What’s Wrong with the World

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What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom, the civilization made by the men of the Cross of Christ. Athwart two hostile Powers we stand: the Jihad and Liberalism...read more

Recent Comments

Only one Jesus: The voice of the Master--the alleged problem

Comment posted by Lydia on Jul 16, 12:58:

We should certainly not infer that the synoptic authors were unaware of or thought unimportant the things John records that they don't. That is an unjustified inference. John himself points out that Jesus did so many things that there is no way they could record them all. I think John did have the synoptics and was being self-consciously supplemental to them. We all know times when we say, "Why didn't you tell about that? That was such a cool thing!" It's great that we have both John and the synoptics. We g ... [More]

The prophecy dilemma for literary device theorists

Comment posted by Nicholas on Jul 16, 12:57:

Also, note that the 'problem' is not thought to be limited to the Oliviet Discourse (Matthew 24-25, Mark 13; Luke 21) but also , f.e. 2 Thss. 2, where the eschaton is envisioned to arrive while the temple was still standing, and the "soon" passages in Revelaton (Rev 1:1; 2:16; 3:11; 22:6-7,12,20; cf. 1:3) [Steve Hayes wrote a piece on those passages that I, unfortunately, do not find very persuasive: http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2019/07/where-is-jesus-coming.html] ... [More]

Only one Jesus: The voice of the Master--the alleged problem

Comment posted by Peter Culbert on Jul 16, 12:12:

Hi Lydia Sorry late to your website. Whilst I think John is historical, Ive always had an issue in understanding why John (either the apostle or elder) includes so much material that Jesus spoke which is not included in the Synoptics. I can understand why John may not have included material from say Mark (if he was aware of it as Richard Bauchkam and others contend) but why would there be so much that John recalls and records which the other writers have either not been aware of or thought unimportant? Log ... [More]

The prophecy dilemma for literary device theorists

Comment posted by Nicholas on Jul 16, 02:39:

Dear Dr. McGrew, e-mail sent. Thank you very much. ... [More]

The prophecy dilemma for literary device theorists

Comment posted by Lydia on Jul 15, 22:21:

It's the "this generation shall not pass until all is fulfilled" verse that they are referring to. E.g. Matthew 24:34 Nicholas, I've addressed this a lot in e-mails. Give me your e-mail and I will forward you some of what I've written on it. My e-mail address is lydiamcgrew at gmail dot com ... [More]

The prophecy dilemma for literary device theorists

Comment posted by Tony on Jul 15, 20:49:

unambiguously promised that the eschaton would take place within a generation I really don't know what sort of "majority of secular scholars" would look like and what consensus their opinions might coalesce around, but this is hardly a slam-dunk. While Jesus' predictions of his followers being persecuted and even put to death were met somewhat in the 20 to 25 years after his death, there is no doubt that the prophecy was met one heck of a lot better AFTER that period. In addition, one can hardly argue t ... [More]

The prophecy dilemma for literary device theorists

Comment posted by Nicholas on Jul 15, 14:21:

Dear Dr. McGrew, Apologies for posting an irrelevant query but I did not know where else to address you with regards to this issue, but have you written anywhere on the 'failed prophet' interpretation of Jesus by critical scholars? Namely, quoting a skeptic: that "Jesus and a number of figures/authors in the New Testament unambiguously promised that the eschaton would take place within a generation — and the legitimacy of several important theological claims depended on this imminence. Yet this prediction ... [More]

Is this the end for Vincent Lambert?

Comment posted by Paul J Cella on Jul 15, 09:16:

Lord have mercy. ... [More]

Is this the end for Vincent Lambert?

Comment posted by Lydia on Jul 13, 08:34:

https://www.liveaction.org/news/tragedy-vincent-lambert-dies-starved-death-france/ ... [More]

The Lydia McGrew scale of Not-So-Niceness

Comment posted by Lydia on Jul 12, 09:52:

And I would add that it is possible to be temperate and to call some ideas silly or to say that some arguments scarcely arise to the level of argument or what-not. I would call my paragraph about the hypothetical Smith quite temperate. "Temperate" and calm doesn't have to mean writing in a way that is dull and that never says outright or even in somewhat witty fashion that some idea is without merit or an argument astonishingly poor. A sentence like, "This is not good history, this is just poor literary cri ... [More]

Blaming the losers

Comment posted by Nice Marmot on Jul 12, 06:27:

"It's possible that Dreher didn't fully realize this when he wrote the original book (which I haven't read, by the way, so I can't speak to it directly!) and that he realizes it now. Certainly his blog posts now seem to indicate such an understanding." Yes, he definitely gets this, and has all along. In fact, his borderline preference of the GOP over the Dems has mostly to do with the belief that the former still evinces strong support of the First Amendment, specifically religious liberty and freedom of s ... [More]

