

    You seem to miss the point here. On what biblical basis do you conclude that any man, deemed “saint” or otherwise, is correct in his interpretation fo Scripture? Your rule is simply that the Church has declared thus and such …

    Again the issue is not a man-centered protestant authority vs. a man-centered church tradition (EO or RCC) authority. It is between a man-centered authority and a God-centered authority.

    Rebellion exists when man sets himself up as authority. Where is the biblical basis for your “Church tradition” authority? You know as well as I that it is the declaration of the Church itself.

    This is the idol that Sola Scripture – the authority taught by Scripture itself – crushes.

  197. its.reed said,

    June 16, 2008 at 9:42 pm

    P.S., as to listening to the wisdom of those who’ve come before me, of course I do so. I do so hopefully with the humility and wisdom shown by the Bereans, continually checking to see if these things be so.

    I do believe God ministers his truth through the proclamation of the Church. Yet, following the Bible’s own command, knowing that even the best of men err, my only rule/authority for faith and practice, belief and life, is Scripture itself.

    This is not your position. Your’s is one dependent on the authority of faillible men. A very scarey proposition.

  198. Ken Hendrickson said,

    June 16, 2008 at 9:50 pm

    — David Gray said:
    > This would result in you becoming a Protestant.

    Except it didn’t. My reading of the Church Fathers has convinced me to become Catholic. I was dragged, kicking and screaming, into the Catholic Church.

    It wasn’t totally against my will; I wanted Truth. I wanted Life. I wanted Jesus. But it was totally unexpected. The Catholic Church was the last thing I was looking for.

    > Check out Keith Mathison’s book on
    > Sola Scriptura

    Do you mean “The Shape of Sola Scriptura”?
    http://www.Amazon.com/Shape-Sola-Scriptura-Keith-Mathison/dp/1885767749

    Will you make me the same offer I have made to many Protestants on other groups? Will you offer to buy the book for me if I will read it?

    So far, I have read through page 15, on Google. But I suspect that I will soon come to the end of Google’s providing me the text free of charge.

    I am not eager to spend my valuable money for a book which I suspect teaches error. But I am willing to spend a bit of time, because I might critique the book.

    I am heartened by the fact that Mathison references both Catholic and Eastern Orthodox works on Sola Scriptura on page 13. But I am still a skeptic. I spent many years, as an intellectual, in Protestantism. I suspect quite strongly that if I spend money for this book, it will turn out to have been wasted. I suspect that I will not find the arguments in this book to be cogent and logical and rational.

    I suspect most strongly that I will not find good arguments to return to the Protestant religion from which I came, namely: a religion which lacks Incarnationality, a religion which is essentially a mere set of logical propositions which I must hold in my mind, but which denies the Real Active Presence of Jesus amongst His people for all time in the Eucharist, by allowing them, through the Divine Liturgy, to participate in His Life, and thereby the partake of the Divine Nature.

    Ken Hendrickson

  199. Ken Hendrickson said,

    June 16, 2008 at 9:57 pm

    — its.reed said:
    > Where is the biblical basis for your
    > “Church tradition” authority?

    2 Thess 2:15 *commands* us to obey the Apostles’ traditions, even those traditions which have never been written down in scripture, but were only passed down orally.

    Even more importantly, I find Matt 16:19 to be a very clear and emphatic transfer of authority from Jesus to Peter, the first pope. This passage of scripture hearkens back to Isaiah 22:22, and the authority of the Eliakim the steward of the King.

    This stuff doesn’t come out of thin air; it comes directly out of scripture.

    Ken Hendrickson

  200. David Gray said,

    June 16, 2008 at 9:59 pm

    >Will you offer to buy the book for me if I will read it?

    If I can spend my money on buying the Catechism of the Catholic Church so I can be sure to understand it properly and on buying Tom Howards book on his conversion I suspect you can find it within your resource to purchase the book.

  201. Ron Henzel said,

    June 17, 2008 at 5:15 am

    Augustine wrote to Jerome:

    For I confess to your Charity that I have learned to yield this respect and honour only to the canonical books of Scripture: of these alone do I most firmly believe that the authors were completely free from error. And if in these writings I am perplexed by anything which appears to me opposed to truth, I do not hesitate to suppose that either the MS. [manuscript] is faulty, or the translator has not caught the meaning of what was said, or I myself have failed to understand it. As to all other writings, in reading them, however great the superiority of the authors to myself in sanctity and learning, I do not accept their teaching as true on the mere ground of the opinion being held by them; but only because they have succeeded in convincing my judgment of its truth either by means of these canonical writings themselves, or by arguments addressed to my reason. I believe, my brother, that this is your own opinion as well as mine. I do not need to say that I do not suppose you to wish your books to be read like those of prophets or of apostles, concerning which it would be wrong to doubt that they are free from error. Far be such arrogance from that humble piety and just estimate of yourself which I know you to have, and without which assuredly you would not have said, “Would that I could receive your embrace, and that by converse we might aid each other in learning!”

    [Augustine of Hippo (A.D. 354-430), Letter LXXXII (82) to Jerome, “Letters of St. Augustin,” translated by J.G. Cunningham, in Philip Schaff, ed., Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Volume 1, (Peabody, MA, USA: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., reprinted 2004), 350.]

  202. its.reed said,

    June 17, 2008 at 6:25 am

    Ref. 199:

    What Ante Nicene Fathers teach that this is what that means? Where? Same for Post Nicene Fathers? How many reformed fathers have you read on this verse?

    The interpretation you offer here does not come directly out of Scripture. It is a particular view, a particular interpretation of what the verse means. Surely as an intellectual you recognize this. To say it comes directly out of Scripture is disingenuous.

    Ken, I’ve been responding to you with some strong language because of this kind of mischaracterization. You speak as if you’ve studied all there is to study on the matter, and you and you authorities have the intellectual (moral?) high ground, and that the rest of us poor slobs just don’t get it.

    I’m sure you do not intend to communicate with such hubris, but you are.

    To bring this back to 2 Thess. 2:15, here is Calvin on it. This is an interpretation. It counters the interpretation you are restnig your conviction upon. How do you deal with the difference?

    This takes me back to my prior point of challenge – only by submitting to the Scriptures as the only authoritative voice on what the Scriptures mean can we escape the dilemma of dueling interpretations, of the porlbme of mman’s opinion vs. man’s opinion.

    You need to consider whether or not you’e traded one religion of persuasion for another religion of persuasion. At the very least, try to assume less superiority for your’s. I promise to do the same for mine.

    Here’s the Calvin quote, a man fully persuaded of the wisdom, not the Authority, of the Church Fathers:

    15. Hold fast the institutions. Some restrict this to precepts of external polity; but this does not please me, for he points out the manner of standing firm. Now, to be furnished with invincible strength is a much higher thing than external discipline. Hence, in my opinion, he includes all doctrine under this term, as though he had said that they have ground on which they may stand firm, provided they persevere in sound doctrine, according as they had been instructed by him.

    I do not deny that the term parado>seiv is fitly applied to the ordinances which are appointed by the Churches, with a view to the promoting of peace and the maintaining of order, and I admit that it is taken in this sense when human traditions are treated of, (Matthew 15:6.) Paul, however, will be ound in the next chapter making use of the term tradition, as meaning the rule that he had laid down, and the very signification of the term is general. The context, however, as I have said, requires that it be taken here to mean the whole of that doctrine in which they had been instructed. For the matter treated of is the most important of all—that their faith may remain secure in the midst of a dreadful agitation of the Church.

    Papists, however, act a foolish part in gathering from this that their traditions ought to be observed. They reason, indeed, in this manner—that if it was allowable for Paul to enjoin traditions, it was allowable also for other teachers; and that, if it was a pious thing to observe the former, the latter also ought not less to be observed. Granting them, however, that Paul speaks of precepts belonging to the external government of the Church, I say that they were, nevertheless, not contrived by him, but divinely communicated. For he declares elsewhere, (1 Corinthians
    7:35,) that it was not his intention to ensnare consciences, as it was not lawful, either for himself, or for all the Apostles together.

    They act a still more ridiculous part in making it their aim to pass off, under this, the abominable sink of their own superstitions, as though they were the traditions of Paul. But farewell to these trifles, when we are in possession of Paul’s true meaning. And we may judge in part from this Epistle what traditions he here recommends, for he says—whether by word, that is, discourse, or by epistle. Now, what do these Epistles contain but pure doctrine, which overturns to the very foundation the whole of the Papacy, and every invention that is at variance with the simplicity of the Gospel?

  203. David Gray said,

    June 17, 2008 at 6:39 am

    >Here’s the Calvin quote, a man fully persuaded of the wisdom, not the Authority, of the Church Fathers

    Small “a” authority, not large “A”. Scripture is the highest Authority. Ultimately everyone has an authority which they grant preeminence. You can’t have co-equal authorities in practice. And the fathers would not have wanted preeminence over scripture…

  204. its.reed said,

    June 17, 2008 at 7:30 am

    Ref. 202:

    David, ah, I see you get the point. Yes, I used capital A to emphasize the very problem. I am challenging Ken that this is, in effect, his position. He grants capital A to someones other than the Bible.

    You’re right, the Church Fathers (at their best) never argued otherwise.

  205. steve hays said,

    June 17, 2008 at 7:37 am

    Ken Hendrickson said,

    “Next, Sola Scriptura is self-contradictory. Sola Scriptura is a doctrine. It posits that all doctrine be formed only from scripture. But Sola Scriptura cannot be found in the Bible. It is a *presupposition* of those who suspect Rome or Constantinople (or Moscow or Antioch, etc.) are teaching error. Sola Scriptura is therefore self-contradictory.”

