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A Response to Ed Komoszewski's Article Entitled:

The New World Translation and Christologically Significant Article-Substantive-Kaiv-Substantive Constructions in the New Testament

There have been several attempts to discredit my arguments against a trinitarian view of Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1. For those who have not read any of the previous discussions, you might visit the following site, http://members.aol.com/debatelog. This site is undergoing major changes and will soon be moved to a new location, where a number of essays and reviews can be found. Until then, I would like to offer the following in response to a recent article written against a part of my book (Jehovah's Witnesses Defended) that considers issue relating to Granville Sharp's rule, and its application to significant New Testament (NT) passages.

In this reply I will preface Mr. Komoszewski's comments with ED, and my replies will follow RESPONSE.

Ed came onto to a discussion board a few months back, made several wild claims about John 8:58 and Col. 1:16, and when confronted with the facts, he left the board, put down my book, and refused to comment on the criticisms I brought against his posts. Of course, before he left he made additional remarks about my book, which he never backed up.

Ed claims he did not post his recent article to this same board, but that someone else did without his permission. He sent an email to me and the board operator, saying that if he wanted me to see his article, he would have alerted me to its presence on a particular site. After reading his article, I can see why he did not want me to see it. Consider:


ED:
In an effort to defend the assertion that two distinct persons are in view in Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1, the New World Translation (NWT) committee approvingly quotes Abbot's appeal to two supposedly parallel article-substantive-kaiv-substantive (TSKS) constructions in the New Testament.2 Of course, Abbot's theory encounters a slight problem here, since neither of his supposed parallels fall within the scope of Granville Sharp's rule.3 First, his example in Matthew 21:12 of two distinct groups buying and selling in the temple employs the use of plural participles. This is not parallel to Titus 2:13 or 2 Peter 1:1 where two singular nouns are in view, and it ignores the fact that not all plural participles in the TSKS construction require identical referents.4 Abbot's second example in 2 Thessalonians 1:12 of a distinction between the Father and Jesus Christ also falls outside the scope of Sharp's rule, since kurivou =Ihsou' Cristou' is a common title possessing the qualities of a proper name.5

RESPONSE:
Ed is correct regarding Abbot's use of Matthew 21:12, but he has not, at this point, given a credible objection to Abbot's use of 1 Thessalonians 1:12. There are significant parallels between "Lord Jesus Christ" and "Savior Jesus Christ," which I will discuss below.

ED:
In addition to his two proposed parallel TSKS constructions, Abbot appealed to Winer's argument that the insertion of hJmw'n before swth'ro" in Titus 2:13 definitizes the noun, thus explaining the absence of the second article. However, Paul's reference in Philippians 2:25 to Epaphroditus as toVn ajdelfoVn kaiV sunergoVn kaiV sustratiwvthn mou ("my brother and fellow-worker and fellow-soldier") clearly demonstrates that the intrusion of a genitive pronoun does not invalidate Sharp's rule.6 Both Abbot and the NWT appendix show an imprecise understanding of Sharp's rule, and the latest NWT apologia7 shows a continuation of that trend.

RESPONSE:
Here Ed reveals his lack of concern for precise parallels, and also makes a careless remark concerning these "parallels." The proper name in Php 2:25 precedes all of the descriptive terms, which are therefore grammatically restricted to the aforementioned Epaphroditus. Also, he makes a general statement about the "intrusion" of a possessive for all TSKS constructions, assuming that it is true in all cases (?) because he can find exceptions to it, like Php 2:25, which, again, are not precise parallels to Titus 2:13. Of course, the fact that there might be an exception here or there does mean there's one everywhere!

But the point I wish to make here is simply this: Ed refers to my Excursus (see his note 7) as example of an "imprecise understanding of Sharp's rule," and yet he makes careless comparisons and generalizations from the get go. As we examine Ed's "imprecise" understanding of these issues, I believe it will become apparent that he has grossly misunderstood my position on this matter, at almost every turn.

ED:
"8 Though Stafford discusses the TSKS construction in Ephesians 5:5, 2 Thessalonians 1:12, Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1, our interest lies solely in the final two passages. The first two passages involve proper names and thus do not indicate identity between the two nouns. Nonetheless, the TSKS construction always indicates some sort of unity between two nouns, and may even connote equality. See Wallace, Exegetical Syntax, 270. Thus, Ephesians 5:5 and 2 Thessalonians 1:12 may very well be implicit references to Christ's deity."

RESPONSE:
Well, do they involve "proper names" or not? Actually, there is not even one shred of doubt about this question, for regardless of how we view "Lord" the proper name "Jesus Christ" occurs in 1 Thessalonians 1:12, "Christ" occurs in Ephesians 5:5, and in both texts the other noun is "God." A careful student of the use of these terms will rightly recognizes that the author's use of language almost certainly restricts the term "God" to the Father and the term "Christ" is, of course, restricted to "Jesus" in Ephesians. 5:5. In 1 Thessalonians 1:12 the proper name "Jesus Christ" restricts the application of "Lord."

