Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Adrian Warnock censors those who find an error in Grudem's words

Adrian Warnock has deleted from this post on his blog a number of comments, at least four by Suzanne McCarthy and two by myself. He has not informed me that he has done this. He has mentioned this in a comment addressed to Suzanne on a post at the Better Bibles Blog, where he writes:
I have removed some comments over at my place that I feel are off-topic. This is one of them
Fortunately I have a copy of these six comments still open in a browser window and so can restore them to public view on this blog.

I must agree with Adrian that some of Suzanne's points, and my second comment which is in reply to those points, are somewhat off the immediate topic of Adrian's post. So he has is acting reasonably by deleting those comments.

However, I have a very serious problem of principle with the fact that he has deleted both of the comments which point out an error of fact in his post. The error is in the words of Dr Wayne Grudem in part five of Adrian's interview with him. These comments are of course entirely relevant to the post concerning which they were added as comments.

Adrian doesn't seem to have a problem with being corrected himself. Indeed he was very gracious when I put him right about subordination within the Trinity in his recent post on the attributes of God. But it seems that he cannot take it when people find errors in what his favourite teachers have said. He wrote the following in a comment just before the ones he deleted:
O, and please be careful about being disrespectful to our guest around here. If I had Dr Grudem as a guest in my home and another guest was rude to him most likely I would ask that guest to leave.
Indeed it is right to be respectful to a guest - and to any guest, including any commenter on a blog, not just to those who have an academic position and a good reputation in certain circles. However, I do not consider it to be showing a lack of respect to politely point out errors of fact made by someone else. Indeed I would consider it disrespectful to avoid carefully correcting someone, to stop them perpetuating their error and potentially being even more embarrassed by public exposure. And I would certainly consider it disrespectful to the honoured guest, as well as to the person pointing out the error, to intervene in the discussion to prevent the guest from finding out about their error.

As for the particular issue in question here, since Adrian has not let me make the correction through a comment in his blog, I will have to make it more publicly, in a separate post from this one.

Here are the comments which Adrian deleted, unedited:
Suzanne McCarthy said...

On 1 Tim. 2:12 Dr. Grudem also takes a stand against the Tyndale - King James tradition.

12But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

12Einem Weibe aber gestatte ich nicht, daß sie lehre, auch nicht, daß sie des Mannes Herr sei, sondern stille sei. Luther

So Dr. Grudem cannot teach from these Bibles, I have heard many times pastors tell me that they cannot teach from a certain text even though it is what was in the KJ or Luther Bible. Why is that? They need their own special version? They will not use a traditional and established Bible?

I don't know why the TNIV is "a highly suspect and novel translation", it is simply an update of the King James translation in this case.

I challenge Dr. Grudem to go back to the King James Bible and teach from that.

12 December, 2006 08:14

...
Suzanne McCarthy said...

And why is it alright to post on the internet against the TNIV and its translators? Why is that acceptable? Who are these people?

Bruce Waltke
Gordon Fee
Ron Youngblood
Douglas Moo
RT France

to name a few.

It is my prayer that this rift in the Christian community be healed and that there will not be one group posting in public against another, going on radio against another, in front of non-Christians.

I am so disturbed by this action on the part of the authors of the Statement of Concern against the TNIV. It is my desire that this provocation of disunity be dismantled. These people, these issues are personal to me. This statement has caused such personal grief, and for what, in what way is the ESV a perfect translation and the KJV, the TNIV and the Luther Bible is not?

There needs to be grace and healing and humility. Not this display of why the TNIV is suspect.

12 December, 2006 08:27

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Adrian,

I need to address your misunderstanding regarding the generic 'he'.

Dr. Grudem claims,

"Thus, in Hebrew and in Greek as well as in English, the usage “suggests a particular pattern of thought,” namely a picture using a male representative" and

"But in typical contexts, singular masculine gender pronouns encourage a starting picture of a male, not just a totally faceless entity"

This implies to me that Dr. Grudem thinks that the pronoun creates male semantic meaning - a male image in the mind. Does it do this in Greek?

In Greek, the pronoun is αυτος meaning 'the same one as has been mentioned'. And the grammatical ending is masculine.

In fact, no one has ever suggested that masculine grammatical endings create male semantic content, or a starting picture of a male in the the mind.

So I cannot understand this argument of Dr. Grudem's. He may feel that this is true in English, but the Bible was not written in English. We have to deal with this.

Let me be clear - the Greek pronoun αυτος does not create a male image in the mind that encourages us to receive Christ in our hearts.

Let's look at this verse.

Rev. 3:20

20Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

Why should we need the pronoun 'him' to create a starting picture of a male in a woman's head. May not woman come to Christ untrammeled by the thought of a human male, not Christ himself, but the male who represents her in her relationship to Christ, as a picture in her head?

Indeed, if someone came to my door I would say, "Please let whoever is knocking come in and I will give them tea."

I would not say "Please let whoever is knocking come in and I will give him tea." I think not. I will welcome a woman as easily as a man.

I discussed this with Dr. Packer and he agrees on this - the generic 'they' is perfectly standard.

12 December, 2006 08:53

...
Suzanne McCarthy said...

Arian,

Does is only matter to you how masculine sounding the words are, or do you care about something being true?

Think of the women who reported that Christ was risen. Wasn't that truth? Can you not open up to something more than masculinity?

12 December, 2006 09:05

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Peter Kirk said...

