Monday, July 28, 2014

ANSWER TO TARA CHAPMAN -- PART TWO from Matt and Keith Hunt



Part II
            In my last post, I took some examples of supposed contradictions Tara Chapman quoted as being only a few of many that she claims exists in the Bible.  I then offered what I believed to be plausible explanations to explain how they were not at all discrepancies.  The larger picture, however, that I wished to point out was her flawed hermeneutics for discerning whether or not certain portions of Scripture are in agreement with others.  As I stated, it is ridiculous to read into any text without considering the literary styles of the times and cultures in which they were written.  This is simply irresponsible, especially when making claims as bold as the Bible containing contradictions.  I hope to identify some more of the idiosyncrasies of ancient literature to in this post to support my point.  Additionally, I want to point out some more of the flawed lines of reasoning that Tara uses in support of her new beliefs.
            First, let’s deal with the literary conventions.  In one of her posts, Tara says, “I knew it [the Bible] had some contradictions and some translational errors…”  Tara goes on to explain what one of these contradictions are, “One to three nights prior to the day, my Love and I were once again discussing things with one another, when he questioned what it says in the book of Matthew about Jesus being named so and then claiming it was because it was prophesied he was to be named Immanuel.  I replied that I'd always thought it was just another name for him, like a middle name.  He kept objecting, saying that the text said he was to be called Jesus based on the prophecy that said he was to be called Immanuel.”
            This is an incredibly simplistic reading of the prophesy found in Isaiah.  For starters, why should we assume that Immanuel was to be given to the Messiah as a literal name rather that a descriptive one?  It isn’t as though this hasn’t been done numerous times in the New Testament itself (Alpha and Omega, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Holy and Reverend, etc.).  Tara further reasons, “I grabbed a bible on my way out and proceeded to read the part in Matthew, then flipped back to Isaiah 7 to read.  I frowned.  Not only are the names Jesus and Immanuel different, with different meanings, but Isaiah was talking about someone entirely different!  He wasn't prophesying about any future-coming Messiah at all!”  Really?
           
            As Tara should already know before drawing such a conclusion, biblical prophesy is composed in a highly idiosyncratic manner, as Hebrew poetry is.  A remarkable feature about some prophesies is that they sometimes refer to more than one time period.  Indeed, the prophesy here could have a meaning in Isaiah’s time of assuring Judah’s safety while possessing further meaning in Jesus’ time.  I’m aware that not everybody accepts the dualistic interpretation of prophesy.  Let me simply state that if you don’t like certain ideas presented to explain certain sections of Scripture, that’s fine.  What’s not fine is to reject the idea that the Bible is divinely inspired when one is in no way qualified to do so.  If my explanation seems as though I’m making something up out of thin air, then I’m going to ask what evidence people have for refuting what I’ve said, especially those who lack a sophisticated background in the study of the conventions of ancient texts.

