Those who click the links in my replies to Robert Turkel in this forum will probably get a message saying that he has made "major changes" to his website that "broke the links." In typical fashion, instead of taking the time to correct the problem, he advised readers to do his work for him and go to Google and use the "advanced search" option to try to find the new addresses of his articles. While searching through his website for the new addresses so that I could accommodate my readers by updating my links to his articles, I noticed that he has put together another piece of hackwork that is supposed to answer my final replies to his "Come Again" attempt to defend preterism. The poor guy just can't seem to realize that he is fighting a losing battle, because preterism is so contrary to obvious teachings in the New Testament that even most of those who are gullible enough to believe that the Bible is "God's word" find it hard to accept the far-fetched figurative spins that preterists put on second-coming prophecies. I recall two members of my Errancy internet list who said that when they were Christians, they were taken in by preterism but that when they could no longer accept absurd interpretations of rather plain New Testament statements about the promised return of Jesus, it hastened their rejection of the Bible in toto.
As we will see, Turkel followed his usual procedure of picking and choosing what he wanted to "reply to" in my latest articles and left unmentioned many of my points that are devastating to preterism. I will first answer, section by section, his latest ducking and dogging, and then at the end of each installment of my replies, I will list the points that he conveniently left unmentioned. As always, I will reply point by point and use Turkel and Till headers so that readers can more easily follow who has said what. Those who have done much reading at all in Turkel's website know that sarcasms and insults are his stock in trade when he is replying to an opponent who dared question his views. As readers will see from just my point-by-point quotations in this article of his "rebuttals," he seems completely incapable of civility, so readers will find me often replying to him in kind. If he should ever decide to debate just issues and not personalities, he will find me willing to cooperate. Until then, my policy toward him is going to be that one insult deserves another.
Once again we are back in Rolaids Country, spelling R-E-L-I-E-F for readers weary of Skeptic X's repetitive blather and infinitely dull discourse.
Skeptic X--that's me, folks. As usual, Turkey--er--Turkel made no mention of me by name and gave his readers no links to my articles that he purports to be answering. At the top of his article, which I have linked readers to above, he had a header that said, "Get the entire Tekton site on CD or zipfile. Get a stripped-down copy of this page," but actually all that Turkel's readers get when they read his "replies" to others, and especially me, are stripped-down versions, because he always quotes selectively and skips that which he knows will make him look even sillier than he appears in his truncated replies.
We pick up on Part Three of where X combs over his bald spots versus our Olivet article:
A re-re-re-re-repeat -- about 3-4 times, actually -- of his arguments about oikoumene, already refuted in our earlier sections. Naturally X still hasn't found a Greco-Roman scholar to help him make oikoumene mean the whole danged planet.
Well, in the first place, X--that's me, folks--never has said that oikoumene meant "the whole danged planet." I said only that the primary meaning of the word was "the inhabited earth." Here is what I said in the very first paragraph of my initial reply to Turkel's defense of preterism.
When Jesus said that the "the gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world" before the end came (Matt. 24:14), Turkel said that the word for world here was oikoumene, which didn't mean world but "only the Roman empire." Never mind that lexicographers like Arndt and Gingrich assigned "the inhabited earth, the world" as the primary meaning of this word (A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, 1960, pp. 563-564), and never mind that it was obviously so used in many places in the New Testament, world in this particular passage is a meaning inconvenient to Turkel's pet theory, and so he declares that the word didn't mean world but only "the Roman empire."
I am not sure what Turkel meant by a "Greco-Roman scholar," but as everyone can see, I have found two widely respected authorities in Greek, so if Arndt and Gingrich aren't good enough for Turkel, that will simply underscore just how desperate he is to ride his preterist hobby horse.
Arndt and Gingrich listed Acts 11:28; Revelation 3:10 (which I will quote later); and Revelation 16:14 as examples of where oikoumene was used to mean "the inhabited world," and they even cited Matthew 24:14, the very verse that Turkel is now trying to use as a proof text, as another example of where oikoumene was used to mean "the inhabited earth."
Matthew 24:14 And this good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the world [oikoumen], as a testimony to all the nations; and then the end will come.
Any reasonable person reading this will understand that Jesus was saying that the gospel would be preached in the entire world to all the nations before the end comes, but, of course, Turkel isn't a reasonable person. He will stubbornly say that "the world [oikoumene] here meant only the Roman Empire and that "all the nations" were just the nations in the Roman Empire. The Concordant Literal New Testament, however, rendered the verse like this.
And heralded shall be this evangel of the kingdom in the whole inhabited earth for a testimony to all the nations, and then the consummation shall be arriving.
Here is the literal translation in Hendrickson's Interlinear Bibe.
And will be proclaimed this gospel of the kingdom in all the inhabited earth for a testimony to all the nations, and then will come the end.
I don't know why Turkel demanded that I find a "Greco-Roman scholar" to support my view that oikoumene in Matthew 24:14 meant the entire inhabited earth, because the issue is not what Greco-Roman scholars think but what the word oikoumene meant in a disputed passage. The opinion of reputable Greek scholars would therefore be more relevant, and I believe I can now say that I have produced creditable Greek scholarship that says that oikoumene often meant more than just the Roman Empire. Those who check the link given above to my original reply to Turkel's "Come Again" article will see that I went on to give several passages where oikoumene was used to mean all of the world (as the writers of that time perceived it, of course). Here are just some of those passages/
Hebrews 1:1-6 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For to which of the angels did He ever say, "You are My Son, Today I have begotten You"? And again: "I will be to Him a Father, And He shall be to Me a Son"? But when He again brings the firstborn into the world [oikoumenen], He says: "Let all the angels of God worship Him."
One would have to be hopelessly addicted to quibbling--which Turkel is, of course--to argue that oikoumenen, a derivative of oikoumene, did not mean the world in general in this passage. As I asked in my article linked to above, "How likely is it that the writer [of Hebrews] meant to say that God had brought his firstborn into just "the Roman empire" rather than the world in general? Turkel, of course, hasn't bothered to answer any of this. He just picks and chooses, like most "smorgasbord Christians" do when they read the Bible, and then hurries on his merry way.
I also previously quoted the text below as an example of where oikoumene obviously meant the entire inhabited earth.
Revelation 3:10 Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world [oikoumenes], to test those who dwell on the earth [ges].
As I said after quoting this verse in the article linked to above, "The writer's use of both oikoumenes and ges [earth], unrestricted, in this verse communicates very clearly that he intended oikoumenes to convey the whole world in the sense of the whole earth." What has Turkel said about this? Nothing that I can recall. Maybe he will address it this time.
And maybe pigs will fly someday too.
I quoted other passages where oikoumene obviously meant "the inhabited world" and not just the Roman Empire, but these are sufficient to show that "bumbling Bobby" does indeed "reply" selectively to his opponents and skips entirely all that will make him look even sillier if he tried to respond to everything. Before I go on, however, I must juxtapose two verses that Turkel has avoided like the plague. In the article linked to above, I quoted Luke 4:5 as an example of where oikoumene was obviously used to mean "the inhabited world." This was Luke's account of where the devil [snicker, snicker] took Jesus upon a high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of "the world." I later quoted Matthew's parallel account to show that, whereas Luke had used oikoumene, Matthew used kosmos, which Turkel had previous said was the Greek word that meant the entire earth.
Luke 4:5 Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world [oikoumene].
Matthew 4:8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world [kosmou] and their splendor....
Where did Turkel say that kosmos was the Greek word used when the whole earth was meant? He said it in his initial article that spawned these exchanges. His position was that the disciples in Matthew 24:3 were not asking Jesus for signs of the end of the world but of the end of the Jewish age.
The word for "world" is not a reference to the physical world, but is the Greek aion, or "age." The question is about the end of the age a time period, not the end of the world. Had that been the intent, the Greek word kosmos would have been used.
This got Turkel into a predicament from which he has not yet extricated himself, because he must either admit that oikoumene meant the whole world or earth in Luke 4:5 or else say that Matthew erred in his parallel account by using a word that did mean that the devil showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the whole earth, whereas he had really shown him all the kingdoms within the Roman Empire, as if the Roman Empire would have had kingdoms in it. He shouldn't look now, but Turkel finds himself caught on the horns of a dilemma.
I am going to make those horns sharper by jumping ahead to where Turkel argued that parallel accounts in the gospels have to mean the same thing. When I challenged him to find where Luke used the word abomination in his account of the so-called Olivet discourse, he answered with typical sarcasm that is now coming back to haunt him.
X next fumes that he can find no place where Luke says anything about the abomination. Apparently that Luke's passage is parallel to those in Matthew and Mark is not enough; no, if X doesn't see the word "ABOMINATION" in blinking red neon, Luke can't possibly be talking about it.
Turkel's argument is that whatever Matthew meant in his account of the so-called Olivet discourse, Luke had to mean the same thing in his parallel account, so let's apply Turkel's "hermenutic principle" to Matthew's and Luke's accounts of the devil's taking Jesus to a high mountain to show him all the kingdoms of the "world." If Matthew used the word kosmos, which Turkel says meant the entire world or "the whole danged planet," then Luke must have intended oikoumene in his parallel account to convey the primary meaning of this word, which is "the inhabited earth." Therefore, both of them meant that the devil showed Jesus all of the kingdoms on the whole danged planet, and this proves that oikoumene did at times mean the entire planet. Turkel, then, must find contextual evidence in Matthew 24 that Jesus used the word oikoumene in its secondary sense of just the Roman Empire, and, needless to say, he hasn't done that yet.
In this section of Part Two of my reply to Turkel's latest evasions, I discussed in more detail this colossal gaffe that he made in arguing that parallel accounts had to mean the same thing, so I won't bother readers with details that they will be reading farther along.
Ouch! Those horns have to hurt.
Before I leave this point, I'll just give it a coup de grace. We have noted above that Jesus said in Matthew 24:14 that the end would not come until the gospel of the kingdom had been preached "in the whole world [oikoumene] as a testimony in all the nations. The expression "all the nations" [pasi tois ethnesi] except for variations necessitated by Greek cases was the same as the one in Matthew's version of the "Great Comission."
Matthew 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations [panta ta ethne], baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit....
As I explained above, the expression "all the nations" in both of these texts vary in spelling only because of the requirements of case endings in Greek. Surely, Turkel will not say that "all the nations" in the "Great Commission" command meant only all the nations within the Roman Empire, but since we can can never be sure of what he may say when an emotionally important belief of his is at stake, we will look at other texts where "all nations" was used.
Acts 14:15 "Friends, why are you doing this? We are mortals just like you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. 16 In past generations he allowed all the nations [panta ta ethne] to follow their own ways....
Acts 17:26 From one ancestor he [God] made all nations [pan ethnos] to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live....
Galatians 3:8 The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: "All nations [panta ta ethne] will be blessed through you."