The only significant questions are whether or not "Lord Jesus Christ" stands in apposition to "God" in 1 Thessalonians 1:12, and whether "God" is a further description of "Christ" in Eph. 5:5. But, again, the referential significance of THEOS in the Pauline corpus creates a semantic distinction between Him and Jesus Christ, unless some other sense is attached to the term THEOS, which would not be possible for the Father, but would be for the Son. (See the Excursus in the Second Edition of Jehovah's Witnesses Defended for a detailed analysis of these two texts, as well as an expanded discussion of the referential significance of THEOS in the Pauline and Peterine writings.) This sense would have to be in line with such statements as Romans 15:5-6, 2 Corinthians 1:3, Ephesians 1:3, 17, and other passages of similar theological import. But, again, throughout his epistles Paul uses THEOS as a semantic signal for "the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." It should therefore be apparent to all that REGARDLESS of whether or not THEOS, in any of these texts, applies to the Jesus, the consequence is devastating to trinitarianism, which holds that there is only one God, who is triune.

ED:
On the one hand, his arguments depend almost exclusively on one area of limited data,9 and on the other hand, he almost completely ignores an overwhelming corpus of contrary evidence.

RESPONSE:
Ed has badly misunderstood the data used for my conclusion. His note 9 reads:

ED:
"9 We are referring to Stafford's attempt to establish swthvr jIhsou'" Cristov" as a compound proper name in Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1. Less effort is spent arguing for patristic exceptions to Sharp's rule and qeoV" mevga" as a proper name in Titus 2:13, and we address those arguments in turn. Stafford's only other argument appears under 2 Peter 1:1, where he suggests two persons should be in view since New Testament epistles typically make an opening reference to both the Father and the Son. See Witnesses Defended, 246. However, a simple comparison of the opening verses in 1 and 2 Peter make this unlikely. 1 Peter 1:1 makes an opening reference to Christ, and no mention of the Father occurs until the following verse. So, it is not so strange that Peter's second epistle would mention Christ alone in 1:1, and wait to mention the Father until verse 2."

RESPONSE:
At this point, Ed has not stated the truth of the matter concerning my arguments for 2 Peter 1:1. We will see if he recovers below. Ed has also misrepresented the facts concerning 1 Peter 1:1. He has split an ongoing, opening sentence into TWO VERSES to give the appearance that there is some DISTANCE between the reference to Christ and the Father, when they actually occur in the same opening sentence! Is this serious scholarship? Hardly. It is, to me, an attempt to obfuscate, and a poor one at that. But, unfortunately, it gets worse:

ED:
Stafford's argument for viewing two persons in the christologically significant TSKS constructions relies almost exclusively on his attempt to find compound proper names.

RESPONSE:
This is a ridiculous claim, which shows that Ed has not carefully read my Excursus, nor has he followed my discussions with Bowman. In fact, compound proper names are not essential to my position at all! How could Ed have missed this?

ED:
If he can somehow demonstrate the fact that "the Great God" (Titus 2:13) or "Savior Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13; 2 Pet 1:1) are compound proper names, then the limitations on Sharp's rule apply and two distinct persons are intended.

RESPONSE:
Actually, that would not necessarily establish anything, but it would be an additional factor to consider, which most trinitarians ignore in this and other, similar passages. What Ed is missing, and what I will discuss in greater detail below, is that the semantic distinction which results from such compound proper names (or other descriptive phrases) as "the great God" (see below).

ED:
However, Stafford has not assembled nearly enough primary data to establish his case.10

10 With Wallace we agree that, "Any significant statements as to the semantics of a given construction must be based on a large number of examples," and that, "Any judgment as to the semantics of the disputed passages must be based on clear examples that parallel, in all the essentials, the semantic situation of the target construction." Wallace, Exegetical Syntax, 1-2. We will see that Stafford's argument for compound proper names in Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1 are lacking in this regard.

RESPONSE:
I will evaluate Ed's argument below, but, again, he is chasing shadows. My argument does not hinge on whether or not "Savior Jesus Christ" is a compound proper name. I believe it may be, and I will discuss this below (in part), but Ed has missed the point of my argument.

ED:
Stafford's first attempt at establishing the case for a compound proper name begins with "the Great God" (tou' megavlou qeou') in Titus 2:13. A one paragraph statement was all that Stafford deemed necessary,11 and his sole argument leans on Wallace's admission that it is just possible to construe similar phrases "the only Father" and "the God and Father" as virtual proper names.12 Running with this remote possibility, Stafford muses that since the title "the Great God" also appears frequently in the LXX,13 it too might be considered a compound proper name. It is our contention that frequency of usage in the Old Testament does not automatically prohibit qeoV" mevga" from being applied to Christ in the New Testament, and thus does not constitute a proper name.

RESPONSE:
There are enough problems with this one paragraph for me to write an entire paper on. Also, my argument does not "lean" on Wallace's admission at all. Ed refers to Wallace in his note 12:

12 Wallace rejected this view on the grounds that one would then also expect phrases such as "the God over all" (oJ ejpiV pavntwn qeov") and "Almighty God" (qeoV" oJ pantokravtwr) to be used only of the Father. However, these phrases are not restricted to the Father, and do occasionally refer to Christ in the patristic writings. See Wallace, "Multiple Substantives," 268-69.

RESPONSE:
What both Ed and Wallace fail to notice is the key word in the phrases "the only Father" and "the God and Father" is "Father." That is not a part of the expressions "Almighty God" or "the God over all." "Father" would create a semantic distinction between Jesus and God, serving the same function as a proper name. Ed's failure to realize this permeates the rest of his article. My comment about "the great God" being restricted to the Father and creating a semantic distinction between Him and "our Savior Jesus Christ" is hardly remote. See below for further details.

