Friday, October 02, 2009

"Poorly-argued garbage"

Victor Reppert has been touting a series of blog posts by Ben Henshaw, responding to me, on 1 Cor 10:13.

I’ve already commenting on Ben’s prior installments–so I’ll now comment on his final installment. I should add that there have been some subsequent developments since Ben did his final installment. He’s been plugging his interpretation in the combox of Reppert’s blog–which I’ve answered there. An anonymous commenter has also quoted some supplementary material which supports my interpretation.

Ben’s final installment is typical. Ben is very repetitious. Likes to repeat oft-refuted arguments.

He’s also one of those morally blinkered individuals who makes derogatory comments about his opponent, but then takes personal offence at any perceived slight to the purity of his own motives, and spends lots of time defending his outraged honor.

So there’s a lot of dead wood. I’ll try to cut the dead wood as best I can to focus on the essentials. I’ll also add some material from the thread over at Reppert’s blog, to bring the debate up to date.

Fitzmyer first offers what he considers two possible interpretations. One interpretation would look at this verse as specific reference to an eschatological trial (probably based on an erroneous understanding of what Paul intended by the phrase “end of the ages” in verse 11,) Fitzmyer rightly rejects the “eschatological” interpretation and concludes that “Christians may also rely on God for the ekbasis of lesser struggles throughout the course of life.”

How does Ben get from Fitzmyer’s use of “also” to Fitzmyer’s “rejection” of the eschatological referent? “Also” is an adverb which means “in addition to.”

So Fitzmyer is not opposing the two interpretations at this point, as if you have to choose one or the other. He might or might not exclude the eschatological referent on other grounds, but you certainly can’t get that from the sentence which Ben just quoted.

This supports my understanding that “No temptation” has reference to “No temptation” (i.e., no [not any] temptation to sin that a Christian may face in life), rather than to the sole temptation to deny the faith in apostasy.

Except that it doesn’t, given Ben’s disregard for Fitzmyer’s syntactical construction.

Fitzmyer’s further comments concerning the specific context having to do with idol meat and seduction to idolatry does nothing to contradict my view. Such trials would certainly be included among any and every temptation that a believer may face in life.

i) The question at issue is whether God has promised to protect his people from sins resulting in apostasy–and not every temptation under the sun.

ii) Incidentally, has Ben really had that much personal experience facing down the temptation to eat meat sacrificed to idols? Or is that a fairly culturebound situation? As one scholar explains:

“The right which some Corinthian Christians exercise was to recline at a dinner in a pagan temple (8:10)…This right related to the special privilege open to a limited number of the inhabitants to dine during the Games at nearby Isthmia on a number of occasions and came under the jurisdiction of Corinth. These were the Roman citizens of Corinth…Just as there were perils in reclining at a private banquet (6:12-20), so too there were not dissimilar dangers open to those Christians who accepted the invitation to recline at the civic banquets associated with the games. ‘Some ate, drank and rose up to play’ (10:7), which was the way that the LXX describes the banquet associated with idolatry and the ‘after-dinner’ behaviour in Exodus 32:6…The nexus between reclining in the temple and idolatry becomes clearer as Paul commanded Christians to fleet from it, i.e., the sinners because, as he explains later, it was not possible for them to sit at ‘the table of daemons’ and drink of ‘the cup of daemons’ and to sit also at the table of the Lord and drink his cup (10:14,21), B. Winter, After Paul Left Corinth (Eerdmans 2001), 93-94.

Back to Ben:

This is probably the reason that Fitzmyer does not draw the same conclusions as Steve and thereby try to limit “No temptation” in 10:13 exclusively to the specific temptation to finally deny the faith.

Ben can only deny that conclusion by driving a wedge between idolatry and apostasy–a dichotomy which is contrary to the entire witness of Scripture. Moreover, Fitzmyer himself documents that linkage in the verses leading up to v13.

