Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Dissing a book I haven't read

Just got an ad from Westminster bookstore for a new book: A Biblical Case for an Old Earth.

And my first thought is... must be a short book!

{ rimshot }

Actually, maybe it isn't short. Did you ever notice that it can take a lot longer to explain how the Bible doesn't really mean what it says, than to affirm that it does? Take this post over at Buggy's. He was asking his amillennialist friends to tell him what Isaiah 65:18-25 meant. Hundreds of words later, he still hadn't gotten a straightforward answer.

In the course, someone smitten with amillennialism asked me if I could give a dispensational interpretation. "Sure," I replied. "Means what it says."

Well, that was followed of course by many words from others, laboring manfully to steer away from letting the passage mean what it says.

So, on reconsideration, it can take a real truckload of words to make the Bible mean other than what it says.


Even So... said...


Garry Weaver said...

I agree with you. People can get really wordy when they need to disguise the lack of scriptural support for their position. The odd thing is, that sometimes they are the same ones who make a lot of noise about their own faithfulness to scriptural authority.

I liked your phrase:"...smitten with amillenianism..." I fear that we all too often adopt the opinions of those with whom we would like to be associated. Then when someone points out a flaw in that position, we have to strain a gut to try to defend it.

BugBlaster said...

I like you after all, Garry!

Steve Weaver said...

It's always fun to associate amillenialism with other evils like belief in an old earth and explaining "how the Bible doesn't really mean what it says". This is ridiculous!

Isaiah 65:18-25 is a difficult passage to interpret regardless of your hermeneutic, but it is more of a problem for the dispensationalist there can be no "spiritualization" of anything there. Sorry to ruin the party!

DJP said...

Mm, Steve. It's more than just a river in Egypt for you, isn't it?

Jeremy Weaver said...


Why do you refuse to actually interact with the text instead of making these general statements like, "Means what it says"?

How is that different from the heretic who refuses to define himself and instead repeats the mantra, "No creed but the Bible!"

Jeremy Weaver said...

And yes, I am 'smitten' with Biblical truth.

Garry Weaver said...

Wow! The proverbial hornet's nest.

Calm down, Jeremy. No body accused you of that.

BugBlaster said...

Well to be fair, when Dan said "means what it says", it was in the context of a post and thread where it was already clear that we were talking about a passage that said among other things: 1) long long physical lifetimes, 2) physical death.

The whole point of the post, was to say here's what the text says, now what do you guys think about it.

I don't think he was refusing to interact with the text. I took him to mean, "what has already been clearly shown to be what it literally says is what it really means"

You guys do grate on each other, that is apparent. And you both have sharp tongues on occasions, and there's nothing necessarily wrong with that (I'm married to a sharp tongue) and it is... fun. Yeah that's it... fun.

And you're brothers in Christ. Bottom line. Even if you do think the other guy is whacked on this issue.

Peacemaker beaming out now.

Eek said...

As a Dispy myself (mostly) I agree eith Dan and Buggy... but just to balance the scales a little... don't us dispensationalists also do some hermaneutical gymnastics to make a text fit our theology? I'm thinking of the "sermon on the mount"... a plain reading of it certainly seems like our Lord is offering the Gospel and instruction for the church age, yet some relegate to the Millenium.

What think ye?

In Christ,

Phil Walker said...

Hm... I have a (brief) explanation of the passage which makes use of Revelation and other parts of Isaiah, but I'll refrain from posting it here, since that's hardly the substantive point. The substantive point is about the amount of words used to explain Scripture. I know you'll have many commentaries Dan, so I wonder if you've ever seen Motyer's commentary on Isaiah. It's an absolute brick; I think the latest edition has probably got more words than the Bible.

And that's going to happen in the case of Isaiah, who is one of the most developed prophets, theologically speaking. I mean, the guy writes it so tightly that he's making points simply by the structure he uses. So to extract everything he means will take a lot of words. And sometimes, the "plain and literal meaning" is not what he's gunning for. Isaiah 6, for instance, is replete with imagery. I allow completely that everything he describes could have happened to him ("whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know") but the point isn't to discuss whether it happened. The point is what it means. And that's what takes so long to explain.

lee n. field said...

Interesting. I believe I knew Mr. Snoke (not everyone with that name, after all), back in the day.