December 29, 2011
Norman Geisler has recently released a new addition to his “Licona Letters” condemning Mike Licona. Geisler is very emphatic that there be a differentiation between inerrancy and interpretation. Under this Geislerian understanding of inerrancy, interpretation and inerrancy simply have a formal distinction but are essentially conflated.
[Such] a disjunction of interpretation from inerrancy as Licona makes is contrary to the nature of truth itself…. So, a formal distinction between interpretation and inerrancy does not mean there is an actual separation of the two.
Additionally, Geisler argues contra Licona that the grammatico-historical hermeneutic is neutral. Geisler argues:
[The grammatico-historical] method does not approach the Bible with a historically neutral stance. After all, it is not called the “literal” method for nothing. It assumes there is a sensus literalis (literal sense) to Scripture. In short, it assumes that a text should be taken literally unless there are good grounds in the text and/or in the context to take it otherwise. As a matter of fact, we cannot even know a non-literal (e.g., allegorical or poetic) sense unless we know what is literally true. So, when Jesus said, “I am the vine” this should not be taken literally because we know what a literal vine is, and we know that Jesus is not one. Further, the literal [grammatico-historical] method does not reject the use of figures of speech or even symbolic language. It only insists that the symbols have a literal referent. For example, John speaks of literal angels as “stars” (Rev. 1:20) and a literal Satan as a “red dragon” (Rev. 12:3). However, the literal [grammatico-historical] method does not allow one to take a literal historical persons (like Adam) or events (like a resurrection) as not literal history.
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December 26, 2011
I have been reviewing, critiquing, and commenting on the controversy between Norman Geisler and Mike Licona for a few months now and I haven’t commented on it for a while hoping that all of this would soon pass. With much dismay I was terribly wrong and it appears to have gotten much worse. There are several happenings I would like to reveal and discuss some new critiques of the situation. For my previous posts please see:
My Support and Endorsement of Mike Licona
The Disputatio–A Response to Norman Geisler in Defense of Mike Licona
In Promptu Ponere–A Response to Norm Geisler’s Petition Against Mike Licona
A Response to Tim Rogers and the Geisler Camp
Caveo Cavi Cautum–A Second Look at Geisler’s Petition Against Licona
Tekton’s Geisler Carol Cartoon
Tekton Ticker recently released a satirical version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol depicting Licona as Bob Crachit and Geisler as Scrooge adopting a plot driven towards this controversy over inerrancy rather than Scrooge’s distain for Christmas. I’m not going to offer much critique on this simply because this shouldn’t have warranted the response from an SES alumnus as it did. You can see Tekton’s response here. However, I cannot ignore its absurd response completely but here are the six reasons why Tekton should/would be brought before the school for review:
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December 16, 2011
JP Holding just released a new parody video of A Christmas Carol and the Licona-Geisler controversy. Enjoy and share!
December 13, 2011
The following is a guest blog post by Mike Burnette. Mike “MoonDog” Burnette is a newly retired U.S. Air Force veteran who has worked 30 years for American Forces Radio & Television and commercial radio stations. Mike has a Bachelor’s in Telecommunications from Liberty University and an M.A. in Public Administration from Bowie State University. He is now a media consultant and creator of “MoonDog’s Media House.” He has proven success increasing the attractiveness and effectiveness of communication, awareness, understanding, participation, and production of key themes and messages for television, radio, and social media. You can view his website at moondogsmediahouse.com.
We now live in an over-communicated global society where, as the great philosopher Harry Nilsson said, “Everybody is talking, but I don’t hear a word they’re saying.” Language has become so abstracted in popular culture that quite often our words have no logical relationship with objective meaning or purpose. In our conversations we give nearly no thought to this deeper meaning or purpose. Our communication today is so riddled with self-stylized, relativistic blathering that we have no idea what we’re hearing. Francis Schaffer warned us of this in his book, The God Who Is There; however, most of us continue to speak as though the listener should understand our meaning—and we should understand theirs–that’s the danger!
Communication expressed by a person, relative to their own self-created truths is an unfounded bridge to relativism–in their attempt to say something of objective meaning–they’ve said absolutely nothing.
I believe there is objective meaning and purpose founded in God’s natural and special revelation. It is in God’s Word that we discover objective truths–that there is one God, the world was created, and that it’s wrong to lie, steal, kill, etc. It is from that foundation we can communicate that “this is good” or “this is bad” and “I know what you mean.” All other serious attempts for a universal communication may be, at times, illuminating, but ultimately is a bridge to nowhere.