Surely, not even Turkel, will quibble that "all nations" in these passages and the "Great Commission" did not mean all the nations of the entire earth, so this expression clearly meant what it plainly said in the passages just quoted. If, then, "all the nations" did mean "all the nations of the world," Turkel must offer something besides what Gary DeMar and other preterists think in order to prove that when Jesus said in Matthew 24:14 that the gospel of the kingdom would be preached "in the whole world" for a testimony to "all the nations" before the end would come, he meant that the gospel would be preached only to all the nations in the Roman Empire. Needless to say, he hasn't even begun to present such proof. I'm sure he finds it hard to believe that all of his readers don't swoon over every word he cranks out on his website, but he needs to realize that there are many out there like me who want convincing evidence and not just what he or his preterist cohorts think.
At times like these, I feel as if I have swatted a mosquito with a sledgehammer, but Turkel's obstinance reminds me of an old joke that I first heard when I was just a kid. A man who had bought a mule from another farmer returned the mule with the complaint that he couldn't get the mule to follow common voice signals like "gee" and "haw." The farmer who had sold the mule then picked up a two by four and whacked the mule over his head. When the mule, which had been knocked to his knees, stood up again, the seller said, "Gee," and the mule turned to the right; then the seller said, "Haw," and the mule turned to the left. "See," the seller said, "you first have to get his attention."
Well, I am not dumb enough to think that I have gotten Turkel's attention. I predict that when he replies to this, he will resort to typical sarcasm and insults to try to conceal his inability to prove that Matthew 24:3, 14 were speaking only of the end of "an age" and preaching the gospel only to all the nations within the Roman Empire, as he did when he couldn't answer my reply to his claim that biblical writers had often left out information that left their narrations incomplete, because they had had to deal with a shortage of writing materials. In his reply to my article, he strung together sarcasms and insults like the following. In wading through them, notice that Turkel constantly speaks in abstractions, which he never bothers to explain or give concrete information to support. I will occasionally interrupt Turkel's rantings to inject my own comments.
Those who click Turkel's link will find a silly attempt to justify such problems as ambiguity in the biblical text and Yahweh's orders to eradicate non-Hebraic nations by comparing these to a "prime directive" in the Star Trek TV series, which required noninterference in "prewarp" civilizations so that they could develop in accordance with normal processes of evolution rather than having them changed by outside influences by Star-Trek expeditions. This isn't at all relevant to Turkel's failures to prove that the New Testament teaches preterism, but I am going to quote one of his comments just to show that there seems to be no limit to the silliness that he will resort to in order to try to defend biblical accuracy. After he had presented the "prime directive," he made this laughable comment.
Can you hear the echoes? "Why not reform the Midianites or Amalekites by showing them miracles?" All in all it is a second-guessing procedure: Better to try with an aim for good and risk failure, than to allow things to continue as they are. In both cases the arguer assumes to know better -- the Skeptic better than God, the Trek fan better than the imagined authorities of Star Fleet -- and to be capable of making a sounder judgment, but based on what? Not a depth study of the culture; not knowledge of real alternate history, but based on nothing more than implied sympathy.
As the humorist Dave Barry would say, I am not making this up. Click the link yourself to see that Turkel actually made this comparison. In so doing, he showed that he is so logically challenged that he can't recognize obvious fallacies. His comments above are based on the assumption that "God" really did order the extermination of the Midianites and Amalekites, but what proof did he present to show that it is even remotely plausible to believe that when the Bible says that Yahweh ordered the Israelites to "utterly destroy" the Amalekites or to leave nothing alive to breathe in the Israelite sweep through Canaan (Deut. 20:16; Josh. 10:40; 11:11), there really was an omniscient, omnipotent deity issuing such orders. It just seems never to occur to Turkel and his ilk that such acts as these were attributed to the tribal deity of the Israelites because they were a superstitious people, living in unenlightened times, when people in general thought that gods whom they had created in their barbaric images were ordering them to commit these deeds. I wonder if Turkel can say, "Begging the question."
There is another problem with Turkel's analogy. I was never a big fan of Star Trek, so I admit that I knew nothing about the "prime directive" that Turkel used in his analogy; however, it seems to me that this prime directive was an order not to interfere in the evolutionary processes taking place on new planets discovered in "the final frontier." I would bet that this "prime directive" would have prohibited the extermination of other races on a newly discovered planet so that another race could occupy their territory. When this prime directive is compared to the Yahwistic directives, they are seen to be totally different, because Yahweh's directive was to kill them all if they weren't Hebrews. In other words, Yahweh's directive was to engage in direct interference to stop the normal processes in land that he wanted for his "chosen ones." Turkel seems to think that this was all right, so that speaks volumes about his moral concepts.
Does Turkel ever think before he crams his foot down his throat.
Now let's look at other sarcasms and insults in Turkel's attempt to "reply" to my article about his "paper shortage" explanation of why the Bible is so often ambiguous.
The last comment here was made in response to my quotation of Young's Literal translation of Luke 23:26, which says that Simon of Cyrene was conscripted to carry the cross of Jesus "as they [the Roman soldiers] were leading him away." Turkel had said in an earlier article that Jesus had carried the cross "halfway" and then the soldiers had "laid hold" on Simon to make him carry it the rest of the way. Turkel doesn't like for me to bury him beneath Bible versions that dispute whatever doctrine de jour he is trying to defend, so he usually answers with some kind of insult like the one I just quoted above, as if calling me a "hyperliteralist" would prove that the translations I had quoted were incorrect. Calling me a hyperliteralist is humorous coming from someone who has shown himself in his attempts to defend preterism to be a hyperfigurativist, who thinks that every plain biblical statement that disputes his preterist spin was figurative.
I can't let this pass without also pointing out that when Turkel is caught in a trap like this, he will often try to pass it off as just something that he wrote seven or eight years ago but no longer believes, as he did in his sarcastic comments below from the same article.
Just look at the excuses and speculations X will manufacture to criticize my "speculation". Of course, I wrote this article referenced over 8 years ago; these days I would not take a "John didn't know" approach as the best one (and X and his spittle-drenched fans would call such development based on further research an "inconsistency," because in their circles, it is impossible to ever learn anything new, and dead languages like Latin and Koine Greek and ancient Hebrew can never have any new insights found about them) but let's look at these anyway....
It is impossible for my "spittle-drenched fans" and I to ever learn anything new? Well, I hasten to remind Turkel that the changes in my religious views have been far more dramatic than his, or has he forgotten that I used to be a Bible-thumping preacher and foreign missionary?
Now let's look at a few more insults and sarcasm to underscore Turkel's way of "replying" to an opponent.
Those who check Turkel's link above--unlike him, I always link to his articles so that readers can see for themselves just how outrageous silly his "apologetics" can be--will find an attempt he made to try to defend his premise that biblical writers were vague and ambiguous at times because they lived when writing materials were expensive, as if a god who could send manna from heaven, part the Red Sea, save three men from the raging flames of a fiery furnace, resurrect people from the dead, "overshadow" a virgin to impregnate her, stop the sun at midday, etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., just couldn't intervene on behalf of his inspired ones so that they could write accounts that would be complete and coherent enough to be understood. At any rate, Turkel's sarcastic comments above seemed to be saying that the omniscient, omnipotent deity responsible for the existence of the Bible was concerned only with the people who lived at the time that Isaiah, Jeremiah, "Moses" [snicker, snicker], Mark, John, Paul, et al were writing, but when I read ridiculous comments like these, I wonder if Turkel ever bothers to read the book that he spends so much time trying to defend. Has he never read the following passages?
1 Corinthians 10:11 These things [events that the Israelites experienced in their wilderness years] happened to them to serve as an example, and they were written down to instruct us, on whom the ends of the ages have come.
Romans 4:23 Now the words, "it was reckoned to him," were written not for his [Abraham's] sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead....
Romans 15:4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope.
So Turkel says that when biblical authors were writing their scrolls, they were writing for the people of their time, but the apostle Paul said that they were writing for "us" so that we could learn from their experiences. One would think, then, that if scroll materials were scarce and expensive in those days, an omniscient, omnipotent deity, inspiring men to write for the benefit of future generations, could have intervened in some way to make sure that they had enough writing space to explain themselves adequate. Certainly, such a deity should have been able to see into the future and know that the time would come when there would be printing presses and paper in abundance to supply the world [that's world in the sense of the entire inhabited earth] with affordable copies of his "word."
Now stay tuned for the next episode of The Mouth That Roared to see what insults and sarcasms Turkel will resort to as he holds his breath and stamps his feet in anger over a rebuttal argument that he cannot satisfactorily answer. Now back to more of his feeble attempts to sell his preterist rantings.
X also doesn't get why it is significant that Matt used the word just once -- it is rather simple: it shows that he wanted to make sure it was understood that a specific geographic designation was in mind here, versus places where he used kosmos.
I didn't just demolish this quibble above. I buried it under so much textual evidence from the New Testament that Turkel is dead wrong about what oikoumene meant in Matthew 24 that he will never be able to dig it out and try to make it fly.
Anyway, I replied to this only-place-that-Matthew-used-the-word quibble in Part 2 of my Humpty Dumpty series. For the convenience of readers, I will quote what Turkel originally said about this and then after a comment or two quote my original reply to it.
But we need to look behind a key word: world--this time, it isn't aion, and it also isn't kosmos, the word which indicates the broadest possible connotations, as we noted earlier--this time, it is oikoumene, a word used to express only the Roman Empire (cf. Acts 11:28, Luke 2:1). It is significant that this is the only place Matthew uses this word; he has selected it carefully as a geographical delimitation; it is also significant that he has used this word rather than kosmos as he did with reference to the spreading of the Gospel correspondent with the separation of the justified and the wicked.
Well, as I said above, I felt that I had swatted a mosquito with a sledgehammer when I gave a mountain of evidence that clearly disputed Turkel's claim that oikoumene meant only the Roman Empire, so if Turkel is going to claim that Matthew used oikoumene here so that he could carefully express a geographical delimitation, he is going to have to offer more than just his mere say-so. My original reply to this claim, quoted below, shows that there is no basis for this claim that Turkel is trying to peddle to the biblically ignorant.
We have Turkel's word here that kosmos is a word that "indicates the broadest possible connotations." He cannot now deny that he has said that the word kosmos in the New Testament was meant to indicate the whole world, so when Matthew recorded his version of the temptation of Jesus, he said that the devil showed Jesus all the kingdoms in ton kosmon [the world]. If the devil showed Jesus all the kingdoms in the whole world [according to Matthew], and if the New Testament is indeed the "inspired, inerrant word of God," then Luke's usage of oikoumene where Matthew used kosmos would likely be 100% proof that oikoumene and kosmos were at times used interchangeably in the New Testament.
Turkel has evaded this rebuttal as well as the various other passages I have quoted to show that oikoumene was used in the New Testament many times to mean the entire inhabited earth. He also has not addressed my quotation of Arndt & Gingrich's Lexicon, which gave "the inhabited earth" as the first meaning of this word, and he has not addressed their citation of Matthew 24:14 as an example of where oikoumene was so used. In a word, Turkel has not addressed much of anything on this particular issue.
