Everybody’s an Expert

As I sometimes scroll through my various social media accounts, I feel like I’m on a tour through a virtual Greek and Hebrew expo. On one post, a user dissected a passage of Scripture, confidently drawing on the original Greek and/or Hebrew, often even using the Greek and Hebrew script! Another refers to this or that Greek or Hebrew dictionary informing readers of the way a certain word should actually be translated. Some even venture into verb tenses and syntax, explaining how these support their particular theology while disproving another’s. Some, in the Greek New Testament, refer to Strong’s Lexicon, others use Thayer’s, but the big boys use Bauer, Danker, Arndt, and Gingrich, even calling it “BDAG.” Why? Normally, it is just one more power-play to let others know not to question them.

True Accuracy from the Pulpit

As well, I have seen another thing under the sun. I don’t know how many sermons I have heard from pastors who wax eloquent in the original Greek and Hebrew. Normally, they will draw parishioners’ attention to this or that English word, letting their people know how it should actually be translated. Their augmented translation will normally fit very nicely into the particular theological argument they happen to be making. From the perspective of those sitting in the pew, they have the most knowledgeable pastor around. He can even correct the fifty-plus-person committee of Greek or Hebrew scholars who know and translate the languages for a living!

The Problem is that People Believe Them

To an outsider, this often paints a picture of someone they can’t question as they have no background to challenge the proficiency of the claims being made. Many didn’t even know the Bible was originally written in another language. How are they to compete with this level of biblical scholarship? As a result, the people who are waxing eloquently believe they are able to do such things as they lose perspective on how little they really know.

The Emporer Has No Clothes

This is very concerning to me. I’ve had enough formal training in these languages to see what neither the audience nor the one presenting can see: the emperor, more often than not, has no clothes. These people don’t know what they are talking about. They know just enough Greek or Hebrew to fool themselves and those to whom they are writing or speaking. They know just enough to be dangerous.

How Often this Happens

Let’s be honest. In ninety-five percent of cases, Bible and theology enthusiasts who quote from the original languages likely possess only a surface-level grasp of the languages they cite. The ubiquity of this problem isn’t just misleading – it’s profoundly dangerous. It creates a veneer of expertise that can lead to significant distortions in understanding Scripture and theology.

The First Time I Heard Someone Use the Original Language

Allow me one further personal illustration. I remember the first time I encountered someone who spoke about the Greek and Hebrew of the Bible. Until then, I naively believed the Bible was originally written in Latin! (and I acted smart for knowing this!). When this individual began explaining words in Greek and Hebrew, even writing them out, I was in awe. His knowledge seemed absolute and beyond anyone’s ability to challenge. In retrospect, I realize my admiration was based on my own lack of knowledge. Any level of expertise he had appeared complete to me, as I had no frame of reference.

It is Easy to Impress Most People

This experience underscores a critical point: it is alarmingly easy to impress others with a surface-level understanding of these ancient languages. The real danger, however, lies not just in unintentionally misleading others, but in deceiving oneself. Believing in one’s own inflated proficiency can lead to misguided interpretations and decisions, particularly in critical theological contexts like interpreting a text others believe is the most accurate and important writing in all of history. A text upon which Christians base their lives.

My Thesis: Anyone But an Expert is Dangerous

Moving beyond personal anecdotes, let’s consider the broader implications. I believe that possessing beginner to intermediate proficiency in Greek or Hebrew, while valuable, can also be dangerous. Individuals at this level of linguistic understanding should refrain from speaking with authority in these languages. This intermediate stage represents a risky middle ground – it provides enough knowledge to foster confidence but often lacks the depth to guarantee accuracy. Interpretations made with this level of understanding can be significantly flawed, lacking the nuanced expertise required for accurate biblical exegesis.

Linguistic Overreach

This intermediate proficiency can lead to a phenomenon I term ‘linguistic overreach.’ It’s the tendency to apply one’s limited knowledge too broadly, leading to oversimplifications or misinterpretations of the original text. These errors, though perhaps unintentional, can have far-reaching implications, especially when disseminated within a community or used as the basis for teaching. It’s a subtle form of misinformation that can distort understanding and skew theological perspectives.

