I'm skeert, buckwheat [1 of 2]

OK. We interrupt the normal business of this blog to respond in detail to Antonio da Rosa and his statements about what a completely “notorious” in “error” person I am. Normally, I take that as a compliment, but I think he means something less-than-flattering by it. The only other people ever to say something like that about me are Dave Armstrong and Kevin Johnson, so you can imagine how world-shaking it is for me.

I have imported his blog entry into OpenOffice, stripped it down to simple text for easy handling, and I'll be dealing with that version of what Antonio has posted. If he had links which he thought where a crisis of integrity in those posts, go to his blog and see the original work. I'm using the original version of the text, so if he makes any subsequent revisions or changes, we'll have to deal with those on the side.

Just as a favor, Antonio: since you got to have your 6-ish page accusation uninterrupted, and you have demanded a response in detail, let me respond before you start the organ up again.

Here we go.
Friday, December 08, 2006
Lordship Salvation's 'Notorious' Error : Lexical Study of "Save Your Souls" (James 1:21)
In an email correspondence, I brought Frank Turk to task for the huge lexical error he submitted in his debate against Jodie Sawyer. He replied by email:
If your view of lexical errors is this high, you need to go and review the justification Jodie uses for substituting "life" for "soul" in James 1:21 for the word "psuche". Even /if/ it is technically correct, she then conflates the idea of "the substance of life" with the idea of "the days of my living" to reach her conclusion there. I'm sure you won't find what she has done "dishonorable" even if it is just as notorious an error as mine.

Is the substituting of “life” for “soul” in James 1:21 for the Greek 'psyche' “just as notorious an error” as getting 50 occurrences wrong in his lexical assertions about the Greek verb ‘sozo’ in his debate with Jodie? Is the sense “days of my living” unsubstantiated (as his lexical assertions were)? Is the ‘substitution’ even in error at all? This post will answer that question. It will prove that the more attested rendering in James 1:21 is “… which is able to save your lives."
This is an easy place to start. The substitution is not the only issue with Jodie's work on James 1:21 – it's her conflation of the English word to impose a meaning not intended by James in this passage – an interpretation you cannot get unless you trade on the English meanings of “life”. It's not just an unresearched overstatement: it's a contradiction of every major translation into English for the sake of changing the meaning of the text.

In that, yes: there is a lexical problem of fairly significant weight. It's one statement just like my one statement. In that way, let's be honest about what kinds of statements are being tossed around here. One of us is willing to admit, “hey: I didn't do my homework.” The other one – and all who support her – are unwilling to admit that her work here is frankly unsupportable.

And before we go any further, I want to make something clear: I made my apology in good faith. I made it as an honest confession of error. In this response to Antonio, I am going to review the work he has made to call my statement “false”. If it can be determined that his work – as it is far more detailed than my statement, and clearly demanded a significant amount of premeditation to make – has anything clearly false in it, will he tender an apology for his error, or will he say that I am rescinding my apology or making excuses?

I am saying it clearly here: I stand by my apology because I was wrong in method and in scope. Let's hope Antonio has the same kind of response to correction.
By most evangelical scholorship, the Epistle of James was written very early, many claiming that it was the very first book written in the New Testament canon. A.D. 44-48 seems to be the range given by conservative Evangelical commentators. James’ intended audience were Jewish Christians (cf: James 1:1 with the evidence that his intended audience was a community of believers: 1:18; 2:1, 7; 5:7).
I stipulate these remarks. No reason not to.
The common language of the then-known world at that time was Koine Greek. The Hebrew Scriptures (the Old Testament) were translated sometime between the 3rd and 1st centuries B.C. into Koine Greek, in what is now known as the Septuagint. Also, known as the LXX, the Septuagint is a rich resource for Koine Greek word studies, for it is roughly three times the size of the New Testament, and such studies net authoratative results because of wide and plentiful usage of words.
The Greek language changed over time. Thayer is probably a good-enough lexicon of LXX, but BDAG is the accepted lexicon for 1st-century AD Greek – which is the NT. It's a technical point, but LXX Greek is not identical to NT Greek – in the same way that King James English is hardly identical to 21st century English.
In language, common usage will determine the meaning of words, and also phrases; these phrases can become widely and popularly engrained into a language. Languages are full of rich idiomatic expressions that convey meaning to those who share a particular tongue.
I agree. The question is if idioms evolve and then somehow get locked in, or if they are themselves subject to the process which produced them in the first place.
When studying the Bible, it is wise to research words and phrases doing word studies so that the common meanings and senses can be gleaned. It is a mistake of high proportion to import into the words of the Bible current understandings. It is imperative to understand the words, phrases, and clauses of the Bible in the way that its 1st century readers/hearers would have.
Which is why, btw, it is important for people like me who cannot sight-read the original languages to rely on translators to render those languages for us.

