Saturday, March 28, 2015

Presuppositional Defense of Scripture

It is not much of a secret these days that we have numerous people in American as well as other western cultures that want to be numbered with the saints and identified as Christian without having to hold either to the one and only ancient standard of belief and practice that has been handed down in the Church from it’s inception. I have encountered a very kind man over at Michael Kruger’s blog who fits this category very well. He was reared in a Southern Baptist Church in what he calls were the traditional teachings of conservative Christianity. Now, my new friend says that he no longer thinks the Bible is the inspired, authoritative Word of God that is both binding and our final authority for faith and practice. He also has denied that God would assign a 16 year-old unregenerate youth to eternal damnation because that punishment would just not be just. Additionally, he has denied that Adam is a literal historical figure, claiming that all ancient writers wrote in non-literal ways to convey history and that there stories should not be interpreted as actual history. Adam is one of many, many myths recorded in the OT as far as it goes and we should not read more into that account than we need to in order to learn the lessons that author of Genesis was seeking to convey. What were those lessons? It is really difficult to say based on such a hermeneutic. The purpose of this blog is to provide a very short defense of the Christian claim that the Bible, as the Word of God, is self-authenticating, self-sufficient, and self-interpreting, and as such, it is authoritative and binding on the covenant community.


The Psalmist tells us “In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust;” (Ps. 56:4) Here we see the Psalmist actually praising not God, but God’s word. So much for bibliolatry. Then again just a few verses later,        “In God, whose word I praise, In the Lord, whose word I praise.” (Ps. 56:10) Clearly the Psalmist had the highest possible view of Scripture if he is going to actually praise it. The Psalmist believed that God’s word purifies us from sin. “How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word.” (Ps. 119:9) If the Word of God purifies, then it follows that it must itself be of the purest essence. The Word of God is holy and being holy, it sanctifies. The Psalmist states this again in a different way, Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You. (Ps. 119:11) This ancient view that the Word of God, being holy, being true, being pure, being perfect, has a cleansing effect is restated in the NT. We will come to that in due time. Suffice it to say that ancient writings of the OT inform us that the Word of God is to be praised and that this Word is holy, perfect, and that it cleanses from sin and helps protect us from sin and error.


Solomon tells us in the second chapter of Proverbs that the Word of God imparts wisdom, knowledge, righteous judgment, understanding, discernment, and the fear of God. It delivers us from the evil way. Repeated we are instructed in the Proverbs to given attention to the Word of God and by it we shall live. The theme throughout the Proverbs is that the Word of God produces everything we need to order our lives in a wise, righteous, and holy manner from beginning to end. The wisest human to ever live thought that the very key to knowledge and understanding was situation in the Word of God.

Jesus affirmed that man lives by every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. In Matt. 15:4-6, Jesus identified Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy as the Word of God. In fact, Jesus accused the Pharisees of refusing to recognize the force or power of the Word of God – invalidating it’s authority by replacing it’s clear teachings with their own traditional views which were an admixture of ancient Scripture and autonomous Jewish philosophy. This is significant because Jesus has now identified the Sacred Writings, the Scripture, with the Word of God.

Jesus Himself, according to John was not only God incarnate, He was the Word of God made flesh. Not only this, the words of Jesus were also the Word of God because Jesus is God. Jesus said that those who hear His word and do not do it are like the fool who builds his house on the sand so that when judgment comes, he is destroyed by his own refusal to acknowledge the power and authority inherent in the Word of God. (Matt. 7:24) Moreover, Jesus said that if anyone was ashamed of His Word in this life, He would be ashamed of them in the life to come. (Mk. 8:38) In fact, Jesus told us that heaven and earth will pass away but His Word will NEVER pass away. The Word of God is an abiding Word that will never fade away. Why is it then that professing Christians in modern western culture, and especially here in America, seem to want to do all they can to cast doubt on God’s Word and to ignore it, to replace it, to judge it, and to reduce it to the word of mere unsophisticated, ancient men whose ways are outdated and should be abandoned for more modern, enlightened customs and beliefs? The answer is simple: there is neither love nor fear of God in his or her heart. They are still in their sin. Unbelief is the dominant force in their thoughts.

Jesus believed that the Scriptures were the key to understanding and avoiding error, the same as the Psalmist did. (Matt. 22:29) He accused the Jews of erring because they did not understand the Scripture. In other words, the Scripture is right in all it teaches and if you would understand Scripture, you would avoid error. The key to avoiding being wrong about these concepts is situated in understanding Scripture because Scripture is right about them. Jesus said that the Scriptures impart eternal life. This is exactly what Solomon echoed in Proverbs repeatedly and the Psalmist in reference to the power of the commandment to impart life. Jesus also says that the Scripture cannot be broken. (Jn. 10:35) The Scriptures are indestructible according to Jesus. If one looks at what Jesus calls the Word of God and what He calls the Scripture, they are synonymous. Why would a follower of Jesus claim that the Word of God, or the Scripture, is not binding on their life? Obviously if we look at Jesus’ use of Scripture and the Word of God throughout the gospels, it is clear that His view of the Scripture is that it is the Word of God and that it most certainly is authoritative and binding upon His followers.

We now come back to the view that the Scriptures have a sanctifying effect on the Christian. Jesus Himself said, Sanctify them in truth; your word is truth. (Jn. 17:17) Jesus also said to the disciples that they are clean because of the Word, which I have spoken to you. (Jn. 15:3) Here we have the truth of God interchangeably used with the Word of God. Additionally, the Scriptures are the Word of God. God’s word is God’s truth. Therefore, Scripture is God’s truth. The Scriptures, the Word of God, and Truth are all used synonymously. To deny Scripture is to deny God’s truth. To say that Scripture is not authoritative or binding is to say that God’s truth is not authoritative or binding. To claim that Scripture is not God’s Word is to deny that Scripture is God’s truth. To deny that Scripture is God’s Word is to contradict Jesus’ claim that Scripture is the Word of God.

Paul, writing to the Ephesian Christians tells us that Christ has sanctified the Church, having cleansed her by the washing of the water with the word. (Eph. 5:26) From the numerous references to the Scripture cleansing us, helping us to avoid sin, purifying us, keeping our way clean, sanctifying us, it seems we have more than enough evidence to conclude that the Bible is an instrument by which God sanctifies His chosen people.

Paul, in his letter to the younger Timothy writes, You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (2 Tim. 3:14-17) Paul is not requesting that Timothy do this, he is commanding him to do these things. The sacred writings, Holy Scripture, the Word of God, the Truth, is able to give you wisdom that leads to salvation through faith. Scripture is the source of salvation because it is in Scripture that we have preserved to us, the gospel of Jesus Christ. Then Paul argues that all Scripture is God-breathed, the product of God, and as such, it does a wonderful work in our lives. Paul did not qualify this statement because there was no need. Obviously Timothy understood what Paul was saying. The Scriptures are the standard by which we are taught, reproved, corrected, and trained in righteousness. Only training in Scripture and by Scripture can lead to a man that is a “man of God, adequate, equipped for every good work. The word adequate here means qualified. In other words, it is divine Scripture that guides and equips us to be godly men who are qualified to engage in “every” good work. If it is a “good work” as defined by God, only Scripture can equip us to be qualified to perform it. Paul had the highest view of Scripture. Did Paul think that other NT writings were Scripture? According to 1 Tim. 5:18, he did. In that text Paul quotes Luke 10:7 and Deut. 25:4 both as Scripture. Hence, Paul viewed Luke on par with Moses. Being Scripture, they are equally viewed as the Word of God. After all, Paul is quoting them in the context of authority.

Peter tells us that no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. (2 Peter. 1:19) We should take care not to call the Word of God the word of men. It is an act of blasphemy to lower the divine Word in such a manner. Then again, in 2 Peter 3:15-16, Peter issues an ominous warning: “and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.” Two very important points can be easily observed in this text. First, Paul’s writings were already understood as on equal footing with the rest of the Scriptures, the Word of God, divine Truth. Second, people that twist the things that Paul writes do so to their own destruction. Such would not be possible unless what Paul wrote was authoritative and binding on the conscience.

