Would Martin Luther want the MDiv to have "Biblical Languages?"

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by Rhetorician, May 28, 2010.

  1. Rhetorician

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  2. TomVols

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    Well said and worth saying! The whole context of Luther's quote is from a discourse on the value of the liberal arts, which has been bandied about here as well.

    The sentences before this are even more powerful:

     
    #2 TomVols, May 28, 2010
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  3. Havensdad

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    Frankly, although I like Luther, I do not give a pooh what he said, in this regard. Martin knew the languages well, and yet still got a BUNCH of stuff wrong, which my teenagers can see in the scriptures (like believers baptism, the animosity {rather than union} of earthly powers to the gospel, etc.) And yet they do not know the languages; in fact, they are reading what I consider a rather poor translation (NIV) for the most part.

    The idea that a person must "know the languages" in order to "judge" is just plain ridiculous.
     
  4. TomVols

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    Post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy.
    So it doesn't help? Then why are you wasting your time taking those language classes? :laugh: Hypocrite! ;)

    The idea that languages don't help judge is what's ridiculous, no offense. I knew sound doctrine before the languages. However, I learned it deeper when I learned the languages. And it sharpened my radar considerably. It helps me daily....DAILY...to weed out that which is not of the faith once for all delivered unto the saints. Elmer Towns stated that it led him from his presbyterian view of baptism. That's but one example.

    And let's not throw Luther under the bus. We do so at our peril, and we'd throw guys like Mohler, Akin, Piper, et.al, under there with him, especially re: languages.
     
    #4 TomVols, May 29, 2010
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  5. StefanM

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    He never claimed that the reason that Martin Luther "got a BUNCH of stuff wrong" was his knowledge of the languages.

    Therefore, your comment is invalid.
     
  6. TomVols

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    Havensdad clearly stated that A was true, and B occurred, intimating that A caused B implicitly because A occurred before B. Luther knew the languages early on in his ministry. Implicit causality can proffer grounds for post hoc ergo propter hoc. But I see what you're getting at.

    Edited to add: you could make a case Havens committed the fallacy of cum hoc ergo propter hoc. This is more correlative.

    Either way, a fallacy occurred. It would be worthy to debate which one Havensdad did create. I'd still argue for post hoc, but cum hoc is at minimum.
     
    #6 TomVols, May 29, 2010
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  7. StefanM

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    He didn't imply that the knowledge of the language caused it either.

    His point was that A did not remedy B. B was pre-existent. Havensdad's point was that the knowledge of the languages did not correct B.
     
  8. TomVols

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    I wholeheartedly disagree. You presume a vacum, which we don't have here. A occurred in conjunction with and/or prior to B, so causality is implicit. I'd again direct you to his wording.
    B could've occured before A, but how much? Likely little given Luther's training. Theological education, especially in Luther's day, relied on language study as part of the liberal arts prior to advanced training for a doctor of the church. So A would've existed before B. Even if A did not remedy B, causation is there implicitly, if not passive-aggresively, because A would then be in a reinforcing role or sufficient role for B. Looking at Luther's real life experience I think gives us ample evidence that argues against your contention. In fact, the more I think about it, I was right the first time. Since Luther likely learned the languages first, then came his poor Catholic doctrine followed by his strong Reformation doctrine (concurrent with its mild errors), we're back to post hoc.

    But if you'd be happier, we'll just call it a non sequitur, or a confirmational bias :laugh:
     
    #8 TomVols, May 29, 2010
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  9. StefanM

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    Your initial statement comes very close to the cum hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy.

    My point was that Luther was a Catholic prior to his academic studies. Admittedly, it is a weak point, and I have no problems withdrawing it.

    Your point, however, regarding A and B is also flawed. Even if A existed prior to B, it does not follow that A has any causative relationship to B. Havensdad's point was that A did not prevent B. Failing to prevent does not imply causation.

    For example: a bucket of water may not be sufficient to stop a fire, but the bucket of water did not necessarily play a role in the cause of the fire.
     
  10. StefanM

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    As a side note, I think the languages are helpful (I've studied both Greek and Hebrew), but I do not think they are absolutely essential to ministry (or to an MDiv, necessarily).
     
  11. TomVols

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    Not according to Havensdad's wording. more to come......
    Failing to prevent often does imply causation, especially in a judicial sense. I know we're not strictly there. But given the strict parameters of Havensdad's statement, this is an inference that doesn't take much to see.