Ed also asserts that "It is our contention that frequency of usage in the Old Testament does not automatically prohibit qeoV" mevga" from being applied." That is a convenient way to dismiss the facts, but there is more to this issue than mere "frequency." Ed failed to gather this from the list of examples I cited from the LXX. See his note 13. Also, we might point out that Ed here shows that frequency is not that important on matters that do not argue in his favor. You will notice a dramatic shift in his view of "frequency" when it comes to the expression "God and Savior" in extra-biblical literature. See below.

ED:
This can be demonstrated with a brief examination of another title frequently applied to Yahweh in the LXX, and which we believe is securely applied to Christ in the New Testament. The title "Almighty God" (qeoV" oJ pantokravtwr) refers specifically to the Father over a dozen times in the LXX.14 The same construction occurs nine times in the New Testament, all confined to the Book of Revelation.15 We would submit that within the pages of the Apocalypse the title is applied to both the Father and the Son.

RESPONSE:
This is rather interesting. First Ed uses as a basis for comparison examples in NT that he THINKS apply to Jesus, but, actually, do not. So right off he is reaching for a comparison. Let's see if he can establish his point. But, again, Ed is proceeding on the incorrect premise that my argument hinges on frequency of usage. Indeed, my argument does not even hinge on restricting the description "the great God" to the Father! See below. In fact, as you will see, I have absolutely no problem applying "the great God" to Jesus, nor would any other Witness, from a biblical perspective. But the trinitarian view of THEOS, as applied to Jesus, in any text, is impossible from a biblical point of view (see below).

ED:
It is not our intention to offer an explanation for each occurrence of qeoV" oJ pantokravtwr in the New Testament, but merely to offer some observations which we believe make it likely that Christ is referred to as "God Almighty" in the Book of Revelation. Stafford agrees that Revelation 1:17 and 2:8 make clear reference to Christ as "the First and the Last" (oJ prw'to" kaiV oJ e[scato"), and he recognizes that the LXX version of Isaiah 44:6 provides an exact parallel in reference to the Father.

RESPONSE:
This is another false statement about my view. Nowhere do I say that "the LXX version of Isaiah 44:6 provides an exact parallel in reference to the Father." In fact, it does not! Before I point out the differences between the two, here is what I said in my book, page 64:

"As the first part of 22:12 refers back to Isaiah 40:10, the additional description of "the Alpha and the Omega" as "the first and the last" seems to recall (although the LXX does read the same as the Greek of Revelation on this point) the words of Isaiah 44:6: "I am the first and I am the last, and besides me there is no God." That Revelation 1:17 and 2:8 could not have this same meaning seems clear from the fact that "the first and the last" of Isaiah 44:6 is obviously God Almighty, Jehovah; but Jesus, in the same glorified state in which he is called "First and Last" in the context of his death and resurrection, admits to another as his God [Rev. 3:12]."

END OF QUOTE

Now, can everyone see how Ed missed the point and how he misrepresented what I said? If not, notice my use of "seems" and my parenthetical comment.

Regarding the differences between the OT LXX of Isaiah 44:6 and the use of "the first and the last" in Revelation, here they are:

ISAIAH 44:6 (LXX): EGW PRWTOS KAI EGW META TAUTA

NT – REV 1:17 and 2:8: EGW EIMI hO PRWTOS KAI hO ESKHATOS (Codex A reads hO PRWTOTOKOS in both of these texts, not hO PRWTOS. Ed failed to communicate this point which I mention in my book, showing an early distinction between these texts and Rev. 22:13.)

Rev 22:13 uses EGW (not EIMI) with three descriptions, including "the first and the last," but nothing in the context resembles the two uses in Rev. 1:17 and 2:8, which BOTH relate to Jesus' death and resurrection. Please consider my book, pages 63-66.

ED:
Nevertheless, he is unwilling to apply the full force of this phrase to Christ in Revelation 22:13.

RESPONSE:
Again, see my above comments and my book where I discuss this matter in detail.

ED:
First, Stafford objects to Christ being the speaker in Revelation 22:12-15, arguing that the appearance of the first person singular pronoun in 22:16 signals a shift in speaker. He cites two supposedly similar shifts in the same book: The first example is Revelation 1:9, which reads according to the NASB: 'I, John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance [which are] in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos, because of the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus.' Here John, right after 'the Alpha and the Omega,' finishes speaking in verse 8, refers to himself in the first-person singular, followed by an explicit identification through the use of his name. Surely no one will argue that this means John is 'the Alpha and the Omega' of the previous verse!16

No, we would not argue that John is "the Alpha and the Omega." But we would argue that the explicit phrase levgei kuvrio" oJ qeov" ("says the Lord God") in 1:8 clearly identifies the previous speaker. Thus, the sudden change poses no problem in 1:9. The shift is rather obvious, and there is no room for confusion as to the identification of the speaker in either verse.

RESPONSE:
Ah, then that is a decision that is based on theology, not only on the grammar of the text. You assume that John is not also the Almighty God, and I agree, based on what we read elsewhere (see below). The same is true of Jesus. (Rev. 3:12) That is the point I was making, which you apparently missed. How I will never know, but you did! Again, see my book, where I explain this in detail, showing that the use of "I" does not necessarily identify the previous speaker.