Turkel has also not replied to my citation of Acts 24:31, where the apostle Paul used oikoumene in an obvious reference to the entire inhabited earth. In Part 2 of my Humpty Dumpty series, after commenting that oikoumene in Acts 11:28 could have meant just the Roman Empire but that it didn't have to, I showed that there is no reasonable way to limit this word to just the Roman Empire in Acts 24:31. Although I have just linked readers to this section, I will quote the most relevant paragraphs so that Turkel can ignore them again.
The reference to the emperor Claudius Caesar [in Acts 11:28] would give a contextual reason to think that oikoumene was here used to mean the Roman empire, but it would not have been at all impossible that the writer meant that the famine [dearth] had come over the entire world.
Acts 17:31 Because he [God] hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world [ten oikoumenen] in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.
It will be interesting to see Turkel's reaction to this example, if he even bothers to comment on it, because unless he is willing to admit now that oikoumene was sometimes used to mean the entire world, he will have to argue that God has appointed a judgment day but only those who lived in the Roman empire will be judged. The apostle Paul, however, said in Romans 3:6 that God would judge the world [kosmos], and we have it from Turkel himself that kosmos was a word that signified the entire world. Here, then, is conclusive proof that the word oikoumene was sometimes used to mean the whole world. If Turkel is going to stone wall this issue, he should tell us if he also thinks that the "assurance" that God gave to "all men," stated in the text above, was just an assurance given to all men within the Roman empire.
Well, I guess I mispoke when I said that it would be interesting to see Turkel's reaction to the usage of oikoumene in Acts 17:31, because I have seen it in "Scrambled McSkeptic X with Sausage," and it was one of the most pathetic jobs of tap dancing I have seen, and I have seen a lot of biblicists try to tap dance around rebuttal arguments.
I'll bother, though it's as useful as a hearing aid at a pantomime show. I do argue that God appointed a day to judge the Roman Empire, and that day can, or need not be, the same day everyone else will be judged as well. Skeptic X is playing the same dum-dum game of assuming parallel phraseology means equivalent meaning of every word. It doesn't. This harbors no proof at all that oik means the whole globe except by Skeptic X Game #2, letting exegesis run the definition when definitive definition should run the exegesis. By the same means Skeptic X inserts an "ONLY" equivalent by supposing that this must therefore mean the assurance was "just" to those in the RE. No, Paul is speaking to cultured Greeks whose primary concern is the oik. It's no different than [sic] a preacher today saying "God will judge this city" and thereby not meaning God won't judge others cities, at the same time or at different times. Nice try, but Skeptic X still hasn't broken off the leash and out of the circle.
So everyone can see here that Turkey--er--Turkel was quibbling that Paul meant in the text quoted above that God was going to judge only the Roman Empire, because he was speaking to "cultured Greeks" whose primary concern was the empire they were a part of. Notice, however, that he said nothing about Romans 3:6, where Paul said that God would judge the kosmos, which Turkel says meant the entire world. No doubt, he will say that Paul did mean the entire world here (even though he was writing to Romans who would have certainly been people whose "primary concern" would have been their empire) but that in Acts 17:31, he meant only the Roman Empire, because he was speaking to cultural Greek "whose primary concern was the oik[oumene], as if the Romans to whom he was writing in Romans 3:6 would not have been people whose "primary concern" would have been their empire. The poor guy just can't help putting his foot into his mouth when he searches for some quibble to give his readers a semblance of knowing what he is talking about. This quibble, however, fails to take into consideration the context in which the statement in Acts 17:31 was made, and that is a glaring oversight for someone who constantly talks about how I "decontextualize" passages that I quote, so let's see how he has "decontextualized" this one verse that appears in a longer speech in the Areopagus that Luke attributed to Paul. I will emphasize in bold print the parts that show to any reasonable person--which excludes Turkel, of course--that Paul was speaking about the omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent nature of "God," which made him the god of all people in the entire world.
Acts 17:22 Then Paul stood in front of the Areopagus and said, "Athenians, I see how extremely religious you are in every way. 23 For as I went through the city and looked carefully at the objects of your worship, I found among them an altar with the inscription, 'To an unknown god.' What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. 24 The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things. 26 From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, 27 so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him--though indeed he is not far from each one of us. 28 For 'In him we live and move and have our being'; as even some of your own poets have said, 'For we too are his offspring.' 29 Since we are God's offspring, we ought not to think that the deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of mortals. 30 While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will have the world judged in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead."
So it is now question time for Bobby.
That, folks, is the kind of quibbling nonsense that Turkel will resort to in order to cling to an emotionally important believe that has been shown to be hopelessly contrary to what the Bible clearly teaches. Now it is time to sit back and watch the fun.
See Bobby run. See Bobby dance. See Bobby hop skip and jump right over these rebuttals that consign his preterist nonsense to the trash heap it belongs in.
So let's see now what else he had to say.
Hello? X also asks the Stupid Skeptic Question, "Just why did the gospel have to be preached to only the whole Roman Empire before the end could come? Why would it not also have had to be preached to China, Japan, Russia, Scandinavia, etc.?" Why "could it not" is not a relevant question.
Why isn't it? Let's see if Turkel gives a plausible reason for saying that.
The point is that oikoumene means that that was the extent that it would have to be preached before the end came.
No, nothing plausible about what he said here, and besides that, he is still asserting that oikoumene meant only the Roman Empire, and I have shot more holes in that than a St. Valentine's Day corpse.
Now maybe Turkel will at least try to tell us why "that was the extent that it would have to be preached," because we are not going to accept this just because he says so. After all, we are not the gullible choir members who stand in awe of the hackwork that he cranks out for his website.
X is inserting a pointless "why this way" question that has nothing to do with the subject at hand.
Why is this a pointless question? Because Turkel says so? Well, that isn't good enough.
If he wishes to complain, we await the results of his trip in the Turtledove Time Machine showing that the end would have been better had it comes [sic] when the Gospel had reached China, Japan, Australia, Peoria, etc.
And this explains what? It explains nothing, but I can give a very plausible reason why we should think that Jesus meant in Matthew 24:14 that the gospel of the kingdom would have to be preached to all nations in the entire world, or, as Turkel would say, "the whole danged planet." This plausible reason begins with a simple recognition that various New Testament texts probably meant exactly what they said when they declared that "the end of all things is at hand" (1 Pet. 4:7) or that Jesus was coming "soon" (Rev. 3:11; Rev. 22:7, 12) or that "the coming of the Lord is at hand" (James 5:8) or that some hearing Jesus speak would not "taste of death" till they saw the son of man coming in his kingdom (Matt. 16:28), etc., etc., etc., rather than the unlikely, far-fetched figurative spins that Turkel and his preterist cohorts put on these texts. A plausible reason why these text did mean exactly what they say can be tied to a sensible interpretation of Acts 17:31 and related texts. The New Testament teaches that God has appointed a day when everyone in the world will be judged according to their "deeds," and it is for this reason that "God" has commanded all men everywhere [on the whole danged planet] to repent, but it would be fundamentally unfair for an omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent deity to judge the world before everyone had had a chance to hear the "gospel of the kingdom." This, in a nutshell, is why it is far more reasonable to think that Jesus meant in Matthew 24:14 that the end of the world--the whole danged planet--would not come until the gospel had been preached "to all the nations" of the world--the whole danged planet. Fundamental justice would demand that if "God" were going to condemn people to hell, he should first give them a chance to hear of his command for "all men everywhere to repent."
The sensibility of this interpretation can be seen in something that Paul said in his speech in Acts 17 that I haven't yet commented on. After saying that "God" had commanded all men everywhere to repent, he went on to say immediately, "(A)nd of this [the fixing of a day to judge the world in righteousness], he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead. Obviously, then, Paul was saying in this passage that "God" had fixed a day when he would judge the world--the whole danged planet--and Turkel is straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel in order to protect an emotionally important belief. He has written far too much on preterism and boasted far too much of what he knows about this subject ever to say, "Well, I wrote that eight years ago, and these days I would not take a preterist position as the best one." No, he is in far too deep ever to change his position, so he will go to his grave screaming, "It was all figurative! It was all figurative!" His narcissistic personality simply will not let him admit that he is wrong.
As an egotist he no doubt can come up with a better time for all these things.
A narcissistic braggart calling me an egotist is a classic example of the pot calling the kettle black. I just gave some very sensible reasons why we should understand that Jesus meant that the gospel would have to be preached to all nations in the entire world--the whole dang planet--before the end would come, so now I will repeat the question that Turkel is trying to dance around: Why would the gospel of the kingdom have to be preached only in all of the Roman Empire before the end could come?
The preterist spin on Matthew 24:14 is that "the end" was the end of the Jewish system and not the end of the world, but the Jewish system for all intents and purposes was confined to Jerusalem and its immediate surrounding areas, so why would the gospel have to be preached in Spain, Britain, Germania, Gaul, and other provinces far removed from Jerusalem before the end of the Jewish system could come?
Let Turkel gives us a sensible answer to that question if he can. He can't, of course, so we can expect to hear him sputtering sarcasms and insults to try to hide his inability to answer a simple question: If Judaeism was basically a regional religion associated with the temple in Jerusalem, just why was it necessary for the gospel to be preached in all of the Roman Empire before the end could be brought upon this regional system?
See Bobby run. See Bobby dance. See Bobby hide behind sarcasms and insults.
(A little later it is made clear that his "why" is based on the assumption that this "end" is the "end of the world",
Not just an assumption but some straightforward exegeses of various second-coming texts, especially the ones discussed directly above. Now let's see Turkel offer sensible interpretations of his proof texts that don't resort to argumentation by assertion, question begging, special pleading, and appeals to dyed-in-the-wool preterists whom he has the gall to call "scholars."
[A little later it is made clear that his "why" is based on the assumption that this "end" is the "end of the world",] beyond which there would be no more spreading the Gospel message
Well, actually, the "gospel" never has been preached to the whole world--the whole danged planet--despite the claim of the apostle Paul that it had been even in his day.
Colossians 1:5 You have heard of this hope before in the word of the truth, the gospel 6 that has come to you. Just as it is bearing fruit and growing in the whole world....
The Greek words for the whole world in this verse were panti to kosmo, a derivative of kosmos, which, as we noticed above, Turkel assures us meant the entire world--the whole danged planet. Does this bother him? Not at all, because when he is confronted with such an obvious contradiction of his preterist nonsense, all is not lost; he can then turn to flagrant quibbling, as he did here.