(KEITH HUNT  --  Joel 2  is  a  classic  example  of  duality  of  prophecy.  The  context  of  Joel  2  is  the  end  times,  the  day  of  the  Lord,  as  many  Old  Testament  prophecies  call  it.  The  whole  context  of  Joel 2 and 3  is the very end  time  and  the  coming  of  the  Messiah  to  dwell  in  Zion,  Jerusalem,  note  chapter  3:14-21.  Read  the  context  of  chapter  2  and  3;  it  is  an  end  time  prophecy.  YET  Peter  on  the  day  of  Pentecost  used  Joel  2  and  the  heavenly  signs  to  refer  to  just  what  had  happened  on  Pentecost  day  -  see  Acts  2:14-21.  Now  back  to  Isaiah  7  and  the  "Immanuel" --  it  was  a  prophecy  for  the  coming  then  for  Judah  but  it  was  a  prophecy  about  a  maid  bringing  forth  a  child  who  would  be  "God  among  us"  (Immanuel).  Now  turn  to  Isa. 9:6-7. Another prophecy [as most Bible scholars admit] about Jesus and his Kingdom to come and sitting upon the throne of David. notice the "names" he has:  Wonderful,  Counsellor,  Mighty God,  Everlasting Father,  Prince of Peace !!!!  Now were those names on his birth certificate if say they had them back then as we do today [they did not of course].  No, the names given and what he went by on the day to day basis was "Jesus" and "Christ".... and he called himself the Son of God [as did others] and Son of man. It is like this:  the fastest man to run the 100 metres is the man from Jamaica who hold the world record, as of 2014. He is CALLED  "the fastest man on earth" - people say..." Usain Bolt....called the fastest man on earth."  Now on his birth certificate you will not find under his technical name given at birth "fastest man on earth." The Messiah's technical birth certificate name was to be "Jesus" said the angel, for he shall save his people from sin -Luke 1:31. And notice verse 32, he was to be great and be CALLED "THE SON OF THE HIGHEST."  Now that was not the name on his birth certificate [if they had one] - his name on his birth certificate was JESUS!
BUT he was also called "Son of the Highest." And he was also going to be called  "Immanuel" [God with us]. So to correctly understand the Bible at time, you have to put verse with verse. Jesus was to have the name "everlasting FATHER"  according to Isaiah. He was in many ways a "father" to us.....spiritual teacher, spiritual leader, leader of the church of God. But he was NOT God the FATHER!!  So "father" is used of Jesus in a certain way, and the New Testament makes it as clear as day, that Jesus was NOT God the Father. God the Father is used as meaning the God being who is in the TOP position in the universe, the one with authority over every being in the universe including the one who is Jesus the Christ. I prove that in many studies on my website).
            Another instance of failing to read in the context of ancient convention is in her reading of Jesus’ ascension.  She states, “It's said that Luke authored Luke and Acts.  The gospel "according to" Luke claims Jesus ascended later the same day he was resurrected.  Read through it carefully.  He met with the disciples, walked with them to Bethany, and then he ascended.  In Acts it was forty days afterward.”  Really?

 

The Gospels are written in the manner of ancient biographies, while Acts is written in the manner of Hellenistic historiography.  In order to be able to discover whether or not any inconsistencies exist between the accounts, the details they present must be evaluated under the conventions and limitations of their respective genres.  Very strikingly, the ancients weren’t as concerned with arranging history in chronological order as those in our contemporary culture.  The Bible is not the only witness to this fact.  If one takes the time to read ancient biographies, such as Tacitus’ Life of Agricola or the parallel lives by Plutarch, he should notice that chronological order is only one of several ways in which history could be ordered.  A couple of other ways to arrange history could be topically or geographically.  If Matthew and Luke were writing out of the conventions that existed in their time, then who are we to say that they were wrong in their presentations?

(KEITH HUNT  --  this is really bad theology understanding on Tara's part. I'm shocked because she knows the Bible speaks of 3 heavens. Where God the Father is; where the universe is, where the birds fly. So on resurrection day. You might remember Jesus saying to one lady, don't handle me, touch me, for I am not yet ascended to the Father in heaven. Now in all the Lord's festival keeping Tara should know very well that the wave sheaf was cut and presented by the priests in the Temple on the first day of the week during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. All explain fully by myself on my website [but not any more sure if Tara ever read it]. Jesus ascended into heaven to God's throne as the wave sheaf, then return and later that day as the Gospels say he was touched by the disciples. Now the account at the end of Luke Jesus blessed them and "carried up into heaven."  Ah now which heaven?  Elijah was carried up into heaven also [Protestants like to quote that to prove Elijah is now in the presence of God - living on in God's heaven; I disprove all that in one of my studies on my website]. Jesus at the end of Luke was taken away from them. He could have "vanished" out of their sight as he did in verse 31. But this time he simple was carried into heaven and went from them. I mean God can come and go as he wants, as he desires; so did Jesus. There are not words at the end of Luke to say he was taken to God the Father in the third heaven. Jesus was around on earth doing things for 40 days [Acts 1:3] and we are not told what he did on each of those days; we are not told how he came and went, only that he gave infallible proof that he was alive to various ones. Then when it was time for him to go to the heaven where God the Father is he did so as shown in Acts 1:6-11 given to us in a very specific way and going to come in "a like manner" [pretty close to the way he went but not exactly, for we are told in Revelation he will come on a white horse])


