Local Church Discussions  

Go Back   Local Church Discussions > Writings of Former Members > Polemic Writings of Nigel Tomes

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 03-05-2015, 01:36 PM   #1
UntoHim
Grateful Servant
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,509
Default LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Tomes

LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem
Dr. Nigel Tomes


Witness Lee had no time for New Testament scholarship. He summarily dismissed it along with the rest of Christianity. “Since World War II...,” he observed,1 “there has not been one publication that is weighty concerning Bible exposition, the divine life, or the truth.” Neither did seminaries and theological education escape his ire; “Christianity...has been...opening seminaries and educating students of theology. However, these theological graduates have not gotten into the depths of the Bible...” he asserted, adding,2 “Christianity has not published a single book of great spiritual value.” W. Lee impugned their materials as fraught with “peril and risk.”3 In contrast, “We have a pure system of publications which comprise all the main things of the divine, spiritual, and heavenly things,”4 he maintained. Given such elitist & sectarian views, it is not surprising that LSM’s ‘Recovery’ existed for decades in self-imposed isolation from the wider Christian community. This segregation meant LSM’s local churches remained in a theological backwater, blissfully unaware of progress in biblical scholarship over the last century. We examine one example of this ignorance--LSM’s utter neglect of the “Synoptic Problem”--research investigating the literary relationships between the “Synoptic Gospels,” Matthew, Mark and Luke. Professor Darrell Bock of Dallas Theological Seminary explains, “The ‘Synoptic Problem’...asks how one accounts for the combination of agreement and diversity in Matthew, Mark, & Luke.”5

Synoptic Problem, what Synoptic Problem?

One vaunted purpose of LSM’s Recovery Version Study Bible is to “solve the common and hard problems in the New Testament.”6 Indeed, W. Lee claimed, “almost all the difficult portions in the Bible are resolved in the footnotes of the Recovery Version, and the answers are definite.”7 The Synoptic Problem certainly qualifies as one of the “hard problems in the New Testament;” scholars repeatedly call it an “intractable problem.”8 It involves not merely identifying the oldest, earliest Gospel, nor is it resolving apparent inconsistencies between Gospel accounts. As J. C. O’Neill observes,9 “The real problems...which prompted all the hard investigation of the Synoptic Problem were much more intractable.” Yet, despite LSM’s claim to solve “almost all the difficult portions,” the existence of a “Synoptic Problem” is never acknowledged even once in LSM’s publications, including their flagship Recovery Version. LSM’s wholesale neglect of 20th century biblical scholarship is exemplified by their failure to address this issue which was focus of evangelical scholarship since the 1940s.

Despite their differences, the first three Gospels—Matthew, Mark & Luke—are remarkably similar. Hence they are called synoptic gospels, meaning “to see together with a common view.” This raises the question of literary interdependence— did any of the Gospel authors utilize a common source? Did any writer draw on the material presented in the other Gospels? Explaining the inter-relationships, the similarities and differences, among the Synoptic Gospels constitutes the “Synoptic Problem.”11 A search using Google Scholar indicates over 3,700 journal articles, monographs and scholarly books published during the last century have been devoted to this theme. Most of these Google citations date from the last four decades suggesting increasing interest in this topic. Perhaps the ‘Synoptic Problem’ is not the most crucial issue in studying the New Testament, nevertheless it is significant. Taken together, the three Synoptic Gospels constitute 35% of the New Testament, hence their inter-relationship deserves some attention. As Professor John K. Riches notes, “One might not want to devote one’s life to solving the [Synoptic] problem, but...it is at least essential to see what the problem is.”12

LSM—Matthew the 1st New Testament Book Written


Witness Lee confidently asserts that “Matthew, the first book in the New Testament, was written between A.D. 37 and 40.”13 When checked against the “Time of Writing” assigned to each book in LSM’s Recovery Version study Bible it is evident that, in their view, Matthew has the earliest date—earlier than Galatians (AD 54), 1 Thessalonians (AD 54) or James (AD 50), the other obvious candidates for priority. Thus LSM assigns priority to Matthew’s Gospel, not only among the 4 Gospels, but also among all the canonical New Testament books. LSM tells us Luke “was written before the book of Acts (Acts 1:1), probably about A.D. 60. It may have been written in Caesarea while the apostle Paul was in prison there.”14 They also indicate Mark’s Gospel “was written between A.D. 60 and A.D. 70...before the destruction of the holy temple, possibly after the death of the apostle Paul.”15 Hence LSM suggests that Matthew was written first, within a decade of the crucifixion, followed by Luke and then Mark, over 20 years later. Focusing on the three Synoptic Gospels, LSM assigns priority to Matthew and posteriority to Mark—Matthew is dated first, while Mark is dated last. It appears that in dating Matthew, Witness Lee followed C. I. Scofield (1909, 1917) who stated “The date of Matthew has been much discussed, but no convincing reason has been given for the discrediting the traditional date of A.D. 37.”16

The table below compares LSM’s dates with those assigned over a century ago and also by contemporary expositors. The first two columns represent older publications—by Harrison G. O. Dwight (1832) and C. I. Scofield (1909, 17). Data from LSM’s Recovery Version (RcV.) appear in the 3rd column. The center column presents figures reported by Professor F. F. Bruce for UK scholars in 1943. At that time F. F. Bruce wrote,17 “Dates commonly accepted in this country [UK] for the writing of the Gospels are: Mark, A.D. 65; Luke, 80-85; Matthew, 85-90; John, 90-100.” The 3 right-hand columns report data from the ESV study Bible, Gordon Fee & Douglas Stuart’s “How to Read the Bible” & for New Testament scholars, Richard Bauckham & James D. G. Dunn. For each column we highlight the earliest date, indicating which Gospel has been assigned priority.

Dates of Writing—the Synoptic Gospels18

- - - - - - - -Dwight (1832) - - - - Scofield (1909) - - - - LSM Rcv - - - - UK 1943 - - - - - ESV - - - - - Fee & Stuart - - - - Bauckham/Dunn
Matthew - - - -38 AD - - - - - - - -37-38 AD - - - - - - - 37-40 AD - - - 85-90 AD - - - 55-65 AD - - - - 70s 80s - - - - - - - -80-90 AD
Mark - - - - - - 65 AD - - - - - - - -57-63 AD - - - - - - - -60-70 AD - - - - 65 AD - - - - 53-55 AD - - - ~65 AD - - - - - - - 65-75 AD
Luke - - - - - - 63 AD - - - - - - - - 63-68 AD - - - - - - ~60 AD - - - - - -80-85 AD - - - - ~62 AD - - - - 60s 70s - - - - - - - -80-90 AD


Three observations can be made. (1) LSM’s dates align more closely with older publications from a century ago. LSM’s Recovery Version matches older expositions—Dwight (1832) & Scofield (1909, 1917)--in assigning the earliest date to Matthew. These older studies disagree on whether Luke preceded Mark, yet they concur on the priority of Matthew’s Gospel. This matches the precedence assigned to Matthew by LSM. (2) Contemporary studies cover a wider range of dates; nevertheless they agree on Mark’s priority--that Mark’s Gospel was the earliest written. These data suggest that LSM adopted the traditional view regarding the synoptic Gospels—assigning an early date and priority to Matthew, assuming it was the first gospel written. In contrast, modern biblical scholarship has questioned and rejected both these traditional positions adopted by LSM. Most contemporary scholars assign priority to Mark’s Gospel, contradicting LSM’s position. (3) We note that assigning priority to Mark’s Gospel is not merely a recent phenomenon. F. F. Bruce (1910-1990) the premier evangelical NT scholar in his generation, reported that in the early 1940s UK biblical scholars viewed Mark as the first canonical Gospel written. LSM’s anachronistic dating scheme belongs to the 19th century.

If the Synoptic Gospels are independent compositions, their dates of composition are of little consequence.19 In this case, who wrote first is merely an interesting piece of Bible trivia. But, if the Gospels are interdependent, their relative dates have implications for the direction of causality. Under most scenarios the first Gospel written is the most obvious candidate as a source document. Later documents are then examined for evidence of appropriation. As Dr. Patricia Walters states,21 “Any particular solution to the synoptic problem...[resolves] two central issues: First, determine the earliest gospel and, second, identifying the direction of literary dependence.” Witness Lee followed tradition in assigning priority to Matthew. In contrast, since early in the 20th century (if not earlier) most New Testament scholars have identified Mark as the first gospel written.

Synoptic Gospels written independently—W. Lee

W. Lee acknowledges the meaning of the term, “synoptic,” yet he emphasizes the differences between the three Gospels. He says,22 “The first three Gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, are called synoptic Gospels. The word synoptic means having the same point of view. Matthew, Mark, and Luke all share the same point of view. If you read through these three Gospels, you will see that the narratives in them are very much the same... Matthew, Mark, and Luke all speak of the Lord Jesus as a Man. In Matthew we see that the Lord Jesus is the King; in Mark, that He is a servant; and in Luke, that He is a Man...But the Gospel of John is concerned with Christ in His divinity.” In his view the synoptic Gospels “share the same point of view” in emphasizing Christ’s humanity, yet they differ in terms of aspect—Christ as King, Servant and Man. These different “angles” are repeatedly mentioned in W. Lee’s writings. The possibility that any of the Gospel writers used a common source or incorporated another evangelist’s material into their Gospel in never contemplated. At a literary level Witness Lee assumed a priori that the Synoptic Gospels are three independent compositions.

“Every book of the Bible is impregnated with the marks of its writer”—W. Nee

Watchman Nee implicitly assumed each of the Gospels were written independently and therefore each expressed the unique characteristics of its (sole) human author. He says,23 “In studying the Bible, we find that every writer has his special characteristics. The Gospel of Matthew is different from the Gospel of Mark, and the Gospel of Mark is different from the Gospel of Luke...Moreover, we can observe that every writer uses idiomatic expressions which are distinctly his own. Luke was a doctor...he freely used medical terms. The other three writers...only described these ailments in general terms...Every Gospel has distinctive terminologies and themes...All these are unique characteristics of the writers. Every book of the Bible is impregnated with the marks of its writer, yet every book remains very much the word of God.” Plus he states,24 “each writer used his own special terminology, and his writing contained his own feelings, thoughts, and human elements.” W. Nee emphasizes the imprint of the unique author’s characteristics, “his own feelings, thoughts, and human elements,” on his writing. Thus, “every book...is impregnated with the marks of its [own] writer.” Clearly W. Nee did not contemplate one author incorporating another’s writing so that one gospel could be “impregnated with the marks” of several writers. In that case (we ask) wouldn’t it also contain the “feelings, thoughts, and human elements” of other writers? Watchman Nee implicitly ruled out this possibility as a viable option.

“Mark did not copy Matthew nor did Matthew copy Luke”—W. Lee
“Matthew, Mark, Luke...did not repeat one another's writing.”—W. Lee


W. Lee explicitly ruled out literary interdependency between the Synoptic Gospels. He maintains that the authors did not copy one another, saying,25 “The writers of the New Testament talked about Christ, but they spoke concerning Christ from different angles and not in the same way. Mark did not copy Matthew nor did Matthew copy Luke.” Plus he contends that,26 “Although Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John wrote concerning the Lord's life on the earth, they did not repeat one another's writing. The writings of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were different from one another...” In context, W. Lee’s assertion that “Mark did not copy Matthew nor did Matthew copy Luke,” suggests no Gospel writer copied from any other writer. This is confirmed by Witness Lee’s statement, “they did not repeat one another's writing.” These twin assertions appear to rule out inter-dependence between the Synoptic Gospels on purely a priori grounds. W. Lee asserts the Synoptic Gospels’ independence. Research by Bible scholars over the last century has decisively rejected this view. However, in the 19th century prominent evangelical scholars argued for the Synoptics’ independence—W. Lee’s position.

19th Century Evangelical Scholars asserted Independence

Prof. Darrell L. Bock says, regarding the Synoptic Gospels, “Some [expositors] argue for independence. They attribute the [concurrence between accounts] to the randomness associated with events that were a historical given. In the 19th century well-known scholars such as Westcott and Alford preferred this view.”27 They argued that correlation between the Gospels was due to their recording multiple eyewitness accounts of the same historical events—e.g. Jesus’ healings, exorcisms and parables. Dr. Bock cites Henry Alford (1810 – 71) and Brooke Foss Westcott(1825 – 1901) as examples. In 1889 the Church Historian, Philip Schaff (1819 – 93) explicitly propounded the literary independence of the Synoptic Gospels. He adamantly asserted:28
“We agree with Alford and others, that there is no good reason from the internal structure of the Synoptic Gospels to believe, but every reason to disbelieve, that any one of the three Evangelists had access to either of the other two Gospels in its present form; that all drew from the same tradition, but each wrote independently ...The independence of the writers appears from the fact that no one narrative gives evidence of having been written to supplement another, to correct another, to adapt another to a different class of readers or of having borrowed the common matter from the others.”

Note that Schaff explicitly states that “each [author] wrote independently.” Both W. Nee and W. Lee refer to Henry Alford & Philip Schaff. LSM publications cite Henry Alford 100 times and Philip Schaff over 10 times. We suggest that if W. Nee or W. Lee ever confronted the Synoptic Problem, it might have been through the writings of these 19th century scholars or their contemporaries who also argued for the literary independence of the synoptic gospels. We conclude that the views of W. Nee & W. Lee on this issue match the consensus of 19th century evangelical scholars. However, that consensus has changed dramatically over the last century.

As the 20th century ended the evangelical scholars’ consensus regarding the Synoptic Gospels had undergone a quantum shift away from independence, towards literary interdependence. Drs. Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stewart state,29 “The most common presupposition [of first-time Bible readers], but the one least likely to be true, is that each gospel was written independently of the others. There is simply too much clear evidence against this [notion--independence]...to be a live option.” Let us summarize the evidence for this statement.

Progress on the Synoptic Problem

Dennis Bratcher recounts the progress of biblical research on the Synoptic Problem. The view that “Matthew as the first Gospel written has remained the popular traditional view well into the 20th century...Still, the main argument for the priority of Matthew is the almost unanimous voice of the early church tradition that places Matthew first,” Bratcher observes.31 He continues, “As scholars worked more with the Gospels, the complexity of the Gospel traditions became more apparent. Many scholars concluded that the questions raised about the relationship for the Synoptics could not be adequately explained by assuming that Matthew was the first Gospel written. As a result, a new proposal for Gospel formation emerged based on the view that Mark, or some early form of Mark, was the first Gospel written. Weiss, in a series of proposals...(1838-1856), concluded that both Matthew and Luke were written independently from each other using two basic sources. The early form of Mark that contained material shared by all three Synoptics was supplemented by a separate collection of the sayings of Jesus (logia) that contained material shared by Matthew and Luke but not by Mark...This became known as the Two Source Hypothesis.”32 The ‘Two Source Hypothesis’ maintains that Mark’s Gospel plus another collection of Jesus’ sayings (later called ‘Q’) were the two sources used by Matthew and Luke in composing their Gospels, along with their own contributions. Dennis Bratcher concludes there are “ongoing debates...[since] not all the details had been addressed, and... the Two-Source Hypothesis could not explain all the features of the Gospels. Still, it remains today the simplest and one of the most widely accepted ways to understand the literary relationship of the Synoptics.”33

German scholars were the first to focus detailed attention to the Synoptic Problem. “In the 19th century, the tools ofliterary criticism were applied to the synoptic problem in earnest, especially in German scholarship... From this line of inquiry...a consensus emerged that Mark itself was the principal source for the other two gospels,”34 reports Dennis Bratcher. Researchers concluded that Mark was the first Gospel written and that it was utilized by Matthew & Luke. Since the term “German scholarship”35 tends to raise a “red flag,” we note that Professor Scot McKnight of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School maintains that,36 “Regardless of the impetus given by 18th and 19th century German scholarship, it was the hands of B. H. Streeter and W. Sanday [of Oxford University, UK.] that gave pristine shape to the theory now known as the [‘Two Source Hypothesis’]” Eventually evangelical scholars began to engage with this question. Robert L. Thomas observes that “Shortly after the middle of the 20th century evangelical scholars began to restudy...the origins of the synoptics.”37

Evangelical Scholars Engage the Synoptic Problem

In 1943 the renowned evangelical scholar, Dr. F. F. Bruce, observed that,38 “It requires no very detailed study to discover that these 3 [Synoptic gospels] have a great deal of material in common, and that each pair has also a certain amount of common material not found in the other one...These are the phenomena; how are they to be explained?...In this country [UK] the explanation commonly given last [19th] century was that the similarity or identity was due to the fact that the Evangelists reproduced the language of the primitive oral Gospel as proclaimed in the early days of the Church. You will find this view, for example, in Alford’s Greek Testament and in Westcott’s Introduction to the Study of the Gospels. It subsequently became unfashionable, because it was discovered that many of the data could be better accounted for by positing documentary sources,” he said.

Professor F. F. Bruce explains these developments, saying,39 “Closer study of the linguistic and literary details of the Gospels in more recent times has...led many to the conclusion that Mark was actually the earliest of our 3 Synoptic Gospels in their present form, and that it was a source, if not the principal source, of Matthew and Luke... The strength of the Markan hypothesis cannot be conveyed in a sentence or two; the evidence is cumulative...[it is] the only assured result of the vast amount of incessant labour…expended on the so-called Synoptic Problem in the whole of the past 100 years and more.” According to this writer, by the early 1940s, most UK Bible scholars had reached two key conclusions: (1) Mark’s priority. Scholars deduced that Mark’s Gospel was the first composed. (2) Mark’s Gospel was a source used by Matthew & Luke in composing their own Gospels—literary interdependence. This latter point lies at the heart of the Synoptic Problem. As Professor Patricia Walters explains,40 “The synoptic problem is grounded in the proposition that a literary inter-dependence exists among the first three books of the New Testament canon: Matthew, Mark and Luke.”

New Testament Scholars’ Consensus

Today some issues remain unresolved; nevertheless decades of research by biblical scholars of various stripes have reached a strong consensus on these two points: (1) the priority of Mark. “Mark’s Gospel has...repeatedly been deemed as the earliest gospel,” writes Thomas R. Hatina.41 (2) the Synoptic Gospels’ interdependence. “The material that overlaps Matthew, Mark and Luke, in contrast to John, is so extensive... interpreters concluded that these 3 gospels must be dependent on each other—that is, that one was written first and used as a source by the other two,” reports Thomas R. Hatina.42

Before turning to the evidence, it is worth emphasizing that these conclusions are endorsed by a majority of evangelical New Testament scholars. These conclusions cannot be invalidated by a “knee jerk reaction” asserting that these evangelical scholars (or the present author) must have been “drinking the Cool Aid” of German “higher criticism” and stigmatizing them as “liberal modernists” who deny biblical inerrancy. The error of “German higher criticism” lay with the presuppositions accompanying their analysis. Professor Grant R. Osborne of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School warns that,43 “We must also be careful not to reject methods that can become very useful when false presuppositions are removed... [Tools of literary] criticism become enemies of the veracity of Scripture only when imbibed with the radical skepticism of negative criticism. When utilized under the aegis of an inerrant Scripture, they become positive, helpful tools.” Professor Donald Guthrie concurs, saying,44 "There is no reason why a true literary criticism cannot coexist with a high view of Scripture." Indeed evangelical scholars’ research on the Synoptic Problem indicates that this partnership can be productive. Professors D. A. Carson of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and Douglas J. Moo of Wheaton College Graduate School are both scholars with impeccable evangelical credentials. They state, in their textbook, An Introduction to the New Testament, that the “basic solution to the Synoptic Problem maintains that two of the evangelists used one or more of the other gospels in constructing their own...This solution... commands almost universal assent among contemporary New Testament scholars—with good reason...”45

The Synoptic Problem’s solution relies on analysing the objective data contained in the Synoptic Gospels using scientific methods and criteria. Professor Scot McKnight formulates the issue as follows,46 “If...given a copy of Mark, Matthew and Luke where each record a similar event or saying in the life of Jesus, we...ask the simple question, derived from the science of textual criticism... ‘Which is most likely the origin of the others?’ It is the answer to this question, a question about objective linguistic data, that tips the balance...Linguistic data alone permit scientific analysis and true weighting of the probabilities on which Gospel is more likely the original.” If many scholars of different stripes—orthodox, conservative, liberal—plus a majority of evangelical researchers reach the same conclusions, this ought to increase our confidence in their findings.47 Here we briefly summarize the data and the analysis which undergirds New Testament scholars’ conclusions.

Synoptic Problem—the Raw Data

The close resemblance of the Synoptic Gospels is manifest when comparing them in parallel. Do their sections (episodes, paragraphs) cover the same incidents (e.g. Jesus’ teachings, miracles, healings, exorcisms, parables, plus narratives)? Within sections we can compare verses—are they the same or similar? We can also compare words—do they use the same nouns, adjectives, adverbs and verbs (perhaps with a different tense)?

If we look first at “pericopae”—paragraphs or sections of Scripture, vignettes or scenes--which describe a miracle, parable or (self-contained) incident, a definite picture emerges. It is depicted in the diagram below:48


Clearly there is considerable overlap, particularly between Mark and the other Gospels—labelled 49“Triple Tradition,” since it appears in all three. Also there is duplication between Matthew & Luke, in addition to their overlap with Mark—labelled “Double Tradition.” Out of a total of 214 “pericopae” (episodes, sections) in all 3 Synoptics combined, no fewer than 77 (36%) are reported in all three—the “triple tradition.” Examples include the ‘Parable of the Wicked Tenants, & the Feeding of 5,000. Plus there are an additional 60 incidents (28%) recorded in (any) two Synoptics—“double tradition,” for example, ‘Leaven,’ & the Mustard Seed. Considering the “many other signs which Jesus did” (Jn. 20:30-31), these extensive double and triple episodes—amounting to 137 vignettes or 64% of the Synoptics’ scenes--are highly significant. Out of the many hundreds (perhaps thousands, Jn. 20:30; 21:25) of Jesus’ signs & teachings, one third are recorded 3 times & another third twice.

The overlap between Mark & the others is particularly striking. Of Mark’s 97 vignettes, 92 (95%) are recorded also in Matthew, 80 (82%) appear also in Luke, plus 77 episodes (80%) have corresponding accounts in both Matthew & Luke. This means very few episodes—only two distinct incidents from the total of 97 (2%)--are unique to Mark’s Gospel. Put differently, the absence of Mark’s Gospel would delete very little information, because the other Gospels provide one or more parallel accounts of most of the incidents recorded in Mark.

Excluding Mark’s vignettes, there is still significant overlap between Matthew and Luke in the remaining material. Of the remaining 117 distinct episodes in Matthew or Luke, 42 (36%) are recorded in both Matthew and Luke. This includes, for e.g., the ‘Lord’s prayer’ (Matt. 6:9; Luke 11:2). Beyond these duplicate “triple & double traditions,” Luke & Matthew contain more material that is unique to their own Gospels, compared to Mark’s small unique contribution. 29 episodes--18% of Matthew’s material--are unique to his Gospel. By comparison 46 paragraphs—27% of his episodes (e.g. Good Samaritan & Prodigal Son) are unique to Luke.

Turning our focus to the next level of detail we can ask whether two (or more) Gospels have verses which convey essentially the same information, including those with word-for-word duplicates (e.g. Mt. 24:43-44 = Lk. 12:39-40 and Mt. 13:33 = Lk.13:20-21). Professor Michael F. Bird tabulates the shared material and unique (unshared) material for the Synoptic Gospels, based on a verse-by-verse comparison.50
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - Unshared Material - - - - - -Shared Material
Mark (661 vs.) - - - - - - - - - - 7% - - - - - - - - - - - - - 93%
Matthew (1068 vs.) - - - - - - - 42% - - - - - - - - - - - - 58%
Luke (1149 vs.)- - - - - - - - - -59% - - - - - - - - - - - - 41%

These results indicate that 93% of Mark’s content has a parallel in Matthew or Luke or both. Hence only 7% of Mark’s material is unique. By comparison Matthew & Luke have significantly greater individual contributions; 42% of Matthew and almost 60% of Luke’s content, is unique, without parallel in the other Gospels.

Professor Darrell L. Bock of Dallas Theological Seminary also reports on verse-by-verse comparison:51

Luke has 1,149 verses, Matthew 1,068 verses, and Mark 662 verses.
  • Matthew has 609 of Mark’s 662 verses—92% of Mark’s verses have a parallel in Matthew
  • Luke has 357 of Mark’s 662 vs. (54%). Another 95 of Mark’s vs. may be reflected in Luke, raising the total to 452 vs. (68%)
  • Only 30 verses of Mark (4.5%) lack a parallel in either Matthew or Luke.

Those sentences (verses) of Matthew & Luke without a parallel in Mark can also be compared
  • In addition to material shared with Mark, about 250 verses are said to be shared by Matthew & Luke—a significant overlap. Those 250 verses represent 22% of Luke’s verses and 23% of Matthew’s verses.
  • Matthew has 29% unique material; Luke has 50% unique material (counted by verse).
A word-by-word comparison of the Greek text yields a similar picture:52
  • 97.2% of Mark’s words have a parallel in Matthew
  • 88.4% of Mark’s words have a parallel in Luke
  • About 45% of Mark’s words have parallels in both Matthew & Luke

There is some room to quibble over these statistics. Verses are said to be “parallel” when they are essentially the same, without demanding on exact identity. But, arguing over such details cannot overturn the central conclusion—the three synoptic Gospels display considerable overlap. As Professor Darrell L. Bock writes, the “persuasive similarities among the passages seem to be too great to be attributed merely to mutual eyewitness reminiscence, common oral tradition, coincidental agreement of diverse traditions or a shared use of a [Proto-Gospel] (now lost) in Aramaic or Hebrew. It is here that the issues tied to wording and clusters of syntactical order are important. Not only is the event recalled but details of wording & setting are such that it does not look like something people independently telling the same story would happen to hit upon... All of this agreement ...makes the likelihood great that what is at work are evangelists sharing the same sources at various points.”53

Scholars regard these data as convincing evidence of literary dependency. As Drs D. A. Carson and Douglas J. Moo explain, the interdependency “solution to the Synoptic Problem maintains that two of the evangelists used one or more of the other gospels in constructing their own...Advocates... argue that only borrowing at the final literary level can explain the degree of similarity among the synoptic gospels. This solution...commands almost universal assent among contemporary New Testament scholars—with good reason...It is unlikely that the degree of agreement in the Greek text...can be explained by recourse to oral tradition alone.”54

Transposing this finding into a contemporary context highlights its significance--if Matthew, Mark and Luke submitted their Gospels as term papers for a College or High School assignment, when checked by plagiarism detection software, they would be flagged for plagiarism! The only question would be—who copied from whom? John’s Gospel, on the other hand, would be declared free of any plagiarism.55 (Plagiarism is a modern concept.)