Every system has for it’s final authority, a standard that is located within the system. For example, if someone claims that empiricism is the standard by which all truth claims are justified, then that claim itself cannot be subjected to an external source without proving itself false. This is exactly the same with Christianity. If we appeal to something else outside of Scripture to argue for it's final authority, then that thing, be it empiricism, or rationalism, or existentialism, or whatever, now replaces Scripture as the arbiter of truth. The problem, in the end, with every other non-Christian view is that they all reduce to irrationalism. They move from claims to mystery to irrationalism while Christianity moves from claims to mystery to the self-contained ontological triune God revealed in Scripture.

Opponents of Biblical Christianity seem to want to read a text that says the Bible is the self-attesting, final authority for faith and practice before they will accept it as such. Such a demand is irrational and displays a profound ignorance. Not a single author of the NT was alive to witness the collection of all the other author’s writings together at one time in one place. The approach we take then is an a posteriori approach examining each epistle one by one to see if it presents itself as an authoritative expression of the tradition and revelation that began with Jesus Christ. When we take that approach, we see in every single epistle, the marks of authority, commands, authoritative instructions, and the expectation on the part of the author that his audience will respect and obey his letter.

My friend has worn the word rational out to be frank with my readers. In order for something to be accepted as binding, he says that it must be considered rational to him. But why can’t each man make the same claim? And if they can, does it not follow that each man can do what is right in his own eyes, based on what he thinks is rational? If that is the situation, how can my friend condemn a God that judges the 16 year-old unregenerate men that die rejecting Christ? It is perfectly rational to me that God can do exactly that. And if my reason is really what determines what is binding and true and reasonable, then what basis does my opponent have for contending with me? The fact is if we reject the objective authority of Biblical revelation in Scripture as our final standard, the only alternative is a radical subjectivism where each man, based on what is rational to him, decides what beliefs are justifiable, and what behaviors should be praised and those that should be avoided. In fact, the summum bonum itself becomes a moving target based on the whims and impulses of billions of men.

There is so much more that could be said but space and time dictate that this will have to do for now. Suffice it to say that no man truly understand the true nature of Scripture, or the gospel, unless God opens His eyes to it's wondrous truth.  We do not arrive at a proper understanding of Scripture by historical evidence, empirical demonstrations, or rational argumentation. We can only rightly assess Scripture when our hearts and minds have been captured by the divine, regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. Remember, Jesus said the reason they do not believe is because it has not been granted to them to believe. No one comes to a right understanding of Scripture unless it has been granted to them by the Father. (Jn. 6:65) Jesus said, But you do not believe because you are not my sheep. The casual relationship between being sheep and believing and not being sheep and not believing is impossible to miss.








71 comments:

  1. Thank you for offering your opinions as it relates to the theory of a "self-authenticating" and "authoritative" Bible. I appreciate all the effort you have put into this. Now, if I may ask a few questions...

    I. You cite multiple Bible verses, like this one...

    “In God, whose word I praise,"

    and then you conclude...

    Clearly the Psalmist had the highest possible view of Scripture if he is going to actually praise it.

    Is it fair to say that you've started off with a presumption that is not in the text?

    Do these texts say, "In the 66 books of the bible, I praise"? Or even "In Scripture, I praise..."? No, they don't. So you are presuming that when the Psalmist said "in whose Word I praise..." that the psalmist is speaking of the 66, when that is not what the text says.

    Am I mistaken? If so, where is your support that the psalmist is speaking of the 66 books?

    II. Now, we use the term "Word of God," sometimes as a euphemism for the Bible, and that is fine as long as we recognize this human euphemism for what it is.

    "The Word of God" in the Bible and rationally speaking, is what God says, what God wants, God's Will. It is ALL of God's Will and Thought and Mind.

    THAT "Word of God" is indeed perfect, because it is The Mind of God and God is perfect.

    With me so far?

    III. Now, sometimes we may use the euphemism "Word of God" to speak of the Bible, but the Bible is NOT "THE Word of God," that is just a euphemism for it.

    The Bible is a collection of human writings (according to the Bible itself) that we humans have agreed are our inspired sacred writings. God has not handed us the 66 books and said "Here is my complete Word, for your benefit." God's Word is not limited to the 66 books, God's Word is GOD's Word - all of God's Will.

    Can we agree on that much?

    IV. Now, I would argue that "authoritative" is not only not a biblical term for the 66 books, but it is an irrational one. The text of the Bible is, if inspired (as you and I believe), and "useful for teaching, correction, etc..." but all that means is that it can help us understand God's Word, ie, God's actual Will and Desire. It is "useful" for this purpose.

    But it is not infallible. Why? Because it requires human interpretation. Jesus says, "Give to anyone who asks of you..." but does that mean literally give to ANYONE who asks something of you? What is "God's Will" on this point? We have to be discerning and strive to make sense of the idea based on a variety of things, not simply take that as a woodenly literal command.

    Jesus says "don't store up treasures on earth..." but does that mean we should not save ANYTHING? No investment? No bank account? No retirement fund? What is "God's Will" on this point? We have to be discerning and strive to make sense of the idea based on a variety of things, not simply take that as a woodenly literal command.

    So, the text is there, but it isn't God's literal Word to us for us to simply take woodenly literally, we have to use discernment, seek God's guidance humbly and rationally. If we read a text and say, "That text means the world is flat..." or "...has four corners..." or "means that we should kill the babies of our enemies..." or any other of a limitless number of bad interpretations, then we don't have "God's Will..." we have a bad human interpretation. The text is just there and only actually "getting" God's Word is God's Word, not the Bible, not our human opinions, but God's Word.

    I'm not sure if I've expressed that well, but I hope you get my drift.

    ~Dan

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    1. I thought I made it clear that Jesus and ancient Jews along with the others of the OT, viewed the entire corpus of Scripture as the Word of God. The protestant 39 books. I also demonstrated that the Jesus viewed His words as the Word of God, Paul's writings were considered the Word of God by Peter, and by Paul himself. In fact, each writer wrote their own letter as a person of authority with the expectation that their instructions were not optional. The burden is on you Dan, the Johnny-come-lately. To demand that a writer has to say "the 66 books of the bible are the Word of God" is philosophically idiotic to be honest with you. None of them were alive to see the collection all together.

      We NEVER use the Word of God as a euphemism in any sense whatsoever. You are simply WRONG about that. The Bible is simply a term we use to describe the physical document that is the Word of God in written form. That it is such a collection has no bearing or impact on it's nature. Everywhere we see these writings, they are NEVER presented as the mere products of men. They are presented as the written authoritative tradition that began with Christ, to the Twelve, and then to their audiences. God's Word, His revealed Will is in fact limited to His Word (Deuteronomy 29:29) . God's hidden will remains unrevealed for reasons known only to God. They are NOT for us to know.

      Everything Jesus says, and the biblical authors write, are said and written in a context. Can we find the meaning of Jesus' words if we look at the context and peer into the historical and cultural setting? Yes we can and we do.

      To take something in a woodenly literal way is not the same as taking something literally. Human language is itself a gift from God and God speaks to us in a language we can understand.

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    2. I thought I made it clear that Jesus and ancient Jews along with the others of the OT, viewed the entire corpus of Scripture as the Word of God.

      Yes, you said that. But you're question begging. You are pointing to the verses that say "word of God" and saying, "see? That is speaking of the bible!"

      I'm looking at the places where it says "word of God" and recognizing that it appears to be speaking of different things in different contexts and that none of them are specifically speaking of the Bible or the OT.

      "Word of God" is most often found as a euphemism in the Bible, a short hand way of referring to God's Perfect Will, not a specific collection of books. So that is the question being posed... IS this speaking of the 66 or of God's Will? To point to the verses and say, "this is speaking of the 66..." is question begging... it's not a supported answer to the question being asked, it's just a human claim.

      Ed...

      We NEVER use the Word of God as a euphemism in any sense whatsoever. You are simply WRONG about that.

      I fully understand that this is your personal human opinion. I respectfully disagree with your opinion (and those who agree with you). Do you have anything other than your say so to support your hunch?

      Ed...

      Can we find the meaning of Jesus' words if we look at the context and peer into the historical and cultural setting? Yes we can and we do.


      Okay, so I've read the Bible for lo, these many years and I have found the "meaning of the words..." so I am right, is that your point? No, it's not.

