Sunday, August 29, 2010

Getting to the Specific Issue

David Waltz wrote:

Do not wish to digress here, but it does remind me a bit of James White’s charge/s leveled against Muslim apologists who quote “liberal”, critical Christian scholars in their debates, whilst James allows himself to use “liberal” and critical Islamic scholars.

That is not the exact charge that Dr. White makes - he is not saying Muslims (or anyone else) cannot quote or use any liberal Christian (or Islamic) scholarship at all, at any time, for any reason; he is saying the specific example of them using liberals/skeptics/agnostics and non- inerrantists ( like Bart Ehrman/Bultmann/Crossan/and even James Dunn, who is not as liberal as the rest) against the text of the NT undermines the Muslims’ whole Islamic religion and the Qur'an, since the Qur'an affirms the Torah, Zobur (Psalms of David) and Injeel (Gospel) of Jesus as revelation from the one true Creator God who is able to speak and inspire books. (Surah 2:136; 5:46-48; 5:68; 10:94; 29:46)

Islam claims it is the third in line of the Monotheistic religions and that the first two (Judaism – in “the law and prophets and Psalms”) and Christianity (Injeel = Gospel) were given truly at that time in a “dispensational” (in stages for each time period) kind of way. Dr. White is saying that their attacks on Scripture undermine Islam as the 3rd religion that "completes all religions", since Islam itself is based on those 2 previous religions and their books.

David, do you see the difference?

For example, we can use Ehrman and Crossan and other liberals/skeptics/agnostics to help affirm the historical reality of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ by the Jewish leaders under Pontius Pilate, around 30 AD, because the specific point where they agree with true history, undermines Islam and its denial of true history (denial of Christ's crucifixion - 4:157), and because at the same time, it is powerful even more because those same liberals reject the miracle of the virgin birth of Christ, which Islam accepts. (Qur'an, Surah 3:45-48; 19:19-21) The inconsistency is with Islam and the Qur'an. Since Muslims believe that God is one and is the Almighty Creator and speaks and gives revelation in books, and even names the books of the previous revelations, "the Law", "the Zobur", and "the Gospel", then it is inconsistent for them to use liberal scholars specifically on the text of the Text of the Bible, as their main attack that under girds all of their apologetic method of the doubting of the Biblical text. Furthermore, the Qur'an never says the text of the NT has been corrupted, although that is their theological belief, because the contradictions of the Qur'an force them to come up with that conclusion.

Everyone should be interesting in listening and watching Dr. White's debates against Muslims, and his recent ABN shows ; here on the NT textand here on the crucifixion; and here on the two natures of Jesus part 1; and here on the two natures of Jesus, part 2getting his DVD's and get prepared to witness to Muslims and deal with their questions.

Given the times we live in today, I hope and pray that those who only enjoy Dr. White dealing with Dave Hunt or Arminianism or Roman Catholicism will see the crucial and strategic importance of equipping the church to deal with Muslims and evangelize them and reach out to them in speaking the truth, love, boldness, gentleness, patience, and respect.

Therefore, John Bugay can use Peter Lampe, and has used him well in his historical research on Rome against the Roman Catholic Claims of the Papacy and authority, even though Lampe may not be an inerrantist on the Scriptures.


Anonymous said...

The contradiction between Isaiah 7 and Matthew 1 which disproves the virgin birth, in turn disproves the Koran since it perpetuates the virgin birth story just as the New Testament does. Not to mention that Mohammed confused Miriam the mother of Jesus with Miriam the daughter of Amram and sister of Moses.

Ken said...

There is no contradiction between Isaiah 7 and Matthew 1 - sorry buddy. In fact Matthew 1 and the Greek word, parthenos, (ἡ παρθένος ) which means virgin, confirms what Isaiah meant.

Genesis 24:16 uses the Hebrew technical word for "virgin" בְּתוְּלָה (Batulah)and in the same context later in Genesis 24:43, about Rebekah, uses "Almah" הָעַלְמָה (young maiden at marriageable age, but always presumed to be a virgin in eastern cultures) Almah is the word for "virgin" in Isaiah 7:14.