The Lydia McGrew scale of Not-So-Niceness

Comment posted by Tony on Jul 12, 01:01:

Jesus was able to be angry because He knew without doubt that His anger was justified and was not for the sake of His own pleasure. None of us are Him. What the Holy Spirit inspires in us at the moment, we have to trust in Him to do; I think what we cold-bloodedly plan to do should err on the side of calmness and reason rather than denunciation, as far as we can. Have you read much of the letters and sermons of the Fathers of the Church? Or the Doctors? Their language is - quite often - pretty darn stron ... [More]

Blaming the losers

Comment posted by Lydia on Jul 11, 19:44:

What the founders of the Christian school movement of the 70s understood was that we have to be somewhat politically engaged in order to retain our right to *have* our separate institutions and raise our children. This is all the more true now than it was in the 1980s, of course. I guess I've sort of assumed that Rod, being a sensible guy, must know this. But sometimes when his Ben. Op. thing gets characterized as checking out from the culture or checking out from politics or whatever, it sounds like a per ... [More]

The Lydia McGrew scale of Not-So-Niceness

Comment posted by Lydia on Jul 11, 13:47:

No, calling a conclusion or a position silly is not Bulverism, which is ad hominem. It is the ideas that are silly. Many ideas are objectively silly. Some are also objectively pernicious. Sometimes this is in relation to a known body of evidence. For example, in relation to our known body of evidence, the idea that the Holocaust never occurred is both silly and pernicious. Some things are inherently silly. For example, postmodern gibberish is inherently silly because it is meaningless. 1 + 1 = 3 is inhere ... [More]

The Lydia McGrew scale of Not-So-Niceness

Comment posted by Stephen J. on Jul 11, 13:08:

Or to summarize the previous bloviation more succintly: In principle, I stipulate that if humour and mockery are used to enhance clarity and mutual understanding, they can be valuable tools of discourse. In practice, they are almost always used to obscure clarity rather than illuminate it, and tend far more often to create or aggravate mutual hostility than alleviate it. I therefore tend to be far more skeptical of their presence than their absence, and think they are far better avoided than embraced. Let t ... [More]

The Lydia McGrew scale of Not-So-Niceness

Comment posted by Stephen J. on Jul 11, 12:48:

I appreciate the importance of clarity and the desire to defend it, and certainly don't mean to imply the opposite. But the difficulty I continue to have with the supposed "necessity" of Category 3 debate is the apparent presumption that somehow "silly" or "ridiculous" can be objective qualities which it is somehow dishonest or disingenuous not to acknowledge. In my experience and observation, this simply isn't true; certainly no original arguer ever thinks his own position ridiculous, or he wouldn't advanc ... [More]

The prophecy dilemma for literary device theorists

Comment posted by Lydia on Jul 11, 12:15:

Yeah, I cannot really describe how little impressed I am by that phrase "the majority of scholars" in such a context. And it's not only because of people being Christians or non-Christians. The field of NT studies is rife with terrible, terrible arguments. And these terrible arguments have become anti-standards. They have become false standards of the discipline. If you don't accept such moves you are considered an outsider and hence not knowledgeable in the discipline. It's a terribly dysfunctional discipl ... [More]

Blaming the losers

Comment posted by Tony on Jul 11, 11:20:

Mind you, I'm inclined to think that "Benedict Option" is a) somewhat under-defined, hence ripe for others to define as they wish and b) a little behind-the-times, since starting our own institutions is something Christians started doing decades ago and even the whole self-consciously countercultural attitude of private Christian schools is old hat to Protestants. But one can hardly say that Dreher is just giving up on culture war issues. I agree that "the Benedict Option" is rather undefined. I think the ... [More]

The prophecy dilemma for literary device theorists

Comment posted by Tony on Jul 11, 10:12:

But if one believes (as the majority of contemporary scholars do) that the Evangelists were not eyewitnesses to the events they described, then there is no need to suppose that they made up stuff. Stories - even stories of factual events - can accumulate accretions over the course of time. And stories, like genes, also mutate spontaneously. We should always be clear about who it is that is the scholar, and what frame of reference he is using. If he is a Christian, some responses are available that would b ... [More]

Blaming the losers

Comment posted by Lydia on Jul 11, 09:39:

I read an article recently that categorized Rod Dreher in the same boat with Bishop Barrone as saying that we have "lost the culture wars" and hence that we should focus on something-or-other else. The author gave some annoying instances from Barrone in which he left out references to sexual issues and so forth and (if I recall correctly) defended doing so because we shouldn't be harping on those issues or something to that effect. I thought that lumping Dreher in with that was not accurate, though, since D ... [More]

Blaming the losers

Comment posted by Nice Marmot on Jul 11, 08:14:

