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Messages - exegete77

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Your Turn / Re: Pain Bearing
« on: December 16, 2011, 11:28:55 PM »
Is that an exegetical perspective, Exegete77?  Al Barry often spoke of the Greek word for compassion, pronouncing it in that noisy way that it invites onamatapoetically (sp?), and then describing it as central to the ministry and mission of Jesus in imbibing pain and distributing love.  There are many such New Testament, and Hebrew Scripture, words, phrases and stories all of which point to what could be described as Divine Healing.  Pain bearing absent divine healing just hurts.  Pain bearing in the Body (bearing one another's burdens) fulfills the Law of Christ (Gal.), and is thereby liberating, healing and distributive of love, no?
What would/should an exegete say?

Dave Benke
Exegetical and personal. It’s not easy being on the dark side of things, either exegetically or personally.

Exegetically, σπλαγχισθείς is a fascinating word that is only used of God/Jesus (or in a parable representing one of them). Perhaps my focus is on Matthew 9:36 “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”

Dave, I had the privilege of meeting you at the Eastern Region meeting of the AALC in May. And some of what you said then is reflectedin this thread as well.

Your Turn / Re: Pain Bearing
« on: December 16, 2011, 12:21:57 PM »
As a lurker for several years, I have to say that this thread is by far the best and most helpful from the standpoint of ministering to fellow pastors. Thanks to everyone for your contributions.

(a Sem classmate of Weedon)

Your Turn / Re: Baseball and a Bad Night for Atheists
« on: September 29, 2011, 03:20:01 AM »
My Milwaukee Brewers have clinched the NL Central Division. First division win since 1982, when they advanced to the World Series and lost to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Somewhere in the photo album is a picture from 1982 of a kindergarten student in Clayton, MO, wearing a Brewers cap amidst 20 other students wearing their Cardinals stuff. :)

Don't remember much from 1982; here's hoping for major memories in 2011!
We lived upstairs from you, and remember you well. I also remember that fall very well, my first year at seminary (I was second career). I was torn, because I liked the Cardinals, but I most often cheer for the underdog, and really wanted to see Milwaukee win.

Your Turn / Re: Seminary Formation and Theological Perspective
« on: August 25, 2011, 03:08:16 PM »
Will, I don’t think we were in the same class. I think I had him for Galatians in the Fall 4th year, then NT World (winter), and one more (Spring), plus two classes for STM (Romans, can’t remember the other right now).

Your Turn / Re: Seminary Formation and Theological Perspective
« on: August 25, 2011, 11:45:57 AM »
I should add that Jonathon Grothe was one of the major exegetical professors, at whose feet I sat (both for MDiv and STM). I had more classes from him than Moellering or any others.

Your Turn / Re: Seminary Formation and Theological Perspective
« on: August 24, 2011, 11:37:27 PM »
1. When and where for seminary?

I was a (older) classmate of Weedon (1982-1986), CSL, STM in Exegetical Theology also CSL.

2.  During your time in seminary, did you study Exegetical Theology utilizing historical-critical methodologies or historical-grammatical methodologies?

All of my electives in MDiv were in the Exegetical department, most practical, and contrary to Weedon, I found that they were the most help in pastoral work of all courses at the seminary. We learned about the HCM but were taught and used HGM. For STM, my first advisor was H. Armin Moellering and when he died, James Voelz. Both were solid and were not afraid to deal with challenges. Both emphasized the problems of presuppositions, which were (and are) seldom admitted or addressed.

3.  Did you study the issues around women’s ordination? How do you see the issue today?

Not really. I don’t remember that it was much of an issue at seminary. In a couple classes we examined WO (I took Pastoral Epistles from Moellering).

In the AALC it is not an issue, although we as pastors discuss the texts and examine the topic. When I visit our own congregations I have been asked more from a perspective of better understanding the texts. When I have been invited to ELCA congregations, most of the lay people had never been taught anything except the acceptance of WO. It has provided an opportunity to examine the Bible together and generated discussion, which has been good. I was not there to persuade them but to explain where we stand and why?