Benefits of Learning the Original Language at Any Level

I am not saying that there are no advantages to having a beginning to intermediate level of proficiency in the original languages. Even at this foundational level, the benefits are substantial and multifaceted. In the Greek New Testament, for example, here are some advantages you can learn:

  1. Appreciation of Syntax: A basic understanding of Greek syntax, which differs significantly from English, allows for a more nuanced grasp of how sentence structure can influence meaning in the New Testament.
  2. Rich Vocabulary: Greek has a wealth of words with distinct meanings that often get condensed into a single English word during translation. Recognizing these differences can uncover deeper layers of the biblical text.
  3. Stylistic Variations: Beginner’s Greek exposes one to the stylistic choices made by biblical authors. Different words may be chosen for artistic or rhetorical reasons, enhancing the narrative’s richness.
  4. Humility in Interpretation: Starting Greek studies, even at a basic level, instills a sense of humility and caution, essential for responsible theological study and interpretation.

The Insuing Exegetical Fallacies

Due to the miscalculation of one’s own Greek or Hebrew proficiency, we have some common exegetical (interpretive) problems that are often found. Here are two of the most common types I observe in Greek:

Word Root Fallacies:

Word root fallacies involve assuming a word’s meaning is directly tied to its roots. This is commonly found when people refer to the Greek word for “church.” Ekklesia, when broken into its word roots in Greek, looks like this: ek+kaleo. Ek means “from” or “out of” while kaleo means “to call.” So what does the Greek word for “church” mean? Well, it seems like the church is made up of those who are “called out from” the world. Have you ever heard this said? While well-meaning and maybe, in a broader sense, correct (the church is called to be different than the world), ekklesia in Greek simply means “assembly” or “gathering.” Think of the word “butterfly” in English. It has nothing to do with “butter” or “fly.”

Tense Fallacies:

Tense fallacies involve misinterpreting Greek verbs by imposing English time concepts, ignoring the emphasis on aspect in Greek. In English, we break verbs into past, present, and future tense. In Greek, things are more nuanced. Greek uses aspect rather than tense. This has to do with how, from the perspective of the speaker, the action of the verb is taking place, not always when it is taking place. If you have ever heard someone say the use of the aorist in Greek means that the action is past tense, you may have seen this fallacy in action. Aorist tense does not always mean past action. It is more concerned with communicating the type of action or leaving the action type undefined.

Some other common fallacies include semantic anachronism – applying a late or modern meaning to a word in its historical context, and semantic obsolescence – assigning an obsolete meaning to a word. Then there is my favorite: illegitimate totality transfer. This is the misapplication of a word’s full range of meaning (in every instance. It’s like if the word can mean something, it does mean it.

Conclusion

As usual, I have gone far too long with this post. Let me conclude by saying three things.

Know What You Don’t Know and Remain Humble

First, am I saying that no one should learn Greek unless they plan on becoming a scholar? Allow me a bit of leeway here as I say μὴ γένοιτο (mē genoito). May it never be! How can we who have been exposed to the word of God not dig deeper into it? There is every benefit to learning these languages to any level of proficiency so long as we keep our heads in the right place. This is God’s word we are dealing with. Mishaps are not to be taken lightly. As long as we remain humble, knowing how long it takes to get to a point where we can speak with any degree of authority on the translation. We need to know what we don’t know and remain humble, even if we know enough to fool other people into thinking otherwise.

My Personal Journey Through the Languages

Secondly, let me share my own self-assessment in this area. As an undergraduate, I completed two semesters of Greek. I then majored in New Testament at Dallas Theological Seminary for my graduate studies, studying under esteemed professors such as Dan Wallace, Darrel Bock, and Hall Harris. During my four-year ThM program, I took a Greek or advanced Greek course every semester – a total of eight semesters. Additionally, I completed two extra courses in rapid Greek reading. I excelled in all these classes. Despite this, even after 20 years of consistently maintaining my Greek knowledge post-graduation, I consider my understanding to be at an intermediate level at best. Consequently, I resist the urge to speak about Greek with undue authority. As for Hebrew, I haven’t maintained it to the same extent.

If Greek Speakers Can Tell Greek is Your Second Language, You Can’t Correct Others

Consider this analogy: As a native English speaker, you can easily spot someone for whom English is a second language. Their unique errors, influenced by their mother tongue, are apparent. While these individuals communicate effectively enough for basic understanding, their lack of nuance in English is evident. To non-English speakers, they might seem proficient, but as a native, you know their limitations. This is especially relevant in teaching contexts – we prefer educators to be deeply knowledgeable, not just passably proficient.