In fact, we can find further support for my position on page 388 where Fitzmyer concludes his discussion on what “ends” means in verse 11,
“No matter which interpretation of “ends” is preferred, Paul’s implication is that such events about our “ancestors” have been recorded in the OT for the instruction of Christians, to admonish them in every age about God’s reaction to human complaints, rebellion, testing, and probing.” (388 emphasis mine)
We see here that Fitzmyer understands that Paul is addressing each of these specific sins to the Corinthians (just as I argued in my last post), rather than applying a general principle of apostasy. If Steve’s understanding of Fitzmyer is correct, then he is essentially saying that every instance of “human” complaining, rebellion, testing, and probing, constitutes a final denial of the Christian faith.

This disregards the way in which Paul, as well as Fitzmyer, define the key terms in relation to the OT background material.

The “tight spot” is the burden of proof that rests on him to show that 1 Cor. 10:13 cannot possibly have reference to every temptation a believer may face in life (my interp.), while proving that “No temptation” must have specific and exclusive reference to the temptation to finally deny the faith (his interp.). Steve put himself in that position and put the burden of proof upon himself with his arguments and his use of rhetoric in his initial response (he actually needs to show that my interpretation is impossible, considering his claim that my “warehouse” was entirely “empty”).

This is special pleading. In exegetical theology, there is no burden of proof to show that any and every alternative interpretation is “impossible.” You only have to show that your interpretation is the best available interpretation.

And Steve accuses me of avoidance? You will search in vain for any specific interaction, on Steve’s part, with any of the exegetical points I made in both my posts. All you will find is Steve quoting commentaries that he imagines agree with him, and making passing remarks on those quotes.

In a debate over the meaning of a Biblical prooftext, it’s perfectly legitimately to quote the exegetical arguments of scholars whose interpretation supports your position, and briefly explain, if need be, how their interpretations support your position.

None needed. All that is needed is the documentation concerning their interpretation of I Cor. 10:13 which agrees with me against Steve (we are not talking about the five points of TULIP, but about a proper understanding of 1 Cor. 10:13). That documentation has already been provided. If he means to insist that these commentaries were not written by Calvinists, then he can take that up with Calvinists Leon Morris and FF Bruce, for starters (and I am pretty sure John Calvin was a Calvinist).

If Ben claims to have some Calvinist commentators who agree with him, then he needs to document that the commentators in question are, indeed, Calvinists. To say that Calvin was a Calvinist is cute, but evades the question regarding the theological identity of the other commentators he so designates.

He needs to explain why Paul applies each specific temptation to sin (including such sins as complaining and craving evil things) to the Corinthians, if he were really just trying to apply a principle of apostasy by using those OT references.

Except that Ben reduces “craving” and “complaining” to generic sins in defiance of their contextual connotations in this literary setting.

He needs to show that my view is totally unreasonable, based on his claims that my interpretation amounts to “empty…gesticulating”, etc.

Notice how Ben tries to stack the deck. That’s a sign of weakness. All I have to show is that his interpretation is probably wrong.

He also needs to show that the passage teaches that the believer will always take the way of escape, (assuming the correctness of his interpretation).

From the nature of the divine promise. For if the believer did succumb to apostasy, then God allowed him to be tested beyond his limits. The believer was unable to resist the fatal temptation.

I then quoted the following observation by an Arminian commentator:

“I’m convinced that the ‘fall’ mentioned in 1 Cor. 10:12 is referring to apostasy from Christ and the Christian faith that can occur if the believers in Corinth persist in idolatry and the attending immorality that is common place at these social events/banquets. In my research I have found several commentators and academic works on 1 Cor 8:1-11:1 that hold to this view as well. The work that I have found the most impressive is . . ._Paul and Apostasy: Eschatology, Perseverance, and Falling Away in the Corinthian Congregation (Paperback)_by B. J. Oropeza.”

This proved to be embarrassing, both to Ben and to his Arminian cohort.

Steve just isn’t getting it. First, the idea that “fall” can have reference to apostasy does not establish his interpretation.