    Next, oral tradition is self-contradictory. Either you can document oral tradition or you can’t. If you can document oral tradition, then it ceases to be oral tradition. If you can’t document it, then you can’t identify oral tradition.

  206. steve hays said,

    June 17, 2008 at 7:39 am

    Ken Hendrickson said,

    “It was the Bible that drove me into Catholicism. John chapter 6, when interpreted with the grammatical-historical method, teaches what the Catholic Church has always taught.”

    The primary concern of the grammatico-historical method is to avoid anachronistic interpretations. How could Jesus fault his Jewish audience for failing to recognize a Eucharistic allusion before the Lord’s Supper was even instituted?

  207. steve hays said,

    June 17, 2008 at 7:40 am

    Ken Hendrickson said,

    “Even more importantly, I find Matt 16:19 to be a very clear and emphatic transfer of authority from Jesus to Peter, the first pope. This passage of scripture hearkens back to Isaiah 22:22, and the authority of the Eliakim the steward of the King.”

    The stewardship of Eliakim was not a perpetual office.

  208. steve hays said,

    June 17, 2008 at 7:56 am

    Ken Hendrickson said,

    “We sinners are not the final arbiter of Truth. It is the Church who is the pillar and foundation of the Truth. (1 Tim 3:15).”

    1 Tim 3:15 is a reference to the local church, not the universal church. Even Catholic commentators admit this (e.g. Quinn, L. T. Johnson).

    It would also behoove Ken to read L.T. Johnson on the actual meaning of the metaphor. He doesn’t even keep up with Catholic scholarship.

    “Even more importantly, I find Matt 16:19 to be a very clear and emphatic transfer of authority from Jesus to Peter, the first pope. This passage of scripture hearkens back to Isaiah 22:22, and the authority of the Eliakim the steward of the King.”

    Even if, for the sake of argument, we accept the claim that Mt 16:19 teaches apostolic succession, that would hardly make the bishop of Rome Peter’s sole successor. According to both Scripture and tradition, Peter ministered in areas outside Rome. So he would have ordained successors to other Apostolic Sees besides Rome. Hence, Ken’s argument either proves too much or too little.

    “That is my point, and Robert Sungenis’ point, that Sola Scriptura is a false doctrine, because it is not found in scripture itself.”

    Christianity is a revealed religion. God holds his people accountable to himself via his word. His Word is found in Scripture. That is why his Word was committed to writing in the first place. That is why the Mosaic Covenant is a written contract. Note the commands which God issues to OT prophets to write down his revelations. That is why the gospels were *written*. The age of public revelation ended with the Apostles.

  209. Canadian said,

    June 17, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    Steve Hays said:
    “How could Jesus fault his Jewish audience for failing to recognize a Eucharistic allusion before the Lord’s Supper was even instituted?”

    Jesus rarely explained much to his Jewish audience. In fact, the parables are said to be for the closing of the Jewish ear not the opening of it. Linear history and Christ’s revealing of himself rarely coincide. Mary pondered in her heart many things about her Son because she didn’t understand, but she believed. The disciples and Apostles remembered and understood much of what Christ said to them after Pentecost, but they believed. The true understanding of the Kingdom (David’s throne) was preached by Peter first in Acts, even though Christ went about “preaching the kingdom of God”. The cross was a mystery until long after it happened. The New Testament says all that the prophets wrote (and didn’t understand) were written for us upon whom the ends of the world had come.

    Christ is not expecting Eucharistic understanding, he is proclaiming himself to be the bread of Life but that does not necessarily negate Eucharistic meaning just because of a perceived linear time issue. Besides, John 6 was not written until 40-60 years AFTER the Eucharist was instituted and in use.

  210. Ken Hendrickson said,

    June 17, 2008 at 7:13 pm

    — its.reed said:
    > To bring this back to 2 Thess. 2:15 …

    You are chasing rabbits.

    The central issue in Christianity today is not “Who is Jesus”, but “What is the Eucharist”. If you get that question wrong, you go wrong elsewhere also.

    The central issue is whether or not Christianity is an Incarnational religion. If you deny the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, then you also implicitly deny His Incarnation — just the same way as if you are an iconoclast and you deny images, then you also deny the Incarnation.

    The Church Fathers are quite clear on the Eucharist. The Bible (John 6, 1 Cor 11, etc.) is quite clear (after you’ve been given eyes to see).

    Ken Hendrickson

    PS Most others here are also chasing rabbits. There are answers for all of those questions, but none of you are asking them because you are honestly seeking answers. You are asking them as an attack.

    The central issue is the Eucharist. The central issue, which started this entire thread about professor Enns, is *Incarnationality*. The Eucharist is, par excellence, the Incarnational Sacrament. It is the Incarnational means by which we participate in the divine nature. It is the Incarnational means of theosis.

    To deny Jesus’ words “This is My Body”, and “This is My Blood”, is to make Jesus out to be a liar. It is to say that all of the early Christians got it wrong. It is a denial of the clear words of scripture.

    Only the Catholics, the Eastern Orthodox, and a few high-church Anglo-Catholic Anglicans get the Eucharist right. All other Protestants get it wrong. And thus, all other Protestants have a religion which is fundamentally different than the Christian Religion. All other Protestants have an appearance of godliness, but they deny its power. They have a gnostic religion which is not Incarnational through and through, as the True Faith, once and for all delivered to the saints, is.

    Incarnationality is the issue. Professor Enns’ ideas about Incarnationality in scripture are what started this thread. Incarnationality is basic to the Christian Faith. Incarnationality is given to us in the sacraments (all of them), and in the Divine Liturgy. Let’s get back to discussing Incarnationality. And let’s start with the most obviously Incarnational sacrament: the Eucharist. That is the main issue.

  211. David Gray said,

    June 17, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    >If you deny the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, then you also implicitly deny His Incarnation

    Reformed Christians do not deny the Real Presence, they do deny the carnal presence…

  212. steve hays said,

    June 17, 2008 at 7:54 pm

    Ken Hendrickson said,

    “PS Most others here are also chasing rabbits. There are answers for all of those questions, but none of you are asking them because you are honestly seeking answers. You are asking them as an attack.”

    To the contrary, we were merely answering you on your own grounds. You chose to level a number of objections to the Protestant faith. When we respond to your objections, you suddenly shift tactics in midstream.

    Obviously you have no counterargument. You shot your wad the first time round with your rote, Catholic Answers talking points. As soon as those were shot down, you had no fallback position. So now you’re changing the subject.

    But let the record show that we were responding to you in the way you yourself chose to initially frame the issues. It’s only after you lost when we responded to you on your own turf that you decided to try out this new tactic. Very transparent, Ken, and very disingenuous.

    If we’re going down rabbit trails, that’s because we’re chasing down the rabbit trails you led us down in the first place.

    “To deny Jesus’ words ‘This is My Body’, and ‘This is My Blood’, is to make Jesus out to be a liar.”

    In that case, you, as a Catholic, make Jesus out to be a liar. In that case, you, as a Catholic, have a Gnostic Christology. For if you’re really going to take Jesus at his word, if you’re really going to take his words at face value, then he didn’t say that his is merely “present” in the communion elements. He didn’t say that is true body and bloody is present under the “species” of bread and wine. The communion elements *are* his body and blood. It’s the language of *identity*.

    Moreover, Jesus never said that this only happens when the priest pronounces the words of consecration. So where are you getting that from Jn 6 or 1 Cor 11?

    Furthermore, if you interpret Jn 6 sacramentally, that every communicant is heavenbound (Jn 6:51,54). Everyone Catholic who ever went to Mass and partook of communion is saved, once and for all.

    But, according to Catholic theology, it’s possible for a Catholic to die in mortal sin and go to hell, right? So where does that leave your interpretation of Jn 6, Ken?

    “Only the Catholics, the Eastern Orthodox, and a few high-church Anglo-Catholic Anglicans get the Eucharist right. All other Protestants get it wrong. And thus, all other Protestants have a religion which is fundamentally different than the Christian Religion.”

    Of course, Ken, your reasoning is reversible. If high churchmen and low churchmen disagree, then that disagreement doesn’t, of itself, indicate the direction in which the truth lies. It could just as well be the case that all the high churchmen got it wrong.

    And, to judge by your performance thus far, it surely looks like the high churchmen took a wrong turn.

  213. Ken Hendrickson said,

    June 17, 2008 at 8:04 pm

    — David Gray said:
    > Reformed Christians do not deny the
    > Real Presence, they do deny the
    > carnal presence

    Jesus Christ, both before and after the Resurrection, was fully God and fully man. He was carnal. He was no ghost; He was not merely a spirit.

    If you do not affirm that the Eucharist is *fully* Jesus, in every way (Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity), then you are on a sure slippery slope to other Christological heresies.

    Jesus said, “This is My Body”. Human bodies are carnal. Jesus’ Body is carnal. Thus, the Eucharist is carnal. Human bodies are spiritual. Jesus’ Body is spiritual. Thus, the Eucharist is spiritual. Jesus’ Body was the very Body of God. Thus, the Eucharist is the very Body of God.

    Anything less is a denial of the Incarnation.

    Ken Hendrickson

  214. Ken Hendrickson said,

    June 17, 2008 at 8:09 pm

    — steve hays said:
    > The communion elements *are* his body
    > and blood. It’s the language of *identity*.