"As an aside, I wish conservative intellectuals would retire the word 'gnostic' for a while, since it has come to mean anything we don't like (rather like "fascist" on the Left)." Found this excellent little definition of gnosticism in an essay by Lewis P. Simpson. Simpson, drawing on Voegelin, says gnosticism is "the belief that knowledge available to men (gnosis) can be used to change the very constitution of being." (Simpson, "The Southern Recovery of Memory and History") I think conservatives can co ... [More]

The prophecy dilemma for literary device theorists

Comment posted by Lydia on Jul 10, 12:30:

I think at least two of them probably were eyewitnesses. The others were in all probability very close to the events (had the opportunity to speak to witnesses). This is independently confirmed in a variety of ways. They thus had good reason to believe that the events had occurred. In any event, the dilemma in the o.p. is directed towards people who think that the evangelists did not even *believe that they had good reason to think* that the events took place as they related them and twisted or invented fac ... [More]

The prophecy dilemma for literary device theorists

Comment posted by Vincent Torley on Jul 10, 10:22:

Lydia, I agree that the question you pose is a legitimate one: did the evangelists expect their readers to believe that the event they recounted and presented as the fulfillment of a prophecy actually happened? If the answer is yes and if the evangelists simply made up the events they narrated in order to make a theological point, then they would indeed be deceivers. But if one believes (as the majority of contemporary scholars do) that the Evangelists were not eyewitnesses to the events they described, t ... [More]

The Lydia McGrew scale of Not-So-Niceness

Comment posted by Truth Unites ... and Divides on Jul 10, 02:31:

That's how intellectual discourse works. Not by saying, "That's mean. I'm hurt." Because we care about the truth. Thank you. I appreciate this. ;-) ... [More]

The prophecy dilemma for literary device theorists

Comment posted by Lydia on Jul 9, 15:42:

Pertness and ignorance may ask a question in three lines, which it will cost learning and ingenuity thirty pages to answer. When this is done, the same question shall be triumphantly asked again the next year, as if nothing had ever been written upon the subject. George Horne Letters on Infidelity That would be my comment on the fact that anyone can *say*, "Maybe these grew up gradually over time." As far as, "Maybe they thought they could make up something because they wanted to say that Jesus fulfilled ... [More]

The Lydia McGrew scale of Not-So-Niceness

Comment posted by Lydia on Jul 9, 15:23:

Stephen, I think you're just not understanding here, and I think that is partly a result of the breakdown of discourse via social media. For example, you seem to think that a person writing an article criticizing the hypothetical Smith's views, a *scholarly article*, is engaging in some highly sensitive interpersonal interaction with poor old Smith in an attempt to "reach him." This tells me that, in a sense, the kind of discourse I'm talking about (especially the milder versions of category 3) is all the m ... [More]

The Lydia McGrew scale of Not-So-Niceness

Comment posted by Stephen J. on Jul 9, 15:17:

Further reflection and even fuller disclosure, however, requires me to acknowledge that I have myself failed to achieve holding myself "above" Category 3 discourse myself on more than a few occasions, and have certainly enjoyed the results when others did. So it must be acknowledged that "take the beam out of your own eye first, Steve" would be a perfectly cromulent final rejoinder to everything I have said here. ... [More]

The Lydia McGrew scale of Not-So-Niceness

Comment posted by Stephen J. on Jul 9, 14:47:

To further attempt to clarify my objection, I'll ask a hypothetical question: What is the difference between, in the fictional scholarly article above, the writer calling Smith's conception of God "a blob of grey tapioca", and an SJW termagant's calling our conception of God "an invisible sky fairy" that makes the former a respectable example of discourse but disqualifies the latter? Both, to me, appear to fit the definition of Category 3 as here set out. ... [More]

The Lydia McGrew scale of Not-So-Niceness

Comment posted by Stephen J. on Jul 9, 14:15:

"Neither Smith nor anyone else involved in the discussion should be so thin-skinned as to be hurt or reactionary or hardened by the fact that someone wrote that passage." I agree with you that this is the ideal to aspire to and hope for. I would point out, however, that if we are attempting to deal with people as they are and not as we think they "should be," we have to acknowledge the fact that some people are going to react in ways we consider unjustified. One person's sparkling wit is another person's m ... [More]

The prophecy dilemma for literary device theorists

Comment posted by Willem Blom on Jul 9, 12:41:

I'm also sorry, Willem, for having misunderstood where you were coming from, but I must say that I find your comments both in that thread and here to be quite puzzling if you actually are aware of the evidence to the contrary. Sheerly playing devil's advocate is exhausting for those pressed to answer what are really quite frivolous and ill-founded objections, and I don't think it is a good use of time for the person doing it, either. I am looking for the best way to answer the question I raised - not a ques ... [More]

The prophecy dilemma for literary device theorists

Comment posted by Lydia on Jul 9, 11:01:

