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House Divided…parts 2 & 3

TLM note:  It is sad that critics of our book refuse to actually interact with the arguments of the book.  The only comments thus far have come from people who haven’t read it, or in this case have only sought to interact with half of a chapter and then run with their tail between their legs when a “back and forth” discussion begins.  Russell apparently experienced the same frustration, “The author desires to express his acknowledgments for the gratifying reception which his work has met with at the hands of many able and competent scholars. Though it has not commanded a wide circle of readers, he has every reason to be satisfied with the quality of those who have expressed their approbation. It was hardly to be expected that views, which come into conflict with traditional and popular opinion, should meet with ready concurrence; but the author must confess his disappointment that no serious attempt has been made to disprove any of his positions.” (J. Stuart Russell, The Parousia a Study of the New Testament Doctrine of Our Lord’s Second Coming, Grand Rapids, MI:  Baker Book House, 1990, 1).

My Response #2 to Jon

Jon wrote: Dave wants to claim that Paul stands shoulder to shoulder with Hymie and Philetus on the nature of the resurrection.

My response: I didn’t claim that “Paul stands shoulder to shoulder with Hymie and Philetus on the nature of the resurrection.” I said that “for all we know from the context,” that could be the case. All we can derive from the text is that Paul considered Hymenaeus’ teaching on the timing of the resurrection to be a faith-overthrowing heresy. In order to maintain that Hymenaeus’ heresy concerned the nature of the resurrection, the best a futurist can do is assume that to be the case, based on nothing but the assumption of futurism. That’s where the question begging comes in when futurists anathematize preterists based solely on 2 Timothy 2:16-18.

Jon wrote: If you are with two groups of people – “pro-lifer” & “pro-choice” – and declare yourself a member of Operation Rescue and it is with respect to the sanctity of life that you are on trial, then everyone knows what you mean by that language. To respond, I wasn’t getting into the nature of life or when life begins, but merely that I support life is duplicitous. Paul declared himself a Pharisee, which meant a certain perspective on the resurrection of the dead, and he aligned himself with them.

My response: If we may, let’s change to an apples-to-apples analogy. Let’s say the Pharisees believed that angels were material beings and that Paul believed that angels were non-material beings, while the Sadducees denied the very existence of angels. Perhaps we can agree in this scenario that even though Paul and the Pharisees would be “worlds apart” on the “nature” of angels (material versus non-material), Paul could still say he was on the side of his fellow Pharisees against the Sadducees, because he believed in the existence of angels. I see no reason to assume that the Pharisees would have said, “Paul is being duplicitous! He doesn’t REALLY believe in angels. He thinks they’re non-material beings!”

It’s the same thing with the resurrection of the dead. Paul believed that there was going to be a resurrection of the dead. So did the Pharisees.That’s the only point of agreement (the “certain perspective”) that Paul needed in order to divide and conquer his enemies.

Jon wrote: The Pharisees would not “acknowledge” a non-physical resurrection from the dead.

My response: Is there historical evidence that tells us that one would be disqualified from being a Pharisee if he believed in a non-biological resurrection of the dead? Is there evidence that there was no room for disagreement within the Pharisee party on the literal, biological nature of the resurrection?

David Green

My Response #3 to Jon: Found here.

Jon wrote: As Wright point outs there are two basic meanings for resurrection in the Second Temple period. “In each case the referent is concrete: restoratin of Israel (’resurrection’ as metaphorical, denoting socio-political events and investing them with the significance that this will be an act of new creation, of covenant restoration); of human bodies (’resurrection’ as literal, denoting actual re-embodiment). Nothing in the entire Jewish context warrants the suggestion that…that the Jewish literature of the period ’speaks both of a resurrection of the body and a resurrection of the spirit without the body’.” End of discussion.

My response: You’re assuming that the saints who were in Hades did not take part with the living in the “restoration of Israel,” the “act of new creation, of covenant restoration.” There is no basis for that assumption. Beginning at Pentecost, the living –both Pagans and saints– were saved (or “spiritually resurrected”) through faith in the recently shed, age-changing blood of Christ (Acts 10:1-2; 11:14; Eph. 2:6; Rev. 20:4, 6). Did not the dead old covenant saints have the same need as the living old covenant saints? Did they not also have to hear and believe the newly manifested Gospel (”the voice of the Son of God“) and be saved (Jn. 5:25, 28; 1 Peter 4:6)? Did not the saints in Hades have the same need as the living old covenant saints: to be baptized into the universal Body of Christ through faith in His shed blood? Did the dead old covenant saints not participate with the living old covenant saints in regeneration/rebirth? Yes, they did (Isa. 26:19; Matt. 19:28; Rom. 8:29; Col. 1:15, 18; Rev. 1:5). Therefore, the dead were resurrected in the same non-biological way (”new creation”) that the living were resurrected. “Behold, I make all thingsnew” (Rev. 21:5).

Jon wrote: Paul claimed to be a Pharisee. To not really be a Pharisee, yet claim to be and then use the language in the way he did is duplicitous.

My response: Paul was not really a Pharisee? I’m not sure where that came from.

I’m sorry you’re not continuing our “back and forth.” But we can leave it at this:

1. My position is “unexegetical.”
2. I make words mean anything I want.
3. I’m comparable to New Agers and Barack Obama.
4. I deny the divinity of Christ.

And I might add, I kill babies in their cribs and I push old ladies down stairwells.

Thank you, Jon.

David Green


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Mike Sullivan