Some Commentaries on Galatians 2:19

Let me preface this by saying that Ravi here may not in fact be in heaven, but in hell. However, that being said — even a madman can get the truth of a subject correct. (I do not support the ministry any longer, so ignore the graphic.) This one is regarding the law:

A Muslim student at Michigan University challenges Ravi Zacharias on Christianities seemingly lack of ability in keeping the “law” like Islam and Judaism do so well. How can Christianity be true if it isn’t doing that which God demands? (I have recently enhanced, greatly, the audio in the file from my original VIMEO upload and reconfigured slightly the visual presentation.)

THE GOAL OF THE LAW is to point us to the only one that can keep it. Not that we should abandon it, but as we fail to keep it in our walk, we are called to the scarred feet and hands of the one that kept the law

Here are a few commentaries on Galatians 2:19 for use by “others,” “elsewhere” on the dubya-dubya-dubya:

GALATIANS 2:16-17 (<< link to the HCSB version. Below is the ISV)

“…yet we know that a person is not justified by the works of the law but by the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. We, too, have believed in Christ Jesus so that we might be justified by the faith of Christ and not by the works of the law, for no human being will be justified by the works of the law.” (International Standard Version [ISV])

~ According to the text in the ISV, Christ’s faith — not ours — does the justifying. It is His focus of attention, not ours, that does the work. (The “onus” then is put in proper perspective.) As an example from one of my favorite verses, PHILIPPIANS 1:6:

“I am sure of this, that He who (a) started a good work in you will (b) carry it on to completion until the (c) day of Christ Jesus.”

To be clear:

(a) HE started the Good work [salvation];
(b) He will carry it out;

(c) He will complete it.

It is ALL a work of Christ!

THREE COMMENTARIES

I have about a hundred [digital and hard copy], but these three should suffice for the serious searcher of truth/context to 2:19, or the Christian student looking for resources:

2:15–21

Paul’s Case in Antioch

Paul seems to summarize the substance of Galatians here, whether or not this paragraph is the thesis statement of the book (as Betz, who classifies Galatians as judicial rhetoric, thinks). Paul’s response to Peter may continue through verse 21 (as in NIV), although this is unclear.

2:15–16. Paul argues that Jewish Christians are also made righteous by faith, which does not give them any advantage over Gentiles who must come to God on the same terms. Jewish people regarded Gentiles as different by nature, because they believed that Gentiles’ ancestors were not freed from the evil impulse at Sinai as Israel was.

2:17–18. Paul then argues—refuting opposing arguments in advance—that righteousness by faith does not lead to sinful living. He uses the objection of an imaginary interlocutor to make his point, as was standard in ancient diatribe.

2:19–20. The law itself taught Paul the way of Christ and Paul’s death to sin in Christ. The closest parallels to the divine empowerment of Christ’s indwelling are Old Testament teachings about empowerment by God’s Spirit (although the New Testament writers develop these teachings much further).

2:21. Paul continues his point that righteousness (both before God and in one’s behavior) comes through Christ’s life in the believer (through the Spirit—3:1–2; cf. 5:13–25). Christ would not have died if salvation could have been provided another way. Jewish people normally believed that all Jews were chosen for salvation in Abraham and were saved unless they were very disobedient; by contrast, Gentiles might be saved without conversion to Judaism but could attain to Israel’s full status as members of the covenant only if they converted. By insisting that righteousness is through Christ alone, Paul places Jew and Gentile on the same terms with regard to salvation.


Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), Ga 2:15–21.

……συνήσθιεν] The Judaizers who troubled the Church at this time are described, Acts 15:5, as converts belonging to the sect of the Pharisees. The prohibition against eating meat with the impure was one of the leading principles of this sect, Luke 15:2. As the agape was the recognised bond of brotherhood in the infant Church, this separation struck at the very root of Christian life. St Peter’s vision (see especially Acts 10:27, 11:3) had taught him the worthlessness of these narrow traditions. He had no scruples about living ἐθνικῶς. And when in this instance he separated himself from the Gentiles, he practically dissembled his convictions.

ὅτε δὲ ἦλθον] ‘but when they came.’ The reading ἦλθεν yields no good sense, whether we refer it to St James with Origen (c. Cels. 2:1 ἐλθόντος Ἰακώβου) or to St Peter with other writers. I have given it a place nevertheless, as an alternative reading, on account of the weight of authority in its favour: for though it can scarcely have been the word intended by St Paul, it may possibly be due to an error of the original amanuensis. For a similar instance of a manifestly false reading highly supported and perhaps to be explained in this way, see Phil. 2:1 εἴ τις σπλάγχαν καὶ οἰκτιρμοί. Such readings are a valuable testimony to the scrupulous exactness of the older transcribers, who thus reproduced the text as they found it, even when clearly incorrect. In this passage the occurrence of the same words ὅτε δὲ ἦλθεν, ver. 11, is the probable cause of the mistake.

ὑπέστελλεν καὶ ἀφώριζεν] ‘gradually withdrew and separated himself.’ Both verbs govern ἑαυτόν: compare Polyb. 7:17. 1 ὑπέστειλαν ἑαυτοὺς ὑπό τινα προπεπτωκυῖαν ὁφρύν. The words describe forcibly the cautious withdrawal of a timid person who shrinks from observation, ὑπέστελλεν denoting the partial, ἀφώριζεν the complete and final separation. The word ὑποστέλλειν is frequently used, as in the passage quoted, in describing strategical operations; and so far as it is metaphorical here, the metaphor seems to be derived from military rather than from nautical matters. Comp. στέλλεσθαι, 2 Thess. 3:6.

τοὺς ἐκ περιτομῆς] not ‘Jews’ but ‘converts from Judaism,’ for this seems to be the force of the preposition: Acts 10:45, 11:2, Col. 4:11, Tit. 1:10.

13. οἱ λοιποὶ Ἰουδαῖοι] i.e. the rest of the Jewish converts resident at Antioch, who, like St Peter, had mixed freely with the Gentiles until the arrival of their brethren from Jerusalem. The observance of Pharisaic practices with the latter was a genuine expression of bigotry, but with the Jews of Antioch and with St Peter it was ὑπόκρισις, the assumption of a part which masked their genuine feelings and made them appear otherwise than they were. The idea at the root of ὑπόκρισις is not a false motive entertained, but a false impression produced. The writer of the epistle prefixed to the Clementines, doubtless alluding to this passage, speaks of some who misrepresented Peter, as though he believed that the law was abolished, ‘but did not preach it openly’; Ep. Petr. § 2. See on ver. 11.

καὶ Βαρνάβας] ‘even Barnabas my own friend and colleague, who so lately had gone up to protect the interests of the Gentiles against the pressure of the Pharisaic brethren.’ It is not impossible that this incident, by producing a temporary feeling of distrust, may have prepared the way for the dissension between Paul and Barnabas which shortly afterwards led to their separation: Acts 15:39.

From this time forward they never again appear associated together. But on the other hand, whenever St Paul mentions Barnabas, his words imply sympathy and respect. This feeling underlies the language of his complaint here, ‘even Barnabas.’ In 1 Cor. 9:6 also he connects Barnabas with himself, as one who had laboured in the same disinterested spirit and had the same claims upon the Gentile converts. Lastly in Col. 4:10 he commends Mark to the Colossian Church, as being the cousin of Barnabas.

συναπήχθη αὐτῶν τῇ ὑποκρίσει] ‘was carried away with their dissimulation,’ as the A. V. rightly. Their dissimulation was as a flood which swept every thing away with it. Comp. 2 Pet. 3:17 ἵνα μὴ τῇ τῶν ἀθέσμων πλάνῃ συναπαχθέντες ἐκπέσητε κ.τ.λ., Zosimus Hist. 5:6 καὶ αὐτὴ δὲ ἡ Σπάρτη αυναπήγετο τῇ κοινῇ τῆς Ἑλλάδος ἁλώσει. In all these passages the dative seems to be governed by the preposition, and cannot without harshness be taken as the instrumental case.

14, 15. ‘Seeing that they had left the straight path and abandoned the true principles of the Gospel, I remonstrated with Cephas publicly. Thou thyself, though born and bred a Jew, dost nevertheless lay aside Jewish customs and livest as the Gentiles. On what plea then dost thou constrain the Gentiles to adopt the institutions of the Jews?’

14. οὐκ ὀρθοποδοῦσιν πρὸς κ.τ.λ.] i.e. ‘they diverge from the straight path of the Gospel truth.’ The word ὀρθοποδεῖν appears not to occur elsewhere, except in later ecclesiastical writers, where its use may be traced to this passage of St Paul. Its classical equivalent is εὐθυπορεῖν. The preposition πρὸς here denotes not the goal to be attained, but the line of direction to be observed: see Winer § 49. p. 505. For ἡ ἀλήθεια τοῦ εὐαγγελίου see the note on 2:5.

εἶπον] Were all the concluding verses of the chapter actually spoken by St Paul at the time, or is he adding a comment while narrating the incident afterwards to the Galatians; and if so, where does the text cease and the comment begin? To this question it seems impossible to give a definite answer. St Paul’s narrative in fact loses itself in the reflexions suggested by it. Text and comment are so blended together that they cannot be separated without violence. The use of the word ἁμαρτωλοί, vv. 15, 17, marks the language of one speaking as a Jew to Jews, and therefore may be regarded as part of the original remonstrance; and yet, though there is no break in the continuity from that point onward, we find at the end of the chapter that St Paul’s thoughts and language have drifted away from Peter at Antioch to the Judaizers in Galatia. For similar instances where the direct language of the speaker is intermingled with the after comment of the narrator, see John 1:15–1:18, where the testimony of the Baptist loses itself in the thoughts of the Evangelist, and Acts 1:16–1:21, where St Peter’s allusion to the death of Judas is interwoven with the after explanations of St Luke.

Ἰουδαῖος ὑπάρχων] almost equivalent to φύσει Ἰουδαῖοι below; see 1:14. In such cases ὑπάρχων implies a contrast between the original and the after state, e.g. in Phil. 2:6. Here it is very emphatic; ‘If you, born and bred a Jew, discard Jewish customs, how unreasonable to impose them on Gentiles.’

ἐθνικῶς ζῇς] i.e. mix freely with the Gentiles and thus of necessity disregard the Jewish law of meats. The present tense describes St Peter’s general principles, as acted upon long before at Cæsarea (Acts 10:28), and just lately at Antioch (ver. 12), though at the exact moment when St Paul was speaking, he was living Ἰουδαϊκῶς and not ἐθνικῶς.

οὐχ Ἰουδαϊκῶς] The best MSS. agree in reading the aspirated form οὐχ. For other examples of anomalous aspirates in the Greek Testament see Winer § 5. p. 48, and comp. the note on Phil. 2:23 ἀφίδω. In this particular instance the aspirate may perhaps be accounted for by the yh with which the Hebrew word (יהודים) represented by Ἰουδαῖοι commences.

ἀναγκάζεις] i.e. practically oblige them, though such was not his intention. The force of his example, concealing his true principles, became a species of compulsion.

Ἰουδαΐζειν] ‘to adopt Jewish customs,’ opposed to ἐθνικῶς ζῇς which in connexion with Ἰουδαῖος ὑπάρχων is equivalent to ἑλληνίζεις; comp. Esth. 8:17 καὶ πολλοὶ τῶν ἐθνῶν περιετέμοντο καὶ Ἰουδάϊζον διὰ τὸν φόβον τῶν Ἰουδαίων, Plug. Vit. Cic. 7 ἔνοχος τῷ Ἰουδαΐζειν. See the note on Ἰουδαϊσμός, 1:13.

15, 16. ‘Only consider our own case. We were born to all the privileges of the Israelite race: we were not sinners, as we proudly call the Gentiles. What then? We saw that the observance of law would not justify any man, that faith in Jesus Christ was the only means of justification. Therefore we turned to a belief in Christ. Thus our Christian profession is itself an acknowledgment that such observances are worthless and void, because, as the Scripture declares, no flesh can be justified by works of law.’

Of many constructions proposed, the simplest and best is to understand the substantive verb in ver. 15, ‘We (are) Jews by birth etc.’ The δὲ of ver. 16, which is omitted in the received text, is certainly genuine.

15. φύσει Ἰουδαῖοι] ‘Jews by birth, not only not Gentiles, but not even proselytes. We inherited the Jewish religion. Everything was done for us, which race could do.’ See especially Phil. 3:4, 5.

ἐξ ἐθνῶν] Not ‘of Gentile descent,’ but ‘taken from, belonging to the Gentiles’; comp. Acts 15:23.

