Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:13-14)

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Response to Dr. Wallace's Objection, Part 2: Apostolic Fathers

This post continues the response to Dr. Daniel Wallace in his objections to my lexical study from the Septuagint concerning the phrase ‘save souls,’ which is the Greek ‘sozo’ (to save, deliver) and ‘psyche’ (soul, life) as its object.

The original lexical study can be found here:
Lordship Salvation’s ‘Notorious’ Error: Lexical Study ‘save your souls’ (James 1:21)

Dr. Wallace’s Objections can be found here:
Dr. Daniel B. Wallace hosted by Frank Turk

I have an addendum to part one of my response. Although we concluded that theological development is a non-issue in the ascertainment of phrase usage in the Koine Greek of the LXX and the New Testament, I must make a comment. Dr. Wallace, in his objection, had this to say:

“…the belief in the bodily resurrection and (thus, implicitly, the afterlife) doesn't appear explicitly until Daniel 12.”

The idea that the OT knows nothing of bodily resurrection until Daniel 12 is liberal malarkey.

Job 19:25-26
For I know that my Redeemer lives,
And He shall stand at last on the earth;
And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That in my flesh I shall see God

That is around 2,000 BC. Almost certainly Job is the oldest book in the Bible.

Furthermore, did not Abraham believe in the resurrection (Heb 11:19) and did not David understand resurrection as well (Acts 2:30)?

Before I begin this second part to my response, I wish to provide a short discussion on the Septuagint and its relevance.

The Lexical Value of the Septuagint

The study of the Septuagint for the purpose of New Testament Koine Greek lexical research is of incalculable value. The LXX is over three times larger than the New Testament containing an abundance of raw lexical data waiting to be analyzed. Since many of the Greek Words in the Septuagint are also used in the Greek New Testament, by studying the Septuagint Greek, one can glean wonderful insights not available by restricting one's study to the NT Greek. New Testament Greek Lexicons (including BDAG) rely heavily on the Septuagint to assemble the range of senses and usages for given words.

Henry Thackeray, following the conclusions of Adolf Deissmann, asserts that “the basis of the language of the Greek Bible [LXX] is the vernacular employed throughout the whole Greek-speaking world since the time of Alexander the Great” (A Grammar of the Old Testament in Greek, pg 26). Thackeray acknowledges a Hebrew element in the Septuagint, but rightly attributes it to a literal method of translation and not to some Jewish dialect. The Koine Greek of the LXX is fundamentally the Greek of the New Testament and that which was spoken during the time of Christ.

The following is taken from the International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia (or ISBE, as it is affectionately known), under ‘Septuagint,’ pg 2722 (emphasis mine):

Its importance is manysided… It is one of the outstanding results of the breaking-down of international barriers by the conquests of Alexander the Great and the dissemination of the Greek language, which were fraught with such vital consequences for the history of religion… Then came the most momentous event in its history, the starting-point of a new life; the translation was taken over from the Jews by the Christian church. It was the Bible of most writers of the New Testament. Not only are the majority of their express citations from Scripture borrowed from it, but their writings contain numerous reminiscences of its language. Its words are household words to them. It laid for them the foundations of a new religious terminology… Its language gives it another strong claim to recognition. Uncouth and unclassical as much of it appears, we now know that this is not wholly due to the hampering effects of translation. "Biblical Greek," once considered a distinct species, is now a rather discredited term. The hundreds of contemporary papyrus records (letters, business and legal documents, etc.) recently discovered in Egypt illustrate much of the vocabulary and grammar and go to show that many so-called "Hebraisms" were in truth integral parts of the koine, or "common language," i.e. the international form of Greek which, since the time of Alexander, replaced the old dialects, and of which the spoken Greek of today is the lineal descendant. The version was made for the populace and written in large measure in the language of their everyday life.

“The Septuagint enjoyed widespread use in the Hellenistic Jewish diaspora and even in Jerusalem, which had become a rather cosmopolitan (and therefore Greek-speaking) town. Both Philo [who lived in 1st Century B.C.] and Josephus [who lived in the 1st Century B.C.] show a reliance on the Septuagint in their citations of Jewish scripture” (Wikipaedia article).