The divine promise is indexed to apostasy.

The commenter in my meta does not agree with Steve, and has since left a comment verifying that Steve was wrong to draw those implications from his comments (just as Steve was wrong to draw similar implications from the two commentators who supposedly agreed with him).

It’s irrelevant whether or not the Arminian commenter agrees with me. What is relevant is the material he cited by other scholars.

Since Steve spent no time personally interacting with the passage or context, his sources were his argument, rather than illustrating his argument.

There’s nothing wrong with that. Citing the arguments of other scholars who agree with you is a perfectly valid move.

Not at all. I think anything written by Puritans is nothing but poorly argued garbage. This would, of course, include anything by Owen or Edwards.

Let’s be clear on this. In support of his interpretation, Ben now admits that he quoted some commentators who, in his own estimation, wrote “poorly argued garbage.” That’s how he defends his interpretation?

And I wonder if Steve would ask the same question if this old, worthless Puritan work had happened to agree with his extremely marginal interpretation?

Well, it’s easy for Ben to test that hypothesis. He can perform a search of my blog inputting the names of various Puritans, and see where, if at all, I have ever cited a Puritan commentator to support my interpretation.

BTW, I think Puritans can be very useful writers in other respects. I just don’t turn to them for exegesis.

Idolatry and apostasy provides some of the background, but certainly not all of it, since the context does not have sole reference to either (nor do Steve’s sources take such a narrow view of the context, and they certainly don’t agree with any of Steve’s conclusions concerning 1 Cor. 10:13).

The scholars I cite tie the various forms of behavior in view to idolatrous apostasy.

In fact, any mention of apostasy is mostly indirect even in his quoted sources (and only one quote directly mentions “apostasy” at all). For example, Garland references Ps. 106 as the best place to gain background on the “litany of Israel’s sins”. If one reads Psalm 106, he will discover that far more is mentioned besides idolatry or apostasy. For example, they “craved intensely” in the wilderness (cf. 1 Cor. 10:6 which sets up the entire discussion of Israel’s sins and resultant judgment in 1 Cor. 10: 6-12). This “craving”, in Psalm 106, is the result of “forgetting [God’s] works” and not waiting for God’s counsel (hardly what we would call acts of apostasy).

i) To begin with, the question at issue is the use that Paul made of his sources, and not the way in which Ben chooses to take them.

i) And even on its own terms, this is how a recent commentator sums it up: “Israel’s faithlessness expresses itself in different ways. There is their disbelief in Yhwh’s (proven) ability to deliver, their unwillingness to follow Yhwh’s plan, their internal jealous and strife, and their making of an image, their lack of confidence in Yhwh’s promise, their worship of other deities, their submission to the influences of culture, and their acceptance of its abhorrent forms of worship,” J. Goldingay, Psalm 90-150 (Baker 2008), 239.

Ben must have an extremely lenient view of what constitutes apostate behavior. Unfortunately for him, Bible writers are far less indulgent.

Notice how Fitzmyer does not equate grumbling and craving with idolatry, but instead said such grumbling and craving “led” to “such idolatry” (notice also that he refers to them as “grumbling Israelites” prior to their initial act of idolatry, i.e. “the grumbling Israelites became idolaters”). Furthermore, Fitzmyer tells us that Paul’s OT quotes are meant to underscore “the seriousness of such craving”. So instead of supporting Steve’s claim that the passage is only concerned with idolatrous apostasy, Fitzmyer sees Paul’s allusions as going beyond just idolatry, but including those sinful things that may simply lead to idolatry (even such grave idolatry as that committed by Israel in the golden calf episode). This is far more in line with my interpretation than Steve’s.

i) It dovetails perfectly with my position. If God has promised to protect his own from apostasy, then, needless to say, that protection must extend to sins which eventuate in that damnable outcome. Protection against the end-result includes the precipitating causes. Isn’t that obvious?

ii) And notice Fitzmyer doesn’t say that “they may lead to idolatry”–as if they may or may not result in idolatry.

