Thursday, July 20, 2006

Jon And Bill Curry

Those of you who have read Bill Curry's articles at Debunking Christianity (here and here) may be interested in knowing that he's the brother of the Jon Curry I interacted with at length on Greg Krehbiel's theology board last year. Many other people in that forum interacted with Jon as well. I probably wrote hundreds of pages of material in response to him. During that discussion, which covered many topics and spanned several weeks, we discussed some of the arguments of his brother Bill, including the arguments Bill is posting at Debunking Christianity. I discussed, with Jon, the passages Bill is now citing from 1 Kings and 1 Chronicles, and I gave Jon a link to an article by J.P. Holding that discusses some of the relevant information. Apparently, Jon didn't tell Bill much, if anything, about the discussions he had with me and with other people on Greg Krehbiel's board.

The same Jon Curry is the Jon who's been calling in to James White's webcast in recent weeks. At one point in his discussion with James White last Thursday, he told James that he has "nobody knowledgeable" to speak to about these issues surrounding Jesus' resurrection, Biblical inerrancy, etc. I and others on Greg Krehbiel's board have a significant amount of knowledge of these issues, and we gave Jon Curry a lot of our time, so he can only make that claim in the present tense or with the exclusion of people he interacts with online. He can't claim that nobody knowledgeable of these issues has ever taken the time to discuss the issues with him. Apparently, he isn't making much of an effort to remember and properly integrate the information he's getting from the Christians he speaks with.

One of the issues I discussed with Jon was Matthew 16:28 and the parallel passages elsewhere in the gospels. But you wouldn't know that our discussion had taken place by listening to what Jon said when he spoke with James White. I had already given Jon the sort of information James White gave him. I gave him a lot of other information as well, including the comments of scholars like D.A. Carson and Craig Keener on the relevant passages. Jon asked James White why Jesus made the reference to "tasting death" in Matthew 16:28 if the event in question was only days away, but as C.E.B. Cranfield notes:

"I would assume that the point of the solemn language about not tasting death is that the persons referred to would have the privilege of seeing in the course of their natural life what others would only see at the final judgment." (cited in Craig Blomberg, Matthew [Nashville, Tennessee: Broadman Press, 1992], n. 8 on p. 261)

In other words, Jesus' comment about not tasting death was more about the state in which the event would occur than the timing of it. Why would Jon Curry be calling James White to ask for this sort of information when he had already been given it by me and could find it in commentaries that are available to him and which I had recommended to him?

I discussed many alleged Biblical errors with Jon (the slaughter of the Bethlehem children, the death of Judas, etc.). Each time I would answer his list of alleged Biblical errors, he would move on to another list.

I don't think that my discussions with him on Greg Krehbiel's board are online any longer. But my responses to him on the Real Clear Theology blog are still available. For example, see here. The following comments I wrote in that article are an accurate summary of Jon Curry's problem then and now:

"There are difficulties in defending Christianity. But there are worse difficulties in defending skeptical theories about the evidence. When somebody like Jon Curry decides to renounce Jesus Christ, he ought to have spent less time reading sources like Farrell Till and Richard Carrier and more time reading conservative scholarship. People swallowing camels like a hallucinating Paul shouldn't be straining at gnats like how Judas could have fallen in addition to hanging himself. Skeptics regularly attempt to dismiss miracle accounts with theories that they would never accept in defense of Biblical inerrancy. But the defenders of inerrancy don't need to put forward such theories. We don't need to appeal to mass hallucinations, widespread memory loss, and such in the manner that skeptics do in defending their theories."

Bill Curry isn't responsible for the behavior of Jon Curry. But I would suggest that Bill consult his brother about his brother's past discussions with Christians before he posts more articles on the resurrection and Biblical inerrancy. And Bill should keep in mind that his brother's recollections aren't necessarily reliable.

As those of you who have listened to James White's webcast from last Thursday should know, Jon Curry is now speaking highly of the work of Earl Doherty, who argues against Jesus' existence. I would repeat what I said to Jon last year. He needs to spend more time reading sources like D.A. Carson and Craig Keener and less time reading sources like Richard Carrier and Earl Doherty.