“It [the LXX] was virtually the only form of the Old Testament in the hands of Jewish believers outside of Palestine, and it was certainly the only available form for Gentile converts to the Jewish or Christian faiths” (Gleason Archer, Old Testament Quotations in the New Testament, pg ix).

The Use of the Septuagint by New Testament Writers
The New Testament authors show a clear preference for the Septuagint in their quotations. Over two-thirds of the 320 quotations of the Old Testament in the New are taken from the Septuagint. Nearly 80% of Jesus Christ’s quotations from the OT are from the LXX.

Walter Kaiser (from The Uses of the Old Testament in the New):
“What text type does the NT prefer when citing the OT? The substantial majority of these quotes and allusions reflect the Septuagint” (pg 4).

“That the LXX was the principle Bible of the early church can hardly be refuted if one is to judge on the basis of the text form of the OT most frequently used throughout the entire NT in quotations.” (pg 5).

Brief Concluding Word on the Septuagint
Lexical data with the value of the Septuagint should not be ignored! It is disregarded at the expense of proper and acceptable hermeneutical principles. The Greek of the LXX is New Testament Greek and therefore provides a background and context for the words and usages in the NT. The Septuagint is richly filled with the ‘household words’ of ‘everyday life’ that were used throughout the Hellenized Roman Empire. The Jewish Christians addressed by James, who were profoundly familiar with the LXX, would understand the phrase “save your souls” in the conventional and common way in which it was used (specifically in the LXX, and universally in the Koine Greek language).

Reply to Dr. Wallace’s Objections

Dr. Wallace has stated:
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.

Preliminary Remarks: Functional and Practical Theological Uselessness of the Early Apostolic Fathers

Thomas F. Torrance, in his The Doctrine of Grace in the Apostolic Fathers (see pgs 137-141) – whose entire work is an inquiry into the literature of the apostolic fathers, that is to say, into the Didache of the Twelve Apostles, the First Epistle of Clement, the Epistles of Ignatius, the Epistle of Polycarp, the Epistle of Barnabas, the Shepherd of Hermas, and the Second Epistle of Clement (includes all the Patristic books that Wallace references), in order to discern how and why such a great divergence away from the teaching of the New Testament occurred in their understanding of salvation – concludes his research by saying: “In the Apostolic Fathers grace did not have [the] radical character [that it had in the New Testament]. The great presupposition of the Christian life, for them, was not a deed of decisive significance that cut across human life and set it on a wholly new basis grounded upon the self-giving of God. What took absolute precedence was God’s call to a new life in obedience to revealed truth. Grace, as far as it was grasped, was subsidiary to that. And so religion was thought of primarily in terms of man’s acts toward God, in the striving toward justification, much less in terms of God’s acts for man which put him in the right with God once and for all.”

Torrance continues, “In the Apostolic Fathers grace lost its radical character. They developed a doctrine of salvation by works of righteousness... A Christian ethic was codified, and the charismatic life under the constraining love of Christ [was] reduced to rules and precepts. The centre of gravity was shifted from the mainspring of the Christian life in the person of Christ Himself to the periphery of outward conformity and daily behaviour.”

“In the Apostolic Fathers grace became related to the continuance of the Christian life, rather than to the decisive motion of God's love as the presupposition of the whole Christian life... Grace became an ad hoc matter, an aid to the main work of sanctification, a donum superadditum. In other words, grace was something given by God to those who worthily strive after righteousness to enable them to attain their end [IOW, heaven]… Grace was taken under the wing of the Church in an official way...as the depository of pneumatic grace, dispensed in sacramentalist fashion. The Church...possessed the means of grace."

“What facilitated the syncretism of Judaism and Hellenism was the idea, common in principle to both, of self-justification, but it was Christianity which provided the sphere in which the two could come together, for as opposed to Hellenism it brought the principle of revelation, and as opposed to Judaism it did away with the ceremonial law. As opposed to both, the Gospel of Christianity was so astounding just because it taught a doctrine of justification by grace alone. This was unpalatable to both sides. Judaism refused to accept it because of its revolutionary character and its attitude to the law. Hellenism simply failed to see the New Testament problems. Both of these attitudes to grace are found in the Apostolic Fathers. Their theology represents a corrosion of the faith both from the side of Judaism and from the side of Hellenism, because the basic significance of grace was not grasped.”

