Among my other offenses:
It took John less than 20 hours to type up a response (LINK ) to my March 31st post (LINK). IMHO, John should really think about taking a bit more time digesting and reflecting upon the material that he critiques...I’ll say in response to this, other than David having called Lampe a “liberal,” (and having loosely associated him with Harnack), David himself doesn’t state what Lampe’s “presuppositions” are. Assigning “guilt-by-association” is not the same thing as stating what someone’s presupposition is. As I’ve said, he is more than welcome to point these out so that I may then reject them, but no such thing is forthcoming. And I intend to look at David’s actual [and quite fluffy] objections in a forthcoming blog post.
John has failed to give us his definitive definition of the term "liberal" which he has used in a good number of contexts; and second, John described Ratzinger/Benedict XVI as, "a full-blown pantheist", but never really tells us exactly what he means by this (instead, he provides a few quotes out of context, and then gives Michael Horton's highly debatable definition)...
Yet another prime example of John's penchant for double-standards, he isolates Rome’s presuppositions, and asks us to start without these; but then, he refuses to isolate HIS presuppositions, and Dr. Lampe's presuppositions, and start without these...
Here is yet another example of where John has failed to give us a definition: exactly what does John mean by the early church?Um, ok. It is really the New Testament church, and the couple hundred years after that.
Does John realize that a number of the scholars that he cites in his posts believe that it is impossible to speak of 'a church', but rather, that one must speak of 'churches'?I’ll address this when I speak of “The Bauer Thesis”. Needless to say, I assume an “early orthodoxy,” I’ve written extensively about an “early orthodoxy,” and I’ve assumed that David Waltz also believed that such a thing existed, and so, what’s the dispute? I for one do take the New Testament at its word; I’m a member of a PCA church, whose views of church and Scripture are not hard to find.
That’s to be contrasted, by the way, with David Waltz, who has not, that I am aware of, made a positive articulation of his own faith (contrary to the title of his blog). Since he is going to characterize me, I’ll return the favor. I have seen David around for a long time, and other than that he was born in to a Jehovah’s Witness home, landed in Roman Catholicism for a while, then rejected it, I’d say it’s pretty hard to find a positive statement as to what he actually does believe.
He certainly makes no bones about the fact that he has 15,000 books, and he has a lot of leisure time to read them. But I would suggest, pending the presentation of some evidence to the contrary, that he is a lost soul and this complaint from Paul (echoing God’s complaint about Israel) is very appropriate:
“The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your ancestors when he said through Isaiah the prophet:Instead of sitting back and lobbing bombs – unsubstantiated bombs – why don’t you come out of the shadows and tell us who you are and what you actually believe?
“‘Go to this people and say,
“You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.”
For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’
JB: The effort to “understand what they knew and when they knew it” is an effort to exclude all presuppositions about what the early church believed. It is an effort [emphasis supplied] to create a “presupposition-less” understanding of what the early church believed.Why did you even bother pulling this out to comment on? It’s not like I’m trying to pull a fast one on anyone.
DW: I sincerely believe that John is either being grossly naive here, or dishonest with us—it is impossible to approach what the 'early church' believed without presuppositions.
JB: Now, to be sure, nature abhors a vacuum, and trying to create a “presupposition-less” understanding, is to try to create a kind of vacuum.
DW: Finally some sound thoughts John's from pen.
DW: First, it is certainly not a presupposition-less world that we are dealing with; and second, John has yet to interact with 'conservative' Anglican and Catholic scholars who defend the conception of the 'early church' he cited above.Again, I didn’t say it was a presupposition-less world; only that I am making the effort to understand that world as it was, without the lens of presuppositions.
Second, Roger Beckwith, whom I’ve cited at length, is a “conservative Anglican scholar” … who defends the conception of the “early church” which I either did, or didn’t, cite above, according to which version of David you believe.
John, have you lost your mind...can you prove to me what you think the 'early church' believed?Can I prove to you what I think? Probably not.
And perhaps more importantly, do you honestly believe that the Reformed paradigm is devoid of significant development?That’s no real secret around here.
JB: The thing that I am most trying to do is to provide a positive picture of what the world was like in the days of the early church. Lampe is not the only writer I’ve cited. I’ve been citing from F.F. Bruce and Roger Beckwith - not liberals at all, to be sure - and many others as well. I do this because, when you try to understand what the church, as a whole really believed (in various places and at various times), you first have to understand the world as it existed in those times and places. What it was really like.And you’re the one calling me inconsistent? How, precisely, do the writings of these individuals fit into your paradigm of understanding? Do you inconsistently embrace them? Do you reject them? If so, why? And if you reject them, then why do you care if I have read them or not? Or are you just a name-dropper?
DW: You are limiting yourself here; try reading Aland, Barker, Dunn, Hanson, Kümmel, Küng, Segal, and then get back to me.
You make it sound as if there are no 'gaps' in the historical record and that a unified theory exists among NT scholars as to the precise nature and theology of the early church/churches...I don't buy it John, I am just too well read on this issue to do so.Right, right, you know it all. Ever seeing, but never perceiving … and before you call that a smear, why don’t you make a positive articulation of your own faith, so that we can have some idea of what it is that you do know and perceive and believe?
But nobody ever said there was a “unified theory among NT scholars as to the precise nature and theology of the early church”. Of course there are gaps. But what I am on record as having said is that now that conservative scholars like Darrell Bock and Andreas Kostenberger and Michael Kruger are investigating that time period of the late first century and early second century church, I have great hope about the work they will produce on this topic. I’m firmly convinced that as these individuals write more and more about the early church, Protestants will have a very clear picture of precisely why the Reformers were fully justified to reject Rome’s claims of authority.
DW: Once again, false and misleading; I do not, nor have I said, that their work is flawed in exactly the same way; your putting, “Lampe and Von Harnack both believe the Pastorals were not written by Paul. Therefore, their work is flawed in exactly the same way.”, in quotation marks and ascribing it to my pen is dishonest, and misleading. Further, it sure sounds like you are trying to smear Dr. Harnack!!! (Ooops...I forgot, it is OK for you to smear...)Let me quote your own words back to you: “Enter Dr. Peter Lampe and John Bugay: A careful reading of Dr. Lampe demonstrates that he sides with Dr. Aland and the modern higher critical school [and that would be Von Harnack] in accepting the following presuppositions…” A school into which you lumped both Von Harnack and Aland.
I have gone on record as maintaining that John is being inconsistent, and none of my continuing research into this important issue suggests otherwise.Right David. I’m sure that your continuing research into this important issue is of eternal value and consequence. “Take my word on it.”