Most [sic] everything so far, few would dispute happened between 30 and 70, but what about this one? Surely, the critics and dispensationalists say, the gospel wasn't preached to the entire world by 70; it hasn't even reached some people now! But we need to look behind a key word: world--this time, it isn't aion, and it also isn't kosmos, the word which indicates the broadest possible connotations, as we noted earlier--this time, it is oikoumene, a word used to express only the Roman Empire (cf. Acts 11:28, Luke 2:1). It is significant that this is the only place Matthew uses this word; he has selected it carefully as a geographical delimitation; it is also significant that he has used this word rather than kosmos as he did with reference to the spreading of the Gospel correspondent with the separation of the justified and the wicked. The gospel had to be preached to the Roman Empire as a whole before the end of the age. Was this fulfilled? According to the NT, it was (Rom. 10:18, 16:25-7; cf. 2 Tim. 4:17; see also Rom. 1:8 and Col. 1:6, which uses kosmos hyperbolically).
See how the Turkey works? He makes a big deal about "the world," which the gospel would have to be preached to, before "the end" could come, meaning only the Roman Empire, and then tried to support that by claiming that if Matthew had meant the entire world--the whole danged planet--he would have used kosmos, which was the word used when the entire world was meant, but then when he confronts a text where the "inspired" apostle Paul said that the gospel was bearing fruit in "the whole kosmos," he pushes his quibbling button and says that the word kosmos was just being used "hyperbolically." Any reasonable person can see his tactics, which in his defense are merely tactics that he has learned from Gary DeMar and other preterist cohorts: If the face-value reading of a text presents a problem for preterism, Turkel will scream, "That's figurative!" or, "That's apocalyptic!" or, "That's hyperbolic!" A text just never means what it clearly says if it is going to conflict with preterist doctrines.
That, folks, is the kind of hero that Turkel's choir members adulate.
-- a case of X yet again chasing his own tail in a circle, for as shown, the "end" is of the age,
Well, I guess I will have to run by Turkel again all of the textual evidence that I presented to show that aion was sometimes used in the New Testament to mean the end of time or the end of the world and not just the end of some imaginary age that preterists have dreamed up. In this section of Part 8 in the Humpty Dumpty series, I showed clear evidence of where aion was used in the New Testament to mean world, especially passages referring to the end of the aion. Those who click this link will be taken directly to a section of the article that discusses this at length, so I will abbreviate my comments here. I showed readers the following fact about New Testament usage of aion.
Hebrews 1:2 (B)ut in these last days he [God] has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds [tous aionas].
Hebrews 11:3 By faith we understand that the worlds [tous aionas] were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.
Now if Turkel would just think seriously for a moment, which admittedly would be difficult for him to do, he would recognize that aion was obviously being used in the sense of world in these verses, especially in the last one. The Hebrew writer said that "the worlds [tous aionas] were prepared"--or as some translations say, framed or made or formed--"so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible." Surely, even Turkel isn't silly enough to argue that an age or era can be seen in the sense that material objects like the world can be seen, so the writer was here talking about the framing or creation of the world from things that are invisible. The NIV, for example, says, "By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible." In other words, the Hebrew writer was saying that God created the things within the universe from things that cannot be seen. In communicating this idea, he used a plural derivative of aion, which Turkel says can only mean age. We have Turkel against creditable scholarship, so I will leave it to readers to decide who would be the most reliable.
In the section linked to above, which I am repeating here, readers can go directly to where I discussed New Testament usage of aion to mean world, so I am going to quote just one other example here.
If I juxtapose two passages in which "Matthew" used aion, those who don't have a pet doctrine to defend should have no trouble seeing that "Matthew" at times did use aion to mean the world.
Matthew 24:3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world [sunteleias tou aionos]?
Matthew 28:16 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world [sunteleias tou aionos].
Even those who have not studied Greek should be able to look at the transliteration of the final three words in each passage to see that they are the same. Now Turkel claims that sunteleias tou aionos in the question the disciples asked Jesus in the first passage above meant not the end of the world but just the end of the "age of law." If that is so, then does Turkel think that the same three words in "Matthew's" version of the so-called "Great Commission" meant that Jesus would be with his disciples, who were to go to all nations to preach the gospel, only until the end of the age in AD 70? If so, does that mean that after AD 70, the disciples who went about preaching the gospel to all nations were on their own? If sunteleias tou aionos in Matthew 28:16 meant the end of the world, the end of time, the end of an age in which the gospel would be preached to all nations, then why did it mean just till the end of the "age of the law" in Matthew 24:3? What is there in the context--c-o-n-t-e-x-t--of Matthew 24:3 that enables Turkel to know that it had this meaning that the same expression obviously didn't have four chapters later in a document written by the same person?
We need an explanation, and Turkel should remember that his biases are not justifiable reasons for saying that these three words had a different meaning in 24:3.
Lexicographers say that aion sometimes conveyed the sense of "the world," and translation committees have rendered aion as world in various New Testament texts. I don't know about others reading this, but I would prefer to put my trust in what the translators have said rather than in the opinion of a biblical inerrantist trying frantically to make the Bible not contradict itself. If there is scholarly consensus that aion did at times convey the sense of "the world," Turkel must offer more than his mere biased opinion that the disciples did not mean world when they asked Jesus what would be the signs of his coming and of the end of the world (Matt. 24:3).
These questions were asked in response to Jesus's prediction that not one stone in the temple would be left upon another that would not be thrown down. In the minds of the disciples, such destruction would be associated with the cataclysmic end that was expected at that time.
When confronted with evidence like this that contradicts Turkel's figurative applications of "end time" biblical passage, he owes his readers more than just his mere opinion that is biased by preterist indoctrination. How does he know that aion in Matthew 24 meant the end of an "age" and not the end of the world in the sense that when the "age" ended time would end, as when we say, "Till the end of time." Anyone who hears this expression knows that even though it said nothing about the end of the world, it would have to mean the end of the world, because when time ends, the world would also have to end.
Turkel's hopeless confusion about this is a direct consequence of his failure to recognize that people in New Testament times thought that "the end" was "at hand." Hence, they thought that their "age" was the last one and that when that age ended, all things, which would, of course, include the world, would also end. Has Turkel never read this passage in Hebrews?
24 For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God's presence. 25 Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. 26 Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages [ton aionon] to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.
So this writer was simply one of the many back then who believed, like untold generations before them, that the "end" was near; hence, he thought that "Christ" had come "at the end of the ages." In other words, he thought that "Christ" had come just before "the end of all things," as the writer of 1 Peter had put it, so the "age" at that time would be the last one. More evidence that New Testament writers thought that their age would be the last one is seen in a passage that I quoted above to counter Turkel's claim that biblical authors wrote only for their contemporaries.
1 Corinthians 10:11 These things [events that the Israelites experienced in their wilderness years] happened to them to serve as an example, and they were written down to instruct us, on whom the ends of the ages [tele ton aionon] have come.
So the apostle Paul thought that the age that he and the Corinthians were living in was "the end of the ages," and he used a derivation of aion, which Turkel says could not have meant world but age. The end of the last "age," however, would be the end of the world, so Turkel is obviously wrong.
In "What Rapture?" I cited "A Brief History of the Apocalypse," which lists hundreds of failed predictions of "the end," many of which predated the advent of Christianity and go as far back as 2800 BC to a prediction, inscribed on an Assyrian tablet, that widespread corruption indicated that the end of the world was near. If one types "end of the world" into the Google window, he will get 2.5 million hits. That is just how deeply ingrained that end-of-the-world mania is in our society. I live across the street from a Seventh-Day Adventist Church, whose yard bulletin has been urging passersby to come to hear sermons on signs that the end is near. The one last week decared, "You Can't Deny the Signs." Chicken Littles, then, have existed all through the ages, and so any rational person should have no difficulty in concluding that all of the New Testament passages that said that the end was near or at hand or that Jesus was coming soon or that he would come before some in that generation had passed away were written by people who were just like their doomsday predecessors, who had repeatedly proclaimed that "the end" was near.
Turkel and his preterist cohorts gain absolutely nothing by quibbling that some of the prophecies in question spoke of the end of the "age" and not the end of the world, because, as I just showed, those who had predicted the end of "the age" thought that their age would be the last one. If a religious figure today predicated that the "end of time" would happen before this generation had passed away, anyone who would argue a thousand years from now that his prophecy didn't fail because he didn't say that the world would end but only that time would end would obviously be a quibbler. In the same way, rational people have no difficulty recognizing that the claim of Turkel and his preterist cohorts that the "coming" of Christ in AD 70 was a "figurative" or "apocalyptic" coming are obviously quibbling in a desperate attempt to make the Bible accurate.
[-- a case of X yet again chasing his own tail in a circle, for as shown, the "end" is of the age,] not of the world,
I have given above mountains of evidence that clearly shows that Turkel's end-of-the-age quibble is full of too many holes for any reasonable person to take seriously. If he answers this article, watch him try to pick and choose his way around this evidence.
and there would thereafter be available an extended period of preaching to those outside the oikoumene.)
Outside the world? Does this mean that Christians should be sending missionaries to Mars? I have shown that "the world [oikoumene]," where Jesus said that the gospel would have to be preached before the end could come, was the entire world--the whole danged planet. I have also shown that the apostle Paul claimed that the gospel was bearing fruit in "all the world" (Col. 1:6), and here the word kosmos was used, which Turkel claims was a Greek word that meant the whole danged planet.
Oh, I forgot, I forgot, I completely forgot: Paul was just speaking "hyperbolically" here. How stupid of me! It's a good thing Turkel is around to set me straight on matters like this. Of course, the apostle Paul went on to say in this same context that the gospel, which the Colossians had heard, had been "preached to every creature under heaven" (v:23), but I guess he meant that the gospel had been preached only to every creature that was under the part of "heaven" above the Roman Empire. Or he could have still been cruising in the hyperbolic gear that he had shifted into in verse six when he said that the gospel had been preached to the whole danged planet. I'm sure that there must be an explanation for this. Heavens, there just can't be a discrepancy in the Bible, can there?
In terms of the Gospel actually getting that far before 70, I noted some passages to that effect.
Well, sure, or at least, that is what the New Testament teaches. I have just pointed out that the apostle Paul said that the gospel had been preached to every creature under heaven on the whole danged planet, and even Turkel will say that Paul died before AD 70. Hence, Turkel is wasting his time trying to prove that "some passages" teach that the gospel had gotten as far as the entire Roman Empire by AD 70, because if it had gotten as far as to every creature under heaven on the whole danged planet, then it would have gotten as far as all of the Roman Empire, which was just a fractional part of the whole danged planet.
X objects that Rom. 16:25 speaks of "nations" not the oikoumene. It's X's usual inability to get out of his box:
"No reasonable person would claim that the gospel had been preached in North and South America at this time, so this has to be viewed as an incorrect claim that Paul made, which was due to his limited knowledge of geography, but it does show a belief of that time that the gospel had been preached in what was considered to be the whole world."
No reasonable person would assume that Paul meant to include parts of the world unknown at the time. The "nations" could contextually ONLY refer to peoples then known to Paul.
