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Volume 4 No 1 Spring 1983 

Grace Theological Journal 

Published Semiannually by 

Grace Theological Seminary 

Winona Lake, IN 46590 

Editorial Board 
Homer A. Kent, Jr. Jerry Young E. William Male 

President President, Dean 

Board of Trustees 

Editorial Committee 

John C. Whitcomb John J. Davis 

Editor Assistant Editor 

D. Wayne Knife Charles R. Smith John A. Sproule 

Associate Editor, Associate Editor, Associate Editor, 

Old Testament Theology New Testament 

Production Committee 

James Eisenbraun Donald L. Fowler Weston W. Fields 

Managing Editor Book Review Editor Circulation 

Grace Theological Journal is published twice annually. Subscription rates are $9.50/ one 
year, $17.00/two years, $24.00/three years in the United States; foreign rates: $10.75/one 
year, $19.50/two years, $27.50/three years, payable in U.S. funds. 

Manuscripts for consideration should be sent in duplicate to Grace Theological 
Journal, Box 318, Grace Theological Seminary, Winona Lake, IN 46590. All articles 
should be type-written, double-spaced, on one side of the page only, and should 
conform to the requirements of the Journal of Biblical Literature style sheet; see JBL 
95 (1976) 331-46. One exception should be noted, namely, that G77 prefers the use of 
the original scripts for Greek and Hebrew, in contradiction to JBL. 

Inquiries concerning subscriptions should be addressed to Grace Theological Journal, 
Box 373, Grace Theological Seminary, Winona Lake, IN 46590. 

ISSN 0I98-666X. Copyright c 1983 Grace Theological Seminary. All rights reserved. 



Volume 4 No 1 Spring 1983 


A Fresh Look at 1 Corinthians 15:54: An Appeal 
for Evangelism or a Call to Purity? 3-14 


Weakness Language in Galatians 15-36 


Bibliotheca Sacra and Darwinism: An Analysis of 
the Nineteenth-Century Conflict Between Science 
and Theology 37-58 


The Semantic Range of the Article-Noun-Kai-Noun 

Plural Construction in the New Testament 59-84 


Contextualization in Missions: A Biblical and 
Theological Appraisal 85-107 


Creation Science and Modern Biology: A Review 
Article 109-117 


The Greek New Testament According to the 

Majority Text: A Review Article 119-126 


Decision Making and the Will of God: A Review 
Article 127-130 


Book Reviews 131-149 

Books Received 150-156 

Theses and Dissertations at Grace Theological 

Seminary, 1980 157-158 

Theses and Dissertations at Grace Theological 
Seminary, 1981 159-160 


David Alan Black 

Dept. of New Testament, Biola University, 13800 Biola Ave., 
La Mirada, CA 90639 

Richard W. Engle 

Dept. of Theology, Baptist Bible College and School of Theol- 
ogy, 538 Venard Road, Clarks Summit, PA 18411 

John D. Hannah 

Dept. of Historical Theology, Dallas Theological Seminary, 3909 
Swiss Ave., Dallas, TX 75204 

Homer A. Kent, Jr. 

President, Grace College and Theological Seminary, 200 Semi- 
nary Drive, Winona Lake, IN 46590 

Charles R. Smith 

Dept. of Theology, Grace Theological Seminary, 200 Seminary 
Drive, Winona Lake, IN 46590 

Daniel B. Wallace 

Dept. of New Testament Literature and Exegesis, Grace Theo- 
logical Seminary, 200 Seminary Drive, Winona Lake, IN 46590 

John C. Whitcomb 

Dept. of Theology, Grace Theological Seminary, 200 Seminary 
Drive, Winona Lake, IN 46590 

Grace Theological Journal 4.1 (1983) 3-14 





Homer A. Kent, Jr. 

The church at Corinth was tolerating serious doctrinal aberra- 
tions which were causing moral and spiritual difficulties in the 
congregation. Paul's challenge: "Awake to righteousness, and sin not: 
for some have not the knowledge of God. I speak this to your 
shame, " was a call to sober thinking. It urged a return to holy 
conduct, and a recognition that the presence of wrong doctrine was a 
shameful condition which must be rectified. 

ONE of the periodic discussions which has characterized the church 
focuses upon the inadequacies that we perceive about ourselves. 
Why aren't we growing? Why do we have conflicts? Why can't our 
programs be as exciting and effective as they used to be? Before long 
we concentrate so heavily upon the problems that we forget our main 
business. In our very concern to find reasons for our lack of growth, 
our negativism makes us even more unattractive to the world we want 
to reach. 

Not only that, but focusing on our problems can so easily make 
us lose perspective. "All is lost." "Things have never been this bad 
before." "It's a different world now. There are no biblical precedents 
or helps for us. We need a new program, a new formula, new 
approaches, new leaders." These are the things we tell ourselves. 

But a careful study of the Bible makes it sound strangely 
familiar. Consider the congregation of the Christians at Corinth. 
Here was a church that was founded on pure doctrine by an apostle. 
It counted some very able people in its membership. Priscilla and 
Aquila had been there from the beginning of the work. There was 
Crispus, a man of recognized integrity and leadership so that he had 
been made ruler of the Jewish synagogue in the city. His conversion 
to Christ and the Christian faith led him and his household into the 


new church at Corinth. The same thing seems to have happened with 
Sosthenes, the successor to Crispus at the synagogue. Then there was 
Gaius, whose gracious hospitality at Corinth made Paul's ministry 
more pleasant (Rom 16:23). Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus 
were likewise stalwart Christians with roots at Corinth. 

The church at Corinth had also known some great Bible teachers. 
Paul and Silas and Apollos had extended ministries there. Timothy 
and Titus were no strangers to that congregation. Furthermore, this 
church had witnessed some remarkable conversions and transformed 
lives. Some of their members had once been idolaters, adulterers, 
homosexuals, thieves, drunkards, and swindlers before they had been 
transformed by the saving work of Jesus Christ (1 Cor 6:9-11). 

The church was located in a strategic spot — a commercial and 
transportation center, bustling with human activity, and desperately 
in need of moral and spiritual direction. 

In spite of these advantages, the health of the church at Corinth 
was far from perfect. The congregation had conflicts and divisions 
which threatened its growth and effectiveness. Apollos, Peter, and 
Paul had their partisans, and then of course, there were the "super 
spiritual" who claimed no toleration for anyone except Christ alone. 

They began to look inward instead of at the whole body of 
Christ. Because they were more concerned about their own parochial 
interests, Paul had great difficulty in getting them to cooperate with 
other gentile churches in raising a substantial collection for their 
Jewish Christian brethren in Judea. 

Furthermore, they started questioning their leadership. Such 
questions as these must have arisen: "Why aren't our local leaders as 
eloquent as Apollos, or as dynamic as Peter, or as logical as Paul?" 
Dissatisfaction with their leaders led to disregard for the instruction 
they had been given by those leaders. They began to compromise 
their moral and spiritual standards. They were exceedingly tolerant of 
sin in their midst and were becoming lax in their own spiritual lives. 

Even some of the basic doctrines of the Christian faith were 
being attacked. Prominent among these was the doctrine of physical 
resurrection. Implications of their wavering commitment were frighten- 
ing to the apostle, and he devoted a significant portion of his epistle 
to a ringing call to reaffirm their faith. 

All we need to do is change a few names and addresses, and the 
situation is very contemporary. And if we believe the Bible is our rule 
for faith and practice, then it surely has something to say to us. 

How do you suppose Paul felt about the church at Corinth? 
Frustrated? Undoubtedly. Irritated? Sometimes. Deeply disappointed? 
No question about it. But he never gave way to total despair. His 
attitude was: "We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this 


all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard 
pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed but not in despair; 
persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed" 
(2 Cor 4:7-9 NIV). 

That is the challenge: to maintain a balanced view; to be thanking 
God for accomplishments; to recognize needs and problems; to deal 
with failures while staying encouraged. 

Paul managed to do it, but it was no easy task. Take a moment 
to analyze the Corinthian church from Paul's standpoint. Why should 
he have expected a church to begin and flourish in Corinth? It was a 
busy commercial center, not much given to contemplation or to the 
spiritual values of man and his destiny. It was a city with no apparent 
lack of religion. Today's visitor can inspect the impressive ruins of the 
temple of Apollo and the sites of other temples and not fail to be 
awed by the historical references to the temple of Aphrodite which 
crowned the heights of acrocorinth, just beyond the city. To the 
superficial observer, there would have seemed to be no need for 
another faith. 

Yet when one searches deeper, there were some tremendous 
reasons, and Paul found them. The largely transient population left a 
spiritual void that cried out to be filled. Pagan religion, prevalent 
though it was, was either meaningless or corrupting. Immorality was 
rampant. Materialism was paramount. In such a city, Paul preached 
the gospel of the grace of God as revealed in Jesus Christ, and a 
church was founded. 

But that church was now in trouble. When Paul wrote the 15th 
chapter of 1 Corinthians, he was grappling with their confusion over 
the great truth of resurrection. Some were denying that Christians 
could look forward to a literal resurrection (v 12). Some were actually 
denying the reality of any kind of resurrection, thus implying that 
Christ himself had not been raised (v 13). Some apparently rejected 
the whole idea because they could not explain what sort of body a 
resurrected person would have (v 35). Greek philosophy and con- 
temporary culture had a stranglehold on their thinking. 

The implications of that doctrinal confusion were frightening. It 
was not a matter of theological hair-splitting. Rather, it was a 
wavering before one of the foundational truths of the Christian faith. 
To question the very principle of resurrection was to deny the validity 
of Christ's resurrection (v 13). Their faith would be worthless, a 
dream without substance (w 14,17). Paul's preaching would be based 
upon falsehood (v 15). Christians who had died would have perished 
forever (v 18). There would be no hope beyond the present life (v 19). 
Earthly and temporal pleasures would be man's only satisfaction 
(V 32). 


Against the backdrop of this potentially disastrous situation, 
Paul issued the ringing challenge: "Awake to righteousness, and sin 
not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your 
shame" (I Cor 15:34). The advice he gave is just as momentous today. 
If Christians are to fulfill their role in the light of the commission 
which the Lord Jesus Christ gave, these words of Paul can provide 
insight that may prove to be crucial if success is to follow. 


Meaning of the Term 

In the stirring words of the KJV, Paul's challenge is rendered: 
"Awake to righteousness." NASB treats the verb as "become sober- 
minded." NIV translates it: "Come back to your senses." This verb 
used by Paul occurs nowhere else in the NT. However, it belongs to a 
word group that is represented nine other times. The word is actually 
used in two ways. Its basic meaning is to become sober, whether 
physically from a condition of drunkenness, or metaphorically from 
intoxication with one's own thoughts. Its other meaning is to awake 
out of sleep. 

Clearly, in the Corinthian letter, the meaning in view is a 
soberness of mind, the opposite of mental fuzziness. The readers are 
urged to be on guard against mental or spiritual intoxication from 
their own thoughts about life and death — thoughts which are not 
God's thoughts. It is probably significant that every other occurrence 
of the cognate verb in the NT is used in a context where the reader is 
being urged to think rightly about the coming of Christ, the resurrec- 
tion, or the life to come. When Paul wrote to the Thessalonians about 
Christ's return, he said, "Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but 
let us watch, and be sober'" (1 Thes 5:6). "Let us who are of the day, 
be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for a 
helmet, the hope of salvation" (1 Thes 5:8). As he warned Timothy in 
the light of Christ's coming kingdom, he said, "But watch thou in all 
things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist" (2 Tim 4:5). 
Peter used the same word: "wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, 
be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto 
you at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1 Pet 1:13). He also said, "But 
the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto 
prayer" (I Pet 4:7). And after reminding his readers that Christ, the 
Chief Shepherd, will appear, he urged them to ''be sober, be vigilant 
because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about" 
(I Pet 5:8). 

Thus Paul's point in this letter to the Corinthians is that believers 
must be thinking clearly, not fuzzily, not with confusion, or befuddle- 


ment, or intoxication. Their minds must be alert, functioning prop- 
erly, and focused on the crucial issues. 

Implications in the Context 

What did this command imply to those original readers? The 
theme of this part of the epistle is clear. Paul was discussing the 
resurrection. The readers were being told to be sober-minded in 
contrast to wrong thinking in denying the resurrection. To develop 
merely an emotional attachment or loyalty to some outstanding 
speaker, without thinking clearly through his teaching, was poten- 
tially disastrous. They were being called to think straight. The reality 
of the believer's resurrection must be clearly understood, not just as 
part of a recited creed, but as part of their mental process. If so, it 
would condition whatever they did. 

Furthermore, it is implied that they were already somewhat 
intoxicated in their minds. They were commanded to "sober up." Too 
much wrong teaching had already clouded their minds. They had not 
gone so far as to apply logically all the ramifications that denial of 
resurrection involved, but Paul told them they were on the way, and 
the end would be disaster. 

It is also clear that the Corinthian readers needed to guard 
themselves against moral contagion from those deniers of the literal 
fulfillment of the scriptural promise of resurrection. If they continued 
to associate with those who denied resurrection, the very underpin- 
nings of morality would be cut away. The "bad company" of those 
teachers of error would "corrupt good morals" (v 33). It would not 
take long until the weakening of their future blessed hope would 
bring the converse emphasis upon the present sensual and material 
life, and the inevitable philosophy would take over, "Let us eat and 
drink, for tomorrow we die" (v 32). 

The Truth for the Church 

What is the truth from this passage for the church today? Surely 
it is clear that unrighteous living is the product of improper thinking, 
and Scripture calls it spiritual drunkenness. It is an aberration. It is 
contrary to that renewing of the mind which regeneration has secured 
for us. It means that fuzziness, befuddlement, or downright insensi- 
tivity has taken the place of the Spirit-filled intelligence which God 
has made possible for his children. 

In addition, the passage indicates that spiritual sobriety is not 
just optional; it is commanded. This statement leaves no room for the 
notion that Christians are given the option of how doctrinally correct 
and how morally pure they wish to be. The only choice is to obey 


God's word or disobey it. If Christ is one's Lord and Master, then the 
response to follow his instruction was settled long ago. 

Furthermore, the passage is clear that one's mindset is the key to 
the matter. "Become sober-minded" is the command. It is easy to 
become mentally befuddled. All too often Christians have been led 
astray by that curious and non-scriptural dichotomy of "head versus 
heart" and have drawn the strange conclusion that one can trust his 
"heart" but not his "head." The Bible most often uses those terms 
interchangeably: "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he" (Prov 
23:7). When believers fail to focus their thinking on the teaching of 
the Word of God, they are in danger of mental and spiritual drunken- 
ness, useless to themselves, and a disgrace to the cause of Christ. 

Finally, the truth should be obvious that contamination from 
others within and outside the church continues to blunt the impact 
that Christians should be making on their world. Wrong thinking 
leads to wrong doing, and this in turn blurs our witness, destroys our 
integrity, and makes Christ's transforming power invisible to an 
unbelieving world. 

77?^ Manner of Compliance 

One additional matter in this opening clause calls for special 
comment. The common rendering "awake unto righteousness" states 
the goal or content of this spiritual awakening. In fact, however, this 
is not the most accurate way of translating these words. Paul actually 
used an adverb which means "rightly, justly, properly." He was not 
naming the object of their sober thinking, but the manner in which 
they were to carry it out. It is the same usage as is found in Luke 
23:41, where one of the crucified thieves commented on the appropri- 
ateness of their punishment and used the identical word: "and we 
indeed justly." He meant that is was the proper sentence for their 
crimes. Thus the NASB translates our verse: "become sober-minded 
as you ought." The NIV renders similarly: "Come back to your senses 
as you ought." 

In the context, therefore, the sense is that there was a proper 
mindset which they ought to have regarding the resurrection. There 
was a standard whereby their thinking could be measured, and they 
were as erratic as drunkards if they failed to measure up. That 
standard was the truth of apostolic teaching and the whole context of 
biblical revelation. They had heard the gospel of a risen Christ and of 
regeneration which they could acquire. At one time in their lives the 
Holy Spirit had opened their eyes to enable them to grasp the truth of 
the new birth, eternal life, and resurrection. There was really no 
excuse for their present confusion except their own imbibing of 
contradictory teaching. That some of them had drunk too deeply of 


doubtful doctrine was becoming painfully obvious to others. They 
needed to return to the standard of the Word of God and its 
revelation to them. No longer must they let themselves be captivated 
by the appeal of a spellbinder. As residents of Corinth, they had 
heard many a Greek orator in the theater or the marketplace, and 
should have known full well that mere eloquence or charisma was no 
guarantee of truth. They must not be so willing to adopt the latest 
fad or be influenced by contemporary morality. "Sober-minded as 
you ought" meant they were obligated to think in harmony with that 
apostolic teaching which they had received. 

People don't like the word "ought" very much. They didn't like it 
in first-century Corinth. Neither do we like it in twentieth-century 
America. Even Christians struggle with the concept. We love the 
Scriptures which tell us that Christ has set us free; that we are not 
under a yoke of bondage; that we are not under law but grace. When 
it is suggested that there are modes of conduct that Christians are 
obligated to follow, some will protest such ideas as nonsense, or old 
fashioned, or legalism, and proudly call themselves liberated. How 
easy it is to forget that the same apostle who said that "Christ has set 
us free" (Gal 5:1) also commanded us to "fulfill the law of Christ" 
(Gal 6:2). In the words of our text, we ought to be sober-minded. We 
are obligated by our Christian commitment to have the right mindset 
toward spiritual truth. It is not just a piece of helpful advice — well- 
meant, but optional. It is our solemn responsibility. "Become sober- 
minded as you ought." There is a Christian propriety, and it is based 
upon the Word of God. 


There is a second implication in our text. It tells us that there is a 
hoUness that is expected in our lives. 

"Stop sinning" is the command. Its close connection with the 
previous command may suggest the particular sort of sinning the 
apostle had in mind. 

Meaning of the Term 

There are various words in the Bible that describe man's violation 
of the will of God. The one used here is the commonest one in the 
NT and the one with the broadest meaning. It describes sin as a 
missing of God's desire for our lives. The parallelism employed in 
Rom 3:23 helps us understand its meaning: "All have sinned and 
come short of the glory of God." We have missed the goal which men 
made in the image of God should have been aiming at. We have 
failed to fulfill God's will. We have fallen short of the expectations of 
a holy God. 


Now this term for sin is the broadest one in the NT and 
embraces most of the aspects which the other words for sin empha- 
size. For example, there are NT terms for sin which emphasize 
transgressing, unrighteousness, and lawlessness. 1 John 3:4, however, 
says that "everyone who doeth sin (our word in 1 Cor 15:34) doeth 
also lawlessness (dvo|aia), and sin is lawlessness." 

The use of the negative with this particular form of the verb tells 
the readers that they are not to continue engaging in their present 
practice. Usually it means to stop doing what one is now doing. The 
simple rendering "sin not" of the common version, is rendered a bit 
more precisely by the "stop sinning" of the NASB and NIV. 

The two verbs in this part of our verse could well be understood 
like this: "Come to your senses and do not continue to sin." The 
readers are challenged to think straight and live accordingly. 

The Context 

This verse has often been used as a general admonition for 
Christians in almost any circumstance. Surely its application is appro- 
priate to all believers in every situation. Every Christian ought to 
think clearly and live in holiness. 

Paul, however, gave these commands in the midst of a specific 
discussion. He was talking about a particular doctrinal error at 
Corinth in which some were denying the resurrection. Failure to 
believe the teaching which God had sent them through his apostle 
indicated their cloudy thinking, and was in turn a falling short of 
what God expected. It was sinning and they needed to get rid of it. 

Furthermore, Paul has explained that failure to grasp the truth 
of resurrection would inevitably lead to a substitution of materialism 
and self-indulgence for the spiritual values that should be motivating 
believers. The philosophy of "eat and drink for tomorrow we die" 
would soon take over. Paul reminds us that life is interwoven. What 
we think determines what we do. We live the way we do because of 
the mindset we have. At Corinth the deviant views on the doctrine of 
resurrection were not just harmless philosophical speculations. They 
had a direct connection with the purity of their lives. To abandon 
apostolic teaching was to pursue a course of sin. It was to live in 
direct defiance of the command of the Word of God. 

A Mark of Immaturity 

The Bible says that sin in the lives of Christians is one of the 
marks of spiritual immaturity. Paul had already called the Corin- 
thians "carnal" because they had allowed the superficial, the temporal, 
and the cultural to dominate them. In the Epistle to the Hebrews, 


maturity is explained as the ability to discern good and evil (5:1 1-14). 
One's knowledge of the word of righteousness — God's Word — enables 
the believer to acquire God's standards, so that he can choose the 
good and shun the evil. And this is no mere option. Spiritual growth 
must take place. If it doesn't there is something terribly wrong. 
Spiritual immaturity is not just disappointing in the lives of Chris- 
tians. Paul says it is sin and calls upon us to get rid of it. 


The passage concludes with the sober words that carry with them 
a great challenge to the church. "For some have not the knowledge of 
God: I speak this to your shame." This statement is often applied to 
the great need of lost mankind for the gospel. The fact that millions 
of men and women are ignorant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ, 
some in lands beyond the seas and others in our own communities, is 
a matter that ought to shame us if we are doing nothing about it. 
When Paul wrote these words, however, he was not talking about 
evangelizing pagans, but about correcting wrong doctrine. The point 
of the statement was not primarily outreach, but purity. He was 
warning them of the abysmal ignorance of God on the part of those 
who had infiltrated their church and were upsetting their faith. 

Existing Situations in the Church Are Often Less than Ideal 

These words serve as a reminder to us that existing situations in 
the church are not always ideal. Our verse speaks of "some" who are 
without knowledge of God. Presumably these are the "some" first 
mentioned in v 12, "some among you say that there is no resurrection 
of the dead." They were not pagan citizens of the city, but certain 
ones in the church. They had promoted a culturally-conditioned 
theology which denied literal resurrection. The outcome was that 
emphasis was transferred from a future life to the present one. "Let us 
eat and drink, for tomorrow we die" (v 32). Moral decline had 
followed. Holiness of life did not seem very important. Separation 
from sin was ignored. "Bad company corrupts good character" was 
Paul's concise evaluation (NIV, v 33). 

Earlier Paul had said that he didn't expect the Corinthians to 
have no contact with unbelievers, for that would have required a 
physical departure from the world (5:10). He did not forbid them 
from joining pagan friends at dinner (10:27). But to cultivate bad 
company and take pleasure in it was another matter. The "bad 
company" in this passage seems to be inside the church. The danger 
Paul feared was the growth of spiritual contamination from those 
who were spiritually sick or dead. Tolerating false doctrine was 


exposing the rest of the church to the infection of moral and 
theological disease. On another occasion Paul spoke of false teaching 
as spreading like gangrene (2 Tim 2:17). Ignorance of God and his 
word exists not only outside the church. At Corinth, it existed inside 
as well. 

Surely the church of today has reason to heed the counsel of the 
passage. It is no great surprise to find churches where some lives are 
not honoring God; where some are joining with those who are more 
concerned with personal gratification and enjoyment of this present 
world than they are with spiritual goals and present sacrifice; where 
some are really without the knowledge of God, his holy character, 
and his will for his children. 

Some Less-Than- Ideal Situations Are Positively Shameful 

"I speak this to your shame." At Corinth, it was shameful 
because it was contrary to what the church had been taught. They 
knew better, and thus they were without excuse. Christ had risen 
from the dead. He had taught his followers that a day was coming 
when those who were in the grave would hear his voice and come 
forth in resurrection (John 5:28-29). To believe or to teach otherwise 
was a clear repudiation of the truth implicit in the gospel. 

Furthermore, the situation at Corinth was shameful because the 
church was tolerating this false teaching. By letting this "bad com- 
pany" exist in their congregation, they were implying that it didn't 
matter; that doctrine was less important than more "practical" mat- 
ters. In so doing, they were virtually joining forces with those who 
were ignorant of God and his revelation. 

In addition, it was shameful because it was leading the church 
into impure living. The Corinthians knew perfectly well the standards 
expected of a child of God. Their former lives had been recognized as 
sin. The new life in Christ had been startling in its contrasts. As new 
converts they had revelled in the fact that their guilt before God had 
been cleansed and that their sordid lives had been transformed. But 
now they had allowed a situation to develop in their church in which 
spiritual values were being subordinated to material and temporal 

It is one thing to acknowledge that local churches are less than 
perfect. It is far more serious when we learn to be at ease with 
impurity in our midst. Within Christianity today, we can find almost 
every sin known in the world being tolerated in some congregation. 
There are congregations consisting of practicing homosexuals. There 
are churches where adultery is so commonplace that partners ex- 
change mates and all parties continue in good standing in the same 


congregation. Surely Paul would term this sort of thing an absence of 
the knowledge of God and a matter that ought to cause us shame. 

Paul's Challenge Was to Grasp the Truth, Decide to Obey It, and 
Then Put It into Operation 

If this challenge was needed at Corinth, and none will deny that 
it was, it is surely needed today. There is still great ignorance of God, 
not only in our communities, our nation, and in the regions beyond, 
but also as at Corinth in our churches. I am convinced that there is 
not nearly as much understanding of biblical truth as the average 
Christian thinks he has. I have often heard it said that most Christians 
already know enough doctrine; they just need to put it to work. I 
would like to counter that notion by insisting that the reason we are 
not "putting it to work" is because far too many of us don't 
understand God's truth all that well. When we really have the 
knowledge of God and his program, it will grip our minds and propel 
us into appropriate living. Those who have really come to "the 
knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Cor 4:6) 
have no problem deciding to obey it. Our attitude, our mindset is 
what Paul is appealing to. We can decide to do it. We must never 
allow anything else, no matter how temporarily attractive, to sidetrack 
us from the emphasis upon the Word of God — his revelation to us, 
the instrument by which we know God and avoid the problems Paul 
was warning the church against. 

This challenge is just as relevant to us as to Corinth. We too are 
finding that the people in our churches are not exhibiting much 
distinction from the world. The continual pressure from our culture, 
which through the astounding effectiveness of the news and entertain- 
ment media has injected its influence into every home, has blurred 
our distinctiveness. Christians are not easily recognizable any longer 
by the things they do or don't do. The need is not for arbitrary, 
legalistic taboos, but for intelligent, meaningful discernment followed 
by consistent choices of what is right, not only on Sundays, but every 
day of the week. "Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop 
sinning" is a challenge every Christian should take to heart. 

Finally, this challenge to make up our minds to do the will of 
God carries with it the need for sensitivity to the condition of others, 
both inside and outside the church. "Some have not the knowledge of 
God." There are those in our neighborhoods who live in spiritual 
darkness and need to be reached by godly Christians whose lives 
manifest the transforming grace of God. There are those in other 
cities whose veneer of sophistication in so-called Christian America 
really masks a hopeless groping for meaningful lives that is doomed 


to failure unless God's people share their knowledge of God. But 
there are even some within our churches who have the kind of 
ignorance of God Paul was speaking of here: their knowledge of his 
truth is minimal. They have never been sufficiently challenged or 
effectively taught. 

Paul's desire for his readers is still relevant: that each of us will 
be so captivated by what God has done for us in Christ, and by what 
he has planned for us as revealed in Scripture, that it will make a 
difference in our lives; that it will lift our eyes to spiritual goals; that 
the world's values will be less attractive; and that our excitement over 
what new life in Christ really means will make us sensitive to others 
whose greatest need is the knowledge of God. 

Grace Theological Journal 4.1 (1983) 15-36 


David Alan Black 

The Apostle Paul can rightly be regarded as "the Theologian of 
Weakness. " Yet Paul's theology of weakness developed in a dynamic 
fashion in response to the situations facing him, and his particular 
formulations are consistently adapted and designed to meet particular 
issues at hand. Nowhere is this more clearly seen than in those letters 
in which the apostle finds himself forced to answer the criticisms of 
his opponents regarding his own weakness (Galatians and 1 and 
2 Corinthians). After an examination of Gal 4:9 and 13. the author 
concludes that weakness language is Paul's way of making clear to his 
readers in Galatia that the source of power for salvation and progress 
in holiness is found, not in one 's religious activities (4:9) nor in one 's 
own personal strengths (4:13). but in God himself. 


THE most unified and highly developed concept of "weakness" in 
the NT is to be found in the writings of the Apostle Paul.' It is 
therefore all the more surprising that the Pauline weakness ter- 
minology has received virtually no comprehensive study outside of 
Romans and 1 and 2 Corinthians.^ In this article our purpose is not 

'The root daGev appears in the NT 83 times and in the Pauline Epistles 44 times, 
or 53% of the total (Robert Morgenthaler, Statistik des neutestamentlichen Wort- 
schiitzes [Zurich: Gotthelf, 1958] 79). The motif is most extensively developed in 
Romans, 1 Corinthians, and 2 Corinthians, where the words appear 38 times, or 86% 
of the total in Paul. The single largest complex of the termini is in 2 Corinthians 10-13, 
where the words appear a total of 14 times; the second largest is in 1 Corinthians (15 
times), and the third largest is in Roman (8 times). In other instances (1 Thessalonians, 
Galatians, Philippians, 1 and 2 Timothy) the words occur only once or twice. 

^The interpretation of the Pauline use of doG^veia and its cognates has centered 
for the most part on "problem" passages such as 1 Corinthians 8, 2 Corinthians 10-13 
and Romans 14. Among the more important studies of the meaning of daO^veia in 
specific contexts are those of Gerd Theissen, "Die Starken und Schwachen in Korinth," 


to discuss every occurrence of daGeveia and its cognates, but to 
examine two of the earliest, and in some ways the most unique, 
occurrences of the word-group found in a fascinating passage in 
Galatians (4:1-20). We hope thereby to make a helpful contribution 
to one aspect of Pauline lexicography in particular and to Pauline 
theology in general. 


In the letter to the Galatians weakness language occurs only 
twice but in two closely related places. The neuter plural adjective is 
found in the formulistic phrase id daGevfj Kal Trxtoxd axoixeia ("the 
weak and beggarly elements") in 4:9, while 5i' daG^veiav xr\c, aapKoc, 
("on account of a weakness of the flesh"), a reference to the occasion 
of Paul's Galatian visit, appears in 4:13. Since both of these refer- 
ences are in highly polemical settings, it seems evident that each plays 
a vital role in Paul's argument against the legalistic threat to the 
Galatian churches. But because the terms are employed in two 
different paragraphs with differing themes and perspectives, each 
occurrence must be studied individually if we are to understand the 
specific role the motif plays in the argument of the author in 

A. Galatians 4:9 

The first occurrence of daGevTig is in the section which comprises 
4:8- 11, where Paul begins a lengthy appeal to the Galatians based on 
his previous assertion that all Christians are sons and heirs of God 
and therefore free from the law. Although it would be a mistake to 
try to force logical cohesion all through this section — Galatians being 
an emotional apologia pro vita sua — we can reconstruct with some 
accuracy the apostle's train of thought in the broader context as 
follows: (a) in 4:1-7 he first illustrates the freedom of the Christian 
with an example from ordinary life concerning the legal status of a 

£vr35 (1975) 155-72; Max Rauer, Die "Schwachen" in Korinth und Rom (BibS[F]21; 
Freiburg: Herder, 1923); Walter Schmithals, Der Rdmerbrief als historisches Problem 
(Giitersloh: Mohn, 1975) 95-107; and Erhardt Giittgemanns, Der leidende Apostel und 
sein Herr (FRLANT 90; Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1966) 142-70. The 
most thorough and comprehensive investigations of the words in their wider meaning 
are found in Ernst Kasemann, Die Legitimitat des Apostels: Eine Untersuchung zu II 
Korinther 10-13 (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1956) 37-43; Eric 
Fuchs, "La faibless, gloire de I'apostolat selon Paul (Etude sur 2 Co 10-13)," ETR 2 
(1980) 231-53; and J. Cambier," Le crit^re paulinien de I'apostolat en 2 Co 12. 6s," Bib 
43 (1962) 481-518. Special notes have been devoted to the word-group in various NT 
commentaries, but on a limited scale, and nowhere are the weakness-termini in 
Galatians given a unified treatment. 

black: weakness language in galatians 17 

child; (b) in 4:8-11 he shows that the special observance of certain 
portions of the Jewish sacred calendar is a return to the "elements" 
from which the Galatians had been saved; and (c) in 4:12-20 Paul 
makes a personal appeal to the Galatians, based on his former 
relationship with them, to accept him and his message. 

The uniquely Pauline expression xct daBevfj Kai TrtcDxa axoixeia 
in 4:9, which is to be understood in conjunction with the parallel 
expression in 4:3, id axoixeict toO K6a|iou, suggests a relationship of 
some sort between the first two of these paragraphs, i.e., between 
4:1-7 and 4:8-11. This relationship is probably best understood in 
terms of Paul's concept of the status of Christians prior to the coming 
of faith. In 4:1-11 his main concern is to contrast the former 
condition of his readers with their new state after being converted. 
Since Paul views the human condition apart from Christ as servitude 
to "the elements of the world" (4:3), he is surprised to hear that the 
Galatians are ready to sacrifice all the privileges of their new religion 
by going back to their former state of slavery under these elements 
(4:9). Formerly the Galatians, mostly pagans, had been under bondage 
to heathenism, but have since "come to know God" (4:9). Do they 
now wish to enslave themselves again, this time to Judaism and its 

Paul argues against returning to the elements first of all with an 
illustration of guardianship (4:1-7). The condition of man under the 
law is inferior, writes the apostle, because man under law is like an 
heir who has been placed under a guardian and has no freedom of 
action. With this familiar custom the Galatians are to realize that, by 
returning to their former condition they would be losing, not gaining, 
and would again become vi^Ttioi, 5ouXoi, hnd timpdnoMC, Kai 
oiKovonouc; (4:1, 2), Next, Paul stresses that if the Gentile Galatians 
adopt Jewish practices, they will be returning to slavery from the 
glorious liberty enjoyed by the sons of God in Christ Jesus (cf. 3:26). 
Therefore the apostle exhorts the Galatian Christians to leave behind 
religious ritualism lest they again become enslaved and forfeit their 
rights as heirs according to the promise (4:8-11). 

In general, these verses are clear enough, but the passage is not 
without its problems. The main difficulty is the word aioixeia itself, 
which in 4:9 the KJV represents by "elements" and the RSV by 
"elemental spirits."^ What exactly were these "weak" oxoixeia to 
which the Galatians were in bondage (4:3) and under whose power 
they were in danger of returning (4:9)? A consultation of the lexicons 
reveals that the word is capable of an extraordinary range of meanings 

^Cf. NEB, "spirits of the elements"; NASB, "elemental things"; NIV, "principles.' 


and its usage in Paul is by no means settled/ Of all the interpreta- 
tions advanced in the exegesis of this verse/ three possible meanings 
come into play. 

First, OTOixeia may be taken as referring to the law of Israel 
exclusively. Though this view is consistent with Paul's teaching on the 
Mosaic institution — that it enslaves men (3:23) — it is difficult to see 
its application to the Gentiles* who were never under the Mosaic 
system in their pre-Christian state. Nor does this view explain the 
additional phrase xoO Koafiou (4:3) which implies a non-divine origin 
of the axoixeia, in contrast to the Jewish emphasis on the other- 
worldly character of the commandments. 

Second, the reference to the former bondage to the "elements" 
may be a description of enslavement to personal spiritual beings 
under whose power the Gentile Galatians had been held prior to their 
conversion.^ The word otoixeia may come to mean "angels" or 

"See esp. BAGD 768-69. Itoixevcx is the neuter plural form of the adjective 
OTOixeioq, which means "standing in a row," "an element in a series." By metonymy, 
however, the word came to refer to the ultimate parts of anything. It is used in classical 
Greek to refer to the letters of the alphabet, from which came the meaning "rudiments," 
the "ABCs" of any subject. It can also refer to the component parts of physical bodies; 
in particular it was the Stoic term for the four elements: earth, water, air, and fire. In 
Christian writers from the middle of the second century a.d. the term is used in an 
astronomical sense to mean the heavenly bodies. In Hellenism the word came to 
include not only the physical elements but the spirits believed to be behind them, the 
"cosmic beings." These personified atoixEia came to be understood as the lords of the 
world, the final and most important principles of life, and as such were considered 
worthy of man's worship. 

The precise meaning of oToixeia in Paul is still a matter of debate, and the 
question must be left open until more evidence comes to light. For a detailed survey of 
the interpretations of the term in the pre-Christian, Christian, patristic and modern 
eras, see C. J. Kurapati, Spiritual Bondage and Christian Freedom according to Paul: 
An Exegetical and Theological Exposition of the Epistle to the Galatians (Unpublished 
doctoral dissertation, Princeton Theological Seminary, 1976); cf. A. J. Bandstra, The 
Law and the Elements of the World. An Exegetical Study in Aspects of Paul's 
Teaching (Kampen: Kok, 1964) 5-30; G. Delling, "atoix^o), kt)i," TWNT 1 (1964) 
670-82. On the meaning of atoixeia in Paul see esp. Bandstra, The Law and the 
Elements, 57-68; Delling, "atoix^to, ktX," 683-86; F. Mussner, Der Galaterbrief 
(HTKNT; Freiburg: Herder, 1974) 293-303; E. Burton, The Epistle to the Galatians 
(ICC; Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1950) 510-18. 

'in the commentaries the term is usually discussed under 4:3. However, by 
common consent the meaning of atoixeia is identical in both Gal 4:3 and 9, even 
though in the latter verse the expression xoC Kdonou is absent. 

*The context indicates that Paul wrote this section with the Gentile Galatians 
especially in mind: (a) they were obviously idol worshippers (4:8), and (b) they had 
become Christians directly and not through Judaism as proselytes (3:1-6); cf. Burton, 
Galatians, 215. 

'So J. M. Boice {Galatians, in Vol. 10 of The Expositor's Bible Commentary 
[Romans- Galatians] [Grand Rapids: Zondervan 1976] 472) and many other com- 
mentators. The law and the axoixeia are so intimately related that some scholars see 

black: weakness language in galatians 19 

"spirits," and if this is Paul's meaning here, he will be referring to 
demonic bondage which is the ultimate contrast to freedom in Christ. 
The advantage of this view is that it agrees with the reference to the 
false gods (or demons) in 4:8 which the Galatians, as pagans, no 
doubt formerly worshipped. The disadvantage is that it is hard to see 
how Paul could include himself,^ a Pharisee, among those who had 
been in bondage to weak and beggarly astral spirits who control the 
universe. Furthermore, this interpretation relies on literature some- 
what late for the period in which Paul wrote his letters.^ 

Third, the word aioixeict may be taken as referring to the 
elemental stages of religious experience which are common to all 
men. According to this view, the expression "the elements of the 
world" indicates rudimentary teaching regarding rules, regulations, 
laws and religious ordinances by means of which both Jews and 
Gentiles, each in their own way, tried to earn their salvation.'" This 
meaning of atoixeia, or one closely related to it, is possibly involved 
also in Col 2:8 and 20. 

Support for this latter viewpoint is, in our opinion, stronger than 
for the two former interpretations. Paul seems to apply his remarks in 
this chapter equally to the Jewish and Gentile worlds. Only this view 
allows for that fact. It is evident also that at least in one respect the 
OTOixeta against which the apostle warns in Galatians involved 
Mosaic-Pharisaic ordinances. When Gal 4:10 is considered as an 
interpretation of 4:9, this verse indicates that the axoixeict can in a 
general way be considered merely as rudimentary religious obser- 
vances, void of any authentic intrinsic meaning or worth. Elementary 
teachings regarding regulations such as these were employed by both 
Jews and Gentiles alike in their attempt to achieve redemption and 
salvation." Jewish religion considered law-observance, as well as the 

both Judaism and paganism among the personal spirits; cf. Bo Reicke ("The Law and 
the World according to Paul," JBL 70 [1951] 259-76, esp. pp. 261-63) who identifies 
the "elements" with the good angels who ordained the law (cf. Gal. 3:19). 

'Cf. 4:3: "So also when we were children, we were enslaved under xa aioixEia tou 

'Cf. Delling, "aToix^to, kxX" 682-83, and Bandstra, The Law and the Elements, 
43-46 and 58. The meaning "spiritual power" for otoixeiov is not attested before the 
Testamentum Salomonis dated to the 4th century a.d. 

'"So, e.g., William Hendriksen, Exposition of Galatians (NTC; Grand Rapids: 
Baker, 1968) 157. Burton {Galatians, 518) defines oxoixeta as "the rudimentary 
religious teachings possessed by the race." 

"The observance of "days, months, seasons and years" (4:10) implies cultic 
activities known to both Judaism and paganism and which are probably to be regarded 
as typical religious behavior; so Hans Dieter Betz, A Commentary on Paul's Letter to 
the Churches in Galatia (Hermeneia; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1979) 217. For the view 
that these activities are sacred Jewish seasons only, cf. John Eadie, A Commentary on 


keeping of the multitudinous rules added by religious leaders to those 
previously given at Sinai, as the way whereby salvation could be 
attained. The worshippers of pagan deities, on the other hand, sought 
to achieve salvation by their own rituals and in accordance with their 
own unregenerate nature, the odp^.'^ But both Jews and Gentiles in 
their pre-Christian state are in bondage to ordinances and regulations. 
Thus for the Gentile Christians, under the influence of the false 
teachers, to turn again '^ to the atoixeia is in Paul's mind simply an 
exchange of one form of bondage (to heathenism) for another (to 

In the question in 4:9 begun by nibc, — "How is it possible that 
you are returning again to the weak and beggarly axoixeia?" — Paul 
expresses his utter shock to learn that men who had been delivered 
from the enslaving teachings of paganism now wish to become 
enslaved all over again, this time by Jewish regulations. That they 
could consider a return to such bondage is especially incompre- 
hensible in view of the fact that they had actually come to know God 
in a personal, genuine way.'" Although the Galatians had not yet 
gone as far as the Judaizers had wanted them to go — they have not 
been circumcized (5:2) — Paul fears his labor in evangelizing them will 
eventually be wasted (4:11). Their course of action is to the mission- 
ary Paul as inexcusable as it is inexplicable, and his astonishment 
forces him to take up once again, though now with new intensity, his 
discussion of the deadly character of legalism.'^ 

the Greek Text of the Epistle of Paul to the Galatians (reprint. Grand Rapids: Baker, 
1979) 315-17; Hendriksen, Galatians, 165-66. 

'^According to Bandstra (The Law and the Elements, 61-71), the two most 
important basic forces in the aTOixeict are the law and the flesh. Therefore the yielding 
of the Galatians to the observance of feast days is at the same time an act of 
submission to the flesh; the observance itself is but evidence of their enslavement to the 

''ndA.iv does not mean "back" (retro) but "again" (iterum), though the notion of 
"going back" to the elements is clearly implied in the prepositional prefix of 

'''The participle is y\6vxzq (4:9), not el56TE(; (cf. 4:8). On this distinction see 
Donald W. Burdick, "0\5a and FivcbaKO) in the Pauline Epistles," in New Dimensions 
in New Testament Study, eds. Richard N. Longenecker and Merrill C. Tenney (Grand 
Rapids: Zondervan, 1974) 344-56, esp. pp. 351-52. 

"One must, however, distinguish between Paul's evaluation of the situation and 
what the Galatians' point of view was. In Paul's mind the Galatians were about to give 
up Christianity and return to paganism (i.e., "slavery"). The Galatians, on the other 
hand, desired only to switch from the Pauline form of Christianity to the Jewish form 
which required circumcision and law-obedience. They never imagined that the ac- 
ceptance of the Torah meant a return to paganism, that being hno v6|iov was the same 
as being UTto td aTOi%eia toO K6anou; cf. Betz, Galatians, 217; Boice, Galatians, 476; 
Herman N. Ridderbos, The Epistle of Paul to the Churches of Galatia (NICNT; Grand 

black: weakness language in galatians 21 

Accordingly, we believe that the most consistent answer to the 
problem of oioixeia in 4:9 is found when the term is understood as 
referring to elemental stages of religion whereby both Jew and 
Gentile sought to gain salvation. According to the context, service 
under the axoixeict must be wide enough to embrace both the service 
of the Jews under the law of Moses and that of the Gentiles under the 
false gods. If this interpretation is correct, Paul virtually identifies the 
religious celebrations of the Jews, who worship the true and living 
God, with those of the heathen, who worship xotg (puoei |ir| ouoiv 
Geoig (4:8). This is in perfect agreement with Paul's earlier teaching 
that the purpose of the Mosaic law was not to deliver, but to hold 
Jews captive in preparation for the deliverance which was to come 
through the promised "seed" (3:19-22). 

However, it should be noted that Paul's use of oxoixeia for the 
common enslavement of both Jew and Gentile does not involve an 
identification in every respect. The Jew still sought to worship the 
true God, while the Gentile 58iai5ai|iovia involved objects of wor- 
ship which "by their very nature" ((puaei) could not be considered 
"gods" in any sense (4:8). Still, both situations are equal in the single 
point that they both involve a bondage, in contrast to the glorious 
liberty and freedom enjoyed by the "sons of God" (3:26-4:7).'^ In this 
sense, Jewish law is simply one particular manifestation of that which 
inevitably enslaves all men in a helpless condition which only faith in 
the promised Messiah can remedy (4:3-5). Thus, while there is not 
identity, there is such a similarity between the heathen cultus and the 
Mosaic ritual that both may be described by the same epithet, id 
OTOixeta ToO koohod. 

This brings us to the problem of the specific meaning of daGevfj 
in 4:9. If our interpretation of the axoixeta which bring enslavement 
is correct, then the addition of the adjectival modifiers daGevfj kqI 
TtTtoxd will be Paul's way of emphasizing the total powerlessness of 
the law and its observance to gain the favor of God. This is an 
important facet of the apostle's overall argument in Galatians, fighting 
as he must against an overevaluation of the law by which obedience 
to its commandments becomes a way of salvation. To the preachers 
of Judaism, Paul's gospel was in this respect woefully deficient and 

Rapids: Eerdmans, 1953) 161. Therefore Paul is anxious to show the Galatians that the 
opponents are actually enemies of the gospel who seek to destroy the church (1:6-9). 
He who chooses to follow their way not only falls back into the servitude of the 
elements, but is obligated to do the impossible: keep the whole law (5:3). 

'*On the significance of the motif of sonship in Galatians, see the excellent 
monograph by Brendan Byrne, "'Sons of God"— ""Seed of Abraham" (AnBib 83; Rome: 
Biblical Institute, 1979) 141-90. 


therefore merely Kaxd dvGpcoTrov (1:11), for it needed to be "cor- 
rected" by the observance of special days, months, seasons and years 
(4:10), and especially by the observance of the markedly Jewish rite of 
circumcision (5:2-3, 6, 11; 6:12). Incredibly, the Galatians were on the 
verge of adopting the entire cultic-ritualistic system of Judaism as a 
means of completing what had begun only "imperfectly" under the 
tutelage of Paul. 

Since the Galatians do not regard their course as a dangerous 
one, Paul must try to convince them that their present drift toward 
legalism is in reality a return to slavery. Contrary to the claims of the 
Judaizers, the atoixeia are ineffective for giving life, for they are 
doGevfj and lack the inherent power to accomplish salvation. The 
Mosaic law, as a member or component part (oxoixciov) of the 
axoixeia xoO koohod, requires what God demands, but is powerless 
to accomplish anything ultimately positive. The law provokes sin and 
transgression (Rom 5:20), condemns sin (Rom 4:15; Gal 3:10), and 
serves as a 7iai8aYa)Y6(;'^ (Gal 3:23-25), but it also is the power of sin 
(1 Cor 15:56) and the occasion for sin (Rom 7:8, 11) and inevitably 
leads to death. Thus, in Paul's mind the "weak" law is in one aspect 
definitely a force to be reckoned with as it operates in the sphere of 
the flesh and ultimately issues in sin and death. The opponents, and 
now the Galatians, understood the elements as life-bringing forces, 
but Paul knows that they are really "weak and beggarly," completely 
ineffectual to do what the law-preachers have promised. 

Because the law involves religious bondage, it is not surprising to 
find Paul's warnings against it in this passage and indeed throughout 
the entire letter (cf. 1:9, 2:4-5, 15-21; 3:1-5; 5:1-4; 6:7-8, 12-13). 
Inherent in the Christian life is the potential danger of a man once 
again seeking to live according to the law and flesh. But this course of 
life brings men into bondage, "be it the bondage of the immature 
heir, the Jew, or that of the slave, the Gentile,"'* or, we might add, 
that of the misdirected Christian. Therefore, since any observance of 
Jewish ritual practices by Gentile converts amounts to nothing less 
than a return to bondage to the axoixeia xoO Koajioi), Paul must go 

'^The term Jtai8aY(i)Y6(; stresses the positive, but purely preparatory aspect of the 
law's function. Because the Judaizers attempted to extend that function beyond the 
time of Christ's coming, Paul must stress its provisional status. If J. W. MacGorman is 
correct, the English rendering of itai8aY0)y6(; should emphasize the custodial (i.e., 
"custodian," "guardian") rather than the educative (i.e., "schoolmaster," "tutor") 
function of the law in Gal 3:24-25. See his article, "The Law as Paidagogos: A Study 
in Pauline Analogy," in New Testament Studies, Essays in Honor of Ray Summers, 
eds. Huber L. Drumright and Curtis Vaughan (Waco, Texas: Markham, 1975) 99-111, 
esp. p. 110. 

"Bandstra, The Law and the Elements, 65. 

black: weakness language in galatians 23 

to great lengths to convince the Galatians that these ritualistic celebra- 
tions are valid only for those who are still controlled by the old aeon. 
With regard to the salvation and sanctification of Christians, the 
elements are both doGevfj and Trxtoxd, and indeed are a stumbling 
block to the .Christian life. 

Paul's view that the law in its weakness works spiritual death 
finds its main parallel in his acknowledgment that in the death and 
resurrection of Christ the law and the otoixeia have been conquered. 
This fact is not insignificant in our quest to understand Paul's 
weakness language in Galatians, nor is it without parallel in the 
apostle's other writings: "God did what the law, weakened as it was 
by the flesh [tv (p i^aGevei 8id xfjg oapKoc,], could not do; sending his 
own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin 
in the flesh" (Rom 8:3). Paul rejects the works of the law because 
God has rejected in the person and work of Christ a life dedicated to 
nomistic service. The condition of man under law has now in Christ 
been superseded by a new set of conditions, namely, faith in Christ 
and his confession before men. God's people are therefore marked by 
faith, as indeed Abraham was (3:6-9), not by the works of the law.'' 
Thus Paul insists that legalism is a betrayal of the whole gospel (5:2- 
4), for righteousness before God is a result only of faith and is a free 
gift which cannot be merited by a man (5:5). Nothing therefore is able 
(aQevoq) to earn salvation or sanctification — neither circumcision nor 
uncircumcision (5:6). 

Having condemned such behavior, the apostle adds that life in 
Christ involves a different kind of bondage, which he defines ex- 
plicitly in 5:13-14 as one's love of his neighbor. With six Greek words 
he reduces all of the statutes of the Jewish law into a single one: 
ayanr\aei(; xov tcXtioiov aoo (be, aeautov; "you shall love your 
neighbor as [you love] yourself" (5:14). His purpose of course is to 
show that in the single commandment to love of Lev 19:18 are 
summarized all the requirements of the Christian faith. ^° Here Paul 
can speak favorably of the law, for when Christians love and serve 
others, the law is fulfilled. This fact, however, in no way weakens 
Paul's argument against law and in defense of a gospel of pure grace. 
The law as a system of rules and regulations has no place in the life of 
a Christian, for it cannot effectuate its own fulfillment, but the 
essential ends of the law can and will be met through those who live 
in and are led by the Spirit (5:16-18). This life in the Spirit (7rveu|j,aTi) 

"Cf. in this connection Joseph B. Tyson, '"Works of Law' in Galatians," JBL 92 
(1973) 430-31. See also Markus Barth's discussion of Paul's use of niaxiq in Galatians, 
in "The Kerygma of Galatians," Int 21 (1967) 143-45. 

^"victor Paul Furnish {The Love Command in the New Testament [New York: 
Abingdon, 1972] 96-97) offers an excellent discussion of this subject. 


is characterized neither by legaUsm nor by license, but by a Ufe of 
faith and love which Paul discusses in concrete terms in the following 
verses (5:19-26). 

This being the case, there is a certain presumption in viewing the 
axoixeia (and the law) not as something positively evil per se, but as 
elements which are daOevfj and ineffectual, and therefore open to the 
dangerous possibility of enslaving men who were redeemed by Christ 
and through him have begun a new existence in the Spirit. Or to use 
Paul's terms, while the axoixeia are not inherently harmful, they are 
"weak," for they are incompetent to bring salvation and life, and 
"beggarly," for they have no wealth whereby they can provide an 
inheritance. Since they are operative in the Koaiioc;, within the sphere 
of human activity, and among a fallen mankind, they are unable to 
set men free as Christ has done by redeeming them through his death 
on a tree (3:13). 

The accent in Gal 4:3 and 9 would therefore appear to lie on the 
modifying expressions toC Koaiiou and daGevfj Kal nxiaxa. The latter 
expression can be considered as a substitute for the former, for the 
words "weak and beggarly" in 4:9 describe what in essence is meant 
by the genitive "of the world" in 4:3.^^ The noun Koafiog here does 
not mean "the universe" or "the material world," but "the world of 
mankind," the present eschatological age, and hence the aioixeici are 
those elements which enslave the members of the old aeon to which 
the Galatians are tempted to return. The adjectives daGevfj and 
TTTCoxd are therefore only too appropriate to describe the impotence 
of the oToixeict of the Koaiiog to provide salvation for man and 
deliverance from his present bondage. The ascription daGevfj does 
not deny the harmful potential of the enslaving powers, but emphasizes 
their identity with the sphere of human activity which belongs to the 
old aeon and which is passing away, and signifies the total powerless- 
ness of commandments with reference to spiritual deliverance. Thus 
the aioixeia are daGevfj, "parce qu'ils ne peuvent pas operer ce qu'ils 
pretendent, conduire les hommes au salut."^^ They are also Trxcoxd, a 
term which in classical Greek referred to basic economic deprivation 
but came to mean, metaphorically, deprivation of power and dignity.''* 
Its meaning here is that the religious elements of the old age are not 

^'Cf. Wolfgang Schrage, Die konkreten Einzelgebote in der paulinischen Pardnese 
(Gutersloh: Mohn, 1961) 231-33. 

"So Reicke, "The Law and the World," 264-65; cf. Delling, "otoix^w, kt^," 685: 
"Man kann fragen ob daGevfj Koi nxcoxct nicht den Genitiv toO k6ohou interpretieren; 
jedenfalls ist mil beiden negativen Wendungen alle vorchristliche Religion zusam- 
menfassend abgeurteilt." 

"M. J. Lagrange, Saint Paul: Epitre aux Galates (EB; Paris: Lecoffre, 1950) 107. 

^'Ernst Bammel, "JiTcoxog, ktX," TWNT 6 (1959) 885-915, esp. p. 909. 

black: weakness language in galatians 25 

only powerless but also resourceless to supply what is needed to 
extricate man from his bondage to sin and the flesh, in contrast to 
"the unsearchable riches of Christ" (Heb 7:8). 

Therefore, while it is not necessary to restrict the meaning of 
doGevfj too rigidly, ^^ in view of the emphasis in this section upon the 
inadequacy of the law, it would seem that the apostle is thinking 
especially of the impotence of legal enactments to secure salvation or 
progress in holiness, regardless of whatever beneficial side-effects 
such "fundamental religious elements" might have. These aTOi/eia, 
common to both pagan and Jewish religion, not only cannot procure 
spiritual blessings, but ultimately bring men into bondage to their 
own impulse to be made perfect in the flesh (3:3) and are thus to be 
avoided by the Christian at all costs. 

B. Galatians 4:13 

The second occurrence of weakness-termini in Galatians is found 
at the beginning of the highly enigmatic paragraph (4:12-20) devoted 
to a discussion of the Galatians' former attachmment to Paul and 
why they should now follow his earnest counsel to reject the gospel of 
the false teachers. Considerations of space preclude a disproportionate 
discussion of the critical problem concerning the chronology of 
Galatians raised by to Ttpotepov in v 13. Within the scope of this 
study we must accept the possibility that the words can mean "on the 
former of two occasions," though in our view 4:13 does not demand 
two visits of Paul to Galatia (according to Koine usage to Ttpoxepov 
can just as easily be rendered "originally," or "previously"). ^^ Certainly 
the question of whether 4:13 does or does not support the south- 
Galatian hypothesis cannot be resolved here; regardless of one's 
position on that issue, however, these verses clearly refer to Paul's 
preaching on the occasion of the founding of the Galatic churches. 

There are few NT phrases which can boast of such a variety of 
interpretations as 5i' doGeveiav Tfjg aapKog in Gal 4:13. Paul makes 
it clear that the Galatians know what his "weakness" actually is, but 
his readers today have not had their eyewitness advantage, and they 
are left to infer from the context the identity of Paul's daG^veia. This 
means that in order to gain an accurate knowledge of the content of 

^'E.g., Boice (Galatians, 473) offers the interesting suggestion that there is a subtle 
Hnk between the ideas of redemption and adoption in 4:5 and the phrase "the weak and 
beggarly elements." H. Schlier (Der Brief an die Galater [KEK; 14th ed.; Gottingen: 
Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1971] 203) correctly emphasizes the powerlessness of the 
elements "gegeniiber der Macht und dem Leben Gottes und seiner 'Sohne', und erweist 
sich ihre Verehrung als die angestrengte und furchtsame Leistung an iiberwundene und 
verfallende Cotter." Many other parallels and points of contrast could be noted. 

^*See BAGD 722. 


the term ctaGeveia in 4:13, it is once again necessary to study the 
word in the context of Paul's wider argument in this portion of the 

At this juncture in Galatians 4 Paul has turned from formal 
argument to an appeal to the former bond of unity which existed 
between him and the Galatian churches. The intensely personal 
quality of this appeal is seen throughout, but especially in v 19 where 
the apostle compares himself to a mother enduring birth-pangs and 
the Galatians to a human embryo in the process of being formed. The 
metaphors need not be pressed too far; indeed, the whole image 
seems to break down because the formation of a child in the womb 
can hardly be said io follow labor pains. This is, however, no reason 
to regard this verse as a later interpolation:^^ Paul simply wants to 
emphasize by the use of word-pictures his great pastoral concern and 
love for his converts. 

This intensely personal and highly enigmatic entreaty poses an 
interesting question of interpretation: Why does the apostle suddenly 
bring up, in the middle of his discussion of the Christian's freedom 
from the law, the subject of the particular circumstances of the 
founding of the Galatian churches, including his daG^veia? The 
Galatians were already quite aware of the situation (cf. oiSaie, 4:13). 
How can this intimate account be an argument against those who 
were wooing the Galatians into legalism? 

The obscurity of this passage perhaps cannot be explained in a 
purely logical way; it is possible that Paul was so overwhelmed by 
emotion at this point in writing that he simply lost his train of 
thought. For this reason many scholars are of the opinion that Paul 
has ceased argumentation and has turned to emotional begging and 
appealing.^^ But psychological interpretations of the passage, while 
properly pointing to the intensity and passion of Paul's appeal, fail to 
recognize the rhetorical character of these verses. 

Cf. J. C. O'Neill {The Recovery of Paul's Letter to the Galatians [London: 
S.P.C.K., 1972] 61-62) who ascribes the words H^XP^ o^ liopcpcodfj XpioT6(; fev \)\iw to 
a glossator. 

According to Lagrange (Galates, 110-11), Paul's appeal is "moins un raisson- 
nement qu'un desir passionnd d'union par une bonne volont^ r^ciproque. Paul a fait les 
premiers pas: que les Galates en fassant autant!" The same idea is expressed by A. 
Oepke, Der Brief des Paulas an die Galater (ThHK 9; 2nd ed.; Berlin: Evangelische 
Verlagsanstalt, 1957) 140-41; Burton, Galatians, 235; Mussner, Galaterbrief 304-5. 
Robertson writes: "It is just in writers of the greatest mental activity and vehemence of 
spirit that we meet most instances of anacoluthon. Hence a man with the passion of 
Paul naturally breaks away from formal rules in the structure of the sentence when he 
is greatly stirred, as in Gal. and 2 Cor." A. T. Robertson, A Grammar of the Greek 
New Testament in the Light of Historical Research (Nashville: Broadman, 1934) 435. 

black: weakness language in galatians 27 

Betz^' has demonstrated the remarkable similarity between this 
section and the standard Hellenistic literary topos of "friendship" 
(Ttepi (piXiai;), which calls for a change between heavy and light 
sections and an emotional appeal to offset mere abstract argumenta- 
tion. Both the Galatians and Paul would have been acquainted with 
this theme, and if the similarity here is more than coincidental, Paul 
will be arguing that his relationship with the Galatians (his "true 
friendship") now, as then, requires the reciprocity of his converts. The 
force of the argument lies in the fact that when Paul needed help the 
most, the Galatians did not hesitate to provide without reservation 
the assistance required to restore him. And though they could have 
found cause to despise him, they had proven their friendship by 
accepting Paul as an dyye^iov GeoC, (be, Xpiaiov 'lT|aoOv (v 14). But 
they had not only received Paul with open hearts — they had also 
accepted the message of life which accompanied him to Galatia, thus 
creating between them a bond of Christian (piA.ia. It is this "friend- 
ship" that forms the basis of Paul's present appeal to the Galatians. 

This means that the present passage in Galatians "is neither 
inconsistent nor lacking argumentative force, "^° but serves to ac- 
centuate the paradox that these same ones who had once so en- 
thusiastically received Paul now consider him as their enemy and 
reject his gospel. The appeal of this section, then, is an argument for 
the reestablishment of a good personal relationship which each party 
had once enjoyed but which the Galatians' present inclination to live 
by the law has soured. 

Paul opens his appeal with the puzzling words yiveaGe (bq ty(h, 
6x1 Kdyo) (be, oiieig, "become as I, for I also as you" (4:12). The 
expression is capable of a wide variety of interpretations. In view of 
the preceding reference to law and the elements (4:1-1 1), the probable 
meaning is that Paul is asking the Galatians to enter into the freedom 
from law which he now enjoys, while at the same time reminding 
them of his former identification with the Gentile Galatians in order 
to win them for Christ (cf. 1 Cor 9:20-22). If this interpretation is 
right, we can paraphrase the expression as follows: "Become as I am, 
for I also became as you were."^' In other words, in seeking to win 
them to Christ, the end of which was to make them like himself — free 
from the oxoixeia — Paul had made himself like the Galatians by 
disclaiming any special privilege as a Jew and by renouncing the 

^^Galatians, 220-23. 

'"ibid., 22 L 
Greek reconstruction: yiveoGe (he, fey© elui, 6ti Kdyra tyzv6\ix\v (be, i)|ieiq t^te; cf. 
Lagrange, Galates, IIL For an interesting parallel between Paul's use of daG^veia in 
Gal 4:13 and his reference to "the weak" in 1 Cor 9:22, see the present writer's 
forthcoming article in Biblica: "A Note on 'the Weak' in 1 Cor, 9.22." 


Mosaic law. On that basis, he now appeals to the Galatians to rid 
themselves of the nomists and become like him in regard to his 
Christian liberty. 

Paul's original reception by the Galatians is described in vv IS- 
IS. The brief statement in v 12, "you have done me no wrong" (ouSev 
[le T^8iKTioaTe), which really belongs with these verses, is a litotes and 
should be understood as expressing an affirmative idea: they had 
treated him properly. ^^ Exactly how properly is recounted in what 

In these verses there are six major statements, three concerning 
Paul, and three in regard to the Galatians. Concerning himself, the 
apostle first reminds his readers that he had preached the good 
tidings among them, but that he did so on account of bodily infirmity 
(or, notwithstanding it), and that his condition had subjected the 
Galatians to the temptation to reject him and his message. Regarding 
the Galatians, he affectionately recalls how they had resisted their" 
impulse to condemn or loathe him on account of his infirmity, and 
how they had received him with enthusiasm — so much so that they 
would have parted with anything, even their own eyes, as an expres- 
sion of the depth of their attachment to him. It is in this context — 
where Paul states his desire that the Galatians might return to the 
true gospel by recollecting what they had once gladly accepted from 
him — that the apostle uses for the first time the noun daGeveia (or 
any of its cognates) to refer to himself. 

There is some discussion as to the correct translation of the 
preposition 5id in v 14. A number of scholars think 5i' doGeveiav 
refers to an accompanying circumstance,^'* while others construe the 
expression causally, making the illness the occasion^^ of Paul's 
preaching in Galatia. Though the former meaning is not impossible,^^ 

"it is imprecise to say, as Schlier does (Galater, 209), that the statement also 
applies to the present situation. Although the aorist, as a tense, does not necessarily 
refer to past time (cf. Charles R. Smith, "Errant Aorist Interpreters," GTJ 2 [1981] 
207-209), the aorist indicative t^SiKT^oate probably should be given a past signfication, 
as should also the following series of verbs in the aorist indicative. 

"u|i(5v ("your temptation"), read by «♦ A B D* F G it (most) vg Ambrosiaster 
appears to have better external attestation than the reading |iou ("my temptation"), 
supported by p"** C*"** d''" K P 4* By2 it° Chrysostom. The latter pronoun may have 
replaced the former "in order to alleviate the difficulty of the expression xov Treipaoiiov 
undjv." Bruce M. Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament 
(London/ New York: United Bible Societies, 1971) 596. 

'""E.g., Oepke, Galater, 105, "den begleitenden Umstand"; Ridderbos, Galatians, 
166; Guttgemanns, Der leidende Apostel und sein Herr, 175. 

"E.g., Eadie, Galatians, 321-22; Betz, Galatians, 224; Boice, Galatians, 478; 
Schlier, Galater, 210; Mussner, Galaterbrief, 307. 

Lagrange (Galates, 112) overstates the case when he says that the expression "ne 
peut avoir qu'un sens: 'h cause d'une maladie de la chair'." 

black: weakness language in galatians 29 

on the whole it seems most likely that the latter significance of 6id is 
to be preferred here. The continuous or characteristic condition of the 
preacher would be expressed by 5id plus the genitive," not the 
accusative; but in the Greek text the only reading that was trans- 
mitted is doGeveiav. And while examples of 5id plus the accusative in 
inexact usage can be cited (e.g., Rom 3:25; 8:20), the most natural 
meaning of the word in terms of the context is plainly "because of." 

The preposition, then, signifies either that Paul was detained in 
Galatia through which he had merely intended to pass, or else that he 
was forced for his health's sake to visit Galatia which he otherwise 
would not have visited. In the latter case, even if the illness was the 
occasion of Paul's visit to Galatia, the problem most probably 
persisted for a period of time while he was there. But while it is best 
to understand 5i' doGeveiav as the specific cause for Paul's preaching 
in Galatia, the general cause or motivation for preaching lay grounded 
in the appointment of God which Paul carried out in obedience as a 
SoOXog of Christ (Gal 1:10) and an oiKovofiog of God (1 Cor 4:1), 
compelled by a deep sense of devotion to the Lord (2 Cor 5:14-15) 
and for his sake (2 Cor 4:5, 14). As the latter verse clearly indicates — 
1^ ydp dydTtri toO XpioxoO auvexei T^iiaq — Paul preached the gospel 
in the first place 5id Xpiatov, not 5i' doGeveiav.^* 

It is generally agreed today that doGeveia refers to a physical 
condition of the apostle, and not to an unimpressive appearance, 
timidity, the emotional scars from persecution, sexual desires, human 
frailty in general, or some other figurative meaning. However, a few 
modern scholars still prefer the metaphorical meaning of the phrase 
doGeveiav xi\q, aapKog over the literal. For example, H. Binder, in his 
article entitled "Die angebliche Krankheit des Paulus,"^' argues that 
"seine astheneia, d.h. seine 'Schwachheit', bestand nur darin, dass er 
teilhatte am menschlichen Wesen."'*° A purely physical interpretation 
of daGeveia is excluded because "in der Sprache des Paulus bedeutet 
astheneia nie 'Krankheit', sondern immer 'Schwachheit', 'Kraftlosig- 
keit '.""*' If this premise is true, it naturally follows that: 

Hier wie dort vertritt Paulus den Gedanken der Armseligkeit, der 
Bediirftigkeit, der Schwache, der Kraft — und Hilflosigkeit, des zum 
Scheitern Verurteiltseins — nicht der "leiblichen" Beschaffenheit des 

"Cf. 2 Cor 2:4, 6id SoKpucov ("in tears"); Rom 4:11, 8i' dKpoPuoTiag ("in the 
condition of circumcision"). 

"Cf. Theodor Zahn, Der Brief des Paulus an die Galater (KNT; Leipzig: Deichert, 
1905) 215. 

"rz 32 (1976) 1-13. 

""ibid., 13. 

"Ibid., 4. 


Menschen sondern — seiner Existenz in der "Fleischlichkeit", im 
"Fleisch", in der Gottesferne/^ 

Although this interpretation is possible — especially in view of the 
fact that Paul must have had an especially sturdy bodily constitution 
to endure his travels and trials (cf. 2 Cor 11:23-33) — the plausibility 
of Binder's argument diminishes when one considers his major pre- 
mise in greater detail. Binder expresses the "fact" that Paul never uses 
daGeveia or its cognates to refer to a physical condition, and con- 
cludes from this that therefore Paul cannot have bodily infirmity in 
mind in Gal 4:13. But Binder's argument at this point is a pure petitio 
principii: his conclusion is not surprising, since it was also his 
premise! It is not sufficient merely to state that Paul never uses 
daGeveia in a physical sense; in light of Pauline usage elsewhere this 
premise is tenuous indeed. Certainly if Paul did ever use the word to 
describe the illness of others, he could conceivably have employed it 
to describe his own, and the force of Binder's argument would be 
considerably weakened. 

It is, in fact, manifest that Paul does on occasion employ the 
word-family to refer to a purely corporeal condition. In the Pastorals 
we learn that Trophimus remained in Miletus because of an in- 
capacitating illness (2 Tim 4:20), and Timothy was urged to drink 
wine for medicinal purposes because of his frequent ailments (1 Tim 
5:23). Certainly Epaphroditus' distressing condition involved a physi- 
cal sickness of some sort (Phil 2:26, 27).'*^ In each of these cases an 
daOeveia-word is employed. This euphemism usually implies in Greek 
(and the Pauline letters are evidently no exception) poor health.'*'* In 
Gal 4:13, the phrase daGeveiav Tfjg aapKoc; as well as the context of 
the passage itself is clearly in keeping with this euphemistic usage, 
meaning "bodily infirmity." It is not surprising that Paul employs this 
expression for a physical condition, for bodily illness is an inherent 
quality of the adp^,'*^ the old aeon, and the sphere of human activity 
which is temporal and weak. 

"Ibid., 7. 
That the nature of Epaphroditus' condition was physical and not psychological is 
clear from the context: Only a grave physical condition can account for (a) the 
Philippians' severe distress of mind, and (b) the expression napankr\cs\ov Gavdicp ("at 
death's door") in 2:27. 

''See BAGD 1 15. Binder's treatment of these passages, found only in a footnote, is 
inadequate: "Epaphroditus war nicht krank geworden, sondern in eine Situation 
geraten, der er nicht gewachsen war (Phil. 2, 26). Trophimus blieb nicht krank in Milet 
zuriick, sondern in einer schwierigen, fast aussichtslosen Arbeit (2 Tim. 4, 20). 
Vielleicht war auch Timotheus nicht krank, als Paulus an ihn 1 Tim. 5, 23 schrieb" 
("Die angebliche Krankheit des Paulus," 13n.). 

••'John A. T. Robinson, The Body (SET 5; London: SCM Press, 1957) 20. 
According to E. Schweizer ("adp^, ktX," TWNT 1 [1964] 124) octp^ in this context 

black: weakness language in galatians 31 

Therefore, though it is not completely certain that the words 
daOevEiav xf\c, aapKoc; must be understood in a literal way as an 
actual distressing physical condition, it is nevertheless the most 
probable meaning in this context. This usage is entirely consistent 
with that in the Pastorals and Philippians where the word-group 
appears with the obvious meaning of sickness, and harmonizes per- 
fectly with the common meaning of daGeveia in the Synoptic gospels. 
We must, however, register our agreement with one emphasis of 
Binder's interpretation, namely, that Paul was, generally speaking, a 
healthy man. It is evident from both the epistles and the Acts that, in 
spite of the constant attacks made upon him by Jews and Gentiles 
alike and the many dangers he continually faced, the apostle remained 
a surprisingly strong individual. This point is well taken, but it does 
not exclude the possibility of an occasional prepossessing physical 
condition, as Binder maintains. We thus agree with the majority of 
commentators'*^ that the statement 8i' daGeveiav Tf\c, aapKdq should 
be explained to mean that Paul was suffering from some sort of 
physical indisposition. 

If we are certain that an unpleasant physical condition lay 
behind Paul's initial visit to Galatia, we cannot be certain of its 
precise nature. The difficulty of finding an answer lies primarily in the 
poverty of source materials. The apostle is always reticent to recount 
his own personal experiences, and when he does it is only briefly and 
without exception in polemical or argumentative contexts which do 
not lend themselves to precise forms of expression. That we know 
little of the person of Paul is not surprising, for his letters, though 
personal, are basically pastoral communications to congregations and 
are intended for public reading in the context of the churches' 
meetings. Therefore revelations about "Paul the Man" are largely 
incidental and usually of ancillary importance to the writer's overall 

This means that we should not expect Paul to define his daGevEia 
for us in any specific terms. Paul is aware that the Galatians know 
already what it is, and its mention might have detracted from his 

should be understood in its physical sense; so also Bo Reicke, "Body and Soul in the 
New Testament," ST (1965) 201. 

**Cf. H. Schlier, Grundzuge einer paulinischen Theologie (Freiburg; Herder, 1978) 
101: "korperliche Hinfalligkeit"; Oepke, Galater, 105: "leibliche Krankheit"; Zahn, 
Galater, 215: "eine Krankheit des Leibes"; Betz, Galatians, 224: "illness of the flesh"; 
Eadie, Galatians, 323: "infirmity of the flesh"; Hendriksen, Galatians, 171: "physical 
infirmity"; Robert Jewett, Paul's Anthropological Terms. A Study of Their Use in 
Conflict Settings (AGJU 10; Leiden: Brill, 1971) 154: "bodily frailty." 

*'For a brief, but excellent discussion of the autobiographical Paul, see Victor 
Paul Furnish, Theology and Ethics in Paul (Nashville: Abingdon, 1968) 10. 


main appeal that is based not so much on his condition but on the 
Galatians' warm reception of him and his gospel. 

In spite of these difficulties, research has fostered a wealth of 
hypotheses and inferences concerning the precise nature of Paul's 
doGeveia xfji; aapK6(;/^ but neither Acts nor Galatians mentions it 
specifically, and even the most careful examination of the text will 
reveal no significant clues. The attempt to link Paul's illness to his 
"thorn in the flesh" (aK6X,ov|/ xfj aapKi, 2 Cor 12:7) is common, but 
despite the similarities in language and subject matter, it is not 
necessary to find a reference to his ok6Xo\\i in this text. As Bring 
notes, to introduce the idea of a chronic ailment here is to introduce a 
Corinthian nuance which is foreign to the atmosphere of this letter."*^ 

If one adopts the South Galatian hypothesis — that Paul is writing 
to the churches in the province of Galatia — it can be argued that 
Paul's daGeveia ifjg aapKoc, was the result of what he suffered from 
his enemies on the so-called first missionary journey (Acts 13-14). If 
so, daG^veia refers not to a particular sickness or disease, but to the 
physical abuse and resultant weakened physical condition which 
accrued to Paul in the form of maltreatment at Antioch (Acts 13:50, 
along with Barnabas) and of stoning at Lystra (Acts 14:19), the latter 
incident being so severe that Paul was left for dead (cf. 2 Tim 3:1 1).^° 
The advantage of this view is that it accords with the Lucan account 
of Paul's travels in Acts, but it carries conclusive weight only with 
those already convinced of the South Galatian theory and the early 
dating of the letter. 

The desire of the Galatians to pluck out (fe^opu^avTe(;) their 
eyes — which they would have done had not the restriction in ei 
6uvaT6v intervened — is evidence to some that Paul's daGeveia was a 
form of ophthalmic disorder (4:15). If the gift could have relieved 
Paul's poor vision, so the argument goes, the Galatians would have 
parted with their own eyes quite willingly. However, although some 
type of eye disorder may have been involved in Paul's infirmity, it is 
not necessarily the meaning of this verse. The expression "to pluck 
out the eyes" is a common one both in the OT as well as in a great 

■"'E.g., migraine headaches, epilepsy, malaria, rheumatism, chronic ophthalmia, 
etc. For extensive listings of scholarly opinion on this issue, see esp. K. L. Schmidt, 
"KoXatpi^fo," TWNT 2, (1938) 818-21; BAGD 441-42; J. B. Lightfoot, Saint Paul's 
Epistle to the Galatians (London: Macmillan & Co., 1892) 186-91; Eadie, Galatians, 

"Es scheint sich dort aber eher um ein chronisches Leiden und hier um einen 
akuten Krankheitsfall zu handeln." R. Bring, Der Brief des Paulus an die Galater 
(Berlin: Lutherisches Verlagshaus, 1968) 185. But even oKO^oy in 2 Cor 12:7 may not 
refer to a chronic physical problem. 

'"So, e.g., Ridderbos, Galatians, 30, 166-67. 

black: weakness language in galatians 33 

variety of secular authors/' and is most likely used here proverbially 
to emphasize the willingness of the Galatians to sacrifice their all for 
Paul: "Cela peut vouloir dire simplement qu'ils etaient prets a sacrifier 
pour lui les biens les plus precieux."" Thus zoiiq 6(pQaX[io\)c, is here a 
synonym for that which is most precious to a man. As to the 
question, however, whether or not Paul was suffering from an eye 
ailment, we can draw no certain conclusions of any kind from Gal 

On the basis of 4:14 — "the temptation to you in my flesh you did 
not despise nor loathe (ou5e S^eTtTuaaie^'*)" — others have supposed 
that Paul was epileptic, taking the aorist of feKTtTuo) literally with the 
meaning "to spit." While it is true that the ancient Greeks would 
expectorate at the sight of an epileptic seizure, the word ^KTtTuto 
contains also a metaphorical sense of loathing or rejecting," and 
because the verb is coupled with ^^ouGeveiv ("to despise"), and 
follows it, the figurative meaning here is the most likely. 

Many other attempts to account for Paul's daGeveia could be 
listed, but most of the suggestions carry the point too far, and all are 
open to legitimate inquiry and controversy. Whether or not Paul had 
one of the specific conditions mentioned above is finally a matter of 
pure conjecture. At any rate, in his use of daGeveia the writer 
assumes that his readers are familiar with the word and the idea it 
connotes so that no further explanation is required. 

As to the specific identity of the illness, then, it is possible to 
reconstruct only the most general description. We can infer from the 
context that the malady was suitable to give at least the impression 
that Paul's person and message were weak, even an object of derision 
to those who saw him in such a condition. We know further that this 
situation hindered Paul — at least he felt it could — but was overcome 
by the gracious reception of the Galatians who accepted the ill 
missionary as if they had been receiving the Lord himself. The illness 
must have also been severe enough to hinder Paul's mobility, yet not 
so severe as to prevent him from preaching the gospel. At the same 

See Eadie, Galatians, 327, who cites such examples as Deut 32:10; Ps 17:8; Prov 
7:2; Zech 2:8; Horace, Sal ii.5, 33; and Terence, Adelph, v. 7-5. 

"Andre Viard, Saint Paul: Epitre aux Galates (Paris: Lecoffre, 1964) 95. 

"The reference to "large letters" (jrr|X,iKa ypdnnaTa) in 6:1 1 is said to support this 
view, but the expression is better understood to mean that Paul enlarged his writing to 
emphasize his personal greeting and impress his authority upon his readers than on the 
hypothesis that he so wrote because of age, infirmity, or lack of practice in writing 
Greek characters; cf. Lightfoot, Galatians, 220-21. 

p lacks these words, no doubt an oversight of a scribe due to homoioteleuton. 

"BAGD 244; Joseph Thayer, A Greek- English Lexicon of the New Testament (4th 
ed.; Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1955) 199. 


time Paul must have found enough reHef to permit him to continue 
his journey later. 

But all we can say with certainty is that daGeveia refers to some 
bodily infirmity which befell Paul and which was a potential source 
of offense to the Galatians. Since we do not have enough information 
for a diagnosis, all the suggestions as to the exact nature of his illness 
must remain conjectures. 

conclusion: weakness in galatians 

In Galatians Paul's main object is to show that man is free from 
the law and that faith in Jesus Christ, not works of righteousness, 
brings salvation and eternal life. An essential part of his argument is 
the reference to "the elements of the world" which belong to the old 
aeon and bring men into bondage. 

Because the axoixeia are set over against both God and man, 
Paul's attitude toward the elements is always negative and fiercely 
polemical. His concern time and again is to demonstrate the total 
superiority of Christ over all powers, be they dpxai, ^^ouaiai, 
5uvd|X£i(;, Kupioi, KupioTTixeg, dpxovxeg, Bpovoi, dyyeXoi or, in our 
passage, id oioixeta toC Koafiou.'^ This is because to be subservient 
to the elements means to be in bondage to sin and, eventually, death. 
Servitude to the oxoixeia finds its only remedy in the incarnation, 
death, and resurrection of Christ, who triumphed over them on the 
cross." It is therefore beyond Paul that anyone delivered from these 
elements could desire to return to a position of slavery under them, 
especially if he had already appropriated the victory of Christ by 
"coming to a knowledge of God or, rather, being known by God" 

In Galatians Paul includes in the same category — the atoixeta 
— the Mosaic law (the rudimentary teaching of the Jews) and the 
heathen systems from which the majority of the Galatians had been 
emancipated. These axoixeia are wholly inadequate to secure spiritual 
deliverance or progress in holiness, a fact which the religious past of 
all Christians — whether Jew or Gentile — has shown to be true. It is 
only through the sending of the son (4:4) that status as sonship is 
conferred. This is achieved by pure grace working through faith. 
Therefore the atoixeia can be described as daGevu Kai Ttxcoxd, "denn 

"See Ragnar Leivestad, Christ the Conqueror: Ideas of Conflict and Victory in 
the New Testament (London: S.P.C.K., 1954) 92-95. 

The imagery of man's enslavement to and eventual triumph over the elements of 
the world is one of the major Pauline salvific motifs; see Eldon J. Epp, "Paul's Diverse 
Imageries of the Human Situation and His Unifying Theme of Freedom," in Unity and 
Diversity in New Testament Theology, ed. Robert A. Guelich (Grand Rapids: Eerd- 
mans, 1978) 105-8. 

black: weakness language in galatians 35 

sie konnen nicht bewirken und verleihen, was Gott durch die Sendung 
seines Sohnes bewirkt und verliehen hat."^^ They are no longer 
applicable to sons and heirs of God since they have been overcome by 
Christ the Conqueror and because the situation of slavery has been 

It is therefore important for the apostle to emphasize the help- 
lessness of all men \)ti6 id axoixeia toO koohou in his attempt to 
contrast the situation of slavery with the present situation of salvation 
in Christ. In comparison with the power and wealth of the gospel, the 
old religious systems fade into insignificance. Even the Jewish law, 
which is both good and God-given (Rom 7:12, 22), when distorted 
into a means of earning salvation, can be used by Satan to bring men 
into bondage. Paul can therefore refer to a return to the elements and 
the adoption of the Mosaic law in the same breath, for the rudi- 
mentary teachings of the Gentiles correspond exactly to the ritualistic 
element in the law which is &aQevr\c, to produce life. 

In view of this, it is clear that Paul's main contention, and his 
primary purpose in ascribing to the aioixeia the modifier daGevfj is 
to show that since a man is not justified by the keeping of the law, 
there are no Jewish requirements to be submitted to. Circumcision, 
feasts, clean and unclean meats, fasts, special days, etc., are now 
obsolete and have no meaning for the Christian. It is therefore 
unnecessary to adopt Jewish (or pagan) ordinances, for their obser- 
vance is a return to the slavery involved in the elements and inevitably 
will destroy the work of Paul and the faith of his Galatian converts. 

Amid the multitudinous possibilities of interpreting Paul's 
daO^veia in 4:13, it is not easy to find one's way. But if our 
interpretation of the word's context is correct, then Paul there 
describes with the term his own corporeal condition which forced him 
to visit Galatia and which was at first a temptation to the Galatians 
to despise him. While the translation "illness" is perhaps a tendentious 
paraphrase for doO^veia in this phrase, it best and most plainly 
conveys what the author desires to express with the words doGeveia 
Tfjg oapKOi;. Of this illness, however, we know only that it existed 
and had an impact on his travel plans. 

Since Paul's entire apostolic ministry was one of travels, the 
hopes and disappointments involved with his itinerary must have had 
special significance. In spite of, or better, because of the many 
frustrations encountered along the way, Paul had a firm conviction 
that his travel plans were in the Lord's hands. Even the physical 
problem which stranded him in Galatia proved to be a blessing in 

''F. Sieffert, Der Brief an die Galater (KEK 7; 7th ed.; Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & 
Ruprecht, 1880) 238. 


disguise: Paul was able to evangelize an otherwise untouched area, 
thus accomplishing more than he had originally set out to. He learned 
through that experience that even an illness could be the occasion for 
preaching, just as later his imprisonment in Caesarea and Rome 
would work for the dissemination of the gospel. ^^ 

Through his Galatian experience Paul had also been reminded of 
his own Menschlichkeit and the power of God in spite of it. Just as 
the OTOixeia belong to the old aeon, so in a sense does Paul. But this 
continuing participation in the Koajioc; through suffering, weakness 
and illness forces him to look away from himself to the power of God 
for strength and sustenance. Paul's existence as an "apostle of 
weakness" in an earthen pot (2 Cor 4:7) has tremendous significance 
in that it serves to make clear to others that the source of his power is 
God and not himself. Evidently the Galatians recognized this, for 
they did not receive him on the basis of his personal appearance, 
physical health or rhetorical prowess, but because he was indeed the 
messenger of God bearing the word of Christ (Gal 4:14). 

"Mussner (Galaterbrief, 307) aptly states: "Fiir einen Mann wie Paulus wurde 
alles zum Kaipdc,, wenn es gait, das Evangelium zu verkiindigen." 

Grace Theological Journal 4.1 (1983) 37-58 






John D. Hannah 

Clergymen and educators in the previous century generally 
viewed the Scriptures and scientific theory to be harmonious volumes 
in the revelation of God. In a century that also viewed science as the 
receptacle of truth, however, clerics felt compelled to revise their 
explanations of Scripture in light of the dictates of geology and 
biology. They assumed correctly that science was ultimately in con- 
gruity with special revelation, but seriously erred in assuming that the 
contemporary interpretations of scientific data were necessarily valid. 
Accordingly, they adjusted their interpretation of the Scriptures in 
light of 19th-century science and eventually imposed a theistic 
developmentalism upon creation. The actions of those clergymen, 
though explainable when viewed from the assumptions of their 
century, serve as a warning to all of us that Scripture alone is 
infallible and the opinions of men must be evaluated at the tribunal 
of God's Word. 

BEFORE the publication of Chambers' Vestiges of the Natural His- 
tory of Creation and Darwin's Origin of Species, the marriage of 
theology and science appeared as a sacred and, hence, an inviolable 
institution. To the perceptive eye, the subjection of science as the 
handmaiden, a branch of Natural Theology, was greatly shaken by 
the Copernican Revolution, but the theological world thought itself 
secure in the belief that the findings of science could only buttress the 
hold of religion by sustaining a Paleyan view of nature. The publica- 
tion of Darwin's Origin became the occasion whereby science sought, 
as Loewenberg has asserted, to be "freed from centuries of bondage 


to metaphysics and theology."' That work signaled the attempt of 
science to gain its freedom from the sphere of subservience to religion 
and, as subsequent history has demonstrated, to establish its own 
supremacy in a "period of the decomposition of orthodoxies." As 
Hofstadter stated: "Religion has been forced to share its traditional 
authority with science, and American thought has been secularized. . . , 
evolution has been translated into divine purpose, and in the hands of 
skillful preachers religion enlivened and refreshed by the infusion of 
an authoritative idea from the field of science."^ 

The invasion of science into the sanctuary of religion, or better, 
the emancipation of the former from the latter, created the greatest 
effusions of consternation, even outrage, on the part of many reli- 
gionists as science not only sought to separate from religion but to 
subjugate religion to science. The history of the conflict of science 
and religion is the subject of this paper. The history of the religious 
debate over Darwin's ideas (or at least those ideas accredited to Dar- 
win) have been generally divided into two periods: a stage of proba- 
tion, 1859-1880, wherein Darwin's ideas were received by men of 
science, and a stage of acceptance, 1880-1900, wherein his ideas gen- 
erally prevailed."* The initial period has been further divided into two 
stages: a period of absolute rejection, 1859-1873, and a period of ten- 
tative acceptance, 1873-1880 (the demarcation of the two periods 
being the death of Louis Agassiz).^ 

This paper seeks to understand the reaction of conservative, Pro- 
testant religionists to Darwinian evolution as it is reflected in the 
religious literature of the era. As a vehicle to facilitate and structure 
this end, a single religious journal, Bibliotheca Sacra, will be surveyed 
to note its attitudes toward the theories of Darwinism. The use of 
Bibliotheca Sacra as a valid vehicle to discern religious attitudes can 
readily be justified by its stature as a major spokesman for religious 
conservatism and by its longevity in that it is "the oldest theological 
quarterly in America."^ Further, George Frederick Wright noted of 
it: "It is bound and indexed in all the leading libraries of the world, 
and hence has become a favorite channel for writers of eminence, 
who had something important to say to the leaders of thought in all 

'Bert James Loewenberg, "Darwinism Comes to America, 1859-1900," Mississippi 
Valley Historical Review 28 (1941) 346. 

^Bert James Loewenberg, "The Controversy Over Evolution in New England," 
New England Quarterly 8 (1935) 23. 

'Richard Hofstadter, Social Darwinism in American Thought (Boston: Beacon, 
1955) 30. 

""Loewenberg, "Darwinism Comes to America," 340. 

'Loewenberg, "The Controversy Over Evolution in New England," 233. 

*John Henry Bennetach, "The Biography of Bibliotheca Sacra," BSac 100 
(1943) 8. 


centers of influence."' Further, it is the only theological journal or 
quarterly to be reproduced in the Encyclopedia Britannica's "Life in 
American Civilization" series on ultra-microfiche for libraries world- 

Bibliotheca Sacra was founded in 1843 by Edward Robinson,** 
"an eminent philologist and topographer of the Holy Lands," during 
his professorship at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. 
In 1844 after three short issues in New York the journal passed from 
Robinson to a trusted friend, Bela Bates Edwards'' at Andover Theo- 
logical Seminary, Andover, Massachusetts.'^ Edwards continued to 
direct the journal as its editor for eight years (1844-1851) when, upon 
his death, Edwards Amasa Park,'^ a co-editor with Edwards, took 
over the reins of the work. Park upheld the editorial policies of 

'George Frederick Wright, Story of My Life and Work (Oberlin, OH: Bibliotheca 
Sacra Company, 1916) 396. 

* Edward Robinson (1794-1863), a graduate of Hamilton College (1816), was 
brought by Moses Stuart to Andover Theological Seminary, where he taught Hebrew 
from 1823 to 1826. After a trip to Europe he returned to Andover (1830-1833), but he 
resigned due to ill health. In 1837 he was called to Union Theological Seminary. His 
several trips to the Holy Land brought him recognition as a topographer. Philip 
Schaff, the noted historian, said of him, "He was thorough and indefatigable in his 
investigations, skeptical of all monastic legends, reverent to God's revelation" {The 
New Schaff- Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, 10:60). 

'"Editorial," BSac 98 (1941) 5. 

'"Union Theological Seminary was founded in 1836 as a New School Presbyterian 
institution. The seminary and the New School party were attempts to broaden theology 
as evidenced in the famous case of Albert Barnes (Henry Sloane Coffin, A Half 
Century of Union Theological Seminary [New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1954] 

"Bela Bates Edwards (1802-1852), a graduate of Amherst College (1824) and 
Andover Theological Seminary (1830), was appointed as professor of Hebrew at 
Andover in 1837. He resigned from Andover in 1846 because of poor health {The New 
Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, 4:80). 

'^Andover Theological Seminary was founded in 1808 due to the defection of 
Harvard College as evidenced in the HoUis Chair of Divinity dispute. Andover, an 
attempt to preserve Calvinism in New England, unfortunately began in a compromise 
between Old Calvinists and Hopkinsians. Hopkinsianism of New England Theology, 
which is contrary at many crucial points to Old Calvinism, was widely taught at 
Andover (Leonard Woods, History of Andover Theological Seminary [Boston: James 
R. Osgood, 1885] 638). 

'^Edwards Amasa Park (1808-1900), a graduate of Brown University (1826) and 
Andover Seminary (1831), became professor of sacred rhetoric (1836-1847) and later 
professor of systematic theology (1847-1881) at Andover. Theologically, Park was a 
Hopkinsian, denying the Reformed views of original sin and inherent sin. Park's views 
as well as those of New England Theology in general appeared in Bibliotheca Sacra 
with regularity (Frank Hugh Foster, A Genetic History of New England Theology 
[New York: Russell & Russell, 1963]; and Park, "The Theology of the Intellect and of 
the FeeUngs," BSac 7 [1850] 533-69). 


Edwards, continuing the journal in the broad evangeUcal spirit reflec- 
tive of New England Theology and New School Presbyterianism. He 

The present series of the Bibliotheca Sacra was commenced in 
1844. . . . Among its regular contributors are eminent scholars, con- 
nected with various theological and collegiate institutions of the United 
States. Its pages will be enriched by such contributions from Foreign 
Missionaries in the East, as may illustrate the Biblical Record: and also 
by such essays from distinguished naturalists, as may elucidate the 
agreement between Science and Religion. It is hoped that, hereafter, 
more space will be devoted than has been given heretofore, to strictly 
biblical and theological inquiries. Arrangements have been made for 
securing the most valuable literary intelligence from various parts of 
Europe, and the most thoughtful reviews of scientific and literary 

The Bibliotheca Sacra is not designed for discussions of ephem- 
interest, but for those of permanent value. It has inserted many an 
Article which has cost its author months of toil; and here and there an 
Article on which more than a year, or even two years, have been 
expended. Such Articles will not lose their worth with the passing time. 
The Review aims to give a careful and painstaking explanation of the 
spirit and genius of different schools, ancient and modern, in ethical 
philosophy and religion. . . . 

As the Bibliotheca Sacra is not a partisan Review, its Editors have 
been, and intend to be, liberal in admitting such Articles as they do 
not, in all respects, endorse. They are not to be held responsible for any 
statement which does not appear under their own names.''' 

