Monday, August 28, 2006

Duvall and Hays

Daniel Wallace has posted some comments on his blog regarding inerrancy. Andreas Kostenberger has responded with some of his thoughts. Alan Bandy has also added some comments into the discussion. In preparing for a class this morning, I ran across another view from J. Scott Duvall and J. Daniel Hays in the 2nd edition of Grasping God's Word, an introductory hermeneutics book (published by Zondervan). They raise the issue this way: "which comes first, faith in Christ or belief in the inspiration of the Bible?" This is under the title (on page 410) "The Chicken or the Egg?" They conclude: "In actuality, it seems to us that the two go together and are inseparable. We believe in the divine inspiration and trustworthiness of the Bible because we know Jesus Christ, and we know Jesus Christ through the testimony of the Bible."

Friday, August 25, 2006

Inerrancy Discussion Continues

Andreas Kostenberger has an interesting post on inerrancy ... and he cites Wallace's post. This was a really good read, I thought.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Realized Eschatology in John's Gospel: Part 4

Reflecting back on the Gospel then, the disciples did not receive eternal life at 2:11, nor did the “many” in 2:23, nor the Samaritan’s in 4:39–42, nor the Jews in 7:31; 8:30, 31; 10:42; 11:45; 12:11, 42. No one was able to receive eternal life until after the Holy Spirit was given (see 6:63; 7:38–39; 16:7). Referring to the disciples, Culpepper says “that their faith (will) be incomplete until after the completion of Jesus’ work at his death” (Culpepper, Anatomy, 91). This is why I have attempted to discern how John portrayed the belief of those presented in the narratives in my Th.M. thesis, rather than whether or not they received eternal life. Taking salvation-historical considerations into account, the non-receiving of eternal life is not a reflection of how a person’s or group’s belief is portrayed. Terms such as “adequate” and “inadequate” are not completely appropriate, then, in this dialogue. Rather, I have tried to use terms such as “positive,” “negative,” “neutral,” “inchoate,” “spurious,” “deficient,” and others like it which are more suited for this discussion.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Daniel Wallace Challenged on Inerrancy

Daniel Wallace, professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, was challenged on a blog on his views on inerrancy. He responded in this very forthright article from

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Forthcoming Commentaries

I found a great site that details forthcoming commentaries in many of the major series being published today. See here.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Realized Eschatology in John's Gospel: Part 3

Because the Holy Spirit had to have been given before eternal life can be bestowed upon anyone, we can glean from this an understanding about how Jesus talked about soteriological realities during his earthly ministry. Though he may have talked about the results of believing in terms that were vivid and current, his words were really for a future reality. This applies to our discussion of eternal life and believing.

During Jesus’ earthly ministry no one received eternal life and no one received the Holy Spirit (in the current dispensation/administration way). As C. K. Barrett said, eternal life “in John resembles ‘kingdom of God’ in the Synoptic Gospels. That which is properly a future blessing becomes a present fact in virtue of the realization of the future in Christ” (Barrett, John, 215). The results of believing are for a different age. Just as no one in the Old Testament received eternal life or the permanent indwelling (sealing) of the Holy Spirit, no one before the exaltation received either as well. Abraham was reckoned as righteous before God, and therefore those in John’s Gospel whose belief is deemed as a complete response to what Jesus was calling for may be thought of in those terms. However, it would be inappropriate to attempt to analyze individuals or groups in John’s Gospel in terms of whether or not they have received eternal life. This is the wrong question. The correct question is to attempt to understand how John is portraying the belief described in each narrative. From this, we can then develop Johannine definition(s) of believing. Therefore, with Raymond Brown, “the full gift of life does not come during the ministry of Jesus but only afterward through the resurrection” (Brown, John, 1:lxviii).

Friday, August 11, 2006

Carson's Quotables

D. A. Carson is known for some extremely quotable comments in is writings ... places where he waxes eloquent out of nowhere.

Here is one from his John commentary, commenting on John 6:45:

"When he compels belief, it is not by the savage constraint of a rapist, but by the wonderful wooing of a lover."

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Realized Eschatology and John 7

Let’s start a John 7:38-39: “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’ But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” Jesus uses the present participle of pisteuĊ. In the context, He appears to be referring to the current moment in which he makes the statement … that is, during his earthly ministry. The result of those who believe, in 7:38–39, as John clarifies for us (7:39), is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Jesus seems to be saying that anyone who believes him at that moment will become the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy (“From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water”). While much discussion on this verse has centered on the OT reference, that isn’t as important for us here. Some of the suggestions are Isa 44:3; 55:1; 58:11; Prov 4:23; Ezek 47:1; Joel 3:18; and Zech 13:1. I prefer Zech 14:15-19.

