Ask Jack Hammer

On this page you can ask the JackHammer crew questions that are unrelated to the month’s current theme. We may answer directly, or we may use the topic of your question for a future monthly topic. So, fire away.

  1. April 3, 2007 at 6:22 am | #1

    I do appriciate this section of Jackhammer, Thanks.

    How would you or how do you handle supposed ‘linguistic updates.’ The ‘we-now-know’ type of points which are heard when listening to or reading an MV advocate?

    For example: in 1 Kings 10:28 (cf. 2 Chronicles 1:16)
    KJV: “And Solomon had horses brought out of Egypt, and linen yarn: the king’s merchants recieved the linen yarn at a price.”

    MVO advocates would say: “The “linen yarn” of the KJV does not even seem to be a very good guess in the context of horse trading. We now know that Keveh was a place noted for horse-breeding.”(1)

    Hence in the NKJV the same passage says: “And Solomon had horses imported from Egypt and Keveh; the king’s merchants bought them in Keveh at the current price.”

    Here are my concerns:
    1. Languages do change. Will this fact not to some degree affect the KJV-MV issue?
    2. How would you verify a statement(s) made by the MVO proponent to see whether or not his point is valid?
    3. What if it is valid?
    4. What about/ or are there such things as valid ‘we-now-knows…’?
    5. IF there are, then what should be/what is your attitude about that?

    Footnote:
    (1) “The New King James Version, In the Great Tradition” by Dr. Aurthur L. Farstad, published by Thomas Nelson, 1989. Section 4, page 45. The books sites other examples, but basically, the idea of ‘we-now-know’ is the point of this ‘chapter.’

  2. The Straw
    April 6, 2007 at 4:13 pm | #2

    Is it possible to translate from the TR directly and have a new, accurate translation? By the way, when did the Geneva and Bishops Bible become uninspired?

  3. April 6, 2007 at 4:47 pm | #3

    Billy: 1. I think so. 2. You have to look at the original text and the translation. 3. I look for what God promised, and if it doesn’t fit with that, then I reject what they say, even if I can’t give them the historical answer they want to hear. 4. Interpretationally, but not canonically. 5. n/a

    The Sraw: If someone were to translate directly from any Greek text, including Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, when finished, he would have a new translation. God inspired every Word and all of them (2 Tim. 3:16, 17), so where the Geneva and the Bishops translate the Words that God inspired, they too are inspired. A very high percentage of the Words of these two English translations are inspired.

  4. joab30
    April 18, 2007 at 4:07 am | #4

    i just wanted to ask, is it ok to use Rev 3:20 as a verse in illustrating that “Jesus is knocking at the door of our hearts to let him in?” Our pastor and most of our elders use this as an illustration when soul-winning. I on the other think it’s not appropriate. Please shed some light on this one. Thanks.

  5. April 19, 2007 at 8:08 pm | #5

    Will there be a reunuion next week of all the hammer heads? If so, you get together and take some pictures to post

  6. April 19, 2007 at 8:58 pm | #6

    No, Pastor B. is preaching out on the right coast and won’t be able to make it.

  7. April 19, 2007 at 9:35 pm | #7

    We like to get together to hammer each other, but not this year. My son, the rubber mallet, will be there.

  8. April 19, 2007 at 10:39 pm | #8

    Playing his trombone I suppose.

    My dh has a song about trombone players.

    Goes something like

    Bonehead bonehead silly little bonehead.

    This is a lil ditty he picked up at Purdue in the Marching band

  9. April 25, 2007 at 12:27 pm | #9

    Funny Cathy. Yes, trombone and piano and preaching.

  10. May 28, 2007 at 9:55 pm | #10

    Hey fellows I was hoping to get your insight into a verse in scriputre. I am having to deal with it in realtion to a new family from the village who has been attedning the mission work.

    The verse is Matthew 18:18. I spent time with the man on Sunday afternoon discussing this verse. He has a Charismatic background, but has just recently at church made a professin of faith. For now I will just say this verse is hindering him in his walk with Christ. (Hindering becasue of Charimatic teaching he has received concerning this verse.)

    To me this verse is difficult to find the meaning. It seems every theologian has their take on it. What I told this man on Sunday, was to examine how Peter used this verse in his ministry after Jesus said this to him. I. personally, see how he did not use this verse, ie forgivng sins. But I do not know where he did use this verse and how that would apply to us today.

    Can you guys help?

  11. May 28, 2007 at 10:32 pm | #11

    I should mention that I used Peter as an example because of Matthew 16:19, where the promise is also given. In Matthew 16:19 Peter is specifically being addressed.

    Let me also give more insight into my thoughts so as to not cause needless work. Gill states an example of this principal (Matthew 16:19,18:18) would be the issue of circumcision. I can’t see his point though. What made circumcision no longer mandatory was the work of Christ, not something the apostles did. It was not that the apostles “loosed” circumcision. I understand that in Acts 15 the church at Jerusalem met concerning this issue, but the meeting took place as a result of false brethren who came in and began to teach heresy. Thus the need to straighten out the mess that was created by them.

  12. May 28, 2007 at 11:19 pm | #12

    Joab, I’m sorry no one answered your question, so here goes. I don’t think in its context you should use Rev. 3:20 as Jesus knocking on the heart’s door. First, only one verse in Scripture talks about Jesus in our hearts and no verse teaches inviting him into the heart. The door He is knocking on, figuratively, is the church at the door of Laodecia, where He is not welcome. Jesus is on the outside of an apostate church, looking in.

  13. May 29, 2007 at 9:55 am | #13

    Bro. McGovern,

    I answer Mt. 18:18 by saying that the church is heaven’s business on earth. The Holy Spirit works through the church with Christ as Head to judge men regarding their salvation. Men creep in unawares (Jude 1:2-4) and the church looses them—they love the world, they say they have faith but have not works, they say they abide in Christ but they walk in darkness and know not the truth. When the church moves, heaven moves—the church isn’t doing an earthly work but a heavenly work, God’s work. Are some churches going to make mistakes and loose actual saved people? Maybe. I would assume an actual saved person would repent when something is brought before the church. When he doesn’t, he manifests a degree of disrespect for Christ that he shouldn’t be considered to be saved. Is he? We can only do what God told us to do. I’ll then leave it to the Lord, but I think it certainly should make people more serious about the church, which I find isn’t the case at this point in time.

  14. May 29, 2007 at 6:34 pm | #14

    If I understand you correctly, you believe the Matthew 18:18, and 16:19, teach the local church is to remove members she deems unsaved due to actions of the individual, and the authority for this action is based on those two verses.

    Now, I agree the local church is t remove any members who are found out to be false brethren. However due to the word “whatsover” being used in the verses and not “whosever” I am not sure I can see your logic in your conclusion. Why do you believe both verses use “whatsoever?”

    Any chance this verse is purely apostolic in nature?

  15. May 29, 2007 at 8:55 pm | #15

    The terminology in Matthew 16 and 18 can be things or people—it is a correlative pronoun that is understood as “as many as” or “as great as.” I think the interpretation is the same either way. If it is “what,” then it is unrepentant sin or repented sin. If it is “who,” then it is unrepentant people or repentant people. Either way, heaven is involved. Since it says whatsoever, I believe that saying it is sins would be better.

    If you are a sinning person in a church and somebody goes to you and you don’t repent, and two or three go to you and you don’t repent, and the whole church is pursuing you and you don’t repent, we can say that your sins are bound on you, because we have gone through the process to determine that based upon the revelation of the Word of God. When we say that, we are simply saying what the Father has already determined in heaven. The church, therefore, is merely acting on the behalf of the will of God–the Father in heaven is acting with us.

  16. Bobby Mitchell
    June 23, 2007 at 2:33 pm | #16

    You guys should do an article on all of the IFB, separated, KJV-only, modest-dressing women that are preaching on the internet via their blogs.

    Are women to be teaching and preaching doctrine via the internet or any other mode? They are, so the question would be worth considering.

  17. Lisa
    September 2, 2007 at 9:37 am | #17

    What are your thoughts of a mother hosting a baby shower for her daughter(22) who has just her 2nd illiget baby? (Mom had a shower for the 1st baby a yr in a half ago). The young mom of the baby started to come to church service regulary at 7 months pregnant and the boyfriend left the apartment.

    Should the ladies othe church come to the shower? What’s right?

  18. September 3, 2007 at 12:41 am | #18

    If she is repentant, I don’t think it is a problem to go the shower. Has she received Christ?

  19. September 20, 2007 at 9:20 am | #19

    Good Morning, I couldn’t help but see the post about the mother hosting the Baby Shower. I too was in a similar situation…you see, our pastor had 5 children. The first to marry was a daughter…and she married pregnant…but they never told anyone…until the baby was born. Then, their second to the youngest was a son…who was sexually active with a girl in my SS class…although she never got pregnant, they remained sexually active. The youngest was a daughter, who also got pregnant…but didn’t marry…and never repented…but the church threw her a shower. My husband and I couldn’t abide with the non-challont attitude of the pastor and the church…and we sought the Lord’s wisdom and coucil as to where He would have us to go. These situations are difficult to know what to do…however, this being her second pregnancy out of wedlock…did she repent? Had she learned her lesson? Only the Lord knows the heart.

  20. Susan Raber
    October 1, 2007 at 11:45 am | #20

    #16 Bobby Mitchell- “You guys should do an article on all of the IFB, separated, KJV-only, modest-dressing women that are preaching on the internet via their blogs.

    Are women to be teaching and preaching doctrine via the internet or any other mode? They are, so the question would be worth considering.”

    I just found this website, and would be very interested to hear this topic answered. Is it truly inappropriate if a woman posts a blog or participates in a forum? Would the same rules apply to a woman writing a book-IOW, if older women are to teach younger women, are we confined to one-on-one personal interaction, or would writing books and posting blogs be considered acceptable modes of women-ministering-to-women as well?

  21. October 1, 2007 at 11:57 am | #21

    Dear Jackhammer Crew,

    Not trying to be a wise guy here, but I just read your ‘about us’ page. Since I don’t know you all, I don’t know if you’re kidding or not that people other than pastors should not refer to you by your first names. Please tell me you’re kidding! If you’re not kidding, please stop by and read my post at http://allthingsnerak.blogspot.com/2007/08/man-of-god-called-to-preach.html

    This blog seems really good and I tend to like the content…..so I’m assuming the call me pastor so-and-so is just a joke.

  22. Mike Hontz
    October 16, 2007 at 9:00 am | #22

    Okay, here’s a non-theological question. How can I format the quotes on my post to appear indented with the large quotation mark as some are able to do to distinguish what I am saying from what others said that I am responding to?

    Thanks.

  23. October 16, 2007 at 11:51 am | #23

    Mike, to format quotes into your comments, you should put
    this < blockquote > before the text and
    this < /blockquote > after the text. You will need to take the spaces out for it to work. I had to put the spaces in for you to be able to see it.

  24. October 16, 2007 at 4:21 pm | #24

    Nerak,

    I’m Kent, and we don’t mind our first names. I think that Jeff (when he wrote that) didn’t want the people of the church to become informal with church authority, so he encouraged the people in the churches to address their own pastor with respect. It’s a good thing. I’m for that too. When people in my church have called me “Kent,” which is fine with me, it’s my name, I still think it is better for them to show respect to the office, whether I ever existed. This also respects God because He is the One Who gives pastoral authority.

    By the way, this was the way it once was in our country. We respected authority more at one time and recognized it. We expected children to answer with respect to adults and adults modeled that by showing respect to authority. Are you one of those parents whose children call them by their first name?

  25. Gary Johnson
    October 16, 2007 at 9:05 pm | #25

    Suggestion, asking, hoping for a month on church discipline.
    Yes, I follow it, but always interested in any other wisdom on the subject. And if I missed it down the way somewhere, just direct me to the area where you have addressed it.

  26. October 17, 2007 at 11:51 am | #26

    Church discipline would be a great topic – especially if it touches on what a church should do when someone comes to join but that person is under church discipline at another church, and what to do in situations where a person does a “you can’t put me under church discipline because I quit.”

  27. October 17, 2007 at 12:00 pm | #27

    Gary and Gordy,

    I like the church discipline topic, but one of my fellow hammers would need to agree to hit on it as well. Good suggestion.

    KB

  28. Gary Johnson
    October 17, 2007 at 7:37 pm | #28

    If the fellow hammer doesn’t like it, discipline him out. Lets take a stand for blog discipline. In fact, we could start a new fellowship over the matter. Then we could put out a monthly newsletter, elect officers, and put missions money into it. I nominate Bro. Brandenburg for fellowship president, only if he will accept it behind his KFC pulpit.

  29. October 17, 2007 at 8:17 pm | #29

    Kentucky Fried Chicken has pulpits! No wonder they say Baptist preachers and fried chicken go together!!

    If you don’t like fried chicken, we disfellowship, disenfranchise, and maybe even discombobulate you.

  30. October 17, 2007 at 11:00 pm | #30

    Laughing. :-D I was going to use the LOL, lots of laughs, but it strikes me as somewhat effeminate. It isn’t a separating issue though.

  31. Dave Mallinak
    October 18, 2007 at 2:44 pm | #31

    I’m separating the laughs from the lots. But that’s just me…

  32. October 23, 2007 at 8:07 am | #32

    Au contraire, Kent. I’m actually one of those parents whose ADULT children still refer to people older than them by Mr. & Mrs., etc.

    I do wish you would read the post I linked to the first time around, simply because it explains in detail how I feel about the ‘pastor’ thing. I guess where we run into a difference is that I don’t believe ‘pastor’ is an office but rather one of many giftings God has given to his people, such as ‘encourager’, ‘giver’, etc. We are all to do all those things but some, I believe, are particularly gifted by God to do these works for the edification of the body. By the way, my Dad is a retired pastor, my in-laws are retired missionaries, and both my husband and I have been walking with the Lord for about 40 years. (yeah—I’m THAT old). For years I struggled with what my spiritual gift was and once I started thinking outside of what we call “church” I discovered what it was. I believe my gifting is that of a pastor/teacher. Now before you get all panicked that I’m ready to sit down and have authority over men….that’s not what I’m talking about. I spend time discipling and teaching those women that God brings into my life. It’s generally not on a formal basis.

    I guess we just see the pastoral role differently in the Word.

    I’m rambling here. Sorry.

  33. Bobby
    October 23, 2007 at 8:52 am | #33

    I’m wondering if there could be a little better format. I like reading the different discussions, but if I don’t get to check in for a few days I don’t know where the new comments are. Only five of those show up on the left-hand side. I don’t have time to go back and check the comments of every post and there are some I’d like to keep track of. Is there any way that you could set this up a little differently? I hate to say it, and please don’t nuke me, but something like the SI set-up would be a lot easier to follow. *ducking*

    Thanks for considering

  34. October 23, 2007 at 12:01 pm | #34

    Bobby!!!

    You should be checking in hourly, at the least.

    No really, I think it’s a good idea. Working it out may take some time, but I will be looking into it.

  35. October 23, 2007 at 6:16 pm | #35

    I just found an easy way to follow up on the comments and posts. On the front page is the feed for the comments. Click on that, and see if you are able to add that to your RSS feeds on your Internet Explorer. I am not sure what version of Windows I have (it is the one where I can have tabs for each page, instead of opening in a separate window). On the same line as the tabs, is a button for Feeds. When you have a page or a blog you like, you can click on the Feeds and add it. Then every time you are one, view your Favourites Center (for me, it is on the left of all my tabs – the Feed button is on the right). You should now have the comments listed there. You can click to refresh them (sometimes it takes a minute) – this is even way better than continually visiting to see if anything has been added – and read what is added since your last visit. Then when you are finished, you can right-click on that Feed in your list, and Mark as read. This will bring the feed back to zero items. The next time it shows items, you know there are more comments to read.

    Hope that makes sense – I only learned this by accident yesterday or the day before, but it is working great.

  36. Michael Marshall
    November 1, 2007 at 4:56 am | #36

    Dearest Diving Doctors of Divinity….. Ok, too sappy.

    I have a question on Matthew 3:16, not a rethorical one, a real one. What is the significance of the Spirit descending upon the Lord. He’s God in the flesh, so He is the spirit. Or at least He has the Spirit. Is this the anointing of His earthyl ministry??

    I have had a “B” next to this verse for a long time and would really like to erase it, so if anyone has some insight on this I would appreciate it if you would share.

  37. Michael Marshall
    November 9, 2007 at 8:44 am | #37

    Jahc Hyles Testimony – it is strikingly absent. I have searched the internet, found his Bio, and so on, know that he started preaching at age 19, yada yada yada. BUT no testimony, nothing about where he was baptized either. If anyone know where to get this please let me know.

  38. Mike Hontz
    December 5, 2007 at 11:22 am | #38

    Michael Marshall,

    I will attempt to answer your question on # 36 about the Spirit descending on Jesus at his baptism. This is only my opinion, and maybe that of others too. So this certainly isn’t the authoritative answer, but it is how I have wrestled with that question.

    It seems to me that even though Jesus was God as a member of the trinity, he doesn’t seem to possess all of the outward traits of deity during his incarnation on earth. If he did possess them, it seems as though he didn’t choose to tap into them much of the time in order to identify himself as a man. For example, even though there are times when Jesus seems to have possessed divine knowledge that a normal man wouldn’t have had such as when he saw Nathaniel sitting under the tree when he wasn’t there to see it (Jn. 1:47-51). Yet at other times Jesus doesn’t seem to possess all knowledge such as when he said that he didn’t know the day nor the hour of the end, but that only His Heavenly Father knew these things (Mt. 24:36, 13:32). Furthermore, the NT tells us that Jesus had to grow in wisdom (Lk. 2:52). It is my belief then that Jesus did not do miracles in his own divine power which he either left behind in heaven or which he chose not to access while on earth, and that any miracle that He did was done by the power of the Holy Spirit resting upon Him and not in His own power. This might be why the Devil waited until after this event in his life to put him to the test to use his newly gotten power for selfish purposes such as turning a rock into bread. This is certainly how men in the OT and in the NT were equipped with the ability to perform miracles. It was through the power of the Holy Spirit.

    I think that there is at least one more related reason why Jesus was shown as having the Spirit come upon Him at His baptism. Most scholars refer to this event as His commission into ministry, or at least the beginning event that started His official earthly ministry. Throughout the OT, men of God who were commissioned for ministry of various types were said to have the Holy Spirit resting upon them. And so it was said of the judge Sampson that “the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him” at times when he doing a supernatural thing (Jud. 13:25, 14:6, 14:19, 15:14). Similarly, soon after Saul was anointed king, and began to prophesy, it is said that the Spirit of the Lord came upon him (1 Sam. 10:6 & 10). In general, it seems that people understood that all men in the OT who were commissioned by God to carry out particular offices of leadership were anointed with oil which represented the anointing of the Holy Spirit on them to equip them for their service. I believe that this is why King David prayed, “Take not Thy Holy Spirit from me” after his adultery with Bathsheba (Psalm 51:11). I don’t think that David was worried about losing his salvation as some understand this, but rather he was concerned that God would remove him from being king which would result in him losing his anointing of the Holy Spirit. And so I believe that Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit at His baptism to show to all of the people that He was in fact God’s “prophet” and even God’s “King”. By the way, you might already know this, but the Hebrew Word for ‘Messiah’ means ‘anointed one’. David is referred to as ‘God’s messiah’ because of his kingly anointing. Likewise, as the ultimate ‘Messiah’ or ‘Christ’, Jesus was the ‘Anointed One’, not merely of oil, but of the Holy Spirit.

    • Clayton
      June 26, 2010 at 2:34 pm | #39

      I know this is an old post, but I have just been studying this in Luke. Everything Mike Hontz said is right on. I would like to just reference the fact that Luke’s account goes right into the geneology of Jesus through the line of Mary, which was the uncorrupted line back to King David. The baptism/anointing of Jesus by the prophet John the Baptist was His kingly appointment! He was fulfilling the covenant promise to David. And just like David who did not ascend to the throne immediately even though the Spirit of the Lord was upon him, he did go out and do battle and gain victory over those who would oppress God’s people. Jesus will one day physically sit on the throne and reign over Israel with his 12 apostles by his side ruling over the twelve tribes. Luke’s account sheds more light on what was going on at the baptism of Jesus. Praise the Lord!

  39. Mike Hontz
    December 5, 2007 at 11:38 am | #40

    Jachhammer Crew,

    I am wondering if you have ever dealt with the fact that many of the NT authors seem to have quoted primarily from the Septuagint (LXX) when they quoted from the OT rather than from the Hebrew Masoretic Text (MT). There are numerous examples in the NT where the author quotes from the OT in a way that doesn’t seem to align with our OT since ours is translated from the MT and not the LXX. Among those places where the NT quotation of the OT doesn’t match the OT that most of us use are: Matthew 8:17, 13:15, 21:16; Luke 4:19; Acts 2:28, 7:43, 8:33, 13:35, 15:17, 28:27; Rom. 2:24, 3:14, 9:28, 10:11, 11:27, 15:12, 15:21; 2 Cor. 4:13; Eph. 4:26; Heb. 1:6, 10:7, 10:38, 12:5-6; 1 Pet. 1:25, 2:24-25, 4:18. As you can see, this is no small list of places where the NT authors quoted from the LXX which is clear because of the way the verse differs from the quotation in the Hebrew Massoretic text. This list reveals that Matthew, Luke, Paul, Peter and the author of Hebrews all used and quoted from the LXX and not the text behind the KJV’s OT (or the newer translations for that reason).

    This seems to me to be a very strong argument against the KJV-only position since it shows one of two things. Either the NT authors believed that the LXX was more accurate than the MT, and hence chose to use and quote from the LXX. Or the NT authors believed both the LXX and the MT to be accurate even though they differed at various places as to their exact renderings. Either way, this seems to me to be a very strong evidence against the view that would see ONLY the MT as being an accurate and preserved and authoritative text. In fact, many scholars today believe that the LXX is a more accurate representation of the originals than is the MT for this very reason. I am not raising this question to argue that point (whether the LXX is more accurate than the MT), but only to see if there is any place on this blog where you have dealt with this issue, and if not, whether this is an issue that you might attempt to tackle in a future article, particularly as it deals with your position that the MT is the ‘preserved’ text of the OT.

    Thanks,

    Mike

  40. Bobby
    December 5, 2007 at 12:11 pm | #41

    Now, I ain’t no “original languages scholar” but I do know that one wouldn’t find jots and tittles in the LXX. Correct me if I’m wrong. Seems to me that the Lord and His apostles were relying on the Hebrew text, not the LXX.

  41. December 5, 2007 at 1:40 pm | #42

    Mike,

    When I get asked these kinds of questions, I’m always hopeful that people actually want the answer. I answer question after question and repeatedly, and it is a game of gotcha. I’m going to guess that you love the truth and you want it, so you aren’t asking with that kind of intent. So if I give you an answer, and it’s true, you’re going to believe it, right? And love it?

    I’m also going to guess that you would say that you have a high view of inspiration, so when the gospel accounts seem to differ you do what we call “classic harmonization.” You likely know that an attack on Scripture points out supposed conflicts with the various accounts to relegate the Bible to something only human.

    When it comes to the quotations of the Old Testament in the New Testament, you are actually creating a huge problem for your own view of inspiration. You are saying that Jesus is quoting an extremely flawed translation, especially textually, and so errors in Scripture are satisfactory to you. That holds a problem for your bibliology whatever point you think you are gleaning from your observations. You also are very selective in your quotations. In the New Testament there are about 263 direct quotations from the Old. However, many of these Old Testament quotations in the New are significantly different from the Septuagint. That alone should blow your theory apart.

    First, there are several exegetical reasons why we should believe that Jesus quoted from the Hebrew text. The jots and tittles that Bobby mentioned is one. Jot and tittles are Hebrew letters. Jesus also refers to the OT as the law and the prophets, etc., the designations speaking of the Hebrew OT, not a Greek one. Look at Luke 24:44 on this especially. James affirmed that the Torah was the text by which preaching was done on every Sabbath in every town of Judea, and elsewhere, in the synagogue (Acts 15:21). There is no question that Hebrew was a known and read language of the first century since Pilate required the title on the cross to be written in three known and read languages of the Greco-Roman world—“Hebrew and Greek and Latin” (Jn. 19:20). By the way, what I’m doing right now, that is, getting a bibliology of preservation from Scripture, is something you will not see in the critical text and eclectic groups.

    Second, seeing that God preserved His Words in the Hebrew and that the Septuagint is a corrupt text (even by the testimony of the conservative textual critics), what should be our understanding of the apparent differences between the OT text and its quotations in the New?
    1. Jesus targummed, that is, He quoted and commented as a rabbi would. Jesus knew the Hebrew and the Greek, so if He wasn’t reading in Greek, He could do the translation on a fly, imparting some commentary as well, especially His being God Himself, much of this becoming Scripture based upon His own authority. Thomas Strouse writes about the Jewish practice of targumming as seen in Luke 4:16-21:

    “1) The reader stood, received the scroll, and opened it (vv. 16-17). 2) The reader read the OT Scripture and then gave his “running” interpretation or Targum of the passage at hand (vv. 17b-19). 3) The reader rolled up the scroll, handed it back, and sat down (v. 20). 4) The reader preached his sermon or “word of exhortation” (cf. 21 ff.). This synopsis of these aforementioned biblical texts reveals foundation knowledge about the NT Christians’ practice of employing the OT Scriptures in the synagogue.”