ἁμαρτωλοί] ‘sinners.’ The word was almost a synonyme for ἔθνη in the religious phraseology of the Jews. See 1 Macc. 2:44, Clem. Hom. 11:16 οὕτως ὡς οὐχὶ Ἰουδαῖος, ἁμαρτωλὸς κ.τ.λ.; and compare Luke 6:32, 33 with Matt. 5:47, and especially Matt. 26:45 with Luke 18:32. Here ἁμαρτωλοὶ is used in preference to ἔθνη, not without a shade of irony, as better enforcing St Paul’s argument. See the note on ver. 17.

16. ἐὰν μή] retains its proper meaning, but refers only to οὐ δικαιοῦται, ‘He is not justified from works of law, he is not justified except through faith.’ See the note on 1:19.

καὶ ἡμεῖς] ‘we ourselves,’ notwithstanding our privileges of race. Compare καὶ αὐτοί, ver. 17.

ἐπιστεύσαμεν] ‘became believers.’ See the note on 2 Thess. 1:10. The phrase πιστεύειν εἴς or ἐπί τινα is peculiarly Christian; see Winer § 31. p. 267. The constructions of the LXX are πιστεύειν τινί, rarely πιστεύειν ἐπί τινι or ἔν τινι, and once only ἐπί τινα, Wisd. 12:2 πιστεύειν ἐπὶ Θεόν. The phrase, which occurs in the revised Nicene and other creeds, πιστεύειν εἰς ἐκκλησίαν, though an intelligible, is yet a lax expression, the propriety of which was rightly disputed by many of the fathers, who maintained that πιστεύειν εἰς should be reserved for belief in God or in Christ. See the passages in Suicer Thesaur. s.v. πιστεύειν, and Pearson On the Creed Art. 9.

ἐκ πίστεως Χριστοῦ] It seems almost impossible to trace the subtle process which has led to the change of prepositions here. In Rom. 3:30, on the other hand, an explanation is challenged by the direct opposition of ἐκ πίστεως and διὰ τῆς πίστεως. Both prepositions are used elsewhere by St Paul with δικαιοῦν, δικαιοσύνη, indifferently; though where very great precision is aimed at, he seems for an obvious reason to prefer διά, as in Ephes. 2:8, 9, Phil. 3:9 μὴ ἔχων ἐμὴν δικαιοσύνην τὴν ἐκ νόμου ἀλλὰ τὴν διὰ πίστεως Χριστοῦ κ.τ.λ., which words present an exact parallel to the former part of this verse, οὐκ ὲξ ἔργων νόμου, ἐὰν μὴ διὰ πίστεως Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. Faith is strictly speaking only the means, not the source of justification. The one preposition (διὰ) excludes this latter notion, while the other (ἐκ) might imply it. Besides these we meet also with ἐπὶ πίστει (Phil. 3:9), but never διὰ πίστιν, ‘propter fidem,’ which would involve a doctrinal error. Compare the careful language in the Latin of our Article 11, ‘per fidem, non propter opera.’

ὅτι] is the best supported, and doubtless the correct reading. The reading of the received text διότι has probably been imported from the parallel passage, Rom. 3:20.

ὅτι ἐξ ἔργων κ.τ.λ.] A quotation from the Old Testament, as appears from the Hebraism οὐ πᾶσα, and from the introductory ὅτι. This sentence indeed would be an unmeaning repetition of what has gone before, unless the Apostle were enforcing his own statements by some authoritative declaration. The words are therefore to be regarded as a free citation of Psalm 143:2 οὐ δικαιωθήσεται ἐνώπιόν σου πᾶς ζῶν. For πᾶς ζῶν, a very common Hebrew synonyme, πᾶσα σάρξ (מל־בשר) is substituted by St Paul. In Rom. 3:20 the passage is quoted in the same form as here. In both instances St Paul adds ἐξ ἔργων νόμου as a comment of his own, to describe the condition of the people whom the Psalmist addressed. In the context of the passage in the Romans (3:19) this comment is justified by his explanation, that ‘whatever is stated in the law applies to those under the law.’

For οὐ πᾶσα see Winer § 26. p. 214 sq.

17, 18, 19. ‘Thus to be justified in Christ, it was necessary to sink to the level of Gentiles, to become ‘sinners’ in fact. But are we not thus making Christ a minister of sin? Away with the profane thought. No! the guilt is not in abandoning the law, but in seeking it again when abandoned. Thus, and thus alone, we convict ourselves of transgression. On the other hand, in abandoning the law we did but follow the promptings of the law itself. Only by dying to the law could we live unto God.’

17. Among a vast number of interpretations which have been given of this verse, the following alone deserve consideration.

First; We may regard Χριστὸς ἁμαρτίας διάκονος as a conclusion logically inferred from the premisses, supposing them to be granted; ‘If in order to be justified in Christ it was necessary to abandon the law, and if the abandonment of the law is sinful, then Christ is made a minister of sin.’ In this case ἄρα is preferable to ἆρα.

If the passage is so taken, it is an attack on the premisses through the conclusion which is obviously monstrous and untenable. Now the assumptions in the premisses are two-fold: (1) ‘To be justified in Christ it is necessary to abandon the law,’ and (2) ‘To abandon the law is to become sinners’; and as we suppose one or other of these attacked, we shall get two distinct meanings for the passage, as follows: (1) It is an attempt of the Judaizing objector to show that the abandonment of the law was wrong, inasmuch as it led to so false an inference: ‘To abandon the law is to commit sin; it must therefore be wrong to abandon the law in order to be justified in Christ, for this is to make Christ a minister of sin’: or (2) It is an argument on the part of St Paul to show that to abandon the law is not to commit sin; ‘It cannot be sinful to abandon the law, because it is necessary to abandon the law in order to be justified in Christ, and thus Christ would be made a minister of sin.’

Of these two interpretations, the latter is adopted by many of the fathers. Yet, if our choice were restricted to one or other, the former would seem preferable, for it retains the sense of ἁμαρτωλοί (‘sinners’ from a Jewish point of view), which it had in ver. 15, and is more consistent with the indicative εὑρέθημεν, this proposition being assumed as absolutely true by the Jewish objector. But on the other hand, it forms an awkward introduction to the verse which follows.

It is probable therefore that both should be abandoned in favour of another explanation: For

Secondly; We may regard Χριστὸς ἁμαρτίας διάκονος as an illogical conclusion deduced from premisses in themselves correct; ‘Seeing that in order to be justified in Christ it was necessary to abandon our old ground of legal righteousness and to become sinners (i.e. to put ourselves in the position of the heathen), may it not be argued that Christ is thus made a minister of sin?’ This interpretation best develops the subtle irony of ἁμαρτωλοί; ‘We Jews look down upon the Gentiles as sinners: yet we have no help for it but to become sinners like them.’ It agrees with the indicative εὑρέθημεν, and with St Paul’s usage of μὴ γένοιτο which elsewhere in argumentative passages always negatives a false but plausible inference from premisses taken as granted, And lastly, it paves the way for the words διὰ νόμου νόμῳ ἀπέθανον which follow, In this case ἆρα is to be preferred to ἄρα, because it at once introduces the inference as a questionable one. It may be added also in favour of ἆρα, that elsewhere μὴ γένοιτο follows an interrogation. Ἀρα expresses bewilderment as to a possible conclusion. Any attempt further to define its meaning seems not to be justified either by the context here, or by its usage elsewhere. Ἄρα hesitates, while ἄρα concludes.

εὑρέθημεν] involves more or less prominently the idea of a surprise: comp. Rom. 7:10, 2 Cor. 11:12, 12:20. Its frequent use however must be traced to the influence of the Aramaic dialect: see Cureton Corp, Ign. p. 271.

ἁμαρτίας διάκονος] while yet He is δικαιοσύνης διάκονος, thus making a direct contradiction in terms.

μὴ γένοιτο] ‘Nay, verily,’ ‘A way with the thought.’ This is one out of several LXX renderings of the Hebrew חלילה (‘ad profana’ and so ‘absit,’ see Gesenius Thes. p. 478). Another rendering of the same is ἵλεως (sc. ὁ Θεὸς) which occurs Matt. 16:22 ἵλεώς σοι Κύριε, ‘far be it from thee, Lord’: see Glass. Phil. Sacr. p. 538. Μὴ γένοιτο is not however confined to Jewish and Christian writings, but is frequent for instance in Arrian; see Raphel Annot. Rom. 3:4.

18. ‘If, after destroying the old law of ordinances, I attempt to build it up again, I condemn myself, I testify to my guilt in the work of destruction.’ The pulling down and building up have reference doubtless to the Mosaic law, though expressed as a general maxim (ταῦτα). The difficulty however is to trace the connexion in γάρ.

With the interpretation of ver. 17 adopted above, it seems simplest to attach γὰρ to μὴ γένοιτο, ‘Nay verily, for, so far from Christ being a minister of sin, there is no sin at all in abandoning the law: it is only converted into a sin by returning to the law again.’ For this use of γὰρ after μὴ γένοιτο comp, Rom. 9:14, 15, 11:1.

παραβάτην ἐμαυτὸν συνιστάνω] ‘I make myself out, establish myself, a transgressor.’ It will have been seen that much of the force of the passage depends on the sense which the Jews attached to ἁμαρτωλός. Having passed on from this to ἀμαρτία, St Paul at length throws off the studied ambiguity of ἁμαρτωλός (‘a non-observer of the law,’ and ‘a sinner’) by substituting the plain term παραβάτης.

ἐμαυτὸν συνιστάνω is opposed to Χριστὸς ἁμαρτίας διάκονος, though from its position ἐμαυτὸν cannot be very emphatic.

συνιστάνω] ‘I prove,’ like συμβιβάζω, as Rom. 3:5, 5:8; comp. 2 Cor. 3:1.

19. Establishing the statement of the foregoing verse: ‘For in abandoning the law, I did but follow the leading of the law itself.’

ἐγώ] Not ‘I Paul’ as distinguished from others, for instance from the Gentile converts, but ‘I Paul, the natural man, the slave of the old covenant.’ The emphasis on ἐγὼ is explained by the following verse, ζῶ δὲ οὐκέτι ἐγώ κ.τ.λ.

διὰ νόμου νόμῳ ἀπέθανον] In what sense can one be said through law to have died to law? Of all the answers that have been given to this question, two alone seem to deserve consideration. The law may be said in two different ways to be παιδαγωγὸς εἰς Χριστόν. We may regard

  1. Its economical purpose. ‘The law bore on its face the marks of its transitory character. Its prophecies foretold Christ. Its sacrifices and other typical rites foreshadowed Christ. It was therefore an act of obedience to the law, when Christ came, to take Him as my master in place of the law.’ This interpretation however, though quite in character with St Paul’s teaching elsewhere, does not suit the present passage; For (1) The written law—the Old Testament—is always ὁ νόμος. At least it seems never to be quoted otherwise. Νόμος without the article is ‘law’ considered as a principle, exemplified no doubt chiefly and signally in the Mosaic law, but very much wider than this in its application. In explaining this passage therefore, we must seek for some element in the Mosaic law which it had in common with law generally, instead of dwelling on its special characteristics, as a prophetic and typical dispensation. Moreover, (2) the interpretation thus elicited makes the words διὰ νόμου νόμῳ ἀπέθανον an appeal rather to the reason and intellect, than to the heart and conscience; but the phrases ‘living unto God,’ ‘being crucified with Christ,’ and indeed the whole tenour of the passage, point rather to the moral and spiritual change wrought in the believer. Thus we are led to seek the explanation of this expression rather in
  2. Its moral effects. The law reveals sin; it also provokes sin; nay, in a certain sense, it may be said to create sin, for ‘sin is not reckoned where there is no law’ (Rom. 5:13). Thus the law is the strength of sin (1 Cor. 15:56). At the same time it provides no remedy for the sinner. On the contrary it condemns him hopelessly, for no one can fulfil all the requirements of the law. The law then exercises a double power over those subject to it; it makes them sinners, and it punishes them for being so. What can they do to escape? They have no choice but to throw off the bondage of the law, for the law itself has driven them to this. They find the deliverance, which they seek, in Christ. See Rom. 7:24, 25, and indeed the whole passage, Rom. 5:20–8:11. Thus then they pass through three stages, (1) Prior to the law—sinful, but ignorant of sin; (2) Under the law—sinful, and conscious of sin, yearning after better things; (3) Free from the law—free and justified in Christ. This sequence is clearly stated Rom. 5:20. The second stage (διὰ νόμου) is a necessary preparation for the third (νόμῳ ἀπέθανον). ‘Proinde,’ says Luther on 3:19 (the edition of 1519), ‘at remissio propter salutem, ita praevaricatio propter remissionem, ita lex propter transgressionem.’

