Well update

The goal, if you will remember, was to raise $3000 for build a well in Africa for people with no water by Christmas.

Now let's be honest: I'm disappointed, but I don't think less of any of you.

As of last tally, on the 22nd of December, 2006, we were at $595.

Aaron from Blood:Water mission says that's a great turnout, a great help, and I pray God bless him for his spirit. But here's the math I did:

  1. Google Analytics says in the last 90 days, we have averaged 310 unique visitors per day, counting weekends. If we back out weekends, we average about 500 visitors a day.
  2. Using the high number, we barely got $1 per person. For Gospel work.
  3. Using the low number, we got about $2 per reader.
That's better than nothing, but, um, yeah.

$2 per reader? For people who are excited to read things like "Christmas is about the wrath of God"? $2?

Listen: rather than beat you up, it's money-where-my-mouth-is time. Beginning today, all markup from the Pawn Shop through the end of January 2007 will go to build a well at Blood:Water mission. I'll be updating the template over there in the next couple of days to remind people who fall out of bed and find it that this is what I'm doing, but to help the pot here, the t-shirt money from the next 30-ish days for Homeboys and Pyro fans and reformation police and what-have-you will go to giving people dying from thirst rather than to me.

Just to be clear, my markup on this stuff is about $3 per item. Little things like buttons and stickers are marked up less. Weekly, I'll update by publishing the current sales results, including what we have made toward the project. When CafePress sends me the check, I'll send it to them.

I'm serious, and I want you to be serious.

UPDATE: Well, it turns out, I guess, that it is cheaper to give $3 to BWM than it is to buy a $20 t-shirt and give $3 to BWM. However, the giving page at BWN has changed.

When you get there, there is a "MEMO" field. In the Memo field, type "centuri0n" so we can track the giving. Now go get it -- either with a junk shop relic or by just giving $5 to the work.

This came in this morning's mail. It's relevant to your donation to blood:water mission ...

Date: Fri, 29 Dec 2006 08:25:08 - 0500

From: "Daniel Bengston"
To: "Frank Turk"
Subject: Blood:water mission donation


Don't know if this is
something that you want to let folks
know, but the confirmation email I
got from their site got put in my
"junk" mail (hotmail), so for folks
wanting a receipt/record, they might
want to be aware. I don't consider
hotmail very sensitive like my gmail
account, so if hotmail does it, it
might do it on other email servers
as well. Most email systems I know
empty junk mail after a certain
period of time.

Keep up the great work on the blog.

Dan B.

Post of redundancy post

If some of you aren't listening to Piper's podcast, he has just started on Rom 7:14-25, and he's going to spend 12 half-hour segments on this passage. If the other 11 are half as good as the first segment, well, like John Piper needs my endorsement.

Listening to this kind of passion for God's word is one thing, and living it is another. May we be edified to live this word and not just to hear it.

Up the Flagpole

Read this.

Then think about the meaning of the maxim, "the battle belongs to the Lord".

How did I miss this?

Dr. Al Mohler gives his usual best to a CNN special about what happened "after Jesus". I missed the CNN special, regret doing so, but am grateful that Dr. Mohler had time to blog it.

When he's good ...

... he's like a sip of ice water after mowing the yard:
Some centre-left politicians have scorned the Vatican for speaking out against the initiative, but the Pope said the Church had the right to be heard.

"If they say the Church shouldn't interfere in these matters, then we can only reply: should mankind perhaps not interest us?" he said.

The Pope said granting legal recognition to unwed couples was a threat to traditional marriage, which required a higher level of commitment.

But he saved his strongest words for those who suggest gay couples should be put on the same level as a husband and wife.

"This tacitly accredits those dismal theories that strip all relevance from the masculinity and femininity of the human being as though it were a purely biological issue," the Pope said.

Theories "according to which man should be able to decide autonomously what he is and what he isn't," end up with mankind destroying its own identity, he said.
Yes, he's the Pope. That doesn't mean he doesn't understand what's at stake.

Here's the real question: why doesn't he have this kind of retort to Muslim theology?


Here's the question to welcome you back to work:

Did America cause this tragedy?

Here's why I ask -- the final paragraph of this story reads thus:
"How can this be, that people are so poor in Nigeria that they will risk their lives for a little thing," said Bode Kuforiji, a 28-year-old university lecturer. "But boats leave for America everyday filled with oil."
What's the basis of this comparison this person makes? How are the two things related?

I may have more to say about this later today. We'll see.

Christmas Leftovers

David at Thirsty Theologian has said this about the "debate" with the BugBlaster over alcohol at D-Blog:
Mr. Turk mopped up the floor with Mr. BugBlaster, but he really was offered no real resistance. Not that BugBlaster didn't try—his proposition simply had no legs, and those he tried to give it had bad knees. It's always a tough go when you have to say, "Yes, the Bible says ___, but..." I have to give Frank credit for being incredibly gentle. I probably would not have been.
And David has prodded me to say this here where (A-hem, sorry David) somebody might read it: I'd be willing to do that debate for real against someone who thinks Resolution #5 from the SBC was a good idea.

I'd do it in writing, and I'd be willing to do it live. But the next person who wants to debate this topic needs to have more than a passing interest in reducing drunk driving. I'd even take modified rules with extended opening statements and a set of rebuttals on a blog moderated by a third party.

Seriously: this topic is more important than that exchange with Buggy reveals, and I'm in.

How was your holiday, btw? Ours was fabulous, but you should all know I am a total fraud. I gave my kids everything they wanted for Christmas, and I got the Belkin TuneBase from my in-laws, so we were celebrating with stuff.

A lesser man would try to play that off as being "incarnational", but I can't force myself to go that low, and I'm calling it sanctification.

[#] 6-part harmony

1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

9The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

5For to which of the angels did God ever say,
    "You are my Son,
    today I have begotten you"?
    Or again,
    "I will be to him a father,
    and he shall be to me a son"?
6And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says,
    "Let all God's angels worship him."
7Of the angels he says,
    "He makes his angels winds,
    and his ministers a flame of fire."
8But of the Son he says,
    "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,
    the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.
    9You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
    therefore God, your God, has anointed you
    with the oil of gladness beyond your companions."
18Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.

26In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27to her. 28And he came to her and said, "Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!" 29But Mary was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end."

34And Mary said to the angel, "How will this be, since I am a virgin?"

