Goodness. Honestly, I had no idea. I really did not. As I had mentioned, my purpose in responding to J.P. Holding was simply to correct the clear exegetical errors his imposition of some “sociological” understanding of Hebrew culture creates in Romans 9 regarding the free electing grace of God. I was working on something else when someone in channel mentioned his use of ad-hominem argumentation against me. I had honestly not looked at his site since I noted the beginning of his response while I was traveling in North Carolina. I just took a few moments to visit Mr. Holding’s site, and hence my apology. I had no idea that he would respond in such a fashion. Such topics as the freedom of God in salvation should not be discussed in such a fashion, that’s for certain. In any case, I will gladly invite any person with the slightest proficiency in basic exegetical skills to consider Holding’s “reply.” Those adept at recognizing the use of unfounded assumptions and circular reasoning will find many examples. Just one for now:
This is yet another disappointing answer, amounting to the braying of “how do we know” with as yet no actual answer to the concept in question. A proper answer to these points would be, such as, “Hebrew block logic does not exist in reality, because…” or, “Hebrew block logic does not apply to these particular passages, because…” That it is poetry frankly makes not an ounce of difference, unless White wishes to produce some argument from credentialed social-science sources showing that expressions of mind shifted in poetic format. It remains that Paul is not making a logical argument, any more than God made one (or had to) before Job.
Note the circularity: Holding assumes this “social” concept of “Hebrew block logic” (please note: how do we know anything about such social concepts outside of the written record of the period? And how do we interpret written records? Bingo, by sound exegesis!) and then demands that if we do not insert it into our reading of the text that we should have to prove its non-existence or prove its non-relevance to this passage. Obviously, the burden of proof is Holding’s: he is the one using mechanisms the vast majority of Christian scholarship has not, and does not, find relevant and does not use in the exegesis of either Exodus 33 or Romans 9; he is the one suggesting translations that make the NWT look orthodox. Yet, amazingly, he repeatedly simply asserts his “social-science” context and in essence says, “There, disprove that!” This is not exegesis, and it is not how sound theology is done.
Further, I am simply left breathless by such assertions as “Paul is not presenting a logical argument.” Really? Is that why he reasons from one point to the next throughout Romans, as well as in this chapter? Is that why he uses “therefore” throughout his arguments as he leads from one point to the next? And in this immediate context, is that why he offers not only interpretation of the OT text, but then raises, and answers, objections? Even “Who are you, oh man, who answers back to God?” in 9:20 is a valid, and logical, response. The distinction of man from the Creator God is the answer. To do what Holding does here consistently throughout the text would result in the utter destruction of all exegesis and the end of any knowledge of the message of Scripture. Can you imagine one of Jehovah’s Witnesses using this kind of “I assert it, therefore it is true, unless you can disprove it” kind of reasoning to disprove the deity of Christ, or a Mormon to prove polytheism? Would Holding accept such circular argumentation? We would hope not, but if he did not, he would have to abandon this entire line of argumentation if he were to seek to be consistent.
So, I apologize for once again choosing to respond to someone without first finding out if they were likely to explode like a nuclear bomb and produce pages of the kind of rhetoric currently pouring forth at tektonics.org. The search continues….
Despite the kind of “response” this series is garnering, I will complete it anyway. Let the reader judge.