Saturday, November 14, 2015
We can be sure that among those arriving in Europe are radical Islamists who will wish to use this mass movement of people to infiltrate and implant sleeper cells for future terrorism in Europe. Whatever methods are used to distinguish genuine refugees from others, this factor has always to be kept in mind. We are facing not a nationalist ideology or a liberation movement or even a localised religious revival: we are confronted with a globalised religious ideology which has world domination in its sights. The events of the last year or so should sober up those who say, “It’ll never come here.” It has — and unless we wake up and address the threat directly, we may find ourselves refugees fleeing its wrath.
The case seems so strong, doesn't it, when you only hear one side! Some things being left out: the precedents in early writings…
…in the deuterocanonical books of parallel ideas to John 1:14, wherein something divine comes down from heaven to dwell in this physical realm - but it's not a self.
You also leave out the allusion to Prov 8 ("with God"), which helps us to understand the significance of "god/divine was the logos" at the end of v1. He's saying that this wisdom/reason through which God made all is just him, or his. It's not someone else.
As the OT says in a few places, Yahweh (aka the Father) created the cosmos alone. You leave that out…
...and also the fact that Jesus never takes credit for being the (direct) creator - which is quite surprising if it's true that he was.
For him, the Father is the creator.
I think that's true for Paul too, but this isn't the place to argue the matter.
Also, that the pronouns in 2-3 can be translated as impersonal, although personal makes sense, if the author is personifying God's word.
Another relevant fact: when the Philonic Logos theology was first propounded (c. 150-200) it was very controversial, and constantly drew the objection that it was positing two creators. Now why on earth would this be so widespread, if everyone was reading John in the way which seems so obvious to you? The answer is that it was not so obvious to them. It was the Logos theology winning out which really cemented the catholic reading. It seems that some of the "monarchians" and others read it more in the way I'm suggesting.
On the face of it, one would not expect "the Word of God" to be a person.
Of course, a person in whom God's word is uniquely and best expressed can thereby by called "the Word of God" as we see in Revelation.
Same point with "Life", "Light." Those wouldn't normally be terms for a self, but they can be, when God's word (which is life and light) is best expressed in that self, in the man Jesus.
About John 1, I don't see how that helps the catholic reading. John saw and touched God's eternal life and message as manifest in the real man Jesus, in his life, deeds, teaching.
All in all, not super-obvious either way. I don't think, though, that your arguments do anything to refute the multiply well motivated reading I've outlined. Also relevant will be whether we think a real man can have always existed, independently of Adam or any other previous humans, only lately becoming a human.
And: whether we're impressed at all with the idea that the synoptics assume or hint at the personal pre-existence of Jesus.
And whether we put any stock in the "two Yahweh" and other Jesus-in-the-OT arguments drawn from Philo and others, which made their way into catholic teaching in the latter 100s.
Friday, November 13, 2015
I thought this interview with Pastor Matt Chandler was a valuable and edifying read. For example:
Man, let me tell you, when I got sick with a brain tumor, I was the least sexy I’ve ever been. All my hair was gone. I had a gnarly scar on my head, and I was lying on the bathroom floor trying to get the strength to vomit in the toilet again. Praise God my wife’s view of love wasn’t just about what I could do for her. If Lauren were to leave me in that moment, when I was sick and dying with cancer, no one, not even the worldliest person, would think that what she had done was right, good, or should be emulated. And yet, they’re fine with someone leaving under far less difficult circumstances. It’s crazy. It’s a total failure to understand what love is.
The litmus test I’ve always used on whether or not you really grasp grace is what you do when you blow it. If you blow it and you run from the Lord to try to clean yourself up and then come back, you do not understand grace and what God has done for you in Christ. But if you blow it and you run to him, that’s an evidence of grace. Ed Welch said, “Everybody thinks sanctification looks like strength. Really what it looks like is weakness.” It looks like failure. Sanctification looks like darkness and difficulty and pain and suffering. Show me someone who blows it and runs to the Lord and cries and snots and lays that before the Lord, pleads forgiveness, rests in it and gets up and continues to walk, and I’ll show you someone who understands grace. You show me someone who blows it, pulls way back for a season until they can either forget about what they’ve done or at least get some kind of control around it, I’ll show you somebody who doesn’t understand grace. They are their own functional savior—I can clean myself up.