Garland also speaks of “grumbling” in a similar way, a way that does not necessarily constitute idolatry or apostasy,
[Garland] The image of grumbling characterizes the whole wilderness experience of Israel (Num. 14:36; 16:41, 49; 17:5, 10) but is particularly associated with putting God to the test (Exod. 17:2-3). Their grumbling about food kindled God’s anger against them (Num. 11:1; 14:2-4). (463).
“Paul perhaps singles out ‘grumbling’ because the Corinthians have been guilty of murmuring against him (so Robertson and Plummer 1914: 206; Moffatt 1938: 132; Oster 1995: 235), particularly because of his hard-line stance against their participation in idol feasts (Fee 1987: 457). As Moses protested the people’s idolatry, so Paul has protested the Corinthians’ participation in sacrificial meals. As the people of Israel grumbled against the leader appointed by God, so also Paul insinuates that the Corinthians are no less guilty of rebelliously grumbling against him and refusing to listen to his counsel.” (464).
[Ben] Notice that, just like Fitzmyer, Garland sees the “grumbling” as starting prior to any acts of idolatry on Israel’s part.

Irrelevant. It terminates in idolatry. Cause and effect. Crossing a line of no-return.

It is also very important to ask why Paul is writing this to the Corinthians. Was he just trying to safeguard them from getting involved with idolatry, or was he addressing a problem that was already present (there involvement in idolatrous practices, cf. verses 14-29)?

That’s irrelevant to the specific promise in 10:13.

Paul is both warning the Corinthians to avoid idolatry as well as calling on those who may already be involved in such idolatry to repent, take the way of escape provided by God, and flee from idolatry in the future.

Really? 10:13 has reference to those who have already succumbed to the temptation in question? But in that case, God did allow them to be tempted beyond their powers of resistance. In that case, God broke his promise.

Is that what Arminian theology entails? God makes promises that God can’t keep?

If he was addressing their present involvement in idolatry at all (and surely he was), then are we to conclude that Paul saw them as a bunch of apostates without hope?

i) The Corinthians are a mixed multitude. We can’t very well talk about the spiritual status of the Corinthians in general. That varies from one individual to the next. Likewise, not as if OT Jews were all of a kind.

ii) Apropos (i), remember that 1 Corthinians is a public letter, addressed to the whole congregation–which is, itself, a someone fluid body, having a certain amount of turnover from one time to another.

In the nature of the case, what Paul says is applicable to some, but not to others.

There simply is no necessary correlation between idolatry and apostasy in the context of 1 Cor. 10:13, despite Steve’s claims. The context has to do with various degrees of rebellion against God which can take many forms (and one could consider just about any sin as a type of rebellion). It can be the rebellion of craving things beyond what God has provided. It can be the rebellion of complaining about present situations, or grumbling against God in doubts or frustration (or against those God has called us to serve and obey). It can also be the rebellion of idolatrous acts of various degrees, even to the degree of apostasy. But nothing in the context forces us to limit any and all of these types of rebellion to the exclusive rebellion of finally denying the faith.

Paul doesn’t rank these sins on a scale of culpability. Ben is superimposing that on the text.

Since Steve sees Garland as a credible source, it might serve us well to see what he has to say on the matter…
A few important things to notice here: First, the significant point of the uniform Pauline usage of apollysthai as a reference to “eternal final destruction”. That presents a considerable challenge to any interpreter who wants to try to soften the use of the word here. Generally, the only ones who are willing to soften the word here do so in an effort to uphold their Calvinist doctrine (i.e. the argument for suggesting the word is being used in a way that is contrary to uniform Pauline usage, is based not on context, but on the belief in inevitable perseverance).

Since Garland is Arminian, it comes as no surprise that he rejects the perseverance of the saints. So what?

Did I ever indicate that Garland agrees with Calvinism? No. In fact, I even said he’s a non-Calvinist when I cited him.

