"Jesus said 'A disciple is not above his teacher.' (Matt. 10:24.) Yet we make Paul, the disciple, greater than the teacher." (Bercot, Common Sense, 1992)


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Blog Critique June 25 2012

Re: Jesus' words Only??

Postby backwoodsman on Mon Jun 25, 2012 5:52 pm

In a few minutes on their website I found several points of factual error and fatally flawed logic. Obviously, that can only lead to conclusions that are unreliable at best, and most likely pretty far off the mark. Their use of the likes of Joel Osteen and the Interpreter's Bible Dictionary (a generally very liberal work) to make their points -- not to mention their heavy dependence on Calvin -- doesn't exactly help their credibility.

They have some interpretations of Scripture that are best described as bizarre. 2 Peter criticizes Paul? Paul dismisses the importance of baptism? Paul confesses to converting the Corinthians by lying to them? Seriously?

Personally, I follow the teachings of both Jesus and Paul, and have never found a conflict between them.

My Reply
I used Joel Osteen one time -- for his statement that the book of Daniel was in the writings section of the Original Testament -- an indisputable fact. At least I had a source -- while this author has none. I obviously don't endorse Mr. Osteen's doctrines which all are based on possible readings from Paul.
Second, this writer claims the Interpreter's Bible Dictionary is a "liberal" dictionary. Here is the only reference to this work on my website -- making a claim that both conservatives (Calvin) and liberals agree upon -- Second Peter is a pseudograph (false addition to the Bible):

The five-volume Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (published by Abingdon Press of the United Methodist church with 8400 articles by 900 scholars "in service of the church") contains J.B. Meyer's article which explains his view that it is falsely attributed to Peter after setting out the facts:


The author has adopted the name of the foremost apostle Peter, to enhance the authority of his letters - a practice not unknown in the early church.  We have evidence of a rich Petrine literature.  Fragments of a Gospel of Peter, an Acts of Peter, and an Apocalypse of Peter have survived...  Second Peter belongs to this class of literature. Both internal and external evidence show with cumulative force the impossibility of ascribing the letter to Peter, the disciple and apostle... No theory of secretarial aid can explain the differences in style and thought between 1 Peter and 2 Peter.

Third, this author claims Second Peter is not critical of Paul. He scoffs at the notion. But no less a conservative source - Calvin (one of the leaders of the 16th Century Reformation) - said so, and based upon this, Calvin argued it was a pseudograph, arguing that the true Apostle Peter would never have criticized Paul (so supposes Calvin). As I quote Calvin in the same link above:
Calvin writes:

And yet, when I examine all things more narrowly, it seems to me more probable that this Epistle was composed by another according to what Peter communicated, than that it was written by himself, for Peter himself would have never spoken thus. (Bible Study Guide.)

The author knows this, and says my reliance upon Calvin "does not help" my credibility. Yet, this is no game. I am no fan of Calvin generally, but if one of the two main leaders of the Reformation sees there is a criticism here, it is not just me. Calvin believed Second Peter's reference to Paul as "difficult to understand" undermined using Paul as an authority in the church to interpret doctrine. You can blind yourself to that implication, as the Backwoodsman does, but it is no less true.I also demonstrate a conservative source who agrees upon that implication. I quoted as follows:

Calvin regarded the fault Peter found about Paul as "difficult to understand" in 2 Peter 3:15-17 outweighed any positives stated by Second Peter. The words attributed to Peter implies, as the Bethel Church of God explains:

Based on the above texts, as well as others, there is only one way to understand Paul’s Epistles. Theymust be interpreted by the clear texts in the Bible, texts that are not difficult to understand. ("Understanding Paul," Bethel Church of God (2012).)

Thus, we see once more, there is no answers yet to my points. The critics snipe at 'authorities' -- none are supposedly good enough. Anything and everyone who I cite are either supposedly 'liberal' (no proof is offered) or if conservative (Calvin) have some mysterious negative that puts in doubt my 'credibilty,' but which I already provided confirming voices in agreement, such as the pastor of the Bethel Church of God in that recent article.

Please also note none of the key issues are actually addressed: is Second Peter a pseudograph and why do scholars, both conservative and liberal think so? Is Second Peter critical of Paul when it says "Paul is difficult to understand," or is that a compliment?

Anyone who says they don't see the issues are willfully blinding themselves. Hardly good teachers.

I encourage this Backswoodsman to engage the issues, and offer an intelligible response via email to me. Then let's dialogue on the merits rather than snipes, and see what God shows us.