Saturday, August 01, 2009

Camping and the Atonement

In a previous post (link) we discussed how Mr. Harold Camping errs on the simple question of who Moses' father is, according to the Scriptures, and how this has a chain reaction effect on his chronology. There are other clear errors in Mr. Camping's theology that relate less directly to his date-setting error.

Scripture Says Christ Died Once

Scripture is perfectly clear that Christ died only once:

Hebrews 9:26-28
For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

And again, we see the same clear teaching in Paul's Epistle to the Romans:

Romans 6:8-10
Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.

Mr. Camping Says Christ Died Twice

Mr. Camping claims:
Later in this study, we will learn that the Lord Jesus Christ died twice in connection with the atonement. He died before the foundation of the world as the Lamb that was slain (Revelation 13:8). He also died when He was on the cross, demonstrating to us and the world how He paid for our sins. The doubling of His punishment agrees with the principle set forth in Genesis 41:32, that is, that which is doubled is established by God.
(To God be the Glory, p. 25)

Mr. Camping also claims:
Now we understand that Christ suffered once to pay for our sins, and He suffered a second time to demonstrate how He paid for our sins. Now we can understand why Pilate, the Roman governor, repeated again and again, “I find no fault in him” (Luke 23:4, 22; John 19:4, 6; also see Matthew 27:19, 24). Christ stood before him absolutely sinless. Yet He had to be punished as if He were still laden with all of the sins of those who were elected to become saved in order to demonstrate how He suffered for those sins.
(To God be the Glory, p. 34)

Exploring Camping's View of Revelation 13:8

As to Mr. Camping's view of Revelation 13:8, the verse states:

Revelation 13:8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

I can understand how that verse might sound at first (and in English) as though it were saying that the Lamb was slain from the foundation of the world. It is, however, also legitimate to understand "slain" as modifying "Lamb" and "from the foundation of the world" as modifying "written." We find confirmation of this from another discussion of this book:

Revelation 17:8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

Notice how here, again, "from the foundation of the world" is not right next to "written" but nevertheless the reader can figure out that it does not modify "life" but "written."

There's another aspect that we must consider as well. The expression "the Lamb slain" is a picture that John used previously in Revelation 5:

Revelation 5:6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.

Revelation 5:12 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.

Finally, we see a parallel expression to that in Revelation 13:8 without the reference to slaying:

Revelation 21:27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.

Mr. Camping, however, prefers to quote Revelation 13:8 selectively. For example:
  • "The first surprising information that we learn as we carefully study all that God teaches us in the Bible about the atonement is that it was completely finished before God created mankind. In Revelation 13:8, we read of “…the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”" (To God be the Glory, p. 32)
  • "Now, Jesus is the great “I AM,” God Himself, who has no beginning, and the Bible tells us in Revelation 13:8, that He is “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”" (I Hope God Will Save Me, p. 8)
  • "But nobody except God Himself knows who they are. Only after they receive their new resurrected soul, that is, after they have become saved, will they begin to understand that God had saved them. But the fact is that they were justified from the beginning of time because Christ is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8)."(I Hope God Will Save Me, p. 9)
  • "Since Christ was "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (rev. 13:8), this again shows that it has always been God’s intention to save people out of the Gentile nations as well as out of the nation of Israel."(An Exposition of Galatians, at Galations 3:14, p. 15)
Mr. Camping doesn't always quote the verse without context, but the many times he does tend to reinforce the reading he is insisting on, even when he occasionally provides the more complete context.