    Several commentators affirm Christ’s employment of the Targum, including Geldenhuys who states “As far as we know, He read in Hebrew and translated into Aramaic, the common spoken language at that time…G. Dalman finds reflections of the traditional Aramaic paraphrase (Targum) in the present passage in Luke [4:18 ff.].” Norval Geldenhuys, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, The Gospel of Luke (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publ, Co., 1979), p. 167. Cf. also Robert H. Stein, The New American Commentary, Luke (Nashville, Broadman Press, 1992), p. 155; Craig A. Evans, New International Biblical Commentary, Luke (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publ., 1990), p. 73; and William Manson, The Moffatt New Testament Commentary, The Gospel of Luke (London: Hodder and Stoughton, Ltd., 1955), p. 41.
    2. There was no “the Septuagint” that we know for sure of in the first century. Even today the textual scholars don’t know exactly what “the Septuagint” is. Jerome makes mention of three different versions of the Septuagint that already existed in his day:

    “Alexandria and Egypt in their Septuagint acclaim Hesychius as their authority, the region from Constantinople to Antioch approves the copies of Lucian the martyr, the intermediate Palestinian provinces read the MSS which were promulgated by Eusebius and Pamphilius on the basis of Origen’s labors, and the whole world is divided among these three varieties of texts.”

    H. St. J. Thackeray, “Septuagint,” The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, Volume IV (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publ., 1939), pp. 2724-2725, writes:

    “The main value of the LXX is its witness to an older Hebrew text than our own. But before we can reconstruct this Hebrew text we need to have a pure Greek text before us, and this we are at present far from possessing…the original text has yet to be recovered…Not a verse is without its array of variant readings.”

    3. Why do some of the LXX translations of the Hebrew match up with the NT quotations of Jesus. If there were an LXX in the first century, rather than Jesus quoting from it, for which we have absolutely no evidence, the more likely occurrence, also giving respect to a high view of inspiration and preservation, is that Christians who did some of the translation work took the Words of Jesus and out of respect for Him used the words for translation. This is a position posited in Invitation to the Septuagint by Karen H. Jobes and Moisés Silva, a standard work on the Septuagint.

    There is a fairly brief answer. Much more could be said in support of the position that I have laid out for you. It is a view that respects Scriptural teaching on both inspiration and preservation.

  42. Mike Hontz
    December 5, 2007 at 3:30 pm | #43

    Bobby,

    I will give a couple specific examples of why it seems pretty clear that the Apostles were using the LXX and not the MT. In fact, a simple comparison of the quotes that I listed above in the KJV with their OT referent in the KJV will reveal that the way the NT author quotes it isn’t quite the way in which it is said in the OT that we use. Concerning the ‘jots and tittles’, I have said in other blog contributions that I believe that this was a figure of speech in light of the context and in light of the reality that the literal ‘jots and tittles’ have not been preserved today as there are textual variants of greater significance than mere letters and punctuation marks even in the Textus Receptus or the Byzantine manuscripts available today.

    Here are some specific examples for comparison between the NT and the OT.

    Matthew 13:14-15 says, “And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias (Isaiah), which saith, ‘By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are full of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.”

    When you look at Isaiah 6:9-10 where this quotation is taken from, the MT represented in the KJV reads, “And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.”

    The differences between Isaiah and Matthew’s quotation of it are significant. In Isaiah, the recipient of the passage is being told to make the heart of the people fat (calloused) and to shut their eyes in order to keep them from understanding and seeing the truth so as to keep them from being converted. This implies that God is trying to prevent some from hearing and being saved. However, in Matthew’s Gospel, when he quotes this, he says it in a way that puts the blame clearly on the people as though God would be more than willing to save them, but they have closed their eyes and hardened their hearts.

    How could Jesus quote from Isaiah in such a way that not only doesn’t follow the precise wording from Isaiah, but changes the very meaning? The answer comes when one looks at the LXX rendering of Isaiah 6:9-10. The LXX reads almost exactly like Matthew quotes Jesus. There seem to be two possible explanation in my mind. Either Jesus was quoting from the LXX, or He was quoting from a Hebrew text that differed significantly from the MT but agreed with the LXX. If this is the case, then He would have been quoting from the Hebrew text behind the LXX translation. Either way, Jesus’ quotation seems to say that either the MT was not the most accurate (preserved) text, or that there was not just ONE preserved text with which even Jesus Himself was comfortable using.

    One other example from the list I gave above is 1 Peter 4:18 – “And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?”

    It isn’t quite as easy to see from the context, but this is a quotation from Proverbs 11:31 which reads, “Behold, the righteous shall be recompensed in the earth: much more the wicked and the sinner.”

    Of particular interest here is the last line of the proverb. Peter’s quotation implies that the sinner and the ungodly will ‘appear’ somewhere, whereas the quotation from the KJV OT which represents the MT doesn’t include a verb meaning ‘to appear.’ So where did Peter come up with this extra verb? Did he simply paraphrase the MT and sort of add it for explanatory purposes? That would maybe be a possibility if it weren’t for the rendering in the LXX. The LXX translation includes the Greek word which means to bring to light, or to cause to appear. It seems pretty clear then that Peter was quoting from the LXX as did many of the other NT authors including Jesus.

  43. Mike Hontz
    December 5, 2007 at 3:50 pm | #44

    Kent,

    I hadn’t seen your post before I posted a response to Bobby even though you posted before I did. I am going to answer or respond to some of your comments off the cuff since I am running late and don’t have much time to think and prepare. In general, I am not proposing that the LXX is more accurate than the MT or vice versa. I know that there are certainly places where the LXX is deemed by most all scholars to be incorrect. Nor do I discount the fact that Jesus or others might have utilized the practice of the Targums in paraphrasing. However, it is not just the words of Jesus that sometimes align more with the LXX, it is the words of Peter and Paul and the author of Hebrews as well. This next statement is being made off-the-cuff, and so I might be mistaken here, but my memory seems to put a general date on the LXX of about 250 BC. I realize that it was still being amended after that date (I’m thinking that it was up to around 100 AD or so), but in general, it preceded Christ and the NT, not the other way around. Furthermore, the MT basically dates to about 1,000 AD. And so the LXX is much older than the MT. Of course this doesn’t prove that older is more accurate, but one would expect this to normally be the case. (I am digressing!)

    In general, I would simply say that even if one credits the NT authors with ‘paraphrasing’ on the spot, I don’t think that this explains the example that I gave to Bobby from Mt. 13:14-15. I don’t believe that an accurate paraphrase from the MT could justify the quotation offered by Jesus. The meanings are very different between these two. Furthermore, the very fact that the NT authors and Jesus were content to paraphrase at times would seem to imply that they weren’t concerned with preserving ‘jots and tittles’ in their translations. If they were comfortable paraphrasing the OT to make their points, then how can you be completely opposed to the philosophy of paraphrasing in translation work (one of the arguments your camp raises against the NIV or the N Liv. translation) when Jesus and His disciples did it? I am not a strong proponent of paraphrasing when doing translation work myself since it becomes too subjective. However, I don’t take the position that it is wrong in part because it does seem that Jesus and the writers of the NT did this not only when quoting Scripture as you are suggesting, but also when recording other men’s speeches or when quoting the words of Jesus.

  44. December 5, 2007 at 4:35 pm | #45

    Mike,

    You definitely misunderstood me (with capital letters) if you think that I was saying that NT authors paraphrased what Jesus said. I didn’t say anything close to that. That position, ipsissima vox, I reject wholeheartedly for the correct, ipsissima verba position. When the gospels record Jesus speaking, they are the very words of Christ, not the concepts. What I did say was that the Greek translators of the OT, who were professing Christians, put the Words of Jesus into their OT Greek translation. Your ‘the Septuagint is older than the MT’ point doesn’t change this. I mentioned there was no “the Septuagint,” that is, one standardized Septuagint, if there was one at all in the 1st century. The historical evidence, I believe, is weak and don’t believe that kind of weak evidence should be used to cast doubt on Scripture. Nevertheless, the “Septuagint” was an ongoing hand done process. Copies were made by hand. When they copied them, they inserted Christ’s Words, explaining why the Words match up between Christ’s targums and the Septuagint versus the Hebrew text. I don’t know the state of the copyists any more than I do of those who copied the NT by hand. What I do believe is that God promised to preserve the Hebrew OT and the Greek NT. I don’t believe he promised to preserve the Greek translation of the OT.

    Regarding Peter and James also quoting the OT, I didn’t deal with that because it wasn’t an issue you brought up. You brought up the Words of Christ. This is a view that harmonizes with Scriptural promises of preservation.

  45. Mike Hontz
    December 6, 2007 at 7:53 am | #46

    Kent,

    In my original post, I did bring up more than just Christ’s apparent quotations from the LXX. I listed a whole bunch of passages from the NT that appear to quote or allude to the OT from the LXX rather than the MT including passages from the Gospels which would represent Jesus’ statements as well as places from the epistles of Paul, Peter, Luke (Acts) and Hebrews.

    I also wasn’t meaning to imply that you had said that the Gospel writers ‘paraphrased’ the words of Jesus; that was something I was saying. I believe that you just said that Jesus paraphrased the OT in his on-the-spot translations, and that the LXX copyists inserted his ‘paraphrase’ in place of the rendering from the MT when copying the LXX. However, I’m not sure how one could deny that the Gospel writers at times paraphrased the words of Jesus or put them in their own words when a comparison of the Gospels shows that they rarely line up word for word when recording the words of Jesus. While it is true that they are recording his words in another language, and so a strict word-for-word would probably not be expected, this still does not explain the differences noted in the Gospel writers’ quotations from Jesus. One might even suggest in a couple of places that Jesus said nearly the same thing two different times with one Gospel writer recording one incident and another recording a separate similar incident. Hence there would be similarity in his statements but not exact precision. But this happens way too much to try to assert that the apparent mirror accounts in the Gospels almost always reflect different occasions.

    I will give just one of the many examples where this happens.

    Mt. 19:7-8 – “They (the Pharisees) say unto him, Why did Moses then COMMAND (‘eneteilato’) to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts SUFFERED (‘epetrepsen’) you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.”

    Mk. 10:3-6 – “And he (Jesus) answered and said unto them, What did Moses COMMAND (‘eneteilato’) you? And they said, Moses SUFFERED (‘epetrepsen’) to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away. And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this PRECEPT (‘entolen’). But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.”

    A casual observation of merely the English translations will reveal that the two Gospel writers do not quote Jesus in exactly the same way. The same is true in the Greek. What I find even more interesting from comparing these two passages is that Matthew has Jesus using the Greek word meaning ‘to suffer’ or ‘to allow’ when describing the exception for divorce by Moses in the Law, but using the Greek word meaning ‘to command’ when reflecting on what the Pharisees said. However, Mark switches these two words around. He records Jesus as referring to Moses’ ‘command’ two times and the Pharisees referring to it as something that Moses ‘suffered’ or ‘allowed’. Not only should this make Bible students cautious in assuming that the Gospel writers were quoting Jesus (or anyone) word-for-word, but it should also cause us to be careful in how much weight we put on the exact words used and their specific nuances. I would imagine that one could easily preach a sermon from Matthew’s account and draw attention to the fact that Jesus referred to this as an ‘allowance’ to correct the Pharisees who saw it as a ‘command’. However, a comparison with Mark sort of destroys such an emphasis as being intended by Matthew, unless one thinks that Matthew and Mark were at odds with each other even in minor points of which I do not, and I’m sure you do not either.

    There are other reasons why I don’t think that a simple explanation like you gave, that Jesus was actually using the MT but translating on the spot, can explain Jesus’ apparent quotations from the LXX. I will refer to the book that you mentioned by Jobes and Silva who reference Robert Gundry’s work on the use of the OT in Matthew. They say, “Of particular interest are cases when the Gospel writers have Jesus quoting from the Greek version even though it differs in substance from the original Hebrew. For the point the evangelist is making, the LXX form is often more suitable than a literal translation of the Hebrew” (pp. 193-94). In other words, if Jesus had used the MT and had translated it literally according to the philosophy of translation that your camp would hold to exclusively, He wouldn’t have been able to make the same point that He made by quoting from the LXX. The example from Matthew 13:14-15 that I referenced previously is one such example.

    Furthermore, while Jobes and Silva seem to list your explanation of the LXX translators accomodating their translations to fit with Jesus’ Targumic translations from the MT, they don’t seem to accept this as a way of explaining away all or even most of the examples where the NT aligns more closely with the LXX than the MT. In fact they say quite emphatically, “An additional consideration, however, brings the LXX and the NT even closer together, namely, the INDISPUTABLE FACT that the NT writers knew and used the OT in its Greek from (p. 184). And – “Although less obvious than direct quotations, allusions demonstrate how PERVASIVE has been the impact of the LXX on the authors of the NT” (p. 183). As a warning against oversimplifying the issue, they write in their conclusion, “We hope . . . that our discussion will motivate readers to pursue this rich subject on their own. More important, we hope that when they do so, they will not UNDERESTIMATE the complexities involved but rather make every effort to do justice to the character of the Greek OT and its transmission” (p. 204).

  46. Mike Hontz
    December 6, 2007 at 8:22 am | #47

    Kent,

    I was reading back over your initial response and realized that I hadn’t responded to a couple of things you brought up. You allude to the fact that many of the quotations in the NT from the OT do not align with the LXX. You say that this blows my theory apart. First of all, I really don’t have a theory; it is more of an observation, and one that I didn’t make on my own, but one that has been made by numerous scholars over the past century or more. Nor do I profess that the NT writers relied exclusively on the LXX or some other Hebrew text behind the LXX. All that I am saying is that the NT writers did use the LXX at numerous places when quoting the OT. There are certainly times where a quotation in the NT from the OT aligns better with the MT. Even though this happens much less than when they align with the LXX, I would still assume that in those cases the NT author was in fact quoting from the MT, or actually the Hebrew text behind the MT. The point that I and others would make from this evidence would be to say that the NT authors relied on more than one text or translation, and that God in his providence seems to have even witnessed to the reliability and accuracy of more than simply ONE textual family. My point is simply that it seems pretty clear that the NT authors would NOT be making the same sort of issues out of using only one textual family as the right one. And if they were, the evidence is much more in favor that they would have argued for the text behind the LXX and not the MT.

    You also refer to Jesus reference to the ‘Law and the Prophets’ as a reference exclusively to the Hebrew OT and not the LXX. How is that demonstrated. The LXX contained the ‘Law and the Prophets’ just like the Hebrew Bible did. Never does Jesus or the NT authors refer to the LXX or to the Aramaic Targums, though most believe that they would have had them and used them to some extent. The phrase “Law and the Prophets” is not a phrase that is particular to the Hebrew language only. Rather it is a general term similar to our term “Old Testament” or even “Pentateuch” or “Major Prophets”. This is not an evidence in favor of a Hebrew rather than a Greek one anymore than the reference to ‘Jots and Tittles’.

    Similarly you reference Acts 15:21 as a reference to the Torah being read every week in the synagogues. While I would agree that it was probably the Hebrew that was read in the synagogues, I don’t agree that this proves that Jesus used the Hebrew exclusively for his own private use or even for his preaching to the crowds or to the disciples or Pharisees. Certainly the reference to ‘Torah’ is not proof either that it was the Hebrew that was being used over and against the Greek. If I am to understand your arguments here, anytime that ‘Torah’ (Law) or ‘Prophets’ is mentioned, it has to be Hebrew text. What does one expect to find in the LXX or the Syriac or any other translation of the OT except for the ‘Torah’ and the ‘Prophets’? These were not exclusive to the Hebrew and I know of no evidence to suggest that such terms were reserved for the Hebrew over and against other terms for the LXX OT. I fail to see how this is a “biblical bibliology”. You are merely presupposing that such terms refer to the Hebrew OT alone, and then conclude that Jesus’ references to them mean that this is what He used. And how is comparing the actual text of the NT in every place where it quotes from the OT not a part of a BIBLICAL BIBLIOLOGY of which you accuse the other side of NEVER developing? You paint your camp as the only one that approaches this issue using the Bible and all others as merely creating their own ideas or something, which is completely untrue. A comparison of one Gospel writer with that of another is about as BIBLICAL as one can get in that he is using only the Bible in his analysis. Similarly, a comparison of Paul’s quotations from Isaiah for example with the actual text of Isaiah is very BIBLICAL. Not only does it give us BIBLICAL information regarding the text that Paul and others used, but it also reveals some things about the mindset and the hermeneutics of the NT authors as they approached the OT in general. This is a lot more biblical in my opinion that merely taking terms such as ‘Law’ and ‘Prophets’ and assuming that they refer exclusively to the Hebrew, of which the Bible never says about them.

  47. December 6, 2007 at 2:32 pm | #48

    Mike,

    I don’t mind debating and I can keep giving you continuous answers to your questions and points, but what I see is that every single point I bring, you disagree with, as if giving into one single point that I make would be some kind of concession to the position. It seems that our discussion would become fruitless if you have no intentions to hear things out here. It does seem to me that more than anything that you are ministering questions.

    You don’t actually answer any of your own, by your own admission, but you wish for me to come to the same or lower level of doubt that you are in your position. For instance, you question apparent differences between the MT and the TR in the NT quotations of the OT, and yet, you haven’t thought about the ramifications of your own theology. The best I can get from you is that somehow you believe a bibliology is being taught through that, i.e., God puts a stamp of appoval on several “textual families,” essentially any old Bible we want to use and they can all be different and that’s absolutely fine as long as their reasonably close.

    What boggles me about these types of “exegetical conclusions” is that you guys will argue till the stars fall against the meaning of the verses that teach preservation, parsing things from Dan to Beersheba, as if the plain meaning of the text wasn’t so plain, but then take something so remote as this and use it as THE basis of your view of preservation. Multiple versions preferred. Why? Because apparently, but I’m not sure, because it’s only a possibility, that Jesus may have been quoting the very corrupt Septuagint, if it actually was the Septuagint, because we don’t have enough textual evidence to prove that. Speculative theology we called it when I was in seminary.

    And then you believe the vox position, which denies inerrancy. When the passage says, Jesus said, unless we are willing to change the clear meaning of words into thick clouds of ambiguity, it means that He actually did say those words. If He didn’t say those words, then, wink, wink, “Jesus said” means something different than “said,” or the text is just lying or is in error. Then, what can we trust. Classic harmonization again will work if we are willing to suspend our disbelief and accept that Jesus could have said all the words recorded in both accounts.

    “Law and the prophets” is the divisions of Scripture of the Hebrew OT. It is referring to the Hebrew OT. The Septuagint gave us our modern divisions of the OT. The Hebrew OT was divided into three parts, but Septuagint reorganizes it and places it in an entirely different order. This is a clear reference, not as an idiom for the Bible, but to the Hebrew OT.

    I’m going to stop here and perhaps pick up later, but it seems we have a wide gulf here in what we consider to be a basis for faith and how we define evidence.

  48. Mike Hontz
    December 11, 2007 at 2:14 pm | #49

    Kent,

    You say that you answer my questions, and in general that is true. However there are a handful of questions that you haven’t answered, or that you gave an answer to but didn’t seem to me to deal with the real issue(s) that I raised. You also say that I gender questions without giving any answers. I will admit that there are some fine details that I have yet to answer precisely in my own mind. I am still in process in working through everything that I believe, and I’m sure that I will be for the rest of my life to some degree. In general though, I do know what I believe about these issues. If I were to give you my answers in the same posts that I ask the questions, you and others would probably ignore the questions because you would label me as too liberal minded or as being in the wrong camp or something. I am purposefully challenging your positions that I disagree with with the questions that, when truly answered, keep me from accepting those positions. I believe that anytime that you have taken my questions and asked them back to me, that I have answered all of them as fully and completely as I am able. This is one reason why my posts tend to be so long. It’s not like I am asking you questions that I haven’t thought through myself already.

    By the way, I hear your point about “Law and Prophets” being the division in the Hebrew Canon as opposed to the LXX. You hadn’t quite explained it fully, and so it didn’t register in my mind what you were alluding to. I’m still not convinced that “Law and Prophets” wasn’t a figure of speech to refer to the OT as the Jews knew it and the people at that time were familiar with. I think that it is also possible that Jesus might have referred to the Hebrew OT in general since it was accepted as the inspired OT or the one used in formal worship in the Temple, and yet still have used and quoted from the LXX in his every-day practice.

    You say that it is ‘speculative theology’ to assume that Jesus and the other NT authors quoted often from the LXX since their quotations line up with it against the MT much of the time. This is true. However, what you have suggested, that the LXX translators inserted the translations of Jesus into their translations, is also ‘speculative theology’. Any theology that is made without all of the facts is speculative. Both of us are speculating about how such correlations came about. You imply that my version (and most conservative contemporary scholars) is based on extremely flaky evidence as opposed to yours which is based on more solid evidence. I will admit that this is an area of study that I am less familiar with than others, though it is something that I intend to pursue more thoroughly in the future. Nevertheless, I believe that most scholars date the LXX’s origin as beginning somewhere around 250 BC and being completed somewhere around 100 AD. And while the ‘the Septuagint’ that you refer to was probably not completed before the time of Jesus, it is believed by most that there were a few families of Greek translations of the OT in use that were similar yet different in some respects. The bottom line is, the evidence seems to stand in favor of the fact that there were Greek translations of various passages of the OT in use long before Jesus came on the scene. Most conservative scholars today, along with the ones who wrote the book that you referred to, believe that Jesus was using and quoting from one or more of those Greek translations of the OT rather than the MT. The main reason that I would know of is because, as I already pointed out, if Jesus had quoted from the MT and translated on the spot, there are times when the point that He intended to make could not have been made very well from the MT. (This is one of those questions that you have not actually answered yet by dealing with the argument that I put out. I specifically referred to Jesus quotation in Matthew 13:14-15 which wouldn’t work if it was quoted out of the MT.) And so I think that you are not being completely honest when you refer to my position as being based on very shaky evidence against yours which must be based on better evidence of some sort.

    In closing, I will give an open invitation for you to ask me any question that you feel I haven’t answered myself, particularly those that I gave to you. I will also end with a list of those questions that I still don’t believe you have answered in a way that actually deals with the heart of the the issue(s) involved.

    1. In what substantial way does the textual criticism behind the KJV differ from the tc behind the newer translations? We know that the men involved had to compare various discrepancies in the texts at their disposal and make decisions (prior to the church’s ‘acceptance’ of their choices) as to which reading was more likely in line with the original. There is no evidence that God somehow intervened and gave them divine knowledge to make these decisions, nor was the church corporately in any way, shape or form involved in that decision-making process. And so there is no reason to assume that they relied on anything other than common sense and rules similar to those used by the men who worked on the newer translations.

    2. How do you defend Erasmus’ choice to include the very questionable rendering in 1 John 5:7-8 in spite of the textual evidence in the Byzantine manuscripts which argues vehemently against this? I find it interesting that you criticize my suggestion that Jesus quoted from ‘the LXX’ because you wouldn’t accept such a theory based on flaky evidence, and yet you have no problem accepting Erasmus’ and the KJV’s rendering of 1 Jn. 5:7-8 based on even shakier evidence. This is only magnified when we consider the traditional story behind this inclusion as having been based on pressure from the RC church in light of the rendering of the Latin Vulgate which differed from the Greek.

    3. How can you say that the Gospel writers were ‘quoting’ Jesus when their Gospels don’t agree word-for-word when ‘quoting’ Him in almost every instance. Furthermore, how do you handle the differences in vocabulary in Mt. 19:7-8 and Mk. 10:3-6 which I alluded to above? You say that I have not thought through the ramifications of the position on inerrancy that I am opening the door to. That might be true (although I have thought a great deal about this). However, I want to see that you have actually thought about the issue at all and have legitimately wrestled with such differences. It seems to me that your theology forces you to take a certain position on the harmony of the Gospels, and you are committed to holding to that position even if the biblical evidence doesn’t allow it. This might not be true, but this is how it appears to me in the way that you have responded.

    4. How can you hold to the theory that Jesus was merely translating from the Hebrew behind the MT tradition when there are times when His quotations differ significantly enough from the Hebrew Text so as to make it such that a literal translation of the Hebrew would not have made His point? Specifically, I would ask you to deal with the passage I reference above – Matthew 13:14-15.

    5. Finally, how do you defend a very literal reading of Mt. 5:18 that not one jot or tittle will pass from God’s Word in light of the fact that prior to Erasmus (the vast majority of the church age) there was no agreement as to any ‘preserved text’ to the degree of ‘jots and tittles’ having been preserved. Evey known Greek manuscript in existence prior to Erasmus differed with each other concerning jots and tittles. In essence then, there was no preserved text of the caliber that you are arguing for on the basis of this verse and according to your theory of preservation up until the time of Erasmus. In what way had God preserved ‘jots and tittles’ in the NT manuscripts prior to Erasmus and the Textus Receptus? Did He preserve a little in this text and a little in that text prior to Erasmus putting them together in one? If so, in what sense is this a preserved text at all? It is merely a bunch of corrupt texts that get it right some of the time.

    As I said, feel free to send me a list of questions that you feel I have yet to answer, and I will do my best to honestly respond to them.

    Thanks,

    Mike

  49. December 18, 2007 at 9:55 am | #50

    Mike,

    I keep forgetting about your questions that you asked. At some point, I’ll be answering them. I also have a guy asking similar questions over at my blog.

    KB

  50. December 22, 2007 at 9:00 pm | #51

    I’ve answered the recent questions in a post at my blog.

    http://kentbrandenburg.blogspot.com/2007/12/answers-to-questions-about-doctrine-of.html

  51. Mike Hontz
    December 27, 2007 at 10:10 am | #52

    Kent,

    (One can also read my response on Kent’s blog.)

    To begin with, I find it ironic that you say that “our position, according to MVO MEN, is intellectually bankrupt, laughable, and an embarrassment.” Only ONE MVO man said this, and yet you attribute this comment to ALL who disagree with the KJVO position. I have ever in our blog discussions belittled your position with demeaning words (nor has Enoch to my knowledge from what I have read of his interactions). The harshest thing that I can remember accusing you of is being academically dishonest at times. I have specifically said that I believe that you and many in your camp are sincere believers who love the Lord. I believe that we just have significant differences of opinion concerning what the Bible does and does not say about preservation as well as what the external evidence supports in regards to preservation. You take offense and say that it is unfair when people in our camp quote KJVO’s like Hyles and Ruckman and lump you into their camp in order to make some derogatory point about your position. I take similar offense.