The journal remained at Andover until 1883 when it was purchased 
by Oberiin College,'^ an institution made famous by Charles Grandison 
Finney. The new editor of the journal, its fourth, was George Frederick 
Wright. Wright was introduced to Bibliotheca Sacra during his 

'"Edwards A. Park, "Prospectus of the Bibliotheca Sacra," BSac 19 (1862) 1-4. 

Oberiin College began in 1834 as a Congregational college in Oberiin, Ohio. The 
roots of the college theologically are to be found in New England Theology, most 
particularly in Taylorism or New Haven Theology. Oberlin's first president, Asa 
Mahan, was a graduate of Andover Seminary, and its second president was Charles 
Grandison Finney, who developed Taylor's thought into Oberiin Theology (James H. 
Fairchild, Oberiin: The Colony and the College [Oberiin, OH: E. J. Goodrich, 
1883] 357). 

George F. Wright (1838-1921) was an eminent geologist and Christian apologist. 
He graduated from Oberiin College (1859) and Oberiin Theological Seminary (1862) 
and then distinguished himself for almost twenty years in pastoral ministry. He began 
teaching at Oberiin in 1881 and held two chairs (New Testament Language and 
Literature [1881-1892] and Harmony of Science and Revelation [1892-1907]). In 1907 
he retired but continued editing Bibliotheca Sacra until his death in 1921. He was 
editor of the journal for thirty-seven years (Wright, Story of My Life and Work; or 
"George Frederick Wright," BSac 78 [1921] 251-80). 


second pastorate, which was in the Free Church at Andover, and as a 
teacher at OberUn College he edited the journal for nearly forty years 
(1884-1921). Of his relationship to Bibliotheca Sacra and the issues 
of his day, he wrote: 

Bibliotheca Sacra, under the editorship of Professor Park, had for 
thirty years been the main scholarly expounder of the New England 
theology, and was the representative of the two thousand living 
Andover graduates scattered all over the world. But the influence of 
Darwinism, and of the so-called liberalizing tendencies of the time, was 
pressing for attention, and naturally I was soon drawn into the vortex 
of discussion, a vortex from which I have not yet emerged.' 

Wright continued the editorial policies of his predecessors, making 
the journal a spokesman for an American Christianity of a cosmopol- 
itan, though conservative, character. 


In the early issues of the journal the compatibility of science and 
the Bible are assumed; indeed, science formed the volume of natural 
revelation while the Bible the volume of special revelation. The 
former was perceived as the basis on which "written revelation 
rests."'* The phenomena of the natural world are called upon to sus- 
tain such notions as the immortality of the soul'^ and the existence of 
God predicated on a Paleyan view of First Cause. ^° The function of 
science is clearly that of a supplementary evidence to buttress the 
teachings of the Bible which was interpreted in a traditional pre- 
scientific sense. 

Religion and the Rise of Geology 

Integral to the thesis of Charles Darwin, and the various other 
forms of developmentalism, is that of boundless ages of time to per- 
mit variations in species. The traditional religious notion of a recent 
history of the globe, the Young Earth Theory of James Ussher, 
excludes two presuppositions essential to any Darwinian scheme; 
namely, unlimited time and uniformitarianism. In 1849 the journal 
printed an article by Cuvier in which the position of Bibliotheca 

"Wright, Story of My Life and Work, 132. 

""Natural Theology," BSac 3 (1846) 276. 

"George \. Chase, "Of The Natural Proofs of the Immortality of the Soul," BSac 
6 (1849) 461-71. 

^"john Jay Danaj "The Claims of the Natural Sciences on the Christian Ministry," 
BSac 6 (1849) 48-75. 


Sacra prior to Chambers and Tayler Lewis are made explicit. Cuvier 
argues both for a recent creation of the earth, "4-5,000 years ago," 
and a universal deluge which he described as "an epoch relatively not 
far remote, a grand revolution."^' Using Cuvier, conservative New 
England religionists opposed both unlimited time and Lyell's unifor- 
mitarian view of earth history. Geology is again viewed as the hand- 
maiden of religion; it is said to argue for the existence of God 
through a Paleyan rubric "more conclusively than from any other 
science. "^^ 

However, by the mid-1 850's Bibliotheca Sacra articles began to 
evidence the impact of uniformitarianism, as certain aspects of 
astronomy (i.e., the argument from the speed of light) and geology 
(i.e., the strata of rock formations and the fossil record) suggested a 
much older earth. One clergyman confided: "Moses seems to assign a 
comparatively brief period to the creation; astronomy and geology 
assert a vast period. How shall they be reconciled?"^^ Mears postu- 
lated three theories to explain the compatibility of geology and Scrip- 
ture: a Gap Theory in Genesis 1 of indefinite time followed by a 
divine creation (or re-formation) in six twenty-four hour consecutive 
periods, a Day-Age-Day Theory of indefinite periods between twenty- 
four hour creative periods, and a Day-Age theory of indefinite 
periods. He opted for the third view, thus conceding an important 
bulwark of traditional religion, limited time.^'* "We cannot bring the 
period of geologic changes within six or eight thousand years assumed 
as taught by Moses. ... If the Mosaic record is, as we believe, 
reliable, it must admit an interpretation which will give the period the 
facts demanded. "^^ Thus Mears in a subsequent article asserted that 
while the geological record provides no evidence of the mutability of 
species, "the globe (was) not created at once (but) underwent a 
gradual development."^^ Even James Dana, an ardent opponent of 
biological development, found Cuvier's "Young Earth Theory" un- 
acceptable and accepted a Day-Age Theory by which he conceded 

M. Cuvier, "The Deluges of Ogyges and Deucalion," BSac 6 (1849) 75. 
Conservative religionists perhaps misinterpret Cuvier at this point in that he argued 
that the earth, as it presently appears, was of recent origin; he was a Catastrophist. 
Since the early religious opinion of BSac understood the creation to be the first and 
only (ex nihilo) one, not the last in a series, there must have been a misinterpretation of 

^^John Jay Dana, "The Religion of Geology," BSac 10 (1853) 509. 

"John O. Mears, "The Narrative of the Creation in Genesis, Part I," BSac 12 
(1855) 105. 

^'Ibid., 117. 

"Ibid., 112. 

"John O. Mears, "The Narrative of the Creation in Genesis, Part II," BSac 12 
(1855) 333. 


two important presuppositions: boundless time and uniformitarian- 
ism.^^ Scientific theory was clearly beginning to shape the interpreta- 
tion of Scripture among the New England clergy. Weisberger stated: 
"Long before organic evolution had challenged the thought and faith 
of educated men, the New Geology had raised obstacles to a literal 
acceptance of the Biblical account of a Special Creation." 

The acceptance of the New Geology among the clergy of New 
England, which necessitated a reinterpretation of the Genesis account, 
appears to have been consummated with no opposition. The reason 
for this harmonious reception was undoubtedly the result of the influ- 
ence of Benjamin Silliman of Yale College, for it was at Yale, not 
Harvard, that this generation of clergy with attachment to the views 
of Bibliotheca Sacra were trained. Under the deeply religious Silliman, 
Yale College by 1820 had become the leading center in the country 
for the study of chemistry, geology and mineralogy.^' He carried his 
lectures on geology to the public in 1831 and met with popular 
acclaim throughout the nation. ^° His lectures have been described as 
"lay sermons" wherein he perceived natural phenomena as manifest- 
ing "the wisdom and goodness and the boundless providence of 
God."^' In 1829 he felt able to assert that the facts of science and the 
Genesis account were strictly compatible, yet a decade later he would 
only assert that the correspondence between the paleontological 
record and the events in Genesis were only approximate. Seeking to 
maintain a traditional religious commitment and the integrity of 
geology, he reinterpreted the Genesis account by allowing for un- 
limited time. As Greene notes: "By interpreting the biblical word 'day' 
to mean a period of indefinite length, one could provide the necessary 
amount of time within the scriptural framework."" He not only 
trained a generation of clergymen that science was the collaborator of 
the Scriptures in that it witnessed to the person of the master- 
designer, but he was also able to allay religious opposition to science 
among the learned laity. Upon Silliman's retirement, he was succeeded 
by his former student and son-in-law, James Dwight Dana, as 

"James D. Dana, "Science and the Bible," BSac 13 (1856) 119. 
^'Francis P. Weisenberger, Ordeal of Faith: The Crisis of Church-Going America, 
1865-1900 (New York: Philosophical Library, 1959) 55-56. 

"Benjamin Silliman," Dictionary of Scientific Biography, 12: 433. 
'"Margaret W. Rossitor, "Benjamin Silliman and the Lowell Institute: The Popu- 
larity of Science in the Nineteenth-Century America," New England Quarterly 44 
(1971) 613. 

Leonard G. Wilson, "Benjamin Silliman: A Biographical Sketch," in Benjamin 

Silliman and His Circle: Studies on the Influence of Benjamin Silliman on Science in 

America, ed. Leonard G. Wilson (New York: Science History Publications, 1979) 8. 

John C. Greene, "Protestantism, Science and American Enterprise: Benjamin 

Silliman's Moral Universe" in Benjamin Silliman, 16. 


professor of geology and mineralogy. Dana assumed from his mentor 
an old-earth theory, a theory Silliman discovered made science and 
the Bible compatible; both men, however, rejected any theory of the 
mutability of species (the third presupposition of Developmentalism). 

Religion and Developmentalism 

The earliest statements in Bibliotheca Sacra concerning the place 
of mankind in the earth came in reaction to Louis Agassiz and the 
publication of Chambers' Vestiges of the History of Natural Creation 
through the publicity afforded by the subsequent debates at the 
Lowell Institute. In response to Agassiz's theory of the multiple crea- 
tion of species by providence, a polygenism, the journal responded 
with a firm rebuttal and the affirmation of the creation of the race 
through one man, the biblical Adam." In response to the Vestiges, 
the journal asserted that the "development hypothesis" was "tanta- 
mount to Atheism" because it denied the immortality of the soul and 
rendered the atonement of Christ unimportant.^" Such was the initial 
reception of Developmentalism; however, when the same position 
was hypothesized by a fellow clergyman, it required a wider review 
and rebuttal in the pages of Bibliotheca Sacra. 

Religion, Developmentalism, and James D. Dana 

In 1855 Tayler Lewis, a distinguished congregationalist and pro- 
fessor of Greek at Union College, published The Six Days of Crea- 
tion and the following year, The Bible and Science or the World 
Problem. In response to Lewis, Dana wrote a series of articles 
denouncing the theory of Developmentalism, that is, that man's body 
is derived from other animals but was infused with a soul. These 
articles are instructive of the relationship of the New England clergy 
to the theory of Developmentalism at the time of Darwin's magnum 
opus. Origin of Species. 

Dana, as previously noted, was Benjamin Silliman's greatest 
pupil, * successor, and son-in-law. Like his teacher who "slowly 
retreated in the late 1830's from a belief in the actual occurrence of 
the Mosaic Flood to a catastrophist view of the rate of geological 
change,"" Dana adhered to the Day- Age theory of Genesis and tri- 
umphed the complete compatibility of science and the Scriptures. He 

""Review of John Bachman's The Doctrine of the Unity of the Human Race," 
BSac 9 (1852) 427. 

'"John Jay Dana, "The Religion of Geology," BSac 10 (1853) 510-11. 
"Tayler Lewis," American Dictionary of Biography, 6: 224. 
Margaret W. Rossiter, "A Portrait of James Dwight Dana" in Benjamin 
Silliman, 105. 
''ibid., 116. 


argued that Lewis derived his views directly from Robert Chambers' 
Vestiges and, therefore, taught the nebular hypothesis of the begin- 
ning of the universe, spontaneous generation, and the non-fixity of 
species, instead of creation being ex nihilo and the Genesis account 
being a description of the arranging of energy, "the dead force of 
cohesion."^** According to Lewis, man was derived from a lower spe- 
cies which God caused to stand erect and then infused with a soul. 

Dana's position emerges quite clearly. He rejected as completely 
unscientific the notions of a nebular theory or spontaneous genera- 
tion because, he says, "physical force could not, by any metamor- 
phoses or genesis, give rise to life."'*" He further wrote: "Our conclu- 
sion therefore is, that Nature, self-existent and self-propagating, now 
and then requiring a jog from the supernatural, may be an interesting 
myth, but cannot rise to the same point of view with Biblical truth or 
sound philosophy."'" Obviously Dana denied the mutability of species 
and called geology as his primary witness, arguing, "species have not 
been made out of species by any process of growth or development 
for the transitional forms do not occur. . . . 'Original divine power' 
did not create a generic or universal germ from which all genera and 
species developed. "''^ Again, "Science has no evidence that any living 
species have been created since the appearance of man on the globe. 
All facts in nature accord with the Scripture record, that man was the 
last of the grand series."'*^ 

Tayler Lewis responded in the next issue of Bibliotheca Sacra, 
claiming the "radical injustice" of Dana's criticism; his perception was 
that he was being accused of naturalism for teaching the Vestiges, 
propagating infidel philosophy and being ignorant of Scripture.'*'* 
He asserted for the learned clerical readership that "there is nothing 
monstrous or incredible in the idea that the human body might have 
been a growth through natural laws and processes originated by God 
and quickened by him to higher developments."'*^ Dana replied in the 
same issue that he had not misinterpreted Lewis and would, there- 
fore, not soften his criticism."^ Three additional articles reiterating his 
rebuff of Lewis' views were printed in Bibliotheca Sacra the following 
year. The verdict by the learned professor was the same: Science 

^* James D. Dana, "Science and the Bible," BSac 13 (1856) 94. 

"ibid., 98. 

"''Ibid., 100. 

"'ibid., 103. 

''ibid., 122. 

''ibid., 128. 

"Tayler Lewis, "Letter," BSac 13 (1856) 471. 


"* James D. Dana, "Science and the Bible," BSac 13 (1856) 646. 


proves the truth-claims of the Bible as traditionally interpreted (i.e., 
"geology proved the development theory false""^). He wrote: "Geol- 
ogy had found no transitional forms; and, moreover, had proved 
that, many a time, the thread of life had been cut by sweeping catas- 
trophes, each one enough to blast the hopes of nomad-planters; and 
coupling these facts with the principle from zoology, that in all repro- 
ductions, it is like from like, the theory was shown to be without 
foundation."''^ His conclusion is clear: "Geology and zoology are 
utterly opposed to the Vestiges. '"'^'^ In another article Dana renounced 
both Agassiz and Lewis by asserting variations within species but not 
their mutability in that the race originated from a single parent within 
a single locale. 

Religion and Developmentalism after Dana 

By no means did Bibliotheca Sacra cease to participate in the 
evolutionary debate after Dana's rebuff of Tayler Lewis; indeed, 
articles appeared with frequency defending the position held by Dana 
as a spokesman of New England Congregationalism. Another reply 
to Lewis' book was that of E. P. Barrow who questioned the author's 
liberty to translate the Hebrew term XID as meaning "to create or 
fashion already existing matter."^' 

Repeatedly, the evidence of the geological record is used to 
refute the various varieties of developmentalism; namely, Lamarck's, 
Chambers', or Darwin's. In 1864, Chadbourne wrote "We have not 
yet seen any strong argument made out, nor do we believe that geol- 
ogy has yet given one whisper of satisfactory testimony in favor of the 
development theory."" His position, and that of Bibliotheca Sacra, is 
abundantly clear when he wrote, "We accept the science of Darwin 
but not his philosophy."" By this statement it was perceived that 
Darwin had departed from the scientific method by erecting a 
hypothesis without a sufficient base; his theory was simply deductive, 
not inductive. "It is they, and not we, who have abandoned the 
inductive method. Mr. Darwin, whom they quote as their chief 
apostle, is notoriously imaginative as to his data, and hypothetical in 
his reasonings. No medieval scholastic, or disciple of the a priori 

James D. Dana, "Science and the Bible," BSac 14 (1857) 516. 

'"James D. Dana, "Thoughts on Species," BSac 14 (1857) 854-74. 
"E. p. Barrow, "The Mosaic Narrative of the Creation Considered Grammatically 
and in its Relation to Science," BSac 13 (1856) 746. 

"p. A. Chadbourne, "Final Cause of Varieties," BSac 21 (1864) 361. 


school of philosophy, has ever shown more ingenuity in guessing at 
convenient premises," said Manning/'' 

In the late 1860s and early i870s the strident reaction to Develop- 
mentaiism, now focused in Charles Darwin, continued in its intensity 
with no sign of abatement. The pages of the journal continue to sug- 
gest that geology is a bulwark against the theory of evolution ("most 
geological facts are pitted against it"") and a proof for the existence 
of God. The geological record, according to the clergyman of New 
England, simply does not provide evidence of the transitional links 
between species. Hitchcock notes of man, for example: "He appears 
suddenly upon the arena with nothing to connect him physically or 
mentally with previously existing animals. . . . geology assuredly does 
not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain. "^* 

The last article that sought to maintain the incompatibility of 
developmentalism and Christianity to appear in the journal was 
written in 1872. This article, simply entitled "Darwinism," evidenced 
the continuing hostility of the journal to evolutionism but it did sum- 
marize the major arguments against it. Gardener's position is simply 
that Darwin's theory is predicated on a series of logical fallacies and 
that the geological record opposes it. Of the latter point he simply 
repeats the substance of previous articles: "The geological evidence, 
therefore, remains upon the face of it distinctly contradictory to Dar- 
winism, and the task of the advocates of that theory is simply to 
explain away its force. "^^ Of the former "error" of Darwinism he 
writes: "One of the most common as well as curious, of what appear 
to the unscientific mind as Darwin's fallacies, consists in first stating 
such facts as he can obtain, but which make the slenderest possible 
basis for the ^uper-structure to be reared upon them, and then, 
further on, referring to this as a settled point already proved."** 

Thus, the response of Bibliotheca Sacra from the inception of the 
developmentalist debate with the reaction to Chambers' publication 
of the Vestiges, Dana's response to Lewis' Six Days of Creation, and 
the later response in the early 1870s as the issue focused forcibly in 
the thought of Darwin, was one of rejection and hostility. Develop- 
mentalism was not only viewed as a threat to religion, but a denial of 
transcendence; it was viewed as a travesty of not only sound reason, 
but a violation of the facts of science. It was an imaginative medley of 
vaguely connected, though distorted, facts used to create a system 

J. M. Manning, "The Denial of the Supernatural," BSac 20 (1867) 264. 
'C. H. Hitchcock, "The Relations of Geology to Science," BSac 24 (1867) 370. 
*Ibid., 369-70. 

'Frederick Gardener, "Darwinism," BSac 29 (1872) 265. 
'Ibid., 272. 


that deprecated man, denied God, and possessed no place for enlight- 
ened moral reason. Perhaps Hitchcock most clearly expressed the 
hostility of the New England clergymen when he wrote in 1867: 
"Hence we say to the development school, go on with your investiga- 
tions, and if you succeed in establishing your principles we will use 
your theory for illustrating the argument for the existence of God."^ 



In the same year that Frederick Gardener wrote the article 
entitled "Darwinism," an article appeared by George Frederick 
Wright that signaled important changes in the attitude of the journal 
toward Developmentalism. Wright, the clergyman, and Asa Gray, the 
Harvard botanist, were to form an effective alliance. Both men were 
theists and both Darwinists; that is, they argued that develop- 
mentalism did not stand against Christianity, because evolution pro- 
vides proof for God's existence through design; it is not inimical to 
the Paleyan argument when understood correctly. It was Wright's 
pioneering labors, both in writing and in gaining a hearing for Gray 
among his fellow clergymen, that caused Christianity and evolution 
to be increasingly viewed as compatible. 

Of the crucial importance of these two men in breaking down 
religious hostility to evolutionistic science by showing their essential 
unity, Moore writes: "Christian Darwinism in America was as much 
the special creation of George Frederick Wright (1838-1921) as of 
Asa Gray."^ Elsewhere he writes: "Like Father and son — twenty- 
eight years separated them — Gray and Wright formed a partnership 
which owed its success to their kindred spirit. No two Christian men 
on either side of the Atlantic were more determined to advance the 
cause of Darwinism."^' The importance of Wright in gaining a recep- 
tion for Darwinism among the conservative clergy is captured by 
Loewenberg when he writes: "By reason of his church affiliations, 
Wright was able to carry Gray's version of Darwin's message to the 
innermost precincts of orthdoxy from which Gray, by reason of his 
notoriety as a champion of Darwinism, was sometimes barred. 
Wright, despite his scientific avocation, was much more orthodox 
than Gray and was encouraged to go to greater lengths by the latter's 
substantial theism. "^^ 

"Hitchcock, "The Relations of Geology to Science," 371. 

^''James R. Moore, The Post- Darwinian Controversies (Cambridge: Cambridge 
University, 1979) 280. 

"Ibid., 283. 

'^Bert James Loewenberg, "American Science and Darwinism," American His- 
torical Review 38 (1933) 698. 


George F. Wright, A Christian Darwinist (1838-1921) 

Wright was the son of a New York farmer ("a profound thinker 
on theological and philosophical subjects"''^) of Puritan piety and an 
advocate, like Asa Gray, of New School Presbyterian-Congregational 
sympathies. While evidencing both an academic bent and an early 
interest in geology after reading John C. Fremont's Report concern- 
ing the west before he was twelve,'"* he left the farm to be trained for 
the ministry at Oberlin College and Oberlin Theological Seminary in 
Ohio. After his formal training, his first pastorate in Bakersfield, Ver- 
mont (1862-1872) found him immersed in reading and study. While 
at Bakersfield he translated Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, read 
Plato's Dialogues, and carefully assessed Lyell's Antiquity of Man 
and Darwin's Origin of Species!"^ As a result of his extra-pastoral 
pursuits he wrote, "Ground of Confidence in Inductive Reasoning," 
which was published in the New Englander attracting the favorable 
attention of Noah Porter, president of Yale, and Asa Gray of 
Harvard. Further, he studied the geology of his region and became an 
authority on glaciers in Vermont ("doubtless he was the only minister 
anywhere who found the time, while engaged in such pursuits, to 
become an authority on the glacial geology of his region" ). 

In 1872, Wright accepted the pastorate of the Free Church in 
Andover, Massachusetts, where he not only entered a fertile field for 
geologic discussion, but also entered the debate over Darwinism. He 
wrote: "On coming to Andover the influence of Darwinism, and of 
the so-called liberalizing tendencies of the time, was pressing for 
attention and naturally I was soon drawn into the vortex of discus- 
sion, a vortex from which I have not yet emerged."^ It is apparent 
that from his initial interest in geology and his reading of Lyell and 
Darwin that he entered the Andover pastorate as a Darwinist; while 
at Andover he became "the foremost early champion of Christian 
Darwinist theology."^" 

From the Andover pastorate, he entered the teaching profession 
as professor of New Testament Language and Literature (1881-1892) 
and as professor of the department of Harmony of Science and Bible 
(1892-1907) at Oberlin College, his alma mater. From his lectern and 
through the printed page, Wright continued to be a leading Christian 
Darwinian proponent among the Protestant clergy. Further, in 1883 

"Wright, Story of My Life and Work, 42. 
Charles Coulston Gillespie, "George Frederick Wright," Dictionary of Scientific 
Biography, 15: 516. 

"Wright, Story of My Life and Work, 116. 
Moore, Post- Darwinian Controversies, 281. 
*' Wright, Story of My Life and Work, 132. 
*'Gillespie, "George Frederick Wright," 516. 


Bibliotheca Sacra was sold by Andover Theological Seminary to 
Oberlin College and Wright became the editor of the prominent 
journal. One writer has stated: "His most significant service along 
theological lines was as editor of Bibliotheca Sacra. Under Wright the 
journal was for nearly forty years one of the most respected mediums 
of expression for the more scholarly conservative thought of the 
Church. "^^ For Wright this meant the demonstration of the compati- 
bility of Darwinian science with the data of Biblical creationism. It 
was to a large extent the labor of Wright, although McCosh at 
Princeton, Henry Ward Beecher and a host of other clerics should be 
named, that Hofstadter is able to make the following statement: "By 
the 1880's, the lines of argument that would be taken in the reconcili- 
ation of science and religion had become clear. Religion has been 
forced to share its traditional authority with science. . . , evolution 
had been translated to divine purpose, and in the hands of skillful 
preachers religion was enlivened and refreshed by the infusion of an 
authoritative idea from the field of science." 

Bibliotheca Sacra; An Adaptation of Science through Wright 

Through a series of articles by Wright in the 1 870s the strident 
editorial hostility so evident through Dana's articles was greatly 
modified; that is, Wright was able to demonstrate that Darwinism did 
not destroy the argument from design for the existence of a creator 
and thus was able to construct a synthesis of the two realms of 
knowledge commonly designated as Christian or Theistic Evolution. 
This was accomplished by arguing that God's creative act was to be 
understood as the superintendence of a divinely erected process, not 
as instantaneously created, but the providential direction of a long 
evolvement in time. The solution was to perceive God deistically in 
the creative process. 

It is clear that Wright sought to argue that science (i.e., geology) 
not only fits into a biblical creation but it also agrees with Calvinism; 
that is, the virtue of true Calvinism is that it accorded harmoniously 
with the testimony of both Scripture and science. In his initial article 
he argued that geology mitigated against a strict traditional interpreta- 
tion of the Genesis account of creation and rather for a Day-Age 
Theory of the age of the earth and man ("accumulating evidence . . . 
that of lengthening the antiquity of man").^' His non-traditional view 
of the Scriptures, by which he seeks to bring the creation account into 

^'"George Frederick Wright," Dictionary of American Biography, 10: 551. 
'"Hofstadter, Social Darwinism, 30. 

"George Frederick Wright, "Recent Works on Prehistoric Archeology," BSac 30 
(1873) 382. 


agreement with geology, is of major importance in his quest to 
demonstrate compatibility. 

It is a principle which we should keep more prominently in view 
than we do, that the integrity of the divine revelation should not be 
made to depend upon the interpretation of a few isolated and doubtful 
passages. The integrity of the Bible depends only upon the truth of 
those doctrines and interpretations which are woven into the very woof 
and warp of the book. The genealogies of Scripture sustain no such 
relation of importance to the book itself.'^ 

The advantage of the greater antiquity of man for Calvinist theo- 
logians, says Wright, is that it argues for the solidarity and unity of 
the race. "The older the human family can be proved to be, the more 
possible and probable it is that it has descended from a single pair."^^ 

Beginning in 1875 Wright published a series of five articles 
entitled "Recent Books Upon the Relation of Science to Religion" in 
which he argued the compatibility of Darwin and the Bible; this 
marked a distinct change from Dana's articles in the 1850s. One 
biographer suggests that he was asked to write them because of his 
advocacy of Evolution by the editor Edwards Amasa Park. ^ The 
initial article argued that the chance of randomness of the Darwinian 
scheme is only apparent ("probably wholly belongs to the mind"^^) 
and therefore Darwinism is not antithetical to religion. A Christian 
can confidently advocate Darwinism because he can recognize in the 
random variation the providence of God ("there is no such thing as 
chance in the phenomena of nature"^*). 

The second article in the series attempted to explain the 
mechanics of Darwinism and defend them scientifically. First, he 
took up the question of the mutability of species by posing this 
question: "Is there such degree of plasticity in species that the orbit of 
one may break into that of another?"" He argues that the geological 
record demonstrates a progression from simplistic to complex forms 
and that there are transitional links between species, such as Marsh's 
discovery of gradated fossil horses. "Through the discovery of con- 
necting links, and fresh investigation of facts bearing upon distribu- 
tion, gradation, and variability of species, much presumptive proof of 

'^Ibid., 383. 

"ibid., 384. 

'""George Frederick Wright," BSac 78 (1921) 255. 

"George Frederick Wright, "Recent Books Upon the Relation of Science to 
Religion," BSac 32 (1875) 554. 


"George Frederick Wright, "Recent Books Upon the Relation of Science to 
Religion," BSac 33 (1876) 482. 


the evolution of species has accumulated."'** Second, Wright attempts 
to explicate the mechanics of variation. He takes Lamarck's emphasis 
on acquired characteristics due to environmental conditioning and 
combines it with Darwin's theory of natural selection predicated upon 
the Malthusian principle, relegating both to secondary causation. 
Since he presumed that "the tendency to variation has its origin in a 
cause that is mysterious,"*" he argued that the final cause of mutation 
is the Creator's use of means. Thus, religion and Darwinism are quite 

The third article in the series argues that Darwin's uncertainty 
about the mechanism of variations allows for theism; indeed, this is 
Wright's primary argument for a Christian Darwinism. Speaking of 
the mechanism of variations he writes, "The many complex contin- 
gencies which pertain to the theory in question afford theologians 
opportunities of wheeling it into line with a true theistic view of 
nature."**' In brief, Wright's argument is that the inscrutability of the 
cause of variation assures the religionist a place in Darwin's scheme 
and a claim to scientific respectibility. "It will appear, we think, that 
so elastic a principle as natural selection, as Darwin defines it, cannot 
be particularly dangerous to theism";**^ "the 'mystery of creation' is so 
great and as much beyond the domain of science as ever." His con- 
clusion is that "there is no more reason now than at any previous 
time why the scientific 'Leopard' and the theological 'kid' should not 
lie down together. "*'' 

In the 1877 article Wright argues that Darwinism presupposes 
Paleyanism; that is, the principle of progress over millions of years 
presupposes a Creator. The orderliness and forward progression of 
species cannot be the result of chance, but a Creator. "The Darwinian 
supposition is, that life has been so adjusted to changing conditions of 
the material forces of the world, that for a period of one hundred 
million years, more or less, it has been continuous. That surely makes 
a demand for a Contriver who is omniscient as well as omnipotent." 

The 1880 article which argues the compatibility between Dar- 
winism and Calvinism is, perhaps, a classic statement of his view; it is 
a recurrent conviction of Wright's that Calvinistic theology and 

''Ibid., 493. 

"Ibid., 484-89. 

*°Ibid., 484. 

^'George Frederick Wright, "Recent Books Upon the Relation of Science to 
Religion," BSac 33 (1876) 676. 

*^Ibid., 686. 

"ibid., 688. 

'■•ibid., 693. 

*'George Frederick Wright, "Recent Books Upon the Relation of Science to 
Religion," BSac 34 (1877) 365. 


Darwinism are harmonious. First, he cites the fact that neither 
Calvinism nor Darwinism teaches a theory of invariable and progres- 
sive development. He argues that the degradation and extinction of 
species is analogous to the Adamic fall in that the results were 
negative. Second, Darwinism and Calvinism agree that mankind is 
genetically one. Here Darwinism illustrates the Calvinistic doctrines 
of the solidarity of the race and the transmission of the sin nature. He 
says, for example, "The Calvinistic doctrine of the spread of sin from 
Adam to his descendants has also its illustrative analogies in the 
Darwinian doctrine of heredity."** The mystery of heredity in science 
is compatible with the teaching that the soul is propagated by natural 
generation. Schneider is quite correct when he states: "Wright 
regarded Darwin's account of the origin of the human body as 
analogous to the traducian theory among the Calvinists, which 
accounted for the origin of an individual soul."**" 

Third, the Calvinists' difficulty in rationalizing the doctrines of 
foreordination and free-will are strikingly similar to the perplexity of 
the Darwinist in stating the consistency of his system with the 
existence of design in nature. Both systems are similar in that certain 
particulars are not explainable with our current level of knowledge; 
therefore, the systems must be viewed holistically.**^ Fourth, Dar- 
winism and Calvinism are aUke in the limits they assign to speculative 
reason; each is proved insofar as it explains or coordinates compli- 
cated phenomena which otherwise are confused (the one the 
phenomena of organic nature, the other the phenomena of Scripture 
and human nature). Both are protests against a /?r/on methods. Fifth, 
both agree on the fundamental principle of the sovereign rule of law 
throughout nature. "Under both representations of the actions of the 
Creator law reigns supreme, and the main reliance for the dissemina- 
tion of the divine influence is upon what is called natural means." 
Wright's conclusion to the article needs little comment: "If Dar- 
winism appears to banish design from nature, and to be fataUstic, it is 
only because it is liable to the same class of misunderstandings 
against which Calvinism has had so constantly to contend. . . . We 
may conclude that, not improperly, Darwinism has been styled 'the 
Calvinistic interpretation of nature.'"'^ 

**George Frederick Wright, "Recent Books Upon the Relation of Science to 
Religion," BSac 37 (1880) 54. 

"ibid., 57. 

^'Herbert W. Schneider, "The Influence of Darwin and Spencer on American 
Philosophical Theology," Journal of the History of Ideas 6 (1945) 9. 

''Wright, "Recent Books," BSac 37 (1880) 62-63. 

'"ibid., 74. 

"ibid., 76. 


Science, Christian Darwinism, and the Late 19th Century 

The history of the reUgious attitude toward Darwinism, as it is 
reflected in Bibliotheca Sacra, can be demarcated by two articles 
deaUng with the theory of Developmentalism. Frederick Gardener's 
article in 1873, while much in the vein of Dana's early writings, 
signaled the end of the journal's belligerencey to Darwinian science. 
In the same year George Wright's first article appeared, and by the 
1880 article the author not only advocated the deepest of sympathies 
between religion and science, but argued that Darwinism and 
Calvinism were most compatible. The attitude of the journal toward 
Darwinism had changed radically since the Dana series, an attitude 
only confirmed and perpetuated when Bibliotheca Sacra was sold to 
Oberlin College and George Wright became its editor. 

George Wright's editorship of the journal continued its scholarly 
course set by its previous editors: Robinson, Edwards and Park. 
While the journal remained in the Christian-Darwinist tradition, 
Wright's emphasis changed. He became less concerned to commend 
modern science to believers in revealed theology as he was to defend 
revealed theology from the advocates of Liberal Theology. His adher- 
ence to Christian Darwinism continued as reflected in his own creed. 
He believed that God created the elements from which the earth 
evolved under his superintendence ("I believe that, in the beginning, 
God created the elements out of which have evolved, under his direc- 
tion, the heavens and the earth"'^); that after geologic ages of the 
evolvement of matter the principle of life came into the world as a 
new creation; that life on earth evolved from simplicity to complexity 
("there was an orderly progress from lower to higher forms"^^) and 
that man's organic connection to some unknown species of anthro- 
poid apes is probable and only explicable in direct superintendence of 
providence. He writes of the connection between the lowly apes when 
compared to sophisticated man: "Such complicated accidental combi- 
nations are inconceivable. They can occur only as the product of 
design, which is equivalent to creation."'"* 

To conclude the story of the acceptance of Darwinism in Ameri- 
can conservative Protestantism, it is necessary to return to James 
Dwight Dana, the antagonist of Developmentalism in the late 1850s 
series in Bibliotheca Sacra. Dana felt constrained by the documenta- 
tion in the Origin of Species to modify his views. In 1874, the Yale 
professor revised his Manual of Geology "in which, he too, after a 
prolonged attempt to resist natural selection at last granted his 

'Wright, Story of My Life and Work, 420. 
'Ibid., 421. 
*Ibid., 423. 


endorsement."^^ By 1883, his views had changed to the point that he 
granted the vahdity of most of the tenets of Darwinism aUhough he 
still maintained that Darwin had not explained the origin of species 
and that there were still discrepancies and gaps in the geological 

The particular form of Darwinism for Dana was that of Alfred 
Wallace's; as to the mechanism of variation he accepted both the 
Lamarckian emphasis on acquired characteristics through environ- 
mental conditioning and natural selection. However, he exempted 
man by explaining his emergence through direct, not secondary, cau- 
sation ("the intervention of a Power above Nature was at the basis of 
Man's development"'^). A summary of his position appeared in an 
obituary in 1895: "Professor Dana never fully accepted the Darwinian 
theory of development, though his views were so much modified that 
he is to be classed among the evolutionists who minimize the influ- 
ence of natural selection, and give prominence to the theistic ele- 
ment." The complete merger of his Christian faith with Darwinism 
is clearly evident in a letter to John G. Hall on March 7, 1889: "While 
admitting the derivation of man from an inferior species, I believe 
that there was a Divine creative act at the origin of man; that the 
event was truly a creation as if it had been from earth or inorganic 
matter to man. I find nothing in the belief to impair or disturb 
religious faith; that is, faith in Christ as the source of all hope for 
time and eternity."'' 

The intellectual struggles with Darwinism led many, like Dana, 
from initial rejection to an appreciation and adherence to those 
doctrines in a modified way some decades later. The story of that 
transition from -an immediate to a mediate view of divine activity in 
creation has been summarized as follows: 

A member of the first generation of American specialists in 
science, a generation that contributed much toward making a profes- 
sion of Science, Dana also belonged to the first generation caught up in 
the warfare between science and revealed religion. Committed to both, 
he strove to retain a footing in two worlds inexorably drifting apart. 
But the rest of his life was a progressive surrender to Darwinism, 
although he continued to insist on those few occasions for supernatural 
intervention, particularly in the evolution of man, and curiously ... his 

Hofstadter, Social Darwinism, 18. 

"James Dwight Dana," Dictionary of Scientific Biography, 3: 540. 
"Ibid., 542. 

""James D. Dana," BSac 52 (1895) 558. 

"Quoted in Daniel C. Oilman, The Life of James Dwight Dana (New York: 
Harper & Brothers, 1899) 188. 


acceptance of social Darwinism that was becoming fashionable in the 
closing years of his life was a good deal more prompt.' 


Nineteenth-century Protestant Christianity in America was forced 
to rethink and recast its interpretation of the Bible to bring it into 
conformity with the findings of science. Perceiving that natural reve- 
lation and special revelation were similar volumes of knowledge (one 
of the world below, the other the world above) that could not conflict 
without deepest destructive ramifications in metaphysics and episte- 
mology, clergymen sought to assure their harmony. Adjustments to 
science were possible only if the argument for design remained a bul- 
wark in the defense of theism. It seems that these 19th-century 
clergymen strove to prevent cleavage and contradiction between the 
two volumes of knowledge, and their basic hermeneutic was this: does 
the adoption of the assertions of science allow for a grand Designer? 
To find such a place for God, the New England clergyman removed 
God from direct activity in the creation through intervention and mir- 
acle to the sphere of directing a concatenation of secondary causes 
through providence; God became more transcendent and distant than 
immanent and personally, directly involved in the cosmos. 

The change in the religious community relative to their perception 
of God's dealings in the world and the interpretation of the Genesis 
account was gradual, yet quite evident. Religious adaptation was 
predicated upon the valuable insight of several key figures; that is, 
men of scientific respectability and dominance with traditional 
religious beliefs and piety and a conviction that the new findings of 
science were a defense against atheism. Some of these prominent 
scholars were Benjamin Silliman of Yale, James D. Dana, his suc- 
cessor, Asa Gray of Harvard, and George Frederick Wright of 
Oberlin. This is apparent as Wright states in reviewing a new publica- 
tion by Gray. 

As the author remarked of Professor Silliman that it was quite as much 
his transparent character as his scientific ability which, forty years ago, 
induced orthodox Christianity and geology to lie down together, so we 
may say with respect to the present crisis, that the unshaken Christian 
faith of such eminent scientific men as the late Professor Henry, Pro- 
fessor Dana, and our author is a most efficient agency in allaying the 
apprehensions of the Christian public; while their ability is a most 
powerful inspiration and defense to the younger class of naturalists 
who would retain both their Christian faith and their scientific 

'°°" James Dwight Dana," Dictionary of Scientific Biography 3: 553. 
""George Frederick Wright, "Natural Science and Religion by Asa Gray: A 
Review," BSac 38 (1880) 390-93. 


With the initial volumes of Bibliotheca Sacra the impact of geol- 
ogy precipitated a slight reinterpretation of the Genesis account from 
a Young-Earth Theory to a considerably older earth. It would appear 
that the New England clergy held to an original creation of matter, a 
gap of considerable time and then a reconstruction in its present form 
in twenty-four hour days; it appears that they accepted Cuvier's 
Catastrophism with modifications that indicate that they only accepted 
part of his theory and rejected or did not understand the other 
assumptions in it. However, Genesis was retained as traditionally 
interpreted except for the possibility of unlimited time. 

In the Dana debate with Chambers and Lewis, the Day-Age 
Theory was assumed, granting Lyell's Uniformitarianism. Dana's 
objection to Developmentalism in the 1850s was his rejection of the 
mutability of species. Wright not only saw the virtue of the mutability 
of species in the 1870s but argued that a Developmental Theory 
accorded with the argument from design generally and Calvinism 
particularly. The apparent weight of mounting evidence, plus the 
defense of the compatibility of the two volumes of knowledge, 
eventually eroded resistance so that even Dana conceded. His conces- 
sion was to the very position he violently attacked in the pages of 
Bibliotheca Sacra, that of Chambers and Lewis, some twenty years 
earlier. It was a qualified adoption as Sanford writes: "For Dana 
evolution in no way denied or obscured God's purpose. He failed to 
see any chance in mutation. Evolution in the organic world was 
simply God's method of creation."'"^ The theory of creation changed 
categorically from 1856 to 1880 for these clergymen, as did the place 
of the Genesis account in religious orthodoxy. While it was accepted 
in the 1840s as describing six consecutive twenty-four hour days of 
creation, by the 1850s it was viewed as explicative of origins but 
within a Day- Age mode. By the 1870s, however, the Genesis account 
was perceived as truth but not a delineation of central creation truth. 
Hopkins says of the Genesis account: "If this has any claim to 
credence, it cannot be a history of cosmogony. The creation which it 
designates must have been some other and some minor creation."'"^ 
Reinterpretation of traditional cosmology because of claimed ad- 
vances in science makes it evident to the observer in the 20th century 
that uniformitarian and evolutionary science not only asserted its 
freedom from special divine revelation but triumphed over it in the 
hearts of many. 

The story presented in the pages of Bibliotheca Sacra reveals 
many of the religious assumptions of the Congregational clergy in the 

'"^William F. Sanford, Jr., "Dana and Darwinism," Journal of the History of 
Ideas 26 (1965) 546. 

'"Samuel Hopkins, "An Exposition of the Original Text of Genesis I and II," 
BSac 33 (1876) 739. 


19th century. The natural world and the biblical record were viewed 
as harmonious volumes of God's disclosure to his rational creatures; 
both volumes testified to the existence of God and Christian truth. 
Seeking to maintain the unified testimony of God to truth, clergymen 
and educators adjusted their perception of the teaching of Scripture 
on creation so much that traditional doctrines such as a young earth 
and immediate divine creation were replaced by an old earth theory 
and mediate creation. 

The error of that century of clergyman was not that science and 
Scripture are contradictory, but that the 19th-century form of 
scientific theory (i.e., developmentalism) was as infallible as Scripture. 
It warns us that, however impressive are the theories of our brilliant 
men of science. Scripture, not the former, is forever true. Providen- 
tially, in our half of the 20th century, evolutionary scientism has 
come under attack as often unscientific and its claims to ultimate 
objectivity are now questioned.''^'' But in the previous century science 
appeared to speak with the inerrancy that we accord to Scripture 
alone. It behooves us to remember to be cautious not to neglect the 
exegesis of Scripture and the qualitative gulf between special and gen- 
eral revelation. 

' ''Thomas S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolution (Chicago: University 
of Chicago, 1970). 

Grace Theological Journal 4.! (1983) 59-84 





Daniel B. Wallace 

In this article the author seeks to demonstrate that the syntax of 
the article-noun-Kai-noun plural construction has been largely mis- 
understood. It does not fit the Granville Sharp rule because the nouns 
are plural. Nor is its semantic range shut up to absolute distinction or 
absolute identity. After an exhaustive treatment of the construction in 
the NT, it is affirmed that there are three other semantic possibilities. 
A proper semantic grid helps in seeing possibilities in certain passages 
which have hitherto gone unnoticed and in omitting certain options 
(e.g., that "pastors" = "teachers" in Eph 4:11) which have been assumed 

IN Eph 4:11 the apostle Paul tells his audience that the glorified 
Messiah has bestowed on the church gifted men. These men are 
described as "apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers." 
The construction in Greek is toCx; \ik\ dTroaTdXoug, xoOx; 5^ Tipo^T^iaq, 
Toix; 5^ euayyeXiCTTdq, xou^ 5^ Tio\\jit\aq Kai 5i5aaKdXoi)(;. Expositors 
have long noted that there is no article preceding SiSaoKdXouq, which 
has raised the question: are the teachers to be identified with the 
pastors or are pastors and teachers two distinct groups? Grammatically 
speaking the question is: does the article before no\\ikv(iQ, govern both 
no\.\itvaq^ and 6i5aaKdXou(; and if so, in what way (i.e., does it unite 
them loosely, make them identical, etc.)? Expositors have come down 
on both sides of the fence, though few have seriously investigated the 
syntax of the construction as a major key to the solution.' This 

'Among the modern commentators, almost all are agreed that one group is seen in 
this construction Hiut cf. G. H. P. Thompson, The Letters of Paul to the Ephesians, to 
the Colossians and to Philemon [CBC; Cambridge: Cambridge University, 1969], 69; 
and C. J. Ellicott, A Critical and Grammatical Commentary on St. Paul's Epistle to 
the Ephesians [And over: Warren F. Draper, 1885], 94. Thompson simply asserts that 


passage is perhaps the best known text in the NT which involves the 
article-noun-Kai-noun plural construction. A proper understanding of 
the grammar involved may help to solve this exegetical and ec- 
clesiological problem. 

But Eph 4:11 is not the only debatable passage involving this 
construction. Just within Ephesians we may also note 1:1, which uses 
substantival adjectives (xolq dyioK; . . . Kai nioToic, iv Xpioxw 
'Ir|aoO). The question here would be: are the saints to be identified 
with the faithful in Christ Jesus? Although we would want to argue 
this theologically, is there in fact grammatical evidence on our side? 
In 2:20 and 3:5 this construction is used of the apostles and prophets 
(twv anooToXdiy Kai 7tpo(pr|Tc6v in 2:20 and toi(; dyioK; dnooxoXoK; 
aCxou Ktti 7tpo(pTiTai(; in 3:5). Are these two groups identical? Or, if 
not, is the foundation of the church built upon the NT apostles and 
OT prophets (2:20)? Has the mystery of Christ been revealed to OT 
prophets (3:5)? These are pertinent questions theologically which the 
syntax of this construction may help to resolve. 

"teachers were holders of another office" without giving any evidence. Ellicott argues 
solely from scanty lexical evidence). Yet those who affirm that one group is identified 
by the phrase have little syntactical evidence on their side as well. H. Alford (The 
Greek Testament, vol. 3: Galatians- Philemon, rev. by E. F. Harrison [Chicago: Moody 
1958]) argues that "from these latter not being distinguished from the pastors by 
the toCx; 56, it would seem that the two offices were held by the same persons" (p. 117). 
But he gives no cross-references nor does he demonstrate that this is the normal usage 
of the plural construction. B. F. Westcott (Saint Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians [New 
York: Macmillan, 1906]) argues for one class "not from a necessary combination of the 
two functions but from their connexion with a congregation" (p. 62). C. Hodge (A 
Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians [New York: Robert Carter and Brothers, 
1856]) boldly states that "The absence of the article before 5i5aaKd^ou(; proves that 
the apostle intended to designate the same persons as at once pastors and teachers 
[italics added]" (p. 226). But then he curiously backs off from such grammatical dogma 
by adding that "It is true the article is at times omitted between two substantives 
referring to different classes . . ." (p. 227), citing Mark 15:1 as evidence. Finally, he 
reverts to his initial certitude by concluding, "But in such an enumeration as that 
contained in this verse ... the laws of language require toCx; 5^ SiSaoKdXoug, had the 
apostle intended to distinguish the SiSdoKoXoi from the noin^vei; [italics added]" 
(ibid.). No evidence is given to support this contention. It is significant, in fact, that of 
the commentaries surveyed, only Hodge mentioned any other text in which the plural 
construction occurred — a text which would not support his conclusions! Eadie, Abbott, 
Salmond, Lenski, Hendriksen, Erdman, Barclay, Wuest, and Barth also see the two 
terms referring to one group, though their arguments are either not based on syntax or 
make unwarranted and faulty assumptions about the syntax. Some would insist that 
the article-noun-Koi-noun plural construction requires that the second group is to be 
identified with the first, but such a dogmatic position must be abandoned in light of 
such passages as Matt 16:1 ("the Pharisees and Sadducees") and Acts 17:12 ("the . . . 
women . . . and men")! A careful and exhaustive investigation of this phenomenon is 
therefore necessary if we wish to understand clearly the relation of pastors and teachers 
in Eph 4:11. 


Outside of Ephesians there are several debatable passages which 
involve this construction as well. For example, we read of "the tax- 
collectors and sinners" in Matt 9:11, "the lawyers and Pharisees" in 
Luke 14:3, and "the apostles and elders" in Acts 15:2. These are but a 
handful of the plural constructions in the NT, though they are 
certainly among the more significant. The exegetical and theological 
significance of this construction is difficult to overestimate. 

The purpose of this paper, therefore, is to investigate the 
semantic range (and, consequently, the exegetical significance) of the 
article-noun-Kai-noun plural construction in the NT. I will restrict the 
discussion to constructions in which the plurals refer to persons and, 
at the same time, expand the discussion to include all substantives 
under the title "noun." In order to establish a proper framework for 
the semantics of this construction in the NT, we must first look at the 
work of Granville Sharp, then discuss the misunderstanding of his 
first rule with reference to the plural, and finally suggest a proper 
semantic grid for the construction. 


Granville Sharp (1735-1813) was an English philanthropist and 
abolitionist. He was a student of the Scriptures, although he was not 
a clergyman. He believed strongly in the verbal inspiration of the 
Bible and in the deity of Jesus Christ. His strong belief in Christ's 
deity led him to study the Scriptures in the original in order to defend 
more ably that precious truth. Through this motivation he became a 
good linguist, able to handle accurately both the Greek and Hebrew 
texts of Scripture. One of his publications, written before he dis- 
covered his "rule," was a defense of the view that "Jehovah" (YHWH) 
of the OT referred, at times, to each person of the Trinity. As he 
studied the Scriptures in the original, he noticed a certain pattern, 
namely, when the construction article-noun-Kai-noun involved per- 
sonal nouns which were singular and not proper names, they always 
referred to the same person. He noticed further that this rule applied 
in several texts to the deity of Jesus Christ. So in 1798 he published a 
lengthy volume entitled. Remarks on the Definitive Article in the 
Greek Text of the New Testament: Containing Many New Proofs of 
the Divinity of Christ, from Passages Which Are Wrongly Translated 
in the Common English Version [KJV]. The volume went through 
four editions (three British and one American).^ 

The contents of this paragraph are from C. Kuehne, "The Greek Article and the 
Doctrine of Christ's Deity," Journal of Theology 13 (September, 1973) 15-18. 


In this work Sharp articulated six rules, though what has com- 
monly become known as "Sharp's Rule" is the first of these. Sharp 
articulated this rule as follows: 

When the copulative Kai connects two nouns of the same case, [viz. 
nouns (either substantive or adjective, or participles) of personal 
description, respecting office, dignity, affinity, or connexion, and attri- 
butes, properties, or qualities, good or ill,] if the article 6, or any of its 
cases, precedes the first of the said nouns or participles, and is not 
repeated before the second noun or participle, the latter always relates 
to the same person that is expressed or described by the first noun or 
participle: i.e. it denotes a farther description of the first-named 
person . . .^ 

To put this simply, in the construction article-noun-Kai-noun, 
four requirements must be met if the two nouns refer to the same 
person: (1) both nouns must, of course, be personal; (2) both nouns 
must be common nouns, i.e., not proper names; (3) both nouns must 
be in the same case; and (4) both nouns must be singular in number. 
Although many today have argued against the validity of this rule, no 
one has demonstrated its invalidity in the NT.'* The implications of 

Granville Sharp, Remarks on the Definitive Article in the Greek Text of the New 
Testament: Containing Many New Proofs of the Divinity of Christ, from Passages 
Which Are Wrongly Translated in the Common English Version, 1st American edition 
(Philadelphia: B. B. Hopkins, 1807), 3. 

"The best modern defense of the validity of Sharp's rule that I have seen is a seven- 
part series in the Journal of Theology by C. Kuehne ("The Greek Article and the 
Doctrine of Christ's Deity" in JT 13 [September, 1973] 12-28; 13 [December 1973] 
14-30; 14 [March 1974] 11-20; 14 [June, 1974] 16-25; 14 [September, 1974] 21-33; 14 
[December, 1974] 8-19; 15 [March, 1975] 8-22). Unfortunately, this journal apparently 
has such a limited circulation that this superb series has hardly been noticed. It may be 
added here that the primary reason evangelicals have been hesitant to adopt the 
validity of this rule is the anti-Trinitarian bias of last century's greatest grammarian of 
NT Greek, G. B. Winer. A. T. Robertson vividly points out Winer's influence: 

A strange timidity seized some of the translators in the Jerusalem Chamber that 
is reproduced by the American Committee. There is no hesitation in translating 
John i. 1 as the text has it. Why boggle over 2 Peter i. 1? 

The explanation is to be found in Winer's Grammar (Thayer's Edition, 
p. 130; W. F. Moulton's (p. 162), where the author seeks by indirection to break 
the force of Granville Sharp's rule by saying that in 2 Peter i. 1 "there is not 
even a pronoun with a(OTfjpo(;." That is true, but it is quite beside the point. 
There is no pronoun with atoxi^po? in 2 Peter i. 11, precisely the same idiom, 
where no one doubts the identity of "Lord and Saviour." Why refuse to apply 
the same rule to 2 Peter i. 1, that all admit, Winer included, to be true of 2 Peter 
i. 11? . . . The simple truth is that Winer's anti-Trinitarian prejudice overruled 
his grammatical rectitude in his remark about 2 Peter i. 1. 
... It is plain, therefore, that Winer has exerted a pernicious influence, from the 
grammatical standpoint, on the interpretation of 2 Peter i. 1, and Titus ii. 13. 


this rule for the deity of Christ in passages such as Titus 2:13 (tov 
\ieydXov) GeoO Kai awTfjpog tijicov XpiaTou 'Ir|aoO) and 2 Pet 1:1 
(xov Geou i^|i(ov Kai aojxfjpoi; 'Ir|aoO XpiaToO) are, to say the least, 
rather significant. 


Considered to be Legitimately Applied to the Plural by Some 

As we have already seen by surveying some commentaries on 
Eph 4:11, several commentators assumed that the article-noun-Kai- 
noun plural construction identified the second noun with the first just 
as the singular construction did/ Wuest articulates this assumption 
most clearly: "The words 'pastors' and 'teachers' are in a construction 
called Granvill \_sic] Sharp's rule which indicates that they refer to one 

How has such an assumption arisen? On this we can only 
conjecture, but it is possibly due to (1) the lack of clarity by Sharp 
himself in stating his first rule and (2) a continued ambiguity in the 
grammars. As we saw earlier. Sharp does not clearly state that his 
rule is applicable only in the singular. Such a conclusion may be at 
best only inferred via an argument from silence (i.e., in stating that 
'''the latter always relates to the same person . . . i.e. it denotes a 
farther description of the first-named person,"^ Sharp only refers to 
the singular). However, a perusal of his monograph reveals that he 
insisted on the singular in order for the rule to apply absolutely.** The 
grammars have perpetuated this ambiguity. Some, of course, have 
dogmatically stated (and without sufficient evidence) that the rule 

Scholars who believed in the Deity of Christ have not wished to claim too much 
and to fly in the face of Winer, the great grammarian, for three generations. But 
Winer did not make out a sound case against Sharp's principle as applied to 
2 Peter i. 1 and Titus ii. 13. Sharp stands vindicated after all the dust has 

(A. T. Robertson, "The Greek Article and the Deity of Christ," The Expositor, 8th 
Series, vol. 21 [1921] 185, 187.) 

'See n. 1 for a survey of these commentaries. 

*K. Wuest, Wuest 's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament Ephesians and 
Colossians (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1953), 101. 
G. Sharp, Remarks, 3. 

*On pp. 5-6 Sharp points out that 

. . .there is no exception or instance of the like mode of expression, that I know 
of, which necessarily requires a construction different from what is here laid 
down, EXCEPT the nouns be proper names, or in the plural number, in which 
cases there are many exceptions. . . . 


does not even apply in the singular.^ Others have sided with Sharp, 
but apparently have neglected his requirement that the construction 
be in the singular, or else their discussion is vague enough to be 
misleading.'" Robertson stands apart as having the most lengthy 

'E.g., W. H. Simcox {The Language of the New Testament [London: Hodder and 
Stoughton, 1890]) declares: ". . . in Tit. ii. 13, 2 Peter i. 1, we regard 9eo0 and aootfipo;; 
as indicating two Persons, though only the former word has the article" (p. 50). G. B. 
Winer (A Treatise on the Grammar of New Testament Greek, trans, and rev. by W. F. 
Moulton, 3rd ed., rev. [Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1882]), as was mentioned in n. 4, 
allowed his theological bias to override the plain evidence from the syntax governed by 
Sharp's Rule: 

In Tit. ii. 13 . . . considerations derived from Paul's system of doctrine lead 
me to believe that acoTfjpoq is not a second predicate, co-ordinate with 0eoO . . . 

[In n. 2 at the bottom of the same page:] In the above remarks it was not 
my intention to deny that, in point of grammar, acoTfjpoq i^ficov may be 
regarded as a second predicate, jointly depending on the article toC; but the 
dogmatic conviction derived from Paul's writings that this apostle cannot have 
called Christ the great God induced me to show that there is no grammatical 
obstacle to our taking the clause Koi acox. . . . XpioToC by itself, as referring to a 
second subject (p. 162). 

J. H. Moulton (A Grammar of New Testament Greek, vol. 1: Prolegomena, 3rd ed. 
[Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1908]) is strongly influenced by Winer's comment on Titus 
2:13, reading it as though borne from a sober grammatical judgment: "We cannot 
discuss here the problem of Tit 2'\ for we must as grammarians, leave the matter open: 
see WM 162, 156n [italics added]" (p. 84). But his own Trinitarian persuasion comes 
through as he cites evidence from the papyri that the phrase found in Titus 2:13 and 
2 Pet 1:1 was used of one person, the emperor (ibid.). Finally, M. Zerwick (Biblical 
Greek Illustrated by Examples [Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute, 1963]) states that 
the rule is only suggestive, "since the unity of article would be sufficiently accounted 
for by any conjunction, in the writer's mind, of the notions expressed" (p. 60). 

E.g., L. Radermacher (Neutestamentliche Grammatik, 2nd ed. [Tubingen: J. C. 
B. Mohr, 1925]) makes an ambiguous statement: "Wenn mehrere Substantiva in der 
Aufzahlung miteinander verbunden werden, geniigt oft der Artikel beim ersten Wort 
und zwar nicht allein bei gleichem Genus" (p. 115), citing td tvxAXiiaxa Kai 
5i5aaKa^ia(; (Col 2:22) as evidence. He goes on to say that the same phenomenon 
occurs in hellenistic Greek, citing 6 fjXioi; Kai aeXi^vri as an example (ibid.). His two 
examples are both impersonal, one being singular and the other plural. A case could be 
made for the first example expressing identity, but certainly not the second. W. D. 
Chamberlain (An Exegetical Grammar of the Greek New Testament [New York: 
Macmillan, 1941]) seems to have a clear understanding as to when the rule applies and 
when it does not, but he does not clearly articulate this to the reader (p. 55). F. Blass 
and A. Debrunner (A Greek Grammar of the New Testament and Other Early 
Christian Literature, trans, and rev. by R. W. Funk [Chicago: University of Chicago, 
1961]) seem to support the rule in Titus 2:13 and 2 Pet 1:1, but also apply it to proper, 
impersonal names (p. 145)! They make no comment about the plural. C. F. D. Moule 
(An Idiom-Book of New Testament Greek, 2nd ed. [Cambridge: Cambridge University, 
1959]) has a sober treatment of the rule, seeing its application in the singular and 
questioning it in the plural (pp. 109-10). But he sides with Radermacher by allowing it 


discussion of the article-noun-Kai-noun construction though he con- 
siders the impersonal construction to fit the rule and the plural 
construction to specify two distinct groups. 

Improper Semantic Approach by Others 

More recently, a few have recognized that the rule applies 
absolutely only to singular nouns. '^ Their articulations as to when the 

with impersonal nouns. N. Turner {A Grammar of New Testament Greek, vol. 3: 
Syntax, by N. Turner [Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1963] and Grammatical Insights into 
the New Testament [Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1965]) seems to vacillate in his 
discussion, for he apparently allows the rule to stand with the singular nouns (Syntax, 
181; Insights, 15-16), but also applies it to the plural at his discretion (Syntax, 181). 
Thus he speaks of a "unified whole" with reference to Eph 2:20, Luke 22:4, and Acts 
15:2, but then declares that this same construction may "indeed indicate that two 
distinct subjects are involved [italics mine]" (ibid.), citing the common phrase oi 
Oapioaloi Koi ZaSSouKaioi as an illustration. It is doubtful that the construction 
indicates two antithetical ideas; it is rather better to say that it allows for this. J. H. 
Greenlee (A Concise Exegetical Grammar of New Testament Greek, 3rd ed. [Grand 
Rapids: Eerdmans, 1963]) is very unclear when he applies the rule to impersonal 
constructions (Eph 3:18) and plurals (John 7:45) (p. 50). C. Vaughan and V. E. Gideon 
(A Greek Grammar of the New Testament [Nashville: Broadman, 1979]) apply the rule 
to both impersonal and personal constructions, making no comment about the plurals 
(p. 83). They do note, however, that there are exceptions with the impersonal 
constructions (ibid., n. 8). Finally, J. A. Brooks and C. L. Winberry (Syntax of New 
Testament Greek [Washington: University Press of America, 1979]) apply the rule to 
personal, impersonal, and plural constructions explicitly (pp. 70-71). It is no wonder, 
therefore, that the exegetes have misread the semantic range of the plural construction 
since the grammarians have almost universally failed to restrict the application of the 
rule to the singular or have been so vague as to speak only of some kind of unity 
(whether a loose tie or apposition) with reference to the plural. 

A. T. Robertson, A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of 
Historical Research, 4th ed. (Nashville: Broadman, 1934), 785-89. 

'^E. A. Blum ("Studies in Problem Areas of the Greek Article" [Th.M. thesis, 
Dallas Theological Seminary, 1961]) declares with reference to Sharp's first rule 
(p. 29): 

Since he is talking about nouns of personal description, Wuest was wrong in 
applying the rule to Acts 2:23 [xtj • • • PouXfj Koi npoyvojaei]. Since he limits his 
rule to the singular, it is wrong to apply the rule to the "pastors and teachers" of 
Ephesians 4:11. 

Kuehne is in full agreement, observing that Sharp "specifically excluded plural 
personal nouns and proper names from the rule" (JT 13 [December, 1973] 17). A. M. 
Malphurs ("The Relationship of Pastors and Teachers in Ephesians 4:11" [Th.M. 
thesis, Dallas Theological Seminary, 1978]) concurs: "Therefore, Sharp states that 
plural nouns as well as proper names are an exception to his rule because some 
examples in the Scriptures seem to agree with the rule while others contradict it" 
(p. 23). R. D. Durham ("Granville Sharp's Rule" [unpublished paper, Grace Theo- 
logical Seminary, 1972]) acknowledges the exceptions to the rule of the plural and 
proper names, but thinks that Sharp meant to include impersonal nouns as meeting the 


rule does and does not apply are, therefore, among the clearest 
presentations I have seen. However, when they examine the plural 
construction, their semantic approach is inadequate in that the only 
question they raise is: are the two groups identical or distinct?'^ Such 
a question for the singular, personal construction is entirely adequate: 
either the first-named person is identical with the second-named 
person or he is distinct. But the very nature of a plural construction 
demands that several other questions be asked if we are to see with 
precision its semantic range (i.e., since the plural construction deals 
with groups, there may be other possibilities besides absolute distinc- 
tion and absolute identity). Thus, although the most recent treatments 
of the article-noun-KQi-noun plural construction are accurate in 
absolutely applying Sharp's rule only to the singular, they are never- 
theless inadequate in only raising the same question they asked of the 
singular construction.'" 

requirements of his first rule (p. 7). Finally, G. W. Rider ("An Investigation of the 
Granville Sharp Phenomenon and Plurals" [Th.M. thesis, Grace Theological Seminary, 
1980]) sides with Durham in treating plurals and proper names as exceptions, but 
impersonal nouns as fitting the rule (pp. 23-25). Thus all five of the most recent 
treatments on the article-noun-Koi-noun construction acknowledge that Sharp in- 
tended to exclude plurals and proper names from consideration. However, Durham 
and Rider believe that Sharp did not exclude impersonal constructions. Although this 
point is ancillary to the subject of this paper, I believe that Durham and Rider have 
misread Sharp, for Sharp explicitly states that he accepts the impersonal constructions 
as fitting the second, third, fifth, and sixth rules, but not i\iQ first or fourth {Remarks, 
120; cf. also pp. 140-42 in which Sharp refutes a certain Mr. Blunt for bringing in 
impersonal constructions as exceptions to the rule). It may be added here that there has 
been quite a bit of confusion and misunderstanding by some over the application of the 
impersonal construction to Sharp's first rule. For example, some see the rule applying 
in Eph 3:18 (to izk&ioc, Koi nfJKog koI Oi|/o<; Koi pdOoi;) because the four terms of 
measurement all refer to God's love. Although this is true, the four terms are not 
identical with each other. Such would have to be the case if Sharp's rule were to apply 
here. Cf. also Rev 1:9 and 5:12 for very clear references where the impersonal 
construction does not fit the rule. 

"Blum, "Problem Areas," pp. 26-27 (Blum is not to be faulted, however, since the 
plural construction is entirely ancillary to the point of his thesis); Kuehne {JT 13 
[December, 1973]) has a lengthy discussion on the plural construction, though he deals 
with it under only two semantic grids: identical vs. distinct groups (pp. 18-21); 
Malphurs ("Pastors and Teachers") follows the same scheme as Kuehne (pp. 24-29), 
neglecting any semantic nuances besides distinction and identity; Durham ("Sharp's 
Rule") attempts to make all plural constructions fit the rule, even though he recognizes 
that Sharp considered the plurals as a clear exception (pp. 31-34). It seems to me that 
Durham's error is that he does not distinguish unity from identity (cf. the comments in 
n. 12 with reference to impersonal constructions); finally. Rider ("The Granville Sharp 
Phenomenon and Plurals") deals only with the question of distinction vs. identity, even 
though his thesis is specifically on the plural phenomenon (pp. 41-78, 79-96). 

'^This is completely understandable because (1) when those who have studied 
Sharp's rule finally turn to the plural construction, the question foremost in their 
minds most naturally is: does the plural construction fit the rule or not? Thus by their 



As was mentioned in the preceding section, the only question 
that has been raised with reference to the semantics of the article- 
noun-Ktti-noun plural construction is: are the two groups identical or 
distinct? A proper semantic grid should see this question as ad- 
dressing the outer limits, the black and white of the semantics of the 
plural construction. However, there are various shades of gray which 
also need to be explored. The approach in this section is to lay out in 
chart form the antecedently possible semantic range of the plural 
construction. Then, in the final section, the plural construction in the 
NT will be investigated briefly to see what the actual semantic 
range is. 

Two Entirely Distinct Groups, Though United 

The grammars are agreed that even when two entirely distinct 
groups are in view, the fact that the article precedes only the first- 
named group indicates that they are united somehow. Thus, by way 
of illustration,'* in the clause, "The Democrats and Republicans 
approved the bill unanimously," the two political parties, though 
distinct, are united on a particular issue. Illustrations of this kind are 
numerous, e.g., "the mothers and children," "the fathers and daugh- 
ters," "the coaches and athletes," etc. This particular semantic nuance 
is diagrammed in Chart 1.'^ 

Two Overlapping Groups 

It is theoretically possible that the plural construction in the NT 
could refer to two overlapping groups. That is, some members of the 
first-named group could belong to the second-named group and vice- 
versa. The idea of this nuance would probably be expressed in 
modern English by "The X and /or Y" and vice-versa. We could 

preoccupation with this very question, they lock themselves into a binary system which 
does not allow them to see other alternatives; and (2) as James Barr laments in his The 
Semantics of Biblical Language (Oxford: Oxford University, 1961), most theological 
students (myself included) rarely have any substantial training in modern linguistics 
(pp. 288-96). Since this is the case, we should not necessarily expect that those who 
have been trained in theology as a prior discipline should be able to ask all the right 
linguistic questions of the article-noun-Koi-noun plural construction. 

"in this and the following sections, English illustrations will be used only to 
demonstrate, via analogy, that a particular semantic nuance is possible. I am not 
implying by such illustrations that the English idiom is identical with the Greek. 

'*In this and the following charts, the definite article before the first noun and the 
Koi between the two nouns are omitted because these charts are intended to depict the 
semantics, not the structure, of the article-noun-Koi-noun plural construction. It is 
assumed that the reader is well acquainted with the structure under consideration. 


Chart 1 

illustrate this with such phrases as "the student council members and 
football players," "the blind and elderly," "the scientists and Chris- 
tians," "the healthy and wealthy and wise," "the poor and miserable." 
It is possible in each of these constructions that some overlap could 
take place, given a particular context. This particular semantic 
nuance is diagrammed in Chart 2. 

Chart 2 

First Group Sub-Set of Second 

The third possibility is that the first-named group is a sub-set of 
the second, i.e., it is entirely included with the second-named group. 
The idea then would be "The X and [other] Y." Thus, by way of 
illustration, one could speak of "the angels and created beings," "the 
southern Baptists and evangelicals," "the deaf and handicapped," "the 
saints and sinners." This particular semantic nuance is diagrammed in 
Chart 3. 

Second Group Sub- Set of First 

The fourth possibility is that the second-named group is a sub-set 
of the first. The idea then would be "The X and [in particular] Y." 
This could be illustrated with such phrases as "the created beings and 


Chart 3 

angels," "the handicapped and deaf," "the teachers and professors,' 
etc. This particular semantic nuance is diagrammed in Chart 4. 

Chart 4 

Two Groups Identical 

Finally, the groups may be entirely identical. The idea may be 
expressed, "The X who are Y," or "The X even Y." Thus, by way of 
illustration, one could speak of "The Los Angeles Dodgers and world 
champions of baseball," "the evil and wicked," "the Gentiles and 
outsiders," "the powerful and mighty," etc. This particular semantic 
nuance is diagrammed in Chart 5. 

Chart 5 


As far as I can tell, these five nuances comprise the antecedently 
possible semantic range of the article-noun-Kai-noun plural con- 
struction. It remains to be seen whether this is the actual semantic 
range in the NT. 


I have discovered 70 plural constructions in the NT which fit the 
pattern article-noun-Kai-noun'^ and 7 other plural constructions which 
perhaps fit this pattern.'^ Of these seven questionable instances, I 
consider one to be legitimate,'^ bringing the total to 71 constructions 

As noted earlier in the paper, I am restricting my discussion to personal 
constructions. These constructions are found in the following texts: Matt 2:4; 3:7; 5:6, 
20; 9:11; 11:28; 12:38; 16:1,6, 11, 12, 21; 20:18; 21:12, 15; 26:47; 27:3, 12, 41; Mark 2:16 
(twice); 12:40; 15:1; Luke 5:30; 6:35; 7:32; 8:21; 9:22; 11:28; 12:4; 14:3, 21; 15:9; 18:9; 
20:46; 22:4, 52; John 1:40; 7:45; 11:31, 45; 20:29; Acts 15:2; 16:4; 17:12; 23:7; Rom 16:7; 
1 Cor 5:10; 2 Cor 12:21; Gal 1:7; Eph 1:1; 2:20; 3:5; 4:11; Phil 3:3; 1 Thess 5:12; 1 Tim 
4:3; 5:8; 2 Tim 3:6; Titus 1:15; Heb 5:2; 1 Pet 2:18; 2 Pet 2:10; 3:16; 3 John 5; Rev 1:3; 
11:9; 12:17; 18:9; 21:8. 

''See Luke 1:2; 10:30; Acts 8:25; 9:15; 17:18; Col 1:2; Heb 6:4-6. 

The one legitimate construction, as I see it, is in Col 1:2 {xolc, . . . dyioK; kov 
TiioToii; d5eX,(poi(;). Here it is possible to construe dyioig as an attributive adjective 
modifying d5eX(pot(; (with 7tiaTol(; being the second attributive) rather than as a 
substantival adjective. However, in light of the well worn substantival use of dyioi; in 
the NT generally (cf., e.g.. Acts 9:13, 32; Rom 8:27; 12:13; 1 Cor 6:1-2; Eph 2:19; 3:8; 
Phil 4:22; 1 Tim 5:10; Heb 6:10), in the Pauline salutations more particularly (cf., e.g., 
Rom 1:7; 1 Cor 1:2; 2 Cor 1:1; Phil 1:1), and in the parallel in Ephesians especially 
(1:1), dyioiq here is probably substantival and, consequently, fitting the article-noun- 
Koi-noun plural construction. 

The other constructions, which I do not consider to be legitimate, are: (1) Luke 1:2 
(oi dTt* dpxfjc aOTdnxai Koi Cjtrip^Tai yev6(ievoi) involves a definite article which 
functions as a substantiver of the prepositional phrase, though independently of the 
following nouns; (2) Luke 10:30, cited by Durham ("Sharp's Rule," p. 34), does not use 
the article but the personal pronoun o'i; (3) Acts 8:25, cited by Durham (ibid.) and 
Rider ("The Granville Sharp Phenomenon and Plurals," pp. 71-72), employs the 
article in the place of a personal pronoun with circumstantial participles (Oi \ib^ . . . 
6ia|iapTupdnevoi Koi XaXr^oavTEi;); (4) in Acts 9:15, manuscripts B and C* add the 
article {xcbv tQv&v te koI PaoiX^cov uiSv le 'lapai^X), but the construction employs te 
as well as Kai for its conjunctions; (5) Acts 17:18, cited by Rider ("The Granville Sharp 
Phenomenon and Plurals," pp. 51-52), involves two adjectives which are not sub- 
stantival, but attributive (tcov 'EniKoupeicov Koi ItcoikSv (piXoa6(p(ov); (6) Heb 6:4-6 
involves five substantival participles, but the second member of the group uses te 
instead of koi for its conjunction (toOg . . . (pcotiaO^vxag, yeuaan^vouq te . . . Kai 
yEvriOivrac; . . . Koi . . . yEuoan^voui; . . . Koi 7tapa7tEa6vTa(;). It should be noted that 
although this construction does not fit the precise construction discussed in this paper, 
it is still clearly analogous to it. That is to say, all of the participles must be governed 
by the article and, consequently, must be substantival. Thus the view held by some that 
the last participle (napaneadvraq) is conditional (and therefore circumstantial) flies in 
the face of clear syntactical usage (cf. J. A. Sproule, "napanEadvra^ in Hebrews 6:6," 
GTJ 2 [1981] 327-32). 


which will form the substance of this portion of the paper. With 
regard to the use of participles, adjectives, and nouns as substantives, 
the breakdown is as follows: (1) 25 constructions involve participles;^" 
(2) 6 constructions involve adjectives;^' (3) 17 constructions involve 
nouns;^^ and (4) 23 constructions are mixed. ^^ 

Semantic Classifications 

A well-established principle of lexical and syntactical investiga- 
tion is to define the actual field of meaning by bringing forth clear 
instances of a particular word or construction. Then, the ambiguous 
and /or exegetically significant passages would be expected to fit into 
one of the previously determined categories. The antecedent proba- 
bility^" that the ambiguous text will fit into an established category is 
determined by the total amount of constructions and the percentage 
of those which are clearly identifiable.^^ Thus, for example, if we were 
unable to find one clear instance in which two nouns in an article- 
noun-Kai-noun plural construction were identical, we would be on 
rather shaky ground to demand such an interpretation in Eph 4:11 — 
especially if such an interpretation were based primarily on the 

Our approach here, therefore, will first be to see which of the five 
antecedently possible categories have valid examples in the NT and 
second, to discuss some of the ambiguous and exegetically significant 

^°See Matt 5:6; 11:28; 21:12, 15; Mark 12:40; Luke 7:32; 8:21; 11:28; 12:4; 18:9; 
20:46; John 1:40; IhSl, 45; 20:29; 2 Cor 12:21; Gal 1:7; Phil 3:3 (three participles); 
1 Thess 5:12 (three participles); 2 Tim 3:6; Heb 5:2; 2 Pet 2:10; Rev 1:3; 12:17; 18:9. 

"See Luke 6:35; 14:21 (four adjectives); Eph 1:1; 1 Tim 5:8; 1 Pet 2:18; 2 Pet 3:16. 

"See Matt 2:4; 3:7; 5:20; 12:38; 16:1, 6, 11, 12; 20:18; Luke 22:4; John 7:45; Acts 
17:12; 23:7; Eph 2:20; 3:5; 4:11; Rev 11:9. 

^^These may be divided into two groups: mixed constructions with participles and 
mixed constructions without participles. With participles: 1 Tim 4:3 (adjective, parti- 
ciple); Titus 1:15 (participle, adjective); Rev 21:8 (adjective, adjective, participle, noun, 
noun, noun, noun). Without participles: Matt 9:11 (na); 16:21 (ann); 26:47 (na); 27:3 
(na), 12 (na), 41 (na); Mark 2:16 (twice— an, na); 15:1 (an); Luke 5:30 (na); 9:22 (ann); 
14:3 (an); 15:9 (an); 22:52 (nna); Acts 15:2 (na); 16:4 (na); Rom 16:7 (an); 1 Cor 5:10 
(na); Col 1:2 (an); 3 John 5 (na). 

^*By "antecedent probability" I mean the probability which has been established 
by grammar alone — before other exegetical considerations enter the picture. 

^'Thus, for example, if there are over 80 article-noun-Koi-noun personal, singular 
constructions in the NT, and all except the few Christologically significant ones are 
clear that one person is being identified by the two nouns, then there is an extremely 
high antecedent probability that in Titus 2:13; 2 Pet 1:1, e/ al., the biblical author is 
referring to one person. Arguments against such a view must be based on other than 
syntax, yet it is significant that those who do argue against the view usually attempt to 
use syntax as the primary weapon in their arsenal! 


Validation of the Semantically Possible Categories 

Two Entirely Distinct Groups, though United. I have discovered 
19 clear examples of this semantic group. For example, in Matt 3:7 
we read x(bv Oapiaaicov Kai XaSSouKaitov. Although the two reli- 
gious parties were entirely distinct, the one article unites them in 
some way. This is the first mention of either Pharisees or Sadducees 
in Matthew's gospel, and it may be significant that he presents these 
two parties which were historically opposed to one another^^ as 
united in their opposition to the Messiah's forerunner. Matthew 
mentions the Pharisees and the Sadducees together only four other 
times in his gospel and in each instance the construction is article- 
noun-Ktti-noun and the two groups are contrasted with the Messiah. 
In Matt 16:21 we read xwv TtpeaPuxepwv Kai dpxiepewv Kai 7pa|i- 
^atecDV. These were the three distinct parties which comprised the 
Sanhedrin.^^ (Some have erroneously insisted that this construction 
fits the Granville Sharp rule because these three groups all refer to the 
Sanhedrin. However, to say that A+B+C=Dis not the same as 
saying A = B = C, the latter equation being what the Granville Sharp 
rule asserts.) This phrase, involving at least two of the three groups, 
occurs another eight times in the NT.^° Apart from constructions 
involving the religious parties or groups which comprised the San- 
hedrin (for at least one of the substantives), there is only one clear 
example in which the two nouns are entirely distinct. In Acts 17:12 
we see "women . . . and men" in the construction (twv . . . yuvaiKCOv 
. . . Ktti dv5pcov). Nevertheless, even though the clear examples almost 
exclusively occur in set phrases, in light of such clear examples of 
entirely distinct groups united by one article (accounting for 27% of 
all plural constructions), the dogmatic insistence of many exegetes 

^'See Matt 2:4; 3:7; 16:1, 6, 11, 12, 21; 20:18; 26:47; 27:3, 12, 41; Mark 15:1; Luke 
9:22; 22:4, 52; John 7:45; Acts 17:12; 23:7. 

J. Jeremias, Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1969), 265- 
67. Cf . also E. Schiirer, The History of the Jewish People in the A^e of Jesus Christ 
(175 B.c.-A.D. 135), rev. and ed. by G. Vermes, F. Millar, M. Black (Edinburgh: 
T. & T. Clark, 1979), 2. 409-11. 

■ See Matt 16:1, 6, 1 1, 12. See also Acts 23:7 for the only other instance of these 
two groups in this construction. 

On dpxiepeiJi;, see Schrenk, "dpxvepe»j(;," TDNT, 3. 270-71; Jeremias, Jerusalem, 
179-80; Schiirer, Jewish People, 2. 212-13; on ypanyiaxevq, see Jeremias, Jerusalem, 
236; Schiirer, Jewish People, 2. 212-13; on npECS^mzpoq, see BAGD, s.v. "7rpeaPuTepo(;," 
2. a. p.; G. Bornkamm, "TtpeoPuxepog," TDNT, 6. 659; Schiirer, Jewish People, 2. 212- 

'"See Matt 2:4; 20:18; 26:47; 27:3, 12, 41; Mark 15:1; Luke 9:22. On three other 
occasions, the chief priests are mentioned with another group(s): Luke 22:4 (toig 
dpxiepeOaiv Koi atpaTriYO^); Luke 22:52 (toO<; . . . dpxiepevi; Kai aipatriYoCx; . . . Kai 
TtpeaPuT^poug); John 7:45 (toCx; dpxiepei? Kai Oapioaioog). 


that this construction fits the Granville Sharp rule does not seem to 
be borne out of sober reflection. 

Two Overlapping Groups. I have discovered only two clear 
examples of this semantic group, making it the least attested category. 
In Luke 14:21 we read loix; nTCuxotc, Kai dvaTieipoug Kai TU(p^oi)(; Kai 
XCoXouc;. It must be remembered that although these four adjectives 
are not synonymous, this does not preclude them from identifying the 
same group. (Otherwise it would not be possible for a blind man to 
be poor!) However, it is doubtful that in this parable the slave was 
told to bring only those who met all four "qualifications"! Rather, the 
obvious implication is that the new guest list was neither restricted on 
the one hand to those who fit only one category, nor on the other 
hand to those who fit all four. Thus an overlap of categories is 
obviously the nuance intended by the author. In Rev 21:8, the most 
complex article-noun-Kai-noun construction in the NT (involving 
seven substantives: loiq , . . SeiXoig Kai dTtiaxoK; Kai ^p5eX,uY)xevoi^ 
Kai (poveuaiv Kai TropvoK; Kai (papudKoic; Kai eiSwXoMxpaK;), we 
have a similar situation. Obviously, one would be committing exe- 
getical and theological suicide to insist that the lake of fire is reserved 
only for those who meet all of the "qualifications," or for those who 
meet only one requirement. These two texts, though comprising less 
than 3% of all the plural constructions, demonstrate the inadequacy 
of distinguishing only the entirely distinct and the entirely identical 
nuances for this structural phenomenon. 

First Group Sub-Set of Second. I have found seven clear in- 
stances of this semantic group. ^' In Matt 5:20 (and 12:38) we read 
x©v ypa|i|iaTe(ov Kai ^apiaaicov. Although not all scribes were 
Pharisees,^^ when the two groups are mentioned together the author 
is almost certainly indicating "the scribes and other Pharisees."" 

"See Man 5:20; 9:11; 12:38; Mark 2:16; Luke 5:30; 6:35; 14:3. 

'^See Jeremias, Jerusalem, 233-45, for an excellent argument against the notions 
that scribes = Pharisees (i.e., identical) and that all scribes were Pharisees (i.e., sub- 

"This point can be established in some measure by a comparison of the synoptic 
gospels. For example, Mark 2:16 has "the scribes o/the Pharisees" (oi ypamaaTeiq tSv 
Oapioaicov) while the parallel passage in Luke 5:30 reads "the Pharisees and their 
scribes" (oi Oapioaioi Kai oi ypaiinaTeii; abx&v). Although the article is used with 
both nouns in the Lucan account, one could hardly argue that such indicates unity 
more strongly than the article-noun-Koi-noun construction would. As well, there are 
three parallels in which the Pharisees alone are mentioned in one gospel and the scribes 
and Pharisees in another (cf. Matt 12:38 with Mark 8:11; Matt 15:1 with Luke 11:37; 
and Matt 9:11 with Mark 2:16 and Luke 5:30). Although such evidence does not prove 
that the scribes in these passages were Pharisees (due to the selectivity of the 
evangelists — cf., e.g.. Matt 16:6 with Luke 12:2), it is rather suggestive. Further- 
more, even though Jeremias insists that not all scribes were Pharisees and that not all 


Matt 9:11 speaks of "the tax-collectors and sinners" (tcov xeXcovwv 
Ktti diiapTto^.cov).^'' Although some have argued that two distinct 
groups are in view (the one Jewish, the other Gentile)," it is far better 
to understand the TeX6)vr]c, as a Jew^^ and anap-KaXoc, as any sinner, 
Jew or Gentile/' The impossibility of maintaining an absolute dis- 
tinction between the two is demonstrated in Luke 18:13 in which a 
tax-collector (leXcovriq) prays, "O God, be merciful to me, the sinner" 
(6 Geoq, i?ida9riTi |ioi xw d)iapTco^(p). In Luke 14:3 we see Toug 
vojiiKoix; Ktti OapiaaioD^.^^ The substantival adjective vo^iKog is 
clearly synonymous with ypaiinateuc;;^^ thus the construction has the 
same semantic value as Tovq Ypannaieit; Kai Oapioaioug. Finally, 
note the substantival adjectives in Luke 6:35 (toix; axotpioxovq Kai 
TiovTipou^). Quite obviously, ingratitude is a kind of evil; thus the 
ungrateful ones are a part of the larger group of evil ones. In 
summary, although the clear examples of this semantic category 
comprise only 10% of all plural constructions, it is a legitimate and 
well-attested category which will demand consideration in at least five 
exegetically significant and/ or ambiguous passages. 

Second Group Sub-Set of First. I have discovered four clear 
examples of this semantic category. In Mark 2:16 we read of both 
"the tax-collectors and sinners" (first sub-set of second) and "the 
sinners and tax-collectors" (xwv a[iapx(iiXG)V Kai T8?ia)vcov). However, 
there is some substantial textual deviation from the word order of 
this phrase, with W, A, C, families 1 and 13, and the Byzantine 
cursives, et al., reading xwv t8?icovcov Kai d^apxcoA-cov. In 1 Cor 5:10 
we see toIc, nX,eov^Kxai(; Kai fipna^iv. Although one could be greedy 
(7t>.80veKxr|(;) without being branded as a swindler (dpTta^), it is 
doubtful that the reverse could be true. What alters the picture, 

Pharisees were scribes {Jerusalem, 233-45), he nevertheless recognizes that most scribes 
were Pharisees (p. 243) and that "This expression ['the scribes and Pharisees'] shows 
that besides the leaders who were scribes, the great majority of members had not had a 
scribal education" (p. 258). The joining of the two nouns, then (whether with one 
article or two), is clearly used to indicate Pharisaic scribes and other Pharisees. 

'""Cf. Mark 2:16 and Luke 5:30 for parallel accounts, both of which have the same 
construction as is found in Matt 9:11. 

'*See, e.g., G. W. Rider, "The Granville Sharp Phenomenon and Plurals," 42-44. 

'*See BAGD, s.v. "Te>.a)VT|(;." 

"See BAGD, s.v. "d(iapT(oX,6g," 2. That &iiapx(oX6c, was applied both to Jew and 
Gentile can be easily substantiated. With reference to Gentiles, cf., e.g., Matt 26:45 
with Luke 18:32. With reference to both, cf., e.g., Matt 9:13. With reference to Jews, 
cf., e.g., Luke 7:37 with John 12:3; Luke 13:1. 

^'See Mark 2:16 and Luke 5:30 for the other two examples of this particular 

"Note the parallels: Matt 22:35 (vohik6(;) with Mark 12:28 (elg t&v ypainiaxtav); 
Matt 23:13 (ypannaTei?) with Luke 11:52 (voniicoii;) and 11:53 (oi ypamiazelq). 
Cf. also the comments by Gutbrod, TDNT, 4. 1088, and Jeremias, Jerusalem, 254-55. 


however, is that f| is found instead of Kai in P46, N^, D^, 4^, and the 
Byzantine minuscules, et al, nullifying the construction in a large 
portion of the Greek witnesses to this text. In 1 Tim 5:8 Paul adds an 
adverb to clarify the relation between the two substantives (xdiv i5io)V 
Kai \i6X\c5xa oiKeiojv), though again the mss are divided with C, D', 
and the Byzantine cursives containing a second article (thus, x(hv 
i5ia)v Kai ^d^iiaia twv oiKeicov). Finally, in 3 John 5 we read eig toi)(; 
dSeXtpoOg Kai toOto ^evoix;. Here Kai toOto functions adverbially, 
having a similar force to Kai lidXiata in 1 Tim 5:8."*° But the 
construction (as we might have expected!) is altered in some of the 
witnesses (in particular, P and the Byzantine cursives which have zic, 
Toix; instead of touto). Thus, although there are four clear passages 
in this semantic group (comprising almost 6% of all the plural 
constructions), their testimony in each instance is rendered somewhat 
less certain due to the textual variants. One might wonder, with some 
justification, whether the "preferred" readings have created an idiom 
which is foreign to the NT while these variae lectiones have preserved 
the true text.'" 

Two Groups Identical. I have discovered 28 clear examples of 
this semantic group. "^ In Rev 1:3 we read that "those who hear and 
who keep" (oi dKOuovxec; . . . Kai TTipoOvxEg) the words of the 
prophecy are blessed. It would seem obvious that the one who only 
hears the Scripture read and does not obey it would fall short of the 
blessing.''^ The two-fold response of hearing and keeping is necessary 
if one is to be counted among the jxaKdpioi. In John 1:40 we read of 
Andrew who was one of the two men who heard John and who began 
to follow the Lord (xtov dKouadvxcov . . . Kai dKo?iouGr|advxtov). If 
only two men are mentioned (5i3o) and the participles are in the 
plural, then both must have heard and followed. In John 20:29 the 
Lord promises a particular blessing to "those who do not see and 
[yet] believe" (oi jni iSovxec; Kai Kioxeijaavxeg). The negative qualifi- 
cation of not seeing the risen Lord is, of course, insufficient of itself 

""See BAGD, s.v. "o6to(;," 1. b. y. Rom 13:11; 1 Cor 6:6, 8; and Eph 2:8 are cited 
as illustrative references. 

It might be significant that the Byzantine minuscules were the only mss to deviate 
in all instances. The possible significance is certainly worth pursuing, though it is 
beyond the scope of this paper. 

"'See Matt 5:6; 11:28; 21:15; Mark 12:40; Luke 7:32; 8:21; 11:28; 12:4; 18:9; 20:46; 
John 1:40; 11:31, 45; 20:29; Rom 16:7; 2 Cor 12:21; Gal 1:7; Eph 1:1; Phil 3:3; Col 1:2; 
1 Thess 5:12; 2 Tim 3:6; Titus 1:15; 1 Pet 2:18; 2 Pet 2:10; Rev 1:3; 12:17; 18:9. 

"'Such a conclusion is so obvious in fact that most commentaries on the Apoca- 
lypse assume it to be true without any grammatical defense. Furthermore, if John were 
to pronounce a blessing on mere hearers, he would be contradicting James' pointed 
remark that the man who simply hears is self-deluded (Jas 1:22). Both James and John 
are no doubt repeating their Lord's statements to the same effect (cf. Luke 8:21; 11:28). 


to procure such a blessing. What we have seen thus far are a few 
examples of this semantic group which involve only participles. 
Altogether, 23 of the 28 constructions belonging to this category 
involve only participles.'"* The participial constructions are in fact so 
transparent in their semantic force that Rider believes that every 
exclusively participial construction belongs to this semantic group/^ 
even though he does not see any clear examples of identity in non- 
participial constructions.'*^ Although some adjustment should be 
made to Rider's view, it is an indisputed and rather significant fact 
that most (if not all) of the wholly participial constructions do follow 
the semantics of the Granville Sharp rule and that this final semantic 
category is comprised of an overwhelming majority of participial 

However, although the participles hold a clear majority in this 
group, they are not the only grammatical forms an author could have 
selected to indicate identity between the two substantives. I have 
discovered five clear instances of non-participial or partially par- 
ticipial constructions which belong here as well. In Rom 16:7 Paul 
greets Andronicus and Junius, "my kinsmen and my fellow-prisoners" 
(tou(; ouyyevEii; liou kqi auvaix|iaX,a)TOD(; (iou). Here the substantival 
adjective avyyEvelc, and noun auvaixna^fotoug must, of course, both 
refer to the two men. Two Alexandrian mss (P46 and B) add an 
article to the noun, however. In Eph 1:1 Paul addresses his letter "to 
the saints who are in Ephesus and [who are] faithful in Christ Jesus" 
(toiq dyioK; toig ouaiv ^v 'E(pea(p Kai Ttiaxoic; ^v Xpiaxw 'Iriaou). 
Although there are textual variants from this text, none affects the 
article-noun-Kttl-noun construction. In light of Pauline theology, it is 
rather doubtful that he would be specifying two groups which could 
be distinguished in any way. If one were either to see the two groups 
as entirely distinct, as overlapping, or the first as a sub-set of the 
second, the resultant idea would be that at least some of the faithful 
in Christ Jesus were not saints!'*^ And the second group could hardly 
be viewed as a sub-set of the first because (1) syntactically and 
textually, this would be the lone NT instance which did not have a 

'^See Matt 5:6; 11:28; 21:15; Mark 12:40; Luke 7:32; 8:21; 11:28; 12:4; 18:9; 20:46; 
John 1:40; 11:31, 45; 20:29; 2 Cor 12:21; Gal 1:7; Phil 3:3; 1 Thess 5:12; 2 Tim 3:6; 
2 Pet 2:10; Rev 1:3; 12:17; 18:9. 

■"G. W. Rider, "The Granville Sharp Phenomenon and Plurals," 66. 

""Ibid., 77-78. 
Though such a concept might fit the Roman doctrine of sainthood, it is not 
Pauline, for even the licentious Corinthians were called saints (1 Cor 1:2). The term can 
obviously be used of positional truth, which, if it speaks of merit, speaks only of the 
merit of Christ. 


textual variant;'*'* (2) theologically, such a view would seem to restrict 
the Pauline doctrine of perseverance to less than all the elect; and (3) 
lexically, the route normally taken by those who deny a perseverance 
of all the elect is to read niaxoiq actively as "believing" and still to see 
identity of the two substantives/' Thus, barring exegetical factors 
which may have been overlooked, there seems to be no good reason 
not to take the two adjectives as referring to the same group. Since 
this is so, with reasonable confidence we can say with Barth that 

It is unlikely that Paul wanted to distinguish two classes among the 
Christians, i.e. a "faithful" group from another larger or smaller group 
that is "holy." Such a distinction would be unparalleled in the Pauline 
letters. Even the wild Corinthians are called "sanctified" and "perfect" 
(1 Cor 1:2; 2:6). While occasionally Paul presupposes a sharp division 
between "those outside" and "those inside," between "the unbelieving" 
and "the faithful," he has no room for half- or three-quarter Christians. 
It is probable that here the Greek conjunction "and" has the meaning 
of "namely." It serves the purpose of explication and may therefore 
occasionally be omitted in translation if its intent is preserved.'" 