I'm also sorry, Willem, for having misunderstood where you were coming from, but I must say that I find your comments both in that thread and here to be quite puzzling if you actually are aware of the evidence to the contrary. Sheerly playing devil's advocate is exhausting for those pressed to answer what are really quite frivolous and ill-founded objections, and I don't think it is a good use of time for the person doing it, either. ... [More]

The prophecy dilemma for literary device theorists

Comment posted by Lydia on Jul 9, 10:16:

By "this is where we discuss" I don't really mean here and now, btw. After all, you portray yourself here as thinking the Gospels highly reliable. If so, then actually you presumably *know* the evidence that the Gospels are not coming at the end of a telephone game in which non-factual changes were made gradually by chit-chatting people who knew little or nothing about the events. ... [More]

The prophecy dilemma for literary device theorists

Comment posted by Lydia on Jul 9, 09:40:

For example, suppose Jesus entered Jerusalem on a camel. In that case, would it be strange that the animal was changed to a donkey in order to make it look even more like the prophecy in Zacharia? Yes, extremely strange. And you anticipated the answer: Because if he didn't ride a donkey, then the prophecy was not fulfilled. You can't make a prophecy be fulfilled by making up a story. Likewise, it is possible to think that the evangelists did in fact invent stories because they thought that these stories ... [More]

The prophecy dilemma for literary device theorists

Comment posted by Willem Blom on Jul 9, 03:28:

One of his comments was something to this effect: Since the Gospel authors believed that Jesus fulfilled prophecy, wouldn't this have motivated them to invent things that never happened in order to be able to say that prophecy was fulfilled? I recognize this question as the one I asked in the comments section. During such livestreams there is always some chat going on "on the side" in the comments, and this time a skeptic commentator was throwing in various questions, many of them irrelevant to what Tim an ... [More]

The prophecy dilemma for literary device theorists

Comment posted by Lydia on Jul 8, 21:20:

I present Tony's comment just above in this thread as an example of the importance of Category 3 discourse, per the other thread! If we cannot *say* that certain views are not even remotely worthwhile as hypotheses, there is a very real danger that it will become difficult for us to *think* it and to *convey* it to others. Which would make it hard for us to see reality aright in cases where theories are not even remotely worthwhile. ... [More]

The prophecy dilemma for literary device theorists

Comment posted by Tony on Jul 8, 20:57:

The thing that gets me most, I suppose, is the unutterably silly format of belief these scholars must imagine for people to come to the faith and adhere to it. In effect, either (a) John is saying to himself "I saw these miraculous things that convinced me, but I am going to make up a different picture of miracles that I hope others will believe are true to convince them of the truth of Christ, thus leading them to faith in Christ"; or (b) "I did not need miraculous events happening to persuade me to belie ... [More]

The Lydia McGrew scale of Not-So-Niceness

Comment posted by Lydia on Jul 8, 19:44:

One thing that I think is a shame when I see suggestions like Stephen J.'s that we should always avoid category 3 if possible is the appearance that everyone has entirely lost the category of lively, humorous, and hard-hitting debate of *ideas*. Everything is personal. Hence Stephen J. speaks of "vitriol" and immediately considers the situation where the two people involved are personal friends. This, I think, may mark the intrusion of the world of social media too strongly into our whole concept of discour ... [More]

The prophecy dilemma for literary device theorists

Comment posted by Lydia on Jul 8, 19:21:

But having solid thinking regarding authorship/authenticity should be highly positively correlated with avoiding overly speculative positions. Maybe as a statistical matter, but there are very notable exceptions, and it's important to be aware that the two have come apart *several times in recent history* among evangelicals. Wallace is a notable exception here, and the example I gave in the o.p. is not the only one. Another notable exception is Robert Gundry. Gundry argued strongly for Matthean authorshi ... [More]

The Lydia McGrew scale of Not-So-Niceness

Comment posted by Lydia on Jul 8, 19:02:

I'll even risk ridicule by suggesting it's a particular huge step with females. Paul, I'm entirely open to this as a generalization, tho' I think there are other axes on which a similar probabilistic difference obtains. For example, age. While we're making generalizations, there is a certain type of elderly male that is tetchy to the point of irrationality and cannot handle anything that looks remotely like criticism, however nicely worded and however necessary (e.g., in a job context or other practical c ... [More]

The prophecy dilemma for literary device theorists

Comment posted by Joe Lightfoot on Jul 8, 18:58:

Here are two things that actually are questioned by Christian, evangelical scholars: 1) That Jesus literally said, "I thirst" from the cross is questioned by Daniel B. Wallace and by Michael Licona. In his unpublished paper on the subject, Wallace expressly relates his questioning of the historicity of this event to the fulfillment of prophecy, though the exact connection in Wallace's mind is extremely obscure. It is apparently related to Wallace's strange idea that John would not want to record either Jesu ... [More]