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November 26, 2011
I have to give credit to someone else for the post. I never went back through Norm Geisler’s petition to check if his reference to the ICBI statement was accurate. I guess most of us simply took him to be honest and quoted it accurately. To much disappointment it appears that we have been mistaken and Geisler conveniently left out important statements from the ICBI statement. Below is the comparison between the ICBI statement and Geisler’s use of it. For complete transparency, please view the ICBI document here. (What appears in black is taken from the ICBI statement, what appears in red is Geisler’s use of the statement, and what appears in blue is a note of comment).
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November 25, 2011
I was quite encouraged when someone forwarded an email to me containing this blog post by Pastor Tim Rogers. I’ve recently been defending Mike Licona along with several other scholars, i.e. Paul Copan, William Lane Craig, Gary Habermas, et al. from unwarranted accusations from Norman Geisler. (You can see my posts listed at the end of this response). The reason why I was encouraged was because it seemed that the Geisler camp wasn’t really listening or paying attention to our responses and arguments (contra Geisler’s refusal to read footnotes). To much disappointment, my enthusiasm was quickly squandered when I read the response offered by Pastor Rogers. You can view his response on his website pastortimrogers.com.
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November 21, 2011
Last week Mike Licona presented his paper, “When The Saints Go Marching In (Matthew 27.52-52): Historicity, Apocalyptic Symbol, and Inerrancy,” to fellow scholars of the Evangelical Theological Society, which included William Lane Craig, Craig Blomberg, Paul Copan, Dan Wallace, and Darrell Bock in the audience.
You may view the paper at Licona’s website.
You may listen to the presentation MP3 at Licona’s website.
I appreciate Licona responding to Geisler in the academic arena. I hope many scholars take this issue and carry the research to verify or falsify this interpretation of Matthew’s raised saints to the best historiography can offer. (Also, you’ll note that Licona takes the modest position of agnosticism at the moment.) I certainly hope that Matthew 27 doesn’t become the litmus test for society membership or that it sneaks its way into some statement of faith (anymore than it already is).
My only hope is that Geisler either responds in the academic arena haven been given the chance to read Licona’s footnotes or that he drop this whole sideshow and move on.
November 17, 2011
Norman Geisler has recently been emailing a petition against Mike Licona to members of the Evangelical Theological Society. I have been able to obtain a copy of the petition. Please download the petition here. (I have not edited the petition in any way except for removing Geisler’s email at the bottom since that is private information).
Please see My Support and Endorsement of Mike Licona as well as my first response to Geisler in The Disputatio.
My conclusion about this whole situation and petition is that this is presumptuous and a demonstration of either a refusal, inability, or lack of attention to sources, context, and footnotes (Yes, he actually blatantly ignored footnotes…). Additionally, this is a complete abuse and neglect of the scholarly process of handling the material in a way to wrestle with the claims and issues being made. There is no consideration for the evidence Licona uses. This is embarrassing. This is what one may expect from a bad blog by someone who has no credentials. This isn’t following the evidence. Below are the points of contention Geisler has listed on the petition. All formatting is original and emphases are Geisler’s.
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November 12, 2011
In a previous post I expressed my public support and endorsement of Dr. Mike Licona. This week Dr. Norman Geisler released another letter in response to Christianity Today’s article on Licona and an article comparing Licona to Robert Gundry. Dr. Geisler presents eleven main points of contention. This is my response to Dr. Geisler.
Preface. I understand that I stand before giants of the faith and I exercise my criticism with sincere humility. The following is intended to be a respectful and constructive criticism of Dr. Geisler’s arguments. I respect Dr. Geisler and appreciate the contributions he has made to the Christian Church. It is my belief that we should all encourage constructive criticism and that it should be received well. These comments do not purport to express the opinions or beliefs of Mike Licona or any associated entities. These comments are my own.
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November 10, 2011
The English poet John Milton did well when he said that “Truth will rise to the top through a free and open exchange in the marketplace of ideas.” I am so encouraged when I have and see a substantive dialogue with someone concerning an issue. This is certainly important in every day discussions, blogs, and teaching. I assist in managing and teaching an Intro. to Philosophy course at university and I always encourage my students to make us work hard to convince them of what we believe to be true. Do not simply sit there and take what I say and teach prima facie–challenge me, challenge the thoughts, challenge your thinking.
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