      Here we are two men, two serious followers of Jesus and, I don't know about you, but I've been a follower of Jesus for decades now, as have my friends and family, prayerfully, earnestly seeking God's Way.

      I'm asking a simple question: Where you and I disagree about our interpretations of these texts... on what basis is your answer the "right" one? On what basis would you demand not only that you think you are correct, but that others have to agree with you, too, if they want to be followers of Jesus?

      Do you not see the presumptiveness in that sort of behavior? If indeed, that is what you are saying (that you can't be mistaken and that I must heed you if I want to be saved)... some might even say that is an arrogance bordering on blasphemy, can you see that?

      Respectfully,

      Dan

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    3. Call it the Bible, or call them the OT and NT documents. What I have argued is that the documents present themselves individually as authoritative and binding on the lives of their audience. Since no author witnessed the collection of the oral tradition is written form all at once in one point in time, it is fallacious to demand that we find a statement in the Bible that says the Bible is the Word of God. It is actually a move that no competent person would ever make.

      Concerning Scripture, since the history of Christian tradition is what it is, and since Scripture presents itself as authoritative and binding, the burden for denying this is on you Dan. Once again, you are the Johnny come lately sir.

      We are not two serious followers of Christ and I will never pretend that I think that is an accurate description of you Dan. I believe you are an apostate top to bottom. I don't think you were EVER part of the Christian faith, regenerated by the Power of Christ. Just want to be clear about that.

      In order to respond to your last question, you will need to cite a text that we interpret differently. So far, we are at foundational levels. Your philosophy vs my philosophy. What texts do we interpret differently? And may I ask for your qualifications. I have over 30 hours of training in the Biblical Languages and spend hours every week working in the originals. Since you are overthrowing centuries of exegesis, I must insist on hearing your qualifications.

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    4. We are not two serious followers of Christ and I will never pretend that I think that is an accurate description of you Dan. I believe you are an apostate top to bottom.

      You are certainly free to hold whatever unsupported and unproven opinions you wish, brother Ed. For my part, I will continue to recognize you as a dearly beloved brother in Christ who I love and simply disagree with on some points.

      The fact is, I am a Christian and your opinions don't negate that fact.

      The fact is, Ed, I have been following Jesus for all of my 42 years as a Christian. Seriously. So, while you are free to think I am mistaken, your opinion does not negate the reality that I am a serious follower of Christ.

      You are welcome to your own opinions, but not to your own facts, as they say.

      Going down this ad hom trail, I will ask you again: On what basis would you make such a bold claim?

      I believe in God, the creator of the world, the God of Love and Justice.

      Does that make me NOT a Christian?

      I believe that Jesus is the son of God, who came to earth fully as a man and fully as God, who came preaching the good news of salvation by Grace, not by our perfect knowledge or works, but by God's grace, through faith in Jesus.

      Does that make me NOT a Christian?

      I believe Jesus came teaching, loving, setting an example of the Way, and that he was killed by the religious and gov't elite of his day, receiving the capital punishment of crucifixion on a cross, that he was dead and buried and three days later, he rose from the grave, where he was seen by many witnesses over the next many days.

      Does that make me NOT a Christian?

      I believe that humanity has a "sin problem," that we have a sinful nature and a tendency to do wrong and that we NEED a savior... that we are not saved by our good works, but by God's grace through faith in Jesus and that Jesus has invited us all (not wanting any to perish, he said) to be part of God's Kingdom and as many who repent and accept Jesus' invitation, his gift of grace, those are saved and welcomed into God's Kingdom.

      Does that make me NOT a Christian?

      I believe that is the entirety of the gist of the Gospel message: Salvation by God's grace.

      What are you adding to this traditional orthodox view of Christian salvation beyond this basic message?

      Are you adding some form of perfect knowledge and human tenets we must affirm in order to be saved? If so, do you recognize that as a heresy in many orthodox Christian circles?

      If you are adding some list of human tenets that one must affirm in order to be saved, what are they? Where did Jesus or God say we must affirm these human tenets?

      I'll await your answers to some of my questions. I find if we both answer each others' questions, it makes the conversation go much more successfully, brother Ed.

      In Christ,

      Dan Trabue

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    5. We shall deal with this question after we have dealt with the actual basis for my charing you with rejecting the Christ you claim so piously, with your mouth, to love.

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  2. You say...

    Every system has for it’s final authority, a standard that is located within the system. For example, if someone claims that empiricism is the standard by which all truth claims are justified, then that claim itself cannot be subjected to an external source without proving itself false. This is exactly the same with Christianity. If we appeal to something else outside of Scripture to argue for it's final authority, then that thing, be it empiricism, or rationalism, or existentialism, or whatever, now replaces Scripture as the arbiter of truth.

    So, okay, let's go with this hunch, that Scripture is what validates Scripture. So, you and I are looking at biblical texts and I am "taught" by Scripture and understand its intent. It IS the "arbiter of Truth" and I understand the Truth that Genesis is clearly mythic in nature and that Jesus taught us not to invest money and that God never would command humans to kill baby.

    Since I have been inspired/taught by the "arbiter of Truth" therefore, I can not be mistaken, is that what you are suggesting? No, I don't think so.

    Are we concluding that on each and every belief where Dan and Ed disagree, Dan is right because he read the "arbiter of truth" to know the right? No, I don't think you're suggesting that.

    So, on what rational basis do we conclude, "On every point of disagreement between Dan and Ed, Ed is the one who has correctly interpreted the "arbiter of Truth...""?

    Or do you think that on every theological point/biblical view where we disagree, you are correct and I am wrong? If not on every point, on which ones are you right and which ones are you wrong? Or do you not know?

    Are there opinions where you and I disagree that you personally can not be mistaken and your opinion is the same as fact and as God's Word? If you think that, where is your support for it?

    Thanks,

    Dan

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    1. I do have a challenge for you Dan. Since you claim to be able to identify what is and what is NOT the Word of God, I would appreciate it if you would provide your criteria for how you identify what parts of the Bible are the Word of God and which parts of NOT the Word of God. If you claim that none of it is the Word of God, then again, I need to understand by what standard you are reaching your conclusions. And in case your wondering, yes, I am going to need you to justify that standard. Why is your standard the right standard? By what standard is your standard justified?

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    2. Since you claim to be able to identify what is and what is NOT the Word of God, I would appreciate it if you would provide your criteria for how you identify what parts of the Bible are the Word of God and which parts of NOT the Word of God.

      I have not made this claim. That is, I do not claim to be able to say that I, Dan Trabue, hold the fount of all knowledge of what is and isn't God's Word. That would be ludicrous for me - or you - to claim. It would be an arrogance bordering on blasphemy... of putting ourselves in God's place. I don't make that mistake.

      Now, I have a challenge for you: You appear to be saying that you can not be mistaken in your human interpretations on at least some biblical points. First of all, IS that what you're saying?

      If so, please present a list of those biblical points about which you can not be mistaken in your human opinions and interpretations. Then, please provide the standard and criteria by which you can make such an astounding claim. Why is your standard the right standard? On whose authority/on what rational basis?

      Thanks,

      Dan

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    3. You have just accused every major theologian since the inception of the NT Church of blasphemy.

      Now, in order for you to make this claim, that it would be ludicrous for anyone to recognize that the Bible is the Word of God, you must know enough about the Word of God in order to reject the claim and to classify it as borderline blasphemy. What I am asking for Dan, and what you are attempting to escape, is the basis for such a view. By what standard do you measure the claim that "the Bible is the World of God" and conclude that it is borderline blasphemy? Tell me Dan, where did you come by such authoritative and binding dogma?

      Either you present a text about which we can discuss our specific interpretations or stop playing your foolish games Dan. As I said, the kind of certainty that you are attempting to force on knowledge leads to skepticism. My response is that I do not need that sort of certainty in order to possess genuine knowledge. I reject your standard ipso facto. Even though I could be wrong in my covenant theology, I know that Jesus is God and even though, hypothetically speaking, I could be wrong about typing this to you, I am going to take the risk and type it anyways.

      The standard for genuine human knowledge is not epistemic certainty, but divine revelation given in Scripture where the Holy Spirit works on the understanding. That is the Christian position.