In addition to the freedom recording historical events, the ancients also had the creative license to omit or revise certain facts, within a limit, if it so served their purposes.  For instance, Mark has the centurion saying of Jesus, “Surely this is the Son of God” while the Luke has his saying “Surely this was a righteous man.”  One might suggest that he said both, but my stance is that either Mark or Luke modified what the centurion actually said.  Is this a contradiction?  It certainly isn’t within the literary conventions of their time.  If one author had him saying that Jesus was righteous and the other the opposite of that, that would be a contradiction.  In reality, however, both authors have the centurion saying the same thing but emphasizing different characters of his actual quote.  Luke, in expressing that Jesus’ crucifixion shamed the system of Roman justice, rephrased what he said in order to make plain Jesus’ righteous character to Theophilus.

(KEITH HUNT  --  and  people  should  read  the  study  on  my  website  called  "How  Paul  used  the  Old  Testament"  by  an  author  that  technically  relates  things  that will  blow  you  away,  and  at  the  same  time  amplifies  what  Matt  has  told  you  above)
Such was the creative freedom that the biblical authors had available to them.  With this in mind, Tara continues, “Did he truly walk to Emmaus and then meet the disciples later that day in Jerusalem in a room, or did he rather meet them in Galilee?  With the distance in mind, it's impossible both happened.  Which was it?  Did he say they needed to meet him in Jerusalem or Galilee?  If one is true, the other is a lie.”  What the Bible actually states is that Jesus remained on the Earth for 40 days following His resurrection and that Jesus and his disciples were at GalileeJerusalem, and on the road to Emmaus.  It doesn’t necessarily specify the order in which these events took place within those 40 days.

(KEITH HUNT  --  and  if  you  did  want  to  argue  it  all  happened  on  that  resurrection  day.  Then  it  could  have  indeed.  Obviously  not  all disciples  were  in  one  room  in  Jerusalem,  Two  were  walking  to  Emmaus.  Some  would  have  been  in  Galilee,  some  in  Jerusalem  and  etc.  With  Christ  being  now  an  immortal  Spirit  being,  he  could  come  and  go  as  fast  as  a  thought.  Be  anywhere  in  as  they  say  "a  split  second."  He  could  have  done  all  kinds  of  things  on  that  resurrection  day, appearing  to  as  many  as  he  wanted,  anywhere.  We  are  not  told  all  the  things  he  did  on  that  day  or  any  of  the  other  40  days  he  was  proving  he  was  alive  to  his  disciples)
            Tara also claims that Scripture contains translational errors, and I quite agree with her on this.  However, I disagree with her when it comes to the idea that this is something scandalous that ought to alarm Christians.  As far as I can tell, she is talking about the errors of the King James Bible (KJV) and perhaps other modern translations.  She would be on more solid ground if she were to talk about either the Masoretic or the Received texts.  I don’t know much about the latter, but I do know that we don’t possess any of the original Scriptures.  I also know that, in all of its composite layers, the Masoretic Text (MT) contains errors.  Is this something that proves that God isn’t capable of preserving His Word?  Well, no.

