Archive for the ‘Don Carson’ Category

D. A. Carson on the phenomena of ‘tongues’

November 11, 2009

To my knowledge there is universal agreement among linguists who have taped and analyzed thousands of examples of modern tongues-speaking that the contemporary phenomenon is not any human language. The patterns and structures that all known languages require are simply not there.  Occasionally a recognizable word slips out; but this is statistically likely, given the sheer quantity of verbalization. Jaquette’s conclusion is unavoidable: “we are dealing here not with language, but with verbalizations which superficially resemble language in certain of its structural aspects.” When studies have been made of tongues uttered in different cultures and linguistic environments, several startling conclusions have presented themselves. The tongues phenomena have been related to the speaker’s natural language (e.g., a German or French tongues-speaker will not use one of the two English “th” sounds; and English tongues-speakers will never include the “u” sound of French “cru”). Moreover, the stereotypical utterance of any culture “mirrors that of the person who guided the glossolalist into the behavior. There is little variation of sound patterns within the group arising around a particular guide,” even though other studies show that the tongues patterns of each speaker are usually identifiable from those of others, and a few tongues-speakers use two or more discrete patterns. In any case, modern tongues are lexically uncommunicative and the few instances of reported modern xenoglossia are so poorly attested that no weight can be laid on them.
D. A. Carson, Showing the Spirit, 83-84

Not prepared to condemn child sacrifice

September 17, 2009

D.Z. Phillips is…not prepared to condemn child sacrifice in some remote tribe, simply because he does not properly appreciate what such a practice might mean to that tribe.

D.A.Carson, Gagging of God, 2002, p.148

This is the consistent result of religious pluralism because God’s moral character cannot be known with any certainty given the great diversity of religious belief in the world. It would be arbitrary to condemn child sacrifice because it may be a ‘local expression’ of the religious impulse behind all religions. This is the consequence of rejecting the revelation of the one true God.

If you doubt this, think of this (typical) statement by a religious pluralist:

The same God is worshipped by all.  The differences of conception and approach are determined by local colouring and social adaptations. All manifestations belong to the Supreme.

Radhakrishnan’s commentary on the Bhagavad Gita

Religious Pluralism defined

September 17, 2009

…the stance that any notion that a particular ideological or religious claim is intrinsically superior to another is necessarily wrong. The only absolute creed is the creed of pluralism. No religion has the right to pronounce itself right or true, and the others false, or even (in the majority view) relatively inferior.

D.A. Carson, Gagging of God, IVP, p.19

And as Carson hints here – it is a creed (busily hiding all evidence of its own existence) that denies all creeds, but its own, to ultimate allegiance.

Authority of Scripture

July 25, 2009

Some time ago, I was informed that a certain passage in Matthew meant such and such, because the Lord had revealed the meaning to the brother in question. Having recently studied that passage at some length, I perceived that the brother was relying on an extension of a faulty translation. I tried to suggest that the Greek original (of which the brother in question was entirely ignorant) could not be taken to support his interpretation. My rebuttal carried no weight: the Lord had told him what the passage meant, and that was the end of the matter as far as he was concerned. His wife reminded me that spiritual things are spiritually discerned – which I could only assume to be their polite way of telling me what they thought of my spiritual status. There was no trace of concern to weigh or test this alleged revelation. Fascinated, I played devil’s advocate and said that I was equally convinced that my interpretation was correct, because the Lord had told me so. We drove on for many silent blocks while my colleague, a clergyman, wrestled with that one. He finally replied, “Well, I guess that means the Bible means different things to different people.” Of course, he had no idea how he had just invaded the turf of the most liberal exponents of the new hermeneutics, and had abandoned not only the authority of Scripture but also the basis of all rational communication in favor of epistemological solipsism. From all such ‘revelations.’ dear Lord, deliver us.

Don Carson, Showing the Spirit: A Theological Exposition of 1 Corinthians 12-14, Paternoster 1995, p.173