The diagram below depicts these relationships graphically.56 These calculations were made on a slightly different basis, so the percentages differ. However, the overall picture matches that described above.



The data presented graphically above runs counter to Witness Lee’s position that the three Synoptic Gospels—Matthew, Mark & Luke--are independent compositions. Mark L. Strauss maintains that,57 “The chief problem with viewing the Gospels as literarily independent is the frequent exact verbal agreement between the Synoptics. Even if two historians faithfully record the same event, they seldom use exactly the same words. The problem is especially striking when we consider that the sayings of Jesus were first passed down in the Aramaic language. Two independent translators of a written document seldom use identical words. It seems likely, therefore, that there is some literary relationship between the Synoptics. While a few scholars continue to affirm the independence of the Synoptics, the great majority see some interdependence.”

The close correspondence between the Synoptic Gospels is more striking because it extends beyond the sayings of Jesus. Yet even with the Gospels’ quotations of Jesus’ sayings (given that Jesus probably spoke and taught in Aramaic) expositors regard the correlation between parallel accounts’ Greek renditions of Jesus’ sayings as remarkably high. More striking is the fact that the evangelists’ narrative accounts of the same event (e.g. Jesus’ miracles of healing or calming the storm) are amazingly close. The correlation is judged higher than independent eyewitness accounts would produce, since “Greek word order is extremely free, yet often the similarities extend to precise word order.”58

Four Gospel Accounts of the Feeding of the 5,000 Professors Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart illustrate these observations with a case-study comparing the 4 Gospel accounts of the Feeding of the 5,000. In How the Read the Bible they report the following statistics:59

1. Number of Greek words used to tell the story
  • Matthew 157
  • Mark 194
  • Luke 153
  • John 199
2. Number of Greek words common to all 3 Synoptic Gospels: 53 (27% to 35%)

3. Number of words John has in common with all the others: 8 (4%)

4. Percentage of agreement:
  • Matthew with Mark: 59.0%
  • Matthew with Luke: 44.0%
  • Luke with Mark: 40.0%
  • John with Matthew: 8.5%
  • John with Mark: 8.5%
  • John with Luke: 6.5%

Drs. Fee and Stuart conclude that “John represents a clearly independent telling of the story. He...even uses a different Greek word for ‘fish’! The other three are just as clearly interdependent in some way. Those who know Greek recognize how improbable it is for two people [e.g. Mark and Matthew] independently to tell the same story...and have 60% agreement in the words used and often in the exact word order.”61

The correlation between the three Synoptic Gospels extends beyond parallel episodes, verses and words. Prof. Michael F. Bird points out the Synoptics follow a similar outline. He reports,62 “The Synoptic Gospels share an outline...If the Synoptic Gospels were written independently or even semi-independently of each other, then it would have been possible to have outlines...rather different from what they are now...Yet the Synoptic Gospels follow the same outline very closely and provide what is recognizably the same story with the same basic plot.” This point is highlighted by a comparison with John’s Gospel, which has its own outline. John’s Gospel reports that Jesus visited Jerusalem several times prior to his Passover crucifixion. In contrast the Synoptics only record Jesus’ final visit to Jerusalem. John reports Jesus’ cleansing the Temple early in his ministry; the Synoptic Gospels record a Temple-cleansing at the end. They follow a common outline; John has his own.

Additional evidence comes from the Synoptic Gospels’ Old Testament citations. Here we find similar quotations, not from the regular Hebrew or Greek Old Testament, but from variant editions. Scholars report that,63 “At times we find the exact same form of an OT quotation...This would not be unusual if that form were identical either with the Hebrew OT or the Greek translation of the OT known as the Septuagint [LXX], but when we find an identical quotation of the OT which is different from both the Hebrew OT and the Greek OT, this similarity requires some sort of explanation (Mark 1:2 = Matt 3:3 & Luke 3:4; Mark 7:7 = Matt 15:9).”

The observations summarized above highlight the interrelationships among the first three Gospels. Other dimensions could also be added, but these ought to be sufficient to demonstrate, “beyond reasonable doubt,” the existence of literary interdependence. In this context, the “Synoptic Problem” can be defined more precisely. Dr. William R. Telford writes,64 “The criteria for literary relationship are fourfold and consist of extensive agreement in content, form, order and wording. When these criteria for literary relationship are considered, a surprising observation emerges...three of the four canonical Gospels (viz. Mark, Matthew & Luke) would appear to have a literary relationship with each other. One or more of these three Gospels has used one or more of the others as its source...[This] constitutes the Synoptic Problem.”

“In...Mark we have something that cannot be found in John, Matthew, or Luke”—W. Lee

The data reported above highlight the considerable overlap between Mark’s Gospel and those of Matthew & Luke. Only 30 verses (7%) in Mark are not duplicated in Matthew or Luke (or both). About 3% of Mark’s words do not have a parallel in the other Synoptics. Stated simply, there is very little in Mark which cannot be found in the other Gospels. This conclusion contradicts Witness Lee’s assertion that “In the Gospel of Mark we have something that cannot be found in John, Matthew, or Luke.”65 He asserts that, “more of the Lord's excellent virtues in His humanity are seen in...Mark than in...Luke.” This assertion is debatable at best, since it revolves around details in Mark’s Gospel which are not primary, but are of a second or third order of magnitude. Or perhaps it reflects W. Lee’s habitual claim that the book in his current Life-study training was superlative?

Literary Independence--Rejected

These data decisively reject the notion propounded by Witness Lee that each Gospel was written independently of the others. W. Lee asserts that “Mark did not copy Matthew nor did Matthew copy Luke.” Yet the evidence implies someone copied from others! Witness Lee also alleges that “Matthew, Mark, Luke...did not repeat one another's writing.” However, the data imply that either Matthew or Mark or Luke did indeed repeat the writing of others! Gerald Downing states New Testament scholars’ view that “There is a ‘literary’ relationship it is widely (if still not universally) agreed between the Gospels of Matthew, Mark & Luke.”66 D. A. Carson & D. J. Moo concur, saying,67 “two of the evangelists used one or more of the other gospels in constructing their own ...This solution... commands almost universal assent among contemporary New Testament scholars.”

Dr. Grant R. Osborne of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School explains the reasoning behind this conclusion. He says,68 “I am open to the independence view but am unconvinced because of the way the Gospels relate to one another. The data tends to favor not just literary interdependence but Markan [Mark’s] priority. First, one must explain the remarkable verbal similarities, as in Jesus' reply to the paralytic in Mark 2:10–11 = Matt 9:6 = Luke 5:24. Frequently these parallels exist especially between Mark and Matthew and between Mark and Luke...I ask my students to estimate the likelihood of any two sets of their class notes having exactly the same wording —virtually nil. Consider another example: Suppose four people report on a German lecture and publish virtually identical translations, both in terms of what was said and how the setting and scene are described. If that were to happen, one would assume some type of literary dependence between the reports. Extensive verbal similarity points to a literary connection.” Prof. Osborne continues by saying,69 “Moreover, if the Gospels were independent of one another and simply using similar traditions, how would one account for the occasional agreement in side comments, like Mk. 13:14 = Mt. 24:15, "Let the reader understand," or Mk. 5:8 = Luke 8:29, which explain the demon's plea that Jesus not torment them by adding, "For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man"? It is unlikely that such parenthetical [‘editorial’] comments would have come independently. In short, the evidence does not prove a literary relationship and Markan priority, but it makes it likely. The theory of independence is possible but not mandated by the data. In short, the evidence does not prove a literary relationship or Markan priority, but it does make it more likely than independence.” Hence scholars conclude that the preponderance of evidence weighs against the Synoptics’ literary independence.

Professors Gordon D. Fee and Douglas J. Stuart conclude that “the best explanation of all the data is...that Mark wrote his gospel first, probably in part at least from his recollection of Peter’s preaching & teaching. Luke & Matthew had access to Mark’s gospel and independently used it as a basic source for their own. But they also has access to all kinds of other material about Jesus, some of which they had in common... However...neither one had access to the other’s writing. Finally John wrote independently of the other three...”70

The “Naive Pietistic Solution”--Rejected

One response to these observations is called the “naive Pietistic solution.”71 It attributes the correspondence between Gospels “solely to the divine leading of the authors.” This notion asserts that God inspired different writers to record identical accounts using the very same words. It maintains that there was no copying or collaboration, rather all the resemblances are the issue of God’s inspiration, via direct divine dictation. This view takes the whole question out of the realm of scholarly investigation and puts it into the “black box” of God’s inspiration—“it is what it is because God inspired it that way.” But, David Turner reminds us, Luke (1:1-4) informs us that he researched earlier written accounts (Greek, diegesis) and oral traditions emanating from eyewitnesses. On Luke’s own admission, the Gospels were not composed solely via direct divine dictation.

Scholars argue against a “black box” view of Scripture. Drs. Black and Dockery maintain that,72 “To deny that the Bible should be studied through the use of literary and critical methodologies is to treat the Bible as less than human, less than historical, and less than literature.” Professor Donald Guthrie warns against a false dichotomy between Scriptures’ inspiration and scientific analysis; he states that,73 “There is no reason why a true literary criticism cannot coexist with a high view of Scripture.” Dr Grant R. Osborne of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School also agrees, saying,74 “We must also be careful not to reject methods that can become very useful when false presuppositions are removed...When utilized under the aegis of an inerrant Scripture, they become positive, helpful tools.”

Watchman Nee rejected Direct Divine Dictation

We note, moreover, that the “pietistic solution” contradicts Watchman Nee’s view of the divine inspiration of Scripture. He says,75 God “could create...ataperecorderthat would convey His word toman...[Then] everyone could hearGod'spure word.God, however, has not chosen to do this...The basic problem with such a word is that it does not carry any humanelement with it...But we must remember thatGod'sword always bears the mark of human traits.” Watchman Nee argues forcefully that God’s inspiration of Scripture is not via direct dictation, but via humanity. He says,76 “[In] the New Testament...every writer has his own style, expression, and characteristic, andGodusesthese characteristics...His word is not damaged by this process...it is still God's word...He uses man'svery own elements to express His word. He does not makeman atape recorder, recording His speaking verbatim and then playing it back objectively.God does not want to do this.” This view of Scripture’s inspiration rules out the possibility that closely correlated Gospel passages are simply the result of direct divine dictation. The various writers’ different styles, expressions, and characteristics would necessarily produce different passages of Scripture. Hence Watchman Nee’s view points to a presumption of divergence. However we observe considerable convergence between the Synoptic Gospel accounts. If it’s not the result of inspiration, it must be the issue of the composition process—i.e. literary interdependence. Given that the overwhelming weight of evidence, assembled in the 20th century, favors the interdependence of the Synoptic Gospels—Matthew, Mark & Luke—LSM’s position of independence is anachronistic and untenable.

The Priority of Mark

The Synoptic Problem is “the most fascinating literary enigma of all time”—Mark Goodacre

In light of conclusive evidence for the Synoptics’ interdependence, the obvious question arises—what is the line of causation, who copied from whom? In principle there are many logical possibilities. But, for our purposes it is sufficient to examine the two major options—(1) Mark’s priority—the case for Mark being the first Gospel written and subsequently being used as a source by both Matthew & Luke who wrote their own Gospels, editing Mark’s material and adding their own content. (2) Mark’s posteriority–the case for Matthew and Luke being written first and Mark being the last of the Synoptics. (This second option corresponds to LSM’s dating, although they assume the Gospels are independent compositions.) Notice that this latter option, together with interdependence, means that Mark appropriated and abbreviated material from Matthew and/or Luke to produce his own “stripped down, bare bones” Gospel account. Confining our focus to these two possibilities, we ask: what are the reasons which lead scholars to favor Mark’s priority over Mark’s posteriority?

1. Addition verses omission: Scholars argue that there are obvious reasons for Matthew & Luke to augment Mark’s record with supplementary material to “fill out” his “bare bones” account. Both add narratives of Jesus’ birth and his genealogy. Both add Jesus’ teaching—e.g., Matthew’s “Sermon on the Mount,” Luke’s “Sermon on the Plain.” Each adds parables, e.g., Luke’s Good Samaritan & Prodigal Son. If Mark’s Gospel was written first, it’s easy to justify these inclusions. It is not easy, however, to rationalize Mark’s exclusion of these materials, under the “Mark Posteriority” view. As Dr. Donald A. Hagner, writes,77 “It is difficult to explain why Mark would have omitted so much of Matthew & Luke—the birth narratives, Sermon on the Mount, the Lord’s Prayer, etc. It is nearly impossible to believe that Mark omitted this material if it was available to him. It is much easier to conclude that [Mark] wrote before the other Synoptics and didn’t have access to Matthew & Luke when he wrote.” Again Professor Mark Goodacre concludes,78 “...the material not in Mark makes better sense on the assumption that it was added by Matthew and/or Luke [using Mark as a source] than on the assumption that it was omitted by Mark,” writing a ‘stripped down’ Gospel based on Matthew and/or Luke.

2. Limited material unique to Mark. There are only 30 verses of Mark (3.0 -4.5%) which lack a parallel in either Matthew or Luke. “This is in stark contrast to the substantial amount of material unique to Matthew [20-30%] and even greater amount...unique to Luke [35-50%].”79 Mark’s unique material covers Jesus healing a deaf-mute (Mk. 7:33-36), a blind man in Bethsaida (8:22-26) and the young man running away naked (14:51-52). Again scholars inquire —“is it more likely that these are passages that have been omitted by Matthew & Luke (Mark’s priority) or ...added by Mark to Matthew & Luke (Mark’s posteriority)?”81 Dr. Goodacre suggests that in Mark’s record of the deaf-mute & blind man “Jesus is a more human Jesus, a more earthly Jesus and it is reasonable to imagine Matthew & Luke... omitting what was before them.”82
  • More crucially, if Mark was composed last, why did he add so little to Matthew & Luke? “If Mark is eager to add material that he considers of interest...why does so little else make it into his Gospel? Is it that Mark did not know of any other useful stories?...Were the stories of the Blind Man of Bethsaida & the Deaf Mute the best he could manage?”83 asks Dr. Goodacre. Along these lines scholars inquire, given the limited material unique to Mark, if Matthew’s & Luke’s Gospels were already available [Mark’s posteriority] why did Mark still produce his Gospel? G. M. Styler says the competing notion of Matthew’s priority “faces extreme difficulty in supplying a credible reason why anyone, given Matthew & Luke, ever wrote Mark.”84 Dr. Donald Hagner observes, “That there is no need for an abridgment of Matthew, as some regard Mark, is clear from the neglect of Mark in the Church once Matthew became available.”85 Data support this observation; in the earliest manuscripts of the Greek New Testament, Mark is represented less frequently than any of the other Gospels.86 This suggests that, in the early Church, Mark was appraised less highly.
  • This issue interacts with the claim Mark’s Gospel reflects the Apostle Peter’s recollections. Watchman Nee and Witness Lee both affirm this attribution. W. Nee asserts that,87 “The Gospel of Mark was dictated by Peter and written down by Mark.” Plus W. Lee says,88 “The Gospel of Mark may actually be regarded as the Gospel of Peter. Peter presented the story of the Lord Jesus orally to Mark, and Mark put this story into writing.” If, however, Mark’s Gospel is a “pared down” version of Matthew &/or Luke, the Apostle Peter’s input appears minimal—about 30 verses. We should ask: “Is that all Peter could recall?” or “Is that all Mark retained of Peter’s recollections?” If, on the other hand, Mark has priority, much of its contents could represent Peter’s input, plus Matthew’s & Luke’s appropriation of Mark, give Peter’s contributions double and triple representation. We note here that the relationship between Mark and the other two Synoptics is asymmetrical—if Mark is the last written his unique contribution is minimal, but if (on the other hand) Mark is first the unique contributions of Matthew & Luke remain substantial. In this latter case, Matthew would reflect both his own eyewitness account, plus that of the Apostle Peter (via Mark).
  • NT scholars recently buttressed the claim (e.g. by Papias) that Mark’s Gospel reflects Peter’s testimony. Prof. Richard Bauckham argued forcefully that internal evidence from the Gospels supports this link. “The first named disciple in Mark is Simon [Peter] (Mk. 1:16)…and he is the last at the end (“and Peter,” Mark 16:7). [He] sees these two references as a framing technique [inclusio] ‘suggesting that Peter is the witness whose testimony includes the whole story.’ M. Hegel says ‘Simon Peter is as a disciple named first and last in the Gospel to show that it is based on his tradition and therefore has his authority’.”89 Dr. R. Bauckham claims “Mark’s use of the [framing] device singles out Peter as the most comprehensive eyewitness source of his Gospel. Luke & John both acknowledge the importance of Peter’s testimony by using the device with respect to Peter. In Luke’s case, this is his acknowledgment of his use of Mark’s Gospel…”91 Plus Mark mentions Simon Peter 50% more often than Matthew or Luke.92 Bauckham deduces that “Mark’s Gospel has the highest frequency of reference to Peter among the [Synoptic] Gospels, and that it uses the inclusio of eyewitness testimony to indicate that Peter was its main eyewitness source.”93 Most logical scenarios link Mark’s Gospel as Peter’s testimony with Mark’s priority, since other options radically diminish Mark’s contribution to the Synoptics’ combined testimony. Again if Mark is assigned posteriority, then Mark is a seen (in Augustine’s words) as merely “an abridger and lackey of Matthew;”94 where then is Peter’s input?

3. Mark’s episodes are longer than Matthew’s. Mark’s Gospel is the shortest and it contains fewer pericopae (episodes) than Matthew or Luke. If Mark’s Gospel was an abbreviated version of the others (Mark’s posteriority) we might expect shorter versions of the same incidents. However, strikingly we find the opposite. Mark regularly has incidental details which are lacking in the other two. Professor James D. G. Dunn explains this observation’s significance,95 “In the older views it had been assumed that Mark was some kind of abbreviation of Matthew. But Synoptic analysis indicates that in much of the common material Mark’s episodes are actually longer than Matthew. Such a finding is more obviously to be explained by Matthew abbreviating Mark’s prolixity in order to make room for all the other sayings material, rather than by Mark expanding individual episodes while omitting all the extra teaching provided by Matthew ...e.g. the Sermon on the Mount (Mt. 5-7) ...Much the most plausible explanation of the available evidence continues to postulate Markan priority”—that Mark’s Gospel was written first.

4. Professor Mark Goodacre finds evidence of “editorial fatigue” in Matthew’s and Luke’s treatment of Mark. He presents cases where, he alleges, they made editorial adjustments to Mark’s episodes which are not followed through elsewhere in the same episode, producing small contradictions in their texts.96 He reports that,97 “It seems that as Matthew & Luke rewrote passages from Mark, they made characteristic changes in the early part of pericopae [episodes], lapsing into Mark’s wording later in the same pericopae, so producing inconsistency or incoherence that betrayed their knowledge of Mark.” Dr. Mark Goodacre considers this evidence to be the ‘smoking gun’, “the most decisive indicator of Mark’s priority.”98

5. Some scholars emphasize the order of episodes in the Synoptics; they examine the sequence of incidents recorded by all three. Mark’s Gospel seems to provide the “backbone” of the Synoptics in terms of the order of events. Often all three have the same sequence. But when Matthew departs from Mark’s ordering, Luke agrees with Mark. Conversely, when Luke’s order of events diverges from Mark’s, Matthew agrees with Mark. Put differently, Mark is seldom the “odd man out.” Moreover, when both Matthew and Luke depart from Mark’s ordering, they also diverge from each other, “no where do they agree together against the Markan order.”99 This suggests that Matthew & Luke consciously followed Mark’s sequence, except when their individual agendas motivated them to adjust Mark’s sequence to suit their own purposes. Prof. Craig Blomberg presents the rationale, “Matthew & Luke only rarely deviate from Mark in the same way at the same time. This dissimilarity is precisely what one would expect if they were each utilizing Mark largely independently of one another.”101 Luke’s dependence on Mark is direct, not indirect (via Matthew).

6. Scholars evaluate Mark’s Greek composition as noticeably less refined and more ‘rough’ compared to the Greek used in Matthew & Luke. They regard it more likely that Matthew & Luke improved and smoothed out Mark’s Greek as they edited his record into their own Gospels, rather than the converse. They ask: “Would bumbling Mark consistently corrupt the good Greek of his two sources, Matthew & Luke? This seems extremely unlikely.”102 In his handbook to Greek literary style, Nigel Turner asserts,103 “Matthew’s style...is...smoother than Mark’s; in this respect Matthew’s Gospel may be...secondary to Mark’s, and a development from it.” He also believes Luke improves Mark’s style. This also argues for Mark’s priority.

7. Matthew & Luke appear to make deliberate changes to Mark for theological reasons. For example, Peter’s great confession in Mark is “You are the Christ” (Mk. 8:29), in Luke it is “You are the Christ of God” (Luke 9:20) in Matthew it is, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt. 16:16). This example and others, suggest the Christology of Matthew and Luke is somewhat higher and more developed than in Mark.104 If Mark was first, Luke & Matthew present fuller versions of Peter’s confession. If, on the other 7. hand, Mark is last, we have to justify his truncation of Matthew’s more complete statement of Peter’s great confession.

None of these arguments taken in isolation is conclusive. It is, however, the cumulative weight of these arguments taken together that tips the balance strongly in favor of Mark’s priority for the vast majority of New Testament scholars. Prof. Craig Blomberg summarizes,105 saying of “all the pieces of evidence that led to...the widespread acceptance of the...‘Two-document hypothesis’...Perhaps the most significant are that Mark is by far the shortest of the Gospels while consistently containing longer versions of parallel passages than do either Matthew or Luke...that less than 10% of Mark remains unparalleled in either Matthew or Luke. If Mark did not write first, we must imagine him substantially abbreviating his sources, while expanding most of the passages he did preserve, yet failing to preserve most of Jesus’ ethical and parabolic teachings! If Mark did write first, then one can understand why Matthew & Luke wanted to edit & supplement his work & also why their parallel accounts are regularly less Semitic in style, less rugged in syntax and diction, and more concerned to reword and clarify potentially exegetical anomalies.” These considerations lead Professor Blomberg to regard “Marcan [Mark’s] priority as the most convincing solution to the Synoptic problem.”106 Dr. Thomas Hatina concurs saying,107 “To date...the vast majority of gospel scholars assume Markan priority in one form or another.” Plus Professor Richard B. Hays writes,108 “There is actually a very high degree of consensus among scholars on the priority of the Gospel of Mark and the conclusion that both Matthew and Luke used Mark as a source.”

This consensus among evangelical scholars about Mark’s priority is not a recent development. Dr. Craig Blomberg’s book, The Historical Reliability of the Gospels, (1987, 2007) which expounds this view, is the contemporary equivalent of Prof. F. F. Bruce’s earlier work, Are the New Testament Documents Reliable? (1943, 1960). In that (1943) book Dr. F. F. Bruce outlines the case for Mark’s priority and the dependence of Matthew and Luke on Mark. He says, contrary to earlier views,109 “Closer study...in more recent times has led many scholars to the conclusion that Mark was actually the oldest of our Synoptic Gospels in their final form, and that it was a source of both Matthew and Luke. This 'Markan hypothesis' [is deduced from the fact that] the common order of the three Synoptists is the order of Mark...[So] Mark thus seems in this respect to be the norm from which the other two occasionally deviate...[And] on grounds of literary criticism the differences in the presentation of common material between Mark on the one hand and Matthew & Luke on the other seem to be more easily accounted for by the priority of Mark than by the priority of Matthew or Luke.” Succinctly stated, Dr. Bruce says,111 “Mark underlies the other two Synoptic Gospels.” Thus, already in the early 1940s, UK evangelical NT scholars, represented by F. F. Bruce, had embraced the ‘twin planks’ of Mark’s priority and interdependence. LSM has neglected an issue which evangelical scholars have recognized for over 70 years!

Witness Lee’s Untenable Position
The evidence outlined above demonstrates clearly that Witness Lee’s position regarding the Synoptic Gospels is untenable, being characterized by inherent contradictions. Focussing on Matthew & Mark, W. Lee alleged:112
1. Matthew’s Gospel was the first composed (AD 37 to 40).
2. Mark was the last Synoptic Gospel written (AD 60 to 70).
3. “Mark did not copy Matthew…”—W. Lee
4. “Matthew, Mark...did not repeat one another's writing.”—W. Lee
5. Mark’s “Gospel is a written account of Peter's presentation of the history of Jesus Christ.”—W. Lee
Given the overwhelming evidence of literary interdependence, it follows that one (or more) of the authors did appropriate the writing of another. This invalidates W. Lee’s point #4 that, “Matthew, Mark...did not repeat one another's writing.” Since W. Lee attributes priority to Matthew’s Gospel as the first written, it must be the source of material common to Mark & Matthew. This implies that Mark duplicated much of Matthew’s material, producing a “stripped down” version of Matthew’s Gospel. This view led St. Augustine to stigmatize113 Mark as “the abridger and lackey of Matthew.” Since W. Lee maintains Matthew’s priority, Mark’s dependence on Matthew contradicts his point #3 asserting that “Mark did not copy Matthew….” Moreover, if the vast majority of Mark’s content was reproduced from Matthew, only the small remnant of Mark (5%), unique to his Gospel is attributable to the Apostle Peter; this undermines point #5. Hence, taken as a whole, Witness Lee’s position is rendered untenable once we recognize the literary interdependence of the Synoptic Gospels.

