Re: Santa Clause and the perfect tense . . .

From: Don Wilkins (
Date: Mon Nov 18 1996 - 15:24:42 EST

At 11:26 PM 11/17/96, Tom Launder wrote:
>Hello all,
>I once took comfort in my knowledge of verbal tenses, but now I see this
>Santa up close and smell his foul, alcohol-laiden breath. Having been
>on this list for some time and having purchased the best resources, I
>see that my understanding of present, aorist, and perfect need some
>serious help.
>So. . . all this to ask for some help in understanding the significance
>of the perfect tense in passages like John 5:24.
>"Most assuredly I say to you, he who hears my word and believes in Him
>who sent me has eternal life, and shall not come into judgement, but HAS
>PASSED from death to life."
>I have become hesitant to emphasize the perfect tense, but doesn't this
>passage ooze exegetical honey? How do I approach this in preaching?
>Can I really emphasize the siginificance of the perfect tense, or should
>I be cautious and mention it as an aside?
>I think you can see the dilemma of finding Santa Clauses. There is a
>proverb that says, "Once burned, twice shy." I feel kinda caught here
>and I want to honor God in the preaching of His Word.

Tom, I hope that the fire which burned you wasn't the aspect debate; the
indicative has temporal meaning, probably about the same as you learned it.
As to the perfect tense, it's a little tricky in John, but the perfect is
normally an exceptional usage so I would say "go for it".

Don Wilkins
UC Riverside

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