35And the angel answered her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy--the Son of God. … 37For nothing will be impossible with God." 38And Mary said, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word."

19And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." 22All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
    23"Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
    and they shall call his name Immanuel" (which means, God with us).
24When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25but knew her not until she had given birth to a son.

1A decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

8And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. 10And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger." 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
    14"Glory to God in the highest,
    and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!"
15When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us." 16And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

21And at the end of eight days, when [the child] was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

1Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, 2saying, "Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him."

(they said this because the prophet Balaam saw that it pleased the LORD to bless Israel, and he did not go, as at other times, to look for omens, but set his face toward the wilderness. 2And Balaam lifted up his eyes and saw Israel camping tribe by tribe. And the Spirit of God came upon him, 3and he took up his discourse and said,
    17I see him, but not now;
    I behold him, but not near:
    a star shall come out of Jacob,
    and a scepter shall rise out of Israel;")
9After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.

Merry Christmas

Ain't no mountain high enough

Antonio has responded to the criticism of the third-party witness I had review his "lexical study", and while it would be entertaining to go through it line by line, let's just hit the high notes:

[1] Antonio makes it clear that he think BAGD makes the point that "psuche" can mean "temporal life". You know: nobody has said otherwise. The question is if it can mean "temporal life" in James 1:21, and BAGD and BDAG both make it clear what the answer to that question is. Saying so doesn't elevate one's view of BAGD or BDAG to that of "inspiration" as Antonio has intimated: it means that those of us who haven't spent our entire professional lives studying Greek ought to rely on reference material to help us become even marginally competant in dealing with that language.

[2] Antonio has overlooked the full force of the argument provided by the anonymous professor of Greek regarding his lexical study -- which is that Antonio's "study" has overlooked that the use of "psuche" and "sozo" subsequent to the writing of James tends toward the eternal perspective rather than the temporal. It's a point I made passively in my first response to Antonio's work: lexical range occurs in a historical context. One occurance happens in a continuum of usage. In that, even if (big "if") the use of "psuch" and "sozo" together in every case in LXX means "to save one's earthly life", that doesn't represent all of the uses of these words together, and it doesn't deal with the contextual issues of James 1:21.

[3] It's interesting that Antonio wants to use Poythress' work in the controversy over gender-inclusive language to advance the idea that BDAG is an unreliable source. See: if the argument he makes in this case is valid, he has a far bigger problem -- it can be turned against his own use of BDAG/BAGD to cast doubt on whether or not "psuche" means "temporal life". There is no relationship between the complaint Poythress makes and the argument that Antonio is making -- or rather, if there is, it is such a gigantic complaint that BDAG has to be abandoned as a lexical source as it is completely useless. If antonio is right, it's completely mired in personal preferences rather than in actual, academically-useful principles and conclusions.

In Antonio's argument, I am wrong, Bauer and Danker are wrong, the author of a widely-used textbook on koine Greek is wrong, and of course 95% of all readers of this passage are wrong. We cannot even call someone who agrees with us an "expert" without that statement gaining cynical admonition. Again, the reader of this exchange should think about what is more likely, and whether there are any subjects in which Antonio can admit he is wrong.

Seriously now ...

The Jolly Fat Man may hate me in spite of my defense of him, but CafePress has no mercy. Order today by midnight and choose overnight shipping, or wait 2 FULL WEEKS to get your order fulfilled.

2 WEEKS. That's crazy. I ordered something for a friend that I thought would get there but New Years, and it turns out it will barely be there by the Super Bowl. And I paid for that.

Who's naughty and who's nice now?

Dead Horse post mortem

You know, sometimes you get involved in a conversation or a debate and you start to think, "yes, I know I have all may facts straight, but you know what? This other person is so vehement and so adamant about his position that maybe I ought to check with somebody -- maybe I'm an idiot." So you check your work and the work of the other guy by calling in the big guns.

I have personal friends who could have checked my work in the Jodie/Antonio exchange, and they have offered me some suggestions in future exchanges which will be constructive. However, I took the matter of James 1:21 to a person who does not know me but is known as an expert in the field of Greek. I asked for his permission to use his comments in this matter for the purpose of furthering the discussion, and he said this:
Frank, I don't personally want to get embroiled in these debates because of the time commitment it would take. However, if you make it clear that what I'm saying is meant for you to use as you will rather than as a way to draw me into a discussion with GES, then it's fine to use.
Because I found his comments both helpful and insightful, I'm simply going to publish them here without exposition. I have held off on releasing his name out of respect for his wishes not to be drawn into this debate, but his comments are listed here without revision.

His response to Antonio's essay in James 1:21 goes like this:
One of the problems of the GES in defending their views from the LXX is that they don't seem to take into account theological development. In particular, the belief in the bodily resurrection and (thus, implicitly, the afterlife) doesn't appear explicitly until Daniel 12. Hence, any texts prior to the sixth century BC would not be relevant to the discussion. At the same time, there are several references listed in the LXX, three of which are in apocryphal works and thus late. This is of course useful information, but whether it is entirely relevant may be a different matter.

A critique, however, would be as follows: 1. The use of BAGD is myopic: although marshaled as an authority on each word, the author of the piece on Jas 1.21 does not look at what BAGD (let alone BDAG) says about the usage in Jas 1.21. There, the lexicon lists swvzw in Jas 1.21 as meaning "save/preserve from eternal death." So, is the GES author claiming that this lexicon is mistaken in its assessment? BDAG is remarkably objective; the authors have few axes to grind. Perhaps the error is on the part of the GES interpretation rather than on the part of everyone else.

2. The author did not look at the apostolic fathers. But on a theological trajectory, it is important to see how the expression was used in the Greek immediately after the NT was written by those who followed the teachings of the apostles. Further, in the AF the bodily resurrection and afterlife is already well established. Thus, apart from three instances in the LXX that come after Daniel, we might say that the usage seems to move in a different direction-toward salvation from hell. Cf. 2 Clem 13.1; 15.1; Barn 19.10; Shep 61.1.

3. Of course, in the rest of the NT we would expect to see the best parallels. To be sure, the phrase does refer at times to saving a person from physical death (cf. Mark 3.4 and parallel, Luke 6.9). But that seems hardly to be the force in Matt 16.25 and parallels (Mark 8.35; Luke 9.24): If someone loses his life he saves it: does this mean that if he loses his physical life he saves that? or does it mean that if he commits his life to the Lord it is eternally saved? Surely the latter is closer to the truth.