In Col 1:2 we see almost the same wording as in Eph 1:1 (Toiq tv 
KoXoooaic, dyioK; Kai Ttiaxo^ d5eX(poi(; ^v XpiaTw).^' Thus the 
arguments which were brought forth for the Ephesian text would be 
equally applicable to the construction in this sister epistle. In Titus 
1:15 the apostle speaks of "those who are defiled and unbelieving" 
(xoiq Se ^E^la|i^evol(; Kai (xtciotok; — a mixed construction of parti- 
ciple and adjective). He seems to be clarifying just who the defiled are 
with the adjective dTtiaxoK;, thus identifying them, in a sense, as 
"filthy non-Christians." Paul continues to describe this group in v 16 
with epithets which could hardly describe believers (P5e>,uKToi, 
dTceiGeiq, d56Ki(ioi, ktX.)." Finally, Peter declares in his first epistle 
that servants should submit themselves to their masters, not only "to 
the good and gentle" (xoiq dyaGoig Kai tnieiKtoiv) but also to the 
harsh (1 Pet 2:18). There is an obvious contrast here between two 

Admittedly, this is not the strongest argument against such a view, though it 
does bear some weight. Furthermore, even ignoring the variae lectiones, this category is 
not as well attested as all but one of the other groups, rendering it less likely as the 
correct view without a strong helping hand from non-grammatical factors. 

*'See, e.g., W. Hendriksen, Exposition of Ephesians (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1967), 

'°M. Barth, Ephesians (AB; Garden City: Doubleday, 1974), 1. 68. 

"See n. 19 for a discussion of the legitimacy of this construction. 

"Even if one were to argue that the persons identified in v 15 were believers 
(taking dnioxoig in the sense of 'unfaithful'), he would still see one group being 
specified in the construction. 


classes of masters (note ou (xovov . . . dXka Kai), with the result being 
that to posit any semantic nuance other than identity for the article- 
noun-Ktti-noun construction would destroy the clearly intended 
antithetic parallel. 

To sum up, the identical category has captured almost 40% of all 
the plural constructions in the NT. Over 82% of the constructions in 
this group involve participles exclusively. And although the identical 
category is the largest semantic group, it is weakly attested by non- 
participial constructions (only four belonging to this category, none 
of which is composed only of nouns). 

Summary. Overall, 60 of the 71 article-noun-Kai-noun construc- 
tions could be clearly tagged as to their semantic nuance (thus almost 
85% percent were identifiable). With reference to these clear con- 
structions, the breakdown is as follows: 

Distinct 27% of total; 32% of clearly marked constructions 

Overlap roughly 3% of both 

First sub-set 10% and 12%) 

Second sub-set 6% and 7% 

Identical 40% and 47% 

Although all five semantic groups were represented, certain 
patterns emerged which will certainly color our approach to the 
remaining eleven texts. We will break these down first by semantic 
groups and then by types of substantives. 

With reference to the "distinct" category, we noted that although 
this is the second largest category, all but one of the instances 
occurred in a particular set phrase. As well, not one of the construc- 
tions involved participles. Concerning the "overlap" group, we saw 
that this is the smallest category (two examples). Furthermore, both 
examples were the most complex constructions in the NT (Luke 14:21 
has four substantives and Rev 21:8 has seven). With reference to the 
"first sub-set of second" category, we found that this was well attested 
among adjective and noun constructions, though not at all found in 
participial constructions. With respect to the "second sub-set of first" 
group, we discovered four clear examples, though each one had fairly 
substantial textual deviations, making this nuance of the construction 
non-existent among the Byzantine mss with various other witnesses 
departing from the "text" reading on each occasion as well. Finally, 
regarding the "identical" group, we observed that this, the largest of 
the semantic categories, captured all 23 of the wholly participial 
constructions (which could be clearly identified), five constructions 
involving at least one adjective, and no constructions made up 
exclusively of nouns. 


The types of substantives involved are laid out in Chart 6: 

Chart 6 

Noun + 

Adjective + 

Participle + 

Mixed: Non- 

Mixed: With 



1st Sub- 2nd Sub- 
set of 2nd set of 1st 

Identical Totals 





1 1 

2 5 

23 23 


4 3 

2 17 


1 2 




7 4 

28 60 

In conclusion, such dead statistics as these, when properly used, 
can themselves impart life to the interpretive possibilities one might 
see for a given text. The very fact that all five semantic categories 
have at least some clear examples clarifies and expands our syntac- 
tical options for the ambiguous passages. A word of caution is in 
order, however. We have no desire to put the Scriptures into a 
straitjacket by telling an author what he must mean by a particular 
construction. Dead statistics, unfortunately, are too often employed 
this way by well-meaning expositors. We must keep in mind that as 
interpreters of Holy Writ, the apostles are teaching us — not vice 
versa! But in seeking to understand these authors, we attempt to 
discover the boundaries of what they can mean by investigating the 
idioms of their language. (Grammar, then, used correctly, is descrip- 
tive rather than prescriptive.) Therefore, with reference to the article- 
noun-Ktti-noun construction, the patterns we have seen certainly give 
us initial direction as to the proper interpretation of a passage; but 
such leanings can be swayed by other exegetical factors. After all, we 
are speaking about probabilities and tendencies, not certainties, and 
about grammar alone, not the whole of exegesis. 


Ambiguous and Exegetically Significant Texts 

Altogether, there are eleven passages which fit the "ambiguous" 
category," four of which also have some particular significance 
exegetically/'' We will briefly examine the seven ambiguous examples 
whose exegetical significance is minimal, then the four more signifi- 
cant passages. 

Ambiguous Passages. In seven instances I could not make a 
positive identification of the semantics involved in the article-noun- 
Ktti-noun plural construction. In Matt 21:12 we read of our Lord 
entering the temple precincts and driving out "those buying and 
selling in the temple" (toix; TrtoXoOvTac Kai dyopd^ovTag ^v t(5 iepco). 
On the surface, we have two distinct groups united by one article. 
However, in light of the heretofore unanimous grouping of wholly 
participial constructions in the "identical" category, a hearing at least 
ought to be given to such a possibility in this text. In Luke 15:9 we 
read of "friends and neighbors" (tok; cpiXag kqI yeitovai;). There is 
some question as to whether yeixovaq is feminine or masculine in 
form (if the latter, it would still include the female 'neighbors'). More 
than likely, it is to be taken as feminine. Nevertheless, due to the field 
of meaning of (pikoc,,^^ as well as contextual^** and other factors,^ it is 
difficult to come down from the fence for any view dogmatically. 
Acts 15:2 ( = 16:4) speaks of the apostles and elders (toix; anooxoXoDQ 
Ktti 7tpeaPuT^pou(;). Although anoaxoXovc, here seems to be used in 
its technical sense, it could be argued that all the apostles were elders. 

"See Matt 21:12; Luke 15:9; Acts 15:2; 16:4; Eph 2:20; 3:5; 4:11; 1 Tim 4:3; Heb 
5:2; 2 Pet 3:16; Rev 11:9. 

''See Eph 2:20; 3:5; 4:11; Heb 5:2. 
Obviously, to decide what is and what is not significant is a most subjective 
endeavor. The basic criterion I have followed in this selection is in two directions — 
theological and practical. Thus the four passages chosen for the "exegetically signifi- 
cant" category deal with dispensationalism (Eph 2:20; 3:5), soteriology and hamar- 
tiology (Heb 5:2), and ecclesiology (Eph 4:11). All of these texts make a significant 
contribution to our understanding of such doctrines and each one, therefore, has 
practical ramifications as well. 

*Jeremias suggests that this phrase ("those who bought and those who sold") 
"may well have meant cattle dealers (John 2.14)" (Jerusalem, 49). It is quite possible 
that the 'buyers' were not the pilgrims who came to Jerusalem, but were the same as 
the sellers; the tenor of the passage certainly does not seem to indicate that the 
common people were among those booted out of the temple area. 

"See Stahlin, "(piXoq," TDNT, 9. 154. 

"Cf. Luke 14:12; 15:6. 

"The parallels in 3 Mace 3:10 and Josephus, Ant 18.376, suggest a set phrase, the 
semantics of which are still elusive. As well, the addition of a second article (xac,) by A, 
W, *P, families 1 and 13, and the Byzantine mss casts doubt on the authenticity of the 


though not all the elders were apostles.*" Such a suggestion, however, 
is based partially on certain ecclesiological beliefs which are beyond 
the scope of this paper. In 1 Tim 4:3 the apostle Paul speaks of "those 
who believe and know the truth" (toic; niaxolc, Kai ^TteyvcoKooi ttiv 
d>,Ti6eiav). Whatever the truth is here, it would seem impossible to 
believe it unless one knows it. Questions concerning whether this text 
is speaking about salvation or a specific situation, and the type of 
knowledge in view here leave us with two viable options: (1) the first 
group is a part of the second, or (2) the two are identical. Without 
further investigation into these questions, we cannot be dogmatic for 
either position. In 2 Pet 3:16, the apostle gives us his assessment of 
those who distort Paul's letters: they are ignorant/ untaught and 
unstable (oi a^iaQeiq Kai danipiKxoi). Apparently both terms refer to 
unbelievers, though the relation of the two groups is ambiguous due 
to insufficient lexical and contextual data in the NT. Finally, in Rev 
11:9 John describes those who observe the corpses of the two 
witnesses as "from the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations" 
(eK Tc6v Xacov Kai cpuXwv Kai yXaaaGiv Kai tQv&v). Although it is 
apparent that "The multitude is composed of those who are con- 
nected racially, those who are connected linguistically and those who 
are connected by customs and laws,"*^ this does not entirely solve the 
problem of identification. If Xa6q could be construed to be lexically a 
part of (puXri, then we might have each term being a sub-set of the 
term which follows it. But since this is doubtful, it may be best to 
view each category as overlapping somewhat with the others, resulting 
in one grand hendiadys for 'the world.' 

In comparing the plausible semantics of these seven ambiguous 
passages with the clearly tagged passages, certain observations can be 
made. First, in both clear and ambiguous texts, there were no noun + 
noun constructions belonging to the "identical" category. Second, 
only in Matt 21:12 did we see a wholly participial construction as 
possibly fitting other than the "identical" category. Third, among the 
ambiguous texts the "first sub-set of second" category was plausible 
in all but two instances. These ambiguous passages, then, tend to 
confirm the patterns discovered for the clearly tagged texts and can 

* On the one hand, in Acts 15:4, 6, 22, and 23 the nouns are separated by an 
additional article before 'elders,' suggesting that an exact equation is probably not in 
view. On the other hand, John calls himself 6 npea^mepoc, in 2 John 1 and 3 John 1, 
though the precise connotation remains in doubt (see BAGD, s.v. "7rpea|3uTepo(;," 
2. b. p.). Cf. also 1 Pet 5:1. 
BAGD, s.v. "niaidg," 2. 

*^This seems evident from the results predicated of them later in the verse: 

*'Rider, "The Granville Sharp Phenomenon and Plurals," 52-53. 


help US in determining, at least antecedently, the meaning of the 
remaining four texts. 

Exegetically Significant Passages. Four ambiguous passages car- 
ried particular exegetical significance (Eph 2:20; 3:5; 4:11; Heb 5:2). 
In Eph 2:20 Paul declares that the church is built upon the founda- 
tion of the apostles and prophets (tdiv anocsxoXdiv kqI 7cpo(pT|Tc5v). If 
these prophets are OT prophets, as some have affirmed,^* Paul may 
be saying that the church was prophesied in the OT. Since the 
construction is noun + noun, such a possibility has some syntactical 
support. However, Paul uses the same construction just a few verses 
later, in 3:5 (loig dyioK; anooxokoxo, autoO Kai 7ipo(pTiTai(;), indi- 
cating that the same men are in mind. There he clearly puts the 
prophets in the present dispensation.^^ On the other hand, to see the 
apostles and prophets as identical should also be suspect: (1) this 
would be the only noun + noun construction which fits the identical 
category, and (2) in 4:11 Paul separates the two groups (notice 
especially the |i^v . . . 5e construction). What is the relation of 
apostles to prophets, then? In all probability, the first is a part of the 
second; that is, we should understand Eph 2:20 and 3:5 to be referring 
to the apostles and other NT prophets. ^^ 

In Heb 5:2 we are told that the high priest was able to deal gently 
with those who were ignorant and were going astray {xolc, dyvooCaiv 
Ktti TtXavcon^voK;). Since two participles are used in the construction, 
the antecedent probability is that one group is in mind. Hughes writes 
that "The perversity of the human heart is such that, even if it should 
be possible for a person to be free from sins of waywardness, yet no 
man can claim to be free from sins of ignorance or inadvertency 
[itahcs added]. "''^ Although the terms are not identical, they may be 
referring to different attributes of the same group. In the least, since 

'"See in particular L J. Habeck, "Who Are the Prophets of Ephesians 2:20?" 
Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly 71 (1974) 121-25. 

This assertion does not have to rest on the view that (be, in 3:5 makes a 
comparison of kind rather than of degree (though I believe this to be the case; cf. Col 
1:26), for the prophets are recipients of the revelation made 'now' (vOv dneKaXucpBri). 

"There are solid grounds for this view biblico-theologically as well as semanti- 
cally. Habeck dismisses this view because the term prophet is not used of any of the 
apostles (Habeck, "Ephesians 2:20," 121), but he errs in making a conceptual-lexical 
equation. As David Hill ably points out, our concept of NT prophecy must not be 
restricted to the 7rpo(pr|T- word-group (David Hill, New Testament Prophecy [Atlanta: 
John Knox, 1979], 2-3). Certainly we cannot deny that Paul or John or Peter 
prophesied ! 

P. E. Hughes, A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews (Grand Rapids: 
Eerdmans, 1977), 178. 


these sins were forgivable, the dehberate sins of 10:26 do not include 
being led astray (TtXavcbiievog).*** 

Finally, we turn to the text which occupied us initially: Eph 4:11. 
There the apostle enumerates the gifted leadership of the church, 
concluding his list with "the pastors and teachers" (toix; Sk noi\ii.vaq 
Kai SiSaaKctX-oug). Although most commentaries consider the two 
terms to refer to one group, we must emphatically insist that such a 
view has no grammatical basis, even though the writers who maintain 
this view almost unanimously rest their case on the supposed semantics 
of the article-noun-Kai-noun construction.'" Yet, as we have seen, 
there are no other examples in the NT of this construction with nouns 
in the plural, either clearly tagged or ambiguous, which allow for 
such a possibility. One would, therefore, be on rather shaky ground 
to insist on such a nuance here — especially if the main weapon in his 
arsenal is syntax! On the other hand, the insistence of some that the 
two are entirely distinct is usually based on the same narrow view of 
the semantic range of this construction (i.e., only the two categories 
of absolute identity and absolute distinction are normally considered). 
What is the relation of pastors to teachers, then? It must be readily 
admitted that the uniting of these two groups by one article sets them 
apart from the other gifted men. Absolute distinction, then, is 
probably not in view. In light of the fact that elders and pastors had 
similar functions in the NT,'' since elders were to be teachers," the 
pastors were also to be teachers. Conversely, not all teachers were 
said to be pastors.'^ This evidence seems to suggest that the no\\itvac, 
were a part of the SiSaaKdXouc; in Eph 4:11. This possibility is in 
keeping with the semantics of the construction, for the "first sub-set 
of the second" category is well attested in both the clear and 
ambiguous texts in the NT. Although one cannot be dogmatic, there 
is a high jirobability that, according to Eph 4:11, all pastors are to be 
teachers, though not all teachers are to be pastors. 


I have sought to demonstrate that the syntax of the article-noun- 
Kai-noun plural construction has been largely misunderstood. It does 

The ramifications of 5:2 and 10:26 for the doctrines of salvation and sanctifi- 
cation are manifold. Not only has God forgiven our waywardness, but he forgives it 

*'See n. 1. 
'"See n. 1. 
See Malphurs, "Pastors and Teachers," 46-53. 

Ibid., 52-53. Of course, that an elder should be able to teach does not necessarily 
indicate that he had the gift of teaching, 
"ibid., 41-46. 


not fit the Granville Sharp rule since the nouns are plural. Nor is its 
semantic range shut up to absolute distinction or absolute identity. 
By an exhaustive treatment of the construction in the NT, we 
discovered that there are three other semantic possibilities, in par- 
ticular the first noun could be a part of the second. A proper 
semantic grid has helped us in seeing possibilities in certain texts 
which have hitherto gone unnoticed and in omitting certain options 
on the basis of syntax which have been assumed true. Further 
exegetical work still needs to be done in many passages which have 
this construction, but it cannot proceed unless the starting point is a 
proper understanding of the semantic range of this construction in 
the NT. 

Grace Theological Journal 4.1 (1983) 85-107 




Richard W. Engle 

Evangelical missiologists have debated the validity of using the 
term "contextualization" in cross-cultural ministries. This article 
explores the rnatter from the perspective of one who is not a 
missiologist but is concerned about world-wide church planting. The 
recent history of the term is surveyed and the concept is traced 
through selected events in biblical history. While the term as originated 
is encumbered with problems, the basic concept has significant 
strengths. "Contextualization " may be defined as showing the whole 
Bible to be relevant to the total individual in all his relationships of 
life. The term is appropriate to use in an informed, biblical manner in 
relation to separatist missionary effort. 


UNITY and diversity as a complementary pair are inherent in the 
trinitarian God. The one God (unity) brought into being a 
variegated creation (diversity) and the two are in complementary 
relationship. In Gen 1:31 God evaluated his creation, "Very good!" 
These seeming opposites, unity and diversity, also complement each 
other in the first social institution — "and they shall be one flesh" (Gen 
2:23, 24). 

Tension between unity and diversity asserted itself in the fall, 
demonstrating man's desire to be like God, not different from him. 
The recently coined term "contextualization," current in missiology, 
mirrors this as a tension between traditional formulations of doctrine 
(i.e., traditional unity) and contemporary applications of biblical 

*This article was first presented as a formal paper at a missions consultation 
sponsored by a group interested in independent Baptist missionary effort, convened on 
the campus of Grand Rapids Baptist College and Seminary, December 28-30, 1980. 


truth in the variegated creation (contemporary diversity). Part of the 
problem may be a tendency to view tradition as radically distinct 
from current application, rather than as the opposite end of a 

"Contextualization" is a new word, although contextualization 
has taken place from the time of the fall. Throughout history, fall- 
plagued minds have distorted what is good in both the idea and its 
implementation. This paper explores and evaluates "contextualization" 
as a current concept in missiology. Part I summarizes the history of 
the term and offers a definition. Part II traces aspects of contextuali- 
zation as a biblical idea. Part III identifies stages of the concept and 
suggests controls over the process. In general, this study attempts to 
set contextualization within a biblical and theological frame of 

PART L contextualization: the term 

Contextualization as a term in missions arose in the historical 
context of an emerging third world. During the past 50 years these 
countries have obtained political independence. As they struggle for 
economic independence, they increasingly assert their cultural identity. 

In some countries the quest for "cultural identity" is sought, not 
on ideological terms, as in Marxist revolts, but in the realm of 
religious concerns. The resurgent political power of Islam is an 
example.' In countries where the government exercises overt economic 
control, the church's role in such concerns as health and education is 
often challenged by the government.^ 

Rapid urbanization increases both affluence and poverty, result- 
ing in a variety of alienations which challenge the ability of the 
individual Christian and the local church to cope and grow.' 
Liberalism was the earliest religious voice to call significant 
attention to the problems which these phenomena create for church 
mission. Eventually, liberals coined "contextualization" as the term 
describing a way to respond to the phenomena. This section surveys 
the history of the term and provides a definition. 

History of the Term 

The International Missionary Conference (estabUshed in 1921: 
hereafter IMC) was an outgrowth of the 1910 Edinburgh Conference. 
In 1947 the IMC worked with the emergmg World Council of 

'"Your Kingdom Come," a pamphlet published by the World Conference on 
Mission and Evangelism, n.d., 18. 
^Ibid., 19. 

engle: contextualization in missions 87 

Churches (hereafter WCC) in the Whitby Conference. By this time 
the tension between "mother churches" and "younger churches" had 
been resolved by speaking of all churches as "partners in obedience."'* 

At New Delhi in 1961, the IMC became the Committee on 
World Missions and Evangelism (hereafter CWME) of the WCC. The 
CWME Bangkok Conference of 1972-73 focused on the "theological 
imperialism" of the West and provided a platform for "affirming the 
right of every Christian and every church to cultural identity." This 
conference urged the non- Western churches to formulate their own 
response to God's calling "in a theology, a liturgy, a praxis, a form of 
community, rooted in their own culture."^ 

It is evident that the WCC did confront at a theoretical level the 
need for a church that was indigenous to the receiving culture. The 
concept of contextualization was brought into focus at a WCC 
"consultation on 'Dogmatic or Contextual Theology' in 1971."^ The 
consultation chairman wrote concerning the technology-induced crisis 
in mission: 

The effect . . . has been to lead to a kind of "contextual or experiential" 
theology which gives preference at the point of departure for systematic 
theological thinking to the contemporary historical scene over against 
Biblical tradition and confessional statements constructed on the basis 
of Biblical texts . . J 

Obviously, this is existential contextualization. 

Shoki Coe, the General Director of the Theological Education 
Fund (hereafter TEF), a WCC agency, gave birth to the term 
contextualization, according to Aharon Sapsezian. 

Shoki and I began to use this word sometime in February, 1972. Long 
before that Shoki was famous for using the phrase, "Text and Context," 
and he was pleading for contextual criticism as a necessary counterpart 
of textual criticism. In a sense this is the prehistory of the words 
"contextuality" and "contextualization." The discussions in the house 
around these two words v/ere that we should go beyond the older 
notion of "indigenization," in the sense that theology would take into 
account certain aspects of the culture which had been hitherto neglected, 
such as the social and economic dimensions.* 

*Ibid., see p. 3 for these expressions. 

*Ibid., 5. 

*David J. Hesselgrave, "Contextualization Continuum" (hereafter, "Continuum") 
The Gospel in Context 2:3 (1979), 4. 

'ibid. Cited on p. 4 from Bruce C. E. Fleming, "Contextualization of Theology as 
Evidenced in Africa in the Writings of John Samuel Mbiti" (an unpublished Th.M. 
thesis. Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, 1977) 9. 

*F. Ross Kinsler, "Mission and Context: The Current Debate About Contextuali- 
zation," Evangelical Missions Quarterly 14:1 (1978) 24. 


At Lausanne (1974) Kato said, 

This is a new term imported into theology to express a deeper concept 
than indigenization ever does. We understand the term to mean 
making concepts or ideals relevant in a given situation. In reference to 
Christian practices, it is an effort to express the never changing Word 
of God in ever changing modes of relevance. Since the Gospel message 
is inspired but the mode of its expression is not, contextualization of 
the modes of expression is not only right but necessary.' 

The general concept has been implemented in varying degrees 
throughout church history. Many church planters from the faith 
missions which arose in the past 150 years have sought to establish 
indigenous, encultured churches. At times the missionary himself did 
not realize that he was in fact imposing upon the target culture an 
institutional form which was neither mandated by the Bible nor in the 
best interests of the emerging church in the long term. More incisive 
attention to the dynamic of cultural context might have facilitated the 
spread of biblical Christianity in some areas. 

"Contextualization" has been taken up by missionaries influenced 
by the Lausanne conference, and the term is used in current literature 
by evangelical missiologists. Evangelical missionaries are consciously 
seeking to implement its implications. 

Definition of the Term 

Liberalism. For liberals, contextualization in missions is basically 
a theological idea growing out of their total perspective. As noted 
above, the contemporary experience controls both biblical and 
confessional theology.'" 

Shoki Coe believes that contextualization includes indigenization, 
but is more dynamic and features openness to change as a key factor. 
The full sociological mosaic defines and conditions the proclamation 
of the Gospel and response to it. "Contextualization has to do with 
how we assess the peculiarity of third world contexts. . . . (It) takes 
into account the process of secularity, technology and the struggle for 
human justice . . ."" 

This approach presumes "a genuine encounter between God's 
Word and His world. "'^ It seeks to change the socio-economic plight 
by "rootedness in . . . (the) given historical moment" and leading the 

'Byang H. Kato, "The Gospel, Cultural Context and Religious Syncretism," in Let 
the Earth Hear His Voice, ed. by J. D. Douglas (Minneapolis: World Wide Publica- 
tions) 1217. 

'"Hesselgrave, "Continuum," 4. 

""Your Kingdom Come," 18. 

'^"Your Kingdom Come," 19. 

engle: contextualization in missions 89 

populace out of their plight.'^ The liberal idea assumes that God is 
doing something redemptive in the target culture — that he is fashion- 
ing deliverance from the socio-economic bondage in which the multi- 
tudes of the third world find themselves. 

De Santa Ana says, "The contextualization of theological reflec- 
tion means opting for a particular social context, that which is low, at 
the base of the social pyramid."''* Such an option "means opposing 
oppression rather than confirming the powerful in oppressing other 
social sectors. "'' The contextualizer's task, then, is to enter the 
culture, discern what God is doing, and work with God to bring 
about the change which God is (supposedly) fashioning. 

Liberalism is concerned about "pursuing truth" by dialogue. 
Participants come from the major religions of the world. The goal is 
to achieve "a new . . . interfaith spirituality," "a convergent humanity." 
Biblical revelation is only one of many religious sources from which 
to draw.'^ 

Neoliberalism. Claiming biblical revelation and Christian tradi- 
tion as its foundation, Neoliberalism addresses questions raised by 
the present milieu. Its method is "'enlightened' response to the human 
predicament." The theologian seeks to proclaim the profound meaning 
of historical events. The kingdom of God is discovered by "making 
the world a better place. "'^ Gutierrez calls the result "a political 
hermeneutics of the Gospel."'^ 

Neoliberalism and neoorthodoxy are similar in that they both 
build on the premise that the primary source for theology is "the 
current historical context." The former asserts the importance of the 
theologian in formulating theology, while the latter professes to 
feature the Spirit of God, who illumines the theologian. Human need 
is the controlling factor for the former, but for the latter, it is the 
occasioning factor in theologizing. For both, the method for theologiz- 
ing is to discern truth by experiencing the "tension between living 
history and the Word of God," The result will be spiritual understand- 
ing and identity with Christ.'^ 

Evangelicalism. Evangelicals offer a variety of definitions. For 
Peters, contextualization means to discover and implement the 
legitimate implications of a biblical text. Applications are suggested 
but not required by a text, whereas implications are demanded by the 



"ibid., 25. 

'*Hesselgrave, "Continuum," 8. 



"Ibid., 10. 


text.^° Archer sees contextualization as the missionary setting forth 
his message in the most attractive, culturally suitable form he can 
devise. Beals simply says, "contextualization is an effort to make the 
message of the Bible relevant in a given culture."^' The catch word 
here may be "effort." It is natural for a person (e.g., a missionary) to 
take his own pre-understanding of a subject for granted. 

Nunez cautions that "to contextualize is not to change the 
message, but rather to apply it to every dimension of our personality 
and to all the relationships in our life."^^ Yego rejects popular 
definitions of contextuaUzation and suggests that it means "making 
something applicable to the life situation in which one finds him- 
self . . . [to] clarify to the people or make it applicable to their 
particular situation. "^^ Contextualization means "the never changing 
Word of God in ever-changing modes of relevance. "^'' 

Summary. Like most terms, "contextualization" is susceptible to 
as many nuances of meaning as there are people who employ the 
term. Liberalism's efforts at least sensitize us anew to the desperate 
socio-economic conditions of unreached billions. They remind us that 
these conditions acutely affect "how people hear." Further, neo- 
orthodox writers advocate a form of contextuaUzation that is 
vigorously consistent with their basic theological commitments in 
such areas as soteriology, anthropology, and revelation. The con- 
sistency is praiseworthy, although the doctrinal base for neo-orthodoxy 
must be rejected. 

Evangelicals properly leave references to specific socio-economic 
conditions out of their definitions because contextualization is 
necessary for each stratum of society in every culture. Peters' definition 
tends to draw attention to the transcultural demands of the Bible. 
Archer emphasizes communicating truth in culturally attractive forms. 
Beals requires the communication of the whole Bible. Nunez explicitly 
recognizes the total relationships of the whole man. 

In summary, contextualization in missions is showing the whole 
Bible relevant to the total individual in all of life's relationships. The 

^"Cited by Hesselgrave in "Continuum," 5, from George W. Peters, "Issues 
Confronting Evangelical Missions," in Evangelical Missions Tomorrow, ed. by W. T. 
Coggins and E. L. Frizen, Jr. (South Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 1977) 169. 

^'Paul A. Beals, "Contextualization: Bane or Boon?" Unpublished paper, n.d., 
pp. 1-2. 

^^Emilio Antonio Nunez, "Contextualization . . . Latin American Theology," Latin 
American Pulse 11:2 (Wheaton, IL: Evangelical Missions Information Service, 1976) 
cited by Paul A. Beals, "Contextualization: Bane or Boon?," 2. 

^'Josphat K. Yego, "Appreciation for and Warnings About Contextualization," 
Evangelical Missions Quarterly 16:3 (1980) 156. 

^■"ibid., 154. In effect, Yego combines the defmitions proposed by Beals and 

engle: contextualization in missions 91 

process must be deliberate. The sequence for accomplishment must be 
worked out while one plans his initial thrust into the target culture. 

PART II. contextualization: the term in biblical perspective 

Contextualization should be defined as showing the whole Bible 
relevant to the total individual in all his relationships of life. This 
section outlines biblical bases for a rigorous application of the idea. 
The approach will be to select materials in the approximate order in 
which God inscripturated them, i.e., in the order of progressive 

Genesis 1-11 

The first command. One might argue that the issue of con- 
textualization was introduced at the moment Adam first experienced 
personhood. The infinite God created finite man and then com- 
municated with him in "finite" ways, i.e., ways which allowed man to 
internalize and live out God's message. It is clear from Gen l:26ff. 
that God intended man to dominate, appreciate, and utilize the 
environment which God prepared for him. The fail included the first 
instance of man abdicating to his environment against the explicit 
Word of God.^' It occasioned radical changes in the content, means, 
and forms of divine communication, due to the change in the 

The Noahic Covenant. The perverted mind which gave priority 
to the creature's thoughts rather than those of the Creator precipitated 
the flood crisis (Gen 6:5-7). God permitted that mind-set to be 
entrenched in the post-flood world (Gen 8:21). God also reiterated the 
original mandate to man to dominate his environment, but some new 
controls were introduced, including capital punishment and, by 
implication, attendant political processes (Gen 9:l-6ff.). Another 
change which intensified the hostility within the environment was a 
dietary addition. Ultimately this permission to eat flesh formed the 
broad background for Paul's metaphor describing interpersonal 
relationships among "believers" (Gal 5:15). The adverse effects of the 
inter-relationships between perverted thinking and hostility among 
creatures mushroomed. 

The Tower of Babel. Instead of filling the earth (Gen 9:1), the 
population gravitated together in a deliberate attempt at urbanization. 
The tower was ultimately an attempt to dethrone God (Gen 11:1-9) 
and the unity of language (with a corollary of broad cultural unity) 

^'Bruce J. Nicholls, "Towards a Theology of Gospel and Culture," in Down to 
Earth, ed. by Robert T. Coote and John R. W. Stott (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980) 
56. For NT commentary on societal upheaval as in Genesis 3-11, see Romans 1-2. 


was abused. The divine judgment at Babel immediately accounts for 
the linguistic, ethnological, and political diversity in the world (Gen 
10:5, 20, 31). Growing directly out of the tower of Babel are many 
problems of cross-cultural communication. The issue of contextualiza- 
tion in the proclamation of God's message begins to crystallize in 
Genesis 10 and 11. 

Genesis 12-Malachi 4 

Abraham. Abraham was a child of his environment. Sometimes, 
although chosen by God to be a recipient of paradigmatic revelation 
from God, in moral obstinance, he wrongly conformed to his 
environment (Genesis 12, 16).^^ At other times, with apparent divine 
approval, he utilized local customs (Genesis 23) and military con- 
ventions (Genesis 14). In the latter episode, Abraham himself sig- 
nificantly rejected a particular practice, but did not impose his 
personal conviction upon his companions (Gen 14:21-24). God dealt 
with Abraham within his cultural context, and his faith matured 
within the same context (e.g., cf. Gen 12:1-3 with Gen 22:15-19). 
Several other OT individuals experienced their relationship with God 
in a similar way. Although the Lord intended that his people represent 
him to the nations (Exod 19:5 and perhaps Isa 43:8-10), with few 
exceptions, transcultural outreach with God's message was never 
characteristic of Israel.^' 

The nation. OT contributions to contextualization are mostly 
negative. The persons cited, with the exception of a few true prophets 
and others, failed to demonstrate how to live godly lives in the real 
world. For instance, Abraham compromised the character of God, as 
at Pharaoh's court. What was occasional in the account of Abraham 
became characteristic of the nation. Abraham compromised outwardly 
in the moral and civil realm, but compromise by the nation was 
demonstrably rooted in theological syncretism (Josh 24:2, 15; Hos 

The Ministry of Christ 

The Babylonian captivity "cured" Israel of syncretism between 
Yahwism and polytheistic idolatry. '' During intertestamental times 
an intense devotion to the Torah matured. By the time of Christ a 

^*Gleason L. Archer, "Contextualization: Some Implications from Land and 
Witness in the Old Testament," in New Horizons in World Mission, ed. by David J. 
Hesselgrave (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1979) 200-202. 

"ibid., 200. 

^'ibid., 200-201. 

"Charles F. Pfeiffer, Exile and Return (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1962) 124-25. 

engle: contextualization in missions 93 

new and more subtle syncretism flourished under the Pharisees, 
whereby they confused the traditions of men with the commandments 
of God in the name of fideUty to God/° 

Christ is the classic example of contextualization of God's 
message without compromise. By means of the incarnation God 
perfectly contextualized his communication (cf. Hebrews 1-2). He 
met his target culture where it was and as it was in the man Christ 
Jesus, his sinless Son (Heb 2:9-18; 4:15). 

John 3. John 3 and 4 illustrate the particularity of Christ's 
approach. A key to the juxtaposition of these accounts seems to be in 
John 2:23-25. The passage may be charted in free translation: 

Many believed (tniaxevaav) into his name (2:23). 

Jesus was not entrusting (^Tiioxeuev) himself to them because he knew 

all (2:24). 
He had no need that any inform him concerning man (i.e., "tell him 

what people were like") because he knew all. 
He himself knew what was in man (i.e., "he understood human 

nature ").'' 

The last word of John 2 and the third word of John 3 is "man" 
(fivGpconof;); then the episode with Nicodemus follows. Having 
emphasized Christ's knowledge of human nature in the final verses of 
chap. 2, John proceeds to show how Jesus, the Jew, confronts the 
leading Jewish rabbi. It is sufficient to observe that Christ deals with 
the man on the basis of an informed biblical anthropology. He 
utilized the role of a Jewish rabbi, a role common in the cultural 
milieu he shared with Nicodemus. 

John 4. The next episode presents Christ communicating in a 
limited cross-cultural setting. His knowledge of the Samaritan woman 
explicitly demonstrates either prophetic insight, or perhaps is an 
instance of his omniscience (John 4:19, 29, 39). He neither ignores 
nor offends her cultural sensitivities, nor does he compromise his 
message. Beginning the conversation by putting himself in the woman's 
debt (4:7), he concludes with a forthright claim for his message. This 
claim shows that her religion is hollow (John 4:22ff.). 

All accounts of such events in the life of Christ show that he was 
the Perfect Proclaimer. Some pertinent examples from John 2:23- 
4:26 include a command of a working biblical anthropology; a 
functional appreciation and utilization of the cultural context of the 
audience; and a sufficient command of the basic message to allow the 

Archer, in New Horizons, 212; cf. Mark 7:6-13. 
'J. B. Phillips, The Gospels (New York: Macmillan, 1952) 193. 


messenger to use a variety of metaphors and facts. ^^ Contextualizing 
the message for an individual, as in John 3 and 4, suggests ways of 
doing the same for a population. 

The Great Commission. Christ commands global proclamation of 
the gospel by his apostles and their converts (John 17:18-21; Matt 
28:19-20). The pattern for proclamation was anticipated by God's 
first command to man, "Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and 
subdue it" (Gen 1:28a). The first three imperatives are repeated in the 
Noahic Covenant, and at that point the imperatives assume all the 
implications of the fall (cf. Gen 8:20-9:1). Since the earth is to be 
filled with depraved people, it is not surprising that the savior wants 
his followers to go so as to disciple people in all nations (eOvt); Matt 

Acts 2-14 

Acts 2. Acts 2 portends needs and patterns for contextualization 
of the Christian gospel. The miraculous gift of speech enabled 120 
Jews to communicate the gospel in as many as fifteen different 
languages (Acts 1:15; 2:8-11). The most obvious principle is that 
people need to hear the gospel in their own language. 

Acts 6. Acts 6 suggests an additional consideration. The Hel- 
lenistic Jews complained that their widows were being slighted. The 
congregation selected Hellenistic Jews to supervise the table ministry. 
This was a psychologically adroit move approved by the Spirit of 

Acts 7-8. Saul, with relatively strong ties to the Judaic, Greek, 
and Roman world, was "impressed" with the gospel in Acts 7 and 8. 
In time these ties would facilitate his adeptness at contextualizing the 
message. Phillip, the Hellenistic deacon, evangelized some Samaritans 
and an Ethiopian court official. These instances illustrate the rapid 
ripple effect. Reaching key people, who may be bilingual and 

This treatment of Christ's contacts with Nicodemus and the woman assumes 
Christ's full deity. The discussion is couched in "limiting" terms in order to emphasize 
reachable skills. 

"The cross-cultural phenomena implicit in worldwide evangelism are strikingly 
embedded in the four-fold societal factors, repeated three times in Genesis 10. The 
LXX specifies the land (yfj), the language (yXSooav), the people (cpuXai^, i.e., ethnic 
group), the nation (SGveaiv, i.e., "The multitude bound together by like habits, 
customs, peculiarities," in brief, perhaps a political entity). The geographical, linguistic, 
ethnic, and political factors are emphasized in Gen 10:5, 20, 31. The root £9voa- is the 
same as the one attributed to Christ in Matt 28:19. For 69voo-, see Hermann Cremer, 
Biblico- Theological Lexicon of New Testament Greek, 4th edition (Edinburgh: T. & T. 
Clark, 1895) 226-27. For (puXii see G. Abbott-Smith, A Manual Greek Lexicon of the 
New Testament (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1937) 475. 

engle: contextualization in missions 95 

bicultural, minimizes some of the problems of contextualizing by E-2 
or E-3^'* evangelists. 

Acts 10. Peter's traumatic foray into cross-cultural evangelism to 
reach Cornelius demonstrates the need for cultural flexibility. This 
may include subjugating well-entrenched cultural and ritual preferences 
for the good of gospel outreach. Such subjugation for Peter was 
controlled by special revelation. 

Acts 11; 13:1-3. At Antioch, Jewish believers from Jerusalem 
were reaching Jews. Hellenistic believers from Cyprus and Cyrene, by 
way of Jerusalem, were reaching Greeks. This resulted in a "biracial" 
church with significant Gentile tendencies and the consequent prob- 
lems (Acts 11:19-21). For some obvious reasons, the Jerusalem 
church dispatched Barnabas, a Levite born in Cyprus (Acts 11:22; 
4:36). Barnabas in turn sought Saul, whose qualifications for cross- 
cultural communication are suggested above. When the Holy Spirit 
selected Saul and Barnabas for their first mission to Galatia, the 
Antioch leaders probably considered the choice to be neither accidental 
nor mystical, but reasonable. This dramatic penetration with the 
gospel was spearheaded by men who had demonstrated an ability to 
relate to the multi-cultural settings of the target areas. 

Acts 13:4-14:28. The first stops on the initial journey were at 
opposite ends of Cyprus. Common ground for contextuaUzation was 
found in 1) the local Jewish population and 2) Barnabas' connection 
with the territory. At Pisidian Antioch, the initial contact was in a 
synagogue which had a mixed audience of Israelites and God-fearers, 
i.e., proselytized Gentiles." The content of the message was Israelite 
history leading up to the advent, death, and resurrection of Messiah. 
The audience was assumed to have some knowledge of the OT. 

At Iconium Paul and Barnabas followed the same pattern and 
received an interracial response (Acts 14:1), but persecution drove 
them out of town. At Lystra the team encountered a large number 
who worshipped the Greek pantheon and thought Paul and Barnabas 
were gods incarnate. Paul and Barnabas sought to contextualize the 
gospel (Acts 14:15), so instead of appealing to Israel's history, they 

"See C. Peter Wagner and Edward R. Dayton, eds., Unreached Peoples '80 
(Elgin, IL: David C. Cook, 1980) as follows: E-1 evangelism is mono-cultural 
evangelism. E-2 and E-3 indicate cross-cultural evangelism of increasing degrees of 
differences between the evangelist and his target (p. 379). E-2 or 3 is the initial 
missionary task force (cf. Paul at Thessalonica). This is a pioneering team whose 
objective is to win a circle of converts and begin to teach them in a way that is properly 
contextualized for their culture. This should be considered the nurturing stage. Such a 
church should be nurtured until the missionary task can be completed by E-1 methods 
(pp. 8-9). 

"F. F. Bruce, The Spreading Flame (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1958) 100. See 
also Acts 13:16, 43. 


appealed to cosmology, world history, and common grace in the 
Bible. They were sensitive to the aspect of the biblical message most 
suitable for leading up to the gospel. This is broadly similar to 
Christ's approach to Nicodemus and then to the Samaritan woman. 
Paul and Barnabas' own persecutions, evident to their audiences 
in South Galatia, gave credibility to their teachings about suffering 
and the Christian life (Acts 14:22). The structure of church organiza- 
tion was apparently simple and readily understood by the local 
respondents to the gospel.^* Whatever characterized the apostolic 
approach and whatever their expectations for maturity in new con- 
verts, churches were estabUshed with a striking quickness. ^^ 

Acts 15 

Salvation and circumcision. The incipient interracial conflict of 
Acts 6 had gone beyond its local "meals for widows" problem. By the 
time of Acts 15, non-proselyte Gentiles had come into the circle of 
faith in distant places. Fundamental theological issues had been 
raised. The question was, "What is the saving gospel?" Some converted 
Pharisees included circumcision as part of the gospel (Acts 15:1, 5). 
Circumcision was also representative of other regulations (Acts 
15:10, 19). 

Doctrinal clarity and cultural deference. The cities reached by 
Apostolic witness all had a pocket of Jews. James insisted that 
salvation is by grace apart from works of the law (Acts 15:11, 19). He 
did recommend that the biracial churches contextualize their stance 
in deference to the Jewish element so that Jews could thereby be won 
to the gospel. Ericson verbalizes the two-pronged impact of this 

The early Jerusalem church gave recognition to two different contexts. 
The first is the context of Jewish Christians who continued to observe 
the customs of Moses. The second context is the mixed community 
comprised ... [of Jews and Gentiles] in fellowship on compromise 


Now all believers would be of equal status and enjoy full fellowship.^' 
This is a model for crossing cultural barriers so that the message can 

"ibid., 97, 104. 

"W. J. Conybeare and J. S. Howson, The Life and Epistles of Saint Paul 
(Hartford, CT: S. S. Scranton, 1914) 176, 895. Comparing Conybeare's data, churches 
on the first missionary journey were apparently established in less than one year. 

'^Norman R. Ericson, "Implications from the New Testament for Contextualiza- 
tion," in Theology and Mission, ed. by David J. Hesselgrave (Grand Rapids: Baker, 
1978) 75. 

"ibid., adapted. 

engle: contextualization in missions 97 

be contextualized. Without compromising Bible truth, two cultures 
had been molded. A certain deference was accorded the "weaker 
brethren," i.e., the Christian Jews. 

Right practice and cultural sensitivity. Things contaminated by 
idols would offend Jews, who were strict monotheists, but also 
presumably would be offensive to non- Jewish adherents to biblical 
faith. Fornication is always immoral. Abstinence from meat killed by 
strangulation was a Jewish dietary provision, probably related to 
abstinence from blood. "*" Abstinence from blood, while taken up into 
Mosaism, applies to all descendants of Noah (Gen 9:4). Thus, James 
is not advocating regulations which are merely Jewish, but rather 
regulations germane to a biblical world view. However, the Jews were 
particularly sensitive in these matters. Bruce summarizes James' part: 

. . . and it was in considerable part thanks to James' practical wisdom 
that a serious problem which might have brought an unbridgeable 
cleavage in primitive Christianity, was settled in a spirit of concord.'" 

Acts 15 and the Epistle of James. The James of Acts 15 was 
probably the author of the epistle of James. That letter, so reminiscent 
of Israel's wisdom tradition, with its universalizing of godliness, 
breathes the same spirit as is evident in James' leadership of the 
Jerusalem Council. The epistle may both complement and supplement 
Acts 15 as a guide for contextualization. The epistle may also be 
useful in a sense similar to that suggested for 1 Corinthians 13 (see 
p. 105 below). 

1 Corinthians, Colossians, Philemon 

Meaning of behavior. 1 Corinthians 8-10 is cast in a context in 
which the congregation is basically Gentile. This was a third kind of 
context in comparison with the two-fold context of Acts 15."*^ The 
Corinthian issue of "food offered to idols" was addressed after the 
Jerusalem letter began circulating (Acts 15:23ff.).'*^ At Corinth Paul 

''"Bruce, Spreading Flame, 109. 

"'Ibid., 105. 

"^The two contexts in Acts 15 are 1) the Jewish context and 2) a Jewish-Gentile 
context. The context at Corinth is basically Gentile. 

'''The intuitive model of interpretation would take no notice of this fact. See Rene 
Padilla, "Hermeneutics and Culture: A Theological Perspective," in Down to Earth, 
eds. Coote and Stott. To summarize Padilla, the intuitive model draws immediate 
personal application from the biblical text for the life of the interpreter. There is no 
particular concern to describe the biblical context of the passage (pp. 64-66). An 
implicit strength of this approach is that it views the Bible as immediately useful to the 
literate non-specialist individual; however, the approach is susceptible to allegorizations 
which have no demonstrable connection with the text. 


made no appeal to that letter because the particulars here were of 
strictly Gentile concern. His appeal was to transdispensational truth. 
Idols are nonentities (1 Cor 8:4) and no food has "intrinsic religious 
value."'*'* The implication is that any food can be eaten by anyone 
(cf. 1 Cor 8:9). Further, the Lord's table is "authentically what the 
idol banquet purports to be" (1 Cor 10:16).^' The conclusions which 
Paul draws may be summarized: 1) Christians may eat meat offered 
to idols — in an absolute sense, the culture notwithstanding (cf. 1 Cor 
10:19); 2) Christians must not eat in idol temples, i.e., more broadly, 
they must flee from idolatry (1 Cor 10:14, 21). Thus Paul has 
evaluated a cultural phenomenon on the basis of explicit biblical 
revelation. Whether a Christian should exercise his liberty in this 
cultural issue is determined by the "meaning and effect" such 
participation would have on the unsaved, the weaker brother, or his 
own conscience.'*^ If the meaning of a particular behavior is intrinsi- 
cally contrary to biblical revelation, it is forbidden. 

Biblical and cultural norms. Paul utilized the cultural context in 
the case of incest at Corinth. In addition to stating a revelational 
absolute, that incest is immoral for all believers (1 Cor 5:1, 9), he 
called attention to a cultural norm of that society, which forbade 
incest. This implies that aspects of contemporary ethical systems 
should be employed when the ethical factor agrees with biblical 
standards. Some common ground between a foreign culture and 
biblical absolutes may readily be apparent, while other dimensions of 
common ground in that same culture may surface only after effort to 
understand the culture. The issue here is not common ground between 
the target culture and the messenger's culture, but common ground 
between target culture and biblical absolutes.'*^ 

Spiritual and social equality in Christ. In 1 Corinthians Paul 
confronted several issues of immediate relevance to the local assembly. 
In the letters to the Colossians and Philemon, he addressed two sides 
of a societal matter as it affected the Christian community. Greco- 
Roman society categorized members of households as wives, hus- 
bands, children, fathers, slaves, and masters. Paul addressed each of 
these in his letters, but says the most to slaves. As a result, the 
equalizing gospel (Gal 3:28) was misconstrued by some convert slaves 
so that they became inappropriately aggressive. The apostle cautioned 
that Christ will deal with unjust masters. While the slaves are to be 

Ericson, "Implications," 75. Note also that Paul's appeal in 1 Corinthians 8 is to 
biblical cosmology and anthropology, as in Acts 14 at Lystra. 


"'Ibid., 76. 

*'l am indebted to Ericson, "Implications," 76-77, for the substance of this 

engle: contextualization in missions 99 

submissive (Col 3:25), the Christian master must treat the converted 
slave as a brother, both spiritually and socially (Phlm 16-23)/^ 


This summary outlines principles and observations from the 
preceding biblical survey of factors which facilitate contextuaUzation. 
Dangers in the contextualizing process are also included. The method 
is to list the factors as they surfaced in the survey. 

Genesis 1-11. Man under God must control his environment 
(including his response to culture) and must not be controlled by that 
environment. The perverted mind develops a culture that is both 
useful and abhorrent. Immorality and physical hostility must be 
rejected, and multifaceted cultural differences must be acknowledged. 

Genesis 12-Malachi 4. Sinful cultural practices must be rejected, 
while "neutral" practices may be utilized. Individualized practices of 
"living faith" are allowable, but should not be imposed upon others. 
Cultural conformity may be a symptom of theological syncretism. 

The ministry of Christ. Cultural differences in individuals should 
be learned and utilized with discernment to advance the gospel. The 
message should be mastered so well that it can be communicated in 
culturally relevant ways without compromising its meaning. 

Acts 2-14. Circumstances at Pentecost demonstrated the need 
for crossing the language barrier, while Acts 6-8 suggests the advis- 
ability of reaching new targets with servants who have roots in both 
the sending and target cultures. Peter had to adopt a stance of 
cultural flexibility controlled by specific revelation. Paul and Barnabas 
were sent to new regions partly because they had demonstrated their 
effectiveness in multi-racial settings. As they pursued their mission, 
they sought appropriate "common ground" as points of contact. They 
encouraged organizational structure that was readily acceptable to 
and usable by the local group. 

Acts 15. The cause, means, and authority for salvation must be 
clearly distinguished from culture and ceremony. Doctrinal clarity 
must not be sacrificed in deference to culture, but cultural factors 
which are doctrinally neutral should be utilized. Furthermore, it 
should be remembered that what seem to be cultural factors may 
have roots in universal teachings of Scripture. 

1 Corinthians, Colossians, and Philemon. Specific acts of behavior 
may have varying significance in different locations. Cultural standards 
should be exploited for the gospel when they coincide with biblical 
norms. The practice of spiritual and social equality in Christ will 
facilitate legitimate contextualization of the message. 

*'lbid., 77, adapted. 



Validity of the Term 

A mixed value. Like many words in theological and missiological 
jargon,"*' "contextualization" is not a biblical word, and it is a fluid 
word. Just as words such as "election," "repent," "missionary," "wit- 
ness" and "call" mean what the user means, so it is with "contextuali- 
zation." Buswell has rightfully cautioned against discarding the word 
"indigenization," but he sees some value in the newer word.^° 

A liberal origin. Liberals apparently gave birth to the word and 
associated it with socio-economic unrest. They may use the terms 
basic to classic fundamentalism in connection with "contextualization," 
but they empty those terms of their biblical and orthodox meanings 
and infuse them with new meanings. However, in spite of its origin, 
"contextualization" seems to be a useful term. 

A proposed definition. "Contextualization is showing the whole 
Bible relevant to the total individual in all his relationships of life." 
This does go beyond indigenization.^' When planting the gospel in 
new soil, the goal is to affect the total life of the society. Intermediate 
goals include 1) salvation and spiritual growth of individuals, 2) the 
effect of the saved on their families and community, 3) the establish- 
ment of a local church that meets the criteria of the NT with respect 
to definition, structure, function, and program, and 4) a biblical 
relationship between the saved and the social institutions of the target 
culture. The proposed definition assumes a thoroughgoing biblical 
anthropology that goes beyond a "trichotomy vs. dichotomy" discus- 
sion or a definition of personality as "a being who possesses intellect, 
emotion, and will." 

Biblical Basis for the Term 

The Bible survey in Part II has shown the need for 1) meeting the 
sinner where he is, 2) leading and equipping the saved person to 
become what God desires, and 3) challenging the saved person to live 

*^ Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary (Springfield, MA: C. & C. Merriam, 1953) 
451, under "jargon," c. "The technical . . . vocabulary of a science . . . sect ... or other 
special group." 

'°J. Oliver Buswell, III, "Contextualization: Theory, Tradition and Method," in 
neology and Mission, ed. by David J. Hesselgrave (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1978) 93- 
95, 106. 

"This is particularly so if "indigenization" focuses primarily on the church 
organization rather than on the people. For a discussion of some problems with the 
term "indigenous" see Edward R. Dayton and David A. Eraser, Planning Strategies 
for World Evangelization (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980) 357-58. 

engle: contextualization in missions 101 

a godly life within the target culture. Contextualization attempts to 
realize this three-fold purpose in stages. 

Stages of Contextualization^^ 

If the gospel is contextualized, then its clothing is the everyday 
life of its recipients. There are six identifiable stages of contextualiza- 
tion. The suggested order is logical, but in fact the stages are 

Penetration. The pattern in the early church indicates that a first 
contact (penetration) was by someone who had significant cultural 
ties with the target. The gospel must be spoken in the idiom of the 
district. Acts 17 is a possible guide to the components of the initial 
message: God, personal and transcendent (24, 26, 29), the Creator 
(24-26), man the creature (26), man in need of God and repentance 
(27, 30), righteous judgment to come, God's Man, Jesus, his death 
and resurrection (18, 31)." 

Translation. The Bible is the absolute standard (cf. Isa 8:20), the 
saving message (Rom 10:17), and food for growth (1 Pet 2:2; Heb 
5:13, 14). NT use of the LXX illustrates the need to contextualize the 
message by translation. Two basic theories of Bible translation prevail. 
Formal correspondence seeks to stay as close to the grammar and 
idiom of the source as possible, whereas dynamic equivalence transla- 
tion is more free.^"* The translator seeks to recombine "the meanings 
of the Bible . . ."in such a way that the resulting combination 1) gets 
across the essential meanings in the source language and 2) stimulates 
a response in the hearer of the translation equivalent to that which 
resulted from the original hearing." 

The latter approach is more contextuaUzed, but more apt to 
misconstrue the God-breathed text. The former risks being nonsensical 
to the receptor. Translation should tend towards formal correspon- 
dence, while explanation must have dynamic equivalence. 

Information. The informational stage recalls the penetration and 
intensifies instruction in basics. The communication should adapt 

'^I have relied heavily upon the structure and materials in Ericson for this 
discussion. See Ericson, "Implications," 79-81. 

See also J. I. Packer, "The Gospel: Its Content and Communication," in Down 
to Earth, eds. Coote and Stott, 110-11. Packer suggests as basic topics: "God our 
Maker, man's sin, Christ, faith, repentance, discipleship, new life, new relationships, 
and new goals." 

Charles H. Kraft, "Dynamic Equivalence Churches in Muslim Society," in The 
Gospel and Islam: A 1978 Compendium, ed. by Don M. McCurry (Monrovia, CA: 
Missions Advanced Research and Communications Center, 1979) 119. 
"Dayton and Eraser, Planning Strategies, 360. 


rigorously to the Bible and to "the sentence structures . . . (and) 
national and ideological patterns of the community. "^^ 

Indoctrination. The indoctrination stage attempts to cover major 
doctrinal themes. It begins to implement and inculturate the implica- 
tions of "all Scripture is . . . profitable for doctrine . . ." (2 Tim 3:16; 
NASB translates the noun as "teaching"). The amount of doctrine 
covered and the depth of exegesis must be in graduated stages within 
this phase. Some "niceties of thought . . . characteristic of the Gospel" 
are appropriate here." Ericson understandably favors his own area of 
expertise in implying that the NT is the text at this stage. ^* However, 
Genesis 1-3 is marked by simplicity of expression. ^^ It fleshes out by 
means of "character and story the values and conflicts that are 
central" to interpersonal relationships between God and man, man 
and man, and man and Satan. ^° It immediately brings the creation 
motif to the surface. Paul used this in the early stage of his gospel 
proclamation among people who had no knowledge of biblical revela- 
tion.^* It is difficult to explain the facts of the gospel^^ without the 
factual revelation of Genesis 1-3. 

This stage should be profoundly characterized by "the contextu- 
alization of theology" to the target church. ^^ Paul alludes to a form, 
pattern, or outline of apostolic teaching (cf. Acts 20:27; Rom 6:17; 
1 Tim 1:13). This pattern did not necessarily follow the same style of 
logic used in current American orthodox theology texts. Any theologi- 
cal discussion should be natural to the receptor in terms of jargon, 
idiom, and principles of arrangement. 

Persuasion. God's Word demands a response, and this response 
must be particular, whether in concept or act. "Systems of persua- 
sion ... in the language and . . . ideological patterns of the people" 
are crucial.^" The persuasion stage is analogous to "reproof, correc- 
tion . . . instruction in righteousness" (2 Tim 3:17). 

'*Ericson, "Implications," 8L Ericson vigorously rejects using isolated proof texts 
at this stage. 

"ibid., 82. 


"Genesis 1-3 will also challenge the best efforts in literary analysis and textual 
exegesis. See, for example, Leland Ryken, The Literature of the Bible (Grand Rapids: 
Zondervan, 1974) 33-42. 

^''ibid. See p. 20 for the quotation and related items. 

*'E.g., Acts 14:15ff.; Acts 17:22ff. 

"E.g., Rom 3:23; 5:12; 1 Cor 15:3-4; et. al. 

*'For a provocative essay see John Jefferson Davis, "Contextualization and the 
Nature of Theology," in The Necessity of Systematic Theology, 2nd edition, ed. by 
John Jefferson Davis (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1980) 169-90. 

"Ericson, "Implications," 82. 

engle: contextualization in missions 103 

Propagation. "The believing community . . . must speak to the 
society" in which it lives. *^ This communication of the message is the 
embodiment of the "Walk in God's way" biblical motif. It will 
rebuke, enhance, and interact with the customs and institutions of its 

The first five stages are "responsible, authoritative presentations" 
and explanations of canonical Scripture.*^ Propagation is the doing 
stage. Although it is "somewhat tentative" and hopefully self- 
correcting, the doing should be an enculturated expression of a Bible- 
saturated mind (Pss l:l-2ff.; 119:11; Rom 12:2).^^ The convert at this 
point compares favorably with "the man of God . . . perfect, thor- 
oughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Tim 3:17). 

The Thessalonian church. Paul's method with the Thessalonian 
church and their response illustrate the six stages of contextualization. 
The team went to the synagogue first — the common ground for 
penetration (Acts 17:1-3). Jason's house was the site for the informa- 
tion and indoctrination stages (Acts 17:4-7). The indoctrination is 
striking when one notices the number of major doctrines to which 
Paul alludes in his letters to Thessalonica, bearing in mind that these 
allusions assume a broader comprehension than the words of the 
letters suggest. These people imitated the message and manner of life 
of the messengers — the persuasion stage (1 Thes 1:5, 6). Their widely 
known conversion documents the propagation stage (1 Thes 1:8-10). 
As a result, although Paul's stay was perhaps only five months long, 
Thessalonica was called "the mother of all Macedon" by one Antipater 
and through the early Christian centuries earned the title "the ortho- 
dox city." 

Degrees of Contextualization 

The degree of contextualization increases as the message moves 
from the inerrant original to a rootedness in a 20th-century culture.^" 
The original text was already contextuaUzed. Its vocabulary, syntax, 
and literary structure expressed precisely what God wanted to say to 
the original audience. That message was the core to be transmitted to 

"Ibid.; cf. Matt 5:13-14; Phil 2:12-16. 


*'Cf. Col 3:16; Phil 2:12, 16. 

'*M. N. Tod, "Thessalonica," International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, Vol. 5, 
general ed., James Orr (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1955) 2970. 

*'lbid., 2971. 

™For a helpful article on the tension and resolution of tension between these focal 
points, see John R. W. Stott, "The Authority and Relevance of the Bible in the 
Modern World," Crux 16:2 (1980) 11-19. 


Other cultures. Translation allows for the least amount of variation 
from the original. 

The information stage requires the interpretational process. The 
three-fold context of 1) the Bible, 2) the messenger, and 3) the 
recipient makes this stage less concrete than the preceding stage. 
Contextualized expressions are obviously needed. The indoctrination 
or systematizing stage calls for contextualized devices for arranging 
blocks of material. It is instructive to recall the Semitic use of 
acrostics. Paul's argument with an unnamed opponent provides struc- 
ture in Romans 2-7. 

The amount of contextualization for persuasion exceeds what is 
needed in doctrinal rearrangement of biblical material. As humanly 
devised vehicles for internalizing the message increase, so does the 
risk of distorting the message. 

Risk of distortion is greatest when there is an attempt to live in a 
biblical way. Such living involves adapting to the society in some 
things (1 Cor 9:19-22; John 17:15; Gal 6:10a). It also involves a 
separateness and exerting an unwanted godly pressure (Matt 5:13-14; 
John 17:14, 16; 1 Cor 7:14; Phil 2:15). The persuasion and propagation 
stages are the most vulnerable, in increasing order, to fostering 
syncretistic "Christianity. "'' 

Problems with Contextualization 

1) The term is fluid and complex. 

2) Its anthropological and cultural connotations expose treatments 
that are often more humanistic than biblical. 

3) Over-emphasis on implementing the concept could dilute basic 
evangelistic effort. 

4) Preoccupation with contextualization could dull commitment to 
the doctrine of total depravity, as that doctrine relates to all cultures. 

5) The process of thinking about contextualization may be plagued 
by the effects of a darkened mind, even in the regenerate." 

Strengths of Contextualization 

1) Contextualization acknowledges the imago dei in all men and a 
corollary truth that there is likely to be something of value in most 

2) An emphasis on the process of contextualization helps the mes- 
senger to understand and use the perspective of those in the target 

'See Charles H. Kraft, "The ContextuaUzation of Theology," Evangelical Missions 
Quarterly 14:1 (1978) 35-36. 

"Jer 17:9; 2 Cor 4:4; 11:2-3. 

engle: contextualization in missions 105 

3) An emphasis on the process, considered in biblical perspective, 
helps the messenger assess his own values and priorities. 

4) The effort to contextualize forces one repeatedly to stress in detail 
the interrelationships between the absolute authority and dynamic 
usefulness of God's Word. 

Controls for Contextualization 

Presuppositionalist Apologetics 

The messenger must enter his task on the basis of two presup- 
positions: 1) his God is the God of the Bible and this God is the only 
God; 2) the Bible is the only explicit, inerrant revelation of the 
character and will of God. Therefore, the Bible is the judge for all 
matters of belief, daily conduct, and culture of all people (Heb 11:6; 
1:1-2; 2 Pet 1:19-21). 

Some Biblical Absolutes 

Imago dei. The fact that everyone possesses the image and 
likeness of God establishes the profound worth of every individual 
and gives sufficient reason to treat all people properly (Gen 9:6; 
James 3:9). 

Christian love (1 Cor 13:4-7). The messenger loves individuals 
in the target culture, realizing that genuine love is active rather than 
abstract. It will act with self-restraint and kindness, without jealousy, 
without boasting, without arrogance. It will not act unbecomingly, 
nor in a self-seeking manner, nor in a reactionary way to provo- 
cation, nor will it bear a grudge. It will bear all things; it will trust 
without being naive; it will be optimistic and endure patiently 
under stress.^' The implications and benefits for contextualizing 
God's message are obvious. This approach is tantamount to a 
universal language. 

Obedience to explicit Bible commands. Biblical commands must 
be obeyed (cf. 1 Cor 7:10) whether they are transdispensational 
commands or those especially germane to the church age. A biblical 
imperative which in principle is universalized in the Bible is binding 
in all cultures. Antecedents to many imperatives may be found in 
Genesis 1-11, which is addressed to the whole human race.'"* The 
Lord's table and baptism by immersion exemplify commands for the 
church age. 

Specific commands not nullified elsewhere in the Bible must be 
applied universally, and these must be understood in the way the 

"a free-rendering of 1 Cor 13:4-7, but see NASB and NIV. 
^*J. Robert McQuilken, "Limits of Cultural Interpretation," Journal of the Evan- 
gelical Theological Society 23 (1980) 117-18. 


author intended. '^ The Bible must identify the recipients of specific 
commands. Since the Scriptures were intended to mold cultures, one 
should hesitate to use culture, ancient or modern, as the sole reason 
for muting a command. 

Man 's total depravity. The unregenerate mind is blinded (2 Cor 
4:4). The regenerate mind, whether of the messenger or receptor, is 
subject to deception (2 Cor 11:3). This may hamper discernment in 
what constitutes legitimate contextualization of the message. 

Theological-Hermeneutical Considerations 

Verbal inspiration. A high view of inspiration exerts control over 
the use of culture in biblical interpretation. In dynamic equivalence 
interpretation, the enduring principle is sought by laying back the 
actual words of the text. That principle is then applied to the 
contemporary culture. Verbal inspiration requires that the words 
must not be sacrificed to the "enduring principle." To circumvent the 
words is tantamount to inspiration only of thoughts. This tension 
exists because God conveyed much truth "in the living context" of a 
specific language and culture rather than dictating "a series of 
theological propositions in a celestial language. "^^ 

A grammatico-historical hermeneutic. This method of interpreta- 
tion guards against reinterpretation of the plain meaning of the text. 
Such reinterpretation may intend to contextualize more readily the 
particular teaching into the target culture. ^^ The interpreter must 
study the historical-cultural context of the Bible in order to understand 
the intended meaning of the biblical author. Only the intuitive model 
of hermeneutics can avoid this step.^^ 

Clarity of Scripture. The basics for biblical living in any culture 
are clear when the translation is adequate (Ps 119:105).^' Some 
contemporary approaches to issues like divorce, the role of women, 
and abortion may give precedence to cultural factors over obvious 
statements of Scripture. However, regardless of cultural factors, the 
plain sense of Scripture should control interpretation and application. 

"ibid., 12L 

"*Ibid., 115. 

"ibid., 124. Sproul dramatizes the problem of re-interpretation along dynamic 
equivalence lines. He shows that the U.S. constitution was interpreted by the 
grammatico-historical method until Oliver Wendell Holmes. Since that time, the 
constitution often has been interpreted by the contemporary climate. See R. C. Sproul, 
Knowing Scripture (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1977) 45-46. 

''See 43 above. 

^'j. I. Packer, "The Adequacy of Human Language," in Inerrancy, ed. by 
Norman L. Geisler (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1979) 217. Packer cites Calvin, who 
claimed that God spoke "with a contemptible meanness." On Scripture clarity, also see 
Sproul, Knowing Scripture, 15-17. 

engle: contextualization in missions 107 

Distinction between interpretation and application. The author's 
intended meaning and proper encuhuration of that meaning are 
elucidated by separate processes. Application requires that one 
understand the cultural context of the contemporary recipient. ^° 

A saturated mind, spiritual discernment, and godly counsel. 
Messengers and receptors benefit from minds massively conditioned 
by broad biblical content (Pss 1:1-2; 119:11; Heb 5:14). All believers 
have the potential to discern what is of God (1 John 2:20-29; 4:1-4). 
By implication, this discernment could extend to proper enculturation 
of the message. The two parties may provide mutual godly counsel in 
working together for the spread of the gospel (cf. 1 Cor 7:25, 40). 
These three factors guard against unscriptural contextualization. 



This paper has defined "contextualization" as showing the whole 
Bible to be relevant to the total individual in all his relationships of 
life. This definition is radically different from the meaning which 
liberalism assigns to the term. In the biblical survey, principles have 
been identified which both aid in contextualization and suggest some 
of its pitfalls. Part III has outlined the stages and risks in the process 
of contextualization and listed problems, benefits, and controls for 
using the concept. 


"Contextualization" is a legitimate term describing one aspect of 
cross-cultural propagation of the gospel. It designates a means 
toward a goal. The term is, therefore, appropriate for use in relation 
to separatist missionary effort. 

This examination of the term has focused upon the cross-cultural 
setting for contextualization. Several principles for contextualizing 
the message have surfaced. Due to the fact that people differ within 
the smallest groups, many of these principles are useful for con- 
textualizing biblical teaching in any community. 

'"Padilla, "Hermeneutics and Culture," 64-65. Padilla suggests a "contextual" 
approach to hermeneutics because it "adds an appreciation of the role of today's world 
in conditioning the way the contemporary readers are likely to 'hear' and understand 
the text." This approach recognizes that the evangelist must "transpose the message 
from its (historical Biblical) context into the context of present day readers," so that 
the intended impact for the original biblical audience will be realized in lives in the 
target culture. 

Grace Theological Journal A.\ (1983) 109-117 


Creation Science and Modern Biology 
John C. Whitcomb 

What is Creation Science? by Henry M. Morris and Gary E. Parker. San 
Diego: Creation-Life, 1982. Pp. 306. $7.95. Paper. 

This is probably the most helpful handbook on scientific creationism 
now available. The first three chapters of 150 pages concerning the life 
sciences were written by Gary E. Parker, Ed.D., Chairman of the Biology 
Department for the Graduate School of the Institute for Creation Research. 
The final three chapters of about 100 pages, dealing with the physical 
sciences, were written by Henry M. Morris, founder and president of the 
Institute for Creation Research. Each of these authors, in his own field of 
specialization, has attained worldwide fame for his grasp of the basic issues 
involved in the creation-evolution controversy of our day and for his ability 
to articulate these issues in public presentation and debate. The authors were 
evolution scientists and, by the grace of God, have entered into the marvelous 
realm of creation truth. Since this handbook is the end product of many 
years of intense research and interaction on the part of the authors and is a 
serious attempt to communicate clearly to the non-scientist through the use 
of non-technical terms and 58 helpful illustrations, it deserves the careful 
attention of those who have been exposed to the dogmatic claims of evolu- 
tion scientists in our generation. It is the reviewer's purpose to analyze Part 2, 
"The Physical Sciences," by Dr. Henry Morris, together with an overview of 
the entire volume in the next issue of the Grace Theological Journal. 

In his opening chapter, "Evidence of Creation in Living Systems," 
Parker provides a brilliant analysis of the fundamental issues involved in the 
creation-evolution controversy today. To begin with, what is the difference 
between a pebble that vaguely looks like a boot and an intricately carved 
arrowhead? If the softer parts of the pebble are more worn away than the 
harder parts and the lines of wear follow lines of weakness in the rock, it is 
clearly the result of time and chance operating through weathering and 
erosion on the inherent properties of matter (p. 2). 

•The reviewer hereby expresses appreciation to Richard Jeffreys, Ph.D., Professor of 
Biochemistry, Grace College, for his kind assistance in the preparation of this article. 


However, the arrowhead represents a radically different kind of order. 
Here we find matter shaped and molded according to a design that gives the 
rocky material a purpose, which we easily recognize as an evidence of 
(human) creation. "Evolutionists believe that life itself is a result, Hke the 
tumbled pebble, of time, chance, and the inherent properties of matter. The 
arrowhead represents the creation idea, that living systems have irreducible 
properties of organization that were produced, like the arrowhead, by design 
and creation'' (p. 4). Applying these principles to the fundamental question of 
the origin and nature of life, Parker explains that not one molecule that 
constitutes the physical structure of the living cell is itself alive. Furthermore, 
the natural reaction between acids and bases within the cell not only cannot 
promote but actually prevents the use of DNA to code protein production. 
Thus, "chemistry is not our ancester; it's our problem. When cells lose their 
biological order and their molecules start reacting in chemical ways, we die. 
A dead body contains all the molecules necessary for life and approximately 
the right amount of each. What is lost at death are balance and biological 
order that otherwise use food to put us together faster than chemistry tears us 
apart!" (p. 8). But if a living cell is a collection of nonliving molecules, what 
does it take to make a living cell alive? The answer is — creation] 

At this point Parker provides a superb illustration: 

Suppose I asked you this question: 'Can aluminum fly?' By itself, of course, 
aluminum can't fly. Aluminum ore in rock just sits there. If you pour gasoline 
on it, does that make it fly? Pour a little rubber on it; that doesn't make it fly 
either. But suppose you take that aluminum, stretch it out in a nice long tube 
with wings, a tail, and a few other parts. Then it flies; we call it an airplane. Did 
you ever wonder what makes an airplane fly? Take the wings off and study 
them; they don't fly. Take the engines off, study them; they don't fly . . . not a 
single part of it flies! . . . What does it take to make an airplane fly? Created 
design and organization (p. 11). 

Scientists understand how airplanes fly. For that very reason, no scientist 
believes that airplanes are the result of time, chance, and the properties of 
aluminum and other materials that make up the airplane. Flying is a property of 
organization, not substance. A Boeing 747, for example, is a collection of four- 
and-a-half million non-flying parts, but thanks to design and creation (and a 
continuous supply of energy and repair services!), it flies. Similarly, 'life' is a 
property of organization, not substance. A living cell is a collection of several 
billion non-living molecules, and death results when a shortage of energy or a 
flaw in operational or repair mechanisms allows inherent chemical processes to 
destroy its biological order (p. 14). 

Parker concludes this brilliant, basic analysis of the issues that divide 
creationism from evolutionism with these words: 

It's what we do know and can explain about aluminum and the laws of physics 
that would convince us that airplanes are the products of creation, even if we 
never saw the acts of creation. In the same way, it's what we do know and can 
explain about DNA and protein and the laws of chemistry which suggest that 
life itself is the result of creation. My point is not based on design per se, but on 
the kind of design we observe. As creationists point out, some kinds of design, 
such as snowflakes and wind-worn rock formations, do result from time and 

whitcomb: creation science and modern biology 111 

chance — given the properties of the material involved. . . . But just as clearly, 
other kinds of design, e.g. arrowheads and airplanes, are the direct result of 
creative design and organization giving matter properties it doesn't have and 
can't develop on its own. What we know about the DNA-protein relationship 
suggests that living cells have the created kind of design (p. 15). 

Note the outstandingly helpful analysis of the differences between 
mechanism, vitalism, and creationism: 

Creation stands between the classic extremes of mechanism and vitalism. 
Mechanists, including evolutionists, believe that both the operation and origin 
of living things are the result of the laws of chemistry which reflect the inherent 
properties of matter. Vitalists believe that both the operation and origin of 
living systems depend on mysterious forces that lie beyond scientific description. 
According to creationists, living things operate in understandable ways that can 
be described in terms of scientific laws — but, these observations include proper- 
ties of organization that logically imply a created origin for life. The creationist, 
then, recognizes the orderliness that the vitalist doesn't see. But he doesn't limit 
himself only to those kinds of order that result from time, chance, and the 
properties of matter as the evolutionist does. Creation introduces levels of order 
and organization that greatly enrich the range of explorable hypotheses and 
turn the study of life into a scientist's dream (p. 16). 

With his foundations thus carefully established, Parker proceeds to 
tackle some of the current controversial issues that characterize the evolution- 
creation debate. Homologous structures in living things such as the foreleg of 
a horse or dog, the wing of a bat, and the flipper of a penguin are shown to 
be explained better by creation according to a common design than descent 
from a common ancestor (pp. 19-27). Parker candidly admits that in many 
cases either explanation will work, but that there seem to be times when the 
only thing that works is creation according to a common design (p. 21). A 
classic example of this is "convergence," such as the similarity between the 
eyes of humans and vertebrates on the one hand and the eyes of squids and 
octopuses on the other (p. 22). Evolutionary arguments based upon molecular 
taxonomy (e.g., hemoglobin and lysozyme) and embryonic development ("the 
yoke sac," the "gill slits," and "tail") are shown to be completely fallacious 
(pp. 24-34). 

Especially troubling to evolutionists is the obviously marvelous fit of 
organisms to their environment, such as the dependence of certain large fish 
upon certain small fish that systematically clean their teeth! (pp. 34-40). 
Leading evolutionists such as Szent-Gyorgyi and Garrett Hardin admit that 
the probability of this relationship coming about by random mutation is 
absolutely zero (p. 38). 

In the second of his three chapters, "Darwin and the Nature of Biologic 
Change," Parker provides additional clear, brief, and helpful discussions on 
the peppered moth (pp. 44-48); the flicker woodpecker with its astounding 
set of "drilling tools" (pp. 50-51); the bombardier beetle with two "cannons" 
that can shoot forth noxious gases at his enemies at 212° F (pp. 51-53); 
variations among Darwin's finches (pp. 55-57); the length of a giraffe's neck 
and how he did not attain it (pp. 58-59); fruit-fly mutations (pp. 51-52); 
drug-resistant bacteria (p. 64); and sickle-cell anemia (pp. 69-70). 


Especially fascinating to this reviewer is Parker's explanation of the 
recent discovery that all the distinct racial features of mankind today could 
have appeared within two generations after the judgment of Babel (pp. 78- 
84). In the light of all of this, one of America's leading anticreationists, 
Stephen Jay Gould of Harvard, states that the currently popular neo- 
darwinian theory of evolution is "effectively dead, despite its persistence as 
textbook orthodoxy" (p. 74). Gould "prefers to believe instead that evolution 
occurs in giant steps, radical restructuring of whole DNA sets producing 
what he himself calls 'hopeful monsters.' But he admits that no such hopeful 
monster has been observed. His new theory, then, is not any sort of logical 
inference from observations, but a fantastic faith in the future of the theory 
that the facts have failed" (p. 74; cf. 84). 

For most evolutionists, as well as creationists, the ultimate question 
hinges on the interpretation of the fossil record in the crust of the earth which 
opens before us as the pages of a gigantic book. In chapter three, Parker 
(who has done paleontological research in North America and Australia 
following his doctoral studies in this discipline), deals very effectively with the 
fossil evidence. Beginning with the invertebrates (animals without backbones), 
we learn that practically all the major groups of these animals were in 
existence, even in greater abundance than today, at the very beginning of the 
geologic column. Evolutionism would predict that these "ancient animals" 
would be the simplest in form. But there we find that trilobites had extremely 
complex eyes (p. 92): 

Let's imagine we're diving in the ocean back when the trilobites were alive. 
If we compare life in the trilobite seas with what we see in the oceans today, 
what would we say? 'Look at all the new forms of life, the increased variety and 
greater complexity!' No, that's not what we would say at all. Rather, we might 
say, 'What happened? Where did everything go? What happened to all the 
trilobites? Where are all the lampshells?' There used to be several thousand 
species; now only a handful are left. We might also wonder what happened to 
the great nautiloids, with their long, straight shells reaching up to nine feet in 
length. Today the only shelled squid we have is the modest pearly nautilus. 
Extinction, not evolution, is the rule when we compare fossil sea life with the 
sort of marine invertebrates we find living today. If fact, all major groups, 
except perhaps the groups including clams and snails, are represented by greater 
variety and more complex forms as fossils than today. It's hard to imagine how 
absolutely crushing this evidence is to evolution. . . . Snails come from snails. . . . 
squids come from squids . . . trilobites seem only to come from trilobites. In 
other words, you find snails and squids and trilobites as fossils; you don't find 
"snids" and "squails" and "squailobites," or some other in-between form or 
common ancestor. The "missing links" between these groups are still missing 
(p. 94). 

Creationists are not the only ones who have insisted that the fossil record 
is deadly to evolutionism. Charles Darwin himself asked: ". . . intermediate 
links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic 
change, and this is perhaps the most obvious and serious objection which can 
be urged against the theory [of evolution]" (p. 96). Well over 100 years have 
passed since Darwin wrote those words and paleontologists today face an 
even greater dilemma. David Raup, curator of the Field Museum of Natural 

whitcomb: creation science and modern biology 113 

History in Chicago, admits, ". . . ironically, we have even fewer examples of 
evolutionary transition than we had in Darwin's time." Parker concludes: 
"Genetic studies suggest that mutation-selection could not lead to evolutionary 
change; the fossil evidence seems to confirm that // did not" (p. 98). 

The message we learn from fossil plants is identical. Darwin considered 
the problem of the origin of flowering plants as "an abominable mystery" 
(p. 99). In our own day, E. J. H. Corner, Professor of Botany at Cambridge 
University, has stated: ". . . to the unprejudiced, the fossil record of plants is 
in favor of special creation" (p. 101). 

But what about the vertebrates (animals with backbones)? Evolutionists 
usually point to the archaeopteryx, a winged, feathered bird, which had 
certain features of a reptile. Our author successfully demonstrates the impos- 
sibility of this creature being a missing link between reptile and bird. 
Furthermore, the entire debate has been rendered irrelevant by the discovery 
in 1977 of "the femur of a typical bird in the same rock unit in which 
archaeopteryx is found" (p. 103). 

"Thanks in large measure to the fossil evidence," scientific creationists 
have been winning debates with evolutionists in major universities across 
North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Dr. Joe Felsenstein at the 
University of Washington confesses that we now have a "generation of 
evolutionary biologists who . . . can be reduced to babbling by any creationist 
debater in possession of more than two facts" (p. 106). Parker comments that 
when that statement was made (1978) "there were only two. Dr. Henry 
M. Morris and Dr. Duane T. Gish. Apparently all it took to level 'mountains 
of fossil evidence for evolution' was Morris or Gish and three facts!" (p. 106). 
In its analysis of a conference of the world's leading evolutionists held in 
Chicago, Newsweek (Nov. 3, 1980) concluded: 

The missing link between man and the apes ... is merely the most glamorous of 
a whole hierarchy of phantom creatures. In the fossil record, missing links are 
the rule . . . The more scientists have searched for the transitional forms between 
species, the more they have been frustrated. . . . Evidence from fossils now 
points overwhelmingly away from the classical Darwinism which most Americans 
learned in high school (p. 108). 

Many of the young paleontologists at the Chicago conference have pushed 
for a new concept of evolution called statis (static). As Parker humorously 
describes it: "the most fundamental fact of their theory of change is that 
everything stays the same!" (p. 110). 

This new evolution concept, most vigorously promoted by Stephen J. 
Gould of Harvard, is known technically as "punctuated equilibrium." More 
popularly, it is know as the "hopeful-monster theory," a theory that was 
introduced back in the 1930s by Richard Goldschmidt of the University of 
California, and others. This view maintains that the reason we find no 
missing links between reptiles and birds, for example, is because the first bird 
simply hatched out of a reptile egg! This supposedly happened as a result of 
"radical chromosome rearrangements or cataclysmic mutations in regulatory 
genes" (p. 112). Unfortunately for this new theory, however, no hopeful 
monster has ever been seen to appear as a result of mutations or chromosome 
rearrangement. Gould himself also wonders what such a hopeful monster 


could mate with (p. 1 14). But if creation is unthinkable, and no one seems to 
be finding evidence of in-between creatures in the fossil record, some such 
absurdities must be imagined by modern evolutionists! 

In the light of this, we can understand why Gary Parker feels that 
"sometimes it's kind of fun to be a creationist. The 'rear-guard' neo-Darwinian 
evolutionists like to point out the apparent absurdity of hopeful-monster 
evolution and claim that evolution could not happen fast. The punctuational 
evolutionists point to genetic limits and the fossil evidence to show that 
evolution did not happen slowly. The creationist simply agrees with both 
sides: evolution couldn't happen fast and it didn't happen slowly — because 
evolution can't and didn't happen at all!" (p. 115). Thus, concludes Parker: 

This new concept of evolution is based on the fossils we don't find and on 
genetic mechanisms that have never been observed. The case for creation is 
based on thousands of tons of fossils that we have found and on genetic 
mechanisms (variation within type) that we do observe and put into practice 
every day. As a scientist, I'm inclined to prefer a model that's based on what we 
do see and can explain (creation), rather than one that's based on what we don't 
see and cannot explain (evolution) (p. 116). 

The crucial issue of human origins is adequately presented in this 
handbook. Some of the popular ape-men specimens of two generations ago, 
such as the Piltdown Man, the Java-ape Man, and the Nebraska Man, are 
shown to have been complete hoaxes (pp. 118-19). Even the most recent 
finds, such as "Lucy" and other Australopithecines, turn out, upon closer 
inspection, to be exactly what the name implies, namely, "southern apes." 
Like the modern pygmy chimpanzee, ''Pan paniscus," they may have been 
able to walk upright, but not in the human manner (pp. 121-24). Even more 
significantly, Richard Leakey found "bones virtually indistinguishable from 
those of modern man" beneath the bones his father, Louis Leakey, had 
unearthed and named Zinjanthropus (p. 124). Thus, "the Australopithecines 
could not have been our ancestors, of course, if people were walking around 
before Lucy and her kin were fossilized." For example, the fossils of ordinary 
people in "Mid-Tertiary" rock have been found in Castenedolo, Italy, and 
Charles Oxnard ("Human Fossils: New View of Old Bones," American 
Biology Teacher, May, 1979) calls attention to the "Kanapoi hominid, a 
human upper arm bone found in rock strata in Africa laid down before those 
that entomb the australopithecine remains" (p. 125). Then follows a fascinating 
discussion of fossilized footprints that are obviously human, not only in east 
Africa, but also in the Paluxy River bed near Glen Rose, Texas. Some of 
these footprints actually cross the tracks of dinosaurs (pp. 125-29). Parker 
answers the common objection that these footprints could have been carved, 
by stating: 

The carved tracks are usually obviously carved and, in any doubtful cases, 
carved and natural tracks can be distinguished because the fine lines in the 
natural limestone cement will be cut through in a carving but will follow the 
pressure ridge in a print pushed up as the original sediment — with both manlike 
and dinosaur tracks — hardened (p. 128). 

This, of course, raises the entire question of the validity of the "geologic 

whitcomb: creation science and modern biology 115 

Now the geologic column is an idea, not an actual series of rock layers. 
Nowhere do we find the complete sequence. Even the walls of the Grand 
Canyon include only five of the twelve major systems (one, five, six, and seven, 
with small protions here and there of the fourth system, the Devonian). . . . 
According to creationists, the geological systems represent different ecological 
zones, the buried remains of plants and animals that once lived together in the 
same environment. A walk through Grand Canyon, then, is not like a walk 
through evolutionary time; instead, it's like a walk from the bottom of the 
ocean, across the tidal zone, over the shore, across the lowlands, and on into the 
upland regions (pp. 129-31). 

In parts of the Grand Canyon, Mississippian rock rests paraconformably 
on Cambrian rock — a gap of 125 million years of hypothetical evolutionary 
time with no evidence of a time break at all. These imagined Ordovician, 
Silurian, and Devonian ages simply vanished! But "we simply can't imagine 
just sitting there for [125] million years, neither eroding or depositing, then 
picking up exactly where it left off" (pp. 132-33). 

In addition to this, fossil trees (called polystrates) have been found 
extending through many rock layers or strata. Such fossils cry out for 
catastrophic burial! Through the research of Steven Austin and others, we 
now know that the massive coal seams in North America and elsewhere must 
have been formed rapidly from plant debris deposited under mats of vegeta- 
tion floating in sea water (pp. 134-36). Thus, ''massive flooding and 
catastrophic upheaval" is the key that unlocks the mystery of the origin of 
coal and other fossil fuels. 

Such evidences are bringing about a significant change of thinking on 
the part of scientists who confront the realities of the fossil world. An entire 
group of evolutionary geologists now call themselves "neo-catastrophists." 
Derek Ager, past president of the British Geologic Associaiton, looking at 
geologic evidence around the world, was reminded of the life of a soldier, full 
of "long periods of boredom and short periods of terror" ("The Nature of the 
Fossil Record," Proceedings of the Geological Association 87:2 [1976] 131- 
59). Parker brilliantly comments: 

It seems to me that the "long periods of boredom" are the contact lines 
between the strata (the absence of deposits where, presumably, all the evolution 
has occurred); the "short periods of terror" formed the fossil-bearing deposits 
themselves. It is rapid, large-scale processes that form the fossil-bearing deposits 
we actually observe (pp. 136-37). 

Evolutionists are usually deeply frustrated to find creationists using 
quotations like these to their own advantage in creation-evolution debates 
and writings. (See Newsweek, March 29, 1982, p. 46.) Derek Ager himself is 
no exception: 

Ager knows that the creationists ("California sects," he calls them) are going to 
make use of his work, and he's absolutely right. We're not arguing our case on 
the strength of his opinion, however, but upon the evidence that he knows so 
well. The evidence suggests rapid deposition on a large scale — catastrophism. . . . 
As I write this, evolutionists seem to be stepping all over themselves to see who 
can come up with the right worldwide catastrophe to explain the sudden, 
worldwide extinction of the dinosaurs. ... (p. 137). 


In the present debate, it is important to recognize the extreme rarity of 
conditions for massive fossilization: 

Nowhere on earth today do we have fossils forming on the scale that we see 
in geologic deposits. The Karroo Beds in Africa, for example, contain the 
remains of perhaps 800 bilhon vertebrates! A million fish can be killed in red 
tides in the Gulf of Mexico today, but they simply decay away and do not 
become fossils. Similarly, debris from vegetation mats doesn't become coal 
unless it is buried under a heavy load of sediment (p. 138). 

Parker is convinced that catastrophism not only explains the cause of 
massive fossilization, but also helps us to understand patterns of extinction 
we see when we compare living forms with their fossil relatives: 

A catastrophe would wipe out creatures regardless of their environmental 
fitness. . . . That would explain why present forms appear to be no more fit to 
survive than their fossil relatives. At best only a few of each type would survive, 
and these would possess less of the original created gene pool. That would help 
to explain why most groups existed in greater variety in times past than they do 
now. . . . Worldwide climate changes, brought on by massive flooding and other 
catastrophes, might also help us to explain patterns of survival. Fossil plants 
and living plants include both spore-bearing and seed-bearing types. Both types 
have been hit by extinction, but the spore-bearing plants have been much more 
hard hit by extinction, and those are the types of plants that would find it 
harder to migrate throughout an earth with chmate extremes like we have 
today. Similarly, animals can be described as warm-blooded or cold-blooded. 
Again, it's the cold-blooded, those less likely to adapt to climate extremes Hke 
we have today, that have been most strongly devastated by extinction (pp. 

Parker concludes his half of this remarkable volume by an appeal to the 
sad experience of Galileo three hundred years ago. This is particularly 
significant because Galileo's case is generally used by evolutionists as leverage 
against the supposed threat of Christian theologians to the academic freedom 
and open inquiry of scientists today! 

When Galileo first presented the evidence against Ptolemy's earth-centered view 
of astronomy, leaders of "the establishment" refused to even look through his 
telescope. The leaders in those days were both churchmen and scientists who 
had, unfortunately, made the thinking of an early Egyptian astronomer an 
article of faith (a warning against making a particular theory an "article of 
faith" in the "establishment" today?). Today it's too often the evolutionist who 
hides behind thought-stifling ridicule and cliche (e.g., misinterpreted "separation 
of church and state") and refuses to even "look through the telescope" (or 
microscope!) at the evidence of creation (pp. 141-43). 

Paradoxically, the Galileos of our day turn out to be creation scientists! 
It is evolutionism that blinds and binds the inquiring mind of man. 

But for one whose mind is open to the possibility of creation, there is freedom 
indeed! Nature becomes a scientist's dream. Everyone, scientists included, can 
tell the difference between a pebble and an arrowhead — one shaped by time and 
chance acting on the inherent properties of matter, the other with irreducible 
properties of organization resulting from design and creation. If scientists can't 

whitcomb: creation science and modern biology 117 

study created objects, they can't study arrowheads or airplanes. If they are open 
to creation as a possibility, then they are free to explore both kinds of order, 
and to test predictions and inferences against observations" (p. 148). 

Parker is to be commended for this concise and fascinatingly written up-date 
of the creationist perspective in "The Life Sciences." 

Grace Theological Journal 4.1 (1983) 119-126 


The Greek New Testament According 
to the Majority Text 

Daniel B. Wallace 

The Greek New Testament According to the Majority Text, edited by Zane 
C. Hodges and Arthur L. Farstad. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982. Pp. xlvi 
+ 810. $13.95. 

A. T. Robertson, that superb grammarian of a generation now past, 
once wrote that "The Greek New Testament is still the Torchbearer of Light 
and Progress for the world" {The Minister and His Greek New Testament 
[Nashville: Broadman, 1924] 116). If this be true, then any light we can gain 
on the text of the Greek NT will certainly help us to gain light from it. The 
conservative student of Scripture should be especially eager to get his hands 
on anything which helps to recover the very words of the autographs. 

With this perspective in mind, Zane Hodges, professor of NT 
Literature and Exegesis at Dallas Theological Seminary, and Arthur Farstad, 
executive New Testament editor of the New KJV, have edited a Greek NT 
which is based on the majority of extant mss. According to the jacket of the 
book, "Their carefully edited text marks \ht first time in this century that the 
Greek New Testament has been produced using the vast bulk of extant 
manuscripts rather than the small body of Egyptian manuscripts that form 
the basis of the currently popular 3rd edition of the United Bible Societies 
text and the 26th edition of the Nestle-Aland text." Regardless of which text- 
critical theory one holds to, it is difficult not to be impressed by this volume. 
If it is gratuitous to claim that the reading of the autographs will always be 
found in the Byzantine minuscules (a claim which the editors never explicitly 
make), at least, the printing of the Majority Text will certainly make dialogue 
with the Hodges-Farstad view easier. The most casual reader will be struck 
immediately with the fact that this is not another reprint of the Textus 
Receptus (disarming to some extent those who have charged Hodges with 
this view. As recently as 1978 Hodges' view has been misunderstood by no 
less a scholar than Gordon Fee who asked, "If they [i.e., Hodges et al.] really 
mean majority rule, are they ready to give up the TR at such non-superficial 
variants as Acts 8:37 and 1 John 5:7-8 (where a weak minority of Greek mss 
supports the TR)?" ("Modern Textual Criticism and the Revival of the 


Textus Receptus" JETS 21 [1978] 23). A glance at the Majority Text will 
reveal that these TR readings are indeed rejected because they are not found 
in the majority of mss). 

The book has a thirty-eight page introduction, most of which is con- 
sumed with explaining the apparatus. The text itself has been type-set very 
handsomely. The printing is fairly large (about the same size as found in 
UBS^) and easy to read. There are English subtitles for major paragraphs, 
designed to "trigger the brain to expect the vocabulary one is likely to 
encounter in such a paragraph" (p. xli). Each page of text has at least one 
apparatus and normally two. The apparatus immediately below the text 
contrasts the majority of mss with the TR (otherwise, agreement is assumed). 
The bottom apparatus contrasts the majority of mss with the principal 
Alexandrian witnesses and with UBS^ and Nestle^*. The text of two editions 
{TR and Nestle^^ [UBS^]) and two text-types (Alexandrian, Byzantine 
[= majority text roughly]) are thus effectively presented for the entire NT. 
The book concludes with a select bibliography on NT textual criticism (pp. 

