Re: The forgotten verses

From: Vernon Jenkins (
Date: Sat Jun 07 2003 - 17:35:06 EDT

  • Next message: Michael Roberts: "Re: The forgotten verses"


    I am surprised by the ferocity of your diatribe - yet, there is a sense in
    which I am also encouraged by it. What you dismissively refer to as an
    'exercise in futility' is hardly that - as you would know had you studied
    the evidence and made the logical inferences. And whether it will 'die a
    quiet and peaceful death' is, I suggest, highly unlikely; accordingly, it
    might be well for you to consider whether your RFEP is able to sit
    comfortably with these new facts.


    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Howard J. Van Till" <>
    To: "Vernon Jenkins" <>
    Cc: <>
    Sent: Thursday, June 05, 2003 2:00 PM
    Subject: Re: The forgotten verses

    > >From: "Vernon Jenkins" <>
    > The thinking part of me says to let this whole exercise in futility die a
    > peaceful and quiet death. The rest of me, however, finds it difficult to
    > resist one more comment.
    > > I had hoped you would consider it important that we factored in to our
    > > deliberations vis-a-vis how things began what the Scriptures have to say
    > > about the nature of those who so deliberate.
    > If the powers of human perception and deliberation are as corrupt and
    > distorted as your usual rhetoric implies, then "surely you must agree" (to
    > use one of your favorite rhetorical devices) that this corruption and
    > distortion applies to your own perception and deliberations regarding the
    > numbers that you declare to be a significant indicator of the character of
    > the biblical text.
    > > Regarding the numbers: I see them as fulfilling a complementary role in
    > > confirming the text to be divinely-inspired -....
    > The numbers to which you give so much your attention are declared (by you,
    > after the fact) to be significant on the basis of nothing other than your
    > own individual judgment (human judgment that you repeatedly disparage as
    > untrustworthy). Your whole approach is a-theoretic. You have no basis for
    > any independent theory to establish, "If the text is divinely inspired,
    > it will generate numerical qualities of the following sort....." You
    > certain numbers to be significant only after you sift through the vast
    > sandpile of numbers that can be generated from any text. You dispense
    > numerous assertions of the form, "...surely you must agree...." without
    > faintest semblance of warrant other than your own preconception of the
    > character and intentions of God. How can this be anything but manifest
    > hubris?
    > > and that, surely, can be no bad thing.
    > Surely? Bunk! On the contrary, I see the focus on numbers as a harmful
    > distraction from focusing on the life-enhancing presence of the Sacred.
    > Indeed, I believe the attention given to numbers here serves only to
    > the bibliolatry that infects millions of contemporary Christians --
    > especially in North America -- for whom the strident defense of humanly
    > crafted statements about the biblical text seems far more important than
    > living of a life enriched by the insights of the biblical text into the
    > authentic human experience of Gods presence.
    > > Indeed, I believe the numbers serve to enhance the ability of the
    > > text to stimulate awe and worship.
    > For your sake, Vernon, I hope that you find this to be true of your own
    > experience. I do not find it so in my experience. I see it as the kind of
    > enterprise that opens the door to warranted ridicule of religious beliefs.
    > Howard Van Till

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