(KEITH HUNT  --  the  method  of  preserving  the  Old  Testament Hebrew  scriptures  was  very  very,  and  very  exact.  See  "How  we  got  the  Bible"  on  my  website.  The  Dead  Sea  Scrolls  found  in  1947,  contained  a  copy  of  Isaiah.  What  surprised  many  was  that  it  was  99.5  percent  or  more  as  the  Hebrew  of  today  that  the  KJV   Bible was  translated  from.  From  the  time  of  Isaiah  to  the  sect  of  the  people  of  the  Dead  Sea  Scrolls  the  book  of  Isaiah  was  99.5  or  more  preserved;  so  from  the  sect  of  Jesus'  day  who  wrote  the  Dead  Sea  Scrolls  could  not  God  use  men  to  preserve  all  the  other  books  of  the  Old  Testament  even  down  to  today?  I  think  so,  if  he can  create  the  Universe,  he  can  preserve  his  word  for  us.  The  Greek  New  Testament  there  are  over  5,000  yes  5,000  MSS,  parts  of  etc.  Put  together  you  get  what the  KJV  translators  used  to  write  the  KJV  Bible.  On  my  website  you'll  have  under  "How  we  got  the  Bible"  J.P. Green's  intro  to  his  Greek/English  Interlinear.  The  "majority text" is  the  very  best.  What  does  it  mean?  Well  what  it  says.... "majority"  of  the  Greek  MSS.  And  as  he  says,  there  is  very  very  little  difference  between  the  "majority  text"  and  the  "received  text"  used  by  the  KJV  scholars,  and  certainly  nothing  to  change  any  doctrine  of  God's  truths)
            There are a few reasons as to why I believe these facts should only strengthen one’s belief in God.  Today’s base texts may contain errors, contain some difficult to read characters, and may be partially destroyed, but these facts present only superficial problems.  I think that this fact in of itself is evidence of a supernatural being who can preserve the important aspects of His Word, who can then guide His servants to resolve the problems with whatever data has been protected.  For instance, the MT has some misusages of words.  So what?  These types of errors are similar to the morphological error encountered by translators of Old English in failing to identify the difference between a “y” and a thorn character.  This character (the thorn), containing the pronunciation “th,” could be written so that it looked like a “y,” introducing the pseudo-archaic word “ye”.  However, since readers of modern English understand that the definite article is “the,” it’s not a matter of significant consequence.
            These same kinds of errors are the ones in the MT.  Does this prevent us from understanding what the text is trying to say?  Not at all.  There may be cases where translators have a difficult time deciphering a character which can give a word one of two different meanings.  I’ve only encountered this once in my studies, and the issue was whether or not a word could be resolved as one or another word with the meaning of shaving.  Would a mistranslation of this sort create a huge problem of doctrinal error that can’t be resolved?  I doubt it.

(KEITH HUNT  --  as vowels  were  only  added  to  the  hebrew  Old  Testament  in  about  500  A.D.  yes  A.D.  There  are  challenges  for  any  even  Hebrew  scholar,  at  times  when  translating  into  English.  But  two  things.... 1.  There  has  never  been  anything  so  large  as  to  change  any  truth  of  God.  2.  God  has  seen  fit  to  give  us  checks  and  balances  with  various  scholars  down  through  the  centuries,  to  zero  in  on  some  things  more  technically  correct.  Example  Mr. Fenton PhD  in  the  1800s  said  he  would  not  translate  the  Hebrew  and  Greek  until  he  was  as  naturally  fluent  with  those  languages  as  he  was  with  English.  He  studied  those  languages  for  50  years...yes  50  years,  before  setting  about  to  give  his  translation  of  the  Bible.  So  in  parts  he  was  more  technically  correct  than  other  scholars;  example.  He  renders  Genesis  1:1  as "By  periods  God  created....."  He  has  a  footnote  saying,  "the  Hebrew  word  for  'beginning'  is  plural  in  the  Hebrew."  Hence  should  be  "beginnings" - plural.  He  rendered  it  "periods" - plural.  And  so  indeed  modern  science  shows  the  universe  was  made  in  periods..... an  on  going  creation,  stars  dying  and  stars  forming,  a  universe  still  in  expansion  and  etc.  Then  in  another  book  I  have  the  author  tells  you  the  word  for  "creator" in  Ecc. 12:1 is in the plural.... hence  should  be  "creators."  Yes  proof  the  God  of  the  Old  Testament  was  more  than  one  person.  We  know  from  many  other  verses  of  the  Bible  the  Godhead  of  the  Old  Testament  was  TWO  persons... one  became  the  Father  and  the  other  the  Son  as  used  in  the  New  Testament.  So  God  has  through  time  given  us  checks  and  balances  with  scholars  of  the  Hebrew  and  Greek  Scriptures  that  make  up  the  Christian  Bible)
While I am unaware of what is missing from the MT as a result of damage, it seems to be nothing to be concerned about.  A parallel passage may provide the missing details, or perhaps we cannot know what certain passages said.  If the latter, they certainly pose no consequence as to matters of salvation.  I have found nothing indicating that any damage of the MT is so disastrous as to affect any important doctrine.  Tara spoke about additions to Scripture, as if this should also scandalize Christians.  It is a fact that the Masoretes added vowel characters to the text in an attempt to modernize it.  Is this something that tampers with the original message of Scripture?  I don’t see how it could.  I invite anybody to do his own research of the MT to verify what I’ve said.