The Question of ‘Q’

An overwhelming super-majority of New Testament scholars agree that Mark’s Gospel was written first and was subsequently used as a source (independently) by Matthew and Luke in the composition of their own Gospels. A secondary issue then arises concerning the further correspondence between Matthew & Luke in terms of material absent from Mark’s Gospel. This common material amounts about 250 verses including Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount/Plain, the Lord’s Prayer & a number of parables. Professor Goodacre observes that “The frequent near verbatim identity [of Matthew & Luke] points to some kind of literary link between Matthew & Luke, a literary link in addition to their common dependence on Mark.”114 What is the source of this relationship? This is the question of ‘Q.’ Professor Mark Goodacre explains that,115 “Q is the name given to the hypothetical source commonly invoked to explain the existence of the ‘Double Tradition’ [the overlap of Matthew & Luke, independent of Mark’s material]. Mark & Q are Matthew’s & Luke’s ‘two sources’ in the ‘Two Source Theory’.” It is true that ‘Q’ is a hypothetical document;” no extant copy has ever been found. However, this observation is not decisive since Luke’s prologue (1:1) is “evidence that written documents now lost once existed.”116 Professor Grant Osborne summarizes the case for ‘Q,’ saying “While there is no absolute proof ...there is still strong evidence for its existence. First, one must account for the 250...verses, mainly [Jesus’ sayings], that are common to Matthew and Luke but not found in Mark or John... There were undoubtedly thousands of sayings not included in the Gospels [Jn. 20:30; 21:25]. What is the likelihood that two Gospels written independently would contain so many of the same sayings? ...The verbal agreement between some of these sayings (e.g., Mt. 4:1–11= Luke 4:1–13; & Mt. 23:37–39 = Luke 13:34–45) makes it likely that there was some type of interdependence. At the same time, the considerable differences...make it unlikely that Matthew or Luke were using each other...A source now called Q remains the best explanation of this material.”117

The leading explanation of the correlated material appearing in both Matthew & Luke (beyond their reflections of Mark) is that they both had access to a written collection (in Greek) of Jesus’ sayings & parables, labelled ‘Q’ by scholars. This “Two Source Hypothesis” maintains that Mark’s Gospel and ‘Q’ were the two sources/ documents upon which Matthew & Luke based their Gospels, augmented in each case by their own distinctive material. An alternative hypothesis, propounded by a minority,118 dispenses with ‘Q,’ and proposes that Luke’s Gospel was composed using both Mark & Matthew as sources. In this case Mark’s Gospel is the single initial source utilized by Matthew, whose material was later used (along with Mark) in Luke’s composition of his Gospel. Hence, under this minority view, it is postulated that, Matthew depended on Mark, plus his own recollections, while Luke used the two other Synoptics (Matthew & Mark) as sources, plus his own material. Clearly both hypotheses predict resemblances between the two later Gospels—Matthew & Luke. They differ however, in the proposed lines of causation and a crucial question becomes how to distinguish between these two alternative theories. At this point, however, instead of pursuing the investigation, it seems best to suspend our review, rather than risk leading readers “deeper into the woods” on the question of ‘Q.’

By way of summary we simply state that a majority of NT scholars endorse the ‘Q’ hypothesis, while a minority dispense with ‘Q’ and rely on Luke’s use of Matthew to explain their correlation. Examples of the former, majority view, include Professor James Dunn who states his position, as follows:119 “The case for literary inter-dependence has a strong foundation. For my own part, I am strongly convinced of Markan priority, & have no problem with asserting some form of the Q-written document hypothesis.” Dennis Bratcher maintains that,121 while the “Two-Source Hypothesis [Mark plus ‘Q’] could not explain all the features of the Gospels. Still, it remains today...one of the most widely accepted ways to understand the literary relationship of the Synoptics.” Michael Labahn, says,122 “To my judgment the Two Document Hypothesis [Mark plus ‘Q’] is that theory which best explains most of the textual observations.” Professors D. A. Carson & Douglas Moo state that,123 “A source like Q remains the best explanation for the agreement between Matthew and Luke in non-Markan material.”

Professor Gordon D. Fee, summarizes the overall situation as follows:124 “Although three or four solutions to the Synoptic problem currently vie for acceptance, the view of the majority of scholars...is (a) that Mark was written first, (b) that Matthew and Luke independently used Mark in writing their own Gospels and (c) that Matthew and Luke also had access to large quantities of other traditional materials, some of which they had in common (known as Q but probably not a single unified source).”

Professor Mark Goodacre, on the other hand, while endorsing Mark’s priority, rejects the notion of ‘Q’ and argues strongly for Luke’s direct dependence on Matthew, in addition to Mark. [See for e.g. Mark Goodacre, The Case Against Q, (2002) The Synoptic Problem: A Way through the Maze, (2004)] Clearly there are outstanding issues here which remain unresolved. Nevertheless, the lack of unanimity on secondary issues should not be allowed to obscure the strong consensus among New Testament scholars that:
1. The Synoptic Gospels are not independent literary compositions; they are interdependent: some of the authors--Matthew, Mark & Luke—used one (or more) of the other Gospels as a source when composing their own Gospel narrative. Scholars are not unanimous on the nature of their dependence, nevertheless the vast majority endorse dependence. Professor Darrell L. Bock says,125 “One has to admit that much of the case for Mark’s [priority]...rather than Matthean priority...is circumstantial, yet there are good reasons for holding to it based on strictly internal, textual considerations. These...literary dependence alternatives appear to be more likely than claims of independence.” Again Professor James D. G. Dunn states that,126 “The case for literary inter-dependence has a strong foundation.”
2. The overwhelming majority of NT scholars endorse the priority of Mark’s Gospel—that Mark’s Gospel was the first of the Synoptic Gospels composed and that it was a source document upon which Matthew & Luke based their own Gospels, in each case with substantial editing, re-ordering and additions. Craig S. Keener asserts that,127 “Most scholars...believe that our current Matthew depends on Mark,” and that “Luke clearly used the Gospel of Mark as a source.”128
3. Beyond their dependence of Mark, the two remaining Synoptics show evidence a literary inter-relationship. Scholars differ over whether this correlation reflects the dependence of both on a source document, ‘Q’, (the majority view) or it reflects Luke’s dependence on Matthew (the minority position) or another relationship.
LSM: Synoptics’ Divergent Order Symbolizes Dispensational Change

Scholars note the divergent order in which events are recorded in the Gospels; they endeavor to explain the significance of both the harmony and divergence in their sequence of events. Both Watchman Nee and Witness Lee addressed this issue. W. Nee states that129 “Theorderin Lukeisaccordingtomorality, while the order in Matthewisaccordingtodoctrine. The miracles inMarkare recorded approximatelyaccordingto chronological order...” Adopting 19th-century Brethren dispensationalism, the ‘doctrine’ governing Matthew’s sequence of events is identified by W. Nee as “dispensational truth;” he says,131 “Matthew’s record is arranged according todispensationaltruth...” meaning it symbolizes God’s turn from the Jews to the Gentiles in the Age of Grace, followed by the Millennium. It is no surprise that W. Lee makes a similar statement, saying132 “Theorderof Mark's record...is according to history. Theorder of Matthew'srecord...isaccordingtodoctrine. ...Theorder ofLuke'srecord... isaccording to morality. Theorder of John's record...is also somewhat accordingto history. Therefore, in the four Gospels there are three kinds of sequences: historical, doctrinal, and moral.”
Witness Lee substantiates these assertions using Matthew 8. He writes,133 “The miracles, or signs, recorded in [Matt.] 8:2-17 have a dispensational significance. The order of the four instances recorded in Matthew 8:2-16 differs from that in Mark...and Luke.... The order of Mark's record...is according to history...In Matt. 8:1-17 three miracles—the cleansing of the leper, the healing of the paralyzed Gentile servant boy, and the healing of Peter's mother-in-law—and the healing of many are grouped together to present a meaningful doctrine, that is, they have a dispensational significance.” He continues,134 “Theleper...representsthe Jews, whereas the [Roman] centurion... represents theGentiles...” Plus, he asserts that “Peter's mother-in-lawrepresentsthe Jews at the end of this age who will be saved...After the fullness of the salvation of theGentiles, [the Savior] will come back to this remnant of Jews that they might be saved.”135 Finally, “after the Lord hadhealedPeter's mother-in-law, when evening had come, [Jesus] healedmanywho were demon-possessed and all who were ill. This indicates that after Christ comes back and the Jewsaresaved, the millennium will begin. During that period of time, all sicknesses will behealed. Hence, the signs recorded in [Matt. 8:2-17] have a dispensational significance.”136 This view has some logic: both the leper & Peter’s mother-in-law are Jews, hence they could represent the Jewish people; the Roman centurion was a representative Gentile. However, “one swallow [bird] does not make a summer;” the correspondence may be mere coincidence, it does not prove the principle.

W. Nee & W. Lee offer a further example, based on Matt. 9:18-26 where two women’s healings are intertwined. W. Nee says,137 “The healing of the woman with the hemorrhage and the raising up of Jairus's daughter have a doctrinal, dispensational significance. The death of the daughter signifies the death of the Jews; the healing of the hemorrhaging woman signifies the salvation of the Gentiles; and the raising up of the daughter signifies the restoration of the Jews.” W. Lee elaborates, saying,138 “The record... has a dispensational significance...The daughter of [Jairus] represents the Jews, and the woman with the hemorrhage represents the Gentiles. ... Subsequently, 2 blind men & one dumb man were healed. This is a type, showing that when the Jews were cut off, the Gentiles were saved, and that after the fullness of the salvation of the Gentiles, the Jews will be saved... After that, the millennium will begin, in which all the blind & dumb will be healed.” Here we face a major problem—all the people are Jewish, including the woman with the hemorrhage! Why then should this Jewish woman “represent the Gentiles”? On what basis would readers of Matthew’s Gospel deduce this significance?

Witness Lee revisits these incidents when studying Luke; then things really fell apart. He asserts that Luke139 “8:22-56...covers 3 matters: the quelling of the storm (8:22-25), the casting out of a legion of demons (8:26-39), and the healing of a woman with a flow of blood & the raising up of a dead girl [Jairus’ daughter] (8:40-56). These three matters are put together not only in Luke but also in Mark & Matthew. ...In Matthew the same three matters are put together in order to show a dispensational change.” In fact, contrary to Witness Lee’s assertion, in Matthew the same 3 matters are not put together. Matthew inserts a whole section–Matt. 9:1-17—in the middle. After calming the storm (Mt. 8:23-27) & casting out demons (Mt. 8:28-34) Matthew inserts 3 additional incidents—Jesus (1) heals a paralytic (Mt. 9:1-8) (2) calls Matthew (Mt. 9:9-13) & (3) is questioned about fasting (Mt. 9:14-17). Only then does Matthew record Jairus’ daughter & the woman with the flow of blood (Mt. 9:18-25). This is sloppy work; obviously having overlooked these added sections, W. Lee does not answer the question--Why did Matthew insert these 3 additional incidents into his sequence of events? Why does Matthew’s sequence—with a total of 6 vignettes--differ from that of Mark & Luke? Plus, how does all this illustrate “dispensational change”? Clearly LSM has more work to do if they wish to establish “dispensational change” as the principle explaining the harmony and difference in the Synoptic Gospels’ sequence of events.

The Significance of the Problem’s Solutions

NT scholars’ voluminous debate on the synoptic problem is not been “atale told by an idiot, full ofsound and fury,signifying nothing” (Shakespeare). Let us clarify what the results of this analysis do not imply. “The fears of certain Christians that ‘source criticism’ somehow requires a conclusion that the Gospels cannot be trusted or were not Spirit-inspired are groundless”140 says evangelical scholar, Dr. Craig L. Blomberg. Researching the Synoptic Gospels’ origins is no more demeaning of God’s role than is the scientific investigation of the universe’s origin. Both endeavors can generate awe and worship as we recognize “how God (apparently) did it.”

“The Synoptic Problem in general and the Markan [Mark’s] Priority in particular have an enormous impact on NT scholarship,” says Professor Mark Goodacre.141 Similarly, Daniel M. Gurtner maintains that “The advancement of Mark’s priority and the two source hypothesis [Mark & ‘Q’] has had profound effects in elucidating the theology of [Matthew] the first evangelist.”142

Clearly the Synoptic Gospels’ independence or interdependence ought to make a tremendous difference in how Bible students view them, especially in the case of Matthew and Luke. Watchman Nee implicitly assumed the Synoptic Gospels were independent compositions of their individual authors. W. Lee made these assumptions explicit. Watchman Nee said,143 “In studying the Bible, we find that every writer has his special characteristics. The Gospel of Matthew is different from the Gospel of Mark, and...Mark is different from...Luke...Every writer uses idiomatic expressions which are distinctly his own...Every Gospel has distinctive terminologies & themes ...All these are unique characteristics of the writers. Every book of the Bible is impregnated with the marks of its writer, yet every book remains very much the word of God.” The implicit assumption of independence leads to the presumption that, when analysing Matthew (or Luke), the reader is engaging Matthew’s (or Luke’s) “special characteristics,” “idiomatic expressions,” “distinctive terminologies and themes,” which reflect Matthew’s (or Luke’s) “unique characteristics.” However, the Synoptic problem’s solution of Mark’s priority plus the ‘Two Document theory” mean these presumptions are fallacious and misleading. They imply that the Gospels of Matthew & Luke are the “hybrid products” of a more complex compositional process; they reflect the unique characteristics of multiple authors, combined with editorial revisions of appropriated material.

New Insights on the Synoptic Gospels

The synoptic problem’s solution generates new insights on the Synoptic Gospels, particularly Matthew & Luke, resulting in fresh perspectives. It also implies the ‘old perspective’—employed by W. Nee & W. Lee, based on independence–is liable to generate misleading conclusions. As Professor Scot McKnight writes, recognizing the Synoptic Gospels’ interdependence raises the question of “what the authors of the individual gospels were doing with the traditions they inherited, in particular, what Matthew and Luke were doing with Mark.”144 Moreover, he says, “If...Matthew and Luke did use Mark and ‘Q’, then ignoring such information ignores what the ‘real author’ was doing as he wrote.”145 Significant changes in biblical exegesis are necessary.

Professors Hayes & Holliday indicate the implications for biblical exegesis—that Matthew (or Luke) ought to be interpreted, not independently, but in dialogue with Mark & Luke (or Matthew). They maintain that,146 “In the New Testament, Matthew & Luke depend directly on Mark, even though they expand Mark’s story...Knowing that Matthew used Mark, for example, gives us a distinct perspective in interpreting a passage that occurs in both Gospels. We can see how an event in the life of Jesus or one of his sayings is understood by two different authors in their respective settings. This...exposes several interpretive [ways] for understanding the passage.” Dennis Bratcher also states,147 “A further implication of...the Synoptic Problem yields one of the most important insights for the study of the Gospels. With this recognition of the complexity and interrelationship of the Synoptics, any detailed study of the Synoptics must consider the differences between the Gospels and the implications those differences have for interpretation. No matter which theory of composition we consider, since we are dealing with material that has identifiable sources [e.g. Mark as a source for Matt & Luke], a major focus of exegesis must be how the individual authors have used, adapted, changed, or applied the material...”

“No Faith” vs. “Little Faith”?

A few illustrations only scratch the surface, but perhaps they serve to whet the reader’s appetite. In Mark 4:40, after calming the storm, Jesus tells his disciples, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” or “How is it... you do not have faith?” (Mk. 4:40 RcV) But, Matthew presents Jesus saying, “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?” (Mt. 8:26). “On the assumption that Matthew had a copy of Mark’s Gospel,” Mark Allan Powell says,148 “he [Matthew] has modified the words “no faith” to read, “little faith.” This affects how Jesus’ disciples are perceived by Matthew’s readers”—for Matthew, the disciples’ faith is not totally absent, rather it is “small.”

Luke makes Jesus’ Nazareth Proclamation Thematic

All three Synoptic Gospels record Jesus’ rejection in his home town, Nazareth (Matt. 13:54-58; Mark 6:1-6; Lk. 4:16, 22-24). Matthew & Mark place this event midway through Jesus’ ministry; neither records his message in the local synagogue. In stark contrast, Luke places Jesus’ Nazareth message and his rejection ‘front and center,’ in a prime location. W. Lee’s exposition leaves the reader unclear whether the three Gospel accounts record the same event, or Luke’s is an independent incident. In contrast to this ambiguity, Dr. Greg Casey, employing the Synoptic solution, asserts that Luke has re-ordered Mark’s material to suit his own purposes. He states,149 “Luke has taken Mark’s story and advanced it in the narrative, turning Jesus’ visit to Nazareth into a crucial part of...Luke’s Introductory Sequence...This move elevates the significance of the [Nazareth] pericope, as it now carries a distinctly programmatic function.” Again he says,151 “Luke dramatically advances a passage...[he] retains only basic structural elements of Mark’s original story but dramatically transforms the account... The apparent reasons for this [relocation] are both literary and thematic ...Luke transforms Jesus’ visit to Nazareth from a crisis in the life of Jesus into a powerful introductory statement.”

Matthew heightens Mark’s Portrait of Peter

Prof. Mark Goodacre examines Matthew’s development of Mark’s portrayal of Peter. Matthew augments Mark’s record with Peter’s success & failure—for example Peter’s walking on water (Matt. 14:28-31). He assumes that Matthew’s Gospel was addressed to his fellow-Jews (both believers & unbelievers). Dr. Goodacre notes that Matthew emphasizes Peter’s great confession, by adding Jesus’ affirmation (Matt. 16:17-19) and also heightens Jesus’ rebuke—“you are a stumbling block” (Matt. 16:23). He proposes that Matthew’s152 “portrayal of Peter ... [makes him] the spokesperson for ‘the Jew’ for whom cross is offense...making Peter the very archetype of the one who is scandalized... Matthew’s Gospel attempts to narrate the Christian Jew’s journey. First, one sees how Jesus is indeed the Messiah...with a culmination in [Matt.] 16.13-20 when...Peter rightly confesses that Jesus is the Christ and is strongly commended for this revelation... Matthew is making it clear that Peter has ‘got it’. But just as important is how the scene continues. Able to understand Jesus’ identity but not yet his destiny, Peter is rebuked for failing to perceive that the Messiah must suffer. For Peter, the cross is a [scandal] skandalon, just as for the Christian Jew, the cross was once a skandalon. But as Peter repeatedly fails to follow Jesus in the way of the cross, by the end of the Gospel...Peter sees Jesus and is commissioned by him.” Peter overcomes the cross’ scandal. Matthew writes his version of the Gospel so that more of his fellow-Jews would (like Peter) overcome the scandal of the cross by accepting Jesus as their crucified & resurrected Messiah.

Luke’s “Great Omission”-- Mark 6:45—8:26

If the Synoptic Gospels are independent compositions omissions are easily explained. Writers, like Luke, did not have access to written or oral accounts of these events. If, however, the Synoptics are interdependent omissions by Matthew and Luke of events recorded in Mark beg for an explanation. Scholars at McMaster153 Divinity College focus on Luke’s “great omission”—“a substantial section of Mark’s gospel (Mk. 6:45—8:26) that Luke appears to expunge from his account. This elimination of data leads readers to ask why Luke would exclude such a large amount of information. The omission of what amounts to over 70 verses in today’s Bible.”

This section of Mark (6:45-8:26), not duplicated in Luke, consists of miracle accounts (Jesus walks on water, heals in Gennessaret, the Syro-phoenician’s daughter, a deaf man, feeding 4,000 & a blind man) plus Jesus’ interaction with Pharisees. A careful analysis154 “of the miracle narratives in Luke... focusing on Jesus’ ministry in Galilee (Lk. 4:16—9:50) reveals Luke uses miracle narratives in this section...to present his readers with information concerning Jesus’ identity. ...Luke’s intent to focus on the person of Jesus and utilize miracles as corroborating evidence of his identity explains why the great omission exists. Luke excludes the miracle narratives [recorded in Mark 6:45—8:26] that do not signify who Jesus is.” Hence these McMaster scholars deduce that Luke’s conscious omission of Mark’s material reflects his editorial agenda to emphasize who Jesus is, rather than merely report his miraculous works.

The Gospel is Adaptable

Moreover, some scholars suggest that the Synoptics’ interdependence indicates that already, prior to the formation of a fixed biblical canon, the Gospel of Jesus Christ was being adapted or “tailored” to particular communities. So Eugene Boring alleges,155 “When Matthew & Luke adopted Mark as a basic source for their own Gospels this was indeed a recognition that it was adaptable for a different readership than originally addressed—but that it must be adapted, not simply repeated.” This is consistent with the principle evident in Acts & throughout church history that the Christian message should be translated, not only into the language, but also into the cultural concepts, of the peoples, tribes & nations that God desires to gain as His own people.

We cannot elaborate here with additional results of NT scholars’ insights stemming for the solution to the Synoptic Gospel. Interested readers are referred to the burgeoning literature which has been produced. We would challenge those tempted to retort, “Is that all? We need more proof,” to abandon the role of “couch potato critics” and exhort them to engage directly with the substantial literature available.

LSM’s Recovery Version vs. other Study Bibles

Contemporary commentaries, expositions and study Bibles inform their readers about the Synoptic Problem. The ESV study Bible, for example, tells readers,156 “Mark is generally regarded today as the first Gospel to have been written...”. “Concerning the relationship of Luke to Mark, the great majority of scholars believe that Luke made use of Mark in writing his Gospel.”157 “If Luke depends on Mark’s Gospel for much of his material and overall structure (the clear majority view among scholars today), then Mark was written before Luke. This would place Mark in the mid- to late-50s.”158 The ESV study Bible also rebuts those who deny Matthew’s authorship, saying,159 “Matthean authorship is denied by some modern scholars, especially on the view that the author of Matthew borrowed much of his material from Mark’s Gospel ...But even if Matthew did borrow from Mark’s Gospel, it would only have added to Matthew’s apostolic credibility since the evidence suggests that Mark himself relied extensively on the testimony of the apostle Peter.” This is basic background information, based on up-to-date New Testament research, supplied by these authors to contemporary Bible-readers.

Professors Gordon Fee & Douglas Stuart, in their best-selling, introductory book, How to Read the Bible for all its Worth, devote five pages to this issue. They begin by informing first-time readers of the Gospels that,161“The most common presupposition, but the one least likely to be true, is that each gospel was written independently of the others. There is simply too much clear evidence against this [notion] for it to be a live option.” Thus they refute the independence view. They proceed by presenting examples and data substantiating the Gospel’s inter-relationships. They conclude that,162 “The best explanation of all the data is...that Mark wrote his Gospel first, probably in part at least from his recollections of Peter’s preaching & teaching. Luke & Matthew had access to Mark’s Gospel and independently used it as the basic source for their own. But they also had access to all kinds of other material about Jesus, some of which they had in common. The common material, however, is scarcely ever presented in the same order in the two Gospels, a fact suggesting that neither one had access to the other’s writing. Finally, John wrote independently of the other three...” Similarly Professor Craig L. Blomberg devotes eleven pages to the ‘Synoptic Problem’ in his The Historical Reliability of the Gospels, (2nd ed. 2007).163

LSM’s Recovery Version Totally Ignores the Synoptic Problem

In stark contrast to these treatments, LSM’s Recovery Version Study Bible totally ignores the Synoptic Problem; it is never addressed, even once! Meanwhile W. Lee claims,164 “The notes in the Recovery Version are... an attempt to solve the hard problems in the Bible...” Plus he confidently asserted that “almost all the difficult portions in the Bible are resolved in the footnotes of the Recovery Version, and the answers are definite.”165 Evidently in his view, the synoptic problem was not one of the “hard problems in the Bible,” nor did the relationships between the Gospel accounts qualify among the “difficult portions in the Bible” needing resolution. LSM’s Recovery Version Study Bible seeks to reconcile the apparent contradictions between Gospel accounts (e.g. Bartimaeus as Jesus enters Jericho, Mk. 10:46 & Lk. 18:35 vs. Matt. 20:29--2 blind men as Jesus exits). However, in doing so, they “strain out the gnat, but swallow the camel” (Matt. 23:24)—they resolve the small divergences (“the gnats”) while overlooking the more significant Synoptic Problem, (“the camel”).

The “date of writing” attributed to the Gospels by LSM’s Recovery Version Study Bible are the “traditional dates” ascribed in the 19th century--AD 37 to 40 for Matthew, “around AD 60” for Luke, and between AD 60 and 70 for Mark. Hence LSM assigns priority to Matthew, followed by Luke and then Mark. Both the dates and (more importantly) the sequence attributed by LSM diverge widely from those assigned by the majority of contemporary NT scholars. Today New Testament scholars attribute a markedly later date to Matthew and assign priority to Mark’s Gospel. LSM’s position is anachronistic; it matches 19th century scholarship and reflects an ignorance of significant developments in New Testament scholarship over the last century.

Conclusion--LSM’s ‘Recovery’ is “stranded on the sands of 19th century theology.”

