An apology to non-Christians and an incitement to Christians

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussions' started by uncle janko, Mar 4, 2004.

  1. Ed Komoszewski

    Ed Komoszewski New Member

    I don't even know where to start, Jimmy! My intent in pointing to the Wallace article was not to play the name-accumulation game. I intended for you to read the article and see why Ehrman's view of John 1:18 doesn't pass muster. But, of course, I assumed you knew that.

    Furthermore, please note that my comments regarding Ehrman were confined to one thing: John 1:18! Your insinuation that I was undermining the totality of Ehrman's work is misrepresentation of the highest order. I, in fact, have a great deal of respect for Ehrman's work as a textual critic and I often refer to his work in my own research.

    What's more, your implication that criticizing a viewpoint is tantamount to slandering a person (or, according to you, everyone who disagrees with me at some point theologically!) is miles off base. Where did I say that Ehrman is not a bona fide scholar or that genuine Jewish scholars (to whom I avail myself much) are idiots?

    As for the article you dug up on Wallace, consider the source! The KJV-only crowd hardly represents responsible scholarship. If you're seriously slapping that alongside the criticism Wallace had of Ehrman's work on John 1:18 and considering them equal, then there's truly no hope for fruitful discussion.

    Jimmy, your method of argumentation reminds me of Bible study groups where everyone disagrees while shouting, "That's just your interpretation!" Such a statement implies that all interpretations are created equal, and that's simply not true. At some point, we need to get around to actually evaluating evidence. That is the responsibility that accompanies the academic freedom we both relish.
  2. Bill Grover

    Bill Grover New Member

    Does one group "pass muster" and the other doesn't? What about Muslim, Buddhist, Taoist, Bahai, Confucian, Shinto, Sikh, etc., scholars? Are they wrong?

    Ehrman is the Bowman and Gordon Gray Professor of Religious Studies at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. So, I don't think he is stupid or away off base.

    There are more web sites critical of Wallace than Ehrman. Look at this for instance.

    A scholar is a scholar is a scholar. The writings, theories, beliefs, and "proofs" to which each of us chooses to subscribe is a matter of personal choice and should not be condemned.

    Your statements on the Septuagint are, to some extent, accurate.

    You continue to use "Strawman Arguments," Bill.

    Now, please don't ask me any questions, anyone, because I won't be answering them. I need to finish my M.S. work.



    You continue in your asides and avoidances. Here once again you wish to make claims but not evidence them. You wish to appear as a scholar, but you rely on second hand sources. Some will assume you are being picked on when you simply are being asked for your evidence.

    It is an aside and an avoidance to bring Buddhist, Jewish or Muslim scholarship into this as we are discussing the Johannine usage of monogenes in 1:18. We are not saying anything about those religions...only our own!

    It is our scholarship, yours and mine, on the line here, not theirs! Through "Anselm" , who of course, did not discuss this, I said the meaning of monogenes is indicated by the Septuagintal usage. That is my claim. You did not disprove that because you are incapable of disproving it. You cannot do it . But you wish to fool others into thinking you can.

    If I am wrong in this evaluation of your skills, then show me. I will , then, admit I misjudged you in that one matter.

    Yes, you wish to foster your aura of scholarship by appearing to deal with that Septuagintal evidence. You do this by saying that it is ," some extent accurate." Really?

    So, you actually sifted through that evidence, is that right? Or is trhat concession just a coverup for your inability to do so? Very well, which part is not accurate and why? You accuse me of strawman building, but you cannot tear even this one down. So be exact, where is my evidence not accurate , where is it accurate, and why?

    For those who think I'm picking on poor Jimmy, please observe that Jimmy himself has just made a claim about the Septuagintal evidence .We are to assume he understands and can research it. But do you Jimmy? Can you?

    We do not do research by naming names but by evaluating positions. Jimmy cited Ehrman on in 1:18 . Ehrman says monogenes in 1:18 cannot be substantive. Wallace argues that it can be substantive. The issue is not who is the "bigger" scholar. The issue is not who else agrees with whom?

    Such questions are just avoidances. What needs to happen is to roll up one's sleeves and do the work! Dig into the argument by Wallace. I disagree with Wallace elsewhere on the relation of isos (equality) to morphe (form) in Philippians 2. So, I don't assume on 1:18 of John that he right. But to decide for myself, I have to look at his evidence not say , "Oh well, who knows, scholars disagree." That kind of thinking is not research and it proves absolutely nothing.

    How should the researcher, then, decide for himself this issue? Shall he search the web for complaints about either? Should he count the number of scholars for each position? Is this how to research?

