Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Reply to Danny

Danny has been waiting patiently for a reply from me. He's asked a couple of times for my views on James. Here's his latest comment:

Gummby, I do hope you don't take a soteriological view of James 1:21. James affirms that his readers are regenerate in v. 18, and then tells them to receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save their souls. Some of my fellow Free Gracers see the expression of "saving the soul" as referring to saving themselves from a ruined life, not necessarily death. However, in 1:15, he does mention death. And I still think Antonio has a good case based on the LXX. Also, have you noticed that in 2:12-13, James makes a refernce to the Judgment Seat of Christ, before moving on to the faith without works discourse? Some of people in FG take a Bema view of 14-26. That is, the salvation in 2:14 refers to being saved from a merciless judgment (with the attendant loss of rewards).

For Danny (and anyone else wondering where I've been headed with this), I don't have a firm opinion on what James 1:21, 2:14ff, etc., mean. I'm still looking into it.

What I can say, with dogged certainty, is that the kind of research that Antonio has done will in no way persuade me to take his view.

Why? Is it because I'm a dogmatic Lordship Salvation guy, who just ignores everything anyone else says? Or maybe it's because I've just been beguiled by this guy Centuri0n, and I've forgotten how to think for myself.

Danny, it's because Antonio's argument isn't a very good one, and it isn't made very well, either. I'm about to knock the LXX peg out from under the tent. But even without doing that, I'm quite disinclined to listen to Antonio's research, for two reasons.

1) I don't know his methodology. How did he arrive at those passages he quotes as parallels? How do I know there aren't others? Unless I know what steps he took (whether he used software, or a concordance, or just speed-read the Bible), I'm just putting my trust in what he says.

2) I don't trust what he says. Let's take his quotation of BAGD, for example. He quotes the definition as being a possibility, and then moves on, as though his point has been made & supported.

The problem is, BAGD has a lengthy citation about ψυχή, including actually mentioning the James 1:21 passage, all of which Antonio left out. It would be one thing if he said,"Here's what the lexicon says about ψυχή, and here's why I think I'm right and they are wrong." Instead, his statement gives an impression of support for his position which just isn't there.

Earlier today, Centuri0n suggested that Antonio doesn't know how to use the reference material, meaning that he wasn't intentionally being misleading, he just didn't know better. And I'm OK with that. But it means that when he posts a lexical study, and then gets all fired up that folks are "going to great lengths to wiggle out of the evidence," I'm going to yawn and go back to verifying comparable sales.

All that to say, if you want to know what I think about James 1:21, stick around; I'm getting there. No need to rush--it's important to do a job right.

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