      5 For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Eph 5:5.

      Christian understanding comes via faith, not logic, not argumentation, not empirical evidence. Unless the understanding is opened, ignorance will reign.

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  3. First of all, this isn't a hunch. It is an irresistible fact and if you want to demonstrate that it is wrong, good luck. If your final source of authority for epistemic justification resides outside your system, that indeed would be a very interesting scheme to see. I will wait.

    The Holy Spirit's activity to move men to write in such a way as to guard against error seems to be only rational given our view that God is omnipotent and capable of such behavior.

    It would be irrational of me or you to hold a view where we thought we were wrong. This is not a question about specific interpretations of a text. I have already demonstrated that you interpretation of Adam is implausible because of how Adam is spoken of by numerous authors over hundreds of years and especially the fact that he is included in a literal genealogy.

    Once again, to make the move to the possibility that I could be wrong about this reduces to absurdity. The possibility of being wrong is too often so small that it becomes meaningless to talk about. My wife's name is known to me, but I suppose I could be wrong. How much time should I devote to that thought? Theoretically, you could be wrong that I exist and that this is really a dream. So, let's not get silly with the philosophical absurdities. If I take your position to it's logical end, we end in full-blown skepticism. But would it not be true that I could be wrong about not being certain about some things. I would submit to you such thinking does not find itself situation in the Biblical writings but rather in the pagan philosophers who know not God.

    The activity of the Holy Spirit to apply Scripture to the human mind and to open human understanding should not be undervalued. Your grid and the unbeliever's grid is pagan, autonomous philosophy, not the supernatural working of the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit.

    Scripture interprets Scripture. Scripture is self-interpreting. This concept is only a problem for those who want to autonomously interpret Scripture based on finite human logic and and the presuppositions of pagan, unregenerate philosophy. Logic, too, must be born again.

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    1. Ed...

      The activity of the Holy Spirit to apply Scripture to the human mind and to open human understanding should not be undervalued.

      But I believe in the Holy Spirit. I pray for guidance and understanding. So, therefore, I am correct in my understanding and can't be mistaken, is that what you're saying?

      No, it's not, is it?

      Do you see the holes in your reasoning? Everything you say about how you "know" you "can not be mistaken" can be applied to my understanding just as easily. The question is, how do we know who is and isn't mistaken?

      Do you have any rationally consistent, reasonable objective answers to that question?

      Thanks,

      Dan

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    2. No Dan, it cannot. If your understanding were open, you would not call into question the sacred Scriptures, you would not judge the Word of God, you would not judge the acts of God in the OT as immoral and monstrous. You would not attack God for punishing a 16 year-old God hater.

      I bet that you think gay marriage and the gay lifestyle are perfectly acceptable to your "loving god."

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    3. Ed: Do you understand that I'm not calling into question Scripture? I'm calling into question YOUR opinions about Scripture.

      Do you understand that?

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    4. Do YOU understand that if you call into question the true teaching of Scripture that you are calling into question the Scripture itself? Do you understand that?

      Paul said that men would rise up and pervert the gospel. He called them ravenous wolves. In Galatians he pronounced an anathema on them. In Thessalonians, he ordered them out of the community. John told us NOT to even bless them with our mouths and not to invite them in to eat with us. None of these men would have accepted the argument that these false teachers were not speaking against Scripture, but only the apostles interpretation of Scripture. Do you think the Pharisees believed they have voided the Word of God when they misunderstood it? Of course not! But Jesus said they had done this very thing. They claimed to be Abraham's children but Jesus said if they were really Abraham's children, they would have believed Him. They interpreted Moses differently than Christ. But Christ said, if you had believed Moses, you would have believed me. After all, the entire nation rejected Jesus' interpretation of Scripture. Do you suppose God will say well, Jesus, don't be too harsh on them. They believe the Word of God. They do not question Scripture. It is only your interpretation of Scripture they question. The interpretation of Scripture is not a literary free-for-all as we can plainly see from the NT. The majority of the NT was written to set people straight on rightly understanding the apostolic tradition that was being handed down to them. Rejection of this tradition was met with harsh consequences, to include excommunication.

      Do you understand that?

      Delete
    5. Interpreting Scripture is nowhere near as difficult as you claim. In fact, it is really quite simple, at least on the major and basic tenets. This is a most reasonable view given the nature of Scripture and God's purpose for it.

      Delete
    6. Where, Ed, did I claim that interpreting Scripture is difficult?

      Point of fact: I didn't.

      If you can't understand my words - written from someone with a similar background in your own language in your own century - is there some rational reason I should think you can understand the words of the Bible?

      Something to consider.

      Respectfully,

      Dan

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  4. Ed...

    Once again, to make the move to the possibility that I could be wrong about this reduces to absurdity. The possibility of being wrong is too often so small that it becomes meaningless to talk about.

    Wow. So, okay, how does that work practically speaking?

    I mean, okay, you and I can read Scripture and be infallible (unable to be mistaken) in our interpretation. And yet, we disagree on some points. Clearly, we both can't be correct.

    On what basis then, is your interpretation the "right" one? Your say so alone? That other humans agree with you? There has to be something authoritative to support such a claim, doesn't there?

    Ed...

    If I take your position to it's logical end, we end in full-blown skepticism.

    But if we take your position to its logical end, we end up with no one being mistaken. We're ALL right because we are all looking to the text of the bible... which is a rational impossibility, so...

    And as a point of fact, I hold my position (to its logical end) and am not a skeptic of God or of the notion of the Right Way. I AM skeptical of humans, however, especially those who claim infallibility in their understanding.

    Is that irrational to you? How so?

    Thanks,

    Dan

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    1. I mean Dan that the argument for certainty is an argument for omniscience. It is specious. Epistemic certainty is not our standard for genuine knowledge. Such a view reduces to skepticism.

      The last time I checked Dan, I was not positing views that are odd relative to 2,000 years of Church history, to ancient Judaism, to the great confessions of the Christian faith, the Apostles Creed, the Nicene Creed, the Westminster Confession, the Savoy Declaration, and the London Baptist Confession of 1689. Men like Augustine, Jerome, Aquinas, Anselm, and Calvin. Do not treat me like I stand alone withs some bizarre view unheard of in the norms of Christian life. It is your modern, liberal, autonomous challenge that is the Johnny come lately view that violates the basic tenets of Christian teaching. If you deny that, then you are either a liar or just plain inept. The least you could do is admit that you think the Church has been wrong for over 2000 years.

      What is your standard by which you measure the claims of Scripture to be authoritative, binding, reliable, accurate, dependable, etc? Is it your feelings? Is it science? Is it logic? What is it Dan? If you cannot answer and provide a defense of your own position, then you have absolutely no basis for attacking mine. Your attacks are only as valid as your defense of your own position is plausible. I will demonstrate that you entire foundation leads to an irrational skepticism, something you seem to be oblivious to.

      Delete
  5. Ed, I'm waiting for you to answer some of the questions I have asked. If you answer them, then I think we can move on with a better understanding. For one thing, you could make your case stronger by answering these questions, IF you can answer them.

    I'll number them and bold them to make them easier to find and address.

    1. I have a challenge for you: You appear to be saying that you can not be mistaken in your human interpretations on at least some biblical points.

    First of all, IS that what you're saying?

    2. If so, please present a list of those biblical points about which you can not be mistaken in your human opinions and interpretations.

    3. Then, please provide the standard and criteria by which you can make such an astounding claim.

    4. Why is your standard the right standard? On whose authority/on what rational basis?

    5. Since I have been inspired/taught by the "arbiter of Truth" therefore, I can not be mistaken, is that what you are suggesting? No, I don't think so.

    6. ...Are we concluding that on each and every belief where Dan and Ed disagree, Dan is right because he read the "arbiter of truth" to know the right? No, I don't think you're suggesting that.

    So, on what rational basis do we conclude, "On every point of disagreement between Dan and Ed, Ed is the one who has correctly interpreted the "arbiter of Truth...""?

    7. Or maybe you don't think that on every theological point/biblical view where we disagree, you are correct and I am wrong...

    If not on every point, on which ones are you right and which ones are you wrong? Or do you not know?

    8. Are there opinions where you and I disagree that you personally can not be mistaken and your opinion is the same as fact and as God's Word?