    Jimmy, research is done by searching the primary sources, not by searching for asides. Wallace, supplied by Ed, gives you primary sources to look at where adjectivals in like constructions as 1:18 are used as substantives. Instead of citing webpages against Wallace or bringing up Buddhist scholarship, which has absolutely nothing to do with 1:18, but is consistent with your methology of throwing up asides, you need to respond instead to Wallace's argument. Determine if his understanding of the primary sources is correct.

    For those who think this is an unfair attack on poor Jimmy, please recall that Jimmy was the one who brought up Ehrman! Jimmy loves to make claims and not prove them but instead flutters off into asides. Oh Jimmy, remember: Sharp?, Calvin?, Barth ? All claims gone unsubstantiated.

    This is not about teaching Theology. This is about how to research, how to present an argument, how to show your schooling has taught you well!

    Now Jimmy says I use strawman arguments. But I've only used one argument here--the Septuagintal usage of monogenes! Did Jimmy deal with the particulars of that one argument? No. He generalized. He probably is incapable of doing any more that. So, how is that a straw argument?

    So now I'm prepared, to discuss one of Jimmy's arguments, Ehrman on 1:18 , to see if that is a good one or is made of straw. But, where's Jimmy???

    Oh yes, avoiding again, "Don't ask me anymore questions."

    But Jimmy, I am responding to your claims. I've given up asking you questions because you do not have answers and do not wish to make the effort to do the work to get the answers I ask. I asked you before where Barth denies the Virgin Birth since you claimed he response! I asked you for one place where my qualification of the Sharp grammaticism is not in the NT followed, since you implied there were response. I asked you to provide the location and context where Calvin denied the Trinity, since you claimed he response. So I won't ask you any more questions when you asserty claims because I think you are incapable of giving answers.

    If I'm wrong, then prove me so. You cited Ehrman. Now deal with Wallace's response ,on monogenes as a substantive, to Erhman and deal with the Septuagintal usage of monogenes as "only or unique" not "begotten." If you do not, then how can you support you other claim that it is I who raise up strawmen?

    And yet another avoidance. "All my degrees are in counseling." This is an aside because we know you took Bible, Theology, and Greek in those programs. But, if you feel really feeling all those degrees have left you incompetent to support claims you consistently make, then perhaps you should stop making claims.

    No, "Bozo" was in fact typo as is indicated by the others being "Boso." Boso was the one in discussion with Anselm in 'On Why God Became Man.' But Boso is not like you. Boso admits when he makes mistakes instead of covering up. If Boso doesn't know, he fesses up instead of searching for asides.

    Thanks again for yet another practical demonstration of the difference between how to actually research opinion and how to merely blather out opinion.

    For any who still see this as the big bad proud 'schoalars' picking on the weak, please note that all that is being done is asking Jimmy to respond to one argument on the Septuagintal usage of monogenes and to respond to an argument against the scholar's Jimmy himself cites.

    It seems to me that truth about the interpretation of Scripture glorifies God as He is a God of truth. If someone just thinks my postings on Scripture show my pride, I guess I have no interest in defending myself more. Think what you will.

    Jimmy is not just asking questions, he is making claims without evidencing them.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 6, 2004
  3. telefax

    telefax New Member

    Excellent thread!

    That Anselm-Boso dialogue was one of the funniest things I have read here in several years. Right on target.
  4. Bill Grover

    Bill Grover New Member

    Re: Excellent thread!


    "on target"?

    Was that a freudian slip Mr Browning?:D

    In all modesty, my humor is no match for the many chuckles to be found by searching this forum for: Veerman!
  5. Howard

    Howard New Member

    If Degree Info had of been present 20 years ago I could have skipped Seminary.
  6. Christopher Green

    Christopher Green New Member

    Ditto! Except 5 years ago!
  7. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    Of course it is. Or more accurately, it's a continuation of a running ego battle taking place among the theological posters.

    To my eyes, this are all about crowning the king theologian on Degreeinfo, about who sets the agenda, about who defines the method, and about who is the discussion group's grand Imam.

    That's why my sympathy is with Jimmy Clifton in most of these theological struggles (as opposed to degree-, certification- or ordination-mill issues). Not because I always agree with his theological points necessarily (I'm unqualified to judge in most of these arguments), but because he actually dares to disagree in a very intimidating intellectual environment.

    Then why demand sources and citations only to denounce their production? I can think of several occasions when disagreements in these threads weren't met with counter-arguments but were summarily dismissed with a scholarly name-drop. It's a cheap-ass game that everybody here plays.

    I don't think that Degreeinfo posts need to satisfy dissertation standards. Nor do I think that isolated secondary texts should be dismissed for that reason alone. Finally, does such a thing as a "severely outdated" theology text even exist? The ancients and medievals still have important things to say to us.

    It seems to me that the real choice is this:

    A. Halt theology discussion on Degreeinfo entirely.

    B. Accept that not every participant will be as good at theology discussion as some people believe that they are.

    I don't represent any group or class, and speak only for myself.

