There is always a right way to go about doing something, and there is a “quick and easy” way to do something. I tried to mention this the other day, and this notion was mocked and dismissed. For example, let’s begin with one example from his recent “rant”:
JB: In any discussion of “church history,” you have to understand, as Turretin says,This is not a “red herring”. This is a description of the method being employed. And David Waltz seems to have learned the method well. What Turretin is saying is that Rome does not – it did not in the time of the Reformation, and it does not do so now – respond directly to charges. They side-step an examination of these charges by claiming “authority”. Turretin then goes on to say that it is the way of the Reformed to patiently work through each doctrine, doctrine by doctrine, and be certain we’re understanding it from Scripture. In that way, we know what is true and what is false “authority”. There are, after all, “most destructive errors [having been] introduced into the heavenly doctrine.”Thus this day the Romanists (although they are anything but the true church of Christ) still boast of their having alone the name of church and do not blush to display the standard of that which they oppose. In this manner, hiding themselves under the specious title of the antiquity and infallibility of the Catholic church, they think they can, as with one blow, beat down and settle the controversy waged against them concerning the various most destructive errors introduced into the heavenly doctrine (Turretin, Vol 3 pg 2).DW: What has the above quote to do about what the 'early church' believed, and what I have written on this matter—can you spell 'red-herring'?
The arts of our opponents impose upon us the necessity of this disputation that we may distinguish the real face of the church from its counterfeit; nor suffer ourselves to be deceived by those specious and splendid names (destitute of truth) which they are accustomed to repeat with perpetual crowing and great clamor, that they may be considered the sole heirs … (Turretin, vol 3, pg 2).What’s involved from our side, Turretin says, is “the way of discussion and examination of doctrine.” To be sure, this is “long, uncertain, and dangerous,” and the way of our opponents is “quick and easy,” one might say. But this is the nature of the dispute which our opponents “impose upon us.”
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And so David Waltz has shown up with three “quick and easy” reasons why we should reject the historical analysis of Peter Lampe. And I have dismissed Waltz because not only is his “argument” not an argument, but what he has repeating over these last months is more akin to slur and innuendo. At such times, as recently, when he adds information, he adds very little genuine, substantial information; he merely restates his original charges more slowly; he repeats them in bold and adds color, as a way of providing weight to the non-substance of what he is saying.
His “non-argument” has taken two forms. Here is the earlier form:
Lampe holds that Paul did not write the Pastoral epistles.After it was pointed out (among other things) that Ratzinger, himself once widely acknowledged as “a Liberal”, continues to incorporate liberal methodologies (even as pope) into his biblical theology, then the “argument” changed (knowingly or unknowingly) to something like this, its more recent form:
Therefore, Peter Lampe is a “Liberal”.
Anyone who adopts the writings of “Liberal” writers is inconsistent.
Peter Lampe holds that Paul did not write the Pastoral epistles.On this second matter, even if this were true, Waltz gets it wrong. But on both matters, he has equivocated on two important terms, and those terms are “liberal” and “presupposition.”
Holding this is a “liberal presupposition” (of the kind that ALL Liberals have ALWAYS HELD).
This “liberal presupposition” affects the outcome of his work.
Therefore, Lampe’s work is not to be trusted as accurately reflecting the historical situation in the early church.
In all discussions of religion, it is vitally important to define one’s terms up front, and then to remain consistent throughout. Given that this is a blog, and not a scholarly research paper, I may have been lax with definitions. That doesn’t mean that I’ve not been consistent with my own definitions. For example, I’ve written at length about the current state of New Testament scholarship, and I’ve talked about what “conservatives” believe, what “liberals” believe, and how there has been a confluence of method. And further, I’ve noted that this confluence of method enabled both liberals and conservatives to largely (though not completely) agree on the factual content of very many things. To repeat myself on this, there are the things that most scholars, conservative or liberal, have come to accept as historical facts. They may differ a bit on the dates of things – the dating of these things is certainly unknown, but of the events themselves and the general order these events occurred is relatively agreed upon.
This is why every introduction to the New Testament discusses dates of authorship of the New Testament books. Now, keep in mind, there is a great confluence here, too. David Waltz cites James White to me (from memory, not from actual citation, which he is too lazy to go back and find), and tells me I should listen to what James White says about what EVERY liberal believes about the Scriptures.
In the old days, for example, some German liberal scholars believed that the Gospel of John had been written in the late second century. They believed that right up to the time that a fragment from a manuscript of John was found, that dated from the year 125 AD.
You might say, the history and the archaeology forced them into a more “conservative” understanding of the historical facts. This is the nature of the “confluence” I’ve been talking about.
There was a time, too, when the “Pastoral Epistles,” the letters of Paul to Titus, were thought to have been written around 150 AD. But here, too, there is a confluence of understanding (no such early fragment has been found regarding Paul’s letters to Timothy and Titus). Yet, as Craig Blomberg reviews Philip Towner’s commentary on these letters, he notes that “Towner rejects the unproven theory of non-Pauline authorship and ably [highlights] the individual distinctive of each letter.”
And again, there is a confluence here; late dating is being squeezed into an earlier and earlier understanding of these letters. New Testament scholars such as Towner and L.T. Johnson (a “liberal” Roman Catholic!) have, in their commentaries, have gone to great lengths to document sound reasons why authentic Pauline authorship should not be rejected, in spite of the fact, as Towner says, “it is not possible to prove the authenticity” of these letters.
However, the difference is minimal between “not proving” and yet “rendering highly probable” that Paul wrote these letters. And in doing so, Towner, especially, goes to great lengths to make the case, including detailed histories of the cities and churches (Ephesus and Crete) to which Timothy and Titus have been dispatched, the destinations to which these letters were addressed, have been found in dispute. We’ve seen David Waltz’s oft-repeated charge:
Lampe’s first presupposition: the Pastorals were not written by Paul, and were composed at a much a later dateWhat’s the context, first, of Lampe’s use of these statements, and second, what's the context of Waltz’s [contextless] contention that these statements, pretty much alone, should form the basis of the rejection of Lampe’s other conclusions?
The Pastoral letters presuppose Aquila and Prisca still to be in Ephesus (2 Tim 4:19) while Paul is already in Rome. This is one of the historical inconsistencies found in the Pastorals…
For example, when Paul moved from Ephesus to Macedonia, by no means did Timothy remain behind in Ephesus, as 1 Tim 1:3 supposes: Acts 19:22; 20:1-4; 2 Cor 1:1; Rom 16:21…
How did the author come to the mistake regarding Aquila and Prisca?…
Conclusion: In a search for appropriate names to create a literary fiction based in Ephesus, the prominent names of Aquila and Prisca could not miss falling into the hands of the deutero-Pauline author. (Peter Lampe, From Paul to Valentinus, 2003, pp. 158, 159.)
It will seem mundane at places, and that’s why I’ve avoided going too much into detail. But the details are there, and I am familiar with them, and so I feel comfortable to simply reject Waltz’s charges out-of-hand. But in the same manner that Rome, with its all-encompassing bombast asked for the detailed critique rejecting Roman authority that Turretin provided in his day, that Keith Mathison decided was necessary to provide a detailed rejection of Roman claims in his own defense of his work on Sola Scriptura, David Waltz is, in his simplistic and taunting way, asking for the analysis which I hope [Lord willing] to produce in the coming days.