[K:JNWTS 26/1 (May 2011): 31-40]

Moreland's Kingdom Triangle: A Review[1]

Scott Sanborn

This book represents J.P. Moreland's attempt to promote Vineyard style Christianity. Founded by John Wimber, the Vineyard churches believe in the continuation of miracles, tongues and prophesy, but they believe that every Christian is baptized in the Holy Spirit. Thankfully, they do not believe (like Pentecostals and many Charismatics) that baptism with the Holy Spirit is a second blessing given to some Christians after conversion. At the same time, Dr. Moreland argues for the continuation of miracles and prophecy and even makes them one third of the kingdom triangle, or one of three legs on which life in the kingdom rests.

He is not alone in his assessment, as a large number of churches planted in the third world and increasing numbers in the U.S. seem to concur. Even noted Christian leaders have tuned in with Dr. Moreland, Gary Habermas (in a review of this book) being one example. How are we to assess these developments? Here we will give a brief review of the book, focusing primarily on our thesis that the less than adequate supernaturalism found in the Arminian view of salvation and Dispensational eschatology may account for why many have sought something supernatural elsewhere, namely in prophecy, signs and wonders. This review does not pretend to be a sociological analysis, but only seeks to consider this possibility from a theological point of view.

The three sides of Dr. Moreland's triangle are the life of the mind, moral and spiritual character development and prophecy, signs and wonders. Moreland presents some stimulating insights when he deals with the first two parts of the triangle. Many evangelicals will read these sections with agreement, opening them up to consider his conclusions in the last section. Thus, the introduction of this book with an intellectual defense of Christianity and spiritual formation serves a rhetorical purpose. As rhetoricians deal with ethos (establishing their credibility), logos (reasons for the argument) and pathos (passionate presentation), so follows Dr. Moreland. The reasons he gives in the first part of the book establish his credibility for readers as they consider the last leg of the triangle. At the same time, Dr. Moreland truly believes in these first two legs and discusses them not only to encourage Evangelicals but also to stimulate Charismatics and Pentecostals who often neglect them (not to mention Evangelicals who do the same). However, in spite of his encouraging insights here, we will argue that even the first two-thirds of the book shows the influence of his Arminianism.

Considering the life of the mind, Dr. Moreland critiques naturalism and postmodernism. His critique of naturalism is crisp and generally standard among Evangelicals. One of his more poignant critiques is that naturalism and postmodernism cannot do justice to the dramatic nature of human beings. In order to aspire to goals that bring true happiness, there must be a universe with purpose. By undermining all true purpose, naturalism and postmodernism undermine genuine happiness. Thus, we might argue (following Moreland's insight) that the dramatic nature of redemptive history, culminating in Christ and the world to come, provides us with the only true happiness.

In his critique of postmodernism, Moreland has some helpful material. However, he fails to do justice to the unbeliever's suppression of natural revelation. In this respect, Dr. Moreland's presentation still shows signs of his Arminianism, with respect to knowledge.

For the Apostle Paul, the sinful heart is continuously suppressing natural revelation, setting up in its place a system of unbelief, a philosophy of life that is opposed to the knowledge of God. Paul makes this point when he states, "Even though they knew God...they became futile in their speculations" (Rom. 1:21). And "God gave them over to a depraved mind" (1:28). This sinful world-view from which unbelievers live is an expression of their rebellion against God. It represents the noetic effects of sin, that is, the effects of sin on the mind. This moral corruption cannot be undone except by the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit.

Dr. Moreland does not deal clearly with this in the book. If it is implied, it receives inadequate treatment. It seems that his Arminian view of the will does not lend it enough importance, and in our opinion cannot really do justice to it. Later we will see that Dr. Moreland's description of the Christian life has more similarities to Roman Catholicism than to the Protestant Reformation. Thus, we here ask 'does Dr. Moreland's approach to knowledge have closer affinities to Rome than to the Reformers?' And even worse, do we see here a movement toward Rationalism, at least in its broader meaning, as the exaltation of human reason and experience over divine revelation? After all, most of Dr. Moreland's later arguments for present day miracles are based on human experiences, to the neglect of a careful biblical examination of the arguments for Cessationism.[2] At the same time, if the reader sifts out these errors, he can still find in these pages insights for critiquing both naturalism and postmodernism.