Witness Lee traced the Lord’s move from the western world among the Brethren in the 19th century to China in the 20th century. He said, “Philadelphia [in Rev. 3] refers to the Brethren assembly at its most flourishing time. However, the Brethren declined...In the early 20th century, Europe and America...were utterly damaged by Christianity...Therefore, God chose China, sowing the seeds of recovery in that virgin soil. This is the beginning of the recovery among us.”166 Witness Lee failed to point out that, in the process of moving from West to East, there was a disengagement from Bible scholarship. Elements of 19th-century scholarship by J. N. Darby, Henry Alford, Philip Schaff, etc were incorporated into W. Nee’s and W. Lee’s teachings. However, subsequently, during the 20th century, “the Recovery” developed in isolation from on-going Christian scholarship. During that era, Asia was an area of evangelism & church-growth; the West, however, remained the center of Christian scholarship and theological research including valuable contributions by capable evangelical scholars.

Witness Lee describes a further move from Asia back to the West—to the US & Europe.167 Witness Lee arrived in the US in 1962. However, rather than re-engaging with on-going Christian scholarship, he chose the path of continued isolation. All of Christianity’s publications were summarily dismissed. W. Lee confidently asserted that,168 “...theological graduates have not gotten into the depths of the Bible. In the past few decades since the 2nd World War, Christianity has not published a single book of great spiritual value.” He also alleged that “Since World War II...there has not been one publication that is weighty concerning Bible exposition, the divine life, or the truth.”169 As a result of their self-imposed isolation, “the Recovery” existed in a theological backwater, blissfully unaware of developments in the field of Biblical scholarship. Instead of receiving, and benefitting from, the fruits of evangelical Christian scholars’ labors, Witness Lee adopted the attitude “I have no need of you” (1 Cor. 12:21) towards Christian scholars; he disregarded decades of research by Bible scholars (including evangelicals) along with the rest of Christianity. In retrospect this was a disastrous strategy, since the Recovery’s leading ministers—Watchman Nee, Witness Lee, Yu-Lan Dong and Titus Chu—lacked any facility beyond the most rudimentary knowledge of Biblical languages (Greek & Hebrew).171 Witness Lee stigmatized all other Christians, alleging,172 “All the groups inChristianity…have beenstrandedon the sands of superstition, superficiality, and lukewarm theology.” In particular, he asserted that,173“Nearly all the Protestant churches arestrandedin their kind of lukewarm theology.” Yet, ironically, the present case study demonstrates that it is LSM’s “Recovery Church of Witness Lee” which is “stranded on the sands of 19th century theology.”

LSM’s Recovery Version study Bible reflects this history; all the footnotes derive from the writings of one man —the all-inclusive “Minister of the Age.” Yet they also reflect 19th-century scholarship, totally neglecting 20th century biblical scholarship. LSM’s publications overwhelmingly reference scholars from the 19th century or earlier—e.g. J. N. Darby (600 citations), Henry Alford (100 citations). In contrast 20th century scholars are strikingly absent or under-represented.174 James D. G. Dunn and N. T. Wright, prominent NT scholars, for example, are never cited. Professor F. F. Bruce (1910-1990), the premier evangelical scholar in his generation, is cited only twice! In fact as early as 1943 Dr. F. F. Bruce addressed the Synoptic Problem in his best-selling book, Are the New Testament Documents Reliable? He spelled out the case for Mark’s priority and Matthew’s and Luke’s dependence on Mark. Yet this contribution, made over 70-years ago, has been totally ignored by LSM. Witness Lee’s isolation from (and ignorance of) New Testament scholarship is exemplified by the fact that LSM175 triumphantly announced Professor F. F. Bruce’s endorsement of LSM’s New Testament Recovery Version translation, yet remained blissfully unaware of Dr. Bruce’s writings on the Synoptic Problem and other issues. An asymmetric relationship existed between Witness Lee and 20th century Bible scholars. It is a “one way street;” LSM gladly receives endorsements from accredited Bible scholars, but they ignore or reject the results of scholars’ research, unless they happen to coincide with LSM’s own teachings. At the same time, LSM expects Bible scholars to “sit at the feet” of Witness Lee and his successors to imbibe LSM’s teachings.

LSM’s self-imposed isolation has issued in ignorance. As far as theology is concerned “the Recovery” has been in a time warp, frozen in time for the last century. Due to this isolation LSM’s local churches perpetuate176 etymological errors and exegetical fallacies that are common knowledge in the wider Christian community. LSM remains woefully ignorant of developments such as the “Synoptic Problem.” On this issue LSM replicates the stance of 19th century evangelical scholars—W. Lee maintains that Matthew’s Gospel was the first NT book written (37-40 AD) and that each Synoptic Gospel was written independently of the others. He dogmatically asserts that “Mark did not copy Matthew nor did Matthew copy Luke”177 and maintains that “Matthew, Mark, Luke...did not repeat one another's writing.”178

Today the vast majority of New Testament scholars reject Witness Lee’s assertions that
1. Matthew was the first Gospel written and
2. The three Synoptic Gospels were written independently of each other.
In sharp contrast to Witness Lee, most contemporary scholars (including evangelicals) maintain that
1. Mark was the first written and
2. The 3 synoptic Gospels exhibit undeniable signs of literary interdependency.
Professor James D. G. Dunn reports that,179 “A very large consensus of contemporary scholarship dates Mark somewhere in the period 65-75 CE...[There is] the firm consensus that Mark was the earliest written gospel to have survived intact [and] that it appeared around 40 years after Jesus’ death.” Moreover,180 “The case for literary interdependence has a strong foundation,” Dr. James Dunn observes,181 “The stunning fact continues to be the extent of the overlap of material particularly between Mark and Matthew...There is hardly anything distinctive in Mark which is not also in Matthew. By itself this clearly indicates literary interdependency...”

Clearly LSM’s Local Churches, aka “the Recovery,” are out of touch with current biblical scholarship on this issue and many others. Nevertheless they seem content to follow Witness Lee’s “ministry of the Age,” based on 19th century biblical scholarship appropriated from J. N. Darby (1800 --1888), Henry Alford (1810 – 1871), Philip Schaff (1819 – 1893), etc., in isolation from the larger Christian community. A more relevant question is —will the “non-LSM local churches” (e. g. in N. America’s Great Lakes Area) remain in a similar situation of isolation? Will they still choose to remain in a theological backwater, ignoring a century of biblical scholarship? Or will they seek to engage the wider Christian community in terms of biblical scholarship and fellowship?

Nigel Tomes
Toronto, CANADA
March, 2015


Notes: I wish to thank Steven Foong of Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, for bringing this topic (& LSM’s neglect of it) to my attention. He is (of course) not responsible for the contents of this piece. Thanks are extended to those who commented on earlier drafts. The author alone is responsible for the contents of this piece. The views expressed here are solely the author’s and should not be attributed to any believers, elders, co-workers or churches with whom/which he is associated.
1. W. Lee, Guidelines for the Propagation of the Lord's Recovery, Chap. 1, Sect. 3
2. W. Lee, Bearing Remaining Fruit, Vol. 2, Chapter 3, Section 1
3. For e.g. W. Lee stated: “My burden is that we must take good care of the young ones among us. Do not bring them into peril so that they would be occupied with the wrong things. We have a pure system of publications which comprise all the main things of the divine, spiritual, and heavenly things. These publications are very adequate for all the young saints among us to have a good foundation laid and a strong standing established. Then they could go on, not to learn more things from the old books, but to check the old books & to get themselves confirmed. For us to bring the young ones into the old books without consideration is a peril and a risk. It is not safe.” [W. Lee, Elders' Training, Book 4: Other Crucial Matters Concerning the Practice of the Lord's Recovery, Chap. 1, Sect. 4] Note the claim—“We have a pure system of publications,” while others’ publications involve “a peril and a risk.”
4. W. Lee, Elders' Training, Book 4: Other Crucial Matters Concerning...the Lord's Recovery, Chap. 1, Sect. 4
5. Darrell L. Bock, Studying the Historical Jesus: A Guide to Sources & Methods, p. 167
6. W. Lee, Elders' Training, Book 3: The Way to Carry Out the Vision, Chap. 9, Sect. 2
7. W. Lee, Guidelines for the Propagation of the Lord's Recovery, Chap. 2, Sect. 3
8. For e.g. in the conclusion of his attempts to employ statistical methods to this issue, Andris Abakuks refers to, “the notorious intractability of the Synoptic Problem” [Andris Abakuks, The Synoptic Problem & Statistics, p. 181]
9. J. C. O’Neill, “The Study of the New Testament,” Chapter 5 in Ninian Smart (ed.) Nineteenth Century Religious Thought in the West, Vol. 3, p. 162
10. [blank]
11. "What is the Synoptic Problem?" at www.GotQuestions.org
12. John K. Riches, “Matthew: What Sort of Book?” in John K. Riches, William Telford, & Christopher M. Tuckett (eds.) Synoptic Gospels, p. 53
13. W. Lee, On Knowing the Bible, Chapter 2, Section 5, also LSM, Lesson Book, Level 6: The Bible—The Word of God, Chapter 2, Section 4, also Truth Lessons, Level 1, Vol. 1, Chapter 1, Section 4.
14. LSM, Lesson Book, Level 6: The Bible—The Word of God, Chapter 16, Section 3. The quote in context says, “This book [Luke] was written before the book of Acts (Acts 1:1), probably about A.D. 60. It may have been written in Caesarea while the apostle Paul was in prison there.” [LSM, Lesson Book, Level 6: The Bible—The Word of God, Chapter 16, Section 3] Notice the tendency to fix the writing of the Gospel author in the context of the known NT historical record (in this case Acts). However, that record is limited and intermittent; the fact is we know very little about Luke’s location & activities for long stretches of time. There is no necessary reason why Luke has to author his Gospel (or Acts) within a time interval for which we have an historical record.
15. LSM, Lesson Book, Level 6: The Bible, Chap. 16, Sect. 2. The quote, in context says, “This book [Mark] was written between A.D. 60 and A.D. 70. The content of [Mark] 13:2 proves that it was written before the destruction of the holy temple, possibly after the death of the apostle Paul. It may have been written in Rome (see 2 Tim. 4:11).” [LSM, Lesson Book, Level 6: The Bible, Chap. 16, Sect. 2] Notice again the fact that the NT historical record associates Mark with Rome (2 Tim. 4:11) and the fact that historical tradition associates the Apostle Peter with Rome, plus Mark’s Gospel is traditionally linked with Peter leads LSM to conclude that Mark was written “between A.D. 60 and A.D. 70.” However, Mark could have written his Gospel earlier, since Mark & Peter are both associated with Jerusalem. According to LSM, Luke wrote his Gospel while Paul was in prison in Caesarea Philippi, “about AD 60,” prior to his journey to Rome. Mark, on the other hand, was called to Rome while Paul was imprisoned there (2 Tim. 4:11). Hence LSM concludes that Mark’s Gospel was written after Luke’s Gospel. This reasoning is highly tenuous. There is nothing in the NT historical record that indicates when Mark or Luke wrote their Gospels (although obviously it was after the events they record). Nor is there any necessity that their Gospels were composed with the time frame of events recorded in Acts of the Apostles, or even Paul’s epistles.
16. Scofield Reference Bible (1909, 1917). Louis A. Barbieri, Jr. reports that “C.I. Scofield in the original Scofield Reference Bible gave A.D. 37 as a possible date [for Matthew’s Gospel].” [Louis A. Barbieri, Jr., MATTHEW, Introduction, in Bible Knowledge Commentary,Roy B. Zuck, John F. Walvoord, Louis A Barbieri Jr. (eds.) p. 16]
17. F. F. Bruce, “The Sources of the Gospels,” Journal of the Transactions of the Victoria Institute, Vol. 75 (1943) p. 2
18. Notes to Table:
a. Dwight (1832) “AD 38 Gospel of Matthew written in Judea; AD 63 Gospel of Luke written in Greece;AD 65 Gospel of Mark written from Rome. AD 97 John writes his Gospel at the same place [Ephesus]” [Harrison Gray Otis Dwight, Dictionary of the New Testament & Vocabulary of Proper Names, (1832) p. 143]
b. Scofield: “The date of Matthew has been much discussed, but no convincing reason has been given for the discrediting the traditional date of A.D. 37.” [Scofield Reference Bible (1909, 1917)] “The date of Mark has been variously placed between A.D. 57 and 63.” [Scofield Reference Bible (1909, 1917)] “The date of Luke falls between A.D. 63 and 68.” [Scofield Reference Bible (1909, 1917)] “The date of John's Gospel falls between A.D. 85 and 90. Probably the latter.” [Scofield Reference Bible (1909, 1917)]
c. LSM RcV—LSM Recovery Version Study Bible, (2003) “Time of Writing” pp. 4, 122, 177.
d. UK (1943) Prof. F. F. Bruce wrote: “Dates commonly accepted in this country [UK] for the writing of the Gospels are: Mark, A.D. 65; Luke, 80-85; Matthew, 85-90; John, 90-100. Personally, I agree with Harnack & others that there is no good reason for dating any of the 3 Synoptic Gospels much, if at all later than A.D. 70.” [F. F. Bruce, “The Sources of the Gospels,” Journal of the Transactions of the Victoria Institute, Vol. 75 (1943) pp. 2-3]
e. ESV Study Bible (Crossway, 2007) “Timeline,” pp. 1816, 1891, 1936.
f. Fee & Stuart: Gordon D. Fee & Douglas Stuart, How to Read the Bible Book by Book (2002) pp. 269, 277, 286.
g. Bauckham/Dunn: Richard Bauckham: Around “80 AD...is the period in which the gospels of Matthew, Luke & John were most likely all being written.” [Richard Bauckham, Jesus & the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony, p. 14] “The decade 80-90 CE...according to most scholars, this is the time at which the Gospels of Matthew, & Luke were written and a little earlier than the time at which the fourth gospel was written.” [Richard Bauckham, Jesus & the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony, pp. 19-20] James D. G. Dunn: “A very large consensus of contemporary scholarship dates Mark somewhere in the period 65-75 CE...[Plus there is] the firm consensus that Mark was the earliest written gospel to have survived intact [&] that it appeared around 40 years after Jesus’ death.” [James D. G. Dunn, Jesus Remembered, p. 146]
19. Philip Schaff, the Church historian, recognizes the connection between the twin issues of priority & inter-dependence when he wrote: “...This point [who wrote first]...loses its importance if we accept the theory that the Synoptics wrote independently of each other.” [Philip Schaff (ed.) International Illustrated Commentary on the NT, Vol. 1, Schaff & Prof. Matthew B. Riddle, Introduction, & the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, & Luke, (1889) pp. 19-20 (emphasis added)]
20. [blank]
21. Patricia Walters, “The Synoptic Problem,” Chapter 15 in David E. Aune (ed.) The Blackwell Companion to The New Testament, p. 236
22. W. Lee, Fulfillment of the Tabernacle & the Offerings in the Writings of John, Chapter 1, Section 2
23. Watchman Nee, Collected Works, Vol. 53: The Ministry of God's Word, Chap. 2, Sect. 3, emphasis added
24. W. Nee, Collected Works, Vol. 53: The Ministry of God's Word, Chap. 6, Sect. 1, emphasis added
25. W. Lee, Further Light Concerning the Building Up of the Body of Christ, Chap. 2, Sect. 3, emphasis added
26. W. Lee, Crucial Principles for the Proper Church Life, Chap. 4, Sect. 2, emphasis added
27. Darrell L. Bock, Studying the Historical Jesus: A Guide to Sources & Methods, p. 171.
28. Philip Schaff (ed.) International Illustrated Commentary on the NT, Vol. 1, Schaff & Prof. Matthew B. Riddle, Introduction, & the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, & Luke, (1889) p. 19, emphasis added
29. Gordon D. Fee & Douglas Stewart, How to Read the Bible for all its Worth, pp. 135-6 (emphasis added)
30. [blank]
31. Dennis Bratcher, “The Gospels & the Synoptic Problem--The Literary Relationship of Matthew, Mark, & Luke,” Christian Resource Institute, http://www.cresourcei.org/synoptic.html
32. Dennis Bratcher, “The Gospels & the Synoptic Problem--The Literary Relationship of Matthew, Mark, & Luke,” Christian Resource Institute
33. Dennis Bratcher, “The Gospels & the Synoptic Problem--The Literary Relationship...,” Christian Resource Institute
34. Dennis Bratcher, “The Gospels & the Synoptic Problem--The Literary Relationship...,” Christian Resource Institute
35. Watchman Nee writes, “In the 18th century, so-called textualcriticismwas very popular inGermany. Thiscriticism was mainly of two categories. One was lowercriticismbeing done by believers ...The other washighercriticismbeing done by unbelievers. This was like the ancient Saduccees. The highercritics are today's modernists. They are the liberals.” [Watchman Nee, Collected Works, Vol. 62: Matured Leadings in the Lord's Recovery (2),Chap. 5, Sect. 1]
36. Scot McKnight, “An Invitation to the Synoptic Gospels,” in John K. Riches, William Telford, Christopher M. Tuckett (eds.) Synoptic Gospels, p. 16
37. Robert L. Thomas, Three Views on the Origins of the Synoptic Gospels, p. 8
38. F. F. Bruce, “The Sources of the Gospels,” Journal of the Transactions of the Victoria Institute, Vol. 75 (1943) p. 3
39. F. F. Bruce, “The Sources of the Gospels,” Journal of the Transactions of the Victoria Institute, Vol. 75 (1943) p. 4 The quote in context reads: “Closer study of the linguistic and literary details of the Gospels in more recent times has, on the other hand, led many to the conclusion that Mark was actually the earliest of our three Synoptic Gospels in their present form, and that it was a source, if not the principal source, of Matthew and Luke... The strength of the Markan hypothesis cannot be conveyed in a sentence or two; the evidence is cumulative, and can best be appreciated by studying it with the help of a good Greek synopsis, together with the linguistic data as marshalled in Sir John Hawkins’ Horae Synopticae (2nd ed., 1909). The late Professor J. H. Ropes calls it ‘the only assured result of the vast amount of incessant labour which has been expended on the so-called Synoptic Problem in the whole of the past hundred years and more’.” [F. F. Bruce, “The Sources of the Gospels,” Journal of the Transactions of the Victoria Institute, Vol. 75 (1943) p. 4] Note that the final sentence is a quote from Professor J. H. Ropes, which F. F. Bruce evidently endorses.
40. Patricia Walters, “The Synoptic Problem,” Chapter i5 in David E. Aune (ed.) The Blackwell Companion to The New Testament, p. 236 (emphasis original)
41. Thomas R, Hatina, “The Gospel of Mark,” Craig A. Evans (ed.), Routledge Encyclopedia of the Historical Jesus, p. 248
42. Thomas R, Hatina, “The Gospel of Mark,” in Craig A. Evans (ed.), Routledge Encyclopedia of the Historical Jesus, pp. 248-9
43. Grant R. Osborne, Historical Criticism & the Evangelical, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, JETS,Vol. 42, #2 (March 1999) p. 210
44. Donald Guthrie, "The Historical & Literary Criticism of the New Testament," inF. E. Gaebelein (ed.) The Expositor's Bible Commentary, Volume I: Introductory Articles(Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1979) p. 445 quoted by Grant R. Osborne, Historical Criticism & the Evangelical, JETS,Vol. 42, #2 (March 1999) p. 205
45. D. A. Carson, & Douglas J. Moo, An Introduction to the New Testament, (2009) p. 91
46. Scot McKnight, “An Invitation to the Synoptic Gospels,” in John K. Riches, William Telford, & Christopher M. Tuckett (eds.) Synoptic Gospels, pp. 17-18
47. Regarding the Synoptic Problem, New Testament Professor, Gordon D. Fee, reports that, “the view of the majority of scholars...is (a) that Mark was written first, (b) that Matthew and Luke independently used Mark in writing their own Gospels and (c) that Matthew & Luke also had access to large quantities of other traditional materials, some of which they had in common...” [Gordon D. Fee, New Testament Exegesis: A Handbook for Students & Pastors, p. 22]
48. The diagram appears at: http://www.jerusalemperspective.com/...tionshipSG.png It is unlikely, however, that this is the original source. Underlying the diagram decisions were made regarding which pericopae (episodes) are parallels and which are not. For some analysis of that problem, see Craig L. Blomberg, “When is a Parallel Really a Parallel? A Test Case: The Lucan Parables,” Westminster Theological Journal, Vol. 46 (1984) pp. 78-103. Dr. Blomberg’s analysis suggests that parallels might be relatively easy to distinguish & therefore the subjective element of judgment might not have a major impact on classification. In other words, most scholars would agree with the kind of classification displayed in this kind of diagram (with only minor disagreements).
49. A good example of the ‘Triple tradition,’ occurs in the sections Matt 16:13-18:5/Mark 8:27-9:37/Luke 9:18-48. Here the following pericopae are found in each of the 3 Synoptics. Moreover, they occur in the same order:
Peter’s confession at Caesarea Philippi
Jesus’ first prediction of his death
Sayings of Jesus
Jesus’ transfiguration
Exorcism of a boy
Jesus’ second prediction of his death
Teaching about greatness
50. Michael F. Bird, The Gospel of the Lord: How the Early Church Wrote the Story of Jesus, p. 128. Again a subjective judgment is involved in evaluating whether a parallel exists or not. Therefore the figures presented should be regarded as point estimates having a “confidence interval”—plus or minus. However, those “confidence intervals” are relatively small, so disagreements among most scholars do not change the overall conclusions.
51. Darrell L. Bock, Studying the Historical Jesus: A Guide to Sources & Methods, p. 168
52. Robert Stein quoted by Darrell L. Bock, Studying the Historical Jesus: A Guide to Sources & Methods, p. 171
53. Darrell L. Bock, Studying the Historical Jesus: A Guide to Sources & Methods, p. 172
54. D. A. Carson, & Douglas J. Moo, An Introduction to the New Testament, (2009) p. 91, emphasis original
55. The ancient world had no concept of Plagiarism. See Alex. C. Michalos, “Observations on Unacknowledged Authorship from Homer to Now,” Journal of Academic Ethics, Dec. 2010,Vol. 8,Issue 4, pp 253-258 for a discussion which includes the Synoptic Gospels.
56. The image is available at: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...els-en.svg.png
57. Mark L. Strauss, Four Portraits, One Jesus: A Survey of Jesus & the Gospels, p. (emphasis added)
58. Gordon D. Fee & Douglas Stuart, How the Read the Bible for all its Worth, p. 136
59. Gordon D. Fee & Douglas Stuart, How the Read the Bible for all its Worth, p. 136
60. [blank]
61. Gordon D. Fee & Douglas Stuart, How the Read the Bible for all its Worth, pp. 136-7, emphasis original
62. Michael F. Bird, The Gospel of the Lord: How the Early Church Wrote the Story of Jesus, p. 132
63. Joel B. Green, Scot McKnight, I. Howard Marshall (eds.) Dictionary of Jesus & the Gospels: A Compendium of Contemporary Biblical Scholarship, p. 785
64. William R. Telford, Mark, in John K. Riches, W. Telford, & Christopher M. Tuckett (eds.) Synoptic Gospels, p. 53 (emphasis added)
65. [W. Lee, Life-Study of Mark, Chap. 1, Sect. 1 (emphasis added) He asserts that “not even...[Luke] can compare with the aspect of the Lord's humanity seen in the Gospel of Mark. In Mark we see a beautiful expression of Christ's virtues in His humanity. I believe that more of the Lord's excellent virtues in His humanity are seen in the Gospel of Mark than in the Gospel of Luke.” [W. Lee, Life-Study of Mark, Chap. 1, Sect. 1] As examples W. Lee states cites, “His diligence in labor,Hisneed of food and rest (Mark3:20-21; 6:31),Hisanger (3:5),Hisgroaning (7:34), &Hisaffection (10:21) display beautifullyHishumanityin itsvirtueand perfection.” [W. Lee, Life-Study of Mark,Chap. 1, Sect. 2]
66. F. Gerald Downing, “Compositional Conventions with the Synoptic Problem,” Journal of Biblical Lit., 1988, p. 69
67. D. A. Carson, & Douglas J. Moo, An Introduction to the New Testament, (2009) p. 91
68. Grant R. Osborne, Historical Criticism & The Evangelical, JETS,Vol. 42, #2 (March 1999) p. 199 (emphasis added)
69. Grant R. Osborne, Historical Criticism & The Evangelical, JETS,Vol. 42, #2 (March 1999) p. 199 (emphasis added)
70. Gordon D. Fee & Douglas Stuart, How the Read the Bible for all its Worth, p. 137
71. David Turner, Matthew (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the NT) p.
72. David Alan Black & David S. Dockery,New Testament Criticism & Interpretation(Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1991) p. 14 quoted by Grant R. Osborne, Historical Criticism & The Evangelical, JETS,Vol. 42, #2 (March 1999) p. 195
73. Donald Guthrie, "The Historical & Literary Criticism of the New Testament," inF. E. Gaebelein (ed.) The Expositor's Bible Commentary, Volume I: Introductory Articles(Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1979) p. 445 quoted by Grant R. Osborne, Historical Criticism & the Evangelical, JETS,Vol. 42, #2 (March 1999) p. 205
74. Grant R. Osborne, Historical Criticism & the Evangelical, JETS,Vol. 42, #2 (March 1999) p. 210
75. Watchman Nee, Collected Works, Vol. 53: The Ministry of God's Word,Chap. 3, Sect. 1
76. Watchman Nee, Collected Works, Vol. 53: The Ministry of God's Word,Chap. 2, Sect. 4
77. Donald A. Hagner, The New Testament: A Historical & Theological Introduction, p. , emphasis original
78. Mark Goodacre, The Synoptic Problem: A Way through the Maze, p. 59, emphasis added
79. Mark Goodacre, The Synoptic Problem: A Way through the Maze, p. 60
80. [blank]
81. Mark Goodacre, The Synoptic Problem: A Way through the Maze, p. 60
82. Mark Goodacre, The Synoptic Problem: A Way through the Maze, p. 60
83. Mark Goodacre, The Synoptic Problem: A way through the Maze, pp. 61-62
84. G. M. Styler, “Synoptic Problem,” Bruce M. Metzger & Michael D. Coogan, (eds.) Oxford Guide to the Bible, p. 727
85. D. A. Hagner, “Matthew” in Geoffrey W. Bromiley (ed.) International Standard Bible Encyclopedia., p. 282. We note also that W. Lee reserved Mark’s Gospel to the end of his Life-study series (1984/5), covering Mark together with James’ epistle (probably the NT book he despised the most!). In contrast, Matthew & John were an early focus in W. Lee’s Life-study trainings. I suggest that W. Lee exhibited less interest in Mark, than the other Gospels.
86. Professor P. M. Head reports that of the 96 papyrus manuscripts of NT portions from antiquity, John’s Gospel is represented in 22, Matthew in 18, Luke in 8 and Mark in 3. Moreover, in manuscripts dating from the 4th century or earlier, 12 manuscripts have portions of John, 12 of Matthew, 4 of Luke and 2 manuscripts have portions of Mark. Dr. Head observes, “That the ratio of these numbers reflects the popularity of the respective gospels in the early church can be substantiated from other evidence & particularly the evidence of the [church] fathers.” [P. M. Head, “Observations in Early Papyri of the Synoptic Gospels...,” Biblica, Vol. 71, No. 2 (1990) p. 240]
87. Watchman Nee, Church Affairs, Chap. 10, Sect. 8.
88. W. Lee, Life-Study of Mark, Chap. 1, Sect. 2. The quote in context reads: “Concerning the Gospel of Mark we need to keep three matters in mind: first, that this Gospel is a written account of Peter's presentation of the history of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; second, that this Gospel was written according to historical sequence; and third, that this Gospel gives more details of historical facts than the other Gospels do. The Gospel of Mark may actually be regarded as the Gospel of Peter. Peter presented the story of the Lord Jesus orally to Mark, and Mark put this story into writing.” [W. Lee, Life-Study of Mark, Chapter 1, Section 2] Elsewhere W. Lee says, The Gospel of Mark may also be called “the Gospel of Peter,” because Mark received his learning from Peter (cf. 1 Pet. 5:13). What he wrote originated from and belonged to Peter. Luke, who was an attendant physician to Paul (cf. Col. 4:14), wrote the Gospel of Luke based upon what he saw through Paul; hence, the Gospel of Luke may also be called “the Gospel of Paul.” [W. Lee, Governing & Controlling Vision in the Bible, Chap. 1, Sect. 2 (emphasis added)]
89. Michael J. Kruger, Question of Canon: Challenging the Status Quo in the NT Debate, pp. 134-5
90. [blank]
91. Richard Bauckham, Jesus & the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony, p. 146
92. Mark mentions (Simon) Peter once every 432 words, Matthew once every 654 words & Luke once every 670 words. [Richard Bauckham, Jesus & the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony, p.126]
93. Richard Bauckham, Jesus & the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony, p.155. Michael F. Bird supports this view; he “argues that the Petrine bookends in Mark correspond to the literary device of eyewitness inclusio that Bauckham identified in Graeco-Roman sources. There is a clear prominence of Peter at key junctures in the Markan Gospel and a Petrine perspective in the narrative is detectable as well… The Markan outline has a close affinity with Luke’s account of Peter’s preaching in Acts 10:36-43. Taken together this lends credible support to the claim that…Mark is informed by Petrine testimony. This does not establish beyond all reasonable doubt that…Mark was written up based on the personal reminiscences of Simon Peter, although it is certainly consistent with this theory and in very least suggestive of a close link between …Mark and the Petrine tradition.” [Michael F. Bird, “Mark: Interpreter of Peter & Disciple of Paul,” in Joel Willitts, Michael F. Bird (eds.) Paul & the Gospels: Christologies, Conflicts & Convergences, p. 38]
94. David A. deSilva, An Introduction to the New Testament: Contexts, Methods & Ministry Formation, p. 160.
95. James D. G. Dunn, Jesus Remembered, pp. 144-5]
96. Mark Goodacre, The Synoptic Problem: A Way through the Maze, pp. 71-76
97. Mark Goodacre, The Synoptic Problem: A Way through the Maze, p. 76
98. Mark Goodacre, The Synoptic Problem: A Way through the Maze, p. 76
99. Donald A. Hagner, The New Testament: A Historical & Theological Introduction, p.
100. [blank]
101. L. Blomberg, The Historical Reliability of the Gospels, (2nd ed. 2007) p. 41 Scholars also feel they have identified legitimate grounds for Matthew’s (& Luke’s) deviations from Mark’s order, in terms of the particular emphasis of each Gospel in its unique material & its handling of appropriated material.
102. Donald A. Hagner, The New Testament: A Historical & Theological Introduction, p.
103. J. H. Moulton, A Grammar of New Testament Greek, vol. 4 Style by Nigel Turner (1976), p. 39
104. Donald A. Hagner, The New Testament: A Historical & Theological Introduction, p.
105. Craig L. Blomberg, Historical Reliability of the Gospels, (2nd ed. 2007) p. 39
106. Craig L. Blomberg, Historical Reliability of the Gospels, (2nd ed. 2007) p. 44
107. Thomas R. Hatina, “The Gospel of Mark,” Craig A. Evans (ed.), Routledge Encyclopedia of the Historical Jesus, p. 249
108. Nicholas Perrin, Richard B. Hays (eds.) Jesus, Paul & the People of God: A Theological Dialogue with N. T. Wright, p. 47
109. F. F. Bruce, The New Testament Documents: Are they Reliable? Chapter 4, (1943) emphasis added
110. [blank]
111. F. F. Bruce, “The Sources of the Gospels,” Journal of the Transactions of the Victoria Institute, Vol. 75 (1943) p. 6
112. Points #1 to #4 have been substantiated earlier in this paper. Point #5 may require additional documentation. Concerning the link between Mark’s Gospel & the Apostle Peter, W. Lee states the following: “From the early days of the church Mark's Gospel has been considered a written account of the oral presentation of Peter” [W. Lee, Life-Study of Mark, Chap. 1, Sect. 2] “Concerning the Gospel of Mark we need to keep three matters in mind: first, that this Gospel is a written account of Peter's presentation of the history of Jesus Christ, the Son of God… The Gospel of Mark may actually be regarded as the Gospel of Peter. Peter presented the story of the Lord Jesus orally to Mark, and Mark put this story into writing.” [W. Lee, Life-Study of Mark, Chap. 1, Sect. 2] Along the same lines, Watchman Nee says: “The Gospel of Mark was dictated by Peter and written down by Mark.” [Watchman Nee, Church Affairs, Chap. 10, Sect. 8]
113. David A. deSilva, An Introduction to the New Testament: Contexts, Methods & Ministry Formation, p. 160. David deSilva writes, “An early solution [to the Synoptics’ literary interdependence] promoted by Augustine was to read Mark as an abridgement of Matthew (the ‘abridger & lackey of Matthew’). There are, however, considerable
113. problems with this view…Mark is preaching through his Gospel, not merely abridging someone else’s Gospel. Mark’s Gospel moreover, includes much more detail in his narratives. If he was an abridger, why should he have so little interest in Jesus’ discourses, removing such priceless teaching as the Sermon on the Mount & yet spend more space than his source [Matthew] filling in added details?” [David A. deSilva, An Introduction to the New Testament: Contexts, Methods & Ministry Formation, p. 160.]
114. Mark Goodacre, The Synoptic Problem: A Way through the Maze, p. 108
115. Mark Goodacre, The Synoptic Problem: A Way through the Maze, p. 107
116. G. M. Styler, “Synoptic Problem,” in Bruce M. Metzger & Michael D. Coogan, (eds.) Oxford Guide to the Bible, p. 726
117. Grant R. Osborne, Historical Criticism & The Evangelical, JETSVol. 42, #2 (March 1999) p. 200 (emphasis added)
118. Mark Goodacre is a vocal proponent of this minority view. See for example his The Synoptic Problem: A Way through the Maze & The Case Against Q
119. James D. G. Dunn, Jesus, Paul & the Gospels, p. 28
120. [blank]
121. Dennis Bratcher, “The Gospels & the Synoptic Problem--The Literary Relationship of Matthew, Mark, & Luke,” Christian Resource Institute, p.
122. Michael Labahn, “Historical Criticism (Or Gospels as Sources)” in Craig A. Evans (ed.), Routledge Encyclopedia of the Historical Jesus, p. 282
123. D. A. Carson, & Douglas J. Moo, An Introduction to the New Testament, (2009) p. 101
124. Gordon D. Fee, New Testament Exegesis: A Handbook for Students & Pastors, p. 22
125. Darrell L. Bock, Studying the Historical Jesus: A Guide to Sources & Methods, p. 178, emphasis added
126. James D. G. Dunn, Jesus, Paul & the Gospels, p. 28
127. Craig S. Keener, IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament, p. 44
128. Craig S. Keener, IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament, p. 314
129. Watchman Nee, Collected Works, Vol. 15: Study on Matthew,Chap. 9, Sect. 1. Along the same lines he asserts elsewhere that “Matthew'srecord isaccordingtodoctrine. It recorded the small points with the main subject in view. Mark's record isaccordingto history, but the emphasis is on Judea. Luke'srecord isaccordingtomorality. John's record isaccordingto history, yet the emphasis is on Galilee.” [Watchman Nee, Collected Works, Vol. 15: Study on Matthew,Chap. 12, Sect. 2]
130. [blank]
131. Watchman Nee, How to Study the Bible,Chap. 5, Sect. 9
132. W. Lee, Life-Study of Matthew,Chap. 25, Sect. 1
133. W. Lee, Life-Study of Matthew, Chap. 25, Sect. 1
134. W. Lee, Life-Study of Matthew,Chap. 25, Sect. 3
135. W. Lee, Life-Study of Matthew,Chap. 25, Sect. 4
136. W. Lee, Life-Study of Matthew,Chap. 25, Sect. 4
137. Watchman Nee, Collected Works, Vol. 15: Study on Matthew, Chap. 10, Sect. 3
138. W. Lee, Holy Word for Morning Revival, Matthew, Vol. 2 (8:1-13:52), Chap. 2, Sect. 1 & Matt. 9:18, note 1, RcV.
139. W. Lee, Life-Study of Luke, Chap. 19, Sect. 1 (emphasis added)
140. Craig L. Blomberg, The Historical Reliability of the Gospels, p. 47
141. Mark Goodacre, The Synoptic Problem: A Way through the Maze, p. 98
142. Daniel M. Gurtner, “The Gospel of Matthew” in Craig A. Evans (ed.), Routledge Encyclopedia of the Historical Jesus, p. 257
143. Watchman Nee, Collected Works, Vol. 53: The Ministry of God's Word, Chap. 2, Sect. 3
144. Scot McKnight, “An Invitation to the Synoptic Gospels,” in John K. Riches, William Telford, & Christopher M. Tuckett (eds.) Synoptic Gospels, p. 18
145. Scot McKnight, “An Invitation to the Synoptic Gospels,” in John K. Riches, William Telford, & Christopher M. Tuckett (eds.) Synoptic Gospels, pp. 28-29
146. John Haralson Hayes, Carl R. Holladay, Biblical Exegesis: A Beginner's Handbook, p. 62
147. Dennis Bratcher, “The Gospels & the Synoptic Problem--The Literary Relationship of Matthew, Mark, & Luke,” Christian Resource Institute, http://www.cresourcei.org/synoptic.html
148. Mark Allan Powell, Introducing the New Testament (2009)
149. Greg Carey, “Moving Things Ahead: A Lukan Redactional Technique & Its Implications for Gospel Origins,” Biblical Interpretation, vol. 21 (2013) p. 308
150. [blank]
151. Greg Carey, “Moving Things Ahead: A Lukan Redactional Technique & Its Implications for Gospel Origins,” Biblical Interpretation, vol. 21 (2013) p. 309
152. Mark Goodacre, “The Rock on Rocky Ground: Matthew, Mark & Peter as Skandalon” in Philip McCosker (ed.), What Is It That the Scripture Says?: Essays in Biblical Interpretation, Translation, & Reception in Honour of Henry Wansbrough Osb (Library of New Testament Studies; London & New York: Continuum, 2006): 61-73.
153. McMaster Divinity College, “Proclaiming the Savoir,” McMaster Divinity College [Hamilton, ON., Canada], p. 23 The copy published on the Internet does not specify the particular author(s)
154. McMaster Divinity College, “Proclaiming the Savoir,” McMaster Divinity College [Hamilton, ON., Canada], p. 24
155. M. Eugene Boring, Mark: A Commentary, p. 16
156. ESV study Bible, p. 1812
157. ESV study Bible, p. 1935
158. ESV study Bible, p. 1889
159. ESV study Bible, p. 1815
160. [blank]
161. Gordon D. Fee & Douglas Stewart, How to Read the Bible for all its Worth, (3rd ed. 2003) pp. 135-6 (emphasis added)
162. Gordon D. Fee & D. Stewart, How to Read the Bible for all its Worth, (3rd ed. 2003) p. 137 (emphasis added)
163. Craig L. Blomberg, Historical Reliability of the Gospels, (2nd ed. 2007) pp. 37-47
164. W. Lee, Elders' Training, Book 3: The Way to Carry Out the Vision, Chap. 9, Sect. 2
165. W. Lee, Guidelines for the Propagation of the Lord's Recovery, Chap. 2, Sect. 3
166. W. Lee, A Blessed Human Life, Chap. 5, Sect. 1
167. He says ‘the Recovery’ has “been transplanted from China...[Now the Lord] will use the United States to take Europe, the Middle East, and the rest of the earth for His recovery.” [W. Lee, Greatest Prophecy in the Bible and Its Fulfillment, Chap. 2, Sect. 2]
168. W. Lee, Bearing Remaining Fruit, Vol. 2, Chapter 3, Section 1
169. W. Lee, Guidelines for the Propagation of the Lord's Recovery, Chap. 1, Sect. 3
170. [blank]
171. W. Lee acknowledged that, “neither Brother Nee nor I studied in a seminary.” [W. Lee, Proper Aggressiveness of the Lord's Serving Ones, Chap 7, Sect. 2]. “I have not studied Greek in any school,” he conceded. [W. Lee, Proper Aggressiveness of the Lord's Serving Ones, Chap. 8, Sect. 1] and, “I never took a Greek class; neither was I taught ...I am not a Greek scholar.” [W. Lee, Vision, Living & Work of the Lord's Serving Ones, Chap. 14, Sect. 2] W. Lee had a rudimentary, self-taught, knowledge of NT Greek. He knew no Hebrew. According to my knowledge the same statements apply to the others listed.
172. W. Lee, Triune God's Revelation & His Move,Chap. 12, Sect. 4. The statement in context reads: “All the groups inChristianityhave beenstrandedon their own sands, like a boatstrandedon sands in shallow water. The Catholic Church isstrandedon their sands of superstitions. Most of the Protestant churches arestrandedon the sands of superficiality. They are not deep; they are too shallow, on the surface. Nearly all the Protestant churches arestrandedin their kind of lukewarm theology…Many have beenstrandedon the sands of superstition, superficiality, and lukewarm theology.” [W. Lee, Triune God's Revelation & His Move,Chap. 12, Sect. 4] Emphasis indicates the quote in the main text, which we consider a brief summary of this paragraph.
173. W. Lee, Triune God's Revelation & His Move,Chap. 12, Sect. 4. The statement in context reads: “Most of the Protestant churches arestrandedon the sands of superficiality. They are not deep; they are too shallow, on the surface. Nearly all the Protestant churches arestrandedin their kind of lukewarm theology…Many have beenstrandedon the sands of superstition, superficiality, and lukewarm theology.” [W. Lee, Triune God's Revelation & His Move,Chap. 12, Sect. 4] Emphasis indicates quote in the main text.
174. A search of LSM’s English publications finds 80% of citations are for pre- 20th century publications:
a. Pre- 20th Century: over 600 references to John N. Darby (1800-1888), 475 attributions to Martin Luther (1483-1546) over 100 references to Henry Alford (1810 – 1871), 112 attributions to Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892), over 100 citations of George Hawkins Pember (1837--1910), over 70 citations of Robert Govett, (1813 –1901), 48 references to George Muller (1805-1898), 40 attributions to John Calvin (1509-1564), 22 citations of William Kelly (1821-1906), 16 references to H. C. G. Moule (1841-1920), 11 citations for F. W. Grant (1834-1902) 11 references to Philip Schaff (1819 – 1893), 10 references to Fredrick Lewis Godet (1812—1900), 3 references to Karl F. Keil (1807-1888) & Franz Delitzsch (1813-1890), 2 references to Johann Albrecht Bengel (1687 – 1752) Total equals approx. 1600 citations (~90%)
b. 20th Century: approx. 125 citations of David Morrieson Panton (1870 – 1955), approx. 80 references to Marvin Vincent (1834--1922), 23 citations of Kenneth Wuest (1893 – 1962), 10 references to Gerhard Kittel (1888 – 1948), 5 references to W. E. (William Edwy) Vine (1873 - 1949). 2 references to F. F. Bruce (1910-1990) Total ~245 citations (~10% of the total) The life-spans of these author give an indication of the publication dates of their works—weighted by frequency, the mean date would fall in the 19th-century! Only works authored by Wuest, Panton, & F. F. Bruce were first published in the post-World War 2 era!
175. The author recalls this event from the 1980s. An announcement was given at an LSM training or conference in Anaheim, CA reporting the letter of response a brother had received from Prof. F. F. Bruce commenting on/ evaluating the English translation in LSM’s New Testament Recovery Version. F. F. Bruce’s comments were generally positive, which was regarded as an endorsement of LSM’s Recovery Version.
176. For more on this topic, see my article, LSM’s Etymological Errors (August, 2014)
177. W. Lee, Further Light Concerning the Building Up of the Body of Christ, Chap. 2, Sect. 3, emphasis added
178. W. Lee, Crucial Principles for the Proper Church Life, Chap. 4, Sect. 2, emphasis added
179. James D. G. Dunn, Jesus Remembered, p. 146
180. James D. G. Dunn, Jesus, Paul & the Gospels, p. 28
181. James D. G. Dunn, Jesus Remembered, p. 144
__________________
Now Unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy (Jude 24)
UntoHim is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2015, 08:42 PM   #2
Freedom
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 1,445
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