Incidentally, this ambiguity regarding the reference of "from the foundation of the world" is removed in many more recent translations:
  • (ASV) And all that dwell on the earth shall worship him, every one whose name hath not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that hath been slain.
  • (BBE) And all who are on the earth will give him worship, everyone whose name has not been from the first in the book of life of the Lamb who was put to death.
  • (CEV) The beast was worshiped by everyone whose name wasn't written before the time of creation in the book of the Lamb who was killed.
  • (Darby) and all that dwell on the earth shall do it homage, every one whose name had not been written from the founding of the world in the book of life of the slain Lamb.
  • (ESV) and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain.
  • (GNB) All people living on earth will worship it, except those whose names were written before the creation of the world in the book of the living which belongs to the Lamb that was killed.
  • (Holman NT) All those who live on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name was not written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slaughtered.
  • (NASB) All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.
  • (MKJV) And all dwelling on the earth will worship it, those whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain, from the foundation of the world.
  • (MSG) Everyone on earth whose name was not written from the world's foundation in the slaughtered Lamb's Book of Life will worship the Beast.
  • (RSV) and all who dwell on earth will worship it, every one whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain.
  • (TEV) All people living on earth will worship it, except those whose names were written before the creation of the world in the book of the living which belongs to the Lamb that was killed.
  • (WE) Everyone on earth will worship the beast, if they do not have their names in the book of life. The book of life belongs to the Lamb who was killed. That was God's plan since the world was made.
Additionally, the NIV provides as its main reading a form similar to the KJV, but provides as a footnote: (a) Revelation 13:8 Or written from the creation of the world in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain

Same for the TNIV, and the Amplified Bible provides a similar footnote (a): 'Revelation 13:8 Alternate translation: "recorded from the foundation of the world in the Book of Life of the Lamb that was slain [in sacrifice].'"

My reason for pointing this out is not to try to win the battle by pointing out that more translators translate the text one way than anther way. Nor am I trying to cast negative light on the most popular edition of the KJV, a version that preserves the ambiguity in a way that I think is admirable. Instead, I'm simply pointing out that a significant number of committees and translators of the Greek have viewed the phrase "from the foundation of the world" as modifying the writing, rather than as modifying the slaying.

What if "from the foundation of the world" Modifies "slain"?

I should point out that the first edition of the KJV (like the prior printed English versions, such as the Bishops' Bible and the Geneva Bible) punctuated the verse in a way that is different from the most popular edition of the KJV. Specifically, the KJV1611 places a comma between "Lambe" and "slaine," which tends to force the "from the foundation of the world" to modify "slain."

So, what about my dear friends who only use KJV1611 or who strongly prefer it. Does that version support Mr. Camping's view? Is the KJV1611 endorsing a "two deaths of Christ" view? Of course not.

Even if we are to read "from the foundation of the world" as modifying "slain," the bigger question is why on earth anyone would interpret that literally? No one in their right mind interprets "Lamb" literally, and most people would have the sense to realize that there could be no literal book before the foundation of the world.

No, even if "from the foundation of the world" as modifying "slain," we would still view the imagery as symbolic and not literal. We would view him as "slain from the foundation of the earth" in the sense of that being his eternal purpose, not as him actually having been slain before the world was founded. There's no particular reason to take that kind of plainly symbolic comment literally: we don't view Jesus as a literal lamb, we don't view the book of Life as a literal book, and we don't view the writing in the book as literal writing. Jesus is a lamb in that he is the sacrifice for sin. The writing in a book symbolizes the fixity of God's decrees.

This is confirmed by, for example, the marginal note in the Geneva Bible (1599) on the word slain: "As God ordained from before all beginning, and all the sacrifices were as signs and sacraments of Christ’s death."

In short, there is no reason to think that there was a literal slaying before the foundation of the world, even if the phrase "from the foundation of the world" as modifying "slain," which does not appear to be the best understanding of the text.


How does this error on Mr. Camping's part influence his end times prediction? It does not have a very direct and immediate impact. It's significance is that it is one of several ways that Mr. Camping tries to treat the entire life of Jesus as simply being a spiritual picture, thereby reinforcing Mr. Camping's attempt to avoid the literal sense of Scripture in favor of specific, selective spiritualizing interpretations. This particular error does not have such a direct, chain reaction effect as Mr. Camping's error regarding Moses' father, but it does help to serve to show a second instance in which Mr. Camping's spiritualizing agenda places him in direct contradiction with the plain teachings of Scripture.