Regardless, John says that the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus had yet to be glorified. When Jesus was glorified, the Spirit was given, and then those who believed would become a fulfillment of this. However, during Jesus’ earthly ministry this was impossible. Jesus said himself in John 16:7 that it was not until he left that the Holy Spirit would come. And as Raymond Brown concluded: “it is apparent the gift of the Spirit is Jesus’ way of granting eternal life” (Brown, John, 2:741). So how could eternal life be granted prior to the Holy Spirit being given?

Monday, August 07, 2006

Baptists and Calvinists ... getting along?

May all participants in the upcoming White/Ascol vs. Caner bros. debate continue with the charitable attitude displayed in the last few days. I do look forward to October 16th.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Realized Eschatology and the Fourth Gospel

Thinking about Leon Morris and my "first love" of Johannine studies, I thought I'd turn my attention to the Fourth Gospel.

The Fourth Gospel contains verses that appear to say that eternal life was presently available to those Jesus was preaching to during his earthly ministry. For example:

5:24: “I tell you the solemn truth, the one who hears my message and believes the one who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned, but has crossed over from death to life.” (NET)
6:47: “I tell you the solemn truth, the one who believes has eternal life.”
6:54: “The one who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
10:28: “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish; no one will snatch them from my hand.”

Other verses are complimentary to this theme: 3:15; 5:21; 6:40; and 17:3. Other verses said by the Evangelist also contain similar statements: 3:16, 19, 36; 8:51; 12:25. So, were people able to receive/have/possess eternal life during Jesus’ (earthly) ministry? Was Jesus referring “literally” to the present? Was the use of the present a literary device? What about a futuristic present … is there really any good evidence for that category?

Realized eschatology in the Fourth Gospel has been a popular topic of discussion (see references below). I propose that Jesus did not literally mean that during his ministry some were receiving eternal life.[1] Rather, he was speaking in the present about only something that could happen in the future. When one takes into consideration historical-salvation considerations, and in particular, the Johannine definitions of “eternal life” and “sin,” this dilemma can be solved.

So, to say it more boldly, Abraham did not have eternal life, when the disciples believed in Jesus they did not have eternal life, and no one actual had eternal life prior to the cross. How is that possible? We shall see ………

[1] Contra Carroll, “Eschatology,” 66, who states: “the disciples of Jesus, who believe in him as the Son sent from the Father, already possess eternal life.” See also, Pamment, “Eschatology,” 84, “One may reason that since belief in Jesus is possible now, eternal life can be a present possession.”

Some sources for Realized Eschatology in the Fourth Gospel:
Charles H. Dodd, Parables of the Kingdom (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1958).

Charles H. Dodd, History and the Gospel (New York: Scribner’s and Sons, 1938).

Roderic Dunkerley, “Unrealized Eschatology,” The London Quarterly and Holborn Review 186 (1961): 51–54.

John T. Carroll, “Present and Future in Fourth Gospel Eschatology,” Biblical Theology Bulletin 19 (Ap 1989): 63–69.

John F. Walvoord, “Realized Eschatology,” Bibiotheca Sacra 127 (Oct.–Dec. 1970): 313–323.

Robert Berkey, “Realized Eschatology and the post-Bultmannians,” Expository Times 84 (Dec. 1972): 72–77.

Robert Kysar, “Eschatology of the Fourth Gospel,” Perspective 13, no. 1 (1972): 23–33.

John Painter, “Theology, Eschatology, and the Prologue of John,” Scottish Journal of Theology 46, no. 1 (1993): 27–42.

Donald R. Sime, and Jere Yates, “Eschatology in the Gospel of John,” in The Last Things (ed. W. B. West and Jack Pearl Lewis: Austin: Sweet Publishing, 1972), 124–139.

Severino Pancaro, “Statistical Approach to the Concept of Time and Eschatology in the Fourth Gospel,” Biblica 50, no. 4 (1969): 511–524.

Margaret Pamment, “Eschatology and the Fourth Gospel,” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 15 (1982): 81–85.

Some commentary sources:
Bultmann, John, 155–7, 164–7, 219–20, 236, 256–62, 402–403.

Brown, John, 1:lxviii, cxx–cxxi, 2:741.

Barrett, John, 215.