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Featured David Chilton and the Greek

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by John of Japan, May 9, 2017.

  1. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    David Chilton was a Reconstructionist, touted by Gary North as a wonderful scholar, someone unanswerable by his opponents. North wrote, "But there will be no successful attempt by scholarly leaders of the various pessimillennial camps to respond to Chilton. There is a reason for this: They cannot effectively respond. As we say in Tyler, they just don't have the horses. If I am incorrect about their theological inability, then we will see lengthy, detailed articles showing why Chilton's book is utterly wrong. If we don't see them, you can safely conclude that our opponents are in deep trouble. To cover their naked flanks, they will be tempted to offer the familiar refrain: 'We will not dignify such preposterous arguments with a public response.' That is to say, they will run up the intellectual white flag" (Publ. Pref. to Days of Vengeance).

    My purpose in this thread is to show that Chilton, in spite of his claimed M.Div. and Ph.D. from Whitefield Theological Seminary, did not know the Greek and was thus not a scholar. Please be aware that for a genuine M.Div. you must already have 2 years of undergrad Greek, and must learn Hebrew and more Greek to get the degree. Furthermore, for a genuine, accredited Ph,D. in N.T., you must take a proficiency exam proving that you know the Greek and Hebrew. To verify what I am saying, please note the requirements at SEBTS, where my son earned his Ph.D.: Program: Doctor of Philosophy, Ph.D. - Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary - Acalog ACMS™
     
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  2. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    The first thing I would like to point out in Chilton's Days of Vengeance showing his lack of Greek knowledge is that his bibliography lists no Greek lexicons or grammars. In two footnotes on p. 150 and 479, he references the original "Arndt and Gingrich" lexicon of 1957 (what I had to use in seminary in 1976), but not in his bibliography. the 2nd edition, known as BAGD, is dated 1979, and should have been the one to use if Chilton was keeping up with his Greek, because his commentary is dated 1987.

    Why doesn't Chilton cite any grammars or refer to Greek grammar (except in referring to someone else's commentary on p. 247) in a supposedly technical commentary? Maybe because he didn't know Greek!

    By the way, all references are to the PDF versions of Chilton's books. Go here to access them: FreeBooks from the Institute for Christian Economics
     
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  3. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    The worst attempt of Chilton's to access the Greek is on p. 59 of Days of Vengeance, where he writes:

    "First, St. John describes the Father: Him who is, and who was, and who is to come. Philip Carrington has caught the spirit of this expression, which is atrocious Greek but excellent theology: the Being and the Was and the Coming. (on 1:4-6, p. 59)."

    And the footnote on the same page says: "In effect, the whole phrase is one proper noun, and indeclinable. The grammatical problem arises from St. John's attempt to render into Greek the theological nuances contained in the Hebrew of Exodus 3:14: I AM WHO I AM. St. John is not afraid to massacre the Greek language in order to get across a point...."

    There is so much wrong with this that it's hard to know where to start.

    1. Carrington's rendering is ridiculous, ignoring the fact that there are three substantival usages of the participles in the verse. Apparently, Carrington (whose work was in 1931, and who is one of Chilton's main sources) didn't know the Greek either! The substantival usage means that there is an article before the participle, and you must translate it like a noun, thus: "The Lord, the one who is, and the one who was, and the one who is coming, the Almighty." Any of my students who just finished Greek 102 could have translated this correctly.

    2. The statement that this verse is "atrocious Greek" is out of line. First of all, how would Chilton know it's atrocious Greek? The fact is, Carrington would have learned his Greek in the classical mode, meaning he judged koine Greek by the classical, and that's a common mistake of that era, but Chilton wouldn't have known that.

    3. Chilton writes, "In effect, the whole phrase is one proper noun, and indeclinable." This alone proves that he doesn't know Greek. As my beginning students learn, you don't "decline" a sentence or phrase or clause, you decline individual nouns, adjectives and participles, giving all the forms. It's an exercise, not something you do to a sentence. (You can parse the individual words, but that's another exercise.)

    4. The whole clause is not "one proper noun." I don't know where he got this, but it's ridiculous. It's a clause, for Pete's sake.
     