    Having said this, I will first respond to your ‘answers’ to my questions, and then I will attempt to answer all of yours. This will be a LONG post in light of all of the questions that you asked and my desire to thoroughly interact with each of your answers to my questions.

    I will begin with this observation. You began by contrasting your camp with those outside of your camp by quoting Rom. 4:20-21. The obvious implication is that your side accepts the PROMISES of God’s Word despite the evidence in contrast to our camp which rejects the PROMISES of God in light of the external evidence. This is not a true accusation in light of the fact that I and others have clearly challenged your claim that the Bible actually PROMISES to preserve words, jots or tittles. You continue to make statements as though this were a given in the debate. It is certainly fair for you to make this presupposition in light of your interpretation of a handful of verses, but I believe that it is also valid for us to challenge your interpretations to those passages, in which case your criticism doesn’t apply. I have made some strong arguments from the context of the passages you cite to make the point that the Bible makes no such promises of preservation in the manner that you define it. Therefore, from my perspective, you might have FAITH that your position is right, but it is not faith in God’s Word. It is faith in your PRESUPPOSITIONS or your TRADITIONS or your ERRONEOUS (from my perspective) INTERPRETATIONS of God’s Word. It would be like me arguing with a Charismatic on the issue of divine healing. He could continue to quote a handful of verses such as Ps. 103:2-3 which says “. . . Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases,” and 1 Pet. 2:24 which says, “. . . by whose stripes ye were healed” (Also Ps. 147:3; Isa. 53:5; Mal. 4:2; Mt. 8:17; Lk. 4:18). He could continue to use these verses as PROOF that the Bible taught healing to be a byproduct of the atonement. He could wax eloquent on the meaning of ‘healed’ and claim that he accepts this by faith even though the external evidence supports the fact that people aren’t being healed any longer today as they were in the NT times. He could claim that he has faith in spite of the evidence and that I lack such faith. I (and you) would respond by telling him that we reject his interpretations of such passages, and therefore the argument has nothing to do with whether we have or lack faith; it has to do with what interpretation is more accurate in light of the surrounding context as well as by the external extra-biblical evidence.

    Concerning whether or not the external evidence should play a role in our interpretation of the Bible, I would simply say that if you and I saw people today who had godly testimonies of commitment to the Lord healing others miraculously on a regular basis in the same way that the Bible speaks about such things taking place under the ministry of Jesus and the Apostles, I can only assume that you and I would seriously reexamine our interpretations of passages such as 1 Cor. 13 where it says that “tongues will cease.” It isn’t that we would doubt that 1 Cor. 13 was true; it’s just that we would consider that maybe our interpretation of it is flawed (seeing that we are not infallible). And so despite what you seem to be implying, it IS important to consider the extrabiblical evidence along with the biblical when judging the validity of our interpretations of passages.

    (By the way, this goes to show that just because someone puts together a bunch of verses that use the word ‘healing’ or ‘diseases’ together into one place is not proof that they have actually developed a BIBLICAL theology of something. Just as my list above does not equal a BIBLICAL doctrine of healing, neither in my opinion does your list of verses that mention words associated with ‘words’ or ‘jots and tittles’ or ‘Jesus spake’ etc. A true BIBLICAL theology will wrestle with ALL of the BIBLICAL evidence including a comparison of the Gospels, the OT with the NT, etc. (Scripture with Scripture). Furthermore, the verses that are used to compile one’s SYSTEMATIC theology must first have gone through the ropes of a BIBLICAL theology. That is, the surrounding context must support the meaning of the verses being used to support a particular system of thought or theology. This is what the cults fail to do when compiling their systematic theology on various issues such as the deity of Christ. This is also something that I believe almost all of the verses you claim support your view of preservation fail the test, just as the ones I listed above fail the test for the Charismatics.)

    You said, “The words were available even as they were consolidated into a printed addition. You can’t prove otherwise, so why not go the direction of faith and not doubt, perfection and not errors.” Actually, I would argue that this statement is almost able to be disproven. If in fact the original words were available even as they were consolidated into a printed addition, then why didn’t Erasmus just go and look at the originals when consolidating the manuscripts into one? Why did he have to examine various differing manuscripts and make critical judgments? Furthermore, if something as SIGNIFICANT as the original manuscripts of Scripture existed for all of those years, don’t you think that one of the many church fathers and theologians throughout history would have referred to them in such terms? You say that I can’t PROVE that Erasmus didn’t have the originals. Of course I can’t PROVE it. But I can point to the evidence which says that he wasn’t consulting the ORIGINALS when consolidating, he was in fact CONSOLIDATING many differing texts into one with no mention of checking those manuscripts against the originals. This seems to speak strongly against the idea that the originals were in existence. Even if your theory is correct that the originals were in existence for almost 1500 years, which is very hard to believe in light of the fact that they would have been being handled on a regular basis for others to copy them and compare them with copies as you assert in your theory, the evidence that we have seems to point strongly in the direction that ERASMUS didn’t have them at his disposal. His TR text was put together from several IMPERFECT and FLAWED manuscripts, and not the originals. Why would he have done this if he had the originals?

    You also said that the difference between Erasmus’ methods of Textual Criticism were different from those of modern textual critics because of his PRESUPPOSITIONS about preservation. Different PRESUPPOSITIONS do not prove or argue for different METHODS. In reality, every textual critic has his own presuppositions. Some are more valid than others. Some of the presuppositions behind textual criticism could even be considered contradictory to each other at times requiring a very subjective decision by the one comparing the manuscripts to determine which presupposition to rely on for a particular case. For example, one principle in TC is to assume that the more difficult reading is more likely to be the original reading since it is assumed that scribes would have been more inclined to alter a text to make it more understandable rather than to make it less understandable. However, another criteria that is often used in TC is to assume that the reading that most aligns internally with the passage is to be preferred. In other words, if the passage doesn’t make sense with a particular reading, but it does with another reading, then the one that makes sense is to be preferred. For example, if I had two English readings and one said, “Yesterday I got my hair cut,” while the other said, “Yesterday I got my hare cut,” only the first reading would make sense. And so most textual critics would assume the first to be the original with the second being an accidental insertion of a word that sounds the same but is spelled differently and means something completely different. However, if one were to accept the first principle that I referenced in this instance, to prefer the more difficult reading, then it might be assumed by some textual critics that the second more difficult reading is to be preferred. The bottom line is, Textual Criticism is SUBJECTIVE. Every textual critic comes with his own set of presuppositions, and his determinations will depend in part on his presuppositions. And before one starts to say that this proves that God would never have us to depend on something so SUBJECTIVE as a means of truth, I would point out again that the same thing is true of INTERPRETATION. You have acknowledged throughout this article that you have various presuppositions that you bring to the text that affect the conclusions you reach from the text. And yet God has ordained that churches today rely in part on flawed and presuppositionally-biased men to disperse his truth by way of sermons and lessons. The point is, Erasmus had his presuppositions, this modern textual critic has his own presuppositions, and that modern textual critic has his own presuppositions. Each textual critic will come to his own SUBJECTIVE conclusions, and all are open to both right and wrong conclusions since nobody is infallible. (By the way, this is why it is wise to rely on translations and original texts whenever possible that were produced from or compiled by a group of learned men of various theological persuasions to keep them from allowing their personal biases to affect their judgment as much as possible.) You have said nothing in your explanation to show why Erasmus, a man whose theological persuasions were much more questionable than many of the textual critics today, was exempt from coming to false conclusions when comparing differing corrupt texts and making subjective decisions as to which was most likely the original. The fact that his first addition differed from his second seems to argue vehemently against the idea that he was infallible in his decisions as he changed his own mind on some of those decisions. In general, even if you could prove that Erasmus’ PRESUPPOSITIONS were significantly different from modern TC’s, and I don’t think you can, that still doesn’t prove that their METHODS were any different, which is what I have been arguing in previous posts.

    By the way, I do NOT believe that the Critical Text is the Preserved Text. I do not believe that there is one ‘Preserved Text’ in that one text today lines up flawlessly with the original. I have equated this with the fact that there is not ONE ‘preserved’ interpretation of every passage of Scripture. Yet just because we cannot be certain of the complete accuracy of every interpretation of Scripture, and therefore we have to apply intellectual reasoning to the process of biblical interpretation, so too we cannot be certain of the ‘preserved text’ today and we thus have to apply intellectual reasoning to the process of comparing and wrestling with the various manuscript evidence at our disposal. Such was the view of Erasmus, as he too wrestled with all of the available manuscripts at his disposal, even the Latin Vulgate in passages where he didn’t even have ONE Greek manuscript, and thus demonstrated that he didn’t have the originals to refer to for validation of his decisions.

    I asked you about how you defend Erasmus’ inclusion of 1 John 5:7 into his text in spite of the textual evidence against it. You quoted Gill at length and in essence made his explanation your own. In that sense then, ‘you’ were very quick to dismiss the evidence from the Syriac version which you acknowledged was the oldest and of the greatest consequence simply because it is a version (translation), and a defective one at that (as are all translations to varying degrees). But then you turned around and used a whole slew of evidence, primarily from other defective versions (translations) such as the Vulgate which, as you admitted, are of lesser consequence than the Syriac. How is this not hypocritical? If the Syriac can be quickly dismissed because it is a defective version, then why list other defective versions in support of 1 Jn. 5:7. Concerning the fact that 2 Peter, 2-3 John, Jude and Revelation were originally lacking in the Syriac, this is not a textual issue at all, it is a canonical issue. It would be like me saying that the 1611 KJV included the Apocrypha as evidence that the TR is a corrupt text. That would be unrelated to the argument. In general, while you can list a handful of Greek manuscripts that include the 1 Jn. 5:7 rendering, none of them date prior to the 14th century. To say that the VAST majority of all ancient texts that include 1 John 5, including those in the family behind the TR, omit verse seven as contained in the KJV is an understatement. It seems to me that you have begun with the premise that Erasmus got everything right, and then you have set out to dismiss all of the overwhelming evidence against it and accept the much less significant evidence in favor of it in spite of how far the scale tips against it. That is not biblical scholarship.

    I asked you how you can defend the view that the Gospel writers were quoting Jesus rather than paraphrasing his general teaching. You were very dogmatic in saying, “When the Bible declares ‘these words spake Jesus,’ who dares conclude he did not say those words, but some ‘vox’ paraphrase of them?” In other words, because the Bible says that Jesus ‘said’ or ‘spake’ something, then this PROVES that they were quoting him. When asked to wrestle with the various places in the Gosples that appear to present parallel accounts with different wordings, you said that it makes more sense to assume that EVERY one of these were different occasions where similar things were stated by Jesus. This view is not only immensely improbable, it is impossible. I will demonstrate.

    One situation where the Gospels are almost certainly describing parallel accounts is in their account of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane with his three disciples as he approached the cross. There are four statements made by Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels in the same order. I will quote them from the KJV.

    1st statement
    Mt. 26:36 – Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.
    Mk. 14:32 – Sit ye here, while I shall pray.

    2nd statement
    Mt. 26:38 – My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
    Mk. 14:34 – My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch.

    3rd statement
    Mt. 26:39 – O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
    Mk. 14:36 – Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.
    Lk. 22:42 – Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

    4th statement
    Mt. 26:41 – What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
    Mk. 14:37-38 – Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour? Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.
    Lk. 22:46 – Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.

    While all of these statements are very similar, none of them are on the level of a quotation, even when you take into account that they were POSSIBLY translating his words from one language (Aramaic) into another (Greek). If one is to accept your explanation of such differences in wording, they would begin not with the BIBLICAL EVIDENCE, but rather with the narrow PRESUPPOSITION that simply because these passages say that Jesus ‘said’ or ‘spake’ these things, that they MUST be quotes. And so according to your theory, each of these ‘quotes’ represents a different event in Jesus’ life. That would mean that Jesus must have gone to the Garden of Gethsemane on three different occasions, each time taking the same three disciples, each one occurring shortly after Passover just prior to Jesus going to the cross in light of their respective Gospel contexts and in light of what Jesus prayed, and each separate event culminating in the disciples falling asleep in spite of Jesus’ rebuke for them to remain awake. There is only one Passover each year, and Jesus only died on the cross once, and so your view is all but impossible.

    If this illustration is not sufficient to prove that your explanation that the differences in the Gospel accounts can be explained by saying that they were different events is false, how about the placard on the cross? Matthew records that the placard above Jesus’ head said, “This is Jesus the King of the Jews” (Mt. 27:37). Mark’s Gospel records the placard as only saying, “The King of the Jews” (Mk. 15:26). Luke’s Gospel records the placard as saying, “This is the King of the Jews” (Lk. 23:38). Finally, John’s Gospel records it as saying, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews” (John 19:19). None of them agree on the level of a quote. According to your explanation, since the Gospel writers each say that their particular versions is what was WRITTEN on the placard, then Jesus must have hung on four different crosses on four different occasions, each time having a similar yet differently-worded placard hung above his head. Yet the Bible clearly states that Jesus died once not to be crucified again (Rom. 6:10; Heb. 7:27, 9:28, 10:10; 1 Pet. 3:18). Your explanation of such differences then is not biblically possible. This takes us back to your explanation which listed verse after verse that you said REQUIRED a very literal understanding of the word ‘spake’ or the word ‘words’. Any time the Bible says that Jesus (or anyone) ‘SAID’ something, it has to be a direct quote according to your logic and hermeneutic. Any time it refers to the ‘WORDS’ of Jesus, it must be a reference to a ‘QUOTE’ from Jesus. Yet I have just given you a BIBLICAL example of where this CAN’T be true. And so I say that while your PRESUPPOSITIONS (logical assumptions) about what ‘spake’ and ‘words’ MUST mean might make sense to you, it doesn’t align with a consistent study of SCRIPTURE. And so even though you will continue to say that we don’t develop a BIBLICAL theology of these sorts of issues, in reality it is you who do not develop a truly BIBLICAL theology of these issues. Rather, you develop a theology based upon your PRESUPPOSITIONS and FAULTY HERMENEUTICAL ASSUMPTIONS. I will cite one more example to drive my point home. How do you explain Luke 24:45-47? It says, “Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the SCRIPTURES, And said unto them, thus it is WRITTEN, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” Here Jesus is making reference to that which He said was “WRITTEN in the OT Scriptures.” He begins in a way reminiscent of the way NT authors introduced quotations from the OT at times. Jesus here refers to it having been WRITTEN in the OT Scriptures that Jesus would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations. However, Jesus is not referring to any one particular passage from the OT. He is not even PARAPHRASING or alluding to ONE particular passage since no one passage says each of these things. In fact, some of what he mentioned doesn’t even seem to be explicitly said at all in the OT such as that he would rise again the third day. This has baffled some scholars. The answer seems to be found in understanding his statement “it is WRITTEN in the OT” to mean that the OT ‘teaches’ this when one has a complete understanding of it. Jesus is not saying that it was written word-for-word in the OT. Rather, this TEACHING was contained or written in the OT even though these precise WORDS were not. And so Jesus was SUMMARIZING the teachings of the OT, and yet he stated that it was written, even though no such ‘words’ were written.

    A simple word study on the word ‘word’ throughout the NT will reveal that it is not uncommon for ‘word’ to be used as a synonym for ‘truth’ or ‘teaching’ and can’t be meant in some contexts to refer to a literal ‘word’ or ‘words’. For example, every time the NT authors refer to the “word of God”, it is not a reference to one literal word. Rather, it is a reference to the ‘teaching’ of God as contained in all of Scripture. Similarly, the NT refers to the “word of truth” as a synonym for the Gospel (2 Cor. 6:7; Eph. 1:13; Col. 1:5; 1 Thess. 2:13; James 1:18) or even for the totality of the Scripture (2 Tim. 2:15) synonymous with the phrase “word of God.” Scholars wrestle with how exactly to classify the grammatical relationship between the words ‘word’ and ‘truth’ say in Eph. 1:13 – “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the WORD of truth, the gospel of your salvation.” Some think that ‘truth’ modifies ‘word’ attributively (attributive genitive) to convey the idea of “the true word.” Others understand ‘truth’ as modifying ‘word’ objectively (objective genitive) to convey the idea of “the word about or concerning the truth.” Still others believe that ‘word’ and ‘truth’ are meant in context to refer to one and the same thing (genitive of apposition). The idea would be “the word which is truth.” Finally, some would classify ‘truth’ in this phrase as a genitive of content which would denote that ‘truth’ is the content of the ‘word’. These are all technical classifications reserved for those wishing to exegete the very nuances of the grammatical relationships between words. The point of including this here is to show that regardless of how one classifies the relationship of these words, one is left with the clear conclusion that Paul was not referring to ONE WORD, but was rather referring in some way to a ‘message’ or ‘teaching’ with his use of the word ‘word’. For you to imply then that simply because the NT uses the word ‘word’ in a verse that it proves that the author was insisting on a very literal meaning of a ‘word’ is not based on a thorough BIBLICAL theology or a BIBLICAL hermeneutic. It is clearly legitimate for me and others on this side of the debate to argue that verses that refer to ‘word’ or ‘words’ refer not to literal ‘words’ by rather to a ‘message’ or a ‘teaching’ if the context allows it.

    I find it sort of ironic that a few paragraphs later, you basically acknowledge in your quotation from Thomas Ross that people refer to someone or the Bible as ‘SAYING’ something without intending to communicate that they are ‘QUOTING’ them all the time. Ross gave the example of the person who says, “The Bible SAYS that if you don’t get saved you will be eternally lost,” or “The Bible SAYS to obey the pastor.” Ross said, “Why can’t the gospels do this as well?” THIS IS THE POINT I HAVE BEEN MAKING!! Just because the Gospels refer to the “words” of Jesus or they say that Jesus “said” something doesn’t prove that they are “quoting” Him. It is completely legitimate to say that they are paraphrasing or even summarizing what he said or taught, only highlighting in the author’s own words those things that were necessary to make their point in context. You deny this in very strong terms listing many verses that you say PROVE this to be the BIBLICAL teaching only to quote Ross a few paragraphs later who seems to acknowledge that it is completely legitimate. That makes no sense to me. Either way, this argues very strongly that just because the Bible says that the ‘words’ of Jesus will be preserved, it is very legitimate to understand this as referring to the ‘teachings’ of Jesus or the ‘truths’ of Jesus will be preserved. Likewise, when it says that men must live by the ‘words’ of Christ (Mt. 4:4), it is equally legitimately to understand this to mean that men must live by the ‘teachings’ of Christ or the ‘truths’ of Christ. If in fact the example above from the Garden of Gethsemane represents one event, and not three different events which is so unlikely it is all but impossible, then it proves that the Gospel writers (and God) did not attempt to preserve Jesus’ exact words even within the scope of divine INSPIRATION, and therefore man doesn’t have or need Jesus’ exact WORDS by which to live, but rather we have his TEACHINGS in paraphrased form by which we must live. And you cannot continue then to say that this is me refusing to have faith in what the Bible says; it is me refusing to accept your overly literal interpretation of the Bible which stands in opposition to a careful study of the entire Bible and a reasonable and logical hermeneutic.

    I’m not sure I follow your argument trying to vindicate that Jesus was quoting from the MT rather than the LXX in Mt. 13:14-15 when you say that the Hebrew of the MT could be rendered the way that Jesus rendered it in his Greek translation. You acknowledge that the Hebrew in Isaiah is in the Imperative even though Jesus’ quotation is in the future tense. Your last line says that this is an English translation from the Greek which was a translation from the Hebrew (showing that it has gone through two languages to reach its present form), and therefore one should expect it to not match up exactly. Forget the English translation part of it. I was assuming you would be looking at the Greek behind the English translation and not the English translation since this is where the issue lies and since you are trained in the original languages. Scrivener’s Greek Text represents the verbs in the Present, Active, Indicative, 2mp (you will hear; you will see) whereas the Hebrew MT represents these verbs in the Qal, Imperative, 2mp (hear; see). Were the Hebrew to render this in a way that COULD be translated in the future tense, there are a couple of ways that it could have done this, each of which would be different in form from the imperative form that is used. You can’t have it both ways. Either Jesus COULD legitimately paraphrase the OT in his translation without intending to follow closely to the exact words with a literal word-for-word rendering, and simply communicate the approximate message of the passage. In this case it is legitimate for me to argue that it is not necessary for us to be tied to the exact words either, but rather the meaning behind those words. Or, Jesus was being careful to accurately translate a relatively literal rendering from the text he was quoting from, in which case he was quoting from something other than the MT, most likely the LXX or the Hebrew behind it as almost all conservative scholars believe who are not locked into defending the KJVO position that you espouse.

    I asked you how you defend a literal understanding of “jots and tittles” in light of the fact that none of the present manuscripts line up and there is no evidence of agreement as to one manuscript throughout history. You responded by saying that you don’t have evidence that there WASN’T agreement. How about the fact that of the current manuscripts from the Byzantine area, none agree completely? Isn’t this EVIDENCE? The existing manuscript evidence might not be PROOF of what was available to them, but it is EVIDENCE. You have to assume that the agreed-upon manuscripts (the originals) which were used for nearly 1500 years to validate all of the imperfect manuscripts were allowed to be discarded from after they had worn out without care having been given to have them perfectly copied. You also have to assume that such an important venture was excluded from the writings throughout church history in spite of the fact that such a venture or the existence of such ORIGINALS would have been more significant to the church than almost anything else throughout history that was written about. We also know that Erasmus didn’t use ‘originals’ but a handful of differing manuscripts. You then go on to say that yours is the position that God’s people have taken for years. Assuming that is true, since when did “everyone in the past believed this” count as a legitimate argument in favor of one view over the other? That’s like saying, “everyone’s doing it, so it must be right.” I could equally say that the vast majority of scholars today reject your overly literal interpretation of “jots and tittles” as evidence that my view is right. Your 2nd last sentence in this section affirms my point. You said, “They are answers based on Scriptural Presuppositions.” This is my point. You don’t interpret “jots and tittles” in a narrowly literal way because the context of the passage demands or even evidences that it should. Nor do you take this interpretation because the external evidence lines up with your position. You do so because of your presuppositions that you bring to the text. And so you explain away the context of the passage and the external evidence which argue against it in order to uphold your bias.

    Finally, I will address your questions.

    1. “How can you add or take away from something that isn’t settled? In other words, what difference does Rev. 22:18-19 make?” – The obvious answer is that the ‘settled text’ that one could intentionally add or take away from when this was written was the original. When this was written and delivered to the seven churches in Asia Minor, the message was a clear warning to them not to alter the ‘message’ of the book of Revelation in its original form. The ‘book’ in context here is not the complete canon of Scripture, but the scroll of Revelation. While this is significant in determining the original intent behind the words, I would agree with you that the principle would still apply that God wouldn’t look well on someone who intentionally added to or took away from any portion of Scripture. However, one might even ask the question, “If God had promised to preserve every word in Scripture by divine providence, as you teach, then why did he feel the need to give this warning at all?” If God had promised to preserve every word, letter and punctuation point, then nobody even COULD have added to or taken away from God’s Word. God wouldn’t have allowed them by way of providence. The fact that God issued this warning seems to argue that it WAS possible for corruptions to enter the text if men weren’t careful and that God hadn’t simply promised to preserve every jot and tittle.

    2. “How is the Bible considered perfect if there are errors in it? If the errors aren’t related to the words, then what difference does verbal inspiration make? What is the Scriptural basis for errors in the Bible?” – As most on our side of the issue argues, perfection is reserved for the original manuscripts only. God inspired the originals, not the copies or the translations. Therefore, it only follows that the originals are perfect and free from errors. “Verbal inspiration” is something that applies to the originals at the moment they were written. Do you apply the term ‘inspiration’ to the copies? I don’t think you do. Similarly then it is legitimate to reserve the term ‘perfect’ or ‘infallible’ or ‘inerrant’ to the originals as well. You ask what the Scriptural basis is for errors in Scripture. I do not believe that there are errors in the originals. TECHNICALLY speaking, the only manuscripts that FULLY deserve the title of Scripture are the originals. We still use the term ‘Scripture’ today to refer to both the copies and the translations even though neither are technically equivalent with Scripture. Even you have no problem referring to the KJV as ‘the Bible’ or as ‘Scripture’ even though you don’t argue for the absolute perfection of the translation, only the texts behind it because you believe that the KJV is an ACCURATE translation even though it is not an INSPIRED one. I refer to the CT or even the TR in the same way. Neither are exactly equivalent to the originals as far as we know, but both are ACCURATE in the truths they present. None of the questions that are raised from textual variants in any of the textual families raise doubt on any of the teachings of Scripture as you already know. And so both the TR and the CT can be referred to as ACCURATE texts, and therefore I believe that both preserve the accurate teachings of Jesus, the prophets and the Apostles.

    3. “Where does the Bible say there would be 66 books? If it doesn’t say, then how do we know there are not more or less?” – I have already answered this, or at least alluded to how I would answer this, in one of my previous blog entries on jackhammr. The short answer is, the Bible doesn’t say how many books there would be. This is why the church did not agree on this issue for the first 1500 years of church history, because it wasn’t a BIBLICAL doctrine even though you have made the claim previously that Baptists like yourself have developed an exclusively BIBLICAL theology on this issue. I do believe in ‘sola scriptura’ and I do not believe like the Catholics do that the church has the authority to create traditions that assume authority on EQUAL par with Scripture. Therefore, while I believe that the church’s ultimate decision to include the 66 books that it included was correct because of the biblical and extrabiblical reasons on which their decisions were made, I do not believe that the canon of Scripture is a ‘Scriptural doctrine’ with EQUAL authority as say the doctrine of ‘Salvation by faith’. “How do we know that there are not more or less?” Well we don’t know this on the basis of our confidence in Scripture since it doesn’t say. We do believe and accept this on the basis of the external evidence as to what constitutes Scripture and what doesn’t.