The same principle applies to teaching the Word of God using original languages like Greek or Hebrew. Many people, after learning basic vocabulary and grammar and consulting a few dictionaries, may feel they’ve mastered the language. But true expertise requires a lifelong devotion to learning and understanding these languages. The risk is clear: superficial knowledge can lead to confidently incorrect interpretations, which is particularly hazardous in a theological context.

For learning Greek, there is no better place I have found than this. It is amazing, free, and some of the better teaching out there. It is very doable in many ways. There is also a great app.

Here is the website: https://dailydoseofgreek.com/


C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo House Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Find him everywhere: Find him everywhere

    43 replies to "The Dangers of Learning Greek (or Hebrew)"

    • Damien Riegel

      Excellent post. I think it’s unfortunate that it’s so difficult for hobbyists to get started with Greek, at least with the tools currently available. I think one of the biggest values is the devotional role of seeing the beauty of the original text, since so many passages become awkward or ugly in even the best translations.

    • […] The Dangers of Learning Greek (or Hebrew) […]

    • Maverick Sterling Smith

      It’s pride. Ironically besides lying YHWH hates the most. Young, unsuspecting naive men (and girls) unawares who care about theology and such are now thrust into a world where they “must learn Greek.” I once was but my dream was to be under Dr. Wallace or Ehrman guy. I have since realized providence preventing.

      Then when such a one does get two to four semesters of Gk under them, they simply feel the need to put it in every social media post or conversation like a person who just converted to being a vegan.

      I think I’d much rather learn Arabic.

      May I add God has mercy on us. It’s young men (I’m now middle aged as you know) and women with zeal without understanding (Prov 19.2) and I once was. As my five year old daughter prayed the other night, “I want to thank God for God.” I knew what she meant. Thank God he is so patient and loving.

      “My Thesis: Anyone But an Expert is Dangerous”

      Couldn’t have spoken such truer words. I think I’ll go learn Arabic now.

      Soli Deo Gloria

      – Maverick…Press On

    • Bibliophile

      Michael. Here’s a good example of the linguistic fallacy. Protestant polemicists try to refute the Roman Catholic claim that Jesus established the teaching authority of the Church on Peter. The attempt goes something like this (quoted from a random website, which I will link below):

      “The New Testament was originally written in the Greek, from which the Latin, English, and other versions were translated. If you study the Greek text you will find that the word Peter and the word Rock on which Christ was to build His church are two separate and distinct words, each having a different meaning. The word Peter in Greek is petros, which means “a piece of rock; a stone; a single stone; movable, insecure, shifting, or roll­ing.” The word rock is petra, which means “a rock; a cliff; a projecting rock; mother rock; huge mass; solid formation; fixed; immovable; enduring.””

      The problem here is that, while the New Testament may have been written in Greek, scholarly consensus seems to be that Jesus and the disciples would most likely have spoken Aramaic; so, there would have been no distinction between masculine and feminine at the time these words were spoken.
      Not only that, but the context of the passage (Matthew 16:18-19) clearly indicates that Jesus was not referring to himself, but to Peter, making it explicit by giving him the keys – which are a symbol of authority.
      (And, if I remember correctly, at one time or another you mentioned yourself somewhere on this blog, that in certain contexts reference to “Hell” is about false doctrine: case in point: by establishing Magisterial authority and placing the keys in Peter’s hand, Jesus effectively made the Church infallible, protecting it from error and false doctrine).

      Here’s the link to the site, in case anyone wants to check it out:

      http://www.trustingodamerica.com/Petra.htm

      • C Michael Patton

        Ha! Big jump to infallibility! But if that is your cup of tea! Wait, you didn’t like the word infallible if I remember correctly. 🤣

        • Bibliophile

          I like infallibility 😁

      • C Michael Patton

        I’m just kidding. No need for that on this post. I’ll accept you illustration in general. Thanks for the comment.

        • Bibliophile

          Not a problem, no harm, no foul. You’re welcome

        • C Michael Patton

          Love it, my brother!