The Apostolic Fathers significantly departed from apostolic teaching very quickly. The following errors are found in their writings:

A. Sacramentalism (including baptismal regeneration), which was a looking to the sacraments for salvation
B. Penance and satisfaction, or the idea that we may merit favor from God by our own good works including suffering for Christ
C. Asceticism, which was an unbiblical looking down upon "fleshly" appetites, and exalting of celibacy (not marrying) and poverty
D. Supererogation, or the man-made notion that one may somehow exceed the righteous demands of God
E. Episcopacy, or the erection of an unbiblical hierarchy with church officers other than the Apostolate instituted above the elders or overseers of local churches
F. Works-Salvation and Legalism, which is the addition of extra-biblical requirements or duties or distinctions regarding both salvation and the Christian life


How are we to put any stock into a study of the so-called Apostolic Fathers concerning the issue at hand when they strayed so far away from true Biblical doctrine? The way they understood the Bible should not be a factor in our study, for they obviously are not to be trusted in the area of expounding the biblical writers. To ask these writers what “save your souls” means could be likened to inquiring of a Jehovah’s Witness as to the nature of Christ’s resurrection.


I am not rejecting or avoiding a study of the so-called Apostolic Fathers and any other relevant contemporary data. In my next installment of this response, I intend to review and analyze all of Dr. Wallace’s Apostolic Father references, and will adduce much more contemporary evidence from the 1st and 2nd Century Christian writers, and from Josephus and others.


Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Another excellent and scholarly response.

December 29, 2006 2:40 AM  
Blogger Gojira said...

Well, I can't believe that I am fixing to do this.....

Although I am not in total agreement with you here (pertaining to the CF's), the first part of your post was simply awesome. Those were my thoughts exactly when I read the Dr.'s post. Then again, I am sure that someone will say that neither you nor I understood what he was saying. ;-)

But really, the first part of your post was an a ok rebuttal. There are some things that Wallace (I rarely call anyone "Dr." if they aren't M.D.s -- it's a bad habit I picked up from my older brother who has a Ph.D. -- except he calls it "piled high and deep") left out concerning the book of James and the earlier CF's, which I can email you about if you like.

As far as Torrance goes, he has some good points in his book, but his Barthinian influence is too much for me as I would say that it tainted his work.

Each of the six errors that you list arose at different times. Some were debated. For example... Ahhhhh, never mind, the part of your post concerning resurrection was spot on. You are to be commended for that, and I for one am glad to have read it.

Happy New Year, Antonio.

December 29, 2006 2:19 PM  
Blogger Gojira said...

Oh, forgot, what you wrote about the Septuagint was pretty good, too. Well, as many times as we have fought, let me just go ahead and be honest, it was pretty darn good.

Did you establish your overall argument concerning James? Not gonna say, and not gonna get into it. But I will say this: You did good. That is something that no one should try to take away from you.

December 29, 2006 2:25 PM  
Blogger bluecollar said...

Antonio, as I read Dr. Wallace..."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." Question: Did you pay any attention to Dr. Wallace in this sentence: "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."? "immediately after the NT was written" ,or "by those who followed the teachings of the apostles"... Seems like the Apostolic Fathers he is looking towards are of an earlier period than the ones you are looking at.

December 29, 2006 3:26 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Hey Doug,

quite an interesting avatar. Do you own a Godzilla sized kitty?

I really super appreciate your comments. That is one thing I have liked about you. As heated as we have gotten, you have always shown your graciousness and offered your encouragement when you found anything that I have offered to be of merit. I wish I could say the same for myself :(

I frankly was shocked that a great Greek scholar such as Wallace would put forth such a 'liberal' argument.

Torrance's book is filled with quotations and references that make his case. Some have thought that he made his case "too good". I have read some of the so-called Fathers as well, and I have come to the same conclusion as he.

The six errors I listed, granted, were not full-fledged in their writings. But in my research on this subject, I have found that they are all contained in the so-called Father's writings to one extend and degree or another. They all can be found in one capacity or another in them.

I believe that I have established some strong evidence for my position on James. Am I done? Don't bet on it!