I’m glad Nigel took the time to write on this subject. There are two reasons why I say that. First of all, in my LC experience, I wasn’t even aware that there was a “synoptic problem” until maybe several years ago when I started taking a look at non-LSM materials. To me, the fact that I was in an “uninformed” state is a problem. That is especially so considering how much time I devoted to the LC, going to meetings and “studying” the Bible. The second reason why I think this is an important issue is because of how the RcV Bible is promoted. Since it contains Lee’s exposition of the Bible, it naturally supports Lee’s positions on various issues. The RcV is said to “unlock” the whole Bible and is thought to supersede all other study Bibles and versions of the Bible. Because of groups like BFA pushing for a widespread distribution of the RcV, many people might come into contact the RcV, having very little knowledge of the Bible, and thus accept what Lee says at face value.

When we have done BFA distributions in the past or have introduced the RcV to people, one of the main “selling points” we used was to show them Lee’s commentary on the purpose of each of the gospels, and sometimes we introduced them to the outlines as well. This always caught people’s interest, because what Lee said all sounded so logical, especially to people with very little background in the Bible. Thus it is not difficult at all for people to accept Lee’s positions without any reservations.

I think Nigel makes some strong points as to why Lee’s view is antiquated and not tenable in a modern context. That is where I think the importance of the issue lies. Whether anyone likes it or not, modern Bible scholarship exists and it brings new theories and ideas to the table. Not everyone is going to be comfortable with that, but that’s the way it is. Of course, most people aren’t going to overly concern themselves with these issues. Within the LC, however, there is the view that Lee “unlocked” the entire Bible, and thus there is no possibility of revising Lee’s views on key issues. Lee’s ministry is said to be “the ministry of the age”, so there is no room to bring in anything new past the point in time when Lee died.
Freedom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2015, 10:14 AM   #3
Igzy
Member
 
Igzy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Texas
Posts: 3,553
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

It's wildly ironic to think that the Recovery, those caretakers of God's latest and bestest, are old hat. But recall that the Exclusive Brethren also refer to themselves as the Recovery. Now they are really old hat. Take heart, the LCM is chasing hard after them.

I've often wondered why God allowed the LCM to exist and thrive in the first place. It's becoming clear that he is showing us, in technicolor fashion, yet another way we can go off the rails.

Proudly thinking you have the best teachings, and especially basing your reputation on that idea, is manifestly a sure way to irrelevance. Because in order to maintain your reputation of being so right you have to fight any suggestion that you might be wrong. Which is bound to lead... where? The LCM doesn't just think they are right, they think it is wrong to question their rightness. Now, think about that for a moment. Does that sound like a mindset encouraging healthy growth and development? Or does it sound like a prescription for an inevitable spectacular, humiliating crash?
__________________
Courage is not the absence of fear. It's doing the right thing in the face of fear.
Igzy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2015, 01:06 PM   #4
Terry
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Renton, Washington
Posts: 3,199
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Freedom View Post
I think Nigel makes some strong points as to why Lee’s view is antiquated and not tenable in a modern context. That is where I think the importance of the issue lies. Whether anyone likes it or not, modern Bible scholarship exists and it brings new theories and ideas to the table. Not everyone is going to be comfortable with that, but that’s the way it is. Of course, most people aren’t going to overly concern themselves with these issues. Within the LC, however, there is the view that Lee “unlocked” the entire Bible, and thus there is no possibility of revising Lee’s views on key issues. Lee’s ministry is said to be “the ministry of the age”, so there is no room to bring in anything new past the point in time when Lee died.
No matter how out of touch the LSM version of recovery is in regard to modern Bible scholars, they will still remain in their self-imposed bubble. .
Terry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2015, 01:15 PM   #5
Ohio
Member
 
Ohio's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Greater Ohio
Posts: 10,556
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Freedom View Post
I’m glad Nigel took the time to write on this subject. There are two reasons why I say that. First of all, in my LC experience, I wasn’t even aware that there was a “synoptic problem” until maybe several years ago when I started taking a look at non-LSM materials. To me, the fact that I was in an “uninformed” state is a problem.
I'm still not convinced my "uninformed" state was so horribly bad. I'm thinking about all those misguided children of God who lived in blissful ignorance for 19.5 centuries. I could ask a thousand Chrisians about this "synoptic problem" and prolly nare a one would glow with excitement. Imagine that matthew was not the first book of the new testament.

I guess i still need more time to be convinced that "contemporary" scholarship, especially that which originated from the German high critics, is just what the church has always missed out on. Until then methinks brother Tomes should invest his valuable research assets on more pertinent topics.
__________________
Ohio's motto is: With God all things are possible!.
Keeping all my posts short, quick, living, and to the point!

.
Ohio is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2015, 01:51 PM   #6
Igzy
Member
 
Igzy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Texas
Posts: 3,553
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
I'm still not convinced my "uninformed" state was so horribly bad. I'm thinking about all those misguided children of God who lived in blissful ignorance for 19.5 centuries. I could ask a thousand Chrisians about this "synoptic problem" and prolly nare a one would glow with excitement. Imagine that matthew was not the first book of the new testament.

I guess i still need more time to be convinced that "contemporary" scholarship, especially that which originated from the German high critics, is just what the church has always missed out on. Until then methinks brother Tomes should invest his valuable research assets on more pertinent topics.
Maybe. But the point is that even if there were new findings that such a harsh a skeptic as yourself would accept, the LCM still wouldn't. They can't, because they already know everything that's knowable. To submit to new findings would be an admission of error, which can't be possible in their rarefied world.

Like the quip goes, I thought I was wrong once, but I was mistaken.
__________________
Courage is not the absence of fear. It's doing the right thing in the face of fear.
Igzy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2015, 02:24 PM   #7
Ohio
Member
 
Ohio's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Greater Ohio
Posts: 10,556
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
Maybe. But the point is that even if there were new findings that such a harsh a skeptic as yourself would accept, the LCM still wouldn't. They can't, because they already know everything that's knowable. To submit to new findings would be an admission of error, which can't be possible in their rarefied world.

Like the quip goes, I thought I was wrong once, but I was mistaken.
Maybe it's just me, but it seems that we ought to focus on the more serious errors that caused us to be misled by Lee. This latest article is like analyzing the paint on the walls of the prison that once confined us. Not the kind of stuff the Lord addressed with the disciples when discussing the scribes and Pharisees.

I get the point of LSM arrogance and know-it-all-ness, but few Christians obsess over the dates these books were written, rather the content.
__________________
Ohio's motto is: With God all things are possible!.
Keeping all my posts short, quick, living, and to the point!

.
Ohio is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2015, 03:24 PM   #8
OBW
Member
 
OBW's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: DFW area
Posts: 3,953
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Yes. I think that this is something that the heavy theologians haggle over for the purpose of getting at the minutia when what we, the little people, need has nothing to do with the synoptic problem.

I'm not sure that figuring out the order of things is really that meaningful. And no matter how smart we think we are, we are further removed from it than anyone who held a different opinion in the past, who may have still not known, but instead just concluded for some reason.

I would not say that Nigel's essay is useless, but its usefulness is not really related to me.

And since he is more concerned with whether Lee got it right than whether it really matters, he might be worse than me at creating reasons to despise Lee (although I disagree with that charge).
__________________
Mike
I once thought I was. . . . but I may have been mistaken — Edge (with apologies)
OBW is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2015, 04:11 PM   #9
Igzy
Member
 
Igzy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Texas
Posts: 3,553
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

I think Tomes enjoys studying and learning this kind of thing and would do it even if he was not applying it to the LCM. In doing so he inevitably comes across some new, interesting subject that Lee and LSM (those knowers of all that is knowable) were duh about. And so he, by producing an epic, unassailable case for the subject, effectively makes the LSM braintrust look like the bunch of dummies that they are. To the point that even the faithful cannot disagree. They can ignore, but they can't disagree.