      • Ed Chapman

        While Catholics spend so much time defending Peter as their main man, I’d suggest that if you READ THE STORY, instead of straining at a nat, then you would find COMMON SENSE speaking that Jesus IS THE CHRIST is the ROCK, regardless of my dead cat’s name, aka ROCKY! He might be PETRIFIED these days, I don’t know.

        But since Jesus began the conversation with, WHO DO MEN SAY THAT I AM? Then the ANSWER is the ROCK, aka FOUNDATION of Christianity. not the person.

        The Catholics THINK that they have POWER, but they are sorely mistaken. Now, how do I say that in Greek and Latin?

    • C Michael Patton

      I added this suggestion to the post if you missed it: For learning Greek, there is no better place I have found than this. It is amazing, free, and some of the better teaching out there. It is very doable in many ways. There is also a great app.

      Here is the website: https://dailydoseofgreek.com/

      • Maverick Sterling Smith

        I think Mounce has some as well on biblicaltraining . Free as well. But you’d know more than I. My go to’s are Wallace, Mounce and yes, Ehrman.

    • Maverick Sterling Smith

      As far as RCC apologetics vs ‘Protestant’ I didn’t think this I was the place however, I consult the experts. In this case if you need a good dose of defending Sola & Tota Scriptura from an expert not only in apologetics, but in NTTC and Greek, consult Dr. James White with Alpha & Omega ministries.

      PS: The rock of Peter is a tired argument in which it doesn’t matter. The succession of popes is not found in apostolic teaching.

      As far as submitting to a single magistrate (1054 hmmm) it was a late development (1850) in which you have Fulton Sheen come up with an ideological polemic.

      Again, Dr. White covers this. Because of Sheen’s doctrine, you have such things as the recent blessing of …

      Don’t get me started on hell. ECT, I was recently condemned to it by a supposed Xian on YT. Xians are so kind on virtual platforms somehow ignoring the fact that Jesus said every careless word spoken will be held accountable yet being the most vitriol on the web. I guess Xians have either no love and definitely no fear of the consequences of their posts assuming it doesn’t apply to them.

      Grace and peace to you both brothers,

      Soli Deo Gloria

      Maverick…Press On

    • Don

      This article gives the impression of a bi-polar personality:
      “Learning Greek is dangerous…go here and get your daily dose of Greek.”
      “Here are some linguistic/semantic fallacies…that I was taught to avoid during my learning of Greek.”
      “Learning Gk/Heb/Ar can lead to a deeper understanding of God’s word…but ignore anyone who brings up the languages as a consideration for a particular interpretation.”
      “The benefits of learning the biblical languages are substantial…but if someone shares anything from the original languages it is a pure power play.”
      “Shut up unless you are an expert…that’s what I’m telling you in my (expert) opinion.”
      “Translations are often done by a committee of 20-30 scholars, so no one should challenge a translation…[reality enters:] but translations often differ and no translation claims to be inerrant.”

      • Bibliophile

        I like the way you think 😁

        • C Michael Patton

          🤣

        • Don

          Well, my problem is I didn’t know what to think after reading this article. Seemed a dizzying array of conflicting thoughts about learning and using the biblical languages.
          Bottom line: Not sure what was the specific message. Maybe as simple as “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing?” But that truism is often erroneously extended to mean, “Therefore, less knowledge is a better thing!” and the article seemed to incline in that direction at points.
          Especially if someone tries to use linguistic information to help explain a passage or teaching, the article seems to advocate – “Why, that person is no expert and only knows a little; so they must be arrogant and proud. Best for me to ignore their arguments altogether and stay in my own blissful ignorance.”
          One assumes it is useful to teach a child their various body parts (arm, hand, leg, etc.) but of course that doesn’t mean they are biologists and certainly one would not then want to put a scalpel in their hand and encourage them to operate on others.
          There are indeed tiers of learning in any field, and experience and maturity needed for expertise. However, personally I would not tell a child: “Don’t tell me where you hurt – only the expert doctor can tell you.” And that, too, seems part of the bundle of messages proffered.
          Finally, while the article warned against any pride that might be lurking behind someone’s use of biblical languages, I sought in vain for any appeal for humility and receptivity to potentially learn from others on the part of the hearer.

    • Michael H.

      Great perspective on this topic.

      Learning basic Greek and Hebrew is valuable precisely because of its many abuses. I would encourage people to learn enough so they aren’t intimidated by people misusing the original languages and can use critical thinking to recognize when they’re being led about.