    Correct. That is what the shorthand phrase “Real Presence” means.

    There is an *identity* between the God who created the universe, the God who became Incarnate of the ever-Virgin Mary, the God who rose from the dead, and what appears to be mere bread and wine. That is the Incarnationality I have been referring to.

    Ken Hendrickson

  215. RBerman said,

    June 17, 2008 at 8:42 pm

    Ken, one must stand somewhere. I’ll happily stipulate that the unshared authority of Scripture alone is a presupposition I hold. You’ve chosen a different unquestionable authority than I have, and all of our subsequent disagreements ramify from that first choice.

  216. Ken Hendrickson said,

    June 17, 2008 at 9:08 pm

    — RBerman said:
    > You’ve chosen a different unquestionable
    > authority than I have, and all of our
    > subsequent disagreements ramify from
    > that first choice.

    For me, the issues of authority were dealt with much later. The issue that drove me into the historic Christian Faith was the Eucharist, and what all of the Church Fathers wrote on it, and what Scripture says.

    There is such a unanimity amongst the earliest Christians, both east and west, that I could no longer deny that the Catholic position was what the early Church preached and believed.

    There is such a unanimity amongst Protestants that I must assert that Protestants believe something vastly different than what the early Church preached and believed.

    Furthermore, the text of John 6 only makes sense with the Catholic position. Non-Reformed Protestants inevitably pin all of their exegetical hopes upon the single verse John 6:63; they ignore the main thrust of the entire chapter. Reformed Protestants spend so much time marveling at the verses which teach Predestination that they cannot see the Bread of Life. (Perhaps they are predestined to misunderstand.) Both Reformed and non-Reformed Protestants ignore the interplay between the crowd and Jesus; they fail to recognize that Jesus never retracts anything — instead He *escalates* the controversy with His every response. All Protestants are like the disciples who said, “This is a hard saying; who can hear it?”, and then depart from the Faith once and for all delivered to the saints. John 6:60,66.

    That is where I stand: with Jesus, and the Apostles, and the Church Fathers, and the early Church. I believe John 6 literally.

    All other issues, and there were many that I had a great deal of trouble with (Mary, the Pope, etc.), were resolved much later. It was not the Authority of the Church which drew me in. It was the Eucharist. My acceptance of the Church’s Authority came later.

    Ken Hendrickson

  217. Ron Henzel said,

    June 17, 2008 at 9:40 pm

    Ken,

    Regarding your impugning of sola Scriptura, see my comment 201 above.

    Regarding your statement, “I believe John 6 literally,” please refer to Jesus’ own statement in John 6: “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life” (John 6:63).

  218. Ken Hendrickson said,

    June 17, 2008 at 10:12 pm

    — Ron Henzel said:
    > Regarding your impugning of sola Scriptura,
    > see my comment 201 above.

    I said earlier that I was not going to be chasing rabbits here. The issue which started this discussion, and why I joined, was Peter Enns’ idea of Incarnationality in scripture. You are not bringing up St. Augustine to talk about Incarnationality.

    Furthermore, you are making a grave error. You are reading the 16th century Protestant error of Sola Scriptura into your selective quoting of St. Augustine. There was never a discussion of Sola Scriptura in the Church, nor even the idea, until the Protestant Revolution. St. Augustine is contrasting the canonical writings with non-canonical writings. He is contrasting (for example) the Gospel of John with the Gospel of Thomas.

    Lastly, in quoting John 6:63 you have confirmed my earlier statements regarding Protestant errors in their interpretation of John 6 with great flair. It took only 30 minutes for you to make me look like a prophet. Some things are better left unsaid, and this is probably one of them. Silence on my part in response to your fulfillment of my previous words would have spoken much louder than anything I could say.

    Let’s get back to the topic of this thread: Incarnationality. No more rabbit chasing.

    Ken Hendrickson

  219. Ron Henzel said,

    June 18, 2008 at 3:56 am

    Ken,

    I see you like to be in control of the conversation. You release the rabbits, and when the chase doesn’t go your way, you declare the case over. Whatever….

    Meanwhile, you wrote:

    When the priest prays the words of consecration and the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ, Jesus is incarnated again. He is re-incarnated. He is re-enfleshed. We who live 2000 years after those historical events do not merely read and hear about them; we participate in them.

    So let me get this straight: Jesus is re-enfleshed—in bread? Shouldn’t you be saying he is re-enbreaded instead?

  220. Ron Henzel said,

    June 18, 2008 at 4:24 am

    Ken,

    BTW: when I posted comment 216 I did not see your comment 215; it was not on my screen. I specifically recall running a search for any reference to John 6:63 before commenting.

    But far from conferring prophetic status on you, this simply demonstrates that John 6:63 blows apart your thesis that communicants are “literally eating Jesus’ Body and Blood,” and that it is legitimate to “believe John 6 literally.” As a former Roman Catholic, I completely understand why you do not want to deal with this verse.

  221. steve hays said,

    June 18, 2008 at 7:51 am

    Ken Hendrickson said,

    “Correct. That is what the shorthand phrase “Real Presence” means.”

    No, strict identity doesn’t allow for the true body and bloody under the species of the bread and wine. Identity doesn’t allow for any distinctions between appearance and reality. You’re equivocating.

    And, of course, Jn 6 doesn’t speak of wine. If Jn 6 were Eucharistic, we would expect the following parallel:

    Bread is to body

    as

    Wine is to blood

    What we instead get is bread/flesh.

    You’re also dodging other problems internal to your interpretation which I already pointed out.

    “I believe John 6 literally.”

    Do you also believe Jn 15 literally? Is Jesus a literal grape vine? What type of grape juice is Jesus composed of? Concord grapes? Is Jesus composed of fermented or unfermented grape juice?

    In Jn 6, Jesus says he’s bread. Do you think Jesus is made of bread? What kind of bread to you think Jesus is made of? Sour dough? Gingerbread? Pumpernickel Rye? Remember, you take this literally, right?

  222. Ken Hendrickson said,

    June 18, 2008 at 7:06 pm

    Steve Hays: don’t be silly.

    — Ron Henzel said:
    > John 6:63 blows apart your thesis that
    > communicants are “literally eating Jesus’
    > Body and Blood,” and that it is legitimate
    > to “believe John 6 literally.” As a former
    > Roman Catholic, I completely understand
    > why you do not want to deal with this
    > verse.

    To the contrary, you are misinterpreting John 6:63. Protestants *always* misinterpret this verse. That is why I could predict you would invoke it in your misunderstanding.

    First, let’s deal with the context. Jesus was born in Bethlehem. In Hebrew, this means “House of Bread”. This is not a coincidence, or an accident. It is significant.

    Next, what happened just prior to this teaching from Christ was the feeding of the 5000 (+ women and children) from 2 fishes and 5 loaves (:1-:14). This is not a coincidence or an accident either. It is significant. Jesus was showing us that He could feed the entire world with His flesh and blood, despite the large size of the world, and the relatively small size of His body.

    Jesus starts out by referring to the miracle of the loaves and fishes (:26-:27).

    Next, the parallel is drawn between the Eucharist and the Manna in the desert during the exodus from Egypt. The Manna is a clear “type” — a pre-figurement — a fore-shadowing — of the Eucharist. Jesus says that it wasn’t Moses that gave this bread, but His Father in heaven. (:32) He further identifies Himself as the True Bread which comes down from heaven. He claims to be the Bread of Life. And then he makes some seemingly outlandish claims that those who eat Him will never be hungry or thirsty, and He will raise them up on the last day. (:33-40)

    The crowd doesn’t like it. They start to grumble and murmur. The crowd already doesn’t believe what Jesus has told them. (:41-42)

    What does Jesus do in response? Does Jesus explain that he is only figuratively the Bread of Life? Does Jesus explain that He is only speaking symbolically? No!!

    Jesus, even more emphatically, claims again that He is the Bread of Life, and if anybody eats this bread, he will live forever. And to make sure that nobody misunderstood, Jesus said very clearly, “the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is *My Flesh*.” (:43-:51) To drive the point home, Jesus uses very crass language. Jesus doesn’t want anybody to misunderstand.

    The complaining and disbelief of the crowd increases. They demand to know how Jesus can give them His Flesh to eat. (:52)

    Jesus doesn’t yet explain the Eucharist, but He does say very emphatically that unless we eat His Flesh and drink His Blood, *we have no life in us*. He claims even more forcefully and strongly all the previous claims about raising them up on the last day, His Flesh being True Food, His Blood being True Drink, and that the result of eating His Flesh and drinking His Blood is eternal life. (:53-:58)

    Jesus does not dumb down the message. He is not engaged in a “church grown” program. He does not change the message in order to be palatable to those who cannot, or who will not, believe. Furthermore, He re-emphasizes that He was speaking literally all along.

    So the crowd leaves. (:60,:66) It is a hard saying, and they, like the Protestants, cannot accept it.

    Does Jesus call them back? Does He explain that He was only speaking figuratively or symbolically? No!! Absolutely not!! He lets them go.

    Whatever verse :63 means, it must be understood in the context of all that has come before. It must be understood in light of the interaction between Jesus and the crowd. It must be understood in light of the multitude of very clear verses in which Jesus is demanding and forcing a literal interpretation.

    Re-read this explanation, with your Bible open, and count the verses! Examine the interaction between Jesus and the crowd. Notice how Jesus always *escalates the conflict* by demanding a literal interpretation. Notice how Jesus always escalates the conflict by speaking in very plain vulgar terms.