This "new" edition of the Greek NT is commendable for several reasons. 
First and foremost, it has ably achieved its primary goal of providing a 
critical text of the majority of extant mss. The evidence is presented so clearly 
that previous judgments about the alleged character of the Byzantine text- 
type can now be easily tested. A perusal of almost any page of text will reveal 
that (a) the majority of the mss do not always have a text which is identical to 
the TR (thus, softening considerably the guilt-by-association tactics which 
have been used against advocates of this text form), and (b) the alleged 
"conflations" of the Byzantine text-type do not always hold up: quite 
frequently these mss have a shorter reading than that found in Egypt! 

Second, for the student who believes that the voice of the Byzantine mss 
should at least be heard when textual decisions are being made, this edition 
of the Greek NT will prove invaluable. The fact that UBS' does not list very 
many Byzantine readings should not be surprising: it is primarily a text for 
translators, not exegetes (p. v of UBS^). This is not to say that it is faultless, 
however, because there are hundreds of Byzantine readings not listed in the 
UBS apparatus which alter the translation of the text. The Nestle^* text, by 
contrast, is designed primarily for exegetes and has many more times the 
textual variants of the UBS' text. I was rather surprised therefore to find 
several majority text readings which were not listed in the Nestle apparatus. 
For example, on p. 115 of the Majority Text the text of Mark 3:25-32 is 
found. Sixteen variants are listed in the second apparatus (which contrasts 
the majority text with the Egyptian and critical texts). By comparing this text 
with Nestle", it is seen that the Nestle apparatus does not cite four of these 
variants. Although it might be argued that these four variants are not 
significant, would it not be wiser to allow the exegete to make that decision in 
each instance? In Eph 6:17, for example, where Nestle" has S^^aaOs, the 
Majority Text (as well as Alexandrinus) reads 56^aa9ai — a reading not cited 
in the Nestle apparatus. A good case could be made that the structure and 
argument of the paragraph (w 10-20, especially vv 14-17) rests on whether 
Paul wrote the imperative or infinitive in this verse. Further, even when the 
Nestle apparatus does cite the reading of the majority text, occasionally this 


reading is somewhat obscured by the brevity of the citation. For example, in 
Rev 4:8 the Nestle text reads dyioc, dyioc, &yioc,. In its apparatus the bulk of 
the Byzantine mss are said to read novies ay. Most students today would not 
realize that novies was Latin for "nine times." But the Majority Text makes 
this explicit for non-Latin readers with its nine-fold ascription of holiness to 
Almighty God — a triple trisagion! (Incidently, the first hand of Sinaiticus is 
cited as having octies ay. [dyioc, eight times] in the Nestle apparatus, which 
certainly indicates that its exemplar had dyioc, nine times rather than three.) 

Third, the editors as advocates of the genealogical method ("this method 
remains the only logical one" [p. xii]) provide a rather provocative family 
tree, or stemma, for John 7:53-8:11 and the Apocalypse. Almost half of the 
introduction (pp. xxiii-xli) is devoted to a discussion of these texts, their 
stemmas, and their apparatuses (which are slightly different than the appa- 
ratus for the rest of the NT). Although it is beyond the scope of this review to 
interact with this evidence, it should be pointed out here that this part of the 
introduction and the apparatuses on these two texts will probably be seen as 
the most stimulating and significant portions of this volume by textual critics. 
The criteria the editors lay down for a valid stemma (p. xxv), if followed for 
the NT as a whole (although the question of feasibility is still present), could 
possibly play a major role in determining the text of the autographs. (One 
cannot resist noting that the editors' employment of stemmatics actually 
proves false, in a number of places, the first premise of their textual theory 
["(1) Any reading overwhelmingly attested by the manuscript tradition is 
more likely to be original than its rival(s)" (p. xi)]. Cf., e.g., ^aQ&(oq in John 
8:2 which is supported by a minority of mss within the Byzantine text!) Until 
such work is done for the rest of the NT, however, Hodges and Farstad must 
admit, as they do, that the Majority Text "is both preliminary and provi- 
sional" (p. x). 

Finally, several stylistic considerations enhance the value of this Greek 
text (see pp. xli-xliii). In particular, the use of English subtitles and the 
particular subtitles selected are most helpful. It is rather evident that these 
subtitles were not an afterthought: some of them touch a poetic chord (e.g., 
"Filial Honor and Fatherly Nurture" for Eph 6:1-4; "The Untamable Tongue" 
for Jas 3:1-12; "The Chosen Stone and His Chosen People" for 1 Pet 2:1-9); 
some give an excellent synthesis of a chapter which is well adapted to a 
homiletical outline (e.g., 2 Peter 2 has four points: "Destructive Doctrines of 
the False Teachers, Doom of the False Teachers, Depravity of the False 
Teachers, Deceptions of the False Teachers"; cf. also Ephesians 3; Col 2:4- 
3:11; I Peter 4); occasionally, even the classic Latin titles are used (e.g., 
"Magnum Mysterium" for 1 Tim 3:14-16; cf. also Luke 1, 2). The editors are 
to be applauded for departing from the all-too-frequent anemic subtitles used 
in most modern Bibles. The 'zing' of these titles was a bit surprising since the 
editors stated that their goal here was merely "to make the titles objective and 
factual rather than interpretive" (p. xli). They have not entirely succeeded in 
not being interpretive, as we shall soon see, but they have succeeded in not 
being bland! 

The Majority Text is not without its faults, however. Chief among these 
is the fact that its text and apparatus are based entirely on evidence supplied 
in other editions of the Greek NT rather than on a first-hand acquaintance 


with the Mss. Von Soden's edition was the primary source of information 
employed by the editors. They quickly add, however, that "this has been 
extensively checked with the Eighth Edition of Constantine Tischendorf, with 
the apparatus of S. C. E. Legg for Matthew and Mark, and with the 
apparatuses of UBS' and Nestle-Aland^^. . . ." (p. xv). In order for the 
Majority Text to be considered completely reliable in its presentation of 
evidence, three assumptions must be made: (1) for those Byzantine readings 
not listed in Nestle", from Luke to Jude (since Legg supplements von Soden 
in Matthew-Mark and Hoskier supplants him in Revelation), the many mss 
discovered and collated since 1913 (the publication date of von Soden's text) 
have not altered the picture of the Byzantine text-type that von Soden paints 
for us and that von Soden was reliable in his collation and presentation of the 
Byzantine text; (2) for those Byzantine readings which are listed in Nestle^^ 
and agree with von Soden, the Nestle editors cited the evidence correctly; and 
(3) the Majority Text editors made no errors in the process of transmitting 
the evidence from other apparatuses to their own. The first of these assump- 
tions seems to be the most serious. The editors recognize this weakness, 

As all who are familiar with von Soden's materials will know, his presen- 
tation of the data leaves much to be desired. Particularly problematic to the 
editors of this edition was the extent to which his examination of the K 
materials appeared to lack consistency. . . . That such procedures jeopardize the 
accuracy of any independently constructed apparatus is self-evident. But the 
generalized data of the other sources (such as Tischendorf or Legg) were of little 
value in correcting this deficiency. In the final analysis, if the present edition was 
to be produced at all, the statements of von Soden usually had to be accepted 
(pp. xxii-xxiii). 

Nevertheless, the sum of all three assumptions does not destroy the credibility 
of this text; for the most part, it points out the need for further work for 
advocates of the majority text, as the editors well know: 

What is urgently needed is a new apparatus for the gospels, Acts, and 
epistles, covering the entire manuscript tradition. It should include complete 
collations of a very high percentage of the surviving Majority Text manuscripts. 
Such an apparatus could then be used to determine the actual distribution of 
rival variants within the majority tradition. Beyond this, it could provide the 
indispensable base from which definitive stemmatic work could be done 
(p. xxiii). 

Second, only four pages of the introduction are devoted to a defense of 
the majority text view. In the space of six paragraphs the editors dismiss the 
Westcott-Hort theory as one which "has failed to advance convincing objec- 
tions to the authenticity of the Majority Text" (p. xi). In this section they are 
clearly giving the summation of their view rather than the evidence for it. 
They cite no sources here, but speak of the modern trend of scholars and 
scholarship as tending to reject the bases on which the Westcott-Hort theory 
was founded. In future editions of this text one could wish for some 
documentation of these statements, however, especially since (a) the neophyte 
in lower criticism is not usually willing to wade through the whole select 


bibliography to determine the truth of such assertions and (b) although the 
editors are certainly only giving a summation of their view, the jacket of the 
book claims that they have accomplished something far greater: "Zane 
Hodges and Arthur Farstad build a substantial — and convincing — argument 
for the Majority Text in their Introduction [italics added] ..." and "They 
effectively refute the W-H argument . . ." It is suggested that these assertions 
on the dust cover be deleted from future editions or, the introduction be 
expanded, with documentation and evidence, to fit this proleptic statement. 
Nevertheless, since one should not judge a book by its cover, it is presumed 
that the somewhat gratuitous claims on the jacket were not what the editors 
themselves believed the introduction to accomplish. 

Third, although the English subtitles are excellent overall, they do not 
always succeed in being "objective and factual rather than interpretive" 
(p. xH). For example, in Eph 4:7-16 the title reads, "Each Believer Has a 
Spiritual Gift." Although this is certainly true and may be implied in this text 
(though only in v 7), the thrust of the passage does not at all seem to be on 
the gifts of all believers, but rather on the purpose of the functional unity of 
the body accomplished first (though not exclusively) through its gifted 
leadership. Thus, the subtitle here seems too narrow, though it is not entirely 
incorrect. In Eph 4:17-24, however, the subtitle has clearly transgressed the 
boundaries of objectivity. It reads, "Put on the New Man," interpreting the 
infinitives of w 22-24 as going back to imperatives in the direct discourse. 
Although this is certainly a possible interpretation, an excellent case could be 
made that these infinitives refer back to indicatives in the direct discourse. 
The ambiguous title "Putting on the New Man" would seem to fit their 
objectives better. Admittedly, and to the credit of the editors, this kind of 
interpretive title is extremely rare, causing only a minor annoyance. 

Fourth, for future editions it is suggested that the editors expand on the 
textual evidence they list in the apparatus. Especially the Western witnesses 
(D, G, Itala, et al.) should be included. For those of us who do not accept the 
Byzantine text when it stands alone as containing the reading of the original, 
but who do not relegate it to a tertiary, non-voting role among the text-types, 
such information would be most illuminating. If the editors put students of 
the NT in the awkward position of deciding between Byzantine and Alex- 
andrian witnesses, as though no other evidence counted, their text might tend 
to be counterproductive for their theory. There may be some who disagree 
with their premises, but who would agree with the resultant text in many 
places if the evidence which could persuade them were added to the apparatus. 

Finally, the Majority Text shares a weakness with the text of UBS^ 
neither one marks out in a special way the allusions to the OT in the NT. 
Nestle" does this to some degree (though Nestle^* was far more extensive), 
but the Majority Text and UBS' only highlight (by bold type in UBS\ by 
guillemets in the Majority Text) quotations. Although it is true that there are 
many problems in determining whether a NT author is quoting or alluding to 
the OT, this writer would prefer that all the possible allusions be specially 
marked out so that he can evaluate the evidence for himself. In order to avoid 
the danger of assuming a positive identification in every instance, is it not 
possible for some edition of the Greek NT to give a rating system as to the 


certainty of the identification, similar to the textual rating system found in 

To sum up both the positive and negative aspects of the Majority Text, 
the positive elements far outweigh the negative so much that I strongly 
recommend the Majority Text for every student of the Greek NT, regardless 
of his text-critical views. The negative elements of the work all seem to be 
capable of correction in subsequent editions. Most of the drawbacks were 
acknowledged by the editors as due to limitations of time and resources. 
Overall, I am sympathetic toward the editors in this regard, for I would much 
rather have the Majority Text in its present form than wait an interminable 
number of years before these bugs get worked out. 

Certainly a review of this sort could end here. But I am unable to resist 
pursuing one last item. The editors of the Majority Text, although ostensibly 
basing their theory on the priority of external evidence (ultimately, however, 
even this textual theory must pay some attention to matters of internal 
criticism, or else stemmatics would be impossible), offer a most intriguing 
challenge: "excellent reasons almost always can be given for the superiority of 
the majority readings over their rivals" (p. xi). Since I cannot attempt 
anything like an exhaustive demonstration/ refutation of this statement, a few 
suggestive examples will have to suffice. To an open mind, which has not 
already made an a priori rejection of the Byzantine text, the following four 
examples may tend to illustrate (though hardly prove!) the editors' thesis. 

In Eph 5:9 we read 6 ydp Kapndc, xoO (p(oz6q in Nestle^*, 6 ydp Kap7r6(; 
ToO nvevyiaToc, in the Majority Text. Metzger writes, in defense of the UBSV 
Nestle^* reading, "Although it can be argued that (pwtdg has come in from the 
influence of the same word in the preceding line, it is much more likely that 
recollection of Paul's reference in Ga 5.22 to 6 6fe Kapndc, xoO Jiveu^axoc; has 
led to the introduction of the word here" (Textual Commentary, p. 607). This 
view seems to presuppose that Gal 5:22 was as well known and oft-quoted a 
verse in the first century as it is today. Further, it is quite possible that cpcotdc; 
happened by dittography (especially since in both P49 and « the (pcoxdq in v 8 
is directly above the one in v 9). The likelihood of this is increased when it is 
realized that nveu^axoi; was a nomina sacra, abbreviated as ITNC (as in P46), 
rendering it more easily confused with (pcoxdg. 

In 1 Thess 1:10 we read that the Lord Jesus is the one who will deliver us 
"from the wrath" which is coming (feK xf\q ^PlA^ i" Nestle''*, diro xfj(; dpyfjg 
in the Majority Text). Metzger makes no comment on the variant because it 
is not found in the UBS' apparatus. On a transcriptional level it is quite easy 
to see why a scribe would alter &ti6 to feK: this verse speaks of our Lord as 
coming from heaven (feK xwv oCpavdiv), as being raised from the dead (feK xffiv 
veKpwv), and as delivering us from the wrath (feK/dTio xf\q 6pyf[C,). Either 
stylistic considerations or unintentional dittography could explain why a 
scribe would change 6lk6 to feK, though there are few, if any, transcriptional 
reasons for the reverse. If one wants to argue intrinsically, claiming that Paul 
could have intended a literary effect by a thrice-mentioned feK, why did the 
apostle not avail himself of such an opportunity for style elsewhere in this 
epistle (note in particular 2:6 where both feK and dn6 are again used)? 

In John 3: 13 the Byzantine mss read 6 <3v fev x© oCpav0 after 6 x>i6c, xoO 


dvGpcbnou, making explicit the omnipresence of the Second Person of the 
Trinity while he appeared on the earth. Metzger writes. 

On the one hand, a minority of the Committee preferred the reading 
dv6pd)noi) 6 c3v tv x& oupavw, arguing that (1) if the short reading, supported 
almost exclusively by Egyptian witnesses, were original, there is no discernible 
motive which would have prompted copyists to add the words 6 (3v fev xa 
oupavw, resulting in a most difficult saying (the statement in 1.18, not being 
parallel, would scarcely have prompted the addition); and (2) the diversity of 
readings implies that the expression 6 vidq toO dvSpioTtou 6 (3v tv x(p oOpava, 
having been found objectionable or superfluous in the context, was modified 
either by omitting the participial clause, or by altering it so as to avoid 
suggesting that the Son of man was at that moment in heaven. 

On the other hand, the majority of the Committee, impressed by the quality 
of the external attestation supporting the shorter reading, regarded the words 
6d5v tv T© oOpav© as an interpretive gloss, reflecting later Christological devel- 
opment (pp. 203-4). 

It is significant that the majority of the Committee based their rejection of 
this longer reading primarily on the external evidence and secondarily on the 
assumption that the reading reflects a higher Christology than is elsewhere 
detected in John. Certainly there is no case here internally, for we are not in a 
position to tell John how well developed his Christology could be! The 
Byzantine reading stands vindicated. 

Finally, in Matt 24:36 the Majority Text does not make explicit the fact 
that the Son of Man, at the time of this utterance, did not know the day or 
hour of the Second Advent. Now it is clear that our Lord did declare his own 
ignorance on this occasion (cf. Mark 13:32). Metzger states that "The 
omission of the words because of the doctrinal difficulty they present is more 
probable than their addition by assimilation to Mk 13.32" (p. 62). The 
problem with this view is that the scribes would be expected to strike oC5fe 6 
vidq from Mark 13:32 if they perceived a doctrinal problem with the 
phrase — regardless of which Gospel it appeared in. It is entirely possible, 
however, that theological reasons did cause the omission — but on the part of 
the author, not on the part of later scribes. Although this possibility cannot 
be fully developed here, it is significant that (1) Matthew certainly could not 
be charged with perverting or misrepresenting the words of Christ, for he 
makes implicit our Lord's ignorance by making explicit the Father's exclusive 
knowledge (si |ii^ 6 Tiaxi^p [^lou] fidvoq; Mark leaves out yidvoq); and (2) 
Matthew's portrayal of Jesus as Messiah (who will establish his kingdom on 
earth, in spite of the fact that he did not do so in his first coming) dictates to 
a large degree his selectivity of material (cf., e.g., Matthew's use of Isa 42:1-4 
in 12:18-21). Although I am undecided about this last text, there seem to be 
no internal reasons for rejecting the shorter reading. 

Examples such as these have convinced me that at least sometimes, 
if not usually, the Byzantine mss bear a reading which can certainly be 
defended on internal grounds, thus vindicating to some extent the Majority 
Text editors' assertion. 

In conclusion, I would like to extend my deep appreciation to Hodges 
and Farstad for producing a volume which is borne out of the noblest of all 


human motives. And although 1 do not agree with the theory which lies 
behind this text, 1 am aware of the interlude between two great acts (as Eldon 
J. Epp put it) that the science of NT textual criticism finds itself in today. If 
we are to move on to the next act, we must take inventory of our presup- 
positions and of a// the evidence. And the Majority Text both challenges our 
presuppositions and provides clear and substantial evidence with which every 
serious student of the Greek NT must wrestle in his search for the ipsissima 
verba of Holy Writ. 

Grace Theological Journal 4.1 (1983) 127-130 


Decision Making and the Will of God 
Charles R. Smith 

Decision Making and the Will of God, by Garry Friesen with J. Robin 
Maxson. A Critical Concern Book. Portland: Multnomah Press, 1981. 
Pp. 452. $10.95. 

As a seminary Director of Admissions I have had the opportunity of 
listening to scores of young men explain how they have discovered God's will 
for their lives, or discuss their difficulties in doing so. Accordingly, both due 
to natural interest and to occupational necessity, I have attempted to stay 
abreast of any worthwhile literature relating to decision making by Chris- 
tians. When this book was presented to me this past spring I skimmed it in 
about one hour and immediately dashed off a note to the author saying, "I 
wish I had written that!" This book should be in every pastor's office and in 
every church library. It presents a sane and biblical approach to decision 
making. In harmony with the message of the book. Dr. Haddon Robinson 
remarks that "when we ask, 'How can I know the will of God?' we may be 
raising a pagan question." He then adds that "a better question to pursue is, 
'How do I make good decisions?'" (Foreword, p. 13). That is the essence of 
the book. 

The book is well organized and outlined in detail. Part One consists of a 
typical presentation of the "traditional view." Part Two critiques the tradi- 
tional view and Part Three presents "the way of wisdom." Part Four is an 
application of the "wisdom view" to the various decision making processes of 
life. In my opinion, the most important part of the book is its critique of the 
traditional view (Part Two). This adequately warns against many of the 
common errors in interpreting God's Word and in "waiting" for divine guid- 
ance. Both Part Two and Part Three are worthy of extensive quotation in 
this review in order to convey the major ideas involved. 

In responding to the common view that God has a detailed plan for each 
Christian's life, a plan which must be deligently sought by each believer, 
Friesen responds as follows: 

But is that really the case? Does the wise father guide his child by 
formulating a plan that covers every detail of the child's life and then revealing 
that plan step-by-step as each decision must be made? Of course not. The father 


who is truly wise teaches his child the basic principles of life. He teaches what is 
right and wrong, what is wise over against what is foolish. He then seeks to train 
the child to make his own decisions making proper use of those correct 
guidelines. Such a father is overjoyed when he knows that the child has matured 
to the point where he is able to function independently as an adult, making wise 
decisions on the basis of principles learned in his youth. The grown-up son or 
daughter is thereby prepared to live in the real world and make responsible 
choices with respect to mate, vocation, and the other decisions of life (p. 85). 

To the question, "Does God have a plan for my life?" he responds, "If 
God's plan is thought of as a blueprint or 'dot' in the 'center of God's will' 
that must be discovered by the decision maker, the answer is no. On the other 
hand, we affirm that God does have a plan for our lives — a plan that is 
described in the Bible in terms that we can fully understand and apply" 
(p. 113, emphasis added, to be noted later). 

He asserts that the traditional view "promotes immature decisions": 

1. By permitting believers to justify unwise decisions on grounds that "God 
told me to do it." 

2. By fostering costly delays because of uncertainty about God's individual 

3. By influencing people to reject personal preferences when faced with 
apparently equal options. 

4. By encouraging the practice of "putting out a fleece" — letting circum- 
stances dictate the decision (p. 126). 

The following difficulties in applying the traditional view are cited: 

1. Ordinary Decision: The decision-making process must be abandoned in 
the "minor" decisions of life. 

2. Equal Options: Insistence upon only one "correct" choice generates 
anxiety over "missing the dot" rather than gratitude for more than one fine 

3. Immaturity: In some instances, the logic of the traditional view tends to 
promote immature approaches to decision making. 

4. Subjectivity: Certainty that one has found God's individual will is 
impossible apart from an objective source of knowledge (p. 137). 

This approach does not deny the Holy Spirit's involvement in individual 
guidance. "Scripture also teaches that the Holy Spirit is actively, personally 
involved in the lives of believers, leading them in the fulfillment of his moral 
will. The Bible does not, however, teach that the Holy Spirit is providing 
direct guidance for believers in nonmoral decisions through some sort of 
inaudible, inner 'voice.' It is a fallacy to superimpose Paul's 'Macedonian 
Call' onto his comments regarding 'being led by the Spirit'" (p. 139). 

Since so many Christians make the "peace of Christ" the ultimate 
"umpire" in determining whether or not a decision is within the will of God, 
Friesen quotes Abbott as stating that "the immediate reference here [Col. 
3:15] is not to inward peace of the soul; but the peace with one another, as 
the context shows" (p. 1 12). In other words, "peace may be defined negatively 
as the absence of anxiety within a person (as in Philippians 4:6-7), or as the 
absence of hostility between persons. In Colossians 3:15, it is clearly the 
latter" (p. 142). 

smith: decision making 129 

Friesen correctly insists that we should not be placing our emphasis on 
searching for God's specific leading with regard to personal decisions but that 

the emphasis of Scripture is on God's moral will. In fact, the Bible reveals 
nothing of an "individual will" governing each decision. Rather, the teaching of 
Scripture may be summarized by these basic principles: 

1. In those areas specifically addressed by the Bible, the revealed commands 
of God (His moral will) are to be obeyed. 

2. In those areas where the Bible gives no command or principle (nonmoral 
decisions), the believer is free and responsible to choose his own course of 
action. Any decision made within the moral will of God is acceptable to God. 

3. In nonmoral decisions, the objective of the Christian is to make wise 
decisions on the basis of spiritual expediency. 

4. In all decisions, the believer should humbly submit, in advance, to the 
outworking of God's sovereign will as it touches each decision (pp. 151-52). 

It is correctly noted (pp. 165-79) that the NT often refers to a believer 
doing what he wishes to do or as he purposes to do (see 1 Cor 10:27, 2 Cor 

The relationship of God's sovereign will to decision making is sum- 
marized as follows: 

1. God's sovereignty does not exclude the need for planning; it does require 
humble submission to His will. 

2. Circumstances define the context of the decision and must be weighed 
by wisdom . . . not "read" as road signs to God's individual will. 

3. Open doors are God-given opportunities for service . . . not specific 
guidance from God requiring one to enter. 

4. "Putting out a fleece" is an invalid practice that sometimes works when 
it is really wisdom in disguise (p. 225). 

This matter of the relationship of God's sovereign will to decision 
making raises the only significant theological problem presented by the book. 
Friesen insists that God's sovereign will is exhaustive. It includes all things — 
even such matters as "the numbers that come up when dice are thrown" (Prov 
16:33, p. 203). But if God's sovereign will is exhaustive, how can it be 
asserted that "the idea of an individual will of God for every detail of a 
person's life is not found in Scripture" (pp. 82-83)? Perhaps it would be 
better merely to insist, as Friesen later does, that 

Since God's sovereign plan cannot be ascertained in advance, it has no direct 
bearing on the actual consideration of options or formulation of plans. God's 
sovereign will governs circumstances and provides open doors, but His moral 
will and wisdom are the determinative factors in the making of the decision 
itself (p. 225). 

Within this scope one could assert that while God does have an individual 
will for every detail of our lives, it is not possible, or biblical (nor would it be 
beneficial or maturing for us as persons), to learn this will in advance of our 
decisions. This is why I added the emphasis to the quotation from p. 113. If 
God's will is exhaustive, it includes the details of individual lives but it is still 
true that there is no individual will "that must be discovered by the decision 
maker." With this view we could agree with the statement, "The objective for 


the believer is not to find the decision God has already made (as in the 
traditional view), but to make a wise decision" (p. 294). Having said all this, 1 
want to admit that I do not know why God's plan would include all things — 
even such matters as which shoe I put on first. But I do not know when and 
how to exclude such items, and I prefer to say that God "has foreordained 
whatsoever comes to pass." I know positively that nothing happens outside 
his will, and I agree with Friesen that we are not to expect God to reveal that 
will to us in advance as an aid (!) to our decision making. 

Another minor concern relates to Friesen's terminology in evaluating 
Prov 3:5,6. He agrees with Bruce Waltke's widely circulated comments on 
this passage. Waltke has affirmed that these verses have "nothing to say 
about guidance," but that the passage merely promises that "He will make 
your path smooth." Accordingly, Friesen notes that the passage is "not 
dealing with specific guidance into an individual 'path' marked out by God" 
(p. 99). It would seem better to me to insist that the passage is very definitely 
related to divine guidance. The promise that God will make one's "path 
smooth" is a promise that God "will be in charge," that he will guide by his 
sovereign control over the events of one's life. This certainly involves "specific 
guidance into an individual 'path'" — though it does not promise that God 
will specify the details in advance. It seems difficult to me to legitimately fault 
the meaning of the KJV at this point. How is it possible to say that God "will 
make your paths straight" (NASB, or "smooth," Waltke), without affirming 
that in so doing he "shall direct thy paths" (AV)? 

Very minor complaints could also be raised against the understanding of 
the word "mirror" in 2 Cor 3:18 as a reference to the Word (p. 107), and 
against using 2 Pet 3:9 as a reference to the "desire" of God (pp. 158, 232- 
33), but these and a few other even more minor matters are hardly worthy of 

Though all the book is worth reading, the "heart" of the book is in Part 
Two (pp. 81-147) and I must admit that some of the remaining pages (151- 
430) seemed a little "draggy" and repetitive. This was also the evaluation of 
my son and of my father-in-law — though I am confident that anyone holding 
the "traditional view" and actually facing an important decision would be 
interested in every word. 

Because of the importance of the subject and the general validity of the 
approach, I believe that this book should be "required reading" for every 
Christian who is interested in decision making. It is irenic, biblical, and 
Christ-honoring. It will be an aid to many Christians in helping them to be 
more biblical in their decision making — and is therefore worth shouting 
about! Highly recommended. 


The Archeology of the New Testament: The Mediterranean World of the 
Early Christian Apostles, by Jack Finegan. Boulder, CO: Westview; London: 
Croom Helm, 1981. Pp. xxxii, 250. $36.50. 

Twelve years after the appearance of Jack Finegan's most useful volume. 
The Archeology of the New Testament: The Life of Jesus and the Beginning 
of the Early Church (Princeton University, 1969), NT scholars are welcoming 
the publication of his companion volume, this time with new publishers. The 
format of this second volume is less grand than the first, has 23 fewer pages, 
and half as many illustrations and maps. Nevertheless it is a handsome book, 
is easy to read, and has an improved bibliographic apparatus. 

The book is structured around the journeys of Paul, although other 
apostles are discussed in the chapter on chronological history. The front 
matter of the book includes a ten-page Alphabetical List of Ancient Sources, 
with a paragraph devoted to each entry such as Arculf, Eusebius, Homer, 
Marcion, and Xenophon. This section is an innovative and much-appreciated 
tool, one that is absent in most books or consigned to an appendix. In the 
first chapter on Sources, Finegan deals with the Book of Acts and its value as 
a historical document. He contrasts the traditions of F. C. Baur and William 
Ramsay, favoring the latter's opinion that Acts is an essentially reliable 
source. He places the writing of the book no later than the middle of the first 
century; in fact, he agrees with F. F. Bruce that it was written in Rome 
toward the end of the two years of Paul's imprisonment there. 

A chapter on Chronological History includes a discussion of the date of 
Jesus' death and the milestones in the careers of Paul and Peter. With 
remarkable clarity Finegan deals with many complicated data including the 
Vatican, the Ostian Way, and the catacombs, although it is not always 
obvious why they are part of a chapter on chronological history. 

The remaining six chapters trace the missionary journeys of Paul, 
exploring one by one the major towns and cities that figure in the biblical 
narrative. The reader should be prepared to find very little here of the 
archaeology of Syria-Palestine. The only Levantine sites that receive substan- 
tive attention are Caesarea, Damascus, and Antioch on the Orontes. This is 
disappointing to the reviewer because Palestinian archaeology received uneven 
and incomplete treatment in Finegan's first volume. We now have a two- 
volume set on the archaeology of the New Testament and virtually no 
systematic discussion of Qumran, Masada, Umm el-Jimal, Petra, Pella, 
Meiron, Baalbek, or Palmyra. There is no substantive coverage of the Dead 
Sea Scrolls or the Nag Hammadi codices. 


There is an abundance of material that will greatly assist the NT scholar. 
A detailed history of each site is provided along with geographical informa- 
tion, archaeological data, biblical references, and even the strands of tradition 
that have attached themselves to various holy places. There is a wealth of 
illustrations — sites, buildings, statuary, inscriptions and city plans (although 
the latter often seem inadequate in view of the complex information dis- 
cussed). Bibliographic references are scarce in chapters three through eight, 
certainly not enough to support extended research. There is a scripture index 
and modest subject index. 

The book is a helpful synthesis and exposition of raw archaeological 
data— that stage in the interpretive process at which the fruits of excavation 
are digested and finally made useful to the biblical scholar and pastor. For 
some it will be too great a leap: they will look in vain for the "dirt 
archaeology" at which the title had hinted. They will find virtually no coins, 
no pottery, no attention to stratigraphical detail. What we do have, despite its 
limitations in scope, is a superb tool from the hand of a man who has 
previously led so many of us into the adventures of ancient history. 

Robert Ibach, Jr. 

Soulen, Richard N. Handbook of Biblical Criticism. Second ed., revised and 
augmented. Atlanta, John Knox, 1981. Pp. 239. $9.95. Paper. 

Soulen's Handbook first appeared in 1976. The format is basically that 
of a dictionary. Technical terms, names of important persons, common 
abbreviations, and key tools are listed in alphabetical order. Over 600 entries 
are included in the handbook proper, with length varying from one line to a 
few pages. Soulen believes a revision is necessary because in the five years 
between the first and second editions a major revolution in biblical studies 
occurred. Citing J. D. Crossan, Soulen is convinced that this revolution "has 
transformed Biblical Studies from a single discipline to a field of disciplines, 
each with its own theoretical assumtions [sic'\ and methods so diverse and 
complex (even contradictory) that no one practicioner of Biblical criticism 
can master them all" (p. 5). 

Be that as it may, the 1981 edition is a considerable improvement over 
1976. Over 40 new articles have been added, covering such fields of study as 
Canonical Criticism, Semiology, Structure, Rhetorical Analysis, Biblical The- 
ology, and Linguistics. Soulen has also revised or expanded 40 other articles. 
Bibliographies have been added for all major articles. A new Appendix 
proposes a simplified guide for writing an exegetical paper on the Synoptic 
Gospels (pp. 235-39). It should also be mentioned that the handbook proper 
is around 200 pages long (pp. 13-214). This is followed by an explanation of 
abbreviations used in textual criticism (pp. 215-19) and an explanation of 
abbreviations used for works commonly cited in biblical studies (pp. 221-31). 

The strengths of this book are obvious. Where else could one go to find 
so much concise summary information on such a broad area as biblical 
criticism? The articles are clearly written, up to date, and to the point. The 
frequent listing of bibliographic information aids the reader in doing further 


research. Of course, many readers of GTJ will not share Soulen's optimistic 
perspective on much of modern biblical studies. Neither will his position on 
Scripture be appreciated. It is his view that the doctrine of verbal inspiration 
is merely a fundamentalist response to biblical criticism (pp. 31, 208). 
Further, he seems to equate verbal inspiration with "mechanical inspiration" 
or the "dictation theory" (p. 208). This is a misrepresentation or at least an 
oversimplification. Most inerrantists would not agree that verbal inspiration 
was either mechanical or dictation. Due to Soulen's theological position, his 
book should be used with discernment. An evangelical approach to these 
matters can be found in Biblical Criticism: Historical, Literary, and Textual 
(Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1978 — also found in volume 1 of the Expositor's 
Bible Commentary). R. K. Harrison, B. K. Waltke, D. Guthrie, and G. D. 
Fee are the authors of this book. 

Soulen's Handbook can be used with profit by everyone involved in 
scholarly biblical studies. Collegians and seminarians will find it a handy 
resource for understanding new names, terms, and abbreviations. Pastors and 
missionaries, especially those who minister to students educated in liberal 
circles, will benefit from the information contained here relating to current 
biblical studies. We should be aware of these studies even if we do not share 
the theological position behind them. 

David L. Turner 

The Two Horizons: New Testament Hermeneutics and Philosophical Descrip- 
tion, by Anthony Thiselton. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980. Pp. 484. $22.50. 

Understanding the biblical text is of crucial importance for those who 
view the scripture as authoritative for all matters of Christian faith and 
practice. Yet, too often the problems of understanding an ancient text are not 
confronted and usually not even recognized. Anthony Thiselton has attempted 
to tackle some of these crucial problems and has succeeded in the highest 
fashion. The book, which began as a Ph.D. dissertation, contains the most 
comprehensive discussion of hermeneutical theory in print to date. Thiselton 
interacts with the writings of Heidegger, Bultmann, Gadamer, and Witt- 
genstein, not to mention numerous others who have written in the field 
of hermeneutics. The work is more than impressive in scope, size, and 

In a recent book review in a major theological journal, a reviewer 
criticized another author for expanding the definition of hermeneutics beyond 
that of "the rules of text interpretation." Yet, hermeneutics today is not 
merely the application of rules of interpretation to the biblical text to 
determine its meaning. The big problem facing hermeneutics is the gap that 
exists in time and culture between the biblical writers and the interpreter. 
With this separation comes a problem in understanding, for the whole 
cultural context of the interpreter is quite distinct from the biblical author. 
Thiselton has appropriately titled his book The Two Horizons because he is 
concerned with the problem as it exists at each end. 

The contributions of biblical scholars have concentrated in the past on 
the historical meaning of the text, while those more inclined toward a 


philosophical approach have concerned themselves with the meaning for 
today. Thiselton has carefully analyzed the contributions of philosophical 
hermeneutics with an open eye for the implications for NT studies. Philo- 
sophical (and theological) hermeneutics have carefully considered the question 
of presuppositions or pre-understanding (Vorverstdndnis). This is rightly 
done, because inquiry concerning presuppositions is actually the domain of 
philosophy. Thus the pre-understanding governs what one perceives in the 
text. According to Thiselton, the biblical interpreter is consequently faced 
with an awesome task: (1) he must be thoroughly conversant with both the 
content and backgrounds of the biblical text, and (2) he must be conversant 
in the methodology and content of philosophy. It is this second area where 
Thiselton's strengths are so apparent. 

The four approaches with which Thiselton interacts find their common 
denominator in their attempt to make us aware of the contribution of the 
interpreter to interpretation. They all affirm in a resounding unity that it is 
impossible for the modern interpreter to eliminate his modern context by 
means of pure objectivism. It is precisely at the place of becoming aware of 
the modern context and its influence on the way one reads the text that one 
may come to a fresher, more accurate, and deeper understanding of the text. 
The major part of the book (part 3) is an in-depth look at these four 
approaches and the relationship and developments among each approach. 

There are two lengthy chapters devoted to the "early Heidegger." Thisel- 
ton aptly discusses the ideas of "world" and ^''Dasein" yet leaves the reader 
wanting further explanation. It is most likely true that all readings of 
Heidegger and of explanations of his writings leave the reader with the same 
feeling. Thiselton communicates the big picture very well and leaves the 
reader with the impression that the "early Heidegger" is indeed very complex. 

In comparison with the sections on Heidegger, the three chapters devoted 
to Bultmann are relatively easy reading (and certainly welcomed!). With the 
possible exception of James D. G. Dunn, Thiselton is more sympathetic to 
Bultmann than probably any evangelical to date. In my opinion (and it may 
be due to my bias for NT studies), the finest chapters (8-10) are found in 
Thiselton's incisive analysis of Bultmann (this may also be due to the fact 
that Thiselton himself has a bias toward NT studies, being the Senior 
Lecturer in Biblical Studies, University of Sheffield). It is shown rather 
convincingly that Bultmann is dependent in a complex way on a host of 
earlier thinkers, including those of neo-Kantianism, liberalism, 19th-century 
Lutheranism, the early Barth, and dialectical theology as well as Heidegger. 
Most of Bultmann's program of demythologization comes from a neo- 
Kantian dualistic world view and not so much from the "existentialism" of 
Heidegger. Thiselton notes especially the influence of theological liberalism as 
developed by Bultmann's teachers, Herrmann and Harnack. This is primarily 
accomplished in chapters 8 and 9. 

Chapter 10 is devoted to Bultmann and the NT in particular. It is here 
that Thiselton amplifies the concept of pre-understanding. For Bultmann, the 
idea of pre-understanding constitutes merely a starting point that is to be 
corrected in light of the text. What makes Bultmann determine in advance 
certain impossibilities of interpretation is not his hermeneutical theory as 


such, but the theological response which is made to the legacy of neo-Kantian 
thought. Thiselton believes that it is not hermeneutical theory, but the 
application of it in practice that leads Bultmann astray. 

Chapters 11 and 12 are discussions of Gadamer, the "later Heidegger," 
and the new hermeneutic. Thiselton places Gadamer in high standing, indeed 
much higher prominence, than the proponents of the "new hermeneutic." 
Gadamer's emphasis on tradition is seen by Thiselton as a valuable corrective 
to the individualism of Heidegger. But of course a true existentialist must be 
individualistic. Thiselton discusses the approach to hermeneutical theory of 
E. D. Hirsch in relation to Gadamer. While 1 think it can be seen that 
Thiselton advocates a normative hermeneutic to a large extent, he does not 
accept Hirsch 's claim that attention to the present meaning of a text (which is 
Gadamer's strength) opens the door to a merely subjective interpretation. 
Here, as in several places in the book, Thiselton hammers home his simul- 
taneous emphasis upon both horizons. The horizons of the text and of the 
modern reader must be given equal respect. 

The final chapters plow new ground in the field. Many, according to 
Thiselton, have wondered why Wittgenstein and Heidegger have not been 
brought together in this field of study. It seems that Thiselton has been 
building throughout the entire book to the climax in Wittgenstein and the 
discussion of language (games). Thiselton demonstrates how Wittgenstein can 
be helpful in exegesis and theology. The example he uses is that of "justifica- 
tion by faith." By following Wittgenstein's approach of seeing x as y, a 
paradigm is developed for God seeing the sinner as righteous. Thiselton 
concludes that, following this language game, justification by faith can be 
seen in its forensic sense. It is primarily eschatological. Yet, it is not a 
paradox or contradiction as claimed by Bultmann and Bornkamm, nor is it 
to be understood fictionally following Sanday and Headlam. The illustration 
of the picture as a duck seen from one side and the same picture seen as a 
rabbit from the other is offered as a very helpful example (p. 418). 

It seems as though Thiselton anticipates the question of why one should 
bother with philosophy from the very beginning of the study. In the theo- 
logical circles in which we work, this question is particularly frequent, 
whether expressed or merely implied. It rests upon the idea that was 
mentioned earlier, that hermeneutics consists of interpretational rules. How- 
ever, this approach consciously or unconsciously presupposes a particular 
answer to the question of how any understanding is possible. In other words, 
even the objection to the use of philosophy is itself a particular philosophical 
stance. Thiselton closes with the statement that the introduction of philosoph- 
ical considerations into the hermeneutical debate, far from leading to a one- 
sided or distorted interpretation of the NT, will provide the interpreter with a 
broader pre-understanding in relation to which the text may speak more 
closely in its own right. 

The hermeneutical circle seems grounded in the modern horizon for 
these four great thinkers. Is this descriptive method really only evaluative and 
if so, what is the standard? This is especially the case for the strict philo- 
sophical approaches of Heidegger, Gadamer, and Wittgenstein. Thiselton 
alludes to Cornelius Van Til early on in the book, so it is apparent that he is 


familiar with him, and I believe a development Van Til would have provided 
an appropriate section. 

The book is in one sense too detailed and comprehensive for anyone but 
the specialist to understand. Yet, in another sense it provides an excellent 
starter book for the student who has not read the primary sources. Even 
though it can be very helpful, it will take considerable effort on the part of 
the reader to grapple with the serious problems of contemporary her- 
meneutical theory. 

The book seems to lack a final statement or conclusion. Is this so 
because there is no word to be said? Apparently at this stage in the 
discussions, this is the case. For many (or maybe for all) this will be quite 
frustrating. On the other hand, it will give the reader a running start as he 
attempts to develop his own working theory of hermeneutics. While the book 
is a veritable goldmine, it is possible that Thiselton attempted to do too 
much. On every page there are new names, representing a new slant on the 
problem. Yet, he has brought together as no one has done before a very 
profound understanding of the philosophical issues involved in the contem- 
porary hermeneutical debate. 

David S. Dockery 
Brooklyn, NY 

The Dominion Covenant: Genesis by Gary North. An Economic Commentary 
on the Bible: Vol. 1. Tyler, Texas: Institute for Christian Economics, 1982. 
Pp. 496. $14.95. 

The impetus for reading this book originated from the fact that it is 
dedicated to my esteemed colleague. Dr. John Whitcomb, and to his friend. 
Dr. Henry Morris. North praises them as pioneers in the creationist struggle 
with evolution (not for their eschatological or economic views). 

This title would lead one to believe that this book would present either 
an exhaustive treatment of the dominion covenant, a commentary on Genesis, 
or a thorough exegetical defense of some system of "Christian economics." 
The author's name might lead one to expect an argumentation for the 
adoption of certain OT economic laws or for a revival of postmillenialism. 
There are "touches" of all of these issues, but none of them would adequately 
describe the book. The book is primarily a philosophic refutation of evolution 
and its consequences as explicated by the various humanistic systems of 
economic theory. It is slow reading, but for the most part interesting and 

Though the book has 496 pages, the appendixes begin on p. 244. For this 
reader the appendixes were more interesting and profitable than the text 
itself. This was particularly true of Appendix C, Cosmologies in Conflict: 
Creation vs. Evolution. This Appendix presents an enlightening history of the 
introduction of evolution into the mainstream of contemporary thought. 
There is also a helpful annotated bibliography (but no bibliography of all the 
works cited in the notes), a Scripture index, and a subject index. This is the 
first volume in a proposed series of economic commentaries on the whole 
Bible. In this volume North selects approximately a score of phrases or 


passages from Genesis which he employs for the 'economic freight' with 
which he loads them. 

This reviewer does not wish to be classified by North as one of the 
"antagonistic critics and knit-picking scholars [who] are content to point out 
my grievous errors free of charge, just so long as they think their comments 
will make me look stupid and /or make them look brilliant" (p. xi). Accord- 
ingly, I will fully grant that I stand in awe of the author's erudition as 
indicated by his thorough acquaintance with a vast array of both well-known 
and almost unknown economists, scientists, and philosophers. At the same 
time I must agree with his admission in the Introduction: "I will undoubtedly 
misinterpret some verses, or overemphasize the economic implications of 
some passages" (p. xi). It does appear to me that North has fulfilled his 
prediction. In my opinion, the major problem with his work is the use of 
biblical narratives as both normative and prescriptive. This approach results 
in the use of the account of Jacob's bartering for the birthright as evidence of 
biblical support for the free market system. But when we later find that 
Joseph organized a system of centralized economic controls, we are told that 
this cannot be intended as normative because Joseph was in Egypt (pp. 230- 
31, 242) rather than in Canaan! 

In a brief review of this nature it is impossible to interact with North at 
every pertinent point, but I would like to challenge his thinking on the 
following issues: 

1. North holds a "traditional" and orthodox view of providence. For him 
the universe has not been "left to operate in terms of autonomous laws of 
nature" (p. 1). "Ours is not a mechanistic world" since it is "sustained by God 
on a full-time basis" (p. 2). I agree that God has not "left" the universe, but 
this does not require the conclusion that the universe does not presently 
function in a "mechanistic" fashion. To view providence as necessitating a 
continual influx of divine energy would seem to be a contradiction of the 
second law of thermodynamics which creationists rightly employ in their 
arguments against evolution. While Christianity must insist (with North and 
in opposition to Deism) that God created, cares, and intervenes, I believe that 
we should be more careful in the formulation of a truly biblical view of 

2. The general belief that "God has created time and space" (p. 6, in a 
quote from Van Til) needs more careful explication. This statement is not 
necessitated by the fact that God has created the objects which occupy space 
and has planned their activities and duration. It may be questioned whether 
the Bible teaches that time is limited (p. 440). What the Bible clearly teaches 
is that the earth (and the whole created universe) is limited. 

3. North asserts that fundamentalists have "denied the existence" of the 
dominion covenant by not recognizing that they are responsible "to bring the 
whole world under the rule of God's law" (p. 28). But no fundamentalist 
would (or at least should) deny the existence of the dominion covenant, 
though he might well argue with North's understanding of the last quoted 

4. North suggests that angels were created on the fourth day of creation 
(p. 66). The statements in Job 38 which are usually interpreted as referring to 
their appreciation of God's activity in "laying the foundations" of the earth 


(and thus their creation on day one) are not discussed. He also implies that 
angels, including Satan, do not exist in the image of God. The facts relating 
to their personhood, moral responsibility, and titles ("Sons of God") would 
seem to suggest otherwise. 

5. The entire discussion of Chapter 5, which contrasts "God's Week and 
Man's Week," is rather theoretical. North asserts that "they turned their 
backs on God and declared man's week" (p. 75), yet "the eighth day was to 
have been Adam's second day of the week" (p. 68). His argument is not lucid 
at this point. I am also unable to understand the assertion that "what 
Christians should understand is that the eighth day is a day of rest for us 
because this was the day of Adam's sin" (p. 70). Even if one should accept the 
tenuous arguments for Adam's sin and expulsion on the eighth day, the rest 
of this argument is far from compelling. 

6. North assumes that one action of eating of the tree of life would have 
'automatically' conferred "eternal life" (pp. 102-6). He does not discuss the 
interpretations which view continued eating as the key. 

7. It is invalid to use Paul's prediction in 1 Tim 4:1-3 as a reference to a 
"'premature' establishment of mandatory vegetarianism." It is far better to 
understand him as referring to two characteristic doctrines of many centuries 
of Christian history— celibacy and asceticism, viewed as means of gaining 
spirituality. "Foods" include vegetables. 

8. Since the demands of God are clearly distinct from the demands of 
Caesar, very few evangelicals will agree that "the function of civil government 
is to enforce biblical law, including modern applications of Old Testament 
law" (p. 129). 

9. Not everyone will agree with North's contention that the slowing of 
population growth is both a mark of divine judgment and a mocking of God 
(pp. 162-75). 

10. One may legitimately question whether Col 3:9 was intended to teach 
that lying to a fellow believer is more reprehensible than lying to an 
unbeliever (p. 187). Also, there is no exegetical basis for arguing that Jacob 
was rightly motivated in deceiving his father (pp. 184-96, 242). 

1 1. Many will not agree with the assertions that "God requires a system 
of tithes" (p. 445) — certainly not from all nations and all people in all ages. 
Also, many will not agree that the "rending of the veil of the temple" 
indicated that the "unique position of the land of Israel departed from God's 
economy" (p. 445). 

12. Only a handfull will agree with North's postmillenial views which led 
him to assert that the age predicted in Isaiah 65 and 66 will not be brought in 
"by some discontinuous political event, or some miraculous intervention into 
the daily processes of the world, but by steady spiritual growth" (p. 448, cf. 
p. 123). 

One very interesting feature of the book is that it includes a four-page 
flyer titled "How to Read The Dominion Covenant: Genesis." The flyer 
includes a list of questions to be answered by the book. Unfortunately, the 
questions stir more interest than do the answers that are given in the book. 
The instructions for reading are helpful. They include brief comments about 
the significance of the dust jacket. To North's comments I would like to add a 
word of suggestion for authors and publishers; namely, include a little 


biographical information about the author. North's "credentials" are nowhere 

Evaluation: The book is not impressive either as a commentary or as an 
explication of a system of "Christian economics." Perhaps North should not 
be severely faulted at this point since the volume is intended to prepare a 
philosophical foundation for successive volumes in the proposed series. The 
primary value of the book is in its discussion of the history and development 
of evolutionary thought. It is highly recommended for anyone who wishes to 
better understand the thinking of Darwin and its influence, especially in the 
realm of economics. 

Charles R. Smith 

Christian Unity: An Exposition of Ephesians 4:1-16, by D. M. Lloyd-Jones. 
Grand Rapids: Baker, 1981. Reprint. Pp. 277. $9.95. 

David Martyn Lloyd-Jones died on March 1, 1981. This highly esteemed 
pastor and author was born on December 20, 1899. In 1938 he became 
G. Campbell Morgan's associate at Westminster Chapel, London, and in 
1943 he became the sole pastor. He was an expository preacher par excel- 
lence. For further information on his life, see TTie Banner of Truth Issue 212, 
May, 1981. Incidentally, the dustjacket of Christian Unity dates his birth as 
1900, which seems to be an error. 

The format of the book will be familiar to readers of Lloyd-Jones. It is 
one of seven published volumes of exposition covering all of Ephesians 
except 5:1-17. The flyleaf indicates that the eighth volume was completed 
before Lloyd-Jones' death but it evidently has not been published at this 
writing. There are 22 expository studies in this volume. The theme of true 
Christian unity is brilliantly developed in a detailed manner. Of course, 
Lloyd-Jones' views on this were already stated in his booklet The Basis of 
Christian Unity (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1962). 

The excellencies of Lloyd-Jones' expositions are already well known and 
need not be detailed here. It will suffice to say that here one finds a rich blend 
of Reformed soteriology, faithfulness to the text, and evangelistic fervor. 
Lloyd- Jones begins (pp. 1 1-22) with a sensitive and accurate portrayal of the 
main transition in Ephesians (4:1). Here the "vocation" with which one is 
called is viewed as the effectual call to salvation (pp. 28-30). It is emphasized 
that "the unity of the Spirit" (4:3) is to be maintained, not created (pp. 40- 
41). Further, the impossibility of separating life from doctrine is underlined 
(p. 49). The emphasis of Chapter Six on revival is excellent. Lloyd-Jones 
believed that there was no hope for the church without revival (p. 71), yet he 
believed that a genuine God-sent revival should not be equated with an 
evangelistic campaign. Later in the book (p. 158) one finds some very wise 
statements on the "call" to missions: the need does not constitute the "call." It 
is refreshing in a book of this sort to see periodic references to the Greek text 
as the basis of the exposition (pp. 136, 148, 197, etc.). 

The positions Lloyd-Jones takes on some important exegetical issues 
should be briefly highlighted. The "one faith" of 4:5 is objective, not 
subjective, but it refers to the essence of the gospel, not the full body of 


Christian doctrine (pp. 107-9). The "one baptism" of 4:5 is viewed not as the 
ordinance itself but what the ordinance represents and signifies (pp. 122ff.). 
Eph 4:8, a notoriously difficult passage, is understood to say that Christ gave 
to men what he had already received from the Father (p. 152). "Leading 
captivity captive" involves no transferral of OT saints from sheol to heaven 
but is simply an expression of victory over enemies (p. 153). In 4:9 "the lower 
parts of the earth" is viewed as the earth itself (appositional genitive, pp. 156- 
57). Of the four classes of gifted men in 4:11, three, including evangelists, 
were temporary and have disappeared (pp. 191-92). Only the "pastor- 
teacher," which is essentially one man or office, is a permanent gift or office 
(p. 193). In 4:12 "the work of the ministry" is understood as performed by the 
gifted men of 4:1 1, not by the saints who are equipped by these gifted men. 
GTJ readers may not agree with all these views, but they will find fair 
discussions of alternative possibilities also. It was Lloyd-Jones' conviction 
that preaching should face difficult passages honestly without skipping over 
them (p. 158). With this I heartily concur. 

A few minor shortcomings must also be briefly noted. I was puzzled by 
the insistence that the word "all" in 4:6 is masculine in gender (p. 136). The 
Greek words for "all" in the verse are ndvxwv and Tiaaiv, both of which could 
be either masculine or neuter. The context must decide whether the words are 
viewed as masculine or neuter. There is a "straw man" approach to dispensa- 
tionalism on p. 149, where it is alleged that dispensationalists believe that 
God was surprised when the Jews rejected the Kingdom and that he instituted 
the Church as an afterthought, not part of his original plan. Informed 
dispensationalists have probably heard this misrepresentation before. A final 
weakness may be found in Lloyd-Jones' discussion of Paul's use of Ps 68:18 
in 4:8. This is an admittedly difficult passage but it does not warrant the idea 
that there is a "double meaning in statements of the OT" (p. 150). It would be 
highly preferable to articulate this in terms of the typology of an author's 
intended meaning or willed type of meaning. 

This exposition of Eph 4:1-16, along with Lloyd-Jones' other expositions 
of Ephesians, is highly recommended. All serious students of Ephesians will 
profit greatly. This is the type of preaching our churches so urgently need if 
they are to follow the biblical pattern: "So the churches were strengthened in 
the faith and grew daily in numbers" (Acts 16:5 NIV). 

David L. Turner 

Governmental and Judicial Ethics in the Bible and Rabbinic Literature, by 
James E. Priest. New York: KTAV, 1980. Pp. 313. $17.50. 

For anyone who has more than a passing interest in the study of ethics, 
this volume by James Priest is fascinating, informative, and in the "must 
read" category. This is particularly true for those of us who live in the 
Western world, for it is in studies such as this that one finds that many of our 
Western ethical and legal norms have their roots in the Hebrew nation. 

The stated task of this book is "to trace that 'long, slow striving for the 
victory of justice over force' as it is discerned in biblical and rabbinical 
literature" (p. 1). Using the Torah and the Talmud as his primary resources. 


Priest attempts to develop a "comprehensive presentation" of the "govern- 
mental and judicial ethics found in the Hebrew Scriptures and the literature 
of postbiblical Judaism" (p. 1). This volume is not a study of ethics per se, 
but is narrowly restricted to governmental and judicial ethics, with considera- 
tion of social and religious ethics, etc., held in such perspective as to influence 
the study only when considered appropriate (pp. 2-3). 

The method of the book is a comparative analysis of the literature. It 
seeks to compare the two primary resources and note points of similarity and 
contrast. Moreover, it includes thematic points for the purpose of demon- 
strating the evolutionary character of particular laws or procedures from 
biblical into talmudic times (p. 5). 

Chapter 1 is important since it lays the groundwork for the remainder of 
the book. It traces the concept and relationship of the "law" in both the 
biblical and talmudic literature. It begins with a brief description of the 
relationship of the Hebrew people to YHWH; this relationship being captured 
in the terms election, law, and covenant. Noting that law and government are 
critical to the survival of any nation, and that these elements often reveal the 
basic beliefs of a people. Priest develops the notion that the Torah was 
considered among the Hebrew people as the direct revelation given by their 
divine sovereign. Moreover, this revelation, extending from Abraham to 
post-exilic times, represented God's character and will for the people. It was 
designed to maintain the unique relationship between the people and their 
God by molding the Israelites into a law-abiding, morally superior, and just 
nation (pp. 1 1-25). The talmudic concept of the law of government, though 
much more complex in its development, is nicely analyzed. The salient point 
here is the fact that in the post-biblical era, the concept of Torah was 
broadened to include not only the Mosaic Law but other biblical writings 
(e.g., prophets and hagiographa). The basis for this inclusion was the 
essential agreement of these other writings with the pentateuchal writings 
(pp. 28-29). The transmission of this material began with Moses, was passed 
by the elders to the prophets, and ultimately to the men of the Great 
Synagogue (p. 29). 

Concurrently the midrash process was producing a great volume of 
interpretations of the law, and the channel for this was rabbinical. Since this 
process was a human one, there was great latitude, conflict, and debate which 
developed; hence the variety of schools such as Pharisees, Sadducees, 
Shammai, and Hillel (p. 31). Nevertheless, the Sages, using Deut 17:9 as their 
authority, saw it as their divinely appointed task to preserve, interpret, and 
even expand upon the law, as well as to oversee its implementation. This 
became especially critical during the years following the destruction of 
Jerusalem (70 c.e.) and the very real and imminent threat to the survival of 
the Jewish nation and law. Eventually the great body of rabbinical material 
evolved into what is known as the Talmud (pp. 32-34). 

Chapter 2, "The Governmental and Legal System in Judaism," reviews 
the origin, sources, and importance of the halakhdh, which was composed of 
the moral, ethical, and religious values which were to be "concretized" via 
daily practice (pp. 43-48). There are many fascinating segments in this 
chapter. For example', the author surveys the increasing role of the Rabbis as 
they labored to "preserve the intimate relationship between legal mandates 


and ethical behavior" (pp. 48-49); as they assessed magnitude to crimes; as 
they imposed the "judgments of heaven" upon offenders (implying divine 
retribution); as they accrued more and more authority as the people became 
aware of the personal pleasure or displeasure to be rendered by the Rabbis; 
and as they developed the judicial procedures of the nation (pp. 48-59). 
Further, the Rabbis grappled with many issues that are reminiscent of 
contemporary issues. For example, the Sages worried about the rights of the 
accused and accuser, so they built into the structure safeguards that gave 
favor to the accused. They also dealt with possible "exceptions" — how to give 
the benefit of doubt to the defendant; the need to demonstrate the actual 
performance of a crime (as opposed to intent only); how to deal with those 
who are mentally or physically impaired; how to impose penalties when guilt 
was certain but "due process" was not advisable or necessary; and how to 
deal with people who take the law into their own hands, e.g., defend 
themselves by attacking the intruder or recovering one's own property, etc. 

Chapter 3, "Enforcement of Judicial Ethics in Judaism," begins by 
noting the rabbinic conviction that the Torah came from YHWH, that it 
consisted in a specific number of commandments (613), that it was the basis 
for the governing of Israel, and that the duty of the people was to obey the 
commandments. God, then, was considered the ultimate authority in the 
nation. However, the tradition developed which envisioned the Rabbis as 
God's representatives in post-biblical Judaism and participants in the trans- 
mission of the law (pp. 73-80). Using Deut l:13ff as their authority, the 
Rabbis established the court system, its officers, the various jurisdictions and 
case-loads, etc. (pp. 80-101). Further, it is clear that the integrity of the 
system was dependent upon the integrity of the officeholders (pp. 101-4). 

Chapter 4, "Reward and Punishment in Judicial Ethics," establishes the 
theological principle that obedience to the law brought divine blessing while 
disobedience resulted in punishment. From this basic principle, the bulk of 
the chapter investigates the biblical and talmudic materials relating to the 
issue of capital punishment. The biblical data clearly indicate that this 
penalty was to be applied for a variety of offenses (criminal, religious, social, 
domestic); that the purpose was primarily for putting away evil from the 
nation as well as putting away the evil one; that it was designed to be a 
deterrent; that the methods were prescribed (hanging, burning, stoning); and 
that the severity of the method was occasionally construed to be related to 
the degree of divine displeasure (pp. 117-25). 

On the other hand, the post-biblical era saw the Rabbis tend to adapt, 
limit, and even eliminate some of the more severe features of the law. Clearly 
they agonized over the matters of rule by law and a humane justice. So, they 
invoked three basic principles that governed the method of capital punish- 
ment: 1) love; 2) non-mutilation; and 3) removal of sins (i.e., the application 
could not be vindictive in character). So it was that the Rabbis grappled with 
the harshness of capital punishment, a phenomenon not at all unlike our 
contemporary debates over "cruel and unusual punishment" (pp. 125-42). 

Chapter 5, "Judicial Ethics of Punishment Equal to the Crime," investi- 
gates the "measure for measure" principle which was rooted in the character 
of God and regulated by the Torah (e.g.. Lev 24:19-20; Exod 21:23-25). On 
the other hand, the Talmud indicates that the Rabbis took a more lenient 


view and in some cases mitigated the principle by erecting a system of 
monetary compensation (pp. 145-56). This chapter concludes by dealing with 
Gen 9:6 and the ethical considerations in capital punishment (murder was an 
outrage against and attack upon God himself); the rabbinic notion that 
capital crimes were the very reason why God brought down various dynasties 
and ultimately destroyed the Temple; and the biblical and talmudic provisions 
for and restrictions upon the goel hadam ("blood avenger") and cities of 
refuge for those who accidentally killed someone (pp. 156-67). 

The final chapter of substance, "Ethics of Government in War and 
Peace," attempts to deal with the ethics of the government of Israel, cast 
against the backdrop of the convictions, motives, and perspectives of a nation 
convinced they were under the providence of God. The chapter is divided into 
two portions as the title suggests. The first portion deals with the types of 
warfare (justified, purging, regulated, holy); the theological attitudes toward 
war, i.e., that the nation acted in obedience to God and that victory would be 
attained in relationship to the obedience, courage, and purity of the leadership 
and people; and the rules of war which emerged having to do with punitive 
measures against enemy leaders. This "war ethic" also included restraints 
which regulated the tactic of siege, the treatment of captives (esp. women and 
children), honoring legitimate enemy rulers, and curbing unrestrained slaugh- 
ter of people. 

The second half of the chapter deals with the emphasis upon peace as the 
theme of the Bible and Talmud. It includes a rehearsal of passages from the 
Bible, Mishnah, Gemara, and other haggadic and talmudic writings, to 
develop "peace as the third pillar of the social world, along with justice and 
truth ..." (p. 203). Rabbinic theories for peace are explained, in addition to 
their view of the king's role in securing peace (i.e., his personal morality and 
his enforcement of the law). Indeed, legislation was to have peace as its 
motive. Peace was a religious, legal, and moral principle and was to be 
sought and implemented in every facet of national life. 

The book concludes with a rather extensive and detailed recapitulation 
of each chapter and two excursuses, one dealing with the political role of 
kings in Israel and their relationship to the prophets. The second consists of 
selected materials from the Bible and Talmud comparing the literature on 
issues like the death penalty, lex talionis, divorce, self-defense, etc. 

There are no major criticisms to be leveled against this volume, unless it 
is that its brevity at some points is disconcerting. Just when one's appetite is 
whetted for more documented materials and discussion, the author moves to 
another point. 

Among the valuable features of the book is its sizable scholarly bibUog- 
raphy and its multiple indexes (Hebrew Scriptures, Talmud passages, other 
miscellaneous writings, subject and author indexes, biblical personages, rabbis, 
editors, translators, places, etc.). Finally, the book includes a glossary of 36 
entries. This excellently documented text is easily usable by readers of all 
levels of scholarship. While there are some Hebrew expressions, these are 
minimal and often translated and transliterated. There is a minimum of value 
judgments and interpretations by the author. The volume consists almost 
entirely of reporting and comparing the biblical and talmudic data, along 
with fair and helpful summary comments. 


Priest, who is professor of biblical and religious education at Pepperdine 
University, has made an important and valuable contribution. His work is 
lucid, easily read, rapidly paced, and most informative. The production of the 
book is typically well done by KTAV in concert with the Pepperdine 
University Press. 

W. Merwin Forbes 

Introduction to Theological Research, by Cyril J. Barber. Chicago: Moody, 
1982. Pp. 176. $9.95. Paper. 

The past three decades have seen an exhilarating proliferation of tools 
for bringing bibliographic control to the discipline of theology, so much so 
that we now depend on guides to those tools such as John Bollier's The 
Literature of Theology: A Guide for Students and Pastors (1979), and Robert 
Kepple's Reference Works for Theological Research (1981). Cyril J. Barber 
filled a great need in 1974 with his The Minister's Library and its supplements. 
Now we welcome his Introduction to Theological Research, a very readable 
and useful volume aimed at college and seminary students. In fifteen chapters 
he introduces the neophyte to most of the essentials, from 19th-century Bible 
dictionaries to today's computerized information retrieval systems. In the 
process he constantly bears in mind the needs of students and gives anecdotes 
from his campus experiences that not only illustrate but also lighten the pages 
of a book that could be wearisome. 

In chapters 5 through 9 Barber discusses atlases, concordances, commen- 
taries, lexicons, and word study instruments. While other guides (BoUier and 
Kepple) have annotated listings of these same tools, Barber goes into more 
detail about how these tools function in the processes of Bible study. He does 
not shy away from the more sophisticated works, sometimes even showing 
how language tools can be used by those with limited language ability. 

Another helpful technique is the inclusion of sample pages from key 
works, although some are poorly reproduced. James R. Kennedy, Jr., used 
this technique even more effectively by shading, labels, and arrows to 
illustrate features {Library Research Guide to Religion and Theology, 1974). 
Barber's selection of samples is sometimes perplexing. He has one page each 
from Hasting's Dictionary of Christ and the Gospels and Dictionary of the 
Apostolic Church, both simple compared to the crucial Elenchus Biblio- 
graphicus Biblicus, for which there are no samples. 

One might detect a slight preference for older works, even where newer 
works show an improvement. For example, the Universal Jewish Encyclo- 
pedia (1939-44) is featured on pp. 27, 31, and 32, while the superior 
Encyclopedia Judaica (1972) receives brief and subordinate attention. Like- 
wise, Smith's Dictionary of the Bible (1868-96) is included but not the three- 
volume Illustrated Bible Dictionary (1980). Two paragraphs are devoted to 
the fifteen-year-old Encyclopedia of Modern Christian Missions: The Agen- 
cies, but barely a sentence to the frequently updated Mission Handbook (12th 
ed., 1979). 

In chapter 11, Barber treats most of the important indexes (which he 
persists in calling "indices") and abstracts. It would be helpful to expand this 


chapter, now one of the shortest in the book, to include more sample pages of 
these very complex tools. There could be more suggestions on search strategy, 
such as a scripture citation approach, one of the easiest ways to use Elenchus 
Bibliographicus Biblicus, or a Greek and Hebrew vocabulary approach, 
useful with Religion Index One and Two and with E.B.B. 

The most glaring weakness of Barber's work is that the very elements 
that make a book easy to use are missing: indexes, bibliographies, and a 
detailed table of contents. It is surprising that a book of this character has no 
index. I personally intend to use this book repeatedly, not just read it once. If 
I want to see how Barber evaluates Sacramentum Mundi, for example, there 
is no index to locate it for me. Further, there is no bibliography to tell me 
that it is even included in the book (or to identify the place of publication, 
publisher, and number of pages, information that is not included in the text). 
And if I seek help in the table of contents I am confronted with three 
chapters titled "General Reference Works." There is nothing left but to 
assume that Sacramentum Mundi is a "general reference work" (a question- 
able rubric) and begin thumbing through those three chapters. If a person 
wants to read about Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible he will 
search in vain in the chapter on "The Use of Concordances"; only by fortuity 
will he notice that it is discussed in the chapter on "New Dimensions in Bible 
Study," a chapter which actually presents no new dimensions. 

One interesting and commendable feature is Barber's invitation to readers 
to suggest changes and additions for future editions of the book — he even 
gives his personal mailing address. This review has been sent to him along 
with some suggested corrigenda. For now I expect that Introduction to 
Theological Research will be just that for many grateful college and seminary 

Robert Ibach, Jr. 

The God-Men: An Inquiry Into Witness Lee and the Local Church, by Neil 
T. Duddy and the Spiritual Counterfeits Project. Downers Grove, IL: Inter- 
Varsity, 1981. 2nd edition. Pp. 155. $4.95. Paper. 

Researchers Neil Duddy and the staff of the Spiritual Counterfeits 
Project have combined their efforts to investigate exhaustively the teachings 
of Witness Lee and the Local Church. This task was made more difficult by 
the fact that the Local Church itself has produced no systematic doctrinal 
statement of its peculiar hermeneutical approach to Scripture. It was nec- 
essary for the researchers to literally "plow through volumes of Witness Lee's 
material (ten books, plus many booklets and pamphlets)" (p. 82). By system- 
atizing Lee's material into a comprehensive presentation of the Local Church 
movement, the researchers have made available to the Christian world for the 
first time a clear picture of this ambiguous, experiential belief system. 

The sub-title of the book, "An Inquiry Into Witness Lee and the Local 
Church," clearly states the purpose of the writer. This "Inquiry" proposes 
that the Local Church is not "basic Christianity," but rather something like a 
"Gnostic-Eastern Holy-RoUerism" (p. 8). The goal of the book is to respond 


to "the many inquiries from concerned Christians across the nation and 
around the world" (p. 10), and to document Local Church doctrine and 
conduct (p. 8). 

I especially appreciated not only the presentation of the major doctrines 
of the Local Church as culled from the teachings, writings, illustrations and 
responses of Witness Lee, but also the comparison made by the researchers of 
these teachings to the traditional views of the orthodox Christian Church. 
Another service provided is interpretive help in understanding the particu- 
laristic, technical vocabulary employed by the Local Church. Without such 
help, many have difficulty comprehending such expressions as "the released 
soul floats up to touch the Spirit," after which the soul obtains the ability to 
confine and control the Spirit through techniques such as "killing," "pray- 
reading," "calling on the name of the Lord," "releasing," and "eating and 
drinking the Lord." If the faithful have diligently employed these techniques, 
a church (the Local Church) develops, composed of members who are 
"burned and buried," "out of their minds and into their spirits," "catching the 
flow from the throne," and ready to claim "local ground." 

The book would have been stronger had the writers developed more 
fully, rather than just hinting at, what I believe to be an important syncretistic 
element in the Local Church. This element alone would be reason enough to 
deprive the Local Church of the name "Christian." For example, the writers 
point out (p. 83) that "Witness Lee is an Asian who relocated in the West at 
nearly sixty years of age. No doubt certain structural elements in his teaching 
(e.g., the deification of humanity, introspective meditation) are Eastern 
cultural emphases. . . ." In the appendix (p. 137), Brooks Alexander gives 
more detail: "The Local Church uses certain psycho-spiritual techniques to 
guide the experiences of its members into a sense of mystical transcendence. . 
. . Appearing throughout the non-Christian religions of the world, these 
techniques . . . are entirely foreign to biblical Judaism and Christianity." 
Repetition "appears in the 'mantra,' the repetitious sound of Hindu medita- 
tion used by both TM and the Hare Krishna movement." Again, Brooks 
Alexander states, "Consciousness of the outside world also recedes under the 
impact of the Local Church's repetitious techniques of 'pray-reading' and 
'calling on the name of the Lord.' 

In view of the above quotations, the writers from their own evidence 
might well have drawn the obvious conclusion that the Local Church is 
simply a mixture of Hindu metaphysics baptized into Christianity, resulting 
in a Christopaganism foisted on the unsuspecting Christian community of the 

Apart from these observations, I commend the writers of the God-Men 
for exposing the non-Christian practices and doctrines of Witness Lee and 
the Local Church. They have performed a valuable service to Christ's true 
Church by warning it of this threatening heresy which has split many 
churches. I accordingly recommend the book highly to Christian students 
who need to discern between truth and error in a confusing age. 

S. Wayne Beaver 


Love Covers: A Viable Platform for Christian Unity, by Paul E. Billheimer. 
Christian Literature Crusade, 1981. Pp. 164. N.p. 

There is much of value in Love Covers. None of us has yet passed the 
stage of needing exhortation to be more loving. I especially appreciate 
Billheimer's attempt to deal with conflicts over Calvinism and Arminianism 
and the sign gifts. He also gives a useful description of some of the 
objectionable behavior of charismatics. 

But I was troubled by his handling of the central message of the book. 
Concerning the concept of unity, there are a few clear declarations which 
Billheimer appears to destroy by his over-all tone and applications. He 
advocates unity in diversity (or a spiritual and idealistic, not a formal, 
organizational ecumenism) (p. 64). Yet the tone and illustrations in the 
treatment of doctrine (p. 29) and morals (p. 39) and the unqualified attacks 
on fragmentation (p. 115), disunity, or judgmentalism (p. 127) appear to 
destroy all possibility of a valid diversity and condemn all ecumenism that 
remains only spiritual and idealistic. He appears to make a blanket con- 
demnation of any attempt to exercise discernment and discipline in our 
relationships with professing Christians. He makes no attempt to define the 
"judging" of Matt 7:1 in the light of other Scriptures which define the right 
kind of judging. 

Agape love may be a misnomer for some of what Billheimer seems to be 
advocating. He advocates love for those having different standards (p. 38). 
Standing alone, this is well taken. However, when combined with the unquali- 
fied attack on "judgmentalism," the issue seems to be as much liberty as it is 
love. Is church discipline loving or unloving? Is it loving to take a "Black 
Sabbath" rock album away from your children? Apparently neither action is 
intrinsically loving or unloving, but in both liberty is curbed. Billheimer could 
be accused of appearing to attack such curbing of liberty. In any case his 
book will certainly be popular among those who rebel against authority. This 
recalls a paragraph in The Screwtape Letters (p. 117): 

The use of Fashions in thought is to distract the attention from their real 
dangers. We direct the fashionable outcry of each generation against those vices 
of which it is least in danger and fix its approval on the virtue nearest to that 
vice which we are trying to make endemic. The game is to have them all running 
about with fire extinguishers whenever there is a flood, and all crowding to that 
side of the boat which is already gunwale under. 

The Christ of the Scriptures lays exclusive claim to our service, our 
devotion, our lives. If we apply Christ's own warnings in Matt 24:4, 24, we 
will be very careful about the object of our faith. Billheimer appears to 
neglect this attitude. In two basic definitions the object of our faith appears 
to be neglected: (1) the definition of what doctrine is essential for fellowship 
(p. 28), and (2) the definition of judgmentalism (p. 127). One looks in vain for 
passages that exalt Christ by setting him over against all rival objects of faith, 
as do all of the Scriptures. Beyond this, it is clear that if we respond to the 
exclusive claims of Jesus Christ, this is going to exclude fellowship with some 


who would lay other claims upon us but do not acknowledge Christ's 
incarnation (2 John 10). And Christ's ethic requires that when necessary, 
fellowship with a brother be broken on moral grounds (1 Corinthians 5, Matt 

In contrast to this, Billheimer appears to use the tactic of terror against 
any and all who would dare break fellowship. He appears to treat breaking 
fellowship as incurring guilt before God and warns of retaliation. He would 
leave us the impression that a communist takeover, or the coming of anti- 
Christ, are the result of breaking fellowship. I personally feel that the book 
could be laying an impossible burden on sensitive souls who will try to 
experience unity with just about anyone, including professing Christians, who 
deny the essential attributes of Christ or who are living in immorality. 

As servants of Christ we are primarily concerned to be united with those 
whose life and ministry are Christ-centered. The NT secret of that unity is to 
be more and more Christ-centered ourselves. And the correct attitude to the 
Scriptures is to take all of it as authoritative, in contrast to taking a part of 
the Scriptural data and making it normative and central in our teaching. 
Billheimer's thesis that authority was conveyed to the church by God's decree 
needs to be verified by the Scriptural teaching of the necessity of a Christ- 
centered life, doctrine, and worship; "not I, but Christ" (Gal 2:20). 

The "love" depicted in the book is called "agape love"; but to match the 
teaching concerning agape in the Scriptures, it needs several elements. In the 
horizontal relationships there are the elements of counseling, exhortation, 
reproof, discipline, and correction (seeking the highest good of the person 
loved). In the vertical relationship, there is the element of obedience to 
Christ's commandments (2 John 6). It appears that what is called holiness or 
legalism today is often only what was considered normative for Christians as 
few as twenty years ago. While a quote from Dr. Spence recognizes this 
situation (p. 82), Billheimer does not seem to come through as clearly as 
Spence. Spence, in fact, condemns the great emphasis on love without the 
realization that we are in a desperate kind of conflict and apostasy (p. 83). 
Billheimer recognizes the problem of moral laxity, but he only uses Spence 's 
statement to try to demonstrate that holiness and charismatic people should 
love one another. In keeping with the emphasis on love, I do not find in Love 
Covers a recognition that some doctrines and practices (even popular ones) 
could be demon-inspired and a danger to the church, needing steadfast 
resistance — in a spirit of love. 

I see two other red flags in Love Covers that are in the area of 
epistemology. Billheimer adds to the words of Scripture (p. 143) by adding 
the words "the unity of" to 1 Cor 11:29-30. This is all the more dangerous 
because if his addition changes the sense of the passage, it is in the direction 
of his presupposition, not away from it. And (in an Epilogue) he appears to 
take his own experience to be normative. This unfortunately raises the 
question of just how objective he is being in his book, and also of how much 
of his emphasis is, in fact, based upon the three experiences mentioned in the 

Dick Heldenbrand 
Warsaw, IN 


New Testament Theology, by Donald Guthrie. Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 
1981. Pp. 1064. $24.95. 

Donald Guthrie has amassed a lifetime study of the NT in this extraor- 
dinary volume. It is a masterpiece of evangelical scholarship. The Introduction 
alone is worth the purchase of the book. In the Introduction, he surveys the 
development of NT Theology, discussing strengths and weaknesses of various 
methodologies. He also treats the issue of the relation between history and 
theology. Guthrie divides his study into ten categories, which tend to parallel 
the historical development of systematic theology categories. Students of 
George Ladd's Theology will note this different methodological approach. 
The ten themes are: God, Man and His World, Christology, The Mission of 
Christ, The Holy Spirit, The Christian Life, The Church, The Future, The 
New Testament Approach to Ethics, and Scripture. The last two categories 
are especially helpful. 

The work is quite comprehensive and the author is conversant with a 
wide range of scholarship, a fact that is made evident in the 37-page 
bibliography. One quickly notices the balance between American, British, 
and German scholarship. The major German scholars are not overemphasized 
to the neglect of the best in evangelical scholarship. The indexes are also very 

A pattern develops in each chapter as Guthrie examines a biblical theme 
in light of: the synoptic gospels, Johannine literature. Acts, Pauline materials, 
Hebrews, and then the rest of the NT. It comes as no surprise for those 
familiar with Guthrie's previous works to see his acceptance of Pauline 
authorship for all thirteen books traditionally attributed to Paul. In a day 
when contemporary scholarship can only agree on seven to ten of the letters 
as having Pauline authorship, this is commendable. 

There are certain areas of interpretation that will be questioned by many. 
For a volume of this size, that is to be expected, and to do so would be 
improper quibbling in light of its outstanding characteristics. I will mention 
only that the sections on Scripture, Ethics, and The Holy Spirit are out- 
standing. His eschatology has an appropriate emphasis upon present-future 
aspects of the Kingdom, but tends to be amillennial. His soteriology falls in 
the Reformed camp. The section on God and his attributes and titles makes 
uplifting reading. 

If there is a drawback, it is the size of the book. It is almost too large for 
a classroom text. It could be used for reading in a biblical or systematic 
theology class. There is no better book of its kind on the market (Ladd's 
included). It is the one book I have found myself referring to on almost a 
daily basis. For the information and resources that it puts into one's hand, 
the price is quite affordable! 

David S. Dockery 
Brooklyn, NY 


ALLEN, RONALD and GORDON BORROR. Worship: Rediscovering the 
Missing Jewel. Portland: Multnomah, 1982. Pp. 100. $9.95. Paper. 

ANDERSON, J. KERBY. Genetic Engineering. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 
1982. Pp. 135. N.P. Paper. 

ARCHER, GLEASON L. Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties. Grand Rapids: 
Zondervan, 1982. Pp. 476. N.P. 


Reader's Hebrew- English Lexicon of the Old Testament. Volume 2 — 
Joshua-2 Kings. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1982. Pp. 102. $9.95. 

AYCOCK, DON M. and CARLA. Not Quite Heaven. Lima, OH: C.S.S. 
Publishing Co., 1981. Pp. 41. N.P. Paper. 

BARBER, CYRIL J. The Minister's Library: Periodic Supplement # 4. 
Grand Rapids: Baker, 1982. Pp. 76. $5.95. Paper. 

BECKER, SIEGBERT W. The Foolishness of God. Milwaukee: North- 
western, 1982. Pp. 266. $8.95. Paper. 

BENNET, EDMUND H. The Simon Greenleaf Law Review. Volume 1. 
Orange, CA: Simon Greenleaf School of Law, 1981-82. Pp. 106. $5.95. 

BEST, ERNEST. / Peter. The New Century Bible. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 
1982. Pp. 188. $5.95. Paper. 

BOER, HARRY R. The Bible & Higher Criticism. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 
1981. Pp. 109. $3.95. Paper. 

BRIGHT, JOHN. A History of Israel. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 

1981. Pp. 501. $18.95. 

BROWNBACK, PAUL. The Danger of Self Love. Chicago: Moody, 1982. 
Pp. 157. N.P. Paper. 

BRUCE, F. F. Commentary on Galatians. New International Greek Testa- 
ment Commentary. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982. Pp. 305. $15.95. 

Nelson 's Bible Encyclopedia for the Family. F. F. Bruce, Arthur Cundall, 
Rosemary Mellor, and Arthur Rowe, eds. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 

1982. Pp. 292. $18.95. 

CARNELL, EDWARD JOHN. Christian Commitment: An Apologetic. 
Grand Rapids: Baker, 1982. Pp. 314. $9.95. Paper. 

CHAPMAN, COLIN. The Case for Christianity. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 
1981. Pp. 313. $19.95. 


CLARK, GORDON H. Behaviorism and Christianity. Jefferson, MD: Trin- 
ity Foundation, 1982. Pp. 106. $5.95. Paper. 

CONWAY, JIM and WALTER TROBISCH. Your Family— A Love & 
Maintenance Manual for People with Parents & Other Relatives. 
Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1982. Pp. 129. $3.95. Paper. 

COSTAS, ORLANDO E. Christ Outside the Gate. MaryknoU, NY: Orbis, 
1982. Pp. 238. $12.95. Paper. 

COUNTESS, ROBERT H. The Jehovah's Witnesses New Testament. New 
Jersey: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1982. Pp. xiv + 136. $5.95. 

CROSBY, MICHAEL H. Spirituality of the Beatitudes: Matthew's Challenge 
for First World Christians. MaryknoU, Orbis, 1981. Pp. 244. $7.95. 

CUMMINGS, VIOLET. Has Anybody Really Seen Noah's Ark? San Diego: 
Creation Life, 1982. Pp. 389. $8.95. Paper. 

DAVIDS, PETER. Commentary on James. New International Greek Testa- 
ment Commentary. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982. Pp. 226. $14.95. 

DAVIS, JOHN JEFFERSON. Theology Primer— Resources for the Theo- 
logical Student. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1981. Pp. 111. $5.95. Paper. 

DEMAREST, BRUCE A. General Revelation. Grand Rapids: Zondervans, 
1982. Pp. 301. N.P. 

Eerdmans' Handbook to the World's Religions. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 
1982. Pp. 448. $21.95. 

ELLENS, J. HAROLD. God's Grace and Human Health. Nashville: 
Abingdon, 1982. $7.95. Pp. 156. Paper. 

ELLER, VERNARD. The Language of Canaan and the Grammar of Femi- 
nism. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982. Pp. 56. $2.95. Paper. 

FACKRE, GABRIEL. The Religious Right and Christian Faith. Grand 
Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982. Pp. 126. $8.95. 

FINKEL, ASHER and LAWRENCE FRIZZELL, eds. Standing Before 
God: Studies on Prayer in Scripture & in Tradition with Essays in 
Honor of John M. Oesterreicher. New York: KTAV, 1981. Pp. 392. 

FORTMAN, EDMUND J. The Triune God: A Historical Study of the 
Doctrine of the Trinity. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1982. Pp. 382. $10.95. 

FOSTER, CHARLES R. Teaching In the Community of Faith. Nashville: 
Abingdon, 1982. Pp. 160. $6.95. Paper. 

FRANCE, R. T. Jesus and the Old Testament. Reprint. Grand Rapids: 
Baker, 1982. Pp. 286. $9.95. Paper. 

FREND, W. H. C. Martyrdom and Persecution in the Early Church — A 
Study of a Conflict from the Maccabees to Donatus. Reprint. Grand 
Rapids: Baker, 1981. Pp. 625. $12.95. Paper. 


GAEBELEIN, FRANK E., ed. The Expositor's Bible Commentary. Vol. 12. 
Hebrews by Leon Morris. James by Donald W. Burdick. 1, 2 Peter by 
Edwin A. Blum. 1, 2, 3 John by Glenn W. Barker. Jude by Edwin A. 
Blum. Revelation by Alan F. Johnson. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1982. 
Pp. 603. $19.95. 

GAUSTAD, EDWIN S. A Documentary History of Religion in America to 
the Civil War. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982. Pp. 535. $15.95. Paper. 

GEISLER, NORMAN L. Decide for Yourself: How History Views the Bible. 
Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1982. Pp. 115. $4.95. Paper. 

GEISLER, NORMAN L. Miracles and Modern Thought. Grand Rapids: 
Zondervan, 1982. Pp. 168. 

GEISLER, NORMAN L. The Creator in the Courtroom: "Scopes //". 
Milford, MI: Mott Media, 1982. Pp. 242. $5.95. Paper. 

GEISLER, NORMAN L., ed. What Augustine Says. Grand Rapids: Baker, 
1982. Pp. 214. $8.95. Paper. 

GERSTNER, JOHN H. A Primer on Free Will. Phillipsburg, NJ: Presby- 
terian & Reformed, 1982. Pp. 28. $1.50. Paper. 

GLASSMAN, EUGENE H. The Translation Debate. Downers Grove: Inter- 
Varsity, 1981. Pp. 132. $4.25. Paper. 

GOLDBERG, MICHAEL. Theology and Narrative: A Critical Introduction. 
Nashville: Abingdon, 1982. Pp. 288. $10.95. 

GOLDINGAY, JOHN. Approaches to Old Testament Interpretation. 
Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1981. Pp. 191. $6.95. Paper. 

GOPPELT, LEONHARD. Typos: The Typological Interpretation of the Old 
Testament in the New. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982. Pp. 264. $15.95. 

GORMAN, MICHAEL J. Abortion & the Early Church. Downers Grove: 
InterVarsity Press, 1982. Pp. 120. $3.95. Paper. 

GREEN, MICHAEL. Evangelism: Now & Then. Downers Grove: Inter- 
Varsity, 1979. Pp. 150. $3.50. Paper. 

GRIFFITHS, MICHAEL. The Church and World Mission. Grand Rapids: 
Zondervan, 1982. Pp. 207. N.P. Paper. 

GRISPEN, W. H. Bible Student's Commentary: Exodus. Grand Rapids: 
Zondervan, 1982. Pp. 335. N.P. 

GROMACKI, ROBERT G. Stand True to the Charge. Grand Rapids: 
Baker, 1982. Pp. 190. $7.95. Paper. 

GRUNLAN, STEPHEN A. and MILTON REIMER, eds. Christian Perspec- 
tives on Sociology. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1982. Pp. 457. $10.95. 

GUNDRY, ROBERT H. A Survey of the New Testament. Zondervan, 1981. 
Pp. 379. 

HAINES, J. HARRY. Committed Locally— Living Globally. Nashville: 
Abingdon, 1982. Pp. 95. $3.50. Paper. 


HAMILTON, VICTOR P. Handbook on the Pentateuch. Grand Rapids: 
Baker, 1982. Pp. 496. 

HANSON, A. T. Pastoral Epistles. The New Century Bible Commentary. 
Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982. Pp. 206. $6.95. Paper. 


Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. Chicago: Moody, 1981. 
2 vols. Pp. 1124. $39.95. 

HILL, SAMUEL and DENNIS OWEN. 77?^ New Religious Political Right 
in America. Nashville: Abingdon, 1982. Pp. 160. $9.95. 

HOOVER, A.J. Don't You Believe IT!: Poking Holes in Faulty Logic. 
Chicago: Moody, 1982. Pp. 132. N.P. Paper. 

HOPLER, THOM. A World of Difference: Following Christ Beyond Your 
Cultural Walls. Downers Grove: Inter Varsity, 1981. Pp. 223. $5.95. 

HOUSE, H. WAYNE. Chronological and Background Charts of the New 
Testament. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1982. Pp. 156. $10.95. Paper. 

HOWE, FREDERIC R. Challenge and Response: A Handbook of Christian 
Response. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1982. Pp. 171. $9.95. 

HOWE, E. MARGARET. Women & Church Leadership. Grand Rapids: 
Zondervan, 1982. Pp. 256. $6.95. Paper. 

HUGGET, JOYCE. Growing into Love. Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1982. 
Pp. 128. $3.95. Paper. 

JENNINGS, THEODORE W. Life as Worship: Prayer and Praise in Jesus' 
Name. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982. Pp. 139. $5.95. Paper. 

KAUFFMAN, PAUL W. China-^The Emerging Challenge. Grand Rapids: 
Baker, 1982. Pp. 317. $8.95. Paper. 

KEELY, ROBERT, ed. Eerdmans' Handbook to Christian Belief Grand 
Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982. Pp. 480. $24.95. 

THOMAS. Women In New Worlds. Nashville: Abingdon, 1982. Pp. 
445. $13.95. Paper. 

KENT, HOMER A. A Heart Opened Wide: Studies in II Corinthians. Grand 
Rapids: Baker, 1982. Pp. 205. $4.95. Paper. 

KENT, HOMER A. The Pastoral Epistles. Reprint. Chicago: Moody, 1982. 
Pp. 313. N.P. Paper. 

KIDNER, DEREK. Love to the Loveless— The Message of Hosea. The Bible 
for Today. Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1981. Pp. 142. $4.25. Paper. 

KIRKPATRICK, A. F. The Book of Psalms. Thornapple Commentaries. 
Reprint. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1982. Pp. 852. $19.95. Paper. 

KOHLENBERGER, JOHN R., ed. The NIV Interlinear Hebrew- English Old 
Testament. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1982. Pp. 601. N.P. 


LANEY, J. CARL. First and Second Samuel. Everyman's Bible Commen- 
tary. Chicago: Moody, 1982. Pp. 132. N.P. Paper. 

LUTZER, ERWIN. The Necessity of Ethical Absolutes. Grand Rapids: 
Zondervan, 1981. Pp. 110. $4.95. Paper. 

MacKAY, DONALD M. Science and the Quest for Meaning. Grand Rapids: 
Eerdmans, 1982. Pp. 75. Paper. 

MACAULAY, J. G. Behold Your King. Chicago: Moody, 1982. Pp. 230. 
N.P. Paper. 

MALIK, CHARLES HABIB. A Christian Critique of the University. 
Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1982. Pp. 118. $4.50. Paper. 

MARROW, STANLEY B. The Words of Jesus in our Gospels: A Catholic 
Response to Fundamentalism. New York: Paulist, 1979. $4.95. 

MARTIN, RALPH P. The Worship of God. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982. 
Pp. 237. $7.95. Paper. 

MAYES, A. D. H. Deuteronomy. The New Century Bible. Grand Rapids: 
Eerdmans, 1981. Pp. 416. $8.95. Paper. 

tion to Psychology and Counseling. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1982. Pp. 443. 

MERESCO, DONALD. New Light on the Rapture.lSiev/ York: Bible Light 
Publications, 1980. Pp. 63. $6.95. 

MEYERS, ERIC M. and JAMES F. STRANGE. Archaeology, the Rabbis 
& Early Christianity. Nashville: Abingdon, 1981. Pp. 207. $7.95. Paper. 

MOYER, ELGIN S. The Wycliffe Biographical Dictionary of the Church. 
Chicago: Moody, 1982. Pp. xxx + 449. N.P. 

NEIL, WILLIAM and STEPHEN TRAVIS. More Difficult Sayings of 
Jesus. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1981. $5.95. Pp. 128. Paper. 

NEWBIGIN, LESSLIE. The Light Has Come: An Exposition of the Fourth 
Gospel. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982. Pp. 281. $8.95. Paper. 

NORTH, GARY. Genesis: The Dominion Covenant. Tyler, TX: Institute of 
Christian Economics, 1982. Pp. 496. $15.95. 

OLAN, LEVI A. Prophetic Faith and the Secular Age. New York: KTAV, 
1982. Pp. 162. $15.00. 

OSBECK, KENNETH W. 101 Hymn Stories. Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1982. 
Pp. 288. $7.95. 

PENTECOST, EDWARD C. Issues in Missiology: An Introduction. Grand 
Rapids: Baker, 1982. Pp. 205. $11.95. 

PENTECOST, J. DWIGHT. A Harmony of the Words and Works of Jesus 
Christ. From the New International Version. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 
1982. Pp. 176. $8.95. Paper. 

PENTECOST, J. DWIGHT. The Parables of Jesus. Grand Rapids: Zon- 
dervan, 1982. Pp. 180. N.P. 


PETERSON, MICHAEL. Evil and the Christian God. Grand Rapids: Baker, 
1982. Pp. 160. $7.95. Paper. 

PLANTING A, THEODORE. Learning to Live With Evil. Grand Rapids: 
Eerdmans, 1982. Pp. 163. Paper. 

READE, JULIAN. Mesopotamian Guidelines for Biblical Chronology. Syro- 
Mesopotamian Studies 4/1. Malibu: Undena, 1981. Pp. 9. $1.60. Paper. 

REID, W. STANFORD, ed. John Calvin: His Influence in the Western 
World. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1982. Pp. 415. 

RIENECKER, FRITZ and CLEON ROGERS, trans, and eds. Linguistic 
Key to the Greek New Testament. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1982. N.P. 

ROBINSON, THOMAS. Studies in Romans: Expository and Homiletical 
Commentary. Reprint, Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1982. 2 vols, in one. Pp. 
379. $22.95. 

RODGERS, PETER. Knowing Jesus. Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1982. 
Pp. 45. $1.95. Paper. 