Reading the Bible in English is almost exactly like driving a car: None of us could probably build one even from a blueprint, but if we are moderately informed about the care and use, we can handle the instrument as we receive it.
In the current debate on the Epistle of James, the verb “sozo” (= “to deliver, save”) is of particular interest. It is used 5 times in the epistle, and in a few hotly debated verses (James 1:21; 2:14; 5:20).

The author of this post has done a word study on the Greek word “sozo” in his last entry: New Testament Occurrences of ‘sozo’. He found that out of 108 occurrences of the word, 65 represented a temporal deliverance of some kind or another, and only 42 had a soteriological import (1 was found to have both senses present). Percentage wise, 61% were temporal and only 31% were soteriological.
OK. That's a great statement – and it has a very long document behind it. Let me stipulate a few things:

[1] I stipulate that Antonio did the work.
[2] I stipulate all his soteriological verses.

Here's the problem: I think Antonio's work is flawed. As I list my exceptions to his study, let me note that I have intentionally granted him all the places that “sozo” is applies to physical healing even though Jesus Himself equates the act of physical healing wityh the forgiveness of sin (the soteriological meaning of “save”) when he heals the paraplegic who was lowered through the roof in Mark 2. If we included all those passages – places where the variants of “your faith has saved you” are found – the math would be somewhat lopsided. As it is, I have 23 exceptions to his list, and here they are:

Matthew 10:22
And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
(Temporal) – Set within the context of temporal calamity (10:21, 22a, 23), Jesus declares that the one who endures until the end in the Great Tribulation, the same shall be delivered, in other words, into the Millennial Kingdom.
**** Dispute #1: The assertion that this saving is Temporal is not very convincing – because the way they are told to escape physical danger in persecution is to flee the towns (10:23). The salvation of those who endure ought to be juxtaposed against the judgment coming to those who reject them (10:15) – which is the final judgment. They are saved in the final judgment, and that makes this a soteriological verse.

Matthew 16:25
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
(Temporal) – Jesus, in paradoxical fashion, states that the one whose desire it is to guard and retain his temporal and/or physical life shall lose his “life” in a metaphorical way.
**** Dispute #2: This passage is specifically about discipleship and what happens to someone when the Son of Man returns with His angels (16:27). Salvation in the final judgment is soteriological salvation.

Matthew 18:11
For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.
(Temporal) – Jesus’ primary ministry while on earth was to Israel. His desire was to call National Israel unto repentance, to turn back to God. Obviously this had a spiritual connotation, but eternal salvation is not in view. Christ’s purpose was to bring Israel back into favor with God by their national repentance with a view to instituting the Kingdom of God. The parallel in Luke 15 clearly shows this parable within the context of repentance, which restores harmony with God (in this case, God’s chosen people, Israel) and averts temporal wrath and judgement. This verse is set in the context of the parable of the lost sheep (Israel). To further solidify this interpretation, note: “But He answered and said, ‘I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel’” (Matthew 15:24). Notice how Jesus states his ministry is to the “lost sheep” of Israel, God’s chosen people, calling them back to harmony with God.
**** Dispute #3: I actually have a few complaints about this one, but the first is that this is not Mt 18:11 but Luke 19:10. But even if we accept that as an honest typo, there is a larger problem: in Luke 19:10, Jesus is pronouncing salvation to the house of Zaccheus. The tax collector was not in any physical harm, and Jesus wasn't fishing him out of a well. The passage reads, “This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Salvation to a son of Abraham cannot be construed as temporal salvation – because it is a covenant-keeping salvation, an upholding of God's promise.

