Thursday, January 19, 2006

Integrity in Reporting

Steve, I'm glad you are able to have a grown up discussion. For the record, please refer to our respective blog sites to read precisely who it was that introduced the concept of "Nanna-nanna boo-boo" into the discourse. As far as I'm concerned, the fact that you Calvinist pit bull bloggers prefer personal
invective and insult to reasoned discourse is reason enough to continue to disregard your blog sites as any source of serious discussion. But you do provide me much illustrative material for confirming what we Lutherans have been saying since the 16th century about classic Calvinist Christology. I've been
down the path of an attempt at reasoned discussion, but it always ended when you folks chose to start castigating on personal grounds and veer from issues to personalities.

posted by ptmccain : 1/19/2006 11:57 AM

Dr. McCain,

Who is it that deletes posts from his blog?

Who is it that has lied about what others have written to him?

Please, do not say this is reasoned discourse, when you misrepresent what has been written to you.

You see, Dr. McCain, I keep an archive of every comment I make and blog entry I write. It seems you have deleted a comment on your blog made at 12:33 am ET, as it is no longer there. Not only that, you have tweaked your original entry. Thus, it appears necessary to repeat myself.

Didn't he know he was merely beholding an apparition? That's how Hays explains the post-Resurrection appearance of Jesus. Since when did we believe Jesus was like Caspar the Friendly Ghost?
This is simply a lie, sir. One notices you have not bothered to link to the no less than 3 replies by Steve to you on this. That alone betrays a less than ethical standard of truth on your part.

He wrote:

You originally asked me, “ was it possible for the Risen Lord to suddenly "appear in the midst of them" among His disciples on Easter?”

One way of answering the question is to ask our frame of reference. There is, I believe, a deliberate narrative parallel between this aspect of the Easter appearances and OT theophanies/Christophanies.

“In contrast [to Hellenistic translation stories], the appearance stories did correspond to the
anthropomorphic theophany stories of the OT—a genre that continued to flourish in Jewish literature—not only linguistically, but also structurally and substantively. This correspondence existed, although, or precisely because, such theophanies did not report about the appearance of the departed, but about God or his angel. For both, the representation began with the “coming” and “seeing” of a stranger in human form. The appearing One made known who he was through an introductory conversation. The key moment of the drama was usually a promise or a commissioning. The account then would close with the disappearance of the appearing One. These elements of structure for this story form were found in the epiphanies of Yahweh before Abraham at Mamre (Gen 18:1-33), in the burning bush before Moses, which concluded with a commissioning (Exod 3:2-10), and before Samuel (1 Sam 3:1-14).

The comparison with this OT/Jewish genre indicates that the appearance stories of the Gospels, both the individual and the group appearance types, manifested the structural indices of a specific genre, and have appropriated this form from the tradition of those theophany stories,” L. Goppelt, Theology of the New Testament (Eerdmans 1981), 1:242.

Since Goppelt is a modern German theologian, there are some liberal touches in the way he expresses himself, but the literary analysis is still ound, prescinding his low view of Scripture.

So assuming that OT theophanies/Christophanies supply the narrative standard of comparison, what we have here is on the order of a type/antitype relation.

Now, this is what Francis Pieper has to say about angelophanies (theophanies/Christophanies):

“The human bodies in which angels, incorporeal by nature, appeared on certain
occasions (cf. Gen 18-19) were therefore only assumed forms (unio
accidentalis), by which the invisible angels rendered themselves temporarily
visible. The consumption of food (Gen 18:8 & Gen 19:3), by the way, was
real eating…” (Christian Dogmatics, 1:500).

So, assuming that we agree with Pieper and Goppelt, it is possible for a human body to appear or disappear in the manner described in the Easter appearances. Yet, in the case of angelophanies (theophanies/Christophanies), this does not entail a divine incarnation or hypostatic union or a communication of attributes.