SCHALLER, LYLE E. The Small Church is Different. Nashville: Abingdon, 
1982. Pp. 192. $6.95. Paper. 

SCHALLER, LYLE E. Women as Pastors. Nashville: Abingdon, 1982. Pp. 
127. N.P. 

SIDEBOTTOM, E. M. James, Jude. II Peter. The New Century Bible. 
Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982. Pp. 130. $5.95. Paper. 

SIGAL, GARELD. The Jew and the Christian Missionary: A Jewish Re- 
sponse to Missionary Christianity. New York: KTAV, 1981. Pp. 311. 

SINGER, GREGG. A Theological Interpretation of American History. Phil- 
lipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1981. Pp. 352. $7.95. Paper. 

SOGGIN, ALBERTO. Judges: A Commentary. Old Testament Library. 
Philadelphia: Westminster, 1981. Pp. 305. N.P. 

SPROUL, R. C. Reason To Believe. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1982. 
Pp. 160. N.P. Paper. 

STRAHAN, JAMES. Hebrew Ideals in the Book of Genesis: Study of Old 
Testament Faith and Life. Reprint, Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1982. Pp. 362. 

STOTT, JOHN R. W. Between Two Worlds: The Art of Preaching in the 
Twentieth Century. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982. Pp. 351. $12.95. 

THIELICKE, HELMUT. The Evangelical Faith: The Holy Spirit, the 
Church, Eschatology. Vol. 3. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982. Pp. 484. 

THOMAS, DAVID. Book of Job: Expository and Homiletical Commentary. 
Reprint, Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1982. Pp. 484. $14.95. 

TREVETHAN, THOMAS L. Our Joyful Confidence: The Lordship of Jesus 
in Colossians. Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1981. Pp. 168. $5.95. Paper. 


TWOMBLY, GERALD H. The Penetrating Poets. Winona Lake, IN: BMH, 
1982. Pp. 112. $4.95. Paper. 

WALKER, JOE W. Money in the Church. Nashville: Abingdon, 1982. 
Pp. 125. N.P. 

WARD, JAMES M. The Prophets. Nashville: Abingdon, 1982. Pp. 159. 
$6.95. Paper. 

WENHAM, GORDON. Numbers: An Introduction and Commentary. Tyn- 
dale Old Testament. Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1982. Pp. 240. $5.95. 

WE MP, C. SUMNER. The Guide to Practical Pastoring. Nashville: Thomas 
Nelson, 1982. Pp. 279. $14.95. 

WEVERS, JOHN W. Ezekiel. The New Century Bible. Grand Rapids: 
Eerdmans, 1982. Pp. 243. $6.95. Paper. 

WHITEHOUSE, W. A. Creation, Science, & Theology: Essays in Response 
to Karl Barth. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1981. Pp. 247. $10.95. Paper. 

WILBERFORCE, WILLIAM. Real Christianity Contrasted with the Prevail- 
ing Religious System. Reprint 1829. Portland, OR: Multnomah, 1982. 
Pp. 131. $9.95. 

YAMAUCHI, EDWIN M. Foes from the Northern Frontier. Grand Rapids: 
Baker, 1982. Pp. 148. $6.95. Paper. 

YOFFEE, NORMAN. Explaining trade in Ancient Western Asia. Mono- 
graphs on the Ancient Near East 2/2. Malibu: Undena, 1981. Pp. 40. 
$4.50. Paper. 

ZIEFLE, HELMUT W. Dictionary of Modern Theological German. Grand 
Rapids: Baker, 1982. Pp. 199. $9.95. Paper. 



M. Div. Theses 

Are there prophets today? Paul J. Mutchler. 

The believer's responsibility toward a brother who persists in sin even after 

admonishment, Donald R. Applegate. 
Bible doctrine of separation in 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1, Leonard K. Maliska. 
The childbearing, Joe T. Portugal. 
The Christian and civil government, Bruce Keizer. 
The contribution of Psalm 139:13-16 to the issue of the ethics of genetic 

engineering of humans, John W. Chamberlain. 
The controls of Christian liberty, David Artman. 
Counseling: Christian and secular analyzed, Glenn R. McElhinney. 
The date of Ezra's return to Jerusalem, Jack R. Laffin. 
The "day" of I Corinthians 3:13, Alex Degolyer. 
The death of Christ in 2 Corinthians 5:14-15, Gayle B. Sharp. 
Ecclesiastical separation in light of II Corinthians 6:14-7:1, Louis H. Showers. 
The elements of discipleship, Ronald A. Honeywell. 
An examination of the usage and proper translation of dialegomai in the 

Book of Acts, David Griffith. 
The fatherhood of God, Donald R. Bartemus. 
"Go and make disciples!" Thomas C. Pappas. 
The Holy Spirit's empowerment of Christ, Stephen Jarrell. 
An inductive study of the fear of Yahweh in Deuteronomy, Michelle Kenoyer. 
The inerrancy issue in methodological and linguistic perspective, Douglas B. 

Infant salvation in the Old Testament, Clark Seefeldt. 
An investigation of the conflict in Christian submission to civil authorities, 

David R. Workman. 
Jesus and kingdom parables: an analysis of Matthew 13:10-17, Gerald A. 

The meaning of apantesis in I Thessalonians 4:17, Curt Ackerman. 
The meaning of the phrase "the true light that enlightens every man" in John 

1:9, Gary P. Gnagey. 
The meaning of "way" in the Psalms with New Testament implications, 

Daniel N. Carlson. 
Meaningful translation, Kimberly J. Cone. 

The PauUne concept of the renewal of the mind, Kevin L. Landis. 
Phos as used in the Johannine writings, Arthur F. Bushen. 
The place of fear in the believer, John A. Galle. 
The problem of the objector, James 2:18, Ted Berry. 
Psalm 99: its message and place in the worship of Israel, Charles W. 

The results of the blood of Christ in salvation, David K. Hobert. 
Sentence analysis and Old Testament exegesis, Michael R. Redding. 
Shechar in the Old Testament, Mark F. Gaudry. 
Six essential principles for Christian education, Mark Keough. 
Standards for discernment of prophets, Elwood A. Neu. 
A study on separation in 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1, Keith D. Pisani. 
Union with Christ in Romans 6:1-11, Emad A. Mikhail. 
The unknown years of Jesus, Joseph E. Nass. 
Yada^ (to know) in Hosea, Charles A. Rife. 


Th. M. Theses 

Allusions to the gospels in the Epistle of James, Bruce Allen Pickell. 
Ancient Near Eastern genealogies and I Chronicles 1-9: a comparative 

study, Trevor Craigen. 
Carmen maris algosi: an exegetical study of Exodus 15:1-18, Robert V. 

Chronological notes on the life of Christ, Ronald L. Minton. 
Conditions for answered prayer in the New Testament, Garold L. Paxson. 
Free in Christ: the doctrine of Christian liberty, J. Timothy Coyle. 
The function and authority of women in the church: Biblical hierarchy versus 

feminine egalitarianism, Michael F. Stitzinger. 
An investigation of the Granville Sharp phenomenon and plurals, Glenn W. 

My church in Matthew 16:18-19, Marshall Wicks. 
Slavery in New Testament times and the implications for spiritual servitude, 

Richard H. Battis. 

77i. D. Theses 

The Biblical role of woman with an exegesis of I Corinthians 11:2-16, 

James A. Freerksen. 
An evaluation of the mythological hermeneutic in light of the Old Testament 

usage of the Leviathan motif, Stanley V. Udd. 
Divine forgiveness: conditions and limitations, Irvin A. Busenitz. 
The meaning and chronology of the trumpets of Revelation, Ronald R. 

The New Testament teaching on church elders, Leonard H. Hillstrom. 

M.A. Theses 

Christianity — the foreign religion of Japan, Marcha G. McNeil. 

The establishment and development of the missionary church in Nigeria, 

Eileen Lageer. 
An examination of the Quranic doctrine of inspiration, Fredrick W. Plastow. 
The law of diminishing responsibility for the missionary. Dock Caton. 



M.Div. Theses 

A balanced Biblical perception of ministerial remuneration with special 

attention to 1 Corinthians 9:4-19, Herby R. Hughs. 
The Biblical concept of paideia, Mark E. Willey. 
A Biblical view of anger, Thomas P. Fischbach. 
"Born of water," Ronald Welch. 
The Christological significance of "and the Word became flesh," James E. 

The concept of carnality as it relates to progressive sanctification, Michael D. 

A consideration of the bhma experience based on I Corinthians 3:14 and 15, 

Rex A. Bonar. 
I Corinthians 7:15, Pauline privilege or not? Jesse E. Boggs. 
Creation and catastrophism in 2 Peter 3:4-6, Daniel P. Moeller. 
The demands of being "my disciple", Joseph B. Mayhew. 
The enigma of prayer, John F. Carini. 
Ephesians 5:14, a re-examination of the source and interpretation, Daniel J. 

The evangelist in the New Testament, T. A. Hofecker. 
An examination of Ephesians 2:3c, Robert L. Foote. 
The "falling away" in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, David W. Phillips. 
The feast of trumpets: a memorial, Robert R. Congdon. 
A historical and biblical interpretation of hospitality, Gary S. H. Soule. 
How to quench the Spirit: the relationship between 1 Thessalonians 5:19 and 

20, Bruce C Kalish. 
The impossibility of sanctification under the law: Romans 7:14-25, Stephen D. 

Indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament, Kevin D. Zuber. 
The informal use of the Old Testament in the conversation of Jesus, Darrel G. 

Inheritance and the patriarchs in Genesis, R. Scott Gifford. 
The interpretation of eph ho in Romans 5:12 as it relates to hamartiological 

and anthropological considerations, Scott Garber. 
Isaiah 1:18 — summons to judgment, James D. Hannah. 
The lawful use of the law in 1 Timothy 1:8-11, William R. Kiddoo. 
The Lord's teaching on discipleship in Luke 14:25-35, David A. Kelly. 
Luke 16:19-31, parable or historical event, Lonnie D. Nicholl. 
The meaning and extent of 1 Timothy 2:12 prohibition, Roy G. Herbster. 
A mediatorial ruler approach to David's imprecatory Psalms, Dwight G. 

De Penning. 
The messianic priest-king. Psalm 110, John H. Rollins. 
The nature and purpose of heresy according to the New Testament, Joseph D. 

Romans 1:18-20, a foundation for apologetics, Timothy A. Pasma. 
Sheol, Robert L. Young. 

The significance of rest in Hebrews 3:7-4:11, David S. Slusher. 
Toward a biblical perspective on homosexuality, Philip R. Watson. 
What does it mean to pray in Jesus name? Harold C. Pulver. 


Th. M. Theses 

Aspects of discipleship in Luke-Acts and the Pauline epistles, Isaac V. 

Discipline in the New Testament church, Joseph J. Schloegel. 
The Holy Spirit's Old and New Testament ministries compared, Steven C. 

Identification of the servant(s) in Isaiah 49:1-13, Jonathan W. Ndettei. 
The interpretation of Ezekiel 17:1-10, Perry T. Jones. 
James' use of Amos 9:11-12 in Acts 15:13-18, Mitchell F. Book. 
Jesus' use of Psalm 82 in John 10:34-36, David Jacobson. 
Judges 18, the relocation of Dan, William L. Peterson. 
The Old Testament predictions of the resurrection of Jesus, Douglas Connelly. 
The omnipresence of God, David A. Wolfe. 
Predestinatio duplex in Romans 9:9-23, Richard C. Piatt. 
Preparation of Israel for Messiah with regard to resurrection as epitomized 

by Psalm 16 in Acts 2, Harold R. Holmyard. 
Prophetic ecstasy in Ezekiel, Bruce W. Barbour. 
Scribes and scribal schools in the ancient Near East: a historical survey, 

Barry D. Halvorsen. 
A statement of the messianic interpretation of the Son of Man in Daniel 7:13, 

Jack R. Laffin. 
The use of Psalm 68:19 in Ephesians 4:8, Chris Miller. 

Th. D. Theses 

A Biblical view of miraculous healings, Richard D. Durham. 
Conditional sentences in the New Testament, William E. Elliott. 
The context of the Good Shepherd discourses, Donald L. Fowler. 
An exegetical defense of pretribulationism, John A. Sproule. 
Leviticus 26, its relationship to covenant contexts and concepts, William D. 

The New Testament doctrine of discipleship, Richard D. Calenberg. 
Nuzi customs and selected portions of the patriarchal narratives, Stephen R. 

The prophet's watchword, day of the Lord, Richard L. Mayhue. 
Theological and ethical issues pertaining to life and death, W. Merwin 


M.A. Thesis 

Staff manual for Sudan Interior Mission Candidate Orientation School for 
North America, Floyd G. Johnson. 




Volume 4 No 2 Fall 1983 

Grace Theological Journal 

Published Semiannually by 

Grace Theological Seminary 

Winona Uke, IN 46590 

Editorial Board 

Homer A. Kent, Jr. 


Jerry Young 

Board of Trustees 

E. William Male 

Editorial Committee 

John C. Whitcomb 


John J. Davis 

Assistant Editor 

D. Wayne Knife 

Associate Editor, 
Old Testament 

Charles R. Smith 

Associate Editor, 

John A. Sproule 

Associate Editor, 
New Testament 

Production Committee 

James Eisenbraun 

Managing Editor 

Donald L. Fowler 

Book Review Editor 

Weston W. Fields 

Grace Theological Journal is published twice annually. Subscription rates are S9.S0/one 
year, $17.00/two years, $24.00/three years in the United States; foreign rates: $10.75/one 
year, $19.50/ two years, $27.50/ three years, payable in U.S. funds. 

Manuscripts for consideration should be sent in duplicate to Grace Theological 
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Inquiries concerning subscriptions should be addressed to Grace Theological Journal, 
Box 373, Grace Theological Seminary, Winona Lake, IN 46590. 

ISSN 0198-666X. Copyright © 1983 Grace Theological Seminary. All rights reserved. 



Volume 4 No 2 Fall 1983 


The Purpose and Program of the Prophetic Word . . 163-171 


Other Conditional Elements in New Testament Greek 173-188 


Martin Luther's Christological Hermeneutics 189-203 


An Interpretation of Daniel 11:36-45 205-231 


The Contributions of John and Charles Wesley to the 
Spread of Popular Religion 233-244 


The Exodus-Conquest and the Archaeology of 
Transjordan: New Light on an Old Problem 245-262 


Evangelicals, Redaction Criticism, and the Current 

Inerrancy Crisis 263-288 


Creation Science and the Physical Universe: A Review 
Article 289-296 


Christianity and the Age of the Earth: A Review 

Article 297-301 


A Christian Manifesto: A Review Article 303-309 


Book Reviews 310-312 

Books Received 313-317 

Theses and Dissertations at Grace Theological 

Seminary, 1982 318-320 


James L. Boyer 

Professor Emeritus, Grace Theological Seminary, 200 Seminary 
Drive, Winona Lake, IN 46590 

Donald B. DeYoung 

Dept. of Physics, Grace College, 200 Seminary Drive, Winona 
Lake, IN 46590 

David S. Dockery 

1625 8th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11214 

W. Merwin Forbes 

Dept. of Biblical Studies, Grace College, 200 Seminary Drive, 
Winona Lake, IN 46590 

George M. Harton 

Dept. of Homiletics, Capital Bible Seminary, 6511 Princess 
Garden Parkway, Lanham, MD 20801 

Herman A. Hoyt 

President Emeritus, Grace Theological Seminary, 1201 Presi- 
dential Drive, Winona Lake, IN 46590 

Gerald L. Mattingly 

American Center of Oriental Research, P.O.B. 2470, Jebel 
Amman, Amman, Jordan 

Samuel J. Rogal 

Dept. of English, lUinois State University, Normal, IL 61761 

David L. Turner 

Dept. of New Testament Literature and Exegesis, Grace Theo- 
logical Seminary, 200 Seminary Drive, Winona Lake, IN 46590 

John C Whitcomb 

Dept. of Theology, Grace Theological Seminary, 200 Seminary 
Drive, Winona Lake, IN 46590 

Grace TheologicalJournal 4.2 (19S3) 163-171 


Herman A. Hoyt 

THE subject of this study is the purpose and program of prophecy 
and is suggested by three passages of Scripture. The first is 
recorded in Rev 4:1 1: "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and 
honor, and power; for Thou hast created all things; and for Thy 
pleasure they are and were created." Two others are from the book of 
Ephesians: Eph 1:11: "In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, 
being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all 
things after the counsel of his own will"; and Eph 3:11: "According 
to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord." 

The all-consuming purpose of God in the creation of the universe 
was to establish a kingdom in the earth where he could make a 
display of his glory in the person of his son. This public exhibition 
was made to creatures made in his own image and therefore capable 
of apprehending, appreciating, and applauding his glory. 

This eternal purpose centered in Christ Jesus our Lord, who 
eventually entered the stream of history as the incarnate Son of God. 
And this eternal God, forever the image of the invisible God, was at 
last to be brought within the grasp of men by becoming flesh and 
dwelling among them (John 1:14). "Being the brightness of his glory 
and the express image of his person, in whom are hidden all the 
treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Heb 1:3; Col 2:3), he would 
lead out and unfold like a teacher all the truth about God (John 1:14). 
From the beginning of creation this eternal purpose has been in the 
process of being realized. Historical and predictive prophecy are the 
record of this projected accomplishment. Historical prophecy marks 
out the program through the past and it also declares what is taking 
place in the present. Predictive prophecy points to the triumph that 
lies ahead. 

In this study I outline briefly the entire span of God's purpose 
and program, covering the scope of both historical and predictive 

*Dr. Hoyt is the President Emeritus of Grace Theological Seminary. This article 
was originally a sermon delivered in seminary chapel on January 20, 1983. 



At the outset of creation God placed the cherubim and the 
infolding fire in the Garden of Eden to display his glory among men. 
Gen 3:24 reads: "And God placed at the east of the Garden of Eden 
cherubims and a flaming sword which turned every way to keep the 
way of the tree of life." 

Thus, a representation of God appears in the very beginning of 
Scripture and centers in the infolding fire appearing between the 
cherubim at the east of Eden, guarding any approach to the tree of 
life. The Hebrew of Gen 3:24 seems to say that God caused the 
cherubim to dwell in this location. They are described in more detail 
in the first chapter of Ezekiel. Between the cherubim was an infolding 
fire shooting tongues of fire in every direction which was declared to 
be the appearance of the likeness of the glory of God (Ezek 1:4, 28). 

Revelation and communication of God with men is indicated by 
this declaration. By reference to the account of the tabernacle and the 
temple, it appears that God displayed something of his glory in the 
infolding fire appearing beneath the cherubim and above the mercy 
seat (cf. Exod 25:8, 22 with Ps 80:1). There God communicated with 
Adam and perhaps also with his seed, until the time of the flood (Gen 
3:8), though we have no information concerning how long this 
arrangement continued or when it was concluded. But it would 
appear that the antediluvian saints learned of God in this way. There 
Abel and Seth and Cain learned about sacrifice and offerings. And 
finally, Cain turned his back on it, and the Word says, "And Cain 
went out from the presence of the Lord" (Gen 4:1-15). 

But in addition to representation and revelation, there was also 
in this depiction not mere expulsion from the face of God, but also 
the method of approach to God. It contained the way of redemption 
back to God. This infolding fire was above the mercy seat, as 
described in Exod 25:18. It was here on the day of atonement that the 
blood was sprinkled and God met with men in redemption. All this 
pointed forward to that day when the Son of God would make 
propitiation, he himself being the place or mercy-seat where it was 
made, and he himself the propitiation (Lev 16:2). 


During the long period from the flood to Mount Sinai, God 
made repeated manifestations of his glory to the patriarchs. 

God manifested himself to Noah, and Noah found grace in the 
eyes of the Lord (Gen 6:8). Upon numerous occasions God communi- 
cated his will to Noah (Gen 6:13; 7:1; 8:15, 20; 9:8). At last he assured 
Noah that he would dwell in the tents of Shem (Gen 9:27). 

hoyt: the prophetic word 165 

To Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, God appeared upon numerous 
occasions and assured them that he would keep his covenant that he 
had made with them (Gen 50:24). He came to Abraham when he was 
in a deep sleep, and Abraham saw a smoking furnace and a burning 
lamp pass between the divided pieces of animals in the making of a 
covenant (Gen 15:1-18). Here God the Father and God the Son were 
sealing an unconditional covenant with Abraham. While in flight 
from Esau one night, Jacob had a dream in which God confirmed the 
covenant that he had made with Abraham. This had such a tremen- 
dous effect upon Jacob that he was convinced that he was in the 
house of God and had come to the very gate of heaven (Gen 28:10- 
22). On his return to his homeland, he met with the preincarnate 
Christ and wrestled with him until the break of day (Gen 32:24-32; 
Hos 12:4). 

To Joseph and to Moses and the children of Israel God exhibited 
his glory. He met Moses at the burning bush (Exod 3:1-6). Through 
Moses he declared to Israel, "Did ever people hear the voice of God 
speaking out of the midst of the fire, as thou hast heard, and live?" 
(Deut 4:33). The account goes on to say, "And the glory of the Lord 
abode upon Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the 
seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud. And 
the sight of the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire on the top of 
the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel" (Exod 24:16-17). 

god's glory in the tabernacle and temple 

At Sinai and for more than a thousand years thereafter, the glory 
of God dwelt in the tabernacle and the temple among the children of 

At Sinai Israel was organized into a kingdom with the tabernacle 
at the center. Moses followed divine instruction and under his leader- 
ship the work was finished (Exod 40:33). The Scriptures say that 
immediately "a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the 
glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to 
enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode 
thereon, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle" (Exod 40:34- 
35). For a thousand years this glory appearing above the mercy seat 
and between the cherubim was the rallying point of revelation and 
redemption in Israel. 

From Sinai to the land of promise, through the entire wilderness, 
the tabernacle was always at the center of the encampment of Israel. 
This nation was a theocracy. God was the one who ruled in Israel and 
Moses was his mouthpiece to the people, but at the center was the 
glory of the God of Israel. The Scriptures say, "When the cloud was 
taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward 


in all their journeys: But if the cloud were not taken up, then they 
journeyed not till the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of the 
Lord was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in 
the sight of all the house of Israel throughout all their journeys" 
(Exod 40:36-38). The children of Israel were exposed to this display 
of God's glory throughout those forty long years of wilderness 

Once the people came into the land, the glory of the Lord 
continued to abide in the tabernacle until the temple was erected. It 
was ever in its place over the ark of God above the mercy seat. It was 
this presence that encouraged the people of Israel in conflict with the 
enemy. Upon one occasion, when confronting the Philistines, the ark 
was taken by the enemy, and a woman giving birth to a child named 
him Ichabod, meaning "The glory of the Lord is departed from 
Israel" (1 Sam 4:21-22). The calamities that befell the Philistines, 
because of the presence of the ark, forced them to return it to the 
Israelites (1 Sam 6:21). Even though the glory of the Lord continued 
to dwell above the ark, first in the tabernacle and later in the temple, 
the deteriorating quality of dedication and devotion and the drift into 
wickedness on the part of the people at last led to the departure of 
this sacred and wonderful manifestation of the Lord. This event is 
depicted in the book of Ezekiel: "And the glory of the Lord departed 
from off the threshhold of the house . . . and went up from the midst 
of the city, and stood on the mountain which is on the east side of the 
city" (Ezek 10:18, 11:23). 

god's glory in the incarnation 

In the fullness of time, the glory of God made permanent 
dwelling in flesh and appeared temporarily on the earth among men. 

At this point God's eternal purpose came into focus. "The word 
became flesh and dwelt among us: and we beheld his glory, the glory 
as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 
1:14). The one "who is the image of the invisible God" (Col 1:15) — 
"For in him dwelleth all the fullness of God bodily" (Col 2:9) — came 
within the grasp of men. Until this time "no man had seen God at any 
time; the only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father, he 
hath led him out and unfolded him like a teacher" (John 1:18). 

By miracle of word and work, he manifested the glory of God 
(John 2:11). The beginning of miracles, signifying his identity, began 
in Cana of Galilee when he made the water blush and become wine 
(John 2:1-11). From a distance he healed a nobleman's son (John 
4:46-54). A man afflicted with an infirmity for thirty-eight years, so 
that he was rendered immobile, was made to walk by a word of 
authority (John 5:1-9). A teeming multitude of perhaps 15,000 people, 

hoyt: the prophetic word 167 

languishing for need of food, was fed from the paltry source of five 
loaves and two small fish (John 6:1-14). Twelve full baskets remained, 
a basket-full for every disciple. He walked away from this crowd 
which was clamoring to make him king, and he came to his disciples, 
treading upon the boisterous waves of the sea (John 6:15-21). A man 
blind from birth was given his sight (John 9). A beloved brother dead 
for four days was raised from the grave (John 11). And above and 
beyond all this, when he himself had been entombed for three days, 
he broke through a rock-hewn, sealed tomb, without so much as 
disturbing a molecule of stone or rearranging the graveclothes in 
which he had been laid to rest. In the course of his ministry, all of this 
was crowned by miracles of word which mystified and mortified the 
people and the officials of Israel. 

But the fullness of his glory was veiled. That glory which he had 
with the Father before the world was (John 17:5), was laid aside when 
he became flesh, not in the sense that he became anything less than 
God, or had given up any attribute of God — for he was still essentially 
God, possessing every attribute of God — but only in the sense that he 
gave up the independent exercise of those attributes. He emptied 
himself. He gave up his reputation and he took the form of a servant, 
so that he was completely under the direction of the Father. Every 
motion he performed, and every word he spoke was authorized and 
directed by the Father (John 5:36, 8:28, 12:49-50). Only those eyes 
that were touched by the Spirit of God were able to see God manifest 
in flesh. "He came unto his own, and his own received him not" 
(John 1:11). Nevertheless, here is the token that someday he will 
come again and establish that kingdom where his glory will be seen 
and acknowledged by all. 

god's glory in the church 

In the person of the Spirit, the Son of God manifested his glory 
in a new society of believers called the Church. 

The departure of Christ did not interrupt the purpose of God. It 
merely marked a transition to a new phase in the fulfillment of that 
purpose. With the coming of the Spirit on the day of pentecost, 
Christ took up his dwelling in that mystical body, the Church (John 
14:16-17, 16:7). Therefore, his going did not leave them orphans 
(John 14:18), for he would be living in them (John 14:19-20), and in 
this sense the triune God would make the Church an eternal habitation 
(John 14:21-23). This tabernacle would take its place finally in the 
eternal state to display subjectively the excellencies of God (Eph 2:7; 
Rev 21:3). Christ had already imparted to the Church the glory which 
the Father had given him, for he said, "the glory which thou gavest 
me, I have given them" (John 17:22). Believers have become epistles 


of Christ, written not with ink, but with the spirit of the living God, 
not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart (2 Cor 3:3). 
And so the Apostle Paul said, "Shall not the ministration of the spirit 
be with glory?" (2 Cor 3:8). "For we all, with unveiled face, beholding 
as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are being changed into the same 
image, from glory to glory, even as by the Lord, the Spirit" (2 Cor 

However, the glory of Christ as exhibited in the Church is not 
recognized by the world. The love that the Father has bestowed on 
believers, so that they are not only called but actually are the children 
of God, produces no positive response from the world. "The world 
knoweth us not, because it knew him not" (1 John 3:1). The gospel is 
hidden to those that are lost. The god of this world brings his own 
influence to bear on the minds of men, so that those who believe not 
are blinded, "lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the 
image of God, should shine unto them" (2 Cor 4:4). Even though the 
world does not recognize or appreciate the ministry of the Church in 
displaying the glory of Christ, believers are urged to work out their 
own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in 
them both to will and to do of his good pleasure. And it is still true 
that they shine as lights in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation 
(Phil 2:12-15). 

However, this glory of Christ as displayed in the church is 
recognized and received by the chosen of the Lord. "For God, who 
commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our 
hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the 
face of Jesus Christ" (2 Cor 4:6). Believers have not yet reached the 
point of perfection. "It does not yet appear what we shall be. But we 
know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see 
him as he is" (1 John 3:2). Believers are progressively being trans- 
formed into the same image, from one state of glory into another, so 
that at last the great work of Christ will be completed when we shall 
be conformed to the image of his Son (2 Cor 3:18; Rom 8:29). In this 
fact there is not only the display of the glory of God but also the 
method for reaching others who belong to the chosen of God but who 
have not yet made a profession of faith. Therefore, the Apostle Peter 
exhorts us "to show forth the praises of him who hath called us out of 
darkness into his marvelous light" (1 Pet 2:9). 

god's glory in the second coming 

At the second coming of Christ, the Son of God will come in his 
glory to sit upon the throne of his glory, and the whole earth will 
shine with his glory. This period will be ushered in by the coming of 
Christ in glory (Matt 24:27-30) as is often stated in the NT. This 

hoyt: the prophetic word 169 

means that there will be public exhibition of his divine attributes. His 
appearing will be sudden, instantaneous, catastrophic. His coming 
will be personal, visible, bodily, in power, and unexpected. Every eye 
shall see him (Rev. 1:7). Every tribe shall mourn (Matt 24:30). Every 
government shall crumble (Dan 2:34-35, 44). The Antichrist, then at 
the peak of his power, will be smitten with the sword of his almighty 
word and the armies under his direction shall be slain. Antichrist and 
the false prophet will be immediately cast into the lake of fire and 
Satan will be consigned to the bottomless pit for a thousand years. 

That period will continue with the exercise of authority from the 
throne of his glory (Matt 25:31). The throne signifies the area of 
authority and the authority will be the exercise of his attributes. The 
entire period will be characterized by the progressive subjugation of 
all enemies: "For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his 
feet" (1 Cor 15:25). To assist him, he will commit to the perfected 
spiritual nobility (the Church, the OT saints, and the tribulation 
martyrs) the responsibility of ruling and reigning with him (Rev 20:6, 
4; Dan 7:22). Politically, there will follow the judgment of living 
Israel (Ezek 20:33-38) and the Gentile nations (Matt 25:31-46). 
Saved Israel will enter the kingdom, and the rebels will suffer death. 
Saved Gentile nations will enter the kingdom, and the lost will be 
confined in Hades to await the great white throne judgment. Spiritu- 
ally, true worship will be restored and compelled. All nations will 
come to Jerusalem to worship the king, the Lord Jesus Christ (Zech 
14:16-19). Physically, there will be changes in the surface of the 
earth, and the curse will be partially lifted (Zech 14:4, 10; Isa 30:23- 
26; 32:13-15; 33:24; 35:5-6; 65:21-25; 11:6-8). 

The period concludes with the whole earth shining with his glory. 
You can read that statement in Ezek 43:2. The millennial temple is 
filled with the glory of the Lord in the person of the Lord Jesus 
Christ. The emanation of that glory, as it reaches the far corners of 
the earth, causes the whole earth to shine with his glory. There is no 
aspect or detail of life that is not touched by this sacred presence. The 
lifting of restrictions on conduct and the release of Satan from his 
prison at the end of the millennium develop into a final rebellion 
which is cut short by divine wrath and results in the death of all 
wicked men and the casting of Satan into the lake of fire forever (Rev 
20:7-10). Then comes the final discharge from the throne of God. It 
takes on all the awe-inspiring aspects of the holiness of God. There is 
no color to relieve the unrelenting whiteness of that throne. There 
final judgment is meted out upon all the wicked for their deeds (Rev 
20:1 1-15). The kingdom will have reached its completion and perfec- 
tion, and Christ will deliver it into the hands of the Father (1 Cor 
15:24-28). Reconstruction of the physical environment then prepares 
the way for the perfect kingdom (Rev 21:1). 

170 grace theological journal 

god's glory in the eternal state 

At last the supreme purpose of God will be realized when Christ 
is established as the temple and the center of illumination for the 
eternal state. Note four aspects of Christ's centrality. 

First, at the highest spiritual level, Christ will serve as the temple 
during the eternal state. Rev 21:22 says that there will be no temple, 
which is a way of saying that there will be no building, the inner 
sanctuary of which will provide a place for the image of God. Among 
pagan Gentile nations, they always placed in the inner sanctuary an 
image of their god. In Jerusalem it was the place where the Shekinah 
glory manifested itself above the mercy seat and beneath the wings of 
the cherubim. This glory was seen only by the high priest once a year. 
But now the sacred sanctuary will be the person of our Lord Jesus. 
Once the glory was hidden, now it will be public and open to the gaze 
of all the people of the kingdom, and this will elicit the most 
profound admiration, adoration, and adulation. Where in all the ages 
preceding, there was a disunity among men because they were unable 
to see the unity in that person whom they worshiped, now, at last, 
there will be a perfect unification of all men. They will be looking at 
the very God whom they worship. 

Second, at the highest level of experience, the glory of God in 
Christ will serve as the center of illumination for the new Jerusalem 
and its immediate surroundings (Rev 21:23). Even though the sun and 
the moon and the stars will continue to perform their functions, a 
new center of light will serve as a lamp for this city. The radiance 
streaming from the face of our blessed Lord and comprising the glory 
of God, will give light perpetually. This light will exceed that of the 
midday sun, or that of the reflected light of the moon, and will cause 
those luminaries to fade into insignificance. If perchance the laws of 
physics provide for this light to reach around the earth to every 
country and region, then all the inhabitants of the eternal state will 
bask in this supernatural radiance. But even if that were not so, at 
least all people shall see it, for they will make perpetual pilgrimage to 
the Holy City (Rev 21:24-26). 

Third, at the highest level of authority, the throne of God and of 
the Lamb will be the center of this kingdom (Rev 22:1, 3). From this 
point on there will be no question as to the place and source of 
authority. The grace of God in Christ will have brought all the 
inhabitants of the kingdom to their knees in willing servitude, and 
they will all serve him in worship in whatever aspect or area of 
occupation (Rev 22:3). It is not accidental that this throne is described 
as the throne of the Lamb. That turns the attention of every heart 
and mind back to Calvary. It was there that the highest and most 
important event of the eternities took place. It is that aspect of the 

hoyt: the prophetic word 171 

glory of God that confirmed the holiness of God and provided 
propitiation for every citizen in the everlasting kingdom of our Lord 
and Savior Jesus Christ. 

Fourth, at the highest level of apprehension, the inhabitants of 
this kingdom will see his face (Rev 22:4). The word "face" indicates 
that which confronts the eye. It is that portion of the anatomy that 
fascinates and transfixes the beholder. It is that aspect of being that is 
the index to all else in a person. It is that detail of Christ that not 
only provided progressive transformation during all the years prior to 
the eternal state (2 Cor 3:18), but it is also that detail that will 
confirm forever the fixation of divine nature so that his name and all 
it represents will appear in the foreheads of all his devotees. This 
qualifies them to rule and reign in whatever capacity he delegates to 
them (Rev 22:5). 


The grand sweep in the purpose of God will have then reached 
its final conclusion. It exceeds the wildest dreams of men. It reaches 
beyond anything that any saint can ask or think (Eph 3:20). "O the 
depths of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God. How 
unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out. . . . 
For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be 
glory for ever. Amen!" (Rom 1 1:33, 36). "Even so, come. Lord Jesus" 
(Rev 22:20). 

Grace neologicalJournal 4.2 (I9i3) 173- If 


James L. Boyer 

To conclude the series of studies on conditional sentences, some 
conditional elements which do not constitute complete conditional 
sentences or which present some irregularity or pecularity of form or 
meaning are considered. 


THERE is nothing inherently surprising or improper that in actual 
usage the recognized patterns for conditional sentences should 
sometimes become mixed. There are few of these, perhaps only three 
or four; each of these is doubtful to some degree. 

Luke 17:6 shows the first-class pattern in the protasis, ei with the 
present indicative. The apodosis is usually identified as a second-class 
pattern, dv with a secondary indicative, perhaps indicating that Jesus 
courteously avoided using the full second-class condition, which 
would have stated very harshly "If you had faith, which you haven't 
. . . ," then continued with the contrary-to-fact result. Although this is 
a plausible and possible explanation, the present writer prefers to 
consider this a simple first-class condition, stating a logical connec- 
tion between the protasis and apodosis without any indication of 
censure or praise. The imperfect indicative with dv then is understood 
as a potential indicative which states the result which might be 
expected to follow: "If you have faith you can expect impossible 

John 8:39 is another example in which a first-class protasis, ei 
with indicative, is mixed with a second-class apodosis using a second- 
ary indicative. The early textual tradition is somewhat confused, part 

'See James L. Boyer, "First-Class Conditions: What Do They Mean?" GTJ 1 
(1981) 74-114, "Second-Class Conditions in New Testament Greek," GTJ 3 (1982) 
81-88, "Third (and Fourth) Class Conditions," GTJ 3 (1982) 163-75. 

^See my discussion of this verse in "Second Class Conditions," 86-87. 


of it supporting a first-class apodosis. If the imperfect eTioieixe is 
accepted, with or without the particle av, it clearly is a second-class 
apodosis. In this instance the explanations suggested for the previous 
example will hardly work; a courteous softening of the rebuke can 
hardly be applicable in the Hght of the following verses, and the 
apodosis is not easily understood as a potential indicative. Rather, it 
seems better to understand that when Jesus said, "If you are 
Abraham's seed" (first-class), he was not rendering or implying a 
judgment of their spiritual relationship, but he was letting that 
judgment proceed from their own conscience when they compared 
their actions to those of their father. 

Acts 8:31 has edv with the future indicative in the protasis, which 
may be taken as a first-class condition since the mood is indicative, or 
as a third-class since the particle is kdv and since future indicatives 
frequently function as subjunctives in NT Greek. ^ On the other hand, 
the apodosis shows an optative verb with dv, which on the surface 
suggests a fourth-class condition. However, on second look the 
apodosis can also be a rhetorical question involving a potential 
optative ("How could I, if someone doesn't teach me?" — the obvious 
answer is "Of course I can't. . . ."). Thus it is a proper construction 
for a first-class condition. In view of the virtual non-existence of 
fourth-class conditions in NT Greek, the latter option is preferable. 

Acts 24:19 is a fourth-class protasis, ei with the optative, and 
possibly a second-class apodosis, a secondary indicative verb. The 
situation is complicated by the formal court setting (perhaps explain- 
ing the rare use of the optative) and the emotionally charged atmo- 
sphere (evidenced by the broken construction), as well as by the 
structure which makes the apodosis a subordinate clause of the 
sentence. This last factor makes the identification of the apodosis as 
contrary to fact uncertain; it could be the normal tense structure of 
the relative clause. 

Not to be cited as examples of mixed conditions are Acts 11:17 
and 1 Cor 7:28. Acts 11:17 is clearly a first-class condition with an 
apodosis in the form of a rhetorical question using a potential 
imperfect indicative. 1 Cor 7:28 (two examples) shows a future or 
third-class condition. The aorist in the apodosis is not improper, 
since it expresses the situation at that future time: "You will be in a 
position at that time of 'not having sinned.'" 

^Cf. A. T. Robertson, A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of 
Historical Research (Nashville: Broadman, 1934) 924-25; J. H. Moulton, A Grammar 
of New Testament Greek. Vol. 1: Prolegomena (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1906) 149. 
Another illustration of this ambivalence is the use of the future indicative in 'iva clauses 
(15 examples). 

"Cf. Boyer, "Third (and Fourth) Class Conditions." 

BOYER: other conditional elements in NT GREEK 175 

Also not to be considered as mixed conditions are those in- 
stances of two protases with one apodosis. Whether they are of the 
same (e.g., 1 Cor 9:11) or of different (e.g., John 13:17) classes, each 
part retains its own force. 


The almost universal pattern shows ei with an indicative verb 
and Mv with a subjunctive verb, but there are rare exceptions. UBS^-^^ 
shows four examples of ei with the subjunctive^ and four examples of 
t&v with the indicative. Several factors may contribute to this 
situation or help to understand it. 

(1) Historical evidence shows a changing idiom in the use of 
these particles. "The difference between ei and t&v is considerably 
lessened in the koivt^, though it must be remembered that fedtv was 
never confined to the subj. nor ei to the ind. and opt." 

(2) In almost every instance there is evidence of textual varia- 
tions. This is not surprising in the light of the changing patterns of 
usage during the period of manuscript production. 

(3) Many places where this confusion occurs, including two 
where the UBS text shows edv with the indicative, involve the future 
tense. Since the future indicative often functions as the equivalent of 
an aorist subjunctive (see n. 3) and at times is indistinguishable from 
it even in form, these examples should probably be classed as simple 
third-class conditions with edv and [the equivalent of] the subjunc- 

(4) In two of the examples of ei with the subjunctive the particle 
is not the simple ei (1 Cor 14:5 eKToq ei [ii]; 1 Thess 5:10 eixe . . . eite) 
and to have used fedv might have been awkward; neither cktoc; edv 
nor fedvxe ever occurs elsewhere in the NT. 

(5) The difference between the classes is determined, as Robertson 
has pointed out, "by the mode, not by ei or fedv." 

M Cor 14:5, Phil 3:12, 1 Thess 5:10, Rev 11:5. In addition there are at least two 
other passages (Luke 11:18, 1 Cor 9:11) where textual variants show the subjunctive 
after ei. Luke 9:13 probably is not an example, since the subjunctive seems to reflect a 
deliberative question in the compressed structure. There are examples where the form 
could be either indicative or subjunctive; in these the use of si would presume the 
indicative identification. 

*Luke 19:40, Acts 8:31, 1 Thess 3:8, 1 John 5:15. In addition there are another 
eight passages where textual variants show the indicative after ectv (Matt 18:19, Mark 
11:13, Luke 6:34, Rom 14:8, 1 Cor 4:15, Gal 1:8, Rev 2:5, 22). In those instances where 
the form is ambiguous, the use of ^ctv would presume the subjunctive identification. 

'Robertson, Grammar, 1009-10; cf. also N. Turner, A Grammar of New Testa- 
merit Greek, Vol. 3: Syntax (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1963) 107, 113, 115-16. 

*Ibid., 1007. 



Protasis Unexpressed 

Strictly speaking there are no "missing protases," since without a 
protasis a sentence simply is not a conditional sentence. Sentences in 
which a participle or an imperative or other structure functions 
semantically as a conditional element is discussed below under "Im- 
plied Protases." The special case of implied protases of fourth-class 
conditions is also discussed there. 

Apodosis Unexpressed 

There is nothing irregular or unusual in those many instances 
where the connective verb (8i|ii, yivo)iai) is not expressed. In con- 
ditional sentences this occurs about 33 times in the protasis and about 
48 times in the apodosis, including about 12 examples where it is 
missing in both. Neither does this section of our study include the 
approximately 22 instances where the verb to be supplied is the same 
verb already occurring or implied in the context (e.g., 1 Cor 9:17, 
"For if I do this willingly I have a reward; if [I do it] unwillingly, I 
have been entrusted with a stewardship"). Such abbreviated expres- 
sions are common in all types of sentences. 

However, there are about 12 instances in which the entire 
apodosis is omitted, or in which there is a protasis without an 
apodosis. Whether for deliberate dramatic effect or by an in-course 
change of sentence structure, the original construction is left uncom- 
pleted. Examples are: Luke 13:9, "and if it bears fruit ["that will be 
well; we've accompHshed our purpose; let it grow"], but if not . . ."; 
Luke 19:42, "If only you had known . . . [things might have been 
different]"; Acts 23:9, "We find nothing evil in this man; but if a spirit 
has spoken to him, or an angel, [we had better not take any 
chances!]"; and Rom 2:17-21, "If you call yourself a Jew . . . having 
the form of knowledge and truth in the law, you who teach another, 
don't you teach yourself?" 

In others, the unexpressed apodosis can be supplied by the 
context. In John 6:61, 62 Jesus says, "Does this offend you? [Would 
you not be offended even more] if you should see . . . ?" In Eph 4:29, 
Paul admonishes, "Let no evil word go forth out of your mouth; but 
if there is any good word [let it be spoken], in order that. ..." In 
2 Thess 2:3 Paul warns, "Let no one deceive you in any way; because 
[that situation (namely, that the Day of the Lord be present) cannot 
be true] if the apostasy does not come first. ..." 

Another type of ellipsis is found in a group of passages where the 
Hebrew idiom used an abbreviated form of the oath formula which 

BOYER: other conditional elements in NT GREEK 177 

only suggested the penalty involved. Thayer says, "Contrary to Greek 
usage, in imitation of the Hebrew DX, ei with the Indie, is so used in 
oaths and asseverations that by aposiopesis the formula of imprecation 
[constituting the apodosis] is suppressed."^ The NT passages involved 
are Mark 8:12, Heb 3:11, 4:4, 5 and possibly Heb 6:14.'° The 
unabbreviated form of the oath would be something like "may the 
Lord do . . . [something terrible] . . . , if . . . ," or "may I no longer be 
Jehovah, if. ..." Thus, the conditional clause becomes a strong, oath- 
supported assertion or denial. 

In some instances the conditional clause fits into a subordinate 
clause of a sentence in such a way that the full apodosis cannot be 
expressed (except perhaps by a parenthesis), but is implied in another 
part of the sentence. Two examples of a protasis without an explicit 
apodosis show the ei nr\ clause functioning as a dissimilar element in 
a series, as a paraphrastic descriptive identification of an additional 
item in the series. Thus they are practically the equivalent of a relative 
clause. The conditional element is there, but it identifies some hypo- 
thetical example of the class. In 1 Tim 1:10 Paul lists a long series of 
things for which the law is intended, and concludes the list, "and if 
there is anything else contrary to sound teaching [it is for them too]," 
or practically, "anything else which is contrary. ..." Similarly in Rev 
14:11 those who have no rest day and night are identified as "those 
who worship the beast . . . and anyone who (literally, 'and if anyone') 
receives the mark. ..." 

Two more examples express what seems to be an assumed 
situation. Perhaps a free paraphrase will help to bring out the sense 
of 2 Cor 5:2-3: "In the body we groan, looking forward to the 
heavenly dwelling with which we shall be clothed, if indeed, as I 
assume to be the case, when we put off this dwelling we shall be 
found not to be naked." Similarly in Eph 3:2, as Paul starts speaking 
of the mystery revealed to him, he assumes that his readers have 
already heard about it. In both these instances he uses the particle ye 
with ei, expressing confidence that the assumed situation is true. Note 
that this certainty is conveyed by the particle ye and by the context, 
not by his use of the first-class form of condition. 

'j. H. Thayer, A Greek Lexicon of the New Testament (New York: American, 
1899) 170. 

'"Three of these, Heb 3:11, 4:4, 5, are a direct quote from Ps 95:11 (Ps 94 LXX). 
Other OT examples of the abbreviated form are Gen 14:23, Num 14:30, 1 Sam 3:17, 
Jer 29:22. 

Mark 8:12 is precisely the same idiom, but does not involve an OT quotation. Heb 
6:14 involves a textual variant in both the NT quote and in the source passage in the 
LXX, Gen 22:17. If the reading adopted by the UBS^-'^ text is used, it is simply another 
example of this idiom. If the alternate reading is followed, the ^ [iT\v is a particle of 
confirmation or assertion common in Greek from earliest times. 


Ei firj = 'except' 

A special class of elliptical conditional clauses which occurs 
frequently and needs particular consideration involves the use of ei 
I^Ti in the sense of 'except.' It was common also in classical Greek and 
probably arose as an unconscious abbreviation of the conditional 
clause because its verb was the same as the main verb." It belongs to 
the first class or simple conditions. Its stereotyped form, in which ei 
\x.r\ becomes almost one word, accounts for the use of \xr\ as the 
negative particle, thus preserving the classical pattern where all 
protases used \ir\ as the negative, even though in Hellenistic Greek oC 
has become the negative for first-class conditions. The idiom ex- 
presses ". . . not a condition of fulfillment of which the apodosis is 
true or its action takes place, but a limitation of the principal 

The idiom shows three characteristic features. First, there is an 
ellipsis of the verb in the protasis which is supplied from the principal 
clause, often the same verb. Second, there is a negative comparison 
between the two clauses. And third, the protasis always follows the 

The idiom appears in three forms or patterns, differing in the 
way the negative comparison is expressed. 

Oi)5ei(; . . . ei jiTi . . . . The most characteristic form of the idiom, 
about 31 instances, uses the negative pronominal adjective ouSeic; or 
liTiSelc; (in the case appropriate to its function) in the apodosis, 
followed by a protasis introduced by ei \ii\, and names the exception 
(also in its appropriate grammatical form) with no verb stated. An 
illustration is Matt 17:8, . . . ouSeva eiSov ei \i'f\ auiov 'IriaoOv 
fiovov, "they saw no one except Jesus himself alone"; or in un- 
abbreviated form, "they saw no one if [they did] not [see] Jesus." 
Both ouSeva and 'Ir|aoOv are objects of the verb eiSov (expressed in 

"E. Burton, Syntax of the Moods and Tenses in New Testament Greek (Chicago: 
Chicago University, 1897) 111. 

'^Ibid., 111. 
There are a couple of apparent exceptions, but fuller consideration shows that 
they are not the same semantically. Several are negative second-class conditions (Matt 
24:22, Mark 13:20, John 9:33, 15:22, 24, 18:30, Rom 9:29) and thus not true examples 
of ei \ir\ = 'except' (see below). Several are cases of ei 5fe ^t], where the negative 
contrast has already been mentioned in the preceding context; the apodosis is actually 
missing. One (1 Cor 7:17) may be an instance where ei |iTi functions as an adversative 
conjunction (see below). The only instance which might be a valid exception is Mark 
8:14, but even here the lack of bread had been mentioned in the preceding clause. 

"Matt 5:13, 11:27 (first occurrence), 17:8, 21:19, 24:36, Mark 5:37, 6:5, 9:9, 29, 
10:18, 11:13, 13:32, Luke 4:26, 27, 10:22 (bis). 18:19, John 3:13, 14:6, 17:12, Acts 11:19. 
Rom 13:8, 14:14, 1 Cor 1:14, 2:11 (second occurrence), 8:4, 12:3, Phil 4:15, Rev 2:17, 
14:3, 19:12. 

BOYER: other conditional elements in NT GREEK 179 

the apodosis, omitted in the protasis) and are in the accusative case. 
The paralleUsm may be in sense rather than in form, as in Matt 5:13: 
"salt that has lost its saltiness ... etc; ouSev iaxuei exi ei [if\ ^Xr\Qev 
8^0) KaTaTtaxeioGai ... it is sufficient (fit for) nothing except [it is fit] 
to be trampled. . . ." Eiq ouSev is parallel with the infinitive 
KaTaTraieiaGai. The dissimilarity in form sometimes makes it appear 
that there is no ellipsis of the verb. In Mark 6:5 (ouk feSuvaxo eKei 
Tioifjaai ouSeniav 5uva^iv, ei |ir| dXiyoic, appwaToig eTtiGeiq ictc; 
Xetpag feGepdneuaev), eQep&nevcEV is not the verb of a clause intro- 
duced by ei [ir\; rather it is a clausal parallel to oOSefxiav Suvajiiv. 
The sense is "he was not able there to perform a single miracle except 
[the miracles in which] he healed a few." 

Ou (or ouSe) . . . ei nt] . . . This pattern closely resembles the 
first and is almost as frequent, about 30 instances. The specific 
ouSeic; is represented by a simple negative particle; the rest of the 
construction is the same. This pattern permits even more flexibility of 
expression. For example, in Mark 6:4 Jesus says, "a prophet is not 
without honor [anywhere] if [he is] not [without honor] in his own 

Tig . . . ei \ir\ . . . A third variation of this pattern, about 10 
examples, uses interrogative tig to introduce the apodosis as a 
rhetorical question, the obvious answer to which is "no one." Thus 
the expression is fully equivalent to the others. For illustration, in 
Mark 2:7 the scribes ask, "Who is able to forgive sins except [literally, 
'if not'] one, namely God?" Again dissimilarity in structural form of 
the items compared may seem to obscure the ellipsis of the verb. In 
2 Cor 12:13 the parallel to ti in the apodosis is the on ... 
KaTevdpKTiaa clause in the protasis: "In what respect were you 
treated worse than other churches, except [you were treated worse in 
respect] that (on) I did not burden you?" So also Eph 4:9 in 
expanded form becomes, "What is the meaning of the expression 'he 
ascended' except [its meaning is] that he descended. . . ?" 

El f^tj = 'instead, only' 

Included in the preceding category are a few examples which are 
not strictly exceptive. The ei |ni protasis does not name the only 

"Matt 11:27 (second occurrence), 12:4, 24, 39, 13:57, 14:17, 15:24, 16:4, Mark 
2:26, 6:4, 8, 8:14, Luke 6:4, 8:51, 11:29, 17:18, John 6:22, 46, 10:10, 13:10, 19:15, Rom 
13:1, 1 Cor 2:2, 10:13, 2 Cor 12:5, Gal 1:19, 6:14, Rev 9:4, 13:17, 21:27. 

Usually ou or its strengthened form ouSe. Where the grammatical structure of 
the apodosis calls for a subjunctive verb, the negative may be [ir\ or \ir\6E. 

"Mark 2:7, Luke 5:21, Rom 11:15, 1 Cor 2:11 (first occurrence), 2 Cor 2:2, 12:13, 
Eph 4:9, Heb 3:18, 1 John 2:22, 5:5. 


exception to the negation of the apodosis, but rather it names the 
only alternative to the apodosis. For example, in Rev 9:4 ei |if| xovc, 
dvGpwTcoix; does not name the exceptions among tov xopxov k.t.X. 
who were not hurt, but rather states another class who, in contrast, 
were to be hurt. Rev 21:27 tells who will not enter the holy city, then 
after ei fiii it describes a different group who will enter. So also 
probably Matt 12:4, unless we make the unlikely assumption that the 
priests mentioned were those who were present in David's company. 
There is no difference in the idiom used, and the difference in sense is 
so obvious that it is almost unnoticed. 

Ei //;/ = adversative conjunction 'but' 

It is readily admitted that ei \ir\ may often be translated 'but' or 
'but only' in EngUsh, particularly in those instances belonging to the 
last-mentioned category.'^ However, there is another group of 
examples in which there seems to be no eUipsis of the verb and ei [li] 
introduces a clause with its own verb, where the sense seems to call 
for an adversative conjunction, 'but.' Grammarians have debated 
whether ei jit^ is ever the equivalent of akXa; their claim is evaluated 
in the following examples. 

Rom 14:14: ol5a . . . oti ouSfev koivov 5i eauioO' ei |if| tw 
Xoyi^oiievQ) Ti Koivov elvai, eKeivw koivov. "I know . . . that nothing 
is unclean by itself; but to the one who considers anything to be 
unclean, to that one it is unclean." This manner of punctuating the 
verse makes good sense using the ei \xr\ as an adversative conjunction 
introducing another clause, but it ignores the obvious similarity to the 
simple exceptive formulas (ouSev . . . ei [ir\) which is common else- 
where. If we follow the lead of the idiom, the sense becomes, "I know 
that nothing is unclean except to the one who thinks it is. To him it is 
unclean." The sense is good, and any tautology involved in the last 
clause is not uncommon. 

1 Cor 7:17: Ei ^f\ feKdaio) 6iq t\itpioEV 6 Kupiot;, eKaaiov (bq 
KeK>.r|Kev 6 Geoc;, oCtcoc; TrepiTtaTeiTco. "But let each one walk in such 
manner as the Lord has apportioned to each, as God has called 

'*Gal 1:19 is a passage where the difference is of considerable importance, but the 
issue must be settled on other considerations than the meaning of ei [ii\. 

"For example, the NASB in all but three of this last group, translates by 'but.' 
Even in the first group 'but' is sometimes used, e.g., Matt 24:36. 

Cf. G. B. Winer, A Treatise on the Grammar of New Testament Greek 
(Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1870) 566; A. T. Robertson, Grammar, 1187; J. H. 
Moulton, Grammar, 291. In the lexicon, W. F. Arndt and F. W. Gingrich, A Greek- 
English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: 
University Press, 1957) 219 (section VI:8b) this meaning is listed with one passage 
(Gal 1:7) cited as an example, but with a cross-reference to a contrary explanation of 
that passage. 

BOYER: other conditional elements in NT GREEK 181 

each." The ei iit] stands at the beginning of a sentence and at the 
beginning of a paragraph. The adversative conjunction makes 
tolerable sense, and there is no apodosis with a negative comparison. 
The meaning 'except' seems totally out of the question. Conceivably 
we might take it as a case of extreme ellipsis of a negative first-class 
condition: "If (this does not happen [cf. v 16]) then let each walk. . . ." 

Gal 1:6-7: eiq Siepov euayyeXiov, 6 ouk eaxiv a^iXo' ei iit] xivtq 
eiaiv 01 Tapdaaovieg uiiag . . . "another gospel, which is not another; 
but there are some who are troubling you. ..." Again the meaning 
'except' is difficult and the adversative 'but' makes good sense. 
However, it is again possible to see here another case of extreme 
ellipsis of a negative first-class condition: ". . . not another [and I 
would not speak of it as such] if (it were not for the fact that) some 
are troubling you. ..." 

If such explanations seem extreme, they must be weighed against 
the fact that the adversative 'but' is otherwise unsupported for ei ^ti. 
Perhaps the stereotyped formula has evolved from 'except,' to 'but 
only,' then to 'but' as a full-fledged conjunction governing its own 
verb, but in the NT there are only these rare examples to support it. 

Ei iirj = negative second-class conditions 

Not all occurrences of ei |iti are exceptive; they may also be 
simply 'if not,' negative second-class condition. Of the 13 instances 
of ei \xr\ which could be negative second-class protases only one, 
Rom 7:7 (first occurrence), shows the three characteristic features of 
the ei jiii = 'except' idiom, and the sense is agreeable: "I would not 
have known sin except [I had known it] through law." Even here the 
negative sense 'if not' is appropriate. All the other instances are not 
elliptical and are not involved in this study. 

'Eav /itj = 'except '(?) 

The vast majority, if not all, of the occurrences of edv ^t^ are 
simply negative protases in third-class conditions and hence are not a 
part of this study. Mr\ is the normal negative, both from the historical 
pattern which used lari as the negative in all protases, and from the 
appropriateness of its contingent character to the subjunctive mood. 

For a similar problem with feotv |iTi see below. 

Negative first-class conditions in NT Greek use the negative particle ou except in 
the stereotyped formula ei ht] under consideration. For negative third-class conditions, 
see below. There are not negative fourth-class protases. 

"Matt 24:22, Mark 13:20, John 9:33, 15:22, 24, 18:30, 19:11, Acts 26:32, Rom 7:7 
(bis), 9:29. 


The question here raised is whether kav ^r\ is ever used in a 
third-class version of the idiom ei n^q = 'except.' The question is not 
whether ^dv pn] can be translated 'except.' It can, and is frequently 
translated this way in English version, for in English 'except' can 
mean simply 'if not.' But, does edv ]if\ ever occur in the exceptive 
sense of ei |iti? 

One of the characteristics of the exceptive idiom was seen to be 
the ellipsis of the verb in the protasis. This almost never happens with 
Mv iiT]. One apparent exception is John 5:19 where ovbtv edv [ir\ xi 
looks much like "nothing except something . . . ," but that would 
require a relative in place of, or in addition to, xi. It should rather be 
read, "the Son cannot do anything himself if he does not see the 
Father doing something," with no ellipsis of the verb. 

Mark 4:22 expresses either the intended purpose or the necessary 
outcome of hiding something. The form is in part like the ei [iY\ 
construction, but the sense is not. Perhaps it is a case where edv [ir\, 
like ei [ir\, can be considered an adversative conjunction (note the 
parallel akX in the next clause) but that gives a different sense. It 
seems easier to consider it a simple negative second-class condition: 
"There is no such thing as a hidden thing if it is not destined to be 

Mark 10:30 is another strange example of Mv \xr\. It is the 
opposite of 'except,' and states that it is always true without excep- 
tion: "There is no one who forsakes . . . , if he does not also 
receive. ..." 

A theologically important passage involving kav [ir\ is Gal 2:16: 
. . . ou SiKaioOxai dvOpconoc; th, epycov vonou edv ^f\ 5id Triaxeox; 
'Ir|aoC XpioxoO. It follows the exceptive pattern completely, yet it 
clearly is not the exceptive sense: "the only one who is justified by 
works is the one who is justified by faith." Rather it is the alternative 
sense: "no one is justified by works, but [the only one justified at all is 
justified] only by faith." 

Ei Se fit], ei Se /itfye 

The idiom ei 6e [Lr\ occurs 6 times^"* and the strengthened form ei 
5e jiTiye 8 times. In each case it is a compressed negative conditional 
clause; the verb of the protasis is left unexpressed but may be 
supplied from the preceding context. It is used to express an opposite 
alternative to the one in the preceding clause: "If you don't do that 
..." or "If that is not the case. ..." 'Otherwise' is a good English 

"Mark 2:21, 22; John 14:2, 11; Rev 2:5, 16. 

"Matt 6:1, 9:17; Luke 5:36, 37; 10:6; 13:9, 14:32, 2 Cor 11:16. The editions vary 
between |iTi ye (e.g., UBS^^^) and uriye (e.g., UBS^^^). 

BOYER: other conditional elements in NT GREEK 183 

It may seem strange, but the idiom is unchanged whether the 
preceding alternative is stated positively (8 times in the NT) or 
negatively (6 times). As an example of the positive, Rev 2:5 has 
"Remember . . . and repent . . . ei 5^ (ii] . . . but if [you do not do so] 
I will come. ..." An example of the negative alternative preceding is 
Matt 9:17: "They do not put new wine in old bottles . . . , ei Se fiiiye 
. . . , but if [they do not follow that course (of not putting)], the 
bottles are bursted," where we would have said, "But if they do. . . ." 
The translation 'otherwise' will fit either situation. 

Ei /iijzi 

This occurs 3 times in the NT. Its sense seems to be 'unless 
indeed' or 'unless perhaps.' Mrjii by itself occurs 14 times and is a 
negative interrogative particle used with questions expecting a nega- 
tive or doubtful answer. In Luke 9; 13 the interrogative idea gives 
good sense to the ei [ir\Ti construction and explains the use of a 
subjunctive verb. Taking it as a doubtfully stated deliberative ques- 
tion, the meaning is "We have no more than five loaves and two 
fishes, unless [el liTiii] — shall we go and buy. . . ?" The interrogative 
idea is not so easily applied to the other two examples except in the 
sense that there is an affinity between "doubtful" and "questionable." 

"Ektoq ei fifj 

'Ektoc; occurs once as a simple adverb, 4 times as an improper 
preposition governing the genitive case, and 3 times^^ it is combined 
with ei |iTi, apparently as a post-classical strengthening of the ei jiT] = 
'except' idiom. Its root meaning fits this sense well; 'outside of,' or 
'beside' suggests an alternative or an exception. 


This term is applied to those clauses which are expressed in 
English by adding '-ever' to the relative word: 'whoever,' 'whatever,' 
'whenever,' 'wherever.' The Greek idiom uses with the relative word 
the indefinite particle av or edv^* and the subjunctive mood of the 
verb. They are common in the Greek NT — about 320 examples. 

^*Luke 9:13; 1 Cor 7:5; 2 Cor 13:5. In 1 Cor 7:5 it is augmented by adding the 
particle av. 

"l Cor 14:5 with subjunctive verb following; 15:2 with indicative verb following; 
1 Tim 5:19 with verb to be supplied. 

^*The indefinite particle av is by far most frequent, about 238 times. 'Edv, which is 
a combination of the conditional ei with fiv, is used about 63 times. There are about 19 
instances where the subjunctive verb is used in such clauses without either of these 
particles. In Hellenistic Greek edv and dv, even fjv, where sometimes interchanged, so 
that either form could function for either the conditional or the indefinite sense. See 
n. 7 above. 


The propriety of including these constructions under a discussion 
of "other conditional elements" is suggested in two ways. First, there 
is the fact that they use the same basic formula as third-class 
conditional protases (fedv or dv with the subjunctive) which suggests a 
relationship between indefiniteness and supposition or condition. 
Second, there is the almost unanimous judgment of grammarians 
that such is the situation. There is not much difference in actual sense 
between 6c, dv, 'whoever,' and edv xic,, 'if anyone.' But this word of 
caution from A. T. Robertson is needed to avoid over-zealous appli- 
cation: "But after all, it is not a conditional sentence any more than 
the so-called causal, final consecutive relative clauses are really so. It 
is only by the context that one inferentially gets any of these ideas out 
of the relative." 


This category should not be confused with that discussed above 
under "elliptical conditions." By "elliptical" we refer to conditional 
sentences which have some part unexpressed but the conditional form 
of the sentence remains intact. By "implied conditions" we refer to 
sentences or elements which are not in form or fact conditional, but 
which are judged from context to imply a conditional sense. 

These are hard to deal with specifically. One cannot go through 
and count, for example, all the conditional participles in the NT; one 
must first study every participle in the NT, then decide which are 
adverbial, that is, are modifying the verb of the sentence in some way, 
then decide in what way it is affecting the verb (conditional is only 
one of many possibilities, and the decision is purely an interpretive 
one). Only then can one study conditional participles. The same is 
true of the other types to be mentioned in this section. Our present 
purpose will be served by illustrating from examples. 

All the grammars examined which dealt with this construction agreed that it was 
conditional. Following Goodwin's complex system of classifying conditional sentences 
based on time and particularity, many classical grammarians develop in detail this 
same scheme in analyzing the "conditional relative clauses." Many NT grammarians 
who do not follow that system still identify these indefinite relative clauses as forms of 
the third-class future condition. See W. W. Goodwin, Greek Grammar (Boston: Ginn, 
1930) 303-6; H. W. Smyth, A Greek Grammar (New York: American, 1916) 361; 
Robertson, Grammar, 961, 956; F. Blass and A. Debrunner, A Grammar of the New 
Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (trans, and rev. by R. Funk; Chicago: 
University of Chicago, 1961) 191-2; Burton, Moods and Tenses, 119; W. LaSor says, 
"A relative clause may be used to indicate contingency by the use of one of the 
conditional participles [sic particles] in conjunction with the relative pronoun. Such a 
relative clause is actually a type of conditional clause" (A Handbook of New Testament 
Greek [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1973], 2. 200). 

Robertson, Grammar, 961-2. 

BOYER: other conditional elements in NT GREEK 185 

Conditional Participles 

That participles do sometimes bear a conditional relationship to 
the governing verb is undoubted. In Matt 16:26 the conditional clause 
tav Tov K6o\io\ oXov KepStiari is paralleled in Luke 9:25 by the 
participial phrase KepSi^aaq xdv k6ohov 6Xov. Heb 2:3 literally says, 
"How shall we escape, having neglected. ..." The participle a\iz'k\\- 
aavieg could possibly mean "since we have neglected," but that does 
not fit the sense as well as "if we neglect." It is not necessary to 
multiply examples, but compare also Acts 15:29 (8iaTr]po0vT£(;), 
1 Cor 11:29 (5iaKpiv(ov), Gal 6:9 (eK^uofievoi), 1 Tim 4:4 (ka\i^av6- 

Conditional Imperatives 

This is more rare and less obvious, but a few cases seem clear. In 
John 2:19 Jesus said to the unbelieving Jews who were challenging 
him, Auaate tov vaov toutov Kai hv tpiaiv T^jaepaic; eyeipeic; auiov; 
"Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it." He was not 
commanding or requesting that they kill him, or even that they tear 
down the building. Rather, he was challenging them: "You do that 
and ni do this!" or "If you . . . , I will. . . ." So in Eph 4:26 it is 
difficult to understand "Be angry and sin not" as a command or even 
a permission, expecially in light of the context (see v 31). It is much 
easier to take it as a condition, "If you are angry, do not sin." 
Perhaps also this may apply to passages like Matt 7:7, Mark 1:17, 
11:24, James 4:7, although the ordinary imperative sense makes good 
sense. Even less likely is its use in Matt 19:21, Luke 7:7, John 14:16. 

Conditional Questions 

A couple of passages have been used to show that an independent 
interrogative sentence may function as the protasis of an implied 
condition. 1 Cor 7:21: "Were you called as a slave? Let it not be a 
concern to you" is understood to say, "If you were ... let it not. ..." 
James 5:13: "Is there anyone sick among you? Let him pray" becomes 
"If anyone is sick. ..." Such an expression is possible and permis- 
sible; whether it was actually so intended by the author is a matter of 
interpretive judgment or stylistic preference on the part of the reader, 
not a matter of grammar. 

Other grammatical structures may also be treated in this manner. 
In Mark 4:9 for example, the relative clause "He who has ears to 
hear, let him hear" may be called an implied conditional clause, since 
it may be understood as equivalent to "If anyone has ears . . ." 
particularly in the light of the parallel in v 23. Here also may be 
placed the so-called "conditional participle" in Heb 6:6. Since 


napaneadvxac, is one of a series of 5 participles governed by the article 
Tou^, it is adjectival and not circumstantial. Therefore, it is not an 
example of what is usually called a conditional participle/' As 
adjectival all 5 are most readily translated by a relative clause which 
itself may be conditional in character if the context suggests it: "It is 
impossible to renew to repentance those who do these five things." 
The statement seems to be speaking of a hypothetical situation rather 
than an actual instance. The sharp contrast with the four preceding 
descriptions (which are all favorable) with the last (which is drasti- 
cally unfavorable), serves to heighten the hypothetical nature of the 

Implied Protases of Fourth- Class Conditions 

A few of the optative verbs in the NT are called by some 
grammarians "potential optatives," and as such are sometimes de- 
scribed as apodoses of fourth-class conditional sentences with implied 
protases. Chamberlain lists 5 of these constructions: "These are the 
potential optative, practically the apodosis of an unexpressed 
protasis. "^^ Such terminology comes from grammarians of classical 
Greek, such as Goodwin," who says, "The optative with fiv expresses 
a future action as dependent on circumstances or conditions," and 

This optative is usually called potential, and corresponds generally to 
the English potential forms with may, can, might, could, would, 
etc. . . . The limiting condition is generally too indefinite to be dis- 
tinctly present to the mind, and can be expressed only by words like 
perhaps, possibly, or probably, or by such vague forms as "// he 
pleased, if he should try, if he could, if there should be an opportunity," 

In view of this admission that the implied condition is "generally too 
indefinite to be distinctly present to the mind" of the speaker, it seems 
better to recognize that the potential optative is a construction which 
stands alone without an implied protasis. All the NT examples are 
questions, either direct or indirect, except one. In none of them is 
there a clearly implied protasis. 


A special category of conditional sentences is marked by an 
adverbial use of Kai in association with the conditional conjunction, 

^'J. A. Sproule, "TtapaTteodviac; in Hebrews 6:6," GTJ 2 (1981) 327-32. 

W. D. Chamberlain, An Exegetkal Grammar of the Greek New Testament 
(Grand Rapids: Baker, 1941) 85. 

Goodwin, Grammar, 281. 

Acts 26:29. See Robertson, Grammar, 938, where he speaks of the construction 
as a "softened assertion." 

BOYER: other conditional elements in NT GREEK 187 

El or edv. These are called concessive. They are in no way distin- 
guished in form from other conditional sentences and are best 
thought of as a variety of them rather than as a separate classifica- 
tion. They have been included, though not called attention to, in the 
previous treatment of conditional sentences. 

When the Kai precedes the conditional conjunction (kqI ei or Kai 
edv) the sense is climactic, 'even if.' "The supposition is considered 
improbable . . . the truth of the principal sentence is stoutly affirmed 
in the face of this one exception. It is rhetorically an extreme case." 
The idea is ". . . improbable in itself, or especially unfavorable to the 
fulfillment of the apodosis."^^ An example is Gal 1:8, "But even if 
(Kai tdv) we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other 
than what we preached, let him be anathema. "^^ 

When Ktti follows the conditional conjunction (ei Kai or edv Kai) 
the sense is 'if also,' 'although,' 'even though.' "Here the protasis is 
treated as a matter of indifference . . . sometimes a note of contempt 
is in ei Kai."^^ The protasis is ". . . conceived of as actually fulfilled or 
likely to be fulfilled, "^° ". . . fulfilled in spite of the fulfillment of the 
protasis."'" An example is Col 2:5: "For although (ei Kai) I am 
absent in flesh, yet I am with you in spirit." This type is more 
common in the NT than the other. 

Conditional sentences may be concessive even without the Kai. 
For example. Matt 26:33 uses simply ei, where the parallel passage in 
Mark 14:29 has ei Kai. Also in Mark 14:31, edv is used where the 
parallel Matt 26:35 has Kctv [= Kai edv]. Other passages where the 
sense seems to be concessive without Kai are Rom 3:3, 9:27, 1 Cor 
4:15, 9:2. 

On the other hand, Kai in conjunction with ei or Mv most 
frequently"*^ does not involve the concessive idea at all. It may simply 
be a connective conjunction, 'and if,' as in the series of conditional 
sentences in 1 Cor 13:1-3: 'Edv . . . Kai edv . . . Kai kav . . . Kdv 

Burton, Moods and Tenses, 112, attempts to make a strong differentiation 
between the two, but then admits that sometimes "to make distinction between them is 

Robertson, Grammar, 1026. 

Burton, Moods and Tenses, 113. 

The passages so identified in this study are (1) first-class with Kai ei (2 
occurrences): I Cor 8:5, 1 Pet 3:1; (2) third-class, with Kai fedv or k&v (6 occurrences): 
Matt 26:35, Mark 16:18, John 8;14, 10:38, 11:25, Gal 1:8. 

Robertson, Grammar, 1026. 

Burton, Moods and Tenses, 113. 
"ibid., 112. 

The passages so identified are (1) first-class with ei Kai (16 occurrences): Mark 
14:29, Luke 11:8, 18:4, 1 Cor 7:21, 2 Cor 4:3, 16, 5:16, 7:8 (three fimes), 12, 11:6, 12:11, 
Phil 2:17, Col 2:5, Heb 6:9; (2) third-class with edv Kai (3 occurrences): 1 Cor 7:1 1, 28, 
Gal 6:1. 

66 times, as compared with 29 where Kai is concessive. 


[= Ktti edv]. Or the kqi may go with some specific word or part of the 
sentence, not with the protasis as a whole, as in 2 Cor 11:15 where 
Ktti goes with oi 5idKovoi auxoO and means 'also.' 

Concessive conditions are usually of the first class (21 times), 
also frequently of the third class (14 times). Kai ei appears three 
times with second-class conditions, only one of which could be 
concessive. The one possible example of a fourth-class condition, 
1 Pet 3:14, has ei Kai and is concessive in sense. 

""Heb 11:15. In the other two (Matt 24:22 and its parallel in Mark 13:20) the KOi 
must be taken as a simple continuative conjunction; the concessive 'even if cannot be 
the sense of the statement. 

Grace neologicalJournal 4.2 il9»3) 189-203 


David S. Dockery 

77i^ Sixteenth Century saw Martin Luther initiate a hermeneutical 
revolution which changed the course of human history. The Protestant 
Reformation would have been impossible apart from this change in 
hermeneutical theory. Since that day, Luther has been viewed by 
evangelicals and existentialists alike as their spiritual father. This arti- 
cle seeks to examine the claims of each group, as well to evaluate the 
hermeneutical principle on its own merits. The author also states the 
significance of Luther's christological principle for present day evan- 
gelical hermeneutics. 

MARTIN Luther is one of the greatest men that Germany has ever 
produced, as well as one of the most important figures in 
human history. In his religious experience and theological standpoint, 
he strongly resembles the Apostle Paul. It was said by Melanchthon, 
the one who knew him best, that he was the Elijah of Protestantism 
and he compared him closely to the Apostle of the Gentiles. Luther 
roused the Church from her slumber, broke the yoke of papal tyranny, 
rediscovered Christian freedom, reopened the fountain of God's Holy 
Word to all the people, and was responsible for directing many to 
Christ as their Lord. When one thinks of the Reformation, he or she 
quickly reflects upon the titanic force of Luther; the sovereign good 
sense of Zwingli; and the remorseless logic of Calvin — and of these 
three, the greatest was Martin Luther.' 

In the 16th century, Luther initiated and fostered a hermeneutical 
revolution which changed the course of history. The Protestant Refor- 
mation would have been impossible apart from this change in herme- 
neutics which was employed to interpret both the OT and the NT.^ In 

*This article is written in commemoration of the 500th anniversary of Luther's 

'F. W. Farrar, History of Interpretation (London: Macmillan, 1886) 323. 

^R. F. Surburg, "The Presuppositions of the Historical-Grammatical Method as 
Employed by Historic Lutheranism," The Springfielder 3S (March 1975)279. 


a very real sense, Luther is the father of Protestant interpretation^ 
and his influence is profound. 

The burning desire in the heart of Luther to get the Word of God 
into the hands of the people was so great that he not only translated 
the Bible into the language of the people, but laid down certain 
principles concerning its interpretation. 


The Principles of 1521 

The first of these early principles was the supreme and final 
authority of Scripture itself, apart from all ecclesiastical authority or 
interference. He recognized that to present the Church as the way to 
Christ instead of presenting Christ as the way to the Church is the 
fountain of innumerable errors. 

Second, he asserted not only the supreme authority of God's 
Word, but its sufficiency. Realizing that there was no unanimity 
among the Church Fathers except in the most basic doctrines, Luther 
preferred the Scriptures in contrast to the early writings of the Fathers. 

Luther was in agreement with all of the other Reformers on his 
third principle. This was to set aside the dreary fiction of the fourfold 
exegesis of the medieval period.'* He maintained that the historical/ 
literal sense alone is the essence of faith and Christian theology. Luther 
observed that heresies and errors originated not from the simple words 
of Scripture but primarily from the neglect of those words. 

His fourth principle logically followed his third. This principle 
was the total denial of allegory as a valid interpretational principle. 
He asserted that allegory must be avoided so that the interpreter does 
not wander in idle dreams.^ 

Fifth, Luther maintained the perspicuity of Scripture. This was 
his fundamental principle of exegesis. He revolted against anything 
which would distort the biblical picture of Christ.* 

Finally, Luther insisted with all his force, and almost for the first 
time in centuries, upon the absolutely indefensible right of private 

A. Skevington Wood, "Luther as an Interpreter of Scripture." Christianity Today 3 
(Nov 24, 1958)7. 

This fourfold system was the major hermeneutical method of medieval exegesis. 
Its four steps were literal, allegorical, moral, and anagogical. 

'As much as Luther disliked allegories, even going as far as to refer to them as 
harlots and the dirt of the earth, he was not always true to his rules, nor was he always 

*I. D. K. Siggins, Martin Luther's Doctrine of Christ (New Haven: Yale University, 
1970) 225. 

dockery: Luther's christological hermeneutics 191 

interpretation in accordance with the doctrine of the spiritual priest- 
hood of all believers, a doctrine lying at the base of Protestantism.^ 

772^ Principles of 1528 

In accordance with the principles listed above, Luther provided 
his readers in several of his writings with what he believed to be the 
true rules for the interpretation of Scripture. Farrar summarizes these 
principles as follows: 

He insisted (1) on the necessity for grammatical knowledge; (2) on the 
importance of taking into consideration times, circumstances, and con- 
ditions; (3) on the observance of the context; (4) on the need of faith 
and spiritual illumination; (5) on keeping what he called "the propor- 
tion of faith"; and (6) on the reference of all Scripture to Christ.* 

Of the first of these, nothing needs to be said except that principles 
four and five often led Luther into serious hermeneutical problems. 
The last of these principles, the references of all Scripture to Christ 
(often referred to as the "christological principle"), is the subject of 
this article. To Luther, the function of all interpretation was to find 
Christ. The best way to understand what Luther meant by this prin- 
ciple is to evaluate his use of this principle in his exegesis. In this 
essay, both the strengths and the weaknesses of this principle are 
considered. It is claimed by some that this principle led Luther to an 
existential hermeneutic and a limited view of inspiration. This claim 
will be examined. Finally, the principle will be viewed in its relation 
to the grammatical-historical method of interpretation as held by 
evangelicals of the present day.^ 

the christological principle in history 

Luther's interpretation of Scripture finds the christological prin- 
ciple at the center. It is primarily christological because Luther re- 
garded Christ as the heart of the Bible. For Luther, there was nothing 
to find in Scripture outside of Christ. Scripture must be interpreted 
to mean only that humanity is nothing and Christ is all.'° 

^Farrar, History of Interpretation, 325-30. 

*Ibid., 232. Also see R. F. Surburg, "The Significance of Luther's Hermeneutics 
for the Protestant Reformation," Concordia Theological Monthly 24 (April 1953) 241- 
61. For a combination of these two lists, see B. L. Ramm, Protestant Biblical Interpreta- 
tion (3d ed.; Grand Rapids: Baker, 1970) 53-57. 

'See the twenty-five articles of hermeneutical principles which were articulated at 
the International Conference on Biblical Inerrancy Summit II on Hermeneutics in 
Chicago, November, 1982, especially Article XV. 

'°Wood, "Luther as an Interpreter of Scripture," 9. 


Even before Luther's dramatic conversion as a professor at Witten- 
berg, his intepretations began in a radically christological fashion. He 
believed that Christ was the literal content and meaning of the Psalms. 
Not only was this his early method of interpretation, but he believed 
that from this point, one should move to a personal application of the 
christological content in one's own life." This method is quite similar 
to the moral principle of medieval exegesis. He gradually broke away 
from this principle, but it is possible that the foundation of his christo- 
logical principle had its beginning in the earlier years of his career.'^ 

Luther insisted that the correct use of Scripture is at once the 
plain sense and the sense which expounds Christ. He believed that 
there are not two senses of interpretation, but only one. This meant 
that he saw no difference between the christological principle and the 
grammatical-historical principle. The christological principle, accord- 
ing to Luther, was plainly stated by Scripture itself and is not an 
extra-biblical norm of interpretation.^^ 

Theoretically, everything proclaimed in the OT looks forward to 
its fulfillment in Christ. Along with this, everything in the NT looks 
back to the Old. Everything is connected with Christ and points to 
him. Siggins explains Luther's view saying, "the New Testament is 
not more than a revelation of the Old, while the Old Testament is a 
letter of Christ."''* The entirety of Scripture, if viewed properly, must 
lead to Christ. This is based on Christ's own words in the Gospel of 
John. "You diligently study the Scripture, because you think that by 
them you possess eternal life. Those are the Scriptures that testify 
about me" (John 5:39, NIV). 

The second way of stating this principle is not theoretical or 
exegetical, but practical or theological. The great weakness of alle- 
gorical exegesis, which Luther despised, was that it imposed a too 
uniform christological sense and thus obliterated the historical setting 
of the text. Although he certainly was not free from this method, it 
was the practical outworking of the christological principle which 
often led Luther into hermeneutical difficulties. Though this is true, 
no one was more aware of the danger than Luther. It is this danger 
which led to Luther's painstaking exegesis. The ways in which he 
relates the literal sense to Christ are, however, extremely flexible.'^ 
Luther could exercise great freedom and flexibility in his interpretation 

"j. S. Preus, "Luther on Christ and the Old Testament," Concordia Theological 
Monthly A3 (1972)490. 

'^See Gerhard Ebeling, "The New Hermeneutics and the Early Luther," Theology 
Today 21 (1964)34-46. 

"Siggins, Martin Luther's Doctrine of Christ, 17. 

"Ibid., 17. 

'^Ibid., 18. 

dockery: Luther's christological hermeneutics 193 

since for him the tension was between law and gospel and not between 
letter and spirit.'* Thus, his theoretical rules were better than the 
outworking of them.'^ 

The Weakness of the Christological Principle 

Practically, it may be concluded that Luther's rule is true; exe- 
getically, it leads to difficulties. It is an exegetical fraud to read devel- 
oped Christian dogmas in between the lines of Jewish narratives.'* 
This practical use may be morally edifying, but it has a tendency to 
veil the historical content of a passage. When Luther reads the trinity 
and the work of Christ into OT events which happened thousands of 
years before the incarnation of Jesus, he is adopting a method which 
had been rejected hundreds of years earlier by the School of Antioch." 
Luther criticized the Antioch School for its rigid stance just as he 
criticized allegorists for their opposite position. The Antiochians held 
to a typological rather than a christological interpretation. This meant 
that they saw shadowy anticipation of what was to come. This meant 
nothing to Luther. To him, the OT was not a figure of what would 
be, but a testimony to what always holds true between humankind 
and God.^° To Luther, allegory eradicated the historicity of the OT 
and typology annulled the historical presence of Christ in the OT.^' 
The weakness of the christological interpretation is that it veils the 
historicity of the OT. 

Luther's desire to see Christ everywhere in Scripture often led to 
a forced intepretation of the passage. Frequently he would read a NT 
meaning into an OT passage. ^^ It should be noted that Luther at- 
tempted to avoid such forced interpretations. In place of interpreta- 
tions which distort the text, Luther allows for two kinds of historical 

The first of these are texts which Luther often quotes when 
preaching. In these texts, the christological application is permitted 
where the details of the grammar or subject matter could refer to 
Christ. In the second kind, the text is sufficiently general to permit a 
valid application in various contexts. ^^ Although Luther attempted to 

'*M. Anderson, "Reformation Interpretation," Hermeneutics (ed. B. Ramm; Grand 
Rapids: Baker, 1971)84. 

''L. Berkhof, Principles of Biblical Interpretation (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1950) 26. 

'*Farrar, History of Interpretation, 333. 

"Ibid., 334. 

^°Preus, "Luther on Christ and the Old Testament," 493. 

^'H. Bornkamm, Luther and the Old Testament (ed. by V. I. Gruhn; Philadelphia: 
Fortress, 1966) 250. 

^^An example is given in the evaluation of Luther's interpretation of Psalm 117. 

^'Siggins, Martin Luther's Doctrine of Christ, 20. 


avoid forced interpretations, an examination of his OT commentaries 
shows that he was basically unsuccessful. Though he stated that he 
was willing to recognize only the historical or literal sense, and scorn- 
fully spoke of the allegorical interpretation, he did not avoid entirely 
the despised method. As a result, he was often guilty of forced exegesis. 

The Strength of the Christological Principle 

The christological principle, although admittedly prone to weak- 
nesses, has many strengths as well. Luther's christological interpreta- 
tion made him one of the most radical leaders of the Reformation. 
His attitude of critical independence caused him to be such a leader.^'* 
From a historical standpoint, blindness to salvation in Jesus Christ 
was alleviated through this principle. For him, it was Christ and his 
words which gave life that ultimately became the backbone of the 

The christological interpretation was the new element in Reforma- 
tion interpretation. It rendered obsolete the fourfold sense of medieval 
exegesis. In its place appeared the centrality of Christ and the proc- 
lamation of faith in him for eternal life. It is interesting to see Luther 
finding Christ as law and gospel, in the Scriptures. ^^ 

Although the results do not justify the means, it was this principle 
which drastically set Luther apart from Roman Catholic medieval 
exegesis. When viewed historically, the strengths of this principle have 
decidedly influenced the course of history in the past 400 years. 
Luther's greatest achievement in the field of biblical interpretation 
was his distrust of allegory and the fourfold method employed in the 
medieval period. ^^ This was primarily achieved through the outworking 
of his christological interpretive principle. 


Luther's christological approach is determinative for his whole 
hermeneutical program. ^^ It is with this in mind that Luther's herme- 
neutical principles are compared and contrasted to the hermeneutic of 
the existential school of theology, sometimes referred to as the "new 
hermeneutic." These theologians claim that Luther is the forerunner 
of their interpretive approach and it is fashionable to associate Luther 
with Bultmann and Bultmannian followers.^* 

^■"Farrar, History of Interpretation, 335. 

^'M. Anderson, "Reformation Interpretation," Hermeneutics, 85. 
^*Bornkamm, Luther and the Old Testament^ 249. 
''^Wood, "Luther as an Interpreter of Scripture," 9. 

^*For a survey and analysis of Bultmann, see R. C. Roberts, Rudolph Bultmann's 
Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1976). 

dockery: Luther's christological hermeneutics 195 

Its Relation to the New Hermeneutic 

The post Bultmannian advocates of the new hermeneutic^' have 
been especially vocal in claiming Luther as their spiritual father. These 
interpreters of Bultmann have consistently claimed that in him one 
can see unmistakably the outlines of Luther. The issue of Luther 
versus the new hermeneutic does not rest on his christological prin- 
ciple. The fact that Bultmann and Luther used this principle (and 
often over-used it) is not denied. But did this principle lead Luther to 
an existential hermeneutic? 

The basis for the claim that Luther is the father of the new 
hermeneutic comes from Luther's statement, "the Word of God, 
experienced in the heart, is the foundation of the doctrine of biblical 
inspiration."^" It may be granted that psychological or sociological 
conditions often led the sensitive Luther to an interest in certain 
passages of Holy Scripture, and on occasion his existential approach 
even colored his interpretation. But did his experience stand over his 
view of Scripture, which then became God's Word through his own 
experience, or did he believe that Scripture properly stood over his 
experience as an objective revelation proclaiming the truth of God?^' 

The Bultmannians claim that medieval exegesis is to Luther's 
exegesis as the grammatical-historical principle of orthodox herme- 
neutics is to an existential hermeneutic.^^ Thomas Parker agrees with 
this assessment: 

In contrast to Calvin, Luther's interpretations tend to be subjective, 
directed toward the individual believer; accordingly Luther's herme- 
neutical principles can lead to an extreme — to a subjectivism (as in 
Bultmann) which stresses the religious feeling or the existential dimen- 
sions of subjective faith over against the object of faith, thus loosing 

The best way to evaluate the claims that Luther's hermeneutic 
led to existential interpretation is to allow Luther to speak for himself. 
He answers the assessment in his statement at Worms: 

^'Although the hermeneutical school of "demythologization" is technically associ- 
ated with Bultmann, he also had a great influence on the "new hermeneutic" school as 
well. The fathers of the new hermeneutic are Ernst Fuchs and Gerhard Ebling. See 
A. Thiselton, "The New Hermeneutic," New Testament Interpretation (ed. I. H. Mar- 
shall; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1977) 308-33. 

'°J. T. Mueller, "Luther and the Bible," Inspiration and Interpretation (ed. J. F. 
Walvoord; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1957) 94. 

"j. W. Montgomery, In Defense of Luther (Milwaukee: Northwestern, 1970) 63. 

"See W. J. Kooiman, Luther and the Bible (trans. J. Schmidt; Philadelphia: 
Muhlenberg, 1961). This work presents Luther's hermeneutic. 

'^T. D. Parker, "The Interpretation of Scripture. A Comparison of Calvin and 
Luther on Galatians," Interpretation 17 (1963)68. 


Unless I am convinced by the testimonies of the Holy Scriptures or 
evident reason (for I believe in neither the Pope nor councils alone, 
since it has been established that they have often erred and contradicted 
themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures that I have adduced, and my 
conscience has been taken captive by the Word of God; and I am 
neither able nor willing to recant, since it is neither safe nor right to act 
against conscience. God help me. Amen.'"* 

This statement has been heard so often that its significance is 
often overlooked. Luther said his conscience or his existential life was 
taken captive by the Word. Not only here, but at all critical times in 
his career, his experience was in subjection to the Scriptures. This can 
be seen in all of Luther's great debates, whether with Erasmus, Zwingli 
or others. He always appeals, not to his experience but, to the objec- 
tivity of the Scriptures. In refuting the claims of the new hermeneutic, 
Montgomery diagrams Luther's true hermeneutic as follows: 

Instead of 

Medieval exegesis _ Orthodox hermeneutics 
Luther's exegesis Contemporary hermeneutics 

In reality it is 

Medieval exegesis _ Contemporary hermeneutics " 
Luther's exegesis Orthodox heremeneutics 

In contrast to the claims of Bultmann's followers, Luther's herme- 
neutic is the converse of their claim. It actually stands irreconcilably in 
opposition to the existential hermeneutic. Bultmannian exegesis is a 
repristination of the very approach to the Bible that Luther opposed 
throughout his exegetical career. Perhaps in the early career of the 
Reformer, the claims could be proven. However, the one thing that 
characterized the life of Luther as an interpreter was his victory over 
the fourfold medieval exegesis. 

In other words, the claims of the Bultmannians are invalid charges 
without an objective base. To understand Luther's approach to Scrip- 
ture, it must be remembered that the Reformer's mind was institutional 
and practical rather than academic and analytical. Mueller says, "This 
practical orientation had a large influence on his interpretation of 
Scripture, in which he saw from beginning to end, Christ and the 
divine revelation of salvation through Him whom he adored as the 
divine Savior of the World. "^* In addition to the assertions that 

'■"G. Rupp, Luther's Progress to the Diet of Worms (New York: Harper Torch 
Books, 1964)96. 

''Montgomery, In Defense of Martin Luther, 67. 
'^Mueller, "Luther and the Bible," 89. 

dockery: Luther's christological hermeneutics 197 

Luther's christological principle led to an existential hermeneutic, his 
christological approach to the Bible is supposed to have freed him 
from an orthodox view of inspiration. 

The christological principle has been accused of leading Luther 
to a limited view of inspiration. This charge, made primarily by exis- 
tential theologians, must be examined. It is the position of the Bult- 
mannian school that the Bible bears witness to Christ and it points to 
him. This is supposedly based on Luther's christological principle. 

Luther realized that Scripture is both human and divine. He 
would insist that just as the accepted doctrine of Christ's person 
requires us to believe in the two natures of our Lord without con- 
fusion, without mutation, without division, without separation, so the 
twofold nature of Scripture should be recognized in both its full 
humanity and its full divinity." The new hermeneuticians would agree 
that the Bible shares in the glory of the divinity of Christ and the 
lowliness of his humanity. However, this is where the comparison 

It has been said that Bultmann's interpreters see in him unmis- 
takable outlines of the shadow of Luther. For just as Luther saw the 
inadequacy of humanity's moral effects toward salvation, so Bultmann 
saw the inadequacy of humanity's intellectual efforts to justify itself 
by way of a verbally inspired Scripture. Bultmannians would posit 
that since the Scripture is a historical document written by men and, 
to that extent, also participates in the frailty of all that is human, it 
also contains the relativity of all that is historical. 

Although both Luther and Bultmann start with similar supposi- 
tions, their conclusions are extremely different. Luther, in contrast to 
Bultmann, presses the analogy between the incarnation and the nature 
of Scripture to its logical limit in what is called his christological 
approach. The human element of Scripture is no more impervious to 
error than was the human nature of Christ.^* But whether Luther's 
christological principle led him to a fallible view of the Bible is 
answered in the negative. On the contrary, the christological principle 
is derived on the basis of a verbally inspired text. In his lectures to 
Chicago Lutheran Seminary, Philip Watson states: 

Luther's Christological reading of the Old Testament is defended by 
noting that an entire play can properly be read in terms of its final act. 
This is quite true, but it should be stressed that Luther could legitimately 
do this because he was fully convinced that the entire Bible is the work 
of a single Playwright, whose perspicuous composition warrants such 
an interpretation." 

"Wood, "Luther as an Interpreter of Scripture," 9. 

^'Ibid., 8-9. 

"cited by Montgomery, In Defense of Luther, 75. 