Second, Dr. Moreland deals with spiritual formation, following in the footsteps of his mentor, Dallas Willard. Here we concur with Dr. Moreland's emphasis on developing Christian character and habits. The Christian life is not simply a set of individual acts of faith or works isolated from the development of Christian character. There is a true sanctification of the person in sanctification and not simply of her individual deeds. This emphasis can be found even among Protestant Reformers such as Peter Martyr Vermigli, who assigned Aristotle's Ethics as a textbook for his students. In spite of his paganism, Christians recognized that Aristotle was formally correct about the development of virtues. Many, from medieval theologians up through Protestant orthodoxy, have developed these insights. However, these insights are not common among Evangelicals in the same way, whose focus tends to be on isolated acts of faith, obedience and techniques for living before God. This may partially arise from the two natures doctrine advocated by Dispensationalists.

At the same time, we believe that Dr. Moreland's approach to this subject does not adequately incorporate the insights of Protestant orthodoxy. That is, Dr. Moreland says little about the nature of grace, faith, and the promises of God in sanctification. Thus, we believe that his book is deficient in discussing both the sovereign work of God's Spirit and justification, and how each of these have a psychological effect on the Christian in growing into conformity to Christ.

First, as a promoter of an Arminian view of the freedom, Dr. Moreland has not yet grasped the full supernatural power of effectual calling. To the degree that the Arminian view of the will influences a person's life, he cannot lay hold of true biblical supernaturalism by faith. According to New Testament, God calls his people to faith in such a supernatural way that they are in fact drawn to him. All that the Father draws will be raised up at the last day (Jn. 6:44). Their natural resistance has no power over the supernatural wooing of Christ. His love is too powerful. When the Christian experiences the power of this love, he is brought to understand supernaturalism more fully. Before this, he implicitly thought that the natural man was more powerful (ultimately) than the supernatural God. At least, the supernatural God (whatever he could do) could not change him, or so he thought. Now he realizes (God having enlightened his mind to grasp effectual calling) that God is supernatural in all respects. And that changed his understanding of the supernatural across the board. God is more powerful than all things. That is supernaturalism!

The Arminian subordinates the supernatural power of God to the stony heart and will of man. God is subjected to man where it most counts—man's eternal relationship with God. To the degree that the Arminian is consistent with the thinking, it carries over into his thinking with respect to his Christian life. If God cannot move a finger to change my heart unless I first let him, then at no point in my Christian life can God first move to transform by heart unless I first let him. If God's supernatural power is subjected to my more powerful heart at the beginning of my relationship with God, then God's supernatural power by the Holy Spirit must be equally subjected to my first move at every stage of my Christian life. Thankfully, no true Christian is consistent with this Arminian perspective. But it weakens their supernaturalism. In its very essence, Arminianism is anti-supernatural. Nor does it offer its adherents a standard of true supernaturalism.

On the other hand, Augustinians believe that God works just as sovereignly in their sanctification as he does in their new birth. Their continual faith in Christ and love for him is completely dependent in all respects on the work of his Spirit. This should not lead them to despair because he says, "I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you" (Heb. 13:5). It calls them to depend upon him for the faith and love that draws them to heaven. It is a higher standard of supernaturalism, being the food and drink of their prayers. At least this is their standard, though they continually fall short of it. In it, they are called to pray, "Lord I do believe; help my unbelief" (Mk. 9:24). But Arminians, who do not believe that God's Spirit is the beginning and end of their regeneration, cannot recognize the Spirit's supreme supernatural work in their sanctification. As such, they do not have as high a standard for laying hold of him by faith at every moment, even in prayer and praise. Thus, we find the deficiency of this note in Dr. Moreland's book. His melody is primarily that of duty and fails to be surrounded by the chords of grace.

Even though there are many fine Arminian Christians, they are at best confused about the nature of the supernatural. As a result, it can leave them less than satisfied with Christ's supernatural gift of grace. If so, they may seek some other form of supernaturalism to satisfy them and build up their faith. And we believe the turn toward signs and wonders represents this for many, perhaps even Dr. Moreland himself.

