Why I Don’t Recommend Online Greek Resources

Nestle-Aland editionsA comment that I read today over on another blog reminded me once again why online Greek resources are too often insufficient. There are a number of Greek-English lexicons (Louw-Nida, for instance) available online, and there is the ubiquitous Blue-Letter Bible website, as well. All of these resources are touted as making it easier for Christians to understand the Word of Christ better. In reality, the often do the exact opposite.

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Scripture and Canon (Traditional Evangelicalism)

The Grave of B.B. Warfield, the Lion of PrincetonWhen dealing with questions regarding the inspiration and authority of Scripture, few men can lay claim to being necessary to read on the subject, even nearly a century after their death. Yet even 98 years later, if you are dealing with this subject, you will have to read the works of B.B. Warfield.

Warfield is so well-regarded, and so influential, especially for Old School Presbyterians like myself, that it is exceedingly difficult to offer any criticisms of this giant’s theological formulations – especially in the area of canonicity.

If one were to ask Warfield, “How can we show that these twenty-seven books are the only ones that belong in the New Testament?”, his answer be to point to historical criteria, such as apostolicity, orthodoxy, usage in the early Church, etc. These criteria are put forward as defining marks of whether or not a book can be considered canonical. This model argues that the authority of the canon can be established by doing a meticulous historical investigation of the New Testament books and showing how they meet the above mentioned criteria. Whether you’re reading Warfield, F.F. Bruce, or Bruce Metzger, they all use the same all-inclusive methodology, that is, an appeal to the historical origins of the New Testament writings. They are all committed to the idea that external data is required to authenticate the Scriptures.

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Scripture and Canon (Roman Catholicism)

PatrickMadrid_SQPNI listened to an old debate between Dr. James White and Patrick Madrid last evening as my wife and I were making the long drive home from visiting my parents and filling the pulpit for a local Reformed church, and the question how Protestants can affirm both sola scriptura and speak of the canon of Scripture in a meaningful way came up in one of the rebuttal periods. While I am neither a particular fan of Dr. White or Madrid, I find listening to debates a distracting past-time, as it helps to hear two opposing views side by side – especially when there is a proper cross-examination period.

As I was listening to Mr. Madrid, a quote from one of his books got stuck in my head, which meant that I spent 30 minutes when I got home searching my library for my copy of Not By Scripture Alone: A Catholic Critique of the Protestant Doctrine of Sola Scriptura. One of critiques that Madrid brings forward in his chapter “Sola Scriptura: A Blueprint for Anarchy”, is that sola scriptura is untenable because without some external infallible authority, there is no way to know which books belong in, or should be included in, the canon. In Madrid’s words, Christians don’t have an “inspired table of contents” that reveals “which books belong and which books do not.”

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A Presbyterian’s Papal Prognostications

Pope Benedeict XVISo the big news of the day (thus far) seems to be Pope Benedict XVI surprise announcement that he intends to resign the Petrine ministry effective on 28 February.

The announcement is surprising on at least two fronts –– first because it seems that nobody had any idea that the Pope was even considering stepping down, and second, because this sort of resignation hasn’t happened in roughly six-hundred years, when Pope Gregory XII resigned in 1415 to end the Western Schism.

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Off Topic: The Return of the Beast

korengal-valleyLess than one month before I got married, I was working my regular shift at work –– a thankless job as a troubleshooter for a well-known regional restaurant in the Southeast, when I realized, despite years of self-deception, that I really wasn’t doing “better.”

For the most part, after I got home from Afghanistan, I was aware that things were different, but to me, it was normal. When I walk into a restaurant, I automatically select the booth or table that gives me an unobstructed view of the areas of entrance and egress, is dimly lit, and is away from the windows. To me, this act is as natural as breathing. My wife is well aware of this fact, and in addition, she knows that sitting anywhere else isn’t going to go well. I learned that it was best for me to avoid certain sounds and certain smells; the sound of a car backfiring or children yelling will reduce me to a quivering mess in microseconds. My wife knows not to curl her hair with the curling iron turned up too high, because of my reaction to the smell of burning hair.

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Historical and Theological Honesty

Pope Benedict XVIWhile doing some research on a different topic entirely, I stumbled over an interesting quote that I thought the readers of this blog might find interesting:

Q. Are there any other reasons to show that heretics, or Protestants who die out of the Roman Catholic Church, are not saved?

A. There are several. They cannot be saved, because

1. They have no divine faith.
2. They make a liar of Jesus Christ, of the Holy Ghost, and of the Apostles.
3. They have no faith in Christ.
4. They fell away from the true Church of Christ.
5. They are too proud to submit to the Pope, the Vicar of Christ.
6. They cannot perform any good works whereby they can obtain heaven.
7. They do not receive the Body and Blood of Christ.
8. They die in their sins.
9. They ridicule and blaspheme the Mother of God and His saints.
10. They slander the spouse of Jesus Christ: the Catholic Church.

Q. Have Protestants any faith in Christ?

A. They never had.

Explanation of Christian Doctrine for the Family and More Advanced Students of Catholic Schools, 1875. pp. 91-93

Of course, we Protestants are “separated brethren” now, but it is interesting to see how a book bearing both the nihil obstat and imprimatur equates Protestantism and heresy and denies that Protestants have any saving faith in Christ.

My how things have changed…