It was Luther's conviction that wherever Scripture speaks, it 
speaks with absolute authority and clarity. '^^ Luther's belief in a reli- 
able text can be seen from the above statements. However, his question- 
able view of canonicity has led others to continually charge that 
Luther did not hold to a position of verbal inspiration. This position 
of canonicity is the result of his refusal to accept tradition and his 
view that Christ must be seen in all Scripture. It is true that for 
Luther, the sign of canonicity was a book's apostolicity and christol- 
ogy. It is also true that on the basis of the above qualifications, he 
had trouble accepting the book of James. Although the author of 
Hebrews is unkown, Luther readily accepted it because of its Christ- 
centered emphasis.'*' 

It is agreed that his christological principle opens doors for an 
attack against his view of inspiration. It must also be said that this 
view led to a mistaken understanding of canonicity, but it does not 
weaken his doctrine of inspiration. That Luther gave priority to certain 
sections of Scripture is not questioned, but it cannot be concluded 
from this practice that he held to a limited view of inspiration. 

Scripture was Luther's sole authority. His preface to the Epistle 
of James does not prove otherwise. Scripture remained Luther's sole 
authority to the end of his life. Regardless of the assertions from the 
Bultmannian circles, Luther seemingly considered even those parts of 
the Bible which do not concern salvation to be inspired. Luther 
believed in a verbal plenary view of Scripture, but not a mechanical 
dictation theory. Luther's christological principle is a hermeneutical 
principle and does not negate his orthodox view of inspiration."^ 


It has been previously stated that Luther insisted that the correct 
interpretation is the historical-grammatical sense. He said, "A text of 
Scripture has to be taken as it stands unless there are compelling 
reasons for taking it otherwise."'*^ Luther saw no difference in con- 
sistency between the grammatical-historical principle and the christo- 
logical principle. 

The grammatical-historical principle tries to take Scripture at its 
plain sense. Every word is to be taken in its primary, ordinary, literal 
meaning within the immediate context. According to Terry, "This 

""M. Luther, The Bondage of the Will (trans. J. \. Packer and O. R. Johnston; Old 
Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell, 1957) 192. 

■"For a good account, see D. Carter, "Luther as an Exegete," Concordia Theologi- 
cal Monthly 32 (1975) 517-25. Also see L. W. Spitz, Sr., "Luther's Sola Scriptura," 
Concordia Theological Monthly 31 (1960) 740-45. 

'^Mueller, "Luther and the Bible," 102-3. 

•"M. Luther, Luther's Works (ed. J. Pelikan; St. Louis: Concordia, 1955), 1. 126. 

dockery: Luther's christological hermeneutics 199 

principle is the one which most fully commends itself to the judgment 
and to the conscience of Christian Scholars. ... Its fundamental prin- 
ciple is to gather from Scripture itself the precise meaning which the 
writers intended to convey."'*" 

It is in relation to the above guidelines that Luther's use of the 
christological principle will be examined. He made such comprehensive 
use of the christological principle in his exegesis that it is difficult to 
decide which passage to consider. Many passages could be cited, but 
for the purposes of this paper, only one passage will be examined. 

Exegesis of Psalm 117 

Psalm 1 17 is a short and simple psalm. It is a particularly suitable 
example because the psalm almost provides a NT interpretation for 
Luther's exegesis without a forced interpretation. The psalm reads: 

Praise the Lord, all you heathen! 
Extol Him, all you peoples! 
For His steadfast love 

and faithfulness toward us prevails forever. 

Luther breaks the psalm into four parts: a prophecy, a revelation, 
a doctrine, and an admonition. 

The prophecy is the promise of the gospel and of the kingdom of 
Christ, for if the heathen are called to proclaim God's praise, he must 
first have become their God. He must first be preached to them, and 
all idolatry must have been overcome through God's Word for them 
to believe in Him."^ "Now see what an uproar this little Psalm caused 
in the whole world, how it raved and raged among the idols. ""^ 

The revelation concerns the kingdom of Christ. It will be a 
spiritual, heavenly one, and not a temporal, earthly kingdom, for the 
psalmist lets the heathen remain where they are and does not call 
them together in Jerusalem. Thus the law of Moses is mightily nullified 
and something higher is commanded. The command is to praise God 
in all of the nations. For this to happen, God must have let himself be 
heard in all the world. "And where is there a God whose Word has 
sounded so far into all the world ... as the gospel of Christ?""* 

•"•M. S. Terry, Biblical Hermeneutics (New York: Phillips and Hunt, 1883) 173. 
Also see E. D. Hirsch, Validity in Interpretation (New Haven: Yale, 1967). 
■"Luther's translation {Luther's Works, 14. 3). 
■"^Bornkamm, Luther and the Old Testament, 99. 
"'Luther, Luther's Works, 14. 10. 
"^Ibid., 18. 


The doctrine is that people can stand before God only in faith, 
for his goodness, his free grace, reigns over us and thus nullifies all of 
our own holiness under Jewish law, mass, monastic life, and good 
works. "Reigns over us" is in the mouth of the royal Psalmist, teaching 
how Jews and the heathen become one single people of God in faith, 
and the old law is completely annulled. Faith must grant the devil one 
small hour of divinity, and let him ascribe to our God devilhood. But 
this is not the final story. The last word is "His faithfulness and truth 
endure forever."'*' 

The admonition is an instruction concerning service to the Lord. 
It urges praise and thanksgiving. "The sacrifices of the old covenant 
are overcome as much as the mass, the monastic vows, pilgrimages, 
and the cult of the saints with which one wants to bargain and 
horsetrade with God."*'' "Whatever is not based solely on Christ the 
cornerstone but on one's piety or pious work does not endure."^' 

Luther has taken this small psalm and brought the brilliance of 
the gospel out of it. It may be better to say that he has read the gospel 
message into the psalm. Not only has he read a NT rendering into the 
psalm, but also attacks on the papacy, the monastic system, and what 
he refers to as "the cult of the saints." Luther has clearly presupposed 
his meaning into this psalm. There is no question that the interpreta- 
tion is consistent with his preaching and his Reformation teachings. 
However, it is difficult to see how this interpretation could be derived 
from and be consistent with the grammatical-historical method. Even 
though the interpretation may move and stimulate one to Christ, it 
must be maintained that it is inconsistent with the grammatical- 
historical principle. It is very difficult to fault Luther, but he is guilty 
of the problem which has beset many interpreters: weighting the text 
to one's present situation and thus veiling its historical context. It is 
important to see that Luther did see the two horizons of Scripture." 
The interpreter must go to the historical context and back again,^"* 
but Luther often deemphasized the historical context. 

Another example of Luther's christological interpretation is his 
understanding of the work of Moses. The essential secret work of 
Moses, if understood in faith, is leading men to Christ. He viewed the 
office of Moses as one which was to terrify sinners and, in an obscure 
way, to indicate redemption. The purpose of this was to humble the 
proud and console the humble.^"* Bornkamm explains this view saying, 

''ibid., 32. 

'"Ibid., 34. 

"Ibid., 37. 

"See A. Thiselton, Two Horizons (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980). 

"C. H. Dodd, There and Back Again (London: Hodder, 1932). 

''*Luther, Luther's Works, 13. 79. 


This is the exact opposite of God or Christ who needs the alien righ- 
teousness of wrath in accomplishing his own work, grace. Thus the 
office of Moses has a secret Christocentric meaning. It means that by 
driving man to the end of all his own possibilities, the office of Moses 
proves to him the impossibility of reaching God in this way and thus 
abrogates itself." 

Thus, according to Luther, Moses knew of the gospel. He recog- 
nized his office as one of leading men to Christ. In a certain sense, 
this may be correct, but historically it is doubtful that Moses knew 
the gospel or understood the work of Christ even though he knew the 
promise. Again it seems that Luther has avoided the historical event 
by reading the NT into the OT. There are many examples which 
could show that Luther veiled the historical interpretation, but went a 
step further to find Christ in the passage. 

According to Luther, all the promises of the OT find their ulti- 
mate fulfillment in Jesus Christ." Luther's whole point simply is that 
in the interpretation of God's Word, the christological principle rules — 
everything must serve the central truth concerning the meritorious 
work of God's Son." 

Preus comments. 

It is because of this that for Luther the hermeneutical divide was 
between the testaments. He saw no theological or spiritual help from 
the Old Testament without reading the New Testament and Christ into 
it. It seemed never to occur to Luther that all of the promises, laws and 
prophesies were not to Christ but to the people of Israel. His intensity 
in his hermeneutics to make Christ the text apparently blinded him 
from the historical significance of the Old Testament.'^ 

For Luther, the cultural-historical setting of the OT was not 
necessary. He made an immediate direct and personal response to the 
OT world. He transferred the experiences of the OT into his own 
experience and cultural setting. The settings gave him valuable exam- 
ples for his admonitions and exhortations. 

The promises of the OT provided Luther with what he needed to 
bring his religion into experience or to transfer the theoretical to the 
practical. Granted the OT is full of life experiences, they must be read 
and interpreted in light of their cultural-historical background. ^^ 

"Bornkamm, Luther and the Old Testament, 148-49. 

"Surburg, "The Presuppositions of the Historical-Grammatical Method as Em- 
ployed by Lutheranism," 285. 

"E. F. Klug, From Luther to Chemnitz (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1971)49. 

^*J. S. Preus, From Shadow to Promise (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of 
Harvard University Press, 1969) 246. 

''Bornkamm, Luther and the Old Testament, 11-45. 


In response to the objection that Luther's christological interpreta- 
tion was making a text something not originally intended by the 
author, Luther would reply that the NT fulfillment of the OT promise 
is a part of the larger historical context of the OT passages. This is 
because God, the author of all biblical books, can set forth what the 
true intended meaning of the OT passage was by means of the NT/° 
Thus he foreshadows the canonical approach to hermeneutics.^' 

The basis for this response comes from Christ's own words on 
the way to Emmaus after his resurrection: 

O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have 
spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and 
to enter into His glory? And beginning with Moses and with all the 
prophets. He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all 
the Scripture (Luke 24:25-27, NASB). 

Surburg states, 

When Luther finds Christ in the Old Testament he is not allegorizing 
as some might contend, but merely reading the Old Testament in the 
light of the New. In doing this he finds a deeper meaning than an 
exegete who ignores the New Testament.*^ 

Even though Luther's practice was not always consistent with his 
rules of interpretation, his attitudes and goals are admirable. In 
Luther's interpretation (as in other areas of his life), he consistently 
sought to magnify the Lord Jesus Christ. However, it must be con- 
cluded that the christological principle is a theological principle that 
accompanies the grammatical-historical method of interpretation and 
therefore the two are not completely inconsistent. 

Its Significance to Present Day Evangelical Hermeneutics 

Article III of the International Conference on Biblical Inerrancy 
hermeneutical principle states that "the person and works of Jesus 
Christ are the central focus of the entire Bible. "^^ For the contem- 
porary evangelical exegete, the validity of the christological principle 
must be questioned. 

^''Surburg, "The Presuppositions of the Historical-Grammatical Method as Em- 
ployed by Historic Lutheranism," 285. 

*'See C. Wood, The Formation of Christian Understanding (Philadelphia: West- 
minster, 1981)82. The view is also advocated by Childs, Sanders, and Waltke. 


^^'international Conference on Biblical Inerrancy Summit II: Hermeneutic Arti- 
cles" (Chicago: 1982). 

dockery: Luther's christological hermeneutics 203 

The christological principle is valid for today's interpreter as a 
canonical or theological principle. It is a second step beyond the 
grammatical-historical method. Thus it is proper to make christo- 
logical interpretations regarding the experiences, promises, and prophe- 
sies of the OT. There is great spiritual insight to be gained from 
making this type of theological application. In doing so, one must 
remember not to divorce a passage from its cultic and historical 
background. A valid canonical interpretation will not stop at the 
grammatical-historical step but will seek the canonical and christo- 
logical sense of the passage. With this in mind it can be concluded 
that the christological principle is valid as a theological principle of 
interpretation for evangelical exegetes and theologians. 

Grace TheologicalJournal 4.2 (1983) 205-231 

DANIEL 11:36-45 

George M. Harton 

Dan 11:36-45 reveals the path to power of the Antichrist at the 
mid-point of the Tribulation period, when he initiates a new policy of 
aggression (11:36-39). Once he defeats the Arab and Soviet armies 
which attempt to stop him (11:40-45), he will inaugurate the eschato- 
logical climax of persecution against Israel which has been Israel's lot 
throughout the times of the Gentiles (12:1). 

RECENT events in the Middle East are attracting great interest. 
Christians especially are challenged to correlate these events with 
their understanding of biblical prophecy and to seize upon opportuni- 
ties to witness for Christ while conversing about the Middle East. 

One significant passage predicting events "at the end time" in 
"the Beautiful Land" and at "the beautiful Holy Mountain"^ is Dan 
1 1:36-45. Who is this "King of the North" (1 1:40)? Who is this king 
who "will do as he pleases" (11:36)? A Christian's witness for Christ 
concerning prophetic matters could backfire if his positions are based 
on anything but careful exegesis of the pertinent passages. Daniel 1 1 
must be examined with special care in light of its difficulty.^ 

This study will first examine the context of this passage, then will 
address four crucial questions which determine the interpretive frame- 
work, and finally will provide a condensed commentary relating the 
particulars of the passage to the framework established. 

CONTEXT OF DAN 11:36-45 

Context of the book 

Daniel had been carried away captive with other Hebrews into 
pagan Babylon. Was Nebuchadnezzar more powerful than yhwh? 

'Dan 11:40, 41, 45. All quotations are from the NASB unless otherwise noted. 
^"Daniel 11 is no doubt the most difficult chapter of Daniel's prophecy." Donald 
Campbell, Daniel: Decoder of Dreams (Wheaton: Victor, 1977) 32. 


Could YHWH provide for their needs outside of the land of promise? 
God's purpose in giving this revelation through Daniel appears to 
have been to reassure all that he was totally in control of the affairs 
of his chosen people Israel and of the affairs of the whole world 
as well. 

Dan 11:36-45 traces the efforts of several Gentile kings to 
establish themselves as world rulers. Israel appears to be caught in the 
middle of these conflicts as the pre-eminent battleground, and all of 
this leads to "a time of distress such as never occurred since there was 
a nation until that time" (12:1). Thus, this section describes the 
climax of the persecution at the hands of a Gentile power like what 
Israel was experiencing in Daniel's day. The issue at stake involves a 
demonstration that God rules in spite of appearances, and the second 
half of the book was given in Hebrew to communicate especially to 
the nation of Israel God's plan and protection for them. 

Context of the Section (10:1-12:13) 

The message of God's rule over Israel (chaps. 8-12, written in 
Hebrew) consists of the vision of the ram and the he-goat received by 
Daniel in the third year of the reign of Belshazzar (chap. 8), the 
prayer of Daniel and the angelic revelation of the seventy weeks in 
the first year of Darius (chap. 9), and the vision received in the third 
year of Cyrus, king of Persia (chaps. 10-12). This last chronological 
identification (10:1) helps to indicate clearly that the final three 
chapters comprise a single unit. The point of this final vision is to 
project, for Israel, the future history of the nations as they move 
toward the consummation of history. The vision was given to Daniel 
toward the beginning of the Persian empire. Thus, Israel's problem of 
being under Gentile dominion did not stop with the fall of Babylon. 
Instead, the vision reveals that Israel would be under the dominion of 
Persia, Greece, and then Rome, until her ultimate deliverance through 
Messiah. This section may be outlined as follows: 


I. The Prologue 10:1-21 

II. The Vision 11:1-12:3 

A. Introduction (1) 

B. Persian Rule (2) 

C. Greek Rule (3-35) 

1. Alexander the Great (3-4) 

2. Seleucids and the Ptolemies (5-20) 

3. Antiochus Epiphanes (21-35) 

harton: interpretation of daniel 11:36-45 207 

D. Roman Rule (11:36- 1 2: la) 

1. The Power of the final Roman King (11:36-45) 

2. The Persecution of the Saints (1 2: la) 

E. Messianic Rule (12:lb-3) 

1. The Rescue of Israel (12:1b) 

2. The Resurrections (12:2) 

3. The Reward of the Righteous (12:3) 

III. The Epilogue 12:4-13 

Most agree that the chapter division, which isolates 12:1-3 from 
the rest of chap. 1 1 with which it structurally belongs, is poorly 
placed. The vision, running from 11:1 through 12:3, forms the heart 
of the section, and it reveals once more the same progression of world 
rulers as had been previously revealed in chap. 2 in Nebuchadnezzar's 
dream and in chap. 7 in the vision of the four beasts followed by the 
Son of Man. Persia (11:2) and Greece (11:2) are explicitly named. 
The consummative nature of resurrection and final judgment (12:2) 
imply the arrival of the smiting stone. If Daniel is to be consistent 
with his previous revelation on the progression of world rulers, one 
would expect the Roman Empire to appear between the Greek 
Empire and the Messianic reign. 

The focus, in fact, in the section is upon the climax of the "times 
of the Gentiles." Such a large proportion of material was devoted to 
the career of Antiochus Epiphanes (11:21-35) because he was recog- 
nized to be a type of the final "man of sin" and persecutor of the 
Jews, Antichrist. Then in v 36, the focus shifts from the type to the 
antitype himself. Dan 1 1:36-45 reveals the power of this "wilful king" 
and 12:1a the climactic persecution that he unleashes against God's 
"people." But in this final hour, when the worst pressure possible is 
put upon Israel by Antichrist himself, Israel is rescued (12:1b)! God 
rules indeed! Thus, the final verses of Daniel 11 reveal the final 
enemy of Israel immediately preceding her final deliverance by the 


Climactic power and persecution is concentrated in Antichrist 
and prepares the way for Israel's climactic deliverance and Messianic 

CRUCIAL questions ABOUT DAN 11:36-45 

Many of the descriptive phrases in this passage are general or 
ambiguous enough to be adaptable to different people at different 
times. For example. Otto Zockler adapts these phrases to a description 


of Antiochus Epiphanes.^ Thomas Robinson, by contrast, applies the 
phrases to a continuing description of the Papacy of Rome/ 

First, the crucial questions that establish the framework of the 
interpretation will be addressed before a verse by verse analysis of the 
entire passage will be attempted. The four crucial questions that 
establish the framework of Dan 11:36-45 are: (1) What is the 
temporal setting of the passage? (2) What is the identity of the "wilful 
king"? (3) What is the identity of the King of the North? and (4) What 
is the identity of the "attacker" in 11:40-45? 

The Temporal Setting of 11:36-45. 

1. Proposal: The events described here will take place during the 
Great Tribulation. The temporal setting is eschatological. 

2. Proofs: 

a. Dan 12:1 "Now at that time. " The end of chap. 1 1 is tied to 
the eschatological events presented in 12:1-3 by the chronological 
description "at that time." Robert Culver clearly sets forth the 
determinative nature of this textual identification: 

There is small doubt in the minds of any except a very few that the 
first portion of chapter 12 is prophecy concerning "last things" — in the 
theological nomenclature, "eschatology." Events connected with the 
resurrection of the dead and final rewards and punishments can hardly 
be otherwise. 

If there were a clean break in thought between chapters 1 1 and 12 
it might be possible to say that all of the previous section of the 
prophecy relates to events of now past history. But such a break does 
not exist. Rather, a chronological connection is clearly provided be- 
tween the last of chapter 1 1 and the first of chapter 12 by the opening 
words of chapter 12. Referring to the destruction of a certain king 
whose career is predicted in the last part of chapter 11, chapter 12 
opens thus: "And at that time shall Michael stand up," etc. Thus a 
clear connection with the eschatological prediction of chapter 12 is 
established for the last portion, at least, of chapter 11.^ 

b. Dan 11:35, 36 "until the end time." The transition to the 
eschatological period is marked at v 35 when it is indicated that the 
"people who know their God" (cf. v 32) will continue to undergo 
suffering and persecution "until the end time; because it is still to 

'Otto Zdckler, "The Book of the Prophet Daniel," in Lange's Commentary on the 
Holy Scriptures, ed. John Peter Lange (Reprint; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1960) 

"Thomas Robinson, "Homiletical Commentary on the Book of Daniel," The 
Preacher's Homiletic Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1974) 246ff. 

^Robert D. Culver, Daniel and the Latter Days (Chicago: Moody, 1954) 163. 

harton: interpretation of daniel 11:36-45 209 

come at the appointed time." V 36 then opens with the phrase, "Then 
the king will do as he pleases." In other words, v 35 appears to 
summarize the continuation of the established pattern of the suffering 
of Israel during the "times of the Gentiles" "until the end time." Then 
in V 36 Daniel records the first revelation in this vision concerning 
this appointed end time. Gaebelein summarizes this conclusion: "Be- 
tween verse 35 and 36 we must put a long, unreckoned period of 

c. Dan 10:14 "in the latter days. " The angel giving the vision to 
Daniel explained that he had come to give Daniel "An understanding 
of what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision 
pertains to the days yet future" (10:14). This introduces a breadth of 
scope for the vision that may be expected to include something of the 
Messianic age and the final events of human history. But if 11:36- 
12:3 is not viewed as being eschatological, then the angel was misin- 
formed, for nowhere else in the vision are the latter days in view.^ 

3. Supporting Arguments: 

a. The events of 11:36-45 do not fit Antiochus Epiphanes. The 
leading alternative to the view that the temporal setting of this 
passage is eschatological is that it is a continued description of the 
career of Antiochus Epiphanes (cf. 11:21-35). The pagan historian 
Porphyry is usually cited in order to justify this proposal historically, 
but E. J. Young, Robert Dick Wilson, H. C. Leupold, and John F. 
Walvoord have all given scholarly and convincing refutations of this 

b. There is a natural break in the text after 11:35. A number of 
the versions recognize the break in subject by making 11:36 begin a 
new paragraph or section (e.g., NASB). 

4. Conclusion: 

There is strong and clear chronological evidence in the text for 
identifying the temporal setting of the events of 11:36-45 as the 
eschatological time of Jacob's trouble falling within Daniel's 70th 

Arno Gaebelein, Daniel (Reprint; Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1968) 179. 

Some do place the shift to the eschatological earlier than v 36. For example, 
Jerome identified the eschatological as beginning at 1 1:22, while G. H. Lang placed its 
beginning at 1 1:5. A consideration of such views lies outside the scope of this study. All 
that is being established now is that 11:36-45 is eschatological and not historical. 
*E. J. Young, The Prophecy of Daniel (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1949) 250-51; 
Robert Dick Wilson, Studies in the Book of Daniel (Reprint; Grand Rapids: Baker, 
1972) 266; H. C. Leupold, Exposition of Daniel (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1949) 510; 
and John F. Walvoord, Daniel: The Key to Prophetic Revelation (Chicago: Moody, 
1971) 271. 


week. This conclusion will narrow the number of potential candidates 
for the role of the "wilful king." 

The Identity of the "wilful king" of 11:36 

1. Historical ruler or eschatological Antichrist? 

If the argumentation regarding the temporal setting as presented 
above is accepted, then the answer to this question is also solved. 
However, not everyone has seen it this way. Mauro identified this 
king as Herod the Great, rabbinic interpreters such as Ibn Ezra 
identified him as Constantine the Great, Calvin saw in this "king" the 
Roman Empire, and Antiochus has remained a favorite candidate 
among liberal critics.^ The papal view as cited before (Robinson) is 
comon among amillennial interpreters, and at least one recent com- 
mentator saw in Napoleon Bonaparte the "wilful king" of Dan 

Jerome and Luther are among earlier men who also saw this 
figure as the Antichrist of the last days." While other kings may 
match some of the descriptive phrases in 11:36-39, none but the 
Antichrist can measure up to the temporal qualifications of living "at 
that time" in the "time of distress such as never occurred since there 
was a nation until that time" (12:1). 

2. "Beast of the sea" or the "false prophet?" 

But complete agreement does not exist among those who agree 
that this wilful king is eschatological. Most are comfortable using the 
term "Antichrist," but are also comfortable with applying that designa- 
tion to anyone they choose. For example, Herod, Constantine, the 
Pope, and Napoleon have all been viewed as "Antichrist." Once an 
eschatological identification is agreed upon, one must determine to 
which eschatological figure this "wilful king" corresponds. 

J. N. Darby and Arno Gaebelein identified this king with the 
second beast of Revelation 13 (vv 11-17), or the "false prophet."'^ 
However, I am in agreement with most premillennial interpreters who 
identify the wilful king with the first beast of Revelation 13 (vv 1-10). 

'C. F. Keil, "Biblical Commentary on the Book of Daniel," Commentaries on the 
Old Testament (Reprint; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1968) 461-62; and Young, The 
Prophecy of Daniel, 246 for a listing of these and other interpretations. 

'"Roy Allan Anderson, "The Time of the End," Signs of the Times (November, 
1970: 22, 23). 

"Jerome, Commentary on Daniel, transl. by Gleason L. Archer, Jr. (Grand 
Rapids: Baker, 1958) 136. 

'^Darby is cited by Walvoord, Daniel: The Key to Prophetic Revelation, 272; cf. 
Gaebelein, Daniel, 180. 

harton: interpretation of daniel 11:36-45 211 

The function of the false prophet is to exalt the first beast, and the 
wilful king is said to "exalt and magnify himself" (11:36). The 
identification with the "beast of the sea" is preferable on the basis of 
the wilful king's preeminence and self-exaltation. 

3. Jew or Gentile? 

Perhaps the majority of premillennial interpreters have identified 
this man as a Jew. Since this "prince" (9:26) makes a covenant with 
the Jews (9:27) in order to bring about a substitute ("anti") peace, 
and since the Jews would accept only a Jew as "Messiah," it is felt 
that Antichrist must be a Jew.'^ 

However, an increasing number of commentators are allowing 
for a gentile Antichrist. Walvoord points out that 11:37 does not use 
the Jewish expression "Jehovah of his fathers," but rather the non- 
covenant name "Elohim," which was used by the Gentiles.''* To the 
counter argument that Elohim is an equally acceptable designation 
for YHWH, Wood replies that since the singular '?X is used in this very 
context (11:36) for the singular referent "god," the plural "'H'tk must 
be translated "gods."'^ This would identify the wilful king as a 

The answer to this question may influence the interpretation of a 
few phrases in the passage (such as "he will show no regard . . . for 
the desire of women") but is otherwise not a major matter. I am 
inclined to agree with Walvoord and Wood that the Antichrist will 
probably be of gentile extraction. One need not be a Jew in order to 
sign a treaty with Israel. In fact, the treaty of 9:27, being with 
"many," will probably involve many nations in addition to Israel. 
Perhaps it is more likely that the nations of the world will sign a 
peace treaty with a gentile than with a Jew. Furthermore, since the 
type of Antichrist, Antiochus, was not a Jew, the antitype need not be 
a Jew either. 

4. Conclusion: 

The wilful king of Dan 1 1:36-45 may be identified as an eschato- 
logical personage who will appear in the Tribulation period. His 
career and characteristics are elsewhere described in Daniel 7 (the 
"little horn"), in Daniel 9 ("prince that shall come"), in 2 Thessalo- 
nians 2 ("man of sin"), and in Revelation 13 ("beast ... of the sea"). 
With these defining traits in view, he may be called the Antichrist. 

'^Lehman Strauss, The Prophecies of Daniel (Nepti NJ: Loizeaux Brothers, 
1969) 343; J. Allen Blair, Living Courageously (Chicago. Moody, 1971) 225; and 
John C. Whitcomb, "The Book of Daniel," The New Bible Dictionary, ed. J. D. 
Douglas (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1962) 36. 

''* Walvoord, Daniel: The Key to Prophetic Revelation, 273. 

"Leon Wood, A Commentary on Daniel (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1973) 306. 


The identity of the King of the North in 11:40 

1. Problem of identifying the King of the North. 

Dan 11:40 introduces two new kings who attack the wilful king 
of 11:36-39. Little problem exists in identifying the King of the 
South; most identify him as the king of Egypt or a coalition of 
southern kingdoms in which Egypt is prominent. This harmonizes 
well with the entire pattern of Daniel 1 1, in which the Ptolemies are 
referred to with this same designation. The Ptolemies ruled from 
Egypt during the fractured period of the Hellenistic Empire. This 
identification is sealed by the specific reference to Egypt in 1 1:42 and 

However, similar unanimity does not exist with regard to iden- 
tifying the King of the North. The reason for this ambivalence may be 
traced in part to the absence of any further specific geographical 
names as is true in the verses dealing with the King of the South. 
Nevertheless, several guidelines do exist in seeking to determine an 
identity for this king: his association with the Seleucids through the 
title "King of the North" as used throughout Daniel 1 1 and his 
activities as described in 11:40. 

2. Proposals for identifying the King of the North. 

Robinson and Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown (following Newton) 
propose that Turkey best fits this King of the North.'* Ray Baughman 
and Merrill Unger anticipate that Syria will fill this role.'^ A large 
number, including Herman Hoyt, J. Dwight Pentecost, Lehman 
Strauss, and Leon Wood, feel that this King of the North will be 

3. Preferred identity of the King of the North. 

a. Not Turkey. Those proposing Turkey as the origin of the 
King of the North do so in order to find a historical fulfillment for 
the King of the North. However, the eschatological setting of the 
passage forbids a historical fulfillment. Inasmuch as the Seleucids 
ruled over part of Turkey, it might be possible that Turkey would 
expand in terms of geographical extent and international power so as 

'^Robinson, "Homiletical Commentary on the Book of Daniel," 256; and Robert 
Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, David Brown, Commentary on the Whole Bible (Reprint; 
Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1961) 798. 

"Ray E. Baughman. The Kingdom of God Visualized (Chicago: Moody, 1972) 
177, and Merrill Unger, Unger's Bible Dictionary (Chicago: Moody, 1966) 798. 

'^Herman A. Hoyt, The End Times (Chicago: Moody, 1969) 152; J. Dwight 
Pentecost, Things to Come (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1958) 344; Strauss, The 
Prophecies of Daniel, 345; Wood, A Commentary on Daniel, 308. 

harton: interpretation of daniel 11:36-45 213 

to qualify as the eschatological King of the North. This appears to be 
very unlikely at the present time. 

b. Not Syria. There is a hermeneutical problem related to the 
association of Syria with the Seleucids. One basis of determining a 
possible identification is found in the use of the title "King of the 
North," which is used earlier in Daniel 1 1 to refer to the Seleucid 
branch of the Greek Empire. At that time 

the dominion of the Seleucids . . . reached from Phrygia in the west to 
the Indus on the east. For the sources, see DS 19:58, 59; Appian 55; 
Arrian Anabasis 7:22." 

A map of the Seleucid Empire shows its wide geographical range, ^° 
and history has recorded the dominant international influence exerted. 
Consequently, since the Seleucid Empire dominated a wide geographi- 
cal area and was a world political power, the single fact that Syria is 
located north of Israel is insufficient evidence to relate it to the King 
of the North. 

Syria is extremely unlikely as a candidate for the role of the land 
of the King of the North inasmuch as it possesses neither the wide 
geographical range nor the world power that characterized the Seleu- 
cid kings. On this basis, Turkey is more Ukely than Syria. Turkey has 
a wider geographical scope, and the royal capital of the Seleucids, 
Antioch,^' lies in modern-day Turkey, not Syria. Wood summarizes 
the problem of political correspondence: 

The designation "king of the North" is not so easily adapted, for 
the present Syrian government hardly qualifies as a world contender of 
the stature of the Seleucids. ^^ 

There is also an exegetical problem — the activities of this king in 
11:40. "And the king of the North will storm against him [the wilful 
king of 36-39] with chariots, with horsemen, and with many ships; 
and he will enter countries, overflow them, and pass through." Then 
V 41 continues the narrative with the statement: "He will also enter 
the Beautiful Land." If it can be demonstrated (I will attempt to do 
this in the next section) that the "he" of v 41 does not represent a 
change of antecedent, but is continuing the description of the King of 

"Young, The Prophecy of Daniel, 234; cf. Charles Pfeiffer, Howard Vos, The 
Wycliffe Historical Geography of Bible Lands (Chicago: Moody, 1967) 268. 

^"See map xii of the Seleucid Empire in Merrill C. Tenney, The Zondervan 
Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976) vol. 5. 

E. M. Blaiklock, "Seleucia," The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, 

Wood, A Commentary on Daniel, 308. 


the North's attack against Antichrist, then the King of the North does 
not enter Palestine ("the Beautiful Land") until the events described 
in 11:41. This means that the attack on Antichrist involves the King 
of the North's entering, overflowing, and passing through other coun- 
tries en route to Palestine. 

But even if this understanding of the attacker in v 41 as the King 
of the North is not accepted, Keil does not believe that Syria matches 
the requirements of the activities described in 1 1 :40: 

The plural niSIX? {into the countries) does not at all agree with the 
expedition of a Syrian king against Egypt, since between Syria and 
Egypt there lay one land, Palestine . . . but it is to be explained from 
this, that the north, from which the angry king comes in his fury 
against the king of the south, reached far beyond Syria. The king of the 
North is thought of as the ruler of the distant north. ^^ 

Inasmuch as Syria and Palestine are adjoining neighbors, it is difficult 
to see how the King of the North can enter countries (plural) en route 
to attacking the Antichrist in Israel. The exegesis of 1 1:40 appears to 
require that the country of the King of the North be geographically 
removed from Israel by two or more other countries in the national 
boundaries of "the end time." 

c. Probably Russia. Probably the majority of premillennial inter- 
preters of this passage do identify the King of the North as the 
modern U.S.S.R. on the basis of a correlation with Ezekiel 38-39. 

However, stronger supports for this view may be recognized in 
the hermeneutical and exegetical requirements discussed in connection 
with Syria. Russia meets the hermeneutical requirements involved in 
the title "King of the North" associated with the Seleucid empire. It 
has a corresponding northern location, a corresponding vast geo- 
graphical scope, and a corresponding world political preeminence. 

Consideration of Russia's history sheds further light on this 
question and makes its association with the Seleucid kings of the 
north even stronger. For example, Barabas states that "Magog was 
probably located between Cappadocia and Media; Josephus says it 
refers to the Scythians (Jos. Antiq. I. vi. l)."^'* In other words, before 
the Scythians migrated further north they occupied the area between 
Cappadocia and Media which was part of the Seleucid empire." A 
similar picture of Russia's roots is given in the New Schaff-Herzog 
Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge: 

"Keil, "Biblical Commentary on the Book of Daniel," 470. 
'""S. Barabas, "Gog and Magog," The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the 
Bible 2.770. 

Cf. map xii, Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, vol. 5. 

harton: interpretation of daniel 11:36-45 215 

A stricter geographical location would place Magog's dwelling between 
Armenia and Media, perhaps on the shores of the Araxes. But the 
people seem to have extended farther north across the Caucasus, fiUing 
there the extreme northern horizon of the Hebrews (Ezek. xxxviii. 15, 
xxxix. 2). This is the way Meshech and Tubal are often mentioned in 
the Assyrian inscriptions (Mushku and Tabal, Gk. Moschoi and 

Finally, Russia also fits the exegetical requirements of 11:40 
inasmuch as they would have to "enter countries, overflow them, and 
pass through" in order to attack Antichrist in Israel. Since the associa- 
tion with the Seleucids and the activities described in 11:40 provide 
the only objective basis for identifying this King of the North, and 
since Russia best fits these associations, Russia is the most probable 
identification of the origin of this king. 

d. Prudence in identifying the King of the North. One should 
not stress the name of a current country, because the geographical 
and political boundaries of countries are in a state of flux. Wood 
points out the proper posture: 

Because the political situation in the world could well be different when 
the Antichrist rules, however, it stands to reason that the terms should 
be adapted to whatever that difference may prove to be.^' 

While the names and fortunes of individual countries may change, the 
criteria for identifying the King of the North will not change: his 
country will be north of Israel and separated from Palestine by at 
least two borders, and his country will occupy a large geographical 
area and exert world power and influence. 

The identity of the "attacker" in 11:40-45 

Vv 41-45 trace the significant activities of a king designated only 
by the pronoun "he." Is the antecedent of these pronouns the attacker 
of V 40 (the King of the North) or the person being attacked (the 
wilful king)? Since it is not revealed who wins the battle between 
Antichrist and the kings of the north and of the south, ambiguity 
about the identity of the "he," "his," and "him" referred to throughout 
vv 41-45 remains. Is this a continued attack of the King of the North 
that began in v 40b, or is this the counterattack by the wilful king? 

^*Vol. 5, p. 14 as cited by Pentecost, Things to Come, 328. For similar arguments, 
cf. Wood, A Commentary on Daniel, 309. 
^'Wood, A Commentary on Daniel, 308. 


1. Antichrist as the counterattacker in vv 41-45 

a. Position. J. Dwight Pentecost states this position as follows: 

From this passage several features concerning the movement of 
this invasion are to be seen. (1) The movement of the campaign begins 
when the King of the South moves against the Beast-False Prophet 
coalition (1 1:40), which takes place "at the time of the end." (2) The 
King of the South is joined by the northern confederacy, who attacks 
the Wilful King by a great force over land and sea (1 1:40). Jerusalem is 
destroyed as a result of this attack (Zech. 12:2), and, in turn, the armies 
of the northern confederacy are destroyed (Ezek. 39; Zech. 12:4). (3) The 
full armies of the Beast move into Palestine (11:41) and shall conquer 
all that territory (11:41-42). Edom, Moab, and Ammon alone escape. 
It is evidently at the time that the coalition of Revelation 17:13 is 
formed. (4) While he is extending his dominion into Egypt, a report 
that causes alarm is brought to the Beast (1 1:44). It may be the report 
of the approach of the Kings of the East (Rev. 16:12) who have assem- 
bled because of the destruction of the northern confederacy to challenge 
the authority of the beast. (5) The Beast moves his headquarters into 
the land of Palestine and assembles his armies there (11:45). (6) It is 
there that his destruction will come (11:45).^* 

In this scenario, the initial aggression is seen to come from the King 
of the South and then from the King of the North. Then Antichrist is 
seen to seize this opportunity to counterattack and pursue his own 
policy of military aggression as described in vv 41-45 until he meets 
his end at Armaggedon. Vv 40 and 41 are usually taken as referring 
to the middle of the Seventieth Week of Daniel 9, involving the 
breaking of the covenant, and vv 44 and 45 are usually taken as 
referring to the end of the Seventieth Week and the battle of Ar- 
maggedon. Thus, this passage is viewed as summarizing a whole series 
of military campaigns spanning the entire 42 months of the end of 
Daniel's seventieth week. 

Probably the majority of premillennial interpreters subscribe to 
this view. It is especially prominent among "popular" writers such as 
Oliver Greene, Charles Ryrie, and C. I. Scofield, and has been 
published in such magazines as Moody Monthly and Good News 

^* Pentecost, Things to Come, 356. 

"Oliver Greene, Daniel (Greenville: The Gospel Hour, 1954) 439; Charles C. 
Ryrie, ed.. The Ryrie Study Bible (Chicago: Moody, 1978) 1242; C. I. Scofield, ed.. 
The New Scofield Reference Bible (New York: Oxford University, 1967) 917; Alfred 
Martin, "Daniel: Key to Prophecy," Moody Monthly (July-August, 1972) 64; and 
Theodore Epp, "Events in the End Time," Good News Broadcaster (October 1969) 7-9; 
"Four Confederations of Nations," Good News Broadcaster (November 1969) 22-25. 

harton: interpretation of daniel 11:36-45 217 

b. Proofs. Usually this position is assumed to be correct rather 
than having to be proven to be correct. Two lines of support do seem 
to be used: a contextual argument and a chronological argument. 

The prominence of Antichrist in the immediately preceding 
context (11:36-40), along with the prominence of Antichrist in pro- 
phetic literature, argues for a continued emphasis upon Antichrist in 
vv 41-45. Accordingly, the "he" of v 41 would refer back to the "him" 
of V 40, which does refer to the wilful king of vv 36-39. 

It appears that the single biggest support for this position is the 
mention of "rumors from the East and from the North" (v 44) which 
lead to Antichrist's return to Palestine, "the beautiful Holy Mountain" 
(v 45), where he comes to his end. The rumors from the east are 
associated with Rev 9:13-21 and with Rev 16:12-16, and the end of 
this man is associated with Armaggedon, which follows immediately. 
Wood explains it this way: 

While in this section of Africa, the Antichrist will hear of trouble 
from the east and north, which will give him cause for alarm. The nature 
of the rumors or whom they concern is not indicated. Some expositors 
believe they concern the invasion of a vast horde of 200,000,000 
warriors from the far east (Rev. 9:16) under the leadership of "kings of 
the east" (Rev. 16:12), who will have heard of the Antichrist's victory 
over the earlier north-south confederacy and will then wish to challenge 
him for world leadership.^" 

Because Antichrist is defeated and thrown alive into the lake of fire at 
this point (Rev 19:19, 20), it is inferred that Antichrist is the subject 
of all of vv 41-45. 

2. The king of the North as the attacker in vv 40-45 

a. Position. John C. Whitcomb states the essence of this posi- 
tion in the New Bible Dictionary: 

Verse 35b is regarded as providing the transition to eschatological 
times. First the antichrist comes into view (xi. 36-39); and then the 
final king of the north, who, according to some premillennial scholars, 
will crush temporarily both the antichrist and the king of the south 
before being destroyed supernaturally on the mountains of Israel (xi. 
40-45; cf Joel ii. 20; Ezek. xxxix. 4,17). In the meantime, antichrist will 
have recovered from his fatal blow to begin his period of world 
dominion (Dn. xi. 44; cf. Rev. xiii. 3, xvii. 8).^' 

Vv 40-45, then, are descriptive of the respective defeats of the kings 
of the south and of the north. The King of the South is defeated by 

Wood, A Commentary on Daniel^ 313. 
''John C. Whitcomb, "The Book of Daniel," 293. 


the King of the North, and the King of the North is then brought to 
his end by an unnamed adversary (Antichrist?) in v 45. The result of 
the ehmination of Antichrist's most powerful adversaries is to establish 
firmly his absolute worldwide dominion shortly after the middle of 
the seventieth week. This in turn leads to his abuse of his tremendous 
powers, in part by persecuting the Jews (12:1a) throughout the rest of 
the seventieth week. 

William Foster, Thomas Robinson, Paul Tan, John Whitcomb, 
and J. Allen Blair are among those holding this identification.^^ 

b. Proofs. Grammatical, exegetical, and several contextual argu- 
ments may be used to support this position. 

William Foster argues that the antecedent for the pronoun "he" 
in V 41 is the King of the North in v 40 who "will storm against him 
with chariots . . .": 

The nature of this problem is not the same as that of the 
ambiguous pronoun which precedes it, since, in the former sense, the 
person referred to by the pronoun was regarded as the passive object of 
the action, whereas in the present instance the pronoun represents the 
active source of the action. Since it is the king of the north who is the 
active contender, the natural reading would probably indicate that he 
also should be the one represented as entering into the countries." 

Without any textual indication to reverse the subject (King of the 
North) and the object (Antichrist) of the action in v 40, the "he" 
which is the subject of v 41 most naturally refers back to the subject 
of V 40. 

Furthermore, this identification of the antecedent of "he" in 
1 1:40b as the King of the North is supported by the fact that the King 
of the North is the nearest possible antecedent. Most English transla- 
tions are misleading at this point because they invert the word order. 
For example, the NASB reads ". . . and the king of the North will 
storm against him . . . and he will enter countries ..." (11:40). The 
pronoun "him" (Antichrist) appears to be the nearest possible ante- 
cedent of the pronoun "he" in the English translation. However, in 
the Hebrew text, the object "against him" (T''7S7) precedes the subject 
"the King of the North" (|iD^r| "^^O)- This word order makes the King 
of the North, and not Antichrist, the nearest possible antecedent for 
the pronoun "he." Without any textual indication for doing so, it is 
unwarranted to jump over the nearest antecedent, the King of the 
North. This identification is critical because this initial pronoun is 

"William Foster, "The Eschatological Significance of the Assyrian," Th.D. disser- 
tation, Winona Lake, IN: Grace Theological Seminary, 1956. 
"Ibid., 152. 

harton: interpretation of daniel 11:36-45 219 

followed by an entire series of pronouns in 11:41-45 which continue 
the same reference. 

Foster goes on to argue that the geographical progression in the 
text between v 40 and v 43 also identifies the attacking king of 1 1:41- 
45 as the King of the North: 

. . . the direction of his conquest is a positive proof that this 
description is of the King of the North — "he shall enter also into the 
glorious land . . . the land of Egypt shall not escape . . . and the 
Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps" (Dan. 11:41-42). In 
the prophecy of Daniel the phrase "the glorious land" is used three 
times as a designation for the land of the Jews into which an invader 
proceeds (Dan. 8:9; 11:16; 11:40). In each case, the invader is one who 
comes from the north, and in each case one who comes from the 
Seleucidaean Kingdom. . . . Therefore, the direction of conquest, enter- 
ing first into Palestine, then Egypt, then Lybia and Ethiopia, would 
indicate that the invading army proceeded from the north.''' 

While not all who hold this view feel that this proof is as conclusive 
as Foster makes it sound, the movement against Antichrist begun 
from the north (v 40) may be seen to flow most naturally into Palestine 
(v 41) and then on south past Edom, Moab, and Ammon into Egypt 
(v 42) and finally into Libya and Ethiopia. While this is not the only 
way to visualize the geographical progression, it is the smoothest and 
most unified movement. It is reasonable to expect that vv 41-45 do 
continue the movement begun in v 40 unless there is some textual 
clue to indicate another movement. 

Three contextual arguments also support this conclusion. First, 
throughout Daniel 1 1 the King of the South and the King of the 
North are depicted as natural enemies who are continually warring 
against one another. This identification fits the pattern and also 
provides a fitting climax to this struggle in the end time. 

Second, the phrase "Now at that time" of 12:1 immediately 
follows the conclusion of this section in 1 1:45. Inasmuch as 12:1 goes 
on to say that at that time "there will be a time of distress such as 
never occurred since there was a nation until that time," the very 
middle of the seventieth week is in view. If the time of Jacob's trouble 
is just about to begin at the time of the demise of the king in 1 1:45, 
then this king cannot be Antichrist, but must be the King of the 
North. This temporal designation at 12:1 dare not be treated too 
loosely, for it is the cornerstone in the argument in favor of an 
eschatological interpretation of this passage. 

'Ibid., 152-53. 


Third, this identification is in keeping with the whole argument 
and development of the Book of Daniel and of the last half of the 
book in particular. Daniel is demonstrating that God is still the ruler 
over all in spite of Israel's captivity. Their persecutions will not soon 
end, but when they do reach their climax at the hand of the wilful 
king. Antichrist himself, during the time of Jacob's trouble, then 
Messiah will rescue Israel (cf. 12:1b) and institute his kingdom. If it is 
indeed Antichrist rather than the King of the North who is destroyed 
in 11:45, then 12:1 is both anticlimactic and out of sequence tem- 
porally. Preserving the argument and development of this section 
involves identifying the attacker in vv 40-45 as the King of the North. 

3. Conclusion: the King of the North is the attacker in vv 40-45 

That I prefer this explanation is evident by now. Not only does 
this position rest on good, solid exegesis of the text, but it also avoids 
the weaknesses in the alternate view. Following is a brief consideration 
of three of these weaknesses. 

a. 11:40. There is a complete lack of exegetical indicators for 
switching from the kings of the south and north to Antichrist as the 
attacker in v 41. George N. H. Peters, who held the Antichrist view 
himself, admitted this weakness: 

"And he shall enter into the countries" — this is perhaps the clause 
which has caused the greatest difficulty to critics, owing to the sudden 
transition from one person to another. If we were to confine ourselves 
to this prophecy, it would be impossible from the language to decide 
what king this was that is to enter into the countries; whether the King 
of the North, or of the South, or of the Roman Empire. . . .^^ 

Peters then goes on to justify an abrupt shift in 11:40 to the 
Antichrist on the basis of other passages, such as Daniel 2 and 7 and 
Revelation 17. He openly admits that there is nothing in the language 
of the text itself to justify this sudden transition from the description 
of the activity of the King of the North in the phrase immediately 
preceding "he shall enter into the countries." 

b. 11:41. Those favoring the Antichrist view picture the kings 
of the south and of the north as coming against Israel in 1 1:40. Then 
Antichrist is seen responding to this aggression in 11:41 by entering 
the "beautiful land" for the first time himself and instituting a 
counter-attack of his own. There is a serious problem with this 
interpretation, however, for the text does not say that the kings of the 
south and north attacked Israel. Instead, it twice indicates that these 
two kings attacked him (Antichrist; 11:40). Consequently, Antichrist 

"George Peters, The Theocratic Kingdom (Reprint; Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1952) 
2.654. The italics are those of Peters. 

harton: interpretation of daniel 11:36-45 221 

cannot subsequently enter the scene at the end of v 40 or at v 41 . The 
attack against him puts him in the middle of the action right from the 
beginning of v 40. This fact is also pointed out by Ray Baughman: 
". . . the king of the north (and the king of the south) comes against 
the Antichrist, not against Israel (Daniel 11:40)."^* 

c. 11:44, 45. A third weakness is the association of the "rumors 
from the East and from the North" with the kings of the east of 
Revelation 9 and 16. Almost all commentators will admit that the 
King of the North hears these rumors while conducting his Libyan 
and Ethiopian campaigns to the south and west of the "Beautiful 
Land" that he had passed through on his way down to Egypt. V 45 
records his trip back to the east and the north to the "beautiful Holy 
Mountain" (Jerusalem). This is textual evidence that the rumors 
emanated from or concerned something going on in Palestine. There 
is no textual basis whatsoever for seeing kings of the east here. Not a 
word is mentioned about kings of the east. And this conjecture is 
made on the basis of identifying this king as Antichrist and of 
changing the temporal setting from the middle of the seventieth week 
to the end of the week at Armaggedon. That it would require 
Antichrist 42 months to subdue this coalition of southern kings is 
hard to reconcile with Rev 13:4: "Who is like the beast, and who is 
able to wage war with him?" 


It has been stated that the interpretation of Dan 11:36-45 rests 
upon one's answers to four crucial questions. Each of these questions, 
therefore, has been considered in depth. The temporal setting of the 
text was found to be an eschatological one, specifically that of the 
middle of the seventieth week of Dan 9:27. The wilful king was found 
to be the Antichrist of the Tribulation period, the beast of Reve- 
lation 13. Most premillennial interpreters would agree with these 

However, premillennialists are divided on the answers to the last 
two crucial questions. It was determined that modern Russia is the 
most likely identification of the place of origin of the King of the 
North in this passage, and that it is this same King of the North (and 
not Antichrist) whose final exploits are traced in vv 41-45, ending in 
his demise. Thus, in vv 40-45 both the King of the South and the 
King of the North are defeated, leaving Antichrist as sole world ruler 
at the middle of the seventieth week. 

This establishes the basic framework of this interpretation. It 
now remains only to do a brief phrase-by-phrase commentary on the 
entire passage to determine how the details fit into this framework. 

"Baughman, The Kingdom of God Visualized, 179. 



"Roman Rule: Israel's Final Enemy" 
(Daniel 1 1:36- 1 2: la) 

Having retraced prophetically the Persian rule (11:2) and the 
Greek rule (11:3-35), the angel revealed that the climax of Israel's 
suffering under Gentile dominion would be the final Roman ruler 
(11:36- 12: la) and that it would last until Messiah comes to rescue 
Israel (12:1b) and establish his everlasting kingdom (12:2, 3). So this 
is the final stage of the fourth kingdom that will be crushed by the 
stone cut without hands (cf. 2:44, 45). This constitutes further revela- 
tion about the fourth beast and the little horn (7:7, 8) that will 
immediately precede the Son of Man's establishment of his everlasting 
dominion (7:9-14). 

Israel's final enemy 

I. The Power of the Roman King 11:36-45 

A. Arrogance and Aggression of the Roman King (36-39) 

(Power Asserted) 

1. Arrogance of the Roman King (36-38) 

2. Aggression of the Roman King (39) 

B. Attackers of the Roman King Defeated (40-45) 

(Power Attested) 

1. The Roman King Attacked (40) 

2. The King of the South Defeated (41-43) 

3. The King of the North Defeated (44-45) 

II. The Persecution of the Saints by the Roman King 12:1a 

(Power Abused) 

Power of the final Roman King: 11:36-45 

Vv 36-39 record the assertion of the Roman king's power 
through his arrogance (w 36-38) and his acts of aggression (v 39). 
This power is then attested (vv 40-45) when the Roman king is 
attacked (v 40) by world powers from the south and from the north. 
First the southern coalition is defeated (vv 41-43) and then the 
northern armies are defeated (w 44-45), leaving the Roman king 
with absolute, worldwide, unchallenged power. 

1. Arrogance and aggression of the Roman king (vv 36-39) 

a. Arrogance of the Roman king (vv 36-38) 

"Then the king will do as he pleases." This introduces a ruler 
who has absolute authority and can act in an arbitrary manner 
without having to answer to anyone. 

"And he will exalt and magnify himself above every god. " This 
absolute ruler will be arrogant and given to self-exaltation. Paul, in 

harton: interpretation of daniel 11:36-45 223 

2 Thess 2:4 quotes this phrase ("who opposes and exalts himself 
above every so-called god or object or worship") thus identifying this 
Roman king with the "man of lawlessness, the son of destruction" in 
2 Thessalonians 2. Likewise, the Roman king is associated with the 
little horn of Dan 7:8 who also is characterized by self-exaltation: 
"and behold, this horn possessed ... a mouth uttering great boasts." 

"And will speak monstrous things against the God of gods." 
This Roman king will blaspheme the living God. This is the first hint 
that the Roman king has now broken the covenant with Israel (Dan 
9:27) and has defiled the temple "in the middle of the week" (Dan 
9:27). This corresponds to other pictures given of Antichrist. "And he 
will speak out against the Most High" (Dan 7:25); "And he opened 
his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and 
His tabernacle" (Rev 13:6). 

"And he will prosper until the indignation is finished. " Such 
terrible blasphemy does not mean that God has lost control. To the 
contrary, God foreordained such persecutions against Israel for the 
purpose of chastening his chosen people and for preparing them for 
repentance. The concept of indignation runs through the entire book. 
For example, 8:19 reveals "the final period of indignation; for it 
pertains to the appointed time of the end." Dan 7:25 follows the 
description of the little horn's blasphemy with an account of his 
persecution of the Jews for the final SVi years of the Tribulation 
period: "And he will speak out against the Most High and wear down 
the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations 
in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, 
times, and half a time." 

"For that which is decreed will be done. " Dan 1 1:36 concludes 
this awful description of arrogant blasphemy with a reminder that 
God is in control. Dan 9:26 had revealed that "desolations are 
determined" and 9:27 had spoken of destruction "that is decreed." 
This is the main point of the entire Book of Daniel. "God is 
supremely in charge of history, even when the Antichrist rules. "^^ 

"And he will show no regard for the gods of his fathers or for the 
desire of women. " This Roman king will not blaspheme yhwh out 
of allegiance to a rival religious deity; this monarch will be an atheist 
who also rejects his own religious heritage. The phrase "desire of 
women" is ambiguous, and this ambiguity has opened the door to 
many fanciful interpretations.^^ The only textual control is that the 

'^Wood, A Commentary on Daniel, 306. 

^'Cf. Keil, "Biblical Commentary on the Book of Daniel," 464; Leupold, Exposi- 
tion of Daniel, 516; George Williams, The Student's Commentary on the Holy 
Scriptures (Reprint; Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1960) 629; Young, The Prophecy of Daniel, 
249, for various proposals of pagan goddesses. See M. R. DeHaan, Daniel The 


phrase occurs in a context of Antichrist's religion and his rejection of 
his religious heritage. There is good reason to believe that this 
religion is probably non- Jewish (see p. 21 1). 

"Nor will he show regard for any other god; for he will magnify 
himself above them all. " This description continues to be consistent 
with the fulfillment of the "Abomination of Desolations" in which 
Antichrist causes the sacrifices to cease (cf. Dan 12:11) and he 
demands worship of himself. Antichrist "exalts himself above every 
so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the 
temple of God, displaying himself as being God" (2 Thess 2:4). 

"But instead he will honor a god of fortresses, a god whom his 
fathers did not know; he will honor him with gold, silver, costly 
stones, and treasures. " In one sense, no one is a complete atheist; 
everyone "worships" something. The Roman king's value system will 
center in power and force and in materialism (gold, silver, etc.). Might 
will make right for this man. Strauss makes an interesting association 
of this description of Antichrist's "religion" with that of the first beast 
in Revelation 13: 

It is possible that the god mentioned here is the image of Antichrist, 
the first beast in Revelation 13, whose design and construction were 
ordered by the second beast (Revelation 13:1 1-15). If we are correct in 
this, then that image will be made from gold, silver, and precious 
stones, as mentioned in Daniel 11:38.^' 

Summary: Everything in vv 36-38 points to the arrogance of this 
self-centered Roman king who is answerable to no man or to no god 
but himself. The ultimate expression of this arrogance may well be his 
breaking of the covenant with Israel and his desolation of the temple 
while demanding worship of himself. Such an act would provide an 
appropriate background for the aggressive acts recorded in 11:39. 

b. Aggression of the Roman king (v 39) 

"And he will take action against the strongest of fortresses with 
the help of a foreign god. " Antichrist now puts his faith in power 
and might into practice by attacking "the strongest of fortresses." 
Such military aggression seems out of place during the first half of 
the seventieth week when the covenant of peace is in force. Con- 
sequently, the mid-point of the week has just been passed and the 
abomination of desolation has just taken place. 

Prophet (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1947) 299; Gaebelein, Daniel, 188; Strauss, The 
Prophecies of Daniel, 343; Walvoord, Daniel: The Key to Prophetic Revelation, 274, 
for arguments in favor of seeing this as a reference to a Messianic hope. 
^'Strauss, The Prophecies of Daniel, 344. 

harton: interpretation of daniel 11:36-45 225 

"He will give great honor to those who acknowledge him, and he 
will cause them to rule over the many. " This also could indicate that 
the covenant has been broken. Under the covenant, this Roman king 
enjoyed significant peace-keeping powers.''*^ However, he did not 
enjoy corresponding absolute power. At the mid-point of the seven- 
tieth week. Antichrist chooses to pursue personal power. This imme- 
diately causes factions and choosing of sides. Antichrist will devise a 
reward system to delegate some of his ruling authority to those who 
choose to follow him. 

"And will parcel out land for a price. " Once more Antichrist is 
viewed as having engaged in territorial expansion. In his attack upon 
"the strongest of fortresses," he appears to have been successful so 
that he is now in a position to parcel out this newly acquired land. 
Exactly what land is in view is ambiguous, but it is intriguing to 
consider that this land may be in Israel. This would place Antichrist 
in Palestine on one of his military expeditions of expansion, so that 
the kings of the south and of the north attack him while he is in the 
"beautiful land" (11:40-41). In any case, this action characterizes an 
aggressive expansionist and not a global peacemaker. 

c. Summary. 

The picture of world conditions under Antichrist's rule at the 
close of vv 36-39 is hardly one of tranquility and peace. Fortresses 
are being attacked, puppets are being installed as rulers, and land is 
being redistributed. The world is witnessing military aggression insti- 
tuted by the one who was to have been the peacemaker to end all 
peacemakers. That Antichrist entered upon this campaign of raw 
aggression presupposes his having broken his covenant with Israel 
and the nations. 

This aggression provokes an attack against the Roman king by 
two of the world power blocks headed by the King of the South and 
the King of the North (11:40). However, the defeat of these two 
powers (11:40-45) will only serve to demonstrate the power of the 
Roman king. 

2. Attackers of the final Roman king defeated (vv 40-45) 

a. Attack upon the final Roman king (v 40). 
"And at the end time the king of the South will collide with 
him. " When Antichrist manifests his true character in the middle of 

^"Xhus, the Roman king has already overcome his western opposition (cf. Dan 
7:20, 24) by the outset of the seventieth week of Daniel, and the firm covenant "with 
the many" (Dan 9:27) miist be a peace treaty involving most, if not all, of the major 
nations of the world, including Israel. 


the seventieth week, a coahtion of southern (Arab) nations move to 
block his new policy of aggression. 

"And the king of the North will storm against him with chariots, 
with horsemen, and with many ships. " Simultaneous with, or just 
subsequent to, the attack by the King of the South comes a second 
attack upon the Roman king from the north. This distinguishes three 
kings: the King of the North, the King of the South, and the "him" 
(i?3y; V^y), the Roman king. This prevents identifying the King of the 
North as the same person as the Roman king.'" The "him" also does 
not permit the interpretation that this attack is against Israel; it is 
against the Roman king and his forces. Since the Roman king is 
consistently characterized as warring against the saints (cf. Rev 13:7; 
Dan 7:24-25; Dan 12:1), it is incomprehensible that the Jews should 
now be allied with him. However, it is possible that the attack upon 
the Roman king takes place within the confines of Palestine. "The 
variety of the resources that are to be employed against the Antichrist 
indicate how great his power must be at the latter end — 'chariots, 
horsemen, and many ships.' ""^^ 

"And he will enter countries, overflow them, and pass through. " 
If the Roman king is situated in Palestine, then the King of the North 
will come from some distance and sweep through several other 
countries en route to the major attack. The normal sense of the 
language is to see this as a continued description of the activities of 
the King of the North. There is no textual evidence of a change in 

b. Defeat of the King of the South (vv 41-43). 

"He will also enter the Beautiful Land. " The movement of the 
King of the North now carries him as far south as Palestine, which is 
the orientation point of "north" and "south" in the first place. Once 
more there is a lack of any textual evidence for changing the subject 
of this action from the King of the North. The 3 m.s. pronoun cannot 
even be considered ambiguous in the context. The only ambiguous 
element is the location of the Roman king. Is he located in the land of 
Palestine, or is he located in one of the countries entered into and 
overflowed by the King of the North in 1 1:40? Or is he located in one 
of the other countries mentioned in this verse? 

"And many countries will fall. " Wherever Antichrist may be, it 
is implied that he is among the fallen as a result of this attack. 

^'Some do hold that the King of the North and the wilful king are the same here. 

See for example. Culver, Daniel and the Latter Days, 164. Since very few commentators 

hold this position, little effort is made here to refute it. See Foster, "The Eschatological 

Significance of the Assyrian," 135-37, for arguments that three persons are involved. 

Leupold, Exposition of Daniel. 521. 

harton: interpretation of daniel 11:36-45 227 

Whitcomb proposes that this temporary defeat of Antichrist at the 
hand of these two opposing kings may shed some light on the "deadly 
wound" of the Roman king emphasized in the Book of Revelation 
(cf. 13:3, 12, 14; 17:8, 11)."*^ As Antichrist simply drops out of sight 
(and is left for dead?), the King of the North seizes this opportunity 
to further his own ambitions for world power. His main enemy 
having been eliminated, the King of the North now attacks his rivals, 
including former allies. 

"But these will he rescued out of his hand: Edom, Moab, and the 
foremost of the sons of Ammon. " On his way south in attacking the 
King of the South, the King of the North evidently bypasses the area 
of Edom, Moab, and Ammon to the east of the Jordan (occupied by 
modern-day Jordan). While there may be some additional prophetic 
significance to the bypassing of these nations at this time,'*" the 
most simple explanation for "why countries to the southeast of 
Palestine will escape destruction is that the path taken . . . will lead 

"Then he will stretch out his hand against other countries and 
the land of Egypt will not escape. " Now the primary target of this 
march to the south is revealed. The King of the North has turned 
against his former ally, the King of the South, who is now a chief 
rival for world leadership. This battle has truly become a "world war" 
because of the repeated summary mention of "countries" being in- 
volved (w 40, 41, 42). Furthermore, the most probable identity of the 
King of the South is herein revealed to be the sovereign of Egypt. 

"But he will gain control over the hidden treasures of gold and 
silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; and Libyans and 
Ethiopians will follow at his heels. " Egypt evidently will have been 
amassing gold and silver in exchange for her natural resources, and 
these precious things are stripped from her as part of the booty. 
Having conquered Egypt, the King of the North then appears to 
divide his forces. One part of his army campaigns in Libya to the west 
of Egypt, and another part of the army campaigns in Ethiopia to the 
southeast. The King of the North has defeated the King of the South 
and is engaged in follow-through campaigns to establish himself 
firmly as ruler of the world. His dreams appear to be within reach of 
realization when something totally unexpected happens. 

c. Defeat of the King of the North (vv 44-45). 
"But rumors from the East and from the North will disturb him, 
and he will go forth with great wrath to destroy and annihilate 

*^C{. Whitcomb, "The Book of Daniel," 293. 
"^Strauss, The Prophecies of Daniel, 346. 
Wood, A Commentary on Daniel, 312. 


many. " In light of the sudden return of the King of the North to 
Palestine (11:45), these rumors from the east and from the north must 
have emanated from, or have concerned, Palestine. The frame of 
reference for "east" and "north" is no longer Palestine, but the actual 
location of the King of the North in Libya and Ethiopia. Palestine is 
"east" of Libya and "north" of Ethiopia. Or if one wishes to de- 
emphasize these split campaigns and view the entire operation as one 
united campaign against Egypt and her allies, Palestine is northeast 
of Egypt. 

Perhaps 11:44-45 is intended to reveal nothing more than the 
change in direction of the King of the North back to the northeast, 
back to Palestine. It is interesting, however, to try to integrate 
prophetic truth. The similarity of "rumors from the east" to "the 
kings of the east" of Revelation 9 and 16 has led many commentators 
to associate them. For at least two reasons these passages probably 
are not describing the same events. First, the geographical reference 
point differs. In Revelation, east is reckoned from Palestine, whereas 
east and north in Dan 11:44 is reckoned from Africa. Second, the 
temporal reference points differ. Revelation 16 clearly takes place at 
the end of the seventieth week as it climaxes at the battle of 
Armaggedon, whereas Dan 12:1 clearly fixes the time of 11:44, 45 as 
the middle of the seventieth week and the start of Jacob's trouble. 

More likely is the correspondence between Dan 1 1:44-45 and the 
Roman king's deadly wound as recorded in Revelation 13. The 
Roman king is here described as a beast out of the sea (13:1), but his 
correspondence with the tenfold symbolism of the Roman empire in 
Daniel 2 and 7 is striking. V 3 cites a primary cause of the Roman 
king's following: 

And I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal 
wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed 
after the beast. 

Newell observes, "here then is Satan's permitted imitation of the 
death and resurrection of Christ!"'** This imitation may either be a 
deceptive appearance of death and resurrection, or it may be an 
actual death and miraculous resuscitation from the dead. Pentecost 
argues that the resurrection of Christ is unique and that the Roman 
king could not have really risen from the dead.'*' Certainly, Antichrist 
will be unable to reproduce Christ's unique resurrection in a glorified 
body, but he may be able to be resuscitated to life following his 
mortal wound. Whether he was merely left for dead and then 

"^William R. Newell, The Book of Revelation (Chicago: Moody, 1935) 186. 
"^Pentecost, Things to Come, 335-36. 

harton: interpretation of daniel 11:36-45 229 

"miraculously" recovered, or actually died and was restored to mortal 
life by supernatural power, the false prophet will use this event as a 
sign and proof of Antichrist's right to be worshipped: 

And I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had 
two horns like a lamb, and he spoke as a dragon. And he exercises all 
the authority of the first beast in his presence. And he makes the earth 
and those that dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound 
was healed (Rev. 13:11-12; italics added). 

Some try to explain this fatal wound as an experience of a nation 
and not of a man, but the false prophet's message appears to relate 
only to a person and not to a national entity. Newell agrees: "It is a 
man that is before our eyes in Revelation 13, all through. God says he 
is a Man in 13:18.'"** Furthermore, Rev 13:14 implies that this fatal 
wound will be received in battle: 

And he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs 
which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast, telling 
those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who had 
the wound of the sword and has come to life. 

Here it is revealed that the Roman king receives his wound from a 
sword (i.e., during war). 

This explanation of the relationship of Dan 11:36-45 to Revela- 
tion 13 appears to have real merit. Both involve a military context. 
Both have the same temporal setting, the middle of the seventieth 
week, and both events serve to launch the worldwide career of 
Antichrist. No wonder the world is thereafter awed by the beast, 
asking, "who is able to wage war with him?" (Rev 13:4). This 
correspondence helps to visualize the possible content of rumors that 
would be powerful enough to cause the King of the North to drop his 
African ventures and return immediately to Palestine. It would also 
provide for the Roman king's continuing into Dan 12:1 and leading 
the way during the tremendous persecution of the Jews during the 
second half of the seventieth week. 

"And he will pitch the tents of his royal pavilion between the seas 
and the beautiful Holy Mountain. " This verse clearly indicates the 
King of the North's return northeast to Palestine. He bivouacs 
between the Mediterranean Sea and the Dead Sea in the vicinity of 
Jerusalem ("Holy Mountain"). 

" Yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him. " Little 
is said here apart from the revelation of the King of the North's 
demise. In view of the Antichrist's subsequent prominence in the 

"'Newell, The Book of Revelation, 187. 


second half of the Tribulation period, one might assume that the 
northern king is either destroyed by Antichrist or that Antichrist will 
take credit for his defeat. This defeat of the King of the North 
following that of the King of the South serves to prove the Roman 
king's power and to leave him in absolute control of the world. 

d. Summary. 

Paul Tan captures the essence of this attestation of Antichrist's 
power: "The beast is first defeated (Rev. 13:3), but the northern 
confederacy is supernaturally annihilated (Dan. 11:45), and the beast 
becomes the world ruler (Rev. 13:7).""^ Walvoord also sees the defeat 
of the northern confederacy as a significant link in Antichrist's path 
to world rule: 

With the northern kingdom destroyed there is no major political force 
standing in the way of the Roman Empire, and the world empire is 
achieved by proclamation. The apparent invincibility of the Roman 
ruler, supported as he is by Satanic power, is intimated in the question 
of Revelation 13:4, "Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make 
war with him?"^° 

Persecution of the saints: 12:1a 

"Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard 
over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of 
distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that 
time. " At that time, the time of the demise of the King of the North, 
the worst persecution of all time against the Jews will break out. It 
will be the time of Jacob's trouble (Jer 30:7) and two-thirds of the 
Jews will perish (Zech 13:8-9). The Lord Jesus warned that when 
they saw the abomination of desolations spoken of by Daniel, they 
should flee from Judea to the mountains (Matt 24:15, 16), "for then 
there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the 
beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall" (Matt 24:21). 

It must be granted that 12:1 does not say that the Roman king 
takes the lead in this climactic persecution of Israel. But Scripture 
does say this explicitly elsewhere. Revelation fills in some of the 
details not provided by Daniel at this point: 

And there was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and 
blasphemies; and authority to act for forty-two months was given to 
him. And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blas- 
pheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in 

■"Paul Lee Tan, The Interpretation of Prophecy (Winona Lake: BMH, 1974) 347. 
'"John F. Walvoord, The Nations in Prophecy (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 
1967) 94. 

harton: interpretation of daniel 11:36-45 231 

heaven. And it was given to him to make war with the saints and to 
overcome them; and authority over every tribe and people and tongue 
and nation was given to him (Rev. 13:5-7; italics added). 

In light of later revelation, one can now say that this final persecution 
begins at the mid-point of the seventieth week, and thus the events of 
11:36-45 also must be viewed as taking place "at that time." 

Thus, the stage is set for the arrival of Messiah to put down the 
pagan Gentile powers and to establish his kingdom. While 12:lb-3 
does not say that this is the work of Messiah, later revelation also 
makes it plain that it will be Christ who rescues Israel (12:1), who will 
resurrect the dead (12:2), and who will reward the righteous (12:3). 
Consequently, this brings the argument of the book to a climax. The 
Gentile nations dominating Israel, beginning with Babylon, would 
not soon end. Persia, Greece, and Roman would follow. But at the 
appointed time in history's darkest hour, Messiah will come and reign 
forever. God rules. 


This study has not been concerned with proving every detail of 
interpretation concerning Dan 1 1:36-45. A number of the phrases are 
sufficiently ambiguous to allow various "possible" interpretations. 
The core of the study has been examining and seeking to answer four 
crucial questions. 

What is the temporal setting of this passage? It is eschatological, 
and more specifically, the mid-point of the seventieth week of Daniel. 
What is the identity of the "wilful king?" He is the Antichrist of the 
end time, the "man of sin" spoken of by Paul, and the "beast out of 
the sea" of John. Who is the King of the North? He is the head of a 
great power north of Israel which has wide geographical range and of 
world political stature, probably the USSR. Who is the "attacker" in 
11:40-45? It is the King of the North and not the Antichrist. 

The commentary then dealt with the particulars of this passage 
and demonstrated that they may be best understood in the interpretive 
framework established by the answers to the four crucial questions. 
Not only does this view account for a smooth interpretation of the 
passage itself, but it augments the argument of the book of Daniel 
and integrates it with other prophetic truth. 

Grace TheologicalJournal 4.2 (1983) 233-244 





Samuel J. Rogal 

For nearly sixty years, John and Charles Wesley attempted to 
loosen the rigidity of England's state religion by laboring on behalf of 
primitive Christianity and practical church reform. For John Wesley, 
the success of Methodism in England and America depended upon 
organization — a structure built upon power, spirit, doctrine, and disci- 
pline. His brother Charles, in turn, furnished the poetic vehicles upon 
which to explicate the spiritual revival of the middle and late 18th 
century: the simple diction and imagery, lucid construction, resonant 
lines, and clear metaphor that could easily be understood by a large 
number of people representing all ranks and levels of eighteenth- 
century social and cultural life. Together, the Wesleys prepared their 
followers and their ideological progeny for the social, economic, 
political, and theological rejuvenations that would come in the follow- 
ing century. 

ONE way to understand the contributions of Wesleyan Methodism 
to the spread of popular reUgion in England during the 17th and 
18th centuries is to recognize the inability of the Church of England 
to consider the value (to both church and state) of change and 
reform. Several of the problems leading to the loss of Charles Stuart's 
head in 1649 had not been solved to the satisfaction of all persons 
and parties by the beginning of the American Revolution. Indeed, 
John Milton complained in 1637 that 

The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed. 

But, swoln with wind and the rank mist they draw. 

Rot inwardly, and foul contagion spread; 


Besides what the grim Wolf with privy paw 
Daily devours apace, and nothing said.' 

His remark served to turn the attention of at least one Hanoverian 
Anglican, John Wesley, to the specific needs of certain among his 

In mid-spring 1779, Gilbert White (1720-1793)— the curate of 
Selborne, Hampshire — saw fit to record a remarkable observation: 

A cock flamingo weighs, at an average, about four pounds . . . and his 
legs and thighs measure usually about twenty inches. But four pounds 
are fifteen times and a fraction more than four ounces, and one 
quarter; and if four ounces and a quarter have eight inches of legs, four 
pounds must have one hundred and twenty inches and a fraction of 
legs . . . .^ 

The example reveals that although White was ordained as an agent of 
God and as an officer of the Church of England to minister to man, 
he chose instead to devote considerable of his time to the more 
fascinating creatures of natural history. 

However, the curate of Selborne stood cassock to mantle with a 
large number of his colleagues who had difficulty filling the void 
between one communion and the next and between those rare occa- 
sions that seemed to demand original and thought-provoking sermons. 
Bishop Richard Hurd found satisfaction pursuing the principles of 
literary criticism, philosophy, chivalry, romance, and the texts of 
Horace, Addison, and William Warburton. Laurence Sterne, although 
first a vicar of Sutton on the Forest, then of Stillington, and in 
between a prebendary of York, realized greater intellectual profit 
from his fictional chicanery than from any meaningful pulpit exercise. 
Bishop Joseph Butler held enough ecclesiastical offices to last several 
lifetimes, but his immediate concerns inclined toward abstract matters 
of ethics and morality which effectively served to insulate him from 
the mundane problems of human suffering. George Berkeley, Bishop 
of Cloyne, although once disturbed by the social corruption and 
disorder brought about before and after the South Sea Bubble, 
managed to ease his distress upon the winds of such intellectual 
designs as a college in Bermuda for the Christian civilization of 
America, the religious interpretation of nature, books for American 
colleges, and philosophical reflection on the virtues of tar water. 

^Lycidas, lines 125-29 in Merritt Y. Hughes, ed., John Milton: Complete Poems 
and Major Prose (New York: Odyssey, 1957) 123-24. 

^Gilbert White, "The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne," in A Collection 
of English Prose. 1660-1800, ed. Henry Pettit (New York: Harper and Row, 1962) 583. 

ROGAL: the contribution of JOHN and CHARLES WESLEY 235 

The list may be expanded to include a corps of second-line 
churchmen with similar interests. Richard Burn, for fifty years the 
vicar of Orton, was more concerned with the nuances of ecclesiastical 
and civil law than for the rights and privileges of his parishioners. 
Stephen Hales, the perpetual curate of Teddington, advocated ventila- 
tion, distillation of sea water, meat preservation, and vegetable physi- 
ology. William Stukeley, who took orders at age forty-one and 
became a London rector at age sixty, never allowed either act to 
interfere with his erratic speculations in archaeology and antiquity. 
Jethro TuU, the cleric-farmer of Oxfordshire and Berkshire, was 
obviously more concerned with cultivating his parishioners' fields 
than their minds or souls and proved to be one of the notable 
agricultural innovators of the age. 

What emerges even from this short list of sensational examples is 
the image of a church suffocating from the fumes of its own social 
apathy. While the lesser clerics rummaged through their studies and 
laboratories, the intellectuals at the highest levels on the ecclesiastical 
hierarchy chanted the same theological formulae for survival in this 
world and for successful passage into the next. No less a figure than 
John Tillotson, by far the best pulpit rhetorician of the period, could 
easily fall victim of his own cant. "There is a certain kind of temper 
and disposition," he announced to William and Mary in October 
1692 on the occasion of the British naval victory at La Hogue the 
preceding May, "which is necessary and essential to happiness, and 
that is holiness and goodness, which the very nature of God; and so 
far as any man departs from this temper, so far he removes himself 
and runs away from happiness."^ Such an oversimpUstic appraisal of 
mankind's chances for spiritual survival held, according to J. H. 
Plumb, little "appeal to the men and women living brutal and squalid 
lives in the disease-ridden slums of the new towns and mining 
villages. They needed revelation and salvation."'* For more than half 
of the eighteenth century, the Wesleys's missionary labors, seasoned 
heavily with their own prose and poetry, would unsettle the dust that 
had been gathering upon the stiff facade of England's state religion by 
eagerly dispensing primitive Christianity and practical church reform. 

An assessment of John and Charles Wesley's contribution to the 
spread of popular religion begins with the broadest possible view of 
British Methodism. A host of organizational innovations took hold in 

'John Tillotson, "Sermon XLL A Thanksgiving Sermon for the Late Victory at 
Sea," in English Prose and Poetry, 1660-1800, ed. Odell Shephard and Paul Spencer 
Wood (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1934) 186. 

■"j. H. Plumb, England in the Eighteenth Century (Harmondsworth, Middlesex: 
Penguin, 1950) 44-45. 


18th-century Britain, gained momentum and maturity during the 
early days of the 19th-century evangeHcal revival, and proved, toward 
the end of Victoria's reign, the very means by which Methodism 
launched itself into the highest echelons of world Protestantism. 
Wesleyan Methodism survived the 18th century because its founder 
and leader, John Wesley, understood the value of organization — 
into bands, classes, societies, and circuits. And he realized that in 
order for a theological organization to succeed, it had to reach out to 
the people and satisfy the human condition before it could even 
pretend to cope with matters of the heart and spirit. Thus, John 
Wesley established a lending society to circumvent the English usury 
laws. He organized a medical clinic at Bristol, wrote a practical 
treatise on how to attain and maintain good health, and dispensed 
electricity for medical purposes. He distributed books for intellectual, 
political, and theological motives; he even functioned as the editor, 
the critic, the moral censor of his followers' literary habits. When the 
number of ordained ministers sympathetic to Methodism proved 
insufficient for the societies' needs, he trained lay preachers — both 
men and women — and even provided a school outside Bristol to 
educate their children. Behind him came the poet laureate of Meth- 
odism, his younger brother Charles, perhaps the progenitor of English 
Protestant hymnody, scattering sacred songs (almost nine thousand 
of them) into the neat furrows plowed by the elder Wesley's sharp 
instruments of regularity and cultivated by his own natural inclination 
to reduce the complexities of human misery and misfortune to simple 

For John Wesley, the terms power, spirit, doctrine, and discipline 
became synonymous with organization. In 1786 he wrote: 

I am not afraid that the people called Methodists should ever cease to 
exist either in Europe or America. But I am afraid, lest they should 
only exist as a dead sect, having the form of religion without the 
power. And this undoubtedly will be the case, unless they hold fast . . . 
the doctrine, spirit, and discipline with which they first set out.^ 

For Methodism to take hold firmly among the people and to have a 
lasting effect upon the Church of England, it had to function as an 
organization. It simply could not achieve an end as an informal 
group, a noisy crowd, or a destructive mob. Furthermore, if the 
organization were to have meaning, it had to formulate and publicize 
its doctrine and its rules, it had to record its history and its principles, 
it had to enunciate its positions on various social, political, theologi- 
cal, and practical issues, and it had to report the actions of its leaders 
and the discussions on present and future positions. 

'"Thoughts upon Methodism," in The Works of the Rev. John Wesley. M.A., ed. 
Thomas Jackson (London: Wesleyan Conference Office, 1829-1831), XIII. 258. 

ROGAL: the contribution of JOHN and CHARLES WESLEY 237 

Out of the need for publicity, and especially the need to spread 
the evangelical message to as many people as possible, a considerable 
quantity of poetry and prose arose which was related directly to the 
organization which was known, unofficially but popularly, as Wes- 
leyan Methodism. Almost immediately after the formation of the 
earliest societies in Bristol and London, John and Charles Wesley 
sensed that doctinal alternatives and emotional appeal would not be 
enough to gain and keep converts. The masses needed to be molded 
into workable groups — bands and classes; they required constant 
supervision, leadership, and discipline — stewards and lay preachers; 
they needed advice in almost every aspect of the new venture that 
would eventually spread primitive Christianity throughout England 
and beyond. All of that, and more, John Wesley supplied: he ex- 
plained, he exhorted, he provided variations on similar themes, he 
spelled out his demands — much in the same manner as the apostles 
Paul and John had spelled out theirs. To Methodists scattered all 
over Great Britain, the highways to repentance and salvation were 
clearly paved with the literature of their founder and leader. 

The formal unveiling of eighteenth-century British Methodism 
occurred in London on Sunday, 11 November 1739, when John 
Wesley preached the first sermon at the newly acquired King's 
Foundery, Windmill Street, Moorfields. By far the most significant 
event of the Methodists' tenure in that reclaimed armory occurred 
during 25-29 June 1744 at the convening of the first annual Confer- 
ence. Wesley instituted those conferences not for the purpose of 
listening to endless debate on vague theological issues, but to solidify 
basic doctrine and to establish administrative procedure. Those in 
attendance were preachers whom John Wesley specifically invited. He 
not only determined who would and who would not participate, but 
the decisions on substance and form were his alone. In fact, only 
John Wesley could convene a Methodist conference. The meetings 
themselves were structured on a question-answer format and became 
known as conversations. Again, Wesley's authority prevailed: he 
answered the questions and set down the resolutions to problems. 

The conversations — because they concerned issues of authority, 
administration, and discipline — were published in various series, of 
which two may be considered here: Minutes of Some Late Conversa- 
tions between the Revd. Mr. Wesley s and Others ( 1 749) and Minutes 
of Several Conversations between the Rev. Mr. Wesley and Others 
(1789).^ The first series, known as the "Doctrinal Minutes," sum- 
marized the conversations at the English conferences from 1744 

*Since Charles Wesley had died in March 1788, this was the first edition that did 
not include a reference to his name in the title. Further, the 1789 volume — the sixth 
edition — was the last Minutes published during John Wesley's lifetime. 


through 1747. The Wesleys, in company with four of their preachers, 
proposed to consider "1. What to teach; 2. How to teach; and 
3. What to do; that is, how to regulate our doctrine, discipline, and 
practice."^ With regard to doctrine, they confronted such subjects as 
justification — "To be pardoned and received into God's favour"; 
faith — "a divine, supernatural ... of things not seen. ... It is a 
spiritual sight of God and the things of God"; sanctification — "To be 
renewed in the image of God, in righteousness and true holiness."* 
The Conference of 1744 came to an end with a strong statement of 
affirmation in the Church of England: "We are persuaded the body of 
our hearers will even after our death remain in the Church, unless 
they be thrust out."^ Had the group been able to look ahead fifty 
years, its members would have found themselves to have been poor 
prophets indeed. 

The Conference of August 1745 at Bristol reviewed the substance 
of the preceding session and again attacked the issues of justification 
and sanctification, whereas the conversations of the next years include 
such definitions as sincerity — "Willingness to know and to do the 
whole will of God." Of greater interest, in 1746, was the question, 
"Wherein does our doctrine differ from that we preached when at 
Oxford?" The answer came back, "Chiefly in these two points. (1.) We 
knew nothing of that righteousness of faith, in justification; nor, (2.) 
Of the nature of faith itself, as implying consciousness of pardon." 
Drawing heavily upon NT evidence, the conversations of 16-17 June 
1747 at the Foundery take up the question of differences between 
Methodist and Dissenting doctrines, specifically in the areas of justifi- 
cation and sanctification. "What, then," reads the key question, "is 
the point wherein we divide?" The answer again comes forth in very 
positive and assertive terms: "It is this: Whether we should expect to 
be saved from all sin before the article of death."'" 

The attempt to formalize Methodism and spread it out among 
the general public becomes even more obvious in the "Large Minutes" 
of 1789 which contain over seventy questions on discipline. Unlike 
the "Doctrinal Minutes" which are concerned with complex and often 
abstract theological problems, the Minutes of 1789 focus upon organi- 
zational and historical questions such as: "What was the rise of 
Methodism, so called?"; "Is field-preaching unlawful?"; "How may 
the leaders of the classes be made more useful?"; "Can anything 
further be done, in order to make the meetings of the classes lively 
and profitable?"" More importantly, there was the very serious 

'"Minutes of Some Late Conversations," in Works, ed. Jackson, VIIL 275. 
'"Minutes," in Works, ed. Jackson, VIIL 275, 276, 279. 
'"Minutes," in Works, ed. Jackson, VIIL 281. 
'""Minutes," in Works, ed. Jackson, VIIL 288, 290, 294. 
""Minutes," in Works, ed. Jackson, VIIL 300-30L 

ROGAL: the contribution of JOHN AND CHARLES WESLEY 239 

problem of reaching down to those levels of British society that had 
been neglected by organized religion: 

Indeed, you will find it no easy matter to teach the ignorant the 
principles of religion. So true is the remark of Archbishop [Henry] 
Usher: "Great scholars may think this work beneath them. But they 
should consider, the laying of the foundation skilfully, as it is of the 
greatest importance, so it is the masterpiece of the wisest builder. And 
let the wisest of us all try, whenever we please, we shall find, that to lay 
this groundwork rightly, to make the ignorant understand the grounds 
of religion, will put us to the trial of all our skill. "'^ 

Wesley added to Usher's advice by urging his own preachers to visit 
the homes of the so-called ignorant, to talk with each family member 
individually, and to pay particular attention to the children. 

At one point, the 1789 Minutes become almost a general "how- 
to-do-it-manual" to assist Methodist preachers in dealing with simple 
problems among common people. In response to a question on how 
to remedy "Sabbath-breaking, dram-drinking, evil-speaking, unprofit- 
able conversation, lightness, expensiveness or gaiety of apparel, and 
contracting debts without due care to discharge them," Wesley directs 
the interrogator to his various "Words" and "Advices," a series of 
essays that focuses on each of these issues. Other points concerning 
the office of preacher have to do with defining that office, identifying 
the functions of minister's helper and band leader, and spelling out 
the specific rules by which all leaders are governed: "A Methodist 
preacher," announced Wesley, for the benefit of those whom he had 
enlisted and those who planned to join his ranks, "is to mind every 
point, great and small, in the Methodist discipline! Therefore you will 
need all the sense you have, and to have all your wits about you!"'^ 

Naturally, there would rise challenges to John Wesley — questions 
directed to his leadership as well as to his doctrine. However, he 
seemed to have anticipated those; his responses, as they appear in the 
1789 Minutes, are direct statements that reveal the extent of his 
authority. Thus, his responsibility, as leader of the British Meth- 
odists, is 

... a power of admitting into, and excluding from, the societies under 
my care; of choosing and removing Stewards; or receiving or not 
receiving Helpers; of appointing them when, where, and how to help 
me; and of desiring any of them to confer with me when I see good. 
And it was merely in obedience to the providence of God, and for the 
good of the people, that I first accepted this power, which I never 

'Minutes," in Works, ed. Jackson, VIII. 305. 
*Minutes," in Works, ed. Jackson, VIII. 308, 310. 


sought; so it is on the same consideration, not for profit, honour, or 
pleasure, that I use it at this day.''* 

The problems stemmed from Wesley's critics, both in and outside of 
Methodism, who saw his authority as a violation upon their religious 
and civil freedoms — the very freedoms that British Methodism sought 
to restore and to defend. "It is nonsense," exclaimed an irritated John 
Wesley, ". . . to call my using this power, 'shackling free-born English- 
men.' None needs to submit to it unless he will; so that there is no 
shackling in the case. Every Preacher and every member may leave 
me when he pleases. But while he chooses to stay, it is on the same 
terms that he joined me at first. "'^ 

The subjects of the various Minutes consider a wide range of 
what could be termed "popular religion": preaching, singing, reading, 
admission of preachers, provision for preachers' widows, circuits, 
schools, rules, finances, Calvinism, Anglicanism. The tone of those 
documents is forceful, with the answers set down in crisp, factual 
commands. But John Wesley, no matter what the context, always 
found the time to exhort his preachers and his immediate followers, 
to transfuse the exhaust from his highly propelled confidence: "Now 
promote, as far as in you lies, one of the noblest charities in the 
world. Now forward, as you are able, one of the most excellent 
designs that ever set down in this kingdom."'^ Interestingly, the 
various Minutes were published and distributed throughout the soci- 
eties; thus, as part of the scheme to take advantage of every possibility 
to reach the largest audience, Wesley managed to transform a basically 
cold, businesslike document into another of his strictly human explica- 
tions of British Methodism. 

Charles proved to be no less an able or willing explicator of the 
movement as he pursued his attempts to tune the vocal cords of 
Methodism to the spiritual revival of the 18th century. Not every 
one of his poems evidences the same degree of quality, but when 
viewed in the general light of congregational hymnody, the en- 
tire canon does convey the intensity of the poet's deep, personal 
religious feeling. Few subjects escaped Charles Wesley's notice: his 
own religious conversion and marriage; domestic upheavals from 
panics, earthquakes, religious riots, and rumors of foreign invasion; 
festivals of the Church of England and doctrines of the faith; scenes 
from and paraphrases of the Testaments; deaths of friends; the 
education of children; and the effects of local surroundings upon 
inhabitants of remote areas. Charles Wesley could easily capture 

'""Minutes," in Works, ed. Jackson, VIIL 312. 
""Minutes," in Works, ed. Jackson, VIII. 313. 
'^"Minutes," in Works, ed. Jackson, VIII. 334. 

ROGAL: the contribution of JOHN and CHARLES WESLEY 241 

those subjects, experiences, and occasions for congregational worship 
because he could easily maneuver the instruments necessary to shape 
the popular English hymn; simple diction, lucid construction, resonant 
lines, emphasis upon and repetition of plain Gospel truth, and poetic 
images that could be understood by a large number of people 
representing all ranks and levels of 18th-century British society. As 
was the case with his older brother, Charles Wesley spent little 
time contemplating and transmitting abstract themes. Instead, he 
articulated the language of the personal and the concrete to reflect the 
experiences of thousands of believers and at least an equal number of 
those who struggled to believe. Observe, as one representative example 
of Charles Wesley's purpose and method, his attempts to reach the 
hearts and the minds of young worshipers. 

Throughout the 18th century, hymns written expressly for or 
directed to children principally served as complements to the peda- 
gogical process rather than as parts of church liturgy. Until after 
mid-century, Isaac Watts' Divine Songs Attempted in Easy Language 
for the Use of Children (1715) led the field. Basically, the poetry of 
Watts, the Nonconformist minister of Stoke Newington, bypassed the 
solemnities of mature religious thought and emphasized instead the 
aspects of spiritual delight and moral profit. Although Watts wrote 
some excellent poetry, it accomplished little, theologically, beyond 
the versification of Puritan moral teaching. Notice, for instance, these 
lines from "Whene'er I take my walks abroad": 

Not more than others I deserve. 

Yet God hath giv'n me more; 
For I have food while others starve. 

Or beg from door to door.'^ 

Almost fifty years after the first edition of Watts' Divine Songs, 
Charles Wesley published his Hymns for Children (Bristol: E. Farley, 
1763). Of the 105 poetic pieces, five were directed (by virtue of a 
section heading) to girls, while an additional twenty-five appeared 
under a section entitled "Hymns for the Youngest." In general, 
Wesley intended to continue Watts's design of communicating both 
the sound and the sense of the verses to the level of the juvenile mind. 
However, as he lost sight of that intent, a large number of the hymns 
actually focus upon problems reserved for the mature intellect — 

How then ought I on earth to live. 
While God prolongs the kind reprieve, 
And props the house of clay! 

Isaac Watts, Divine and Moral Songs, attempted in Easy Language for the Use 
of Ctiildren (London: M. Lawrence, 1715) 15. 


My sole concern, my single care, 
To watch, and tremble, and prepare 

Against the fatal day! 
No room for mirth or trifling here, 
For worldly hope, or worldly fear. 

If life so soon is gone; 
If now the judge is at the door. 
And all mankind must stand before 

Th' inexorable throne!' ^~ 

What happened to change the direction from Watts's purpose for 
children's hymnody may best be determined by looking at the preface 
to John Wesley's revision of his brother's 1763 volume, published in 
late March 1790: 

There are two ways of writing or speaking to children [wrote 
eighty-seven year-old John Wesley]: the one is, to let ourselves down to 
them; the other, to lift them up to us. Dr. Watts has wrote in the 
former way, and has succeeded admirably well, speaking to children as 
children, and leaving them as he found them. The following hymns are 
written on the other plan: they contain strong and manly sense, yet 
expressed in such plain and easy language as even children may 
understand. But when they do understand them, they will be children 
no longer, only in years and in stature.'^ 

The final sentence indicates clearly, at least as concerned the elder 
Wesley, the relationship between hymnody and pedagogy in Methodist 
thought and practice. 

The specifics of that relationship can be viewed also in Charles 
Wesley's dedicatory hymn for the opening of Kingswood School, 
"Come, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost." The poet begins by asking 
that "The sacred discipline be given, /To train and bring them up for 
Heaven." The training process itself is to be governed by the unifica- 
tion of knowledge and piety: 

Learning and holiness combined. 