What the Mosaic ordinances were to the Jews, other codes of precepts and systems of restraints were in an inferior degree and less efficaciously to other nations. They too, like the Jews, had felt the bondage of law in some form or other. See 4:9, 5:1, and the note on 4:11.

νόμῳ ἀπέθανον] ‘I died to law.’ For the dative comp. Rom. 6:2, 11 (τῇ ἁμαρτίᾳ), and for the idea of ‘dying to the law’ Rom. 7:1–7:6, esp. ver. 4 καὶ ὑμεῖς ἐθανατώθητε τῷ νόμῳ, and ver. 6 κατηργήθημεν ἀπὸ τοῦ νόμου ἀποθανόντες ἐν ᾧ κατειχόμεθα (literally, ‘we were nullified, i.e. discharged, by death from the law in which we were held’).

20, 21. ‘With Christ I have been crucified at once to the law and to sin. Henceforth I live a new life—yet not I, but Christ liveth it in me. This new life is not a rule of carnal ordinances; it is spiritual, and its motive principle is faith in the Son of God who manifested His love for me by dying for my sake. I cannot then despise God’s grace. I cannot stultify Christ’s death by clinging still to a justification based upon law.’

20. An expansion of the idea in the last verse.

Χριστῷ συνεσταύρωμαι] ‘I have been crucified with Christ.’ A new turn is thus given to the metaphor of death. In the last verse it was the release from past obligations; here it is the annihilation of old sins. The two however are not unconnected. Sin and law loose their hold at the same time. The sense of feebleness, of prostration, to which a man is reduced by the working of the law, the process of dying in fact, is the moral link which unites the two applications of the image: see Rom. 7:5, 9–11. Thus his death becomes life. Being crucified with Christ, he rises with Christ, and lives to God.

The parallel passage in the Romans best illustrates the different senses given to death. See also, for a similar and characteristic instance of working out a metaphor, the different applications of ἡμέρα in 1 Thess. 5:2–5:8.

For the idea of dying with Christ etc., see Rom. 6:6 ὁ παλαιὸς ἡμῶν ἄνθρωπος συνεσταυρώθη: comp. Gal. 5:24, 6:14, Rom. 6:8, Col. 2:20, ἀποθανεῖν σὺν Χριστῷ, and Rom. 6:4, Col. 2:12, συνταφῆναι. Comp. Ignat. Rom. § 7 ὁ ἐμὸς ἔρως ἐσταύρωται. The correlative idea of rising and reigning with Christ is equally common in St Paul.

ζῶ δὲ οὐκέτι ἐγώ] The order is significant; ‘When I speak of living, I do not mean myself, my natural being. I have no longer a separate existence. I am merged in Christ.’ See on ἐγὼ ver. 19.

ὃ δὲ νῦν ζῶ] Not exactly ἣν νῦν ζῶ ζωήν, but ὃ limits and qualifies the idea of life: ‘So far as I now live in the flesh, it is a life of faith’: comp. Rom. 6:10 ὃ γὰρ ἀπέθανεν, τῇ ἁμαρτίᾳ ἀπέθανεν ἐφάπαξ, ὃ δὲ ζῇ, ζῇ τῷ Θεῷ, Plut. Mor. p. 100 F ὃ καθεύδουσι, τοῦ σώματος ὕπνος ἐστὶ καὶ ἀνάπαυσις.

νῦν] ‘now’: his new life in Christ, as opposed to his old life before his conversion; not his present life on earth, as opposed to his future life in heaven; for such a contrast is quite foreign to this passage.

ἐν πίστει] ‘in faith,’ the atmosphere as it were which he breathes in this his new spiritual life.

The variation of reading here is perplexing. For τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ Θεοῦ may be pleaded the great preponderance of the older authorities: for τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ Χριστοῦ, the testimony of a few ancient copies, and the difficulty of conceiving its substitution for the other simpler reading.

με ἐμοῦ] ‘loved me, gave Himself for me.’ He appropriates to himself, as Chrysostom observes, the love which belongs equally to the whole world. For Christ is indeed the personal friend of each man individually; and is as much to him, as if He had died for him alone.

21. οὐκ ἀθετῶ κ.τ.λ.] ‘I do not set at nought the grace of God. Setting at nought I call it: for, if righteousness might be obtained through law, then Christ’s death were superfluous.’ For ἀθετῶ ‘to nullify’ see Luke 7:30, 1 Cor. 1:19: its exact sense here is fixed by δωρεὰν ἀπέθανεν. ‘The grace of God’ is manifested in Christ’s death. The connexion of γὰρ is with the idea of ἀθετῶ, and may be explained by a supplied clause, as above.

δωρεάν] not ‘in vain,’ but ‘uselessly, without sufficient cause,’ or, as we might say, ‘gratuitously,’ John 15:25 ἐμίσησάν με δωρεάν (Ps. 34:19); comp. LXX of Ps. 34:7 δωρεὰν ἔκρνψάν μοι διαφθοράν, Hebr. חנם, where Symmachus had ἀναιτίως; Ecclas. 20:23.


Joseph Barber Lightfoot, ed., St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians. A Revised Text with Introduction, Notes, and Dissertations., 4th ed., Classic Commentaries on the Greek New Testament (London: Macmillan and Co., 1874), 112–120.

……..2:12 When Peter first came to Antioch, he would eat with the Gentiles in the full enjoyment of his Christian liberty. By Jewish tradition, he could not have done this. Some time later, a group came down from James in Jerusalem to Antioch for a visit. They claimed to represent James, but he later denied this (Acts 15:24). They were probably Jewish Christians who were still clinging to certain legal observances. When they arrived, Peter stopped having fellowship with the Gentiles, fearing that the news of his behavior would get back to the legalist faction in Jerusalem. In doing this, he was denying one of the great truths of the gospel—that all believers are one in Christ Jesus, and that national differences do not affect fellowship. Findlay says: “By refusing to eat with uncircumcised men, he affirmed implicitly that, though believers in Christ, they were still to him ‘common and unclean,’ that the Mosaic rites imparted a higher sanctity than the righteousness of faith.”

2:13 Others followed Peter’s example, including Barnabas, Paul’s valued co-laborer. Recognizing the seriousness of this action, Paul boldly accused Peter of hypocrisy. Paul’s rebuke is given in verses 14–21.

2:14 As a Christian, Peter knew that God no longer recognized national differences; he had lived as a Gentile, eating their foods, etc. By his recent refusal to eat with Gentiles, Peter was implying that observances of Jewish laws and customs was necessary for holiness, and that the Gentile believers would have to live as Jews.

2:15 Paul seems to be using irony here. Did not Peter’s conduct betray a lingering conviction concerning the superiority of the Jews, and the despised position of the Gentiles? Peter should have known better, because God had taught him before the conversion of the Gentile Cornelius to call no man common or unclean (Acts 10 and 11:1–18).

2:16 Jews who had been saved knew that there was no salvation in the law. The law condemned to death those who failed to obey it perfectly. This brought the curse on all, because all have broken its sacred precepts. The Savior is here presented as the only true object of faith. Paul reminds Peter that “even we Jews” came to the conclusion that salvation is by faith in Christ and not by law-keeping. What was the sense now of Peter’s putting Gentiles under the law? The law told people what to do but gave them no power to do it. It was given to reveal sin, not to be a savior.

2:17 Paul and Peter and others had sought justification in Christ and in Christ alone. Peter’s actions at Antioch, however, seemed to indicate that he was not completely justified, but had to go back under the law to complete his salvation. If this is so, then Christ is not a perfect and sufficient Savior. If we go to Him to have our sins forgiven, but then have to go elsewhere in addition, is not Christ a minister of sin in failing to fulfill His promises? If, while we are professedly depending on Christ for justification, we then go back to the law (which can only condemn us as sinners), do we act as Christians? Can we hope for Christ’s approval on such a course of action that in effect makes Him a minister of sin? Paul’s answer is an indignant Certainly not!

2:18 Peter had abandoned the whole legal system for faith in Christ. He had repudiated any difference between Jew and Gentile when it came to finding favor with God. Now, by refusing to eat with Gentiles, he is building up again what he once destroyed. In so doing, he proves himself to be a transgressor. Either he was wrong in leaving the law for Christ, or he is wrong now in leaving Christ for the law!

2:19 The penalty for breaking the law is death. As a sinner, I had broken the law. Therefore, it condemned me to die. But Christ paid the penalty of the broken law for me by dying in my place. Thus when Christ died, I died. He died to the law in the sense that He met all its righteous demands; therefore, in Christ, I too have died to the law.

The Christian has died to the law; he has nothing more to do with it. Does this mean that the believer is at liberty to break the Ten Commandments all he wants? No, he lives a holy life, not through fear of the law, but out of love to the One who died for him. Christians who desire to be under the law as a pattern of behavior do not realize that this places them under its curse. Moreover, they cannot touch the law in one point without being responsible to keep it completely. The only way we can live to God is by being dead to the law. The law could never produce a holy life; God never intended that it should. His way of holiness is explained in verse 20.

2:20 The believer is identified with Christ in His death. Not only was He crucified on Calvary, I was crucified there as well—in Him. This means the end of me as a sinner in God’s sight. It means the end of me as a person seeking to merit or earn salvation by my own efforts. It means the end of me as a child of Adam, as a man under the condemnation of the law, as my old, unregenerate self. The old, evil “I” has been crucified; it has no more claims on my daily life. This is true as to my standing before God; it should be true as to my behavior.

The believer does not cease to live as a personality or as an individual. But the one who is seen by God as having died is not the same one who lives. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. The Savior did not die for me in order that I might go on living my life as I choose. He died for me so that from now on He might be able to live His life in me. The life which I now live in this human body, I live by faith in the Son of God. Faith means reliance or dependence. The Christian lives by continual dependence on Christ, by yielding to Him, by allowing Christ to live His life in him.

Thus the believer’s rule of life is Christ and not the law. It is not a matter of striving, but of trusting. He lives a holy life, not out of fear of punishment, but out of love to the Son of God, who loved him and gave Himself for him.

Have you ever turned your life over to the Lord Jesus with the prayer that His life might be manifest in your body?

2:21 The grace of God is seen in His unconditional gift of salvation. When man tries to earn it, he is making it void. It is no longer by grace if man deserves it or earns it. Paul’s final thrust at Peter is effective. If Peter could obtain favor with God by Jewish observances, then Christ died for nothing; He literally threw His life away. Christ died because man could obtain righteousness in no other way—not even by law-keeping.

Clow says:

The deepest heresy of all, which corrupts churches, leavens creeds with folly, and swells our human hearts with pride, is salvation by works. “I believe,” writes John Ruskin, “that the root of every schism and heresy from which the Christian Church has suffered, has been the effort to earn salvation rather than to receive it; and that one reason why preaching is so ineffective is that it calls on men oftener to work for God than to behold God working for them.”


William MacDonald, Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments, ed. Arthur Farstad (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1995), 1879–1880.

 

 

Theology Defined via The Moody Handbook of Theology

INTRODUCTION TO BIBLICAL THEOLOGY

DEFINITION

The term biblical theology can be used in different ways. Although the usage adopted in this volume focuses on a special method of theological study, it should be understood that the term is widely used to refer to a movement that is basically antagonistic to evangelical faith. This negative usage is here considered and discarded before the legitimate meaning of biblical theology is discussed.

First of all, then, this expression is used to describe the biblical theology movement. This was an outgrowth of liberalism and neo-orthodoxy. It began with the publication of Walther Eichrodt’s first volume of Old Testament theology in 1933 and ended with the publication of von Rad’s second volume of Old Testament theology in 1960. Brevard Childs suggests the movement experienced its demise in May 1963 with the publication of John A. T. Robinson’s Honest To God.

The movement initially was a reaction to liberalism and sought a return to an exegetical study of the Scriptures, particularly emphasizing a study of biblical words. Kittel’s monumental ten-volume Theological Dictionary of the New Testament is an outgrowth of that. As a movement, however, it never separated itself from its liberal underpinnings; it retained the historical-critical methodology. For example, in studying the gospels, adherents of the biblical theology movement applied the historical-critical methodology in attempting to discover which of the words attributed to Christ were actually spoken by Him.

