What on Earth is Jesus saying in John 10:34–36

It looks like the debate between me and Steve Hays over John 10:30–36 is still going on. He replied to my post which was a response to a response of  a criticism of an exegesis. I think this debate is important, not only for Christology—but also for how we do exegesis. You’ll see that both me and Steve Hays have different approaches to exegesis, it’s up to you do decide which one is more consistent and faithful to the text. In this response I’m going to focus on the issues of the Shema in John 10:30, and the actual exegesis of John 10:34–36, the rest of the post (John 1, the concept of messiahship, and so on) I’ll deal with in the comment section so as to keep this debate on subject.

On the Shema in John 10:30 Hays says:

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What on Earth is Jesus saying in John 10:34–36

But what does it mean? And what’s the response?

In my last post I responded to a rather bad exegesis of John 10:30-36 by Steve Hays, I say it’s bad with no disrespect, all trinitarians readings of this text are going to end up being bad exegesis. Steve has since replied to my response and I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t given his defense of his reading a good shot and a reply. So here it goes:

Some guy named Roman A. Montero–evidently a unitarian–attempted to respond on Tuggy’s behalf to a post of mine.

Not on Tuggy’s behalf, on my own behalf, I can only speak for myself.

Continue reading “But what does it mean? And what’s the response?”

But what does it mean? And what’s the response?

Hays and John 10:30-36

I recently came across a blog post by a Steve Hays who was arguing with philosopher and Unitarian Dale Tuggy on John 10:30-36. Hays gave an exegesis … a bad one, but unfortunately Dale didn’t really argue against it. So I figured I’d break down his exegesis point by point:

i) The context of the Jn 10:30 is a dispute over the identity of Jesus. The context of 10:30 is a Jewish audience who recited the Shema every day. The only way Jesus could reasonably expect them to interpret his statement is an allusion to Deut 6:4. In context, the statement would inevitably trigger that association. Hence, he’s claiming to be the Lord of the Shema.

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Hays and John 10:30-36

When Religious Pluralism gets Silly

Interfaith Dialogue is a bizarre phenomenon; I never know exactly what the point is. Is it just to find one what various traditions agree on? If so what’s the point? Where is the dialogue? Is it to compare doctrines? To what end? Also, dialogue on what basis, addressing what questions? Different religions address different questions with different assumptions. John Milbank puts it right in his essay “The end of Dialogue”:

The Event of dialogue, since its Socratic beginnings, assumes a commonly recognized subject matter and certain truths that can be agreed about this subject matter by both (or all) participants)

And then at the end of the Essay:

In the course of such a conversation, we should indeed expect to constantly receive Christ again, from the unique spiritual responses of other cultures. But I do not pretend that this proposal means anything other than continuing the work of conversion.

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When Religious Pluralism gets Silly

Clash of the Heretics

I use the term Heretic here in a tongue in cheek way. I don’t think either Dustin Smith or David Barron are Heretics in the actual meaning of the term, I use it because that is how many more orthodox theologians would label them (falsely). Recently both David Barron and Dustin Smith had a debate about Christology, in particular, whether or not Jesus existed prior to his being conceived in Mary’s womb. What makes this debate interesting is that both Dustin Smith and David Barron are Unitarians (thus the tongue in cheek use of the term “Heretic”). Dustin Smith coming from what would be called a Socinian position (Jesus came into existence at his conception), David Barron coming from what would be called an Arian Position (Jesus existed as a spiritual being prior to his conception, but cannot be identified with Yahweh). Both debaters did a wonderful job and, I honestly wish more theological debates were done like this, carefully, honestly and in depth. Even if you’re a Trinitarian, or think the Socinian and Arian Christologies are Heresies, watch the debate, you’ll definitely find it interesting.

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Clash of the Heretics

The Riddles of John – Part 2, false tensions

In the previous Post I introduced and began to challenge an article by Paul Anderson discussing the alleged Riddles in John that in some way led up to the Trinity. Let’s move on to the idea that there are riddles within John. I don’t’ think there are, I think that John is actually quite clear in what he means as long as we don’t read into John later categories of thought. The first of the Johannian riddles posited in the article is about the divinity of Jesus, Anderson writes:

Is Jesus Human, Divine, or Both?

The question of Jesus’ humanity and divinity is more pronounced in John than any other single writing in the New Testament. Jesus is referred to as God, who was with God from the beginning—the very source of creation (Jn 1:1-2, 18), and yet the Word also became human flesh (1:14), and water and blood flowed forth from his side (19:34). The Johannine community attests having beheld his divine glory, and yet the eyewitness attests to having witnessed his fleshly humanity.

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The Riddles of John – Part 2, false tensions

The Riddles of John – Part 1, Ignatius and Origen

Irenaeus records for us a tactic that the Gnostics had used when dealing with scripture:

When, however, they are confuted from the Scriptures, they turn round and accuse these same Scriptures, as if they were not correct, nor of authority, and [assert] that they are ambiguous

An appeal to obscurity or ambiguousness is often the starting point for apologists of non-scriptural doctrines. It was true in the days of Irenaeus and its true now. This article, by Paul Anderson, makes the case that that Trinitarian theology is the logical answer to the so-called riddles found in John. Much of his case depends on the idea that within John are found dialectical tensions, that are such that something like the trinity comes to be needed in order to to resolve them. I think this is problematic.

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The Riddles of John – Part 1, Ignatius and Origen