Matthew 24:13
But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
(Temporal) – See note on Matthew 10:22. This verse is set in context of temporal calamaties and persecution in the Great Tribulation.
**** Dispute #4: Here's the text of Mt 24 --
Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
Listen: if you can construe being put to death as being saved temporally, you have abandoned reading as a skill. The salvation of the one who endures is soteriological – because he endures temporal trials even to death but is still said to be “saved”.

Mark 8:35
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it.
(Temporal) – See note on Matthew 16:25).
(Temporal (in a metaphorical sense), not justification salvation!) – Jesus states that the one who gives up (loses) his temporal desires for his life in favor of following Christ in discipleship will save his life in the sense of truly experiencing the “abundant” life in the temporal present that has eternal ramifications (the significance of his temporal life will transect into eternity, in the aspect of a greater experience of life in the kingdom).
**** Dispute #5: see my dispute over Mt 16:25; this is a parallel passage.

Mark 13:13
And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
(Temporal) – See note on Matthew 10:22; 24:13.
**** Dispute #6: See my dispute over Mt 10:22.

Luke 9:24
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.
(Temporal x 2) – See note on Mark 8:35.
**** Dispute #7: See Mark 8:35

Luke 9:56
For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.
(Temporal) – Jesus, in reponse to the sons of Thunder, says he did not come to destroy men’s physical lives (as was requested by James and John unto the Samaratans) but to save them, in the sense that he was calling Israel to repent, return to God, which would avert God’s judgement on Israel. Israel did not nationally repent, and God’s wrath was meted out, whereas in A.D. 70, Jerusalem and its temple were destroyed (see also 2 Peter 3:9).
**** Dispute #8: I actually like Antonio's attempt here to make this about saving men from physical harm, but here's my complaint in this case – the use of “sozo” here is dispuited in the same way that the use of “sozo” is disputed in the verse in revelation Antonio kicked out. That is, he should have kicked this one out, too, given his critical criteria.

Luke 19:10
For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
(Temporal) – See note on Matthew 18:11.
**** Dispute #9: since Antonio counted it twice, I will, too. See my complaint in Lk 18:11.

Acts 2:21
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
(Temporal) – Peter is discussing the temporal deliverance spoken of in Joel 2:28-32 at the “coming of the Great and Awesome Day of the Lord” (Joel 2:31).
**** Dispute 10: Yes, this is a citation of Joel. No: it is not a salvation from physical harm – because Peter is here talking about the Gospel of Christ. If Peter is citing Joel here to say that this is a temporal salvation, is the Gospel about a temporal salvation? The spirit has been poured out to declare that Jesus is Lord and Christ. That's soteriology.

Acts 2:40
And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.
(Temporal) – Peter is exhorting his Jewish crowd to save themselves from God’s temporal wrath by repenting (see 2:38). Wrath was coming upon this “untoward generation” who had culpability in the crucifixion of Christ (see Acts 2:36)
**** Dispute 11: This is the proclamation of the Gospel. There's no way to say otherwise – unless the Gospel was not preached at Pentecost. How can 2:47 be soteriological (Antonio says it is) and this verse be temporal?

Romans 5:9
Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
(Temporal) – Paul is discussing how those who are justified by faith in Jesus can be “saved by His life” (Romans 5:10). God’s wrath is a temporal and present possibility! See Romans 1:18 where God’s wrath is now being revealed against sin.
**** Dispute 12: See below.

Romans 5:10
For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
(Temporal) – “Christians who avail themselves of the resurrection-power found in His life (= through Him that is resident in the gospel, [Rom] 1:16) will find deliverance from wrath (v 9), but only if they ‘walk in newness of life’ (6:4) which Paul explains in chapters 6-8” (Romans Unlocked: Power to Deliver, Rene A. Lopez, p 112)
**** Dispute 13: Here's the passage from Rom 5
1Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

6For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7For one will scarcely die for a righteous person--though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die-- 8but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
That's one of the great soteriological passages of the NT. It goes on to compare what we were in Adam and what we are in Christ. How can this be read as “temporal” salvation?