    If I said "Jack and Jill both attended a conservative seminary but still held liberal beliefs," am I not making a de facto casuative assessment? At bare minimum, I am making a negative assessment of their theological training at the conservative seminary. This appears to be what's happening here in his statement.

    There are holes in your fire/bucket analogy. First, a bucket of water is never sufficient to stop a fire based on prima facie evidence. What kind of fire? How big is the bucket? What germinated the fire? Grease? No bucket is big enough. Second, a fire is not a static thing. Fire spreads and grows apart from an equal/greater stoppage. Theological error is a bit static in that your position on baptism is what it is - it doesn't grow larger or smaller with time or other influences. The position can change. Fire doesn't suddenly become wind or grass.

    I disagree with your assessment of Havensdad's argument. He argued that, despite A, B occurred. He could have meant one of three things:
    1. A caused B. Thus, post hoc (I think this is reasonable from Luther's educational background)
    2. A "did not prevent" B, thus B occured with A as attributive means. (I still don't see how we get around causative means). IOW, Luther's language knowledge led to his theological deductions. So, cum hoc.
    3. A happened, B happened, regardless of time. Thus, non sequitur, or a confirmational bias. However, we are not in a vacum. A did likely occur before B. So I don't see this as being as likely as #1 (most probably) or #2 (Possible, but less so than #1).

    You all but make my point on all this, by the way :)

    At the end of the day, Havensdad committed a logical fallacy. That isn't up for debate IMHO. It's just a matter of which one.

    (Do you get the feeling Havensdad is sitting somewhere with a bucket of popcorn watching us have this conversation?) :tongue3:

    I believe they are absolutely essential. I know we can argue exceptions to the rule, but we've been down that road (not you and I as such) and it's Memorial day weekend...I don't want to go there again :)
     
  12. UZThD

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    I'm so vain ; I imagine, despite my poor Greek & Hebrew, that I am qualified to reject all save one of these 16th century Lutheran tenets:

    1. Threefold dipping in baptism= Christ's three day burial, Lectures on Romans

    2. Water baptism regenerates, Lectures on Galatians

    3. Christ is begotten from the Father from eternity, Small Catechism

    4. Both natures in Christ suffered at the hands of men at the Crucifixion, Concord

    5. Divine foreknowledge required Judas to betray Christ, Bondage of the Will

    6. The true body & blood of Christ are present in the Lord's Supper, Augsburg

    7. The divine in Christ communicates the qualities of God as omniscience to the humanity of Christ (3rd genus), Chemnitz

    Surely I am foolish to doubt that the above must be valid since they came from the pens of scholars of the Biblical languages.

    So, are languages as important as Systematic Theology in the MDiv? Hmmm.....I wonder.
     
    #12 UZThD, May 29, 2010
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  13. TomVols

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    Bill, obviously if your Greek and Hebrew were better, you'd accept them all! :tongue3:

    Anyone who thinks Biblical language facility is a guarantor of sound doctrine is just plain out of his/her mind. But as I said in an earlier post, someone here argued about the primacy of studying systematic theology, but that doesn't keep people from error either as some who have PhDs in theology are heretics.

    But if we try to divide the language of the Biblical writings and the theology derived from the same, aren't we trying to divide potatoes and the french fries we have for supper? :) Listen, I hear you: I just spent an hour curled up with a theology text, not my Greek grammar. But the reason my theology text is so meaningful is that when someone discusses the implication of aphantos in Lk 24:31, I can follow along, rather than get lost and never be able to answer those who might say Christ was a mere ghost and the post-resurrection appearances were aberrations.
    (I'm giving my worn out Gal 2:16 that I'm wrestling with right now a break) ;)

    I'm just saying.....some go to great lengths to say the languages aren't important, all the while giving praise to that which is learned because one properly applies knowledge of the languages. It's tantamount to saying "Hey....Univision has some great programs...but don't bother learning Spanish." Sure, you can watch the stuff. But it helps if you know the language. If only my CC would translate it for me :laugh: After all, we're days away from the World Cup!
     
    #13 TomVols, May 29, 2010
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  14. Greektim

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    My opinion is that the languages improve the breadth and depth of preaching. Anyone training for pastoral ministry ought to learn language for that reason alone (among many other reasons). So if you are MDiv bound, learn the languages.
     
