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RE: [biblicalapologetics] Impossible to avoid sinning, response & re-challenge t

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  • Jimmy Sloan
    ... No, I don t. But it is not because of any argument that you may have to offer, it is because I have had discussions with you before. Have good day, I m
    Message 1 of 7 , Dec 2, 2005
      >Do you really want a piece of this action, Sloan?

      No, I don't. But it is not because of any argument that you may have to
      offer, it is because I have had discussions with you before. Have good day,
      I'm out.

      ~ J. Sloan

      Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto. Sicut erat in principio, et
      nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

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    • Robert M. Bowman, Jr.
      Dave, You wrote:
      Message 2 of 7 , Dec 2, 2005

        You wrote:

        << Agreed, and I am careful to avoid concluding that Apostle Paul
        must have been wrong because it is only inerrantists who defend his
        objectivity in Galatians 3:16...because it remains a possibility at
        this early stage that the inerrantist interpretation of Galatians
        3:16 is correct. >>

        I'm glad for this acknowledgment.

        I wrote:

        "On the other hand, in questions of the latter type, I would regard
        uniformity of opinion outside and against the view of one's
        ideological or religious community to be less than decisive in
        assigning the burden of proof. For example, I don't reason that
        atheists bear the burden of proof to show that the universe is self-
        explanatory as a materialist, physicalist system, merely because
        everyone else thinks such a position is false. Instead, I think both
        atheists and non-atheists who wish to argue for their position ought
        to be prepared to show some evidence or make an argument for it."

        You replied:

        << I see what you mean. >>

        I'm gratified.

        I wrote:

        "Likewise, let us assume that avowed non-inerrantist commentators on
        Galatians 3, if they comment on the question at all, uniformly
        regard Paul's statement as errant. Well, golly! Isn't that what we
        would expect of a commentator who was avowedly non-inerrantist?"

        You retorted:

        << Let us assume that avowed inerrantist commentators on Galatians
        3, if they comment on the quesiton at all, uniformly regard Paul's
        statement as correct. Well, golly! Isn't that what we would expect
        of a commentator who was avowdely inerrantist?

        Your axe swings both ways, mind if I use it? >>

        Exactly my point: if the axe swings both ways, it becomes useless to
        determine which viewpoint is the product of bias or presupposition.

        I wrote:

        "Even if you wanted to assign the burden of proof to the
        inerrantist, I have delivered to you an argument in defense of an
        inerrantist reading of the passage. Therefore, the alleged lack of
        support for my reading from non-inerrantists is irrelevant."

        You replied:

        << Yes and no. Yes, the issue of whether Paul was correct or not in
        Galatians 3:16 obviously cannot be decided by noting that it is only
        pro-Christian commentators who agree with Paul and the rest do not.

        But no, the lack of non-inerrantist support is NOT irrelevant in
        spite of the fact that you have already supplied what you believe
        are objective reasons for the inerrantist view on the subject. And
        that's because there is not one exception to the rule that non-
        inerrantist commentators disagree with Paul. >>

        All you're saying here is that the lack of non-inerrantist support
        is relevant because there is a lack of non-inerrantist support.
        You're begging the question.

        You wrote:

        << It is my view that the error of being too biased falls against
        the inerrantist, because it is THEY that have more to lose. If non-
        inerrantist commentators are wrong, and Paul was right, they have
        lost nothing, for there was no "Chicago Statement on Biblical
        Errancy" that they pledged allegience to, for them to be seen
        falling from when they discover they were wrong. The non-
        inerrantist has room to grow in case he discovers he was wrong,
        because there is no "non-inerrantist manifesto" that he is
        absolutely committed to, such as inerrantists are absolutely
        committed to inerrancy as if inerrancy were completely and totally
        obvious. >>

        This is your best point. Inerrantists do have quite a bit to lose by
        acknowledging that a particular statement in the Bible is an error.
        But this doesn't stop some inerrantists from acknowledging that a
        particular statement in the Bible is an *apparent* error, or a
        difficulty of some kind. In any case, you are now talking about
        something other than which view of Galatians 3 is *true.* That needs
        to be kept firmly in mind.

        Your statement, however, needs to be heavily qualified, if it can be
        accepted at all. Non-inerrantists who are professional Bible
        commentators *all* have something of an axe to grind against
        biblical inerrancy. Those who write commentaries on Galatians are
        going to be familiar with the fact that Paul's use of Genesis in
        Galatians 3 is controversial. We would expect those with an axe to
        grind against the inerrancy of Scripture to side with those who
        consider Paul's use exegetically flawed. They do have something to
        lose by acknowledging that Paul's use is exegetically defensible: a
        bullet in their anti-inerrancy arsenal.