ED:
Stafford continues: The second example is found in Revelation 22:8: 'I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me.' (NIV) Will anyone conclude based on the opening of this verse that John is the one 'coming quickly' in verse 7?17 No, we would not conclude that John is the one "coming quickly." But we would conclude that John's admission to having just heard and seen the things of the previous verse clearly distinguishes him from the one speaking those words and showing those things. It seems pretty clear that the examples set forth by Stafford involve contextual indictors which plainly signal a shift in the speaker. However, when we come to Revelation 22:12-16, that is not the case.

RESPONSE:
How would those indicators prevent John from being a member of the "Godhead" if a contextual distinction between God and Jesus does not prevent them from being identified according to trinitarianism? This is selective theology. Ed is using the very point I make about the texts in reference to both John and Jesus, and only accepting it in reference to John, because his theology does not include him in the "Godhead." See below.

Again, my point is in reference to the use of "I" following a quote. Naturally I am going to determine the identity of the speaker based on what is said elsewhere and whether or not my view agrees with the context, but Ed and other trinitarians do not do that! Rather, they tend to rely on bad arguments that hinge on the use of "I" following a quote.

ED:
Once "the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end" (v. 13) begins to speak in verse 12, there are no contextual indicators to hint at a shift in speakers at verse 16. Thus, there is no difficulty with viewing Christ as the one who is speaking for the duration of 22:12-16,18 and he may be understood as identifying himself as the "Almighty God" of 1:8.19.

RESPONSE:
Of course, he MAY, and so may John, if we argue that he is speaking in verse 8 from his human nature, while in the previous verses he speaks from his divine nature, a nature he is said to be given according to 2 Peter 1:4. See how the Chalcedonian sword cuts both ways?

Ed's entire argument suffers from his failure to recognize the different speakers in Revelation. I point out and demonstrate that the angel in Revelation 1:1 is actually the speaker, and speaks for the different persons in the different visions. I will provide additional support for this view in my second edition. But here Ed has nothing definite to offer for a comparison to my argument regarding "the great God" in the OT LXX.

Ed's note 19 reads:

"19 It seems clear that Christ is speaking through the angel beginning in 22:12, and this raises a rather interesting point. Beginning with the announcement that the Apocalypse is the "Revelation of Jesus Christ" communicated "by His angel" (cf. Rev 1:1), one is hard pressed to find the angel ever speaking as a conduit of the Father. Thus, it is all the more likely that Christ is "the Alpha and the Omega" speaking in 22:13."

RESPONSE:
"Hard pressed"? I think it took me all of 15 seconds. Try following the "he" pattern in Revelation 22, and notice what "he" says in verse 13. Ed's argument is quite remarkable.

ED:
If "Almighty God" (qeoV" oJ pantokravtwr) can be used of the Father frequently in the LXX and yet applied to Christ in the New Testament, then recurrent LXX usage cannot be offered as a reason for denying Christ the title "the Great God" (tou' megavlou qeou').20 This becomes highly significant in Stafford's treatment of christologically significant texts in the TSKS construction, since Titus 2:13 does not allow him the concession of calling Christ qeov" in some qualified sense. The title "Great God" can imply nothing less than full deity.

RESPONSE:
First, Ed he has not proven that Christ is called "Almighty God." At most he has shown that Jesus could be the speaker, but I have already acknowledged that could be true, just as it could be true that John is the "Lord God" of 22:6. The context and reoccurring theme in Revelation distinguishes God from Christ, and the angel in 1:1 speaks for BOTH of them (see above). Ed fails to understand and accept these rather simple points, for obvious reasons. Also, Ed misrepresents my view of a secondary sense for "the great God" in Titus 2:13. Anyone who actually, carefully read my book would recognize the error in this statement. Ed should try reading page 247 of my book, or at least read the lengthy exchange I had with Bowman, where I made this point about twenty times, in great detail.

ED:
Continuing his quest to find a compound proper name in the aforementioned TSKS constructions, Stafford does some spade work with the epithet "Savior Jesus Christ" (swthvr jIhsou'" Cristov") and digs up the following argument: It is similar with 2 Thessalonians 1:12, where the compound name 'Lord Jesus Christ' does not require the article to be considered a second subject. In Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1 the use of swthvr, together with 'Jesus Christ,' puts these example [sic] outside the general category of article-noun-kaiv-noun constructions, which do not have the equivalent of a proper name in either the first or second position.

RESPONSE:
First, I do not have a "quest." I merely evaluate the evidence and present what I find. That may be a quest of sorts, but not the kind Ed has in mind. Ed, though, most certainly does have a quest, and that is to try and find some evidence he can bend to agree with trinitarianism. Indeed, the Bible nowhere makes the distinction between "being" and "person" that trinitarians do; they simply create one. Otherwise references to Jesus as THEOS could not work, since it would either have to imply that Jesus is another God, or the Trinity. And they cannot have that, because of their commitment to the creeds of Christendom (see below).

ED:
As with his first attempt to find a compound proper name, Stafford's handling of the primary data is found wanting.

RESPONSE:
In the first attempt, Ed ignored the key data and misrepresented my argument, so I can see why he might be confused as to how I "handled" the data, but that is his problem, not mine.