(KEITH HUNT  --  again  God  gave  us  checks  and  balances  down  through  time.  And  I  have  said  that  although  the  KJV  is  not  perfect,  God  indeed  has  used  it  for  centuries  since  1611  to  go  around  the  world,  and  bring  people  to  the  knowledge  of  his  truths.  There  is  nothing  so  greatly  amiss  with  the  KJV  that  it  cannot  give you  all  the  basic  truths  of  God  as  listed  in  Hebrews  6:1-2.  And  with  the  KJV  you  can  also  understand  Bible  prophecy,  end  time  prophecy,  if  you  are  given the  gift  of  prophecy. If  you  have  the  gift  of  prophecy,  all  you  need  is  the  KJV  Bible)
Granted, Tara was talking about additions of story elements that could affect the Scripture from a theological standpoint.  She mentions one of them in pointing out that details supporting the doctrine of the Trinity were added by the KJV translators.  However, isn’t the fact that we know this was an addition significant?  If we know what has been added and what hasn’t, we can say that God has provided guidance as to what we should read and what we shouldn’t.  However, Tara also claims that the last few verses of Mark were later added and that the story of the woman caught in adultery was a later addition as well.  Again, in making such a claim, one has to ask how this may be proven.  Is it a difference of writing style that inspired the idea?  Was it something else?

(KEITH HUNT  --  yes  God  has  given  us  checks  and  balances;  we  are  not  left  in  the  dark  on  all  the  important  truths  of  God,  not  one  bit.  Tara  has  not  used  my  website  as  she  should  have  done  over  the  last  many  years  I've  know  her.  If  she  had  she  would  have  read  the  "otherside  of  the  story"  from  scholars  who  counter  the  idea  of  the  last  verses  of  Mark  and  the  woman  caught  in  adultery  should  not  be  in  the  Bible.  I'm  getting  an  uneasy  feeling  Tara  has  been  looking  for  a  way  out  of  not  being  a  Christian  any  more,  and  if  you  have  that  attitude,  the  agnostic  and  atheists  people  who  trash  the  Bible  and  Jesus,  well  they  will  give  you  the  way  out  if  you  want  it)
Tara also claims that the New Testament (NT) canon wasn’t established until the fourth century at the (first) Council of Nicea.  The idea that it was Eusebius who established the canon or that it has any one person or group of people in A.D. 325 is absolutely false.  Ernest L. Martin in his book Restoring the Original Bible quite convincingly makes it clear that the canon – its books and its order – was handled by the original apostles.  Yes, not all canonizations of the NT are the same.  For instance, the Roman Catholics have added other books.  However, this does not mean that an original, inspired canon was never created or that it doesn't exist today.
Before concluding this section, I’d like to state that I am in no way accusing Tara of purposefully ignoring details and wrongly approaching the biblical text.  I will, however, say that she has been closed-minded in her approach to her new ideas.  There are many resources that exist within the internet alone that could disprove what she has been saying, or at least offer alternative views.  Most significantly, she has not used the full resources available to her from her mentor Keith Hunt’s web site and has not, as far as I can tell, adequately discussed her findings with him before committing to being a non-Christian.  I sympathize with her in that I understand the confusion that can result from the clever arguments of men and also the experiences of being let down by people she’s trusted to know the truth.  However, I must sincerely express my thoughts as to her shallow observations and impulsiveness in making false assumptions that many before her have done.  This isn’t intended as a disdainful message, but rather a plea for Tara to seriously reconsider her approach towards the subject of Christianity.


Matt

To  be  continued

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