The entire interview is well worth reading.
Thursday, November 12, 2015
The Justinian PlagueThe first recorded pandemic, the Justinian Plague, was named after the 6th century Byzantine emperor Justinian I. The Justinian Plague began in 541 AD and was followed by frequent outbreaks over the next two hundred years that eventually killed over 25 million people (Rosen, 2007) and affected much of the Mediterranean basin--virtually all of the known world at that time.
"Black Death" or the Great PlagueThe second pandemic, widely known as the "Black Death" or the Great Plague, originated in China in 1334 and spread along the great trade routes to Constantinople and then to Europe, where it claimed an estimated 60% of the European population (Benedictow, 2008). Entire towns were wiped out. Some contemporary historians report that on occasion,there were not enough survivors remaining to bury the dead (Gross, 1995).
Tuggy: In brief, John never says that the eternal Logos is Jesus, and 1:14 doesn't say or imply that they are the same person. The Word is something like God's plan or wisdom, by which, the OT says in a couple of places, God created. It was "with" him then.
Hays: In Jn 1, the Logos is a personal agent, not a plan. And it says the same Logos in 1:1-4 becomes flesh in 1:14. That refers to Jesus. It doesn't merely say the Logos was "with" God. It goes onto say the Logos was God (not to mention the Son's preexistence in 17:5). And this line of argument is capped in 1:18, where there are two divine subjects: Father and Son. And the Son reveals the Father because like reveals like. They are two of a kind.
"In Jn 1, the Logos is a personal agent, not a plan. And it says the same Logos in 1:1-4 becomes flesh in 1:14. That refers to Jesus. It doesn't merely say the Logos was "with" God. It goes onto say the Logos was God."
Tuggy: Total question-begging, unfortunately, and a failure to appreciate the biblical reasons which motivate the view.
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.
9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth (Jn 1:1-14).
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— 2 the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ (1 Jn 1:1-3).
24 Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”
26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (Jn 20:24-29).
James Anderson reviews Minority Report in "Prophets, Precogs, and the Purposes of God". It's one of the best movie reviews I've ever read. (And I'd say the movie is better than the present television show! Although I've only seen the first few episodes.)
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
I concluded my last blog with a number of conclusions I have drawn as I have read, studied, and taught the doctrine of the Trinity in the midst of the modern debate over “egalitatarian” views of the Trinity and the role relationships of men and women. The first of those conclusions was that significant problems have developed among evangelicals since the Enlightenment on the doctrine of the Trinity.
I suppose that the first question someone might ask me about that assertion is, “By what standard?” My answer is by the standard of the Bible, but also by the standard of the Nicene Creed. The Nicene Creed or at least its identifying trinitarian formulas were adopted by all the mainstream confessions and creeds of the Reformation. Here is the language of the Nicene Creed in the form that it emerged after the Council of Constantinople in 381 and in which it is commonly used liturgies today.
The key words of importance for the modern debate I have placed in bold italics. The Nicene Creed asserts, of course, that there are three persons who are God. It also asserts that there is only one God. Thus, the deity of the Son and Spirit is identical to the deity of the Father. The Son is “of one substance with Father” and by implication so is the Spirit.
But when these two truths (that there is one God and that there are three persons who are God) have been stated, the Nicene doctrine of the Trinity has not yet been fully stated. The Creed is at pains to state with incredible repetition and emphasis what we call the doctrine of the eternal generation of the Son. The Lord Jesus Christ is the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds light of light, very God of very God, begotten not made, being of one substance with the Father. Unless we believe this doctrine, we do not believe the Nicene Creed; and we do not—by the standard of the Nicene Creed—hold to the Trinitarianism of historic Christianity. Modern evangelicals need to think about that!