The point is not that the Synoptic Problem is something that every Christian needs to know about. It's that it is something that everyone who truly wants a complete understanding of the Bible (i.e. people who create new translations and write study bibles and claim to be ministers of the age) ought to want to know about. Lee and LSM didn't, which shows they weren't and aren't truly serious students of the Bible. They were and are more interested in maintaining their reputations than getting it right.

It's just one more reason to believe that they aren't what they claim(ed) to be, and you can't get too many of those if you were ever under their influence.
__________________
Courage is not the absence of fear. It's doing the right thing in the face of fear.
Igzy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2015, 05:10 PM   #10
Dave
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 641
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
I think Tomes enjoys studying and learning this kind of thing and would do it even if he was not applying it to the LCM. In doing so he inevitably comes across some new, interesting subject that Lee and LSM (those knowers of all that is knowable) were duh about. And so he, by producing an epic, unassailable case for the subject, effectively makes the LSM braintrust look like the bunch of dummies that they are. To the point that even the faithful cannot disagree. They can ignore, but they can't disagree.

The point is not that the Synoptic Problem is something that every Christian needs to know about. It's that it is something that everyone who truly wants a complete understanding of the Bible (i.e. people who create new translations and write study bibles and claim to be ministers of the age) ought to want to know about. Lee and LSM didn't, which shows they weren't and aren't truly serious students of the Bible. They were and are more interested in maintaining their reputations than getting it right.

It's just one more reason to believe that they aren't what they claim(ed) to be, and you can't get too many of those if you were ever under their influence.
I certainly agree that WL's methods and practices were not orthodox, he was a tyrant, misled people and tried to control them. However, both Nee and Lee were not privy to more current and important Biblical studies and findings of the synoptic gospels made available to scholars of today. Lee was not open to current NT studies and findings anyway. Thus, the ideas they presented were based on Biblical findings and studies from the early 1900s. The entire Recovery version is misleading primarily because it does not include more recent information aside from WL's misinformation and unorthodox doctrines.

Where I think Nigel primarily shines in his overall synopsis is the exposure of the shortcomings of WL/WN's presentations of the Biblical point of view considering the findings of Biblical scholarly studies since the early 1900s. I find his use of the words, "mark's posteriority" intriguing. He notes that WL/WN used Philip Schaff among others for their historical viewpoints. I purchased (Feb 1979 after I left the LC---maybe WL had suggested it) the 3 volume set of Philip Schaff's History of the Christian Church which I read many years ago but now seems like an out of date and simplistic viewpoint of the history of the Christian Chruch compared to what is available today (btw---I tried to sell it a few years ago on ebay but no takers--now you can buy the "8" volume set on kindle for $1.99---my 3 volume set is over 2800 pages---the 8 volume set is 7120 pages--but who's counting?). What a deal?

In any case, it appears that Nigel has presented a remarkable document which certainly provides new information for those who are trying to understand the history of the LC and especially WL/WN's viewpoints over the years and how out of sync they were with the rest of Christian thought.
__________________
LC 1969-1978 Santa Cruz, Detroit, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami
Dave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2015, 05:22 PM   #11
OBW
Member
 
OBW's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: DFW area
Posts: 3,953
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
It's that it is something that everyone who truly wants a complete understanding of the Bible . . . ought to want to know about. Lee and LSM didn't, which shows they weren't and aren't truly serious students of the Bible. They were and are more interested in maintaining their reputations than getting it right.
In this area, I can agree.

Yet we are still left with the question as to what is the answer. Therefore if we really can't get the answer, then is it really a serious problem to not know? Even for a serious Bible student?

If, as I suspect, there is no clear answer, then it might not be much more important that the study of pins and angels. So far, without a definitive answer, it answers nothing. It just provides a basis for argument.

And almost for the sake of argument.

Yes, it is yet one more area in which Lee and company are not only potentially wrong (possibly even not truly understanding the issue), but out to lunch on the discussion. But does it actually cause anyone harm? Will it effect anyone as much as being stymied by this vague thing they call the "experience of Christ"? Something that is part of that vague desire to "make it." Yet one more thing that was bandied about that had no clear definition, yet had so many of us wondering whether we would succeed at this undefined (or at least poorly defined) task.
__________________
Mike
I once thought I was. . . . but I may have been mistaken — Edge (with apologies)
OBW is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2015, 05:25 PM   #12
OBW
Member
 
OBW's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: DFW area
Posts: 3,953
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave View Post
In any case, it appears that Nigel has presented a remarkable document which certainly provides new information for those who are trying to understand the history of the LC and especially WL/WN's viewpoints over the years and how out of sync they were with the rest of Christian thought.
And this is a reasonably valuable aspect of the analysis. Lee just took what he got from people that lived long before him (mostly) and presumed that nothing since, other than possibly Nee, was worth thinking about. He was the MOTA, therefore everything else was garbage.
__________________
Mike
I once thought I was. . . . but I may have been mistaken — Edge (with apologies)
OBW is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2015, 05:44 PM   #13
Igzy
Member
 
Igzy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Texas
Posts: 3,553
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
In this area, I can agree.

Yet we are still left with the question as to what is the answer. Therefore if we really can't get the answer, then is it really a serious problem to not know? Even for a serious Bible student?

If, as I suspect, there is no clear answer, then it might not be much more important that the study of pins and angels. So far, without a definitive answer, it answers nothing. It just provides a basis for argument.

And almost for the sake of argument.

Yes, it is yet one more area in which Lee and company are not only potentially wrong (possibly even not truly understanding the issue), but out to lunch on the discussion. But does it actually cause anyone harm? Will it effect anyone as much as being stymied by this vague thing they call the "experience of Christ"? Something that is part of that vague desire to "make it." Yet one more thing that was bandied about that had no clear definition, yet had so many of us wondering whether we would succeed at this undefined (or at least poorly defined) task.
Well, as I suggested in another thread, in lieu of knowing we have to go with what is likely.

Again, the fact that Lee might have been off on this matter is less important than the fact that LSM will never admit that he was off on anything, which this matter will help demonstrate to anyone paying attention. Because this is one more opportunity for them to admit he was indeed off on something, which, undoubtedly, they won't take.
__________________
Courage is not the absence of fear. It's doing the right thing in the face of fear.
Igzy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2015, 06:00 PM   #14
Freedom
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 1,445
Default

I can only speak for myself here, but I feel that as an issue by itself, the synoptic problem would not be a big deal to me at all if it were not for being in the LC all my life. Because of my background in the LC, I feel that it is a more important issue than it would be otherwise. Maybe that is because I spent so many years believe whatever I was told and being uninformed about various other issues.

The way I see things, most Christians don't necessarily have the need to be completely informed about these issues, because there is room to address these issues if they come up. I think if someone had a question about the synoptic problem, they could go to their pastor and have a discussion about it. If someone in the LC has a question about the synoptic problem, they could go to an elder and probably get a blank stare (the elder might not even know what it is). They would likely be told not to worry about it and then get referred to what Lee said in his outlines/footnotes in the RcV.
Freedom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2015, 06:13 PM   #15
VoiceInWilderness
Member
 
VoiceInWilderness's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Detroit, MI
Posts: 96
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

1st a big thank you to Nigel for a thorough report on the subject. This gives a basis to fellowship about these things on an intelligent basis.

In the church in Detroit, where I am, we recently finished spending 3.5 years to go through the 4 gospels in harmony order, sharing on a portion every Lord's Day. I loved it, as did most, and it gave me a new view on Christ, myself and the Christian life than I had before.

Going through the gospels in harmony order, I could not help but notice the same wordings, OT quotations (yet different from LXX, MT & DSS) and side comments. However I did not want to think about that. Nigel has forced the issue, and I do agree that the synoptic gospels do have copying between them.

Now, regarding the priority of Mark, that is another matter. In our harmony study of the gospels, I found it clear that Matthew was written 1st. I'll give the reason later. Before I do that, I find the reasoning for the placement of Mark as the 1st written to be extremely weak. Nigel gives 7 extremely weak reasons for it. When you put together 7 extremely weak reasons you still have an extremely weak argument. Just look at reason #4, which is touted as the best argument. Besides being unsupported with data in Nigel's paper, the idea says the the writing of the gospels by their authors was at times dreary task without inspiration.

The problem with the German high-critics and their dumb Documentary Hypothesis on the Old Testament is not just that they did not believe in the inerrancy of the Bible. Their science was pseudo-science. If their science was correct, they would not have come up with wrong results even if they did not acknowledge the Bible for what it is. Now if supposed Bible-believers apply this same pseudo science to the NT, the quality of the results will not be much better than the Documentary Hypothesis. (I say "supposed" Bible-believers because my experience is that most OT scholars, even though they believe in the inerrancy of God's word, do not give the word proper reverence as WL did [except for James, Proverbs, Psalms, Peter, Job]. NT scholars might be similar.)

The gist of the argument of the paper is that Mark adds very little to the NT. So it must have been first, because if Matthew already existed, there would be no reason to add Mark.
But then Nigel points out that Mark's stories are the most detailed, which I've also noticed, and this is supposed to be another reason that Mark is 1st. Mark's more detailed stories are a reason for adding his gospel after Matthew's. Also it provides another witness to the events. Events may be left out because Mark did not witness them or didn't pay attention.

Here is why I think Matthew's gospel was written 1st:
The 3 synoptic accounts of the resurrection seem to differ in a lot of details.
John 20:11- 17 gives the details of Jesus' extraordinary appearing to Mary Magdalene. Matthew records her experience as belonging to the group of sisters (Matt 28:9-10). He does not say it was to Mary M alone, but gives the impression, if there were no other accounts, that the Lord appeared to the whole group of sisters, when actually He appeared just to Mary M.
Luke does not mention the appearance to Mary M at all.
Mark says plainly that the Lord appeared first to Mary M (Mk 16:9). Why is Matthew ambiguous about it?
I think Matthew did not want to exalt Mary M while she was young (1Tim 3:6), which could ruin her. If Mark wrote 20 yrs later, then it would be ok for him to write it because Mary M has been in the Lord for a long time or may have passed. Mark also tells us the the Lord cast 7 demons out of Mary M, which may not be a proper thing to reveal about a young sister.
John writing 50 years later could give all the details for our edification.

I see this sort of thing more with John. For example, the biggest discrepancy between the 4 gospels is that only John tells of the great miracle of Lazarus' resurrection. How could the others have skipped that? WL said he did not understand that. The reason is given in John 12:10, because that would endanger the lives of Lazarus and his 2 sisters. Matt, Mk and Luke skipped it and left it to the HS to include it when the time was right. When John wrote, Lazarus, Mary and Martha had likely all gone to be with the Lord.

Mark 14:3-9; Matt 26:6-15 & Luke 7:36-50 tell of the nameless woman who broke the alabaster box on the Lord. John 12:2-11 tells us that this woman was Mary of Bethany, Lazarus' sister, and also provides details to link Luke 7 with Matt 26 & Mk 14. Luke tells us the woman was a known sinner, so her name was withheld until John wrote much later, after she was probably with the Lord.
__________________
Yours in Christ,
Steve Miller
www.voiceInWilderness.info
For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry. - 1 Pet 3:12
VoiceInWilderness is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2015, 06:13 PM   #16
Terry
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Renton, Washington
Posts: 3,199
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Freedom View Post
I can only speak for myself here, but I feel that as an issue by itself, the synoptic problem would not be a big deal to me at all if it were not for being in the LC all my life. Because of my background in the LC, I feel that it is a more important issue than it would be otherwise. Maybe that is because I spent so many years believe whatever I was told and being uninformed about various other issues.
I would tend to agree with you Freedom. By itself it's a non-issue, but if the so-called Bible scholars at LSM take the approach they could not be wrong as LSM blended brothers have taken on other recovery issues, then there is something to be said.
Terry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2015, 08:45 PM   #17
awareness
Moderator of Alternative Views
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 6,738
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by VoiceInWilderness View Post
1st a big thank you to Nigel for a thorough report on the subject. This gives a basis to fellowship about these things on an intelligent basis....
Well thought out considerations bro VIW. Thanks.

But seems to me there's lots of conjecturing going on; by Nigel, the scholars, Nee & Lee, and even yourself bro VIW. There's never going to be certitude or consensus concerning the gospels, of content or publication. Only faith reconciles it.

The certitude Nigel seems to bring to the table, that should be important to us, is: Neither Nee nor Lee were Bible scholars ... they were over inflated puffballs ... over sold on themselves. And they sold us, at least me, a false bill of goods.
__________________

“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We're no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It is simply too painful to acknowledge -- even to ourselves -- that we've been so credulous.” - Carl Sagan
.
awareness is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-08-2015, 11:12 AM   #18
Friedel
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 98
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by VoiceInWilderness View Post
In our harmony study of the gospels, I found it clear that Matthew was written 1st.

Here is why I think Matthew's gospel was written 1st:

The 3 synoptic accounts of the resurrection seem to differ in a lot of details. John 20:11- 17 gives the details of Jesus' extraordinary appearing to Mary Magdalene. Matthew records her experience as belonging to the group of sisters (Matt 28:9-10). He does not say it was to Mary M alone, but gives the impression, if there were no other accounts, that the Lord appeared to the whole group of sisters, when actually He appeared just to Mary M.

Luke does not mention the appearance to Mary M at all.

Mark says plainly that the Lord appeared first to Mary M (Mk 16:9). Why is Matthew ambiguous about it?

I think Matthew did not want to exalt Mary M while she was young (1Tim 3:6), which could ruin her. If Mark wrote 20 yrs later, then it would be ok for him to write it because Mary M has been in the Lord for a long time or may have passed. Mark also tells us the the Lord cast 7 demons out of Mary M, which may not be a proper thing to reveal about a young sister.
John writing 50 years later could give all the details for our edification.

I see this sort of thing more with John. For example, the biggest discrepancy between the 4 gospels is that only John tells of the great miracle of Lazarus' resurrection. How could the others have skipped that? WL said he did not understand that. The reason is given in John 12:10, because that would endanger the lives of Lazarus and his 2 sisters. Matt, Mk and Luke skipped it and left it to the HS to include it when the time was right. When John wrote, Lazarus, Mary and Martha had likely all gone to be with the Lord.

Mark 14:3-9; Matt 26:6-15 & Luke 7:36-50 tell of the nameless woman who broke the alabaster box on the Lord. John 12:2-11 tells us that this woman was Mary of Bethany, Lazarus' sister, and also provides details to link Luke 7 with Matt 26 & Mk 14. Luke tells us the woman was a known sinner, so her name was withheld until John wrote much later, after she was probably with the Lord.
You raise some interesting points. I agree that Matthew was first.

I have highlighted a sentence at the beginning of your second last paragraph. Do you not think the total omission by John of the (so-called) Olivet Discourse, as found in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21, is also of great significance?
Friedel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-08-2015, 12:45 PM   #19
VoiceInWilderness
Member
 
VoiceInWilderness's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Detroit, MI
Posts: 96
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Friedel View Post
You raise some interesting points. I agree that Matthew was first.

I have highlighted a sentence at the beginning of your second last paragraph. Do you not think the total omission by John of the (so-called) Olivet Discourse, as found in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21, is also of great significance?
Hi Friedel,
John's omissions are not significant. He wrote much later than the other 3, and his purpose was not to serve as a 4th witness, but to fill in the gaps that the other 3 left out. John leaves out most of what the other 3 cover until we come to the crucifixion. There was no gap to fill on the Olivet Discourse.

There's another reason, I think. If John's gospel was written after he wrote Revelation, then John could not add anything concerning the Lord's return according to his own warning in Rev 22:18.
__________________
Yours in Christ,
Steve Miller
www.voiceInWilderness.info
For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry. - 1 Pet 3:12
VoiceInWilderness is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-08-2015, 12:54 PM   #20
VoiceInWilderness
Member
 
VoiceInWilderness's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Detroit, MI
Posts: 96
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by awareness View Post
Well thought out considerations bro VIW. Thanks.

But seems to me there's lots of conjecturing going on; by Nigel, the scholars, Nee & Lee, and even yourself bro VIW. There's never going to be certitude or consensus concerning the gospels, of content or publication. Only faith reconciles it.

The certitude Nigel seems to bring to the table, that should be important to us, is: Neither Nee nor Lee were Bible scholars ... they were over inflated puffballs ... over sold on themselves. And they sold us, at least me, a false bill of goods.
Bro Awareness,
I think WN was a scholar of the 1st class. He was extremely well read, an original thinker, and respected the world over and a martyr. I would not say that WL was a scholar in general because it seems he only read Nee and what Nee recommended, but I would say he was a Bible scholar.

I think both were great men of God. WL did get considerably over sold on himself.
__________________
Yours in Christ,
Steve Miller
www.voiceInWilderness.info
For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry. - 1 Pet 3:12
VoiceInWilderness is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-08-2015, 02:46 PM   #21
Ohio
Member
 
Ohio's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Greater Ohio
Posts: 10,556
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by VoiceInWilderness View Post
Bro Awareness,

I think WN was a scholar of the 1st class. He was extremely well read, an original thinker, and respected the world over and a martyr. I would not say that WL was a scholar in general because it seems he only read Nee and what Nee recommended, but I would say he was a Bible scholar.

I think both were great men of God.
WL did get considerably over sold on himself.
Stick around brother Steve. The forum can use a great voice such as yours.
__________________
Ohio's motto is: With God all things are possible!.
Keeping all my posts short, quick, living, and to the point!

.
Ohio is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-08-2015, 03:58 PM   #22
Freedom
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 1,445
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by VoiceInWilderness View Post
Bro Awareness,
I think WN was a scholar of the 1st class. He was extremely well read, an original thinker, and respected the world over and a martyr. I would not say that WL was a scholar in general because it seems he only read Nee and what Nee recommended, but I would say he was a Bible scholar.

I think both were great men of God. WL did get considerably over sold on himself.
Assuming that Nee read through and utilized that collection of books he supposedly had, there is no reason why he shouldn't be given the same level of respect as someone with a degree. I think Nee ministry has it's benefits if taken with a grain of salt. I have found parts of his ministry (especially his earlier ministry) that indicate he should not be blindly followed as do those in the LC.

As for Lee, I'm sure he loved the Bible and loved studying it. I have become increasingly cautious, however, about what might be "helpful" from his ministry. Why? It's not to say that the was completely wrong, all the time, but he was so quick to dismiss everything that he didn't deem to be useful for his purposes. The quote that Nigel included at the beginning of his writing says a lot about Lee:
Quote:
“Since World War II...,” he observed,1 “there has not been one publication that is weighty concerning Bible exposition, the divine life, or the truth.” Neither did seminaries and theological education escape his ire; “Christianity...has been...opening seminaries and educating students of theology. However, these theological graduates have not gotten into the depths of the Bible...” he asserted, adding,2 “Christianity has not published a single book of great spiritual value.”
I grew up hearing people always talk about how "rich" Lee's ministry was or how much help that they had received from it. As a result, over the years I developed this view that whatever outside sources that Lee referenced were the only "weighty" publications out there besides the ministry. Lee himself said that Nee had done all the work in going through so many publication, so it was unnecessary for him to do so. I think this resulted in Lee only using a small set of reference materials, probably the ones that Nee recommended. So Lee's "rich" ministry was developed in this state of isolation from many of the more contemporary works, and even from a broader selection of traditional reference materials that could have been available to him.

When I look at things more objectively, I see those in the LC people claiming that the ministry of Lee is the "ministry of the age". Looking beyond the LC, where is there any significant appreciation of Lee's ministry among the general Christian public? This is in contrast to Nee's ministry, where you might at least expect some here and there to have heard about and possibly have read Nee. Nee's legacy is that he left something which may be of value to Christians outside the LC. Lee's legacy is overshadowed by his exclusivism, and his know-it-all attitude. I'm not here to say that Lee didn't offer anything of value, however, I think that he destroyed any respect that he could of gotten outside of the LC.
Freedom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-08-2015, 04:56 PM   #23
awareness
Moderator of Alternative Views
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 6,738
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by VoiceInWilderness View Post
Bro Awareness,
I think WN was a scholar of the 1st class. He was extremely well read, an original thinker, and respected the world over and a martyr..
Did you know Nee? Or do you draw your picture of Nee from Lee?
__________________

“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We're no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It is simply too painful to acknowledge -- even to ourselves -- that we've been so credulous.” - Carl Sagan
.
awareness is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-08-2015, 05:48 PM   #24
VoiceInWilderness
Member
 
VoiceInWilderness's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Detroit, MI
Posts: 96
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by awareness View Post
Did you know Nee? Or do you draw your picture of Nee from Lee?
From Nee's writings, biographies of him and what WL said about him.
__________________
Yours in Christ,
Steve Miller
www.voiceInWilderness.info
For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry. - 1 Pet 3:12
VoiceInWilderness is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-08-2015, 06:24 PM   #25
VoiceInWilderness
Member
 
VoiceInWilderness's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Detroit, MI
Posts: 96
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Freedom View Post
Assuming that Nee read through and utilized that collection of books he supposedly had, there is no reason why he shouldn't be given the same level of respect as someone with a degree. I think Nee ministry has it's benefits if taken with a grain of salt. I have found parts of his ministry (especially his earlier ministry) that indicate he should not be blindly followed as do those in the LC.

As for Lee, I'm sure he loved the Bible and loved studying it. I have become increasingly cautious, however, about what might be "helpful" from his ministry. Why? It's not to say that the was completely wrong, all the time, but he was so quick to dismiss everything that he didn't deem to be useful for his purposes. The quote that Nigel included at the beginning of his writing says a lot about Lee:
I grew up hearing people always talk about how "rich" Lee's ministry was or how much help that they had received from it. As a result, over the years I developed this view that whatever outside sources that Lee referenced were the only "weighty" publications out there besides the ministry. Lee himself said that Nee had done all the work in going through so many publication, so it was unnecessary for him to do so. I think this resulted in Lee only using a small set of reference materials, probably the ones that Nee recommended. So Lee's "rich" ministry was developed in this state of isolation from many of the more contemporary works, and even from a broader selection of traditional reference materials that could have been available to him.

When I look at things more objectively, I see those in the LC people claiming that the ministry of Lee is the "ministry of the age". Looking beyond the LC, where is there any significant appreciation of Lee's ministry among the general Christian public? This is in contrast to Nee's ministry, where you might at least expect some here and there to have heard about and possibly have read Nee. Nee's legacy is that he left something which may be of value to Christians outside the LC. Lee's legacy is overshadowed by his exclusivism, and his know-it-all attitude. I'm not here to say that Lee didn't offer anything of value, however, I think that he destroyed any respect that he could of gotten outside of the LC.
Freedom,
I think I agree with everything you said, except for taking WN "with a grain of salt." What he said deserves serious consideration. No one should be followed blindly. I don't buy a lot of what he said.

WL had some serious problems. Pride and exclusivity were among the top ones - which WN did not share. His other big problems were to throw out parts of the word that didn't agree with him, too much emphasis on submission to human authority in the church, and more. He repented for his exclusivity on his death bed. It's too bad he didn't say more about it.

WL led people to enjoy the Lord and to really love the Lord with all their heart. Also to love and reverence and trust the Word. It would have been great if he could have been balanced by other brothers.

His ministry went on a path of self-destruction in 1988 after he kicked out all other voices that could have corrected him. At that time I thought the quarantined brothers were rebellious and finished as far as the Lord was concerned. Then we were quarantined in 2007.

John Ingalls, Christian Chen and Bill Mallon published a hymnal. John wanted to include some hymns by WL, but Christian Chen said that WL's name was too soiled. Christian Chen said that it would take 40 years before Christians could receive something by WL. I don't think it would take that long.

Christianity Today in Jan, 2015 listed the 10 most influential churches of the last century. #2 was the underground church movement in communist China. Also, in April 2014 both WN and WL, with emphasis on WL, were honored in the U.S. Congress as being instrumental in bringing the gospel to communist China.
__________________
Yours in Christ,
Steve Miller
www.voiceInWilderness.info
For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry. - 1 Pet 3:12
VoiceInWilderness is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-08-2015, 09:23 PM   #26
awareness
Moderator of Alternative Views
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 6,738
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by VoiceInWilderness View Post
From Nee's writings, biographies of him and what WL said about him.
That's where I came by Nee. You should add to your list of reading about him Lily Hsu's book "My Unforgettable Memories:Watchman Nee and Shanghai Local Church."

Hit me in PM for more info ...
__________________

“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We're no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It is simply too painful to acknowledge -- even to ourselves -- that we've been so credulous.” - Carl Sagan
.
awareness is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2015, 06:03 AM   #27
aron
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Wedemark, Lower Saxony
Posts: 4,368
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by VoiceInWilderness View Post
Christianity Today in Jan, 2015 listed the 10 most influential churches of the last century. #2 was the underground church movement in communist China. Also, in April 2014 both WN and WL, with emphasis on WL, were honored in the U.S. Congress as being instrumental in bringing the gospel to communist China.
You infer causality with WN and WL to the underground church movement. That may be so, but how to tell, really? And if so, should we also infer causality to some of the wilder sects that have sprung up, like the Eastern Lightning? There is a point where "influential" may be accurate but in a negative way. Like Herod and Pilate were also influential in shaping the early Christian movement. (Not trying to argue here, just trying to provide food for thought).

Regarding being honored by the U.S. Congress, I assume you know that for 50,000 bucks you can get May designated as National Tulip Month? You can get them to read anything into the Congressional Register if you grease their palms. The Congress doesn't work without a quid pro quo, and that almost invariably involves money. How do you think they run those multi-million dollar election campaigns?