Romans 9:27
[Isaiah] also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved:
(Temporal) – Paul is quoting Isaiah, who is speaking concerning “God’s wrath coming through the Assyrian invasion in 722 B.C. that demolished Israel’s (northern tribes) national existence. The context in Isaiah 10:6 also mentions [temporal] wrath, ‘… the people of My wrath’ which refers to Israel. Yet, God, by His mercy, intervenes and says through Isaiah that a remnant will return (10:22)” (Ibid., Rene Lopez, p 201).
**** Dispute 14: Romans 9 is a great exposition on the covenant-keeping of God and the election unto salvation. To turn this into salvation only from danger is to ingore the larger argument Paul is making in Romans 9.

Romans 10:9
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
(Temporal) – Discussing Israel (Romans 9-11), Paul is referring to their full-orbed salvation, which includes their justification (see Rom 10:10a) and their deliverance from God’s wrath (10:10b). Open confession of Christ and identification with Him are necessary for temporal deliverance from wrath and calamity.
**** Dispute 15: See Rom 9.

Romans 10:13
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
(Temporal) – Calling upon the name of the Lord is an activity of those who are already related to God! A word study on the phrase and like phrases will report that calling on the name of the Lord is an appeal to God to deliver from temporal circumstances. One cannot even call upon the name of the Lord until they have believed on Him (Romans 10:14). See also note on Acts 2:21.
**** Dispute 16: See Rom 9.

Romans 11:26
And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
(Temporal) – “All Israel means the whole nation of Israelites who remain alive during the tribulation period (who are justified) will be delivered at the end of the tribulation wrath to enter the millennium and fulfill all of God’s Old Testament promises” (Ibid., Lopez, p 233).
**** Dispute 16: There's no way to derive that this is merely a saving through the “tribulation” in the sense Antonio and his source mean. Paul says explicitly in Rom 11, “God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew”. The foreknowledge of God is the foreknowledge unto eternal salvation.

1 Timothy 4:16
Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.
(Temporal) – Paul opens chapter 4 with discussions of ungodly false teachers. If Timothy takes heed and continues in doctrine, he will be able to save himself and his hearers/students from the consequences of false teaching.
**** Dispute 17: Even if I concede that Timothy will save those that listen from “false teachers”, they will be saved from falsehood and departing from the faith to what? To the truth of the Gospel, in which is eternal life.

James 1:21
Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
(Temporal) – James, speaking to those who are “brethren”, who are born again (James 1:18), and who have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (James 2:1), exhorts his readership to lay aside evil, and be doers of the word, which can save the physical life (see wisdom literature of Proverbs).
**** Dispute 19: I would agree that James is likely quoting Proverbs here – but he is doing it in the context where he has already established that faith in trial yields steadfastness, and steadfastness must have is completion, which is the crown of eternal life. The exhortation for Proverbs takes on its complete meaning in faith in Christ, and James lines that out here.

James 2:14
What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
(Temporal) – James, in discussion of temporal matters including hunger and nakedness, discusses the inability of faith alone to save from temporal circumstances.
**** Dispute 20: I think Antonio better read this passage agian – because James is not saying, “can a man's faith save himself from nakedness”, but “can a faith which does not clothe the naked save the man who has this faith?”

James 4:12
There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?
(Temporal) – James, continuing with his practical and temporal exhortations to his saved intended audience, admonishes the brethren that they not judge each other for God alone is the lawgiver, able to save or destroy the physical life.
**** Dispute 21: The interpretation “the physical life” is not implied in this sentence. This passage more clearly echoes the words of Jesus, “do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell”. (Mt 10)

James 5:20
Let him know, that he which [turns a (NKJV)] sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
(Temporal) – In the context of a brother “among” “brethren” who has “strayed concerning the truth” (implying he was once in it), James states that one who turns this straying brother from his error will save him from physical death (which is the mature fruit of sin, see James 1:15).
**** Dispute 22: the equation that all who are in the brethren are soteriologically saved is a view Antonio holds, but it is not clear that James holds such a view – clearly, he thinks some people in the brethren do not do the works which faith will do, so there's no reason to think they are saved.