Your Turn / Re: Lutheran Service Book After Five Years: Reflections
« on: August 06, 2011, 09:39:09 PM »

I had an experience this summer in a special circumstance where after close to two hours in an unairconditioned sanctuary the presider determined to hie him hither to the keyboard to play a medley of three hymns to send us out into the night.  Someone else was in charge, and he said, "That's it, we're out."  So the clergy recessed and left, as the congregation sang on for another fifteen minutes.  Very liberating. And cooler.

Dave Benke
I was at that service. Yes, I was very glad to process out, and not have to continue to sing in the sanctuary.

Interesting turn in the discussion. Thanks, everyone.

I always wanted 12 kids; don’t know why, but even as a youngster I did. Alas, my wife and I couldn’t have any of our own. Adoption (30+ years ago) was the door open, but not for that many (financially to receive them). Thirty years of hell with the older one and his five stays in prison often caused us to question whether adoption was right. Three years ago he confessed his faith in Jesus Christ, while in prison. He just got out two weeks ago and is still reading his Bible. It doesn’t take away the pain of those many years, but it does make it worth it.


The problem with the Chicago Statement is that it requires that only the autographs are inerrant. That is reflective of B. B. Warfield not the Confessions.

Chicago Statement on Inerrancy Article X:

WE AFFIRM  that inspiration, strictly speaking, applies only to the autographic text of Scripture, which in the providence of God can be ascertained from available manuscripts with great accuracy.

Again, as mentioned early on, that is different than the historic formulation, and specifically among Lutherans prior to 1920. Even Jesus did not hold to that in Matthew 5:18 since his referent was the existent text, not the “autographic text of Scripture,” because the orthography of Hebrew changed in the 5th Century BC.


Sometimes that's true. Consider the prohibitions imposed by the Jerusalem Council -- I'm sure that in the first century it meant that Christians were not to eat food sacrificed to idols, or meat that had been strangled or still had its blood in it. While those food restrictions might mean the same thing today, we certainly don't apply them as they did in the first century.

Although now you have moved to another dimension (not necessarily interpretation but with application), but also based on presupposition: Is descriptive (especially in Acts) necessarily prescriptive? Each of us comes to that question with some underlying framework, which then influences how the question is answered.

It seems to me that God's Word is able to stand up against anyone who seeks to stand above it. I trust God to defend his own Word. I don't believe that the Bible has to be protected from historical critics -- even the non-believing types.
Yet, the entire approach of the HCM is to automatically stand above the text and judge whether it is indeed God’s Word. That’s a presupposition problem, not technique problem.

There are some similarities to the three part approach I take and teach.

1. What does the text say?
2. What did the text mean?
3. What does the text mean?

What you have written is standard homiletical preparation, far different than what is discussed here. You might want to investigate what Voelz actually teaches -- that is not what he proposes. In fact, your numbers 1 and 2 are somewhat at the level 1 reading of the text. And notice that “mean” is used in two different senses.

But even more, those who advocate the HCM seem to impose its presuppositions into all three stages of what you propose. And the last two yield to this kind of reasoning: “Even if it meant that in the first century, it does not [cannot] mean that today.”

[edited because it seemed that I was more negative than I intended.]

One of the ways "inerrant" gets modified is to say that the Bible is "without errors" in regards to its message of salvation. There are errors in manuscripts and in translations, and perhaps even in science and other historical facts; but in terms of offering God's grace in Jesus that saves sinners, it is without error.

Where we disagree is whether there are errors in ”science” (not a valid comparison) and historical facts in the Biblical record. In other words, the historic Reformation/Lutheran view of “without error” includes the Biblical statements of history and what might be loosely classified as "science." The focus on manuscript differences moves away from that view.

Of course, this now backs into the original topic, namely the Historical Critical Method. It is not a case that we approach the Bible independent of any of these areas of inquiry. Rather it is at what point does the Biblical text stand, and at what point do we posit reason/rational mind/methodology above the text and sit in judgment of that text? And from I have read, there exists a wide gulf between what I see as the historic Lutheran position and what I see as the HCM. Would you agree?