    If you will accept it, here is an interpretation of :63 which contradicts neither the rest of the passage, nor the context.

    % It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh
    % profits nothing; the words that I have
    % spoken to you are spirit and are life.

    It is the Holy Spirit who gives life, through the sacrament of the Eucharist. In it, we eat spiritual food. This spiritual food is in fact Jesus’ Body and His Precious Blood. Regular food can’t help us to live forever; for that we must have *spiritual* nourishment. The teaching Jesus has just given is True. It is Life. We *must* believe. We *must* obey. *We must eat Jesus’ Flesh and drink His Blood*.

    To anybody with any understanding of interactions between people, all of this is quite clear. It is unmistakably clear. This was the passage which drove me into the Catholic Church. This passage teaches what the Catholic Church has always taught.

    Go ahead and hang your interpretation (hang yourself?) on verse :63 alone, and you are going to be like those who deserted our Lord in verses :60 and :66. I don’t recommend it. Repent. Change your mind. Believe the Bible. Believe Jesus’ words (teaching), because they are Life. Get yourself into the True Church, where you may eat Jesus’ Flesh, and drink His Blood, because otherwise you will have no life in you. Get yourself into the Church, where you may eat Jesus’ Flesh, and drink His Blood, in order that He will raise you up on the last day.

    *That* is the good news!

    Ken Hendrickson

    PS There are so many more reasons to accept the explanation I have given. Here are a few of them:

    Adam screwed everything up, in a garden. Jesus, the 2nd Adam, set everything right again, in a garden.

    Eve was deceived, and brought the forbidden fruit to Adam. The 2nd Eve (Mary), said, “Let it be done as you have said.” (Luke 1:38) She trusted and believed God. While Eve brought death, Eve brought Life Himself.

    Cursed is he who hangs from a tree. (Gal 3:13; Deut 21:23) Adam was cursed, but Jesus takes the curse away.

    Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the forbidden tree. The Tree of Life (the cross) also bears *Fruit*: the Body and Blood of Christ. Now we *must* eat from the Fruit of the Tree of Life!

    The fruit from the first tree, eaten in disobedience, brought death, but the Fruit from the Tree of Life, eaten in obedience, brings everlasting Life.

    This is exactly the sort of thing we should expect from a God who delights in Incarnation. He was pleased to empty Himself and become part of His creation. The Incarnation was not a one-time event. The Incarnation continues!! All of Life is Incarnational. All of the Church’s worship, praise, and sacrifice is Incarnational. All of the Church’s sacraments are Incarnational. Everything worth having is Incarnational, and that which is not Incarnational is not worth having.

    That is the good news!
    The Incarnation is the good news!!

    % O taste and see that the LORD is good!
    % (Psalm 34:8)

  223. Ken Hendrickson said,

    June 18, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    My previous post, #222, was corrupted by the blog’s software.

    In place of each successive smily face, the following text was what I originally wrote:

    … the result of eating His Flesh and drinking His Blood is eternal life. ( John 6 :53 – :58 )

    The 2nd Eve (Mary), said, “Let it be done as you have said.” ( Luke 1:38 )

    % O taste and see that the LORD is good!
    % ( Psalm 34:8 )

  224. steve hays said,

    June 18, 2008 at 8:26 pm

    Ken Hendrickson said,

    “First, let’s deal with the context. Jesus was born in Bethlehem. In Hebrew, this means ‘House of Bread’. This is not a coincidence, or an accident. It is significant.”

    It’s not significant to the context of Jn 6 since the Fourth Gospel doesn’t have a nativity account.

    “Next, what happened just prior to this teaching from Christ was the feeding of the 5000 (+ women and children) from 2 fishes and 5 loaves (:1-:14). This is not a coincidence or an accident either. It is significant.”

    No one denies that Jesus’ action is significant. That’s a straw man argument.

    “Jesus was showing us that He could feed the entire world with His flesh and blood, despite the large size of the world, and the relatively small size of His body.”

    That’s an assertion, not an argument. You need to exegete that claim from the text.

    “The Manna is a clear “type” — a pre-figurement — a fore-shadowing — of the Eucharist.”

    No, it’s a type of the Cross.

    “Does Jesus explain that he is only figuratively the Bread of Life? Does Jesus explain that He is only speaking symbolically? No!!”

    So if Jesus is literal bread, then what kind of bread is Jesus? Cornbread? Cinnamon bread? What kind of bread dough does the heavenly bakery use?

    Remember, it’s a no-no to treat this imagery as figurative or symbolic. So this is literal bread—hot out of the celestial oven.

    After all, God wouldn’t give his children stale bread or day-old bread. Only fresh-baked bread will do.

    “Jesus, even more emphatically, claims again that He is the Bread of Life, and if anybody eats this bread, he will live forever.”

    So, according to Ken, anyone who ever went to Mass has a nonrefundable ticket to heaven.

    Does Catholic theology teach that a communicant can’t fall into mortal sin and go to hell? No.

    “Get yourself into the True Church, where you may eat Jesus’ Flesh, and drink His Blood, because otherwise you will have no life in you.”

    Really? So, according to Ken, only Catholics are heavenbound. Everyone else is damned.

    Is that what Vatican II theology actually teaches? No.

    Ken is misrepresenting the theology of his own church. A typical convert. More Catholic than the Pope.

  225. Ron Henzel said,

    June 18, 2008 at 9:12 pm

    Ken wrote:

    Does Jesus call them back? Does He explain that He was only speaking figuratively or symbolically? No!! Absolutely not!! He lets them go.

    So, if Jesus was speaking literally throughout John 6, that must mean that Jesus was made out of literal bread, right? That would seem to be the inevitable outcome of your position.

    Or we could just go with D.A. Carson’s comment on John 6:52: “Any dullard could see that Jesus was not speaking literally.” (The Gospel According to John, [Leicester, U.K. and Grand Rapids, MI, USA: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1991], 295).

  226. Ken Hendrickson said,

    June 19, 2008 at 7:22 am

    — Ron Henzel said:
    > “Any dullard could see that Jesus
    > was not speaking literally.”

    Jesus said, “Unless you eat My Flesh, and drink My Blood, you have no life in you.”

    Jesus said, “The bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My Flesh.”

    Some dullards do not understand, or will not understand.

    Ken Hendrickson

  227. Ken Hendrickson said,

    June 19, 2008 at 8:03 am

    The Protestant “Reformation” was not a Reformation. It *changed* the Faith. Let’s examine the facts.

    Fact: Catholics and Orthodox believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

    Proof: All of the Church Fathers, all of the scholastics, and even all of the modern teaching of the Catholic (and Eastern Orthodox) Church shows this very clearly. For example, see paragraphs 1374, 1378, and 1379 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

    Fact: Protestants do not believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist (in the way defined and believed by Catholics and Eastern Orthodox).

    Proof: All Protestant writings. The quote from Carson above is but one example.

    Conclusion: Protestants believe something different than what Catholics and Eastern Orthodox believe. Protestants do not hold the same Faith. Q.E.D.

    Now, consider the possibilities:

    1 Catholics (and Eastern Orthodox) are right, and Protestants, somewhere along the way, have made a grievous error. (This has been the Catholic (and Eastern Orthodox) claim all along.

    2 Protestants are right. But this would make all of the early Church wrong! All of the Church Fathers would be wrong! Even the Apostles would be wrong!! There would be no continuity between Jesus’ earthly life and the establishment of the Church; instead there would be a gap of approx. 1500 years, before anybody got it right. This is unthinkable.

    Consider the implications.

    Jesus said, “Unless you eat My Flesh, and drink My Blood, you have no life in you.” Protestants, according to this, have no life in them, because they are not eating Jesus’ Flesh, nor are they drinking Jesus’ Blood, by their own admission and their own teaching.

    Challenge: read the early Church Fathers. See what they say. See what they believed. See if it is not what the Catholics (and Eastern Orthodox) still teach and believe today.

    Do not continue to *Revolt* against the Christian Faith. Please repent and return. Just like the father accepted the prodigal son, and killed the fatted sheep for a feast, the Church rejoices for and with every Protestant who returns Home.

    Go prove me wrong. Read the Church Fathers. See what they say. Really! Do it!!

    Start with St. Cyril of Jerusalem’s “Lectures on the Sacraments”.

    Ken Hendrickson

  228. its.reed said,

    June 19, 2008 at 8:38 am

    Ref. 227:

    Ken, perhaps you left out a third alternative, one which does not sit well with your paradigm.

    3. The Reformers agree with the Early Churcfh Fathers, contra EO/RCC (who get it wrong).

    Whether you like it or not, this is a valid option. Seeing your desire for intellectual integrity, wouldn’t you agree?

    As to your comments about revolting and repenting, this is not the appropriate thread for such harsh language from a guest. Your comments from almost the beginning have strayed far off the original subject matter. A cardinal rule of this blog is “stay on subject.” I’v not made an issue of it yet, in hopes that your comments and those interacting with you would eventually intersect with the original subject.

    Now you’re just shilling. Please stop. Make relevant comments to the topic. Thanks.

  229. Ken Hendrickson said,

    June 19, 2008 at 5:11 pm

    — its.reed said:
    > 3. The Reformers agree with the Early
    > Church Fathers, contra EO/RCC (who
    > get it wrong).

    Logically, this is a possibility.

