Thursday, September 14, 2006

Jon Curry's Refuted Arguments

Jon Curry is now posting on Dave Armstrong's blog, repeating false claims about early Christian eschatology that I and others have already answered. For example, in his first response to Dave, Jon writes:

"The other question is, where are these scoffers getting this notion that an end times prophecy has failed?"

As I explained to Jon repeatedly, we know from 2 Peter 3:9 that Peter was responding to a charge of slowness of fulfillment, not failure of fulfillment. It's the same sort of objection we see in the Old Testament, as I documented in my discussions with Jon on this blog. I also gave Jon examples of the early Christians referring to the possibility that there would be future generations before Jesus' second coming. When sources like Peter and Clement of Rome respond to the objection that God is slow in fulfilling His promises, but don't address any charge that a generational promise had failed, the best explanation for that situation is that the early Christians never claimed that Jesus was certain to return within His generation.

Jon often ignores evidence against his assertions, even after the evidence has been given to him repeatedly. For those who didn't read my earlier discussions with Jon on these eschatological issues, see here, for example. Other responses to Jon that I've written can be found by searching the archives.

14 comments:

  1. Let Dave Armstrong have him. Maybe he can take George and Exist~Dissolve too. Oh, and John Loftus also...

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  2. Is he the same guy that was on the Dividing Line a couple times? Everytime the guy opened his mouth, he demonstrated to me that his apostasy was not intellectual.

    It is clear from such texts as Acts 1:8 that Jesus never told them the time of His return. It is also clear that Matthew 16:28 refers to the Transfiguration because, in *context*, THE VERY NEXT VERSE IS THE TRANSFIGURATION!

    His appeal to the theory of Robert Price (a man who has quickly become a laughingstock in the scholarly community) that the Transfiguration was added later is simply begging the question under dispute. [Not to mention the fact that he has no evidence for it.]

    The very fact that he is willing to assume the worst in the text (even when it requires absurd conspiracy theories) shows that there is something other than the facts that is driving his unbelief. By being a stereotypical apostate, he has merely confirmed what the Scriptures predict about such people.

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  3. Nathan Burbalinski9/14/2006 11:19 AM

    Jon is a loose cannon, you can spend all day talking to him about a topic, answering his objections and refuting his arguments, but then the next day it's as if the conversation never took place because he'll regurgitate the same objections and argumentation. He's a wandering star, and there comes a point when you have to let the man oft refuted wander away. Perhaps God will have heart dealings with him.....

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  4. saint & sinner said:
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    It is also clear that Matthew 16:28 refers to the Transfiguration because, in *context*, THE VERY NEXT VERSE IS THE TRANSFIGURATION!
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    I've heard this interpretation before, but I do disagree with it. Jesus says: "Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom." The Transfiguration happened "after six days" (Matthew 17:1).

    If this was a prophecy, it would be like me saying, "I tell you the truth, some of you who will read this blog entry will not die before next Wednesday" which is hardly a prophecy at all.

    If you're wondering, I take Christ's words as being fulfilled in AD 70 during the fall of Jerusalem (after all, I am a partial-preterist).

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

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  6. Calvindude,

    I am not "fixed" on my interpretation of Mt. 16:28, but I don't see the problem that you are trying to highlight. Does a prophecy necessarily have to be a foretelling of an event expected to take place in the distant future? Is that always so? Did not Christ say to the thief on the cross "Truly, truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise"? That was just one day. Is not the emphasis of this "prophecy" the fact that there were some (not all) standing there that would actually see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom? Not so much that they would live long enough to see it, but that they would be there in person to see it? How can this be referring to the destruction of the temple in 70 AD? How was that event the fulfillment of the Son of Man coming in His kingdom?

    S&BL

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  7. It is indeed remarkable that the Transfiguration immediately follows that passage. Nevertheless, I don't believe such an application fits the context.

    As CalvinDude pointed out, it wouldn't be all that astounding for 'some' to not die before the Transfiguration.

    Furthermore, in verse 27 it mentions the Son coming down 'in the glory of his Father with his angels' and rewarding 'every man according to his works.' Did this happen in the transfiguration?

    So an alternate interpretation is CalvinDude's, which I also disagree with. However, I do agree that Christ prophesied about the fall of Jerusalem, just not here. That was in Matthew 24.

    So where I differ is on the interpretation of the phrase 'taste of death.' I don't think this refers to physical death, but spiritual death. In other words, unbelievers (which is why he says 'some' instead of 'all') won't even have tasted of death until they experience hell. Though they think they experience death in the suffering of this lifetime and the physical death to follow, it is not even a taste of the death that is to come.

    This is the same phrase (‘taste of death’) that is elsewhere used to describe the experience of hell. Christ ‘tasted death’ on the cross for us (Hebrews 2:9).

    Spurgeon comments:

    “At the time of his return, those who have been without God, without Christ, will begin for the first time to ‘taste of death.’ …The expression ‘to taste of death’ means the reception of the true, essential death that kills both the body and the soul in hell forever. …Compared with the doom that will be inflicted upon the ungodly at Christ’s return, the death of the physical body is nothing. Further, compared with the doom of the wicked at his return, even the torment of souls in a separate state is scarcely anything. …The doom that is to be brought upon the wicked when Christ comes is a death that never dies. Here is a heart that palpitates with eternal misery. Here is an eye that is never clouded over by the kind finger of generous forgetfulness. Here is a body that never will be stiffened in apathy, never will be laid quietly in the grave, rid of sharp pains, wearying disease, and lingering wretchedness. …There will be no ease, no rest, no pause in the destination of impenitent souls. ‘Depart from me, ye cursed’ will ever ring along the endless aisles of eternity. The thunderbolt of that tremendous word will follow the sinner in his perpetual flight from the presence of God. From its deadly influence he will never be able to escape—no, never.”