Second, we turn to justification. At a later point in the book, Dr. Moreland notes that justification is the core of the gospel message. But he does not develop this claim in any way, especially in the section on spiritual formation. For the churches of the Reformation, trusting in the promises of God in Christ is their first consideration for approaching the throne of grace. Only because Christ has justified me and intercedes for me before the Father can I boldly approach the throne of grace. In Christ, God has loved me from eternity. Christ's love is so great that he gave his life for me to guarantee that I would be with him for eternity. Is it not clear? God desires to have fellowship with me in his Son. For the Son of God is continuously interceding for me. And he desires to have me to enter into prayer with him before the throne of the Father. Before I pray, he prays. And I am called to pray in him. I am invited to intercede for his people and worship with them before the throne of God.

In focusing on faith in the work of Christ, this does not mean that the Reformed looked at faith as a mere individual act that had no relationship to the development of Christian character. No, Christians were called to grow in a continual life of faith. Nor does it mean that Christians must possess a strong sense of faith prior to carrying out their duties. No, they are called to their duties even in the midst of weak faith. Once again, they are called to lean on the promises of God, saying, "Lord, I believe, help Thou my unbelief", and carry out their duties before God. Nonetheless, they are called back to the promises of God in Christ.

Dr. Moreland's failure to lead Christians to lay hold of the promises of God in faith means he is leading them to develop a character that is deficient in faith. That may seem harsh since he formally acknowledges faith. However, if the focus of Christian character formation can progress without an emphasis on faith, then it must place its focus elsewhere. And this focus is duty, understood somewhat independently of faith. Clearly, the Reformed churches believed in Christian duties; they were champions of the law of God. However, they believed that these duties were the fruit of faith. Further, by affirming the priority of faith, the Reformed made way for the sinner who failed in his duties to God. In spite of your sins, lay hold of the promises of God. Then live out of the promises you possess in him. Christian contentment in Christ yields Christian obedience.

Being deficient in faith, Dr. Moreland's view of Christian formation is deficient in Christian contentment. That is, it is deficient in semi-realized eschatology. Semi-realized eschatology means we are made possessors of the riches of the kingdom of God now. Thus, we can say with Luther, "let goods and kindred go". In other words, the fact that we have been raised with Christ enlivens our faith. Since I now possess God, what is so great about this worldly thing? All earthly things are but reflections of the glory of him who created them. Therefore, he surpasses them all. And I have him. This lightens my burden in giving them up. Christian worship involves recognizing the superiority of God over this world. And so does Christian love, sometimes even calling us to give them up for the sake of others. Thus, love flows from faith in Christ and his promises, promises that we are always possessors of the heavenly riches in him. This is because the eternal kingdom of glory has broken in upon us (now semi-realized).

This failure to discuss the priority of grace and faith to Christian duties may explain why Dr. Moreland recommends the work of Ignatius of Loyola (founder of the Jesuit order) without qualification and above many other spiritual classics. Why recommend Ignatius, who commends human merit, before Augustine's Confessions? While Dr. Moreland elsewhere acknowledges the centrality of justification, he fails to expound its centrality, as the ever-present object of faith in spiritual formation. Thus, we are left with emphases that are short of the Reformers and too close to Rome. This may also be said of his Arminian approach to human knowledge discussed earlier. And it is true of his view of miracles, which we shall discuss next. During the Reformation, the Reformers argued that the age of miracles and prophecy ceased with the death of the apostles. The Roman Catholic Church, by contrast, argued that miracles continued. Further, they argued that the miracles God performed among them substantiated the Roman Catholic Church as the true church. Are we observing, in the way Dr. Moreland expounds each of his legs, a (perhaps unintentional) movement away from the Reformation and a movement toward Rome? Is this even true of his apologetics?

We have suggested that Arminianism is deficient in its understanding of the supernatural and leaves some people longing for other supernatural experiences. Here, as we focus more on the issue of the miraculous, we will begin by arguing that Dispensational eschatology also falls short of biblical supernaturalism. As a result, it may leave its adherents longing for some truly different form of supernaturalism, namely signs and wonders.

As an adherent of Dispensational eschatology, Dr. Moreland does not fully grasp the fact that the kingdom blessings of God surpass the blessings of the Old Testament theocracy. This may seem like an odd claim to some since Dispensationalists are known for rejecting what they consider to be a Judaizing view of the old covenant among the churches of the Reformation. Dispensationalism promotes freedom from the law. However, we believe that Dispensationalism, insofar as it promotes freedom from the law, does so in the wrong way at certain critical points. And this is especially the case in its view (continued among Progressive Dispensationalists) that the church is distinct from Israel. This affects their understanding of the very nature of the eschatological promises of the Old Testament. That is, Dispensationalists believe that God continues to promise a future in this world where God will renew his promises to Israel and set up a this-worldly kingdom for them, as he did in the Old Testament. Generally, Dispensationalists have grounded their premillennialism in their understanding of the very nature of Old Testament prophesy, not simply in their understanding of Revelation 20. In other words, they have believed that the very nature of Old Testament eschatological projection is this-worldly.