    4. “What is the pre-19th century historic basis for the doctrine of the errancy of Scripture, that is, the history of assuming that we don’t know what the words are or that there are errors in Scripture?” – As I already said, I believe in the inerrancy of Scripture. But I limit this to the original autographs, not the copies or the translations. Just as ‘inspiration’ is limited to the originals, as you would agree (I think), so too then ‘inerrancy’ should be limited to the originals. However, just because I don’t think that modern copies or compiled texts are INSPIRED to the same level as the originals, I do believe that they are generally ACCURATE. There are certainly not any passages that make a difference as to the overall teaching of the Bible’s doctrine or morality, and so it does not affect one’s ability to live a godly life with any certainty on truth.

    5. “What is the historic position on the preservation of Scripture?” – There is not just ONE historic position on this. Men throughout history have wrestled with this and other issues and have come to their own decisions on this matter and on every doctrinal issue. Certainly the discovery of older manuscripts that differ more significantly from those in the region of the old Byzantine empire have caused men in recent years to wrestle with this issue more than they did prior to that. But this is nothing new. It would be like someone in the 4th century pressing an opponent to tell them what the HISTORIC position was on the Trinity. Anyone who studies the history of doctrine and looks into this particular issue prior to that time knows that there were various attitudes and positions on this doctrine. A much more recent theological question might be what the historic position is on eschatology. For the majority of church history, there was not a precise systematizing of this. Dwight Pentecost was the first to systematize a Dispensational perspective on a Pre-Mill., Pre-Trib. rapture in his book Things to Come, which was only written in 1958. And yet some of the churches you claim to love, and I assume then that you, hold to this doctrine in spite of the fact that it was not held by most throughout church history. At a very minimum, it hadn’t been defined in the sort of detail that it has received since the publishing of the Scofield Reference Bible in 1909. Since then, and with the addition of Pentecost’s Things to Come, scholars have wrestled much more thoroughly with the biblical teaching concerning eschatology from a more Dispensational perspective. The predominant view prior to the 20th century was certainly not a Dispensational one. And so I personally could care less what the predominant view throughout history was. History is not authoritative as Scripture is, nor has history always gotten things correct as church history is filled with wrong doctrines that went centuries without being exposed for the errors that they were. I do not elevate the church to a position of authority or the church’s historic decisions as though they hold authority. This is the position of the Roman Catholic church, and surprisingly on this issue, it seems to be your position as well. I look to Scripture alone (‘sola scripture’) for my convictions.

    6. What was Paul telling Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:16, 17 that was profitable for doctrine, correction, etc.? If every word and all of them was necessary for thoroughly furnishing us to every good work, then how could we do that without all of them?” – In general, I have dealt with this already. I believe you are trying to read this too literally. I don’t think that the Bible was trying to emphasize the importance of each individual word. The word ‘words’ is a synonym in most sentences with the ‘message’ or the ‘truth’ taught by a person. I can say, “In the words of my dad . . .,” and then go on to paraphrase or summarize what he used to tell me. It isn’t necessary that I actually quote him word-for-word for the phrase “in the words of . . .” to be true. So long as the ‘message’ that I say accurately reflects what he says, the phrase is still correct. You quoted Ross who seems to acknowledge that the Gospels did this. I gave examples from the Gospels which show that the Gospel writers recorded Jesus’ ‘WORDS’ without actually using the same ‘words’ as each other. They didn’t seem to have the EXACT WORDS to the level that you are arguing for today. If then the Gospel writers didn’t have the EXACT ‘words’, why do you think that Erasmus, Scrivener or we today have them? Furthermore, to insist that a word must always carry its literal lexical meaning in order to take Scripture accurately would validate the Mormon’s insistence that Jesus was a created or ‘begotten’ being since the NT refers to him several times as one ‘begotten’ of God and as God’s ‘firstborn’ (Jn. 1:14, 18, 3:16, 18; Acts 13:33; Rom. 8:29; Col. 1:15, 18; Heb. 1:5, 5:5, 12:23; 1 Jn. 4:9). We believe that Mormons are reading into these passages a level of literalness that is unwarranted from the context and from the rest of Scripture, and that such statements should be understood as figurative to some level. Thus we uphold the eternality of God in spite of such verses. Such is my position when the NT refers to ‘words’.

    7. “When Jesus told us that man shall live by every word in Mt. 4:4, should we assume that he meant that we would not have every word?” – I have already addressed your reference to passages that use the word ‘word’ as proof for the preservation of words as opposed to teachings or truths.

    8. “When something passes away like heaven and earth will pass away, does that mean that it will disappear? If God’s words are not going to pass away or jots and tittles are not going to pass away, does that mean that we are still going to possess them?” – I have already addressed the issue of jots and tittles and words. You are forcing a level of literalness to these words that goes beyond what the context requires. I believe that we do have the ‘teachings’ and ‘truths’ of God with the same general level of accuracy today as what the Apostles had when they recorded Jesus’ ‘words’ and nothing more. His teachings and truths have still not passed away.

    9. “Was the critical text available for believers from c. ?” – I could answer this as you have answered other questions. I could say that you can’t prove that they didn’t have them available. They might have had them even though we don’t have specific evidence for that in some other form than when these older texts were discovered. I could say that yours is an argument from silence and therefore it is a moot point. I don’t need to do this though. I do not believe that the critical text is the inspired text anymore than I believe that the TR is the inspired text. I do not believe that the inspired text has been preserved down to the exact words in any form. And so this requires that men today examine ALL of the textual evidence and give preference as to exact wording to those that seem to better represent the originals (which is clearly a subjective process). If more manuscripts are discovered tomorrow, I would be in favor of consulting them along with all of the others as well. I am not in favor of discounting the Byzantine-manuscript witness, I am simply in favor of including the others along with the Byzantine. And if the evidence seems to point that the others are closer to the original, then those are the ones that should be sided with.

    10. “Does Scripture teach anywhere that man was responsible for restoring a lost text?” – No. It also doesn’t say (in my and most scholars’ opinions) that God would preserve the very words or that TC would NOT be part of the process of guarding and preserving the text’s accuracy. Is there any place in the Bible where it says that someone like Erasmus would have to “restore a lost text?” You say it wasn’t lost, but why then did Erasmus have to make subjective decisions, some of which he changed his mind on when he made his 2nd edition, in order to present us with the ‘perfectly preserved text’? Your view has the exact same problem that you accuse mine of having – your preferred text is the result of a person who had to restore it by a process of textual criticism.

    11. “Can you show me physical, tangible evidence that the Ben Chayyim Hebrew Masoretic and the Scrivener TR are not the same words as the original manuscripts?” – Concerning the MT, I have already shown you the quotations of Christ from the OT in the Gospels that do not align with the MT. I can also show you examples from the Dead Sea scrolls of Hebrew OT texts which are over 1,000 years older than the MT that do not align with the MT. Thirdly, I can point you to the LXX translations, which are somewhere in the ballpark of 900-1,300 years older than the MT, and which the majority of conservative scholars believe Jesus and the Apostles were quoting from much of the time, that differ significantly at places from the MT. Finally, I can point to various Masoretic texts that differ with each other. The Ben Chayyim MT is itself the product of TC whereby various texts that differed with each other were compared, and subjective decisions were made as to which were most likely the original. I could make the same sort of observations about Scrivener’s TR. These all point strongly in the direction that God did not providentially preserve the very words of the OT or the NT to the level that you argue for. Just because you begin with your presuppositions about the MT and interpret all of this evidence to fit your view doesn’t eliminate the validity of the evidence. Can I PROVE beyond all doubt that the Hebrew texts from 1,000+ years prior to the MT are more accurate or that the LXX translation represents a different Hebrew text than the MT or that God didn’t providentially cause Ben Chayyim or Scrivener to make all of the right decisions in their critical observations of the differing manuscript evidence? No. But do I have good, strong evidence to support such a conclusion? Absolutely!! And in light of the fact that YOU are the one insisting that you have the verbal equivalency of the original manuscripts in spite of any clear Scriptural endorsement of the manuscripts that you choose, then the onus of proof is clearly on you and not me. I am not claiming to have the originals. I am merely saying that we should compare them all. You are claiming to have the originals in light of what you believe the Bible to teach. And so you need to produce the external evidence to justify which is the ‘original’ texts (MT & TR) against those that are not.

    12. “What is the tangible, physical evidence that we have for continued preservation of our salvation by God even though we sin many times after we have been justified? If there is no physical, tangible evidence, then why should we believe that God preserves our salvation despite our errors?” – The evidence is the clear teaching of Scripture. Both you and I agree that the Bible teaches Eternal Security, a security which is not in any way associated with our own righteousness (our errors), but rather Christ’s imputed, perfect righteousness. And so I don’t have to go through the hoops of defending this doctrine from the Bible. However, if I was debating a person who did deny this, I am prepared to defend this doctrine from Scripture. If such a person disagreed with my interpretations of Scripture, then there would be no external evidence that either of us could show to support our view since spiritual salvation is not a ‘physical’ or ‘tangible’ doctrine and Christ’s imputed righteousness is not completely observable in men. It deals with the spirit/soul of man. However, this is not true with the issue of the textual preservation of the Bible. That doctrine is intricately related to the physical and tangible evidence of the manuscripts in existence. And so it is legitimate here to compare our interpretation(s) of Scripture with the tangible evidence. It is similarly legitimate to challenge Charismatics to verify their belief about the continuance of the sign gifts in comparison with the tangible evidence of their own miracle-working ministry. This is not the case with the doctrine of salvation, and so your question is trying to compare apples with oranges in that the two doctrines differ in a substantially different way – one is intricately related to physical and tangible things (manuscripts) and the other is not (spiritual salvation & Christ’s imputed righteousness).

    13. “Where does Scripture say that a miracle is a greater and more thorough act of God than providence? Is something that God does providentially less God than it is when God does something miraculously?” – I don’t make this distinction in the case of preservation. I think that this is a question of semantics. One might make a legitimate distinction between these two words for clarification on some issues including this one, particularly in that a miracle is usually linked to a one-time act whereas providence is linked more to an ongoing act of God bringing about some aspect of His sovereign will. Because a miracle can be linked to a single act, and is often times much less related to other acts, it is easier to define or explain. Providence on the other hand seems to incorporate many things and refers to God bringing about His will amidst many incidents and over much time. Furthermore, He does this in spite of his allowing men to exercise some level of free will to obey or disobey him. Nonetheless, I don’t argue that God has providentially or miraculously sought to preserve the very words of Scripture as you argue for. I believe that God has providentially or miraculously (use whichever word you want) preserved the ACCURACY of the TEACHINGS of His Word without preserving every last word. It does not appear to me that God is as concerned with every last word as men today tend to be. Rather, he was able to compose his truth accurately even in the process of inspiration while allowing the human authors to put it in their own words and literary styles. Inspiration was not a dictation (a word-for-word production) and neither is preservation in my opinion.

    14. “In light of the following quote . . . do you believe that the one-Bible-belief started in the 1970’s or the mid-twentieth century?” – I’m not sure that I understand the full scope of your question here. I can say that I don’t care when this view came to the forefront. One could have argued in the 4th century that nobody in the 400 years prior had clearly defined the doctrine of the Trinity in the way that it was being defined by the council of Nicea. Does this prove that they were wrong? No. Theology continues to be fine-tuned as our understanding increases. Even if you could prove that there was one view held by all true believers prior to 1970, there is no proof that that view is the right one, especially when we have more manuscript evidence than they did with which to make a more informed decision. The discovery of new manuscripts in the last century has brought this issue into more of a forefront than in previous centuries, and so believers are wrestling with this issue more today than before. Furthermore, the part of the quote that you highlighted says, “. . . the Westminster divines [never] thought the original manuscripts of the Bible were distinct from the copies in their possession.” First of all, you have already acknowledged that the copies that men possessed throughout history DID differ in some ways from the originals. Your position is that even though the copies that they possessed differed, they were able to compare them with the originals which you assume must have existed somewhere. And so how can you quote Morris and highlight a statement that you yourself have acknowledged to be false? Furthermore, on another level, historians are all biased to some degree. To imply that historians are non-biased in their judgments of the men from centuries ago is ridiculous. All one has to do is look at how church historians who are committed Calvinists portray John Calvin. He was a man that endorsed a cruel death penalty for men like Michael Servitus simply because he disagreed with him on certain religious issues. He is also a man that encouraged infant baptism in some sense linked to one’s entrance into what he called the true church, but was actually the Roman Catholic church. Calvin once said that everything he believed could be extracted from the writings of Augustine, the first true Roman Catholic theologian. Yet Protestant Calvinists today portray Calvin as some sort of super godly saint who was the greatest Christian thinker of all time. Their bias toward the system of theology named after him distorts their perspective on his overall teachings and his actions. They overlook his major shortcomings simply because they agree with him in other areas of theology. Similarly, there is no way that any historian from today could think himself knowledgeable about what went on in the heads of the Westminster divines. He can quote them and show what they said, but he can’t accurately say what every single one of them thought no matter how much he has studied history. Such a generalization as “[none of] the Westminster divines ever thought the original manuscripts of the Bible were distinct from the copies in their possession” is clearly the opinion of the author in question, and is not provable.

    I apologize for the great length of this response, but I am committed to interacting with all of the arguments and answering all of the questions posed to me lest it appear that I or others in my camp have not thought through these issues or, as you have said Kent, that we merely gender questions to which we have no answers or that we haven’t thought through the implications of our statements. This is simply not true with many of us.

    Thanks for your thoughtful consideration in these matters,

    Mike

  52. December 28, 2007 at 12:46 pm | #53

    Mike,

    First, in answer to your comments on my answers to your questions.

    Thanks for your very thorough answers. You deserve commendation, I believe, for the incredible amount of time and thought. Again, I sincerely thank you. I apologize for how I brought up Mike Harding’s quote. I haven’t had any men until you, separate themselves from his comments. They congratulate him for them. They love them. He gets a standing ovation for them. You are the first to repudiate them and I commend you for that. I’m not quite sure what “academic dishonesty” is, but I hope that I’m not being dishonest in any way. It may be that this is the same as an “epistemological problem” that others have said that they have with me.

    You spoke concerning my quote of Romans 4:20, 21. I’m glad you challenged it. Others act as though they didn’t care. They say nothing. It should bother them. I think the verse is appropo, of course, because the external evidence is the tripping point for you and them, yet it wasn’t for Abraham. Your illustration of the Charismatic doctrine doesn’t hold, IMO, because they are producing their physical evidence. They read something into Scripture and produce physical evidence to support it. I don’t know of one Charismatic that doesn’t disobey some of what Scripture says about tongues, healings, and miracles. I also produce historic basis of my belief and Charismatics don’t have that. You’re right that you have challenged our beliefs on the passages that teach preservation, but so do some evangelicals challenge the passages on inspiration and inerrancy, and they use the same kind of interpretational points as you do. For instance, many for 2 Timothy 3:16 say, “All inspired Scripture is useful…” Then they would show that verbal plenary inspiration and inerrancy are not historical doctrines. With no disrespect to you, the JWs also use exegetical explanations against the deity of Christ. I understand that you challenge these passages on preservation, but they are passages that have been used for hundreds of years to defend the perfect preservation of Scripture. I can’t support “jots and tittles equals authority” and “word actually means truth.” Consider 1 Corinthians 2:13 on this: “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” And John 17:8, “For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.” Notice that He writes “words” not “thoughts” or “ideas” or “teachings” or “concepts.” Look at these articles to see that men have viewed “words” as “words” in the passages I have mentioned— http://www.bible.org/page.php?page_id=666 , http://kentbrandenburg.blogspot.com/2007/08/so-does-bible-mean-what-it-says-about.html

    At one point it is difficult to debate this issue, because you intimate that I believe that the original manuscripts remained in the early 16th century. I’ve never said that. I believe that the original letters and words were available. Even with that, you make an important point, that is, you can’t even prove that the original manuscripts didn’t exist in Erasmus’ day. You yourself say, “[T]his statement is almost able to be disproven.” Regarding Erasmus, whom I have never even mentioned, so in that way, you are arguing a strawman, I don’t see him as the author of the TR. The TR is much bigger than him. I recognize some contribution of Erasmus, but many were involved. Regarding the consolidation of the Words into one printed edition—the many involved did have those words to consolidate. We don’t know what they did and didn’t do. We do know that the churches (the remnant believers, confessing believers) did settle on the Words. From their quotes, some of which I provided, they believed they had the Words found in the originals.

    It is obvious the CT is not the preserved text. It was rejected by the churches. History says it wasn’t available. And that brings me to something that you ignore or miss in your support of textual criticism and its “scientific” principles (like “shortest reading is best”), and that is the role of the Holy Spirit. Our belief in verbal plenary preservation, that God inspired Words, and then use of “jots” and “tittles” by Jesus, means that the truth is found in Words. Men who believe in verbal, plenary inspiration believe that. We don’t remove the idea of “truth” from the idea of “Words.” So the Holy Spirit leads His people to His Words.

    You say that my use of Gill (and one other article I linked to, to save space, that you didn’t mention or recognize) is not biblical scholarship. I’m sure biblical scholarship could be defined in many different ways, but I believe that the wisest tack is to trust God. I believe there is a grammatical error in 1 John 5:6-8 without v. 7, that we can see historically a reference to 1 John 5:7 in the patristics, and that there are not as many remaining hand copies of 1 John that remain, so that 1 John 5:7 is in a much greater majority of the available copies of 1 John than is often reported. There is enough physical evidence for someone who believes that the Holy Spirit would work through the churches to canonize the Words. In this Christmas season, I find it interesting that during Mary’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth, that Elizabeth not only knew that Mary was pregnant, but that it was God in her womb, and so did John the Baptist while still in the womb. Why? Because she was filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit can guide believers to the truth without “scientific” principles. Elizabeth didn’t pull out a stethoscope, but she miraculously or providentially knew.

    You say that my verba/vox explanation was impossible. First, you slightly misrepresented my position as stated. I believe that in those situations where Jesus is quoted, He did say those Words on the same occasion, not different occasions. Each gospel account sometimes gives various Words that Jesus said. Your examples, I read, and they were not convincing. I understand someone making your conclusion, but they are based on different presuppositions. I have looked at this before. I do appreciate your going to the trouble, and actually producing Scriptural text to defend your position. However, looking at your examples, I can still rely on classic harmonization of those varied gospel accounts to see the very Words of Christ being quoted.

    Regarding your Gethsemane accounts, let me answer:

    1st statement
    Mt. 26:36 – Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.
    Mk. 14:32 – Sit ye here, while I shall pray.

    The words are exactly the same here with the exception of “I go” (hou elthon) and “yonder” (ekei). The two words translated “here” are different, but easily Jesus could have said, “Sit ye here in this place,” since hode can be translated “in this place.” Jesus said all of these words. Mark doesn’t record all of them, but Jesus said them. Again, this is called classic harmonization that you turn into vox, denying the very Words of Christ.

    2nd statement

    Mt. 26:38 – My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
    Mk. 14:34 – My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch.

    Again, Jesus said, “even” and “with me.” That doesn’t mean that Mark was wrong. He said those things too.

    3rd statement

    Mt. 26:39 – O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
    Mk. 14:36 – Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.
    Lk. 22:42 – Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

    How long do we think Jesus prayed? He had enough time for the disciples to fall asleep. He prayed all of these words at some point or another in His prayer on Gethsemane. Certainly no one heard Him say any of them, except the Father, so Mt., Mk., and Lk. wrote this under inspiration. You are essentially saying that God paraphrased Himself.

    4th statement

    Mt. 26:41 – What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
    Mk. 14:37-38 – Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour? Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.
    Lk. 22:46 – Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.

    I didn’t look at every single thing here, because of time, but, for instance, “that ye enter not into temptation” and “lest ye enter into temptation” are the same exact Greek words; and “the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” and “The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak” are the exact same Greek words. Exact. So again, Jesus said all these words. All the words are not recorded in each instance, but they are all words that He said.

    Your examples fail here. I hope you can see that. Perhaps you misunderstood the position. I don’t think it is too difficult to understand.

    Regarding the placards above Christ. I see it as the same thing. All the words on the placard were these: This is Jesus of Nazareth The King of the Jews. Does it Say, “This is the King of the Jews?” Yes. Does it say, “This is Jesus, The King of the Jews?” Yes. So that doesn’t work. I appreciate the effort, but it doesn’t work.

    As far as you comparing this to Jesus targumming on the OT, He was teaching, and whatever came out of Jesus mouth was now inspired as much as the OT passage He was teaching. That is a simple answer for those passages.

    All of this, of course, is a high view of inspiration. The Bible is exact and authoritative.
    You said that “word” (logos or rhema) sometimes is synonymous with “teaching” or “truth.” That’s not what BDAG or Thayer or any reputable lexicon says. And I realize that you can’t totally trust a lexicon, but this one seems to be a bit of a no-brainer, that is, “word” is a communication of something. And when we are talking about the Word of God, we are talking about something specifically that isn’t just teaching or truth. Sure, it can be taught and it is the truth, but it isn’t synonymous with that. Matthew 4:4, as an example—John Montgomery in God’s Inerrant Word says concerning this: “”Christ tells us simply, quoting the God of the Old Testament, that ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.’ One must therefore operate with every word and consider every word as significant. Had God ‘intended’ otherwise, the text would (by definition) be different from what it is!” The historic, conservative view is verbal, plenary inspiration, that God-breathed out the very writings and all of them. He didn’t breath out “teachings” or “ideas,” but Words.

    Regarding Matthew 13:14, 15 and Isaiah 6:9, 10, I believe that with classic harmonization either my or Bro. Ross’s explanations would work. These kinds of statements could be made, using a text to teach something and so using the words of the verse to teach it. However, I looked at the Greek and Hebrew and “you will hear” is actually Future, Indicative (you said, present), and the Hebrew is Qal, Imperfect (you said, imperative). You can see that the reading is not a problem. If I’m locked into a defense of the KJVO position, then you should look at Gill on this, because KJVO supposedly didn’t exist then and he gives this explanation. Would you consider yourself a greater scholar than Gill?

    Have you ever looked at all the manuscripts to make a decision that they all disagreed. I just read a statement by Bart Ehrman on p. 219 of his Lost Christianities that says that certain fragments agree completely. So there are copies that actually agree according to Ehrman. I wonder how you can make your statements unless you see them yourself. However, that isn’t even our point. Our point is that God preserved the letters and Words and that they were consolidated in the printed edition. I gave the Scriptural presuppositions that are the basis for that and also historical statements saying that this is a position taken by believers back in the 17th century.

    Mike, these weren’t difficult answers. You could easily believe them too. They put a high priority on Scriptural presuppositions, the perfection of Scripture, and the historical position on the text. I end up with a perfect Bible and so speak with authority. Here is what John Feinberg said that we have with errors in Scripture, something that you are willing to settle for: “I have never been able to understand how one can be justified in claiming absolute authority for the Scriptures and at the same time deny their inerrancy. This seems to be the height of epistemological nonsense and confusion. Let me try to illustrate the point. Suppose that I have an Amtrak railroad schedule. In describing its use to you, I tell you that it is filled with numerous errors but that it is absolutely authoritative and trustworthy. I think you would be extremely dubious. At least the schedule would have one thing going for it; it declares itself to be subject to change without notice.”

    Second, now to my comments on your answers to my questions:

    Question #1: You don’t answer the question. You bluster and bluff and feint and don’t actually answer it. You said a lot, but didn’t answer. You said it applied to Revelation alone and then you essentially asked me a question, that is, why would God give the warning if He was going to go ahead and Divinely preserve? So, Ill still await an answer. In answer to your question, Satan attacks God’s Word by adding and taking away, so God warns against that. To add and take away, there must be a settled text. That is my point and you didn’t answer it. You can’t add and take away words from something that it doesn’t matter if you add or take away words.

    Question #2: So your idea of perfection doesn’t relate to Words, even though Scripture relates perfection to Words. You don’t look to Scripture as the final authority for this, but your evidence of textual variants. Certainly no errors in the originals relates to the perfection of God since He breathed them out, but you redefine error when it comes to what God preserved. Would God preserve something with error in it? How is that preservation? It is a lack of preservation considering what we believe about inspiration. Then you say that Word is Truth, so the actual Words don’t matter, so then why does verbal plenary inspiration matter? Why? Because God taught it, and He also taught preservation of Words. You can’t have it both ways.

    Question #3: You can’t have sola Scriptura if you don’t know what Scripture is. You say that we know because “the church” said what it was. And yet the Bible doesn’t talk about the inspiration of books and the preservation of books, but of Words. God preserved His Words. If you believe we can know what the books are because the church agreed, then you can believe that we can know what the Words are because the church agreed. Both are supernatural. They aren’t naturalistic. God’s churches have agreed on one Bible.

    By the way, the CT does have doctrinal error in it. I can show you this time after time, but to start, consider Romans 5:1 where the Westcott and Hort text said that we “may have” peace with God. Not until a recent edition did the UBS change this. By the way, Bruce Metzger on the UBS did not believe in the inerrancy of Scripture. Do you see who the textual scholars and critics are? Romans 5:1 is one of many, but the TR doesn’t have such doctrinal errors.

    Question #4: You don’t answer this question. You say you believe in inerrancy. You should know that there isn’t a pre-18th century doctrine of errancy in Scripture, and I am talking about the copies. That came later in the 19th century. Before that, men believed that hand-copies would be corrected based on Divine preservation. You have replaced that with textual criticism and doubt.

    Question #5: There is one historic position of preservation and that is that God preserved His Word. It wasn’t until the twentieth century that professing believers (not liberals) have started saying that we aren’t taught that in Scripture and that is completely because it doesn’t fit into their view of textual criticism. This is exactly what Daniel B. Wallace says.

    Question #6: You didn’t deal with this one. “Scripture” (graphe) in 2 Timothy 3:16 is the actual letters and words, the markings, the actual physical product. And God says that the verbal plenary writings, in the present tense are profitable. That assumes preservation.

    Question #7: It is interesting that on passages like Matthew 4:4, that for centuries when men have talked about these verses regarding inspiration, they knew that it meant words, but now when the issue of preservation comes up, they suddenly explain that it means “teachings.” Let’s be consistent.

    Question #8: You’re in big trouble here. You say that words aren’t literal, but then you would need to conclude that heaven and earth are not literal. Do you see the poor exegesis that leaves you with?