    However, I have read many of the Church Fathers, and it is unmistakably clear that on the subject of the Eucharist and the Real Presence of Christ, perhaps *the central doctrine* about *the most important sacrament* in Christianity, it is the Protestants who are not in agreement with the early Church.

    Read the Church Fathers for yourself and see!

    Don’t just read polemical works that quote snippets out of context; read the actual writings of the Church Fathers,and read a lot of them. Option 3 is a logical possibility, but it does not agree with the facts of history.

    > Now you’re just shilling. Please stop.
    > Make relevant comments to the topic.

    The topic was Incarnationality. That is central in any discussion of the Eucharist and the Real Presence of Christ. My comments are spot on topic.

    Ken Hendrickson

  230. steve hays said,

    June 19, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    Ken Hendrickson said,

    “Consider the implications. Jesus said, ‘Unless you eat My Flesh, and drink My Blood, you have no life in you.’ Protestants, according to this, have no life in them, because they are not eating Jesus’ Flesh, nor are they drinking Jesus’ Blood, by their own admission and their own teaching.”

    How does that conclusion follow—even on Ken’s assumptions? It would only follow if the subjective intentions of the communicant determine whether the words of Jesus are true or false. Is that Ken’s position?

    If a communicant happens to believe in the Real Presence, then Jesus’ words are true—but if a communicant doesn’t believe in the Real presence, then Jesus’ words are falsified by his disbelief.

    So, according to Ken’s “literal” interpretation of Jn 6, the “literal” meaning of Jn 6 is personal-variable. It has no objective meaning. If you believe in the Real Presence, then you receive the true body and blood of Christ—but if you don’t believe in the Real Presence, then you just receive bread and wine.

    Transubstantiation is subject to the veto power of the communicant. The “Host” is present or absent depending on the subjective state of the communicant, and not upon the word of Christ.

    Of course, as far as their “own admissions” or “teaching” is concerned, many Protestants regard Jn 6 as foreshadowing, not the Eucharist, but the Cross. And they do believe that they receive the benefits of what is signified in the Jn 6 (i.e. Jesus’ redemptive work on the cross on behalf of, and in place of, his people).

  231. steve hays said,

    June 19, 2008 at 6:57 pm

    Canadian said,

    “Jesus rarely explained much to his Jewish audience. In fact, the parables are said to be for the closing of the Jewish ear not the opening of it. Linear history and Christ’s revealing of himself rarely coincide. Mary pondered in her heart many things about her Son because she didn’t understand, but she believed. The disciples and Apostles remembered and understood much of what Christ said to them after Pentecost, but they believed. The true understanding of the Kingdom (David’s throne) was preached by Peter first in Acts, even though Christ went about “preaching the kingdom of God”. The cross was a mystery until long after it happened. The New Testament says all that the prophets wrote (and didn’t understand) were written for us upon whom the ends of the world had come.”

    You’re equivocating. There’s a difference between not understanding something when you ought to know better and not understanding something because you were in no position to know any better.

    “Christ is not expecting Eucharistic understanding, he is proclaiming himself to be the bread of Life but that does not necessarily negate Eucharistic meaning just because of a perceived linear time issue.”

    Keep in mind that I’m responding to Ken. He argues for the Eucharistic interpretation of Jn 6. He thinks that’s obvious from the text itself. Do you disagree with him? Are you arguing for a Eucharistic interpretation on a different basis?

    “Besides, John 6 was not written until 40-60 years AFTER the Eucharist was instituted and in use.”

    You’re changing the subject. I’m responding to Ken. Answering Ken on his own grounds. He said he came to his Catholic understanding of Jn 6 via the grammatico-historical method. The fact that this speech wasn’t transcribed until after the institution of the Lord’s Supper is irrelevant to the historical horizon of the audience to which it was originally addressed, which was a Jewish audience living before the institution of the Lord’s Supper. Therefore, according to the grammatico-historical exegesis, what they were in a historical position to understand is directly germane to what Jesus meant them to understand when he spoke to them.

  232. Ken Hendrickson said,

    June 19, 2008 at 7:49 pm

    — steve hays said:
    > It would only follow if the subjective
    > intentions of the communicant determine
    > whether the words of Jesus are true or
    > false. Is that Ken’s position?

    That is not my position at all.

    > If you believe in the Real Presence, then
    > you receive the true body and blood of
    > Christ—but if you don’t believe in the Real
    > Presence, then you just receive bread
    > and wine.

    This is also not my position. Let me try to be more clear.

    Protestants do not believe in transubstantiation. They all readily admit this. Except for the Lutherans, Protestants do not believe in consubstantiation either. They all readily admit this. Protestants do not believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and they will tell you so.

    I said (and I quote myself):
    > Jesus said, “Unless you eat My Flesh, and
    > drink My Blood, you have no life in you.”
    > Protestants, according to this, have no life
    > in them, because they are not eating
    > Jesus’ Flesh, nor are they drinking Jesus’
    > Blood, by their own admission and their
    > own teaching.

    Protestants admit that they do not believe in transubstantiation, or consubstantiation (excluding the Lutherans for a moment), and so they admit that they are not eating Jesus’ Flesh nor drinking Jesus’ Blood. That is what they believe, and that is what they teach.

    Let me use more common Protestant language.

    Protestants believe that Communion (they do not use the term Eucharist) is merely symbolic. They do not understand John 6 in a literal sense. They think that the bread and wine merely represent Christ. Furthermore, they mean represent not in the deeply Incarnational sense of re-Presenting, making Present here and now the One Sacrifice, Once Offered, sacramentally and *Incarnationally*. No, they mean “represent” in the modern sense that the symbols “Jesus” in ink on a piece of paper or on a computer screen represent their saviour, but are not themselves their saviour.

    But Jesus said that if you don’t eat His Flesh, and drink His Blood, that you have no life in you.

    I conclude, using simple logic and Jesus’ words, that Protestants have no life in them. That is what the words of our Lord mean. (I am not judging; I am only turning the crank and applying the rules of logic.)

    Since all Protestants, Lutherans included, have done away with the priesthood, that they no longer have a valid Eucharist. For Protestants, it is merely bread and wine, even if some Protestant happens to hold the Catholic doctrine. For Lutherans, who believe in consubstantiation, it is also merely bread and wine, despite what they believe, because they have no valid priests.

    Protestants never deal with 1 Cor 11:23-34. In the words of 1 Cor 11:29, Protestants do not recognize the Body of the Lord. This is actually good in Protestant churches, because the Body and Blood of the Lord are not there. They have no valid priests. (This is why Protestants cannot receive communion in the Catholic Church; the Church is protecting them from receiving the Eucharist in an unworthy manner, because even where Christ is truly present, the Protestants do not recognize Him.)

    What if some Protestant should become convinced that what the Bible teaches in John 6 and 1 Cor 11 about the Eucharist is true? Will the bread and wine become for that believing Protestant the True Body and Blood of our Lord? Well, God can do any miracle He wants. But that Protestant cannot have any assurance that he is literally eating our Lord’s Body and drinking His Blood. That is because the Protestants have no valid priesthood. They all, Lutherans included, deny that their ministers are priests. They do not call them priests, because they are not priests.

    Furthermore, it would be very dangerous for a Protestant to depend upon his doctrine of “priesthood of all believers” in his hope to eat Jesus’ Body and Blood. Given the writings of the Church Fathers from the very beginning, especially with their language of “confecting the sacrament”, and their teaching of who could validly do it — it would be greatly presumptuous of any Protestant to attempt to pray the words of consecration. (But it has happened.)

    What you need in order to have a valid Eucharist is a validly ordained priest, who was ordained by a bishop, who was consecrated by a bishop, …, who was consecrated a bishop by one of the Apostles. (You need Apostolic succession, and a valid priest.) Furthermore, you need to have valid matter: there must be wheat bread and fermented grape wine. Lastly, you must have the correct prayers of consecration. Most Protestants do not use wine, so they do not have valid matter. All Protestants lack validly ordained priests (with the possible exception of some traditionalist Anglicans).

    What Protestants believe is true, or not, independent of their belief, or lack of belief. The same is true for the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

    Ken Hendrickson

  233. steve hays said,

    June 19, 2008 at 9:19 pm

    Ken Hendrickson said,

    “Protestants do not believe in transubstantiation. They all readily admit this. Except for the Lutherans, Protestants do not believe in consubstantiation either. They all readily admit this. Protestants do not believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and they will tell you so…But Jesus said that if you don’t eat His Flesh, and drink His Blood, that you have no life in you. I conclude, using simple logic and Jesus’ words, that Protestants have no life in them. That is what the words of our Lord mean. (I am not judging; I am only turning the crank and applying the rules of logic.)”

    Yet the question at issue is not—from your perspective—what Protestants think is true, but what you think is true. If I order beef, and I’m accidentally served horsemeat instead, am I not eating horsemeat even though I believe that I’m eating beef?

    If you, Ken, believe the communion elements are the true body and blood of Christ, then that is what a communicant receives whether or not *he* believes it.

    “Protestants never deal with 1 Cor 11:23-34.”

    Is that a fact? Gordon Fee, for one, deals with it in some detail. He argues, on contextual grounds, that the “body” in v29 has reference to the church, not the Eucharist.

    “What you need in order to have a valid Eucharist is a validly ordained priest, who was ordained by a bishop, who was consecrated by a bishop, …, who was consecrated a bishop by one of the Apostles. (You need Apostolic succession, and a valid priest.) Furthermore, you need to have valid matter: there must be wheat bread and fermented grape wine. Lastly, you must have the correct prayers of consecration.”