    9. If you think that, where is your support for it?

    If you'll address these directly and clearly, you would help me understand your position and strengthen your case (IF you can answer them). If you can't, well perhaps you'll see the holes in your reasoning that I'm seeing.

    In Christ,

    Dan

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    1. I am done answering your challenges Dan because one, you don't listen to them and two, you have yet to provide epistemic justification for them. Until you outline your criteria for examining and justifying truth claims, I am going to consider your position indefensible and your attacks without justification. They are reduced to absurd conjecture and speculations about meaningless possibilities existing in a mind that is filled with little more than chaos. When you outline and provide the ground for your objections and your claims about how we can and cannot know what the Word of God is or is not, then we can continue the discussion. If I see no answer to this question, I will assume that you are at least intelligent enough to know this is an argument you cannot win because you position is one you cannot defend.

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  6. Why would Luke include Seth and Adam in his genealogy if Adam was not a literal person? That is a text, the interpretation of which we disagree. How about it Dan?

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  7. Ed...

    am going to consider your position indefensible and your attacks without justification.

    "Attacks..."? What attacks? Are you equating respectfully asked reasonable questions with "attacks..."? I have nowhere made an "attack" on you and only respectfully disagreed with your arguments, mainly asking questions in response to your arguments which you have then opted to not address.

    My asking questions is not an attack, Ed. But your reading it as an attack may be suggesting a bit of defensiveness and emotionalism on your part. Friend, I'm just engaging in polite conversation, asking questions that are pertinent to your claims.

    If you don't wish to answer them, that's fine, but you can't really expect anyone to take your hunches seriously if you can't respectfully deal with questions that they raise.

    Ed...

    Why would Luke include Seth and Adam in his genealogy if Adam was not a literal person? That is a text, the interpretation of which we disagree. How about it Dan?

    As soon as you answer my questions, I will be glad to answer yours. Just to keep things respectful and orderly and to keep the conversation even-handed and balanced.

    Fair enough?

    ~Dan

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    1. I have asked you to justify your claims about Scripture, and about how others, such as myself, cannot make certain claims about Scripture and you have ignored me.

      I have asked for your interpretation of Luke. His genealogy contradicts your silly claim that Adam was not a historical figure. You have ignored me.

      I have answered every objection you have raised and the more I talk to you, the more you sound like Rob Bell. Vague, general, agnostic language that you buy as clever but that any sober-minded Christian recognizes as the same kind of argument Satan made with Eve in the garden.

      My standard for my view of Scripture is Scripture itself. Whose interpretation is the final authority? The Scripture's interpretation using plain language is it's own interpreter. This is the historic Christian position. How do we come to this understanding? Faith. Regenerating word of the Holy Spirit on our sinful, darkened heart. Faith in what? The Christ of Scripture, the Word of God incarnate. God Himself.

      Your turn.

      Delete
  8. You basic argument Dan has been: "that's just your interpretation" ad nauseam. Or, that's just your opinion, ad nauseam. That is NOT an argument Dan. It's like your genetic fallacy concerning ancient history telling.

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  9. I don't see any answers to any of my questions. Perhaps you are just so much more clever than me, that I'm just not recognizing your answers as answers. Do me a favor, quote my question and then post your answer, so I can see it? Because from where I sit, I don't see almost any direct answers to any of my actual questions. Just unsupported claims that appear to be based entirely on "because Ed says..."

    So, for instance, this question...

    You appear to be saying that you can not be mistaken in your human interpretations on at least some biblical points.

    First of all, IS that what you're saying?


    Now, you did appear to clarify that where you said "First of all, this isn't a hunch. It is an irresistible fact..." So, given that clarification that your opinions are NOT hunches but "irresistible facts..."

    2. If so, please present a list of those biblical points about which you can not be mistaken in your human opinions and interpretations.

    That is a simple and reasonable question that has gone unanswered, so far as I can see. Go ahead and answer that and I'll take a turn answering your question.

    We'll take turns, how is that for fair and balanced?

    Respectfully,

    Dan

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    1. These things I know with certainty and cannot possibly be wrong about them. And there is more, like Christ will return to earth, taking vengeance on all those who do not know or trust Him, to include 16 year olds that reject His moral standards and the message of the gospel.

      Delete
  10. To clarify, what is an irresistible fact is that every system has at its foundation a standard by which knowledge claims are justified, unless of course you are a skeptic, and even that one cannot escape this dilemma when it comes under close scrutiny.

    Second, God exists. Scripture is God speaking, What Scripture says, God says. Scripture is our final source of authority. Scripture is binding on the lives of all believers. Jesus is God. Faith in Christ is necessary for eternal life. This is just a sample.

    Now, along with your objections to what I have just said, I insist that you either provide full disclosure of the standard by which you object to my claims or please don't take up any more of my time. Unless you embed your standards in the next comment and address my points, I will delete all future posts. My patience is at its end. By the way, your view is the standard, modern, American, secular, pagan, God-hating talking head view. What is outrageous is guys like you and Rob Bell and others pretend to have reached your conclusions through new discoveries or being honest. What you have done is twisted everything you could get your hands on and you still want to claim to love God. Jesus spoke you you very well. This people draws near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.

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  11. For those watching this back and forth, by now you should see the tactic Dan engages in. It is the very same nonsense engaged in by emergent church leaders. Since we are all finite creatures, our understanding is imperfect. If our understanding is imperfect, then our interpretation of everything could always be wrong. Since our interpretation of Scripture could be wrong, we must tolerate every other interpretation and get off our traditional, creeds, confessions, historic Christian orthodoxy high horse. The argument is fallacious and Dan knows it. When asked repeatedly to provide the ground for his epistemic justification, he ignored me. When given sound, reasonable evidence for justifying the traditional view that Adam is a historical figure, he offers no specific details on those texts to convince me I should not take them literal. As the exegetical evidence piles up, he ignores it with the wave of the "ancient historians did x" a priori magic wand. I intend to put up his questions and interact with each one philosophically as well as exegetically be week's end.

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    1. You were warned Dan. You don't listen too well do you?

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  14. Once again Dan, you are refusing to comply with my conditions for continued discourse. I will be posting a blog response to your emergent views later this week. Until you provide the ground of your own epistemic justification, I will delete every comment you make. Once you have given me your methodology and shown me how you evaluate truth claims and disclose your source of authority, then I will return to interacting with you.

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  15. ? What conditions? You asked a question, I answered. I asked a series of questions, not so much.

    Is THIS the question/"demand" you wanted addressed first?

    I insist that you either provide full disclosure of the standard by which you object to my claims or please don't take up any more of my time.

    I object to your claims (the ones under discussion here) because they are not rational on the face of it.

    You insist that we must take the Bible your way or we're wrong. I ask the reasonable question, "On what basis?" You respond, in not so many words, "on the basis that I, Ed, read these words to mean X, Y and Z... therefore, that is what they mean..." I ask, again, "On what basis?"

    I reject your reasoning because it is based upon self-centric, circular reasoning, question-begging fallacies. Because your reasoning is full of fallacies, I don't accept your conclusions.

    To give one concrete example, you make an unsupported claim like this one...

    I thought I made it clear that Jesus and ancient Jews along with the others of the OT, viewed the entire corpus of Scripture as the Word of God.

    And all that is clear is that YOU, Ed Dingess, believe some texts to imply something that they don't literally say. Now, I mean no disrespect to you, Ed, but the point is I do not accept your reasoning as rational or your interpretations as done deals... They are ED's interpretations, ED's opinions, ED's extrapolations. And Ed's opinions and interpretations are not synonymous with God's Word.

    The question is, Ed, "Do these verses that Ed cites indicate that God views the Bible as Ed believes they do?" And you can not rationally say, "Yes, they do, because that is what I REALLLLLY believe they mean... because look! Here they are!" and I can read the verses Ed, but I disagree with your opinions on what they mean.

    Do you understand that?

    On what basis do you insist that I must agree with you or that your interpretation is the One God-Approved Interpretation?

    Brother, brother, dear beloved brother in Christ... do you not see how incredibly arrogant that is? On what basis does Ed get to make the call for everyone else on what these verses mean?

    Is that the answer you wanted me to repeat to you a second (or third, I forget) time? Perhaps you didn't see the answer to that question in various forms that I've put forth the last few days, so hopefully, now you see it.