I am sorry to have to report yet another factual error in what Dr Grudem says. In fact I see that Suzanne has already spotted this, but I repeat it here because some may not take such a point from a woman or may not read all of her comments - and because I drafted what follows before reading Suzanne's comments.

Grudem writes: "in 1 Timothy 2:12 the TNIV adopts a highly suspect and novel translation ... It reads, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man”". But this is not a novel translation at all, for as with Matthew 5:9 Grudem seems to have ignored KJV. Look at the KJV rendering of 1 Timothy 2:12: “I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man”. Of course "usurp authority" is not precisely the same wording as "assume authority", but the meaning in the context must be the same. Grudem continued: "If churches adopt this translation, the debate over women's roles in the church will be over, because women pastors and elders can just say, “I’m not assuming authority on my own initiative; it was given to me by the other pastors and elders.” Therefore any woman could be a pastor or elder so long as she does not take it upon herself to “assume authority.”" Well, for over 300 years most churches adopted KJV, but despite Grudem's argument here this did not stop the debate over women's roles in the church. So what is the real difference between TNIV and KJV here?

Grudem also writes: "I don’t think a pastor can give a woman “permission” to do Bible teaching before the church, because the Bible says not to do that." But actually what the Bible passage in question says is that Paul himself does not give women this kind of permission, in the churches over which he had authority. So this seems to leave open the possibility that other church leaders could and did give this permission. There is a long and complex hermeneutical procedure which needs to be followed, including such issues as how far our churches today are under Paul's apostolic authority and whether individual examples should ever be taken to be normative, before we can translate Paul's example into a command for churches today. This process seems to have been ignored in this whole discussion, at least on the blogs I have been reading. I hope Grudem has addressed this issue in his book.

12 December, 2006 14:55

Peter Kirk said...

Suzanne, you shouldn't call Adrain "Arian". You may disagree with him, but I don't think he is guilty of this particular heresy!

You quote Grudem as claiming concerning generic "he" "Thus, in Hebrew and in Greek as well as in English, the usage “suggests a particular pattern of thought,” namely a picture using a male representative".

Here we need to distinguish carefully between linguistic and theological issues. It is true that in many languages, including Hebrew and Greek, and in some mostly older varieties of English, a grammatically masculine pronoun can refer to or "represent" all humans, male and female. But this is not true of all language, especially those like Persian and Turkic languages which have no gender distinctions in pronouns; it is also not true of the form of "gender neutral" English used in many parts of the English speaking world. It is thus of necessity a language specific issue, which has no significance outside the structures of specific languages. Thus it is something which cannot does not need to be preserved in a translation into a gender neutral language. The problem with this comes when Grudem attempts to recharacterise this as a theological issue and then insist that language specific distinctions are preserved even in languages which do not and cannot make these distinctions.

12 December, 2006 15:07

5 Comments:

At Tuesday, December 12, 2006 8:20:00 pm, Blogger Adrian said...

I am experimenting a bit with a new set of internal guidelines for comment censoring which I do plan on operationalising into a set of principles others can understand.

I will not be deleting the link to these comments from my post.

I think the key change is that I am going to insist that comments are in my opinion relevent to the topic at hand - now that is incredibly subjective I realise, so you will have to bear with me.

Just so you know, another thing I plan on tightening up on will be repetitive comments. I dont want the same arguments rehashed every time I mention a given subject. I am happy enough about links being posted to a conversation elsewhere however.

So perhaps for example "Here Adrian mentions Grudem's views on headship. As you may know I have written on this here" is unlikely to ever be deleted (unless the comment linked to falls foul of other rules to do with politeness etc which I am trying to work up.

To be honest, as people who are likely to be victims of my new-found desire to censor I would appreciate any thoughts you might have on how I can make my pollicy as transparent as possible

 
At Tuesday, December 12, 2006 8:56:00 pm, Blogger Molly said...

Thank you for posting these. I confess to being highly interested in what was said and how. I appreciate you posting these.

 
At Tuesday, December 12, 2006 11:00:00 pm, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

Adrian, thank you for the way you have taken this. I must say I expected you to be rather more critical of how I have handled the issue.

For the moment the only specific guideline I would want to add is that you should not reject as not relevant comments which are pointing out apparent errors of fact in the post on which the comment is made. If you had had that policy in place you would have had no reason to delete the first of Suzanne's comments copied in this post of mine. And your only possible reason for deleting the first of my two comments would be that part of it repeated some of what Suzanne had already posted, but I hadn't read at the time. My point in that comment about the hermeneutical procedure required before taking 1 Timothy 2:12 as applicable in churches today is also relevant to the post and not repetitive, so you had no good reason to delete it.

Also I would suggest that you should normally inform the commenter that a comment has been deleted, if possible with some indication of why. Of course you would want to dispense with this in the case of persistent spam-type commenters.

 
At Friday, December 15, 2006 1:15:00 am, Blogger R. Mansfield said...

If I started deleting off-topic comments on my blog, we'd lose the best parts of the discussion sometimes.

 
At Friday, December 15, 2006 10:06:00 am, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

Indeed, Rick. I also welcome more or less off topic comments. That is certainly better than the near silence in response to most of my posts. But Adrian doesn't have that problem, because he is better known, not least because he has been blogging for a lot longer than me, and because he has a gift for picking controversial topics! I am not saying that he should delete off topic comments, only that he has a right to do so. For that matter he has a right to delete comments about errors of fact in his posts, but I'm not sure that he has a right to ignore such corrections and so continue to perpetrate known errors of fact in unedited posts.

 

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