      This is the same reason that people should learn about statistical fallacies (see “How to Lie with Statistics”) and logical fallacies: So that they are more robust in how they see the world around them and less likely to be misguided.

      Very few people need to be true Greek or Hebrew scholars. Extending your example, American English is my first language, and I am fluent in it. However, I am not an English language scholar or “expert.” I use Grammarly to touch up my language and improve my writing; it scores me in the top 95% of writers. Even then, I consistently make grammar errors in my writing. My calling is not to earn a Master’s in English Grammar. I would argue that we need more English language experts today than Greek and Hebrew, simply due to the economics and scale of contemporary English usage.

      I am also encouraged by the service of Granville Sharp, a famous abolitionist and activist during his lifetime. Oh, and by the way, he also contributed to Greek grammar.

      • C Michael Patton

        Perfect extension to the illustration!

      • C Michael Patton

        Quite the rule Sharp had. It does illustrate the advancements we can make in such a beautifully complex language. The recent nuances on the Greek verb and article have been some of the greatest additions we did not have just a couple of decades ago!

    • David

      When I first got out of graduate school, I taught intermediate Greek at a local Bible College for a couple of years. One thing I always told my students was, “How do you know a preacher is about to lie to you? He begins with ‘The Greek says …’.”

      • C Michael Patton

        Haha!

      • Don

        Yeah, boys, grab the torches and let’s burn them uppity, arrogant, lying preachers who dare refer to the actual biblical text!
        Let’s pick our sacred English translation (typically KJV).
        If anyone in the congregation is confused while looking at a different translation, make ’em duke it out, then and there: trial by fire, only way to settle such differences.

    • David Bell

      Other benefits of learning the original language at a less-than-expert level: (1) It helps you work through the commentaries, and especially the more advanced ones like the NIGTC. (2) It helps you spot the many exegetical fallacies coming from the pulpit and elsewhere. (3) It gives you a foundation for learning about the basics of textual criticism . (4) It gives you background for learning a lot of nuggets like those found in Wallace’s Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics. I love that book!

      Actually, it gives a foundation that helps in a lot of places. I took 2 years of Greek informally taught by a pastor of a small church many years ago but I have had no exposure to Hebrew. When I hear or read things about the Old Testament by people who may or may not be experts in Hebrew, and they support their teaching by explaining the language, and I don’t have a clue what they’re talking about, that’s when I really value the opportunity I had with Greek. When the same happens with the New Testament, I am at least able to check it out.

      I think there’s a place for bringing up the original languages from the pulpit if it is something expressed by experts (and it’s not a bad idea to humbly cite your sources) and if it helps explain a difficulty or just is something of special interest, but I agree it gets way overdone. Most of the time the English works just fine.

    • Ed Chapman

      The only time I’m concerned with Hebrew or Greek is when I’m looking for a DEFINITION of a word, however, I will say that Greek means nothing to me, but I’m fascinated by Hebrew, not as a language, but the mystery of Heberew words, on the SPIRITUAL level of understanding.

      Say like, Benjamin, son of the right hand, which means something spiritual about Jesus. Or, the letters ADDED to Abram’s name, making it Abraham. The HA, which I’ve been told is a BREATH sound, and that has a spiritual meaning behind it. We see that when Jesus BREATHED on his disciples and said, receive ye the Holy Spirit. There’s all sorts of mysteries behind Hebrew lettering to join words, making it one word, and the breakdown of those words to show spiritual meaning. Now, the only ones speaking Hebrew were generally your average Jew, not your typical Italian. But EVERYONE knew Greek. So why all the Greek scholars? They are a dime a dozen. And they all disagree!

      Having said all that, my big thing is sentence structure, like when Calvinists put an INVISIBLE period after the word “WORLD” in Ephesians 1:4.

      Or how about these, where the Church of Christ thinks that God commands that no one use a musical instrument in church…

      Colossians 3:16
      Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

      WHO BESIDES ME, FINDS PROBLEMS IN THE SENTENCE STRUCTURE OF THAT VERSE?

      Ephesians 5:19
      Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

      Now, where does that say “IN CHURCH SERVICE”? Previous verses suggest OUTSIDE of Sunday/Wednesday Church Services, when you are BY YOURSELF.