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come.
13 There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? 3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? 5 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Lk 13:1-5).
9 As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him (Jn 9:1-3).
4 But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it (Jn 11:4).
Conversely, there are devout Christians who had short, often hard lives. Westminster Divine George Gillespie died at 35. Missionary Jim Elliot died at 28. Missionary Eric Liddell died at 43 of brain cancer. Robert Murray M'Cheyne died at 29. Missionary David Brainerd died at 29.
Taking Steve as your authority in matters of logic and philosophy is a huge mistake.
Do you think a guy who had a handle on those things would so consistently feel the need to abuse rather than argue? You will notice that people trained in philosophy generally don't get aggressive like he does. This is because they know how to argue, and how to understand their opponent. Steve, as soon as he doesn't understand something I'm saying, resorts to abuse.
Dallas Willard was the first example to me of an academic who was willing to go against majority opinion in a public context for the sake of Christian truth. Incredibly, none of the presenters at a UCLA conference was willing to defend the proposition that Christ is central to Christianity, except Dallas Willard.
[quoting Porter] "functions as one with God, and is, in fact, the God"Cooperates with God (so not identical, but rather someone else) but is God (so is identical, God himself). At least, that's how many will read this. Sad that standards of clarity are so low. A good editor should have hammered that sentence.
This passage deserves a full arguing through, but here's a quick way to rule out that Paul is in 9:5 identifying Jesus with his God: note that all through ch. 8 he distinguishes between them. Same in 1:1-7. Charity prevents us from attributing this contradiction to Paul.
Whether Jesus is in some lesser way "divine" is another issue, of course.
In Rom 9:5, however, Paul breaks with customary usage to apply that preeminent designation to Jesus. And that's all the more dramatic, given the backdrop of his customary usage.
Paul isn't saying Jesus is divine in some lesser sense. To the contrary, he's saying Jesus is divine in the same way as the Father, given the precedential terminology of the descriptors.
"Many, many unitarian scholars have dealt with this too."
You mean, like the "scholars" at the Watch Tower?
"Is Paul (RSV) just piously punctuating an aside here, praising God? Or is he (NRSV) dropping a theological bomb, asserting that the human Messiah is as divine as God, aka the Father, is? And then he just says 'Amen' and moves on??! This would be a big deal in the 1st c. I know which I think is more likely."
There are many occasions when Paul affirms the deity of the Messiah.
Yes, it's a big deal–and as Porter explains, this is not just a parenthetical aside, but the climactic point of his argument (in this section).
"Also, notice that on the RSV reading…"
Yes, Dale, I'm aware of the fact that different versions give different renderings. That's why we need to sift the arguments. That's why I began by noting Metzger's classic article. And that's why I quoted Porter's exegetical argument.
"But if 'all' is unrestricted here, we recall that Paul says that God is over Christ. http://biblehub.com/1_corinthians/11-3.htm Compare also with http://biblehub.com/1_corinthians/15-24.htm."
In that context, Paul is framing the issue in terms of his ideal Adam typology/Christology. That's discussed by Greg Beale in his A New Testament Biblical Theology.
"But hey, if you want to stake your christology on some fine and disputed points of grammar instead of explicit NT teaching, you're free to do that."
The deity of Christ is explicit NT teaching.
Monday, November 09, 2015
Sunday, November 08, 2015
Oh how good it is
When the family of God
Dwells together in spirit
In faith and unity.
Where the bonds of peace,
Of acceptance and love
Are the fruit of his presence
Here among us.
So with one voice we'll sing to the Lord
And with one heart we'll live out his word
Till the whole earth sees
The Redeemer has come
For he dwells in the presence of his people.
Oh how good it is
On this journey we share
To rejoice with the happy
And weep with those who mourn.
For the weak find strength
The afflicted find grace
When we offer the blessing
Oh how good it is
To embrace his command
To prefer one another
Forgive as he forgives.
When we live as one
We all share in the love
Of the Son with the Father
And the Spirit.