4 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  2. This verse always comes to mind when dealing with someone like this, "always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." (2 Tim. 3:7)...

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  3. Hi Jason,

    "He can't claim that nobody knowledgeable of these issues has ever taken the time to discuss the issues with him. Apparently, he isn't making much of an effort to remember and properly integrate the information he's getting from the Christians he speaks with."

    Of course there are many knowledgable Christians on line that are available to debate these issues. Obviously I was not denying that when I spoke with James White. My point is that I don't have anybody knowledgable to converse with in terms of literally speaking. And I much prefer to speak with people than to debate online. Because it is more difficult to avoid the issue when speaking.

    Your posts on Krehbiel's board got very long. You'd often ignore the most crucial issues and focus on other points. You'd in some cases forget what you were arguing against and be arguing against a total caricature of my view. I don't say that as a personal attack. It's part of the nature of written communication. It is easy to misunderstand a point or forget the central point over the course of a dozen written pages (and as you said you probably wrote hundreds of pages in response to me). I was probably guilty of missing the point in some cases myself.

    With oral communication a lot of that is able to be prevented. If we had been speaking I would have quickly corrected your misunderstandings. You would do the same for me. This is part of the reason I call James White. He's a very intelligent guy that will give me some of the best arguments against my view that I will find, and since we're speaking verbally I won't have to read a dozen pages and wait a week before really getting to the heart of the matter.

    This is not to say that I didn't benefit from our conversation. I learned a lot and got a lot out of it. No, I didn't go out and buy C.E.B. Cranfield's commentary and dig up his response on Mt 16 in the months since our discussion ended. I suppose you think this makes me a "lazy college student." But what you offered was informative and probably more useful than anything anyone else posted there. I hope you can find the time to comment on some of the arguments Bill makes over at DC. He may discuss Bayes' Theorem and your comments are defintely welcome.

    And if during the course of the coming conversations either you or I could benefit from a phone conversation to clarify one matter or another I'd be happy to call you.

    If anyone is interested in hearing James White and me talking, it's accessible on his homepage (www.aomin.org) and it is the show from 7/13. I think I come on somewhere near the 27 minute mark.

    Jon

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  4. Jon,

    The information you received on the DL should not have taken 27 minutes and 2 calls. If you're a college student, then do what college students should do and avail yourself of the resources in your library.

    To be quite honest, the text answers your objection for you, and all you did was interject yet more ad hocery into your objections.

    Jesus says that there were those there who would not die before seeing the Son of Man coming in his glory.

    The Son of Man conjurs up an image of the final judgment from Daniel. This much of you what you said is true.

    However, this was, in Jewish eschatology an event considered by most to be far off. So, the disciples are confused, and so is the reader, from a narrative point of view, in this stage of the narrative.

    Your objection to the text assumes that when this event is spoken of it refers to the coming judgment, but that's not what Jesus is referring to here. He is referring to his identity as the Son of Man and His role as judge, not merely of the world, but of Israel in particular and saying that somebody in his immediate audience will see this in some fashion--which is a dramatic moment in Matthew, because, remember, Matthew is writing to Jews and indexing his material to the OT, so the Jewish expectation of the Son of Man, his identity, role, the timing of His work, etc. are all highly germane. When Dr. White pointed this out, you didn't want a part of it and tried to talk over him.

    In the very next movement of the text, the 3 see Jesus as the Son of Man, coming in all his glory, the fulfilment of the previous text. It also points out that Christ is the eschatological fulfilment of the Old Covenant itself, which is the role He fills in the passion week when He enters the Temple and delivers the last lawsuit. Because of this event earlier in the text (the Transfiguration), we the readers and the 3 know He is not just another prophet with a lawsuit from God, but He is also the Prophet like Moses and therefore the Son of Man from Daniel now executing judgment on Israel and ending the Old Covenant. The rest of the story is about the inauguration of the New Covenant, the promise of Jeremiah, and the linkage of the New Covenant to the Abrahamic and Davidic Covenants. Ergo, this is not a problem for inerrancy.

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