Thursday, October 21, 2021

Steve Hays' Work On Reformation Issues

I've written about his contributions to Christmas and Easter. With Reformation Day approaching, it's worth mentioning his contribution to Reformation issues as well.

There are far too many examples for me to link more than a small percentage of them here. But I do want to provide some examples. Here's something he wrote on Biblical passages supporting Reformed theology. He wrote similar posts responding to passages cited in support of Roman Catholic authority claims and Catholic Mariology. He also addressed changes in Catholic belief and practice over the centuries. Here's one he wrote about papal support of untraditional views of the authorship and dating of Biblical books. And here's something he wrote on Catholic miracle claims. He had a lengthy exchange with a Catholic philosopher on sola scriptura, which became an e-book. He also had many other exchanges with Catholics, reviewed Catholic books, and so forth, and you can find that material in our archives.

Much of his work on these issues has been preserved here and elsewhere. If you've benefited from that work, pass it on to other people. Link it, use the arguments, evidence, and other material Steve gave you when you have discussions with other people, or disseminate it in some other way.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

A Good Discussion Of How Christians Should View Near-Death Experiences

Jordan Cooper just did a two-part series of videos on near-death experiences (NDEs), here and here. The first is about the evidence for the paranormality of NDEs. The second is about how Christians should view them, and it's the more important of the two. His view is somewhat different than mine, but he provides one of the best overviews of NDEs I've seen from an Evangelical. For my own articles on the subject, you can go here.

I left two comments in the thread following the second video. The first comment explained my view of NDEs and why I prefer it to Jordan's. The second comment expanded on a point Jordan made in his second video. The first comment disappeared shortly after I put up the second one. I suspect that's a problem with YouTube reacting to my posting twice in a short period of time. I don't know if that first comment went into moderation, was deleted, or whatever else. The second comment is still there, though.

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Jerome On Isaiah 22 And Eliakim

Roman Catholics often claim that Matthew 16 should be interpreted in light of Isaiah 22, which supposedly should lead us to the papacy. I've discussed some of the problems with that sort of argument in the past, such as in the comments section of the thread here. It's often noted that there is no support for such a reading of Isaiah 22 in the earliest centuries of church history and that Revelation 3:7, a passage discussing Jesus, is more reminiscent of Isaiah 22 than Matthew 16 is. In his commentary on Isaiah, Jerome not only sees Jesus as the equivalent of Eliakim, but even cites Revelation 3:7 in the process of discussing the passage in Isaiah. He sees Peter in the passage, but as one of the cups of Isaiah 22:24, along with the other apostles:

Eliakim means "God rising again," or "resurrection of God." Therefore, that God rising again, who is the son of Hilkiah, that is, "of the Lord's portion," will take your [the Jewish law's] place, and will be clothed with your robe, and will be strengthened by your sash, so that what you had in the letter, he possesses in the Spirit; and he will be father of those who inhabit Jerusalem, that is, the "vision of peace," which means the church, and the house of Judah, where there is the true "confession" of faith. This is why he says to the apostles, "Little children, I am with you a little longer" [John 13:33]; and to another, "Son, your sins are forgiven" [Matt 9:2]; and to another, "Daughter, your faith has saved you" [Luke 7:50]. Also, I will give to him, he says, the key of the house of David, "who opens, and no one shuts, who shuts, and no one opens" [Rev 3:7]. And this very key will be upon his shoulder, that is, during the passion. This accords with what is written in another passage: "Whose sovereignty is on his shoulder" [Isa 9:6]. For that which he will have opened up by his passion cannot be closed, and what he will have enclosed in Jewish ceremonies, no other will open….

This is also why in the Gospel it is written, "All the people were hanging from him [like hanging from the peg in Isaiah 22:24]" [Luke 19:48]. Indeed, this happened not merely at that time, but it is fulfilled up to the present day, that they hang various kinds of vessels from him, as if from the word of God, wisdom, justice, and all things by which Christ is designated….I think that the cups [in Isaiah 22:24] are the apostles, filled with the life-giving waters, of which it is said, "Bless the Lord from the fountains of Israel" [Ps 68:26]. (Thomas Scheck, trans., St. Jerome: Commentary On Isaiah [Mahwah, New Jersey: The Newman Press, 2015], p. 376, section 7:41 in the commentary)

He goes on to say that verse 25, as it applies to Christ and the church, will be fulfilled in an eschatological falling away.

You don't have to agree with all of Jerome's comments in order to recognize that he makes no reference to papal implications in the passage and that his understanding illustrates how easily the passage can be interpreted differently than Roman Catholics interpret it once we head down the path of this sort of interpretation.