Genesis 24:16 -
"The girl was very beautiful, a virgin, and no man had had relations with her; and she went down to the spring and filled her jar and came up."

Your argument against the Bible fails, but your argument against Islam is true.

Andrew said...

I would like to add that it would seem kind of silly for a prophet to prophecy that a "young woman" would conceive a child. Big deal. Why waste the breath and ink? It would be like me prophesying that this year a baseball team will win the world series. I think far too much is made of the objection presented here by Beowulf. What do you think?

Ken said...

Yes, absolutely! You are right, and that aspect is even emphasized in the context and text of that passage.

10 Then the LORD spoke again to Ahaz, saying,
11 "Ask a sign for yourself from the LORD your God; make it deep as Sheol or high as heaven."

One of the most amazing miracles (sign miracle that points to something) is the prophesy of the virgin birth; it as so amazing, it is "deep as Sheol and high as heaven".

Good one, Andrew!
Thanks for your contributions!

Ken said...

Above is Isaiah 7:10-11

Anonymous said...

"There is no contradiction between Isaiah 7 and Matthew 1 - sorry buddy. In fact Matthew 1 and the Greek word, parthenos, (ἡ παρθένος ) which means virgin, confirms what Isaiah meant." (Ken)

I'm not talking about the silly argument on the translation of almah and whether it should be young woman or virgin. Obviously it means virgin. Duh.

I am referring to the fact that Isaiah 7 states that between the birth of the virgin-born child and the time that the child comes to a knowledge of the difference between good and evil, the two kings Rezin king of Damascus and Pekkah son of Remaliah king of Samaria, will be defeated by the king of Assyria.

The virgin birth prophecy is given, contextually, to Ahaz and the house of David to confirm that Rezin and Pekkah will not destroy the Judaic monarchy that is of the line of David, although this is their intention. The virgin born child is to be called Emmanuel because his birth is proof that God is with us (us being the house of David here) because his birth confirms that God will defeat Judah's enemies the two kings of Israel (Samaria) and Syria (Damascus) who are seeking to end the Davidic monarchy for good.

That the child must be born in the lifetime of Ahaz and Isaiah and the opposing kings is obvious, and Isaiah confirms it in Isaiah 8 when he declares a child born in that time, Mahershalalhashbaz, to be the fulfillment!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So, there is a contradiction between this and Matthew.

Anonymous said...

Isaiah 7:16 "For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings." This part is always conveniently ignored by Christians so that Matthew doesn't come off looking like a total fool, or more probably, a liar.

Ken said...

No, Beowulf -
We don't ignore that aspect of it, in Isaiah, and it is also true and came true for those immediate circumstances - That God protected the Southern Kingdom and Judah, but allowed the Assyrians to defeat Samaria in 722 BC. (the fall of the Northern Kingdom)

However, Matthew is focusing upon the miraculous nature of the prophesy that Ahaz rejected, but, as you point out was given to "the house of David" (v.2 and 13) - there was also a far future event that was prophesied for the house of David, fulfilled in Christ as the "son of David" (Matthew 1:1) - the sign-miracle was as deep as Sheol and high as heaven, the virgin birth of Messiah, that was not fulfilled in those days, but around 750 years later after it was written.

Matthew knows what he is doing as an apostle and apostolic writer - that is why he structured Matthew 1 the way he did about the kings and Christ as "son of David" and the exile.

It is a case of a double fulfillment of prophesy.

Anonymous said...

Double fulfillment theory? Mahershalalhashbaz fulfilled every aspect of the prophecy....but wait Jesus also fulfilled half of it, so it must really be about him. Wait a minute...if Jesus can be considered to be a second fulfillment of the prophecy (or even the more important fulfillment) because he supposedly fulfilled just part of it, then why can't I be considered a third fulfillment even though I fulfill none of it? or why can't another person be born of a virgin and be another fulfillment? Once you allow for multiple fulfillment you nullify all prophecy.

Anonymous said...

In other words, if there can be many fulfillments of Messianic prophecies, there can be many Messiah. And if one doesn't have to fulfill the whole prophecy but only one little bit in order to be considered an authentic fulfillment, then there really can a whole slew of Messiahs!