Friday, July 31, 2009

Camping Jenga

Mr. Harold Camping's views of the end times are extremely complex, which is one of the reason that they attract many folks. In some ways, they are like a more complicated version of Jenga, in which a tower is constructed from numerous sticks that seem to be more or less separable from the tower. One problem with the extreme complexity of his views, however, is that there are numerous single points of failure for his entire system. For example, if Mr. Camping is wrong about the spiritual significance of the number 23 (which happens to be the age that Jehoahaz was when he began to reign, and the length of the period of judging of the pre-regnum judge Tola), many of his arguments would collapse. But how could one prove that 23 is supposed to be the number of "ruling" or "reigning" (both Tola and Jehoahaz were rulers) as opposed to "obscurity" (both men are relatively obscure Biblical characters) or as opposed to "God's wrath or judgment" (one "judged" Israel, the other was taken prisoner by the King of Egypt)? No one really can: Mr. Camping can assert one of those, or any of those, without anyone being able to tell him that the Bible clearly contradicts him, because the sort of identification he's making is essentially arbitrary. In fact, selecting "judgment" has the weakest argument of those three possibilities, since Tola "judging" Israel basically meant protecting it, whereas the judgment that fell on Jehoahaz resulted in Israel becoming a tributary to Egypt.

As you can see, though, the argument regarding the significance of numbers ends up being something like the reverse of the game of Jenga. We pull something out of the tower that Mr. Camping has constructed, and while it might wobble a bit, it doesn't immediately come crashing down. Why is that? Because Mr. Camping's complex approach is used as a support for each tenuous argument. "Maybe the biblical evidence is quite weak for 23 being a spiritual number," we can imagine him saying, "but then isn't it a strange coincidence that it fits together with all of these other pieces of the puzzle?" Of course, those other pieces of the puzzle are tenuous themselves: in fact we could legitimately question the spiritual significance he gives to almost every number in his list of spiritually significant numbers.

That said, having observed Jenga played, I recognize that there are some points of any tower that are fundamental, which if removed do undermine the entire building. What are those fundamental planks in Mr. Camping's system?

One of the fundamental planks in Mr. Camping's system is his rejection of the grammatical-historical hermeneutic. Mr. Camping recognizes this and states: "For example, anyone who follows the man-made, grammatical, historical hermeneutic, which is utilized throughout the church world, will not be able to correctly understand many very important truths of the Bible. This includes the Bible's teachings concerning the end of the church age, and the fact that the true believers can know much about the timetable and details of the end of the world." (We Are Almost There, Chapter 1, pp. 4-5)

What Mr. Camping fails to recognize or appreciate is that his own system has many planks built on the grammatical-historical hermeneutic, either directly or indirectly. For example, in most cases, the spiritual signification of the numbers is derived from looking at the passage in which they appear, applying a grammatical-historical hermeneutic to understand the sense of that passage, and then selecting one or more item from that passage to have spiritual significance. In the case of the 153 fishes in John 21:11, Mr. Camping recognizes a grammatical-historical sense to the passage before imposing his spiritualizing interpretation on it.

The grammatical-historical hermeneutic aspect to Mr. Camping's interpretation with respect to John 21:11 is rather trivial: the story is quite straightforward and easy to understand at the grammatical-historical level. That's not always the case. Sometimes Mr. Camping blunders in his analysis, even at the grammatical-historical level of the investigation.

I'll try to provide an example of Mr. Camping's grammatical-historical blunder, but first let me show you the significance of this particular Jenga piece. One way that Mr. Camping derives May 21, 2011, as the day of the Rapture is based on a comparison of relative dates of various historical events, including not only the crucifixion, but also the Flood, and apparently even Creation. Mr. Camping rejects Ussher's careful and studied chronology in favor of a chronology that appears to be entirely of his own creation. One of the keys to Mr. Camping's chronology is a view that Biblical genealogies are not necessarily the same as modern genealogies.