Thanks for 'stomping' by!


PS: You have a happy New Year too! May it be a time of personal growth in holiness and intimacy with our Lord. I am making some drastic resolutions myself.

December 29, 2006 5:27 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...


thanks for coming by. I want to give you a compliment:

Where others of your theological persuasion do not tend to stick it out and continue discussions, you admirably persevere, making good contributions to the discourse. I appreciate that about you.

To answer your question, the Torrance book I quote from was written concerning the very 'Fathers' that Dr. Wallace References (i.e. Clement, Shepherd of Hermas, and Epistle of Barnabas).

I intend to look very closely at his references (and provide some of my own as well). We will also look at contemporary writers (such as Josephus) on how they used the phrase at hand. To the best of my ability, I will try to ferret out that phrase wherever it can be found in the Koine Greek era.

Thanks for looking on and your comments.

Happy New Year, Mark!


December 29, 2006 5:34 PM  
Blogger bluecollar said...

We both approach James 1:21 with presuppositions. I say that the phrase "the implanted word" gives us the clue that we should consider the parable of the sower in this mater. The seed sown on good ground bears fruit, some 30, some 60, some a 100. The word that saves the soul (Justification) is also that word that bears fruit (sanctification).

We all take into our newly saved lives wicked habbits and other sins. These are to be set aside in order for the implanted word to have its full effect, which is Christ-likeness. Looking at Romans 8:28-29 and also 1 John 3:2 it would seem that is the definition of eternal life - Christ-likeness. I believe that is what Paul strained for in Philippians 3:12-14.

Happy New Year!

December 29, 2006 7:14 PM  
Blogger Gojira said...

Hi Antonio,

Yeah, we've had moments. But I have always loved you in Christ, and I know it is returned.

But yeah, the more I think about it, the more I like this post of yours.

In my opinion, I was quite surprised to see Wallace want to use the Sheperd. Anybody concerned about Justification by Faith **ALONE** well.....I'll keep my thoughts to myself.

In this spot right here where I am typing this, I had something else. I went through each of the passages Wallace said to check. I demonstrated what I would say is an assumption on his part, that is, in each case, as far as the text critical goes, he has assumed the longer reading. I find that odd. However, I erased it all.

As I said, you gave a very good reply. It will be very interesting to see how this developes.

Ahhhh yes, the kitty. When the neighbor's Great Dane (a very handsome dog) gets a worried look when she sees the kitty (lil' Doober), I know that Godzilla is running skeert.

Blessings Antonio.

December 29, 2006 8:48 PM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Shame the cat is not a jazzycat.

December 30, 2006 6:33 AM  
Blogger Gojira said...

Yep, Antonio, I just checked again. In each instance, Wallace is assuming the longer reading, which may or may not be correct. It would depend on upon one's text critical views. And, since I somehow have the gift of ticking people off when I am not wanting to tick people off, allow me to say this with very great ease: Wallace has committed the fallacy of assuming the very thing he has yet to prove. But then again, he did take the Wright way in talking about the afterlife. Now there Wallace did something hugely...well, I was going to say stupid...well, let's just say that he confused subject catagories, which seems to be the way of the modern "scholar." (Bet you didn't know that he and I had a stomping interaction with each other before concerning...well perhaps I'll write about it one day.)

Happy New Year.

January 01, 2007 9:58 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Hey Gojira,

email me what you were alking about concerning Wallace and what he left out about James and the AF's.

I am looking into the AF's (and Josephus and Philo).

What I find is either they are talking about temporal salvation or works salvation. They aren't the clearest windows in the cathedral.


January 01, 2007 10:55 AM  
Blogger Gojira said...

"They aren't the clearest windows in the cathedral."

THAT WAS A GOOD ONE!!!!!!!!!!!

January 01, 2007 1:20 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Hey Douglas,

I am waiting for your email!


January 03, 2007 11:47 AM  
Blogger Jonathan Moorhead said...

Did you have Christmas at the "Free Grace Theology" blog?

January 06, 2007 8:35 AM  
Blogger H K Flynn said...

Antonio, Have you read Rene Lopez on the church fathers?

Great Post.

January 08, 2007 6:42 PM  

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