Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Dissembling Arminians

The issue here, that I have raised for consideration and discussion, has never been whether the Old Testament or any portion of it is inspired. The issue is and has always and only been hermeneutics—how best to interpret portions of the Old Testament. Christians have always disagreed about that—going back to the early church fathers themselves (not including Marcion who was not a church father). Origen and Tertullian both wrote against Marcion, but neither interpreted the whole Old Testament literally. Especially Origen interpreted much of it allegorically (as did the unknown Apostolic Father who wrote the “Epistle of Barnabus”). 

That's Olson's bait-and-switch, to deflect attention away from his real position. And it's a hoary liberal ruse. Pretend that this is about the interpretation of Scripture. But, of course, that's not the real issue. And Olson himself has make it abundantly clear that that's not the real issue. 

As he himself usually frames the issue, when he's not on the defensive, the question at issue isn't how the "texts of terror" should be construed, but whether they are true. When they ascribe these actions or commands to Yahweh, is that attribution true? Did God in fact say what the OT says he said? 

That's the real issue, and on many occasions, Olson is upfront about his real position. He himself has admitted on multiple occasions that he repudiates the inerrancy of Scripture. So this isn't about the meaning of Scripture, but the veracity of Scripture. 

Apparently, Olson now feels the need to backpedal a bit, at least rhetorically. To confuse the issue. Olson's dissimulation is just as revealing as his moments of candor. 

Critics of inerrancy like to belittle inerrancy by suggesting it's reflects an obsession with names and numbers. But even though the plenary verbal inspiration of Scripture necessarily includes the minutia, it's hardly confined to that. Olson renounces OT theism. He refuses to believe that Yahweh is the one true God, if indeed Yahweh said what the OT says he said. And by renouncing OT theism, he renounces NT theism, for Jesus and the NT authors constantly reaffirm OT theism. 

So Olson is advocating a different religion altogether. And it's not coincidental that he's Arminian. He clearly senses a parallel between Reformed theism and OT theism. He's consistent. 

I have never advocated expelling any part of the Old Testament from the Christian canon. 

Of course not. He doesn't need to. He simply demotes the offending passages to irrelevance by denying their veracity. 

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