Monday, January 11, 2016

Christian gunslingers

As I searched and searched, I couldn’t find any credible, non-pacifist Bible scholar who argued that Luke 22 is talking about self-defense. (I’ve since found that Wayne Grudem also assumes the self-defense view, but again, with little to no biblical argument and he doesn’t wrestle with the other contextual features that go against this view.)

I'm struck by Sprinkle's deceptive statement. Most Christian laymen don't have direct access to a raft of major commentaries on the Bible. If they rely on him for their information, they will be misled. He's not a trustworthy informant. 

Consider the statements by three credible, nonpacifist Bible scholars:

[Lk 22:36] sword: although the term is usually regarded as a metaphor, the context indicates a literal meaning. Cf. 6:29; see on 9:3; 12:51; 22:49.  
[Lk 22:49] sword: according to Cullmann (State, 31-34), Jesus approved of defensive sword-bearing but, unlike the Zealots, reject such means to establish the kingdom of God. E. E. Ellis, The Gospel of Luke (Eerdmans 1996), 256, 258. 
The sword is thought of as part of the equipment required for the self-sufficiency of any traveller in the Roman world. Nothing more than protection of one's person is in view. J. Nolland, Luke (Word 1993), 3:1076.
As Minear observes, the other prophecies in this discourse, those of betrayal, and denial, are of what is due for immediate fulfillment, and this could apply to "a sword," which makes an actual, and not symbolic, appearance in the narrative of the arrest…The "sword" here would not be symbolic of conflict, any more than the "purse" or "bag" are symbolic… 
The reply of Jesus is equally terse - hikanon esti. Two renderings have been proposed for this. (i) "It is enough" in the sense of "enough of that", breaking off the conversation. No parallel can be produced for this, and it is unlikely that Luke would have brought the passage, and the whole discourse, to an end so inconclusively. (ii) "It is enough" in the sense that two words will be sufficient for the purpose at hand. This would correspond with the predominant use of hikanos in Luke-Acts (where it occurs twice as often as in the rest of the NT to denote sufficiency of numbers, and is the more likely meaning. C. F. Evans, St. Luke (Pillar 1990), 806, 807.

I'm not quoting these scholars to endorse the details of their overall interpretation (which I may or may not agree with), but to document Sprinkle's suppression of evidence that runs counter to his position. Did he just stop looking after he found what he wanted? 

No comments:

Post a Comment