    Question #9: Problem alert. No, the critical text wasn’t available for at least those 300 years, and even more, so it can’t count as the words that God made available to every generation. This debunks the entire Critical Text.

    Question #10: I’ve never said anything about Erasmus and my position doesn’t depend on him. I don’t even use Erasmus printed edition. A lot of the words in his printed edition, I use, but I don’t use Erasmus. Erasmus had the Words available to consolidate. Textual criticism is an unsettled, naturalistic, and ongoing process. Scripture doesn’t teach that. Of course, the restoration of a lost text is the Critical and Eclectic position.

    Question #11: You can only speculate without the originals. You can give your best educated guess. Based on faith, I am certain I have every Word. I trust what God said He would do. You rest on a changing process invented by men.

    Question #12: But we do have physical evidence of men’s sin when they actually do sin and sin repeatedly after they claim justification. Their total trust for eternal security is based on Scripture. If we can rest on promises for salvation despite sin, then we can rest on promises of the preservation of God’s Word despite variants in hand copies.

    Question #13: Your belief in the preservation of teachings rather than words is a new belief, a new doctrine. If you can believe in the miracle of inspiration, you should be able to believe in the miracle of preservation. I counted 59 separate miracles in just the story of Christ’s birth. I think that you can believe that God would ensure we have His Words without error.

    Question #14: I quote Morris as someone that says that men of at least the 17th century had my view and I can give you quotes of men from the 16th century that have my view. People with your view come from the 19th century. Your view is man’s invention. You are overturning Christian belief along with everyone else that says what you say. It causes great damage. Look at the latest Gallup polls and you see belief in the authority of the Word of God plummeting in the last 50 years, shrinking extraordinarily. CT and Eclectic guys often say that our view is new, reinventing a new history. The new view is the restoring the lost text view, the multiple Bible view. My view has never been that men never made mistakes in copying. If you keep arguing against that, you’ll just argue a straw man. Morris simply validates our historic position, that is, that every generation possessed every Word of God that was in the original manuscripts and all of them.

    Mike, I appreciate you interacting here. You put a tremendous amount of time and effort and your concern for such important issues speaks very highly of you. I have considered what you said very much. However, I will say that I have seen everything that you said in reading about a half dozen defenses of textual criticism and the CT view. I will say that you are far, far more honest than most of them. You are far, far more consistent to your view than they. I don’t believe your view and am glad it isn’t mine—your view is unscriptural and non-historic—but you have struggled to take it. I say stop struggling and rest in God’s Word, in His promises. With it, you have a perfect Bible, the pure Word of God, the flawless Word of God that Psalm 12:6, 7 and Proverbs 30:5, 6 talk about. You would then truly have incorruptible Seed, instead of Seed that is corrupted. Without faith it is impossible to please Him.

    Thanks again.

  53. Mike Hontz
    January 2, 2008 at 7:57 am | #54

    Kent,

    All that I meant by ‘academically dishonest’ is that at times it seems that your conclusions are based more on your presuppositions than they are on the Scriptural or other evidence. I did not mean to imply that you were being dishonest with others about what you believe or that you are insincere about the conclusions you reached, only that you are dishonest with yourself as to where the evidence points. The other way that one can be academically dishonest in my opinion is when they try to imply that the evidence ‘proves’ a particular view when in reality it might only give some evidence of a view – insisting dogmatically that something must be true and that their opponent is resisting the obvious when in fact the evidence allows for more than one conclusion.

    I continue to hold to the opinion that this is not an issue on whether or not I or others in my camp have faith in God’s Word. I am convinced in my mind that Scripture does not make any such promise, and so I do not feel at all inconsistent in holding to a high view of Scripture and yet denying preservation as your camp describes it. I will just have to respectfully agree to disagree here. You don’t think that the Charismatic illustration is an equivalent comparison because they don’t have the historical evidence your camp claims to have and because they are inconsistent with other Scriptures on how tongues were to be used in the church and such. I still think that the point I was making is valid, even if one were to use the illustration that you brought up about those who deny inspiration as we define it on the basis of their interpretation of 2 Tim. 3:16. It would be wrong for me to accuse any person of lacking faith in Scripture when the difference between us is not one of faith but one of perspective on how to understand the Scripture. Me arguing that they need to have faith and believe Scripture as I understand it will do nothing to change their mind because they disagree that Scripture is saying what I claim it to be saying.

    You say that it is hard to debate because I continue to claim that you believe the original manuscripts remained until the 16th century. To be honest, I am still trying to get my arms around exactly what you are saying concerning the preservation prior to Erasmus. In some sense, you seem to be arguing that the original words existed. Do you think that they existed in one form – one perfectly copied document? Or are you saying that the original words existed among various documents that each contained some of the originals? If the latter, than how could this work as you suggest, that people always knew what the originals were to test their errant copies against? I’m still not sure I understand your view here.

    You say that the churches accepted the words in the TR and rejected the words in the CT. If I understand your point here, as it is the point made by most TR proponents, it is that the TR manuscripts (those in the Byzantine area) continued to be copied whereas the rest of the Greek manuscripts ceased to be copied until they were discovered centuries later. In your mind, this proves that the churches accepted the manuscripts behind the TR and rejected (refused to copy) the others. If this is what you are alluding to by “the churches settled on these words” whereas they “rejected” the other words, I would simply say that this is one way to look at the evidence. It COULD be that the churches continued to copy the Greek text after the manner that we find it in the Byzantine texts such as the longer ending to Mark, the inclusion of the story of the adulterous woman, etc. However, it could likewise be explained that the manuscripts in the Byzantine region continued to be copied simply because Greek continued to be the language that was spoken in the region of the Byzantine Empire for hundreds of years after it had ceased being spoken in other geographical areas where the older texts were discovered. Latin began to be spoken in Western Europe, and so Latin translations were copied extensively there in place of the original Greek ones. The reason then that there are so many more Byzantine manuscripts today is not because the others were deemed corrupt by the church, but because Greek was no longer the language of the people in those geographical regions and so there was much less demand to have the Bible in that language. This seems to be much more of an intelligible assumption since all of the manuscripts ‘deemed acceptable’ are only those found in one geographical location. Does this mean that no other geographical region had any acceptable Greek manuscripts to copy? Only one geographical region had preserved an acceptable Greek manuscript for people to copy? My point is simply that the evidence does not lead to only one conclusion, and that the statement “the churches agreed on this text” is an assumption more than a conclusion.

    Concerning the relationship of words to truth, I too believe that truth is connected to words. I simply don’t think that there is only one way to say the same thing. The examples from the Gospels represent what I believe. Just because they used different words to ‘summarize’ Jesus’ statements (taking your theory) does not imply that they were saying different things or that their statements were less true than the next one. Do you believe that any of the Gospel accounts on the Garden of Gethsemane are less true the other? You agree that the WORDS are not the same between them. Yet I assume you would agree that they are each equally as true, and that the meaning behind each of them is essentially the same. Truth is not so bound up in the words so as to render every change in words a change in meaning. I and others continue to argue that the changes in words that we are dealing with between the manuscripts does not constitute a change in doctrinal truth. Even passages that eliminate the word ‘blood’ or the title ‘Lord’ from the name of Jesus do not do anything to detract from the Bible’s overall teaching. One can point to multiple passages in both the TR and the CT that affirm both Christ’s Lordship and the necessity of the shed blood in the atonement. Furthermore, the few passages that are in question such as the ending of Mark or the story of the adulterous woman likewise do not affect any major doctrines. While the TR’s rendering of 1 John 5:7-8 would certainly help to affirm the doctrine of the Trinity, the doctrine is still taught without that passage in the rest of Scripture. In other words, the doctrine of the Trinity is not so weakly affirmed in Scripture that it rises or falls on the inclusion of 1 John 5:7 from the TR.

    I do appreciate your clarification on your view on the differences in the Gospels. Basically you acknowledge that the Gospel writers were at least giving a condensed version choosing to leave out some of Christ’s words. This to me is at least a plausible view. In fact, I believe that this is the view that my professors in my undergraduate studies taught. However, this view still seems to argue what I am saying about the legitimacy of being accurate without preserving the exact words. If it would be a violation of sorts for the Gospel writers to record Jesus’ ‘words’ by putting them in their own words – in other words this would be them ‘changing’ the words of Jesus, then how is what you are describing not an example of the disciples ‘taking away’ from the words of Jesus? If a copyist were to copy the book of Revelation and leave out some of the words, yet not add any new words, wouldn’t you see this as affecting the integrity of the message since the message is tied to the very words? How is it any different with Christ’s words? How can the disciples purposely leave out some of the words in a sentence, and still be said to perfectly be preserving what he said? Again, it seems to me that even if I accept your explanation, then God was still not as concerned with the very words being preserved that Jesus said in order to communicate accurately what Jesus said. In other words, if the placard on the cross actually said, “This is Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews”, but Matthew said that the placard read, “This is Jesus the King of the Jews,” then Matthew left out the words “of Nazareth”. Mark’s Gospel completely left out “Jesus of Nazareth.” Do you believe that Mark’s Gospel ACCURATELY preserved the message on the placard then, or does Mark represent a ‘CORRUPT’ version of what the placard said? Is the message that Mark’s Gospel preserved of the writing on the placard TRUE in light of its deletion of those important words?” You can see the obvious dilemma. Of course you can’t say that Mark’s rendering is corrupt or inaccurate even though He has left out some of the words. And who can argue that the words “Jesus of Nazareth” were not important? And so if you have no trouble accepting that Mark’s version is an ACCURATE and TRUTHFUL preservation of what the placard said in spite of him leaving out some important words, how can you demand that every word be preserved in the copying process of Scripture in order to say that God has ACCURATELY preserved the TRUTH of His word? I fail to see how this is a consistent logic.

    I will not continue to argue my point that I believe it is a false dichotomy to say that intellectual or forensic principles being applied to something like TC implies that the Holy Spirit isn’t involved in the process. If the Holy Spirit can be involved in the process of Scriptural interpretation when intellectual and forensic hermeneutical principles are applied, then the same can be true of TC.

    I didn’t mean to imply that your extended quote of John Gill was not biblical scholarship. I simply drew attention to your extended quote of him so that when I referred to HIS arguments or statements, I could refer to them as YOUR arguments or statements. What I meant to say was not ‘biblical scholarship’ was for one to allow their presupposition(s) to dismiss the evidence against an opposing argument and accept the evidence in support of his own even when the evidence against it is of equal or lesser import. This is what I said it seemed to me that you were doing when you were dismissing the evidence from the Syriac which was older and of greater import according to Gill, and then using the evidence from the Vulgate as support for your view on this issue. This is what I meant to convey was not biblical scholarship, it is merely doing what is necessary to reinforce one’s own presuppositions .

    You say that the Greek word for ‘logos’ doesn’t mean something other than a literal word according to BDAG. On page 477-79 of my computerized version of BDAG it lists several paragraphs of discussion on the lexical range of meaning for the word ‘logos’. It specifically says, “The expression may take any one of many different forms so that the exact translation of [logos] depends on the context.” Some of the suggested translations of ‘logos’ other than ‘word’ that BDAG gives are: a statement, a question, what one says, a prayer, a principle speaker, pastoral counseling, preaching, prophecy, a command, a report, a story, an account, a proverb, a proclamation, INSTRUCTION, TEACHING, a MESSAGE, a speech, speaking in general, a statement of definite content, an assertion, a declaration, a conversation, parts of one or the same teaching, the subject under discussion, a matter or thing, written words and speeches, and many more which I will not take the time to write. As one can see, BDAG does say what I said about the word ‘logos’, that it has a very wide range of meaning and that the context will determine how literal to understand it and whether or not the English word ‘word’ is even a good translation or not. Furthermore, it specifically lists the words ‘teaching’ or ‘message’ which I suggested as the way to understand the tenor of the NT’s meaning when referring to the ‘words’ of Jesus or the like. This source only adds an incredible amount of legitimacy to the assertion that ‘logos’ can be understood very generally as the ‘teaching’ or the ‘instruction’ or ‘message’ of Jesus, or even the ‘subject matter’ that he was discussing. For those who are used to using a more English-friendly lexicon, just look at Strongs on this word. The Strongs acknowledges that even in the AV, this word is translated 50 times as simply a ‘saying’ and 8 times as a ‘speech’, and 5 times as ‘thing’. Besides that, he lists a whole bunch of possible translations or ways to understand this word such as a conception, an idea, a saying, a decree, a mandate, an order, moral precepts of God, OT prophecy, a thought, a declaration, an aphorism, a saying, a dictum, a maxim, a discourse, a speech, continuous speaking or discourse, INSTRUCTION, DOCTRINE, TEACHING, a narration or narrative, a matter under discussion, a thing spoken of, an affair, a dispute, a case at law, an event, a deed, a reason, the mental capacity of thinking, an account, and more which I won’t take the time to list.

    Concerning the Greek word ‘rhema’, BDAG similarly lists several possible meanings depending on the context of this word. Among the possible meanings listed besides ‘word’ are: a saying, an expression, a prophecy, a prediction, an order, a word of Scripture, a command, an order, direction, the mighty creative word, a threat, a speech, a sermon, a proclamation, the gospel, a confession, even simply a thing, an object, a matter or an event. Of particular importance is the comment under Mt. 4:4 (and a handful of other similar verses), BDAG translates the word ‘rhema’ as “the Lord’s TEACHINGS”. The Strongs concordance and lexicon mentions that in the AV, the word is translated as ‘word’, ‘saying’, ‘thing’, or even left untranslated. It goes further and suggests that the word can refer to any sound that is uttered, a speech, a discourse, a sentence, “a saying in any sort as a MESSAGE, a narrative.” He continues that it could mean the subject matter of a speech, things spoken of, a command, a dispute, a case at law. And so I am not sure how you missed this in the reputable lexicons that you searched, but it is clearly there. These are very general words that can convey and even be translated as much more than simply ‘word’ or ‘words’ as its meaning corresponds in English. Therefore, to build a doctrine around a handful of verses that contain the word(s) translated ‘word’ is not sound biblical scholarship.

    Concerning God’s inspiration and his use of words, I would refer again to the examples of Matthew 19:7-8 and Mark 10:3-6. Let’s assume that you are correct and that these are two separate instances in light of the difference in words used. My point will still be valid. In both contexts, Jesus is talking to the Pharisees and recounting what Moses did when including an exception clause to marriage for divorce in the OT Law. In the Matthew account, Jesus used the ‘word’ meaning a ‘command’ to refer to Moses’ statement about divorce in the law and in the Mark account, he used the word meaning an ‘allowance’. I ask, did Jesus TRUTHFULLY and ACCURATELY represent the Mosaic Law’s record of what took place? Of course he did; he was God. Yet Jesus wasn’t tied to only one word, or even a word that is a true synonym when describing Moses’ statement in the Law. He had no problem referring to it as a command on one incident and as an allowance on another instance (if your view of this Gospel account is correct). How could Jesus’ statements both be true even though they weren’t tied to the same word? My point, and the one that Enoch has made, is valid – namely, that while truth is related to the words, it is not so dependent that changes in the words necessitate a change in truth, even when the change in meaning is somewhat affected such as my illustration above.

    Furthermore, even though conservative scholars in both of our camps refer to ‘verbal inspiration’, we also both teach against the idea of a ‘dictation’ sort of inspiration. In other words, God did not ‘dictate’ ‘word-for-word’ what the authors of Scripture wrote. Rather, he seems to have allowed for their various personalities to come through, and hence we acknowledge a human element in inspiration. And so scholars draw attention to the difference in Paul’s vocabulary and literary style from Peter’s or Luke’s. Wasn’t this HUMAN element linked to the WORDS that they used? Luke’s difference in style is linked to his difference in how he phrased certain ideas or concepts and his different vocabulary than Paul. In other words, God seems to have given some freedom to the authors of Scripture to put the TRUTHS of Scripture in their own WORDS. I realize that few in our camps like to say it this way, but this is the reality if they aren’t going to promote a dictation theory. One cannot acknowledge that the human styles of writing were allowed to be incorporated into Scripture without acknowledging that God allowed them to put things in their own words to some degree.

    I did make a ‘slip of the pen’ when I said that the verb in Matthew was a “present, active, indicative.” You rightly corrected me to say that it was “future, active, indicative.” I did translate it correctly when I said that it translates “You WILL hear” whereas the present, active, indicative would translate “You are hearing” or “You hear.” However, my Logos Bible Program verifies my assertion that the Hebrew text from Isaiah represents a Qal. IMPERATIVE, not a Qal. IMPERFECT as you said. The Imperfect would have a different form, and the Imperative cannot be legitimately translated into the future as you suggested. My point from this passage remains in tack in spite of my accidental reference to the future tense as present. As I pointed out before, it is not just me who acknowledges that the Jesus and the NT authors’ quotations from the OT differ enough sometimes from the MT that they can’t legitimately be said to be a translation from the MT. The scholars who contributed to the book that you referenced as being a standard in the field of LXX studies said the same thing.

    You ask whether I have looked at all of the manuscripts in order to make the sort of claims that I have made. The obvious answer is ‘no’. But since when is a person expected to use only first-hand information when making a case for a particular point. People quote other scholars and refer to other men’s research and findings all of the time. I am not making statements that contradict the published findings of legitimate scholars who have looked at the manuscripts, either photocopies or originals. If their ‘findings’ were incorrect, scholars from your camp would have refuted them long ago and produced the evidence. You regularly refer to things that you could not have verified first-hand such as your arguments from church history. You were not there to observe those things first-hand, yet you believe the men who have written from that time period about those events. This is a reliance on 2nd-hand scholarship as is mine. There is no difference, and there is nothing ‘unscholarly’ about what I have done. Assuming that the scholar that you mentioned – Bart Ehrman – is correct that a few of the manuscripts do agree completely, this wouldn’t change the tenor of what I have said. In general, there is no agreement between the manuscripts concerning one right wording. It isn’t as though 75% of the manuscripts are in complete agreement with only 25% having minor variations. If that were the case, it could be assumed that the 75% were correct, and that the evidence points to the fact that God has preserved the exact wording in the majority of the manuscripts. But this is not what we have today. My point remains intact. A couple or few manuscripts among about five or six thousand don’t form a sense of consistency among the manuscript evidence.

    Concerning Feinberg’s comment, I simply disagree with him, and I disagree, as I have argued throughout these blogs, that the logical conclusion of what I am proposing is that the Bible is not authoritative.

    You say that I didn’t answer question # 1. I thought that I did; I will try again. Your question was, “How can you add or take away from something that isn’t settled? In other words, what difference does Rev. 22:18-19 make?” My answer was that the SETTLED text that John was warning them to not take away from was the ORIGINAL. Clearly, the original audiences had the original manuscripts. Because we don’t have the original today, I would argue that these verses could not apply in the same way to us as they did to the original audience. I would further argue that John’s point was not to warn against the miscopying of the text over the years as your question is implying, but rather the changing or deletion of parts of the message of the book. Was John saying that every biblical scribe or individual who loved God’s Word enough to want their own copy of it, including the book of Revelation, but made some accidental errors in their copy, were condemned by the plagues of the book. That does not seem at all to be the spirit of what he was warning against. Rather, it seems to me that John was warning against those who would intentionally teach something that differed in substance to the teaching of the book. They could do this by adding to the teaching, changing the teaching to align with their view of the future, or by ignoring and refusing to teach those portions that they disagreed with.

    I also said that the word ‘book’ or ‘scroll’ was a reference in context to the book of Revelation and not to the whole Bible. To argue that this verse in context referred to the whole Bible is not plausible since the Bible had not been put together in the form of the canon that we have it today. Furthermore, the passage refers to “the words of the prophecy of this book” and “the plagues that are written in this book.” The prophecies are contained in Revelation and the plagues are contained in Revelation. Therefore, the book in context is clearly Revelation. John is not saying anything directly here about adding to or taking away from the preserved text of the canon of Scripture as we know it by way of copying Scripture. Rather he was talking about someone who might teach only part of the book while ignoring another part of it, or someone who might teach something different from what the book taught. Enoch made a legitimate point when he mentioned the importance of the person’s INTENTION. The spirit of this book is not to warn that anyone who accidentally miscopied this text, or accidentally misinterpreted this book would receive the curses contained in the book. Are you friends with anyone who has a different understanding of any portion of this difficult book? I know that my own interpretation s of this book have changed over the years. Things I used to teach I am no longer sure are correct. Am I taking away from the words of this book by teaching unintentionally something that is false? No. I did say that from an applicational standpoint, these verses do reflect that God would not look well on someone who would intentionally affect the integrity of the message of this book or any of the Bible, either as a false teacher or as a person who copies His word without taking care to preserve accuracy.

    You say that I didn’t answer question # 4. I clearly did. But your question is phrased in a way that I can’t answer it in the way that you want me to. You asked me what the historical basis is for the errancy of Scripture. But I don’t believe in nor promote a view of the errancy of Scripture, and so the question can’t be answered as you want it to be. It would be like me asking you the question, “What is the historic basis for the belief that a translation of the Bible into English (KJV) is inspired?” You would respond by saying that you don’t believe in the inspiration or even the preservation of the English translation. Similarly, I don’t believe in the errancy of SCRIPTURE. I limit the term SCRIPTURE to refer to the originals, and what we have today I still believe to be ACCURATE even though the manuscript evidence is not without textual variants.

    You say that I didn’t answer question # 6. Again I disagree. 2 Tim. 3:16-17 says that “All Scripture is given by inspiration,” and that it is “profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto every good work.” You say that Scripture is the exact words and letters. This is not something that the VERSE says; it is merely something that YOU say about the verse. I would ask you, does any translation (including the AV) accurately reflect the very letters or words of the originals? No. Letters aren’t able in any sense to be conveyed by way of a translation. Concerning the exact words, you and I both know that the AV does not translate a word-for-word translation of the original into English despite what some in your camp claim, as this is not possible if one wants to accurately communicate the message of the writer. One example will suffice. Psalm 103:8 in the KJV says that God is “slow to anger.” Yet the Hebrew text behind this phrase says literally that God is “long of nose.” The expression “long of nose” was intending to the Hebrew reader to communicate that God went a long time (‘long’) before having his nostrils flare (‘of nose’). Yet the KJV doesn’t translate this literally (word-for-word), nor does any modern translation. (By the way, anyone who has done considerable translation work knows that it is a farce to imply that the KJV never uses dynamic equivalence as this example and many others I could point to demonstrate. A couple other simple examples are the translation ‘bottle’ instead of ‘wineskin’ or ‘coat’ instead of ‘tunic’.) My point is, if the KJV or any modern version doesn’t accurately reflect every last word and letter of the original, preserved text, then is a person who only has the KJV and doesn’t read the Greek able to be thoroughly furnished unto every good work according to this verse? If so, then your argument is invalid. If not, then how is anyone in the pews at your church who doesn’t have the resources to read from the Greek, Hebrew and even the Aramaic able to be fully sanctified unto every good work? Paul’s point to Timothy was not to say that he needed every letter and word in order to be furnished unto every good work; this is something you read into the text based upon your presuppositions. Paul was simply saying that Scripture in general was necessary to produce righteous living, something that I do not deny in any way.

    Concerning question #8, you erroneously conclude that if one takes one word in a verse as figurative, then this means that all of the words must be taken figuratively. That isn’t logical. I could say, It’s raining cats and dogs outside. Clearly, ‘cats and dogs’ is figurative. Does this mean that ‘raining’ and ‘outside’ must also be figurative? Of course not! Your critique of this point makes no sense.

    Concerning question # 13, you continue to say that I don’t have faith that God COULD have done this. That is not at all the case. I believe that God COULD have done it and a whole lot more. I just don’t think that God DID do this as you teach, nor do I believe that the Bible implies that He did.

    Concerning question # 14, I continue to say that history does not prove anything. Men have been wrong or right in both the past and the present. If we relied on the majority view from history for all of our current views, we would we Calvinists, allegorists and non-dispensationalists among other things. You continue to say that your position is the historic position. I continue to say, “So what?” I do not care to have the ‘historic’ position, only the ‘biblical’ position. My arguments are from the Bible, not from history, hence my claim to (Sola Scriptura). Your view that history is authoritative seems to resonate dangerously close to the Roman Catholic doctrine of Tradition.

    I too have appreciated our interaction. I continue to be sharpened in my understanding of what your camp actually teaches concerning preservation. I believe that I can more accurately represent your camp as a byproduct of our discussions.

    Have a blessed Christmas and new year,

    Mike

  54. January 2, 2008 at 1:19 pm | #55

    Mike,

    Thanks again. I can see that we are coming to an end of this discussion. Again, I would hate taking your position. I discourage anyone and everyone from taking it.

    Dishonesty is dishonesty. My Scriptural presuppositions lead me to my position. My position has evidence. I know that the CT side is dishonest with their evidence. They say all and every word in multiplicity of manuscripts and then you find in the small print that they don’t believe that all the words are in 1 Samuel 13:1. This leads me to believe that they don’t like their position either. Another are the statements by Daniel Wallace and James White and others mimicking them that the Alexandrian manuscripts were prevalent early and the Byzantine later. They essentially call any manuscript that they find that’s old, even if it agrees more Byzantine, as Alexandrian. Like evolutionists, they don’t have reliable dating systems—they date based on their own biases. We are to assume that rank atheists and agnostics, Scriptural errantists, are giving accurate information. Look at Ehrman on the Gospel according to Judas in which he says that Judas is the hero, and then a new translation comes out that shows that Judas was actually the villain. What should that do to his and other textual scholar’s credibility? They disregard the idea that the Byzantine weren’t as old because the older hand copies were respectfully disposed when they became illegible due to age. Their theories keep employment for textual critics who need jobs in mainly liberal educational establishments, much like the evolution department. What makes more sense and fits the Scriptural presuppositions is that we have more Byzantine manuscripts because they believed these were the Word of God.

    Since there is only one absolute truth, then our biases must be Scriptural ones. We fit the evidence into what Scripture says that God would do. We don’t allow for a conclusion that leaves Scripture with errors.