While the movement recognized the weak message of liberalism of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, it retained the liberal presuppositions concerning the Bible. Adherents held to the neo-orthodox view of revelation, taught evolution as a theory of origins, and emphasized the human aspect of the Bible rather than the divine. As a result, the movement was self-defeating. It was impossible to do a serious, exegetical study of the Scriptures while at the same time denying the authority of the Scriptures.

A second way in which the term biblical theology is used is for that methodology that takes its material in an historically oriented manner from the Old and New Testaments and arrives at a theology. It is exegetical in nature, drawing its material from the Bible as opposed to a philosophical understanding of theology; it stresses the historical circumstances in which doctrines were propounded; it examines the theology within a given period of history (as in Noahic or Abrahamic eras) or of an individual writer (as Pauline or Johannine writings).

Biblical theology in the above-defined sense may be called “that branch of theological science which deals systematically with the historically conditioned progress of the self-revelation of God as deposited in the Bible.”

Several elements are important to observe in this definition:

SYSTEMATIZATION

Biblical theology investigates the periods of history in which God has revealed Himself or the doctrinal emphases of the different biblical writers are set forth in a systematic fashion. Biblical theology, while presented in a systematized form, is distinct from systematic theology that assimilates truth from the entire Bible and from outside the Scriptures in systematizing biblical doctrine. Biblical theology is narrower. It concentrates on the emphasis of a given period of history as in the Old Testament or on the explicit teaching of a particular writer as in the New Testament.

HISTORY

Biblical theology pays attention to the important historical circumstances in which the biblical doctrines were given. What can be learned from the Old Testament era of revelation? What were the circumstances in the writing of Matthew or John? What were the circumstances of the addressees of the letter to the Hebrews? These are important questions that help resolve the doctrinal emphasis of a particular period or of a specific writer.

PROGRESS OF REVELATION

An orthodox doctrine that evangelicals have long held is the belief in progressive revelation; God did not reveal all truth about Himself at one time but revealed Himself “piecemeal,” portion by portion to different people throughout history (cf. Heb. 1:1). Biblical theology traces that progress of revelation, noting the revelation concerning Himself that God has given in a particular era or through a particular writer. Hence, God’s self-disclosure was not as advanced to Noah and Abraham as it was to Isaiah. An earlier book of the New Testament, such as James, reflects a more primitive view of the church than books written later, such as the pastoral epistles.

BIBLICAL IN NATURE

In contrast to systematic theology, which draws its information about God from any and every source, biblical theology has a narrower focus, drawing its information from the Bible (and from historical information that expands or clarifies the historical events of the Bible). Biblical theology thus is exegetical in nature, examining the doctrines in the various periods of history or examining the words and statements of a particular writer. This enables the student to determine the self-disclosure of God at a given period of history.

RELATION TO OTHER DISCIPLINES

EXEGETICAL STUDIES

Biblical theology has a direct relationship to exegesis (“to explain; to interpret”), inasmuch as biblical theology is the result of exegesis. Exegesis lies at the foundation of biblical theology. Exegesis calls for an analysis of the biblical text according to the literal-grammatical-historical methodology. (1) The passage under consideration should be studied according to the normal meaning of language. How is the word or statement normally understood? (2) The passage should be studied according to the rules of grammar; exegesis demands an examination of the nouns, verbs, prepositions, etc., for a proper understanding of the passage. (3) The passage should be studied in its historical context. What were the political, social, and particularly the cultural circumstances surrounding it? Biblical theology does not end with exegesis, but it must begin there. The theologian must be hermeneutically exacting in analyzing the text to properly understand what Matthew, Paul, or John wrote.

INTRODUCTORY STUDIES

Although it is not the purpose of biblical theology to provide a detailed discussion of introductory matters, some discussion is essential since interpretive solutions are sometimes directly related to introductory studies. Introduction determines issues like authorship, date, addressees, and occasion and purpose for writing. For example, the dating of the book of Hebrews is significant in that it relates to the extent of the suffering of the audience to whom the book is written. Persecution became severe after the burning of Rome in A.D. 64. Even more critical is the issue of the addressees in Hebrews. If the audience is understood to be unbelievers, the book will be studied in one fashion; if the audience is understood to be Hebrew Christians the book will be understood differently. By way of other examples, the audience of Matthew, Mark, and Luke also determines how these writers are evaluated. For example, Matthew’s theological viewpoint ought to be understood from the standpoint of having been written to a Jewish audience. The theological viewpoint of the writer is clearly related to introductory issues.

SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY STUDIES

There are both similarities and differences between biblical and systematic theology. Both are rooted in the analysis of Scripture, although systematic theology also seeks truth from sources outside the Bible. In noting the relationship of these two theologies, numerous distinctions can be observed. (1) Biblical theology is preliminary to systematic theology; exegesis leads to biblical theology which in turn leads to systematic theology. (2) Biblical theology seeks to determine what the biblical writers said concerning a theological issue, whereas systematic theology also explains why something is true, adding a philosophical viewpoint. (3) While biblical theology provides the viewpoint of the biblical writer, systematic theology gives a doctrinal discussion from a contemporary viewpoint. (4) Biblical theology analyzes the material of a particular writer or period of history, whereas systematic theology investigates all materials both biblical and extra-biblical that relate to a particular doctrinal matter.

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METHODOLOGY

Biblical theology of the Old Testament is best understood when examining the Old Testament for a “center” or unifying principle. Many different proposals have been suggested concerning a unifying theme of the Old Testament. Walter Kaiser has suggested “promise” as the unifying theme; Elmer Martens suggests “God’s design” as the focal point; whereas Eugene Merrill suggests “kingdom” as the underlying theme of the Old Testament. Whatever theme is emphasized, biblical theology of the Old Testament should be able to see the unfolding of that theme in the different periods of the Old Testament (progressive revelation). (See further discussion of methodology under “Introduction to Old Testament Theology,” chap. 2.

Since the writing of the New Testament books probably encompassed less than fifty years, biblical theology of the New Testament must concern itself with the viewpoint of the different New Testament authors. Thus, the biblical theology of the New Testament is studied according to Pauline theology, Petrine theology, Johannine theology, and so forth. This study evaluates what particular doctrines the writers of the New Testament emphasized and how they developed those doctrines. (See further discussion of methodology under “Introduction to New Testament Theology,” chap. 9

IMPORTANCE

SHOWS HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF DOCTRINE

Biblical theology is important in that it prevents the study of doctrine apart from its historical context. In the study of systematic theology it is entirely possible to ignore the historical context of doctrinal truth; biblical theology serves to avert that problem by paying attention to the historical milieu in which the doctrine was given.

SHOWS EMPHASIS OF THE WRITER

Biblical theology reveals the doctrinal teaching of a particular writer or during an entire period. In that sense, biblical theology systematizes the Scriptures pertinent to a writer or period and determines the major teaching or doctrinal focus of the writer or period of time. It enables the student to determine what was emphasized during the Abrahamic era or what was emphasized by the apostle John, providing a different perspective from that normally attained through the study of systematic theology.

SHOWS HUMAN ELEMENT IN INSPIRATION

While it is true that the Bible is verbally inspired and inerrant, it is also true that the writers of Scripture each wrote according to their distinctive style. Biblical theology emphasizes the human factor in the writing of Scripture (but not to the exclusion of inspiration). Thus biblical theology is intent on discovering what John or Paul taught or what was emphasized during a period of Old Testament history. Biblical theology “points up the individual backgrounds, interest, and style of the authors. Biblical Theology emphasizes the part that the writers had in the composition of the Word of God, while, of course, building on the divine superintendence of the writings.”

Paul P. Enns, The Moody Handbook of Theology (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1989), xv–24.

Jehovah? Or Yahweh? J-Dubs Miss The Mark As Usual

(Updated from 4-2010)

The name, “Jehovah,” comes from the mixing of two words. Hebrew has no vowels, so how did we end up with God’s name having them? God’s name in the Hebrew was YHWH, but the Jews took the passage of taking God’s name in vain as applying to even just mentioning His name. So, in public readings, the Jews would use such words as ADONAI (or adhonay), meaning LORD. As translations of the scriptures became common, the merging of the two words (YHWH and adonai) became warranted to allow vowels into the word via the changing dialect.

Therefore, the letters a – o – a were taken from adonai and added to YHWH. The result for the English version of God’s name? Yahovah. or Jehovah. Now, the Jehovah Witness would say that Jehovah is the most correct form of God’s name. Unfortunately for them, it is a crude mixture of two.

  • By the way, what does YHWH mean? It is part of the root verb which means, “to be.” Remember Exodus 3:14 where God said I AM is My name? This “I AM” is from the root verb “to be.” God is basically saying that: He is eternal, beyond even the time-space dimension, worthy to be worshipped, followed, and adored as well as being set apart from every other “being” known to Moses or the world.

Back on track. Lets see what some resources say the correct pronunciation of YHWH is:

Jehovah – “False reading of Hebrew YAHWEH.” Webster’s College Dictionary

Jehovah – “Intended as a transition of Hebrew YAHWEH, the vowel points of Hebrew ADHONAY (my lord) being erroneously substituted for those of YAHWEH; from the fact that in some Hebrew manuscripts the vowel points of ADHONAY (used as a euphemism for YAHWEH) were written under the consonants YHWH of YAHWEH to indicate that ADHONAY was to be substituted in oral reading of YAHWEH. Jehovah is a Christian transliteration of the tetragrammaton long assumed by many Christians [not this one] to be the authentic reproduction of the Hebrew sacred name for God but now recognized to be a late hybrid form never used by6 the Jews.” Webster’s Third New International Dictionary

Jehovah – “is an erroneous form of the name of the God of Israel.” Encyclopedia Americana

Jehovah – “the pronunciation ‘Jehovah’ is an error resulting among Christians from combining the consonants YHWH with the vowels of ADHONAY.” Encyclopedia Britannica

Jehovah – “false form of the divine name YAHWEH” New Catholic Encyclopedia

Jehovah – “is a mispronunciation of the Hebrew YHWH the name of God. This pronunciation is grammatically impossible. The form ‘Jehovah’ is a philological impossibility” The Jewish Encyclopedia

Jehovah – “an erroneous pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton, or four-lettered name of God made up of the Hebrew letters Yod He Vav He. The word ‘Jehovah’ therefore is a misreading for which there is no warrant and which makes no sense in hebrew” The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia

Jehovah – “is an erroneous form of the divine name of the covenant God of Israel” The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia

Jehovah – “is an artificial form” The Interpreters Dictionary of the Bible

Jehovah – “the vowels of one word with the consonants of the other were misread as ‘Jehovah’” Encyclopedia International

Jehovah – “is an inaccurate reconstruction of the name of God in the old testament” Merits Student Encyclopedia

Jehovah – “When Christian scholars of Europe first began to study Hebrew, they did not understand what this really meant, and they introduced the hybrid name ‘Jehovah’… The true pronunciation of the name YHWH was never lost. Several early Greek writers of the Christian church testify that the name was pronounced ‘YAHWEH.’ This is confirmed, at least for the vowel of the first syllable of the name, by the shorter form Yah, which is sometimes used in poetry (e.g. Exodus 15:2)… The personal name of God of Israel is written in the Hebrew Bible with the four consonants YHWH and is referred to as the ‘Tetragrammaton.’ At least until the destruction of the First Temple in 586 B.C.E. this name was regularly pronounced with its proper vowels, as is clear from the Lachish Letters, written shortly before that date.” Encyclopedia Judaica

Jehovah – “a supreme deity recognized and the only deity worshipped by Jehovah’s Witnesses.” Webster’s Third New International Dictionary

On page 195 of the Jehovah Witness book, Reasoning from the Scriptures, it reads that the original form was lost, and that no one actually knows the correct pronunciation of the name Yahweh:

As usual, misinformation and misrepresentation. But if page 195 in this book by the Watchtower disagrees with all the available evidence, the Jehovah Witness will clasp to the Watchtower’s understanding of truth.

 

Dispensationalism (Animated)

The tough aspect of “Dispensationalism” made understandable. Part of the videos description:

  • I ask that you be respectful, humble, and Bible based in the comments. Teachers who approved this video do not personally hold to every view presented. Dr. Andy Woods endorsed it after it was posted. Lets put aside all comments about the rapture, Rev. 20 (1000 years), Ezekiel 40-48, and all other areas not necessary to the core of Dispensationalism. They don’t disprove Dispensationalism….