This usually affects their entire understanding of eschatological fulfillment. Classically, Dispensationalists believed that the church was not the recipient of the eschatological promises given to Israel. Thus, their future life in heaven was not a consummation of those eschatological promises. Progressive Dispensationalists may accept the fact that the church is the fulfillment of the eschatological promises given to the Gentiles, but not those given to Israel. Thus, at least one aspect of eschatological fulfillment is this-worldly in its nature. Even if the Gentiles experience an eschatological fulfillment that transcends this world, Israel does not. Thus, at least for many Dispensationalists, Israel will live eternally in the New Earth, while the church lives in the New Heavens. In its very nature, eschatology is at best bifurcated between the earthly and that which transcends the earth. If the eschatology is so bifurcated, it cannot be transcendent in its essential nature. Dispensationalists do not believe that the eschatological transcends the earthly. As a result, they believe in the eternal continuation of a non-rational environment that operates according to secondary causes rather than direct supernatural causes. If this is the case, we must ask them—what is distinctively supernatural about the eschatological dimension? If that arena operates according to secondary causes just like our own (rather than direct supernatural causes), then what is uniquely supernatural about it?

In arguing that the New Heaven and New Earth transcend the present creation, we appeal to two texts, 1 Cor. 15: 46-49 and Heb. 12:27-28. 1 Cor. 15:47 claims that "the first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven". In context, the arena from which man is made (the earthy) will be transcended by the heavenly (just as it was for Christ, v. 49). From this, we may at least argue that the future heavenly arena will transcend the prefallen earthly arena. Hebrews 12:27-28 makes it clear that we will receive a "kingdom that cannot be shaken". This kingdom is not "as of created things" which can be shaken (v. 27). Therefore, it transcends the created universe. It is therefore reasonable to conclude that the New Testament's description of a New Heaven and a New Earth is the language of eschatological projection. That is, the Old Testament prophecies looked ahead to a New Jerusalem to come. Yet, according to the New Testament writers, its fulfillment transcended the earthly Jerusalem (e.g., Gal. 4:26-27). Therefore, there is every reason to believe (based on texts such as 1 Cor. 15:46-49 and Heb. 12:27-28) that the New Heaven and New Earth (2 Pet. 3: 13) will also transcend the present heavens and earth in their very nature. Only then will they rise to the level of the transcendent Jerusalem above.

Admittedly, there are various eschatological views that argue for a future restoration of the present creation. However, among Evangelical Christians, Dispensationalism advocates one of the most this-worldly approaches to the kingdom available. In this respect, its view of the kingdom may be one of the least supernatural among Evangelicals. Instead of advocating a transcendent eschatology, it simply argues that the future world will be the present world without sin. This primarily suggests a moral change. As one's eschatology determines one's theology, this may explain why Dispensational preaching is primarily moralistic. As such the supernatural is underplayed.

Since the eschatological will be our fullest experience of the supernatural, our understanding of eschatology will affect our understanding of the supernatural. To the degree that Dispensationalism waters down the supernatural character of eschatology, it cannot rise to understand the full wonders of the supernatural. It is no wonder that so many Dispensationalists have their eyes set on the next this-worldly fulfillment of the prophetic promises, at least as they understand them. As a professor at Talbot, Dr. Moreland must sign a statement of faith claiming to believe in the premillennial return of Christ. And he must at least be sympathetic to Dispensationalism. There is reason to believe that this essentially moralistic, non-transcendent eschatology explains why many are looking for another form of supernaturalism elsewhere.

However, the type of supernaturalism promoted in the Vineyard does not rise to the standard offered us in the New Testament. The focus of Vineyard churches on signs and miracles can lead to spiritual depression. Christianity is distinctively supernatural. And thus, as Christians, our faith is invigorated when we focus on the supernatural work of God. If, however, we focus on a supernatural work of God that comes and goes, our faith will ebb and wane with it. So it is with signs and wonders. If a major focus of our Christian life is on signs and wonders, then we are focused on something that is here today and gone tomorrow. And while this may seem to strengthen our faith when the miracles come, our joy in the kingdom will be diminished when we do not see these miracles.

