Tuesday, December 13, 2005

A mind is a terrible thing to waste

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I am not going to walk across the room to see how many Calvinist commentaries on John interact with Witherington's Commentary on John. The gun shoots both ways I'm sure.
Posted by Michael Spencer at 08:30 PM

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Well, let’s see Michael. How many Reformed commentaries on John have been published since Witherington published his? The only recent commentary on John from a consistently Reformed perspective is Carson’s. That was published in 1991, four years before Witherington came out with his.

Köstenberger doesn’t strike me as a Calvinist, but in case you want to include him, his commentary (2004) does interact with Witherington’s.

And now for another dim bulb (see below):

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I did see where Witherington cites Douglas Moo's commentary on Romans quite a bit, which is a fairly traditional (reformed) understanding of Romans, so it's naive to think that Witherington is avoiding the "reformed interpretation" of Romans.

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Moo is not a Calvinist. Moo identifies himself as a “modified Lutheran.” Lutheran theology and Reformed theology are quite distinct traditions.

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I don't see why he has to address every signle Reformed work, as if there is something radically different in all of them.

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“Every single Reformed work.” Hyperbole as a substitute for serious argument.

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As if in all of his career he has been scared to interact with Calvinists! I think Calvinists need to get the memo that the world of Biblical scholarship is familiar with their arguments, and have addressed (both defended and attacked), and is now moving on. From an academic standpoint, why would BWIII just want to take up all of his pages on interpretations everyone is familiar with? There is too much relatively new, and "exciting" things happening in New Testament/ Pauline studies to go back to the old Calvinist-Arminian pissing contests.

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Yet another made-up defense of Witherington, totally ignoring his latest book, The Problem of Evangelical Theology, in which he does go back to the old Calvinist/Arminian debates.

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Witherington says in the preface that his purpose in writing the commentary is not to rehash the same old Wesleyan vs. Augustinian/Calvinist/Lutheran commentary with which everyone is familiar…

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That is not at all what Witherington says. What he says is: “One of the more surprising things I have discovered along the way is that there really has never been, since the English Reformation, a major exegetical study of Romans which intentionally takes into account Arminian and Wesleyan readings as opposed to more Augustinian/Lutheran/Calvinist readings of Romans” (xi).

So his stated purpose is just the opposite. The Arminian/Wesleyan perspective has been neglected, and he intends to redress the imbalance.

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So don't be surprised when he doesn't address every Calvinist who has written a commentary on Romans.

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More hyperbole deputizing as an argument. Witherington doesn’t address any Reformed commentary on Romans.

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Why do Calvinists (at least blogging ones) have a persecution complex? As if everyone hasn't heard their arguments 5 billion-zillion times.
Posted by Ryan Cordle at 08:26 PM

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I realize that this would be a foreign concept to the brain donors over at BHT, but there’s a virtue in knowing what you’re talking about before you open your mouth.

7 comments:

  1. How do you have the patience, Steve? Let not your heart be troubled, your posts are a blessing to us. And maybe you will get a honey-baked HAM for Christmas from Fide-O.

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  2. What's interesting is the hyperbole that passes for argument over at BHT. "Every single Reformed work". "the old Calvinist-Arminian pissing contests." "Why do Calvinists (at least blogging ones) have a persecution complex?"

    Yeah, right. Poor old Steve is feeling persecuted because BWIII ignored the Reformed commentaries. Sure, *that* was the argument ;-)

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  3. Your patience is indeed Herculean Steve. I confess that I consistently leave this site shaking my head in disbelief at the absurd nonsense you interact with on a regular basis.

    I will never understand what motivates people (who are otherwise remarkably simple) to brazenly produce doctrinaire invective in the public domain of the internet. What makes this all the more unbelievable is that beneath the thin veneer of informed dogmatism there lies a foundation that is transparently ignorant (and embarrassingly so).

    Some folks would do well to realize that the medium of the internet has not only the power of giving a voice to those who otherwise wouldn’t have one, but it also has the power of conferring a reputation for better or worse.

    What a pity that some ecclesiastical traditions are dogmatically represented on the internet by those who would no doubt do better to keep silent.

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  4. Have you considered using the <blockquote> tag for your quotes? Even simple italics would be nice. I mean, you use a LOT of quotes in your posts, and the current way you're marking them up makes it extremely hard to seperate what you're saying from what you're quoting.

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  5. Kurt:

    Steve's an evil calvinistic genius, but he happens to be HTML-impaired. [joke]Have a little charity for the disabled, man. I find your remarks very uncharitable, and I think you ought to drop the subject.[/joke]

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  6. I assume in reading a commentary is that one of the goals of the author is to bring the reader up to date on the state of the scholarship by discussing the best work in the respective schools.

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  7. Dear Steve: Are you a Christian?

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