Bowman Issues Public Acknowledgment that he Misrepresented Greg Stafford!
The Following is a reproduction of Bowman's public acknowledgment to Greg Stafford for misrepresenting Greg's comments on Granville Sharp's rule.
Greg's reply to Bowman is mixed in with Bowman's acknowledgment, and there are
several other points discussed in relation to Bowman's attitude towards a
Jehovah's Witness named Mike Nelson.
This link was originally entitled "Bowman Apologizes for Misrepresenting Greg Stafford!" but Mr. Bowman now claims that he did not apologize, but merely issued a public acknowledgment that he had misunderstood a section of Greg's book. There really is no difference between an apology and a "public acknowledgment" of one's error, but Bowman has expressed concern at the thought of having to "apologize." We are happy to change the name of this link to comply with his request.
To Mike and Rob, from Greg
Dear brother Nelson:
I am sending this message to you publicly since I do not know your private email address.
I wanted to express my appreciation for your zealous spirit in defending the truth. It is good to see brothers interested in sharing their faith with those who have taken a hardened stand against us.
However, could I ask you to refrain from making an issue about how long it takes for Bowman to reply? Don't get me wrong, I know that some boards give us so much grief that it is easy to react similarly. But, really, Bowman has not taken that long, and even if he never replies it is not a good idea, in view of 1 Peter 3:15, to taunt him this way. Bowman will reply; I have not doubt about that. It is the quality of his reply that counts. Anyone can "reply," but what matters is whether or not the person makes an honest attempt to deal with the facts, without cutting corners.
In light of Bowman's article on Sharp's rule, we can see why there is a need to be patient in responding to emotionally charged issues. Had Rob given greater thought to what I said, there would have been no need for the following apology:
Posted by Rob Bowman (via LSI) on May 28, 1998 at 16:19:14:
Subject: Re: Stafford's Reply
Date: Wed, 27 May 1998 23:53:30 -0400
From: "Robert M. Bowman, Jr."
Please post the following to The Watchtower Review as a reply to Mark's message from Greg Stafford. You might entitle it "Nice minor correction."
I think Greg's wording was a little on the confusing side in the statement in his book about whether "Jesus Christ" is epexegetical. >>
"Confusing"? Not only are my words quite clear, but if you think about it, how in the world could I have argued as Bowman originally thought? Anyway, see my reply to his article for additional details.
However, after re-reading the paragraph where he says I had badly misconstrued his meaning, I agree that I did misunderstand his wording. I can see now that he did mean that on his own view "Jesus Christ" is not epexegetical to "our Savior," but rather that the whole expression "our Savior Jesus Christ" should be viewed as a compound proper name. So I concede that I made a
mistake in that regard. >>
I appreciate Bowman's apology. Still, even the above is not entirely accurate. I make no dogmatic conclusions regarding "Jesus Christ" as either epexegetical to "Savior," or used together as a compound proper name, similar to "Lord Jesus Christ." In my book I favor the latter view, but I state the matter cautiously, since I do not know for sure how the terms were intended. But, I ask, if I had made a similar error, and issued a public apology, how would folks on the Watchtower Review have reacted? I think we all know the answer to that question. Also, if I had not made Bowman's error public, would anyone on the Watchtower Review have researched both sides and found it out for themselves, or would they have accepted what Bowman says without further investigating the issue? I find it odd that some of our critics claim that we are "robotic followers of the Watchtower," and yet these same persons accept what their leaders say hook line and sinker. I hope this is not true of you folks on the Watchtower Review.
Of course, this mistake is not the horrendous one Greg makes it out to be. It certainly does not materially affect my critique of his claim that the expression is used as a compound proper name.>>
Well, Rob, I think that for you to put an article before the scholarly community, or anybody for that matter, and to suggest that I take "Savior Jesus Christ" as a compound proper name, but where one part is epexegetical to another in that compound proper name (!), is indeed a horrendous error.