If Mr. Camping's view of the Biblical genealogies is wrong, then his chronology is not reliable, and if his chronology is not reliable, then his prediction based on that chronology is not reliable. Now, of course, he may simply resort to saying that he has also confirmed the date some other way, but those other ways are also similarly tenuous, so that's not a valid rebuttal on his part.

Where is the blunder in Mr. Camping's view of Biblical genealogies? Mr. Camping builds his geneaologies based on a principle that passages like Genesis 5 should not be viewed as providing a series of fathers and sons, but as providing representative men of each era of mankind. The basis for this claim is an analysis of the genealogies in Exodus particularly with respect to the duration of the sojourn in Egypt.

Using the grammatical-historical hermeneutic, Mr. Camping recognizes that the Israelites sojourned in Egypt four hundred, thirty years.

Exodus 12:40-41
Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years. And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt.

Next, Mr. Camping provides a genealogical account that he believes corresponds to those four hundred, thirty years. Specifically, Mr. Camping provides the following summation:

Levi (77 years in Egypt)
Kohath (133 years in Egypt)
Amram (137 years in Egypt)
Aaron (83 years in Egypt)
Total = 430 years total time

The numbers do sum to four hundred, thirty years, and Aaron was in Egypt for 83 years. Also, Amram was in Egypt his whole life, which was 137 years. There is, however, a small problem with Mr. Camping's methodology. Amram is the father of Aaron. We know this from Exodus 6:20, the same place that we know that Amram was 137 years old:

Exodus 6:20 And Amram took him Jochebed his father's sister to wife; and she bare him Aaron and Moses: and the years of the life of Amram were an hundred and thirty and seven years.

In view of the fact that Amram is Aaron's father, it does not make sense to simply add his age to Aaron's age. After all, one would expect some overlap between a father and his son. Mr. Camping, however, insists that Amram died the year that Aaron was born: "Aaron in turn was born the year of Amram’s death, and was descended from Amram." (Biblical Calendar of History, p. 3) In itself, this claim is not necessarily problematic. After all, a father could die the same year as his son is born. In fact, a father could die up to 9 months or so before his son is born.

The problem is that Amram is also the father of Moses (as we saw above), and Moses was three years younger than Aaron:

Exodus 7:7 And Moses was fourscore years old, and Aaron fourscore and three years old, when they spake unto Pharaoh.

Even if we assume that Aaron was born on the first day of year X and that Amram died the last day of year X, Moses could only be at most about 1 year and 9 months younger than Aaron. Even if Moses was born a full month late, and was conceived on the day that Amram died, he'd be less than two years younger than Aaron. Maybe it would help to put in numbers treating Aaron as though he were born on January 1, 1900:

Aaron: January 1, 1900
Amram dies: December 31, 1900
Moses born: October 31, 1901
From October 31, 1901, to December 31, 1901, Aaron would be 1, while Moses was 0, and then from January 1, 1902, to October 30, 1902, Aaron would be 2, while Moses would be 0. Thus, part of the year Aaron would seem to be two years older, and part of the year Aaron would be one year older. It would never be, however, that Moses would be three years younger, counting by birthdays. So, it is impossible that Amram died the year Aaron was born.

Mr. Camping, however, insists that Amram is not actually Aaron's father, but simply an ancestor of Aaron. This is contradicted by the Scriptures, which declare Aaron and Moses both to be the sons of Amram, to be the children that Jochebed, his father's sister, bare to him:

1 Chronicles 23:13 The sons of Amram; Aaron and Moses: and Aaron was separated, that he should sanctify the most holy things, he and his sons for ever, to burn incense before the LORD, to minister unto him, and to bless in his name for ever.

1 Chronicles 6:3 And the children of Amram; Aaron, and Moses, and Miriam. The sons also of Aaron; Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.

Numbers 26:59 And the name of Amram's wife was Jochebed, the daughter of Levi, whom her mother bare to Levi in Egypt: and she bare unto Amram Aaron and Moses, and Miriam their sister.