1 Peter 4:18
And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
(Temporal) – Taken from Proverbs 11:31 (“If the righteous will be recompensed on the earth, How much more the ungodly and the sinner.”), Peter is discussing the temporal recompense for both righteousness and ungodliness, in the context of temporal suffering.
**** Dispute 23: Sure, that's a reference to Proverbs – but here's the context:
17For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18And

"If the righteous is scarcely saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?"

19Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.
Peter is talking ultimate salvation, final salvation. That's soteriological salvation.

Doing some quick math, 65-23=42 temporals, and 42+23=65 soteriologicals. If we add the healings, well, I said we wouldn't, so forget that. Apparently the tables have turned – at least in theory. Is making 23 errors a "notorious" act? Does slanting this many verses in order to discredit an adversary amount to "falsehood"? Even if only half of these are supportable -- and I think they are all supportable -- will Antonio apologize or retratct or revise his statements? I look forward to Antonio's rebuttal to my objections.
In a word study of the Septuagint we find that the Greek word “soteria” and its cognate “sozo” (save) in their contexts, where they are found about 363 times, means “[to] deliver[ance] from temporal calamaties” – such as circumstances that cause death, from enemies, troubles, physical maladies, etc.; both individually and nationally - in the greatest majority of the times they are found, upwards of 98% of occurences. Only a relatively few passages have spiritual contexts to the salvation being discussed. Yet even in the instances that the terms "save" and "salvation" carry a sense of spiritual salvation in these minimally few OT passages, there is no explicit instance where the term appears solely with a spiritual nuance. In a study Rene Lopez of Dallas Seminary did of each occurrence of the words, he could not find even one instance where the words in their contexts had a justification-salvation-only meaning: Salvation in the Old Testament – From What.

What does this say about the Greek reader of the New Testament? That he obviously would not consider the meaning “salvation from hell” for the Greek words “soteria” and “sozo” (salvation and save, respecively) as the first, knee-jerk option when he read it. This would be especially true for the early Jewish Christian readers of James, absorbed as they would have been both in Koine Greek and the Septuagint (which was read in their synagogues).
Since Jodie entered Lopez's paper into the mix, I have enjoyed this idea that somehow the Greek reader of the NT has no expectation of salvation in the soteriological sense in the advent of the Messiah.

Here are three examples of people in that period who did which I think Antonio is going to have a hard time overturning:

[1] John the Baptizer, who, upon seeing Jesus, greeted Him with the well-known greeting, “Here is the Son of David, the King who is going to overturn the idols of Rome and establish David's throne!” Oh wait – John said, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” Sorry.

[2] Simeon, who saw the infant Jesus in the Temple, exalted the Lord, saying,
"Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,
according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation
that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and for glory to your people Israel."
It seems to me that if this Messiah was one who was going to do what Lopez says the expectation was, Simeon was a bit of a crack pot declaring that he is also “a light of revelation to the Gentiles”.

[3] My favorite, however, is Jesus who – without tossing out the Romans or Herod – came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."

And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."

Now, how is that Scripture fulfilled in a temporal way as these people heard what he read to them? It is actually fulfilled in the soteriological sense -- because Jesus didn't come back and sit on the throne of David, and He didn't end the exile of the Jews in the political or temporal sense.

And before we get sidetracked into “but these 3 men couldn't read Greek,” that matter is irrelevent. The question is “what expectation did those with the faith of Abraham have about the Messiah?” It was a soteriological expectation – an eternal expectation. If even these three men had that expectation, Lopez's thesis is simply untennable.

To finish the rest, I need a copy of BDAG next to me, and I don't own one. I know: it's shocking. Anyway, I will work on the rest of this over the weekend so you can all use it to put yourselves to sleep on Christmas eve when you're so geeked up about Santy that you can't hardly close your eyes.

To be continued. Don't lose any sleep over it -- I have already lost enough over it.