Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Ephesians 1:11 and Bible Translation
03/26/2010 - James WhiteYesterday's encounter with Dr. Michael Brown was very interesting. My goal had been to provide an opportunity for the listeners to compare and contrast the exegesis of the text offered by both sides of this important issue. While that was accomplished to some extent, what ended up happening was more of a contrast of differing methods of exegesis itself, which surprised me. If we had been discussing, say, the resurrection, or the deity of Christ, I doubt there would be any difference at all in the approach. There is value, of course, in this observation, as I have always said that consistency is vital, and if your methodology differs from topic to topic, this is a sign of the intrusion of an extra-biblical tradition. I leave that to the listener to decide.
In any case, the contrast was strongest in our discussion of John 6, followed by Romans 8-9, and was the least divergent in our discussion of Ephesians 1. But in each situation, an over-riding concept became the norm of interpretation, a concept I believe derived not from the contextual exegesis of the text itself. This was especially the case in reference to John 6, where I do not believe a contextual exegesis was offered by Dr. Brown. Likewise, the "corporate election" concept over-rode the direct words of Ephesians 1 as well, in my opinion.
Next week will be even more problematic, for Dr. Brown has chosen texts that are not overly disputed on the exegetical level. What they mean is not really difficult to determine. The issue is the application of the text in a systematic way. And while such discussions are useful, it will not fulfill my specific goal for an explicitly exegetical discussion. Instead, we will have to move away from the specific texts to larger areas of interaction, which is pretty much what we did on Dr. Brown's show as well. So, when we talk about the "all" passages the question will not be "what does the text say" but "does 'all' always have a universal application," which it clearly does not, of course. Or if we talk about 1 John 2:2, the issue will not be "does this teach that Jesus' death is propitiatory" but "what does propitiation mean" and "does emphasis upon the extent of the atonement indicate it is intended to propitiate the wrath of God against every single human individual, past, present, and future?" Likewise, in dealing with Ezekiel 18 the question will not be "what does the text say" as much as "do we have warrant to take this text and extend it to a canon-wide concept that overthrows the plain teaching that God's decree will be accomplished and He will be glorified therein?"
A few things caught my attention yesterday, though I did not comment on them at the time (we really had to focus given the time limits). One was Dr. Brown's comments on Ephesians 1:11. What struck me, and others, was his use of the Message and the New Living Translation as supports for his denial that this text encompasses the entirety of God's sovereign decree. Their "rendering" (I use the term loosely) of the text are as follows: ...
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Format for Thursday's Debate with Dr. Michael Brown
03/22/2010 - James WhiteFor those interested, we will be covering three texts of Scripture on Thursday: John 6, Romans 8/9, and Ephesians 1. Each will have 8 minutes to provide their exegesis of the text; then we will have four minutes of cross-ex each, then three minute conclusions before moving on to the next text. I know, not a lot of time, but that still covers 90 full minutes (we will not be taking any breaks at all).
The following Thursday we will repeat the process, but this time covering Michael's chosen texts, Luke 13:34-35 (Deut 5:28-29) Ezek 18:21-32 (Jer 3:19-20; Ezek 22:30-31) I John 2:1-2 (2 Pet 2:1).
Remember, to make room for Michael's program (which cannot, like the DL, be moved around at will), we will be starting at 10am our time (1pm EDT).
A Quick Note from Gate A25
03/13/2010 - James WhiteOn my way to Leavenworth, Kansas for this weekend's conference, but fired up the MacBook long enough to get my mail. Not only did another loving missive from Peter Lumpkins come through, but I was directed to what can only amount to his published response of my documentation of his false accusations. Personally, I think this speaks volumes about the level of "dialogue" amongst many when it comes to the substance of their argumentation against Reformed theology. Watch for yourself.
With that, I am...finished dealing with anything Peter Lumpkins has to say.
God and Evil: The Trauma of Sovereignty
03/09/2010 - James SwanI'm not particularly keen on reinventing wheels. Part of the fortunate heritage of the Reformed worldview is that much better minds than mine have studied the Biblical text, then formulated its information into concise doctrinal statements. Of course the statements are only as good as the verses they're based on. For instance, chapter three of the Westminster Confession of Faith states:
God, from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass: yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.
1. Psa. 33:11: Eph. 1:11: Heb. 6:17
2. Psa. 5:4; James 1:13-14; I John 1:5; see Hab. 1:13
3. Acts 2:23; 4:27-28: Matt. 17:12; John 19:11; Prov. 16:33
If one were going to dispute this statement, it shouldn't be by philosophic speculation, tradition, or an emotional feeling. It should be done by proving the Biblical texts used don't support the statement being made. Such though typically isn't the case. The counter charge often begins with the assertion that Reformed theology turns God into a puppet master and the author of evil. The ingredient said to be missing is free will. It's touted that by adding free willto a biblical summary statement, a completely different view of sovereignty emerges, one which absolves God of being the author of evil and provides humanity with true freedom. Some go as far to say that the God of Reformed theology is far from Biblical.
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The Trinity on the Janet Mefferd Show
03/04/2010 - James WhiteI had a great time on the Janet Mefferd Show yesterday, discussing the nature of the Trinity. Even had a Jewish apologist caller, which proved interesting. You can listen to Janet's show here.
Is 1 John 5:10 Relevant to the Ordo Salutis and 1 John 5:1/2:29, and 4:7?
03/01/2010 - James WhiteAn evidently anti-Reformed textual critic has posted a brief criticism of using 1 John 5:1 as a text relevant to the ordo salutis and in particular to the relationship of saving faith and regeneration (though both terms appear in the text). Anyone who knows the identity of this blogger please let me know, I'd be interested in knowing. I have seen his material linked on the Evangelical Textual Criticism list. In any case, here is my response.