      But going back to Colossians, when was the last time that anyone SANG an ADMONISHMENT in church to someone? Does the preacher SING his sermon?

      Colossians 3:16 is correct is a minority of English translations, but NOT MANY. This one just happens to be from the KJV. I got interested in sentence structure when I first heard a 7th Day Adventist (soul sleep), say that the comma is in the wrong place in the following:

      Luke 23:43
      And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.

      They say it should be after the word, “today”, not before. See how that changes meaning? I’d like to sing them an admonishment!

      Ed Chapman

      • Maverick Sterling Smith

        Dear Ed Chapman:

        It wouldn’t let me reply via your post. I don’t like debates virtually and I never meant to come across to any on here that they are not welcomed be it Roman Catholic, Evangelical Calvinist or Arminian. I’m licensed in the SBC (refused to go into ordination because of my paedobaptism) and attend an LCSM Church where I live. I adhere to annihilationism and consider myself a hopeful universal reconciliationist. I’m aware most consider me a heretic, like you, I wear it proudly. Most Reformers besides Zwingli would be heretics living in 2023 according to most Baptists.

        I was speaking on staying the course. The post has nothing to do with RCC vs Sola Scriptura Evangelical, which I am the latter (I prefer Protestant because most Evangelicals get on my nerves) and served as a previous five pointer at a RCC for many years simply unable to complete RCIA.

        I have no problems with discussing the RCC apologetics (which I’ve found many conservative Roman Catholics who are loving) vs Protestant. My point was this is not the post in which I’m sure Michael has discussed in the past which I more than welcome a discussion in love though in disagreement.

        My adamant reply was because calling out for being bipolar or any other such mental problems was uncalled for.

        Xians is like my Xmas. Christ in Greek is Christos. It begins with “X” which nomina sacra is abbreviated often. It has nothing to do with disrespect and everything to do with simplicity, time and a personal choice to stay closer to said Greek.

        Praise the LORD? Praise YHWH. Taken from the LSB:

        “In addition to Yahweh, the full name of God, the OT also includes references to God by a shorter version of His name, Yah. By itself, God’s name “Yah” may not be as familiar, but the appearance of it is recognizable in Hebrew names and words (e.g. Zechar-iah, meaning Yah remembers, and Hallelu-jah, meaning praise Yah!). God’s shortened name “Yah” is predominantly found in poetry and praise.”

        – LSB translators

        We can agree to disagree on Dr. White. He was the first theological book I read in 1997 and the one I’ve been sticking closer to than any other aside from RC Sproul who is no longer with us.

        Most vitriol Xians are not simply Calvinists. I was one before it was cool. They are because well, Xians apparently don’t know how to love. Will the son of man find faith, I don’t think that was serious but rhetorical. The obvious answer is no, and they seem to likewise forget that if they don’t forgive, they aren’t forgiven and must pay the last penny but because they have their Willy Wonka golden ticket through Sola Fide (I adhere to mind you) they act as if their actions are not going to be judged.

        Notice I didn’t imply RCC here so it implies to Xians of all and any sects; IF THEY HAVE NO LOVE.

        Soli Deo Gloria

        Maverick…Press On

        PS: It wasn’t Calvinists that finally ran me off social media. It was Arminian, Calvinist Hunters. I was hounded by them and I didn’t attack anyone for their denominational presuppositions or hermeneutics. Simply for being one. I had my run in with nasty Calvinist mind you but like Dr. White says, he will have none of it.

    • Bibliophile

      Don, Michael (and other interested commentators).

      What is even more curious than the appearance of a bipolar personality, is the apparent cognitive dissonance involved here. Underlying all of this is the assumption that, on the one hand, the Bible is sufficient; but, on the other hand, by subscribing to rationalist foundationalism and sceptical methodology, a host of critical views emerges (redaction; form; source; textual; etc), alongside a serious hermeneutical problem (Which narrative? Which community? Etc) – all of which calls the legitimacy of the entire protestant theological paradigm – along with the claim of Biblical infallibility – into question and casts doubt on the very Bible which is claimed to be sufficient and the ultimate source of authority for protestants… It simply won’t do to merely wave a hand at the problem, pretend like it doesn’t exist, and hope it will eventually go away by itself. The fact of the matter is that, without apostolic succession, an infallible teaching authority, as well as Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture – in other words, as long as protestants remain separated from the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church – the problem remains insoluble for protestants: there is now way to reconcile this plurality of views beyond anything more than a superficial agreement about what are considered to be the Christian “essentials” by the various denominations: and those essentials are themselves – as this post suggests – invariably predetermined by whatever theological framework is assumed in the first place…

      To reiterate, seems like a serious case of cognitive dissonance to me.