Second, Garland clearly sees this as a genuine act of idolatry (rather than an imagined or unintentional act as Steve is trying to argue for), which can culminate in “rejoin[ing] the ranks of the perishing”.

i) Ben suffers from a lack of basic reading skills. Did I ever suggest that idolatry issues from an unintentional action? No. Just the opposite. Ben is the one who was trying to dichotomize the act from the intention, not me.

ii) Moreover, if Garland thinks that idolatry is spiritually fatal, then how is that at odds with my position? Wouldn’t that support the link between idolatry and apostasy?

Unless the probability of violating the warning is zero (i.e. impossible). In that case there is no reason to give the warning in the first place since the consequences cannot possibly be realized.

That’s a silly objection since the warning is, itself, a deterrent.

To suggest that the warnings are a means by which God guarantees the perseverance of the saints (i.e. God makes sure that the “elect” will always heed the warnings), is not a conclusion based on exegesis (since the Bible nowhere makes such a claim), but an assumption that is read into such warnings for the sake of preserving the P in TULIP.

i) Of course, that’s raw assertion.

ii) Moreover, there are classical Arminians (in contrast to Wesleyan Arminians) who also affirm the perseverance of the saints. So Ben will have to argue, not only against Calvinists, but also against some fellow Arminians (like Dan Chapa).

[Hays] The Reformed doctrine of the atonement isn’t based on verses which simply state that Christ died for X. Rather, it involves verses which describe penal substitution.
[Ben] Which, if true, only serves to further illustrate how problematic Reformed doctrine is, since one is then forced to see Christ dying for the non-elect for a purpose other than their salvation (something the Bible nowhere suggests).

How does that even begin to follow from what I actually said? How does Ben infer from my statement that Christ died for the reprobate?

Furthermore, this illustrates that Calvinists, unlike Arminians, do not formulate their views on the extent of the atonement based on those passages which speak directly to the scope of atonement (e.g. the universal language of John 3:16-18, 36; 1 Tim. 2:1-6; 4:10; Hebrews 2:9, etc.).

i) I can quote non-Calvinist scholars who interpret these verses consistent with Calvinism.

ii) For that matter, it’s not as if Arminians have a prima facie claim on those verses. They’re in a tug-of-war with the universalists.

[Hays] False dilemma. Idolatry involves idolatrous intent. Not simply eating meat which happens to be dedicated to an idol–by someone else. But eating such meat with the express intention of honoring the deity to whom it was dedicated.
Paul, himself, goes out of his way to accentuate the importance of intent to distinguish true idolatry from incidental appearances.
[Ben] This is an interesting claim, but without any “supporting argument”. Nowhere in the passage does Paul say the weak believer’s actions are unintentional.

Once again, how does that even begin to follow from what I actually wrote? How does he infer from my statement that the actions of the weaker brethren are unintentional? You have to wonder how Ben’s mind works–or doesn’t,

Before I wrap up this segment, I want to quote some material which an anonymous commenter introduced into the record over at Reppert’s blog:

As Ciampa and Rosner point out in New Testament Commentary on the Old (ed. Beale and Carson) points out, 1 Cor. 10 is rife with allusion to OT APOSTASY from the covenant. These people were FOREVER CUT OFF, EXPELLED from the covenant.

Also, as Ciampa and Rosner point out, in the *scholarly* commentary, that, based on Paul’s HEAVY reliance and allusions to the OT in this passage (i.e., 10:1-13), it makes sense to place the "common to man" referent back in the OT as well, i.e., Numb. 5:6. They cite Josephus Ant 1.22 as in agreement (same with garland: 2003). This "common to man" should be "understood in the context of the warning examples [Paul] has just enumerated and the exhortation to flee idolatry that immediately follows" (Note: in the OT idolatry got you forever EXPELLED from the covenant. No coming back from stoning.)