If on the other hand, we are possessors of the supernatural age to come now, then we have something to rejoice in constantly. Christ is raised into the supernatural abode of heaven. And he will never be taken from it. His life there does not ebb and wane. As those united to Christ, we have all these blessings constantly. And we are called to lay hold of these supernatural riches by faith even when we do not see them. Though the blessings of this visible world may ebb and wane, our essential participation in those blessings does not. God holds us in his bosom in Christ, loving us with great affection constantly. "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" (Rom. 8: 35). Christ is continuously expressing his desire to share his supernatural life with his people. And for this, he has given us his living word in Scripture.

The Vineyard's focus of faith on that which ebbs and wanes brings them back in some respects to the faith of Israel in the land, back to the Old Testament expression of faith. This can be seen when we recognize the nature of the kingdom of heaven. The fullness of its riches surpasses the riches of the Old Testament theocracy. Under the old covenant, even the faithful in Israel participated in the external curses of the law. Yet God promised that to the degree she was obedient, she would have her faith confirmed with the visible blessings of the land. To the degree that she did not posses those blessings, she did not have this confirmation. Thus, to this extent she walked by sight. (Paul's contrast between walking by faith and not by sight follows his distinction between the old and new covenant, 2 Cor. 3-4). This is not to say that the faithful in Israel walked primarily by sight. No, Hebrews shows that they primarily walked by faith (Heb. 11:1-40; see especially in this respect vv. 32-34). Even the old covenant (as a covenant of redeeming grace) mediated the grace of Christ to them and called them to lay hold of him by faith.

However, at the same time, the old covenant secondarily called them to find further confirmation of their faith in the blessings of the land. To the degree that they did not have these blessings, there was some loss in the fruits of faith. So Jeremiah does not possess the fullness of joy in the kingdom of God when he writes Lamentations, lamenting over the loss of the earthly Jerusalem in which God's kingdom was partially manifested. However, now in the new covenant, we possess the fulfillment of the prophetic promises. The prophets promised a day in which God would bring his people into their inheritance and cause them to dwell there forever. In this inheritance, Jerusalem would never be destroyed again. And Paul says that we now posses this heavenly Jerusalem because Christ has now accomplished his work in history. He has brought the eschatological age promised by the prophets, bringing a Jerusalem above to us which can never be cursed or destroyed (Gal. 4:25-26). It is thoroughly supernatural. And thus Paul calls us to rejoice continuously. We have a greater hope and have no reason to lament with respect to our faith in the loss of any expression of the city of God. For all the blessings of that city are ours continuously without diminution.

Yes, that eschatological age is now only semi-realized. We still await the second coming of Christ and the New Heavens and New Earth. But the point is, it has arrived even though it has yet to be consummated. And it presents a relative contrast to the theocracy in which the faith of Israel was secondarily built up or diminished by the visible blessings of the land. Dr. Moreland brings us back to the theocracy insofar as he focuses our faith in something that ebbs and wanes at best.

Even more so, he focuses us on something that does not exist in its temporal manifestation because we have the reality of all the New Testament miracles constantly with us in the supernatural life we possess in the kingdom above. That is, every single one of the New Testament miracles was a manifestation of the supernatural power that Christ possesses in fullness in the heavenly places. Those heavenly blessings are ours spiritually now. Thus, we have the supernatural essence of all those miracles in a far more surpassing and transcendent way now—continuously.

As a result, they do not even exist in their previous, more rudimentary form. As they would present a distraction to us, leading us to focus on them rather than the far more superior blessings that we possess in heaven.

But you will say, if this is the case, why did these miracles exist in the New Testament period? If your argument is correct, they certainly would have distracted people from Christ and God would not have performed them. But this objection fails to fully recognize that those miracles worked to further reveal more about the glory of the risen Christ. And thus, God always accompanied them with further revelation about the resurrected life of Christ. In this way, the miracles lead the New Testament church to Christ. But since the fullness of revelation about Christ has been completed, the church is not drawn to further revelation about him by a miracle. And if we are not drawn to further revelation about Christ, then we are drawn to the miracle as an end in itself. This was not the case for the New Testament church.