    I can conclude that those who deny inerrancy because of their “interpretation” of 2 Timothy 3:16, 17 also do not have faith, just like I make similar conclusions about Church of Christ individuals who interpret baptism passages differently. I do make these conclusions and this separates me from these people. I don’t assume they are believers. They are akin to the Judeans who wouldn’t believe God’s deliverance through Cyrus because it didn’t fit their predispositions. God wanted them to believe His Words without the evidence at that time, based on God’s proving Himself already.

    When I say “churches” agreed, I am also saying that the publishers of the printed TR editions also believed these were Scripture and the theologians of that day. The churches themselves have used the TR and translations from the TR. Not until the late 20th century has the CT gotten any traction in churches, but we can also can point to an increasing lack of belief in the inspiration of and inerrancy of Scripture that has accompanied this movement.

    You write: “The examples from the Gospels represent what I believe. Just because they used different words to ‘summarize’ Jesus’ statements (taking your theory) does not imply that they were saying different things or that their statements were less true than the next one.” I haven’t said that they summarize Jesus Words. I say that they quote Jesus Words. I don’t take a vox position. What good does it do to misrepresent me? I have been abundantly clear here. I believe that the Words they wrote under inspiration are the very Words of Christ. I believe the gospel accounts harmonize with one another, giving us more of the Words of Christ. This is not to say that the very Words do not matter, just because some of the Words in one gospel account are not found in another. God had His reasons. I don’t always know. However, I will not take a conclusion that the exact Words of Christ don’t matter and that this is a proof of that. This is not a proof of that. The gospel writers were inspired by God. And graphe in 2 Timothy 3:16 is the actual physical writings, the etchings, the letters and the words. That’s the understanding of graphe.

    You again misrepresent what I clearly said and believe when you say that I believe that the disciples left out words that Jesus said. I believe that they wrote under the inspiration of God and didn’t leave out any words. This is not a basis for a conclusion that adding or taking away words is permissible. Scripture says it isn’t. We are warned not to take away any of the inspired Words, Words settled as Scripture. The Words of that prophecy were Words already settled in heaven and those Words were to be left intact, untampered.

    The textual critics themselves don’t ever include the work of the Holy Spirit as important to their work. They view this as entirely subjective, so this is something still in play. You basically rely on the work of Aland and Metzger and others who do not believe in inerrancy and in their own writings do not mention the work of the Holy Spirit. The other guides to textual criticism leave out the work of the Holy Spirit. When you read the men like Turretin, Owen, and Capel among others, you see them mention the Holy Spirit’s involvement regarding the TR.

    My use of Gill is to say that we have textual evidence of 1 John 5:7. I believe it was included in the TR under the hand of God through Divine providence. I have your coveted textual evidence as well, so that scholarship, in line with Scriptural presuppositions and other external evidence that I mentioned (grammar, the patristics) ought to be enough for you. God’s people have accepted it as God’s Word.

    You take a misquote of me and then break it down as if I said it. I said that “word,” whether logos or rhema, is a communication. You make it into something idealogical like “truth” and “meassage,” but it must be a communication, i.e., words, not just the message or idea or concept. “Word” is used rather than “truth” because it is speaking of a communication. BDAG and others back this up. A communication means an enunciation, something that includes letters and sounds which form a symbol that has a meaning. You turn it into an acceptable idea. Your view sounds very much like concept inspiration or thought inspiration, which is neo-orthodox. To me you sound neo-orthodox.

    What you say about building a doctrine around a “handful” of verses that use “word,” happens to be how historically men have built their bibliologies. These are already written down and accepted by saved people. You say that my historical theology verges on Roman Catholicism. No, we look for something that isn’t a private interpretation. We don’t believe in a total apostasy. So, when we don’t see a particular doctrine in history, like the one you espouse, we would need to see some incredible textual work to prove your point. You fall way below that. You seem like someone desperate to hang on to textual criticism that is the basis for the modern versions. Your positions are mainly a reaction to the historic understanding of verses. If I can’t trace my doctrine back, then I better have strong interpretational reasons why men have been wrong in the past. You don’t have that. That should bother you, but it doesn’t seem to.

    I’ve given my explanation of the harmonization of the words in the gospel accounts. That continues to be my explanation for the differences in accounts.

    I believe that God dictated the very Words to the apostles at the same time taking into consideration their backgrounds and vocabularies. However the process occurred, when they finished, they were God’s Words. They also read like eyewitness accounts. I don’t believe we must assume that they went into some swoon or string-puppet status to transcribe the exact Words God wanted that He had already settled in heaven. However, that doesn’t mean that they started with some concepts and essentially represented Divine “ideas.”

    Regarding the word “hear,” we are talking over one another because it is imperative in v. 9 and imperfect in v. 10, same root word.

    For question #1—the reason you can’t believe that Rev. 22:18, 19 applies the same today is because you don’t believe in preservation. Rev. 22:18, 19 supposes preservation. Your view is that once it had been corrupted, believers had no reason to obey it. Is there anything in Scripture that we need to obey, if it was all written with only a message to an original audience? Obviously Scripture continues to be authoritative for us today and you make my point about authority when you make this kind of application of Rev. 22:18, 19. Like Enoch, you miss our point. Someone can’t take away or add to something that is unsettled and nebulous, what you make Revelation with your beliefs. Of course, it doesn’t say “intended” in the text, just like it didn’t say “intended” in the rules for carrying the ark, and Uzza died unintentionally because he didn’t follow them. You say that vv. 18, 19 don’t refer to the whole Bible, just to revelation, but then you have Prov. 30 and Deut. 12 with the same instruction, indicating that this relates to the whole Bible.

    For question #4—it is a valid question and I would answer your provided example question that there is not historic basis for a translation being inspired. I might argue that position in a derivative sense of inspiration, but not in the same sense that God inspired the originals. You do promote errancy in the Bibles we possess and that view, that there are errors in what we are presently using, isn’t historic. They believed in preservation, so that God corrected the human errors. 2 Timothy 3:16 says Scripture “is” profitable (present tense), so that the verbal plenary inspiration profitable. You say that I make graphe letters and words—no, that’s what the word means. We know we have the Words and Letters still because that is what is profitable (in your view, it seems, that was written just to Timothy so it was inspired for and profitable for Timothy alone, since that was the audience). You say “Scripture in general” was profitable, but what was profitable was graphe, so it is the writings that God verbally, plenarily breathed that is profitable. Your view separates inspiration of the very words from application.

    On question #8—there is parallelism between the first half and the second half of Matthew 24:35, unlike your raining like cats and dogs argument. Your example does not work and the point made in Matthew 24:35 stands.

    On question #14—I’m asking for a historic position, not the majority position. You turned that into a majority position. I recognize that most people don’t believe, so that doesn’t make unbelief the historic position. I’m asking you to produce anything historically that gives your view of preservation as presented in a doctrinal statement. You can’t produce any historic position which means that you have a position that totally apostatized. That is very serious. You say your positions are sola Scriptura. They are far from it. Textual critics don’t go to the Bible for their presuppositions. They explain away passages. I have never ever seen one doctrinal layout for preservation from an eclectic/CT man. You won’t find one anywhere. All you’ll find is a criticism of what TR men have written. This is tell tale.

    It is interesting that you say that “history does not prove anything” (your exact words), and yet you base your entire position on someone’s version of a history of textual transmission. My position is that history shows we don’t have a private interpretation. We shouldn’t be taking a new position on bibliology. You would rather believe the history pieced together by mainly unbelieving textual critics than the doctrinal statements of believers. Think about it.

    I can see definitely that we will not agree with you cemented (tripped up by) in certain beliefs.

    You believe, based on your own words:
    1. The Bible is accurate without the exact words—as long as it includes the essence of what Christ said doctrinally, then it is equivalent to God’s Word.
    2. It was fine to leave out or add some Words based upon the disciples’ having done so with Jesus’ narratives.
    3. Scriptural in general is what is profitable, not the verbal, plenary writings specifically.
    4. We don’t know what the verbal, plenary writings of the original were.
    5. You take a novel view of preservation not backed up in historical theology.
    6. Scripture doesn’t teach or imply its own preservation.

  55. Mike Hontz
    January 2, 2008 at 3:59 pm | #56

    Kent,

    I agree that we are at an impass. I will only make a few comments. The word ‘graphe’ is the word for Scripture, and Scripture was written with letters and words. In that sense you are right. My point though, is that I believe that someone who has an English translation can still be changed and benefit fully from the promises of this passage even though they don’t have the very letters or words in the original languages. That is because Scripture is not limited to the exact letters and words to the degree that you are arguing for. I am not arguing that one can do whatever they want with the words to say whatever they want; I am merely arguing, and have been arguing, that the degree of preservation that you say is REQUIRED by this verse is not logical nor necessary. I comment on this a little more fully a little later in this post under question # 4 below.

    I meant to use the word CONDENSED rather than SUMMARIZED to represent your view of the Gospel writers’ recording of what Jesus said. You believe that they didn’t record all of His words, leaving out some of the words, hence giving a condensed version of what He said. This is ‘taking away from his words’ in the way that you seem to define preservation. If one letter or word is lost from a manuscript, then the truth has been affected according to your view. I believe that my point still stands concerning the relationship between the exact words and truth. Either the Gospel writers’ descriptions of what the placard on the cross said are EQUALLY TRUE in spite of their leaving out some of the words that were actually on the placard, or they weren’t. It is a simple point, and I believe that anyone who is of a neutral mindset who is following this discussion will easily see this. If the Gospel writers under inspiration can choose to leave out words and not fear that they are affecting the truth of what they are saying, then truth is not as closely linked to specific words as what you are arguing.

    Concerning the ‘logos’ and ‘rhema’ discussion, I originally suggested ‘message’ or ‘truth’ as a legitimate way to understand the meaning of ‘word(s)’ in various verses. You responded by saying that no reputable lexicon affirms this interpretation. I responded by showing you that BDAG and Strongs suggest a whole bunch of things besides ‘word’ including MESSAGE or INSTRUCTION or TEACHING as a legitimate way to understand these words at times. You are now saying that your point was that ‘logos’ or ‘rhema’ had to refer to a communication, not just something ideological like a ‘message’ or a ‘teaching’. First of all, I do believe that these words refer to that which is a ‘communication’. A MESSAGE, an INSTRUCTION and a TEACHING are things that are communicated. When I preach a sermon, I am communicating a message, I am communicating instruction, and I am communicating a teaching. You say that it isn’t something ideological like a ‘message’ or a ‘teaching’, yet these are specific words that BDAG and Strong suggest as legitimate meanings to these words. Strongs specifically lists Mt. 4:4 as a passage where ‘MESSAGE’ is a legitimate translation. I’m not sure that I understand how you think that I am misrepresenting your position, but I am fairly confident that I am accurately representing BDAG’s and Strongs’ position on this word. They specifically say that this word can refer to the SUBJECT under discussion. This is very ideological and refutes what you seem to be saying. It is you, not I, that is misrepresenting what these lexicons say.

    You say that God DICTATED the words of the Apostles while taking into account their personalities and styles. If I dictate words for someone to write down, but I take into account their own literary styles, that means that I dictate it to them in a way that corresponds to how they would say it, not necessarily how I would say it. The implication is that God tailored the precise wording to them – i.e. he wasn’t tied to one way of saying it; He could have tailored the same message to any of the Apostles or prophets literary styles and still have said the same thing using different words.

    I agree that men throughout history have built doctrinal positions around a handful of verses that seem to say a particular thing. This is why there are so many Calvinists today, because they take verses out of context and become convinced that the Bible teaches something that humanly speaking is contradictory to the most basic tenant of Scripture – namely, salvation by faith alone which is offered freely to all. You say that I haven’t offered enough evidence to overcome the HISTORICAL view of preservation. I say that assuming you are correct that this is the historical view, you have failed to show even one verse of Scripture that clearly teaches what you believe it teaches. It is all but impossible put together a ‘biblical doctrine’ of that which God DIDN’T promise to do. It would be like trying to put together a ‘biblical doctrine’ of why God didn’t promise to preserve the gift of Apostleship in the church. All that one could do is continue to show why the Roman Catholics or the Charismatics who believe that God has made a promise to perpetuate the gift of Apostleship are wrong. One can’t create a ‘biblical doctrine’ of this because the Bible doesn’t teach this doctrine. There aren’t verses that teach He would do this, and there aren’t clear verses that teach that He wouldn’t do it. The same is true of the preservation of words and letters. We don’t believe that the Bible makes these promises in spite of the Scriptures you quote, and so all that we can do is ‘criticize’ the exegesis of those who try to use such verses to say that which Scripture didn’t intend to say. The Bible doesn’t say that it WOULDN’T preserve letters and words, and so we can’t put together a biblical doctrine to REFUTE what you are suggestion. We can only critique your interpretations of the passages that you believe do teach these things. Just as you are concerned that we are taking away from Scripture and what it says, we are concerned that you and your camp are adding to Scripture, making it say things that it never actually said.

    Question # 1 – You know as much as I do that not all passages are equally applicable today in light of different circumstances. I assume your church doesn’t require head coverings on women nor expect your people to greet each others with a holy kiss in light of the change in cultures. Similarly, you don’t apply most of the OT Laws as applying to the church because of the changes brought about by Christ who fulfilled the Law. I am making a similar point about the Revelation passage since we no longer have the original manuscripts that they had and were referring to. In general though, the main point that I am making about Revelation is that it is a warning that has a lot more to do with the ‘teaching’ or the ‘truths’ communicated in the book than it does the preservation of every last letter and word. I have a feeling that you would be more concerned that the very letters are preserved than you would be about accurately preserving the meaning or teaching of this book. You would likely separate from those who would use a CT of Revelation, but would probably not separate from those who are in your camp on the issue of preservation but take significantly different interpretations of the book as a whole.

    Question # 4 – I disagree that ‘letters’ and ‘words’ are what is profitable. It is the meaning and the truth behind the words that are profitable. This is why a translation that accurately communicates the message can still be profitable. However, a person who doesn’t speak Greek or Hebrew might have the letters and words, but it wouldn’t be profitable. This point is irrefutable. It is the message and the truth that is important, not the letters and words. I will say this one more time so that you don’t quote my last sentence to mean something that I am not saying. I’m not saying that the letters and words aren’t important because without them, the truth couldn’t be communicated by way of print. However, the words could be changed slightly without altering the message, and in such a case, it would be equally as profitable without the original words. This is what I believe has happened in the discussion relating to the texts, and therefore I do not believe that the TR or the CT represent mistruths or false doctrines.

    Question # 8 – I agree that there is parallelism in Matthew that isn’t in my illustration. It still doesn’t prove that both need to be taken figuratively. I could equally say, “It’s raining cats and dogs in North Carolina today, but it is a clear day in South Carolina.” In this example, the first line includes a figure of speech, but the second parallel line is literal. My point remains. Taking one part of one line of a parallel statement figuratively does not necessitate that both be taken figuratively.

    Question # 14 – I stand by what I’ve said. How much would it take from history to become ‘A’ historical view. Though you disagree, I believe that mine is the view of the Apostles since I believe that my view best represents what the Bible teaches. I can also go back throughout the past 100 years and give examples of where this view is what was taught. There may be men throughout history that said similar things prior to this; I am not so much a student of history as I try to be of the Bible. All that I know is that history doesn’t have a good track record in many areas such as eschatology, ecclesiology and even soteriology. Furthermore, church theologians have more evidence today with which to make a more informed decision than did the church in the centuries prior. I simply don’t agree with your presupposition that there is A historical view on most debatable doctrines or that if scholars begin to define something differently than they did in centuries past that this equals apostasy as you have implied. If it isn’t true of Dispensationalism, namely a pre-trib. rapture position which was absent from most of church history up until this past century, than it isn’t true of the doctrine of preservation either.

    Concerning your summary of my position at the end:

    1. In general I agree with your summary here. Though I probably wouldn’t word it quite so nebulously, I think that the spirit of what you are saying is an accurate representation of what I believe about preservation.

    2. I would not say that it was FINE or OK to leave out words or letters as though God did not expect the scribes and copyists to be diligent in their work. Nor do I believe that it is OK for HUMANS to add, change or take away from the words of Scripture as best as we can determine it to be today from the manuscript evidence we have. What I do believe is that the BIBLICAL evidence and the MANUSCRIPT evidence seem to show that GOD has not chosen to preserve exact words and letters in His providence. And in light of the fact that we still have faith that one Gospel writers was equally as accurate as the other in spite of their use of different words in saying the same thing, so too we can have faith that God has accurately preserved His Word even though He hasn’t chosen to preserve the exact words.

    3. Plenary refers to the totality of Scripture as opposed to only some of Scripture. I have never challenged the importance of every last part of Scripture, nor do I believe that Paul’s epistles are more inspired than the book of Ecclesiastes. Concerning ‘verbal’ inspiration, I do believe that God inspired the exact words. Whether God gave the writers freedom to put his truths in their own words and providentially kept them from any error, or whether he did it as you say, by dictating the very words to them within the style that they were inclined to write, I do not know. Either way, my position would be that God did inspire the very words, and not just the teachings behind those words. However, I believe that the truths can still be communicated accurately in a translation that no longer preserves the exact words, or even in a careful paraphrase of the original words. I would not refer to this as equally INSPIRED, but I would refer to it as equally TRUE so long as it faithfully represents the meaning behind the original words.

    4. I agree.

    5. I don’t know how many throughout history would back this up. I do know that the majority of current conservative scholars align with my view and not yours. I also know that historical scholars have gotten many other doctrines wrong in the past, and so I am not troubled if mine is different or novel from those of previous centuries.

    6. I disagree. I do believe that Scripture teaches preservation, just not defined as you define it by words and letters. I believe that Scripture teaches that the truths and teachings of Scripture will never pass away. While this would necessitate the preservation of words and sentences, it would not necessitate it to the level that you are arguing for.

    I have enjoyed our interaction here. I do not expect you to respond again. I assume that you would merely be repeating yourself as in general, I am basically just repeating myself at this point as well. Hopefully our discussion has been insightful to believers on both sides of the issue. Hopefully those in your camp will see that some on our side do seriously wrestle with Scripture and attempt to be as consistent as possible with both Scripture and the evidence. Similarly, hopefully men in our camp will see that some in your camp have likewise wrestled with the biblical and manuscript evidence with a desire to maintain faith in God’s Word. Finally, it would be my hope that men on both sides of this issue will see that men can disagree, even passionately, without being ugly or demeaning toward those who see things differently. While we must remain resolute in our convictions based upon our understanding of God’s Word, we must also remain humble enough to realize that none of us has arrived at THE CORRECT interpretation on every issue. And while God has called us to separate from those who teach false doctrine, particularly a false gospel, he has also said his children will be marked predominantly by their love for fellow believers, even those in other camps then they. Hopefully others did not sense any animosity between us throughout this debate despite our differences in belief.

    May God bless you as you continue to strive toward the full obedience of the faith.

    Mike

  56. Mike Hontz
    January 6, 2008 at 11:51 am | #57

    Jackhammer Crew,

    I’m curious if you have done anything on your view of the church. I don’t remember where, but I seem to have gotten the impression from other posts that you don’t believe in the concept of the universal church, just the local church. I’m curious if you’ve considered doing a series of posts on why you take this view (assuming that you do) and why you believe that the most common verses used to support the universal church are not teaching what some say they are teaching.

    Thanks,

    Mike

  57. January 8, 2008 at 10:27 am | #58

    Mike,

    We haven’t done a series of posts on the nature of the church. If we did do a series like that, it would be on what Scripture teaches on the nature of the church. Thanks for asking.

  58. Mike Hontz
    February 18, 2008 at 10:25 am | #59

    Jackhammer Crew,

    I wonder if you could point to me any websites that you believe deal with the Baptist view on church polity in general. I am relatively familiar with the Baptist arguments against a plurality of elders, or elders other than staff pastors. However, I have not had a chance to see how Baptists respond to some of the arguments against their position, say those in favor of a plurality of elders including lay persons in the congregation who meet the same spiritual qualifications as the senior pastor (elder) as many Bible churches have adopted. I am teaching on this issue soon and I want to be as fair and as accurate as possible when presenting the various views, and so I was wondering if you could point me to some good websites where this issue is dealt with.

    Also, I am curious to read up on how conservative Baptists (or others) define and defend their position that there is no such thing as the universal church in Scripture. Again, I am curious how they respond to the biblical passages that are put forward by those who believe in a universal church. Any sites that you could point me to would be much appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Mike

  59. Mike Hontz
    February 18, 2008 at 10:27 am | #60

    Correction in my previous post – I meant to say – “I am curious to read up on how SOME conservative Baptists define and defend their position that there is no such thing as the universal church in Scripture” – as I understand that many do believe in the universal church.

    Mike

  60. T. Ross
    February 18, 2008 at 8:30 pm | #61

    Please visit http://thross7.googlepages.com/home and read the analysis “Ecclesia” by B. H. Carroll there to find good evidence against the universal church theory. Please also see the systematic theology by Robert Sargent, vol. 4, available from Bible Baptist Church publications of Oak Harbor, WA (http://www.bbcoakharbor.org/). Their material convinced me to switch from a universal church position to the true, local-only church position. I read a pro-universal church systematic theology presenting its position, and Sargent’s no universal church position, and Sargent blew the other guy away.

  61. February 19, 2008 at 4:26 pm | #62

    Mike,

    This is a dispensational issue.

    The Church from Pentecost to the Rapture is local ONLY.

    The Mystical Church of Christ will not be assembled until after the Rapture.

    Therefore, it does not exist until then.

  62. Michael Marshall
    February 21, 2008 at 8:01 pm | #63

    Jackhammrrrrrsssssss….. Stop pounding. I have a question please.

    REVELATION 22:1
    1 ¶ And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.
    2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

    QUESTION: the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.
    Q1: healing of what – if all sorrow and sin are gone?
    Q2: healing of what nations? The nations of them that are saved? But that leads me back to Q1.

    Help please……….

  63. February 21, 2008 at 10:00 pm | #64

    Hi Mike.

    The use of “the nations” reminds us that there will be saved people from all over the world, the same people as 21:24, who will live through the tribulation, inhabit the kingdom, and continue on into the eternal state. Healing does not necessitate disease any more than wiping away tears necessitates sorrow. It promotes health. It has a purpose. How health could need promotion without sin; I don’t know, but eating from this tree will help us overall. It won’t be a neutral experience, but something productive. Jesus ate, if you remember, when He had His glorified body.

  64. Zo
    February 26, 2008 at 7:28 am | #65

    Gents,
    I am looking for a couple of Hyles sermons. Specifically those in which he presents his unbiblical views. I know some who wont believe it unless they hear it from the horses mouth. I saw in one of your posts you noted “The Helpless God” and a couple of others. Can you provide some titles and some website locations where I can find these?
    Thanks

  65. February 26, 2008 at 1:01 pm | #66

    Thanks for the suggestion, Art.

    Zo, you can get most of Hyles’ books online, which was more than enough information for me. Specific sermons are a better category for Pastor Mallinak.

  66. Zo
    February 26, 2008 at 2:53 pm | #67

    Thanks Kent,
    I have read portions of Hyles books. Some very sad stuff. However, I’m looking for these specific sermons so some Hyles supporters can listen to the unbiblical hylesology philosophy for themselves. If you know where to access these Pastor Mallinak I’d appreciate it.
    Thanks

  67. L. S.
    February 29, 2008 at 4:26 pm | #68

    question for someone who sang in the Madrigal choir (Kent Brandenburg): Can’t find it on cyber hymnal, don’t know anyone from Madrigal that I can contact… can you help with this one? I keep singing this song around the house all the time, but I don’t know the title . I don’t even know the whole song, here’s hoping you remember it:

    “If I should sing 1000 melodies, I’d sing and never cease, never cease. I’d sing and never cease how great thou art”… till heaven and earth does pass away…

    Does that ring a bell? I think I remember you singing in the Madrigal Choir. Hope you can shed some light on this. Can’t get this song out of my mind . Thanks

  68. March 1, 2008 at 12:46 am | #69

    L.S.,

    No, I wasn’t in Madrigal. I was in the Chorale. At that time, we were as big as Madrigal and we had the brass—trumpets, trombones, baritones, etc. We were also tall. At 6’3″, I was 9th in height in the whole choir. Donald Degraw directed us. However, one thing you got right, L.S., and that is that the Chorale actually did sing the song that you’re singing around the house.

    If I could sing a thousand melodies
    I’d sing and never cease, how great thou God
    I’d sing of love, His wisdom, might and power
    Each day and passing hour I’d sing of Him
    I’d climb some mountain high
    I’d sing into the sky
    Till Heaven and earth would hear my song
    If I could sing a thousand melodies
    I’d sing and never cease, how great my God

    Go at it!

  69. Gary Johnson
    April 13, 2008 at 9:34 pm | #70

    I recently read a comment that include a category called, “Baptist only”, in describing some that were posting comments. That got me thinking. How about a month dealing with one, some, or all of the following questions -

    Why be a Baptist?
    What is a Baptist?
    How does one become a Baptist?
    Will there be rewards in eternity for being a Baptist?
    Are there some that are only Baptist in name?
    Who was the first Baptist?

    Of course there could be others, and even some that would be controversial, as this is Jackhammer.

  70. Zo
    May 1, 2008 at 2:06 pm | #71

    I have a question about plurality of elder rule vs single pastor rule. I have always been in and seen churches ruled by a single pastor. However, just recently a couple of christian friends of mine have pointed out from Acts and the Epistles that the NT model of government was elder rule, with one being the preaching/pastor elder. I’ve started investigating this. What are your views regarding this topic?
    Thanks

  71. November 29, 2008 at 10:26 pm | #72

    Are any of you hammers geocentrists?

  72. November 30, 2008 at 8:14 am | #73

    Though I respect their (geocentrists) arguments, they’ve not convinced me. I might say “yet,” but I don’t think they will ever.

