Sometimes I worry about folks, in light of the responses we get to material that appears here on the blog. I say “worry” in that no matter how clearly you lay something out, there will always be a way to throw dust and sand in the air and try to confuse the situation. And the fact is that a sound thinker is one who, upon coming to understand a particular truth, can see through those attempts at obfuscation without needing further aid and assistance. Add to this basic skill the propensity, in modern situations for folks to default back to a postmodernist mindset of, “Well, we need to exercise some epistemological humility here; I mean, there might be a number of ways of understanding this,” and the resultant confusion in theological and historical matters is hardly surprising.

In reference to the Irenaeus discussion, some have informed us that a non-Catholic, non-Reformed apologetics site likewise argues that Irenaeus was not saying Jesus was fifty years old when he died. OK, that’s nice…in that case, the writer is seeking to rescue Irenaeus as an early historical witness to various facts of the Christian faith. Of course, Irenaeus remains an important early historical witness to various facts of the Christian faith whether he errantly argued about the age of Christ as his death based upon 1) his recapitulation theory, 2) errant “tradition,” & 3) the mistaken idea that you have to refute every nutty claim of false religions. Why do early writers have to be inerrant to be relevant or important? I’ve not figured that kind of thinking out. And as for Roman Catholic writers, well, their “axe” is easy to identify: it’s a pretty hard shot in the solar plexus to have to admit that the first documentable claim based solely upon “apostolic tradition” is, in fact, corrupted and errant. If the first such completely extra-biblical “tradition” could not survive the less than 100 years of transmission claimed for it, upon what grounds can anyone trust the Bodily Assumption of Mary? This is the point, of course. But I’ve even had people writing and saying, “Hey, Irenaeus said Jesus was just about 50, not actually 50!” 1) in regards to the point, is that relevant? No. 2) The argument would be that in John 8 Jesus was 49; but didn’t time pass between John 8 and John 13? And if so, doesn’t that mean…? Let’s stay focused, folks. When I see this kind of stuff, I know why politicians can simply throw out completely irrelevant claims and smile as the crowd chases after the bright, shiny object.

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