    Look at what Ken has suddenly done to his prooftexts. He accused Protestants of making Jesus out to be a liar because we allegedly fail to take him at his word. But Ken treats the Bread of Life Discourse like a devious insurance contract. Ken has appended an escape clause after he got back to the office. Needless to say, you won’t find a single one of these conditions in Jn 6. Indeed, you won’t find any of these conditions in the entirety of the fourth Gospel.

    And not only won’t you find these conditions in his Johannine prooftext, but you also won’t find them in his Pauline prooftext (1 Cor 11).

    So he’s nullified the force of Jn 6 by a set of extraneous riders. Look how far he’s moved away from the bold position he staked out at the beginning of this thread.

    Incidentally, Ken, how do you verify apostolic succession? And how do you verify the valid administration of the sacraments?

  234. its.reed said,

    June 19, 2008 at 9:47 pm

    Ken:

    Personally I’m tired of talking with someone who makes sweepinng absolute comments with little regard to the fact that he is wrong in such assertions.

    Also, please quit assuming things about me. You have no idea how much of the Early Church Fathers I’ve read.

  235. its.reed said,

    June 19, 2008 at 9:51 pm

    P.S. the topic here is the use of the Incarnation as an anology for Scripture, not the Incarnation per se. The topic is especially not the nature of the Eucharist.

    You are way off topic. Your “revolting and rebellion” comments are inappropriate. I personally believe that the doctrine of transubstantiation is a lie from the pit of hell. You don’t hear me taking time to warn you from your egregious behavior of promoting it here.

    A little more graciousness in your tone, and please get back on topic.

  236. steve hays said,

    June 20, 2008 at 10:43 am

    Ken Hendrickson said,

    “The topic was Incarnationality. That is central in any discussion of the Eucharist and the Real Presence of Christ. My comments are spot on topic.”

    No, you’re hijacking this thread as a pretext to lobby for your adopted Roman Catholic faith. Whatever else Peter Enns may be guilty of, he’s not Roman Catholic. I’ve seen no evidence that he’s even sympathetic to Roman Catholic theology. And there’s nothing in I&I that implies Roman Catholicism.

  237. Canadian said,

    June 20, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    Steve said:
    “The fact that this speech wasn’t transcribed until after the institution of the Lord’s Supper is irrelevant to the historical horizon of the audience to which it was originally addressed, which was a Jewish audience living before the institution of the Lord’s Supper. Therefore, according to the grammatico-historical exegesis, what they were in a historical position to understand is directly germane to what Jesus meant them to understand when he spoke to them.”

    They were not in any position to understand the cross either. My point in #209 was that just because Jesus does not say that this discourse is (partially?) about the future eucharist does not necessarily mean that when John writes about it 40-60 years later, the church does not have genuine reason to understand the eucharistic connection without John explaning this in the text itself. You yourself make similar assumptions when declaring it is only about the cross. Jesus isn’t concerned with exegeting his own words at the time which is often the case as in the examples I gave. What people do or do not understand at the time is up to God. What and when he reveals by the Spirit to his people as explanation of what was not earlier understood is also his right. Grammatico-historical exegesis cannot always lock down scientifically what scripture must mean. God, being outside of time, may not be as concerned with it as we are, even though he relates to us within the boundaries he has placed us.

  238. steve hays said,

    June 20, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    Canadian said,

    “They were not in any position to understand the cross either.”

    They were in a position to understand types and prophecies regarding a Messiah who would die to redeem his people.

    “What people do or do not understand at the time is up to God. What and when he reveals by the Spirit to his people as explanation of what was not earlier understood is also his right.”

    You’re obfuscating. The question is whether, in Jn 6, the Jewish audience was supposed to understand. Were they blameworthy for their failure to understand what he said?

    “Grammatico-historical exegesis cannot always lock down scientifically what scripture must mean.”

    i) To begin with, I was responding to Ken. He said, “John chapter 6, when interpreted with the grammatical-historical method, teaches what the Catholic Church has always taught.”

    So you’re now admitting that his position is indefensible. Fine. That makes two of us.

    ii) Of course, I disagree with you on grammatico-historical exegesis, but the combox of Green Baggins is not the place to debate that.

    “God, being outside of time, may not be as concerned with it as we are, even though he relates to us within the boundaries he has placed us.”

    That’s irrelevant to the fact that when God chooses to communicate with timebound human beings, he must accommodate our historical horizon. If he doesn’t speak to be understood, then communication is pointless.

    “My point in #209 was that just because Jesus does not say that this discourse is (partially?) about the future eucharist does not necessarily mean that when John writes about it 40-60 years later, the church does not have genuine reason to understand the eucharistic connection without John explaning this in the text itself.”

    Actually, the reason that Jn 6 reminds a Christian reader of the Eucharist is that Jn 6 foreshadows the Cross, while the Eucharist signifies the Cross, so they share a common referent, with some cross-referential imagery. Jn 6 triggers secondary associations with the Eucharist via the primary referent (i.e. the Cross).

    “You yourself make similar assumptions when declaring it is only about the cross. Jesus isn’t concerned with exegeting his own words at the time which is often the case as in the examples I gave.”

    Once again, I’m merely responding to Ken on his own grounds. Grammatico-historical exegesis doesn’t mean that we must treat Jn 6 as a self-contained literary unit. Intertextuality is a basic element of grammatico-historical exegesis. An earlier text foreshadows a later text, just as a later text alludes to an earlier text.

    And the OT also lies in the background of Jn 6. Indeed, that’s not even in the subtext of Jn 6. That’s explicit.

    But Ken is the one who treats the Eucharistic interpretation of Jn 6 as self-evident.

  239. steve hays said,

    June 20, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    Ken Hendrickson said,

    “The writings of those whom the Church has declared to be saints and doctors, interpreting the scriptures, is surely a more reliable guide than I am. They are also surely a more reliable guide than you are.”

    Ken, how do you verify the true church?

    BTW, do you exercise private judgment when you verify the true church?

    It is the Church who is the pillar and foundation of the Truth. (1 Tim 3:15)… On a risk-benefit analysis, I decline to interpret scripture myself.”

    So you just forfeited the right to apply 1 Tim 3:15 to the Catholic church. Since you can’t exercise private judgment to interpret 1 Tim 3:15, you can’t tell us that 1 Tim 3:15 applies to the Catholic church.

  240. Canadian said,

    June 20, 2008 at 6:24 pm

    Steve said:
    “They were in a position to understand types and prophecies regarding a Messiah who would die to redeem his people.”

    Were they not in a position to understand types and prophecies regarding a Messiah who would be the (eucharistic) life and sustenance of his people (manna/bread of life)?

    “The question is whether, in Jn 6, the Jewish audience was supposed to understand. Were they blameworthy for their failure to understand what he said?”

    Maybe Ken Hendrickson would say yes, I’m not sure, but for me their understanding of the eucharist or even the cross was not the central issue at all in Jn 6. The faithful disciples in the passage didn’t understand the discourse either, but they believed and clung to Christ! They were blameworthy for not believing Christ was the bread of life as evidenced by the miracle of the loaves that just previously had happened and from his testifying that he was the bread come down from heaven (If you believe not me then believe the works that show that I am from the Father). Why would a Calvinist like yourself require understanding as a prerequisite for their blame anyway?

    “So you’re now admitting that his position is indefensible.”

    Not exactly. You believe your hermeneutical method precludes the meaning to be eucharistic, this I disagree with. And just because Ken said your method would work in his favour does not prove his final position is indefensible.

    “If he doesn’t speak to be understood, then communication is pointless.”

    A strange statement for a Calvinistic view, especially considering Jesus’ own stated purpose for the parables to the Jews, and Paul’s statements about spritually discerned words and his preaching to be the savor of life for belivers and death for unbelievers. His self revelation is never pointless, but again, God’s self revelation in history is not negated by the ignorance or incompitence or sinfulness of initial hearers.

    “Jn 6 triggers secondary associations with the Eucharist via the primary referent (i.e. the Cross).”

    You have decided the cross is the primary referent, the context itself does not necessary lend itself to this. He is revealing himself as having come down from heaven (Incarnation) and that they are to believe in him. Christ himself is the prime referent. His sacrifice and later eucharist are all directly connected to him. If you believe in him you will have life–this is what he was saying directly to his hearers that day. Of course the cross will be part of this economy, but I think the eucharist is just as much a part because Christ is pleased to offer himself by specific means, hence the vivid “eating” language both in Jn 6 and in 1 Cor.

  241. steve hays said,

    June 21, 2008 at 8:44 am

    Canadian said,

    “Were they not in a position to understand types and prophecies regarding a Messiah who would be the (eucharistic) life and sustenance of his people (manna/bread of life)?”

    That the OT contains types and prophecies regarding a Messiah who would die to redeem his people has been extensively documented by various scholars.

    But if you think the OT prefigures or predicts the eucharist, then you need to make your own case. It’s not my job to make your argument for you—especially since I disagree with your interpretation.

    “Why would a Calvinist like yourself require understanding as a prerequisite for their blame anyway?”

    You continue to equivocate. If a listener fails to understand something he was supposed to understand, then he’s blameworthy.

    “And just because Ken said your method would work in his favour does not prove his final position is indefensible.”

    And how does it not? You and he are defending the eucharistic interpretation on opposing grounds. He’s appealing to the grammatico-historical method, which you reject. He regards the eucharistic interpretation as obvious. You, by contrast, have no problem with the idea that Christ’s words would have been quite opaque to the original audience.