To me, public acclaim by the U.S. Congress is indication that someone, unnamed, put pressure on someone else, probably through monetary means, but also possibly through coercion, and voila! You have a public document. That's how the system works. Someone got paid off.
__________________
"Freedom is free. It's slavery that's so horribly expensive" - Colonel Templeton, ret., of the 12th Scottish Highlanders, the 'Black Fusiliers'
aron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2015, 06:11 AM   #28
aron
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Wedemark, Lower Saxony
Posts: 4,368
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by VoiceInWilderness View Post
I think WN was a scholar of the 1st class. He was extremely well read, an original thinker, and respected the world over and a martyr. I would not say that WL was a scholar in general because it seems he only read Nee and what Nee recommended, but I would say he was a Bible scholar.

I think both were great men of God. WL did get considerably over sold on himself.
VIW,

Your voice of moderation is welcome here. Please don't take the deafening silence as hostility. I find that the more I argue here, the more extreme I get, which is why it is crucial for me to consider other, less entrenched points of view.

Even though you're probably in the minority in ascribing positive values to the ministry of WL, this view is still necessary for a conversation to take place. Please don't think we are out to either pound you into submission or drive you away. Conversations need differing perspectives: then they become mutual learning opportunities.

Regarding the so-called synoptic problem, for example, I felt that your original readings were valuable. I consider myself well-versed in the gospels but you helped me consider them anew. Which is what conversations are all about.
__________________
"Freedom is free. It's slavery that's so horribly expensive" - Colonel Templeton, ret., of the 12th Scottish Highlanders, the 'Black Fusiliers'
aron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2015, 06:29 AM   #29
aron
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Wedemark, Lower Saxony
Posts: 4,368
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by awareness View Post
Well thought out considerations bro VIW. Thanks.

But seems to me there's lots of conjecturing going on; by Nigel, the scholars, Nee & Lee, and even yourself bro VIW. There's never going to be certitude or consensus concerning the gospels, of content or publication. Only faith reconciles it.
Actually, what VIW helped me with was a question that is worth asking: how did the gospels come to be written? Obviously we're not going to come up with certitude, but still it is profitable to make conjecture. The order of composition, and whom is dependent upon whom, is pointing to that, I believe.

How did the testimony of Jesus' life, work, and person transit from oral to written tradition? Nigel's study, the Synoptic Problem, VIW's comments, all could be helpful. They don't have to solve a problem, but rather shed some light on it. Good enough.

Possibly there were 4 critical factors in the evolution of the written gospel tradition. (1) First of all, they already had "scriptures", what we call the OT. (2) The oral tradition was aimed at showing that Jesus the Nazarene was the sought-after and hoped-for Messiah predicted in the OT. All the speeches in Acts point to this kind of "referential" view. Also see Acts 17:11 "The noble Berean Jews eagerly searched the scriptures daily to see if what Paul said was true". (3) You had letters (epistles) being composed. Church tradition, and logic, say that this would be fairly early in the process. So there were already written NT documents existent. (4) Out of this, the gospels began to formulate themselves (I am supposing here).

For (4) see e.g.
Quote:
Luke 1:1-3 "Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus;…"
So we are not nit-picking here. And definitive answers don't need to tumble out of the closet. More light is good enough. I was really helped by VIW's thinking.
__________________
"Freedom is free. It's slavery that's so horribly expensive" - Colonel Templeton, ret., of the 12th Scottish Highlanders, the 'Black Fusiliers'
aron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2015, 06:52 AM   #30
aron
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Wedemark, Lower Saxony
Posts: 4,368
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by aron View Post
Possibly there were 4 critical factors in the evolution of the written gospel tradition. (1) First of all, they already had "scriptures", what we call the OT. (2) The oral tradition was aimed at showing that Jesus the Nazarene was the sought-after and hoped-for Messiah predicted in the OT. All the speeches in Acts point to this kind of "referential" view. Also see Acts 17:11 "The noble Berean Jews eagerly searched the scriptures daily to see if what Paul said was true". (3) You had letters (epistles) being composed...
Where the "LSM's Ignorance" of the thread's title bothers me is this: WL trafficked in our ignorance. He didn't resolve it. He used it against us, to put boulders in our path.

Look at point (2) above. The NT was referential, in that it constantly sought to legitimize its gospel argument by showing that the OT "scriptures" were fulfilled by Jesus. Then (3) the epistles continued this. The Epistle to the Hebrews is a classic case. The first 2 chapters (remember that they probably weren't divided into chapters for centuries) had 11 explicit references. The Epistle to the Hebrews was a "Meditation on the (OT) scriptures" using Jesus as the point of focus.

But what did WL do? In the Galatians LS (Message 4) I recently read, WL told them twice to pray-read verses from Paul's epistles; he ignored the OT unless absolutely required. And even then, he superimposed upon it a completely fabricated "economy" template which Paul didn't delineate. Then, using this "economy" metric WL could say which OT scriptures were profitable, and how, and which could be disregarded as "natural" and "fallen". So if Paul repeatedly in his epistles (Colossians and Ephesians) wrote to the saints to sing the Psalms, WL could disregard this. It wasn't part of "God's NT economy"; it was too low.

Yes, LSM was ignorant of the Synoptic Problem. All of us are ignorant to some degree. James 3:1 says, "My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation." WL used our ignorance to become our "master", and for this he'll have to answer.
__________________
"Freedom is free. It's slavery that's so horribly expensive" - Colonel Templeton, ret., of the 12th Scottish Highlanders, the 'Black Fusiliers'
aron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2015, 12:18 PM   #31
Ohio
Member
 
Ohio's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Greater Ohio
Posts: 10,556
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by aron View Post

I find that the more I argue here, the more extreme I get, which is why it is crucial for me to consider other, less entrenched points of view.

Even though you're probably in the minority in ascribing positive values to the ministry of WL, this view is still necessary for a conversation to take place.
We can all become hardened in our views the longer we spend here. But then my heart convicts me for not being fair ... Or honest.

These recent articles by Tomes have addressed Lee's adherence to older Christian scholarship, with the complete rejection of the modern. I have seen little to persuade me that, in this regard, Lee displayed serious shotcomings. Christians for centuries have dissed the new in favor of the old, prefering the test of time to vett out the good from the worthless. Music is just another example of this.

It seems to me that the contempory solution to the so-called synoptic problem is to apply later and later dates to the writing of the gospels. Eventually even these "scholars" have realized that probably the authors could not have lived a hundred years or more. Since many, if not most, of the apostles were martyred during Nero's reign of terror, its hard to believe all the Gospels were written post-temple destruction.

Then the "scholars" conclude that perhaps the Gospels are forgeries, and their brand of scholarship creates new side effects to their prescribed medicines.

At one time bother Tomes addressed pertinent issues in LC-world, but now Im not so sure.
__________________
Ohio's motto is: With God all things are possible!.
Keeping all my posts short, quick, living, and to the point!

.
Ohio is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2015, 12:25 PM   #32
Ohio
Member
 
Ohio's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Greater Ohio
Posts: 10,556
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by VoiceInWilderness View Post
John Ingalls, Christian Chen and Bill Mallon published a hymnal. John wanted to include some hymns by WL, but Christian Chen said that WL's name was too soiled. Christian Chen said that it would take 40 years before Christians could receive something by WL. I don't think it would take that long.
I think they also got rejected by LSM's legal copyright department.
__________________
Ohio's motto is: With God all things are possible!.
Keeping all my posts short, quick, living, and to the point!

.
Ohio is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2015, 01:01 PM   #33
Igzy
Member
 
Igzy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Texas
Posts: 3,553
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by VoiceInWilderness View Post
John Ingalls, Christian Chen and Bill Mallon published a hymnal. John wanted to include some hymns by WL, but Christian Chen said that WL's name was too soiled. Christian Chen said that it would take 40 years before Christians could receive something by WL. I don't think it would take that long.
You didn't think it would take that long, or you don't think it will take that long? The way you wrote it mixes time references.

Anyway, Christians will never take anything directly from Lee in any significant numbers. They might take it from someone who passes it along second hand. (As Joyce Meyer already passes along some things from Nee.)

But Lee's time came and went. He traded influence for power. Said another way, instead of making friends he chose to be a big shot. He said many times that if you are going to be famous it's better to have a bad name than a good one. Well, he got the bad name he wanted. So why be surprised no one wants his ministry?

The only eligible group to take Lee's stuff might be evangelicals. And their values are in conflict with Lee's focus on "building the church." No evangelical is going to take that word because they see it as telling the church to neglect the world. And from what we know of LCM history, they are right.

I'm not saying no one should take Lee's ministry. That's a subject for another discussion. I'm just saying people who think they will are dreaming.

Teachers have a limited time window to reach people. Who reads Murray or Tozer anymore? And they are loved, considered orthodox and much more famous. Why should someone read Lee, especially as antagonistic, unorthodox and obscure as he is? Like I said, dreaming.
__________________
Courage is not the absence of fear. It's doing the right thing in the face of fear.
Igzy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2015, 01:36 PM   #34
Igzy
Member
 
Igzy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Texas
Posts: 3,553
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
I think they also got rejected by LSM's legal copyright department.
Several years ago I asked LSM for permission to use some of their songs in our church services. They granted it. But it turned out our worship leader was not interested. I was pretty naive to think he would be because the songs were so out-of-date.

Think of Issac Asimov. Thirty-five years ago he was the most prolific writer of science books for the layman in the world. He wrote about everything. Now, if you are now interested in learning about Physics or Biology, would you buy a book by Asimov, or someone more contemporary? Same with Lee, and he because of his reputation has an even harder hill to climb. Ain't gonna happen. Not without some serious re-writing and repackaging by someone not in the LCM movement, and even then highly unlikely. Bits and pieces will get out, but that's it.

People want new things, not necessarily new content, but they want to know someone contemporary is recommending it. Used bookstores are full of books by forgotten writers, some of whom were even once famous. Sad but that's the reality.
__________________
Courage is not the absence of fear. It's doing the right thing in the face of fear.
Igzy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2015, 07:34 PM   #35
Freedom
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 1,445
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
Several years ago I asked LSM for permission to use some of their songs in our church services. They granted it. But it turned out our worship leader was not interested. I was pretty naive to think he would be because the songs were so out-of-date.

Think of Issac Asimov. Thirty-five years ago he was the most prolific writer of science books for the layman in the world. He wrote about everything. Now, if you are now interested in learning about Physics or Biology, would you buy a book by Asimov, or someone more contemporary? Same with Lee, and he because of his reputation has an even harder hill to climb. Ain't gonna happen. Not without some serious re-writing and repackaging by someone not in the LCM movement, and even then highly unlikely. Bits and pieces will get out, but that's it.

People want new things, not necessarily new content, but they want to know someone contemporary is recommending it. Used bookstores are full of books by forgotten writers, some of whom were even once famous. Sad but that's the reality.
I think a very good point has been made here. Lee was and will continue to remain largely irrelevant. I wish I had understood this a long time ago, but oh well, I guess it takes time to learn. This is a realization that those living in the LC “vacuum” will also have to come to terms with. The perspective of those in the LC is that people just haven’t had a chance to hear about Lee’s “ministry of the age” yet, and that’s why the LC is lacking in numbers and relevancy. I think this is how all these ill-conceived notions have developed regarding things like needing to have a mass distribution of the RcV Bible or certain books of Lee. When these methods don’t work like they say, then all the sudden everything is blamed on “the opposition” to Lee (as if Lee wasn’t at fault for how people perceived his ministry). The LCM really thinks they have something to offer everyone, when the reality is the people could really care less.

Obviously, Lee’s ministry has ended, and since that time nothing new has been introduced besides whatever the current “up-to-date speaking” is. The “up-to-date speaking” is really just a re-speaking or regurgitating of Lee’s ministry, with perhaps the occasional spin needed to push things like the One Publication. With absolutely no room for any type of ministry to be allowed that can actually be applicable to the real needs of LC members, how do they expect the LCM to survive over the long term?
Freedom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2015, 08:40 PM   #36
VoiceInWilderness
Member
 
VoiceInWilderness's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Detroit, MI
Posts: 96
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
You didn't think it would take that long, or you don't think it will take that long? The way you wrote it mixes time references.
I don't think it will take 40 years for some of WL's ministry to be appreciated by Christianity. Just looking at the U.S. & Canada, I would say, Never, like you, but it could happen through China.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
Teachers have a limited time window to reach people. Who reads Murray or Tozer anymore? And they are loved, considered orthodox and much more famous.
Tozer is very popular at ChristianAudio.com. Both books by him and biographies of him. I judge this by the ads put out by Christian audio, and the comments on the site about the books. Lyle Dorsett's popular bio of Tozer is < 10 years old. You don't make a book into an audio book unless it will have sales.
They also have a few Andrew Murray audio books. Not much activity on those.
__________________
Yours in Christ,
Steve Miller
www.voiceInWilderness.info
For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry. - 1 Pet 3:12
VoiceInWilderness is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2015, 09:37 AM   #37
UntoHim
Grateful Servant
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,509
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Freedom View Post
Obviously, Lee’s ministry has ended, and since that time nothing new has been introduced besides whatever the current “up-to-date speaking” is. The “up-to-date speaking” is really just a re-speaking or regurgitating of Lee’s ministry, with perhaps the occasional spin needed to push things like the One Publication. With absolutely no room for any type of ministry to be allowed that can actually be applicable to the real needs of LC members, how do they expect the LCM to survive over the long term?
Great post. How could any group of people calling themselves "The Lord's Recovery" come to a standstill just because a mere man died....unless of course this person was considered something more than a mere man. This is just more proof that Witness Lee's words are to be considered on par with (at least) with the Word of God - Just as the age of the scripture writing apostles ended with the death of the scripture writing apostles, so the age of "the ministry" ended with the death of "the one minister with the one ministry for the age". Just listen to any major conference or semi-annual training message...all these guys do is go over 30-40 year-old outlines. It's really rather sad. May God have mercy.
__________________
Now Unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy (Jude 24)
UntoHim is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2015, 12:16 PM   #38
awareness
Moderator of Alternative Views
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 6,738
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
We can all become hardened in our views the longer we spend here.
Not me. I become softened. When I encounter other views it makes me realize that my views are just one among many.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio
These recent articles by Tomes have addressed Lee's adherence to older Christian scholarship, with the complete rejection of the modern. I have seen little to persuade me that, in this regard, Lee displayed serious shotcomings.
I can't trust Lee concerning anything. If Lee set early dates for the gospels, I'm inclined to later dates, just because it's Lee.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio
Christians for centuries have dissed the new in favor of the old, prefering the test of time to vett out the good from the worthless.
Yes, and has done their best, with burning at the stake, to hold back science, like with Giordano Bruno & Galileo.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio
It seems to me that the contempory solution to the so-called synoptic problem is to apply later and later dates to the writing of the gospels. Eventually even these "scholars" have realized that probably the authors could not have lived a hundred years or more. Since many, if not most, of the apostles were martyred during Nero's reign of terror, its hard to believe all the Gospels were written post-temple destruction.
Let's do a little mind & math game. We're not sure who wrote the gospels but let's say the disciple did. I understand the disciples were young when Jesus recruited them. Let's say they were 20 yrs old when Jesus departed into the clouds. That would mean they were in their early 60s after Jerusalem was sacked. So later dates for the gospels, even if written by disciples, would be possible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio
Then the "scholars" conclude that perhaps the Gospels are forgeries, ...
Well there were forgeries in the primitive Christian days, ascribed to apostles. Like Nee discovered, Christians lie (he should know, he was one). And I'm not completely informed but I haven't run across any Bible scholars that claim the gospels were forgeries. Why? because there's no claims by the gospel writers that they were written by apostles. There's no claim in the gospels of who wrote them. No one signed them. So scholars admit the truth: that the gospels were anonymously written.

But most scholars believe the gospel we call John was written at the end of the 1st c. And I've read some scholars who believe -- based upon Acts 4:13, that John was illiterate -- that John was actually written by the Johannine school in Ephesus, from what they got from John, or maybe dictated by John. It's no coincident, I suppose, that it was in Ephesus that 500 yrs prior Heraclitus coined the word Logos, and the gospel of John opens with the word Logos. I think we owe a debt of gratitude, to that pagan.

God works in mysterious ways. Even today.
__________________

“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We're no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It is simply too painful to acknowledge -- even to ourselves -- that we've been so credulous.” - Carl Sagan
.
awareness is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2015, 07:18 PM   #39
Freedom
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 1,445
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by UntoHim View Post
Great post. How could any group of people calling themselves "The Lord's Recovery" come to a standstill just because a mere man died....unless of course this person was considered something more than a mere man. This is just more proof that Witness Lee's words are to be considered on par with (at least) with the Word of God - Just as the age of the scripture writing apostles ended with the death of the scripture writing apostles, so the age of "the ministry" ended with the death of "the one minister with the one ministry for the age". Just listen to any major conference or semi-annual training message...all these guys do is go over 30-40 year-old outlines. It's really rather sad. May God have mercy.
For many of those in the LC who have been around for awhile, they had the opportunity to either see Lee speak in person or perhaps to meet him. So it is understandable that some of these people appreciate his ministry, since they were there as his ministry happening. For someone like me, however, W. Lee is just a name that I see on LSM books. I wasn't there when he was speaking Life-Study messages, or anything else. So even when people go over his messages again and again or read his footnotes over and over, I don't have the same connection to it as those who have been around while his ministry was happening. In fact, I think I have a rather large disconnect with his ministry.

At one point in time, I really felt that Lee's ministry meant something to me, however, I am beginning to see more and more that his ministry does not meet my needs. Since everyone around me was always so enthusiastic about everything LSM, I was under the impression that I needed to feel that way too. Eventually I convinced myself that Lee's ministry met all my needs. In reality, it was really just a conditioned response.

That is the problem with the younger generation in the LC, they appreciate Lee's ministry because they are made to feel that Lee's ministry is somehow applicable to them. It's a relatively common phenomena, as I have seen many who could care less about Lee's ministry, then they get pressured to attend the FTTA and eventually return as a WL/LSM activist.
Freedom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2015, 07:22 PM   #40
Freedom
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 1,445
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by awareness View Post
I can't trust Lee concerning anything. If Lee set early dates for the gospels, I'm inclined to later dates, just because it's Lee.
I've become the same way. If Lee completely skirted an issue, and then I'm presented with a writing on that issue with a myriad of references, it's not too hard to take a non-Lee position on that issue.
Freedom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2015, 08:37 PM   #41
Ohio
Member
 
Ohio's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Greater Ohio
Posts: 10,556
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by awareness View Post
Let's do a little mind & math game. We're not sure who wrote the gospels but let's say the disciple did. I understand the disciples were young when Jesus recruited them. Let's say they were 20 yrs old when Jesus departed into the clouds. That would mean they were in their early 60s after Jerusalem was sacked. So later dates for the gospels, even if written by disciples, would be possible.
James amd John were the younger cousins of Jesus, so i would agree that they might be 20 years old, or less for John. Matthew, however, was apparently a wealthy and successful tax collector, so it is not reasonable that he was merely 20 years old.

And then the whole discussion begs the questions -- why would Matthew and Mark wait until their death beds to write their stories? Also, how do we know that their gospels were not written over a ten year period? It is very reasonable that fragments were written in rough draft form as the Spirit of God gave them time and remembrance.
__________________
Ohio's motto is: With God all things are possible!.
Keeping all my posts short, quick, living, and to the point!

.
Ohio is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2015, 08:40 PM   #42
Terry
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Renton, Washington
Posts: 3,199
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Freedom View Post
For many of those in the LC who have been around for awhile, they had the opportunity to either see Lee speak in person or perhaps to meet him. So it is understandable that some of these people appreciate his ministry, since they were there as his ministry happening. For someone like me, however, W. Lee is just a name that I see on LSM books. I wasn't there when he was speaking Life-Study messages, or anything else. So even when people go over his messages again and again or read his footnotes over and over, I don't have the same connection to it as those who have been around while his ministry was happening. In fact, I think I have a rather large disconnect with his ministry.
Though I had seen Lee speak at conferences, I never felt connected to his ministry. Witness Lee was just a name I saw on books my parents had on their bookshelf.
Though being raised in the local churches and recognizing the value having been raised in the local churches, "when people go over his messages again and again or read his footnotes over and over", I experience a large disconnect with the churchlife. Now, it's merely a shadow of what it once was. Now it's the real life application of The Emperor's New Clothes. Instead of marveling of the emperor's new clothes, what's being marveled over is the latest and greatest up to date speaking.......:
Terry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2015, 08:40 PM   #43
Ohio
Member
 
Ohio's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Greater Ohio
Posts: 10,556
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by awareness View Post
Not me. I become softened. When I encounter other views it makes me realize that my views are just one among many.
And when have we heard you speak kindly or favorably of Lee or your LC experiences?
__________________
Ohio's motto is: With God all things are possible!.
Keeping all my posts short, quick, living, and to the point!

.
Ohio is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2015, 08:51 PM   #44
Ohio
Member
 
Ohio's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Greater Ohio
Posts: 10,556
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Freedom View Post
For many of those in the LC who have been around for awhile, they had the opportunity to either see Lee speak in person or perhaps to meet him. So it is understandable that some of these people appreciate his ministry, since they were there as his ministry happening.
The meetings in the early days were life-changing for me. A few days into my first training in Anaheim, and i never smoked again, something i was fighting with for months. But it wasnt just Lee and his ministry. It was the fervent spirit in all the saints that created such a dynamic impact on me and others.

Yes, there was leaven in his ministry looking back to those days, but the power of the Holy Spirit was also far too evident, and that's what kept many of us hanging on years after the anointing vanished. The last time i sensed such anointed reality was the Acts training in December of 1984.
__________________
Ohio's motto is: With God all things are possible!.
Keeping all my posts short, quick, living, and to the point!

.
Ohio is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2015, 09:19 PM   #45
awareness
Moderator of Alternative Views
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 6,738
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
And when have we heard you speak kindly or favorably of Lee or your LC experiences?
Good question.

One, I didn't know I needed to, or that it was expected of me.

Two, I'd have to work at it, to come up with kindly or favorably of Lee or my LC experiences.

Three, I sure wouldn't wish to appear to promote Lee and the LC. Cuz I'm convinced I'd be doing others a complete disservice that might buy into my promotion.

But thanks for askin.
__________________

“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We're no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It is simply too painful to acknowledge -- even to ourselves -- that we've been so credulous.” - Carl Sagan
.
awareness is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2015, 08:34 AM   #46
Friedel
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 98
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
James amd John were the younger cousins of Jesus, so i would agree that they might be 20 years old, or less for John. Matthew, however, was apparently a wealthy and successful tax collector, so it is not reasonable that he was merely 20 years old.

And then the whole discussion begs the questions -- why would Matthew and Mark wait until their death beds to write their stories? Also, how do we know that their gospels were not written over a ten year period? It is very reasonable that fragments were written in rough draft form as the Spirit of God gave them time and remembrance.
If anyone is really interested in reading more about the time of writing of the whole New Testament canon, I suggest you download John A. T. Robinson's excellent authoritative and scholarly work, Redating the New Testament, written in 1976. It is free. Just Google it and you will find it on the net.

Robinson was Dean of Trinity College and a prominent liberal theologian. However, this work is not clouded by his theology.
Friedel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2015, 12:54 PM   #47
Terry
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Renton, Washington
Posts: 3,199
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by UntoHim View Post

Given such elitist & sectarian views, it is not surprising that LSM’s ‘Recovery’ existed for decades in self-imposed isolation from the wider Christian community.
Nigel is not the first one to make such a statement. Because of "self-imposed isolation", the Local Churches are out of touch what's going on in local assemblies throughout their communities. The Local Churches I have met with in California and Washington, whenever I hear a brother or sister prophesying what the Local Churches have versus "fallen Christianity", what churches have you visited?
I would contend so-called "fallen Christianity" has done more to be built with their communities and express "loving your neighbor as yourself" than I ever recall seeing in the Local Churches.
Terry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2015, 02:25 PM   #48
awareness
Moderator of Alternative Views
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 6,738
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
James amd John were the younger cousins of Jesus, so i would agree that they might be 20 years old, or less for John. Matthew, however, was apparently a wealthy and successful tax collector, so it is not reasonable that he was merely 20 years old.
The problem is that we're given so little information from the gospels. So we fill in the gaps with guesses; like James and John were cousins of Jesus. Where's that in the gospels?

And like, "Matthew was a wealthy tax collector." We get this from Matthew 9:9, but no mention of wealthy:

Mat 9:9 And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.

The problem with this verse is if Matthew wrote it why did he write it in the third person? Why didn't he write something like this:

And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw [me], Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto [me], Follow me. And [I] arose, and followed him.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio
And then the whole discussion begs the questions -- why would Matthew and Mark wait until their death beds to write their stories?
Maybe they didn't. Maybe Matthew and Mark are compilations, like Luke admits his is, in his opening verses.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio
Also, how do we know that their gospels were not written over a ten year period? It is very reasonable that fragments were written in rough draft form as the Spirit of God gave them time and remembrance.
Truth is we can't know that may facts from back then. No one signed the gospels so we don't know who wrote them. And we just have to guess at the dates they we written.

But Witness Lee's claim to an early date for the gospels wasn't sold as a guess. The MOTA said it so it had to be true.
__________________

“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We're no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It is simply too painful to acknowledge -- even to ourselves -- that we've been so credulous.” - Carl Sagan
.
awareness is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2015, 02:46 PM   #49
Ohio
Member
 
Ohio's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Greater Ohio
Posts: 10,556
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by awareness View Post
The problem is that we're given so little information from the gospels. So we fill in the gaps with guesses; like James and John were cousins of Jesus. Where's that in the gospels?

And like, "Matthew was a wealthy tax collector."

The problem with this verse is if Matthew wrote it why did he write it in the third person? Why didn't he write something like this:

And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw [me], Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto [me], Follow me. And [I] arose, and followed him.

Maybe they didn't. Maybe Matthew and Mark are compilations, like Luke admits his is, in his opening verses.