Well, I wouldn't dispute this at all, because I have always said, ever since coming to the realization in the early 60s that the Bible was riddled with errors, that the people who wrote it simply wrote what they thought was true. The apostle Paul lived at a time when people had limited knowledge of geography, so when he said that the gospel was bearing fruit in all of the kosmos, the whole danged planet, he was merely saying what he thought was so. Likewise, when he said that "the revelation of the mystery" that had been "kept silent through times eternal" (Rom. 16:15) had now been "manifested" by the "scriptures of the prophets" and was being made known "to all the nations," he no doubt thought that all the nations on the whole danged planet were hearing this "mystery," because the man, through no fault of his own, had no idea what the world was.
Rather than helping Turkel in his futile attempts to defend the Bible, Paul's geographical ignorance merely confirms the claim of skeptics that the Bible is just another collection of documents that were written by fallible humans and, therefore, contains all kinds of errors because of the fact that these fallible humans just didn't know any better than what they incorrectly wrote about. That being so, how can Turkel have any faith at all in the accuracy of the Bible, and why does he waste so much time trying to defend the accuracy of a book that obviously is not accurate?
Turkel tries to justify discrepancies in the Bible by talking about "oral tradition," "Semitic idioms," "ancient Near Eastern culture," "paper shortages," and an almost endless list of other rationalizations. In "The Paper Shortage," I asked him to explain just why an omniscient, omnipotent deity couldn't "inspire" more clarity and accuracy than what we find in the Bible.
Whatever happened to "inspiration," and what was the purpose of whatever brand of "inspiration" that Turkel believes in if it wasn't intended to guide the writers into reporting truth and not error?
In "The Intelligence Shortage," he managed to throw the evasive answer below into a string of sarcasms and insults that he apparently thought would hide his inability to answer this question sensibly.
What "happened" to it? Nothing. Other than that, it was taken over by Western anachronists like X who thought this meant robotic dictation, rather than what the ancients thought "inspiration" meant (which was more like, the sort of "inspiration" we get for a work of art).
What Turkel said here reduces the Bible to an absolutely worthless collection of writings of no more importance than an "inspired" work of art like Claud Monet's Water Lilies or Pablo Picasso's Visage de la Paix, and Turkel will never be able to explain to us why we should think that the thoughts of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Amos, Ezekiel, "Matthew," "Mark," the apostle Paul, etc., etc., etc., are any truer than what was written by other authors in biblical times. I am sure that the authors of Tobit, Judith, Ecclesiasticus, the books of Enoch, the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, etc., etc., etc., were fully inspired by Turkel's definition just quoted, so is he going to claim that there are no inaccuracies in these books either? What about the inscription on the Moabite Stone? Was the author of this inspired too? The author(s) of the Bhagavad-Gita or the Zoroastrian Avesta--were they inspired too? If not, how does Turkel know? If so (in the sense that Turkel claims that ancient societies understood the meaning of inspiration), then what rule of dubious logic does Turkel use to determine that the biblical text is more reliable than the others? Inquiring minds want to know.
By defining inspiration as he did above, Turkel hasn't just opened the way for every devoté of religions based on holy books to claim that their books are accurate in everything they say, but he has shown an incredible ignorance of what the Bible itself teaches about so-called inspiration in rather clear passages like the ones I will be quoting below.
2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness....
Turkel often talks about what the Hebrew or Greek texts say when he is trying to read into them what they don't say, so let's talk about the Greek word that was translated inspired in this verse. It was theopneustos, which literally meant "God breathed," and we have the assurance of Turkel himself in his article "An Inspired Concession" that this was the meaning of the word and that it conveyed a sense much different from the one that he is now claiming.
Now for verse 40, where Paul concludes with "...And I think that I too have the Spirit of God." Simply put, anybody who claims that v40 conflicts with 2 Tim 3:16 needs to produce a valid argument that having confidence that one is guided by God the Holy Spirit prevents one's words from being God-breathed.
Prior to this, he had said that "a straw man fallacy" is committed when one equates "the set of God-inspired writings" with only the sayings of Jesus. Hence, he was claiming here an entirely different view of inspiration than the one that he presented above when he said that ancient societies understood inspiration to mean nothing more than "the sort of 'inspiration' we get for a work of art," but, of course, he probably wrote that seven or eight years ago and would no longer hold that approach to inspiration to be the best one. Those who do much reading in Turkel's website will see that he will take positions according to whatever direction the winds of biblical controversy may be blowing.
The fact is that the Bible teaches the doctrine of verbal inspiration, and Turkel can't use the word hyperliteralist enough to change that obvious fact. In addition, to 2 Timothy 3:16, just quoted above, other biblical passages taught that what inspired men wrote or said was what the "Spirit of God" directed them to say.
2 Peter 1:19 So we have the prophetic message more fully confirmed. You will do well to be attentive to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20 First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, 21 because no prophecy ever came by human will, but men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
Turkel says, "Oh, inspiration in ancient societies meant nothing more than we mean when we refer to an 'inspired work of art,'" but the Bible clearly teaches otherwise, that the ancients really understood that "inspired scriptures" were "God-breathed" and that when a "prophecy of scripture" was made, men and women were being moved by the Holy Spirit to "speak from God." Many Bible believers will read this article, so I will leave it to them to decide whom to believe, Turkel or those who wrote their "God-breathed" Bible.
The verbal view of inspiration was taught too clearly to be misunderstood in the following statement attributed to Jesus.
Matthew 10:16 "See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 17 Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; 18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles. 19 When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; 20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
Now this is so clear that even Turkel should be able to understand it. Jesus told his apostles that when they were dragged before governors and kings, they wouldn't have to worry about what to say, because it would be given to them at that time what to say and that when they spoke, they would not be the ones speaking but "the spirit of [their] father" would be speaking through them. Knowing Turkel, he is very likely to quibble that this passage was referring to what the apostles would say when dragged before rulers and not to what they would write, but I answered that quibble in Part Two of my series on what the Bible taught about the process of inspiration.
What was said in these passages is not the kind of "inspiration" that is being taught by the new fundamentalists. It is a very clear description of verbal inspiration, so if the apostles were verbally inspired whenever they were preaching or defending the gospel before rulers, when what they said would be heard by their audiences and then gone forever, how likely is it that when they wrote epistles that were allegedly intended to be the "word of God" all through the Christian era, God would simply have given them the "thoughts" and "ideas" they were to write but leave the selection of the words up to them?
There is much more that I could quote here, such as 1 Corinthians 2:13, where the apostle Paul said that he spoke "things in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit," but there is no need for me to plow ground that has already been tilled. Readers can go to the inerrancy series linked to immediately above and see for themselves that the Bible clearly taught that "God" gave to his chosen ones the very words that they would speak and write. Turkel's view of inspiration is as unscriptural as the preterist doctrine that he is trying to peddle.
X is playing a game of absurdly demanding that Paul and other writers be able to create exclusionary comments like these:
But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations, other than those we don't know about, which makes you wonder how I can speak of them, for the obedience of faith:
Turkel quoted Romans 16:26, which I replied to above, so there is no need for me to rehash my answer here. What I say about his next statement immediately below will shot his quibble to pieces.
Semantically, "nations" cannot be called an incorrect reference here, since the only available definition was "known ethnic groups in the oikoumene". [sic]
I have not said that nations was an incorrect reference here. To the contrary, I showed in commenting on Romans 16:26 above that there is every reason to think that the apostle Paul thought that the gospel had been preached in his time to the "whole world [kosmos]," which word Turkel claims meant the entire world--the whole danged planet, so there is no reason at all to think that Paul didn't mean the same thing in Romans 16, when he said that "the mystery" was being made known to "all the nations." Furthermore, I showed above that Jesus said in the "Great Commission" that the apostles were to go make disciples of "all nations," so biblical writers made obvious references to "all nations" not knowing the extent of what they were saying. I doubt that even Turkel would say that Jesus was telling his apostles in the "Great Commission" that they were to make disciples only in all the nations within the Roman Empire, so what kind of twisted logic does he use to determine that "all nations" in Romans 16:26 meant only all nations within the empire. His reference to "known ethnic groups in the oikoumene" has been shown to be entirely speculative, because I have buried his quibble under a mountain of evidence that oikoumene often meant the entire world--the whole danged planet--so until Turkel presents undeniable contextual proof that oikoumene in the disputed verses in Matthew 24 meant only the Roman Empire, his bald assertion stands impeached.
At the same time note that X has essentially conceded that yes, this would mean that Paul is saying that "the gospel had been preached in what was considered to be the whole world" -- exactly what we have been arguing.
No, not exactly. I have said that Paul, through his ignorance of what "the whole world" and "all nations" within that world would have been, incorrectly claimed that the gospel had been preached to "every creature under heaven" (Col. 1:23) and was bearing fruit in the entire world [kosmos] (Col. 1:6), but these claims were clearly incorrect. They were errors made through the geographical ignorance of the time, but as I have said many times, an error is an error, no matter how sincere the person may have been who made the error. Turkel is the one who has said that kosmos always meant the entire world, so he is the one who has shot himself in the foot.
Oh, I forgot again; Paul was just speaking "hyperbolically" here, wasn't he?
X lovingly shoots himself in the foot for our sake.
As I just said, Turkel is the one who is limping from a self-inflicting gunshot wound in the foot.
Come on, Turkel, tell us again that Paul was just speaking hyperbolically in Colossians 1, but while you are doing it, don't forget to tell us how you were able to know this.
Oops. Already X has forgotten that oikoumene had a broader meaning (what we called the ERE).
"Paul, for example, claimed that he had spent time in Arabia (Gal. 1:17), which at that time was not a part of the Roman Empire, so Paul had to know that there was more to the world than just the Roman Empire."
No, I am not the one who forgot this, because I have argued all along that both reputable Greek lexicons and some rather clear New Testament texts say that oikoumene meant more than just the Roman Empire. Since Turkel has now acknowledged that he knows this too, let him show us--show us, not just tell us--how he was able to determine that oikoumene meant only the Roman Empire in all the disputed texts we have debated in these exchanges. In order to know that the word was so used in those passages, he would have to have seen some contextual evidence that this was how the word was used.
What was that contextual evidence?
X burps again...
"Turkel, of course, could argue that if the gospel had been preached to 'all nations' and 'every creature under heaven,' it had been preached to all of the Roman Empire, but to so argue is to assume the inerrancy of the New Testament, but the fact that the New Testament claimed that the gospel had been preached to all nations is no proof that this had been accomplished but proof only that some thought that it had been."
X is still playing his same game of pretending that "inerrancy" is at issue,
Inerrancy is at issue. If it isn't, let Turkel answer a simple question: If kosmos meant the entire earth--the whole danged planet--then when Paul said that the gospel was bearing fruit "in the whole kosmos," did he mean that the gospel was bearing fruit on the whole danged planet? If not, why not? If Turkel says that this text didn't mean that the gospel was bearing fruit "in the whole kosmos," then Paul erred in what he said here. If not, why not?