    “A strange statement for a Calvinistic view, especially considering Jesus’ own stated purpose for the parables to the Jews, and Paul’s statements about spritually discerned words and his preaching to be the savor of life for belivers and death for unbelievers. His self revelation is never pointless, but again, God’s self revelation in history is not negated by the ignorance or incompitence or sinfulness of initial hearers.”

    You’re confounding very different issues:

    i) Is something misunderstood because it’s inherently incomprehensible?

    ii) Or is it misunderstood because the audience is resistant to the meaning of the statement?

    It’s not that divine communication is inherently obscure or unintelligible. If that were the case, then even the regenerate couldn’t make sense of what is nonsensical. Rather, the reprobate are too hardened to give divine communication a fair hearing.

    The breakdown in communication occurs, not at the level of objective meaning, but at the level of subjective receptivity.

    “You have decided the cross is the primary referent, the context itself does not necessary lend itself to this.”

    Yes it does, since it uses sacrificial language.

    “He is revealing himself as having come down from heaven (Incarnation)”

    Coming down for what purpose? Becoming Incarnate for what purpose?

    “And that they are to believe in him.”

    No, in the context of Jn 6, it’s insufficient to merely affirm the Incarnation. That’s not an end in itself. That’s not saving faith. That’s a necessary, but insufficient, condition.

    “Christ himself is the prime referent.”

    Not simply Christ qua Christ, but Christ in his redemptive role. Hence, the sacrificial language.

    “His sacrifice and later eucharist are all directly connected to him.”

    But they’re hardly connected in the same way. His sacrifice is the reality—of which the eucharist is the symbol.

    “If you believe in him you will have life–this is what he was saying directly to his hearers that day.”

    If you believe in him, not merely as the Incarnate Son, but the Redeemer.

    “Of course the cross will be part of this economy.”

    No, not just a “part.” That’s central to the sacrificial thrust of Jn 6.

    “But I think the eucharist is just as much a part because Christ is pleased to offer himself by specific means.”

    If you beg the question in favor of transubstantiatio—or the Orthodox equivalent.

    “Hence the vivid ‘eating’ language both in Jn 6 and in 1 Cor.”

    No, the vivid “eating” language goes back to OT sacrificial imagery, viz. consuming the Passover lamb.

    You’re so busy superimposing your Orthodox grid on the text that you can’t see the actual, intertextual connections.

  242. Ken Hendrickson said,

    June 21, 2008 at 8:58 pm

    — steve hays said:
    > His sacrifice is the reality—of which the
    > eucharist is the symbol.

    You have expressed the Protestant religion well. For you, there are only symbols. There is no deeper reality. There is no *sacramental* *incarnational* reality. Bread is bread and nothing more. God worked through physical stuff in the Incarnation, by becoming human, but He is done with that physical stuff now. Now God works gnostically, if at all.

    > His sacrifice is the reality—of which the
    > eucharist is the symbol.

    In the True Christian religion, which is Incarnational to the core, the Eucharist “represents” the sacrifice to us. The Eucharist “re-Presents” that One Sacrifice, Once Offered. Christ crucified, then resurrected, is made Real and Present for us, where (in space) and when (in time) we are. God offers us Himself, just as He offered us Himself in the Incarnation. God still works with physical stuff. Incarnation continues through sacraments. We participate in the Last Supper, in the Crucifixion, and in the Resurrection, via the Eucharist. We partake of the divine nature.

    Protestantism and Catholicism/Orthodoxy are two different religions. They are not the same. They are not equivalent. They cannot both be True. They are not both Incarnational; one is, but the other isn’t.

    Ken Hendrickson

  243. ReformedSinner (DC) said,

    June 21, 2008 at 9:57 pm

    You hit the nail right on the head. At the end of the day Protestantism and Catholicism/Orthodoxy are so diverge that they are different religions (ala Machen style.) Unfortunately Catholicism and Orthodoxy have too many human elements in it without realizing it. Ken, for all the point you raised Calvin’s Institute has already given an answer to all of your challenges, and the fallacy of your claims. Of course at the end you won’t agree, you are faithful to your religion, but at the end of the day it’s foreign to the Bible.

  244. steve hays said,

    June 22, 2008 at 8:22 am

    Ken Hendrickson said,

    “You have expressed the Protestant religion well. For you, there are only symbols. There is no deeper reality. There is no *sacramental* *incarnational* reality. Bread is bread and nothing more. God worked through physical stuff in the Incarnation, by becoming human, but He is done with that physical stuff now. Now God works gnostically, if at all.”

    You’re so caught up in your Catholic propaganda machine that you don’t even try to be accurate. God is present with his people through his grace and providence. In election, regeneration, justification, adoption, and sanctification. And his grace applies of work of the Incarnate, crucified, and Risen Lord.

    God answers their prayers, preserves them in the faith, and providentially guides them by a multitude of circumstances which he himself arranged for the good of his people.

    “In the True Christian religion, which is Incarnational to the core, the Eucharist ‘represents’ the sacrifice to us. The Eucharist ‘re-Presents’ that One Sacrifice, Once Offered. Christ crucified, then resurrected, is made Real and Present for us, where (in space) and when (in time) we are. God offers us Himself, just as He offered us Himself in the Incarnation. God still works with physical stuff. Incarnation continues through sacraments. We participate in the Last Supper, in the Crucifixion, and in the Resurrection, via the Eucharist. We partake of the divine nature.”

    You keep repeating your thumbnail exposition of the Mass, as if we hadn’t heard that before, as if by saying the same thing enough times that will make it true.

    “Protestantism and Catholicism/Orthodoxy are two different religions. They are not the same. They are not equivalent. They cannot both be True. They are not both Incarnational; one is, but the other isn’t.”

    There are, indeed, Catholics who’ve taken your sacramentalism to heart. They always show up at Mass late, and leave early. They skip all the extraneous parts. The prayers. The hymns. The homily, &c.

    They time it just for the Eucharist. Then they leave. They come for their weekly God-pill. Their weekly dose of encapsulated grace.

    You’re pinning your hope of salvation on the ability of the priest to contain Jesus in a wafer. That is, indeed, a different religion.

    Why not skip the Mass altogether and just install a vending machine in the narthex to dispense consecrated communion wafers? The Host at 50¢ a pop?

    It’s also a different religion when Mary becomes a substitute Jesus.

  245. Ron Henzel said,

    June 22, 2008 at 11:53 am

    The Catholic mass is riddled with absurdities, not the least of which has been the withholding the cup from the laity for the better part of the last millennium.

  246. Ken Hendrickson said,

    June 22, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    — Steve Hays said:
    > for your adopted Roman Catholic faith …

    I’m Catholic, but I’m *not* Roman Catholic. (I am eastern. I am in the Byzantine Rite of the Catholic Church.)

    — Ron Henzel said:
    > withholding the cup from the laity for
    > the better part of the last millennium

    This has *never* been the practice of our Rite, nor of any of the other eastern Rites (Maronite, Melkite, Chaldean, Assyrian, Malabar, etc.)

    The Catholic Church is much bigger than Rome. If your Romophobia is severe, you might find a home in the Catholic Church outside of Rome.

    Ken Hendrickson

  247. steve hays said,

    June 22, 2008 at 5:02 pm

    Ken,

    You’re prevaricating. As long as you’re in submission to the Pope, these ethnic/nationalistic distinctions are irrelevant.

  248. Ken Hendrickson said,

    June 22, 2008 at 6:02 pm

    — steve hays said:
    > You’re prevaricating. As long as you’re
    > in submission to the Pope, these
    > ethnic/nationalistic distinctions are
    > irrelevant.

    No, I’m not being misleading or prevaricating.

    I *am* in submission to the pope. He is the universal bishop over the entire Christian Church. I have never denied this. (I did deny it 20 years ago, but I was young and naive, and I didn’t know any better.)

    And as far as ethnic or national distinctions go, I am Irish and Scottish. I am a convert to Catholicism. When I converted, I *chose* the Byzantine Rite. I chose it primarily because most of the Church Fathers who taught me the faith were eastern, especially Cyril of Jerusalem. I chose it secondarily because of the incredibly beautiful Divine Liturgy. I chose it also, because I could not stomach the horrible English translation of the Novus Ordo Liturgy in the Roman Rite.

    That is why I say, if you have a severe case of Romophobia, you can find a home outside of the Roman Rite, but inside the Catholic Church. I did. As a matter of fact, it took me at least a decade to work through all of the issues I had with Mary, the pope, etc. When I first joined the Church, I knew it was the only place to be, but I had still not come to terms with all that Protestants object to. There is hope, and redemption, for all of us.

    The Catholic Church is much bigger than Rome. Come and see!

    Ken Hendrickson

  249. ReformedSinner (DC) said,

    June 22, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    Dear Ken,

    I have an idea but I wish to hear your take. So help me understand how has the Bishop of Rome that is just one of many and then become “First Bishop amongst Equals” and then become “Universal Bishop” ala the Pope. Help me understand the legitimacy of this from your view.

  250. Ken Hendrickson said,

    June 22, 2008 at 6:46 pm

    — ReformedSinner (DC) said:
    > … and then become “Universal Bishop”
    > ala the Pope. Help me understand the
    > legitimacy of this from your view.

    I am no expert on this subject. However, I find that in the writings of the early eastern Church Fathers, there are far more emphatic statements about being in communion with the bishop of Rome, than even in the writings of the early western Church Fathers.