4. The reliance on Moulton-Milligan strikes me as myopic as well. Why should we expect to find treatments of eternal life and death in the non-literary papyri? (BTW, the author consistently misspelled papyri as papyrii.) If belief in the afterlife was not prominent among non-Christians (cf. 1 Thess 4.13), then should we expect the phrase to bear this meaning in their writings?

5. The collocation of 'save' with 'soul' and with other key terms used normally for eternal life and death matters is ignored by the GES. In Jas 5.20 we read "the one who turns a sinner back from his wandering path will save that person's soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins." Sinner, save, soul, death, sins are all terms that are theologically rich. Where else do we read of such a cluster of terms where only physical life is in view? This strikes me as the greatest single error of the GES in this matter: they refuse to look at the collocations in James when making their judgment. Of course, the cluster in Jas 2.14-26 that has almost a dozen verbal and conceptual parallels with Rom 3-4 is not to be missed in this discussion. That is way too many for a mere coincidence (as GES members would assert). There, 'soul' does not occur but 'save' does. Even by itself, the verb can often, especially in certain contexts, bear the sense of save from hell. To ignore all of the contextual clues and simply to look at statistics is hardly the way to do proper lexical research.
However, I am sure this will not be enough to clear my name from ill-repute among the Free Grace advocates. My hope is that the reader will benefit for the on-going exposition of the problems with this view.

Enough Already

My wife now has a new avatar, and it works retroactively so you people won't even be tempted to go back and commit your thought life sins by staring as a woman made of bronze wearing a purple one-piece.

Stop complaining.

Riddle me this

Watch this video, and then decide if your church ever presented a version of the Gospel this bold.

Let me tell you: this may not be perfect for the TRs out there, but I'll bet there are no TR churches that have put out a video and handed it out to people that is this short and to the point about the Gospel.

And notice: he didn't run off the cliff -- he walked down the stairs.

The Rat pack

"the cross is a stumbling block. But it's a stumbling block all by itself. It doesn't need us to make it seem more foolish or unacceptable to the unregenerate -- a statement which cuts both ways in this discussion."

I made this comment on my blog earlier this week, and a reader said that it bears some fleshing out – and I think he’s right, but I also think that it deserves some kind of context.

The context for me is this: I have this problem with lemmings. On the one hand there are the kind of lemmings who just do what they are told, and they will march over the cliff and into the rocky beach whether this is the crag under MTV point or the quarry at the base of Mount historical Institution. All lemmings, all going headlong to their deaths, and you can’t really stop them.

Did you know that this happens not because of a mass suicide instinct but because lemmings can’t see very well? That’s right: they can’t distinguish between a suicidal drop-off and a trickling brook, so they just march on out and hope for the best. It's a myth that they do it because they have a death instinct -- perpetuated by Disney of all places, but let's not get off-subject here.

So my problem with lemmings is not that they all march out to their deaths: it’s that there’s one lemming in the pack that probably could put a stop to things if he wasn’t so stupid as to demand that they keep going on.

You know: for example, I’m very much in favor of preaching the Gospel to lost people. Who wouldn’t be, really? I mean, if the Gospel is the power to save, and Jesus is the only way, what kind of jerk do you have to be to keep it to yourself? It’s the Gospel, and it cost you nothing, and you don’t deserve it, so maybe you should act like it matters to you.

So we go out to the lost – not just the guy next door, but the homeless guy in the park, and the meth addict who lives in a trailer park on the other side of the high school, and the single parent who has a kid who goes to school with your kid – and we start talking about this Jesus. Jesus saves, we say – he died for our sin in accordance with Scripture, and he was buried and raised from the dead in accordance with Scripture.

And it gets this luke-warm response, as if they expected music or an interpretive dance or something. So we try a movie – maybe the Jesus movie, or the Gospel of John (which I recommend, btw). And that gets one of these people to say, “I ... I think I need Jesus. Will you help me?”

So we help this person, and we think, “Wow – a movie worked good! Maybe I need a bigger screen so more people can watch it!” And we go out and buy a big Phillips plasma screen and a surround sound system and we renovate the living room so it seats 75.

Well, many people are polite about sitting through the movie, but not many come across – you get one or two a month who, like the meth addict or the homeless guy, need help and can get it from you, so they ask.

So you decide to go from the Gospel of John to the Passion of Christ – a global box-office smash. And after two showings, you have some people in tears apologizing for leaving church, and they say they want to help you get this movie out – this movie which shows Christ being torn to shreds with the lash, and shows the kind of humiliation he suffered on the cross. Some people even get sick watching it, but it seems like you are getting more people in to see it and you seem to have at least a steady stream of helpers, even if they change on a fairly-regular basis.

Well, after about 18 months, everyone in town has seen the Passion at your house, and now attendance is starting to fall off. And with attendance waning, your help is starting to get thin – because it’s not as exciting to serve popcorn to 5 people as it is to serve to a full living room.

So you decide to watch a few other movies, and you realize that if you give a little talk at the end of the movie, you could make any movie about the Gospel – almost. You can make the Matrix about the Gospel. You can make the Lion King about the Gospel. You can make V for Vendetta about the Gospel. You can make Cars about the Gospel. The Kill Bill trilogy seems to challenge you, but you have a 5 minute schtick on that, too. All kinds of movies, and if you spend 5 minutes at the end you can convince yourself that you are talking to people about the Gospel by offering them free movies at your house.

After about 2 months of that, the local video store guy comes to one of your screenings, and after the crowd breaks up he tells you that you’re putting him out of business with this free movie stuff, and if you don’t stop he’s going to report you to ASCAP for doing public performances of videos without being licensed. In your head, you think, “wow! Persecution! I’m being persecuted for the Gospel!” and you tell him, “I forgive you, because you don’t know what you’re doing, my friend,” and that just makes him angrier.

Your helpers see how angry he is, and they step in to defend you, but it turns out that the local owner of the 6-screen “plex” is also there and he takes the video guy’s side – you’re wrecking legit business in town by offering free movies, and you should back off because everyone’s got to eat.

In the span of a few weeks, suddenly the town is split into two sides: the side which says you’re doing God’s work by showing free movies (they don’t actually come – they just want to be there for Jesus), and the other side which really has a variety of reasons to say you’re just being a jerk – the fire department has questions about whether you can legally seat 75 in your house, the police have had complaints about parking in the street, some of the local pastors have a problem with your “Gospel” in that it seems to be somewhat empty of what the Bible teaches even though it is full of what these movies teach, and so on.