This proves that you are merely stretching because you know your position is disproven. Nobody would stoop to anything as absurd as double fulfillment theory unless they were forced into a corner and know that their faith is built on a shaky foundation of lies.

John Bugay said...

Beowulf: I am referring to the fact that Isaiah 7 states that between the birth of the virgin-born child and the time that the child comes to a knowledge of the difference between good and evil, the two kings Rezin king of Damascus and Pekkah son of Remaliah king of Samaria, will be defeated by the king of Assyria....That the child must be born in the lifetime of Ahaz and Isaiah and the opposing kings is obvious, and Isaiah confirms it in Isaiah 8 when he declares a child born in that time, Mahershalalhashbaz, to be the fulfillment!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!So, there is a contradiction between this and Matthew.

You may know that R.T. France in his commentary on Matthew notes that "Matthew's typological interest leads him rather to find patterns which will recur repeatedly throughout God's dealings with his people. In this case he has good warrant for taking the prophecy concerning "Immanuel" as having a relevance far beyond its undoubted immediate aim, for the name "Immanuel" will occur again in Isa 8:8 as that of the one to whom the land of Judah belongs, and its meaning will be developed in 8:10, "for God is with us." Moreover, the prophecy in 7:14 of the birth to the "house of David" of a child with so extraordinary an honorific title prepares us for the even more remarkable description in 9:6-7 of a child who is to be born "for us," and whose multiple and still more extravagant title marks him out not only as the Messiah of the line of David but also as "Mighty God, Everlasting Father." The theme will be taken up again in 11:1-5 with the prophecy of the spiritually endowed "shoot from the stump of Jesse." These last two passages would have been recognized then, as they still are today, as messianic prophecies, and it seems likely that Isaiah's thought has moved progressively from the virgins's child, "God with us," to whom the land of Judah belongs, to these fuller expressions of the Davidic hope. If then Isa 7:14 is taken as the opening of what will be the deveoping theme of a wonder child throughout Isa 7-11, it can with good reason be suggested that it points beyond the immediate political crisis of the eighth century B.C., not only in Matthew's typological scheme but also in Isaiah's intention." (R.T. France, "The Gospel of Matthew," Cambridge and Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2007, pg 57)

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

Beowulf, I would commend you on your knowledge of Scripture, but it seems to me that you have anger-related issues against Christianity, and you are looking for "gotcha-moments" that you can then return to try to inflict some damage. But Isaiah also has a word for such like you:

He said, "Go and tell this people:
" 'Be ever hearing, but never understanding;
be ever seeing, but never perceiving.'

Make the heart of this people calloused;
make their ears dull
and close their eyes. [a]
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts,
and turn and be healed."

France continues: "to focus on these issues raised by modern scholarship is, however, to be distracted from the purpose of Matthew in including this quotation. Three elements in the Isaiah text would have attracted Matthew's attention, two with regard to his immediate narrative context (a child born to a virgin mother, and the naming of the child) and one in relation to his underlying christology, the title "God with us." His one deviation from the LXX is in the plural subject of the verb, "they will call." In his immediate narrative context it will be Joseph who will give the child his name (which neithe rthe Hebrew text's "she will call" nor the LXX's "you will call" would have allowed), but that the name will be Jesus, not Immanuel. Matthew's plural may therefor ebe looking ahead to what "people" (especially those whom he will "save from their sins," v. 21) will eventually learn to say about Jesus, that in him God is with us. We have no indication that Matthew's plural verb came from any source other than his own creative interpretation of the text" (57-58).