They point out that the "Evidence suggests that the OT and early Judaism considered idolatry the most human of all temptations" cf. Rosner's Greed and Idolatry and Beale's We Become what we Worship).

Continuing, Rosner and Ciampa agree with Thiselton (can't get better than that) that another basic point of the passage is to shoot down the idea that the **temptation** is what necessitates a sin. "That God does not allow us to be exposed to irresistible temptations is a reflection of his faithfulness." This is what happened with those OT covenant members who did not bend the knee and commit idolatry. God was faithful.

These are some of THE BEST exegetes working today. Not only that, they showed that the historical evidence and interpretation is opposed to what Robert et al claim for this passage.

Oropeza also takes this passage to teach on apostasy, not just any ole garden-variety temptation.

The passage is consistent with Calvinism (and I'd argue demands it), and the 'common to man' argument has been answered.

I take it that he disagrees with Rosner I a brilliant exegete, I might add), when Rosner says, "In the Bible there is no more serious charge than that of idolatry. Idolatry called fir the strictest punishment, elicited the most disdainful polemic, prompted the most extreme measures of avoidance, and was regarded as the chief identifying characteristic of those who were the very antithesis of the people of God, namely, the Gentiles. Fundamental to Israel's life and faith were the first commandment and its exposition in the Shema, which from early in the nation's history were thought to touch every aspect of its life. The early church likewise treated idol worship with the utmost seriousness.

Idolatry is the ultimate expression of unfaithfulness to God and is for that reason the occasion for severe divine punishment.


It is not just that idolatry was one vice among many of which the heathen were guilty; rather, idolatry is a defining feature of the heathen, whose life is characterized inevitably by this sin. ... These sins are the only vices in the Pauline letters that are considered to be such a threat that they must be 'shunned' or 'fled' (I Cor. 6:18; 10:14). Opposition to idolatry was in effect a drawing of group boundaries for the people of God, set within the wider framework of their identity and self-definition. In making clear what they stood for, they emphasized what they stood against. (Rosner. _Idolatry_, "New Dictionary of Biblical Theology" (eds. Alexander, Rosner, Carson, Goldsworthy, IVP, 2000, reprint, 2006, p.570, 571).

Back to Ben:

It needs to be mentioned that if Steve’s claims are accepted, then he has essentially robbed us of one of the most precious promises that Scripture offers. His claims concerning 1 Cor. 10:13 would lead to the conclusion that no Christian can rely on God’s faithfulness in providing a way of escape whenever they are tempted to sin. Rather, the believer can only rest in the reality that temptation may often overcome us in such a way that we were entirely powerless to resist…This is a terrible price to pay, in revoking such an important promise of God to believers, for the sake of preserving exhaustive determinism.

i) What does the Arminian version of the promise amount to, anyway? God has given us resistible grace so that, when we find ourselves tempted to sin, we have all this resistible grace which, in the face of temptation, we can always counteract or forgo--– and thereby succumb to temptation. That’s the “precious promise” that I’ve revoked.

To be “robbed” of resistible grace–which, being resistible, is functionally indistinguishable from the total absence of grace. Yes, that’s quite a loss.

ii) Ben also commits a logical fallacy. To say that God will protect his own from falling into apostasy is not to say that God will never protect his own from any other sin at any other time and place–much less that we are powerless to resist in every other situation. His inference is clearly invalid.

To say that God will do X for you in this case doesn’t mean that God will never do X for you in some other case. It merely means that, in one type of case, there’s a general policy in place.

steve said...
arminianperspectives said...

Actually, this is exactly what Fitzmyer does in the provided quote, and the best interpretation he ‘arrives at is the one that contradicts Steve's claims and demonstrates his misuse of the quote (the very point I have repeatedly made that Steve continues to deny, even in the face of such plain evidence).

Here is Fitzmyer’s verbatim conclusion: “In this context, Paul seems to be thinking primarily of trials involving idol meat or seduction to idolatry.”