I think everyone can see just who has shot himself in the foot, and just as many can see that Turkel won't ever really answer a rebuttal. Here's another question for him: Is the Bible inerrant? If he says that it isn't, then I am wasting my time on him, because all I really try to do in my articles is show that those who believe in the biblical inerrancy doctrine have been deluded by those who sold this bill of goods to them.
when it [inerrancy] is not.
I just showed that inerrancy is very much the issue, so I will repeat the question for Turkel Is the Bible inerrant? If it is, then please explain exactly how Colossians 1:6,23 are inerrant? After all, if Paul said that the gospel was bearing fruit on the whole danged planet when it wasn't, he made an error, didn't he? His intentions may have been good, but good intentions cannot keep an error from being an error.
I just want to know what Turkel is claiming about the Bible. If he says that it is not inerrant, then I will write him off and tell him that I have accomplished my goal of proving errancy in the Bible.
If Turkel says that the Bible is errant, then I will assume for the sake of argument that the New Testament does indeed teach preterism, but with that concession, I would ask Turkel to tell us how he can know that preterism is truth and not just some of the error in the Bible. After all, if the Bible is not inerrant, there is no way that Turkel can tell if any doctrines he believes in are true or false.
The issue is basic historical truth claims, of the same sort one would evaluate from any ancient work.
Well, okay, if that is the issue, as Turkel sees it, let him tell us if all ancient works, which referred to geography, science, chronology, and such like in terms that they understood to be true but are now known to be false, were "historically true claims" just because those who made them thought that they were? If an ancient writer, for example, wrote that the earth was flat and sincerely believed that it was flat, would that have been a scientifically true statement? I must say here that I really don't understand what the hell Turkel is trying to say. If "basic historical truth claims" are the issue, then let Turkel tell us exactly how he was able to determine that "basic historical truth claims" in the Bible--which he said above that the "ancients" thought was inspired in the sense that we today consider a work of art to be inspired--are any more reliable than the same kinds of claims in other ancient works. I fear that this is just another case of Turkel's saying anything that comes to mind in order to try to extricate himself from an embarrassing predicament that he has gotten himself into. Anyone who does much reading at all in his articles, such as the one about "inspiration" that I linked to above, knows that he zealously tries to defend the reliability of the Bible, but when he finds himself cornered, as he now is, he will say, "Oh, well, inerrancy [the reliability of the Bible] is not the issue."
I have not mentioned inerrancy at all but have evaluated Paul's claim in light of historical probability. X must tell us why we should NOT accept that the Gospel had been preached to all nations by this time,
Well, I will gladly address that issue if Turkel will put himself on record of believing that the gospel had been preached to all nations on earth by that time. Had the gospel been preached to all nations on the whole danged planet at the time that Paul said this? If so, had it been preached in Meso-America, in South America, in Siberia, in Australia, in Japan, etc., etc., etc.? If so, let's see Turkel's evidence that it had been. Exactly what criteria did he used to "evaluate [this claim of Paul] in the light of historical probability." Historical probability indeed! Turkel knows about as much about historical probability as I know about quantum physics.
and when he tries that loop, he gets stuck upside down on the roller coaster, to wit:
"One would have to be rather naive to think that the gospel had been preached to everyone in the Roman Empire, because this was a time of no printing presses, radios, or television stations, so it is unlikely that even with the missionary activities attributed to the apostle Paul, the gospel had been preached to everyone in places like Gaul, Britain, and the northern Germanic tribes."
One would have to be a tremendously provincialist bigot to believe that printing presses, radio, TV, etc were needed in the first place to disseminate the message. Oral transmission was sufficient to spread the message; travel times were not burdensome (especially by boat in the summer months), and it is only a case of ignorance to suggest that this was not enough to get the Gospel to all nations in the oikoumene by this time.
Did everyone catch Turkel's fallacy of equivocation here? Paul said that the gospel was bearing fruit "in all the kosmos," which Turkel says meant the whole world, but after asking how I could know that the gospel had not been preached to all nations, he switched words and used oikoumene. In so doing, he not only equivocated but also begged the question that oikoumene meant only the Roman Empire. I have shown that this question that he is begging is absolutely not so, and he is resorting to equivocation to avoid having to resort to argumentation by assertion again and say that when Paul said that the gospel was bearing fruit "in the whole kosmos, he was just speaking "hyperbolically.
I will ask him again to show us--show us, not just tell us--that Paul was just speaking hyperbolically when he used the word kosmos in Colossians 1:6.
Add to this the fact that Paul said later in this same context (v:23) that the gospel had been preached to every creature under heaven. Even if one concedes that "oral transmission" could have been sufficient to "spread the message" into all nations within the Roman Empire, he would have to be hopelessly naive to believe that by this time "every creature under heaven," even the people under the heaven above the Roman Empire, had heard the gospel. Nothing can equal the verbal contortions that biblicists will resort to in order to defend the accuracy of the Bible.
X merely repeats the same arguments as above concerning 2 Tim. 4:17,
Which arguments Turkel has not really answered. All he can do is resort to the quibble that when "Paul" referred to "all the Gentiles," he didn't really mean all. In other words, even though he says that inerrancy isn't the issue, he is just recycling the inerrantist quibble that all didn't mean all, soon didn't mean soon, dead didn't mean dead, etc., etc., etc. when the face-value meaning of such words creates a problem for biblical accuracy.
apparently missing that "Gentiles" in 2 Tim. 4:17 is the same word as "nations" in Romans above.
No, I knew that, so we just have another example of how an omniscient, omnipotent deity, who could put his words into the mouths of Isaiah (15:16), Jeremiah (2:1; 7:1-2); etc., etc., etc., and the apostles (as noted above) when they were speaking somehow just couldn't direct an apostle to use the right words in telling how far the gospel had spread at that time. That is Turkel's idea of "inspiration"?
If this is a chauvinistic Jewish term for non-Jews, we'd like to know how. One may as well say that "other people" is "chauvinistic" when we refer to a people other than ourselves.
No, no, no, let's suppose that people in the United States referred to themselves as "Americans," as they do, and then used another word like "foreigners," as they do, to refer to all other people. Turkel doesn't see a bit of chauvinistic arrogance in this that says in effect, "We are Americans, and everyone else isn't"?
All that aside, this is not really an issue but only a lot of wasted space that Turkel has spent on a passing comment that I made. Anyone who looks at the context in which I said it can see that it was clearly just a passing comment.
"Gentiles," of course, was a chauvinistic Jewish term for any nation that was not Jewish, but "Paul's" claim that the Lord had strengthened him so that his message might be preached "to all the Gentiles" is another overstatement that was due to the geographical ignorance of that time. Paul didn't preach to the Chinese or the nations of India or North or South America, and so the "message" was not preached through him to "all the Gentiles." There is no reason to think that he preached the gospel to "all the Gentiles" in Gaul or Britain or Germany, so this can't even be seen as a plausible claim that he had preached the gospel to all the Roman Empire. Turkel expects us to roll over and accept obviously incorrect claims like these as proof that Matthew 24:14 was "fulfilled." Aside from this problem is the one stated earlier. Scholarly consensus is that the pastoral epistles were pseudonymously written well after AD 70, so references to "false prophets" in these epistles could not be seen as "fulfillments" that had to happen before the end came in AD 70.
Turkel made an issue over the passing comment in the first sentence of this paragraph to distract attention from the corner he has been backed into by trying to defend the accuracy of Paul's claim that the gospel had been preach "in all the kosmos"--the whole danged planet.
As an aside X plugs Pastoral pseudonymity --
No, my reference to Jewish chauvinism was my aside. The reference to the pseudonymity of the so-called pastoral epistles was relevant to the issue, because reputable scholarship agrees that they were written well after AD 70, so, as I said in the quotation above, preterists can't quote the references to "false prophets" in 2 Timothy 4:17 as proof of fulfillment of what had been "prophesied" before AD 70, which Turkel and his preterist cohorts claim was "the end" that Jesus was referring to in Matthew 24:14. Or does Turkel not understand that statements made after the fact cannot be "prophecies"?
in our last portion we gave a link as refutation that he can deal with if he ever gets back to this place, maybe by 2078. He also plugs a late date for the Gospels, and he can go here in 2193.
When Turkel tells his readers to go "here," those who click his link will be taken to an entire article, which I suppose he expects everyone to take the time to read through in order to find whatever point(s) he may be alluding to, as if he thinks that everyone should hang onto every word that he puts on the internet. As klutzy as I am in computer and internet usage, I still know how to take readers to specific sections of my articles to find the points that prompted the links, so there is no reason except his laziness to keep Turkel from doing the same. I know from experience, of course, that it takes time to provide links to exact sections of articles, and Turkey--er--Turkel doesn't want to take the time to do that, because he is more interested in seeing how much hackwork he can crank out. Thus, his readers will see him citing here and here and here and here thoughout his articles, which he no doubt does to try to look impressive, because I suspect that he knows that very few will take the time to wade through all of his "heres."
Now for the dating of the gospels, if he will reply to my claims that the gospels were written after the fact of the destruction of Jerusalem, I will gladly reply to them with the kind of details that I have put into this reply, but I don't intend to go here and here to waste time trying to find whatever points he thinks will prove that the authorship of the gospels antedated AD 70. His usual proof in these "here" links is that Glenn Miller said it, so it must be true. If he tries to debate this issue, he will certainly be able to find preterists and other fundamentalist authors who claim an early authorship of the gospels, but I will have no trouble at all countering with more reputable writers who don't take an early authorship view in order to protect some futile belief in biblical inerrancy.
On Rom. 1:8 and Col. 1:6 using kosmos hyperbolically, X plays his standard game of claiming that this is an inconsistent position, and that saying kosmos is hyperbolic is merely an "excuse" for the text not meeting our needs. To which we give the standard answer, that X's ribald "read it like a newspaper" hermanootic [sic] is just a case of stunted fundaliteralism.
Turkel doesn't like it when I mention that I have had 30 years experience teaching literature on the college level and an academic record of 90 postgraduate hours in the fields that I taught. In addition, I studied hermeneutics at Bam Bam College, so I think that I have some credentials in literary interpretation, enough to know that when someone explicating a literary passage claims figurative or hyperbolic language, he had better be prepared to support that claim with textual evidence; otherwise, he will have to deal with the wrath of his professors when grading time comes. Language is not figurative or hyperbolic in a literary passage because a reader wants it to be in order to make the passage conform to some opinion that he has. The language is figurative or hyperbolic because of contextual reasons that require the language to be so understood. Otherwise, the language should be interpreted in the strictest sense of the words. The principle that the language of a text should be interpreted literally unless there are compelling reasons to assign figurative meanings is a long-established hermeneutic principle that even graduates of Bam Bam College are familiar with, so if Turkel is going to claim figurative or hyperbolic usage of kosmos in this text, he is obligated to state the contextual reasons that necessitate this conclusion. We will see him attempt to do so below--and ludicrously fail.