And truth and love, let all men see, 
In these, whom up to Thee we give. 
Thine, wholly Thine, to die and live.^° 

In three other hymns — entitled, simply, "Before School," "In School," 
and "After School" — Charles Wesley captured the essence of his 
brother's concerns about the education of youth. His singers ask for 

The Poetical Works of John and Charles Wesley, ed. George Osborn (London: 
Wesleyan Methodist Conference Office, 1868-1872), VI. 432. 
^"^ Poetical Works, VI. 370. 
^''Poetical Works, VI. 407-8. 

ROGAL: the contribution of JOHN and CHARLES WESLEY 243 

"an humble, active mind, /From sloth and folly free," trained to learn 
"The lessons of Thy love." They search for useful knowledge in 
combination with the ability to "Live to His glory, and declare/ Our 
heavenly Teacher's praise."^' 

What we view in the 1763 Hymns for Children, then, really turn 
out to be divine songs for young students. In 1715, Watts had 
identified his singers as little boys and little girls (even as "little 
bees," in one instance); Charles Wesley, however, although not totally 
unconcerned about youth, does not appear restricted to those whose 
age identifies them as children. Childhood, for the Wesleys, focused 
upon that necessary vacuum between birth and maturity; the real 
issue was, simply. 

When, dear Lord, ah! tell us when 
Shall we be in knowledge men; 
Men in strength and constancy, 
Men of God, confirm'd in Thee?^^ 

Thus, the hymns for children stood as examples of what John Wesley 
would term practical poetry, verse essential in assisting the largest 
possible number of Methodist youth to formulate their earliest in- 
quiries about practical Christianity. For John Wesley, as the Meth- 
odist leader most concerned with and responsible for the education of 
all Methodist children, his brother's poetry could do no more. For 
Charles Wesley, those same hymns served as the initial aspects of his 
larger poetic scheme: the call to all the citizens of his nation and to 
the members of his nation's Church to express their demand for a 
new and everlasting spiritual day: 

Britons, arise with one accord, 
And learn to glory in the Lord! 
The Lord, from whom salvation came, 
Doth justly all your praises claim: 
With humble heart and thankful voice 
Rejoice aright, to God rejoice. ^^ 

The eventual success of Wesleyan Methodism, then, came about 
because John Wesley determined (following the unsettling period of 
his Georgia mission, his journey to Nicholas von Zinzendorf and the 
Moravians, and his religious conversion at Aldersgate) to give his 
attention to the specific theological and social issues that the Church 
of England had ignored for so long. After all, was he not an officer of 

^^ Poetical Works, VL 421-22. 
^^ Poetical Works, VI. 403. 
^^ Poetical Works, VI. 181. 


that very Church, as well as his father and two brothers? John 
Wesley's grand venture grew out of the essence of Christian purpose 
as revealed to him in Scripture wherein men first "found it needful to 
join together, in order to oppose the works of darkness, to spread the 
knowledge of God their Saviour, and to promote His kingdom upon 

To accomplish that purpose, the Christian Church (or at least 
Wesley's concept of the earliest version of that institution) came forth 
to save souls, to assist Christians in working out the issues of 
salvation, to save persons from present and future misery, to over- 
throw Satan, and to establish the kingdom of Christ. Therefore, 
according to the founder and leader of the Methodists, the Church of 
England, despite the dark shadows of regal whim and princely 
pettiness that clouded its origin, 

. . . united together for this very end, to oppose the devil and all his 
works, and to wage war against the world and the flesh, his constant 
and faithful allies. But do they, in fact, answer the end of their union? 
Are all who style themselves "Members of the Church of England," 
heartily engaged in opposing the works of the devil, and fighting 
against the world and the flesh? Alas, we cannot say this. So far from it 
that a great part, I fear the greater part of them, are themselves the 
world, — the people that know not God to any saving purpose; are 
indulging, day by day, instead of "mortifying the flesh, with its 
affections and desires"; and doing, themselves, those works of the devil, 
which they are peculiarly engaged to destroy."'^ 

To solve the problem, John Wesley committed himself to the 
spread of popular religion throughout England. By the time of his 
death on 2 March 1791, he had convinced at least 58,218 persons in 
England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland that they could and would be 
saved. In the process, he had created a warm climate of theological 
salvation in an age dominated by cold reason. More than any other 
person, group, or institution in 18th-century Britain, John and 
Charles Wesley prepared their followers and their ideological progeny 
for the social, economic, and political rejuvenation of the following 

John Wesley, Sermons on Several Occasions, ed. Thomas Jackson (New York: 
Carlton and Phillips, 1854) 1. 457. 
"Wesley, Sermons, I. 458. 

Grace TheologicalJournal 4.2 (I9»i) 245-262 


Gerald L. Mattingly 

One of the major arguments used to support a 13th-century date 
for the exodus-conquest is the alleged Late Bronze Age occupational 
gap in central and southern Transjordan. Recent archaeological 
investigations indicate that this gap hypothesis, which was originally 
advocated by Nelson Glueck, needs to be modified. Although the 
historical! archaeological picture is still coming into focus, it now 
appears that Ammon, Moab, and Edom were settled during the Late 
Bronze Age. The density of this occupation remains an open question. 
Nevertheless, it appears that the archaeological data from Late Bronze 
Age Transjordan have become neutral in the debate on the date of 
the exodus-conquest. 

IN the opening pages of Redating the Exodus and Conquest, 
John J. Bimson identifies two major assumptions of his study. 
First, he maintains that "the bibhcal traditions of the bondage in 
Egypt and of the Exodus have a firm historical basis." Second, 
Bimson insists that these historical events must be and can be con- 
nected to an absolute chronology.^ This emphasis demonstrates that 
Redating is important reading for anyone who takes the biblical 
narratives and their historical/ archaeological context seriously. Al- 
though many readers will have some reservations, Bimson's study is 
now the most comprehensive and up-to-date examination of the 
historical and archaeological data pertaining to the OT accounts of 
the exodus-conquest. 

Since its publication in 1978, Redating has received mixed 
reviews.^ For example, Miller suggests that Bimson's theory of a mid- 
15th century exodus-conquest, which calls for the lowering of the end 

'John J. Bimson, Redating the Exodus and Conquest (Sheffield: Almond, 1978). 

^Bimson, Redating, 10-13. 

^See, e.g., A. G. Auld, ExpTim 90 (1979) 152; A. H. W. Curtis, EvQ 52 (1980) 
54-55; H. Engel, Bib 61 (1980) 437-40; J. D. Martin, 577 33 (1980) 183-85; E. H. 
Merrill, BSac 136 (1980) 184; J. M. Miller, JBL 99 (1980) 133-35; P. R. S. Moorey, 


of MB lie, is plausible, but the number of secondary explanations 
needed to support this daring theory neutralize its advantage over the 
Albrightian hypothesis for a I3th-ceniury date. Miller says that the 
most significant contribution of Bimson's book is its demonstration 
"that those who hold to a thirteenth century exodus-conquest have no 
monopoly on the archaeological evidence." In other words, Redating 
re-examines an old problem from a fresh perspective and shows that 
the questions concerning the date of the exodus-conquest have not 
been resolved. Not only are there new ways of looking at old data, as 
Bimson proves, but there is also new evidence that must be considered. 
The main purpose of this article is to review the ways in which the 
archaeological evidence from Transjordan relates to the exodus- 
conquest and to present some new data that bear upon this issue. 


There are four major arguments used to support the late date for 
the exodus-conquest: (1) the identification of Pithom and Raamses, 
(2) the 13th-century destruction of Palestinian towns mentioned in 
the conquest narratives, (3) the archaeological evidence from Middle 
Bronze and Late Bronze Age Transjordan, and (4) the military cam- 
paigns of Seti I and Ramses II. While Bimson refers to the first two 
arguments as the "main pillars" of the late date, he also regards the 
third and fourth points as key elements. However, all four of these 
arguments are still open to further deliberation. The Egyptian evi- 
dence, which forms the basis of arguments (1) and (4), is still being 
reworked and interpreted in different ways.^ And, although it is a 
favorite of many OT scholars. Miller recently delivered a critical blow 
to the second argument by showing that the "destruction layers" at 
certain Palestinian tells represent, at best, an ambiguous form of 
evidence.^ I focus here on the third argument, the lack of Middle 

JTS^\ (1980) 111-13; W, H. Shea, CB^ 42 (1980) 88-90; P. Wernberg-Moller, 775 3! 
(1980) 135; A. F. Rainey, /fV 30 ( 1980) 249-51; J. A. Soggin, (T31 (1981) 98-99; and 
D. M. Beegle, TSF Bulleiin 5.5 (1982) 16-17. 

'Miller, 133, 135. 

Bimson, Redating, 30-73; cf. K. A. Kitchen, Ancient Orient and Old Testament 
(London: Tyndale, 1966) 57-69; C. F. Aling, Egypt and Bible History from Earliest 
Times to WOO B.C. (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1981) 77-96. 

*See, for example, Aling, Egypt and Bible History. 77-110; idem, "The Biblical 
City of Ramses," JETS 25 (1982) 129-37; H. Shanks, "The Exodus and the Crossing of 
the Red Sea, According to Hans Goedicke," BAR 1 (1981) 42-50, and other articles 
related to Goedicke's theory; B. MacDonald, "Excavations at Tell el-Maskhuta," BA 
43 (1980) 49-58. 

J. M. Miller, "Archaeology and the Israelite Conquest of Canaan: Some Methodo- 
logical Observations," PEQ 109 (1977) 87-93. 

mattingly: the exodus-conquest and transjordan 247 

Bronze and late Bronze settlements in central and southern Trans- 

Assumptions Behind the Third Argument 

The archaeological evidence from Transjordan is important in 
this debate because Numbers 20ff. and Judges 1 1 indicate that the 
Hebrews, while en route to the land of Canaan, were opposed by the 
kings of Edom and Moab and the Amorite kings to the east of the 
Jordan River. Therefore, archaeological evidence of occupation in 
their territories at the time of the conquest should be found, regardless 
of the date assigned to this event. Because Glueck's surface survey 
indicated that there was a gap in the sedentary occupation of Edom 
and Moab from ca. 1900 B.C. until ca. 1300 B.C. (although Glueck's 
dates fluctuated), the archaeological material from Transjordan 
seemed to support the late date. Recognizing that the reconstruction 
of occupational history in this region is crucial to this whole discus- 
sion, Bimson observes: 

This argument for the 13th century date only holds if the following 
three assumptions are correct: (a) that the accounts in Num 20ff are 
historical, (b) that those accounts, if historical, require the existence of 
a sedentary population settled in permanent towns at the time of the 
Israelite migration, and (c) that Glueck's interpretation of the archaeo- 
logical material is correct.^ 

Before proceeding to a more detailed treatment of the third assump- 
tion, including a report on some archaeological data recently recovered 
in Jordan, I comment on the first two suppositions mentioned by 

With regard to the first point, Bimson says that he does not 
doubt the "basic historicity" of Numbers 20ff. He does, however, in 
agreement with Bartlett, accept the possibility that certain features of 
these accounts could be late accretions to the earlier traditions. Many 
conservative scholars will not approve of such concessions, but there 
is nothing to fear in admitting that such a possibility exists. Indeed, 
when compared with the negative conclusions reached by Van Seters 
in his ongoing debate with Bartlett,^ Bimson's openness is not extreme. 

Following a thorough discussion of the second assumption listed 
above, Bimson concludes that the OT does not demand that the 

^Bimson, Redaling, 61, 62. 

'J. R. BartleU, "Sihon and Og, Kings of the Amorites," VT 20 (1970) 257-77; 
J. Van Seters, "The Conquest of Sihon's Kingdom: A Literary Examination," JBL 91 
(1972) 182-97; J. R. BartleU, "The Conquest of Sihon's Kingdom: A Literary Re- 
examination," JBL 97 (1978) 347-51; J. Van Seters, "Once Again — The Conquest of 
Sihon's Kingdom," JBL 99 (1980) 117-19. 


Transjordanian opponents encountered by the Hebrews were part of 
an urbanized sedentary population. In agreement with the earlier 
studies of de Vaux and Rea, Bimson suggests that "it is therefore 
possible that the kings we read of in Num 20ff were chieftains of 
semi-nomadic groups who refused to let another nomadic group, the 
Israelites, pass through their areas of pasturage. "'° This conclusion is 
plausible, especially if we follow Wenham's theory which calls for a 
significant reduction in the Hebrew population and its fighting force." 
Otherwise, it would have taken sizeable armies, perhaps from orga- 
nized kingdoms, to restrict the movement of such a large number of 

glueck's survey of transjordan 

In the Glueck festschrift, Wright provides a valuable assessment 
of Glueck's exploration of Transjordan: 

Glueck was not the first man by any means who had searched 
these lands, but he was the first to do as complete a survey as possible 
with a small budget and few helpers, and he was the first to use the 
pottery-dating tool as a basic scientific aid. Between 1932 and 1947, 
he spent nearly all his exploration time in Transjordan and in the 
Jordan-Dead Sea rift as far south as the Gulf of Aqabah. . . . Most of 
Glueck's work in Transjordan had to be on foot or on horseback. 
Refusing elaborate equipment, the explorer lived for days at a time as a 
Bedu, drinking what water was available from any source, living as a 
guest of the bedouin, and so well known and trusted that he was 
always protected, needed no foreign guards, and was never harmed. 

Having worked for two summers on an archaeological survey in the 
region of ancient Moab, I have great respect for Glueck, and it seems 
wise (indeed, necessary!) to preface a critique of Glueck with an 
acknowledgment of his remarkable accomplishments. 

As several scholars have already suggested and as the recent 
Moab Survey clearly demonstrates, Glueck's surface exploration of 
Transjordan is seriously in need of updating.'^ This does not mean. 

Bimson, ReJaiing, 63; cf. R. de Vaux, "La Palestine et la Transjordanie au 11" 
millenaire et les origines Israelites," ZA H^ 56 (1938) 225-38; J. Rea, "New Light on the 
Wilderness Journey and Conquest," GJ 2 (1961) 5-13. 

"j. W. Wenham, "Large Numbers in the Old Testament," TynBul 18 (1967) 

'G. E. Wright, "The Phenomenon of American Archaeology in the Near East," 
Near Eastern Archaeology in the Twentieth Century, ed. J. A. Sanders (Garden City: 
Doubleday, 1970) 29, 30. 

For further discussion of the weaknesses in Glueck's archaeological survey, see 
G. L. Mattingly, "A Reconstruction of Early Bronze Age Cultural Patterns in Central 

mattingly: the exodus-conquest and transjordan 249 

however, that Glueck's work should be jettisoned in toto. Glueck's 
four-volume Explorations in Eastern Palestine (1934, 1935, 1939, 
1951) and The Other Side of the Jordan (1940; 2nd ed., 1970) serve 
as benchmarks in the history of research on ancient Transjordan. 
Glueck's publications also provide valuable information on the con- 
dition of Moab's archaeological sites in the 1930s, and his reports 
illuminate the nature and rate of the present-day resettlement of the 
plateau. These factors alone justify the continued use of Glueck's 
works as the starting point for all future archaeological investigations 
in Transjordan. Thus, although Glueck's volumes cannot be regarded 
as conclusive, any attempt to disparage Glueck's intentions or abilities 
must be accompanied by words of praise for his herculean achieve- 
ment. "* 

Glueck's "Gap Hypothesis" 

In his first major report on the survey of Transjordan (which 
focused primarily on Moab), Glueck set forth five conclusions. The 
first three read, in part, as follows: 

1. There was a strong Bronze Age civilization in ancient Moab between 
the twenty-third and the eighteenth centuries B.C., when it completely 

2. Between the eighteenth and the thirteenth centuries B.C. there is an 
almost complete gap in the history of settled communities in the 
region visited. 

3. There was a highly developed Moabite civilization, which seems to 
have flourished especially between the middle of the thirteenth and 
end of the ninth centuries b.c.'^ 

Similar conclusions were reiterated in Glueck's subsequent reports on 
this region, although several modifications are apparent in the later 
publications. Glueck's second statement has probably attracted more 
attention than all the others. Although the second conclusion is 
directly related to the first and third statements, the Middle and Late 
Bronze occupational gap is at the heart of the argument over the date 
of the exodus-conquest. Since this is the focal point of this article, 
Glueck's 1934 statement, which constitutes his original gap hypothesis, 
is quoted in entirety: 

Moab" (unpublished Ph.D. dissertation. Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1980) 
74, 75. 

'''For discussion of Glueck's contribution to archaeology, see Mattingly, "Recon- 
struction," 242, 243. 

'^N. Glueck, "Explorations in Eastern Palestine 1," AASOR 14 (1934) 81-83. 


Between the eighteenth and the thirteenth centuries B.C. there is an 
almost complete gap in the history of settled communities in the region 
visited. With the exception of Jalul and of el-Misna^ and el-Medeiyineh 
above Lejjun, at both of which last two mentioned places a few scraps 
of Middle Bronze II pottery were found, not a single site was found 
with pottery remains between the end of Middle Bronze I and the 
beginning of Early Iron I. The Egyptian lists of towns and the Tell el- 
Amarna tablets are silent with regard to this period in Eastern Palestine. 
Moab is first mentioned in the inscriptions of Ramses II.'* 

In spite of the exceptional sites that yielded "a few scraps of Middle 
Bronze II pottery," Glueck restated his hypothesis in the first edition 
of The Other Side of the Jordan: 

There was at about ± 1900 B.C. such a thoroughgoing destruction 
visited upon all the great fortresses and settlements of the land, within 
the limits we have examined, that the particular civilization they 
represented never again recovered. The blow it received was so crushing 
as to be utterly destructive. Its cities were never rebuilt, and much of 
Transjordan became the camping ground of tent dwellers, who used for 
containers perishable skins and not enduring pottery. Permanent vil- 
lages and fortresses were no longer to rise upon the face of the earth in 
this region till the beginning of the Iron Age.' 

In this same volume Glueck used the term "Bedouins" to explain his 
gap: "The Semites who took possession of Transjordan at the very 
end of the 14th or the beginning of the 13th century B.C., probably 
partly absorbed and partly drove out the Bedouins who since about 
1900 B.C. had been the masters of the land."'* 

Glueck held firmly to his original gap hypothesis right up to a 
well-known 1967 essay on Transjordan,'^ even though evidence was 
accumulating that seemed to challenge his position. There were two 
reasons for Glueck's tenacity. First, he viewed the few sites that had 
Middle Bronze or Late Bronze sherds as "exceptions" to the rule. 
Glueck even allowed for the possibility that additional sites might be 
found in Moab, especially since he recognized that there were gaps in 
his survey. On the other hand, Glueck's discussion of such omissions 
concludes with this comment: "On the whole, however, the writer is 
confident that not very many ancient sites in Edom and Moab, whose 

""Glueck, "Explorations, 1," 82. The literary evidence that relates to this issue will 
be examined in a separate article. 

"N. Glueck, The Other Side of the Jordan (New Haven: American Schools of 
Oriental Research, 1940) 114. 

'"Glueck, Other Side, 127. 

"N. Glueck, "Transjordan," Archaeology and Old Testament Study, ed. D. W. 
Thomas (Oxford: Clarendon, 1967) 443-45. 

mattingly: the exodus-conquest and transjordan 25 1 


ruins have not been completely obliterated, remain undiscovered 
In light of the hundreds of new sites that have been discovered in 
Moab alone, this was an amazing claim. 

Second, Glueck was convinced that the literary tradition of 
Genesis 14 (the invasion of Transjordan by the eastern kings) would 
be reflected in "archaeological facts. "^' Thus, Glueck's certainty about 
an occupational gap in Transjordan was intimately linked to his 
convictions about the historical trustworthiness of the Bible. ^^ 

Along with his other famous hypotheses (i.e., the "King's High- 
way" and Solomon's "smelting and refining plant" at Ezion-geber), 
Glueck's theory of a Middle and Late Bronze Age occupational gap 
in central and southern Transjordan was accepted by historians and 
archaeologists until recently. Without attempting to provide an ex- 
haustive list of the countless scholars who were influenced by Glueck 
on this point, perhaps McGovern's observation is sufficient: "In one 
form or another, Glueck's theory found its way into most of the 
standard biblical and archaeological handbooks. "^^ 

General Criticisms of Glueck's Survey Methodology 

Although the general reliability of much of Glueck's work has 
stood the test of time, various kinds of errors are now known to have 
entered into his analyses of the ceramic evidence from Transjordan. 
As a result, his interpretation of the history of this region, which was 
based largely on the pottery data, has also become suspect. Specifi- 
cally, the gap hypothesis has been challenged at four levels. 

First, it is now known that surface survey, by its very nature, 
does not recover all the data at any site. Although the value of 
archaeological reconnaissance has been adequately demonstrated,^" 
any historical reconstruction that is heavily dependent on survey data 
must be viewed as partial and tentative. The pottery collected from 
the surface of a site may be representative of the site's accumulated 
debris, but the surface of an archaeological site is not always a 

' N. Glueck, Explorations in Eastern Palestine t/I {New Haven: American Schools 
of Oriental Research, 1939) xxiii. 

-'Glueck, Other Side. 114. 

"See G. E. Wright, "Is Glueck's Aim to Prove that the Bible Is True?" BA 22 
(1959) 101-8. 

■'p. E. McGovern, "Exploring the Burial Caves of the Baq^ah Valley in Jordan," 
Archaeology 35 (1982) 47. 

'"See, for example, R. J. Ruppe, "The Archaeological Survey: A Defense," 
American Antiquity 31 (1966) 313-33; R. McC. Adams, "The Study of Ancient 
Mesopotamian Settlement Patterns and the Problem of Urban Origins," Sumer 25 
(1969) 111-24; Y. Aharoni, The Land of the Bible: A Historical Geography (Phila- 
delphia: Westminster, 1967) 91-93. 


microcosm of its subsurface contents. The distribution of sherds over 
the surface of a site is dependent upon too many natural and cultural 
variables to provide anything but a rough estimate of the site's actual 

Second, it is now recognized that Glueck's survey was superficial. 
Quite simply, Glueck overlooked hundreds of archaeological sites in 
his survey of Transjordan. Again, this is not intended to minimize 
Glueck's accomplishment, but it is clear that his superficial treatment 
of the regions involved skewed some of his conclusions. If failure to 
recover sherds from a particular period at any one site is detrimental 
to the interpretive process, the omission of a number of important 
sites in a region can be disastrous. 

Third, Glueck's results have been challenged because some 
scholars believe that his knowledge of ceramics was wholly inadequate 
for the task to which he applied himself. After a word of praise for 
Glueck's Explorations in Eastern Palestine, Franken and Power make 
these criticisms: 

It is now, however, becoming increasingly clear that the other part 
of Glueck's work, that is to say the pottery study, and the conclusions 
drawn from that study are in many ways both defective and misleading. 
There are two reasons for making these judgments. In the first instance 
his work is defective because Glueck assumed that the culture of Iron 
Age Transjordan was so similar to that of Palestine that the pottery of 
Transjordan could be compared with and chronologically tied into the 
known Palestinian repertoire. And in the second instance the work is 
misleading because Glueck published only those shapes that were 
familiar to him even in cases where he picked up unknown shapes in 
the areas immediately adjacent to Palestine, i.e. in the eastern Ghor 
and in Ammon. Those shapes that he did not recognize he omitted 
from publication, which is a curious procedure, for a survey of a 
largely unknown area ought to reveal and indeed to stress the new and 
the unknown rather than to emphasize the known. But apparently 
Glueck did not anticipate a differing Transjordanian cultural develop- 

In order to show that these criticisms are related to Glueck's gap 
hypothesis, Franken and Power continue by saying that 

it is clear that Glueck assumed that he would have recognized Trans- 
jordanian Middle Bronze IIB, IIC, and Late Bronze shapes had he 
found them. From what has already been said it is no longer clear that 
this assumption can be accepted without question. . . . Theoretically it 

' H. J. Franken and W. J. A. Power, "Glueck's Explorations in Eastern Palestine 
in the light of recent evidence," VT 21 (1971) 119. 

mattingly: the exodus-conquest and transjordan 253 

is now quite possible that what Glueck called early Iron Age is in part 
fourteenth century B.C. Transjordanian pottery.'* 

Furthermore, the pottery typology of Albright, upon whose work 
Glueck's pottery analyses were based, has been refined in recent 
years, and the future will bring a better understanding of the develop- 
ment of ancient Transjordan's ceramic tradition. Indeed, many of the 
changes that Glueck made in the second edition of The Other Side of 
the Jordan were based upon his more up-to-date knowledge of 
Transjordanian pottery. 

Fourth, Glueck's work has been criticized because some scholars 
believe that his survey of Transjordan was influenced by his religious 
convictions. In other words, Glueck is accused of attempting to "fit" 
his survey results into his preconceived assumptions about a histori- 
cally trustworthy Bible. For example, Franken wonders whether "a 
biblical date for Chedorlaomer or an archaeological date for the end 
of M.B. I civilization" came first. ^^ Franken makes many other 
caustic remarks in his attempt to discredit Glueck's reconstruction of 
Transjordan's history because it "is based on biblical data."^* Although 
these criticisms of Glueck's methodology and motives deserve further 
consideration, I move on to a summary of the archaeological evidence 
that relates to the gap theory. 


Ever since Glueck's gap hypothesis became popular, archaeol- 
ogists and historians have eagerly reported any discovery that held 
promise of disproving Glueck's theory. Occasionally, this enthusiasm 
caused scholars to force the evidence to say more than is warranted. 
In an attempt to provide a sober evaluation of Glueck's position, I list 
the places where Middle and Late Bronze data have been recovered in 
central and southern Transjordan and comment on the nature of this 
material. I do not claim that the list of sites or the accompanying 
bibliographical references are exhaustive, but the major reported 
finds from the period and region in question are mentioned. 

General discussions of the archaeological data that are thought 
to fill in Glueck's hypothetical gap can be found in Harding,^^ 

^*Franken and Power, "Glueck's Explorations" 122, 123. 
"H. J. Franken, "The Other Side of the Jordan," ADAJ 15 (1970) 8. 
^^Franken, "Other Side," 7. 

"G. L. Harding, "Recent Discoveries in Jordan," PEQ 90 (1958) 10-12; idem. The 
Antiquities of Jordan (rev. ed.; New York: Praeger, 1967) 32-34, 63. 


Dornemann,^° Ward/' Sapin,^^ and Bimson." Today, most of the 
objections to Glueck's historical reconstruction are based upon the 
Middle and Late Bronze finds from '^Amman/'' Tell Safut/^ Sahab,^^ 
Na'ur," Madeba,^^ Khirbet el-Mekhayyat,^^ and Qla= et-Twal/*^ More 
recently recovered artifacts from the Hesban region"*' and the Baq^ah 

'"R. H. Dornemann, "The Cultural and Archaeological History of the Transjordan 
in the Bronze and Iron Age" (unpublished Ph.D. dissertation. University of Chicago, 
1970); see especially pp. 39-63. A revised edition of Dornemann's study will be 
published in the near future. 

^'W. A. Ward, "The Shasu 'Bedouin': Notes on a Recent Publication," y£5//0 15 
(1972) 54, 55. 

"j. Sapin, "25 ans d'Arch^ologie en Syrie- Palestine (1946-1971): Recherches et 
Perspectives (seconde partie)," ETR 49 (1974) 558-65. 

"Bimson, Redating, 61-68. 

'""On the Amman citadel, see F. Zayadine, "Recent Excavations on the Citadel of 
Amman," ADAJ 18 (1973) 19, 20; C.-M. Bennett, "Excavations at the Citadel (Al 
Qara) Amman 1967," ADAJ 23 (1979) 159. On tombs in the Amman area, see G. L. 
Harding and B. S. J. Isserlin, "A Middle Bronze Age Tomb at Amman," PEFA 6 
(1953) 14-22; R. W. Dajani, "Jabal Nuzha Tomb at Amman," /ID/iy 11 (1966)48-52; 
W. A. Ward, "Scarabs, Seals and Cylinders from Two Tombs in Amman," ADAJ 1 1 
(1966) 5-18. On the so-called Amman Airport Temple, see W. A. Ward, "Cylinders & 
Scarabs from a Late Bronze Temple at Amman," ADAJ 8-9 (1964) 47-55; G. R. H. 
Wright, "The Bronze Age Temple at Amman," ZAWl%(\9bb) 350-57; J. B. Hennessy, 
"Excavation of a Bronze Age Temple at Amman," PEQ 98 (1966) 152-62; idem, 
"Supplementary Note," ZAW 78 (1966) 357-59; V. Hankey, "A Late Bronze Age 
Temple at Amman," Levant 6 (1974) 131-78; L. G. Herr, "The Amman Airport 
E.xcavations," ADAJ 21 (1976) 109-12; see Herr's "The Amman Airport Excavations, 
1976," forthcoming in AASOR. 

"Most attention is given to an alleged Middle Bronze Age glacis at Tell Safut; see 
F. S. Ma^ayeh, "'Recent Archaeological Discoveries in Jordan," ADAJ A-5 (1960) 1 15. 
Recent salvage excavations should lead to additional reports on this site and clarifica- 
tion of the function and date of this installation. 

""See R. W. Dajani, "A Late Bronze-Iron Age Tomb Excavated at Sahab, 1968," 
ADAJ 15 (1970) 29-34; S. H. Horn, "Three Seals from Sahab Tomb 'C'," ADAJ 16 

(1971) 103-6; M. M. Ibrahim, "Archaeological Excavations at Sahab, \912:' ADAJ 17 

(1972) 23-36; idem, "Second Season of Excavation at Sahab, 1973," ADAJ 19 (1974) 

"Reference is made to the Middle Bronze Age tomb objects from Na'^ur, but I 
have not located the primary source on this material; cf. Harding, Antiquities. 32, 33. 

"*See G. L. Harding, "An Early Iron Age Tomb at Madeba," PEFA 6 (1953) 27- 
33; M. Avi-Yonah, "Medeba," Encvclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the 
Holy Land, III. ed. M. Avi-Yonah and E. Stern (Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society 
and Massada Press, 1977) 820. 

"See S. J. Sailer and B. Bagatti, The Town of Nebo {Khirbet el-Mekhayyat) 
(Jerusalem: Franciscan, 1949) 24-29. 

■'"See W. A. Ward, "A Possible New Link between Egypt and Jordan during the 
Reign of Amenhotep III," ADAJ 18 (1973) 45, 46. 

'''See especially S. D. Waterhouse and R. Ibach, Jr., "The Topographical Survey," 
AVSS 13 (1975) 217-33; R. Ibach, Jr., "Archaeological Survey of the Hesban Region," 
AUSS 14 (1976) 119-26; idem, "Expanded Archaeological Survey of the Hesban 

mattingly: the exodus-conquest and transjordan 255 

Valley'*^ will undoubtedly enter into future discussions of central 
Transjordan's Bronze Age remains. The archaeological data from the 
sites mentioned above are primarily surface sherds and tomb deposits 
(some of the latter are quite rich), but there is some stratified material 
and a small amount of architectural evidence. The outstanding 
example of the latter is the so-called "Amman Airport Temple," a 
substantial LB II structure that contained a wealth of imported 
Mycenaean, Cypriot, and Egyptian pottery and other objects.'*^ 

In addition to the sites already mentioned, significant results 
were obtained from two archaeological surveys that were completed 
in 1982. The 1979, 1981, and 1982 seasons of the "Wadi el-Hasa 
Survey," which investigated a small portion of biblical Edom, wit- 
nessed the recovery of surface remains from over 1,000 sites, only a 
handful of which yielded any sherds from the Middle and Late 
Bronze Ages.''"* Much work still needs to be done in the territory to 
the south of Wadi Hesa, the boundary between ancient Moab and 

The 1978, 1979, and 1982 seasons of Emory University's "Archaeo- 
logical Survey of Central and Southern Moab" resulted in the exami- 
nation of 585 sites between Wadi Mujib and Wadi Hesa (the biblical 
rivers Arnon and Zered). Although the Middle and Late Bronze Ages 

Region," /I t/SS 16(1978) 201-13; idem, "An Intensive Surface Survey at Jalul," /l(y55 
16 (1978) 215-22. For a full bibliography on the Hesban excavations, see R. S. Boraas 
and L. T. Geraty, Heshhon 1976: The Fifth Campaign at Tell Heshan (Berrien Springs, 
MI: Andrews University, 1978) 1, 2. For discussion on the presence of Late Bronze 
Age material at Tell Hesban, see. D. M. Beegle, Review of Nelson Glueck, The Other 
Side of the Jordan, CBQ 33 (1971) 579-81 and L. T. Geraty, "The 1976 Season of 
Excavations at Tell Hesban," ADAJ 21 (1976) 42. 

""^For the unusually thorough reports on the recent work in the Baq'^ah Valley (just 
northwest of Amman), see P. McGovern, "The Baq'^ah Valley, Jordan: A Cesium 
Magnetometer Survey," MASCA Journal 1 (1979) 39-41; idem, "Baq^ah Valley 
Project 1980," BA 44 (I98I) 126-28; idem, "The Baq'ah Valley, Jordan: Test Soundings 
of Cesium Magnetometer Anomalies," MASCA Journal 1 (1981) 214-17; idem, 
"Baqah Valley Project 1981," BA 45 (1982) 122-24; idem, "Exploring the Burial Caves 
of the Baq^ah Valley in Jordan," Archaeology 35 (1982) 46-53; P. E. McGovern, 
G. Harbottle, and C. Wnuk, "Late Bronze Age Pottery Fabrics from the Baq'^ah 
Valley, Jordan: Composition and Origins," MASCA Journal 2 (1982) 8-12. The 
Baq^ah Valley is as far north as this article covers. Middle and Late Bronze materials 
from such sites as Irbid, Pella, Tell Deir "^Alla, and Tell es-Sa"adiyeh can be mentioned, 
but these sites fall outside of the geographical scope of this article and beyond the 
limits of Glueck's gap hypothesis. 

"'The debate over this structure concerns its function and its apparent isolation 
from any settlement. For more on this discovery, see below and an interesting footnote 
in Y. Aharoni, The Land of the Bible: A Historical Geography (rev. ed., Philadelphia: 
Westminster, 1979) 277, 278, n. 54. 

""See B. MacDonald, "The Wadi El Hasa Survey 1979: A Preliminary Report," 
ADAJ2^i\9m) 166-83; idem, "The Wadi el-Hasa Survey 1981," fi/1 45(1982)58,59. 


were well represented at these sites, the number of sherds from these 
periods was not as large as that from other historical eras. Since the 
overall results of this project have not yet been officially reported/^ 
this brief summary of the ceramic data that relate to this period is 

Middle Bronze Age Pottery from Central and Southern Moab 

9 sites yielded sherds that are either Middle or Late Bronze (MB/ LB), 
each site having between 1 and 42 sherds with this designation. 

26 sites yielded sherds that are possibly Middle Bronze (MB?), each site 
having between 1 and 8 sherds with this designation. 

31 sites yielded sherds that are definitely Middle Bronze (MB), each 
site having between 1 and 46 sherds with this designation. 

1 site yielded 1 sherd that is possibly Middle Bronze I (MB I?). 

2 sites yielded sherds that are definitely Middle Bronze I (MB I), one 
site having 3 sherds and the other site 4 sherds with this designation. 

1 site yielded 6 sherds that are possibly Middle Bronze II (MB II?). 

Late Bronze Age Pottery from Central and Southern Moab 

6 sites yielded sherds that are either Late Bronze or Iron Age I 
(LB/ Iron I), each site having between 1 and 63 sherds with this 

47 sites yielded sherds that are possibly Late Bronze (LB?), each site 
having between 1 and 37 sherds with this designation. 

75 sites yielded sherds that are definitely Late Bronze (LB), each site 
having between 1 and 30 sherds with this designation. 

1 site yielded 2 sherds that are possibly Late Bronze I (LB I?). 

1 site yielded 1 sherd that is definitely Late Bronze I (LB I). 

1 site yielded 8 sherds that are either Late Bronze II or Iron Age I 
(LBII/Iron I). 

6 sites yielded sherds that are definitely Late Bronze II (LB II), each 
site having between 1 and 46 sherds with this designation. 


Even before the survey of Moab had been carried out, the 
archaeological finds from Transjordan led scholars to question 

""For preliminary reports on the Emory University survey of Central and Southern 
Moab, see J. M. Miller, "Archaeological Survey of Central Moab: 1978." BASOR 234 
(1979) 43-52; idem, "Archaeological Survey South of Wadi Mujib." ADAJ 23 (1979) 
79-92; idem, "Recent Archaeological Developments Relevant to Ancient Moab," 
Studies in the History and Archaeology of Jordan /, ed. Adnan Hadidi (Amman: 
Department of Antiquities, 1982) 169-73; J. M. Pinkerton, "An Examination of 
Glueck's Conclusions Concerning Central Moab in the Light of the Miller-Pinkerton 
1978 Archaeological Survey of Central Moab" (unpublished M.T.S. thesis, Candler 
School of Theology. 1979); idem, "A Survey of Moab," Jordan 4 (1979) 4-7; J. R. 
Kautz, "Tracking the Ancient Moabites," BA 44 (1981) 27-35. 

mattingly: the exodus-conquest and transjordan 257 

Glueck's reconstruction. Three stances have emerged in the post- 1934 
evaluations of Glueck's gap hypothesis: (1) those who hold that 
Glueck's theory is incorrect; (2) those who hold that Glueck's theory 
is still correct; and (3) those who hold that Glueck's theory is in need 
of slight modification. It may appear that the difference between (1) 
and (3) is a matter of the degree of change that is sought, but there is, 
in fact, a significant difference in the tone that is used to criticize 
Glueck. Representatives of each of these positions are easily found; 
with no attempt to be exhaustive, some of their arguments are 
presented below. Since the dates of these evaluations are related to 
the weight of the argument put forth, publication dates are enclosed 
in parentheses following the scholars' names. 

As expected, many scholars insist that Glueck's hypothesis is 
wrong, including Harding (1953, 1958, 1967),'^ Ma'^ayeh (I960),'' 
Dajani (1964, 1966),'* Ward and Martin (1964),'' Kenyon (1966),^*" 
Dornemann (1970),^' Franken (1970)," Mittmann (1970),^^ Franken 
and Power (1971)," Zayadine (1973),^^ Thompson (1974a; 1974b),^^ 
Dever and Clark (1977)," and Bimson (1981).'' 

"^For Harding's objections to Glueck's theory, see G. L. Harding, "A Middle 
Bronze Age Tomb at Amman," PEFA 6 (1953) 14; idem, "Recent Discoveries in 
Jordan," PEQ 90 (1958) 11, 12; idem. Antiquities, 32-34, 63. 

"'F. S. Ma'^ayeh, "Recent Archaeological Discoveries in Jordan." ADAJ 4-5 
(1960) 115. 

"'R. Dajani, "Iron Age Tombs from Irbed," ADAJ 8-9 (1964) 101; idem, "Jabal 
Nuzha Tomb at Amman," ADAJ II (1966) 49. 

""W. A. Ward and M. F. Martin, "The Balu^a Stele: A New Transcription with 
Palaeographical and Historical Notes," ADAJ 8-9 (1964) 19-20. 

K. Kenyon, Amorites and Canaanites (London: British Academy, 1966) 64. 
R. H. Dornemann, "The Cultural and Archaeological History of the Transjordan 
in the Bronze and Iron Ages" (unpublished Ph.D. dissertation. University of Chicago, 
1970) 8, 48, 49. 

"H. J. Franken, "The Other Side of the Jordan," ADAJ 15 (1970) 7-9. 
^S. Mittmann, Beit rage zur Siedlungs- und Territorialgeschichte des nordlichen 
Ostjordanlandes (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1970) 221, n. 32. 

'''H. J. Franken and W. J. A. Power, "Glueck's Explorations in Eastern Palestine 
in the light of recent evidence," Fr 21 (1971) 119-23. 

"F. Zayadine, "The Middle Bronze Age (c. 1900 to 1500 B.C.)" and "The Late 
Bronze Age (c. 1500 to 1200 B.C.)," The Archaeological Heritage of Jordan: The 
Archaeological Periods and Sites (East Bank), Moawiyah Ibrahim, et al. (Amman: 
Department of Antiquities, 1973) 18-21. Cf. A. Hadidi, "The Archaeology of Jordan: 
Achievements and Objectives," Studies in the History and Archaeology of Jordan I, ed. 
A. Hadidi (Amman: Department of Antiquities, 1982) 16, 17. 

'""T. L. Thompson, The Historicity of the Patriarchal Narrative (Berlin: de 
Gruyter, 1974) 192-94; idem "Observations on the Bronze Age in Jordan," ADAJ 19 
(1974) 63-70. 

W. G. Dever and W. M. Clark, "The Patriarchal Traditions," Israelite and 
Judaean History, ed. J. H: Hayes and J. M. Miller (OTL; Philadelphia: Westminster, 
1977) 90. 

'^Bimson, Redating, 64-68. 


Beginning as early as 1953, Harding questioned the accuracy of 
Glueck's hypothesis. While Harding had objections to the method- 
ology that Glueck used in his survey, especially where Glueck's 
methods influenced his pottery analyses, Harding's real objection to 
the gap theory was based on the presence of Middle and Late Bronze 
tomb deposits and other archaeological evidence in Amman and its 
vicinity. Harding could not believe that these tombs, along with the 
Amman Airport Temple, were isolated phenomena or the work of 
tent-dwellers.^^ Furthermore, since Harding assumed a 13th-century 
date for the exodus-conquest, he contended that the biblical account 
"requires a fully occupied Edom, Moab and Ammon, and this cannot 
happen in a generation."^" 

On the basis of their study of the Balu'^a stele. Ward and Martin 
concluded that there had to be a well-established sedentary population 
in Moab during the Late Bronze Age. They suggested that Glueck's 
hypothetical "cultural hiatus" is being filled in with newly discovered 
Middle and Late Bronze sites, and thus "our concept of this area 
during this period will have to undergo a radical change."^' In a later 
publication, Ward softened his critique of Glueck and suggested that 
"the scanty knowledge we now possess may require a reassessment, or 
at least a modification, of the current view."*^ 

Thompson postulated a cultural continuity for Transjordan from 
Late Chalcolithic through Late Bronze Age, a continuity perpetuated 
by the "typical Bronze Age settlement," the small agricultural village. 
Following his treatment of the theories related to Bronze Age popula- 
tion shifts, Thomson concluded that "the real curiosity is that Glueck's 
hypothesis was ever taken so seriously — as literally true — in the first 
place. "^^ 

After listing a few examples of Middle Bronze finds from the 
area around Amman, Zayadine asserted that "the theory of Nelson 
Glueck about a nomadic life in the Middle Bronze Age in East 
Jordan can no longer be accepted."^'' A similar conclusion was 
reached with regard to the Late Bronze Age. In place of Glueck's gap 
hypothesis, Zayadine made the reasonable suggestion that Trans- 
jordan's Late Bronze Age culture was similar to the situation that 
exists today with nomadism juxtaposed alongside urbanism.^^ 

''Harding, "A Middle Bronze Age Tomb from Amman," 14. 

''"Harding, Antiquities, 35. 

^'Ward and Martin, "Balu'a Stele," 19, 20. 

^'Ward, "Shasu 'Bedouin'," 55. 

''^Thompson, "Other Side," 66. 

'"'Zayadine, "Middle Bronze Age," 19. 

^''Zayadine, "Late Bronze Age," 20. 

mattingly: the exodus-conquest and transjordan 259 

Although it is difficuh to find scholars who still adhere to 
Glueck's original gap hypothesis, it is interesting to observe that the 
early discoveries of Middle and Late Bronze evidence in central 
Transjordan did not lead to an immediate and wholesale denial of 
Glueck's historical reconstruction. While accepting the dates and 
importance of the more recently recovered data, Albright (1937, 1957, 
I960),'* Landes (1961),*' and Campbell and Wright (1969)*^ continued 
to hold the view that this period and region witnessed a decline in 
sedentary occupation. They reasoned that the Middle and Late 
Bronze tombs from the vicinity of Amman could have been the work 
of nomadic or seminomadic tribes who lived in the area. Even the 
discovery and excavation of the Amman Airport Temple did not 
shake their confidence in Glueck, since it was proposed that this 
sanctuary could have served as the focal point of a regional tribal 
league. Following this same line of reasoning, Glueck reaffirmed a 
strong belief in his gap hypothesis in 1967.*^ 

Aside from the cautious statement of Bartlett, who in 1973 
suggested that "it is as yet an open question how far these finds 
modify Glueck's view,"'" there is still a third stance that can be taken 
in evaluating Glueck's hypothesis and in reappraising the archaeo- 
logical evidence from Transjordan. This third position, which calls 
for only a slight modification of Glueck's theory, is best represented 
by Glueck himself (1970)," Kafafi (1977),'^ and Aharoni (1979).'^ In 

**For examples of Albright's continued support for Glueck's theory, see N. Glueck, 
"Explorations in the Land of Ammon," BASOR 68 (1937) 21, n. 21; W. F. Albright, 
From the Stone Age to Christianity: Monotheism and the Historical Process (2d ed.; 
Garden City: Doubleday, 1957) 61, 62; idem. The Archaeology of Palestine (rev. ed.; 
Baltimore: Penguin, 1960) 44; idem, "The Amarna Letters from Palestine," CAH 
(3d ed.; Cambridge: Cambridge University, 1975), 2/2. 107. 

'''G. M. Landes, "The Material Civilization of the Ammonites," BA 24 (1961) 
67, 68. 

E. F. Campbell, Jr. and G. E. Wright, "Tribal League Shrines in Amman and 
Shechem," BA 32 (1969) 116. 

*'N. Glueck, "Transjordan," Archaeology and Old Testament Study, ed. D. W. 
Thomas (Oxford: Clarendon, 1967) 443-45. 

™J. R. Bartlett, "The Moabites and Edomites," Peoples of Old Testament Times, 
ed. D. J. Wiseman (Oxford: Clarendon, 1973) 231, 232. 

'N. Glueck, The Other Side of the Jordan (2d ed.; Cambridge, MA: American 
Schools of Oriental Research, 1970) 139-42, 157. 

'Zeidan Abd El-Kafi Kafafi, "Late Bronze Age Pottery in Jordan (East Bank) 
1575-1200 B.C." (unpublished M.A. thesis. University of Jordan, 1977) vii-x, 73, 464. 
Aharoni, Land of the Bible, 102. With regard to his assessment of Glueck's gap 
hypothesis, it is difficult to discern Aharoni's viewpoint. For example, on p. 102 
Aharoni praises Glueck's survey and supports his reconstruction. On the other hand, 
Aharoni suggested that Late Bronze Age Midian boasted a sophisticated culture, and 
he suggested that "the establishment of well organized kingdoms in these areas [Edom 
and Moab] during the thirteenth century B.C. is more and more attested by archaeology" 


addition to these three, Pinkerton (1979)/^ Miller (1979, 1982)," and 
Kautz (1981),^^ all staff members of the Emory University Moab 
Survey, agree that there was a decline in the sedentary population of 
central Transjordan during part of Glueck's gap, but they feel that the 
new data from Moab call for some modification of the original gap 
hypothesis. I hold this same position. 

Many scholars will be surprised to learn that Glueck himself 
revised his original gap hypothesis in the second edition of The Other 
Side of the Jordan (1970). Indeed, the changes are so substantial that 
much of the current criticism of Glueck's reconstruction of Trans- 
jordan's Middle and Late Bronze history is unnecessary. The pivotal 
statement in this revision reads as follows: 

In much of Transjordan, especially in the areas some distance 
south of the south side of the Wadi Zerqa (Biblical River Jabboq), the 
Middle Bronze 1 period of the Age of Abraham seems to have been 
followed by a considerable decline in sedentary settlement during the 
Middle Bronze II and Late Bronze I-II periods, although not as 
radically as we had once assumed.^' 

In presenting his revised hypothesis, Glueck not only listed the 
recent Middle and Late Bronze finds from central Transjordan, but 
he reminded his readers that he had also found some sites from this 
period in his own survey. Glueck insisted, however, that such materials 
were not found in sufficient quantities to prove the existence of 
widespread urbanism.^* As always, Glueck made provision in his 
reconstruction for sedentary occupation, a fact that is often overlooked. ^^ 

If we examine Kafafi's comments on this issue, we notice that he 
had two distinct advantages over Glueck: (1) Kafafi's study came out 
seven years after the revised edition of The Other Side of the Jordan, 
thus allowing time for additional archaeological reports to be pub- 
lished; and (2) Kafafi did not have a vested interest in this subject, as 
did Glueck. Nevertheless, Kafafi holds that attempts to alter Glueck's 
hypothesis are unsuccessful, since most of these attempts are based on 
tomb deposits, not the excavation of walled towns. Kafafi concludes 

(pp. 204-6). D. Baly, (Review of Y. Aharoni, The Land of the Bible: A Historical 
Geography. BA 44 [1981] 251) points out that such a statement is incorrect. To make 
matters worse, Rainey (as was pointed out in n. 24 above) points to the Amman 
Airport Temple as proof of urbanism in central Transjordan. 
Pinkerton, "Examination of Glueck's Conclusions," 70-73. 
Miller, "Archaeological Survey of Central Moab," 51; idem, "Recent Archaeo- 
logical Developments," 172. 

'^Kautz, "Ancient Moabites," 31-34. 
"Glueck, Other Side (2d ed.), 140, 141. 
'"Glueck, Other Side (2d ed.), 141-42. 
Glueck (Other Side [2d ed.], 142) speaks about a "decline in sedentary settlement." 

mattingly: the exodus-conquest and transjordan 261 

by saying that much archaeological work must be done before the 
issue is settled, but the available data do not compel a major revision 
of Glueck's theory/" 

Miller's observations provide a summary of how the Moab 
Survey data, which were presented above, bear upon the modification 
of the gap hypothesis: 

In short, while our findings agree with Glueck's findings in that we also 
notice a sudden decline in the abundance of surface pottery representing 
the Middle Bronze Age, ours do not confirm his conclusion that there 
was a virtually complete occupational gap which extended throughout 
the Late Bronze Age and ended specifically during the thirteenth 
century. There is the prior question, of course, as to whether the 
relative abundance of surface pottery from a given period is a safe 
indicator of its degree of sedentary occupation. To the extent that it is, 
our findings seems to indicate at least a scattering of settlements even 
during the Middle Bronze Age which gradually increased in number 
during the Late Bronze and Iron Ages.*' 


The presentation of the archaeological data from Transjordan 
and the accompanying survey of scholarly opinions lead to at least 
three conclusions. 

First, it is obvious that there are Middle and Late Bronze Age 
artifacts in central and southern Transjordan. It is true, however, that 
finds from these periods are still not plentiful. For example, in Moab, 
Middle and Late Bronze sherds are not found at as many sites or in 
as great a quantity as pottery from other periods (e.g.. Early Bronze 
and Iron Ages and the Nabataean, Roman, and Byzantine periods). 
In spite of the accelerated pace of archaeological research in central 
and southern Transjordan, Glueck's gap has not been filled completely. 
In other words, it still appears that social, political, or economic 
factors led to a genuine population decline in Middle and Late 
Bronze Age Transjordan. 

Second, the recently recovered archaeological remains from Trans- 
jordan, including the new data from Moab, demonstrate that Glueck's 
original gap hypothesis must be abandoned. Glueck's 1934 theory is 
still cited as an object of attack, even though Glueck himself revised 
his position thirteen years ago. Glueck's new historical reconstruction 
in the 1970 edition of The Other Side of the Jordan seems to be in 
harmony with the archaeological picture that is now emerging. 

^''Kafafi, "Late Bronze Age Pottery," x. 
'Miller, "Recent Archaeological Developments," 172. 


Third, while archaeologists have not recovered evidence of exten- 
sive kingdoms in Late Bronze Age Edom, Moab, or Ammon, it can 
no longer be said that these regions were devoid of a population that 
could oppose the migrating Hebrews. This means that one of the four 
main arguments used to support the late date of the exodus-conquest 
is no longer valid. Those who appeal to an occupational gap in Late 
Bronze Age Transjordan prove that they are unaware of the recently 
recovered archaeological evidence, since the archaeological data from 
this time and region appear to be neutral in the debate on the date of 
the exodus-conquest. It should be noted, however, that the Late 
Bronze material recovered in the territory to the north of Jalul 
displays a continuity with the Canaanite culture on the west side of 
the Jordan River.^' 

1 am indebted to Dr. James Sauer for this final observation. 

Grace TheologicalJournal 4.2 (,m3) 263-288 




David L. Turner 

Evangelicals in America are currently engaged in discussions 
about the viability of redaction criticism as an exegetical method for 
those committed to biblical inerrancy. Robert H. Gundry's Matthew: 
A Commentary on His Literary and Theological Art has been a 
catalyst in the present debate. This study surveys the background and 
the current situation by summarizing and evaluating the works of 
three men: Ned B. Stonehouse. Grant R. Osborne, and Robert H. 
Gundry. Also, the contemporary problems of the Evangelical Theo- 
logical Society (ETS) are outlined. It is recommended that the ETS 
adopt the "Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy" as a proper 
clarification of its own historic position. 


WITHOUT a doubt, a crisis exists today in the evangelical world in 
the area of biblical inerrancy. One factor which has been a 
catalyst in the present controversy is the rise of redaction criticism. 
Evangelicals who hold to inerrancy are currently attempting to articu- 
late an approach to the synoptic gospels which honors them as inspired 
documents which record historical events from unique theological 
perspectives. This dual nature of the gospels — history and theological 
purpose — is universally acknowledged. However, severe difficulties 
arise when men attempt to work out the specific implications of these 
factors. It is not an overstatement to say that the traditional orthodox 
approach to inerrancy is hanging in the balance, since some evangeli- 
cals today are beginning to view purportedly historical events recorded 
in the gospels as unhistorical theological tales. 
Redaction criticism (RC) has been defined as 

a method of Biblical criticism which seeks to lay bare the theological 
perspectives of a Biblical writer by analyzing the editorial (redactional) 


and compositional techniques and interpretations employed by him in 
shaping and framing the written and /or oral traditions at hand.' 

RC has come into prominence in the 20th century largely through the 
works of Willi Marxsen,^ Giinther Bornkamm,^ and Hans Conzel- 
mann"* on the synoptic gospels. As practiced in most circles today it is 
based upon two other critical approaches to the NT — source criticism 
and form criticism. The prevailing theory of source criticism is the 
"two document theory": Matthew used Mark and another source, Q, 
in composing his gospel. Form criticism attempts to get behind the 
written sources to the preliterary stage of oral traditions.^ 

Both source criticism and form criticism tended to fragment and 
atomize the gospels. RC arose as a more holistic approach dedicated 
to viewing the gospels as they stand as individual entities.^ It originated 
to correct the onesidedness of the other two approaches, so that the 
"forest" would not be missed due to microscopic examination of the 
"trees. "^ It should not be supposed, however, that RC denies the 
insights of the other two approaches. On the contrary, RC presupposes 
the validity of both source and form criticism.* The insights of these 
two disciplines regarding individual pericopes are the basis for RC's 
study of "the 'seams' by which the sources are joined together, the 
summaries, modification, insertions, and omissions made, and in gen- 
eral the selection and arrangement of material."^ As RC is done, the 
unique theological emphasis of each evangelist becomes more clear. 

Evangelicals have attempted to utilize a more moderate form of 
RC. After all, the Lukan prologue (Luke 1:1-4) and John's statement 
regarding his purpose (John 20:30-31) clearly allude to the use of 
previous traditions and to theological selectivity in recording only 
certain events from Christ's earthly ministry. Ned B. Stonehouse is a 

'R. N. Soulen, Handbook of Biblical Criticism (2d ed.; Atlanta: John Knox, 1981) 

Mark the Evangelist (trans. J. Boyce et al.\ Nashville: Abingdon, 1969). 
^With G. Barth and H. J. Held, Tradition and Interpretation in Matthew (trans. 
P. Scott; Philadelphia: Westminster, 1963). 

The Theology of St. Luke (trans. G. Buswell; New York: Harper and Row, 1961). 
For concise explanations of source criticism and form criticism see Soulen, Hand- 
book, 7 \-74- 113-15. 

*For detailed surveys of the origin and development of RC see N. Perrin, What is 
Redaction Criticism? (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1969), and J. Rohde, Rediscovering the 
Teaching of the Evangelists (trans. D. Barton; Philadelphia: Westminster, 1968). 
'R. H. Stein, "What is Redaktionsgeschichte?" yflZ. 88 (1969) 45. 
It is not altogether true that "form criticism has outgrown its usefulness" and that 
it is "outdated and will have to go into retirement," as S. J. Kistemaker states in The 
Gospels in Current Study (2d ed.; Grand Rapids: Baker, 1980) 50, 52. 

S. S. Smalley, "Redaction Criticism," New Testament Interpretation: Essays on 
Principles and Methods (ed. I. H. Marshall; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1977) 184-85. 

turner: evangelicals and redaction criticism 265 

pioneer in this area, and his works are discussed below. Among other 
works which could be mentioned are William L. Lane's commentary 
on Mark,'° I. H. Marshall's two books on Luke," and Ralph Martin's 
study of Mark.'^ Robert Gundry's commentary on Matthew is prob- 
ably the most controversial work in this field. Gundry's approach to 
Matthew also receives attention shortly. 

Of vital concern to inerrantists is the historicity of the events 
portrayed in the gospels. Granted that the evangelists were theolo- 
gians, the question is, can a theologian write history?'^ A related 
question is, did the evangelists find it necessary to create theological 
tales about Jesus in order to be relevant to their church's needs, or 
were the historical facts which they knew about Jesus sufficient to 
meet the needs of not only their churches but also the needs of 
believers throughout all time? This study examines three evangelical 
approaches to RC which attempt to treat the gospels as simultaneously 
theological and historical.'"* First, these three approaches are sum- 
marized. Then, each will be evaluated in turn. Finally, the current 
situation of the ETS as it pertains to this issue is discussed. It is 
concluded that the theologians who were moved by the Holy Spirit to 
write the gospels did write history. "All the evangelists were men who 
saw events as vehicles of truth regarding Jesus Christ, but there is 
no reason to suppose that the events were created in a theological 


Ned B. Stonehouse 

Ned Bernard Stonehouse (1902-1962) taught NT at Westminster 
Theological Seminary from its inception in 1929 until his death. His 
work is included here even though some of it predates the use of the 
term RC because Stonehouse was a pioneer. His works have recently 

^°The Gospel According to Mark (NICNT; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1974), esp. 
3-7. Lane's commentary properly assumes the validity of a RC which presupposes 
historicity as the basis of theological meaning. See also his '^ Redaktionsgeschichte and 
the De-historicizing of the New Testament Gospel," BETS 1 1 (1968) 27-33. 

^'Luke: Historian and Theologian (Exeter: Paternoster, 1970), esp. 17-52; also 
The Gospel of Luke: A Commentary on the Greek Text (NIGNTC; ed. L H. Marshall 
and W. W. Gasque; Exeter: Paternoster, 1978), esp. 32-33. 

^^Mark: Evangelist and Theologian (Exeter: Paternoster, 1972), esp. 46-50. 
D. Guthrie, New Testament Introduction (Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity, 
1970) 219. 

'""The three approaches chosen for this study were selected from several others of 
merit due to their representative positions and the fact that the three men are American 
evangelicals who have beien involved in the ETS. 
Guthrie, New Testament Introduction, 219. 


been reprinted'^ and his contributions have been noted both by 
M. Silva'^ and by R. H. Gundry.'* W. L. Lane explains: 

In his method of approaching the first two gospels, Stonehouse 
broke new ground. At that time most synoptic studies concerned them- 
selves with the recovery of the traditions behind the finished gospels. In 
contrast, Stonehouse determined to focus his attention on the total 
witness of an evangelist to Christ with the conviction that an evangelist's 
distinctive interests and theological convictions are reflected in the com- 
position of his work as a whole. The validity of this approach has been 
acknowledged by virtually all biblical scholars today, but at the time 
when Stonehouse published his volume it marked a bold departure 
from both radical and conservative approaches to the gospels." 

In The Witness of Matthew and Mark to Christ, Stonehouse 
devotes four chapters to each gospel. He points out the astonishing 
meagerness of Mark's preface concerning Christ's early life.^° Empha- 
sis fails upon Mark's frequent omission of historical information,^' 
chronological factors, ^^ and incidental details. ^^ The striking abrupt- 
ness of the beginning of this gospel is relevant to the textual question 
at the end of the gospel. Thus RC informs textual criticism and the 
abrupt short ending (16:8) is defended as original.^"* Stonehouse under- 
lines the fact that Mark does not write with the attention to detail one 
would expect of a biographer. Nevertheless, he repeatedly emphasizes 
the historicity of the events Mark records.^* More than once the 
history versus theology dilemma is viewed not as an "either . . . or" 
but as a "both . . . and" situation.^* "The proclamation of the meaning 

^^The Witness of the Synoptic Gospels to Christ (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1979) 
combines The Witness of Matthew and Mark to Christ (originally published in 1944) 
and The Witness of Luke to Christ (originally published in 1951). His other book 
Origins of the Synoptic Gospels: Some Basic Questions (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1979) 
was originally published in 1963, just after Stonehouse died. 

"Silva's two-part study, "Ned. B. Stonehouse and Redaction Criticism" appeared 
in PFjy 40 (1977-78) 77-88; 281-303. 

"Gundry claims that his approach to Matthew was to some extent anticipated by 
Stonehouse. See Gundry, Matthew: A Commentary on His Literary and Theological 
Art (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982) 623. 

"W. L. Lane, "Foreword," The Witness of the Synoptic Gospels to Christ, vii. Cf. 
Stonehouse 's "Preface" to the same volume. 

^"stonehouse, The Witness of Matthew and Mark to Christ, 6. 

^'Ibid., 24. 

"Ibid., 27. 30. 

"Ibid., 34, 116-17. 

"Ibid., 99, 116-17. 

"Ibid., 30-31, 33, 49, 51-52, 54, 77, 83. 

"Ibid., 36-37, 49, 52, 83. 

turner: evangelicals and redaction criticism 267 

of that divine action in history is necessarily doctrinal without ceasing 
to be historical. "^^ 

Matthew is viewed as similar to Mark in that it differs from 
secular biographies in its lack of chronology and historical details.^* 
The presence of the infancy narratives in Matthew shows that Mat- 
thew's purpose greatly differed from Mark's.^' Though the infancy 
narratives lack many historical and chronological details, their his- 
toricity is not thereby undermined/" Though Matthew's references to 
time and place are not often precise enough to fit into a detailed 
itinerary, it does not follow that they "are simply the creation of the 
evangelist in the interest of adding to the vividness of the narrative."^' 
Matthew's "great commission" passage (28:18-20), including the trini- 
tarian formula, is viewed as a reported discourse of Jesus, not as an 
editorial composition." On the subject of Matthew's creating or re- 
shaping accounts to meet the needs of his church, Stonehouse affirms 
that Matthew indeed followed the aim of meeting the needs of the 
church. However, he hastily adds that Matthew "had not lost the 
ability to distinguish between the history of Christ and the history of 
the church."" He wrote what he held to be true. Thus, reading the 
church's theology back into Matthew "undermines the very foundatin 
of the Christian faith and makes the evangelist a herald of falsehood."^'* 

In The Witness of Luke to Christ, Stonehouse begins with a 
stimulating treatment of Luke's prologue (1:1-4). He concludes that 
the use of the adverb KaGe^fjc; in 1:3 does not necessitate viewing 
Luke as strictly chronological in order. Instead he proposes that Luke 
has in mind an orderly, connected, comprehensive account." Luke's 
emphasis upon Christ's infancy and inclusion of its historical details 
is also noted. ^^ On the other hand, Luke's compressed treatment of 
the death and resurrection of Christ, involving lack of explanation of 
duration and progress of events, is also highlighted." Luke's method 
of writing results in his accounts frequently being more concise than 

"Ibid., 52. 

^'Ibid., 124-25, 127, 132, 136, 139, 147-48, 162, 169, 178-79, 186-87. 

"Ibid., 124-27. 

'"Ibid., 221. 

"Ibid., 149-50, 132. 

"Ibid., 211-12. 

"Ibid., 257. 


"Stonehouse, The Witness of Luke to Christ, 40-41. Significantly, BAGD, 338, 
define KaOe^fiq as "in order, one after the other, of sequence in time, space, or logic." 
Thus, chronology may not be the point. 

'*Ibid.. 46-47. 

"Ibid., 128-29. 


Mark's and less attentive to geography and chronology than Mark's/* 
Though he recognizes all these things, Stonehouse still makes it quite 
clear that Luke is historical. Luke is not a theological creation of the 
Christian community." For Luke, "Christianity stood or fell with the 
objective reality of certain happenings. "''° Overall, 

one may freely acknowledge . . . that his interest is theological and 
christological . . . but it is crucial to a proper estimate of the Lucan 
philosophy of history not to regard the christological and the historical 
as mutually exclusive. Though he does not write as a secular historian, 
Luke gives evidence at every point of being concerned with historical 
fact and takes great pains to assure his readers that he is qualified to 
provide them with reliable information concerning what had taken 

Stonehouse's last work, posthumously published, was Origins of 
the Synoptic Gospels. In it he opted, with some reservations, for the 
priority of Mark and for the use of Mark by Matthew.'*^ At the 
conclusion of a chapter on the story of the rich young ruler appear 
some noteworthy general observations. Stonehouse asserts that the 
evangelists were not always concerned with Jesus' ipsissima verba; 
they exercised a certain amount of literary freedom.'*^ This assertion 
leads him to comment that though a simplistic harmonizing approach 
to synoptic difficulties may be helpful at times, there is a sounder 
approach. This involves (1) "the exercise of greater care in deter- 
mining what the Gospels as a whole and in detail actually say," 
(2) "greater restraint in arriving at conclusions where the available 
evidence does not justify ready answers," and (3) not maintaining 
"that the trustworthiness of the gospels allows the evangelists no 
liberty of composition whatsoever."'*'* Notarial exactitude and pedan- 
tic precision do not characterize the gospels in Stonehouse's view, and 
he alludes to similar statements in John Calvin, John Murray, B. B. 
Warfield, H. Bavinck, L. Berkhof, and A. Kuyper.'*^ A crucial point 
that must not be missed, however, is the fact that Matthew's liberty of 
composition does not justify the conclusions of some "that a doctrinal 
modification has taken place.""** Later in the book the historicity of 

'Mbid., 103. 

'"ibid., 29. 

'"Ibid., 44-45. 

"Ibid., 67, cf. 33-34, 53-54, 59. 

■"^Stonehouse, Origins of the Synoptic Gospels, 76, 92, 111. 

"'Ibid., 108. 

"Ibid., 109. 

"'Ibid., n. 17. 

"Ibid., 110. 

turner: evangelicals and redaction criticism 269 

the gospel accounts and their total continuity with the Jesus of history 
is unqualifiedly asserted/' The conclusion of it all is that 

Once it is acknowledged that the divine Messiah alone can explain the 
origin of that [gospel] tradition will one be in a position to discern 
how, as a part of a single historical movement, the Gospels not only as 
matchless historical documents but as integral parts of Holy Scripture 
came into being/* 

Grant R. Osborne 

Grant Osborne teaches NT at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. 
He has written four articles on NT criticism'" and recently read a 
paper on genre criticism at the Chicago Meeting of the International 
Congress on Biblical Inerrancy (ICBI)/° 

Osborne's first article, "Redaction Criticism and the Great Com- 
mission," focused on Matt 28:16-20 with the purpose of illumining a 
biblical understanding of inerrancy. The crucial point of this article 
was that Matthew's triadic baptisimal formula (28:19) "expanded an 
original monadic formula."^' This was not free composition by Mat- 
thew but was a correct interpretation (ipsissima vox) of Jesus' ipsis- 
sima verba. Later in the article Osborne addresses the issue of biblical 
inerrancy, contending that synoptic differences are "the logical testing 
ground for the doctrine of inerrancy." These differences "show that 
the evangelists did not attempt to give us the ipsissima verba but to 
interpret Jesus' words for their audiences ... to makes Jesus' teachings 
meaningful to their own Sitz im Leben."^^ The article concludes with 
the plea that history and theology are complementary and that the 
"domino theory" of deteriorating biblical authority need not be 

In the second article, "The Evangelical and Traditionsgeschichte," 
Osborne seeks to evaluate the method's use by non-evangelicals and 
to set it upon evangelical presuppositions. This method "seeks to 
determine the growth of a particular concept of tradition within the 

''ibid., 148, 175, 190-92. 

'*Ibid., 192. 

■"These are "Redaction Criticism and the Great Commission: A Case Study Toward 
a Biblical Understanding of Inerrancy," JETS 19 (1976) 73-85; "The Evangelical and 
Traditionsgeschichte," JETS 21 (1978) 117-30; "The Evangelical and Redaction 
Criticism: Critique and Methodology," JETS 22 (1979) 305-22; and "Redactional Tra- 
jectories in the Crucifixion Narratives," EvQ 51 (1979) 80-96. 

'""Genre Criticism — Sensus Literalis," Summit II: Hermeneutics Papers (Oakland: 
ICBI, 1982) 3-1-54. These papers are to be published by Zondervan. 

""Redaction Criticism and the Great Commission," 80, cf., 83. 

"ibid., 84, cf., 85: "Matthew has faithfully reproduced the intent and meaning of 
what Jesus said." 


history of the early church. "^^ The critique of the erroneous practice 
of the method by non-evangelicals is lucid and insightful. Next a 
positive approach is set forth. In the process of the tradition's growth 
the selection and shaping process "did not involve creating or changing 
the historical data."^'* Inerrancy "covers both fact (the original event) 
and interpretation (the explanation of the ramifications of the event 
for the readers). There is no dichotomy between the two."^^ It is 
concluded that when it is properly defined and practiced, Traditions- 
geschichte is a positive, helpful tool. 

Osborne's approach in the earlier two articles did not go un- 
noticed by negative critics. ^^ In a third article, "The Evangelical and 
Redaction Criticism," he responded with a defense and clarification 
of his position. After surveying evangelical dialogue on biblical criti- 
cism, he sought to appraise RC accurately. In a crucial paragraph he 
clarified his view of the triadic formula of Matt 28:19: 

I did not mean that Matthew had freely composed the triadic formula 
and read it back onto the lips of Jesus. Rather, Jesus had certainly (as 
in virtually every speech in the NT) spoken for a much longer time and 
had given a great deal more teaching than reported in the short state- 
ment of Matt 28:18-20. In it I believe he probably elucidated the 
trinitarian background behind the whole speech. This was compressed 
by Matthew in the form recorded." 

Thus, Osborne attempted to handle properly both the differences and 
the veracity of the synoptic accounts. Next a discussion of proper 
redactional methodology is pursued, with several helpful insights. At 
the end Osborne appeals to skeptical evangelicals to consider the 
synoptic differences; in his view these demand a redactional treatment 
of a sort like his study of Matt 28:18-20. 

The evidence points to the presence of selection and coloring but not to 
the creation of sayings or even of details. The evangelists themselves 
throughout show nothing but the highest regard for Jesus' actual mean- 
ing. They applied and highlighted but never twisted or created new 

""The Evangelical and Traditionsgeschichte" 117. 

"ibid., 127. 

''ibid., 127-28. 

"E.g., J. W. Montgomery, "The Fuzzification of Biblical Inerrancy," Faith 
Founded on Fact: Essays in Evidential Apologetics (Nashville: Nelson, 1978) 220-21, 
and "Why Has God Incarnate Suddenly Become Mythical?" Perspectives on Evangelical 
Theology (ed. K. Kantzer and S. N. Gundry; Grand Rapids: Baker, 1979) 57-65. 

""The Evangelical and Redaction Criticism," 311. 

''Ibid., 322. 

turner: evangelicals and redaction criticism 271 

In another study, "Redactional Trajectories in the Crucifixion 
Narratives," Osborne employs once again the methodology proposed, 
defended, and clarified in the other three articles. He believes that the 
passion tradition in the synoptics is a developing tradition: 

It is obvious, on the basis of the numerous additions by Matthew and 
Luke to Mark, that the passion story was not static but dynamic, and 
the early evangelists added or subtracted episodes as the theological 
situation dictated. This does not mean that the pericopes themselves 
were necessarily non-historical, only that the story itself was fluid and 
subject to development. '' 

The bulk of the article seeks to isolate the specific theological emphases 
of all four gospels' passion narratives. The conclusion maintains simul- 
taneously (1) the continuity between the Jesus of history and the 
Christ of faith, and (2) the creative interpretive genius of the evan- 
gelists in "selecting and colouring episodes."^" 

Osborne's ICBI paper on genre criticism deserves brief notice. It 
is a broad survey of the history of literary genre from Plato and 
Aristotle to modern times. There is a direct connection, Osborne 
concludes, between genre and the literal sense of Scripture. Under- 
standing genre "is an epistemological tool for unlocking meaning in 
individual texts and an indispensable aid to the interpretive task."*' 
Genre is also relevant for the formulation of a biblical doctrine of 
inerrancy, which must be based upon the internal evidence of Scrip- 
ture. More specifically, knowledge of genre will "keep one from seeing 
'surface' discrepancies in the text." It will "provide the strongest pos- 
sible apology for the doctrine of inerrancy by resolving many so- 
called 'contradictions' or 'errors' in Scripture."*^ 

Robert H. Gundry 

Robert Gundry is professor of religious studies at Westmont 
College. His approach to RC has been shown in detail in his recent 
commentary on Matthew.*^ Earlier he had published a scholarly mono- 
graph on Matthew's use of the OT." It is safe to say that Gundry's 
treatment of Matthew's "literary and theological art" is the most 
thorough and controversial evangelical study to date. The book has 

^'"Redactional Trajectories in the Crucifixion Narratives," 81. 

*°Ibid., 96. 

*'"Genre Criticism — Sensus Literalis," 3-40. 

"Ibid., 3-41. 

^^ Matthew: A Commentary on His Literary and Theological Art (Grand Rapids: 
Eerdmans, 1982). 

** The Use of the Old Testament in St. Matthew 's Gospel with Special Reference to 
the Messianic Hope, NovTSup 18 (Leiden: Brill, 1975). 


been reviewed by both conservatives^^ and liberals/^ The stir created 
by its pubhcation has even been noticed by the secular press. ^^ 

Gundry's commentary presupposes that Matthew uses Mark and 
a broadened Q which includes the traditions later found in Luke's 
infancy narratives/* It is not a heavily documented work including 
interaction with other views, but a work in which Gundry fully de- 
velops his own line of interpretation.^' The introduction reveals that 
"Matthew's choice of words . . . betrays his editorial hand."^° Thus 
statistical analysis of Matthew's favorite diction yields results for redac- 
tion critical theory. Matthew's theology shows concern for the problem 
of a large mixed church. Jewish Christianity is "breaking out into the 
wide world of the Gentiles." ' "Matthew writes his gospel to keep 
persecution from stymieing evangelism. "^^ 

In the commentary proper, the reader is immediately struck by 
Gundry's insistence upon theological emphasis in the genealogy of 
Jesus. ^^ The "fluidity" of this genealogy transforms it into a christo- 
logical statement which prepares the reader for a "similar change of a 
historical report . . . into a theological tale. . . . Matthew turns the 
annunciation to Mary before her conceiving Jesus into an annuncia- 
tion to Joseph after her conceiving Jesus. "^'^ This method of under- 
standing Matt 1:18-25 is also employed in treating 2:1-12. "Matthew 
now turns the visit of the local Jewish shepherds (Luke 2:8-20) into 
the adoration by Gentile magi from foreign parts. "^^ Later the praise- 
ful return of the shepherds is transformed by Matthew into the magi's 

*'From a conservative perspective, see D. A. Carson, "Gundry on Matthew: A 
Critical Review," TrinJ 3 (1982) 71-91; R. T. France, Themelios 8 (1983) 31-32; R. P. 
Gruenler, New Approaches to Jesus and the Gospels (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1982) 245- 
51; M. M. Hanna, "Biblical Inerrancy Versus Midrashic Redactionism" (unpublished 
paper read at the ETS Regional Meeting at Arrowhead Springs, CA. March 21, 1980); 
P. B. Payne, "The Question of Midrash and History in the Gospels: A Critique of 
R. H. Gundry's Matthew " Gospel Perspectives, vol. 3 (Sheffield: JSOT, forthcoming); 
and D. P. Scaer, Concordia Theological Quarterly 46 (1982) 247-48. 

"From a more liberal viewpoint, see L. Cope, ATR 65 (1983) 218-20; and M. T. 
Norwood, Jr., Christian Century 99 (Sept 1-8, 1982) 903-4. 

*'j. Dart, "Controversial Study of Matthew's Gospel Challenges Conservative 
Views," Los Angeles Times (Dec 1 1, 1982), Part 1-A, 10-1 1. Unfortunately, this article 
paints Gundry as a man who is willing to face the facts being attacked by ultra- 
conservatives who will not face the facts. See also another article by Dart, "Society 
Clears New Testament Professor," Los Angeles Times (Dec 25, 1982), Part I, 36-37. 

^'Gundry, Matthew, xi. 

"'Ibid., 1. 

^"Ibid., 2. 

"ibid., 9. 


"ibid.. 13f. 

"ibid., 20. 

"ibid., 26, cf., 28, 29, 31. 

turner: evangelicals and redaction criticism 273 

flight from persecution.'^ Still another incident, the flight to Egypt 
(2:13-15), is a Matthean creation, changed from the holy family's trip 
to Jerusalem (Luke 2:22)." Finally, a fourth incident, the slaughter of 
Bethlehem's babies (Matt 2:16-18) is the result of a change from the 
sacrificial slaying of two turtledoves in the temple (Luke 2:29). "Her- 
od's massive crimes made it easy for Matthew to manipulate the 
dominical tradition in this way."'* Problems of harmonizing Matthew 
and Luke support this type of treatment. Gundry's preliminary justifi- 
cation for his method is as follows: 

It may be asked how Matthew can put forward his embellishments 
of tradition as fulfillments of the OT. But this phenomenon should 
surprise us no more than his transforming historical statements in the 
OT — those concerning the Exodus and the Babylonian Exile — into 
Messianic prophecies. We will have to broaden our understanding of 
"happened" as well as "fullfilled" when reading that such-and-such 
happened in order that so-and-so's prophecy might be fulfilled. Two 
features of Matthew's practice save him from fantasy: (1) his embel- 
lishments rest on historical data, which he hardly means to deny by 
embellishing them; (2) the embellishments foreshadow genuinely his- 
torical events such as vindications of Jesus as God's Son in the 
resurrection. . . .'' 

Later in the commentary Gundry asserts that Matthew assimilated 
Luke's woes into beatitudes (5:4ff.). Four of the eight beatitudes are 
constructed (or created) by Matthew himself. *° Among other passages 
which Gundry views as Matthew's compositions rather than Christ's 
words or deeds are 10:5-8; 11:28-30; 13:24-30, 36-43; 14:28-31; 
16:17-19; portions of 18; 23:3, 17-22; 27:19, 51b-53; and 28:19-20.*' 

A "Theological Postscript"*^ provides the full justification for 
Gundry's treatment. He is aware that his approach raises grave ques- 
tions regarding biblical authority. The first paragraph of the postscript 
is repeated here due to its cruciality: 

Clearly, Matthew treats us to history mixed with elements that 
cannot be called historical in a modern sense. All history writing entails 
more or less editing of materials. But Matthew's editing often goes 
beyond the bounds we nowadays want a historian to respect. It does 
not stop at selecting certain data and dressing them up with considerable 

'*Ibid., 32. 


'*Ibid., 35. Cf. his understanding of 21:16 (414, 604). 

"Ibid., 37. 

'"Ibid., 69. 

"Ibid., 184, 218, 261, 300, 330-31, 358, 454, 462, 562, 575, 595-96. 

"Ibid., 623-40. 


interpretation. . . . Matthew's subtractions, additions, and revision of 
order and phraseology often show changes of substance; i.e., they repre- 
sent developments of the dominical tradition that result in different 
meanings and departures from the actuality of events.*^ 

This approach is necessary since traditional conservative Protestant 
responses will not work. These invalid approaches include (1) side- 
stepping the details of the text, (2) pleading for suspension of judg- 
ment until solutions are found, and (3) bending over backwards for 
harmonizations.*'* Rhetorically, Gundry asks whether 

embroidering history with unhistorical elements a la midrash and 
haggadah would be inappropriate to God's Word, though proverbs and 
parables, apocalyptic and erotic poetry are not? Who are we to make 
such a judgment? And what reason would we have for it? Would it be 
anything more than lack of appreciation for a literary genre that we 
think strangely ancient or personally unappealing?*' 

The mention of literary genre signals the basis for Gundry's whole 
approach. The input of midrash-haggadah genre for Matthew means 
that Matthew's narrative style does not necessarily imply the writing 
of unmixed history. As this genre of Jewish literature embroidered 
the OT, so Matthew embroiders his sources, Mark and Q. "He treated 
these sources, which, like the OT, were written and venerated, in 
much the same way the OT was treated by those who produced 
midrash and haggadah."** 

None of this should occasion alarm. Elsewhere in Scripture and in 
other literature we live comfortably with differences of intent. ... If, 
then, Matthew writes that Jesus said or did something that Jesus did 
not say or do in the way described — this supported by adequate exegeti- 
cal and comparative data — we have to say that Matthew did not write 
entirely reportorial history. Comparison with midrashic and haggadic 
literature of his era suggests he did not intend to do so.*' 

Those who are not disposed to agree with Gundry are cautioned 
against making invalid demands on Scripture and against literary 
insensitivity. After all, modern biographical novels contain a mixture 
of history and fiction which is recognized by writer and reader alike. 
Modern preachers and writers likewise embellish biblical accounts in 
order to make them culturally relevant and doctrinally appropriate. 

"Ibid., 623. 
'"Ibid., 625-26. 
"Ibid., 626. 
'*Ibid., 628. 
*'lbid., 629. 

turner: evangelicals and redaction criticism 275 

Biblical clarity does not demand that Matthew identify the unhistorical 
elements in his gospel. Matthew's original audience understood his 
intent because they were not preoccupied with 20th-century historical- 
critical demands.** It may be granted that this approach "narrows the 
historical basis of Christian faith but not nearly so much that the 
Christian faith is threatened with collapse."*' 

In conclusion, Gundry asserts that the Spirit guided Matthew in 
this whole process so that both the historical and non-historical por- 
tions of Matthew constitute God's Word. There is no alternative: 

If we do not enlarge the room given to differences of literary genre and, 
consequently, of intended meaning, scriptural inspiration, authority, 
infallibility, or inerrancy — call it what we will — cannot survive the "close 
reading" of the biblical text now going on. The old method of harmo- 
nizing what we can and holding the rest in suspension has seen its day, 
like worn-out scientific theories that no longer explain newly discov- 
ered phenomena well enough. '" 

evaluation of the approaches 

Ned B. Stonehouse 

Silva's excellent study of Stonehouse correctly depicts his work 
as that of a pioneer. Though RC was to become a tool largely destruc- 
tive of the historicity of the NT, Stonehouse used the method "to 
strengthen confidence in the historical reliability of the gospels. "'' 
Evangelicals who were contemporary with Stonehouse heard this 
apologetic note for historicity but did not perceive Stonehouse's point 
concerning the theological character and concern of the evangelists.'^ 
It is clear that Stonehouse, as a Reformed thinker in the tradition of 
Warfield, championed the doctrine of inerrancy. He saw no contradic- 
tion between this theological stance and the recognition of the unique 
phenomena of the synoptics. There was an absolute continuity between 
the Jesus of history and the Jesus of the gospels. Probably the most 
detailed statement of his position occurred in his last book after his 
study of the rich young ruler pericope. As previously summarized, 
Stonehouse will have none of the doctrinal modification views of 
Streeter and Taylor.'^ This approach is quite attractive. 

"Ibid., 629-35. 
'ibid., 637. 
"Ibid., 639. 

"Stonehouse and Redaction Criticism: I," 78. 
^"Stonehouse and Redaction Criticism: II," 282. 
^Origins of the Synoptic Gospels, 1 10. 


Near the end of Silva's study he points out that Stonehouse's 
work may point to a further step in synoptic studies — genre criticism.^'* 
The hypothetical situation of an unhistorical literary form is proposed 
for evaluation. This could be accepted in principle, for Jesus' parables 
are not all strictly historical. Thus Matthew could theoretically have 
composed an account of Jesus' life and ministry containing some 
non-historical material.'* Silva seems to think that though Stonehouse 
would not have endorsed this theory, he nevertheless left it open as a 
possibility.'^ This hne of reasoning is summarized as follows: 

A semi-historical interpretation of Matthew 's Gospel does not in prin- 
ciple appear to be incompatible with verbal inspiration, nor would the 
presence of some unhistorical material in one gospel by itself cast 
doubts on the historicity of Jesus ' life and work. Nevertheless, the 
available evidence suggests that we need not interpret the gospel mate- 
rial in a substantially freer manner than Stonehouse did. 

I do not agree that Stonehouse's works leave open this possibility. 
Nevertheless, that does not prove what Stonehouse would have 
thought. Additionally, the problem with this approach is that to all 
intents and purposes, Matthew clearly purports to be historical. Where 
does the text indicate where the history stops and the midrash begins? 
Though Silva would not interpret the gospel material in a sub- 
stantially freer manner than Stonehouse, Silva's colleague at that 
time, Robert Gundry, would appear to do so. Nevertheless, Gundry 
claims that Stonehouse "found it necessary to admit as much."'* That 
is, Gundry asserts that Stonehouse would reluctantly agree that Mat- 
thew's subtractions, additions, and revisions result in different mean- 
ings and departures from actual events. Once again I must disagree. It 
would appear from Stonehouse's general statements and from the one 
place where he speaks to this specific issue" that he would not accept 
doctrinal modification. D. A. Carson's searching critique of Gundry 
comes to the same conclusion: "Gundry should let his theories stand 
on their own feet, rather than to associate them with someone whose 
writings repudiate them."'°° 

'^"Stonehouse and Redaction Criticism: I," 293. 

''Ibid., 293-96. 

'*Ibid., 296-98, citing Stonehouse in 77?^ iVitness of Matthew and Mark to Christ, 
152 and Origins of the Synoptic Gospels, 1 10 n. 17. 

'^"Stonehouse and Redaction Criticism: I," 298. 

^* Matthew, 623. In personal correspondence (Nov 1, 1982) Gundry indicated to me 
that "I still claim that al one point Stonehouse opened the door to what I'm doing, 
indeed, did v/hat I'm doing, not that he would endorse my commentary as a whole." 
Origins of the Synoptic Gospels, 1 10. 

"^"Gundry on Matthew," 78. 

turner: evangelicals and redaction criticism 277 

Grant C. Osborne 

Osborne's articles on RC are characterized by careful exegesis, 
an awareness of contemporary scholarship, and a desire to use RC as 
a tool to understand and proclaim the synoptics as the Word of 
God.'"' John Warwick Montgomery, for one, is convinced that Os- 
borne's desire will not come to fruition. Apparently Montgomery 
believes that Osborne's position concerning "verbal inexactitude" '°^ 
contradicts the doctrinal statement of the ETS. Despite Montgomery's 
journalistic flare and commendable zeal for biblical authority, he 
appears to be wrong at this point, as Silva points out.'°^ It is true, 
however, that Osborne's position in this article was ambiguous. In his 
third article Osborne articulated and clarified his position in a way 
which appears to be compatible with inerrancy and with the position 
of Stonehouse.'"'* Whereas Osborne appeared to assert in his earlier 
article that Matthew expanded Jesus' words, he has since explained 
that it is his position that Matthew compressed Jesus' words. Thus 
the trinitarian formula of Matt 28:19 is viewed by Osborne not as a 
Matthean creation but as a Matthean summary of Jesus' words. 

The debated issue here is the controversy over ipsissima verba or 
ipsissima vox in the logia Jesu. Stonehouse'"^ and Osborne'"^ realize 
that ipsissima vox is sufficient, but Montgomery appears to demand 
ipsissima verba. There is no doubt that Montgomery has gone beyond 
classical inerrantist statements on this matter. '°^ Paul Feinberg's essay, 
"The Meaning of Inerrancy,"'"* agrees in principle with Osborne but 
disagrees with the way Osborne applies the principle in Matt 28:18. 
Two factors should be kept in mind in this debate. First, one should 
not assume that Jesus always spoke Aramaic, thus automatically 
denying ipsissima verba for Greek gospels.'"' Gundry himself has 
demonsrated the threefold language milieu of Ist-century Palestine."" 

On this last point see "The Evangelical and Redaction Criticism," 322. 

'"^Montgomery, "Fuzzification," 221, referring to Osborne, "Redaction Criticism 
and the Great Commission," 84. 

'"^"Stonehouse and Redaction Criticism: I," 291 n. 14. 

"^"Evangelical and Redaction Criticism," 31 1, 321. 

^°^Origins of the Synoptic Gospels, 108. 
"Redaction Criticism and the Great Commission," 84. 

""See, e.g., the sources listed by Stonehouse, Origins of the Synoptic Gospels, 1 10 
n. 17. 

'°*In Inerrancy (ed. N. L. Geisler; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1970), 301, 472 n. 98. 
Osborne, "Redaction Criticism and the Great Commission," 84. 

" "The Language Milieu of First Century Palestine: Its Bearing on the Authenticity 
of the Gospel Tradition," JBL 83 (1964) 404ff. Evidence in favor of ipsissima verba is 
also found in The Use of the Old Testament in Matthew, 181-83. Here Gundry argues 
that Matthew took careful notes on Jesus' discourses. 


Second, Matthew's wording in 28:18 ostensibly introduces a direct 
quotation: Kai npoaeXGwv 6 'Ir|ooO(; t'kdXr]Gev amoic, A-eytov . . . 
The redundant or pleonastic participle Xeytov, evidently analogous to 
the Hebrew ibx*?, appears to be a way of introducing a direct quota- 
tion."^ Thus, one should not summarily dismiss the idea of ipsissima 
vervain Matt 28:18-20. 

One wishes that Osborne had been more clear in his "Redactional 
Trajectories" article concerning the "dynamic, fluid" character of the 
passion story. "^ It is granted that episodes may be added or subtracted 
so long as they are historical. "This does not mean that the pericopes 
themselves were necessarily non-historical," Osborne cautions. Per- 
haps this is pedantic, but one wonders why the qualifying adverb 
"necessarily" was added. "^ Does the dynamic character of the tradition 
involve non-historical pericopes or not?""* 

Finally, Osborne's ICBI paper on genre will be noted. It must be 
admitted that the paper does a masterful job of synthesizing an 
enormous amount of literary and historical data. Reading the paper 
should be an eye-opening experience for biblical scholars. Only one 
reservation is worth mentioning: Osborne may be too optimistic. It is 
debatable whether a proper understanding of genre will "provide the 
strongest possible apology for the doctrine of inerrancy."" R. B. 
Allen, one of the respondents to Osborne's paper, expressed his own 
reservations concerning Osborne's genre-related solution to the prob- 
lems of the empty tomb narratives."*^ Allen's conclusion exhibits 
commendable caution. "In any event, I am confident that the study of 
genre will serve the evangelical scholar in being at least a part of the 
solution to these and other difficulties in the Bible.""^ The importance 
of genre in the current inerrancy debate should not be underestimated, 
as anyone familiar with Articles XIII and XIV of the ICBI "Affirma- 
tions and Denials" can testify. The debate over genre and inerrancy 

'"BDF, §420; N. Turner, Syntax, vol. 3 of /I Grammar of New Testament Greek 
by J. H. Moulton (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1963) 155; M. Zerwick, Biblical Greek 
(trans. J. Smith; Rome: Pontificii Instituti Biblici, 1963) §368. 

"■'"Redactional Trajectories," 81. 

'"Cf. the qualifying adverb "probably elucidated the trinitarian background" to 
Matt 28:18-20 ("Evangelical and Redaction Criticism," 311). If Jesus did not do this, 
Osborne's position is to be distanced from Stonehouse's and becomes unacceptable. 

After this study was written, personal conversation with Osborne has indicated 
that he does not doubt the historical character of the pericopes in the passion story. 
However, due to the vagueness of his published words, this possible difficulty has not 
been deleted. 

"^"Genre Criticism," 3-41. 
*"A Response to Genre Criticism — Sensus Literalis," Summit II: Hermeneutics 
Papers, A3- 10. 

'"Ibid., A3-11. 

turner: evangelicals and redaction criticism 279 

comes to a head in Gundry's Matthew commentary, to which the 
evaluation now turns. 

Robert H. Gundry 

It is instructive to compare Gundry's views in both his works on 
Matthew. In his earUer work, Gundry included a powerful chapter cri- 
tiquing radical form criticism and defending Matthew's historicity."* 
Gemeindetheologie is decried; the church is the guardian, not the 
inventor, of the tradition."' Gundry discusses the effect of the fulfill- 
ment motif on the tradition and concludes that "the bulk of the 
gospel tradition cannot be traced to a reading of prophecy into the 
life of Jesus." "The direction is from tradition to prophecy, not vice 
versa. "'^° This is specifically maintained for the infancy narratives of 
Matthew 1-2. Gundry denies that OT prophecy was the source of 
these narratives. Citing Stonehouse, he states that the nativity tradition 
created the need to see fulfilled prophecy. "The unbridged interval 
between Jesus' birth and his baptism certainly favors the historicity of 
Mt 1 and 2," since apocryphal childhood legends would have circu- 
lated by this time. "The apologetic, not the apocryphal, dominates Mt 
1 and 2."'^' "Something always prevents our seeing evolvement of the 
gospel tradition from prohecy."'^^ 

In another chapter Gundry considers the legitimacy of Matthew's 
hermeneutic and Messianic hope. It is concluded that Matthew's OT 
exegesis is not atomistic. ^^^ Rather, typology is a key theme in such 
passages as the Hos 11:1 citation in Matt 2:15.'^" Such a typological 
method originated in the teaching of Jesus. '^^ Such hermeneutical 
principles "demand the unique genius of the kind of man Jesus must 
have been — they cannot reasonably be set down to Gemeindetheolo- 
gie."^^^ The very last sentence of the book speaks of divine providence 
guiding OT history toward Jesus Christ, resulting in "remarkable 
correspondence between OT history and prophecy and the life and 
ministry of Jesus."*" 

"Vie of the Old Testament in Matthew, 189-204. 

'"ibid., 191. Earlier Gundry had argued that Matthew took careful notes on Jesus' 
ministry which became the basis for the bulk of the gospel tradition (181-83). 
""Ibid., 194. 
'^'Ibid., 195. 
'"Ibid., 204. 
'"Ibid., 108. 
'^'Ibid., 209-12. 
'"Ibid., 213-15. 
'"Ibid., 215. 
'"Ibid., 234. 


What can be concluded from comparing these statements with 
the Matthew commentary? In all fairness, a man has a right to change 
his mind when he believes the evidence requires it, and this is ap- 
parently the case with Gundry. There is a more open approach to 
Gemeindetheologie in the commentary, which so heavily emphasizes 
the needs of Matthew's church. '^^ The position on the historicity of 
the infancy narratives has changed.'^' One wonders why a note-taking 
eyewitness had to resort to such a heavy dependence upon Mark and 
Q and upon a non-historical genre/^° It almost appears that the needs 
of the community now dictate a fast and loose approach to the OT, 
where before a unified typological approach originating with Jesus 
was advocated.'^' These are definite shifts in position, but these do 
not prove that the new position is erroneous. 

