2,677 reputation
217
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location Pittsburgh, PA
age 64
visits member for 1 year, 1 month
seen 9 hours ago

For the last 56 years, I have been a practicing Christian (liberally conservative and evangelical). Should any posting I make to any Stack Exchange website pique your curiosity as to the what and why of my beliefs, feel free to communicate with me at drlarter@yahoo.com. I do not claim to have all the answers--let alone all the questions(!), but I would consider it a privilege to discuss Christianity with you in a rational and civilized fashion.

My wife (a native Egyptian and Christian) and I have been married over 40 years. We have two grown children who have flown the coop, making us empty nesters.

I have a Master's degree in Speech Communications and three years of doctoral studies in Rhetorical Theory at the University of Pittsburgh. After a brief stint as a teacher of public speaking, I embarked on a couple of different and totally divergent pursuits by owning and operating two small businesses.

Tired of being in business for myself, I went back to school at Duquesne University's Paralegal Institute in Pittsburgh, where I was certified recently as a paralegal. I am currently looking for employment in that field, and would like to round out the last stage of my work life in some area of jurisprudence.

A rhetorical perspective is almost as natural to me as breathing. Overt and covert attempts at persuasion, whether written or spoken, are my legitimate targets for analysis, evaluation, and criticism. Of particular interest to the EL&U web site contributors would be, with some adaptations and modifications, the traditional canons of speech: style (elocutio), invention (inventio), organization (dispositio), memorability (memoria), and delivery (pronuntiatio or actio) .