“YHWH” and “Elohim” in LDS and J-DUB Misunderstandings

The LDS Church teaches that “Elohim” properly refers to Heavenly Father, and that “Jehovah” refers to Jesus. While Mormons believe that both Elohim and Jehovah are “united in purpose”, Mormonism claims that “Elohim” and “Jehovah” are actually two separate exalted beings. This is significant, because it would mean that there are actually numerous “gods”—more than just one! But Christians claim that Jehovah (Or Yahweh) and Elohim are the same being, the One True God, who is uncreated and unchanging. Christianity teaches that there only ever has been and will be One Creator God. If Christians are correct, then the notion of eternal progression and exaltation are abominable and idolatrous. The idea that the Father and Son progressed to their current position is a blasphemous claim to the Christian! Therefore, the true nature of Jehovah and Elohim is a significant question! So what does the Bible teach? Does the Bible indicate that Elohim and Jehovah are two different gods “united in purpose”? Or does Scripture teach that Jehovah and Elohim are different names for the same being?

This is an update to an old post from my free blog from many yearn ago. It deals with certain aspects of Mormon’s and Jehovah’s Witness’s understanding of a “bifurcation” (of sorts). Enjoy, I may re-edit this in the weeks coming. This edit is a shortening of the older debate (which itself references an even older discussion. I am thinking this was the late 90’s or early 2000s):

TRINITY

I recommend a book that will assist you in your understanding of Bart Ehrman, it is entitled, Misquoting Truth: A Guide to the Fallacies of Bart Ehrman’s Misquoting Jesus. Learning possibility aside, you believe that YHWH represents Jesus, and Elohim represents Heavenly Father, right? I will elucidate with an old debate:

You Jeff, are not arguing against me when I speak of sex in heaven, you are speaking or arguing against personalities further up the LDS-chain of command than yourself (I have posted this before):

Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., Doctrines of Salvation, Vol.2, p.48:

The Father has promised us that through our faithfulness we shall be blessed with the fulness of his kingdom. In other words we will have the privilege of becoming like him. To become like him we must have all the powers of godhood; thus a man and his wife when glorified will have spirit children who eventually will go on an earth like this one we are on and pass through the same kind of experiences, being subject to mortal conditions, and if faithful, then they also will receive the fulness of exaltation and partake of the same blessings. There is no end to this development; it will go on forever. We will become gods and have jurisdiction over worlds, and these worlds will be peopled by our own offspring. We will have an endless eternity for this.

An endless eternity of celestial sex is what that last sentence meant. Okay, I will leave you to argue with your ex-president in an LDS book Doctrines of Salvation.

How many Jesus’ are there?? Lets do a little Bible study in Genesis. I will post some scripture from Genesis 18 and 19. The pink highlights are what we are going to read (pink is for Jehovah’s Witnesses, green is for Mormons I will now have to add a bit of green to these verses as I can use them with LDS).

(CLICK TO ENLARGE)

So again, with your understanding of who Elohim and YHWH is, as before, your theology is less fit for what the bible displays as clearly Trinitarian. How can Jesus be three people, and then also speak to Himself in heaven while on earth? I mean, you say YHWH is Jesus, orthodox Christianity says this is one name for God (1x1x1=1), Elohim is another.

No Christian doctrine depends on the longer version of the 1 John:7-8. It never has, and Ehrman doesn’t reject the Trinity for this verse either. He does so because he is a philosophical naturalist. Matthew 28:19-20 states the concept of one God (“in name,” GK singular) expressed in three persons (“of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”) just as clearly as those words in 1 John.

According to you Jesus is “a” God, as well as other “persons before Heavenly Father as well as after Heavenly Father. However, the Old Testament states:

  • “See now that I, I am He, and there is no God besides Me” (Deuteronomy 32:39 NASB)
  • “Before Me there was no God formed, and there will be none after me” (Isaiah 43:10 NASB)
  • “Is there any God besides Me, or is there any other Rock? I know of none” (Isaiah 44:8 NASB)
  • “I am the Lord, and there is no other; besides Me there is no God” (Isaiah 45:5 NASB)

However, Heavenly Father’s parents on another earth may themselves not have achieved exultation, whereas a person who at one time (on another planet in the myriad of Mormon worlds with possible gods that inhabit them) could have owned a brothel, but later was sealed in a temple ceremony and repented of his way may be an even more powerful God than Heavenly Father. Odd.

Just in case people here do not understand what Bot is doing, he is arguing against one infinite God and arguing for an infinite amount of finite Gods.

DIETY OF CHRIST

According to LDS theology, Jesus did not exist at one point in history at least until Heavenly Father had a bit of foreplay with one of his wives and maybe a martini or two (Brigham Young was the only distributor of alcohol in Utah for some time he’s exulted, right?) and a long night of hot – steamywell, you get the point, Jesus was born. This is not the belief of any Christian, the apostles, the church fathers, and the like. Only LDS believe this, not the church even for the first 100 years believed this, as the Scriptures make clear. Jesus created the space/time continuum, he was not pre-dated by DNA, matter, gods, or the like.

Heavenly Father didn’t create the eye, or the pancreas, these predate Heavenly Father, and were passed on to him via his parents “sexing it up.” And the DNA for eyes and pancreas’s were passed to them via an act of sex, and so on ad-infinitum.

Jesus and Heavenly Father were born into a cosmos that enforced its natural laws (both physical and moral) on Jesus and Heavenly Father, whereas these forces were created by God and didn’t pre-date God. The former is not deity, the later is.

IRR has a good short article where they answer the following:

  • The Hebrew word elohim is grammatically a plural form, and in a couple hundred occurrences in the Old Testament does mean “gods.” However, about 2,600 times elohim functions as a singular noun. We know this for four reasons

Also, LDS struggle with the following a tad:

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One of the best books I have read on the topic of the Trinity is by an ex-Oneness Pentecostal, Robert Bowman,

The rest of this book will be concerned with the biblical material relating to the Trinity, considering the arguments advanced by JWs to show that it is unbiblical.

We begin with the biblical teaching that there is one God. The JWs affirm that monotheism is the biblical teaching (p. 12), citing several Scriptures in support (p. 13). And trinitarians could not agree more. There is only one God, and this God is one. The oneness of God is the first plank in the trinitarian platform. For this reason I would agree with the booklet’s argument that the plural form elohim for God in the Old Testament cannot be evidence of the Trinity (pp. 13-14).

The Trinity and the Oneness of God

But two problems need attention. First, JWs claim that the Bible’s affirmations of monotheism mean “that God is one Person—a unique, unpartitioned Being who has no equal” (p. 13). As has already been explained, trinitarians do not regard the three persons as “partitions” of God, or the Son and Spirit as beings outside God yet equal to him. Indeed, if “person” is defined to mean an individual per­sonal being, then trinitarians will agree that in that sense “God is one Person.” Thus, in arguing as if these truths contradicted the Trinity, the JWs show they have mis­construed the doctrine. In fact, that God is one “Person” in this sense does not prove that he is not also three “persons” in the sense meant by trinitarians.

Second, biblical monotheism does not simply mean that the being of the Almighty God is one being. That is true enough, but the Bible also teaches simply that there is one God. The Bible is quite emphatic on this point, repeating it often in both the Old Testament (Deut. 4:35, 39; 32:39; 2 Sam. 22:32; Isa. 37:20; 43:10; 44:6-8; 45:5, 14, 21-22; 46:9) and the New Testament (Rom. 3:30; 16:27; 1 Cor. 8:4, 6; Gal. 3:20; Eph. 4:6; 1 Tim. 1:17; 2:5; James 2:19; Jude 25). And the very meaning of the word monotheism is the belief in one God.

It is therefore important to note that the JWs flatly deny this most basic of biblical teachings. Although they admit that there is only one Almighty God, they claim that there are, in addition to that God, and not counting the many false gods worshiped by idolaters, many creatures rightly recognized in the Bible as “gods” in the sense of “mighty ones” (p. 28). These “gods” include Jesus Christ, angels, human judges, and Satan. The JWs take this position to justify allowing the Bible to call Jesus “a god” without honoring him as Jehovah God.

The question must therefore be asked whether Wit­nesses can escape the charge that they are polytheists (be­lievers in many gods). The usual reply is that while they believe there are many gods, they worship only one God, Jehovah. But this belief is not monotheism, either. The usual term for the belief that there are many gods but only one who is to be worshiped is heno theism.

The more important question, of course, is whether the Bible supports the JWs’ view. The explicit, direct state­ments of the Bible that there is only one God (cited above) cannot fairly be interpreted to mean that there are many gods but only one who is almighty, or only one who is to be worshiped, or only one who is named Jehovah. There is only one Almighty God Jehovah, and he alone is to be worshiped—but the Bible also states flatly that he is the only God.

More precisely, the Bible says that there is only one true God (John 17:3; see also 2 Chron. 15:3; Jer. 10:10; 1 Thess. 1:9; 1 John 5:20), in contrast to all other gods, false gods, who are not gods at all (Deut. 32:21; 1 Sam. 12:21; Ps. 96:5; Isa. 37:19; 41:23-24, 29; Jer. 2:11; 5:7; 16:20; 1 Cor. 8:4; 10:19-20). There are, then, two categories of “gods”: true Gods (of which there is only one, Jehovah) and false gods (of which there are unfortunately many).

The JWs, however, in agreement with most anti­trinitarian groups today that claim to believe in the Bible, cannot agree that there is only one true God, despite the Bible’s saying so in just those words, because then they would have to admit that Jesus is that God. Therefore, they appeal to a few isolated texts in the Bible that they claim honor creatures with the title gods without implying that they are false gods. We must next consider these texts briefly.

Are Angels Gods?

There are two kinds of creatures that the JWs claim are honored as gods in Scripture—angels and men. We begin with angels. The usual prooftext in support of this claim is Psalm 8:5, which the NWT renders, “You also proceeded to make him [man] a little less than godlike ones.” The word translated “godlike ones” here is elohim, the usual word for “God,” but (because plural) also translatable as “gods.” Since Hebrews 2:7 quotes this verse as saying, “You made him a little lower than angels” (NWT), the Witnesses con­clude that Psalm 8:5 is calling angels “gods.”

There are numerous objections to this line of reasoning, only some of which can be mentioned here. First, it is questionable that in its original context elohim in Psalm 8:5 should be understood to refer to angels and translated “gods” or “godlike ones.” This is because in context this psalm is speaking of man’s place in creation in terms that closely parallel Genesis 1. Psalm 8:3 speaks of the creation of the heavens, moon, and stars (cf. Gen. 1:1, 8, 16). Verse 4 asks how God can consider man significant when com­pared with the grandeur of creation. The answer given is that man rules over creation—over the inhabitants of the land, sky, and sea (vv. 6-8; cf. Gen. 1:26-28). What links this question and answer in Psalm 8 is the statement that God made man “a little lower than elohim,” which parallels in thought the Genesis statement that man was created “in the image of elohim,” that is, in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27). This makes it quite reasonable to conclude that in its own context Psalm 8:5 is meant to be understood as saying that man is a little lower than God, not angels.

If this view is correct, why does Hebrews 2:7 have the word angels rather than God? The simple answer is that the author of Hebrews was quoting from the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Old Testament prepared by Jewish scholars and in common use in the first century. The fact that the writer of Hebrews quoted the Septuagint does not imply that the Septuagint rendering he quoted was a literal or accurate word-for-word translation of the Hebrew text (after all, “angels” is certainly not a literal translation of “gods”). Rather, Hebrews 2:7 is a paraphrase of Psalm 8:5 that, while introducing a new understanding of it, does not contradict it. Psalm 8 says that the son of man (meaning mankind) was made a little lower than God; Hebrews 2 says that the Son of Man (meaning Christ) was made a little lower than the angels. The psalm speaks of man’s exalted status, while Hebrews speaks of Christ’s temporary hum­bling. Since the angels are, of course, lower than God, and since Christ’s humbled status was that of a man, what Hebrews says does not contradict Psalm 8:5, though it does go beyond it.

It must be admitted that this is not the only way of reading Hebrews 2:7 and Psalm 8:5. It is just possible that Hebrews 2:7 does implicitly understand Psalm 8:5 to be calling angels “gods.” If this were correct, it would not mean that angels were truly gods. It might then be argued that the point of Psalm 8:5 was that man was made just a little lower than the spiritual creatures so often wrongly worshiped by men as gods. This would fit the context of Hebrews 2:7 also, since from Hebrews 1:5 through the end of chapter 2 the author argues for the superiority of the Son over angels. That is, Hebrews might be taken to imply that even God’s angels can be idolized if they are wrongly ex­alted or worshiped as gods (which some early heretics were doing [cf. Col. 2:18]).