Exodus 6:20 And Amram took him Jochebed his father's sister to wife; and she bare him Aaron and Moses: and the years of the life of Amram were an hundred and thirty and seven years.

Mr. Camping's teachings on this matter are clearly contrary to Scripture, which declares that Amram and Jochebed were the parents of Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. But what can Mr. Camping say to respond to this problem?

Mr. Camping's primary response is to appeal to "The Clue Phrase 'Called His Name'." (Biblical Calendar of History, p. 1). Mr. Camping insists that "Called his Name" is a secret clue word to the fact that the relationship being discussed is true parent-child relationship: "A more careful examination of the Scriptures reveals why the phrase "called his name" which is the Hebrew qara, was used. In every place where this phrase is employed, there can be no doubt of the existing relationship; invariably it is indicative of parent and child." (Biblical Calendar of History, p. 1) We can easily rebut this argument:

a) Mr. Camping has to appeal to grammatical-historical exegesis to determine whether in those other cases a parent-child relationship is, in fact, present. Then, having no further use for that method, he acts like a child who has climbed into his father's lap, and slaps the method in the face. The self-contradictory nature of such an approach should be evident to all.

b) Even if it were true that qara always correlated with a parent/child relationship, that would not establish that qara is a clue word to any secret meaning.

c) Mr. Camping is wrong about the claim that it is "invariably ... indicative of parent and child." (Biblical Calendar of History, p. 1) In fact, the very first instance of the word is when Adam calls his wife's name, Eve:

Genesis 3:20 And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.

Additionally, the expression is used of inanimate objects such as a rock:

1 Samuel 7:12 Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer, saying, Hitherto hath the LORD helped us.

or a city:

Judges 18:29 And they called the name of the city Dan, after the name of Dan their father, who was born unto Israel: howbeit the name of the city was Laish at the first.

More importantly, the expression is used of naming children, when the person naming the child is plainly not his father or mother:

Ruth 4:17 And the women her neighbours gave it a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of David.

Both "gave" and "called" are from qara.

And most amusingly, this is even the case with Moses, who was called Moses not by his parents (Amram and Jochabed) but by Pharaoh's daughter:

Exodus 2:10 And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses: and she said, Because I drew him out of the water.

In short, Mr. Camping's supposed key to unlocking these genealogies is wrong. And, without that key, we have no reason to trust his chronologies. Furthermore, without his chronologies, we have no reason to trust the date of the flood that he gives. Furthermore, since we have no reason to trust the date of the flood, we have no reason to trust his date of Christ's second coming. The Jenga tower comes crashing down, not only because we have shown that the grammatical-historical hermeneutic is simply inescapable, but because the entire system of chronology is rotten at its core.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Works of Hugh Binning - Index

Hugh Binning is little known today. However, in his day he was viewed as one of the leading young Scottish ministers. It is even reported that John Owen was left unable to answer his arguments. (link to a brief biography - slightly longer version) He died at the young age of 26, but left behind a body of works that continue to testify to the Spirit that worked in him. Perhaps his works, as well as the more complete biography found in the 1851 edition of his works, will serve as encouragement for young men embarking on ministry, evangelism, and apologetics.

Via Google (1735 Edition)
Via Archive Volume 1 (1839 Edition)
Via Archive Volume 2 (1839 Edition)
Via Archive - Unified Edition (3rd Edition, 1851)

Several of Binning's works are available in html format, as follows:

The Common Principles of the Christian Religion, Clearly Proved, and Singularly Improved; or, A Practical Catechism.

An Useful Case of Conscience, Learnedly and Accurately Discussed and Resolved, Concerning Associations and Confederacies with Idolaters, Infidels, Heretics, Malignants or any other Known Enemies of Truth and Godliness.

A Treatise of Christian Love.