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  4. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate Well-Known Member
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    Surely the point in Revelation 1:4 is that John, in describing the Father, uses the preposition apo, which takes the Genitive case, and follows it with the Nominative? This, presumably, is what Chilton describes as 'atrocious Greek.' John obviously has a reason for doing this as in 30 other cases in Revelation where he uses apo, he correctly follows it with the genitive, including v.4b and v.5.
     
  5. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    You're probably right about why Carrington thinks John used atrocious Greek, but Chilton claims to be following the Majority Greek text of Farstad and Hodges, which has the genitive theou right after apo and before the substantival participles. Carrington was probably using the Westcott-Hort (or Nestle's), which does not have theou, making the prepositional phrase not normal Greek. This is another case, of course, of the Maj./Byz. having smoother readings than the critical texts.
     
    #5 John of Japan, May 9, 2017
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  6. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    Today I'm grading my Greek 102 final, and I'm proud to say that all but one student defined "aspect" correctly: the view of the action that the speaker chooses to present to the listener. Chilton has a strange paragraph on p. 172 about Rev. 5:6.
    First of all, Chilton failed to parse hestekos, which is the perfect active participle (acc. neut. sing.) of histemi, "I stand." Now, this is where verbal aspect comes in. The word is in the perfect tense, with the aspect of action completed but with continuing results. Chilton didn't reference this grammar point, but it's important in the exegesis.

    Then he has "smeared" as the meaning of Xristos (Christ). Really???? The lexicons all say "anointed one," which is quite different in meaning from "smeared one." To be "smeared" is a negative meaning. If oil is "anointed" on someone, that has a ceremonial meaning, but if it is "smeared" on someone, that indicates carelessness. Christ is not the "Smeared One," He is the "Anointed One."

    There is more I could say about this passage in Chilton, but I'm going to stop here. I mean, how could it get worse than "smeared"?
     
  7. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    On pp. 61-62, Chilton says,

    I read this and thought, "What in the world?!?"

    Even though the Greek word for "witness" is Romanized as martus, or sometimes martys, it does not usually mean "martyr" but "witness," plain and simple. (It does mean martyr in Acts 22:20.) Certainly in Rev. 1:5, which Chilton is exegeting, it does not mean that Jesus is a martyr. At any rate, contra Rushdoony, a witness has no authority to enforce the law whatsoever, but merely tells what he has seen and heard and knows.
     
    #7 John of Japan, May 9, 2017
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  8. TCassidy

    TCassidy Administrator
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    Yep. Dr. Gordon Lovic, my "bonehead" Greek teacher said it is from the Latin aspectus, from aspicere ‘look at,’ from ad- ‘to, at’ + specere ‘to look.'

    He said the author was, in effect saying, "look at it this way." :)
     
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  9. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    I've really pushed verbal aspect in my classes, so I'm proud they got it. We use Black's textbook, and he has a good balance. He's friends with Porter, but they don't completely agree.

    By the way, the festschrift for Black is out. My son is a contributor along with Porter, Danny Akin, J. K. Elliot and others: Getting into the Text: New Testament Essays in Honor of David Alan Black: Daniel L. Akin, Thomas W. Hudgins: 9781498237598: Amazon.com: Books
     
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  10. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    I'll write one more post today, then I have things happening.

    Chilton: "The Greek word for reads is often used in the New Testament for this liturgical activity (Luke 4:16; Acts 13:27; 15:21; 2 Cor. 3:15; Eph. 3:4; Col. 4:16; 1Thess. 5:27; 1 Tim. 4:13)."

    This is on p. 54 on Rev. 1:2-3. This statement is ridiculous on the face of it, because there are no other words in the NT for “read,” either liturgical or not. The word is anaginosko (ἀναγινώσκω), the normal verb for “read." It simply means “read,” whether or not it is liturgical. In fact, to illustrate this, it is notably used for those reading the title on the cross of Christ in John 19:20. So, there is no special "liturgical" meaning attached to this word.
     
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  11. PrmtvBptst1832

    PrmtvBptst1832 Active Member
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    After writing The Days of Vengeance, Chilton went on to promote the idea that all prophecy was fulfilled in A.D. 70. He denied any future coming of the Lord, resurrection of the dead, and day of judgment. Therefore, we are now living in the new heavens and the new earth.

    Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. -2 Pe. 3.13

    And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. –Rev. 21.4

    I am not a Greek scholar, but that sounds like Greek to me!
     
  12. kyredneck

    kyredneck Well-Known Member
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    Now I'm 'confused':

    “Grasshopper,

    It seems that the new heaven and the new earth and the new Jerusalem John saw coming down from God out of heaven refer to the new covenant and the kingdom of God (cf. Hebrews 12:25-29).”
    https://www.baptistboard.com/threads/me-millennial-exclusion-posts.38838/#post-1021060

    I remembered this from perusing your posts a couple weeks back. Do you still believe this?
     
  13. PrmtvBptst1832

    PrmtvBptst1832 Active Member
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    When I was a Primitive Baptist I certainly did believe such nonsense. Nice work, but that was 11 years ago. Did you look at that date?
     
  14. kyredneck

    kyredneck Well-Known Member
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    So being a Primitive Baptist compelled you to believe that and not the scripture you quoted?

    Is a certain system of eschatology stated in their articles of faith?
     
  15. kyredneck

    kyredneck Well-Known Member
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  16. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    Yeah, how Chilton deteriorated after his heart attack and coma is a really sad story. Even his friend and publisher, Gary North, separated from him when he went full bore preterist. He knows better now, I'm sure.
     
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  17. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    On p. 290 of Days of Vengeance Chilton writes:

    "The verb for give thanks is eucharisteo, used throughout Christian history for the Communion of the Lord's Body and Blood: The Eucharist. This term acquires its technical meaning very early (d. Didache 9-10), based on its usage in the New Testament accounts of the Lord's Supper (Matt. 26:26-27; Mark 14:22-23; Luke 22:17, 19; 1 Cor. 11:24)."

    However, the Greek verb does not mean “Eucharist,” and is never used with that meaning in the NT. It means to give thanks. Period.

    Chilton is anachronizing, or reading back a later meaning into the NT reading. Furthermore, he is reading back the meaning of the noun into the verb, and therefore mixing up two parts of speech. (It's worth noting that nowhere in Days of Vengeance does Chilton use the terms adjective, article, or adverb, and he only uses the terms noun and pronoun once each in a footnote on p. 59, though noun also occurs in an appendix by Carrington.)

    So my conclusion is that parts of speech mean little to Chilton, either in English or Greek.
     
  18. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    On p. 300 of Days of Vengeance, Chilton writes:

    The verb krazo has no special significance, simply meaning “call out” in any sense. It is used for the maniac of Gadera calling out, for the crowd calling out to Pilate to crucify Jesus, for idolaters calling out how great Diana was, for people mourning about Babylon falling in Rev. 18, etc. I can find no place in the whole NT with the "special significance" Chilton thinks it has where it is used for a "solemn oath," though angels in Revelation do call out with God's proclamation.

    This points out the fact that Chilton does not understand semantics. I am not speaking of the non-technical word, which means to quibble about meaning, but the linguistic term which means "the study of meaning" (from one of my linguistic dictionaries). In other words, Chilton's works show no understanding of how to determine the meaning of a word. This comes out every time he tries to define a word, when he always gives just one gloss (one or two word) meaning, assuming that one meaning works for the whole NT.
     
  19. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast Well-Known Member
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    He might not have been proficient in the Greek.....and of course that would not be a plus.
    However....the texts being raised with the heavenly bodies not giving light ,rolling up like a scroll,etc.....are not really depending on if he used a correct tense, or verb, or noun....or some other nuanced grammar the way it might affect a verse on redemption or sanctification.
    If you notice where his thoughts and verses can be discounted about the time texts, or the symbols, that would advance the discussion to show the position is not tenable.
     
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  20. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast Well-Known Member
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    Okay....this is helpful and a valid caution. He might be limited in his application of certain words not having worked through them as carefully as he could have.
    That being said...he might have certain passages in mind dealing with angelic proclamations where his word usage might be consistent in those verses....
    In other words...the word assembly could be used speaking of a mob of unruly persons rioting, or of a church meeting in a location.
     
    #20 Iconoclast, May 10, 2017
    Last edited: May 10, 2017
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