Friday, June 25, 2021

WM 207: Is the modern text of John 1:18 "out of sync" with the Nicene Creed?


Some Notes for this episode:

In this episode I want to play a brief clip from a recent Credo Magazine podcast (March 15, 2021) in which the host Matthew Barrett, an associate professor of theology at MWBTS, discusses his new book Simply Trinity: The Unmanipulated Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Baker Books, 2021) with Charles Lee Irons, an independent scholar from LA.

I’ve been a regular listener to this podcast. Over the last couple of months, Barrett has had various theologians as guests to discuss his book. The book argues that there has been a significant “drift” among evangelicals not only with regard to the Trinity but also with regard to the classical orthodox doctrine of God.

Among the recent guests have been Fred Sanders, J. V. Fesko, Michael Bird, and Liam Goligher.

One of the things that has been often discussed is the doctrine of the Eternal Generation of the Son. Barrett has an entire chapter in his book in which he refutes the EFS (Eternal Functional Subordination) view of Wayne Grudem and Bruce Ware. See chapter 8: "Is the Son Eternally Subordinate to the Father?"

This was also a subject of much discussion in the March 15, 2021 interview with Charles Lee Irons.

Irons has written in defense of the traditional understanding of the Greek word monogenéas “only begotten” as it is used in John (1:14, 18; 3:16, 18) and 1 John (4:9). He has been especially critical of modern translations of John 1:18.

I have previously address textual issues relating to John 1:18:

See WM 56.

See also the CB Roundtable on John 1:18.

The issue with John 1:18 is both textual ( monogenés huios or monogenétheos?) and translational (“only begotten” or “unique”).

Right at the end of the Credo podcast (c. the 1:02 mark) Barrett and Irons discuss the problem with modern translations. Neither of these guys are proponents of the traditional text, but they are picking up on doctrinal errors that are being introduced into the modern translations (from the modern texts).

Irons notes the fact that “a plethora of modern translations” which leave out the phrase “only-begotten” are “out of sync” with the Nicene Creed.

This raises the specter that the Nicene creed is unbiblical.

Again, he asks about the implications if our English Bibles are “out of sync” with the Nicene Creed.

He also asks, Who are making the creeds and why are they making them?

He says, “We do have a big problem on our hands.”

He adds: “The church needs to have a Bible … that is consistent with the church’s creed.”

Barrett asks: “Have we strayed/drifted?”

A few observations:

First, these men are to be commended for the questions they are raising. Text affects doctrine.

Second, the issue is not merely with English Bibles but the underlying modern texts.

Third, another great question: Who are the stewards of the Bible and why are they making them? Who are the five persons who edited the NA28?

Fourth, beyond John 1:18 and eternal generation, can this question be raised about other traditional texts that have been abandoned? Like 1 Timothy 3:16 and the deity of Christ or 1 John 5:7-8 and the doctrine of the Trinity.



MarichD said...
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MarichD said...
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