ED:
In fact, in all of his discussion regarding swthvr jIhsou'" Cristov" as a proper name, Stafford does not provide one argument from primary data. He does a good job, however, of locating secondary sources that agree with his position.22

22 A sympathetic pen is noted in Abbot, Winer and Blass-Debrunner. See Stafford, Witnesses Defended, 240-41, 244, 246.

RESPONSE:
Actually, I discuss the primary data on pages 240-242. But, again, Ed is completely confused about my argument, and thus he fails to make the point. Consider:

ED:
Since we prefer not to give secondary sources primary authority, a closer look at the two pertinent christological titles is in order. According to the current version of acCordance,23 the title "Lord Jesus Christ" (kuvrio" jIhsou'" Cristov") occurs a total of sixty-two times in sixteen different New Testament letters.24 It is particularly significant to note that the title occurs early25 and is evenly distributed throughout the New Testament (see Appendix). Such early, frequent and evenly spread attestation gives abundant evidence for treating the title as a proper name.

RESPONSE:
Now I will explain the problem with which Ed is faced. Even if the compound expression "Lord Jesus Christ" occurred only ONCE, it would still be restricted to the one whose name is a part of the expression! That is, given the above scenario, if "Lord Jesus Christ" occurred only once in NT, it could ONLY be understood in one of two ways: 1) as a compound proper name ("Lord Jesus Christ") or in a text where either "Jesus Christ" is in apposition to "Lord" or vice versa. In either case, "Lord" is restricted in its application to "Jesus Christ." Thus, the key point I am concerned with is whether or not the addition of a proper name creates a semantic distinction that may disrupt the semantics of GS constructions. The only way to know is to consider the resulting semantic significance created by the restriction of the noun to the individual denoted by the proper name, and then compare it with the concept created by the other noun or descriptive phrase involved in the GS construction. Ed does not do that, for the simple fact that he cannot sustain his concept of God or Christ by the Bible. He has to import a creedal understanding of God and Christ into the text in order to apply THEOS to Christ and avoid tritheism. But the Bible nowhere articulates the sense he gives to terms like THEOS, which is why trinitarians discount the use of theology in debatable GS constructions.

ED:
On the other hand, the title "Savior Jesus Christ" (swthvr jIhsou'" Cristov") is scarcely attested. It occurs only five times, and is confined to two later writings26 produced in roughly the same time period (see Appendix).27 Considering the fact that its semantic pattern is so far removed from that of kuvrio" jIhsou'" Cristov", it is quite unlikely that swthvr jIhsou'" Cristov" assumes the former's semantic force. In other words, there simply is not enough primary data to make a case that swthvr jIhsou'" Cristov" functions as a compound proper name.

RESPONSE:
Ed's argument is a non sequitur. It simply does not follow that because we do not have as many occurrences of "Savior Jesus Christ" that it was not considered a compound proper name at the time it was used. In fact, Ed seems to assumes that there's a certain "minimum" number of times that an expression like this must be used in order for it to qualify as a compound proper name.

The fact is, "Savior" is used with "Jesus" or "Jesus Christ" 10 times (Acts 13:23; Php 3:20; 2 Tim 1:10; Tit 1:4; 2:13; 3:6; 2 Pet. 1:1; 1:11; 2:20; 3:18), and 4 times they are used together without any modifiers between the terms. (2 Pet. 1:1, 11; 2:20; 3:18) Ed refers to "the title 'Savior Jesus Christ' (swthvr jIhsou'" Cristov")" as occurring "five times." I am still looking for that fifth instance! Ed's note 27 reads, "27 AcCordance searched for the masculine singular of swthvr followed by (within two words) the masculine singular of V jIhsou'" followed by (within one word) the masculine singular of Cristov"." But his main-text comments imply that he actually found 5 instances of swthvr jIhsou'" Cristov".

In any event, Ed has badly mishandled the data in terms of countering my argument. But even if we grant what he says, namely, that the use of the expression "Savior Jesus Christ" is scarce and only occurs in later writings, he assumes that more than 4 (or 5 by Ed's count) instances of an expression containing a unique title together with a proper name are not enough to constitute the expression a compound proper name. He also fails to realize the following regarding "Savior Jesus Christ":

1) The uses of this expression in later writings may ACCOUNT FOR its scarcity in EARLIER writings, perhaps revealing that by a later date, such as the time when the two letters (Titus and 2 Peter) were written, the expression had become fixed and therefore was used more frequently than in earlier NT documents.

2) The fact that this expression is used more frequently in later writings may be a reflection of increasing use of the same expression in verbal conversation. This assumed usage must be considered when determining whether or not the expression is a compound proper name. If definite conclusions can not be drawn on this issue, they should not be drawn on EITHER side, then. Of course, that would bring us back to the issue of sense and reference, which trinitarians wish to avoid at all costs.

Ed also claimed, "Considering the fact that its semantic pattern is so far removed from that of kuvrio" jIhsou'" Cristov", it is quite unlikely that swthvr jIhsou'" Cristov" assumes the former's semantic force." How Ed fails to connect his earlier observation, namely, that the expression "Savior Jesus Christ" is found in later literature, with this point about a difference in semantic pattern is unclear. I would think it rather obvious that the semantic patterns developed differently, and that "Lord Jesus Christ" was used as a compound proper name earlier than "Savior Jesus Christ." The fact that Ed compares the use of these two expressions from texts of early and late dates is suspiciously careless indeed. If he intends to compare the early use of these expressions, that is fine, and his conclusion is correct, though quite obvious. But I believe we are concerned with the use of "Savior Jesus Christ" in the two LATE writings, are we not?

Also, it is quite possible that "Lord" is not used in Titus because "Savior" had, by the time of its composition, become its replacement to a large extent, being used with the same semantic force as "Lord," in terms of its application to Jesus. In 2 Peter we certainly see an increase in its use for Jesus, especially in the compound expression "Savior Jesus Christ."

