Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Harold Camping: Heretical Attacker of Christ's People
03/04/2005 - James WhiteI made a mistake tonight. I hit the FM button on my car radio and accidentally tuned in Harold Camping. I haven't listened to him for many months, and my blood pressure and over-all health has benefited greatly. But there he was, and the first call I heard enraged me.
The caller first asked about "fasting." I was unaware that Camping has some wild view of fasting as well (I should have guessed). Evidently he believes fasting is actually witnessing, not abstaining from food. So the guy asks him about Matthew 6:16-18, where Jesus says,
"Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites [do], for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees [what is done] in secret will reward you."So Camping reads it and says something along the lines of, "Well, see, Jesus says to anoint your head and wash your face, and you see, that proves fasting is witnessing, because you have to be anointed by the Holy Spirit, and have been cleansed, before you can fast, that is, witness. And Jesus proved that elsewhere where He said that His disciples cannot fast while the bridegroom is with them, but when he leaves, they will fast, and that means witness. After Jesus left, the apostles witnessed." So I'm driving down the road shaking my head at this man's ability to twist anything without the first care about what it meant in its original context, when the caller then shows he's a good faithful Campingite who has turned off every critical thinking capacity in his mind so as to follow his leader (Camping) in all things. He says he knows he is to leave the church, since God commands him to (steering wheel takes first blow), but his problem is...he works at a church! "What should I do?" (Second blow). ...
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And the Last Word...
03/02/2005 - James WhiteIt is fairly clear "Mr. Holding" (not his real name) has a lot of time on his hands. Long, rambling, insult-filled responses have already been posted on his site. Feel free, if you wish to abuse your sensibilities, to peruse them. I could only sit and read with a bemused awe as this man, a librarian (M.L.S.) seeks to impress his followers by stringing together source after source without showing the slightest understanding of what those sources are actually saying, or even more to the point, how they are in contradiction with each other. He pretends to seriously interact with scholarly material when he can't even read the texts under discussion therein. But, to be sure, we know who the "winner" is, at least for "Mr. Holding." He has offered the final word:
So also ends White's claim that there is no "meaningful connection to Romans 9 other than purely wishful thinking," for the connection is clear in the general nature of the language used by the Hebrews, and the specific examples of the idiom cited, not only in Jer. 7:22, but also in the other passages cited by Whitney. White stands convicted of scholastic incompetence, and his position stands not only refuted, but buried and dead.Well, there you go. If you feel just a little bit worried about the conclusions drawn about 'the general nature of the language used by the Hebrews' as determined by a librarian, again, just relax and go with the flow. And do not feel badly that you still have no idea how an alleged "negation idiom" in Jeremiah 7:22 is connected to Romans 9:16. But let's just leave "Mr. Holding" alone about it, since it seems it is very, very important to him to think otherwise. :-)
The Negation Idiom: Part II
03/02/2005 - James WhiteIn the preceding installment we addressed J.P. Holding's claim that Paul is using a "negation idiom" in Romans 9:16, based upon his particular interpretation of Jeremiah 7:22. We demonstrated that there is no reason to accept this argumentation, and good reason to reject it, from the text of Romans 9 itself. But there is another good reason to reject it: one simply does not need to read Jeremiah 7:22 as containing such a "negation idiom." Below I provide the commentary of Keil and Delitzch on the text. Yes, it involves Hebrew, but despite that, it is worth the read. If I may summarize the point being made: the context determines what God is referring to, and He is referring to the making of the covenant. The context determines the meaning. One does not need to read "not" as meaning something other than "not" when we limit the scope of the creation of the covenant in the ten commandments. Here is the commentary: ...
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The Negation Idiom: Part I
03/01/2005 - James White
So then it [does] not [depend] on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. (Romans 9:16, NASB)
So then it is not of the man willing nor of the man running but of the God mercying.
"For I did not speak to your fathers, or command them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices. (Jeremiah 7:22, NASB)
In seeking to respond to Romans 9:16, J.P. Holding makes the following comments:
Jeremiah 7:22 For in the day that I brought your ancestors out of Egypt, I did not speak to them or command them concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices...
By [this Skeptic]'s line of thinking, Jeremiah 7:22 "stands in flagrant contradiction of what the last four books of the Pentateuch say" with their many commands of offerings and sacrifices. Presumably we are to think that Jeremiah represents some "anti-cultus" faction that denies the Mosaic heritage -- some would say, that he is speaking against a recent forgery of Deuteronomy "discovered" in the Temple.
The simple answer to this notes that this is rather the use of hyperbole to effect a point. The purpose of this phrase is to show the relative importance of sacrifices, etc. in terms of inward attitudes...
...Jeremiah (as well as other Biblical writers - cf. Amos 5:21-5, Micah 6:1-8, Is. 1:10-17) here employs a type of idiom designed to grab the attention of his hearers and cause his message to be noticed and remembered...in our verse (22), a rhetorical negation is used to bring attention to the fact that internal posture is more important than external ritual. By expressing the matter in terms of a negation, the hearer/reader is first shocked, then realizes from the admonitions following what the actual point is: As it is expressed in 1 Samuel 15:22 --
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