  73. November 30, 2008 at 8:03 pm | #74

    Thanks. i’d like to know where the other hammers stand on the issue.

  74. December 1, 2008 at 4:13 pm | #75

    I’m not a geocentrist. Nor do I think that the world revolves around me. The years would go by too fast. But I do know some geocentrists very well… mostly in Jeff’s neighborhood.

  75. December 1, 2008 at 4:38 pm | #76

    I preached through Genesis and at that time I didn’t think of the term geocentric when I was in chapter one, but I did see that everything revolved around earth theologically. God created everything for His glory, but He created it for man, so it all centered on earth. Not until about the last five years had I even given it any thought scientifically. I haven’t taken the time to study it out on my own and maybe I will in my lifetime, but I don’t foresee that happening in the next few years. So in the meantime, I have called myself a theological geocentrist.

  76. December 1, 2008 at 6:23 pm | #77

    Thanks for the answers only reason I aske is because when I was lookink up Dr.

    Thomas Strouse I saw I critique on sharper Iron on some paper he wrote

    geocentricity (at least I think it was on geocentricity). Maybe it was the

    theological kind you were talking about.

  77. December 2, 2008 at 11:03 am | #78

    Brother Strouse is definitely a geo-centrist in the scientific as well as theological sense. I do not agree with that position, but he made me think.

  78. Phil
    December 4, 2008 at 7:27 pm | #79

    Bro. Brandenburg,

    Once they get Codex B digitized will you be blogging on it.

    Also will how can you translate Sheol and Hades in so many ways(grave and

    hell)?

  79. Phil
    December 21, 2008 at 7:46 pm | #80

    Ok. here an a Christmas question. When the wise menm saw the star was the

    star in the east or did the wise men see the star in the west from the east, or

    was it just some miraculous star from God that could appear anywhere?

  80. Dave Mallinak
    December 22, 2008 at 10:10 am | #81

    “We have seen his star in the east and are come to worship him.”

  81. Phil
    December 22, 2008 at 8:46 pm | #82

    So you believe the wise men saw the star in the in the eastern part of the sky?

  82. January 6, 2009 at 5:10 am | #83

    I miss the “category” drop down list on the site. Looks like the new skin is missing it.

    • January 7, 2009 at 4:33 pm | #84

      Thanks Curtis,

      I added it. You should be able to see it above the archives drop down list.

  83. Bobby
    January 6, 2009 at 10:22 am | #85

    I REALLY miss seeing the author’s name right below the title of the post. It would be a blessing if you would consider getting that back to the old way. Thanks for hearing my suggestion and Happy New Year.

  84. January 6, 2009 at 1:34 pm | #86

    I noticed there is now an “E” in the Jackhammer adress. I was wndering, did this site go ecumenical?

  85. Wayne
    March 9, 2009 at 10:55 am | #87

    I would like to pose question to you regarding Matt. 18:15-17. In Matt. 18:17 it says,

    “And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church”

    Now “it” is not translated in the original but is implied. I guess it should read, “tell the church”.

    My question is by Greek grammar, What does the “it” refer back to? What are we to tell the church?

    The reason I ask is because I was given two possibilities of what the “it” refers to. I was wondering if by Greek grammar it can be isolated so as to exclude one of the possibilities?

    One possibility is the “it” refers to the matter of the dispute and its particulars therefore the need for witnesses. The “it” is the matter between the brothers.

    The other possibility is that the “it” refers back to the act of the unrepentant brother not hearing the judgment of the three witnesses. In other words, the church is to hear only that the brother would not respond to the judgment of the the brother and his witnesses, not the matter itself.

    Which interpretation fits the passage?

  86. dennis asuncion
    March 25, 2009 at 11:33 pm | #88

    Hi Jackhammer, i’m quite new in your website and I’m guessing you might have tackled this issue before….but anyway, may i ask what’s your stand regarding Contemporary Christian Music vs Traditional Music. Thanks!

  87. April 7, 2009 at 5:56 am | #89

    Interesting! I can’t find anyone commenting on Rick Jaeggli’s book from BJUPRESS condoning drinking alcohol in moderation. It is almost like everyone is afraid of BJU. Of course, it is possible that I just missed it.

    Bro. Allison

    • April 7, 2009 at 7:02 am | #90

      I know I missed it. I didn’t know he’d written any such book. I’m sure no one can rightfully accuse Jack Hammer of being afraid of BJU though.

  88. April 7, 2009 at 10:18 am | #91

    It sounds like Mike Allison is calling us out. I know Jaeggli takes the one wine approach in his argumentation. I don’t believe it is scriptural, neither do I believe it works, but I haven’t read the book, so I can’t comment in any kind of detail. I would say, however, that we’re not afraid of BJU here. A lot of what we’re writing about here clashes with them. Thanks for bringing this to our attention though, Bro. Allison.

    • April 9, 2009 at 6:02 pm | #92

      You took my post too seriously! Not calling anybody out. I hardly ever visit ‘the blogs’ but since I recently found out about Jaeggli’s book, and BJU’s publication of it, I decided to check out some of the blogs to see what was being said. I looked at “Fighting Fundamental Forum”, Sharper Iron, and here, and was rather surpised that no one had commented. So I thought I would write you guys, and it leads me to think that this book must still be ‘under the radar.’ Have a Great Day! FYI — Dr. Marc Monte has written a pamplet that is a response to Jaeggli’s book: “Baptist Bootleggers, the Subtle inroads of Moderation Among Fundamentalist Teetotalers.”

      • April 9, 2009 at 7:10 pm | #93

        Bro. Allison,

        I don’t know you. I’ve never met you, but I was having fun with you on the “calling us out.” I probably should have been more serious. I asked Bro. Monte for the alcohol book. I’ll probably just order the book. Thanks for the heads up on it. I’m sorry for the misunderstanding. I really was joking on the “calling out.” I don’t mind being called out.

        Thanks.

  89. April 7, 2009 at 6:42 pm | #94

    I was looking at Thomas Ross’s page and saw in one of the bible studies he has

    that he mentions election, but you guys are not calvinists. What is the

    difference?

  90. April 7, 2009 at 6:46 pm | #95

    Also do you have people in your churches that think they are saved and then

    really get saved later on or does the way you present the gospel eliminate

    that . If you believe in election does the Holy spirit only convict the elect?

  91. April 7, 2009 at 9:31 pm | #96

    Phil,

    First, we believe in election because it is in the Bible. It is a matter of how you believe election that decides whether someone is a Calvinist or not. You should believe in election too.

    Second, we have people make false professions. Large portions of the NT are written to a mixed multitude. Unsaved people do get into a church. Matthew 13, the parable of the sower deals with that.

    Thanks for your questions.

  92. Tony
    May 11, 2009 at 8:45 pm | #97

    Spending time in prayer and studying God’s Word is important, but there is error being mixed with truth in the contemplative prayer and spiritual journaling teachings that are cropping up and being discussed as a way to find God, especially with young people. A Biblical defense separating truth from error is needed. I was wondering what your thoughts were on Biblical meditation verses the mystical based contemplative praying and spiritual journaling that have arisen out of monastic teachings. When does meditation cross over into self awareness rather than just considering and applying scripture? Is this a proper practice for a Christian that has just been twisted by Satan? Journaling in and of itself is not wrong, but if it is one of the main acitivities of this mysticism should we be promoting it as a way to find God. Looking for some insight. If you have already discussed this, please point me in that direction.

  93. May 12, 2009 at 9:28 am | #98

    Tony,

    I had not heard of this specifically, but things like it are very common: “letting the Bible speak to me” and it gives a message that isn’t what it is actually saying, but that doesn’t matter because God spoke to me.

  94. May 12, 2009 at 2:42 pm | #99

    I think the terminology that Tony is referring to comes out of the emergent church movement. I say that only because I got to hear a David Cloud lecture on the subject recently. Is that what you are talking about ,Tony? If so, we haven’t dealt with it. The emergents are an easy target for anyone with a doctrinal standard, and the Internet is full of those who take a stand (although often inconsistenly) against emergents.

    We tend to address the evangelicals who gave birth to these emergents, and are their conservative counterparts.

  95. Tony
    May 12, 2009 at 4:07 pm | #100

    Thanks,
    That is correct. I have seen more emphasis on opening oneself to the Holy Spirit and looking for some type of experience rather than meditating on the Word of God. I believe the Holy Spirit directs our study of God’s Word, but do you see any danger for young or immature Christians stopping and waiting in the silence for some guidance? I know we tend to rush through our time with God and some say that this technique of stopping and waiting for direction helps us to develop a closer relationship with God. I always have been taught and believe that our relationship is developed out of our knowledge, understanding, and obedience to God’s Word. (“if you love me, keep my commandments”)
    This contemplative style is so close to having a God and I time, devotional time, or what ever you call your time with our Heavenly Father, but they encourage the silence or quiet time more than the study.
    I only became alarmed, because the emptying of one’s mind can lead to a type of mysticism.
    Is this technique dangerous for young Christians or am I not trusting enough in the guiding of the Spirit to protect a young Christian?
    This contemplative style is being supported by some conservative evangelicals in their youth group movements and parachurch organizations. I know what I believe, but it can be hard to defend it to conservative Christians when they think this technique will develop a closer walk with God.
    I guess the question is when does meditating turn to contemplating? It appears that not much study has been done with this, so I will continue my research so I can be ready for any of Satan’s deceptive attacks. Thanks for your time and if you do it as a topic I will be reading.

  96. May 12, 2009 at 5:23 pm | #101

    I don’t think Christians understand discernment, not even most evangelicals. They miss it with the church. The church, local only, is the pillar and ground of the truth. The truth should be exposed to many godly men, not just believed because I felt it or got it. The Holy Spirit isn’t going to give one person something new and different than what men in the church agree that God has said. The Bible is authority, but in these cases the Bible is like a divining rod or a ouija board, not working like scripture itself says scripture works. Scripture isn’t being followed when it isn’t being followed based on how Scripture says it is to be followed.

    With emergents, I see this as part of their culturally contextual rebellion. They invent a Christianity that fits into that, which is very personalized, like your cup of mocha at the Starbucks counter.

  97. May 12, 2009 at 5:52 pm | #102

    David Cloud has some helpful material here: http://www.wayoflife.org/database/contemplativeheader.html

  98. Tony
    May 12, 2009 at 6:57 pm | #103

    Thanks gentlemen, that is what was needed.

  99. James H
    May 13, 2009 at 3:38 pm | #104

    Kent ,
    I enjoy reading your comments
    I have been reading the net, and am sad to find that “In my fathers house are many mansions ” isn’t true, at least according to some great baptist scholar, …… I guess I need to be satisfied with a room, .. I am kinda confused , … I am hoping you could explain whether The Lord has a room , or he really has many mansions ….. Jesus did say ” if it were not so I would have told you” appreciate your thoughts, James

  100. May 23, 2009 at 8:20 pm | #105

    Which is better: Cleaner Internet or Covenant Eyes?

  101. May 24, 2009 at 10:20 pm | #106

    James H.,

    I don’t think mansions is a bad translation. Kutilek, who wrote the article criticizing, think very highly of himself. I think most people reading John 14 know that it isn’t “mansions” like some southern plantation, but rooms inside the Father’s house.

    Phil,

    Pastor Jeff Voegtlin knows more about the filters than I do. I use Covenant Eyes, but I can’t say it is better.

    • May 25, 2009 at 7:11 am | #107

      Phil,

      I’m partial to Cleaninter.net because the owners and designer are members at our church. They’ve also been in the business almost since the beginning of internet filtering. I believe they are one of the best for filters. They can also monitor. On the other hand, Covenant Eyes in my opinion does a better job helping you with “accountability.” Both companies now provide both accountability and filtering.

  102. James H
    May 26, 2009 at 4:24 pm | #108

    Kent ,

    I had always thought ” in my fathers house are many mansions” , meant we would literally have a mansion because we were of the fathers house, just as the old testement has said ” the house of david” I figured the saints were of the Fathers house, it being a huge estate, a city built 4 square where we would each have a mansion, one that the Lord had prepared,,, not one of mans design of course, but a mansion none the less,
    I know many of the modern versions change mansions to room and I thought the translators of the AV had a very good good reason to use the word mansions….

    I get pretty frustrated with scholars who are trying to subject the average christian with criticism that causes them to question what they read in the bible , I wonder if the motive is to have the christian look to their brilliance and knowledge instead of just trusting what the Lord said .. or if it their desire is to stop the christian from trusting so much in the bible as they have no bible they can trust in…. reading this scholar Kutilek I get the impression he has a bitter spirit when it comes to the AV , and takes great delight in attacking and belittling a book that has done so much for the cause of Christ and has been the foundation of faith for so many.

    James H

  103. May 26, 2009 at 9:16 pm | #109

    James,

    I’m fine with your explanation of “mansions.”

  104. May 27, 2009 at 10:17 pm | #110

    You can get accountability software like Covenant Eyes for free from xxxchurch.com (I know, messed up name–but they are Christian (?) neo-evangelical people. I don’t know much else about them, but they send every website my computer goes on to my wife for free. I also have the Hedgebuilders filter because if one is in ministry he can get it for $2 a month.

  105. May 29, 2009 at 3:49 pm | #111

    In the book of Acts(chapter 6) the people of the church selected the first

    deacons. In I Timothy 3,Paul gives Timothy the qualifications for the office

    of a deacon. Who chooses the deacon church or pastor? Do the people choose

    and pastor just preach the qualifications of the office. Are deacons just suppose

    to serve and support the pastor or is that an un-biblical Hyles-run-a church-

    like a buisines-hiearchy-philosophy? Is it biblical for a pastor to fire deacons?

    Is a church constitition biblical? Sorry that my questios are so many theses are

    just pertinent for me right now.

  106. May 29, 2009 at 5:14 pm | #112

    I don’t mind any of our esteemed readership to correct me if they think I’m wrong, Phil, but let me attempt to answer your questions.

    Who chooses the deacon church or pastor?

    Acts 6 says the people make the choice, but I believe that, like everything, with the leadership of the pastor. And this is where the 1 Timothy 3 portion comes in.

    For question 2, which is do deacons support and serve the pastor?

    Acts 6 and 1 Timothy 3 come in again. I believe that the deacons will follow the leadership of the pastor, because he is the overseer. However, I don’t think they are serving the pastor. They are serving the Lord by serving the people. Certainly the pastor can be served too, but nowhere says they’re serving the pastor. They are serving God under the leadership of the pastor. You would hope that everyone is on the same page on serving the Lord and the needs of the people. Now, we would think that this relieves the pastor or pastors of certain physical demands. The advent of ownership of property by churches (something not in the Bible) seems to have brought this to a different level of responsibility, sometimes to distraction.

    Is it biblical for a pastor to fire deacons?

    I believe that we should assume that if the church chooses that they too would dismiss, based on disqualifying grounds.

    Is a church constitution biblical?

    It is non-biblical as opposed to unbiblical. It should help a church organize (1 Cor. 14:40) and operate justly. To practice order and justice, those two principles, it is acceptable to have a constitution as a basis. One purpose of the pastoral epistles is to learn how to behave in the church of God. A constitution should flesh out what scriptures says.

  107. May 29, 2009 at 9:41 pm | #113

    Thanks,

    I think I needed to se the relationship between the people choosing a deacon

    and pastor approving. I this because the pastor of my church was trying to

    revise the constition. Two of the things he was trying to amend was that the

    constitution required that you have so many deacons per people and the

    constitution did not allow him to fire any deacons. He had spent time talking

    with the CLA to come up with some other changes that he said would protect

    our church in the futureand tha he was not trying to go behind the church

    family’s back ,but trying to make a good draft of the changess he wanted to

    make . After church on Wed night he told us all this. He said he felt God was

    done with him here and resigned. I think many of the people did not like that he

    was going to revise the constitution. I have never looked at the constitution so i

    do not know what else is in it or all the changes that were going to be made.

    Our church has to find a pastor now. I guess the associate pastor will fill in,

    but i do not think that the majority of people will vote him in as pastor. i just

    needed to sort through this to see if I could figure out who was wrong and who

    was right.

    PS: The deacons of our church do not handle the finances. The pastor set it up

    to where a financial panel of those in the church could handel the money and

    deacons could focus one being servants.

  108. June 2, 2009 at 6:26 pm | #114

    Bro. Brandenburg,

    For some reason you cannot recieve my e-mails.

  109. ahimbisa brian
    July 6, 2009 at 6:59 am | #115

    Hello How can I get yr articles daily in my email inbox , thanx.

  110. August 7, 2009 at 11:32 pm | #116

    I’m curious, should women speak in church AT ALL? I mean to the point of if her child is rustling around, can she tell him to stop?

    Kyle

  111. August 8, 2009 at 10:18 am | #117

    Kyle,

    I believe that the context for the woman’s silence is a forum for authority, which we see as preaching and I would also extend that to church business, since she is not to usurp authority over the man and a vote is a means by which she could do that. She can testify, sing praises, etc., and the silence is related to authority, so I believe that the rustling around issue is a non-issue.

  112. August 20, 2009 at 2:33 pm | #118

    I’ve been looking for some good websites/blogs that my kids can read (boy age 13, girl age 11). I want them to be encouraged by like-minded (in doctrine and practice) young people- do you have any suggestions?

    • August 27, 2009 at 8:37 pm | #119

      Hey Susan,

      My name is Kyle. I’m not a teen, but I am a young (22) independent baptist and I write occasionally on my blog. It isn’t like a diary, but more of devotionals based on what God gives me in my devotions. It may not be what you are looking for, but check it out and if you do like it then pass it along to your teens. God bless you. I like your heart.

      Kyle

      http://www.goyeintoalltheworld.blogspot.com

      • sunniemom
        August 28, 2009 at 7:28 am | #120

        Thanks Kyle, I’ll check it out.

  113. brian
    August 21, 2009 at 7:01 am | #121

    Please visit IFB 1000.com you will get all you need for yr children

  114. August 21, 2009 at 7:42 am | #122

    Brian,
    I was hoping for something more specific- I am looking for blogs and books written by young IFBers, as in teens on fire for God. I have looked through some of the sites on the link you posted, and I am not seeing what I am looking for.

  115. August 21, 2009 at 11:29 am | #123

    Susan, if you check the blogs that like us on the side bar, those have some good things for kids to read. Are there blogs written for young people by separatists? I don’t know of any myself.

  116. August 21, 2009 at 12:54 pm | #124

    Bro. Brandenburg,
    That is what I was thinking of- young bloggers of the KJV independent separatist Baptist stripe. I can find tons of links to young writers/bloggers similar in belief structure to Covenant Life Church and The Rebelution, but it seemed strange to me that I couldn’t find any, as in ANY, that fit a criteria more to my liking. Don’t ‘we’ have any teens excited about God that are using the internet to share their journey?

  117. brian
    August 22, 2009 at 4:52 am | #125

    you may check on “Totally Teen Ministries” in particular, if it doesnt meet yr needs then type Christian teen blogs in the search engine and see what it will show you,and remember to first check what they believe in coz not all that say they are christians really mean it. I hope you will get what you want.

  118. August 22, 2009 at 9:48 am | #126

    Susan, this is an interesting topic for discussion. We live in a free country, first amendment in all that, so I’m not saying it is illegal. I’m talking about what is scripturally right. Why do we care so much about teenagers think in this country? Our politicians are obsessed with this too. I do believe it is a symptom of cultural degradation. I think teens should be excited about reading seasoned pastors who care about scripture. They should interact with them rather than pooling their ignorance at a teen blog. Just some thoughts.

  119. August 22, 2009 at 10:01 am | #127

    Well, I think there are quite a few ‘teenagers’ in the Bible who were quite the example of spiritual strength, and I also recall Paul telling Timothy not to allow people to despise his youth, but to be a good example. Kids hear all the time how they are doomed to be immature, rebellious, and carnal, and I think that is a big fat lie from Satan. I want my kids to be encouraged by the fact that there are young people who are studying to show themselves approved unto God and are excited about the Christian journey. Just as I gain insight and encouragement from many quarters, including other wives and mothers, I don’t see any reason that my kids shouldn’t find some encouragement from like-minded youth.

  120. Joshua
    August 23, 2009 at 12:44 am | #128

    You do see teenagers that were examples of spiritual strength, but I can’t remember too many that jumped directly into a teaching role in their youth.

    Paul did say not to let people despise Timothy’s youth, but you must remember that Timothy was an ordained Pastor over a congregation. That’s quite different to a Christian teenager with a keyboard.

    If you look around, you’ll find most Christian young people writing their own material are doing so outside of their churches authority, and you’ll also find it to be confusing, contradictory, immature and very full of pride. I even find myself (as a young man) as I comment on blogs that I can be drawn into debates and in the debate my pride wells up in me, as people agree with me or as I attack others arguments. I think this is why the apostle Paul talked about “Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.”

    I’m glad to hear that you’ve found encouragement from other wives and mothers. I think you’ll find it rarer among youth to do so, particularly if one takes on the role of a teacher. Youth is a great time to learn from Scripture and elders. You can find fellowship among other youth who are doing likewise. This is exactly how it functions in the church. People come from all around to hear teaching from the Pastor, but our communication, edification and encouragement doesn’t have to just be directly from that man. We come together for a common purpose to hear common teaching, and fellowship takes place around that. In the same way, the matters that are discussed here should be relevant to Christian youth. If they come for that here, then they can fellowship and be encouraged by others that are doing likewise.

    If no other youth are doing so, then the question must be asked why? Do our young people have the view that doctrine and church practice is boring? Where did that come from?

    I trust and hope that God provides your children friends of Godly character who will encourage them in their Christian walk. I’m not sure it’s going to be possible to find that in a “teen blog”.

  121. August 23, 2009 at 12:29 pm | #129

    Thank you for your response, Joshua. At this point I’d like to say that I am not looking for teaching material- for that we have our pastor, teachers, and other preachers whose messages we read, listen to, watch, and many elders in the faith that we fellowship with- as well as the fact that my husband and I are our children’s primary teachers.

    To further explain my search- When we read history together as a family (we’re homeschoolers, btw) there are many, many stories of young people who accomplished great things in their young lives. We recently read about the life of David Farragut, who captained a ship at 12 years old. It seems to me, and to quite a few other people whose material I’ve read, that the stage we call ‘adolescence’ is a recent and quite artificial construct. We no longer expect anything of our young people, and they are content to fulfill our rock-bottom expectations of them.

    I’m interested in challenging my kids to meet the very high expectations that God has of them- they are not excused from achieving spiritual maturity because they are soon to be teenagers. However, in our culture, the spiritually mature (or desiring to be mature) teenager is a rarity. I was hoping someone on this site would know if there were some teens who were blogging about their own desire to leave childhood behind (1 Cor. 13:11) and live to the glory of God. I think it would encourage everyone to know that there are more teens out there trying to do right than what they see around them.

    The fact that most folks seem to think that a spiritually mature teen is a rarity on par with the dodo should give us pause. I believe we are harming our kids by implying that they have nothing to offer, and that we really don’t expect much of them until they turn… 21? 26? 30? How old was David, Joseph, Daniel… when they faced the challenges that they did, and would the average teen in one of our churches be able to do what they did? How about Jesus, who at 12 years old was able to fend for himself for three days in Jerusalem without mom and dad, and speak with maturity and intelligence to the adults around him?

    Joshua- It caught my attention that you seem to think that blogging should be under the church’s authority- by that do you mean that church members who decide to blog should make sure they are consistent with what their church is teaching? I’d agree with that, btw. Or do you mean that church members/teens who want to blog should ask the church’s permission?

    Another thought-when it comes to Christian fellowship- I don’t confine myself to those within the walls of my church. I’ve corresponded with like-minded minister’s wives and missionaries since I was a kid. With the internet it’s even easier to stay in touch and share what God is doing in our lives with our friends and families, and people who have similar interests, even if they live and work abroad. Technology is a part of life now, and my husband and I have decided to teach our kids how to use it properly, rather than act like the internet and mobile phones are evil boogeymen.

    I hope that explains things more- it seems that there are few if any good links to offer, and that’s fine. The conversation and thoughts that have been brought forward have been interesting and thought provoking, and maybe in the future the Jackhammer bloggers will further explore this topic.

    • Joshua
      August 28, 2009 at 1:02 am | #130

      Hello again Susan,

      Sorry it’s taken me so long to reply, I forgot to check back here.

      I agree with what you wrote about artificial immaturity that is expected. I do hope you can find some youth like you explained: living for the Lord Jesus and putting aside childish things. I also think it’s great to teach your children how to handle technology rather than hiding under a rock. Hopefully Kyle’s site will be what you are looking for.

      My experience with IB youth posting online has not been a positive one. We have a forum in Australia called “Give me Truth” for IFB youth, and it is a haven for carnality, vying, debate, strife, complaining and provocation, to say nothing of false teaching. A smaller blog maintained by a godly older individual should be a much different affair, but as Pastor Brandenburg said, I’ve never seen such a thing.

      What I said about pastoral authority is just a reference to the boatloads of “Young Fundamentalists” out there on the net ocean writing screeds about the ills and errors of their elders. I think that teens that want to blog should do so with their parent’s permission.

      I wish you all the best in your search.

      God bless

      • sunniemom
        August 28, 2009 at 4:30 am | #131

        Thank you, Joshua, for taking the time to reply.

        I think we need to ask why IFB youth are so carnal and immature. I have theories about that, including the church’s acceptance and adoption of such things as peer segregated education and a phase of life called ‘adolescence’. Childhood is practically worshiped in our culture, with ‘youth leaders’ being little more than big kids themselves. And then we have the gall to ask why young people don’t look to adults for answers or want to spend time with them. Well, we’ve shipped them off to spend most of their time with peers for the first 18 years of their lives, and few adults make an effort to be involved with and mentor young people, so I think we’ve gotten what we paid for.