But, again, none of this really matters in terms of my argument.

Ed's note to the above reads:

"26 The title occurs late enough for one author to view 2 Peter 1:1 as the evolutionary climax of swthvr being applied to Christ in ways previously applied to the Father. The implication is that calling Jesus swthvr becomes just as significant as calling him qeov". See C. H. Moehlmann, The Combination Theos Soter as Explanation of the Primitive Christian Use of Soter as Title and Name of Jesus (Rochester: Du Bois, 1920) 17.

RESPONSE:
Obviously Ed is not as adverse to secondary sources as he previously implied. Of course, Moehlmann is entitled to his opinion, but it is based on a misunderstanding of the use of SWTHR in reference to Jesus in the NT. (1 John 4:14) Moehlmann does make a significant admission, however, which Ed failed to tell his readers about. On the very same page to which Ed refers, Moehlmann admits, "In the final stage of the development of soter as applied to Jesus, it has evolved into a proper name." He believes the Odes of Solomon "furnish the earliest instance of soter as [a] name employed of Jesus." But this decision seems to ignore the frequent use of the title in 2 Peter and Titus, for Jesus. There is no reason why the use of this term, particularly when used with an actual proper name, could not be viewed as having the restrictive force of a proper name in either Titus or 2 Peter.

ED:
Interestingly, swthvr jIhsou'" Cristov" never occurs outside of the TSKS construction, and three of its five occurrences undisputedly indicate shared identity with the head noun (cf. 2 Pet 1:11; 2:20; 3:18). This would seem to indicate that Stafford assumes proper nouns can fit the contours of Sharp's rule,28 despite the fact that Wallace did not find a single reference in which proper nouns in the TSKS pattern were identical.29

RESPONSE:
Ed again shows he does not fully understand my position. I am not talking about article-proper name-KAI-proper name (or equivalent) constructions. This should have been obvious from the examples I gave for my position. Notice Ed's note 28:

"28 Indeed, Stafford explicitly states that "In Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1 the use of swthvr, together with 'Jesus Christ,' puts these examples outside the general category of article-noun-kaiv-noun constructions, which do not have the equivalent of a proper name in either the first or second position. This is not to say that such constructions cannot describe one person with two nouns, for, clearly, in the case of 2 Peter 1:11, 2:20, 3:18 and Jude 4, they do," Witnesses Defended, 247-48."

REPSONSE:
Again, obviously I am referring to constructions where one of the nouns is either a proper name or a proper name equivalent, and where the other is not. I have yet to see a semantic or grammatical argument that would disprove this point, which seems quite in line even with the view of some trinitarians, who argue that "Lord" has the nature of a proper name when used of Jesus. Thus, in 2 Peter 1:11, 2:20 and 3:18 they are basically arguing for the same thing I am, only in relation to a different noun. Wallace's argument about plularizing proper names is without merit. It completely ignores the restrictive force of certain key terms, like "Lord" and "God." I will be discussing this in more detail in my second edition.

That Ed did indeed badly misunderstand my argument is clear from his note #29:

ED:
"29 Wallace, "Multiple Substantives," 166-67."

RESPONSE:
On pages 166-167 of his thesis, except for the new section on page 167 involving impersonal substantives, Wallace deals exclusively with article-proper name-KAI-proper name constructions. How Ed confused my point with Wallace's (and I agree with Wallace's point, by the way) is a mystery indeed.

ED:
In sum, Stafford has not dealt adequately with the primary data, and his arguments fly in the face of all TSKS constructions examined to date.

RESPONSE:
You have got to be kidding. In fact, there are significant parallels in Patristic literature that Ed did not fully address. He merely parrots Wallace's reply, which I addressed in my book. Also, Ed badly mishandles my arguments, and does not properly communicate the points I made. I have additional evidence from "primary data" that I will use in my second edition of Jehovah's Witnesses Defended.

ED:
There are not sufficient grounds for viewing qeoV" mevga" or swthvr jIhsou'" Cristov" as compound proper names, and there is yet more compelling evidence that qeov" should be inseparably linked to swthvr in the TSKS construction. We will now briefly turn our attention to this evidence which Stafford has largely ignored, namely, the well-established idiom qeoV" kaiv swthvr.

RESPONSE:
Not only is Ed wrong in his comment regarding "the great God" and "Savior Jesus Christ," but he is also wrong in his assessment of my dealings with the expression "God and Savior." I dealt with the key issue on pages 241-242 of my book.

ED:
The expression qeoV" kaiv swthvr was a stereotyped formula common in first-century religious terminology (see Wendland), was (apparently) used by both Diaspora and Palestinian Jews in reference to Yahweh, and invariably denoted one deity, not two. If the name jIhsou'" Cristov" did not follow the expression, undoubtedly it would be taken to refer to one person; yet jIhsou'" Cristov" is simply added in epexegesis.31