        Furthermore, the fact of the matter is that inerrancy and anti-
        inerrancy are not positions existing 'in the wild.' Biblical
        inerrancy is a position held in the context of a theological
        perspective that understands the New Testament to express the true
        fulfillment of the Old Testament. We're talking here about
        Christian, biblical inerrancy, not the inerrancy of the Jewish Bible
        as in very orthodox Judaism. To acknowledge the accuracy of Paul's
        use of Genesis in Galatians 3 does far more than acknowledge that in
        this one verse Paul did not make a goof. Acknowledging the accuracy
        of Paul's use of Genesis in Galatians 3 entails acknowledging that
        Paul's perspective on the entire Old Testament is correct, namely,
        that the Old Testament points forward to Jesus Christ as the
        fulfillment of God's promises to Israel. It means acknowledging that
        the Old Testament really does prophesy the coming of a Redeemer of
        the world and that Jesus was that Redeemer. It therefore means
        acknowledging that Christianity reads the Old Testament correctly
        and both Judaism and Islam do not. Oh, how intolerant! We can't have
        that! Liberal, 'open-minded' scholars, even those in nominally
        Christian institutions, are horrified! No, Paul *must* be understood
        as a dogmatist whose handling of the Old Testament was biased by his
        controversies with Jews and Judaizers. His reading of the Old
        Testament must be patronizingly viewed as one biased view among
        many, an option for those who wish to espouse it but not the true
        meaning of the Old Testament. If these scholars are to say anything
        at all about Paul's handling of Genesis in Galatians 3, they *must*
        position it as something other than an accurate, hermeneutically
        sound interpretation of the Old Testament. Otherwise, they would be
        implicitly conceding that Christianity is the authentic fulfillment
        of the religion of Abraham himself (the figure at the heart of the
        Genesis texts in question). Again, they cannot concede THAT.

        I conclude, then, that most if not all non-inerrantist commentators
        on Galatians have about as much at stake in disputing the
        hermeneutical soundness of Paul's handling of Genesis as inerrantist
        commentators have in defending it.

        You argued that inerrantist scholars have institutional pressures on
        them to conform their reading of Galatians to the evangelical party
        line, while non-inerrantist scholars have no such institutional
        pressures. I can see how someone might innocently suppose this to be
        so, but as someone who has deep experience with both evangelical and
        liberal institutions I can assure you that you are missing the
        bigger picture. The biblical scholars who get hired at liberal and
        secular institutions get those jobs only if they distinguish
        themselves as anti-fundamentalist, anti-evangelical (unless they're
        suitably progressive, e.g., a quasi-evangelical with a liberal-
        pleasing track record on the ordination of gays or other hot-button
        issues), theologically and politically liberal scholars. At all
        costs they must eschew a conservative Christian biblical
        hermeneutic. Therefore, if Galatians 3 comes up at all, they must
        side with Paul's critics. They must! I'm not saying they find fault
        with Paul's handling of Genesis even though they know that he was
        right; no, they really think he's wrong. They wouldn't be who they
        are, or be teaching where they are, if they didn't.

        You wrote:

        << I think inerrantists, although giving lip-service to the truth
        that everybody is biased, do not as freely admit that their biases
        color their handling of the evidence as non-inerrantists. That's
        totally expected because for inerrantists, "inerrancy" is not
        merely "the nature of scripture as I see it", but rather......"the
        nature of scripture according to god." Most Inerrantists that I've
        dealt with absolutely have no ability to distinguish between their
        opinions and "god's word", indeed for them to acknowledge that
        inerrancy is "just an opinion on scripture" sounds to them like a
        negation of god's very words. >>

        Again, you are not now talking about which view is true. My
        experience with both evangelicals and non-evangelicals gives me a
        different picture. Liberal and avowedly non-Christian scholars in
        biblical studies talk very earnestly about the relativizing effects
        of bias and community on the Bible and on conservative, traditional
        Christianity, but seem totally blind to its effects on themselves.
        If you want to see this phenomenon in action, watch any of the Peter
        Jennings documentaries on the Bible. On those rare occasions when
        liberal scholars acknowledge their biases, they do not then admit
        that the evangelical might be right after all!

        I appreciate your efforts and look forward to your responses to my

        In Christ's service,
        Robert M. Bowman, Jr.
        Center for Biblical Apologetics
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