As far as Isaiah's method, Motyer suggests that "the answer lies in 28:9-10, where we learn that Isaiah presented the truth with such simplicty that 'the men of the world' of his day would pack him off to teach Kindergarten! And the whole Isaianic literature bears the same mark of a plain, systematic reasoned approach. In other words, [Is 6:9-10] are a very stark statement of the preacher's dilemma: those who resist the truth can be changed only by telling them to truth, but to do this exposes them to the danger of rejecting the truth once again -- and maybe this further rejection will push them beyond the point of no return and they will become irretrievably hardened in mind and heart (Heb 6:4-8). The human eye cannot see this 'point of no return' in advance -- not necessarily recognize it when it is past, but the all-Sovereign God both knows it and indeed appoints it as he presides, with perfect righteousness and justice, over the human psychological processes which he created. It was at just such a time that Isaiah was called to the prophetic-preaching office and understood what his terms of commission meant: he was to bring God's word with fresh, even unparalleled clarity -- for only the truth could win and change them; but in their negative response his hearers would pass the point of no return. The opportunity which could spell their salvation would spell their judgment.(Motyer, "Isaiah" pg 73).

John Bugay said...

Hey Ken: Steve Hays has put up a post about this issue here:

And I've commented there as well:

iii) David would also have to show that Lampe’s argument regarding early Roman church polity is crucially contingent on his argument regarding the composition of certain NT documents.

The one point of substance that Waltz has brought up so far involves the fact that Lampe gives it away that he is not an inerrantist. (He suggests that Paul is not the writer of the Pastoral Epistles, and that this writer may have gotten wrong the travels of Priscilla and Aquila.)

In the first place, other commentators have worked through that issue and have provided scenarios in which that's not a problem.

Second, inerrancy isn't the divisive kind of issue in Europe that it is here. For example, one may subscribe to the "Three Forms of Unity" without necessarily being an inerrantist. Sure, Lampe is a Lutheran who would not subscribe to those confessions, but he seems at least to have aligned himself with conservative LCMS theologians in having signed their 1998 resolution, To Express Deep Regret and Profound Disagreement with ELCA (in anticipated response to the 1999 "Joint Declaration on Justification.")

Third, Lampe's own thoughts about the inerrancy of Scripture are practically irrelevant -- this is one small sub-point (it is subpoint 6D in an analysis that goes on for some 30 pages), in his argument that Romans 16 is an integral portion of Paul's letter to the Romans -- an argument which is (a) conservative in nature, and (b) used on a widespread basis as one of the leading analyses in this particular issue. And so, whether Lampe gets right or wrong the point about Priscilla and Aquila has almost no bearing upon the Romans 16 question, either way, much less his larger analysis of the early church in Rome.

And finally, Lampe's argument on Romans 16 is not a part of the main thrust of his book. It is "a discursus". It is the only portion of Scripture that he treats at all. Virtually all the rest of his work is taken from secular history and the writings of early fathers.

So if it's true that Valentinus (and his following) was given a lot of sway, and even treated charitably (to a point) by the church at Rome, this may or may not be supportive of "the Bauer thesis," but it certainly doesn't conflict with what Kostenberger and Kruger are saying about a far-earlier, more well-established orthodoxy in New Testament Christianity.

Ken said...

Thanks John,
All of your comments are excellent in adding truth and specifics to these issues.

Thanks for the commentary on Isaiah - just don't have time to go a whole lot deeper with Beowulf - although I note that Isaiah 9:6-7 is the continuation of the miraculous "Immanuel" prophecy of the Virgin Birth, and Isaiah 9:1-2 points to the Messiah living in Galilee of the Gentiles, to bring light into darkness. (Matthew 4:13-17)

Isaiah 8:12-13 is quoted by Peter in I Peter 3:14-15, showing that Christ is Yahweh.

Isaiah 8:14 is used in I Peter 2:8, Romans 9:33 pointing to the hardness of human hearts that you mentioned from Isaiah 6


Isaiah 8:18 is quoted by Hebrews 2:13 pointing to Christ as "signs and wonders" in Israel, and pointing to the incarnation of Christ, that He became flesh - Hebrews 2:12 - "not ashamed to call them (humans who are redeemed, sanctified) brothers" . . . and 2:14-17 on the incarnation.

Isaiah 9:7 is alluded to by Luke 1:32-33.

All of these truths of the way the inspired NT writers understood the Isaiah passage affirm the basic message you are getting at by the quotes from those commentaries on Isaiah; therefore Beowulf is refuted.

Thanks for the link to S. Hays analysis. He nails it in more concise language than I am able to.