And in that, there is a stumbling block to the Gospel, and it’s not Christ on the Cross: it’s the method you have adopted by which you think you are doing “the Lord’s work”. And we go there as Lemmings, somehow unable to see that the first guy has already fallen to his death because this is a sheer cliff face and not just a dip into a creek. That first guy should have gone a little slower, but the second guy should see the first guy fall and put the brakes on.

Now, here’s the irony: some people are going to read this and say, “those unrighteous emergents! You tell ‘em, cent!” and others are going to say, “that unrighteous cent! Who is he to pass judgment on the emergents!” but my point is that this is really a problem with all of evangelidom today! That is: we have abandoned the offense of the Gospel for far more ridiculous offenses that keep us separated from the people who need the Gospel most.

The “emergents” are doing this, right? Let’s be honest – there aren’t any power-bloc SBC pastors who are writing books about how Jesus is like Neo: that’s an emergent thing. But there are plenty of SBC power-bloc pastors who are writing books which ought to be classed, at best, as contemporary historical fiction. They are demonizing all kinds of behaviors that the Bible doesn’t demonize, and at the same time they are fostering cultures in their own churches which the Bible does demonize because they have built bunkers and biospheres rather than cities on hills.

Calling Neo a kind of Jesus is an offense which drives away people who think they know better; calling every homosexual a participant in a vast godless conspiracy is equally wrong-headed and drives away those who are actually homosexual.

These things are stumbling blocks to the Gospel. These things place burdens on people which are not right – because they are placing unscriptural and unnecessary burdens and qualifications on the lost when Christ made it clear that He came for, and we should be going out to, the lost.

Yes: the Gospel ought to be foolishness to the Greek and a stumbling block to the Jew – but not because of a false religion we erect around it. The offense of Christ being a man who died a shameful death, but because He did exactly what the Father demanded of Him and agreed with the Father that it must be done He was able to take His life back up again, is enough. It is by far more than enough to keep the sinful hearts of men away – because it is not something which makes us look sexy or smart or politically savvy. It will make us the scum of the earth, the last among all men, if we live it completely.

But that offense is enough. The idolatry of making new offenses by being lemmings to our own innovations which have become traditions is not just an offense to men, and a stumbling block to them; it is an offense to God for which we must repent.

We must repent. We who are average people. We who usually vote Republican. We who went to college and decided that we think we know what social justice is all about. We who think that you can’t trust someone with money, and we who think you cannot trust someone unless they have a little money. We who have forgotten that hell is real and that Christ died to save us from hell, not to save us from being lower-middle class or possibly uneducated about the nuances of 20th century beat poetry. We who have made an idol out of evangelism and out of human kindness and out of the four walls of our church.

We must repent from placing stumbling blocks at the feet of those who are being called by God to Himself. Shame on us – woe unto us. We know what the warning sounds like: let us hear it right now in order that our households are not left barren and we are not left in the darkness when the Lord returns.

In that, line up behind the guy in front of you and be in the Lord's House with the Lord's people on the Lord's day this week. Sometimes its the right thing to just follow the crowd, and if you can't think of a better reason this week, that's good enough for now. Unless you live in Neosho, MO.


HeavyDluxe almost had a great idea for a t-shirt contest, but I put all the pieces together and here we are on a Thursday with 10 shopping days until Christmas unveiling a great end-of-year idea.

Who can tell me how fierce my wife is? Just how stunning and amazing is she? I was the one who said, "Don't mess with her or she'll take you out like cheap chinese," but who can top that?

Note: this is not an "insult" contest, but an "exalt" contest. Who can come up with the most stunning compliment for my wife as a one liner?

Contest begins now, and runs through the Friday before Christmas. We will read them all at my house on 12/24 and post a winner on Christmas day -- maybe the day after. Duplicate entries will be ignored; first one with a one-liner is the owner. Insults will be deleted; multiple insults will get banned. And no sexual inuendos -- keep it clean.

My wife is so hot, she's a cause of global warming. Let's see if you can do better.

9 minutes for the pay-off

The Robot says a word some people will complain about right after they find out the problem, but it's not a word you can't find in the KJV. When you find out what the problem is with the robot, you will know why I posted this video here.

I'm still crying I'm laughing so hard.

One other thing today

OK: BloggerBeta? Hot stuff -- but is says my CSS/HTML for the template is busted.

That's the exact word it used: busted.

How do I take a look at this thing in a neutral HTML editor to iron out the busted kinks?

The Power of Blogger

I ran into this series today, and it demonstrates two things for me.

[1] I must upgrade to the Blogger Beta. Immediately.

[2] The SBC is in for some serious discussions the next time it comes together. This series of posts from this young seminary instructor really deals with all the hollow, self-righteous rhetoric coming out of the "resurgent" generation. It's on the money and worth you time to read.

Nice to meet you, Nathan.

HT: Timmy Brister and Tom Ascol.

Justice and Money

I just read this as TCSDaily, and I think that maybe somebody ought to tell the economic justic wonks that somehow free markets are doing a good job of changing the world. You know: maybe it's not that the West is greedy but that the West has methods which take a little longer but do more long-term good in a society.

Teach a man to fish and all that.

The Premium of the Gospel

That’s a good question especially in America today where there is a desire to see our culture cleaned up at the moral/ethical level. I think Christians should put the premium on sharing the Gospel, knowing that without the Gospel, number 1, fruit isn’t likely to come, and number 2, if it comes, it isn’t Godly.

I mean, not to show a pornographic film in a High School English class is a good thing. That’s a good thing. But wouldn’t it be better if it was also a Godly thing.

I’ll give you a concrete example. When I think about pro-life strategies, I would rather see abortion minimized – become unthinkable – in the Twin Cities because five abortion clinic owners and administrators were saved and were going to Heaven because they believed the Gospel than to provide political constraints by victory in the Senate that shut their clinics down.

Now, I think both would be good. But the former would be so much better. So much better! Now Christians should be good at the first ‘cause nobody else can do it. Nobody else can save them. Anybody can be perhaps smart enough to manipulate the laws to get things constrained. But only Christians can save souls. Only Christians can produce the kind of non-abortion pro-life mindset that honors God, glorifies God. And that’s what we’re mainly about, so I would encourage Christians not to be delinquent about their engagement in cultural righteousness, but to put a premium on going about it through the Gospel.