Kosmos meant the earth and the sky, the creation or cosmic order as a whole, and I don't think X wants to argue that Paul is saying in these passages that missionaries could fly and preach to non-existent [sic] people in the sky.
No, I would not say that either, but I am not the one who said that kosmos meant the entire earth--the whole danged planet. As I noted above, that was what Turkel said, but now that he finds himself cornered by his own definition of kosmos, he is desperately trying to tap dance around it.
X also can't seem to grasp hyperbole even in context.
Oh, I have no trouble at all grasping hyperbole. I referred to my literary credentials above, but I am not going to brag about them beyond saying that my grades in those courses would be the envy of 95% of graduate students. I recall making only three B's in all of my graduate and 90 postgraduate hours, so I didn't accomplish this by giving my professors reason to think that I couldn't grasp hyperbole or other figurative language in literary texts. As we will see, Turkel is the one who has trouble grasping the obviously intended meanings of language.
Romans 1:8 says, "First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world." Really! Does he think Paul is saying here that the faith of the specific people in the church at Rome was being discussed in the marketplaces in Capernaum? ("Hey, Judah, ya hear about those people in Rome?") In Alexandria?
Well, I am glad that Turkel brought up this passage, which used to kosmo. Since Turkel has said, as noted earlier, that if a writer wanted to convey the sense of the whole world—the whole danged planet—he would use the word kosmos. Paul, who lived in a time of very limited geographical knowledge, used the word kosmos here, so how does Turkel know that he was not claiming, out of ignorance, that the faith of the Romans was being spoken about in the whole world--the whole danged planet? What contextual reasons does Turkel have for claiming a hyperbolic usage here? He can't just stamp his feet and say, "Well, Paul couldn't have meant the entire world—the whole danged planet—because if he did, he made a geographical error." If Paul thought that the gospel had been preached to the whole kosmos, there is no reason to think that he would not have also believed that the faith of the Romans was being spoken about in all of the kosmos. This would have been a mistake that Paul made because of the general geographical ignorance in his time, but Turkel's task is to show us how he knows that it was only a hyperbolic usage and not a mistake that was made by an ancient writer who knew no better. Turkel doesn't like the word inerrancy, so I will use accuracy instead and say that the only reason why Turkel would claim that kosmos in Romans 1:8 was not used in its strictest sense is because he desperately wants to believe in the accuracy of the Bible, and he will bend over backwards and walk to the ends of the earth in that contorted position to keep from admitting that biblical writers, through the ignorance of their times, often wrote things that were not correct.
In the sky?
No, because kosmos, which could mean all of the earth and sky, was more commonly used to mean "the whole danged planet." Definition 2 in Arndt and Gingrich was "the world as the sum total of everything here and now," and an analysis of the word as it was used in the New Testament will show that it was most often used to convey that sense. Anyway, I am not the one who declared that if Matthew had meant that Jesus was saying that "the end" could not come until the gospel had been preached "in all the world" in the sense of the whole danged planet, he would have used the word kosmos, which conveyed that sense. Turkel said this, but when he is confronted with a text where Paul referred to "all the world [kosmos]" in a passage damaging to Turkel's preterist position, he stamps his feet and screams, "That was a hyperbolic usage!"
Now let Turkel tell us how he knows that. Let him explain to us why it was not possible that Paul, who had a limited understanding of the world in accordance with the knowledge of the time, did not intend to say in Romans 1:8 that the faith of the Romans was being spoken about in the entire earth.
In offices of agriculture in Rome? In Columella's backyard?
See my comments above. If indeed, as Turkel himself has said, kosmos was used in the New Testament to convey the sense of the entire world, and not just the Roman Empire, he has the obligation to prove that Paul was not so using the word here. My position is that the Bible was written in times of prescientific ignorance, so sometimes the writers said things that were generally believed at that time but that were, nevertheless, not so. Paul's claim that the gospel was bearing fruit in the entire world [kosmos] is one such example of that kind of mistake. Saying this doesn't smear the character of Paul or any other biblical writers, who no doubt sincerely believed that what they were saying was true. When what they said wasn't true, then it just wasn't true, no matter how good their intentions may have been.
Turkel is having a hard time grasping that errors are errors regardless of the intentions behind them.
No, this is Paul's way of saying -- after the manner of hyperbole among the ancients -- that the Romans' faith is astounding, and is something lots of people talk about.
I suspect that Turkel knows no more about "the manner of hyperbole among the ancients" than he knew about concepts of "inspiration" in those times. I showed above that his claims about what "inspiration" meant in ancient times is completely contrary to what the Bible plainly says. Turkel likes for his readers to think that he is an expert in ancient cultures, but almost every time he refers to what was believed or thought in ancient societies, he shows nothing but his ignorance of the subject.
Anywhere but Skeptic X Fundaliteralland, a comment like this is obvious hyperbole. For X, it is a flatly literal statement meant to be taken as reflecting forensic truth.
Not at all. I have made clear above to everyone who can read plain English--and that would exclude Turkel--that such statements in the Bible are very likely mistakes made by uninformed writers, who no doubt thought they were right but were nevertheless wrong. That would hardly be a reflection of "forensic truth." The writers probably thought that they were true statements, but sincerity can never make an incorrect statement a true one. That is an axiomatic principle that Turkel has yet to recognize.
Col. 1:6, of which X likewise complains, is the same:
Colossians 1:3 We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints; 5 because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel, 6 which has come to you, as it has also in all the world [to kosmo], and is bringing forth fruit, as it is also among you since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth....
Good grief, look at the hyperbole here whacking X on the head: Is Paul really "praying always" for the Colossians? (What about other churches? What about when he sleeps? Does he pray for them in the bathroom? Etc.)
I doubt that Paul had access to bathrooms, but, as usual, the fellow who often claims to know all about the Bible, Greek, Hebrew, and ancient customs can't see two inches in front of his nose. I'm surprised that even he could become so desperate that he would resort to this kind of quibbling. Turkel is claiming that Paul used the word "always" [pantote] hyperbolically in Colossians 1:3, but this word did not always connote "continuous," which means "joined without intervening space," but was most often used to mean "continual," which means happening over and over again, with intervening interruptions. Most English speakers think that the two words are synonyms, but actually they aren't. If I say, "It rained continuously today," that would mean that it rained all through the day without interruption, but if I said, "It rained continually today," that would mean that it rained off and on all through the day. If Turkel would think seriously for a moment, which would be difficult for him to do, he would recognize that we use the word always most often to mean continual rather than continous. If I said, "He is always calling me," no one would think that I was saying that "he" calls me continously, without interruption, but would realize that I was saying that he calls me continually or "over and over again" with intervening space between the calls. If I said, "I always read the newspaper when I get up," even Turkel would know that I wasn't saying that I sit continuously, twenty-four hours per day, seven days a week, with my face in a newspaper, but he would know that when I get up in the morning, I habitually, without fail, read the newspaper.
Turkel sees hyperbole in a word that is nothing more than simple idiomatic usage. And he has the gall to call me a "hyperliteralist"!
Greek lexicons, like Liddell & Scott and Arndt and Gingrich, define pantote simply as "at all times" or "always," and no special connotations of the word were given. The very limited discussion given to the word in both lexicons indicate that they are telling us that pantote was used in the way that we use always in the English language. A look at a couple of examples where pantote was used in the New Testament should be sufficient to show this. Since a verse from an epistle of Paul is under discussion, I will quote examples of where he was referring to praying "always" pantote.
Philippians 1:3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy.
Here Paul obviously did not mean that he prayed continuously, without ever stopping, but that whenever he did pray, he thanked God for the Philippians and "always" prayed with joy (whenever he was praying but not continuously).
Philemon 4 I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers....
Again, the apostle Paul didn't mean that he continuously, without interruption, walked about muttering, "Thank God for Philemon, thank God for Philemon." He was rather clear in saying that he "always" thanked God for Philemon as or whenever he was praying.
I have shown that the Greek word pantote didn't necessarily connote the idea of continuous or "without interruption," but to show the absurdity of Turkel's "logic," I am now going to assume for the sake of argument that it did. Turkel's argument would then be that because Paul used hyperbole in Colossians 1:3 by saying that he prayed "always" for the Colossian Christians, he therefore used hyperbole in verse 6 when he said that the gospel was bearing fruit in "all the kosmos. In other words, he is arguing that if word X in a passage is hyperbolic, word Y in the text must also be hyperbolic. Such an argument would be as silly as if I would say that Paul was speaking literally in verse 1 when he referred to "God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ," and so he had to be speaking literally too in verse 6 when he said that the gospel was bearing fruit "in all the kosmos." Likewise, if I argued that if Paul were speaking literally in the very next verse when he said that Epaphras was "a faithful minister of Christ," Paul had to have also been speaking literally in the previous verse when he said that the gospel was bearing fruit "in all the kosmos, Turkel would be on such asinine reasoning as this like ugly on a monkey. Obviously, one cannot validly argue that because word X in a passage was figurative or hyperbolic or ironic or whatever, word Y in the same context therefore had to be the same. I really do think that Turkel would profit from a course in basic literary interpretation, but I could never convince someone who thinks that he already knows everything there is to know about literary principles that such a study would benefit him.
"Love for ALL the saints" -- wow, even those they have never met? X needs to recognize the reality of the "rhetoric of praise" -- to demand a literal reading of these phrases is to violate the text like some sort of prostitute.
The "rhetoric of praise"? Is it Turkel's position that Christians are not required to love "all the saints," even those whom they don't know? If so, he needs to take a crash course in Remedial Christianity 010. I certainly agree that it would be virtually impossible for someone, regardless of his religious piety, to "love" people that he didn't know and had never met, but the New Testament teaches that Christians should kissy-kissy everyone including even their enemies and those that hate them and to bless and pray for those who despitefully use them (Luke 6:27), so if Paul said that the Colossians were meeting this high standard of Christianity, there is no reason at all to think that he didn't believe that they did "love" all the saints. "Peter" told the readers of his first epistle to "love the brotherhood" (1 Peter 2:17, and "the brotherhood" would have consisted of all the saints, but, of course, Turkel will just say, "Well, he was speaking hyperbolically here." That is always his quibble. If a text conflicts with a belief that is emotionally important to him, he dismisses it as figurative or apocalyptic or idiomatic or hyperbolic or something that doesn't matter, because the people at that time didn't care about inconsistencies, or ambiguity due to a shortage of writing materials that prevented the writer(s) from giving complete explanations, and so on ad infinitum. After all of his quibbling in this matter is over, however, the fact still remains that Christianity demands of its adherents an impossibly high standard of ethics that includes loving one's neighbor as himself, loving one's enemies, loving the brotherhood, doing good to all men, especially to those of the household of faith (Gal. 6:10), so the burden is on Turkel to prove that Paul wasn't writing literally when he said that the Colossians loved all the saints.