(More Binning Resources Here)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

No Women Pastors

It is crystal clear in Scripture that pastors must be men. It is totally unequivocal. Yet we still hear folks attempting to get around this:

1) Objection: The Scriptures are Culturally Conditioned

The reason given for women not teaching in the church goes back to the garden of Eden. That's not something culturally conditioned.

2) Objection: What if the woman is really edifying?

Given that Scripture clearly prohibits it, the answer is still "no," even if the woman is the best preacher since Spurgeon or Whitfield. We don't break God's commands because we think it's practical.

If one would permit one's wife or daughter to be a preacher on that ground, one might as well permit one's wife or daughter to be a harlot on the ground that it will permit her to evangelize more men that desperately need it. Surely there are few folks with consciences so seared that think that an acceptable mode of proceeding. The only reason then that people find Objection 2 persuasive is because they don't take God's prohibition on women pastors as seriously as they take the 7th commandment.

3) Objection: Not enough Bible verses say it!

How many times does God have to tell you something for you to believe it? All the objections are bad, but this one has to be the worst.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Whose Line Is It Anyway?

I was amused to note one example of Rome's improvisational informal magisterium at work to poach another Reformed slogan. It's not one of the slogans that the first generation reformers used (Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Solus Christus, Sola Deo Gloria), but one that became popular in the 17th century:

“Ecclesia reformata quia semper reformanda est” (“The Church is Reformed, because Always Reforming”) - Jodocus von Lodenstein (Dutch Reformed Theologian 1620-1677)

“Numquam reformata quia numquam deformata” (“Never reformed because never deformed”) - Pope Innocent XI (pope from 1676 to 1689) (speaking of the Carthusian order)

“Always reforming, always in need of reform.” - Steve Ray (calling it "One of the Church’s mottos")(source - H.T. to James Swan for pointing this out to me) (see also "The Catholic Church is in need of reform and always reforming." "The Church is like a roller coaster zooming through the centuries. There are high points and low points. The Church is always reforming and always in need of reform."

Steve Ray's main quotation is right, but only because he said "the Church" and not "Rome." It's a very popular motto of a number of the Reformed churches, especially the Presbyterian churches, which make up (together with all those churches that profess faith in Christ alone for salvation) the visible Church. It's not a particularly popular slogan among the popes, especially not Innocent XI.

Of course, obviously, "reformation" is not necessarily a dirty word in Catholicism. Trent's purpose was, among other things, reformation:
Doth it please you, --unto the praise and glory of the holy and undivided Trinity, Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost; for the increase and exaltation of the Christian faith and religion; for the extirpation of heresies; for the peace and union of the Church; for the reformation of the Clergy and Christian people; for the depression and extinction of the enemies of the Christian name,-- to decree and declare that the sacred and general council of Trent do begin, and hath begun?
They answered: It pleaseth us.
- Trent, Decree Touching the Opening of the Council.

To the extent that Mr. Ray was recognizing that his church is in need of reform, Praise be to God that he has recognized this and if God brings another great Reformation, we will rejoice!

Until then we will note that Rome's motto has been the false claim: Semper Eadem (Always the Same)

Whereas the Reformed churches have sought to have the motto: Ecclesia reformata semper reformanda secundum verbum Dei - for it is Verbum Dei (the word of God) that is truly semper eadem (always the same), and men and churches need to submit to the Word of God and reform themselves to it, whenever they discover they have strayed from it.


Whitfield Criticized for Breaking a Child's Will

Challies endorses criticism of Whitfield for requiring a boy to pray, even to the point of using corporal discipline (link). Challies passes judgment on Pastor Whitfield by endorsing this comment: "We must deplore both the custom [of attempting to conquer a child’s will] and Whitefield’s action on the basis of it." (brackets are Challies') Challies does not, however, provide any explanation for this moral judgment. That's rather disappointing. I'd love know on what basis Challies thinks that Whitfield was wrong - what standard of judgment he's using to judge Whitfield. In the absence of such basis, this rather resembles one of those hand-drawn mustaches one sees imposed on posters: an attempt to make someone more famous than the emending artist look bad.