John Piper, Desiring God Radio Podcast, 12/10/2006

That doesn't need any comments.

Dead Horse bone jewelry

This is how you know it's all over:

Great stocking stuffers for your friends at GES. I might be willing to give a free t-shirt to someone who could get a picture of Zane Hodges wearing one of these to post here at the blog -- a real picture of the real Hodges really wearing the shirt, no fauxtography, no photoshopping or other forgery.

On sale now at the Pawn Shop.

Grunge match

In an effort to boost traffic this week, I'm cross-posting this from the PulpitLive blog because it's a question I haven't seen worked out yet in this conflict. It deals with , but in a round-about way.

OK — as a guy “on the team” (I guess) who would agree with everything Dr. MacArthur wrote here, I have a question about this issue of engagement which I have not seen too many of the “emerging” types take up against their critics. And I offer it because I’m not sure I have an answer to the question, but I’m hoping that if Phil gets better soon, or Nathan is reading, or if Dr. MacArthur himself has a moment, there might be some interaction with this idea.

In Phillipians 1, Pauls writes this:
    12I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, 13so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. 14And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.

    15Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. 16The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.[ESV]
Paul’s perspective here is either confusing or shocking, especially given the strong language of the letter to the Galatians. He says, in effect, that as long as the actual Gospel is preached, the faults of the preachers ought to be overlooked. As long as Christ is proclaimed, even men who preach out of envy or rivalry (and one assumes this might also include vanity — the motive to be seen as one kind or another of man) should be rejoiced over.

On the one hand, I think this is a great rebuke to those who find "contenders" offensive and unloving. But on the other hand, I think it gives us "contenders" a moment of pause to think that perhaps someone like Driscoll — as long as his theology is not rank heresy — is allowed a certain degree of license.

Any comments about that?

Preparing for Christmas [6]

<< back to part 5

Since this is the last post in this series, let me say frankly that I think most people don’t care about this series of thoughts on what Christmas is all about – because it’s a bit much. You know: theology shouldn’t screw up our fun. The church (or Church, for some people) says we should have a feast day on Dec 25th, we can go to the local branch for a fixer-upper around 10 AM since we were up with the kids at 6 AM to open presents, and then the rest of the day can be a mix of naps and fighting over Phillips-head screwdrivers and AA-batteries. It’s family time, and that’s good enough for us, cent: would you please shut up about prostitutes and the wrath of God?

It’s funny because Linus makes the grave reading of Luke 2 for Charlie Brown and says, “That’s what it’s all about, Charlie Brown,” and we feel like something really important® has been said by Dollie Madison cakes and Coca-Cola. But Luke 2 isn’t in a vacuum. The matter of what happened on the night in question in the city of David when there was no room in the inn is not really about anything – unless there is something more to this child than a birth in poverty into an indifferent world.

I want you to think about something with me as we close this up. This matter of “God with us” is certainly a reason to rejoice – but in the same way that we have a different kind of party when someone retires than when someone has a birthday, the kind of rejoicing we ought to be doing is based on the kind of joy we are receiving or recognizing.

“The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!”, the angels said. Savior, Messiah, Lord.

You know, my wife doesn’t really understand my passion for Christmas because she is convinced that I am crazy – too involved in the matter of God (who deserves to be worshipped as three-times-Holy by these guys who are made out of fire and sing with a voice that puts guys like Isaiah and Elijah into fits of fear) being born as a baby so that my sins can be forgiven rather than counted against me as the kind of disobedience that it is. But when I read this story, I see the matter as one of a love which makes even my love for my children or my wife look somewhat tawdry and cheap. The humility of Christ makes me look worse.

Now, I could say, “it makes you look worse,” but you know what? That’s up to you to figure out. What makes Christmas an overwhelming occasion of joy is the contrast between this God Messiah Lord who will be born in blood, and filth, and be laid in a feeding trough when He deserves to have the astounding glory of Heaven holding Him, and me – the stupid little punk with a blog who cannot even love his family as he ought to. It is not just the glory of Christ which brings joy on Christmas: it is the glory of Christ overcoming the stupid little punk with a blog who cannot even love his family as he ought.

This is why keeping the wrath of God clearly in our minds is necessary at Christmas, and it defines the kind of rejoicing we ought to be doing. The kind of joy we can receive and we ought to receive in this season is the joy of God being with us – not as a pal, not as a chummy and chubby baby, not as a confidante, not as someone who merely suffers with us, but as Incarnate God who deserves our worship and our obedience.

The Gospel that Christ died for our sins in accordance with Scripture is not different at Christmas: it is utterly the point at Christmas. It is the moment when all the details of the Gospel are so vivid and demanding that if we only glance at them and then clean up all the wrapping paper, we have done harm to our own faith and to our love of God. Christmas says that the world is different now – and we are supposed to be different people because of it.

That’s not a lump of coal: that’s a clear, white diamond. And it’s not what you asked for: it is far more than you deserve. As you have 14 more shopping days until Christmas, remember that, and do more than complain about some secular business not saying, “Merry Christmas.” Do something worthy of this baby who allowed Himself to be born in a manger, but for whom the angels could not help but sing – because He is here with us, and we shouldn’t pretend that he’s like an ex-girlfriend with whom we broke up badly: we should treat Him as our beloved, because that is how He has treated us.

Let's be honest

You readers think that what I did all weekend was boggle over Antonio's post trying to find the best way possible to tell him, "um, did you read BDAG or are you only sleeping with it under your pillow?", and then of course polishing up the last installment of the Christmas series so that you may be properly edified.

Well, no. That's not what I was doing. What I was doing was trying to find a way to assuage the morality police over the surrogate picture of my wife which we will be seeing on the blog more often. It has actually kept me from doing other things because you know what? I'd rather talk about faulty exegesis and the real joy in the celebration of Christmas than whether or not an image from a comic book which passed the Comics Code is "porn" or not.

And what I intended to do was to post some alternatives today and let you readers vote, give my wife veto power, and be done with it. But those good intentions are completely out the door. There are no other pictures in all the world which better capture the real savage glory of my wife, who is actually this fierce and this awe-inspiring in real life. If you're jealous, that's your problem. It's a sin to be jealous. You deal with your sin, or my wife will come to your house and take you out like cheap chinese.