Moreover, this interpretation would also fit Hebrews 1:6, which quotes Psalm 97:7 as saying that all of God’s angels should worship the Son. Psalm 97:7 in Hebrew is a com­mand to the “gods” (identified in the immediate context as idols) to worship Jehovah. Thus, Hebrews 1:6 testifies at once both to the fact that angels, if they are considered gods at all, are false gods, and that Jesus Christ is worshiped by angels as Jehovah the true God.

There are other reasons for denying that angels are truly gods in a positive sense. The Bible flatly states that demonic spirits are not gods (1 Cor. 10:20; Gal. 4:8). Since demons are just as much spirits, and presumably are just as much “mighty ones” (though wicked) as the holy angels, it fol­lows that angels cannot be gods by virtue of their being “mighty ones. “

Furthermore, the translation of elohim in Psalm 8:5 as “godlike ones” runs into the problem of contradicting the Bible, which flatly and repeatedly states that none are like God (Exod. 8:10; 9:14; 15:11; 2 Sam. 7:22; 1 Kings 8:23; 1 Chron. 17:20; Ps. 86:8; Isa. 40:18, 25; 44:7; 46:5, 9; Jer. 10:6-7; Mic. 7:18), though creatures may reflect God’s moral qualities (Rom. 8:29; Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10; 2 Peter 1:4; 1 John 3:2).

Finally, even if angels were gods in some positive sense, that would not explain in what sense Jesus Christ is called “God,” since he is not an angel—he is God’s Son (Heb. 1:4-5); is worshiped by all the angels (Heb. 1:6); is the God who reigns, not a spirit messenger (Heb. 1:7-9); and is the Lord who created everything, not an angel created to serve (Heb. 1:10-13).

Before leaving this question, it should be noted in passing that Satan is called “the god of this age” (2 Cor. 4:4 Niv), but clearly in the sense of a false god, one who is wrongly allowed to usurp the place of the true God in the present age. That is the point of 2 Corinthians 4:4, not that Satan is a mighty one.

Are Mighty Men Gods?

The Witnesses claim that not only mighty angels, but also mighty men, are called “gods” in Scripture in rec­ognition of their might. This claim, however, is open to even more difficult objections than the claim that angels are gods.

The Bible explicitly denies that powerful men, such as kings and dictators and military leaders, are gods (Ezek. 28:2, 9; see also Isa. 31:3; 2 Thess. 2:4). In fact, frequently in Scripture “man” and “God” are used as opposite catego­ries, parallel with “flesh” and “spirit” (Num. 23:19; Isa. 31:3; Hos. 11:9; Matt. 19:26; John 10:33; Acts 12:22; 1 Cor. 14:2). In this light, texts that are alleged to call men “gods” in a positive sense ought to be studied carefully and alterna­tive interpretations followed where context permits.

The usual text cited in this connection, as in the JW booklet, is Psalm 82:6, “I said, you are gods,” which is quoted by Jesus in John 10:34. This verse has commonly been interpreted (by trinitarians as well as antitrinitarians, though with different conclusions drawn) to be calling Isra­elite judges “gods” by virtue of their honorable office of representing God to the people in judgment. Assuming this interpretation to be correct, the verse would not then be saying that judges really are gods in the sense of “mighty ones.” Rather, it would simply be saying that as judges in Israel they represented God. This representative sense of “gods” would then have to be distinguished from a qualita­tive sense, in which creatures are called “gods” as a description of the kind of beings they are.

There are good reasons, however, to think that the Isra­elite judges are being called “gods” not to honor them but to expose them as false gods. This may be seen best by a close reading of the entire psalm.

In Psalm 82:1 Jehovah God is spoken of by the psalmist in the third person: “God takes His stand He judges” (NAss). The psalmist says, “God [elohimi takes his stand in the assembly of God [el]; he judges in the midst of the gods [elohimr (my translation). Here we are confronted with two elohim: God, and the judges, called by the psalmist “gods.”

In verses 2-5 God’s judgment against the Israelite judges is pronounced. They are unjust, show partiality to the wicked, allow the wicked to abuse the poor and helpless, and by their unjust judgment are destroying the founda­tions of life on earth.

Then in verse 6 we read, “I said, ‘You are gods….‘” This is a reference back to the psalmist’s calling the judges “gods” in verse 1: “He judges in the midst of the gods.” The succeeding lines make clear that although the psalmist referred to the wicked judges as “gods,” they were not really gods at all and proved themselves not up to the task of being gods. This is made clear in two ways.

First, the second line of verse 6 adds, “And all of you are sons of the Most High.” What can this mean? The similar expression “sons of God” is used in the Old Testament only of angels (Gen. 6:2, 4; Job 1:6; 2:1), unless one interprets Genesis 6:1-4 to be speaking of a godly line of men. The Israelite judges were neither angels nor godly men. Hosea 1:10 speaks prophetically of Gentiles becoming “sons of the living God,” but this has reference to Gentiles becoming Christians and thus adopted children of God (Rom. 9:26). The judges were not Christians, either. The easiest, if not only, explanation is that they are called “sons of the Most High” in irony. That is, the psalmist calls them “sons of the Most High” not because they really were, but because they thought of themselves as such, and to show up that attitude as ridiculous (see a similar use of irony by Paul in 1 Cor. 4:8). If this is correct, it would imply that they were also called “gods” in irony. Thus the thought would be that these human judges thought of themselves as gods, immortal beings with the power of life and death.

The next lines, in Psalm 82:7, confirm such an inter­pretation: the judges are told that they are ordinary men who will die. The clear implication is that though they seemed to rule over the life and death of their fellow Isra­elites, they were no more gods than anyone else, because—like even the greatest of men—they will die.

Then, in verse 8, the psalmist addresses God in the sec­ond person, “Arise, 0 God, judge the earth!” (NASB). In other words, the judges have proved themselves to be false gods; now let the true God come and judge the world in righteousness.

This way of reading Psalm 82 does not conflict with or undermine Christ’s argument in John 10:34-36. When he says, “If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came” (John 10:35 NASB), nothing in the text demands that the “gods” be anything but false gods. Jesus’ argu­ment may be paraphrased and expanded as follows:

Is it not written in the Law which you call your own, “I said, `You are gods”? The psalmist, whom you regard as one of your own, and yourselves as worthy successors to him, called those wicked judges, against whom the word of God came in judgment, “gods.” And yet the Scripture cannot be broken; it must have some fulfillment. Therefore these worthless judges must have been called “gods” for a reason, to point to some worthy human judge who is rightly called God. Now the Father has witnessed to my holy calling and sent me into the world to fulfill everything he has purposed. That being so, how can you, who claim to follow in the tradition of the psalmist, possibly be justified in rejecting the fulfillment of his words by accusing me of blasphemy for calling myself the Son of God? How can you escape being associated with those wicked judges who judged unjustly by your unjust judgment of me?

By this interpretation, Jesus is saying that what the Isra­elite judges were called in irony and condemnation, he is in reality and in holiness; he does what they could not do and is what they could not be. This kind of positive fulfillment in Christ contrasted with a human failure in the Old Testa­ment occurs elsewhere in the New Testament, notably the contrast between the sinner Adam and the righteous Christ (Rom. 5:12-21; 1 Cor. 15:21-22, 45).

To summarize, the judges called “gods” in Psalm 82 could not have been really gods, because the Bible denies that mighty or authoritative men are gods. If they are called “gods” in a positive sense, it is strictly a figurative expres­sion for their standing in God’s place in judging his people. But more likely they are called “gods” in irony, to expose them as wicked judges who were completely inadequate to the task of exercising divine judgment. However one inter­prets Psalm 82, then, there is no basis for teaching that there are creatures who may be described qualitatively as gods.

We conclude, then, that the biblical statements that there is only one God are not contradicted or modified one bit by the prooftexts cited by JWs to prove that creatures may be honored as gods. There is one Creator, and all else is created; one Eternal, and all else temporal; one Sovereign Lord, and all else undeserving servants; one God, and all else worshipers. Anything else is a denial of biblical monotheism.

Robert M. Bowman, Why You Should Believe In The Trinity: An Answer to Jehovah’s Witnesses (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1997), 49-58.

WAYNE GRUDEM:

An In-Depth four-part-series on the Trinity in Christian theology.


Two SCRIBD Papers


A Letter I Wrote A Co-Worker by Papa Giorgio

Apologetics – Trinity Defined by Papa Giorgio

The Gospel vs Ibram Kendi and James Cone (RPT Series)

In my continuing masochistic experiment of commenting on one of the most openly bigoted and wrong minded books I have read (outside of maybe the books I purchased from Obama’s church’s book store), I delve into a second installment of this series. I will however, unlike my dealing with the Introduction of Ibram Kendi’s book, take smaller chunks of it and dissect it a bit. Or take topical chunks I should say. The first issue I wish to tackle are more misunderstandings regarding the Christian faith and the journey his father took (at least Kendi’s understanding of it). Here is an example. In the beginning pages of Chapter one of “How to Be an Antiracist” he writes of the influence of Tom Skinner on his parents.

However, Mr. Ibram never expresses the ideas to the reader that even though Tom Skinner was tough on white Evangelicals – making them feel uncomfortable in time (remember, many were silent in the pews during the Democratic Jim Crow era), but that Skinner himself was tougher on the black church., for instance, in an interesting article entitled, “Tom Skinner Was Not The Evangelical Radical You’re Looking For,” we find this:

Skinner was not afraid to make white evangelicals uncomfortable. They were “almost totally irresponsible” in their avoidance of their black brethren, and it was only the pressures of the civil rights movement that had belatedly stirred them from their complacency. He blasted white evangelicals who piously intoned that “Jesus was the answer” while refusing to get involved in the problem. Skinner believed Jesus was the answer too. But he had skin in the game, and he expected other evangelicals to join him. Yet it was precisely this supplicatory undertone that made Skinner’s criticisms manageable. For all the discomfort his words could cause, he did not doubt that white evangelicals had the correct theology on the point that mattered most, and he asked them to help him bring their theology to the ghetto. Christianity Today approvingly noted that Skinner “plays down social insurgence in his sermons because he feels that reform may take ‘sixty years’ but that regeneration through Christ can help now.”[3] To put it baldly, converted Negroes were not rioting Negroes.

Remarkably, Skinner’s criticisms of white evangelicals were tame compared to his open contempt for the black church. He described most black churches as bastions of excessive emotionalism and spiritual immaturity, led by ministers given over to sexual immorality and hypocrisy.[4] As a result, he claimed, “There is hardly any Christian witness in the ghetto.”[5] There’s little reason to suppose Skinner’s hostility toward the black church was anything but sincere ….

[3] “The Gospel with Candor,” Christianity Today, October 14, 1966, 53-54.

[4] Skinner, Black and Free, 45-53.

[5] Skinner, Black and Free, 32.

(COLORBLIND CHRISTIANS)

However, on pages 16 and 17 we see the real influence on Kendi and his family. James Cone is said to have been asked by Mr. Kendi’s father this: “What is your definition of a Christian?” James Cone responded: “A Christian is one who is striving for liberation.”

Without getting into “theological woods,” James Cone pretty much announced he isn’t saved. In the previous post on this book I noted the following from the “flagship book” of Dr. Cone’s:

    • “The personification of the devil as the symbol of all evil assumes the living shape of the Jew” — Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf
  • “The goal of black theology is the destruction of everything white, so that blacks can be liberated from alien gods” — James Cone, A Black Theology of Liberation, p.62
  • “White religionists are not capable of perceiving the blackness of God, because their satanic whiteness is a denial of the very essence of divinity. That is why whites are finding and will continue to find the black experience a disturbing reality” — James Cone, A Black Theology of Liberation, p.64

However, the book specifically mentioned in these pages by Mr. Kendi is the following:

  • “It is this fact that makes all white churches anti-Christian in their essence. To be Christian is to be one of those whom God has chosen. God has chosen black people!” — James Cone, Black Theology & Black Power, p.151

This influence on the black church is detrimental to Christianity, just as much as if it were said that “God has chosen the white people.” And this thinking by Cone is what is driving some of the political violence we see today when he said “These new theologians of the Third World argue that Christians [liberation theology accepting Christians] should not shun violence but should initiate it” (Ibid. p.32)

Tom Skinner essentially taught that “converted Negroes were not rioting Negroes.” Cone taught the opposite. In the afore mentioned book, Dr. Cone noted:

  • “It [black liberation theology] is dangerous because the true prophet of the gospel of God must become both “anti-Christian” and “unpatriotic.”…. “Because whiteness by its very nature is against blackness, the black prophet is a prophet of national doom. He proclaims the end of the American Way” — James Cone, A Black Theology of Liberation, p.55-56

La Shawn Barber zeroes in on the above thinking promoted by Dr. Kendi

Filtering Scripture through race or sex should instinctively strike Christians as problematic; labeling theology “black” or “white” or “Latino” or “feminist,” even more so. The most wonderful enduring truth about Christ is that He’s no respecter of persons. It is not unbiblical to recognize differences or to incorporate them into worship, as long as Christ and Scripture remain the supreme authority of our faith and practice.