        I have seen some discontent with the spiritual status quo amongst young people who are rejecting the typical low expectations of teens, but what I’ve seen has been amongst evangelicals (The Rebelution, for instance) and not IFBers… which raises some questions of its own…

  122. September 20, 2009 at 3:20 pm | #132

    Why in the Old Testament when a unbethrothed virgin was raped why did God require

    that he mary her? Was it because society considered a girl who was not a virgin as

    not as valuable. In the chapter where Amnon raped Tamar, after the crime took

    place she considered him sending her away as worse than the act of rape. Was

    making the rapist marry the unbethrothed virgin more humane(I can’t think of a

    better word) in God’s eyes? ( Hope that makes sense)

    What is the role of the church in the millenium?

    In Mark 13:32 says that not even Jesus,but the Father only knows when Jesus coming

    is. How caan this be when Jesus is God and one of his attributes would be

    omniscience?

  123. November 18, 2009 at 12:42 pm | #133

    I know Bro. Jeff is the maintenance man on this sight, but I wanted to know if

    you could bring the printable version of the posts choice back to the blog.

    • November 20, 2009 at 8:07 pm | #134

      I’ll be working on it. I know some like to print the whole thing out.

  124. November 27, 2009 at 11:30 am | #135

    I have been reading this blog on and off for the past few weeks. I must say, I thoroughly enjoy it! While I may not agree 100% with everything said here, but hey, I don’t agree 100% with everything I have ever said! You men are very diligent in your handling of the topics. I want to thank all the hammers for this blog. It is a real blessing. It is very thought provoking and challenging indeed!

    -Pastor Dave

  125. December 6, 2009 at 12:59 pm | #136

    In response to Phil, from Sept 20, he wrote:

    Why in the Old Testament when a unbethrothed virgin was raped why did God require
    that he mary [sic] her?

    God never did do that for rape. He put people to death for raping people. If two people committed consenting fornication God required that they get married if the father permits.

    With Amon and Tamar–Tamar thought that at least if they got married it would make it somewhat better. Nothing in the story is commended by God–the point is that all the people were in deep sin and very messed up.

    Believers in churches will reign.

    On Mark 13:32, please see my work “Objections to the Trinity Answered” at http://thross7.googlepages.com. The short answer is that Christ was limited in knowledge as true Man (Mark 13:32; Luke 2:52, but Omniscient as true God (John 16:30; 21:17).
    omniscience?

    • December 7, 2009 at 10:00 am | #137

      Thanks Bro. Ross that clears it up a little bit. It was unclear to me because in

      the previous verse it only talked about a bethrothed virgin getting raped , but

      not an unbethrothed one. Gill’s commentary said the same thing you did.

  126. David Morse
    February 10, 2010 at 4:46 pm | #138

    So, I haven’t read much of this blog, but see that you are massively popular and graduated from Maranatha (which I am attending). Are you KJVO? What is the main point of this blog and what does the title stand for? Thanks for taking the time to answer this for me! Hope to be reading more soon.
    David M.
    http://coffeeshopchristian.wordpress.com

  127. February 10, 2010 at 5:04 pm | #139

    Hello David. I don’t think we’re massively popular but I appreciate your reading. We believe that God preserved His Words in the Greek TR and Hebrew Masoretic. The KJV is the only English translation of those Words.

    Jackhammer exposes Scripture and gives a scriptural point of view on numerous subjects from the perspective of the three Jackhammers. The Bible is like a hammer. Thanks.

    • David Morse
      February 10, 2010 at 9:43 pm | #140

      Who are these Jackhammers? you and two other authors? I will keep reading. I enjoy your material.

      • February 11, 2010 at 5:31 am | #141

        Check out the link at the top of the page titled, “Who is Jack Hammer?”

  128. Joshua
    February 10, 2010 at 6:02 pm | #142

    I believe Pastor Brandenburg is simply being modest.

    Please see the bottom of https://jackhammer.wordpress.com/2008/12/05/a-pilgrimage-to-a-far-left-land/ for the evidence.

    “Kent has been voted the most popular man in America among evangelicals.”

  129. February 11, 2010 at 4:15 pm | #143

    Joshua,

    Oh come on! :0 Why must you let these highly scientific popularity results slip out as so!?!? That vote was taken at a high Appalachian jews harp convention.

  130. February 23, 2010 at 6:15 pm | #144

    The Bible says that children are the heritage of the LORD and the fruit of the womb is his reward. Does this passage apply to all mankind or just to Christians?

    • February 23, 2010 at 8:17 pm | #145

      Hi Phil,

      Thanks for your input here at Jack Hammer. I’m going to jump in and give some of an answer if I can. I believe it applies to all mankind. A heritage should be understood as a stewardship. It’s something we have, but are not going to keep, and will be responsible for what we did with it. In that sense, all parents receive their children from God. All parents will not keep their children. And all are responsible to rear them as God would have them be reared. This is a responsibility given to mankind in creation. We are to multiply and replenish the earth, to subdue and have dominion over it. To do that, we must rear our children as God would have them trained. And because this command is given in creation, all creatures are responsible to obey it. Not just Christians.

  131. February 24, 2010 at 7:30 am | #146

    Thanks for answering Bro. Jeff. I was getting mentally snagged on the fruit of the
    womb being God’s reward and things like teen pregnancies and babies being born out of wedlock.

  132. March 11, 2010 at 5:33 pm | #147

    As far as you all know, do Christians accept Ezekiel 44:1-3 about the Eastern Gate as a prophecy yet to be fulfilled by Christ? If so, when? Is it the Millennial Kingdom? This was the gate of the triumphal entry, right?

    Thanks!

  133. March 11, 2010 at 10:27 pm | #148

    Jason, I’m on the road and so I’m not near my notes on Ezekiel. I’d rather not answer your question until I’m nearby. I preached through Ezekiel a few years ago. Thanks though!

  134. Josh
    March 29, 2010 at 11:56 am | #149

    Does anybody know what Eric Capaci of Gospel Light Baptist Church in Hot Springs, Arkansas is like? Where does he stand on Repentance?

  135. March 29, 2010 at 1:17 pm | #150

    Josh,

    I know nothing about him.

  136. March 29, 2010 at 3:32 pm | #151

    Capaci went to Hyles Anderson and Oklahoma Baptist(Jim Vineyard).

    What is there church like- big. If you go to there web site http://gospellight.org

    you can see there gospel presentation under New to GLBC and click Bible way to

    heaven.They hsve a church book store/ college book store that’s full of Hyles,

    Schaap and, John R. Rice materials.I went there a couple of times for Arkansas

    Christian School Association Academic Copetition(Fundamenmtal Baptist Christian

    Schools only). I think they(Gospel Light) left(ACSA) because their school was to

    big.

  137. Cathy McNabb
    May 24, 2010 at 9:56 pm | #152

    Josh my experience from what I know about the place is that is just a HillBilly FBCH/HAC. I do know few that attend. I also know listening to their music, I have 3 cd’s and I am quite disappointed with the worldliness of it. Oh they have a few good songs, the rest sounds like rock-a-billy southern gospel style.

    My question for jackhammer is have you all thought of doing a Prophecy theme? I really don’t know who to trust and believe. the Bible is confusing to a novice like me. Would love to hear what you all believe.

  138. May 26, 2010 at 3:52 pm | #153

    Cathy,

    I think it’s a good idea.

  139. June 2, 2010 at 7:58 am | #154

    I just so happened too run across your blog and think that our blog may be of help to you readers! http://www.blog.reformu.com is a blog that shares uplifting devotionals for Pastor Paul A. Kingsbury, Steven B. Curington and other Reformers Unanimous preachers and teachers! Thank you for your time. -Dennis

  140. June 20, 2010 at 7:46 pm | #155

    Dear Jack Hammer: I would really like to find the Salvation testimony of the late Dr. Jack Hyles. Surely after all he has preached and written it exists, I just cant find it. No doubt it is an oversight on my part and someone here can quickly send it to me.

    Thank you!

  141. June 21, 2010 at 9:23 am | #156

    “Many children went down for salvation, but not Jack Hyles. He never missed a service and often endured preaching,wondering. ‘Will the preacher even get finished.’ But he did not get saved early in life as did many of his friends.The Women’s Missionary Service spent a special time in prayer for ‘Jackie Boy’. Shortly thereafter, during the morning service, the pastor prayed,’Dear God, help Jackie boy get saved.’Young Jack took it as a sign of distinction that the preacher knew him, he went around telling his friends, ‘The preacher prayed for me.’ The effectual prayers of Jack’s mother were heard by God. The fact that the church was praying for Jack Hyles had an impact on his life. On Sunday evening, the church service was conducted in the backyard because of the summer heat. Young Jack accepted Christ. It was not outstanding or earthshaking, a simple poor boy recieving Jesus Christ. He knelt on some lumber next to the back door praying, ‘Dear God, the preacher prayed for me. If you will take me, I want to get saved.’Theat evening one other boy was saved.Today, Hyles looks back and encourages preachers,’Never get discouraged when only children get saved. You’ll never know what God can do with the life of a poor boy.’ ‘I never doubted my salvation from that moment to this hour,’ Hyles maintains. His salvaion was genuine, satisfying, and eternal.

    Taken from Worlds Largest Sunday School- by Elmer L. Towns chapter 17 ( Train Up a Child in the way he Should Go: Poverty Surrounds The Birth and Life of Jack Hyles
    pgs 128-129

  142. June 21, 2010 at 10:50 am | #157

    Thanks. Who is Elmer T Towns and how does he know this ? Sorry to sound so skeptical, but I have too much Regan in me…. Trust but verify :) No offense to anyone intended.

  143. June 21, 2010 at 11:47 am | #158

    I think Elmer L. Towns is a professor at Liberty University and has been for years. He wrote some books on large churches back in the 1970′s and another book just dedidcated to how First Baptist Church of Hammond does Sunday School. The book I cited in my previous comment is Available at Amazon ($1.47 Hardcover)($1.90 Unknown binding).The book covers the various aspects of FBCH Sunday School and has some chapters with a personal interview with Hyles concerning his background, enterance into the ministry, How he became independent, how he got to FBCH. The book even has a transcribed sermon of a Sunday night sevice that Towns was present for. If you put in Towns name at Amazon.com you can find alot of his books. The books topics range from sunday school to church to prayer the Holy spirit so he’s written alot of books. Just remember that its Elmer L. Towns not T
    that might mess up your search. That’s about all I know about Towns.

  144. June 25, 2010 at 1:12 am | #159

    Could you do a series on Baptist/church history? I am particularly interested in the teachings of Donatist, Monatist, Waldensians, Paulicians, and Albigenses. I have taught church history, but my library is limited to a few sources. I came across an article in “Catholic Dictionary of Apologetics”, which was criticizing the “Trail of Blood.” It has stirred me to studying more Baptist History. I have since noticed online there are many Baptist who find it foolish to believe Baptist churches existed before the reformation, and openly mock the “Trail of Blood”. To me this question is of utmost importance. I feel, if a church cannot trace its lineage back to Christ, there is a serious problem. Jesus said His church would not fail. The Catholic article wanted to discredit Baptist History, so as to show they are the true church that goes back to the apostles, not the Baptist. (I am not a “Landmarker” or “Brider”, but I do think there must have been churches with the same Apostolic faith throughout history.)

  145. June 25, 2010 at 11:14 am | #160

    Hi Terry,

    I like the idea. We’ll see about that.

  146. Denny King
    July 2, 2010 at 5:08 am | #161

    In your blog post regarding the KJV issue between Schaap and Fugate, you make some very interesting observations. The most important one being that one side weighs to heavy the historical evidences versus the promises and the other side vice versa. You state that we cannot even have a rationale debate until we are willing to take a scriptural view of the issue. However, after reading the blog post, I’m left thinking, “what affect did this blog post have, if any, on resolving the issue?” You never state what that scriptural view should be and you never state what in fact is scripturally correct. So from those of us who are still trying to figure it out, I ask thee…..What is the proper view of the KJV issue and what are the scriptures to back that up? Anyone can write a blog post critiquing a man for his views, but don’t leave us hanging. Give us your scriptural opinion so that we can all move on. Sheesh, this issue is getting so ridiculous because no one wants to man up and say this is what the scripture says regarding the issue and this is what we should believe, end of story.

  147. July 2, 2010 at 5:22 am | #162

    Denny,

    You clearly don’t read here much. There are not too many pastors around have written more on the KJV. I suggest you take a look at Kent’s other blog, http://kentbrandenburg.blogspot.com. On the side bar you will find many posts concerning the KJV. I also recommend you purchase the book he helped author and edited called “Thou Shalt Keep Them”. I think you find his writings helpful. BY the way, I have never met Kent, I have just read on his blog. I am sure he will answer for himself. So go ahead and “man up” and read his other blog and book. :)

  148. July 3, 2010 at 3:36 pm | #163

    Denny,

    Could you direct us to some quotes that indicate that we rely on history over scripture for our position on the preservation of Scripture? Which, by the way, is that God has preserved every Word He inspired to every generation of believer. To my knowledge, you’re the first person who has ever made that observation about what we’ve presented here.

  149. rei
    July 18, 2010 at 1:27 pm | #164

    I am a solid believer of salvation by faith and it does not require good works to get you God’s promise eternal life…if faith in God’s saving grace in Chirst Jesus is only requirement why does the bible says in John 3:16 “that whosoever believeth in him”.. since the word “believes” there is in present tense does it require for a person to continue believing in Christ as His own Savior to the day he dies to be saved…also as I am clouded in my understanding of Hebrews 6:6 if one falls away it is impossible to renew him again to repentance…also in Hebrews 10:26 Heb 10:26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, …does it require for a person to continue to believe in God’s saving grace in Christ Jesus until the day he dies for him to be saved?

  150. rei
    July 18, 2010 at 1:39 pm | #165

    What if a person who really accepts Christ as His personal Savior falls away and became an atheist contesting the existence of God and the divinity of Christ and he died that way…he died not believing that Jesus is the sinless man incarnation of God and that He did not die and on the third day got resurrected.. he died rejecting HIm as His Savior he died even rejecting the need to be saved for nhe deny the existence of life after death does the verse 2Ti 2:13 “If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself…”still apply?

  151. rei
    July 18, 2010 at 2:37 pm | #166

    I found your answer to my question The condition in Colossians 1:23 is the first class condition. The writer is assuming this condition to be reality, to be true. In other words, you should assume that anyone who will be presented to God holy, that anyone who is reconciled to God through Jesus Christ, will also continue in the faith. Why? Because believers do continue. He’s not continuing in order to be reconciled. He’s continuing because he’s been reconciled already. Those who Jesus reconciles will also continue in the faith. It isn’t just possible that a person who is reconciled will continue in the faith, and it isn’t just probable. It is the assumed reality of the reconciled, of those whom Jesus will present before God, that they will continue in the faith. so if you really are a believer it is impossible for you to fall away…but that is not the case in hebrews6:6 it is clear there that the writer is talking about someone who is really save….partakers of the Holy Ghost…

    • Chase
      December 21, 2012 at 8:43 pm | #167

      Hi I saw your post on hebrews 6:6 and the thing is it was written to Jewish believers who were still crucifying the Son of God afresh i.e. through temple sacrifice, the greek participle in crucifying and putting to shame are all written in the in present tense not aoroist tense meaning that this was a present and continuous action and therefore it’s Impossible to renew to repentance those who have fallen back into dead works instead of faith towards God, because the Law and temple sacrifices are all foreshadowing of things to come (Hebrews 10:1) and its impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. See basically it’s impossible to turn from your sin towards Christ while you are crucifying him afresh, And in the case of those people who had fallen away if they continued to practice such things there end would be to be burned not because they lost their salvation but because they demonstrated that they were never truly believers. (But this is not the case of the Hebrews because the author feels confident of better things that accompany salvation). Because by participating in temple sacrifice they were basically calling Christ a false Messiah and publicly shaming him. Many people interpret this as a one time fall because the “If” they shall fall away but the thing is there is no “if” in the original Greek. The text correctly reads in the case of those who have fallen away it’s impossible to be renewed to repentance as long as they crucify the Son of God afresh. Thats why its impossible to renew them to repentece and go onto perfection, That’s why it says they have become dull of hearing (5:11) and should be teachers by now (5:12) and as you read on (6:1) the author says let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ “not” laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and faith towards God. I hope that clarifies that passage for you.
      Hebrews 9:12-14 really sums up things quite nicely :)

      God Bless you
      Chase

  152. Deron Grotelueschen
    July 21, 2010 at 2:17 am | #168

    I appreciate this section of your site.

    2Sam 15:7 “And it came to pass after forty years, that Absalom said unto the king, I pray thee, let me go and pay my vow, which I have vowed unto the LORD, in Hebron.” What was this forty years after? Meaning, what event is referred to here?

  153. July 22, 2010 at 11:46 am | #169

    Deron,

    Thanks for asking. I’m not going to go into the full explanation, but I believe the “forty years” relates to the context of the previous verse. Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel. Forty years before, David had captured the hearts of the men of Israel when he slew Goliath.

  154. August 4, 2010 at 2:33 pm | #170

    I was just wondering if anyone had any recommendations for a good commentary on Isaiah.

  155. August 4, 2010 at 4:28 pm | #172

    Chad,

    Young’s Classic Commentary on Isaiah is good. The NICOT on Isaiah is excellent.

  156. August 5, 2010 at 10:58 am | #173

    Hammers,

    I know you have debunked the idea of the third type of person, the carnal Christian, positioned between the carnal unsaved and spiritual saved person. This has me re-thinking through various passages as I encounter them.

    I have heard preaching over the years that presents an inconsistent view of the flesh and sin nature. On the one hand, I’ve heard preaching that says that we have the old nature to fight after we are saved (“war in my members”). Others have said that, as we are dead to sin, the old nature is dead and we *should* not live unto it (“we that are dead to sin”).

    The question comes across as, “After we are saved, do we still have an old nature.” Those that answer “yes” generally teach that the sin in a Christian’s life hinders our fellowship with God and our prayers, but indicates little concerning our justified state. Those that answer “no” generally wind up using our persistent sin as an argument against our justified state.

    Depending upon which passage I’m looking at, both seem to have some validity, and therein lies the problem.

    I know of no preacher that preaches it one way all the time, thus missing the other side. They generally cover both in different messages. It’s fairer to treat a sermon in isolation that a person in isolation for purposes of this discussion.

    In these conversations, I am wondering if it is more consistent to see 3 natures instead of 2 (maybe “nature” is the wrong word here). The “old nature” as it is preached is always bad. The “new nature” is always good. The fleshly nature, while weighing us down, affecting the spiritual life, stays with us after we are saved.

    Before Adam sinned, he had a body and thus a “fleshly nature”, but certainly not an “old nature” in the sinful sense. After he sinned, he died spiritually (If I understand Paul’s description of himself correctly). When God saved him, re was given new life spiritually, and what?? His sin nature died, but his original fleshly nature remained through all these states? I assume this to be the case after trying to synchronize a number of passages.

    Then, I wonder if preaching on the old man/new man, flesh&carnal/spirit ought to clarify the three natures/states in order to prevent the normal unintended (or intended) consequences, i.e. people doubting their salvation, people treating their sin lightly. Both of these themes are dealt with all the time in our circles, but still seem like they might be the key misunderstanding underlying dualism, asceticism and parts of gnosticism….or even this question.

    I guess it all pivots on whether you think that our term “fleshly” is used to describe two different concepts when used in different contexts. One is always bad and dead, the other very alive in the Christian’s life. Maybe the entanglement causes confusion?

  157. August 5, 2010 at 11:03 pm | #174

    Jason,

    It really comes down to two views of sanctification. One says that we’re justified and then the Christian life is an ongoing struggle against the flesh. The other says that we are justified and then there are degrees of spirituality that we can reach, different spiritual plateaus, higher ones that we can reach. The second view is the one that has a lot of different explanations and descriptions, mainly because it isn’t in the Bible.

    The danger of the three types of people position is the validation of the second one, the carnal Christian, someone who lives in a state of perpetual carnality until he’s reached that next plateau—dedication, second blessing, spirit-filling, spirit baptism, higher ground—whatever the person happens to call it. It smacks of the Keswick theology, the Lewis Sperry Chafer, C. I. Scofield position.

    Instead, we get all the spirituality we’re going to get when we get the Person of the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:3-5; Eph 1:3), and we will struggle because He won’t ever leave us. 1 John 2:19 is a good verse here (and 1 John 3:6). The most difficult text is 1 Cor 3:1-3, but in light of all the other passages that deal with sanctification, interpreting that one in the light of those, I believe we should understand that Paul was saying that the Corinthians were acting like unsaved people. He wasn’t creating that whole middle category. The two categories are actually found in chapter 2, the spiritual man or the natural man. The carnal man is the natural man. Romans 8 will clear this up.

    This is a good subject.

  158. October 3, 2010 at 10:22 pm | #175

    Pastor Brandenburg,

    I just listened to your sermon on What the Bible says About Servanthood. What do you think is the relationship between “servanthood” and sonship? Do you think that sonship is just something that is already emphasized in Christianity and “servanthood” underephasized? Was that an adult sunday school class?

  159. October 4, 2010 at 4:24 pm | #176

    Hi Phil,

    We become slaves and sons when we receive Christ. People aren’t offended to be a son like they are a slave. That was our BCA teacher’s orientation.

  160. January 19, 2011 at 7:35 am | #177

    Bro. Brandenburg et al- do you have any book recommendations for church planters that DO NOT have a Foreword written by Mark Driscoll? :)

  161. February 18, 2011 at 12:41 pm | #178

    Bro. Kent,

    I commented on a older blog post you had, but I’m not sure if you’ve seen it yet. It is regarding Deuteronomy 22:5 and the issue of dress. I’ve grown up hearing the same basic conviction you hold to, but I’ve been struggling with some areas of it. Here’s my main issue. I don’t want this to sound hostile or condescending; I do however want to challenge your notion that Deut 22:4 is talking about one specific male identifying garment.

    If that garment is a pair of pants, then it would be reasonable to say that all pairs of pants fit into the category as off limits to women. Therefore, calling a pair of pants women’s pants would be an oxymoron. But if the issue at hand is simply that one article of clothing what would your position be on a man that wore a pair of pants (men’s or women’s) but then finished his attire off with high heel shoes, a silk blouse, necklace, earrings, and a purse? So long as he has pants (the male identifying garment) he would be acceptable in his attire correct?

    As I said in my comment on the post, I am beginning to think Deut 22:5 is referring to cross dressing. This interpretation seems to fit with the least amount of stretching and finagling.

    Thanks again for your sincerity and scholarship in dealing with this issue.

  162. Cathy mcnabb
    April 11, 2011 at 10:50 am | #179

    So did this blog finally die? Haven’t seen anything in a while.

  163. Godfrey Silverminer
    June 21, 2011 at 11:47 am | #180

    I was wondering if Kent would be willing to answer several questions (perhaps in a serries of posts ;)). I will try to keep them brief. Please forgive the number of them.

    1. I hear much in Christian circles (and by “Christian” I include mere professors and genuine possessors) about Dietrich Bonnhoeffer. Some people like his books (particularly “Life Together”) Do you have any information about the man himself, his theology, etc?

    2. Do you believe that a Christian is able to be kept from erring?

    3. Do you believe that carnality is a problem that Christians face?

    4. What do you believe revival to be? Is it to be sought? What brings it and what hinders it?

    5. Do you believe that the Bible places any limit on how much righteousness men are permitted to seek?

    6. Do you believe that a Christian can, by God’s grace, be kept from continual volitional sin or must they live with it every day until they die?

  164. Godfrey Silverminer
    June 30, 2011 at 10:05 am | #181

    I did find the answers to most of my questions in the archives – the only one I cannot find is no. 1. I do apologize for any inconvenience that may have been.

  165. Matt O’Harra
    March 19, 2012 at 5:35 pm | #182

    Do you know where I can find a list of IFB colleges that are still predominantly anti-Reformed. In particular, I am interested in Appalachian Bible College, but I noticed many of their professors studied at Dallas Theological Seminary, which is a sign that they may be hyper-Calvinist. I already know about BJU being infiltrated by the Calvinist heresy…any info. you have for me would be helpful. – Matt, Ohio

  166. Chase
    December 21, 2012 at 8:07 pm | #183

    Hey Jack I’v been reading your sight and I love the clarity you bring to scripture and well see I have come across Hebrews 10:37 and I’m not sure what this passage is saying as far as what shrinks back means because I feel as tho I shrank back…. I committed spiritual adultery and I’m not sure if this verse means I have lost my salvation can you please shed some light on this passage

    Thanks God Bless You
    Chase

  167. Jeff
    July 29, 2013 at 9:01 am | #184

    Appreciate the site and insight. Could you direct me to more information on Tom Neal? I have a reason to ask. Also, could I get a true bio on Berean Baptist Church?

  168. Bob Zemeski
    October 4, 2013 at 4:23 pm | #185

    When and where will the book “Fashion Statement: A Biblical Theology of Dress or Appearance” be offered for purchase?

  169. February 6, 2014 at 7:45 am | #186

    Dear Jack Hammer,

    I am so glad to discover your website, for I too have a ministry equip and counselor victims of pastors. In fact I produced a film documentary entitled: Making Merchandise of Men’s Souls devoted to case studies where church denominations such as the Assemblies of God and Christian and Missionary Alliance sue and hijack the church properties and bank accounts of their own member churches.

    I have also written two books exposing who is perhaps THE poster child global predatory pastor and that is Rick Warren, who calls Fundamentalist Christians enemies of 21st Century and Sanballats from Hell and promotes the tyranny of tithing.

    So these new revelations should alarm you concerning Rick Warren:

    http://www.perfectpeaceplan.com/post/is-rick-warrens-claim-that-his-book-is-the-best-selling-non-fiction-hardback-book-in-history-true/

    I also invite you to view my Youtube entitled: RICK WARREN, THE MOST DANGEROUS PASTOR IN THE WORLD:

    and make it available as a resource link on your site, if you are so inspired.

    Thank you so much for your valuable resource for bludgeoned sheep purchased by Christ’s shed blood!

    Blessings,

    James Sundquist
    Director
    http://www.perfectpeaceplan.com

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