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Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Second E-Mail Response from Paul Elbert

Dear Charlie:

Please find my inserted comments below. As to visiting you in Orlando, that is not likely for awhile. Thanks for the invitation anyway. SBL had their national meeting there in 1998, so they won't be returning there any time soon. I shared a room that year with Howard Marshall, one of the scholars I interacted with in the five year dialogue at ETS that eventually I wrote about in the paper you are criticizing (note 23 therein).

I take the liberty of sending you as an attachment a pdf copy of this paper so that you may have it for your files.

Yours sincerely,

Paul

[Mr. Elbert's remarks are highlighted in blue below. I will respond to his remarks in a future post.]

---------------------------
----- Original Message -----
From: "GuapoDuck1959" <guapoduck1959@cfl.rr.com>
To: "Paul Elbert" <pelbert@alltel.net>
Sent: Friday, September 23, 2005 7:32 PM
Subject: Re: Possible Response to Your Remarks on Matters Addressed by my Paper?
> Dear Rev. Elbert,
> Actually, I'm not active in the SBL or any scholarly society at the moment. > I will post your response on the weblog if you like.

(In that case, I will respond just to your comments in your letter to me that state or infer a basis for them as being in my paper. I will send it to you in a few days for posting adjacent to your own letter.)

> > I'm currently attending an AMiA church that is charismatic. But I go to the > traditional service to avoid what I see as sensationalism.> > I suppose I'm just frustrated with things in general.

(Yes, I sense that too. Why not just get back to the simplicity in Christ and leave the rest, for now, to God).

But I lost faith in > the entire Pentecostal/Charismatic movement over doctrinal issues a long > time ago. Just today I happened to be at the library at the RTS seminary > here in Orlando and read an article by Cecil M. Robeck about how oneness > Pentecostals are saved and, etc., etc. I don't see anyone who denies the > trinity as being saved or Christian since that is heresy. That's just one > of the forms of liberalism that's encroaching the Pentecostal/Charismatic > movement. Your article just underlines to me your lack of commitment to > Holy Scripture as the final authority.

(As to this last sentence, I cannot imagine where in my paper there is a thought that suggests I have a "lack of commitment to Holy Scripture as the final authority." You are of course entitled to that impression, but when you post such impressions on the internet I think you should afford an author the courtesy of explicit evidence. Some in the Reformed traditions use the phrase "final authority" to mean whatever they like it to mean. But whatever you take it to mean, you are, in my view, going too far in your negative criticism of my paper when you assert that underlying this paper there is a lack of commitment to enscripturation as providing trustworthy and reliable written revelation.)

> > Much like Roman Catholics, your authority is in your ecstatic experiences > and in the leadership of your church.

(Once again, I find this assertion to be quite extraordinary indeed. You may forgive me if I might suggest that it sounds a bit reactionary. Let me offer an example or two from written revelation. When Paul speaks of the fact - as far as he was concerned it was a fact, although to some forms of Reformed tradition it might of little interest - that those that are led by the Spirit are not under the law (Gal 5:18) or that those that are led by the Spirit are the sons of God (Rom 8:14), we should notice that he does not refer his overall readership back to the OT or LXX texts that would have been deemed sacred by his Jewish readership. Neither does he refer to the authority of his own text, although I regard it as authoritative. Rather he refers to an experience with the Holy Spirit. Of course such an experience, which Paul does not define because he expects familiarity with it on the part of most readers, is not going to extend in deportment or in speech into contradictions with what Paul writes or with what is written in the OT or the LXX. Paul does not employ the "final authority" language of some. This language evolved out of the arbitrary hermeneutical imposition of epochs upon the NT text that Paul and others labored to leave us in God's providence. This imposition was itself germinated by the ministerial and political needs of the magisterial Reformers themselves. The authority of texts was subjugated in some key instances, by Calvin, for example, to current and pressing ministerial and political needs, but nevertheless the Reformers were correct to set out a case for that authority.)

I could cite numerous articles in JPT > and Pneuma arguing that the "community of faith" should be the locus of > authority and not Scripture.

(I suppose you refer to 1 Thess 5:20, 21; 1 Cor 14:29; and Acts 15:28a, in order of their composition by Paul and Luke. These texts and perhaps others not as obvious were a problem for the Reformers. They need not have been, but in order to set out a sound doctrine of Scripture as authoritative, the Reformers and the tradition which followed them have historically disconnected these texts from their contexts, contexts which were then confined to the characters in the texts themselves. The challenge for the Reformed tradition today is to develop a doctrine of Scripture that incorporates all of Scripture, something that tradition had never done, although the Reformed theologian J. Rodman Williams begins the effort in his Renewal Theology. Of course, since I am not a Protestant, I do not see that as my primary task, but I am nonetheless interested in the endeavor.)

I've been following this for some time.> > I'm no one in authority or with much credibility in the academic world like > yourself. I'm a bit of a radical I guess.

(Good for you.)

But I think there are many folks > out there like me who are disgruntled with the Pentecostal movement and many > of them for good reasons. I don't see that side of it being addressed by > your elite scholars or by leaders in the Pentecostal/Charismatic churches. > Mostly, problems are glossed over or spiritualized.

(As for one problem you mentioned earlier, the perfect wealth and health issue, it has certainly not been at any time glossed over by scholars. It has been attacked and condemned from its inception both in writing and in teaching. I have condemned it as heresy. This opposition has been effective and it seems to me that it is now a fringe issue.)

> > The state of Evangelicalism as a whole isn't much better. I guess since I > don't have to fear losing my position I can say pretty much what I think.> > If you are ever in the Orlando, Florida area I would be happy to meet with > you for coffee. I take it your church is the Church of God?

(Yes, I have been a minister in an independent Pentecostal group in Detroit and in the AoG. I resigned my ministerial credentials, after returning from five years of NT study at the University of London King's College, when I entered into the service of our Lord in scholarship and teaching, so that I might be as objective as possible. We now attend an independent CoG that was founded in 1943 in Cohutta, GA. I am a deacon there and now teach adjunctively, after my retirement, at the CoG Theological Seminary and at Lee University. My full time job now is NT scholarship, particularly Luke-Acts, its interpretation and its relation to the letters of Paul. I have also worked in the Hebrew text of Genesis and have a paper, now completed after ten years of work, "Genesis One and the Spirit: A Narrative-Rhetorical Ancient Near Eastern Reading in Light of Modern Science." If you are interested in Genesis One and have the Hebrew font SPTiberian and the Greek font SPIonic installed on your computer, I would be happy to send you a copy.)


> > Sincerely in Christ,

> > Charlie> > >

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