The kind of black theology Reformed Christian Anthony J. Carter supports is different from Cone’s brand of race-filtered theology. Carter said theology has always had an ethnic or cultural context, and lists German Lutheran and Scottish Reformed traditions as examples. In that regard, he says a biblical black theology is necessary, because the alternative is an unbiblical black theology. “The unfortunate errors of nascent black theology were rooted in the assumption that experiences should be the primary source of truth,”[6] Carter writes. He notes that men like Cone didn’t maintain the integrity of doctrine “pivotal and indispensable to the historic Christian faith.”[7]

[6] Anthony J. Carter, On Being Black and Reformed: A New Perspective on the African-American Experience (Phillipsburg, NJ: P and R Publishing, 2003), 14.

[7] Ibid., 15.

(EQUIP)

And this early (chapter one) setting is a red-flag for just how bad the rest of the book will be and is. As Ron Rhodes poignantly says in his quoting of Tom Skinner:

  • Tom Skinner agrees and argues that “like any theology, black theology must have a frame of reference…. There are some black theologians who seek to make their frame of reference purely the black experience, but this assumes the black experience is absolutely moral and absolutely just, and that is not the case. There must be a moral frame of reference through which the black experience can be judged.” That frame of reference must be Scripture. (EQUIP)

And that is where the vaunted James Cone (and, frankly, Ibram Kendi’s acceptance of the neo-Marxist positions of liberation theology) sidesteps the real issue. Salvation vs. liberation.

Something Lit-sen Chang noted many years ago: “Without reconciliation with God, there is no reconciliation with man.”

As Dr. Carl F. H. Henry pointed out: “The Chicago evangelicals, while seeking to overcome the polarization of concern in terms of personal evangelism or social ethics, also transcended the neoProtestant nullification of the Great Commission.” “The Chicago Declaration did not leap from a vision of social utopia to legislation specifics, but concentrated first on biblical priorities for social change.” “The Chicago evangelicals did not ignore transcendent aspects of God’s Kingdom, nor did they turn the recognition of these elements into a rationalization of a theology of revolutionary violence or of pacifistic neutrality in the face of blatant militarist aggression.” (Cf. Dr. Carl F. H. Henry, “Evangelical Social Concern” Christianity Today, March 1, 1974.) The evangelical social concern is transcendental not merely horizontal.

We must make it clear that the true revolutionaries are different from the frauds who “deal only with surface phenomena. They seek to remove a deep-seated tumor from society by applying a plaster to the surface. The world’s deepest need today is not something that merely dulls the pain, but something that goes deep in order to change the basic unity of society, man himself. Only when men individually have experienced a change and reorientation, can society be redirected in the way it should go. This we cannot accomplish by either violence or legislation” (cf. Reid: op. cit.). Social actions, without a vertical and transcendental relation with God only create horizontal anxieties and perplexities!

Furthermore, the social activists are in fact ignorant of the social issues, they are not experts in the social sciences. They simply demand an immediate change or destruction of the social structures, but provide no blueprint of the new society whatsoever! They can be likened to the fool, as a Chinese story tells, who tried to help the plant grow faster by pulling it higher. Of course such “action” only caused the plant to wither and die. This is exactly what the social radicals are doing now! And the W.C.C. is supporting such a tragic course!

We must challenge them [secular social activists] to discern the difference between the true repentance and “social repentance.” The Bible says: “For the godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation and brings no regret; but worldly grief produces death” (II Cor. 7:10). This was the bitter experiences of many former Russian Marxists, who, after their conversion to Christ came to understand that they had only a sort of “social repentance”—a sense of guilt before the peasant and the proletariat, but not before God. They admitted that “A Russian (Marxist) intellectual as an individual is often a mild and loving creature, but his creed (Marxism) constrains him to hate” (cf. Nicolas Zernov: The Russian Religious Renaissance). “As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one…. For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:10,23). A complete change of a society must come from man himself, for basically man is at enmity with God. All humanistic social, economic and political systems are but “cut flowers,” as Dr. Trueblood put it, even the best are only dim reflections of the Glory of the Kingdom of God. As Benjamin Franklin in his famous address to the Constitutional Convention, said, “Without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel.” Without reconciliation with God, there is no reconciliation with man. Social action is not evangelism; political liberation is not salvation. While we shall by all means have deep concern on social issues; nevertheless, social activism shall never be a substitution for the Gospel.

Lit-sen Chang, The True Gospel vs. Social Activism, (booklet. Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co: 1976), 9.

Is There An Adequate Analogy or Metaphor for the Trinity?

In this video, J. Warner joins Stand to Reason’s Amy Hall to answer questions in an episode of #STRAsk. They answer a question submitted through Twitter: Given all the traditional metaphors and analogies given for the Trinity, can any of them be trusted. Should any of them be used when teaching new Christians? Which analogy is best? Be sure to subscribe to Stand to Reason’s great lineup of podcasts.

Phil Johnson Discusses Beth Moore’s “Orthodoxy” (Wretched)

Wretched speaks to Phil Johnson regarding Beth Moore and orthodoxy:

The following is from an old post I did on Moore:


BETH MOORE


So the question is, 1) who is BRENNAN MANNING that so influenced Beth Moore to have evoked her to [highly] recommend his book, RAGAMUFFIN GOSPEL? and 2) where does he fall on the major doctrines we hold so dear to? This is where a decent study of theology comes in and should make aberrant teaching smoother to spot. I wish to allow Dr. Norman Geisler to lead off a quick summation of some of the doctrines the postmodern movement Mr. Manning finds himself in the thralls of:

Pastor GARY GILLEY, after bullet pointing some of the problems in Manning’s book introduced to many people through Moore’s book, says this:

Add all of this up and we have a book that makes some good points, especially about God’s grace, but distorts so much about God and truth as to render it worse than useless—it is downright dangerous.

[…here are the bullet points that preceded the above…]

✦ The sources for his philosophy of life range from Catholic mystics to Paul Tillich to Norman Mailer to Carl Jung.

✦ His use of Scripture is scanty but when he attempts to support his views from the Bible he usually goes astray (e. g. pp. 37, 142, 166-7, 220).

✦ He confuses “loving sinners” with “accepting their sin” (p. 33) and believes that forgiveness precedes repentance (pp. 74, 167, 181). This leads to continuous hints of universalism (pp. 21, 29, 31, 33, 37, 74, 223, 232) although he never directly claims to be a universalist.

✦ He is heavily soaked in pop-psychology which taints all he says: accepting self (pp. 49, 152, 229); self-intimacy (p. 49); loving ourselves (pp. 50, 168); inner child (p. 64); forgiving yourself (p. 115); self-image (pp. 147-148); self-worth (p. 148).

✦ He accepts a postmodern worldview and calls for us to be open-minded about truth, reality and Christ (p. 65).

✦ He consistently presents a lopsided view of God. God is loving and forgiving but never a judge, disciplinarian or punisher (p. 75), contrary to the clear teaching of Scripture.

✦ God is not man’s enemy, contrary to Romans 5 that says we are the enemy of God if we are not saved (p. 76).

✦ We are told that God does not test us or promote pain (p. 76).

✦ He believes that God speaks today outside of Scripture (pp. 94, 117, 186-187, 229) and that the presence of God is a felt experience that we should seek (pp. 45, 46, 94, 162, 229).

(READ MOREempahis added)

This short critique (above) by a pastor should send up some warning flares and stir in us an apologetics bent to understand more how these associations can lead a weak Christian astray. For instance, let us “rabbit trail” some positions of this Catholic mystic. Manning recommends highly and even quotes the mystic/New Ager, Beatrice Bruteau in one of his books:

See:

In Abba’s Child, Brennan Manning says that Dr. Beatrice Bruteau is a”trustworthy guide to contemplative consciousness.” Who is Beatrice Bruteau and what does she believe? She is the founder of The School for Contemplation, and she believes God is within every human being. She wrote the book, What We Can Learn from the East,

“We have realized ourselves as the Self that says only I AM, with no predicate following, not “I am a this” or “I have that quality.” Only unlimited, absolute I AM” [A Song That Goes On SingingInterview with B.B., one can read the entire section under “Human Choice” to understand just how New Age Beatrice is].

(Source)

“I AM,” of course, is one of the biblical names of God (EXODUS 3:14). Why would Manning recommend Bruteau with no warning if he does not agree with this blasphemy?

This isn’t “guilt by association” — so one knows the difference — it is “guilt by proxy.” A much more powerful legal term.

In The Signature of Jesus, Manning gives this quote from the mystic Catholic priest William Shannon and the Catholic Buddhist Thomas Merton:

“During a conference on contemplative prayer, the question was put to Thomas Merton: ‘How can we best help people to attain union with God?’ His answer was very clear: WE MUST TELL THEM THAT THEY ARE ALREADY UNITED WITH GOD. CONTEMPLATIVE PRAYER IS NOTHING OTHER THAN COMING INTO CONSCIOUSNESS OF WHAT IS ALREADY THERE” (p. 218).

Merton was a Trappist monk who promoted the integration of Zen Buddhism and Christianity. The titles of some of his books are “Zen and the Birds of the Appetite” and “Mystics and the Zen Masters.” He is of course famous for saying, “I see no contradiction between Buddhism and Christianity … I intend to become as good a Buddhist as I can.” I CRITIQUED MERTON because of an associate pastor at a local Bible centered church (in Castaic) saying he loved Merton. Mentioning that his professor at Biola was using a book in class that he didn’t find anything wrong with.Very sad and maddening at the same time. Simple care in learning our doctrines in fun ways (evangelism) can be a big help in leading us away from heresy. (Video in case it drops off YouTube: “Brennan Manning Explains His Emergent View of the Christian Faith”)

As with many such teachers who gain popularity by tickling ears, Manning overemphasizes the love and grace of God while ignoring His attributes of justice, righteousness and holiness. He teaches that Jesus has redeemed all of mankind. His “good news” is that everyone is already saved. Manning quotes David Steindl-Rast approvingly in his book, The Signature of Jesus (pp. 210, 213-214). Steindl-Rast, a contemplative Roman Catholic priest, said:

“Envision the great religious traditions arranged on the circumference of a circle. At their mystical core they all say the same thing, but with different emphasis”

(“Heroic Virtue,” Gnosis, Summer 1992).

Manning quotes Matthew Fox approvingly in two of his books, Lion and Lamb (p. 135) and A Stranger to Self Hatred (pp. 113, 124). Fox says:

“God is a great underground river, and there are many wells into that river. There’s a Taoist well, a Buddhist well, a Jewish well, a Muslim well, a Christian well, a Goddess well, the Native wells-many wells that humans have dug to get into that river, but friends, there’s only one river; the living waters of wisdom”

Quoted from John Caddock, “What Is Contemplative Spirituality,” Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society, Autumn 1997.

Even Manning’s approach to prayer is aberrant. In The Signature of Jesus Manning promotes the dangerous practice of centering prayer, which involves chanting “a sacred word” to empty the mind and allegedly enter into silent experiential communion with God within:

“[T]he first step in faith is to stop thinking about God at the time of prayer. … enter into the great silence of God. Alone in that silence, the noise within will subside and the Voice of Love will be heard. … Choose a single, sacred word repeat the sacred word inwardly, slowly, and often” (pp. 212, 215, 218).

This is a New Age/Eastern concept of prayer.

Not a Christian concept of it.

So where does this example leave us? It leaves us at a couple of places. Some of the critique I use above comes from a book that I would recommend to a friend/believer, but with a caveat. The author can be very legalistic and I would point out that some aspects of how the author applies their understanding of the Gospel is dealt with in Galatians (maybe mentioning Luther’s commentary on Galatians as a resource to better grasp this concept of the freedom we have in Christ). The book is Contemplative Mysticism: A Powerful Ecumenical Bond, by David Cloud.