Hence, the phenomenon which you single out in the Easter appearances does not necessitate a communication of attributes. Yes, Christ is a theanthropic person. But theanthropinism is not a necessary precondition for the phenomenon to which you appeal. The disanalogy between Christ and a Christophany, while quite real, is quite irrelevant regarding the particular question at issue.

You had replied and asked for clarification on his use of the word "appariton".

Steve responded:

Yes, the humanity of Christ continued to be united to the divinity of Christ. On that we all agree. Again, though, that is not necessary to account for the phenomenon in question.

You argue from these post-Resurrection appearances to your definition of ubiquity. Steve then replied to this:

The Easter appearances tell us certain things about the nature of the glorified body. For example, the Lk 24 & Jn 20-21 go out of their way to establish the physicality of the Risen Lord.

However, with respect to the phenomenon of suddenly appearing and disappearing, which was your original question, to which I was responding, the Easter appearances do not differentiate between the
nature of a glorified body and the nature of a theophanic body. Therefore, you cannot properly infer the communication of attributes from this particular phenomenon inasmuch as the phenomenon in question fails to implicate a communication of attributes.

--Where did Steve ever say that Christ's body was not a physical, living, glorified resurrected body and an "apparition?"

You also wrote:
Certain Calvinist bloggers are hard at work defending one of their own's silly suggestion that Jesus performed a miracle, created a key, then opened the door and that's how he appeared in the midst of them on that first Easter evening.

Uh-huh. This is another distortion of the truth on your part. This was not what was said.

Evan's point is expressed thusly:

But let’s not put things into the text that can’t be derived from the text. Jesus could have simply opened the door after performing a miracle that caused the door to be unlocked. Or he could have created a key. There are many possibilities.

He wrote that in the midst of a paragraph discussing the fact there are many "possibilities" to which we could appeal, but we disaffirm them because the text does not support them. His point is, and continues to be, that you are exceeding the biblical text, and such an assertion that Jesus made a key was possible, but it exceeds the text, so it is as absurd to reason from these appearances to your definition of ubiquity as it is for him to say Jesus made a key.

Dr. McCain, honest, reasoned debate does not involve distorting what others have said, and you claim to be an adult, so I can only conclude that you are not as obtuse as you appear. Does not God say that lying lips are an abomination and that He destroys those who speak falsehood? Neither does it involve deleting comments on your blog that you dislike. The fact that you continue to call folks "Certain Calvinist bloggers" without referring to them by name and then distorting what they have said while failing to link to it on your own blog speaks volumes. No, Dr. McCain, this isn't about personalities, but it is about integrity in reporting.

You cannot have a grown up discussion when you yourself persist in such childish behavior. If you really desired such a discussion, you would actually engage in it and you would not engage in this kind of behavior. Unlike you, Dr. McCain, we have done our best to avoid breaking the 9th Commandment. You complained that one of those Calvinist bloggers had said, "You lack virtue." One wonders why you found that offensive, when, on an ongoing basis, you 're the one distorting what others have written. You arent just any Lutheran, you represent Concordia publishing and you're a clergyman. I would expect better from you.

I'm concerned, the fact that you Calvinist pit bull bloggers prefer personal invective and insult to reasoned discourse is reason enough to continue to disregard your blog sites as any source of serious discussion.

For my part, I would like to thank you for doing Calvinism and Reformed bloggers a great service, for, if you are truly representative of your tradition, you have made ours look very good indeed. If personal invective is the standard for disregarding blogsites, then let it be known that our blog has not edited out your comments, nor have we distorted what you have written, and we have consistently asked you for an exegetical defense of your position, and you have consistently not responded. The Nanny-Nanny Boo-Boo terminology was not used without reason. Don't get offended when Calvinist bloggers respond to you in such terms when you distort what they write to you ad infinitum.

Oh, and thank you for confirming what Calvinists have been saying about Lutheran Christology since the 16 century, you're just a bunch of crypto-Monophysites. Now, Dr. McCain, does that make you feel better. All of us grown-ups can still call each other name on the playground. Nanny-nanny boo.

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