    I try not to let this internet board stuff influence my opinion of real life Christianity out there, but it's awfully hard. The people here are the only clergymen and theologians that I have any contact with and it's hard not to think of the people here when I hear the words "theology", "clergy" or "Christianity". I'm like Pavlov's dog, I associate things. If Christians are associated in my mind with anger and with attitude, then my impression of the Christian religion, and of Christ himself, are inevitably and adversely impacted. My mind may tell me that's not fair, but my stomach still turns.

    Like it or not, our clergymen and theologians are representing their faith when they post here. Others are reading their words and forming their opinions accordingly. I think that the issue here has less to do with scholarship than with pastoral responsibility.
  8. Charles

    Charles New Member

    I sense the cold and synthetic odor of secular fatwas. ;)
  9. Bill Grover

    Bill Grover New Member

    Re: Re: An apology to non-Christians and an incitement to Christians

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 6, 2004
  10. telefax

    telefax New Member

    Bill Dayson: “It seems to me that the real choice is this:

    A. Halt theology discussion on Degreeinfo entirely.

    B. Accept that not every participant will be as good at theology discussion as some people believe that they are.”

    Dave G.: I wouldn’t characterize this thread as a discussion about theology. I would say that the issue here has to do with integrity and methodology. Setting aside the issue of whose opinions I believe are correct, I think that Janko and Bill Grover are willing to stand in there and argue for what they believe to be correct, without evading, twisting, changing the subject, etc.

    Seems like some here would only approve of a relativistic Christian faith so intellectually passive and anxious to avoid offense that it couldn’t stand for anything.
  11. Dennis Ruhl

    Dennis Ruhl member


    About to step in a big one.

    Which came first - the theology or the research? Many of the people I know seem to be born to the theology and through the miracle of research and study come to the learned conclusion that their theology is the true path.

    I have never done any major academic research but, by coincidence, that which I have done always seems to support my initial conclusions.

    Isn't the cry - Eureka, I was wrong pretty rare.
  12. uncle janko

    uncle janko member

    I don't know, Dennis, except that my research led to profound theological change. I most definitely did not go about looking for obscure experts to support my own idiosyncratic opinions. Nor did I, nor do I, pass off my own idiosyncratic opinions (which are legion) as the results of research. What I got was a theological--and only subsequently a spiritual--revolution. Not at all what I expected, I can assure you.

    I wasn't raised to be afraid of inquiry or of its results. I was raised to be ashamed of shabby thinking, spurious argument, special pleading, name-dropping and rank-pulling as substitutes, either for doing research or for owning up to one's opinions as one's own responsibility.

    The family members who taught me this disdain never set foot in any college, and not all of them finished high school. A man's a man for a' that.

    None of my mentor clergy who despised junk thought when I was a kid are part of my denomination. Their warnings against religious flummerers (including specific persons) still stand me in good stead despite my theological reorientation, of which reorientation they would scarcely have approved.

    Clarity and integrity, not agreement or ego, are what I should like to see flourish here. Thanks to certain posters, they do.
  13. Ed Komoszewski

    Ed Komoszewski New Member

    My beliefs are radically different than when I began doing historical and theological research. My starting point was a full-blown rejection of Christianity.
  14. Christopher Green

    Christopher Green New Member

    D. Ruhl
    I actually sympathize with this quite a bit. I can't count the number of people I have met, including, at times, the man in the mirror, who have started by trying to only justify what he/she believes. That's a natural way to start.

    This is what they told me is the "hermeneutical circle" in seminary. Or sometimes its called fideism.

    One of the things Jesus teaches in the Sermon on the Mount is to allow one's enemies due credit and respect. Can it be said that this is especially true in theology? I mean, if there is a disagreement, that there is actually a Christian WAY to navigate that disagreement.

    If so, and I think there is, I'm certainly one of the guilty ones. Maybe I should write on my "profile" the statement "you might be right."

  15. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    Many of us are in that spiral or trap, but we don't know it!!! :eek:
  16. Bill Grover

    Bill Grover New Member

    Re: Janko

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 7, 2004
  17. kevingaily

    kevingaily New Member

    Re: Re: Re: An apology to non-Christians and an incitement to Christians

  18. kevingaily

    kevingaily New Member

    That's where author & speaker Josh MacDowell started at! :) He started out to disprove Christianity....
  19. uncle janko

    uncle janko member

    For a Carpathian, I'm almost happy. This thread has continued to be about method of learned and civil discourse and hasn't degenerated into theological polemic. Good for us.
  20. Bill Grover

    Bill Grover New Member

    Kevin : Good thoughts. I'll confess I do sometime get in the attack mode! Say "hi" to Dave, the RC, at TR who defends well the Catholic positions!

    Unk: What else do you need for happiness? The original 95 theses?

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