Of course, Dr. Moreland argues for the continuation of revelation with the continuation of miracles. However, you will notice that the continuing revelation that the Vineyard recommends is not new revelation about the glories of the exalted Christ that should eventually be collected for the benefit of the whole body of Christ throughout the ages (i.e., in a book). They are not arguing for a new Book of Vineyard, thank the Lord. But if they were consistent with the pattern of New Testament revelation, this is unfortunately the road they would go. However, if they are not arguing for this, then they are arguing for revelations given to individuals about their individual lives and what God might do in them. The focus of these revelations is, therefore, on aspects of spirituality that ebb and wane just like the miracles they promote.

These revelations are different from the revelations of the New Testament. For even when God gave revelations to the early church about unique things he would do among them (i.e., the prophesy of Agabus about the famine, the calling of Paul and his mission, and prophesy and tongues at Corinth), their significance was for the whole church. That is, these prophecies would affect the early church in such a way that they would have significance for the church throughout all ages. God confirmed this significance by including the essence of these revelations in the canon, to be read by future ages.

We cannot deal with all the arguments for Cessationism here. But we will consider one text, Heb. 1-2.[3] In Hebrews 1:1-2, the writer states, "God, after he spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in his Son." While Dr. Moreland claims that God reveals himself to his people in dreams (like he did in the Old Testament), Hebrews claims that these former ways of God revealing himself to his people have now ceased (see also Westminster Confession of Faith 1.1). His revelation in his Son culminates and completes all previous revelation. Then in Heb. 2:3-4, the writer speaks of the message spoken by the Lord Jesus, which "was confirmed to us by those who heard, God also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to his own will." This writer did not see the Lord, but says that the word was confirmed to him by the apostles who heard it. If Heb. 1:1 states that all revelation is complete in his Son (and therefore does not continue), then the signs and wonders that were used to confirm the word (Heb. 2:3-4) have also ceased. Otherwise, they would attest to continuing revelation, which does not exist. Both the revelation and its attestation possess eschatological finality. Both are completed in Christ. If this revelation is to include revelation of Christ's heavenly ministry, he must give it through instruments of revelation on earth, like the apostles. But once that revelation is complete and recorded for the whole church, the signs that accompany it must also cease.

Much more could be said to answer potential replies to this argument and others, but this will suffice for now. We commend to our reader Geerhardus Vos's Inaugural Address, The Idea of Biblical Theology as a Science and as a Theological Discipline. Vos shows how the miraculous acts of God in redemptive history culminate in Christ. All the revelation of Scripture is directly tied to this pattern of the miraculous so that miracle and revelation are inseparable from one another. When the one ceases the other must also cease. If we are not simply to rely on the propositional statements of Scripture, as Dr. Moreland argues, then arguments from the structure of Scripture also have weight. In other words, narrative arguments have force when they follow by necessary implication. And Vos has made a solid case of this nature. For a more detailed treatment, one may want to consult Counterfeit Miracles by B. B. Warfield.

Dr. Moreland is correct is critiquing modern naturalism and postmodernism for undermining the dramatic nature of human life. He has made some helpful critiques and encouragements to spiritual development. However, we believe that his overall approach suffers from a lack of true supernaturalism, a de-emphasis of the Protestant doctrines of grace and justification, and an alternative approach to the supernatural that is ultimately unsatisfying. In all these respects, the book does not focus our eyes on Christ, as Dr. Moreland would like it to. But Christ is not absent, and holds out the promises of grace, justification and eschatological life to his people even now from his heavenly throne.


[1] J.P. Moreland, Kingdom Triangle: Recover the Christian Mind, Renovate the Soul. Restore the Spirits Power. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2007. 240pp. Cloth. ISBN: 978-0-3102-7432-2. $19.99.

[2] For the later, he mainly substitutes a poll of undifferentiated New Testament scholars, which could be of any stripe for all we know, liberal or conservative, Roman Catholic or Protestant, Pentecostal or Baptist, etc. Such a poll does not carry much weight in the present climate of biblical scholarship and is no substitute for a careful examination of the text. Our main point here is that the overwhelming number of examples from human experience overshadows the number of biblical texts examined.

[3] Thanks to the editor of this Journal for the following insights on this text.