RESPONSE:
Of course, Ed, like Bowman, confuses sense and reference, and fails to realize that "Jesus Christ" DOES follow the expression, changing the idiom from that used by the Jews of the Diaspora and those in Palestine! As I said in my book, if "Jesus Christ" is epexegetical then it CERTAINLY defines who our savior is, thus restricting the noun to the proper name. The only issue remaining (in Titus 2:13, that is) is whether or not the proper name is also epexegetical to "the great God." If so, then Paul must be using it to contradict the use of the same expression ("the great God") in Greco-Roman religion. But if Paul is drawing from the OT LXX then the expression is fixed to Jehovah, the Father, the God of Jesus, the One who sent forth Jesus as our Savior. (Ps. 85:10; Micah 5:4; 1 John 4:14) This creates a semantic distinction between "the great God" and "Savior Jesus Christ" that is unavoidable from a biblical perspective. But that is probably why trinitarians try to limit their exegesis of this passage to expressions that are not entirely similar, and do not consider other important exegetical factors, like habitual use of language and the theology of the author. If they did that then what would the statistics tell them about the use of THEOS in the Pauline corpus? That it is practically a proper name for the Father! When used with additional modifiers like "great" there is no question that it is restricted to the Father. ---Ps. 85:10.

ED:
If the idiom is found to be early, frequent and uniformly asserting singular identity, we would expect such a force to naturally accompany usage in the New Testament.32 Thus, it is not surprising that Stafford is careful to emphasize the admitted lateness of examples Wallace found in The Oxyrhynchus Papyri,33 while forgetting to mention that "there are earlier uses of the phrase circulating in Hellenistic circles—and not a few which antedate the New Testament" (emphasis added).34

RESPONSE:
That is because I am commenting on those texts that use the expression for Jesus! How Ed could miss this point is rather remarkable. I am also making mention of the fact that the expression used in these texts is NOT the same as that found in either Titus 2:13 or 2 Peter 1:1. As I said in my book, the use of this expression in extra-biblical literature does not provide a context of discussion with figures like God and Jesus, where one is the God of the other, and where one sends forth the other as "savior of the world." The focus in those documents is on one individual, and in the NT the focus is on TWO individuals. See my book for further details. This discussion, however, is getting quite tiresome, especially since Ed already knows the point I made, and ignored it in relation to the above. Consider:

ED:
A deceptively small footnote in Wallace's dissertation is loaded with evidence for early attestation: Cf. the references in BAGR, s.v. swthvr, dating back to the Ptolemaic era [332-30 BCE]. Cf. also L. R. Taylor, The Divinity of the Roman Emperor (Middletown, CN: American Philological Association, 1931), who gives a helpful list in her 'Appendix III: Inscriptions recording Divine Honors,' 267-83. Frequently, and from very early on, the inscriptions honor the Roman emperors as qeov", swthvr, and eujergevth". Almost invariably the terms are in a TSKS construction (among the earliest evidence, an inscription at Carthage, 48-47 BCE, honors Caesar as toVn qeoVn kaiV aujtokravtora kaiV swth'ra; one at Ephesus honors him as toVn . . . qeoVn ejpifanh' kaiV . . . swth'ra; Augustus is honored at Thespiae, 30-27 BCE, as toVn swth'ra kaiV eujergevthn; and in Myra he is called qeovn, while Marcus Agrippa is honored as toVn eujergevthn kaiV swth'ra).35 Stafford seems unimpressed by the evidence that qeoV" kaiv swthvr was a stereotyped formula commonly used in the first century, and assumes that "this is quite beside the point,"36 since Paul clearly applied the title swthvr to both the Father and Christ. He continues by saying that "we must not arbitrarily assume that just because the two titles 'God' and 'Savior' are used together in such close proximity that they ipso facto apply to one person."37 Stafford's use of rhetoric is a bit much here, since the abundance of evidence is far from arbitrary. The fact is, Stafford has not adequately addressed the evidence for the idiomatic force of qeoV" kaiv swthvr in extra-biblical literature. That the title swthvr is applied by Paul to both the Father and to Christ does not make the idiom beside the point—it is the point.

RESPONSE:
No, Ed, you missed the point. Reread my last two RESPONSES and perhaps you will see my point more clearly. In fact, let me simplify it for you, here:

The first century literature that uses "God and Savior" as a fixed expression does NOT use either of these titles for two particular individuals. The NT does, particularly in regards to "Savior," thus we cannot assume a fixed expression for ONE individual when EACH title is used of TWO beings. We have to ask, "Well, since the NT uses these titles of two beings, how are they being used now?"

Also, the TWO terms are used with TWO different SENSES: THEOS, when used of the Father, creates a concept of Him as the "Most High"; THEOS, when used of Jesus, creates a concept of him as the MONOGENES THEOS, over whom the Father is God. SWTHR, when used of the Father, creates a concept of Him as the PROVIDER of salvation; SWTHR, when used of Jesus, creates a concept of him as the MEDIUM of salvation.

If Ed cannot see the difference between the use of these titles in NT in reference to TWO persons and the use of a dissimilar formula in extra-biblical literature (such examples do not use MEGAS and do not contain a proper name with SWTHR, when used with THEOS) then there is nothing more I can do for him, here.

SOME COMMENTS ON ED'S NOTES IN HIS APPENDIX

ED:
18 Of course, Stafford would find a difficulty based upon theological a priori; i.e., Jesus cannot be called Almighty God because he cannot be Almighty God.

RESPONSE:
This is a false claim. I do not believe Jesus is the almighty God because the Bible is incompatible with such a view. The Father, Jehovah, is Jesus' God. (Micah 5:4; Rev. 3:12) Since I do not import a fourth century distinction between Jesus' human and divine nature (!), then I can not accept trinitarianism. The Bible uses key terms and makes distinctions that are in direct contradiction to trinitarianism. THAT is why I reject it. Of course, Trinitarians create novel definitions for words and make distinctions that are nowhere articulated in Scripture in order to keep their doctrine alive, at least in their own minds.