I'm skeert, buckwheat [2 of 2]

OK – where were we? Oh yes – BDAG and the use of lexicons. Well, here’s where I left off in Antonio’s statement, keeping in mind that I have unformatted the text for easier handling:
Moulton and Milligan in their /Vocabulary of the Greek Testament/ (pg 620) under "sozo" give /only/ temporal usages of the verb, of course including saving of the physical life (they even give an example where "psyche" is the object of "sozo"). There is not even one occurrence of a spiritual (let alone soteriological) usage of the word in all their findings.

BAGD (2nd Edition, 1958, pg 893), the standard Greek lexicon, gives the entries "of life on earth in its external, physical aspects" and "earthly life itself" for psyche (soul/life).
And this is where I have to put on the breaks. Listen – it’s one thing to use an interpretive grid to reinterpret almost two-dozen passages of the NT away from their meaning in context, but it is another altogether to do what is being done here.

It would probably be fun to describe what has been done here because there are all kinds of adjectives which come to mind. But instead of resorting to that kind of argumentation, I’m going to link to two files:

A scan of the paper BDAG entry of “psuche”

The BibleWorks BDAG entry for “psuche”

These are both in PDF format, and an alert reader from Australia had the audacity to send them to me. They are provided here for reference sake.

Does what you find in those copies of the entry of “psuche” seems a little, um, different than what Antonio has here provided? For example, in the BibleWorks version, the main definition [1] says, “life on earth in its animating aspect making bodily function possible”; main [2] says, “seat and center of the inner human life in its many and varied aspects, soul”; main [3] says, “an entity w. personhood, person”. There’s no doubt section [1b] says, “the condition of being alive, earthly life, life itself”, but look at how that differs from what Antonio has provided.

How would you, the reader, describe that difference? How do you think Antonio would describe it if he believed someone else was doing it?
Of great interest in James is 1:21:

Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls NKJV

This is the first instance of "sozo" in his epistle, and can give an indication of the type of "saving" he has in mind in the remainder.

We need to pay special attention to the phrase "save your souls".
I would agree with all of that, and also with the admonition that we ought to pay special attention to how Antonio pays attention to this verse – for example, does he treat it as a part of the whole body of what James has said to this point, or does he treat it like a verse we learn in AWANA which is disconnected from a context? Let’s find out.
It remains for scholars of historical theology to discern how this phrase ever became connected with the idea of deliverance from hell. It is never used that way in the Bible, and such an idea would have been foreign to any Jewish reader of the New Testament.
Well, this assertion was dealt with last time, wasn’t it? You know: there are at least 3 fellows who, in the advent of the coming of Christ see the work of the Messiah as soteriological prior to Paul’s rantings and ravings about such things. And Jesus said, for example, that Abraham saw His day and was glad – so even Abraham had the soteriological view in sight.

The paper by Lopez is the one which history of theology scholars will have some fun with – because it represents such a broad, um, failure to perceive that one has to wonder how it got published in the first place. Something must be happening in some specific movement to cause it to promote such a view when there are historical facts which easily overturn the idea that the OT presses no soteriological value into the idea of God’s salvation.
Because the meaning is definitely established from other passages, there is no reason to abandon it in the Epistle of James, no reason except the interests of Perseverance theology. Here we have a case where the Traditionalist meaning "deliver from hell," is absolutely without parallel in biblical or extra-biblical literature, and yet it is accepted as the starting point for understanding the meaning in James.
You know, as I was thinking about what I was going to write in this second-half response, I was pondering the value of the term Antonio uses here – “Traditionalist”. What does that word mean? It is supposed to be a pejorative label which says that somehow the advocates of the position Antonio is abhorring here are slaves of Tradition – that we only believe what we have been told to believe.

But let’s think about something here: it seems obvious to me – and I think to anyone who has read the PDFs, above – that the intervention of “Tradition” has not blinded the “Traditionalist” view but has in fact placed a blinder on the GES view. BDAG is unquestionably the primary lexical source Antonio ought to be using to make his case – but to use it at all, he has to, um, handle the BDAG entry for “psuche” in such a way that a significant part of it falls off. Then, having handled BDAG roughly, he has to elevate a piece of “scholarship” above the BDAG entry to cause the reader to think, “wow – everything I know is wrong”.

It is extraordinarily unlikely that everything you know is wrong. Moreover, one has to wonder why this argument was not the foundational argument in the Reformation rather than the 5 solas which actually did cause all the problems.

I’ll wear the badge of “traditionalist” proudly in this discussion because it turns out to be a case where tradition has something to say which is not merely traditional but based on evidence.
This phrase, "sozo" with "psyche" as its object ("save [your] souls"), is found eleven times in the Septuagint (LXX), */and in each case it has the notion of preserving one’s physical life./*

It is unfortunate that most interpreters of James are either unaware of this data or dismiss it as irrelevant. Whenever linguistic evidence of this type is ignored, faulty interpretation is almost inevitable.
The astute reader of this response will ask, “cent, why didn’t you just lump that part in with your previous part? My lunch is only 60 minutes, bro!”

The answer is simple: this is really the high water mark of Antonio’s, um, scholarship – because this is where he puts all his blocks in one stack for the sake of making his point.

Let’s think about this: BDAG says something different than he does about “psuche”, and the context of James 1:21 has been deftly omitted. Then a source of at-best obscure value blankets the OT’s view of salvation as merely-temporal, and to back that up Antonio lays on his truncated lexical assertion.

That’s a lot to swallow.

In order to bring you back to this universe where the text exists, here’s what James 1:21 says in context:
    12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.

    16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. 18 Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.

    19 So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; 20 for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

    21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
To keep things simple, I have used the NKJV rather that the ESV as we normally do here. In this passage, James has already established that the one who “endures” temptation is “approved” and received the “crown of life” [v.12] – and that we who were brought forth by God’s word are a “firstfruits” [v.18].

In that, whatever is happening in the “save your souls” is happening in the context of a soteriological statement about who we are and what will happen to us. It has nothing to do with an alleged misunderstanding of the Old Testament; it has nothing to do with a less-than-robust use of BDAG. It has everything to do with the fact that James is talking about the eternal consequences of faith in which we can have confidence today because of the immediate consequences of faith.

You can read all of Antonio’s notation on this passage as you see fit. He does not deal with this problem, and he does not overcome this problem.