    I hope you prayerfully consider this poor sinner's opinion, NOT because I speak for God, but because I am raising reasonable questions that, if you can't answer, perhaps you should humbly reconsider what you're claiming.

    My "methodology" is simply this, Ed: You are making claims that the facts don't support. You appear to be conflating your opinions with God's Word and that is just a very bad idea and not rational.

    You can't simply say by personal fiat: Thus saith the Ed and expect people to bow to your opinion.

    In the love of Christ,

    Dan

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    1. What is your criteria for rationality? What makes a belief rational Dan? That is the question I have been asking you over and over and over and you have still not answered. Last chance.

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  16. Ed, I have to say that I don't know how to answer that question. I am saying that your claims do not appear to me to be fact-based in the least, but based on Ed's opinions.

    So, I am saying that when someone makes an alleged fact claim and it is not based on fact, that this is irrational, by definition (ie, not being based on reason or facts).

    What sort of answer are you looking for? I apologize that I don't know what it is you are asking, but perhaps you can give an example or tell me what your "criteria for rationality" is, and maybe then I'll have a better idea of what you are looking for?

    Again, my apologies for not understanding what it is you want.

    Respectfully,

    Dan

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  17. I am going to demonstrate in my blog post that your philosophy of fact is deeply flawed.

    Now, what would it look like, what would be required for you to accept the belief that Luke was right in including Seth and Adam in his genealogy, that Adam is a genuine person of history, and that the OT writers were recording factual accounts of what they were witnessing at the time? What would have to change in order for your view to change.

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    1. Are you wanting me to answer this question? At what point will you be answering my questions? Even just the one where I asked if you would answer your own question, Ed?

      What are your "criteria for rationality..."?

      Dan

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    2. Ed...

      what would be required for you to accept the belief that Luke was right in including Seth and Adam in his genealogy

      The story of Adam/Eve appears to me to be clearly mythic in nature. It is written in the style of myth as found in other myths. So, as a starting point, I would need some evidence that there was an actual Adam/Eve. Driver's license, marriage certificate (God "ordained/created" marriage in that story, after all...)(that's a joke to lighten things up...), things like that. Some archeological evidence, perhaps? Something provable.

      Now, is it possible that there was a fella named Adam in Jesus' geneology? Sure, I have no problem with that. I'm just not seeing it as being biblically urgent or rationally sound to insist upon it as a given proof. It simply isn't and there is no way that proof can be provided.

      Ed, the Epic of Gilgamesh is a story from the same general time period. What would it take for you to accept the reality of Gilgamesh's story? Or do you think there is no need to really even consider it as a fact-based story?

      What is your criteria that would rationally, consistently reject a literal Gilgamesh and his story but not only accept Adam and his story, but insist upon it as if it MUST be accepted as fact?

      ~Dan

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  18. Ed...

    Once you have given me your methodology and shown me how you evaluate truth claims and disclose your source of authority, then I will return to interacting with you.

    Ed, from a constructive point of view, does this bullying approach to polite conversation seem wise? Respectful? Christian... to you? Could you not simply state: "Dan, you are missing an important question that I don't think you have answered yet...?" as I did with you?

    Do you recall the words of Peter about disagreement and correction...

    Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect

    I've asked you some reasonable questions and, in addition to what Peter has said, it is just polite and reasonable to answer the questions. And if you are waiting an answer to a question or are in a disagreement, it is just polite and reasonable to be gentle and patient in your correction.

    Bluster serves none of us well, seems to me.

    So, to repeat and expand upon answers I have already given to this...

    Once you have given me your methodology and
    shown me how you evaluate truth claims and
    disclose your source of authority


    Please allow me to do this with a specific example of what I have done with an actual claim you have made...

    You said...

    “In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust;”... Clearly the Psalmist had the highest possible view of Scripture if he is going to actually praise it.

    I evaluated your claim.
    I asked myself (and you) the reasonable question, "When the Psalmist says that, is he speaking of the Bible? Is he speak of 'scripture...'? Or is he more generally speaking of God's Will...?"

    Given what he said, and other examples such as the ones you cite, I conclude

    1. We have no way of knowing with authority or certainty, just as a point of fact;
    2. It seems to me these types of verses are more speaking of God's Will, in general, not specifically Scripture and certainly not "the bible..."

    Now, as I have made clear: That is MY opinion, I can't verify that my opinion is correct, it's just my best hunch based on the text and the context.

    You appear to have a different hunch and that's fine, but it too is similarly no provable and it is your opinion.

    That is ALL I have done. Evaluated the text using my God-given reason, considering text and context and made a best guess.

    What is wrong with that?

    On what basis would you claim that you can know objectively the Psalmist's intent? "The words!" you say... "Scripture interprets Scripture!" you say, but okay, I'm LOOKING at the Words, I'm looking at Scripture and I reach a different conclusion than you. On what basis is your opinion the right one?

    It's a reasonable question.

    I don't know how else to explain what I'm doing other than that. I'm hoping you will answer your own question and provide your "criteria for rationality" so I can see what sort of answer you are seeking.

    Peace,

    Dan

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  19. Dan, I could play your game and tell you that that is just your interpretation of Peter, now couldn't I. I could say that you have no way of really knowing what Peter was getting at do you. I could charge you with arrogance, presuming to speak for Peter as you do. That is the game you have been playing with me and others. But your use of Peter is in glaring indication of your own inconsistency. The principle seems entertaining when you are firing bullets at others but so much when they are flying back at you.

    What do you mean by God's will? How do you know God has a will? How do you know what God's will is like?

    How do you know that there is such a thing as certain knowledge? If no human has ever attained it, how can you know it exist? How certain are you that certainty in knowledge is even a concept we can speak about? Your inference is that you know for certain that certain knowledge exists and that it is impossible for humans to attain. If your knowledge of such things is fallible and you are not certain of them, then what to what degree do you know them and how do you measure that?

    It seems to you that these verses speak of one thing versus another thing, but I am not sure I understand how you would know the difference of the one thing versus the other and then by what measure you decide it means x rather than p.

    What is the process I use to understand what the Psalmist means when he uses the words בֵּאלֹהִים אֲהַלֵּל דָּבָר בַּיהוה אֲהַלֵּל דָּבָר׃ Ps 56:11. I begin by looking the senses in which the word dabar is used in the OT. Did you know it is used 1341 times. Like any word, it has a range of meaning. The top three uses carry the sense of word, then message, then matter in that order. Over 800 of the 1341 times it means word or message. Anyways, we look at the lexical evidence, the ancient use of the word, trace it's history, etc. What I do NOT do is go off some hunch or gut feel. I consult other scholars, look at the syntax, look at its use in ancient Judaism, look that the NT use for clues if there are any, etc.

    You, on the other hand, seem to operate on some feeling, some intuition that nothing to do with rational, exegetical methodology.

    As I said, I will be posting a more detailed blog post in response to your unbelief later this week. By the way Dan, the NT writers were not so polite to apostates. You grew up hearing that the Bible is the Word of God and now you have cast that message of faith aside, choosing to place your faith in your own autonomous reason rather than in the simple truth of God's word. That is why I am so blunt with you. You know what historic Christian orthodoxy believes. You also know that there are rational, intelligent, brilliant men who have not only embraced the views I hold, but who have died for them. Still, you have made your decision. I will continue to be blunt with you because it is how I think God would have me treat you. A heretic reject after the first and second warning. What is a heretic? It is a factious man bringing in teachings contrary to the apostolic tradition.

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    1. "What is the process I use to understand what the Psalmist means when he uses the words בֵּאלֹהִים אֲהַלֵּל דָּבָר בַּיהוה אֲהַלֵּל דָּבָר׃ Ps 56:11. I begin by looking the senses in which the word dabar is used in the OT. Did you know it is used 1341 times. Like any word, it has a range of meaning. The top three uses carry the sense of word, then message, then matter in that order. Over 800 of the 1341 times it means word or message. Anyways, we look at the lexical evidence, the ancient use of the word, trace it's history, etc. What I do NOT do is go off some hunch or gut feel. I consult other scholars, look at the syntax, look at its use in ancient Judaism, look that the NT use for clues if there are any, etc."

