From: Carl William Conrad (email@example.com)
Date: Sun Sep 20 1998 - 18:23:53 EDT
On Sun, 20 Sep 1998, clayton stirling bartholomew wrote:
> What are the risks of using grammatical arguments in dogmatics?
> Just for a diversion I pulled L. Berkhof off the shelf and read through his
> section on the personality of the Holy Spirit and noted the proof texts. Then
> I read through the relevant sections of John 14-16, several times both in the
> NA27 and Hodges and Farstad taking note of all the relevant textual variants.
> Berkhof's argument about the use of the masculine pronoun for PNEUMA in John
> 14-16 is very weak because he has no satisfactory way of explaining the
> several occurrences where the a neuter pronoun is used. The use of this kind
> of evidence is what gives systematic theology a bad name.
> Please note that aside from the issue of the masculine pronoun, Berkhof builds
> a very strong argument for the personality of the Holy Spirit. He would have
> been better off to just drop this discussion of the masculine pronoun with
> As a general rule, one should not grab at grammatical straws to try and shore
> up what is already a strong argument. The weakness of the grammatical straws
> detracts from and does not add to the strength of the overall argument.
> At this point I suspect that Carl or Jonathan will shut down this thread for
> wandering into dangerous territory.
This thread is really driven by a theological question rather than by a
question that is capable of being resolved by analysis of the Greek text,
and it was not initially raised with any specific Greek text in the NT in
mind. We aren't dealing with theology here, for each of us has his/her own
theological stance or no theological stance at all. UNLESS there is a
specific GNT text that is thought to bear upon this topic, the thread
really ought to be dropped.
Carl W. Conrad, Co-Chair
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