UPDATED: Oh brother -- this is what I get for working from two sets of notes on this thing -- I forget Antonio's biggest mistake! Remember the links to BDAG I made, above? In the BibleWorks version, you can find this:
    d.as the seat and center of life that transcends the earthly (Pla., Phd. 28, 80ab; Paus. 4, 32,[greek text] Just., A I, 44, 9 [greek text] Ath. 27, 2 [greek text] Opp. Tat. 13, 1, who argues the state of the [text] before the final judgment
    and states that it is not immortal per se but experiences the fate of the body [greek text]. As such it can receive divine salvation [greek text] be saved,
    you and your soul Agr 5 (Unknown Sayings 61-64). [greek text] Js 1:21.
The underline there at the end I added -- but it turns out that BDAG says explicitly that James 1:21 is talking about a soul which transcends the Earthly. That's amazing, no? All that work, and BDAG simply says that James 1:21 is refering to a soul which is more than an Earthly thing which can therefore receive divine salvation. I am sure it's a problem with BDAG reading its theology into the text. Right, Antonio?

Let us now give consideration to this most important phrase:


The following references are every occurrence of phrases consisting of the Greek verb "sozo" (= "to deliver, save") with the Greek noun "psyche" (= "life, soul") as its object found within the Koine Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, called the Septuagint (LXX).

*Septuagint References (with any English Parallels)*

(1) Genesis 19:17 (2) Genesis 32:31 (= English Genesis 32:30) (3) 1 Kings 19:11 (= English 1 Samuel 19:11) (4) Amos 2:14 (5) Amos 2:15 (6) Job 33:28 (7) Psalms 71:13 (= English Psalms 72:13) (8) Jeremiah 31:6 (= English Jeremiah 48:6) (9) Psalms of Solomon 17:17 (= English Psalms of Solomon 17:19) (10) Judith 10:15 (11) 1 Maccabbees 9:9

*Word Study of Every Occurrence of "sozo" with "psyche" as its object in the LXX*

(1) Genesis 19:17 σωζε την σεαυτου ψυχην "Save (sozo) the life (psyche) of yourself!"

Genesis 19:17 So it came to pass, when they had brought them outside, that he said," Escape for your life! Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed." NKJV

The angels warned Lot and his family to flee from the temporal destruction of Sodom, so as to preserve their physical lives.

(2) Genesis 32:31 (= English Genesis 32:30) εσωθη μου η ψυχη "My life (psyche) was saved (sozo)."

Genesis 32:30 So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: "For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved." NKJV

After wrestling with God, Jacob called the place of his pugilism with the Angel of the Lord (a theophany) Peniel (meaning face to face) for he had seen God face to face and yet he did not physically die.

(3) 1 Kings 19:11 (= English 1 Samuel 19:11) σωσης την ψυχην σαυτου "Save (sozo) your life (psyche)."

1 Samuel 19:11 Saul also sent messengers to David's house to watch him and to kill him in the morning. And Michal, David's wife, told him, saying, "If you do not save your life tonight, tomorrow you will be killed." NKJV

Michal, David’s wife, said he must flee or physically die in the morning, so she sent him out the window.

(4) Amos 2:14 σωση την ψυχην αυτου "…will save (sozo) his life (psyche)."

Amos 2:14 Therefore flight shall perish from the swift, The strong shall not strengthen his power, Nor shall the mighty deliver himself; NKJV

Discussing God’s coming temporal wrath on the Northern Tribes of Israel, the Lord, during the reign of Jereboam II, pronounces through Amos that not even the ‘strong’ or ‘mighty’ shall be able to deliver themselves from the coming temporal calamities due to their unrighteous activities (see Amos 2:6-8).

(5) Amos 2:15 σωση την ψυχην αυτου "…will save (sozo) his life (psyche)."

Amos 2:15 He shall not stand who handles the bow, The swift of foot shall not escape, Nor shall he who rides a horse deliver himself. NKJV

Continuing from verse 14, The Lord, through Amos, relates that not even the fighting men of valor shall escape His judgment. See also note on Amos 2:14.

(6) Job 33:28 σωσον ψυχην μου "He will save (sozo) my life (psyche)"

Job 33:28 'He has redeemed my soul from going to the pit, And my life shall see the light.' NASB

In Elihu’s poetic and spirited speech to Job, Elihu relates that the man who repents, saying, "I have sinned, and perverted what is right, and it did not profit me" (Job 33:27) will be saved from the destructive principles of his sin. In both Job 33:18 and 33:22, we see that one’s experience with the "pit" is paralleled (remember that this is poetic parallelism) with physical death: "perishing by the sword" (v 18) and "draw[ing] near to the executioners" (v 22). "Pit" is used here figuratively, a euphemism, for the "grave," implying one’s bodily death (see any Hebrew lexicon for "shachath," Strongs #7845). See Psalms 30:9 and 55:23 for more substantiation on the figurative use of "pit" describing physical death. "Going down to the pit", the result of unrighteousness, is also contrasted with "flesh" being like a "child’s" (Job 33:25a) and a man returning unto "the days of his youth" (Job 33:25b). Also, cross-reference "see[ing] the light" of Job 33:28 (the result of one’s life being saved from death, the grave) and "be[ing] enlightened with the light of life" of Job 33:30 (the result of one’s life being turned from death, the grave). This is the result of the man’s repentance! Whereas unrighteous activity will bring one to death (see Proverbial literature after this word study), repentance will avert death and bring a meaningful life: "the light of life". Elihu’s rich and prosaic language should not be misunderstood! He is speaking to Job who is in the middle of a temporal and physical tragedy. Job’s friends believe that his physical infirmities are a result of his sin, and that he needs to repent so as to avert his temporal/physical demise.

(7) Psalms 71:13 (= English Psalms 72:13) και ψυχας πενητων σωσει "…and He shall save (sozo) [the] lives (psyche) of [the] needy."

Psalms 72:13 He will have compassion on the poor and needy, And the lives of the needy [H]e will save. NASB

Speaking of the Messiah, Solomon states that in His earthly reign that He will save from death the lives of the needy. Speaking of the same group of needy people, Solomon continues, "He will rescue their life from oppression and violence; And their blood will be precious in his sight" (Psalms 72:14).

(8) Jeremiah 31:6 (= English Jeremiah 48:6) σωσατε τας ψυχας υμων "Save (sozo) your lives (psyche)!"