  15. Havensdad

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    As Stefan noted, there is NO fallacy here. Notice my use of the word "still." I was clearly stating that knowledge of the languages was no guarantee of success in judging scripture. That is all.

    If you see a logical fallacy there, I suggest you refresh yourself on the rules of logic.

    Again; no fallacy comitted.

    Woh there, skippy! I never said it didn't help. That is not what Martin said. He didn't say "It sure would be nice" for those judging, to know scripture. He said they could not judge without it. HUGE difference.

    Likewise, if you said "commentaries are helpful," I would agree. If you said "a person cannot judge scripture, without commentaries," I would vehemently disagree.

    So basically, you are just confusing terms here, Tom. You need to read the statements a bit more carefully. "Helpful" is a lot different from "required." If I believed that it was necessary to learn the languages to have a proper and deep understanding of scripture, I would tell my youth "Don't study your Bible! It will just confuse you! Just come let me explain it to you.."
     
  16. TomVols

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    I suggest you do the same. Also, read our interaction.
    You missed my jesting, I'm afraid.

    Still, it escapes me how you can claim something is helpful but say it's not necessary. If your doctor tells you it's helpful for you to quit smoking but not necessary, what will you do? Will you quit smoking? If not, why not? If so, why? I contend your actions belie your words. I'd even go so far as to say you go the other direction to the extreme Marty goes in the opposite. Marty perhaps even overstates his case that no judging rightly occurs without language knowledge. You go to the extreme to say it's unncessary. You cannot castigate him for doing what you yourself do :)

    Apples and bowling pins. Commentaries differ in type, scope, perspective, etc.
    Perhaps. But I maintain you really mean something other than "helpful."
    You're making my point.
    Only an idiot (which you are not) would tell them that.

    Anyone can watch television on a broken, snowy black and white TV. But it's far better to watch on a flat screen HDTV. Let he who has ears to hear, let him understand :)

    I just don't believe in dumbing down the pulpit. Sorry. Can't go there. It's been done, and we see the tragic results. It's time to get serious about the word of God again.
     
  17. Havensdad

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    Itescapes me how you can not see the difference between "helpful" and "necessary." If I say it would be helpful for me to have a car that gets better gas mileage, that does not mean that it is impossible for me to get where I am going, unless I have such a vehicle.

    No, you are making mine. If it is possible for them to read and understand God's Word without knowing the languages, this automatically excludes it being "necessary." If it is "necessary," then this would mean studying the Bible in English, without knowledge of the languages, is fruitless, since it is missing a necessary component for comprehension. This is plain.


    "Better"? Yes. Necessary? Absolutely not.

    Lack of languages does not mean a person is not serious about God's word. The most faithful pastor and exegete I know, has no knowledge of the languages. Speaking a different language neither equates to good exegesis, nor does a lack of such equal poor quality of exegesis.

    Nor do I. But reacting at the opposite end of the spectrum, making unbiblical requirements of people, is not the answer. You are answering scholarly slothfulness, with intellectual elitism. Both must be rejected.
     
  18. TomVols

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    And once again buddy, you change playing fields. First you go about a vehicle as a fuel consumer, then change the comparison to a destination provider. Essentially what you're doing with the "helpful" and "necessary," and in so doing you change the playing fields to escape meaningful comparison.
    .....a plain non-sequitur. No one is saying you can't grow some fruit using one seed. But you grow more by using a bushel basket full.
    In your seminary studies, are you taking CPE? Why or why not? Are you taking courses in family systems? Organizational behavior? Why or why not?

    Can you tell the color of a uniform on a B&W? What about the color of a soccer ball? The color of an ad on the stadium facade? For these, it's necessary. (Yes, I'm thinking about the World Cup...ESPN has gotten to me)

    And you just argued that a better knowledge of the Word is not necessary. You really want to go there?
    Prima facie, I'd agree. But a pastor-exegete who is not serious about the languages has some explaining to do. Again, your actions argue my point.