Hating to make mistakes as I do, it is my sincere hope that this was the worst mistake in my paper! If there is nothing worse in it, I'd have to say that its conclusion would be quite safe. But I am fallible, and I appreciate having mistakes pointed out to me. I'm even open to changing my
exegetical conclusions about texts such as this, or even changing my theological beliefs, if the evidence warrants. I try to admit my mistakes and errors as they come to light, because I care more about the truth than about looking good. So if there are any serious errors in my paper I will be glad to have them pointed out to me.>>>
I appreciate your commitment to finding the truth. All of us should have the same attitude.
On another matter, I wish to say to Mike Nelson that his smug declaration that Greg had defeated me and that I couldn't respond to Greg's arguments was completely without warrant. We already went through this once when I took a little longer to respond to Greg than some of you thought I should take. Mike, you should have learned after the first time, but apparently
did not. I haven't posted answers to Greg because I'm still working on them. I have a lot of good material already finished, but am still trying to finish them all up so that I can offer a complete response. I am extremely busy with other things and can't just drop everything all the time to respond. I have to be quite selective because there are many good things I could be doing, many places on the Net where I could be engaged in dialogue, and I simply can't do it all.>>>
I hope that there will be no more taunting. Of course, we are all very busy.
Now, if after my posts are ready and put up for all of you to read, Greg responds to some or all of them, I can't guarantee that I'll respond quickly or completely. I've already spent far more time on this than I really had to spare. I can be quick, but I do better when I spend time working over material and giving things more thought.
Because Greg has published a book, I'm going to give serious attention to responding to the arguments in his book. >>
Good. I will be here to discuss whatever issues you have in mind. I am working on several other projects, so you should be quite busy for the next few years!
The paper on Sharp's rule, which in part responds to Greg's excursus on the matter in his book, is the first installment in what I hope will be a series of papers that will respond to his arguments. >>>
I look forward to all of them. You can count on a reply to each paper.
Don't expect these to come out every other day. Hopefully anyone reading my paper on Sharp's rule will realize that these things take time.>>
Was this not a revision of an earlier paper? I noticed a revision date at the bottom.
Mike, instead of depending on your champion to defeat the trinitarian dragons, I'd like to see what stuff you've got. Perhaps you'd care to take a crack at responding to one of the chapters in my book _Understanding Jehovah's Witnesses_ (Baker, 1991). The book has been out there for over six years, and so far I haven't seen even one serious effort to respond to any of it from a Jehovah's Witness. Let's see . . . "Day 2,400 and still no response from any Jehovah's Witness." Kind of makes the last 24 days or so look like no big deal to me!
--Rob Bowman >>
I am very disappointed to see you so quickly reduced to the level of behavior that you just got through criticizing. In fact, on a radio show a few years back I recall you making a similar comment (with far less sarcasm!) about how no JW had responded to your other JW books. So, really, you displayed this type of behavior long before Mike did. Unfortunately, things do not appear to have changed. If you want Mike to stop his taunting, perhaps you should set a better example.
As for the above-mentioned book, I have it here with me, and I plan on discussing your material at length in one of my projects. If there is some section you are particularly anxious to have a JW comment on, just ask!
Anyway, Mark is going to create a JW RESPONSE web page where I will post my replies to Bowman, and where other useful materials will be made available to all. Until then, he will use the DebateLog.
As for my previous discussions with Rob, all I am concerned about is the following: Where does the Bible clearly articulate the doctrine of the Trinity? Where does the Bible teach that Jesus has two natures but is only one "person," even though each nature has conflicting sets of attributes with the other? And where does the Bible articulate the trinitarian distinction between "person" and "being"?
Since these concepts are basic to trinitarian thinking, and since you have authored a book on the Trinity, I would think that the answers to these questions would be somewhat easy to provide. In fact, all you really have to do is point me to the Scriptures that CLEARLY teach such doctrines, and I can read them for myself. But I understand that you are busy with other matters, and I can appreciate that.