Jeremiah 48:6 "Flee, save your lives! And be like the juniper in the wilderness." NKJV

The Lord, speaking through the prophet Jeremiah, speaks of the coming judgment on Moab, telling them to save their lives by fleeing, becoming like the juniper that "ekes out its stunted growth in the wilderness, hiding in crevices of rock" (Notes in the Nelson Study Bible, pg 1305).

(9) Psalms of Solomon 17:17 (= English Psalms of Solomon 17:19) σωθηναι ψυχας αυτων "To save (sozo) their lives (psyche)"

Psalms of Solomon 17:19 They wandered in deserts that their lives might be saved from harm, And precious in the eyes of them that lived abroad was any that escaped alive from them. Gray Translation, 1913

The writer of this Apocryphal book is speaking of righteous Jews who escaped from the hands of idolatrous Jews and pagans.

(10) Judith 10:15 σεσωκας την ψυχην σου "You have saved (sozo) your life (psyche)."

Judith 10:15 Thou hast saved thy life, in that thou hast hasted to come down to the presence of our lord: now therefore come to his tent, and some of us shall conduct thee, until they have delivered thee to his hands. KJV

Assyrian soldiers confronted Judith and because of her beauty and message they did not kill her, her message saved her life: "Now when the men heard her words, and beheld her countenance, they wondered greatly at her beauty, and said unto her" (Judith 10:14).

(11) 1 Maccabees 9:9 σωζωμεν τας εαυτων ψυχας "We should save (sozo) our lives (psyche)."

1 Maccabees 9:9 But they dehorted him, saying, We shall never be able: let us now rather save our lives, and hereafter we will return with our brethren, and fight against them: for we are but few. KJV

Judas Maccabbee has just exhorted the remnant of his army to go out in battle. Their reply was that they needed to flee so as to preserve their lives, regroup with their comrades, and then go fight. ----------

Moulton and Milligan, furthermore, (op. cit. pg 698) show that in the papyrii evidence (the Koine literature of the time) that the phrase "save a soul" continues to mean "save the physical life" (see section I.(b)). And they give examples on how psyche (soul) can mean physical life as well.
I think that I can safely stipulate all of these OT passages. For the sake of argument, I stipulate that they all say what Antonio says. They are not relevant to the book of James or the use of the phrase in this passage.

The sense of "saving the life" for ‘sozo’ and its object ‘psyche’ had become a bona-fide idiomatic expression in the Koine Greek. There are no biblical examples (and Moulton and Milligan, in their study of the existent papyrii evidence found no examples either) for the sense "deliverance from hell" for the aforementioned phrase.

Lordship Salvation and Reformed Soteriologists have not been careful to do the lexical research necessary to come to a solid interpretation, and have imported the present day understanding of "save the soul" into the text of James for support of their insupportable doctrine of the Perseverance of the Saints. They have imported their Perseverance theology into James destroying the practical and pastoral emphasis of the epistle.

Powerful evidence has been adduced to support the interpretation that James is discussing practical and temporal deliverance from calamitous trials, tribulations, and circumstances, including the physical death-dealing consequences of sin.

It is high time for a re-evaluation of the Epistle of James, and the linguistical study provided, should be a starting point.

Blessings and peace to all who endure in trials, being doers of the word, unto the preservation of their lives.

Antonio da Rosa
I leave it to the reader who has done lexical research and who has done something else. The relevant lexical data is available to review, above, and the context has also been reviewed, above. There’s no reason to qualify my rejection of his points with anything more than the firm assertion that he doesn’t even get the facts complete to make his point.

Thanks for reading, and we’ll get back to normal blogging as soon as the buzzing gets out of my ears ...

It's like an epidemic

I'm interrupting the interruption to point you at this which happened or is happening or will happen today as Kofi Annan finally ends his time at the U.N.

Listen: I'm not an expert at his level of corruption or exactly what he does in the first place. I don't understand the U.N. -- I admit it. What does it do? On what basis does it do it? Why would we want to listen to it? How does it advance either the interests of the United States or the interests of the Gospel -- which are not the same thing by any means.

I don't get the U.N. But I do understand this:
He said in the text that the U.S. has a special responsibility to the world because it continues to have extraordinary power.

Annan summed up five principles that he considers essential: collective responsibility, global solidarity, rule of law, mutual accountability and multilateralism.

He chose the Truman museum for his final major speech in part because it is dedicated to a president who was instrumental in the founding of the United Nations. His text repeatedly praised the Truman administration but never mentioned Bush by name.

"As President Truman said, 'The responsibility of the great states is to serve and not dominate the peoples of the world,'" Annan said.

"He believed strongly that henceforth security must be collective and indivisible. That was why, for instance, that he insisted when faced with aggression by North Korea against the South in 1950, on bringing the issue to the United Nations," Annan said.

"Against such threats as these, no nation can make itself secure by seeking supremacy over all others."
Let's be clear about something: what Annan is proposing is that men like Hugo Chavez and the demonstrably-insane Mahmoud Ahmadinejad be given the same right to determine the fate of the world as men like Tony Blair and George Bush.

If you think that's even a plausible way to run the world, think about something: Cindy Sheehan is not in jail, and she hasn't been denied her right to speak. Michael Moore isn't in jail or being tortured for objecting in the strongest terms to the policies of the president. And we just had a free election in which the minority party -- in a bloodless way which did not require the mobilization of any military force -- became the majority party, and the party which was overturned wasn't then lined up in front of the firing squad.

What Annan is on about here is a problem only in his collectivist mind -- because what ought to be happening in the world is that there ought to be fewer and fewer authoritarian and totalitarian governments, and the expansion of free markets and republican democracy ought to be bringing market forces to bear on problems like poverty, illiteracy, economic development and globalizing markets. But because quacks like Annan think that what it takes to run the world is a central home office where lunatics like, well, himself become "legit", free government, free markets and free ideas are simply put on-hold. "Sorry: you're the problem, not the solution even though we have to admit that you guys have extraordinary power. It must be because you have nuclear weapons and not because people have a right to life, liberty and property."

Guys like Annan want to grandstand on the AIDS epidemic, but what about the epidemic stupidity it takes to think that the U.N. is actually doing more for the world than, for example, WAL*MART is. And believe me: if there was a pill that WMT could sell which cures stupidity, it would sell it to everyone immediately -- but I am sure that Annan would find such a thing oppressive.

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.