9h
comment What is the Godhead?
@Vince: that I as a person--a unity of personhood--can be a son to my mother, a husband to my wife, and a father to my children. My personhood is the same to all the people I just listed, but my role to each person is different. The same applies to the traditional tripartite aspect of human personhood, namely, spirit and soul and body. Each "part" of human personhood is the real me, just a different aspect of the real me. All analogies break down eventually, but analogies are about the best we can do when attempting to understand and explain God. Agreed? Don
9h
comment What is the Godhead?
@Vince: So many controversies can be solved (or at least "understood" as to why different people come to different conclusions) by defining key terms. One key term in the Trinitarian controversy is the word PERSON. Trinitarians, to the best of my knowledge, do not consider the personhood of God to constitute three separate gods or godhoods. No, the three persons of the trinity, each of whom is GOD, are one. In other words, what they have in common is divinity, and their divinity is what unites them; it does not separate them. About the only analogy that makes sense to us is . . .
9h
comment What is the Godhead?
@Daи: Point taken. I should have used a more grammatico-historical approach. After thinking about the question "How does the notion of 'fullness' fit into Paul's purpose for writing to the Colossians?" I'll have another "go" at it. Thanks for helping to keep me honest. Don
1d
comment What is the Godhead?
@Daи: ME=Middle English. As far as focus is concerned, the constituents of the Council of Nicea were not crafting the Creed out of whole cloth; rather, they used Bible passages such as Colossians 2:9 to craft it, passages which they interpreted accurately--or at least they believed they did--AND according to Paul's original authorial intention. What's the point of having creeds at all if we cannot trust the crafters of the creeds to have interpreted the Scripture accurately? Now if the Nicene Creed is not authoritative to you, well . . . , that's another kettle of fish! Don
1d
comment Was Jesus too young at 12 years old to go about His Father's business?
@Daи: My tongue was planted firmly in my cheek when I put the "AV" and the "RSV" cheek by jowl (to stay with the facial metaphor). There was a method to my madness, so to speak, and the method served its purpose. Don
1d
comment What is the Godhead?
@Daи: Point taken. However, what one person calls "garnish," another person might call "main course" (or at least part of the main course). I've revised my answer for a more full-orbed perspective. Don
Jul
16
comment How was “let him take up his cross” understood by Jesus's audience?
@Susan: Thank you. My "gut" says no, it would not be well attested. Do I have any research to back up my gut? No. Whereas some of Jesus' teachings and "sayings" were familiar to His disciples and were even in vogue within the Judaism of His day, some were not familiar. E.g., we know that Jesus' "Golden Rule" is simply a positive spin on the negative "golden rule" from earlier sources; namely, "Don't do to others what you wouldn't want them to do to you." I have a feeling, h.e., the essence of the Law (viz., love God supremely, love neighbor as self) is unique to Judaism. Don
Jul
15
comment Forgiveness, yes or no?
Welcome to SEBHB! I've taken the liberty of editing your fine answer--rest assured, there was nothing major! You can highlight Scripture or a paragraph or more of quoted material by preceding the verse (or the other material you're quoting) with a >. Press "enter" twice after the first line, as I did in your verse from Proverbs, and precede the second line of your quotation with a >. To create a hyperlink, highlight (for example) a word in your text, such as "Constable"; go to Constable's web site; highlight and copy the IP address; go back to your answer; click the chain icon; paste the IPA.
Jul
11
comment Explain 1 Cor 5:5
@Cupidrex: Thank you for your kind words. Yes, I try to do a thorough job when answering a good question such as yours. I enjoy doing it, by the way, and I also enjoy connecting with Christians--like you--around the world. We will meet each other one day, of that I am sure! Don
Jul
4
comment What does Jesus mean in John 10:34?
@user4443: I proffer no argument to your insistence that God is one. God's oneness is Theology 101: "Hear, O Israel ! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one [LORD]!" (Dt.6:4) (the Shema). Jesus' "audacious" claim to be the Son of God, however, was backed up by authoritative words and miraculous deeds (re-read 10:37-38). I was struck recently by Jesus' words to the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well in Sychar. When she said "I know that Messiah is coming; . . . He will declare all things to us" (John 4:25). "Jesus said to her, 'I who speak to you am He'"(v.26). Check out Isa.9:6-7, too. Don
Jun
24
comment How can we ensure a given “chiasm” was intentional by the author, and is not merely fanciful eisegesis?
See this [website][1] regarding the possible overlap between the figures of inclusio and chiasm. Compare Matthew's introductory verse (1:1) and his concluding verses which quote Jesus' words (28:18-20). In chapter 28, Jesus is simply commissioning His disciples to be involved in fulfilling the promise God gave to Abraham, Jesus' ancestor, according to the flesh ("genealogically")! Textbook inclusio. Don [1]: kevinfannystevenson.blogspot.com/2014/02/…
Jun
24
comment How can we ensure a given “chiasm” was intentional by the author, and is not merely fanciful eisegesis?
@Jas3.1: But God knew, and so did the apostles (in hindsight, of course; see Acts 3:22-23, and 7:37). My point: Usually, the writers of Scripture knew whereof they wrote, and in Dt 18, e.g., Moses, I imagine, thought he knew that the prophet whereof he spoke would arise in the generation after his death. Did he know of the "ultimate" prophet, who according to Peter would be raised up not only as a prophet, but as God's Servant (Acts 3:26a)? No. IOW, we can't make too much of authorial intent, especially with prophetic words originating under the Old Covenant (see Jesus' words in Jn 5:45-47).
Jun
24
comment How can we ensure a given “chiasm” was intentional by the author, and is not merely fanciful eisegesis?
@Jas3.1: From my answer: ". . . the human writers God used to pen His word were not automatons to whom God dictated!" There were times in their writing of the Bible when the authors did not have a full understanding of what they wrote. Moses, e.g., didn't know beans about Jesus Christ when he wrote, "The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him." And, "'I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him'"(Dt 18:15,18).
Jun
24
comment How can we ensure a given “chiasm” was intentional by the author, and is not merely fanciful eisegesis?
@FrankLuke: Good point. A good definition and biblical illustrations can be found at <kevinfannystevenson.blogspot.com/2014/02/…; Don
May
21
comment What does the word 'idols' mean in 1 John 5:21 and what exactly is idolatry?
@citsonga: I think you're right. I meant to say ANE, for Ancient Near East. Guess I was thinking of Near Middle East, or something like that. Must've had a brain gas at the time. Don
May
17
comment Who is 'us' in 2 Peter 1
While I respect ScottS's answer, below, I can't help but feel there is no deeper significance or unusual logic involved in Peter's changing from first person singular to first person plural to second person plural, and then back again, and back and forth. To me, the switching back and forth is quite natural and logical and normal, and I would do the same thing were I to write to an assembly of Christians where my wife and I ("us") used to be members with them ("you" plural), especially if the purpose of my letter was to encourage and exhort them to progress in their faith.
May
16
comment Who is the “True Companion” in Philippians 4:3?
@David: How right you are. I've corrected my blunder. Thanks! Don
May
15
comment Is Saul's insult intended to be incoherent?
Citing a credible authority or two would have strengthened your argument, especially since the OP asked if Saul's invective included some common Hebrew tropes. Even if the "only" authority you cite is the Bible itself, so much the better, IMO. A good first attempt. Don
May
10
comment What does μονογενὴς Θεὸς means in John 1:18?
@Joseph: As for Jesus, the antitype of Isaac, He too was the "one and only" child of promise, the seed of the woman (Genesis 3:15). In love, the Father allowed the heel of His μονογενής to be bruised at the cross by the seed of the serpent, so that whoever believed in the Son would not perish but have eternal life through Him (John 3:16). In turn, the head of the serpent's seed was crushed at Calvary when Jesus cried "Accomplished!"
May
10
comment What does μονογενὴς Θεὸς means in John 1:18?
@Joseph: From God's perspective, Isaac WAS Abe's firstborn--the firstborn child of the promise God made to Abe when he was 75 years old. God did not treat "firstborn" (according to the "flesh") Ishmael like chopped liver, however, and made some great promises to him and his descendants (Ge 17:20), even though he was not THE child of promise. Interestingly, God underscored the nature of the unilateral promise He made to Abe by putting him into a deep sleep, rather than walking through the sacrificial animals with Abe in "suzerain treaty" fashion. IOW, God's word alone was sufficient!