I think Voelz’s approach to Hermeneutics is helpful at this point: three levels of understanding the text: 1) What is the sense of the text? 2) What is the significance of the text? 3) What is the implication of the author/community? The problem is that many scholars and pastors use the same phrase to describe each of them, further adding to the confusion: “This is what the text means.” The historical-grammatical approach focuses on 1 and 2, whereas the HCM concentrates #3, ”level 3 on steroids” (to use Voelz’s expression). Note, too, that we have extensive resources available for level 1 understanding (lexicons, other literature, etc.). We have fewer resources for level 2 (other Biblical writings, theological studies, etc.). Level 3 has very little for resources, and so it becomes the playground for the HCM, everything is up for grabs. Ultimately, though, the key is “what is proclaimed?” That is, for level 3 studies, how useful is the author’s identity or “curriculum” or the community, if the pastor never preaches the text (levels 1 and 2)?


Other than perhaps the word "inerrant" not having been used by Lutherans before, how does my discription of inerrancy (apparently a Reformed view) differ from the historic Reformation sense?  I have heard this before that inerrant is not a Lutheran concept, but have not yet understood how "inerrant" differs from "without error."  What am I including in errant that is not Lutheran or not including that I should?


The referent is different. For inerrancy as used by the Reformed, the referent is the manuscript differences themselves. For “without error” the referent is the content of what is written. In other words, what the text said was without error. Note that these referents are related; the text as it exists and what the text says, hence text-criticism is necessary. But the focus shifts in the inerrancy debate to a (presently) non-existent entity, namely the autographs (original manuscripts). Even Jesus’ reference to the writings of Moses (Matthew 5:18) do not reference the original autographs but the existent text of the first century, since the orthography of Hebrew had changed in the 5th century BC.

Note also that as Dr. James Voelz has commented elsewhere, inerrancy as currently used could only arise once there was a printing press (“exact copies”) and extensive copying.


Briefly (I have to get ready for Day School Chapel), inerrancy means that the original autograph is true and accurate in what it says.  Since we do not have any original autographs, that means we use textual criticism to arrive at a close approximation of the original.  (Recognizing that the amount of textual material and its relatively early origins far exceeds what we have for any other ancient works, and the degree of confidence in the text is correspondingly greater.) 

The Bible is what God intended it to be.  Pr. Stoffregen would see the Bible as inspired by God much as sermons are, the only difference is that the Bible is older and more widely accepted than any of my sermons.  It seems (Pr. Stoffregen is often hard to pin down as to just what his point is) that his point is that people wrote, inspired by God by observing what God has done and meditating on God and God can then use those words to become God's Word when He uses them to accomplish what God wants.  Being God's Word is something that God adds to what is originally a merely human text, when God wants them to be.  Inerrancy is that God uses them to bring faith and only that.

My use of inerrancy is that God originated those words, working through people but insuring that they wrote what God wanted to write.  Therefore they are not in error.  They are in some sense objectively true.  But just as objective reality may be misinterpreted by people, so may inerrant Scripture be misinterpreted.  Inerrancy is not a guarentee that we always understand it correctly, no more than the objective reality of the physical universe insures that scientists will always understand it properly.

That is all that I have time for now.

Greetings, Dan. I too subscribe to the inerrancy of Scripture, but in the historic Reformation sense, not as you described it. Note that your use of inerrancy is relatively recent and not reflective of historic Lutheran understanding. In fact, the idea that inerrancy refers to the original autographs comes from B. B. Warfield in the early 1880’s in his attempt to use “lower criticism” (text criticism) to fight against ”higher criticism” which he faced in his travels to Europe. From there the change crept into the LCMS by 1920 through Wm. Arndt. It seems that such a move has boxed us into a Reformed understanding of the term and limited how we can respond to the critics of “inerrancy.”

I think we as evangelical, catholic, orthodox, confessional Lutherans would benefit by returning to the historic Lutheran/Reformation phrase “without error” in reference to the existent original language text, not to the originals/autographs. Just a thought for further discussion.

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