As always, let's assume for the sake of argument that Paul was just speaking hyperbolically here. With that concession, let Turkel show us why speaking hyperbolically in this verse would mean that Paul had to have been speaking hyperbolically two verses later when he said that the gospel was bearing fruit "in all the kosmos or the whole danged planet. Pushed to its logical extension this kind of argument would force Turkel to say that everything that Paul wrote was hyperbolic and nothing was literal.
X alludes to his arguments which we refute here. Maybe he'll catch up eventually.
So we are supposed to read an entire article and try to decide what arguments Turkel is referring to? If he can't state the arguments or at least link us directly to the section where those arguments were "refuted," I see no need to address them now. I have found anyway that Turkel's idea of "refuting" arguments is usually nothing more than asserting, amidst a volley of sarcasms and insults, that they aren't so. I understand his motives, however, for if he actually took the time to identify the arguments that he allegedly refuted, that would cut down on the quantity of his hackwork. As long as I have known of him, Turkel has confused quantity with quality.
X whines about lacking any evidence but tradition that the Gospel reached Britain and Germany by 70 AD.
By saying that this was just something that I had "whined," Turkel thinks he has discredited it. He doesn't seem to understand that no argument can be refuted by just hurling insults at the proponent of the argument, but Turkel seems to have a lot of trouble with basic logic.
Too bad. Historically speaking, we are not obliged to bow and scrape when X presses his one-dimensional panic button of needing a signed statement by Agricola to the effect that the Gospel reached Britain by that time.
And this does what to prove Turkel's assertion that the gospel had reached Britain and Germany by AD 70?
Tradition is sufficient to establish that the idea was known,
And where is the proof of that tradition? If the Turkey tries to produce such tradition, he will need to present evidence that the gospel had been preached throughout Britain and Germany by this time, because a major proof text of his is Matthew 24:14, which said that the gospel would be preached "in the whole world" before "the end" would come, and Turkel claims that "the world" here meant only the Roman Empire. Hence, if he is going to prove that the gospel had been preached in the whole Roman Empire by AD 70, he will have to prove that it had been preached throughout Britain and Germany. We will eagerly wait to see him present that proof.
I predict that his reaction to this will be somewhat like his bobbing and weaving and ducking and dodging above where he said, that he is not obligated to bow and scrape whenever I push my "one-dimensional button," but can anything be more one-dimensional than a answer like this to a perfectly legitimate question?
and one must explain the source of the tradition beyond, "Well, they just made it up!" One must explain why such a reach is not possible, and X's "they needed radio and TV" is not bigoted nonsense.
Such a reach was not possible for the simple reason that reaching everyone in any specific region with a religious system just isn't possible even in a time when mass communication like radio, television, and newspapers can be used as mediums of communication. To argue that the so-called gospel was preached throughout the entire Roman Empire within the space of some 40 years is really too naive to deserve comment. It could have conceivably been preached in at least some villages in Britain and Germany, but to everyone in those places? If Turkel is going to claim that it was, let's see his evidence. I am sure everyone knows that he has no such evidence or he would already have presented it instead of stamping his feet, hurling insults at me, and screaming about some unsupported tradition.
I noted that "with a church in Rome by the 50s, it could hardly be argued that evangelism in Britain, the farthest-flung part of Rome's Empire with respect to Judea, was not likely by 70."
Well, yes, I could argue this, because after the church was established in Rome, that would have left only 20 years to preach the gospel in Gaul, Britain, Germania, and other fringe provinces. One would have to be rather naive to think that "evangelism" was occurring with any kind of regularity in those provinces only 20 years after the church was establshed in Rome, when the church in Rome was itself separated from churches in the eastern Mediterranean rim by hundreds of miles. In "The Development of Christian Society in Early England," author Tim Bond fixed AD 43 as the year when Britain became a province after its invasion by Roman troops, but he identified the mid-second century as the time when Christianity "gained a foothold in Britain."
Christianity gained a foothold in Britain by the mid-second century, but had yet to gain anything approaching religious supremacy on the island. Early Christian churches were local communal affairs-each board of elders was elected democratically by the community's inhabitants. Early Christians refused to bow before Roman authority as the Jews had previously done, and many were persecuted as enemies of the state (quite similar to the Druidic situation in Britain). Rome would tolerate native religious rites, but would brook no treason. The universality of the empire, however, paved the way for the universality of Christianity, as Christian missionaries traveled easily along Roman roads on evangelistic expeditions.
If readers will seriously research the beginning of Christianity in early Britain, they will find that Bond's chronology is widely accepted. Most articles and books on this subject will fix the third century as the time when Christianity made serious expansions in this former Roman province. If Turkel had any credible evidence that the gospel had been preached in Britain and Germany earlier than Bond's date, he would give it to us instead of stamping his feet in anger, and screaming, "Tradition! Tradition!"
X barbles back with demands for specific evidence of the Gospel being preached in Gaul, etc.
So why didn't Turkel give that specific evidence instead of embarrassing himself with his evasion immediately below.
He doesn't need it, no more than secular historians need proof of individual conversations to allow that an ideology was able to spread far enough in the time allotted.
But Turkel is giving us nothing but his bald assertion that Britain had been evangelized by AD 70. Historians, if they are reputable historians, may not require "individual conversations" to allow that an ideology had spread to certain regions by a specific time, but they would certainly demand some kind of hard evidence, such as artifacts or temple ruins or recorded legends that made reference to the ideology or some such. We aren't asking Turkel for "individual conversations," we simply want some kind of hard evidence, besides his bald assertion, that Christianity had spread throughout Britain and Germania by AD 70.
Why doesn't he just give it to us? Well, reasonable readers will know that he doesn't because he can't. His choir members may "bow and scrape" at his mere pontification, but rational readers won't.
In short, we do not press the panic button over lack of specific evidence, any more than any historian would.
What reputable historian would assert something historically specific, like Turkel's claim that Britain and Germania had been evangelized by AD 70, without having specific evidence that this had happened? Futhermore, that Turkel would compare himself to historians is too ludicrous to demand any comment at all.
Inherent probability and the external confirmation of tradition is enough,
What "external confirmation of tradition"? Turkel doesn't bother to say, because it is so much easier to assert. Where is the "inherent probability" that a struggling ideology would spread a thousand miles in just 20 years in a time when there was nothing but word of mouth to spread it? Anyway, I am certainly glad to see Turkel saying that some of his assertions have no more support for them than "tradition." Maybe some of his choir members will finally wake up.
[Inherent probability and the external confirmation of tradition is enough] and needs to be refuted, not merely dissed and countered with geographic lists merely for the sake of gasps of amazement.
I quoted above from an article by Tim Bond, which readers will find referenced on many websites that discuss ancient history, so Bond's reputation seems securely established, and, as I noted above, he said that Christianity didn't even gain a foothold in Britain until the middle of the second century but that it had not yet at that time reached anything approaching "religious supremacy." A map of the Roman Empire showing the spread of Christianity by AD 180 listed the following in its legend.
This map listed and bracketed no towns at all in Britain, only two in Gallia, none in Belgica, none in Germania, and none in Raetia, Noricum, Pannonia, and Moesia Superior, which were four provinces to the east of Germania. No villages were named or bracketed in Dalmatia, a province south of Moesia Superior, and none in Dacia and Moesia Inferior, on east of Moesia Superior. The map shows two small shaded coastal areas in Western Hispania [the Iberian peninsula] to indicate that Christians were known to exist here but the towns where they were located could not be identified. This assumption about the existence of Christians in Hispania in AD 180 was probably derived from Rom. 15:24, 28, where Paul mentioned his intentions to go to Spain. Christian communities were identified in substantial numbers on this map only in the eastern Mediterranean area in provinces like Macedonia, Galatia, Pisidia, Cappadocia, and other regions that Paul visited on his missionary journeys. The western and northern provinces, however, were almost completely devoid of Christian communities. Turkel has apparently fallen for that old "apologetic" yarn about Christianity's spreading like wildfire, but that just didn't happen. Not until two or three centuries later did Christianity gain any substantial footholds in the parts of the empire beyond the Eastern Mediterranean region.
So much for Turkel's claim that the gospel had been preached throughout the whole Roman Empire by AD 70. He is living in fantasyland.
As an aside, X adds that "Britain was not the farthest flung part of the Roman Empire in terms of mileage. Germania Inferior was actually farther away." Oh? From what point? Maps of the Roman Empire show Germania Inferior to not reach as far north as the northern border of Britain: see here.
I guess the Turkey hasn't heard about Hadrian's Wall, which was build across England at the farthest point of Roman intrusion into Britain. The section of Britain south of it, which was the area occupied by the Romans, was closer to Rome than were the western regions of Hispania and Mauretania, as well as the northern regions of Germania and the northeastern areas of Moesia Inferior.
As for seeing the map he linked to, lower Britain does seem closer than southern Germania Inferior, but the farthest extreme of Roman occupied Britain was still closer than areas like the western regions of Hispania and some of the eastern provinces. The matter, however, is moot, because there is no evidence beyond Turkel's unnamed and unidentified "tradition" that Britain had been evangelized by AD 70.
From Judaea, as specified, this is indeed the farthest point in the RE (Lusitania comes close as well, but even if farther by miles, was far more accessible by boat). Seems X needs some help from Triple A.
Well, Turkel wasn't arguing about what was closer to Judaea. Those who bother to scroll up will see that his argument was that since there was a church in Rome by AD 50, we can conclude that the gospel had been preached as far away as Britain and Germania. He was arguing that Rome was close enough to Britain and Germania to conclude--by "inherent probability," I suppose--that the presence of a church in Rome in AD 50 would prove that Britain and Germania, almost a thousand miles away as the crow flies, had been evangelized by AD 70, so he doesn't seem to know what a non sequitur is. At any rate, I have given ample evidence above that Turkel is dead wrong when he claims that the entire Roman Empire had been evangelized by AD 70. It hadn't been. Hence, if Turkel is claiming that Matthew 24:14 was prophesying that the destruction of Jerusalem would not happen until the gospel had been preached in the entire Roman Empire, all he has done is prove that this was a failed prophecy, because the evangelization of the whole Roman Empire had not even come close to happening that early.
At this point, Turkel tried to play the
expert on Daniel's prophecies again. He accused
me of "pass[ing] on detailed comments" on his Daniel article, so I am
going to show readers
in Part Two that I did no such
thing. I rebutted at length his assertion that Josephus had seen the
Jerusalem as the fulfillment of Daniel's "prophecy" of the "abomination
If he wants details, he is going to get them, more than enough for his
readers to see that
he is appallingly ignorant of the book of Daniel. If he should reply to
all of my rebuttal
points in Part 1-B with any kind of details at all, he will have enough
to keep him busy for
weeks, but, of course, he isn't going to attempt any such reply. He
will no doubt reply,
of course, but it will be just more of the same hopping, skipping,
jumping, and tap dancing.