Friday, January 15, 2010

Unloading 35 Loaded Questions for "Bible Christians" 6/35

Steve Ray has a list of 35 loaded Questions for "Bible Christians" (quotation marks his)(link to the whole list). This is number 6/35. I'm trying to provide the answers in a common format, for easy reference.

6) If the authors of the New Testament believed in sola Scriptura, why did they sometimes draw on oral Tradition as authoritative and as God’s Word (Matt 2:23; 23:2; 1 Cor 10:4; 1 Pet 3:19; Jude 9, 14 15)?

Simple Answer(s):

1) They don't.

a) Matthew 2:23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.

This is not a reference to oral Tradition, nor an example of calling oral Tradition God's word.

b) Matthew 23:2 Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat:

Again, this is not a reference to oral Tradition, nor an example of calling oral Tradition God's word.

c) 1 Corinthians 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

There is no need to treat this as a reference to oral tradition. However, even if it is, it is not drawn on as authoritative, nor is it called the word of God.

d) 1 Peter 3:19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;

This one is so far afield from being germane to the matter, that I thought at first he must have meant 2 Peter 3:19, but the last verse of 2 Peter is 3:18.

e) Jude 9 Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.

There is no need to treat this as a reference to oral tradition. However, even if it is, it is not drawn on as authoritative, nor is it called the word of God.

f) Jude 14-15 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.

There is no need to treat this as a reference to oral tradition. However, even if it is, it is not drawn on as authoritative, nor is it called the word of God.

Important Qualification(s):

1) More could be said about some of the items that Mr. Ray has identified. For example, there is a book called the book of Enoch which starts with the material found in Jude 14-15, and there were apparently Jewish traditions about a rock literally following (as if it were alive) the people of Israel in the wilderness. And, indeed, it may be that the writers of the New Testament included (by the Holy Spirit's inspiration) material drawn from sources that were based on oral tradition.

2) However, note that Paul also quotes from pagan poetry:

Acts 17:28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.

Titus 1:12 One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.

Paul even calls the pagan, Zeus-worshiping poet a "prophet." That does not mean that Paul treated either oral traditions of the Jews or Greek poetry as either "authoritative" or "the word of God."

- TurretinFan

10 comments:

John said...

What sort of argument is it to just keep saying "it is not drawn on as authoritative, nor is it called the word of God."

The apostles repeat these things as facts, and as such they have become the word of God. That's the confidence they had in these traditions, that they are willing to thus bless them.

And what does it mean to just keep saying "there is no need to treat this as oral tradition"? What is it then?

This response seems about as meaningful as sticking fingers in your ears and yelling naaa naaa naa, I can't hear you.

Yet again, scholastic naval gazing is employed to try and avoid the blatantly obvious.

Turretinfan said...

"What sort of argument is it to just keep saying 'it is not drawn on as authoritative, nor is it called the word of God.'"

The kind of argument that appeals to those who love the truth. The kind of argument that points out the obvious fact. The kind of argument that disarms the sophistry of Steve Ray. There are so many categories into which this sort of argument can fall.

"The apostles repeat these things as facts, and as such they have become the word of God. That's the confidence they had in these traditions, that they are willing to thus bless them."

Uh, no. What they speak they speak by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, not their own confidence.

"And what does it mean to just keep saying "there is no need to treat this as oral tradition"? What is it then?"

A reference to Scripture.

"This response seems about as meaningful as sticking fingers in your ears and yelling naaa naaa naa, I can't hear you."

Ah - now I feel refuted!

"Yet again, scholastic naval gazing is employed to try and avoid the blatantly obvious."

The blatantly obvious is that Steve Ray was lying when he claimed what he claimed.

-TurretinFan

louis said...

They became the word of God when they were used by the Holy Spirit in the Apostles' inspired teaching. But one has to distinguish how these traditions were used by the Apostles from what they were beforehand.

The apostle John describes the Lord as the alpha and omega, the one "who was and is and is to come". These were phrases that were used for Zeus and other pagan gods. That doesn't mean that these pagan traditions were "facts" that God blessed, as if Zeus really was and is is to come. Rather, the Holy Spirit took these traditions and applied them in a new way to reveal the deeper truths of our God.

There are other examples of this kind in the prophets, where they are clearly describing God with reference to Baal myths and so forth.

Pointing out that the Apostles used oral traditions in their teaching does not establish that those traditions were the authoritative word of God in their own right.

Turretinfan said...

"Pointing out that the Apostles used oral traditions in their teaching does not establish that those traditions were the authoritative word of God in their own right. "

Precisely!

John said...

So what is supposed to have happened here: The Holy Spirit whispered in Paul's ear "remember that tradition you heard, I'm giving it the thumbs up for you to enscripturate"??

I don't think there is any reason to believe this is the modus operandi of the apostles. Rather they took information from the same places everyone else did, and they wrote as normal people write, without any conscious knowledge that the Holy Spirit is whispering mystical knowledge in their ears. And its for this reason we can imitate Paul as he tells us to do. (1Cor. 4:16) If he had confidence in extra biblical traditions, then I imitate him in that, as he told me to do. To assume anything else is to engage in wild speculations.

Turretinfan said...

"To assume anything else is to engage in wild speculations."

LOL

"So what is supposed to have happened here: The Holy Spirit whispered in Paul's ear "remember that tradition you heard, I'm giving it the thumbs up for you to enscripturate"??"

No, instead holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

natamllc said...

d) 1 Peter 3:19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;

Yea, I thought that one creepy!

I wonder, well, no, no need to wonder just what he was thinking trying to put that one over as some oral tradition? Come on!

I would certainly like for musings sake to read his explanation for that one?

steve said...

For now I'll comment on two things:

1. 1 Cor 10:4.

Gregory Beale has an extensive discussion of this verse (pace Enns) in his book, The Eorsion of Inerrancy in Evangelicalism.

I believe that his analysis may also be available online in back issues of JETS and Themelios.


2. Jude 9, 14 15

This is a case in which a Catholic apologist is so myopically focussed on making problems for the Protestant that he's blind to the problems he's making for himself.

Assuming, for the sake of argument, that Jude is alluding to Intertestamental pseudepigrapha like 1 Enoch and the Assumption/Testament of Moses, the church of Rome doesn't regard this material as canonical.

Yet the point of the comparison is to presumably show that oral tradition can be on a par with Scripture. So this appeal either proves too much or too little.

natamllc said...

John,

could you explain this further. Give us your understanding of what you mean when you write:

"....That's the confidence they had in these traditions, that they are willing to thus bless them....".

I suppose I missed something here, but please expand on "these traditions" that the Apostle had put confidences in?

thanks

natamllc said...

John:
"Rather they took information from the same places everyone else did, and they wrote as normal people write, without any conscious knowledge that the Holy Spirit is whispering mystical knowledge in their ears."

Well there were some places they were taken too, both Old Testament and New Testament Preachers, the selective few, that not everyone else were taken too, so, hence, the Holy Corpus, whereupon and wherein those called and elected might put their confidences in.

In fact, by those whisperings you allude too, the many more, than those selective few, are more blessed. Can you explain that one John?

Joh 20:28 Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!"
Joh 20:29 Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."