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  8. So, S&S, looks like CD and Evan May are using the exact same arguments I did against James White when he suggested the Transfiguration as the explanation for Mt 16:28. Will you also be pointing out how their statements are "not intellectual"?

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  9. Jon,

    Evan and CD are suggesting a different interpretation of the passage in question. They're not coming to the conclusion that the Bible isn't true and that Jesus never existed. What S&S actually said was that your departure from the Christian faith was not due to a greater understanding of the relevant evidence (or lack thereof) on your part, but he was asserting that the reason you are an apostate has to do with your heart--not your head...

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  10. Jon wrote:
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    So, S&S, looks like CD and Evan May are using the exact same arguments I did against James White when he suggested the Transfiguration as the explanation for Mt 16:28.
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    Um...since Evan & I disagree on our interpretation (although not by a huge margin), how are we using "the exact same" argument you did?

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  11. Jon Curry:

    I might disagree with my friend Dr. White regarding what the application of this passage is, but I agree with him concerning what it isn't.

    Thus, my exegesis refutes your arguments that because those present physically died before Christ's return, this passage is in error. Since I hold to the position that some would have yet to have experienced true death until the judgment comes (i.e., they won't experience hell on this earth), this passage is true.

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  12. S&S says that every time I opened my mouth I showed how my apostasy was not intellectual. His first example was the shocking propostion that I do not regard Mt 16:28 as referring to the transfiguration. He even put that in caps. Lots of emphasis.

    But when I spoke with James White I offered two reasons why I didn't accept that interpretation. One was that the event ocurred a mere six days later. The other was that the context was referring to judgement.

    So you guys reject the Transfiguration explanation for the exact same reasons I do. But of course every word that comes out of my mouth shows how my rejection of Christianity was not intellectual. Words that came out of my mouth included the exact same arguments you guys are using. You may not agree that I'm looking at an error, but you do agree with me that the Transfiguration does not explain Mt 16:28. Not only that you agree with me for the exact same reasons I offered. I think this makes you non-intellectual on S&S's view.

    Rather than denying the obvious (that S&S's ad hominem comments equally apply to you as to me) perhaps you should just encourage him to try to focus on argumentation and avoid personal attacks. Maybe you (CD and EM) are right, S&S is wrong, Jason is wrong, and I'm wrong. That's all fine. We can debate it. But if S&S can recognize that his ad hominem equally applies to people that he doesn't want to act rudely towards, perhaps he'll stop acting rudely altogether. Help him. Don't encourage him in his fallacies.

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  13. S&BL wrote:
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    I am not "fixed" on my interpretation of Mt. 16:28, but I don't see the problem that you are trying to highlight. Does a prophecy necessarily have to be a foretelling of an event expected to take place in the distant future?
    ---

    No; but that's not why I disagreed with Matthew 16:28 being fulfilled in Matthew 17. Again, my disagreement is on the idea that "some of you will not taste death" would be an unnecessary addendum to a prophecy that would take place in less than a week.

    Of course, Evan had to go and try to make us consider what "taste death" means (as if *THAT'S* important--*wink, wink*), which means tonight I'll have to dig out my old commentaries from the boxes in the garage yet again! :-) Oh well, I've been meaning to unpack them anyway.

    SB&L wrote:
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    Is not the emphasis of this "prophecy" the fact that there were some (not all) standing there that would actually see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom?
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    Yes, but the idea is that if there are only "some" of you who will not taste death, then there would be "some" who have. In other words, unless some of the disciples who heard Christ died within the six days (an event that was not recorded--although it probably would have been were it related to the prophecy), then it would be more natural to assume Christ would have said, "None of you standing here will taste death... etc."

    S&BL wrote:
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    How can this be referring to the destruction of the temple in 70 AD? How was that event the fulfillment of the Son of Man coming in His kingdom?
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    I will need to get out my books (as mentioned before) to get more details, but the basic gist of how I see it is like this:

    A) The Kingdom of Christ is "not of this world." Thus, it is not a political kingdom, but rather a spiritual kingdom.

    B) This Kingdom was "near" at the time Christ spoke (i.e. before His death & resurrection).

    C) The Transfiguration was probably a shadow of the coming Kingdom; a glimpse or taste of it.

    D) I don't take the "coming" of Christ in this passage to be equivalent to the paraousia ("second coming"). Instead, the language matches with other OT prophecies regarding judgments God inflicts on other nations. Thus, I view the Son coming in His kingdom to be the destruction of Jerusalem and the fulfillment of the covenantal expulsion of the Jews and the ingrafting of the Gentiles.

    That said, this is not a hill I would choose to die on were I challenged on it :-)

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  14. Jon,

    I understand your point there. I personally haven't said (nor agreed with) your apostasy was "not intellectual." I've actually had no reason to either accept or reject that premise at this point (and honestly, I'm not all that concerned about it either) :-)

    If it's a comfort to you, I don't think your view of Matt 16:28 (at least so far as you've represented it here--I haven't heard the Dividing Line, so I'll take your word for it) demonstrates you're a non-intellectual apostate. But that's just on this particular point, and as Evan pointed out we still disagree with your conclusions of Matt 16.

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