Likewise, I am sure the believer who is well moored in the foundational beliefs and how they work themselves throughout our culture can read Beth Moore and glean from it helpful input into one’s faith. Should it be at the top of a recommend list for one God fearing woman to recommend to another, no. Can it be of benefit as a resource for a woman struggling with issues, of course, as long as the person doing the recommending adds a cautionary note. Like I did with my recommended resource.

Dear friends, I’ve dropped everything to write you about this life of salvation that we have in common. I have to write insisting—begging!—that you fight with everything you have in you for this faith entrusted to us as a gift to guard and cherish. What has happened is that some people have infiltrated our ranks (our Scriptures warned us this would happen), who beneath their pious skin are shameless scoundrels. Their design is to replace the sheer grace of our God with sheer license—which means doing away with Jesus Christ, our one and only Master. (JUDE 3-4, The Message)

As one studies all the facets of apologetics, rabbit trails will appear, but in them all remember a key thing, harkening back to Dr. Ganssle when he mentioned that our sinful condition has even effected our reasoning skills. Building on that take note that even if we have thought through a matter, worked on it, got it to line up with orthodoxy and have sound reasoning… often times our intentions in presenting it as well as the delivery and how the other corrupted person hears it are all at play. Which is why we say the Holy Spirit must be the Prime Mover at the deepest levels for a person to be moved by a truth, by thee Truth. Quoting Dr. Ganssle again:

Each one of the three angles or themes concerning apologetics is legitimate and fruitful. Each is worthy of careful study. Despite this fact, there are two trends I wish to point out First, most of the thinking about apologetics has been on the academic themes. While this weight of attention is not in itself a bad thing, it may allow us to forget the other angles of apologetics. Second most of the criticisms of the usefulness of apologetics find there root in confusing the academic angle of apologetics with the entirety of the apologetic enterprise. Those of us who work in the academic angle bear much of the blame for this confusion. Sometimes we are overzealous about the strength of our arguments or how interesting they ought to be to nonbelievers. [This includes discussions with fellow Christians and topics.] Sometimes we neglect the large distinction between arguments that are technically strong and those that might be persuasive to a given person. Sometimes we neglect the missional themes in the apologetic task and thereby reinforce the notion that coming to believe that Christianity is factually true is the main task in our witness. By articulating the importance of the missional angle, as well as of the theological angle, we can defuse many criticisms of apologetics. (emphasis and addition in box quotes mine.)

I hope this short introduction to apologetics was and is helpful. There are three books I highly recommend as great starter points to both understanding the importance of apologetics as well as seeing the differing models of thinking in the world compared. These three resources are technical enough to invigorate the thinker as well as great introductions to the subject accessible to the layman.

  1. Unshakable Foundations: Contemporary Answers to Crucial Questions about the Christian Faith;
  2. Is God Just a Human Invention? And Seventeen Other Questions Raised by the New Atheists;
  3. Holman QuickSource Guide to Understanding Apologetics (Holman Quicksource Guides)

Gay Christians?

  • and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me (Galatians 2:20)

Luther Comments:

“Yet not I.” That is to say, not in mine own person, nor in mine own substance. Here he plainly showeth by what means he liveth; and he teacheth what true Christian righteousness is, namely, that righteousness whereby Christ liveth in us, and not that which is in our own person. And here Christ and my conscience must become one body, so that nothing remain in my sight but Christ crucified, and raised from the dead. But if I behold myself only, and set Christ aside, I am gone. For Christ being lost, there is no counsel nor succour, but certain desperation and destruction must follow.

The following story starts will quote first BREITBART, following it will be a portion of an article (and audio) from an NPR PIECE.

(BREITBART) National Public Radio aired a remarkable interview on Sunday’s Weekend Edition with Allan Edwards, a Presbyterian pastor who is gay, yet lives a heterosexual life. Torn between his sexuality and his faith, he chose his faith–without trying to “convert” his attraction to men, and without trying to change his religion to fit his personal preferences. The conversation between NPR’s Weekend Edition and Edwards–and his wife–sheds light on an often overlooked constituency in the debate over gay marriage.

Edwards explains that he began to realize he was attracted to men during his teenage years, at the same time he was active in his church youth movement. He realized immediately that there was a conflict between his sexuality and his faith, and tried to find a justification in the Bible for living a gay life as a Christian. He could not, he says–and so he chose to live a heterosexual life, in accordance with the teachings of his church. He does not deny his gay sexuality, but does not act on those feelings, he says.

In that way, Edwards says, he is no different than anyone else. Everyone, he says, experiences some kinds of forbidden desire, or a sense of discontentment with their lives, and they have to adjust their behavior to their values and goals. He and his wife have a sexual relationship, despite his attraction to men, and they are expecting their first child. He is reluctant to judge others, but when pressed by Montaigne, says that he believes those who try to adjust Christianity to accept same-sex marriage are “in error.”

He acknowledges that others might call his lifestyle one of suppression–one that is doomed to divorce or suicide. He disagrees, and says that his relationship with God comes before other parts of his identity, including his sexuality….

…read more…

How did this young man come to find his identity within the Christian faith? Simple, if Jesus is who He claims to be, then he [pastor Edwards… and we/us] should believe what Jesus believes. Simple:

(NPR)

Allan Edwards is the pastor of Kiski Valley Presbyterian Church in western Pennsylvania, a congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America. He’s attracted to men, but considers acting on that attraction a sin. Accordingly, Edwards has chosen not to act on it.

“I think we all have part of our desires that we choose not to act on, right?” he says. “So for me, it’s not just that the religion was important to me, but communion with a God who loves me, who accepts me right where I am.”

Where he is now is married. He and his wife, Leanne Edwards, are joyfully expecting a baby in July.

[….]

He didn’t understand how he could resolve his feelings, he says, and had little support from his friends. “I didn’t know anyone else who experienced same-sex attractions, so I didn’t talk about it much at all,” Allan says.

But at a small, Christian liberal arts college, he did start talking.

“My expectation was, if I started talking to other guys about this, I’m going to get ostracized and lambasted,” Allan says. “I actually had the exact opposite experience … I actually was received with a lot of love, grace, charity: some confusion, but openness to dialogue.”

Allan considered following a Christian denomination that accepts gay relationships, but his interpretation of the Bible wouldn’t allow it, he says.

“I studied different methods of reading the scripture and it all came down to this: Jesus accepts the rest of the scripture as divined from God,” he says. “So if Jesus is who he says he is, then we kind of have to believe what he believes.”

…read more…

In other words, Christ’s claims and later His backing his claim with the Resurrection should make any one WANT to thank his/her creator by worshiping Him in obedience for the work done for each of us on Calvary. Pastor Edwards is building riches in his heavenly home in his obedience.

Wesley Hill, who is a scholar of New Testament studies and happens to be an openly gay Christian. He says the Bible makes it clear that marriage is between one man and one woman. And so, subjects himself to the will of the Lamb… not subjecting the Lamb to his will:

Now… I would be remiss to note as well that there are many people who once were gay, but through Christ’s redeeming power they no longer identify as homosexual. There is a play list of some testimony in this regard at Theology, Philosophy and Science’s YouTube Channel: Ex-Gay People.

The above testimonies and viewpoints add to a previous upload of mine a while back with three church leaders talking about this same-sex attraction but duty to God ~ and it is this duty to God that gives a new identity (a “new man” if you will):

The three men in the above interview (see below) have a powerful testimony to God working in their lives. They take Scripture serious and share their struggles openly and honestly in this interview by Justin Brierley of Premier Christian Radio for his show, “Unbelievable” (http://tinyurl.com/d2sgjrz). This interview and some other recent insights via Stand to Reason and Girls Just Wanna Have Guns, has me evolving and honing my apologetic on this more and more (See #4 of my cumulative case: http://tinyurl.com/acqhcfv).

▼ Sean Doherty is associate minister at St Francis, Dalgarno Way in London and teaches theology at St Mellitus College;
▼ Sam Allberry is associate minister at St Mary’s Church, Maidenhead;
▼ Ed Shaw is part of the leadership of Emmanuel Church, Bristol.

This is the larger interview of which I isolated Sean Doherty’s portion here.

And Savi Hensman of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement and Anglican blogger Peter Ould debate the issues in the interview.

Here I am adding a video by First Things, and it is a short talk about a woman who is gay but has chosen to live towards truth. While I am not a Catholic, I am an admirer of people who sacrifice for the faith:

Gay and Catholic: Accepting My Sexuality, Finding Community, Living My Faith
— from First Things on Vimeo

Eve Tushnet is a lesbian and celibate Catholic freelance writer. She studied philosophy at Yale University, where she was received into the Catholic Church in 1998. She writes from D.C., and has been published in (among others) Commonweal, First Things, The National Catholic Register, National Review, and The Washington Blade. Eve blogs at Patheos.com.

And one of the most important presentations delineating the issue of “can a Christian be a homosexual?” is by Dr. William Lane Craig (see also his article, “Christian Homosexuals?” & “A Christian Perspective on Homosexuality“). His other noteworthy videos are these:

Another pastor who grew up in the mix of the LGBT culture… and his in-depth knowledge of what is often “Messy Grace” in a fallen world.

Doctrinal Differences Still Matter Between Catholics and Protestants

Difference Between

Going to Heaven?

Do you want to see some theological white-washing (postmodern approaches to the Bible) of important issues facing the Church… that is, salvation through Christ Jesus… here Josh C. posted the following:

If faith without works is dead, and if works are acknowledged as a necessary result of faith, then quite frankly, what does it matter when God “justifies” us? This to me seems a matter of pure theory, in some ways unknowable by human beings. And yet it has divided masses of Christians who could otherwise be joining hand in hand to obey Jesus’ commandments in a world that needs such things. Real Christians have been stymied in the doing of real works for the sake of purely abstract mental constructs of which no man will ever have full knowledge. I find this an insult to the very spirit of Christianity. Jesus’ clear and unavoidable command of obedience, and his clear and unavoidable wish and prayer for unity, has been disavowed in favor of defeating other Christians on the battlefield of metaphysical abstractions! Nonsense.

I responded simply by saying: ‘I hope your OP was not about Catholic doctrine compared to Protestant.”

Stephen C. commented later by noting that,

Fighting 16th century debates that no one cares about any more is an utter waste of time and a slanderous representation of our Lord and his intents for his church and its testimony in the world.

To which Josh C. thumbed up (Facebook ya’ know). Here I responded with the following:

Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses claim Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross was to merely remove Adam’s sin from us. And now they work towards building up their salvation through good works (differing levels of heaven for LDS or an opportunity to serve on a new earth for J-Dubs). Apologists and theologians rightly show that this is a misrepresentation of salvation in the Scriptures. So while I will invite these theological and dangerous cults into my home and discuss these issues… I cannot point out that infant Baptism in the Catholic Church removes Adam’s original sin and now Catholics get the opportunity to work towards lessening of time in Purgatory? That is an unimportant theological issue?

Josh clarifies a bit…

I think there are people on all sides who get it wrong. The point isn’t “there aren’t issues.” The point is people claiming to know with absolute certainty what I do not believe, even with the Bible, they can know. Even worse, and my main point, is the using of these debate points to divide people and break fellowship.

I respond to the above

My wife’s whole family is Catholic (accept for her dad). A person I admire greatly for his authorship converted (I posted on it here many years ago)

I understand about not dividing in issues of policy, politics, and relations. I also understand there are “Evangelical Catholics” who reject Mariology and the like. Fine. I treat everyone as individuals.

BUT, as an organisation, if a person were to believe doctrine as taught by the Roman Catholic Faith, or Eastern Orthodoxy… I would be as adamant as the Reformers that this doctrine is in the spirit of anti-Christ, as, it opposes the finished work of Calvary.

And?

Grace is another word for salvation and our status in sight of God being clothed with Jesus righteousness. Mary is not full of grace to be able to share with sinners. That is Christ’s (God’s) position alone to fill.

Am I suppose to not be able to express what the Bible teaches? Or how Jerome in the Latin Vulgate mistranslated a word and a pillar of Catholic doctrine is build on that false edifice (that the Greek corrects).

If that truth[s] divide, then so be it, but I am still close to my wife’s family ~ and her uncle, Father Joe, still asks me to convert at every family gathering (of which my wife is the oldest of about 44 grandkids/great-grandkids).

But on essential doctrine I do not budge. Sorry.

  • In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, love

BTW, I have a whole chapter (my largest) in my book on Evangelicals the get it wrong.

Mariology

Purgatory