Since, in Scripture, the sin of idolatry is a paradigm-case of apostasy–as Fitzmyer himself documents in the run-up to this verse)–Fitzmyer’s conclusion confirms rather than contradicts my position.

But Christians may also rely on God for the ekbasis of lesser struggles throughout the course of life [and here he states a conlusion, which flatly contradicts Hays' view.

i) That is not how he concludes his interpretation of 10:13. I just quoted his actual conclusion.

ii) Moreover, that statement doesn’t “flatly contradict” my position. The fact that God provides a way out in case of apostasy doesn’t imply that God never provides away out in lesser cases. Rather, we have a general promise in the special case of apostasy. Ben’s inference is logically fallacious.

Notice he sets this against the eshcatological trial view.

He compares the two, but he doesn’t reject the eschatological referent.

…trials involving idol meat are simply a specific example of the ‘lesser struggles throughout the course of life.’

Idolatry is hardly a case of “lesser struggles.” Rather, as Fitzmyer documents in the verses leading up to 13, idolatry is a grave sin. Indeed, a paradigm-case of apostasy.

[So what we see is Fitzmyer reviewing some options and concluding with a view that contradicts Hays'.]

Ben isn’t getting that from Fitzmyer. Rather, Ben is filtering a statement by Fitzmyer through Ben’s mitigating position that idolatry is a “lesser struggle”–rather than a paradigm-case of apostasy.

BTW, it’s striking to see how Ben has to trivialize the sin of idolatry to justify his Arminian precommitments. To be Arminian, you must be a closet antinomian.

Steve, let me ask you a simple question or two. Is Paul saying that we can rely on God for the way of escape when facing any sin or is he saying that we can only rely on God for a way of escape for the specific sin of apostasy.

As per 1 Cor 10:13, what’s in view is the specific sin of apostasy (or sins which terminate in apostasy).

I ask this because you seem to now concede that God provides a way of escape for both, but maybe I am misunderstanding.

What I said is that God’s promise applies in the case of apostasy. The verse is silent on other cases.

The verse doesn’t preclude the possibility that God restrains Christians in other tempting situations. It doesn’t address that question one way or the other. It’s neutral on particular issue.

We’d have to look elsewhere in Scripture to see if there’s an answer to that question. I’d add that, in principle, God could restrain some Christians some of the time–depending on his overall purpose.

Also, do you think that the Corinthians that Paul was writing to were already engaged in idolatry? Or was Paul just warning them about something that none of them had engaged in? And if Paul was warning them about something they had already engaged in, then was Paul warning those he believed to have already committed apostasy.

It isn’t possible to give a general answer to that question since the Corinthian congregation included different individuals in different situations.

Oh, so Fitzmyer meant that grumbling and complaining always and inevitably leads to idolatry?

You accuse me of misreading Fitzmyer. You then interpolate a caveat which he never stated or implied–a caveat which is crucial to your own argument. You’re not getting that from Fitzmyer.

Oh, and since you are such an influential guy, why don't you contact Fitzmyer and put an end to this debate over what his intentions were in writing what he wrote?

I’ll contact Fitzmyer as soon as you contact Calvin and Matthew Henry to clarify their intentions.

1 comment:

  1. Steve,

    Question about 1 Cor. 10:13, I hold to the opinion that temptation here should be viewed as trials to test and conform us to the image of Christ.

    I see that an anonymous over at Dangerous Idea put forth a similar argument.

    In fact when the Apostle Paul uses OT text to make his case in verses 6 through 10 we know that those were not temptations. We know this because we are told by God in Deuteronomy chapter 8 that these wilderness trials were tests from God.

    If we take this to mean trials, rather than temptations, then we can take hold of the promise that God will not try us beyond our capabilities and will with the trial also make a way to escape and/or the ability to bear it. After all, God may not remove the trial immediately but He will make it to where we can bear it.

    If viewed this way than it removes all this nonsense of libertarian will.

    Your thoughts are greatly appreciated.