John Bugay said...

[I] just don't have time to go a whole lot deeper with Beowulf

Wow, Ken, but you certainly have a bit to say about it :-)

Ken said...

I have something to say -
Only because I know the OT quotes in the NT better than I do commentaries, which take time to go look up and read (and type and paste, etc.)and also money in order to have a good exegetical commentary. (smile)

John Bugay said...

Ken, I think it's safe to say that your knowledge, not only of the Scriptures but also both the original languages and languages like Arabic and Farsi, that are highly meaningful to our world today, far exceeds my own, and I am honored to know you.

I bought some commentaries ahead of some things that I also really wanted, such as Bavinck's series or Muller's work on the Reformed Orthodox, precisely because I believe that these are more directly foundational to what we ought to know about Christianity.

Not that Bavinck and the RO are not important. But we know far more today about the Scriptures in their original contexts through the work of individuals like France and Motyer, than we do through the various systematizations. I think that exegetical studies throw light on the systematics, which in turn, help to us to understand the exegesis with a more solid footing.

Ken said...

It's an honor to know you too, brother John -

Your historical research into Rome and the early church and RC issues, far exceeds mine; I learn a lot from your posts; and I appreciate your spirit in interacting with folks.

Thanks for your encouragement!

My Arabic is not that good ( I wish I knew it better and I wish I could speak it fluently); but my Farsi is pretty good. (smile)

Anonymous said...

Just an observation about the level of understanding two brothers, like John and Ken, have with regard to Christ in Scripture and the level of understanding Beo2k8 has.

It is clear to me that John and Ken have the Holy Spirit.

He is the key to unlocking the mystery of prophecies as they came about for future generations to hope in God by. God is outside of time and He uses circumstances within one generation, a time period, to impart "Faith" to all of His Elect Saints within that generation and every subsequent generation, including this one now.

A couple of verses to note with this idea in mind that hopefully can make plain my observation.

One verse here: 1Co 10:11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.

Another one here: Heb 11:39 And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised,
Heb 11:40 since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

Without Faith it is impossible to please God. I now live for the Glory of God, Our Heavenly Father, the Lord Jesus, Himself and the Holy Spirit now that I have received the same Faith once delivered to the Saints in previous generations past. At times my focus is on the common salvation we share one with another. At other times I am fighting forces of evil with the manifold wisdom of God that is mine through the Grace and Faith from Christ by one Spirit as Paul writes it that we will fight with:

Eph 3:8 To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,
Eph 3:9 and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things,
Eph 3:10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.
Eph 3:11 This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord,
Eph 3:12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.

And at other times, most routinely, I am fast asleep in bed without a care for either of those two things, not until, of course I am awakened, morning by morning, to both the common salvation and when necessary, to answer for the Hope that resides within or to defend the Hope with the Faith once delivered to the Saints as we are experiencing in here with John and Ken against commentors like Beo2k8! :)

Rhology said...

BTW, y'all - beowulf has posted that selfsame comment no less than a dozen times on a dozen different threads. He's the definition of a troll.

John Bugay said...

Hi Alan, I'll definitely keep that in mind moving forward.

Ken said...

Thanks Natamllc, for your encouragement in the fellowship of Christ and the Holy Spirit of God.

The Spirit must open the mind of Beowulf, in order for him to understand and believe.

". . . for no darkness is more dangerous for quenching the light of the Spirit than reliance on our own sagacity."
Calvin's commentary on Luke 24:45

Jesus "opened their minds to understand the Scriptures."

another translation of same comment by Calvin here:

"There is no worse screen to block out the Spirit than confidence in our own intelligence. "

Thanks Rho for that reminder also.

Anonymous said...

John Bugay, all your argument from this R.T. France fellow amounts to is that Matthew mined the Old Testament for any passage he could find that he knew was NOT about Jesus but that he could yet claim was about Jesus even though he knew it was NOT. Read your own response again, and this should become clear to you. You admitted that these passages really aren't about Jesus, but that Matthew just uses them as if they were. So, you concede essentially and yet refuse to admit that it is a problem.