    Furthermore, the passages in Matt 16 (and also Matt 18) seem quite decisive to me. It was *only* Peter who was given the Keys. And this passage directly hearkens to the passage in Isaiah 22, concerning the steward of the King’s palace, Eliakim. The parallels between opening and shutting, and binding and loosing, are remarkable.

    In your earlier post, you also alluded to an apparent progression. I say apparent, because I do not find that the early Church Fathers — especially the early eastern Church Fathers — regarded the bishop of Rome as “just another bishop”. Rather, the early eastern Church Fathers regarded communion with the bishop of Rome to be the sine qua non of being in the Christian Church!

    Nonetheless, you may find explanation for the progression you think exists, if indeed it does exist, in the writings of John Henry Newman: most specifically “The Development of Christian Doctrine”. I have not yet read this book, but it is on my list of books to read, along with Newman’s “Apologia Pro Vita Sua”.

    Ken Hendrickson

    PS Some quotes, mostly western, here:
    http://www.Catholic.com/library/Authority_of_the_Pope_Part_1.asp
    http://www.Catholic.com/library/Authority_of_the_Pope_Part_2.asp
    http://www.Catholic.com/library/Peter_Primacy.asp

    PPS I haven’t found a good collection of quotes from the eastern Church Fathers. They are scattered in the many books I have read from them.

  251. steve hays said,

    June 23, 2008 at 7:55 am

    Ken Hendrickson said,

    “The passages in Matt 16 (and also Matt 1 seem quite decisive to me. It was *only* Peter who was given the Keys. And this passage directly hearkens to the passage in Isaiah 22, concerning the steward of the King’s palace, Eliakim. The parallels between opening and shutting, and binding and loosing, are remarkable.”

    A direct appeal to Mt 16:18 greatly obscures the number of steps that have to be interpolated in order to get us from Peter to the papacy. Let’s jot down just a few of these intervening steps:
    a) The promise of Mt 16:18 has reference to “Peter.”
    b) The promise of Mt 16:18 has “exclusive” reference to Peter.
    c) The promise of Mt 16:18 has reference to a Petrine “office.”
    d) This office is “perpetual”
    e) Peter resided in “Rome”
    f) Peter was the “bishop” of Rome
    g) Peter was the “first” bishop of Rome
    h) There was only “one” bishop at a time
    i) Peter was not a bishop “anywhere else.”
    j) Peter “ordained” a successor
    k) This ceremony “transferred” his official prerogatives to a successor.
    l) The succession has remained “unbroken” up to the present day.

    Lets go back and review each of these twelve separate steps:

    (a) V18 may not even refer to Peter. “We can see that ‘Petros’ is not the “petra’ on which Jesus will build his church…In accord with 7:24, which Matthew quotes here, the ‘petra’ consists of Jesus’ teaching, i.e., the law of Christ. ‘This rock’ no longer poses the problem that ‘this’ is ill suits an address to Peter in which he is the rock. For that meaning the text would have read more naturally ‘on you.’ Instead, the demonstrative echoes 7:24; i.e., ‘this rock’ echoes ‘these my words.’ Only Matthew put the demonstrative with Jesus words, which the rock stood for in the following parable (7:24-27). His reusing it in 16:18 points away from Peter to those same words as the foundation of the church…Matthew’s Jesus will build only on the firm bedrock of his law (cf. 5:19-20; 28:19), not on the loose stone Peter. Also, we no longer need to explain away the association of the church’s foundation with Christ rather than Peter in Mt 21:42,” R. Gundry, Matthew (Eerdmans 1994), 334.
    (b) Is falsified by the power-sharing arrangement in Mt 18:17-18 & Jn 20:23.
    (c) The conception of a Petrine office is borrowed from Roman bureaucratic categories (officium) and read back into this verse. The original promise is indexed to the person of Peter. There is no textual assertion or implication whatsoever to the effect that the promise is separable from the person of Peter.
    (d) In 16:18, perpetuity is attributed to the Church, and not to a church office.
    (e) There is some evidence that Peter paid a visit to Rome (cf. 1 Pet 5:13). There is some evidence that Peter also paid a visit to Corinth (cf. 1 Cor 1:12; 9:5).
    (f) This commits a category mistake. An Apostle is not a bishop. Apostleship is a vocation, not an office, analogous to the prophetic calling. Or, if you prefer, it’s an extraordinary rather than ordinary office.
    (g) The original Church of Rome was probably organized by Messianic Jews like Priscilla and Aquilla (cf. Acts 18:2; Rom 16:3). It wasn’t founded by Peter. Rather, it consisted of a number of house-churches (e.g. Rom 16; Hebrews) of Jewish or Gentile membership—or mixed company.
    (h) NT polity was plural rather than monarchal. The Catholic claim is predicated on a strategic shift from a plurality of bishops (pastors/elders) presiding over a single (local) church—which was the NT model—to a single bishop presiding over a plurality of churches. And even after you go from (i) oligarchic to (ii) monarchal prelacy, you must then continue from monarchal prelacy to (iii) Roman primacy, from Roman primacy to (iv) papal primacy, and from papal primacy to (v) papal infallibility. So step (h) really breaks down into separate steps—none of which enjoys the slightest exegetical support.
    (j) Peter also presided over the Diocese of Pontus-Bithynia (1 Pet 1:1). And according to tradition, Antioch was also a Petrine See (Apostolic Constitutions 7:46.).
    (j)-(k) This suffers from at least three objections:
    i) These assumptions are devoid of exegetical support. There is no internal warrant for the proposition that Peter ordained any successors.
    ii) Even if he had, there is no exegetical evidence that the imposition of hands is identical with Holy Orders.
    iii) Even if we went along with that identification, Popes are elected to papal office, they are not ordained to papal office. There is no separate or special sacrament of papal orders as over against priestly orders. If Peter ordained a candidate, that would just make him a pastor (or priest, if you prefer), not a Pope.
    (l) This cannot be verified. What is more, events like the Great Schism falsify it in practice, if not in principle.

    These are not petty objections. In order to get from Peter to the modern papacy you have to establish every exegetical and historical link in the chain. To my knowledge, I haven’t said anything here that a contemporary Catholic scholar or theologian would necessarily deny. They would simply fallback on a Newmanesque principle of dogmatic development to justify their position. But other issues aside, this admits that there is no straight-line deduction from Mt 16:18 to the papacy. What we have is, at best, a chain of possible inferences. It only takes one broken link anywhere up or down the line to destroy the argument. Moreover, only the very first link has any apparent hook in Mt 16:18. Except for (v), all the rest depend on tradition and dogma. Their traditional support is thin and equivocal while the dogmatic appeal is self-serving.

    The prerogatives ascribed to Peter in 16:19 (“binding and loosing”) are likewise conferred on the Apostles generally in 18:18. The image of the “keys” (v19a) is used for Peter only, but this is a figure of speech—while the power signified by the keys was already unpacked by the “binding and loosing” language, so that no distinctively Petrine prerogative remains in the original promise. In other words, the “keys” do not refer to a separate prerogative that is distinctive to Peter. That confuses the metaphor with its literal referent.

    Regarding Isa 22:22—as E.J. Young has noted,
    “This office is not made hereditary. God promises the key to Eliakim but not to his descendants. The office continues, but soon loses its exalted character. It was Eliakim the son of Hilkiah who was exalted, and not the office itself. Eliakim had all the power of a “Rabshakeh,” [the chief of drinking], and in him the Assyrian might recognize a man who could act for the theocracy…Whether Eliakim actually was guilty of nepotism or not, we are expressly told that at the time (“in that day”) when they hang all the glory of his father’s house upon him he will be removed. Apparently the usefulness of the office itself will have been exhausted…The usefulness of Eliakim’s exalted position was at an end: were it to continue as it was under Eliakim it would not be for the welfare of the kingdom; its end therefore must come,” the Book of Isaiah (Eerdmans 1982), 116-18.

    More generally, every argument for Petrine primacy is an argument against papal primacy since the more that Catholicism plays up the unique authority of Peter, as over against the Apostolic college, the less his prerogatives are transferable to a line of successors. There’s a basic tension between the exclusivity of his office vis-à-vis the Apostolate and the inclusivity of his office vis-à-vis the Episcopate.

  252. ReformedSinner (DC) said,

    June 23, 2008 at 1:32 pm

    #250 Ken,

    Sorry I forgot the name of the Bishop of Rome off the top of my head (and I’m not in my library now.) But I’m pretty sure early on one Bishop of Rome got so offended with the title “Universal Bishop” given to him by others that he declared himself not to be “Universal Bishop” but simply as “First amongst Equals”, those are his words not mine.

  253. Ron Henzel said,

    June 23, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    RS(DC),

    It was Gregory the Great. Schaff and Wace have a helpful summary of the controversy their prolegomena to Gregory’s “Book of Pastoral Rule and Selected Epistles,” in the second of half of NPNF 2nd Series, Volume 12, xxiiff. You can read Gregory’s renunciation of the title in his Epistle XX on page 170.

  254. June 23, 2008 at 4:55 pm

    Ken,

    Just a side note: If you do read Newman’s “Development,” be sure that you not neglect to also read some historical writings of Newman’s contemporary, Philip Schaff, who utilized the theory of historical development in the defense of Protestantism, and did so (in his “Principle of Protestantism”) a year prior to the appearance of Newman’s infamous “Essay.” Schaff was also (I feel confident in adding) the superior historian.

  255. June 23, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    …the winking smiley face should just be a closing parenthesis.


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