    Sorry...I have to call you on this "false authority" fallacy. We can argue exceptions all day long. It gets us nowhere (much like this discussion). And what if I say (I have) that the most faithful pastor I know doesn't know the Bible. What would you say about that?
    Whoa.....slothfulness? You can't have it both ways. It can't be slothfulness if it's an appendage. So which is it, my friend? Once again you make my point re: terminology. And intellectual elitism? You're reaching. You're forgiven this time :tongue3:

    Listen old friend (not that you're old.....:)), we've been down this road before. I believe the call to preach is a call to know the word we preach and that call requires a facility in the languages. You disagree. Simple as that. We aren't breaking any new ground (save for a few new fallacies you like to throw out - HA! just couldn't resist :)). So barring anything pressing, I'm off the merry go round, especially since it keeps changing.

    Language learning hypocrite! :) (everyone, I think of Havensdad in friendly terms and y'all know I'm a big teddy bear, so don't overreact).
     
    #18 TomVols, May 30, 2010
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  19. Havensdad

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    Nope, I am not. I do not even see how you can say this. My entire point is that you are not being consistent. I am being consistent; knowing the languages is helpful, not necessary. There is not one piece of information that you gain in scripture from knowing the languages, that cannot be learned without them. Knowing the languages makes it easier, and faster. Therefore it is helpful, but not necessary. No inconsistency, no "changing" of playing fields.

    Not at all. You are wrong; that is EXACTLY what the quote from Martin Luther says, which is why I am saying he is plainly wrong. He says there is "no other way" except to know the languages. That is ridiculous.

    As much as possible, I am limiting my studies to things which are directly scripture related.

    And this is where your comparison falls apart. There is no information from scripture, that cannot be gained without the languages. The languages just make such gleaning faster, and easier.

    No I did not. Since the Greek and Hebrew texts we have today are not autographa, if you are going to argue that English Bibles are not God's word, then you are also affirming that the Greek and Hebrew texts we have today are likewise not God's Word.

    If the English Bibles are God's Word, then knowledge of the languages from which they are translated are nothing more than a study tool; which I believe is accurate. I do not believe that the Greek and Hebrew Manuscripts are any more God's Word, than their English counterparts.

    Not at all. I do not see why a Pastor who does not know the languages has any explaining to do...God's Word has no commands which require the learning of languages to qualify one for the pastorate. It is optional.

    You can quote logical fallacies until the cows come home. But the fact is one good pastor that does not know the languages, proves beyond all doubt that knowledge of the languages is not necessary to be a good pastor.

    I would say, unlike the languages, that this violates biblical requirements for the pastorate. Try again.

    Not at all. There is more than one reason for not studying Greek and Hebrew. If it is simply because a person is too lazy, and doesn't desire to put in the effort, that is one thing. But there are multiple reasons a person might not study the languages.

    Its not reaching. Saying that anyone incapable of learning the languages is disqualified from the pastorate, is extra-biblical, legalistic, and wrong.

    That's like calling me a hypocrite for saying commentaries are useful, but not necessary, when I buy a commentary. I just said they were useful...why wouldn't I buy one? But I am not going to condemn another preacher for not buying one, nor am I going to state that anyone who doesn't buy my commentary can't preach. That's not a hypocrite...that is being consistent with my position.

    I also do not think Church History is necessary for the pastorate...but it is certainly useful. Shall we also make a rule that a person must know the last 2,000 years of history in order to preach? These extra biblical rules are silly.
     
  20. TomVols

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    One you aren't making very well :laugh:
    If you say so :laugh:
    That's about the most absurd thing I think I've heard you say in this discussion.
    Wise to dodge the question. I'll let it go. You know you've been had!
    That sounded as cretinous as the first time you said it.
    Oh Lord bud, it's getting worse. Now you're claiming translational inspiration. No matter. I'm even going to let you get away with that one.
    I'm not even going to pounce. It's late and it likely won't do any good. Besides, you've been asked before in this discussion on another thread to show the command for the pastor to learn the Bible, theology, etc. and you didn't provide it.
    I'll stop pointing them out when you stop committing them :laugh:
    Again, the hammer would fall were I not getting so bored with this.
    Why do you insist on this bromide? It's one thing when you play mental hopskotch. It's quite another when you make stuff up as you go along.

    Oh well. It's been fun. Okay, not really, but it's always good to hear from you. I'm going to post a blog including the article from Piper I've referenced you to before. And he won't be here to call you out on your floridities :laugh:

    I do consider you friendly on here, and I hope you do me as well. Seriously. We just disagree. I think learning the languages is critical and you don't. (here's where you cry foul and then wind up making my point once more) {If I weren't limited to smileys, another one would be here}
     
    #20 TomVols, May 30, 2010
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