Interestingly, though I presented these passages and this objection in the same section from which Dave Armstrong quoted, he did not address them. He did, however, make one of the most common errors one encounters in literature such as this: the “let’s look at a really basic definition in a Greek grammar and hope it applies to our particular text” mistake. Now, of course, there is nothing wrong with providing basic definitions, but in this case, Armstrong is claiming to be refuting a scholar who has invested years in learning the language, something he has chosen not to do. So Armstrong tries to quote such a basic definition as if Svendsen would be ignorant of it. The reality is, Svendsen is aware of far more about the subject than Armstrong is. DA writes,
So he tries to show by cross-referencing and Greek grammar that Luke 1:28 is neither unique nor a support for Mary’s sinlessness or the Immaculate Conception. But the perfect stem of a Greek verb, denotes, according to Friedrich Blass and Albert DeBrunner, “continuance of a completed action” (Greek Grammar of the New Testament [Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1961], 66). Mary, therefore, continues afterward to be full of the grace she possessed at the time of the Annunciation. That cannot, of course, be said of all believers in Ephesians 1:6, because of differences of levels of grace, as shown earlier.
Again, so many mistakes in so few words. Eric was noting the fact that the perfect tense would not tell you that Mary had always had a “perfection of grace” as Rome tries to assert. Armstrong misses his entire point. Secondly, Svendsen did not say Luke 1:28 is not unique, but that it does not teach what Rome has packed into it. Third, what does Armstrong mean by “perfect stem”? Does he even know? I do not get the feeling he has any idea what Greek stems are all about, personally. He might wish to read the rest of the syntax section in sections 340 through 346 of Blass/Debrunner for a little fuller discussion of the range of the perfect in Greek. We have already noted the problems with Armstrong’s explanations of Ephesians 1:6.
So in essence, neither of the two possible approaches to substantiating the Roman claims regarding kecaritwme,nh are successfully pursued by Armstrong. What we are left with, then, is his exercise in deductive logic, to which we will turn in our next installment.