Some methodological criticisms can be made. On the whole, it 
appears that much more caution would have been in order. The 
source and form critical assumptions upon which Gundry builds his 
redactional approach are hardly an immovable foundation. Gundry's 
use of word frequency statistics is also debatable. Increasingly, more 
and more scholars are calling into question Markan priority and a 
documentary view of Q.'^^ Since these foundational matters are debat- 
able, it is not wise to be so assured of one's hypothetical super- 
structure.'" Also, Gundry's approach appears to be characterized at 
times by a speculative "over-exegesis" and "over-theologizing."'^'* One 
wonders whether Matthew would have had theological motivation for 
every minor change he allegedly made in his sources. Granted, evan- 
gelicals must handle the gospels as theological documents, but must 
theology be the exclusive determinant of the phenomena? '^^ 

On another front, it appears that Gundry has unconsciously 
diminished the value of knowing the Jesus of history and uninten- 
tionally implied the insufficiency of that Jesus. Gundry's approach 

^^^Matthew, 5-10, 14-15, 20, 26, 28, 32, etc. Cf. Carson's section on Gundry's 
"anachronisms" in "Gundry on Matthew," 88-90, and his sentiments on the shift in 
Gundry's position, 91. 

''"Matthew, 20, 26, 28, 32, 34-37. 

""Ibid., xi, 2. This is defended later, 621-22, 628-29, 636. 

'"Gundry now says historical statements were converted or transformed into 
prophecies. Ibid., 37, 632-33. 

'^^W. Farmer is no longer nearly alone! See R. L. Thomas, "The Rich Young Man 
in Matthew," GTJ 3 (1982) 235-60, and esp. 246-51 for a survey of the current 

'"D. J. Moo's paper, "Matthew and Midrash: An Evaluation of Robert Gundry's 
Approach" presents a detailed critique of Gundry's source-critical and statistical assump- 
tions and methods. 

"■"Noted by Carson, "Gundry on Matthew," 81. For other examples cf. Matthew, 
28, 45, 49, 51,53, 54, 56, etc. 

'"Noted by Carson, "Gundry on Matthew," 72. 

turner: evangelicals and redaction criticism 281 

implies that Matthew's readers knew all they needed to know about 
the Jesus of history. '^^ But how could that ever occur? Do believers 
ever get to know the Jesus of history well enough to need or to desire 
unhistorical fabrications, pious as these may be? Why does Matthew 
need to invent theological tales in order to be relevant in a practical 
way? The God who superintends history has certainly seen to it that 
Jesus' actual words and deeds have sufficient practical relevance for 
his people. But, in Gundry's view, Matthew evidently could not find 
sufficient significance in history, so he had to write fiction in order to 
meet his church's needs. Is there a subtle existential influence here? 
This line of reasoning seems to imply a different view of Jesus than 
that of the apostle John who wrote: "And there are also many other 
things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose 
that even the world itself would not contain the books which should 
be written" (John 21:25 NASB). The implication of Gundry's ap- 
proach seems to be that Jesus did many things which were not all that 
important. Matthew's readers already knew enough about the Jesus 
of history. What they needed most was akin to a historical novel 
about Jesus. This would be more relevant to their needs. Does Gun- 
dry's approach imply the insufficiency of the Jesus of history, or are 
some evangelicals guilty of insisting that Scripture conform only to 
those standards of writing with which they are comfortable?'^^ 

It appears, however, that the above objections pale in comparison 
with the issue of genre and inerrancy. Gundry repeatedly asserts that 
non-historical genre is compatible with inerrancy.'^* Few will hesitate 
to agree with this in principle. However, it would appear that there 
should be an objective criterion which appears in the text for this to 
be granted in practice. Jesus' parables have the stamp of real life even 
though they may not point to any one specific historical incident. To 
say that "a certain man was going down from Jerusalem to Jeri- 
cho ..." (Luke 10:30 NASB) is to refer to a type of incident which 
would historically recur many times. Parabolic genre is easily recog- 
nizable. However, by contrast Matthew 1-2 purports to be historical. 
Any approach which denies the historicity of this portion of Scripture 
must be based on stronger, more objective, more biblically demon- 
strable grounds than Gundry has supplied.'^' Today's "scholarly con- 
sensus" on the source criticism of the synoptics is in flux. Without a 

"*Gundry, Matthew, 629. Note how Silva hypothetically states an agenda similar 
to that implied by Gundry, "Stonehouse and Redaction Criticism: II," 295. 

'"This is Gundry's legitimate question to those whom he styles as "conservative 
historical positivists" (Matthew, 629). 

'"Ibid., 37, 626-27, 629, 631-32, 637, 639. 

'^'Granted, Gundry admits that his view needs to be "supported by adequate 
exegetical and comparative data" (ibid., 629). His current support is not at all adequate, 


rather novel adaptation of a theory which may be dying (the two 
document hypothesis), Gundry's approach will not stand. It is doubt- 
ful that we will ever know enough about the synoptic problem and 
midrash genre to make statements which deny the historicity of a 
purportedly historical narrative. 

Gundry believes that Matthew and his readers were both accus- 
tomed to such a genre as he proposes and would not be misled by 
it."*" It may be doubtful whether this genre will ever be known suf- 
ficiently to support adequately his position. Carson, for one, doubts 
that Gundry's analysis of midrash genre is sufficient.'"*' Furthermore, 
there is a tension between Gundry's position and two of the denial 
sections from the 1982 Chicago Statement on Biblical Hermeneutics: 

XIII: WE AFFIRM that awareness of the literary categories, formal 
and stylistic, of the various parts of Scripture is essential for 
proper exegesis, and hence we value genre criticism as one of 
the many disciplines of biblical study. 

WE DENY that generic categories which negate historicity 
may rightly be imposed on biblical narratives which present 
themselves as factual. 

XIV: WE AFFIRM that the biblical record of events, discourses, 
and sayings, though presented in a variety of appropriate liter- 
ary forms, corresponds to historical fact. 
WE DENY that any event, discourse, or saying reported in 
Scripture was invented by the biblical writers or by the tradi- 
tions they incorporated. 

There is no doubt that Gundry's position imposes generic categories 
which negate historicity upon the narrative of Matthew which presents 
itself as historical. Gundry believes that many events, sayings, and 
discourses in Matthew were invented by him. 

One must admire Gundry's scholarship and frankness. His ap- 
proach to Matthew attempts to handle both the phenomena of the 
text and the doctrine of inerrancy. He has not jettisoned the doctrine 
of biblical authority, or even inerrancy as he defines it.'"*^ However, 
his approach is misguided in assumptions, method, and conclusions. 
His attempt to defend the authority of the Bible may in the long run 

'""Ibid., 632, 634-35. 

'■""Gundry on Matthew," 81-85. Moo's "Matthew and Midrash" also points up 
some weaknesses in Gundry's approach to genre. 

'*^His critique of radical form criticism in The Use of the OT in Matthew is 
supplemented by his expose of the "nakedness of the liberal protestant Bible" in Mat- 
thew, 623-24. Similarly, his critique of the "hardline antisupernaturalism" in F. W. 
Beare's recent commentary on Matthew demonstrates his commitment to biblical 
authority. See TSF Bulletin 6 (1982) 19-20. 

turner: evangelicals and redaction criticism 283 

defeat the authority of the Bible. If we grant in principle that pur- 
portedly historical biblical events did not actually happen, where are 
we to draw the line in practice! Where is the objective control which 
prevents us from regarding even the central redemptive facts of the 
gospels as non-historical? 

current situation of the evangelical theological society 

The 34th annual meeting of the ETS was held on December 16- 
18, 1982 at Northeastern Bible College, Essex Fells, NJ. The first 
major plenary session was a critique of Robert Gundry's Matthew by 
Douglas Moo of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.'"*^ Moo stated 
that Gundry's position was suspect due to his (1) assumption of precise 
knowledge of Matthew's sources; (2) categorizing too many words as 
distinctly Matthean; (3) exaggeration of Matthew's editorial work 
and its theological motivation; (4) classification of Matthew as mid- 
rashic in genre. Gundry's lengthy response ''*'* defended his assumptions 
as working hypotheses and answered other critics' problems with his 
midrashic approach. More significantly, Gundry appealed to the OT 
as containing material similar to Matthew in its embellishment of the 
facts. Thus both Chronicles and Joshua contain data more theological 
than historical.''** This broadening of the non-historical category of 
material in Scripture is bound to compound the difficulty that many 
inerrantists already have with Gundry. 

At this meeting the issues raised by Gundry's position were also 
critiqued in various ways in papers by Royce G. Gruenler, Robert L. 
Thomas, Norman Geisler, and myself. At the last business meeting 
the ETS leadership presented to the society their decision to sustain 
Gundry's membership in the ETS. Their reasoning was that since 
(1) the society's doctrinal statement''*^ speaks only to inerrancy not 
methodology, and (2) Gundry continues to affirm inerrancy, then 
(3) his membership in the society could not be questioned. Many 
members who were present applauded this decision, but evidently 
others were not pleased. The new president of ETS, Louis Goldberg, 
has encouraged the regional meetings to discuss what, if anything, 
needs to be done. He has also appointed an ad hoc committee to 
think through the issues and present a recommendation to the next 
national conference in Dallas, scheduled for December, 1983. 

"Matthew and Midrash: An Evaluation of Robert Gundry's Approach." 
'*'*"A Response to Some Criticisms of Matthew: A Commentary on His Literary 

and Theological Art." 
""Ibid., 24-26. 
'■"^The statement simply reads "The Bible alone, and the Bible in its entirety, is the 

Word of God written and therefore inerrant in the autographs." 


Since the 1982 meeting, petitions have been circulated in various 
schools calling for repudiation of the decision by the ETS leadership 
to sustain Gundry's membership. There has even been talk of forming 
a new organization if the ETS fails to act on this issue. Norman 
Geisler has revised his 1982 paper.''*' His main contention is that 
orthodoxy is not limited to doctrinal matters but also includes 
methodological concerns. ''Sincerity [in assenting to a doctrinal 
statement] is an insufficient test for orthodoxy. In addition there 
must also be conformity to some objective standard or norm for 
orthodoxy."''** Geisler believes that Gundry's method is unorthodox 
because even though he confesses inerrancy, he denies that events 
reported by Matthew are literally and historically true. "To deny that 
what the Bible reports in these passages actually occurred is to deny 
in effect that the Bible is wholly true."''*' Geisler has suggested the 
following criterion to determine methodological unorthodoxy: 

Any hermeneutical or theological method, the logically necessary con- 
sequences of which are contrary to or undermine confidence in the 
complete truthfulness of all of Scripture, is unorthodox. ''° 

Geisler's zeal for inerrancy and his opinion that Gundry's ap- 
proach is not compatible with traditional orthodoxy is appreciated. 
However, at least two major concerns surface in the paper. First, 
Geisler does not appear to have caught the subtlety of Gundry's 
argument. Gundry does not deny what, in his view, the Bible affirms 
since he does not believe Matthew intended for certain parts of his 
gospel to be taken as historically true. Gundry affirms the truth of all 
that Matthew reports, but he does not believe that all of Matthew is 
reported history. Thus Geisler overlooks what must be considered by 
all to be the genius of Gundry's argument: authorial intent. Second, it 
also appears that Geisler's criterion for methodological unorthodoxy 
is unworkable. Evangelicals who staunchly hold to inerrancy have 
disagreed for years over which portions of Scripture to interpret "liter- 
ally" or "figuratively." For example, many members of ETS, and 
perhaps Geisler himself, would deny that the events of the creation 
week and the flood of Noah are to be taken as literally and historically 
true. However, advocates of the "day-age" theory of creation and the 
"local flood theory" tend to undermine my confidence in the complete 
truthfulness of all of Scripture. I am arguing in this manner simply to 

""The title is now "Methodological Unorthodoxy." The paper compares the ap- 
proaches of P. Jewett, J. Rogers, and R. Gundry. 
"'ibid., 2. 
""Ibid., 7. 
"°Ibid., 14. 

turner: evangelicals and redaction criticism 285 

show that evangelicals who hold to inerrancy will never be able to 
agree on how to enforce such a methodological criterion. The answer 
to the problems of the ETS appears to be in another direction: it 
must define more clearly what it means by inerrancy. 

summary and conclusion 

Evangelicals are currently involved in a dispute which may be 
likened to the proverbial saying about "throwing out the baby with 
the bathwater."'*' Some evangelists believe there is no baby in the 
bathwater (RC is unusable). Others believe the bathwater is very 
dirty, but there is a baby in there somewhere (cautious use of RC). 
Still others are persuaded that the water itself is rather clean (thorough- 
going RC). The value of RC as a tool for the study of Scripture 
should not be overestimated or underestimated. The relative infancy 
of the discipline as well as the lack of certainty (or even probability) 
of some of its necessary assumptions should cause it to be implemented 
carefully. These weaknesses and uncertainties render untenable any 
attempt to deny the historicity of purportedly historical material in 
the gospels. The warning of William Barclay, certainly no friend of 
inerrancy, should not go unnoticed: "I need not deny that the gospels 
are theology, but I abandon their history only at my peril."'" 

It appears certain that Robert Gundry's approach to RC is seri- 
ously flawed. However, this does not mean that the discipline itself is 
unorthodox. Who will doubt that the evangelists had specific purposes 
as they wrote? Though there will always be difficulties regarding hypo- 
thetical external sources, there is no doubt that the principle of 
authorial intent within each gospel must be given attention. Robert H. 
Stein said it well: 

Luke in his prologue tells us that he had a specific purpose for writing 
his Gospel. An evangelical hermeneutic must keep foremost in mind 
therefore the purpose of the divinely inspired author. This indicates 
that redaction criticism, and here I mean primarily the aims and goals 
of the discipline not the various presuppositions that various scholars 
bring with them to it, is not merely an option but a divine mandate for 
evangelical scholarship.'" 

'"See the fine essay by D. A. Carson, "Redaction Criticism: On the Legitimacy 
and Illegitimacy of a Literary Tool," Scripture and Truth (ed. D. A. Carson and J. D. 
Woodbridge; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1983). The whole article (pp. 119-42; 376-81) 
exhibits much wisdom in advocating a cautious use of RC. The discussion about the 
baby and the bathwater occurs on p. 376 n. 3. 

^^^ Introduction to the First Three Gospels (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1975) 249. 

"'"Luke 1:1-4 and Traditionsgeschichte" (unpublished paper presented to the 
ETS, Dec 1982) 14. 


Granted, then, that there is a baby in the bathwater, what can be 
done to save the baby while disposing of the bathwater? More 
pointedly, what courses of action are open to the ETS? If nothing is 
done, there will certainly be a schism in the organization. Also, there 
is the constant need to clarify doctrinal positions as formerly clear, 
univocal terms become equivocal and potential "weasel words." This 
is not the first time the ETS has been exercised concerning inerrancy 
and biblical criticism. A perusal of the back numbers of the society's 
Bulletin and Journal reveals over twenty articles dealing with these 
issues and at least three numbers which are given over completely to 
them.'^'* It is interesting that whenever an article has been printed 
which did not seem to be in agreement with the society's position, 
ample space was given for response.'" The Journal also printed the 
ICBI's "Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy."'^^ All this leads 
one to believe that the current difficulties are not new but are a 
recurrence of symptoms which have troubled the ETS all along. It 
would appear that any group of Christians which maintains high 
doctrinal standards will have pressure to lower them. Such difficulties 
have caused members to drop out of the ETS before'" and un- 
doubtedly will do so again. Nevertheless, the ETS must perpetuate its 
historic and biblical position. 

It has been argued above that Norman Geisler's methodological 
criterion is unworkable. It appears that instead of debating methods 
of exegesis, the ETS should strengthen its confessional base. I see no 
good reason why the ICBI's 1978 "Chicago Statement on Biblical 
Inerrancy" should not be adopted by the ETS as a clarification of its 
understanding of the term 'inerrancy.' However, if this course of action 
is not wise, the ETS should draw up its own strengthened statement. 
Another issue concerns the ICBI's more recent (1982) "Chicago State- 
ment on Biblical Hermeneutics." As shown previously. Articles XIII 
and XIV contradict Robert Gundry's approach to Matthew. It would 
appear that this contradiction should be resolved in some fashion. At 
issue is the historicity of the gospels. Liberal scholars have been deny- 
ing the historicity of certain events in the gospels for years. Gundry's 
conclusions are similar, though his method differs in its view of an 
inspired authorial intent to embellish history. It is doubtful whether 

''*See BETS 3A;6:\; 9:1. 

'"BETS 11 (1968) 139-46; JETS 12 (1969) 67-72; 18 (1975) 37-40, 93-103; 20 
(1977) 289-305. 

'"y£r5 21 (1978)289-96. 

'"See Gordon H. Clark's 1965 presidential address, "The Evangelical Theological 
Society Tomorrow," BETS 9 (1966) 3-11. Clark's conclusion regarding the doctrinal 
integrity of the society is in the form of a parody on a familiar hymn: "Let goods and 
kindred go, some membership also" (p. 1 1). 

turner: evangelicals and redaction criticism 287 

Gundry's approach can be reconciled with the historic protestant un- 
derstanding of biblical inerrancy.'^* And that position is precisely 
what the ETS claims to uphold. Changing views of the specific biblical 
phenomena should not be construed to contradict the Bible's general 
assertions about itself.'^' 

addendum: the case of j. ramsey michaels 

As this study goes to press, Dr. J. Ramsey Michaels has recently 
resigned from his NT professorship at Gordon-Conwell Theological 
Seminary.'*" His book Servant and Son: Jesus in Parable and Gos- 
pel,^^^ was judged by the faculty senate to be in violation of the 
school's statement of faith on biblical inerrancy and the person of 
Christ. The book's admitted emphasis is on the humanity of Christ, 
but Gordon officials concluded that Michaels went too far in his 
critical methodology and in his one-sided approach to Christ's person. 
Earlier Michaels had written a perceptive essay, "Inerrancy or Verbal 
Inspiration? An Evangelical Dilemma."'*^ 

The controversy here appears to be similar to that engendered by 
Robert Gundry's commentary on Matthew. Michaels's use of critical 
methodology resulted in his questioning the historical setting or 
details given to certain events in certain gospel accounts. Among 
these are John's testimony of seeing the dove-like Spirit descending 
on Jesus (John 1:32-34) and the location and nature of Jesus' 
temptation (Matt 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13).'" His book 
contains many statements as to the historical "probability" of events 
actually happening in the manner the gospels assert they happened. 
Nevertheless, Michaels continues to profess his assent to inerrancy. It 

'^'it is interesting to note that the evangelical R. N. Longenecker, at the 1982 
meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature, characterized Gundry's position as "more 
conservative than the evangelicals on Mark and Q and more liberal than the liberals on 
Matthew." See G. R. Osborne, "Studies in Matthew: Professional Societies Evaluate 
New Evangelical Directions," TSF Bulletin 6 (1983) 15. From a more liberal view, 
L. Cope agrees with Gundry against the traditional historicist inerrancy position, but 
disagrees with Gundry's inspired midrashic approach. According to Cope, Gundry's 
"solution is worse than the problem." See A TR 65 (1983) 219. 

'"See J. W. Montgomery, "The Approach of New Shape Roman Catholicism to 
Scriptural Inerrancy: A Case Study for Evangelicals," BETS 10 (1967) 209-25. See esp. 
221-25, which are relevant to the current debate. 

'^''See "Publish and Perish: Two Seminaries Face Doctrinal Conflicts," Eternity 
(July- August, 1982) 9, 46; and "The Issue of Biblical Authority Brings a Scholar's 
Resignation," Christianity Today (July 15, 1983) 35-36, 38. 

'*' Atlanta: John Knox, 1981. 

^^^Inerrancy and Common Sense, ed. R. R. Nicole and J. R. Michaels (Grand 
Rapids: Baker, 1980) 49-70. 

'"Servant and Son, 34-36, 54-65. 


is his belief that the issue is hermeneutics, and that inerrantists have 
assumed certain unnecessary and narrow restrictions. 

This episode underscores all the more the current crisis summa- 
rized and evaluated in this study. It appears that the issue is not 
hermeneutics in general but historicity in particular. Evangelicals are 
beginning to assert in essence that what the Bible says actually 
happened, but it need not have happened at the time or in the place 
or in the manner the Bible says it happened. It is doubtful whether 
such a de-historicizing approach is compatible with the doctrine of 
inerrancy. Yet those who disdain current de-historicizing approaches 
should not go to the opposite extremes of ignoring historical difficul- 
ties or eliminating them by outlandish harmonizations.'^'' 

'**For a survey of the difficulty, see R. T. France, "Evangelical Disagreements 
about the Bible," Churchman 96 (1982) 226-40. 

Grace TheologicalJournal A.2 (1983) 289-296 


Creation Science and the Physical Universe"^ 
John C. Whitcomb 

What is Creation Science? by Henry M. Morris and Gary E. Parker. San 
Diego: Creation-Life Publishers, Inc., 1982. Pp. 306. $7.95. Paper. 

In this significant landmark of creationist literature, Henry M. Morris 
and Gary E. Parker combine their scientific skills to undermine the credibility 
of evolutionism. In the previous issue of this journal, the reviewer surveyed 
Dr. Parker's contribution in chaps. 1-3, "The Life Sciences." In the present 
article, the final three chaps, written by Dr. Morris ("The Physical Sciences") 
are analyzed, followed by a theological perspective on the entire volume. 

"creation and the laws of science" 

In chap. 4, Morris skillfully ties the biological and physical sciences 
together into one gigantic unity. "Living systems must all function in a physical 
world. Biological processes, while far more complex than physical processes, 
nevertheless must operate also in conformity to the physico-chemical laws 
which govern nonliving systems. ... So the question of origins is not merely a 
biological question, to be resolved by biologists. . . . The creation /evolution 
issue is one of cosmic dimensions" (p. 154). 

In spite of the commonly heard assertion that creationism is only one of 
several possible alternatives to evolutionism, the only two possible models of 
origins are evolution or creation. Evolution contemplates eternal, self-existent, 
self-contained, natural processes continuing to happen today in a mass /energy, 
space /time continuum without plan or design (i.e., accidental, by chance). 
Religions that accommodate this world-and-life view include Buddhism, Hindu- 
ism, Confucianism, and Taoism (p. 156). 

On the other hand, creationism involves a supernatural design and unique, 
supernatural events to bring the universe and its various components into 
existence. Religions that presuppose this model include orthodox Judaism, 
Islam, and Christianity. 

*The reviewer appreciates the assistance of Dr. Donald B. DeYoung, Professor of 
Physics, Grace College, in the preparation of this article. 


With regard to processes, "the creation model predicts only net decreases 
(for the universe as a whole)," but "stipulates nothing concerning the rate of 
decrease," for "this may be almost zero in times of peace and calm and very 
high during great catastrophes" (p. 161). To put the contrast in different terms, 
the creation model "suggests that there should be a conservational and disinte- 
grative principle operating in nature," while, "if evolution is true, then there 
must be some innovative and integrative principle operating in the natural 
world which develops structure out of randomness and higher organization 
from lower" (p. 163). 

Several clear and concise diagrams clarify an otherwise difficult discussion 
concerning the relevance of the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics to 
evolutionism and creationism. The Second Law, or Entropy (in-turning) Law, 
measures the deterioration of energy in a working, structured, or programmed 
system (p. 166). "Time's Arrow" always points downward in a system that is 
closed to outside, intelligent energy. 

The frequently-heard claim that the earth is not a closed system, because it 
is "open" to the sun's energy, is effectively refuted as an "inexcusably naive" 
argument (p. 171). In fact, "an influx of heat energy into an open system (such 
as solar heat entering the earth-system)" actually decreases the order of a 
system, and thus aggravates the fundamental conflict between entropy and 

Why is it, then, that some systems seem to go uphill in complexity? "There 
are many systems, especially artificial systems (e.g., buildings, machinery) and 
living systems (e.g., plants, animals) which do indeed manifest, for a long time, 
an increasing degree of complexity or information. . . . They are open systems, 
of course, and do draw on external sources of energy, or information, or order, 
to build up their own structure. Even though their (internal) entropy is 
decreased (for awhile), it is at the expense of an overall increase of entropy in 
the larger system outside, all fully in accord with the Second Law. But . . . most 
open systems do not increase in order. Having an open system is a necessary, 
but not a sufficient, condition" (p. 172). 

One of the most significant contributions of Morris to the current debate 
is his insistence that the openness of the earth to the sun's energy is totally 
insufficient to bring about "an increasing order unless it also possesses a highly 
specific program to direct its growth and a complex mechanism (or 'motor,' or 
'membrane') to convert the sun's energy into the specific work of building its 
growth" (p. 175). 

While many evolutionists might wish that time's arrow could go up as well 
as down, "wishing does not make it so, except in children's fairy tales!" 
(p. 186). Two internationally recognized authorities on thermodynamics who 
have not succumbed to such fairy tales are Sonntag and Van Wylen, who see 
"the second law of thermodynamics as man's description of the prior and 
continuing work of a creator, who also holds the answer to the future destiny 
of man and the universe" {Fundamentals of Classical Thermodynamics [2d ed.; 
New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1973] 248). 

whitcomb: creation science and the universe 291 


In the second of his three chaps., Morris is at his best, bringing his many 
years of expertise in hydraulic engineering to bear upon the question of the 
origin of sedimentary and fossil strata. The very evidence that evolutionists 
most frequently appeal to, namely, the fossil evidence, turns out upon close 
inspection to be a virtual disaster for their theory of earth history. One 
prominent paleontologist, David B. Kitts, is quoted as admitting that "despite 
the bright promise that paleontology provides a means of 'seeing' evolution, it 
has presented some nasty difficulties for evolutionists, the most notorious of 
which is the presence of 'gaps' in the fossil record" (p. 191). Other scientists, 
such as Valentine, Campbell, Stanley, Ridley, and Raup, are quoted to similar 
effect (pp. 191-94). 

Thus, while most evolutionists still feel that "fossils must provide the only 
real evidence for evolution," some of the most prominent young scientists are 
insisting that "fossils provide no real evidence for evolution. Well, creationists 
think they are both right! The only real evidence is the fossil record, and it 
doesn't support evolution" (p. 195). This constitutes a staggering blow to a 
theory that all but dominates our secular (and most religious) institutions of 
higher learning. 

Actually, the only place in the world where the evolutionary order of 
fossil-bearing rock formations can be found is in textbooks (p. 196). The 
average depth of sedimentary rock worldwide is about one mile (p. 198), and 
much of it is "upside down" from an evolutionary perspective, not only in the 
Rockies and Alps, but even in the Appalachians (p. 200). And, there is practi- 
cally no evidence of violent overthrusting to cause such a reversed order. Also, 
any kind of rock can be found in any layer (p. 201). Even the appeal to "index 
fossils" to date the sedimentary rocks is now being admitted to be essentially 
circular reasoning by such men as David Kitts and Ronald West (p. 208). 

In the light of all this, the catastrophic model of earth history is vastly 
superior. As young geologists such as Gould and Ager are turning to "neo- 
catastrophism" in the form of "punctuated equilibrium" to reconcile the fossil 
record with evolutionism, they finally end up with such absurdities as "revolu- 
tionary evolutionism" (p. 210). In fact, Gould goes so far as to admit that 
Charles Lyell, the "father of uniformitarianism," actually "imposed his imagina- 
tion upon the evidence" (p. 21 1), a point which creationists have insisted on for 
over a hundred years. 

What, then, is the catastrophic (or cataclysmic) model of geology? First, 
as Derek Ager, head of the Geology Department at Swansea University in 
England, admits, every sedimentary formation requires a catastrophic explana- 
tion (p. 215). Second, there is no worldwide time-gap in the geologic column. 
Thus, "the entire sedimentary crust fits the description of the Catastrophic 
Model — continuous, cataclysmic hydraulic sedimentary activity throughout 
the column" (p. 217). 


The third prediction of this model is that normally we would expect 
"simpler" organisms to be found at the bottom of the column, representing 
their ecological zone, while more complex forms would be found in the upper 
strata, though exceptions should be anticipated. 

"how and when did the world begin?" 

In his final chap., Morris insists that the date of creation is a distinct issue 
from the fact of creation, even though evolutionism would be squeezed out of 
existence by a young-earth concept (p. 220). "There is only one basic question, 
that of creation or evolution, but there are two important corollary questions: 
(1) catastrophism or uniformitarianism; (a) recent or old origin" (p. 220). In 
this final chapter the second corollary question is answered. 

The popular Big-Bang Theory of the origin of the universe is shown to be 
impossible. The supposed background radiation from this cosmic primeval 
explosion is not uniform in any direction and the matter which scattered 
throughout the universe from it is non-uniform also. "It has never been 
adequately explained how cosmic 'lumps' such as stars and galaxies could be 
generated from the homogeneous energies of the hypothetical explosion" 
(p. 224). In fact, as one evolutionist analyses the problem, "The standard Big 
Bang model does not give rise to lumpiness. ... If you apply the laws of 
physics to this model, you get a universe that is uniform, a cosmic vastness of 
evenly distributed atoms with no organization of any kind" (p. 225, quoting 
IBM's Philip E. Seiden). Thus evolutionary astronomers are now confronted 
with the "lumpy Big Bang problem"! Even worse, uniform radial motion from 
a supposed Big Bang "could never give rise to curvilineal motion. How, then, 
could the linearly expanding gas soon be converted into orbiting galaxies and 
planetary systems?" (p. 226). 

Thus, the Big Bang Theory is essentially destroyed by the Second Law of 
Thermodynamics and by the principle of conservation of angular momentum, 
even as the Steady-State Theory of Sir Fred Hoyle was destroyed by the First 
Law of Thermodynamics. 

It is indeed a challenge to keep up with changing ideas regarding the Big 
Bang Theory. Since the publication of What Is Creation Science?, an "inflation- 
ary universe" has been popularized by Alan Guth of M.I.T. This proposed 
cosmogony begins with an extreme expansion of the early universe. One early 
form of the model results in the present universe coming into existence within 
"just" 30,000 years of the alleged explosion (cf. Science News 123 [Feb 12, 
1983] 108). This model is of current interest because it solves some of the 
problems pointed out by Morris. Unfortunately, the model also results in a 
whole new set of problems. 

By infinite contrast, "the Creation Model is supported by three obvious 
facts: (1) the universe is immensely vast and complex; (2) as long as men have 
been observing the stars and galaxies, they have been stable with no evolution- 
ary changes ever observed since the beginning of recorded history; (3) all 
observed changes (e.g., novas, meteorites, etc.) represent disintegration pro- 
cesses, not evolutionary processes" (p. 228). Thus, the immensity, complexity, 
variety, stability and disintegration of the stellar heavens all point to a Creator. 

whitcomb: creation science and the universe 293 

Our solar system is seen to be so complex that no unified evolutionary 
theory can remotely begin to explain it. In fact, as one frustrated evolutionist 
exclaimed, "The conclusion in the present state of the subject would be that the 
system cannot exist"! (p. 231, quoting Harold Jeffreys). The probability of 
life evolving on this earth by chance is zero (pp. 235, 238); and there is "not one 
iota of real scientific evidence for biological life anywhere in the universe 
except on earth" (p. 233), thus confirming the suspicions of many that radio 
telescopes, designed at great expense to listen for messages from outer space, 
have been "a complete exercise in futility" (p. 234). 

Morris briefly discusses the so-called "anthropic principle" (p. 235), but 
much more should now be said concerning this. The term describes the fact 
that the universe is filled with exceedingly improbable "coincidences." If any 
one of a large number of constants or laws were slightly varied, neither life 
nor stability of matter would occur in the physical universe. The secular 
reaction to the anthropic principle shows the extremes to which men will go 
in denying the Creator: it has been proposed that there are actually an infinite 
number of universes. We just happen to live in the particular universe in 
which the natural laws are accidentally balanced! 

Finally, in preparation for his spectacular list of sixty-eight independent 
calculations applying to the entire earth that demonstrate its comparatively 
recent origin, Morris explains that (1) decay curves are exponential, not 
linear; (2) decay curves may include catastrophic interludes which radically 
speed the decay; and (3) decay curves may cover an ever shorter time period 
if we do not know the initial conditions (pp. 242-52). 

The powerful force of Morris' argumentation leaves the reviewer inca- 
pable of understanding how any completely unprejudiced mind can avoid his 
conclusion: "the weight of all the scientific evidence favors the view that the 
earth is quite young, far too young for life and man to have arisen by an 
evolutionary process. The origin of all things by direct creation — already 
necessitated by many other scientific considerations — is therefore also indi- 
cated by chronometric data" (p. 252). 


But this brings us to the ultimate issue in the creation/ evolution debate: 
does anyone in this world's system of thinking have a completely unprejudiced 
and unbiased mind to look objectively at all the data and the logical implica- 
tions of the data? The reviewer is convinced that no one is thus qualified. 
Even more serious, the scientific, mathematical, and logical consistency of 
creationism is being continually supressed by man's depraved will under 
Satanic dominion (Rom 8:7; 1 Cor 2:14; 2 Cor 3:4-5; Eph 2:1-3; 4:18, 6:12). 
The problem, therefore, is not with the evidences, but with man's spiritual 
response to evidences that speak clearly of the Creator. "The wrath of God is 
revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, 
who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known 
about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them" (Rom 


Can scientific creationism be detached from biblical and theological crea- 
tionism and made to function effectively in the hearts of men on its own 
strength? That is a major question that creationists must face today. Morris 
and Parker are convinced that "scientific creationism is not based on Genesis 
or any other religious teaching" (p. 263). 

Two serious limitations must be faced. First, when creationism is isolated 
from biblical theology it is reduced to a mere scientific theory which, in the 
very nature of science, offers no ultimately authoritative answers or assurances 
to men. Parker states that "science is prohibited by its own methodology 
from making any statements about ultimate purpose. . . . We are so humbly 
limited in both space and time that we can never finally prove or disprove 
either of these two ultimate models" (pp. 149, 157, 162). 

Thus, "the creation/ evolution debate can never be completely settled by 
scientific evidence alone. There will always be new evidence to investigate and 
new concepts to apply. Each generation will have to reevaluate its concept of 
origins in terms of current knowledge. 'The debate goes on.'" (p. 143; cf. 
pp. 42, 107, 141, 144-45). Probability, not certainty, is all that can be hoped 
for (p. 157). Purely scientific cosmogony and cosmology would therefore seem 
to be locked forever into the ultimate frustration of "ever learning and never 
able to come to the knowledge of the truth" (2 Tim 3:7). 

Second, creation science, when isolated from the wider context of special 
revelation in Scripture, is devoid of theological identity from a Christian 
perspective. One might just as well be a Jewish or even a Muslim creation 
scientist as far as this model is concerned (pp. 156, 265), for such questions as 
creation or evolution, catastrophism or uniformitarianism, and recent or 
ancient origin "can be evaluated strictly as scientific models, without reference 
to their theological, philosophical, or moral implications" (p. 220). Thus, 
some people who are "without religion see creation [as being] compatible 
with science" (p. 149). In fact, "not all creationists believe in a personal God" 
(p. xii). 

The reviewer suspects that many Bible-believing Christians who devote 
much time and effort to creation-science activities have not carefully pondered 
the implications of such statements as these. Can creationism retain its full 
power and beauty if it sheds its theological garments? By avoiding any mention 
of the Bible, or of Christ as the Creator, we may be able to gain equal time in 
some public school classrooms. But the cost would seem to be exceedingly 
high, for absolute certainty is lost and the spiritual impact that only the living 
and powerful Word of God can give (Heb 4:12) is blunted. Granted, ^''Biblical 
creationism [as well as biblical prayer and worship] should be taught in 
churches" (p. 264) and church-related schools. But does this mean that Chris- 
tians in public schools have fulfilled their God-given responsibility as wit- 
nesses to Him when they promote and endorse a religionless two-model 
approach in the science classroom? Is this a truly spiritual achievement? 

It is not essentially a question of biblical orthodoxy. Morris and Parker 
have not compromised Christian doctrines, such as the absolute inerrancy 
and perspicuity of Scripture. The issue is not theological compromise but 
rather evangelistic methodology. Should our theological convictions be ob- 
scured temporarily and thus compartmentalized in order to reach the millions 

whitcomb: creation science and the universe 295 

of students who are being systematically brainwashed in evolutionary human- 
ism in public schools and universities and who would otherwise be deprived 
of any exposure to creationism? 

Or, should we rather view this tax-supported educational system as a 
vast mission field to be approached from the perspective and with the guaran- 
teed resources of the Great Commission (Matt 28:18-20)? Can we really 
"reach" such an unregenerate community, a significant segment of Satan's 
kingdom, without the impact of the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27)? Are 
we wrestling here against mere "flesh and blood," or, rather, "against princi- 
palities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, 
against spiritual wickedness in high places" (Eph6:12)? 

Throughout the book, the reviewer senses the opposite pull of pure 
scientific objectivity on the one hand, and a moral, even spiritual, appeal to 
the evolutionist on the other hand. "He should ask himself whether something 
other than the facts of nature is influencing his thinking about origins" (p. v). 
It is "bigoted for certain scientists to exclude [creation] from the domain of 
science" (p. xiii). "Sooner or later, everyone will need to know these evidences 
and arguments" (p. xvi). All scientists "must be willing to follow the evidence 
wherever it might lead" (pp. 18, 144). Is creation superior to evolution? "The 
concept of a creator as the explanation of the scientific evidence" is "eminently 
satisfying, both intellectually and emotionally" (p. 155). Furthermore, science 
"can help us with this ultimately very personal decision. But, as finite beings, 
we must look at the world with eyes wide open . . . and a heart that listens to 
the other fellow. Think about it!'' (p. 150). 

When the unbeliever is challenged simply to "think" about the natural 
universe, with no Christ-centered and redemptive perspective being provided 
through special revelation in Scripture, the result is always negative. As a 
former unregenerate evolutionist, the reviewer bears personal testimony to 
the force of God's analysis of the dilemma of human depravity: "The wicked, 
in the haughtiness of his countenance, does not seek Him. All his thoughts 
are, 'There is no God'" (Ps 10:4). 

Man's problem, then, is not a lack of thinking, but a rejection of Christ- 
centered thinking in response to his grace. "The Gentiles also walk in the 
futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from 
the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the 
hardness of their heart" (Eph 4:17-18). "And this is the judgment, that the 
light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the 
light; for their deeds were evil" (John 3:19). 

The brilliantly illuminating creation message is a vital part of Biblical 
revelation — but it is an incomplete part in and of itself. Men desperately need 
the good news, not just more light. Without the gospel of the completed work 
of Christ upon the cross, the creation witness can only condemn sinful man, 
for he will always "suppress the truth [of the Creator God] in unrighteousness" 
and thus remain "without excuse" under "the wrath of God" (Rom 1:18-20). 

Ultimately, ethical decisions in science, as in interpersonal decisions (such 
as a mother deciding whether or not to abort the unborn person within her 
womb), must rest upon the presupposition of God's design of the universe, 
not only physically, but especially morally and spiritually. Science and 


divinely-revealed religion/ ethics cannot be isolated without inviting long- 
range disaster (e.g., Nazi Germany, Communist Russia). God has commanded 
us to do everything (including our science) "to the glory of God" (1 Cor 
10:31). We are indeed commanded to conduct ourselves harmlessly (Matt 
10:16), graciously (Col 4:6), and "with wisdom toward outsiders" (Col 4:5), 
not unnecessarily offending men with our manner and methods of presenting 
Christ's Gospel. Nevertheless, we are also commanded to "proclaim Him, 
admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, that we 
may present every man complete in Christ" (Col 1:28). 

Biblical theology, then, so far from being a hindrance and an embarrass- 
ment to scientific creationism (e.g., "many have considered it to be simply 
religion in disguise" [p. iii; cf. 264]), is actually its only source of final author- 
ity, power, and victory. 

What is Creation Science? is, in this reviewer's opinion, the finest scien- 
tific critique of evolutionism now available. Henry Morris and Gary Parker 
are men of deep Christian conviction and commitment. They have written 
other books which testify eloquently to this fact (cf. Morris, King of Creation, 
chap. five). It may be hoped, therefore, that they will some day be led to 
produce a volume that combines special and general revelation into one 
balanced unit, for the glory of Christ our Creator, who is also our Lord, 
Saviour, and Coming King. 

Grace TheologicalJournal 4.2 (1983) 297-301 


Christianity and the Age of the Earth 
Donald B. DeYoung 

Christianity and the Age of the Earth, by Davis A. Young. Grand Rapids: 
Zondervan, 1982. Pp. 188. $7.95. 

There is a profusion of recent books and articles dealing with the 
creation-evolution issue. Many of them mount a vigorous attack against the 
literal biblical creation view. This is an expected reaction from non-Christians, 
since the creation movement has seriously challenged humanistic philosophy 
and science. There is yet another group of critics of literal creation, this time 
within the Christian camp. These dissenters seek to modify the creationist 
position as it is understood today. Among the leaders of this group is 
Dr. Davis A. Young. His first book Creation and the Flood appeared in 
1977, and is largely an attempt to discredit "flood geology" as presented by 
Whitcomb and Morris in 1961, in The Genesis Flood. Young's efforts have 
continued with the publication of articles in Eternity and Christianity Today. 

Davis Young is a geologist trained at Princeton, Pennsylvania State, and 
Brown Universities. For the past two years he has served on the faculty of 
Calvin College as associate professor of Geology. He is also an elder in the 
Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod. Davis Young enjoys the 
distinctive privilege of having had as his father Edward J. Young, who taught 
OT at Westminster Theological Seminary from 1936 until his death in 1968. 
He wrote many books during his lifetime, including several studies on Genesis. 
As his father before him, Davis Young emphasizes that he believes in the 
infallible, inerrant word of God. He declares that the Bible is true in matters 
of science and history, just as in matters of theology (p. 163). 

Young's purpose in writing Christianity and the Age of the Earth is 
similar to that of his first book. He seeks to establish conclusively the antiquity 
of the earth (p. 150). He attempts to expose the young-earth view of creation 
as "unscientific and not necessarily biblical" (p. 10). Even stronger, he accuses 
those with a literal-day creation view ("creationists") of being untruthful with 
scientific data (p. 162) and harmful to evangelism (p. 163). On this basis. 
Young opposes the efforts of creationists to promote their view of earth 
history. He admits that a literal 24-hour creation day is one possible interpre- 
tation that is faithful to the text (p. 161). However, he rules it out on the basis 


of geologic history. Instead, Young promotes the day-age view of Genesis 1 
(p. 63) in a form sometimes called "progressive creation." The six creation 
days are taken as long time periods which may have overlapped each other by 
various amounts. The seventh day, on which the Lord rested, still continues 
incompleted through this age. Miracles are considered to have had little if 
any bearing on geologic history (p. 143). Young is unsure about the magnitude 
of the Genesis flood, concluding that it could well have been a "very large 
local inundation" (p. 14). He believes that no significant physical remains of 
the flood have yet been discovered. 

Young's view of organic evolution is one of limited acceptance, as 
explained in an October 8, 1982, Christianity Today article. He sees no 
problem with the evolutionary change of nonhuman plants and animals, once 
the first stages were created. With man. Young feels that the theory of evolu- 
tion has gone too far and he favors direct creation by God. However, the door 
remains open to an evolutionary view of man which could somehow be made 
to fit the biblical record. The many ancient "ape-man" finds remain an 
unsolved problem for him. 

Christianity and the Age of the Earth is divided into three major sections. 
First, there is a summary of historical views regarding the age of the earth. 
Second, selected scientific data is reviewed regarding age determinations. 
Finally, philosophical and apologetic conclusions are drawn from science and 
scripture. Each of these sections will be considered in order. 

Young gives an excellent summary of the history of beliefs regarding 
origins and earth chronology. Detailed chapters review the thoughts of the 
Greeks, the early church, and past scientists. There is a wealth of fascinating 
quotes regarding the mystery of fossils and the early debates on earth history. 
Regarding the earth's age. Young concludes that "until the end of the eigh- 
teenth century. Christians were virtually unanimous in the belief that the 
earth was six thousand years old according to the teaching of scripture" 
(p. 13). Nevertheless, Young insists that he is "in full agreement with historic 
Christianity" (p. 10). Modern geology has simply shown that the naive literal 
reading of Genesis is wrong. Early Christians did not know any better, but we 
do know better today, in Young's mind, and he appears to lose patience with 
those who still hold to a literal creation view. He finally calls this view a 
"fantasy" whose promotion must be stopped (p. 152). 

One other item in the historical section is of interest. Young mentions 
the biblical chronology studies of Archbishop Ussher and Bishop Lightfoot. 
To Young's credit, he honors these men for their scholarship, in contrast to 
the sarcasm and incredulity about these men one often encounters in the 
literature. Young might also have included the name of scientists such as 
Kepler, one of the greatest astronomers of all time and a contemporary of 
Ussher. Kepler made similar studies of OT genealogies and also arrived at a 
young age for the creation. 

The lengthy center section of Young's book concerns the collection and 
analysis of scientific data. It is largely an attempt to refute creationist argu- 
ments for a recent creation. Young's specialized knowledge in the area of 
igneous and metamorphic rocks is evident. His limitations in certain other 
areas are also obvious. He declares, forexample, that pressure and tempera- 
ture changes "have no effect whatever on decay constants" of radioactive 


elements (p. 97). However, both of these variables have been used, for decades, 
to slightly perturb the decay rates of many isotopes. This particular point 
involves the possible acceleration of radiometric decay in the past and results 
in an increase in the apparent aging of rocks, admittedly uncertain at this 
time. Young also scoffs at the suggestion by creationists that increased cosmic 
radiation in the past may have speeded up the decay of radioactive elements. 
He does not believe that such radiation could affect rocks, since "cosmic rays 
do not penetrate very far into the ground" (p. 97). However, energetic cosmic 
rays are indeed detected in the deepest mines and caves. Such radiation from 
space has even been suspected of killing off much fauna on the seafloor 
during the "Permian extinction" of life, a catastrophe that creationists associ- 
ate with the Genesis flood. 

The earth's decaying magnetic field has been proposed as an evidence for 
a recent creation. Popularized by Thomas G. Barnes, the argument is that the 
earth's field would have been lethally large in a world more than 10,000 years 
old. Young analyzes the problem and concludes that the field is probably 
generated "by some sort of self-sustaining dynamo mechanism" (p. 1 19). That 
is, the magnetic field is only temporarily decaying; it will revive itself again 
and therefore fits geologic time. But this assumed dynamo is just the unsup- 
ported mechanism the creationists challenge. Young offers some archaeologi- 
cal magnetic field measurements that appear to differ from Barnes's pre- 
dictions. Such conflicts show the endless complexities that always arise in 
discussions of scientific data. One can readily find scientific interpretations or 
data that will support either an ancient earth or a recent creation. It is 
disappointing that Young gives no update on the earth's decaying magnetic 
field beyond 1965. New data has been available since 1979 from the American 
satellite Magsat. The field has now been found to be decaying even faster 
than was earlier thought. Extrapolation shows that the field strength may 
reach zero within 1,200 years, with grave consequences for mankind before 
then. If nothing else, the disappearing magnetic field places a severe time 
limit on the future of our environment. 

Young claims that "creationists have ignored data when convenient and 
have been very selective in the use of other data" (p. 162). This accusation 
could be applied almost universally. The value of any writing is to promote a 
particular viewpoint and with a nearly infinite variety of possible views on 
any subject, much must necessarily be excluded. This is especially true in the 
realm of science with its growing reservoir of data. Young himself leaves out 
certain points that one would expect to find in a book on the age of the earth. 
For example, he does not explain the research work of Robert Gentry. This 
well-known scientist has challenged the assumed slow cooling of igneous 
earth materials. Gentry presents data which suggests an instantaneous creation 
of the earth's crust. Gentry's conclusions are recognized by the geologic com- 
munity and are thus far unchallenged. Nor does Young mention the work of 
Clark and Voss. These scientists have published significant studies in creation- 
ist literature indicating that the earth's vast sedimentary layers may have been 
deposited in just one year of universal flooding. Young also omits any mention 
of the canopy theory. The great significance of a pre-flood vapor canopy to 
any study of earth history has been demonstrated in Joseph Dillow's book. 
The Waters Above. 


Young accuses creationists of "beating a dead horse" regarding uniformi- 
tarianism versus catastrophism (p. 142). The former term refers to present- 
day physical processes as adequate to account for all past changes of the 
earth and universe. In contrast, catastrophism recognizes unique global cata- 
clysms in earth's history, such as the Genesis flood. The common presupposi- 
tion that "the present is the key to the past" has indeed been challenged, 
particularly in The Genesis Flood. However, Young claims that geologists do 
not really believe this idea any longer. To prove his point, he lists several 
geology references that promote limited catastrophism. It is interesting that 
all of these references date from the 1970s. Secular geology has indeed slowly 
begun to acknowledge catastrophic events in history, although the uniformi- 
tarian perspective is still prevalent. Young himself acknowledges that creation- 
ists have made scientists "more aware of the catastrophic aspects of nature 
and the role they play in geology" (p. 83). 

Young counsels Christians to "relax and stop being afraid that somehow 
or other some scientific evidence will disprove the Bible" (p. 147). The creation- 
ist agrees with these sentiments. Young also states that a muzzle should not 
be put on any Christian in expressing his views (p. 151). He even admits that 
contemporary science may be wrong: "It is entirely possible that in the future 
some new discoveries may be made that will lead the scientific community to 
abandon belief in the great age of the earth" (p 149). Following this statement, 
however, there is no doubt that Young does indeed want to put a muzzle on 
the literal-day creation view. The primary motive for writing Christianity and 
the Age of the Earth suddenly becomes very clear. Young fears the possible 
offense to those scientists who hold to the secular view of modern geology 
(p. 152). To protect them, he tells the creationists with their contrary view of 
earth history to be quiet! Young reasons that "creationism and Flood geology 
have put a serious roadblock in the way of unbelieving scientists" (p. 152). 
Certainly, all will agree that creationists should not concentrate on scientific 
data and debate to the exclusion of a clear gospel presentation. However, if 
all intellectual barriers to the gospel must first be removed or conceded, we 
will surely fail. We must first seek to win the hearts of men to the Lord. 
Then, intellectual details will fall into place. Edward J. Young explained our 
duty in his Studies in Genesis One: 

In the study of Genesis one, our chief concern must not be to adopt an interpre- 
tation that is necessarily satisfying to the "scientifically penetrating mind." Nor 
is our principal purpose to endeavor to make the chapter harmonize with what 
"science" teaches. Our principal task, in so far as we are able, is to get at the 
meaning which the writer sought to convey. 

Davis Young believes that the creationist view of Genesis is dangerous. 
However, in the view of many creationists, the day-age theory promotes an 
equally harmful compromise between scripture and secular science. To both 
the literal and day-age views, the secular evolutionary approach is even more 
harmful. The solution in our day would appear to be the free presentation of 
all views in a balanced manner. Meanwhile, research into the fossil record 
and rocks of the earth should continue to compile more data. Creationists are 
certainly not out to muzzle other views, or even necessarily to get "equal 


time," but they cannot be silent, as Young requests. The Hteral-day approach 
to Genesis is a satisfying and credible foundation for millions of believers and 
must be shared. Christianity and the Age of the Earth is recommended for 
those interested in Davis Young's promotion of progressive creation and his 
denunciation of creationists. Such reading should be balanced with materials 
that positively explain the creationist position (see, for example, the pre- 
ceding review of What is Creation Science?). 

Grace TheologicalJournal 4.2 {19S3) 303-309 


A Christian Manifesto 
W. Merwin Forbes 

A Christian Manifesto, by Francis A. Schaeffer, Westchester, IL: Crossway, 
1981. Pp. 157. $5.95. Paper. 

There are few writers in recent evangelical Christian history and circles 
who have had a sustained and significant impact, as has Francis Schaeffer. It 
is difficult to imagine anyone in the Christian reading public who has not 
been affected in some way by one or more of the important works by this 
popular and leading voice of Christianity. This very fact causes this reviewer 
to be a bit disconcerted about the possible and probable impact of A Christian 
Manifesto. If the reader comes to this volume in an uncritical fashion, perhaps 
thinking that Schaeffer's scholarship and conclusions concerning contempo- 
rary issues are always sound and above critique, then such a reader will run 
the risk of having been seduced by the mystique of the Schaefferian cult. 

The first reading of this book left me very uneasy. Subsequent readings 
have added to the uneasiness, as the assumptions, dependence upon certain 
selected sources, and nearly total lack of dealing with the biblical data have 
been discerned. Before the disappointing portions are reviewed, it is important 
to survey Schaeffer's burden and many valuable thoughts. 

Schaeffer begins his treatise by lamenting that Christians have tunnel 
vision. They typically miss the forest for the trees. They have the capacity to 
become exercised over specific issues (e.g., abortion, pornography, homo- 
sexuality, prayer in public schools), but they have failed to see the whole 
fabric being woven, the total world view that is being developed. This shift in 
world views Schaeffer characterizes as "impersonal matter or energy shaped 
into its present form by impersonal chance" (p. 18). This world view is not 
only different from the Christian one, it is antithetical and antagonistic to it. 
Schaeffer correctly assesses that these two world views utterly oppose one 
another, both in content and results. This "us versus them" characterization is 
repeated throughout the book. 

An attendant problem which Schaeffer addresses is that Christians must 
bear their share of the responsibility for the burgeoning development and 
current dominance of the material-energy chance view. Owing to its own 
excessive attachment to pietism and its persistent platonic dichotomizing be- 
tween the material and spiritual worlds. Christians have systematically failed 


to see the totality of human existence. Particularly, the intellectual dimension 
has been neglected (pp. 18-19). Schaeffer ably sounds an urgent plea for 
Christians to return to a thorough-going Christian perspective. This Christian 
view begins with the transcendent God of the Bible who has disclosed himself 
in written propositional form. This view understands truth as a totally inte- 
grated whole in the Creator rather than as a series of truths without necessary 
and essential cohesion. 

Throughout the early portion of Schaeffer's book there is helpful and 
synthesized discussion of some complex philosophical and historical matters. 
Among them are some excellent thoughts on the distinction between human- 
ism and humanitarianism. "Christians should be the most humanitarian of all 
people" (p. 23). By virtue of the fact that they are created in the image of the 
Creator, Christians must be interested in the humanities. It is "proper to 
speak of a Christian humanist" (p. 23). But Schaeffer is careful to distinguish 
what he terms a Christian humanist from the man-centered and biblically 
false system which is popular today. 

From these very valuable and helpful opening thoughts, Schaeffer moves 
in chapter two to develop his view of the early days of our nation and how 
the founding fathers understood the relationship between one's world view 
and the government under which he is to live. It is here that some of 
Schaeffer's assumptions become troublesome and his line of reasoning might 
be questioned. 

Revealing what appears to be excessive dependence upon Samuel Ruther- 
ford (1600-1661) and Rutherford's Lex Rex ("that law, and no one else, is 
king," p. 32), Schaeffer begins a rather strained case that our founding fathers 
clearly knew what they were doing. "We cannot say too strongly that they 
really understood the basis of the government which they were founding" 
(p. 32). Then, in an almost inexpHcable fashion, Schaeffer itemizes a series of 
"proofs" (?) to establish his point. He cites such things as the "In God we 
trust" which appears in our national jargon, the phrase "certain inalienable 
rights" in our founding documents, the fact that Congress has a paid chap- 
lain, that prayer is offered before sessions of Congress, and even that one of 
our earliest national holidays was Thanksgiving Day. 

But one might respond, "So what?" What do such externals prove? Do 
such citations clearly establish that this nation's foundations and pursuits 
were clearly Christian? I think not! This is like saying that prayer before class 
is that which makes our education Christian. Moreover, upon what or whose 
god are we claiming this foundation? The deistic god of Thomas Jefferson, et 
all Schaeffer appears to confuse deism and Christianity. Surely many of our 
founding fathers were theists, but were they Christians, with a thorough- 
going Christian world view? Are we really prepared to say that the god of 
Jefferson and the governmental theories of John Locke were Christian? 

While much discerning care and critical analysis is needed in this portion 
of Schaeffer's work, he manages to salvage this chapter with some excellent 
thoughts on the First Amendment. He argues that the doctrine is used and 
abused today, having moved away from its original purposes, toward an 
oppressive effort to silence the church by secularizing it and prohibiting it 
from having a voice in issues of national concern. 


Chapter three, entitled "The Destruction of Faith and Freedom," out- 
lines the author's scenario regarding how and why our nation has moved 
away from the original base of the Creator giving "certain inalienable rights," 
toward a sociological law which has as a foundation principle that which 
seems good for society at any given moment, i.e., situationism. Again, there is 
in this discussion a mixture of very helpful thoughts and troublesome assump- 
tions that are never examined. Schaeffer's valuable insights include the asser- 
tion that the material-energy chance concept of reality could never have 
produced a form-freedom balance in government (pp. 42-45). In fact this 
world view is destroying it. His discussion of the definition and problems in 
contemporary "pluralism" is helpful (pp. 45-47). Schaeffer chides Christian 
lawyers for their abdication of their responsibility which so greatly contributed 
to the decline into sociological law. He also scores Christian theologians and 
educators as well. 

What is left unsaid in this chapter leaves this reviewer uneasy. Schaeffer's 
continuing assumptions concerning God-given "inalienable rights" needs ex- 
amination. Where is it written in stone tablets that inalienable rights, the 
right to personal freedom seeming to be the central concern, is a divine gift 
which is to be pursued at all costs? Where is there a balanced discussion of 
biblical and historical data regarding early Christians who faithfully lived 
certain biblical principles by submitting to authority, even ungodly oppressive 
manifestations of authority? Where is there consideration of peace-making, 
living under authority (Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2)? Where is there an exposi- 
tion of our Lord's statements and reactions to his "loss of freedom"? What of 
learning to be conquerors by living in tribulation, persecution, or sword 
(Rom 8:35-37)? To be sure, this reviewer rejoices in the relative liberties 
which we enjoy in this land. My prayer is that, in God's providence, these will 
be preserved. However, personal liberty is not the ultimate good and all- 
consuming goal of life as most conservatives imply. Learning to live biblically, 
whatever the circumstances, is the goal of life (Qoh 12:12-13). 

Another troublesome assumption perpetuated by Schaeffer and many 
others concerns the "small group of people" who decide the good for all of 
society and who have "forced their will on the majority" (pp. 48-49). Such 
remarks strike the reviewer as only so much naive wishful thinking. Schaeffer 
and many others these days persist in the notion that there presently exists a 
Christian consensus in our culture, albeit a rather quiet one. A strong case 
can and should be made that a depraved and sinful majority has been ruling 
ever since Genesis 3. This nation (and the world) is in exactly the moral 
condition it prefers. The majority is in control and, moreover, 2 Timothy 3 
warns us that conditions will continue to degenerate until divine intervention 
occurs when the King returns to establish his kingdom. Yet we keep wishing 
that "if we could only get control and put the minority in its place!" Such a 
misguided reading of biblical and historical data is most disappointing. 

Chapter four, "The Humanist Religion" contains some excellent remarks 
on the rise and impact of contemporary humanism. Schaeffer attempts to 
synthesize the impact of the Humanist Manifestos I and H, recent decisions 
by the Supreme Court, and the effect of the media in diminishing the 
Christian viewpoint while advancing the non-Christian one. It is in this 


chapter that Schaeffer begins to display a vague affinity with the Moral 
Majority and its efforts. It is also here that Schaeffer makes one of his 
uncritical remarks about the Moral Majority. "The Moral Majority has drawn 
a line between the total view of reality and the other total view of reality and 
the results this brings forth in government and law" (pp. 61-62). While it is 
beyond question that the Moral Majority has done a great service in spot- 
lighting specific issues and raising the Christian consciousness concerning 
them, it is highly debatable that the Moral Majority is theologically, philo- 
sophically, or historically sophisticated enough to have done all that Schaeffer 

Chapter five briefly rehearses the history of evangelical leadership and 
continues his assessment of its failures. Primary focus is upon the early evan- 
gelical thrust, by Wesley and Whitefield for example, that salvation should 
produce an impact upon the social domain and issues. It is also in this 
chapter that the reader begins to be prepared for subsequent chapters on the 
possible necessity and appropriateness of civil disobedience (p. 66), by at least 
two vague remarks that imply historical Christian support for it. 

Chapter six is an important transitional chapter. As its title indicates, 
("An Open Window"), Schaeffer uses a metaphor to assert that present his- 
tory and circumstances in our nation are like an open window. I assume that 
the metaphor implies the opportunity to enter the arena and take up combat 
in order that "this whole other entity — the material-energy, chance world 
view — can be rolled back with all its results across all of life" (pp. 73-74). 
This is the first of what the author calls a "two-track" approach. Christians 
must enter the foray "praying and struggling" for the reversal of the other 
world view. 

On the other hand. Christians must also be quite prepared for the even- 
tuality that the window will be slammed closed. "What happens in this coun- 
try if the window does not stay open? What then?" (p. 75). Schaeffer projects 
that in light of the way our culture appears to be degenerating, and if the 
so-called "Silent Majority" (there's that assumption again!) remains inert and 
blends into the culture, then the other view will ultimately win the day and 
erect an "elite authoritarianism" (p. 79) that will systematically set out to 
destroy the Christian world view. The major culprit in this elitist posture will 
be the U.S. Supreme Court which has already begun its work. The chapter 
concludes with a series of fearful "what ifs" to arrest the reader's attention 
regarding possible future circumstances. 

Schaeffer's persistent optimism perhaps is commendable but it is also 
biblically, theologically, and historically ill-advised. His assessment of the 
Supreme Court and its penchant for misreading the Constitution and for 
making its own law is on target. But the most disquieting thing about this 
chapter is that the reader has now been prepared for the next three chapters 
of the book. These three chapters will discuss the limits and use of civil 
disobedience and force, assuming that the window will be slammed shut. All 
that follows will be based on Schaeffer's either/ or premise that either Chris- 
tians must ascend to supremacy and get their way, or they assume the worst 
and fight back, apparently by any means at their disposal. 

Schaeffer begins these last important chapters by repeating his errant 
assumption that the founding fathers knew precisely what they were doing 


and upon what basis they built this land. From this imprecise assertion, he 
moves the reader to what he terms the "bottom line." This bottom line is 
reached by moving through a series of questions. First, what is the final 
relationship of Christians to the state (p. 89)? Schaeffer concludes that it is 
obedience. The next question is, is the state autonomous or are we to obey 
the state even when it is wrong? What if a government or one of its agencies 
requires of its constituency that which is contrary to God? Our author con- 
cludes that the government has abrogated its authority and it is not to be 
obeyed (pp. 90-91). It is at this point that Schaeffer makes his first and only 
sustained reference to the Scripture (Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2). But the 
conclusions and inferences he draws are troublesome. After agreeing that 
governments are God-created and sustained institutions to be obeyed, Schaef- 
fer jumps to the unsupported conclusion that governments can and must be 
disobeyed, depending upon the situation. Moreover, he makes a gigantic leap 
to assert that even armed rebellion might be appropriate and acceptable! In 
support he cites numerous historical examples of Reformation successes which 
resulted from armed revolt. In this section Schaeffer appears to applaud all 
sorts of reprehensible behavior and one must ask serious questions concerning 
the basic nature of his ethic. 

The remainder of chapter seven reveals Schaeffer's heavy dependence 
upon Rutherford and his theses. For example, "since tyranny is satanic, not 
to resist it is to resist God" (p. 101). Is this consistent with Rom 13:1-2: 
"there is no authority except from God . . . therefore he who resists authority 
Has opposed the ordinance of God?" Hardly! Rutherford states as a second 
precept that since the ruler is granted power conditionally, it follows that the 
people have the power to withdraw their sanction (p. 101). The entire phrase 
assumes that the people bestowed the authority and can withdraw it as they 
decide, when the Scripture asserts that God bestows and withdraws according 
to his plan. Where is Schaeffer's development of Dan 2:20; 4:17, 25, 34-35; 
Isa 40:23-24; Prov 21:1, etc.? There is some troublesome material here by this 
giant of the contemporary Christian scene. 

Chapter eight discusses the appropriate use of civil disobedience. Here 
again Schaeffer follows totally the thoughts of Rutherford who suggested 
three levels of resistance. A private individual (1) must defend himself by 
protest, probably via legal action, (2) must flee if at all possible, and (3) may 
use force if necessary (p. 103). When offense is directed at a larger corporate 
body, only the first and third steps are possible. So with the help of Ruther- 
ford and later John Locke, Schaeffer asserts that the "bottom line" is that 
there may come a time when civil disobedience and force may be appropriate, 
indeed morally required. All of this is built on a huge "If," i.e., "if this occurs, 
then . . . ." 

Schaeffer cites a number of possible situations which would warrant civil 
disobedience. He suggests that one day Christians might have to do their duty 
by withholding their taxes because these funds are used in an ungodly fashion, 
for instance, to finance abortions. He cites the distinct possibility that because 
the government prohibits the teaching of creationism in public school. Chris- 
tians will have to refuse to submit to such "tyranny." 

Again Schaeffer's assumptions and uncritical dependence on Rutherford 
are displayed here. He plays semantic games with Matt 22:21 to get out from 


under responsibility of the command that Caesar should always get what is 
his due. He again fails to correlate his thinking with 1 Pet 2:1 1-25. He never 
recalls our Lord's submissive response to unjust treatment and that his activ- 
ity was to be our example. Furthermore, Schaeffer assumes, for example, 
that God has mandated the teaching of creationism in public schools. Where 
is that notion found in the biblical data? 

Chapter nine, "The Use of Force," continues these troublesome themes. 
Schaeffer's opening paragraph exhibits one of the inconsistencies in his 
thinking. "There does come a time when force, even physical force, is appro- 
priate. The Christian is not to take the law into his own hands and become a 
law unto himself" (p. 1 17). Can we have it both ways? Our author's illustra- 
tion of the legitimate and appropriate use of deception in hiding Jews in Nazi 
Germany runs directly counter to the teaching of Scripture. The rationale 
that the Nazi government was a counterfeit state will not stand the scrutiny of 
the Bible. Did Christ say that since the Roman Empire and the caesars had 
become a false state and rampant in its tyranny, that Christians should rebel, 
deceive, fail to support, and otherwise subvert it? Or did he say to submit, 
pray for the king, honor the government, and pay taxes that are due? This 
reviewer is certain that Schaeffer would say he abhors situation ethics. Yet, 
tragically, his Christian Manifesto appears to encourage Christians to become 
practitioners of it. If we don't like the law, disobey it. How is that different 
from those who don't like any other law, say abortion laws, so they will 
calculatedly disobey it? 

To cap off these chapters, the author weaves in the comparison between 
the possible scenario in America with what is presently occurring in the 
Soviet Union. While it is true that conditions in the U.S.S.R. are deplorable 
and it is not a desirable place to live, the reader gets the impression that the 
only reason for this comparison is to terrorize Christians into doing whatever 
is necessary so that America will never become like Russia. Somehow this 
whole analogy strikes this reader as comparing apples and elephants. It only 
causes readers to react in fear rather than to analyze critically the central 

In summary, this reviewer is left with an empty and troubled spirit after 
reading A Christian Manifesto. It does have many strengths. It is fascinating 
reading, as Schaeffer typically is, but its faults seriously outweigh its values. 
Its assumptions are largely unexamined. Many of its assertions do not stand 
up under the scrutiny of biblical data or philosophical analysis. There is 
minimal interaction with the larger body of biblical material. It leaves the 
reader with a disquieting feeling in matters pertaining to civil disobedience 
and force, as Schaeffer appears to endorse a spirit of rebellion and retribu- 
tion. It is not comprehensive enough, for it avoids applying the lordship of 
Christ to areas such as the stewardship of the environment, the role of peace- 
making, the nuclear disarmament debate, the incipient racism in this country, 
the relationship of Christians to the poor, and a host of relevant issues. 

No doubt this book will become very important over the next few years, 
if for no other reason than because of the immense popularity, contemporary 
influence, and mystique of the author. Nevertheless, this reviewer would en- 
courage that A Christian Manifesto be read by all. However, it is strongly 


urged that the book be read with discerning care and that its premises, 
argumentation, historical analysis, and its use of sources be critically exam- 
ined. What Schaeffer appears to have written is an American manifesto. A 
biblically consistent, historically informed, theologically and philosophically 
sophisticated, and adequately comprehensive Christian manifesto has yet to 
be written. 


Commentary on James, by Peter Davids. New International Greek Testament 
Commentary series. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982. Pp. 226. $14.95. 

In this third volume in the NIGTC series, Peter Davids has provided a 
thorough and up-to-date commentary on James which interacts in detail with 
the most recent NT research. The author is Associate Professor of Biblical 
Studies at Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry in Ambridge, PA. 

The author's stance is evangelical. He accepts the Jacobean authorship 
of the epistle, but carefully delineates the various possibilities within this 
general framework as suggested by contemporary studies. Arguing that ex- 
ternal evidence yields no certain conclusion about the date of the epistle, 
Davids takes his readers to a detailed study of internal evidence. He analyzes 
the Hellenistic culture reflected in the epistle, the Jewish-Christian culture, 
the historical-doctrinal position, and the "James-Paul Debate," and draws his 
conclusions after assessing the arguments of all points of view. In Davids's 
view, the evidence on authorship and date leads to only limited conclusions. 
Nevertheless he states that the probabilities are for an authorship by James 
the Just between a.d. 40 and the Jerusalem Council. However, he also asserts 
the likelihood that James either received assistance in the editing of his epistle, 
or else that it was edited later, perhaps after his death, as the church spread 
beyond Jerusalem and used Greek more widely (p. 22). To Davids, this 
hypothesis fits the Sitz im Leben more easily in the sections on poverty and 
wealth, as well as the Greek idiom which is unusually proficient for one of 
Palestinian origin. However, I am not convinced that resorting to later re- 
dactors is the only way or the best way to explain the phenomena. Literary 
skills are not limited by geography, and the employment of amanuenses at 
the time of composition could explain whatever grammatical polishing re- 
quires explanation. 

In his discussion of the Sitz im Leben of the epistle, Davids suggests that 
the last three decades before the first Jewish War (i.e., a.d. 40-60) furnish the 
best setting for the kind of Jewish life reflected in the letter (p. 33). After the 
death of Herod Agrippa I (ca. a.d. 44), famines and internal instability charac- 
terized the land. It was not only a period of clash between Jews and the 
church, but also within the temple clergy, and between the wealthy and the 
poor in Judaism. The commentary assumes that the original traditions which 
form the content of the epistle appeared during the early part of this period, 
and were gathered and perhaps edited during the latter part. "Thus the work 
is perhaps the last picture one has of the Palestinian church before the storms 
of war closed over it" (p. 34). 

As Davids analyzes the theology of James, he finds seven themes which 
are treated, not systematically or exhaustively in the epistle, but nevertheless 


discussed in some detail. These seven are (1) suffering/ testing, (2) eschatol- 
ogy, (3) christology, (4) poverty-piety, (5) law, grace, and faith, (6) wisdom, 
(7) prayer. A fine analysis is given of each theme. The author's introductory 
chapter is then concluded with a helpful description of James's literary style, 
from which Davids concludes that the writer was "an able master of literary 
Koine" (p. 58). 

In the commentary section of the book, the author has researched widely 
and interprets carefully. Among his interpretations of key passages are found 
the following. He interprets the "twelve tribes of the diaspora" (1:1) as Jewish 
Christians outside Palestine. He does not decide whether 1:10 refers to rich 
Christians or non-Christians. He opts for the concept "our glorious Lord 
Jesus Christ" in 2:1. He suggests that the two strangers in 2:2 were probably 
new converts since he supposes unbelievers would not have been admitted to 
the congregation. He furthermore hypothesizes that the scene was a church 

On 2:18 a good discussion is given of the difficult passage, and the 
author finally concludes it is probably an objector speaking. He insists that 
James is not talking about forensic justification in 2:21-26, and gives reasons 
for concluding that James was not refuting Rom 3:20, 28 and 4:16 in this 
passage, but either wrote earlier than Paul, or was from a part of the church 
where this issue was not being debated. In 4:4 "adulteresses" is metaphorical; 
"just one" in 5:6 is generic, not a reference to Christ; and 5:13 is given a fine 
treatment, arguing that the healing of the sick after anointing was miraculous 
in the early church. Occasional references to the work of a redactor (e.g., 
pp. 73, 149, 181, 195) are not essential to the interpretation of the passages, 
and should not be allowed to mar the overall excellence of this work by those 
who find such references unnecessary. 

This volume is an excellent addition to this noteworthy series. It deserves 
a place in the serious expositor's study, and should be consulted for con- 
temporary research on James. 

Homer A. Kent, Jr. 

Fundamentalism and American Culture: The Shaping of Twentieth Century 
Evangelicalism 1870-1925, by George M. Marsden. New York: Oxford 
University, 1980. Pp. 306 + xiv. $19.95. 

For those concerned with their spiritual roots, this book is must reading! 
Students of American Studies, Church History, and Contemporary Evan- 
gelicalism will find this book remarkable. It will no doubt find its way onto 
the required reading list in every classroom of "American Christianity." 

Marsden gives us a brief glimpse of 19th-century evangelicalism before 
offering a detailed analysis of the controversial years 1900-1925. His descrip- 
tion regarding the shaping of early 20th-century fundamentalism is profound. 
He goes beyond Sandeen's analysis of premillennialism and beyond Machen's 
(Princeton) apologetics — what many today are calling the Dallas-Princeton 
theology. But he adds a very important aspect: that of the victorious life 
movement and revivalism. The combination of these three elements formed 


the tripod upon which American fundamentalism was built. The 19th-century 
emphasis upon social concern was neglected, thus creating a new and unique 
theological emphasis. He suggests that "fundamentalism is best understood as 
a sub-species of American revivalism" (p. 224). 

Of special interest for the reader is Marsden's perceptive analysis of the 
movement's leaders: J. Gresham Machen, William Bell Riley, and R. A. 
Torrey. The movement is compared and contrasted to conservative protes- 
tantism that simultaneously functioned in Great Britain. He traces the 
uniqueness of the American movement to events in World War 1 and the 
strong American nationalism present among the fundamentalist leadership. 
This is an example of the broad and rich interpretations of the events offered 
by Marsden, an interpretation that is not just historical or theological but 
also sociological and philosophical. Evidence of this is his astute summary of 
Scottish Common Sense realism which led toward a strict literal hermeneutic. 
This in-depth analysis is the reason for the title, for it is not just a study of 
fundamentalism from a theological perspective but of a fundamentalist 
movement that influenced American culture as well as being greatly influ- 
enced by that culture. 

The book is well illustrated with pictures and quotations, giving it a 
flavor and character that makes for enjoyable reading. The fact that it is an 
Oxford publication will give it the wide readership it deserves, across denomi- 
national and theological lines. 

David S. Dockery 
Brooklyn, NY 


ANDERSON, RAY S. On Being Human: Essays in Theological Anthro- 
pology. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982. Pp. 234. $9.95. Paper. 

BAKER, DON and EMERY NESTER. Depression: Finding Hope and Mean- 
ing in Life's Darkest Shadow. Portland: Multnomah, 1983. Pp. 197. 

BARON, DAVID. Israel in the Plan of God. Reprint, Grand Rapids: Kregel, 
1983. Pp. 320. $12.95. 

BAXTER, RICHARD. The Reformed Pastor. A Pattern for Personal Growth 
and Ministry. Portland: Multnomah, 1982. Pp. 160. Reprint ed. abridged. 

BLOUGH, DORRIS MURDOCK. Tied to a Leopard. Elgin, IL: Brethren, 

1982. Pp. 125. $2.75. Paper. 

BOICE, JAMES MONTGOMERY. The Parables of Jesus. Chicago: Moody, 

1983. Pp. 227. N.P. Paper. 

BRUCE, F. F. Jesus and Paul: Places They Knew. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 
1983. Pp. 128. $12.95. 

COLE, C. DONALD. Christian Perspectives on Controversial Issues. Chi- 
cago: Moody, 1982. Pp. 124. N.P. Paper. 

/ Believe . . . : Living the Apostle's Creed. Chicago: Moody, 1983. 

Pp. 142. N.P. Paper. 

CONN, HARVIE M. Evangelism: Doing Justice and Preaching Grace. Grand 
Rapids: Zondervan, 1982. Pp. 112. $3.95. Paper. 

CORNFELD, GAALYA, ed. Josephus: The Jewish War. Grand Rapids: 
Zondervan, 1982. Pp. 526. $39.95. 

COSGROVE, MARK P. B. F. Skinner's Behaviorism: An Analysis. Grand 
Rapids: Zondervan, 1982. Pp. 126. $5.95. Paper. 

COSTAS, ORLANDO E. Christ Outside the Gate. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 
1982. Pp. 238. $12.95. Paper. 

Concordance to the Apocrypha/ Deuterocanonical Books of the Revised 
Standard Version. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1983. Pp. 479. $35.00. 

COUNTESS, ROBERT H. The Jehovah's Witnesses' New Testament. Phillips- 
burg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1982. Pp. xiv + 136. $5.95. Paper. 

CRAIGIE, PETER C. Ugarit and the Old Testament. Grand Rapids: Eerd- 
mans, 1983. Pp. 110. $5.95. Paper. 


CRAWFORD, C. C. What the Bible Says About Faith. Joplin, MO: College 
Press, 1982. Pp. 380. $13.50. 

CROSBY, MICHAEL H. Spirituality of the Beatitudes: Matthew's Challenge 
for First World Christians. Maryknoll: Orbis, 1981. Pp. 244. $7.95. Paper. 

CUMMINGS, VIOLET. Has Anybody Really Seen Noah's Ark? San Diego: 
Creation Life, 1982. Pp. 389. $8.95. Paper. 

DEMAREST, BRUCE A. General Revelation: Historical Views and Con- 
temporary Issues. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1982. Pp. 301. $12.95. 

DUFRESNE, FLORINE. Home Care: An Alternative to the Nursing Home. 
Elgin, IL: Brethren, 1983. Pp. 127. N.P. Paper. 

EDERSHEIM, ALFRED. Practical Truths from Elisha. Reprint, Grand 
Rapids: Kregel, 1983. Pp. 326. $11.95. 

EXELL, JOSEPH S. Practical Truths from Jonah. Reprint, Grand Rapids: 
Kregel, 1982. Pp. 231. $8.95. 

FACKRE, GABRIEL. The Religious Right and Christian Faith. Grand 
Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982. Pp. 126. $8.95. 

FEINBERG, CHARLES L. Jeremiah: A Commentary. Grand Rapids: Zon- 
dervan, 1982. Pp. 335. $14.95. 

FENSHAM, F. CHARLES. The Books of Ezra and Nehemiah. The New 
International Commentary on the Old Testament. Grand Rapids: Eerd- 
mans, 1982. Pp. 288. $12.95. 

FOUNTAIN, THOMAS E. Keys to Understanding and Teaching your Bible. 
Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983. Pp. 230. $5.95. Paper. 

FOWLER, ROBERT BOOTH. A New Engagement: Evangelical Political 
Thought. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1983. Pp. 298. $13.95. Paper. 

FRAIR, WAYNE, AND PERCIVAL DAVIS. A Case for Creation. 3d edi- 
tion. Chicago: Moody, 1983. Pp. 155. N.P. Paper. 

GEISLER, NORMAN L. Miracles and Modern Thought. Christian Free 
University Curriculum: Philosophy Series. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 
1982. Pp. 168. $7.95. Paper. 

Theologies of Mission. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1983. Pp.251. $12.95. 

GLASSMAN, EUGENE H. The Translation Debate. Downers Grove: Inter- 
Varsity, 1981. Pp. 132. $4.25. Paper. 

GOPPELT, LEONHARD. Theology of the New Testament, Vol. 2: The 
Variety and Unity of the Apostolic Witness to Christ. Grand Rapids: 
Eerdmans, 1983. $17.95. Pp. 348. 

GORMAN, MICHAEL J. Abortion and the Early Church. Downers Grove: 
InterVarsity, 1982. Pp. 120. $3.95. Paper. 


GUNDRY, STANLEY N. Love Them In: The Life and Theology of D. L. 
Moody. Reprint, Grand Rapids: Baker, 1982. Pp. 252. $6.95. Paper. 

HABERSHON, ADA R. Hidden Pictures in the Old Testament. Reprint, 
Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1982. Pp. 284. $7.95. Paper. 

HODGES, ZANE C. The Gospel Under Siege: A Study on Faith and Works. 
Dallas: Redenci6n Viva, 1982. Pp. 123. $4.95. Paper. 

Here Walks My Enemy: The Story of Luis. Dallas: Redencion Viva, 

1982. Pp. 199. $6.95. Paper. 

HOWARD, J. GRANT. Balance Life's Demands: A New Perspective on 
Priorities. Portland: Multnomah, 1983. Pp. 168. $5.95. Paper. 

JACKSON, NETA. A New Way to Live: A Bible Study on Christian Relation- 
ships. Scottdale, PA: Herald, 1983. Pp. 110. $4.95. Paper. 

KISSINGER, WARREN S. The Buggies Still Run. Elgin, IL: Brethren, 

1983. Pp. 126. N.P. Paper. 

KONIG, ADRIO. Here Am L A Believer's Reflection on God. Grand Rapids: 
Eerdmans, 1982. Pp. 236. $8.95. Paper. 

LESTER, ANDREW D. Coping with your Anger: A Christian Guide. Phila- 
delphia: Westminster, 1983. Pp. 120. $6.95. Paper. 

LITFIN, A. DUANE, and HADDON W. ROBINSON, eds. Recent Homi- 
letical Thought: An Annotated Outline. Vol. 2 (1966-79). Grand Rapids: 
Baker, 1983. Pp. 249. $1 1.95. 

LUTHER, MARTIN. Commentary on the Epistles of Peter and Jude. Re- 
print, Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1982. Pp. 311. $12.95. 

MARSHALL, I. HOWARD. / & // Thessalonians. New Century Bible Com- 
mentary. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1983. Pp. 240. $6.95. Paper. 

MARTIN, DOROTHY. The Story of Billy McCarrel. Chicago: Moody, 1983. 
Pp. 220. N.P. Paper. 

McNEIL, JESSE JAI. Minister's Service Book for Pulpit and Parish. Grand 
Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982. Pp. 212. $7.95. Reprint. 

McQUILKIN, J. ROBERTSON. Understanding and Applying the Bible: An 
Introduction to Hermeneutics. Chicago: Moody, 1983. Pp. 288. N.P. 

MITCHELL, JOHN G. An Everlasting Love: A Devotional Study of the 
Gospel of John. Portland: Multnomah, 1982. Pp. 426. $13.95. 

MURRAY, DOROTHY GARST. Sister Anna: God's Captive to Set Others 
Free. Elgin, IL: Brethren, 1983. Pp. 175. N.P. Paper. 

NASH, RONALD. Social Justice and the Christian Church. Milford, MI: 
Mott Media, 1983. Pp. 200. $12.95. 

TTie Word of God and the Mind of Man: The Crisis of Revealed 


Truth in Contemporary Theology. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1982. 
Pp. 137. $6.95. Paper. 

NOORDTZIJ, A. Leviticus. Bible Student's Commentary. Reprint, Grand 
Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982. Pp. 280. $13.95. 

PACKER, JAMES I. Daily Life in Bible Times. Nelson Handbook Series. 
Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982. Pp. 215. $5.95. Paper. 


People and Places of the Bible. Nelson Handbook Series. Nashville: 
Thomas Nelson, 1982. Pp. 203. $5.95. Paper. 

The World of the New Testament. Nelson Handbook Series. Nash- 

ville: Thomas Nelson, 1982. Pp. 216. $5.95. Paper. 
The World of the Old Testament. Nelson Handbook Series. Nash- 

ville: Thomas Nelson, 1982. Pp. 216. $5.95. Paper. 

PATTON, EDWARD W. The Way into the Holiest: A Devotional Study of 
the Tabernacle in the Wilderness. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983. 
Pp. 180. $4.95. Paper. 

PERRY, LLOYD M. and CHARLES M. SELL. Speaking to Life's Problems: 
A Sourcebook for Preaching and Teaching. Chicago: Moody, 1983. 
Pp. 272. N.P. Paper. 

PIPER, JOHN. The Justification of God: An Exegetical and Theological 
Study of Romans 9:1-23. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1983. Pp.316. $8.95. 

POWERS, WARD. Learn to Read the Greek New Testament. Grand Rapids: 
Eerdmans, 1979. Pp. 336. $19.95. 

PUN, PATTLE P. T. Evolution: Nature and Scripture in Conflict? Con- 
temporary Evangelical Perspectives: Science and the Bible. Grand Rapids: 
Zondervan, 1982. Pp. 336. $11.95. Paper. 

ROBERTS, ROBERT C. Spirituality and Human Emotion. Grand Rapids: 
Eerdmans, 1983. Pp. 134. $7.95. Paper. 

ROGERS, INGRID. Swords into Plowshares: A Collection of Plays about 
Peace and SocialJustice. Elgin, IL: Brethren, 1983. Pp. 281. N.P. Paper. 

SAILHAMER, JOHN. First and Second Chronicles. Everyman's Bible Com- 
mentary. Chicago: Moody, 1983. N.P. Pp. 116. Paper. 

SCHLOSSBERG, HERBERT. Idols for Destruction: Christian Faith and its 
Confrontation with American Society. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983. 
Pp. 344. $8.95. Paper. 

SCROGGIE, W. GRAHAM. Studies in Philemon. Reprint, Grand Rapids: 
Kregel, 1982. Pp. 136. $3.95. Paper. 

SKILTON, JOHN H., ed. The New Testament Student and His Field. The 
New Testament Student, 5. Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed, 
1982. Pp. 310. $9.95. Paper. 


THIELE, EDWIN R. The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings. Revised 
edition. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1983. Pp. 253. $12.95. 

THOMAS, DAVID. Book of Proverbs: Expository and Homiletical Com- 
mentary. Reprint, Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1982. Pp. 816. $18.95. 

THOMPSON, J. A. The Bible and Archaeology. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 
1982. Pp. 474. $17.95. 

WAGNER, GEORGE. Practical Truths from Israel's Wanderings. Reprint, 
Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1982. Pp. 378. $12.95. 

WALVOORD, JOHN F., and ROY B. ZUCK. The Bib Sac Reader. Chicago: 
Moody, 1983. Pp. 278. N.P. Paper. 

WARKENTIN, MARJORIE. Ordination: A Biblical- Historical View. Grand 
Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982. Pp. 202. $7.95. Paper. 

WARREN, VIRGIL. What the Bible Says About Salvation. Joplin, MO: 
College Press, 1982. Pp. 621. $13.50. 

WEBBER, ROBERT E. Worship: Old and New. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 
1982. Pp. 256. $11.95. 

WENGER, J. C. A Lay Guide to Romans. Scottdale, PA: Herald, 1983. 
Pp. 158. $8.95. Paper. 

WIERSBE, DAVID, and WARREN WIERSBE. Making Sense of the Minis- 
try. Chicago: Moody, 1983. Pp. 147. N.P. Paper. 

WOODBRIDGE, JOHN D. Biblical Authority: A Critique of the Rogers/ 
McKim Proposal. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1982. Pp. 256. $8.95. Paper. 

YOUNGBLOOD, RONALD F. Exodus. Everyman's Bible Commentary. Chi- 
cago: Moody, 1983. Pp. 144. N.P. Paper. 




Balaam and His God Yahweh, David Thomas Ogletree. 

Balanced Church Growth and the Epistles, Marlin P. Rupp. 

Biblical Submission, Terry Twigg. — -. 

The Building Materials of I Corinthians 3:12, Fred Rowden. 

Can the Unpardonable Sin Be Committed Today?, Dan Ramsey. 

A Chronological Identification of the Rejecters in 2 Thessalonians 2:6-12, 

Randy Jenkins. 
Committed to Follow, Stuart W. Scott. 

Communion, the Frequency of Practice, Larry A. Thompson. 
The Conceited New Convert's Condemnation: (A Study of 1 Timothy 3:6), 

Jeffrey A. Gill. 
The Convicting Work of the Holy Spirit as Given in John 16:8-11, Richard 

Van Heukelum. 
A Critical Investigation of Hebrews 12:25-29, Samuel J. Hadley. 
A Critical Investigation of Matthew 20:26-27, Mark S. Pluim. 
A Critical Investigation of Unity: John 17:21, Terry E. Zebulske. 
Dehabituation and Rehabituation in the Christian Life, Daniel P. Stuenzi. 
The Destruction of Death: An Examination of Isaiah 25:8 and I Corinthians 

15:54, Theodore J. Krug. 
Does the Christian Have an Old Man?, Mark E. Saunders. 
An Examination of Various Idioms Related to Death in the Old Testament, 

Ronald A. Smals. 
An Exegetical and Theological Examination of the 'Fatal Wound that was 

Healed' in Revelation 13, Jarl Kent Waggoner. 
Exodus 4:24-26: Toward an Understanding of the Account of the "Bloody 

Husband," Dean M. Brdlik. 
The Glowing Promise of Isaiah 9:1-2 (8:23-9:1 in the Hebrew), Wm. Thomas 

God's Response to Temple Destroyers in I Corinthians 3:17, Philip E. Bailey. 
The Groups of Jude 22-23: How many and Who?, Dewayne P. Cheramie. 
The Implication of Genesis 11:30 in the Life of Abraham, Thermilus M. 

Implications of the Goel Institution of Leviticus 25, Frank H. Bishop. 
An Inductive Study of Hell: A Search for Literalness, James A. Caton. 
The Interpretation and Application of the Parable of the Sower, Ronald W. 

An Introduction to the Restoration of Israel to the Land, David G. Dilworth. 
Jephthah's Vow: Its Execution and Moral Evaluation, Otto R. Cerny. 
Jesus and Children in the Gospels, Robert D. Jones. 
Justification and the Judgment Seat of Christ, Wayne B. Sutton. 
Life or Death: The Outcome of Sin, 1 John 5:16-17, Garth E. Lindelef. 
The Lodge and Christianity, Conrad L. Barnum. 

The Meaning of Light and Darkness in Ephesians 5:8-14, Adessa Williams. 
The Messianic Awareness of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark, Gary Lloyd 

Motivation for Christian Service in 2 Corinthians 5:9, 10-11, 14, G. Kevin 



TTie Nature and Purpose of the Temptations of Christ, Terry L. Schoenfeld. 
The Origin of Races as it Relates to Genesis 11:1-9, The Tower of Babel, 

Ervin O. Whitaker. 
A Perspectival Approach to the Ordo Salutis, Russell A. Park. 
The Prayer for Forgiveness in Luke 23:34a, Thomas E. Rittichier. 
Principles of Christian Education for the Pastor-Teacher According to 1 and 

2 Timothy, Brady K. Lipscomb. 
Prophetic Symbolism and Christ's Actions in Mark 7:31-37; Mark 8:22-26; 

John 9:1-7, Robert J. Anderson. 
The "Purpose of God" in Paul's Address to the Ephesian Elders, Mark Royce 

The Purpose of Prayer for the Believer in Light of the Sovereignty of God, 

Weymann S. Lee. 
The Qinah Concerning the King of Tyre in Ezekiel 28:11-19, Steven R. 

The Relationship Between God's Grace and the Believer's Will in Sanctifica- 

tion, Dennis D. Huratiak. 
The "Seed of Abraham" in Galatians 3:29, Thomas J. Davis. 
The Significance of Crucifixion as a Means of the Death of Christ, Joseph 

John Bishop. 
The Single Life in 1 Corinthians 7:1, Bryan J. Fritch. 
The Sleepy-Headed Neighbor: Luke 11:5-8, John David Abraham. 
The Text and Theology of Psalm 8, Leslie C. Lofquist. 
The Three Excuses: (Luke 14:18-20), Robert E. Lance. 
Toward an Understanding of the Hermeneutics of Biblical Symbolism, 

Gregory P. Gifford. 
The Vow of Jephthah, Barry L. Erb. 


Bilateral Alliances in the Patriarchal Narratives, David C. Deuel. 
Caribbean Theology: An Analysis from an Evangelical Perspective, Roger W. 

Christ's Declaration of Kingship: A Study of Jubilee in Luke 4:16ff, 

Timmy R. Burnett. 
The Church and the New Covenant of Jeremiah 31:31-34, Peter Peer. 
The Doctrine of Biblical Separation as it Relates to the Doctrinal Error of a 

Believer, Douglas A. Lightly. 
The Doctrine of Separation Applied to Education, Gary W. Candlish. 
Elijah and the Prophetic Support of Jehu's Rebellion, Steven P. Lancaster. 
An Examination and Possible Interpretation of John 14:2-3, David F. 

Forgiveness: Its Scriptural Meanings, Principles and Applications, Benjamin F. 

Implications for Church Discipline in 1 Corinthians 5, Jonathan A. Rumley. 
Intertestamental Messianism, Billy Jang. 
Isaiah 13 and the Neo-Assyrian Period, Martin Tidwell. 
Is the Canon Complete?, David R. Webb. 

The Mormon Concept of Modern-Day Revelation Refuted, Mark Simpson. 
The Participants and Timing of the Gog-Magog Invasion of Ezekiel 38-39, 

Michael S. Spence. 
The Perplexing Problem of Hebrews 6, John E. Ward. 
The Priesthood of the Believer, John W. French. 


The Purpose for the Parables as Found in Matthew 13:10-17, Terry E. 

The Relevance of "Shakan" to the Immanence of God, R. WilHam Sudeck. 

Repentance, Faith, and Conversion: An Approach to the Lordship Con- 
troversy, Robert L. Palmer. 

The Role of Conscience in Scripture, James W. Bauman. 

The Scope of the Phrase "In Christ," Walt Spivey. 

The Significance of the Unpardonable Sin and the Sin unto Death, David 
Samuel Slusher. 

A Synthesis of Gog-Magog Passages, Karl Stelzer. 

The Theological Implications of the Term 'Satan,' Mark D. Johnson. 

Toward a Theology of Miracles, David W. Cox. 

The Parable of the Sower, Marvin Penner. 


Adam, Christ, and Us: The Pauline Teaching of Solidarity in Romans 5:12- 

21, David L. Turner. 
Exegetical and Theological Bases for a Consistently Presuppositional 

Approach to Apologetics, George J. Zemek. 
God's Pattern for the Perpetuation of Doctrinal Purity, David Robert 

Introductory Formulas in the Gospels and Acts and Their Implications, 

Wai C. Tan. 
A Re-examination of the Cultural Mandate: An Analysis and Evaluation of 

the Dominion Materials, Ronald E. Manahan. 


African Theology, Margaret Hull. 

A Biblical Philosophy of Rules, Gregory M. Goss. 

TTie Kingdom of God and Social Justice, Robert H. Matzken. 


a SEPT 88