Also, Ed is here equivocating when he refers to "Almighty God." When he says I do not believe Jesus is this Almighty God, he fails to tell his readers that HE DOES NOT BELIEVE THAT EITHER! Ed believes in ONE Almighty God who is triune. He believes Jesus is the second person of this consubstantial God. So, Ed, why did you not say, "Stafford would find a difficulty based upon theological a priori; i.e., Jesus cannot be the second person of the Almighty, consubstantial God because he cannot be the second person of the Almighty, consubstantial God." Well?

ED:
It is interesting to note that for all of Stafford's complaints regarding the misrepresentation of Jehovah's Witnesses, he himself misrepresents what Trinitarians are actually saying. This is evident by his statement that "To teach Christ has two-natures in one person is not only against the teaching of Scripture, but it flies in the face of logic and reason," Witnesses Defended, 65. We know of no responsible Trinitarians who attempt to explain the Trinity under the guise of logic and reason. To the contrary, Trinitarians try to deal faithfully with the text of Scripture while remembering that our finite minds cannot fully grasp the nature of our infinite God (cf. Isa 55:8-9).

RESPONSE:
Does everyone see the problem here? Read the quote from my book in Ed's paragraph and then reread his response. See it? Where oh where do I say that trinitarians "attempt to explain the Trinity under the guise of logic and reason"? I am fully aware that they throw these out the window when their view is crushed under their weight, only to use such logic and reason when they believe it suits their purpose. BUT I SAID the teaching that Christ has TWO opposing natures (human and divine) in ONE person is "against the teaching of Scripture." Then I pointed out that it is also against logic and reason. Instead of proving his point from the Bible, Ed misrepresents my statement and merely agrees that their belief is illogical (but see below). Well, fine, Ed, but now what about the fact that the Bible contradicts this view? It is one thing to contradict logic and God-given reason, but it is quite another to contradict the Bible, which was the key point in my objection.

ED:
While we cannot produce a one-to-one correspondence between the reality of God's nature and human experience, this does not mean that our beliefs regarding God's nature are illogical. If that were the case, then it would be unreasonable to conclude that God is an eternal being, since our finite minds cannot comprehend a person who has no beginning. Nonetheless, we confidently affirm God's eternality because it is something which he has revealed about himself. In our discussion of God's triune nature, it is important to distinguish between that which defies logic and that which is merely incomprehensible to the human mind.

RESPONSE:
First, you provide absolutely no evidence that it is a contradiction to our human minds to say that God is eternal. When you back up what you say with some intelligent reasoning, and not mere ipse dixit arguments, then we'll discuss it in detail.

The Chalcedonian belief that Jesus has a human and divine nature is contradictory in ever way with human experience. A nature is that which belongs to a particular being; thus, to have two natures is to have two beings. Also, if each nature contains opposing sets of attributes, (one nature knows all things, the other nature is finite in terms of knowledge) then there is no logical way to harmonize the view that such natures belong to one individual. Please explain, Ed.

Of course, the main objection is that the Bible does not teach such a view, and what it does say directly contradicts it, for it upholds that which I have described above, which we humans experience. It tells us nothing more, nor does it teach a view that contradicts our experience on this issue.

ED:
33 Stafford rejects the papyrological examples, arguing that they were written with the Trinitarian concept of God in mind, Witnesses Defended, 241 n. 76. However, it is significant that the Latin fathers did not see Titus 2:13 or 2 Peter 1:1 as necessary formulae for the deity of Christ, largely because the article does not exist in Latin. So to argue that the Greek papyri are influenced by Trinitarianism does not explain why the examples were packaged in the TSKS construction in the first place. Thus, "the uniformity in the Greek fathers was probably due to Greek syntax, not to nascent creedalism," Wallace, "Multiple Substantives," 252.

RESPONSE:
I do not "reject" these examples on the grounds that "they were written with the Trinitarian concept of God in mind." I stated quite clearly that the proper name is not in the same position as it is in Titus 2:13 or 2 Peter 1:1 and none of the texts use "the GREAT God." My statement about trinitarian influence had to do with the MEANING of the term THEOS when used of Jesus in these expressions, given that P. Oxy 3940 [604 CE] speaks of "the immaculate and consubstantial trinity, father, son and holy spirit," and 3957 [611(?)612 CE] tells of "the holy and consubstantial trinity, father and son and holy spirit, and of our mistress the mother of god, and of all the saints." See page 241, note 76 of my book.

ED:
41 Harris, Jesus as God, 178-79; 233-34; Wallace, "Multiple Substantives," 255. It is also significant that Titus 2:14 refers back with o}" e[dwken eJautovn as if only one person were in view. See G. W. Knight, The Pastoral Epistles (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans/Carlisle: Paternoster, 1992) 323. Contextually, Christ is shown to be the great God and Savior by means of his sacrifice to achieve redemption. See Harris, Jesus as God, 270.

RESPONSE:
Using that line of reasoning one could argue that DUNAMEWS AUTOU in 2 Peter 1:3 refers back to verse 3 as if only one person is in view, but since IHSOU follows KAI that will not work for you. It is the same with Titus 2:13.

That's about all the confusion I care to unravel this evening.

Thankfully, I'm done!

Greg Stafford

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