      • Maverick Sterling Smith

        Dear no named Roman Catholic:

        One, I refuse to engage in one who has no name. I broke my number one rule in talking to any about religion on the internet which I only do via YT because I left Twitter back in 2014 and finally giving it another chance in 2016, left again no longer looking back to social media because of well, Xians. Not, drug addicts, homosexuals or even two guys I met in ministry having served twenty years for murder, not Wiccans or others of a different religion; venomous, unloving Xians. What’s worse is it seems to be the ones who know theology, some NTTC, Church history and apologetics.

        Why do most of the sound theologians who may not be scholars in and of themselves seem to be the most ugly? I haven’t figured it out. Arrogance maybe? Pride in knowledge possibly. Just not very nice, for sure though.

        “ What is even more curious than the appearance of a bipolar personality, is the apparent cognitive dissonance involved here.”

        As one who was misdiagnosed as bi-polar for over fifteen years, was stigmatized by the RCC and evangelical Church, was seen as one to avoid at seminary but loved everyone and didn’t get corrected (adult ADHD) until I found a Xian psychiatrist who worked for the late and great Dr. Frank Minirth and were it not for the likes of great men like Tommy Nelson my mentor and Michael Cooper Jr. my second mentor, I would have been alone many times. As one whose wife is bi-polar, shame on you for treating anyone less than.

        This blog post has NOTHING and I repeat NOTHING to do with RCC apologetics. Oh how I’d love to get into that fallacious rabbit hole but it’s about Greek, bro. Cognitive dissonance? Me thinks the mirror and kettle are calling your name and I’ll be your huckleberry anytime lol. To those who know, know.

        Keep mental illness and your apologetics off this post. Time and a place. The place is never the internet and the time is usually in the appropriate setting. Once again, consult Dr. James White with Alpha & Omega ministries. Who DOES KNOW all the above and does it IN LOVE!

        Now, I have a beautiful two year old son and five year old daughter Yah gave me in my forties to take care of.

        All Grace and Peace despite it all, upon all here. Yes, even you my friend, even you. We all bleed red and have family we love and loves us.

        Soli Deo Gloria

        Maverick Sterling Smith visiting his immediate family in Dallas.

        • Ed Chapman

          Maverick Sterling Smith,

          As what was said once in a movie, “Maverick? Did your mother not like you?” No worries…some have Lost That Loving Feeling! I’m surprized you are not a THIRD with that name! LOL.

          Now, I’ve been in the religious debate for a number of years with multiple denominations, including DA MUDDA DOGMA some call Catholics. It’s fine to have our token Catholic here to banter with. I see no problems with that. I can take the insults, as much as I give them. It’s all part of the fun of religious debates. Being called a heretic is like a badge of honor!

          Now, who is YAH. Is that short for YAHOO? I just call him Jesus, but some might get confused with the guy that mowes your lawn twice a month.

          I’m also confused what a Xian is. Sounds like a Men in Black thing.

          But speaking of Alpha and Omega ministries, he’s a CALVINIST, and I’ve never been partial to Calvinism. I used to post sarcastic comments on the Parchment and Pen blog about 15 years ago, or so, when Spiritual Abuse blogs became the thing, and the abuse is/was (both) coming from the CALVINIST side of the BAPTIST house. Co-mingling those two in one building was one of the worst mistakes to ever take place, because each picks up bad habits from the other.

          I have disdain for the DOGMA of EVANGELICALS just as much as you do with the RC and Evangelicals. I have found that Calvinists are generally MEAN, NASTY…just like you! But I would NEVER tell a Calvinist or a Catholic that they are not welcomed.

          If you want to see PRIDE in action…James White of Alpha and Omega is PRIDE, and not the good pride, either. But he’s your guy! The only ones he loves is those who love him. Even the wicked do that!