      Ed, do you realise that the methodology you outline here makes no linguistic sense?
      Peace
      BruceS

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    2. I didn't realize I gave enough information to make such a conclusion. Silly me for thinking that looking at things like the range of meaning, grammatical context, historical and cultural context, other uses of the word, history of the word and how it was interpreted over time, etc. was the wrong approach. And it isn't an outline Bruce, its a com box.

      Delete
    3. Ed
      The paragraph begins with "What is the process I use to understand what the Psalmist means ..." Looks to me that you are intending to outline a methodology.
      Your say you "begin by looking the senses in which the word dabar is used in the OT". Then you give some statistics which are maybe interesting but not necessarily relevant for inferring the Psalmist's meaning in Ps 56:11. How are you actually applying "range of meaning" and "The top three uses carry the sense [senses?] of word, then message, then matter in that order." in determining the Psalmist's meaning? How are "the ancient use of the word," and "trace it's [sic] history" relevant to the Psalmist's intended meaning? Does the NT provide any clues to the use of dabar?
      Peace
      BruceS

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    4. Bruce, it is a com box that does not allow for edits. Once I hit publish, I am toast. hopefully people can read it and get the gist of what I am saying. If you want to understand the difference between God's general wish, desire, want as it seems Dan wants to think the dabar could mean, and God's word, looking at the LXX is helpful. The Hebrew hapes would have like been the Psalmist 's choice if Dan were correct. This word is most often rendered in the LXX thelo or boulomai. The point is that Dan is not relying on grammatical and linguistic rules in order to formulate his conclusions about the text. His entire hermeneutic is driven solely by an uncritical acceptance of certain philosophical commitments. The LXX uses logos where dabar appears. The word in the NT = logos, the word in LXX = logos, translated from dabar. That provides some help but that is not the only method we use to get a sense for what the Psalmist means when he uses dabar in general and in specific cases. Culture and context are essential in the interpretive process.

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  20. Ed...

    I could play your game and tell you that that is just your interpretation of Peter, now couldn't I. I could say that you have no way of really knowing what Peter was getting at do you. I could charge you with arrogance, presuming to speak for Peter as you do. That is the game you have been playing with me and others.

    No, you can't. If that is what you are thinking I've been saying, you are not understanding my words. I have been abundantly clear that these opinions are MY opinions... I am NOT stating authoritatively what Peter means. That appears to be the difference between you and me. Do you understand that, now?

    Here is my quote you are speaking of...

    Do you recall the words of Peter about disagreement and correction...

    Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect

    I've asked you some reasonable questions and, in addition to what Peter has said, it is just polite and reasonable to answer the questions. And if you are waiting an answer to a question or are in a disagreement, it is just polite and reasonable to be gentle and patient in your correction.


    So, my appeal was to what is reasonable and respectful, not to "THIS IS WHAT PETER SAYS AND MEANS..." See the difference?

    Dan

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  21. Ed...

    By the way Dan, the NT writers were not so polite to apostates.

    Jesus was sort of rough with the religious leaders of his days, those who emphasized adding rules upon the backs of people and who fought against salvation by grace. But that is not me, is it?

    And some of the disciples did confront "false teachers" but these were people who were deliberately making up false stories in attempts to gain power and money, but that isn't me.

    I'm holding to the orthodox belief of salvation by Grace, not by our perfect knowledge, not by rigid adherence to human theories, not by rules or following Ed, or Calvin or Luther, but by God's grace through faith in Jesus, so trying to compare me to "apostates" is a failing proposition, brother.

    You grew up hearing that the Bible is the Word of God and now you have cast that message of faith aside

    "Message of faith..."? I've rejected unbiblical claims that human tenets must be enforced, but that isn't a "message of faith" and I have absolutely not cast aside Jesus' message of faith and grace. So that, too, is a factually false claim.

    choosing to place your faith in your own autonomous reason rather than in the simple truth of God's word

    False claim.

    Thou shalt not bear false witness, Ed. And you shouldn't bear false witness NOT because there is a line in the Bible that says it, but because it is wrong, it causes harm, it is not good, nor pure, nor true.

    So, perhaps you can understand now that you are making factually false claims based, giving you the benefit of the doubt, on ignorance of my actual positions (I'm presuming you are not deliberately demonizing and slandering and giving false witness, but it is from misunderstanding on your part... it happens, no harm no foul, so long as you don't continue down that path).

    ~Dan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You emergent guys are sad Dan. You point to guys like me as being the modern Pharisee. Truth is, you and your emergent friends are much more like the modern Pharisee. You and your post-modernism. The NT writers had no doubts about their understanding of the OT. They knew that their interpretation of it was correct. And anyone who challenged that was excommunicated. That is the kind of Christianity they introduced to the world. They were following Jesus' example.

      Once again, I will putting up a blog post refuting your unbelieving ways, your arrogant claims, and faithless interpretation of Sacred Scripture. I hear the hiss, "Hath God said?" Can you ever really know if God said? Can we ever really understand what God said? I measure your rhetoric in the light of the overall theme of Scripture, and I cannot help but categorize it as demonic at it's core, designed to spread doubt about God's speaking to His people in His Word. That idea has to smashed to pieces and consigned to the flames of hell for it is from hell that it originated.

      Delete
    2. Do you really believe that two people can have epistemic justification for believing contradictory propositions? Based on your methodology, it would seem to me that justification could be obtained for as many opinions as could be formulated about the same proposition. Second, your method also fails to rule out competitors which means it fails to rule out traditional Christian belief. I would submit that if your position fails to defeat contradictories, it is irrational for you to continue to hold it.

      Delete
    3. Concerning certainty, if it is your view, and it seems to be, that all knowledge is a matter of interpretation and no interpretation can rise to certain knowledge and certain knowledge is the only knowledge that truly exists, then no one can know anything. Hence, if you believe that no one can know anything with certainty, then neither can you. And if you cannot know anything with certainty, then you cannot know that with certainty. If you cannot know that with certainty, then you simply cannot know anything, to include anything whatsoever about Scripture, Adam, the OT, God, etc. Hence, you have no solid ground from which to disagree with traditional Christian orthodoxy. If you have no such ground, your best course of action is silence.

      Delete
    4. Dan, Jesus' problem was not how the Pharisees changed God's Word but THAT they changed it. Either way, if Jesus operated on the same principles you do, the sting would have been much reduced because it would have just come down to a philosophical dispute in hermeneutics.

      Delete
  22. Ed, I would like to thank you for your thoughts. However, given that you are not answering any of my questions and only demanding answers to yours, this is not a conversation. You are not being prepared to answer questions, as Peter taught, and doing so respectfully, So, respectfully, I am walking away from this conversation. Save your further words.

    I am always glad to engage in conversations with respectful new friends. Self-centric rants and arrogant chiding from a place of ignorance, not so much.

    God bless you and grant you wisdom and grace. If you ever decide to make this a two way conversation, let me know and I'll return.

    You should heed this bit of advice, I'd suggest: Bullying, brow-beating and question-dodging only weakens your case and makes you appear ineffectual and overly-emotional. Additionally, it hurts your witness for Jesus, as you appear fearful of respectful conversation and impotent in the face of reasonable questions. One man's opinion.

    In Christ,

    Dan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Peter taught us to be prepared to give an account for the hope that is in us. He did NOT say we had to give an account that would receive passing grades by autonomous apostates or unbelievers Dan. I am trained in both philosophy and apologetics and have an advanced degree in theology. Nowhere does the answer we give have to pass your standards, standards by the way which you have been unwilling or unable to articular or both. I already know you cannot defend them. I will be posting soon and will send a comment when it is up so that perhaps you can find the answers (supposedly) that you are looking for.

      My post will deal with the following:
      1. You do have a standard you feel is binding
      2. Your standard is indefensible and reduces to irrationalism
      3. Your criticism of traditional Christianity is based on an uncritical philosophical position rather than divine revelation
      4. Your philosophy of fact is deeply flawed
      5. Your philosophy of language ends is pure skepticism
      6. Your argument is anti-Christian at its core
      7. Your comments exhibit no evidence of genuine faith in Christ nor commitment to the God revealed in Scripture
      8. if there is arrogance in the discussion, it is in your camp not ours
      9. Your emergent views actually adhere closely with the ancient Pharisees of Christ's day

      Delete
  23. Just returning to say that, if you continue with your plans (which is fine with me), please leave my name out of it. Most of the time, when you cite, "Dan thinks..." or "Dan claims..." you are not correctly stating what I think or claim, so, rather than encourage you to bear false witness (even in ignorance), just stick to your points without citing me as a source, since I fear you will not be correct in your citation.

    As I've noted in the past, if you can't/don't understand my words/points written in the same era and language as you, then perhaps you ought to allow that to humble you a bit and be a bit less authoritative about your own opinions and interpretations about texts written centuries ago in a completely different language and context and the error of conflating your hunches with facts and God's Word.

    Dear Ed, I'm sure you're a great guy, but you ain't God.

    Regardless, please leave my name out of future commentary.

    Respectfully and with the love of Christ,

    Dan

    ReplyDelete
  24. Just for what it's worth, Ed, and then I'm leaving for good...

    Having read about 4 paragraphs into your opinions in your next post, there are no fewer than ten misrepresentations of "Ted's" claims/points, not to mention a good bit of question begging and other logical fallacies.

    Now, if you want to argue against a bunch of strawman points that "Ted" has not made, I'd suggest that an honorable and honest man would at least begin with the admission that these are not "Ted's" actual points, or anything that he has actually said or any claims that he has made.

    I would think an honest man would hear this and say, "What? Four paragraphs in and I've already made multiple false claims and fallacies... maybe I should respectfully review what I'm saying... MAYBE my understanding is not as infallible as I believe..."

    That is what I believe an honest man would do. I hope, sir, that you are an honest man.

    It's okay to make errors, brother, it's continuing down that same road and refusing to repent and turn back that's the mistake.

    Respectfully,

    Dan

    ReplyDelete
  25. ...and, again, if you can't read my words written in your language and culture and factually/accurately decipher meanings, on what basis should anyone trust your hunches about ancient texts?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dan, I would be more than happy to allow you to rebut. Keep in mind, I am taking your arguments to their logical conclusions. I know you emergent boys hate that sort of thing, but that's just too bad. If you want to take this offline I will give you my email address. If you want me to post a response from you, I will allow that as well. I don't have a personal issue with you, just your views.

      1. You deny that Scripture is the Word of God.
      2. You deny that Scripture is authoritative.
      3. You deny that we can know God's views about issues like Luke's use of Adam in a genealogy.
      4. You reject the idea that God would send a 16 year old to hell.
      5. You claim that best we can do is fallible interpretations.
      6. You claim we cannot know anything for certain.
      7. You claim that Bible is unreliable.

      Which one of these did I get wrong Dan?

      Delete
    2. You also claim that men are not born sinners.
      You claim that men do not hate God by nature, that is that all men are born sinners with a disposition of hatred for God.

      I don't think I got anything wrong my friend.

      Delete
  26. I would be more than happy to allow you to rebut.

    I would be glad to re-engage, but only if the conversation is a respectful, two-way conversation, meaning you answer questions when asked, just as I have been answering your questions.

    Assure me you'll answer questions - as directly and clearly as possible - and I will be more than glad to point out the many factual errors you are making.

    I am always glad to engage in respectful, mutual adult conversations. I don't have any time, however, for one-way screeds.

    I hope you can understand my position.

    The ball is in your court, Ed.

    ~Dan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Let's start with your view of epistemic justification. What is your standard for true knowledge? How do you measure truth claims? And then we can discussion how I supposedly misrepresented your views on Scripture, God, Man, and Language. And we will begin with your claim that Scripture is NOT binding or authoritative.

      Delete
  27. And rest assured, most of the time you claimed "Dan is saying..." you are factually mistaken.

    And clearly, of the two of us, I am the one most qualified to say what I believe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Where we are going to start is your practice of judging Scripture. I am going to ask you what gives you the right to judge the nature of Scripture. In other words, where do you get the authority to claim that Scripture is not binding.

      Delete
  28. Since you won't even answer the question "Will you answer questions?", I'll take that as a No, you won't answer questions, you aren't interested in a conversation or behaving respectfully.

    God bless you brother. Seek God's Will, embrace God's grace, and, a word of advice from someone - for no rational reason, but only emotionally and unsupportedly - whose faith you reject (as if you were in any place to reject someone's salvation): Repent of your arrogance and your intellectual cowardice, man, it only undermines your credibility and makes you appear to be nothing more than a bully, not a person humbly seeking God's Ways or wisdom.

    There is nothing to fear in honest dialog and answering reasonable questions.

    In Christ,

    Dan

    ReplyDelete
  29. I didn't say I would not answer your questions. I said we can start with you answering my question which is designed to evaluate the very foundation of your questions. I think you can see that now which is why you Rob Bell types only want to ask questions rather than answer them. I am not finished with your views yet. Since they are a good example of "Christian unbelief" in America, I figured I would spend more time helping my readers understand how to dismantle your nonsense. Stay-tuned Dan. You might learn something. And in my next post, my position should answer every one of your questions.

    I reject your claim to be in Christ the same as I would reject the claim of a homosexual to be in Christ or an adulterer, or a muslim, or a mormon, etc.

    ReplyDelete
  30. But, Ed, it is not "my nonsense" if you are just making up my argument - a strawman to beat down - rather than dealing with my actual arguments. You are not understanding my words, Ed. When you read what I've said and repeat back "Dan thinks this..." you are repeating back something that I have not said nor do I believe. At best, it is a twisted version that has a kernel of what I believe in it. At worst, it is a complete fabrication.

    Do you understand the rational problem with arguing against a strawman? Do you understand why you are dismissed when you begin with logical fallacies?

    Ed...

    I didn't say I would not answer your questions.

    Indeed, that is the problem. I asked you a simple and direct question: Will you be answering my questions? You just ignored the question. Having no assurance that you will answer my questions, I will not partake in a one-way conversation where you don't have the intellectual honesty to answer the questions being asked of you.

    Assure me that you will answer my questions and I will be glad to re-enter this conversation and tell you specifically where you have misrepresented my actual positions.

    What I am looking for, in case you're just not understanding my words is something like, "Yes, Dan, I will strive to answer your questions as directly as I can, to the best of my ability..."

    Respectful two way conversation or you can continue to beat up your own strawman arguments all alone, if you prefer. Your call.

    ~Dan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have posted my latest blog concerning you. I would encourage you to go back over to Cannon Fodder and read the post about Thomas Oden.

      http://michaeljkruger.com/seven-essential-lessons-from-an-evangelical-scholar-in-the-secular-academy/

      You may find it helpful.

      Delete
    2. I will answer your questions. In fact, if you will read my latest post, you may find that I have already answered most of them. If you need additional information, I would be glad to share my perspective with you. But I also think you should read Kruger's latest blog also.

      Delete
  31. Ed...

    I reject your claim to be in Christ the same as I would reject the claim of a homosexual to be in Christ or an adulterer, or a muslim, or a mormon, etc.

    Fortunately for us all, my salvation does not rest upon approval from Internet Ed, some guy on the internet who claims to speak for God and that he has some form of perfect knowledge, contrary to all evidence.

    ~Dan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I find your view that I represent a very tiny minority of the Christian community fascinating. if you knew your history, you would know that the majority of evangelical Christianity would agree with me...going back some 2000 years. And before that, you would also admit that ancient Judaism also shares my views by a large majority. Cute Dan, but flat out wrong and putting internet in front of my name doesn't make my propositions any less truthful nor any less indicting. The views you have expressed are nothing short of scandalous to any believing Christian and if you were honest, you would admit it.

      Delete
    2. About 1 John 2:18-25, John wrote this in v. 26, "These things I have written to you about those who are trying to deceive you." John also said, I have not written to you that you do not know the truth, but that you do know it (v21). He also wrote, Now as for you, the anointing that you received from him resides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you. But his anointing teaches you all things.

      I cannot help but wonder how your views comport with John's writings because John believed we could know God's opinion about things, and that we do actually. Interesting. Perhaps a google + debate or discussion might help clear your thinking as it relates to biblical Christianity since you have adopted a newer, postmodern, American version.

      Delete
    3. Titus 1:9 (NASB95)
      9 holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.

      Delete

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