          Ed Chapman

        • Don

          Maverick, I apologize if my metaphor – meant simply to describe what I consider a most convoluted and at times infuriating blog article – gave offense. I sympathize with anyone who suffers from bi-polarity and did not mean to mock any such individual, merely the article as written. And, being forthright, I do think anyone who has suffered from, or experience with, bi-polar individuals can admit that their shifts in mood and speech and activities can be difficult, draining, and wearying, without intending to castigate the bi-polar person. I think the author of the blog, however, should have had better control of what he was saying, so that others roped into reading it by promise of deep insight could discern at a minimum a train of thought and a clarity of messaging – messaging that at the very least did not malign others who seek a better understanding of God’s Word via the biblical languages.

        • Bibliophile

          I think you misunderstood what Don meant by “bipolar personality”: he was referring to the article, not a person.

    • C Michael Patton

      I’ll give you this much. It is all a wrestling match. With the text, with each other, with God, with our problems, and with the Greek and Hebrew. I wouldn’t trade the wrestling match for the world. The unseen consequences of growing deeper than you could ever possibly grow if someone handed you a catechism and said believe this, is tremendous. True freedom is always worth the risk. God took the risk. The change comes from the inside, and that change comes from long bouts with everything in life.

    • Bibliophile

      “The unseen consequences of growing deeper than you could ever possibly grow if someone handed you a catechism and said believe this, is tremendous.”

      You seem to be assuming that catechesis and growth are mutually exclusive; but there is no logical necessity there. And even if you want to argue that, practically speaking at least, some Catholics seem to be at risk of rigid formalism and stagnate in their spiritual development; this is not necessarily the result of anything other than poor catechesis. The real challenge for Catholicism right now is not the catechism, but institutionalism. In short: there is absolutely no need to throw out the baby with the bathwater; no offence, but that’s just bad logic.

      Also, it isn’t true, as you want to imply by your comment, that the Catholic Church has not grown spiritually and neglected the “wrestling match” of life: your implied claim stands in direct contradiction against long centuries of Catholic history and rich tradition to prove that the contrary is true.

      • C Michael Patton

        Well, maybe we are not the one’s with dissonance 😁

        • Bibliophile

          In your reply, I don’t see any challenge to the logical consistency of the Catholic position; neither any argumet that the Catholic view is contradicted by the Bible: so I will take it that you just don’t want to discuss the issue on this particular blog post. No harm, no foul. Another time then 😊

        • C Michael Patton

          You bet. Love you, my friend.

    • Bibliophile

      Apart from the challenges which things like institutional and ethnic catholicism present, Catholics aren’t missing out on anything. On the contrary, unlike protestants, we are enjoying the “fullness of faith”; as opposed to just a small part of it, i.e., “Bible alone” 😏

      • C Michael Patton

        Well, all I can say is Amen. We are wrestling. Perhaps you are too.

        • Bibliophile

          Definitely. But it seems to me that, despite some areas of overlap, for the most part, unfortunately Catholics and protestants are “wrestling” in separate class categories, rather than making this a tag team event.
          I hope the ecumenism will prove to be fruitful endeavour in this regard.

        • C Michael Patton

          Me too. Lots of advantages. One day we will, my friend.

    • Bibliophile

      Love you too, Michael. Have a Happy and Prosperous New Year 😁

    • Maverick Sterling Smith

      Don and others it may involve:

      I apologize if I came off with guns blazing. In retrospect, I may have been projecting offenses I received and insults I received on YT comments simply trying to help a fellow sister in the faith struggle with her fear of hell, while in Christ.

      Yes, as one who deals with family that struggles with bipolar I took no offense at the comment of the contrast being learn Greek and don’t learn Greek. As one who’s adult ADHD mimics some traits of bipolar (being consistent was a struggle in my twenties and thirties, not as much in my forties but underlying at times I admit).

      I had some triggers from my old days on social media fight or flight kick in. I have no problems with Roman Catholics (who are consistent lol) nor any others in the faith regardless of their denomination for my theology certainly is not what it was at twenty-six, much less forty-six.

      I failed to apply my own advice and that is to keep things in context, don’t let emotions over-run intellect and finally, cool off when offended. I took the last one and certainly did not apply it. I had a “Xian” (Christian) tell me to remember his post while I was burning in hell (in ECT ) sulphur and brimstone simply because I’m an annihilationist.

      Grace, peace, love from the God and tranquility be upon all here.

      Soli Deo Gloria

      Maverick…Press On

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