Truth is we can't know that may facts from back then. No one signed the gospels so we don't know who wrote them. And we just have to guess at the dates they we written.

But Witness Lee's claim to an early date for the gospels wasn't sold as a guess. The MOTA said it so it had to be true.
The mothers of Jesus, James, and John were sisters. You have to study the accounts.

Matthew had a career, a big house, threw a huge party, and invited many people to see Jesus. Obviously he had some measure of success, and was not a teenager.

No, Lee made the claim because all the old scholars made that claim for the early date of Matthew.

It is common for writers to write in the third person, why some people even talk that way today. Where have you been?

We dont need a signatures to know who wrote the four gospels. We know them already. Even if we had fingerprint authorization on his I-phone, guys like you would still claim it to be bogus.
__________________
Ohio's motto is: With God all things are possible!.
Keeping all my posts short, quick, living, and to the point!

.
Ohio is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2015, 04:06 PM   #50
aron
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Wedemark, Lower Saxony
Posts: 4,368
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by awareness View Post
When I encounter other views it makes me realize that my views are just one among many.
But when I argue my ideas, it seems like I become increasingly shrill. Like, "For the umpteenth time, here's my point! Why don't you all just get it??" (And the audience groans, "Oh no, not the Psalms again!)

When we hear others speak their minds, we have an opportunity to incorporate their points of view into our own. Sometimes that incorporation includes a fundamental re-assessment. But usually, I think, we accept what lines up with our pre-dispositions, and ignore (or downplay) the rest.

As I've written before (audience groans again) the ekklesia is a great place to get right-sized. When we realize that everybody isn't going to stampede after our every utterance, then we have to consider that, as awareness said, there are other views out there besides our own.

So the best thing that's happened to me is that I've posted here repeatedly on this forum, and still haven't convinced everyone that I am God's chosen oracle on the earth today. Were that so, what would have happened to my poor ego? I'm already an insufferable know-it-all!
__________________
"Freedom is free. It's slavery that's so horribly expensive" - Colonel Templeton, ret., of the 12th Scottish Highlanders, the 'Black Fusiliers'
aron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2015, 08:18 PM   #51
VoiceInWilderness
Member
 
VoiceInWilderness's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Detroit, MI
Posts: 96
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
The meetings in the early days were life-changing for me. A few days into my first training in Anaheim, and i never smoked again, something i was fighting with for months. But it wasnt just Lee and his ministry. It was the fervent spirit in all the saints that created such a dynamic impact on me and others.

Yes, there was leaven in his ministry looking back to those days, but the power of the Holy Spirit was also far too evident, and that's what kept many of us hanging on years after the anointing vanished. The last time i sensed such anointed reality was the Acts training in December of 1984.
When I went to a love feast in the church in Cleveland, I never saw people that were genuinely happy like that before. Families invited me over for dinner, and I thought to myself, as an unbelieving Jew, This is how people should live. Everything here is blessed.

When I got saved & baptized in the church in Cleveland about 6 mos later, in Feb, 1975, I was rubbing my heart, it felt so good. I told my friend who came with me that it was worth a whole lifetime of sorrow.

I went to my first training in Anaheim in the summer, 1975 on Hebrews, at which I consecrated my life to Christ and the church. At the 2nd Hebrews training in Dec, 1975, after testifying about the indestructible life, I was so filled with the Spirit. It seemed like I saw a flow coming from WL on the platform going out over the whole audience, and it was coming up like a little geyser from some people and a big geyser was coming up from me.

1984 was a big turning point for the worse. WL said that anyone who doesn't agree with him should leave like a gentleman.

I remember the Isaiah training in 1991, I thought was very good. It was mostly the songs about Isaiah that I enjoyed. When I went back to listen to the message tapes, there wasn't much there. Spending 10 days or 7 days, fully occupied with the Lord and His word, was a great invigorator, even if I didn't get much from the messages.

It was a different experience staying in a hotel than staying in hospitality. Hospitality was both more of a cross and also much more of the Lord. With the video training there wasn't the full occupation with the Lord for 7 days.
__________________
Yours in Christ,
Steve Miller
www.voiceInWilderness.info
For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry. - 1 Pet 3:12
VoiceInWilderness is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2015, 08:26 PM   #52
awareness
Moderator of Alternative Views
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 6,738
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Bro Ohio,

Let's have a Bible battle. You can prolly look forward to the joy of winning ... but I'll give it try ... just for fun. I gave up tracking my life by the Bible decades ago ... and lost much of what I had memorized back in the LC.

So you say they were cousins. But Mark's account differs:

Mar 6:3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.

And this is extra-biblical but it provides a window into how the 2nd c. fathers, that applied the names to the gospels, thought back then:

"There are four principle winds, four pillars that hold up the sky, and four
corners of the universe; therefore, it is only right that there be four
gospels."
-- Church father Irenaeus, late 2nd century


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio
It is common for writers to write in the third person, why some people even talk that way today. Where have you been?
So you are telling me that Matthew was writing about the most important person in all history, that carried eternal consequences for the whole world and all of mankind, that he, Matthew, was an eyewitness to, but he decided to write his gospel as if he weren't an eyewitness. Sorry, that just doesn't make sense to me. What does make sense to me is that whoever wrote Matthew used Mark, and other sources, such as Q, and M, to compile it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio
We dont need a signatures to know who wrote the four gospels. We know them already. Even if we had fingerprint authorization on his I-phone, guys like you would still claim it to be bogus.
Oh that's not true. If the gospels had been signed all the scholars would accept it as fact, and me too. Instead it is a fact that the names of the gospels, or "according to" was added to them in the 2nd c.

Or were those that applied the names to the gospels miraculously inspired of God too? Where's the Bible state that?
__________________

“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We're no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It is simply too painful to acknowledge -- even to ourselves -- that we've been so credulous.” - Carl Sagan
.
awareness is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2015, 08:27 PM   #53
UntoHim
Grateful Servant
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,509
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by aron View Post
But when I argue my ideas, it seems like I become increasingly shrill. Like, "For the umpteenth time, here's my point! Why don't you all just get it??" (And the audience groans, "Oh no, not the Psalms again!)
When we hear others speak their minds, we have an opportunity to incorporate their points of view into our own. Sometimes that incorporation includes a fundamental re-assessment. But usually, I think, we accept what lines up with our pre-dispositions, and ignore (or downplay) the rest.
As I've written before (audience groans again) the ekklesia is a great place to get right-sized. When we realize that everybody isn't going to stampede after our every utterance, then we have to consider that, as awareness said, there are other views out there besides our own.
So the best thing that's happened to me is that I've posted here repeatedly on this forum, and still haven't convinced everyone that I am God's chosen oracle on the earth today. Were that so, what would have happened to my poor ego? I'm already an insufferable know-it-all!
****Pretty Much What This Forum Is All About****

Thanks aron for yet another post that really encapsulates what this forum is all about. I would make it the featured post but I don't won't the audience to groan yet again.

I fear that any of us who were in the Local Church for any length of time are going to be an "insufferable know-it-all" for the rests of our natural-born lives. (some of us were this way by nature, but being in "God's one move on earth" only increased this dynamic)

The two major themes of this forum are:
1) To help each other come to the full knowledge and reality of God - God the Father, the one and only true God, his Son Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, and the Spirit of Truth, who proceeds from the Father and the Son and is guiding us into all Truth.
---------------------------------------------------------
2) To help our dear brothers and sisters in the Local Churches to the full knowledge and reality of God - God the Father, the one and only true God, his Son Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, and the Spirit of Truth, who proceeds from the Father and the Son and is guiding us into all Truth.

As the Admin of this little popcorn stand, I will do anything within my power, time and resources to make these two goals to come to fruition. But this little dream of mine will only come about by the participation of brothers and sisters like all of you out there reading this post. And this does include dear and concerned brothers like Nigel Tomes, who has taken a considerable amount of his valuable time to produce such a work as is posted on this thread. Since this matter involves the Gospels, it is indeed as important as anything can be.

So, let's carry on and focus on what Dr. Tomes has given us!
__________________
Now Unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy (Jude 24)
UntoHim is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2015, 09:20 PM   #54
Ohio
Member
 
Ohio's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Greater Ohio
Posts: 10,556
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by awareness View Post
Bro Ohio,

Let's have a Bible battle. You can prolly look forward to the joy of winning ... but I'll give it try ... just for fun. I gave up tracking my life by the Bible decades ago ... and lost much of what I had memorized back in the LC.

So you say they were cousins. But Mark's account differs:

Mar 6:3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.

And this is extra-biblical but it provides a window into how the 2nd c. fathers, that applied the names to the gospels, thought back then:

"There are four principle winds, four pillars that hold up the sky, and four
corners of the universe; therefore, it is only right that there be four
gospels."
-- Church father Irenaeus, late 2nd century


So you are telling me that Matthew was writing about the most important person in all history, that carried eternal consequences for the whole world and all of mankind, that he, Matthew, was an eyewitness to, but he decided to write his gospel as if he weren't an eyewitness. Sorry, that just doesn't make sense to me. What does make sense to me is that whoever wrote Matthew used Mark, and other sources, such as Q, and M, to compile it.

Oh that's not true. If the gospels had been signed all the scholars would accept it as fact, and me too. Instead it is a fact that the names of the gospels, or "according to" was added to them in the 2nd c.

Or were those that applied the names to the gospels miraculously inspired of God too? Where's the Bible state that?
Yo awareness ... Im on vacation ... Ill get in trouble if i do bible study.

The verse you quoted .. That James is the brother of the Lord, the one who wrote the epistle, not the cousin of the Lord who was a disciple and murdered by Herod. Compare John 19.25 and Matthew 27.56

When john wrote his gospel, he referred to himself as the disciple whom He loved.
__________________
Ohio's motto is: With God all things are possible!.
Keeping all my posts short, quick, living, and to the point!

.
Ohio is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-12-2015, 11:49 AM   #55
awareness
Moderator of Alternative Views
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 6,738
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
Yo awareness ... Im on vacation ... Ill get in trouble if i do bible study.

The verse you quoted .. That James is the brother of the Lord, the one who wrote the epistle, not the cousin of the Lord who was a disciple and murdered by Herod. Compare John 19.25 and Matthew 27.56
Round #1:

Awareness comes out swinging, and lands a right hook with Mark 6:3; the brothers and sisters of Jesus.

The blow doesn't faze Ohio, who comes back with a one-two combo with John 19:25 & Matthew 27:56; the mothers of the cousins of Jesus.

Awareness falls back and his knees can be seen to buckle ... but he still manages a few swings, with John 11:16; 20:24; & 21:2; Thomas called Didymus, or the twin. But the swings are wild.

The bell rings. Ohio bounces back to his corner. Awareness, saved by the bell, stumbles to his stool.

Commentary:
There's a belief among the early Gnostics, and reveal by the codices preserved by God in a cave near Nag Hammadi, Egypt that Thomas was the twin of Jesus. ->http://gnosis.org/thomasbook/intro.html

It is believed that the Gnostic codices were hidden away when Athanasius of Alexandria wrote the 39th Festal Letter in 367ad, establishing the NT canon, and stamping out the Gnostics and their Thomas writings. But God saved them. Praise Him.

What does two identical Jesus'es do to the gospel story?
__________________

“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We're no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It is simply too painful to acknowledge -- even to ourselves -- that we've been so credulous.” - Carl Sagan
.
awareness is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-12-2015, 12:15 PM   #56
Ohio
Member
 
Ohio's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Greater Ohio
Posts: 10,556
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by awareness View Post
What do two identical Jesus's do to the gospel story?
It does nothing.

What about the Father's Only Begotten Son?

My question is this: Why do you so readily believe all the crackpots in this world for the last 2000 years, and not fight the good fight of the faith to simply believe what God has given us?
__________________
Ohio's motto is: With God all things are possible!.
Keeping all my posts short, quick, living, and to the point!

.
Ohio is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-12-2015, 08:14 PM   #57
awareness
Moderator of Alternative Views
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 6,738
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
It does nothing.

What about the Father's Only Begotten Son?

My question is this: Why do you so readily believe all the crackpots in this world for the last 2000 years, ...
What I readily believe is that there are an abundance of crackpots, and there has been since Christianity began.

And I don't know what faith you are talking about, that I should be fighting a fight for. Faith in what, specifically?

But back to Dr. Tomes. What Tomes reveals the most to me is that Lee wasn't getting his ministry from God, but from scholars and theologians from the past.

This may be why Lee's economy of God turned out to be artificial. Or something that had the appearance of a move of God but without God behind it, or doing it. Why? because Lee contrived it. God wasn't needed ... just a bunch of Bible verses, to make it sound like God. Lee was a ruse, or he was delusional. Whichever, God wasn't doing what Lee said He was doing.
__________________

“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We're no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It is simply too painful to acknowledge -- even to ourselves -- that we've been so credulous.” - Carl Sagan
.
awareness is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-13-2015, 10:37 PM   #58
Freedom
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 1,445
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by awareness View Post
But back to Dr. Tomes. What Tomes reveals the most to me is that Lee wasn't getting his ministry from God, but from scholars and theologians from the past.

This may be why Lee's economy of God turned out to be artificial. Or something that had the appearance of a move of God but without God behind it, or doing it. Why? because Lee contrived it. God wasn't needed ... just a bunch of Bible verses, to make it sound like God. Lee was a ruse, or he was delusional. Whichever, God wasn't doing what Lee said He was doing.
What I think that Dr. Tomes has done best (in this writing and others) is to show how narrow and selective Lee was with the references that he used. In all the Life-Study messages that I read, I could probably count on one hand the variety of references that he cited. In other words, he used the same set of references over and over.

In many cases, I think Lee's narrowness led to his absurd conclusions like the subject of whole Bible being "God's Economy". Sure it all sounds good to LC members, but Tomes has demonstrated how fragile Lee's theology really is. That's not to say Tomes is right or everyone should agree with his view. If nothing else, it just shows that there is more than one side to all these issues that are discussed. That is something that the LC negelects and even attempts to stop, that is, discussing or "exploring" a topic. Maybe that is why I appreciate Dr. Tomes writings.
Freedom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-14-2015, 01:34 PM   #59
OBW
Member
 
OBW's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: DFW area
Posts: 3,953
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Freedom View Post
What I think that Dr. Tomes has done best (in this writing and others) is to show how narrow and selective Lee was with the references that he used. In all the Life-Study messages that I read, I could probably count on one hand the variety of references that he cited. In other words, he used the same set of references over and over.

In many cases, I think Lee's narrowness led to his absurd conclusions like the subject of whole Bible being "God's Economy". Sure it all sounds good to LC members, but Tomes has demonstrated how fragile Lee's theology really is. That's not to say Tomes is right or everyone should agree with his view. If nothing else, it just shows that there is more than one side to all these issues that are discussed. That is something that the LC negelects and even attempts to stop, that is, discussing or "exploring" a topic. Maybe that is why I appreciate Dr. Tomes writings.
I would agree with this. Even if this particular issue is not so important, it is yet one more example of the shallowness of the resources that were the underpinning for Lee's "rich ministry."

I guess if you dismiss most of the scholars and commentators, you can simplify the Bible down to whatever you want it to be.
__________________
Mike
I once thought I was. . . . but I may have been mistaken — Edge (with apologies)
OBW is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-14-2015, 03:48 PM   #60
aron
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Wedemark, Lower Saxony
Posts: 4,368
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
I guess if you dismiss most of the scholars and commentators, you can simplify the Bible down to whatever you want it to be.
Or, "What's left, when you're always right?"
__________________
"Freedom is free. It's slavery that's so horribly expensive" - Colonel Templeton, ret., of the 12th Scottish Highlanders, the 'Black Fusiliers'
aron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2015, 01:05 PM   #61
Terry
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Renton, Washington
Posts: 3,199
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Freedom View Post
If nothing else, it just shows that there is more than one side to all these issues that are discussed. That is something that the LC negelects and even attempts to stop, that is, discussing or "exploring" a topic. Maybe that is why I appreciate Dr. Tomes writings.
Prior to "fellowship@coworkers.net" issue I had never heard of Nigel Tomes. Over time I have come to appreciate what he has to say even though my preference would be to focus on practices that issue in division.

I believe from the pro-LSM perspective, brothers tend to rely on the basis Witness Lee was not in error. Maintaining that position has proven to be sinking sand.
Terry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2015, 02:19 PM   #62
Ohio
Member
 
Ohio's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Greater Ohio
Posts: 10,556
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry View Post
Prior to "fellowship@coworkers.net" issue I had never heard of Nigel Tomes. Over time I have come to appreciate what he has to say even though my preference would be to focus on practices that issue in division.

I believe from the pro-LSM perspective, brothers tend to rely on the basis Witness Lee was not in error. Maintaining that position has proven to be sinking sand.
Some of the members of this forum tend to get a little bristled when I speak of how the Recovery once enjoyed God's blessing, but Nigel Tomes is an illustration of this. There was a time when he was a tenured (or almost) Professor of Economics. I believe his PhD was fron the Univ of Chicago. He was called by the Lord to give that career up to serve by faith in the Recovery. He would say the Lord directed him to pay such a price. He willingly served under the direction of Lee and Chu. Obviously by his writings, Tomes was nobody's fool or lackey.

Today we can read dozens of articles by Tomes which correct LC teachings in the light of scripture and contemporary Christian scholarship. Over the years since Tomes was called by God, the teachings and practices of LC leadership have drifted further and further from the truth. The quarantine of Titus Chu only served to bring these errors out of hiding and into the forefront.
__________________
Ohio's motto is: With God all things are possible!.
Keeping all my posts short, quick, living, and to the point!

.
Ohio is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2015, 03:02 PM   #63
UntoHim
Grateful Servant
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,509
Default Keep it up Nigel!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
Today we can read dozens of articles by Tomes which correct LC teachings in the light of scripture and contemporary Christian scholarship.
I appreciate Nigel as the first former LC leader to have the fortitude and integrity to expose the teachings of Witness Lee as woefully wanting when it comes to genuine biblical scholarship. Can anyone imagine someone using the term "Ignorance" when it comes to Lee's teachings, even just 10 years ago? And let's not forget he is not just throwing things up against the wall to see if something sticks....he is doing a substantial amount of scholarly research and producing some fine polemic works.

Keep it up Nigel! Eventually I wouldn't be surprised to see Tomes start hitting on some of the most cherished of Lee's teachings......Stay tuned!


Quote:
Over the years since Tomes was called by God, the teachings and practices of LC leadership have drifted further and further from the truth. The quarantine of Titus Chu only served to bring these errors out of hiding and into the forefront.
Actually I have a slightly different take on this. I think the majority of the major teachings of Witness Lee were steeped in serious error from the beginning, even going back to the early days in Taiwan. (and I think Nigel Tomes, as well as most former members, are coming to this realization). Of course your point about the quarantine is very well taken, and there is little doubt now that it was a ginormous blessing in disguise for Nigel and numerous brothers and sisters in the GLA. Nevertheless, I think the errors were only "in hiding" to those of us who were blinded and mesmerized by the wit and charm of a very talented false prophet. From nearly the beginning of "The Lord's Recovery" here in America, not just a few Christian apologists and scholars were pointing out these serious errors (even if they were doing the pointing in a judgmental and unkind spirit, the errors were still there and worthy of being pointed out).
__________________
Now Unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy (Jude 24)
UntoHim is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2015, 07:34 PM   #64
Freedom
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 1,445
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by UntoHim View Post
Actually I have a slightly different take on this. I think the majority of the major teachings of Witness Lee were steeped in serious error from the beginning, even going back to the early days in Taiwan. (and I think Nigel Tomes, as well as most former members, are coming to this realization). Of course your point about the quarantine is very well taken, and there is little doubt now that it was a ginormous blessing in disguise for Nigel and numerous brothers and sisters in the GLA. Nevertheless, I think the errors were only "in hiding" to those of us who were blinded and mesmerized by the wit and charm of a very talented false prophet. From nearly the beginning of "The Lord's Recovery" here in America, not just a few Christian apologists and scholars were pointing out these serious errors (even if they were doing the pointing in a judgmental and unkind spirit, the errors were still there and worthy of being pointed out).
It seems that with those who have left the LC, there is a wide variation with how much they've distanced themselves with the teachings of Lee. It's obvious that many of those here have moved on (probably moreso that the average ex-LC member). I know of people who have left the LC because of their frustrations with it, but it's obvious that they still feel the ground of locality doctrine is the only correct basis by which to meet. If they were to start attending a church again it would be with a LC. I think there are plenty out there who have never stopped for a minute to consider whether any of the LC teachings were wrong or not, they just realized that the LC didn't work for them, not understanding why that was the case.

Before I joined this forum, my concern was mostly with certain practices or situations that devolved because of LC practices. I knew that I was bothered about some of the LC teachings, but it was really hard to put my finger on it, because basically all I knew as a Christian was based on what I had got in the LC. It didn't really occur to me that there was any possibility that there could be something fundamentally wrong with any one of Lee's teachings. I was just concerned with how I was affected by the LC.

I have seen some discussion here about the phenomena of LC members who are in and out of the LC over the years. They meet for awhile, then stop, then start meeting again, and they cycle repeats itself endlessly. It is easy for me to understand why this occurs, because in regards to LC practices, it's easy to come up short and feel that you can't make the cut. I've been like this before with certain meetings I was involved with. The cycle always repeated itself, because I didn't ask the bigger questions that I should have been asking. When I first started to comptemplate things on a little deeper level, the first realization I had was that my unhappiness with the LC wasn't my own fault. It was directly related to certain LC practices.

It was tempting to just stop at that, thinking that if the LC were to rid itself of certain practices, all would be well and good. Eventually I became more interested in becoming more informed about Lee's teachings, and how those teachings compared with everyone else. That is where I really began to see that the LC couldn't just be "fixed" by changing a few things here and there.

That is where Nigel comes in. I am glad that he has taken the time to critique some of Lee's teachings in detail. There is really no one out there who has attempted to do that. I will admit that it has always made me a bit uncomfortable to read his writings, because it challenges everything that I thought that I knew, everything that I got from the LC. That's not to say that I agree 100% with what Nigel writes, but I think it is worth reading. To me, it is the whole idea of moving on beyond just realizing that some LC practices are wrong. I think that trying to consider some of Lee's teachings that have gone unchecked is well worth the time.
Freedom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2015, 07:53 PM   #65
Freedom
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 1,445
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

One more thing that I wanted to add is that I've seen plenty LC members who are "unhappy". They also can't point their finger on what's really wrong, they just know something is wrong. I've seen people who have been around 30 or more years and it's obvious they are quite disillusioned with it all.

Some think the solution might be to "church hop" between localities (I've seen people do this). They leave one LC for another thinking that the grass is greener on the other side. Obviously, the real issues go unaddressed. When they finally get fed up with it all, there are now plenty of writings on the internet that address various concerns that LC members might have in common.

I was always surprised how much I could related to, even though events and circumstances were different, the patterns are the same. With Nigel's writings that challenge both Lee's fundamental teachings and the ones I never thought to consider, I feel more confident making that extra step, rather than just wishing that I could "fix" the LC.
Freedom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2015, 08:21 PM   #66
UntoHim
Grateful Servant
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,509
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Thanks again Freedom. Your post encapsulates one of the major reasons why this forum exists - to be a venue for current and former LC members to at least read about (if not participate in) discussions regarding what they "can't point their finger on what's really wrong". Over the many years on these forums, it never ceases to amaze me of how the experiences and observations of so many current and former Local Church members help "fill in the blanks" for those of us seeking to make some sense of it all.
__________________
Now Unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy (Jude 24)
UntoHim is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-17-2015, 08:05 PM   #67
InOmnibusCaritas
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 56
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Hi all,

I'm Steven and I'm the one referenced in the footnotes of Nigel's article.

I've been out of the LC circle since the quarantine (although my whole family is still in it).

I hope to be able to contribute toward helping the saints to re-orientate themselves in post-Recovery faith.
InOmnibusCaritas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2015, 07:50 AM   #68
Igzy
Member
 
Igzy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Texas
Posts: 3,553
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by InOmnibusCaritas View Post
Hi all,

I'm Steven and I'm the one referenced in the footnotes of Nigel's article.

I've been out of the LC circle since the quarantine (although my whole family is still in it).

I hope to be able to contribute toward helping the saints to re-orientate themselves in post-Recovery faith.
Welcome Steven!

I'm sure you have a lot to offer. That's what this board is about, helping others.
__________________
Courage is not the absence of fear. It's doing the right thing in the face of fear.
Igzy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2015, 08:21 AM   #69
Ohio
Member
 
Ohio's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Greater Ohio
Posts: 10,556
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by InOmnibusCaritas View Post
Hi all,

I'm Steven and I'm the one referenced in the footnotes of Nigel's article.

I've been out of the LC circle since the quarantine (although my whole family is still in it).

I hope to be able to contribute toward helping the saints to re-orientate themselves in post-Recovery faith.
Welcome!

I like your moniker, "In all things charity."

The Latin studies of my youth in the RCC come in handy sometimes.
__________________
Ohio's motto is: With God all things are possible!.
Keeping all my posts short, quick, living, and to the point!

.
Ohio is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2015, 11:31 AM   #70
InOmnibusCaritas
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 56
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
Welcome!

I like your moniker, "In all things charity."

The Latin studies of my youth in the RCC come in handy sometimes.
The full quote is in necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas, traditionally attributed to St. Augustine
InOmnibusCaritas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2015, 02:28 PM   #71
Ohio
Member
 
Ohio's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Greater Ohio
Posts: 10,556
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by InOmnibusCaritas View Post
The full quote is in necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas, traditionally attributed to St. Augustine
Yes, "in necessities unity, in the doubtful liberty, in all things charity."

Words worth repeating.
__________________
Ohio's motto is: With God all things are possible!.
Keeping all my posts short, quick, living, and to the point!

.
Ohio is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-22-2015, 10:07 AM   #72
Unregistered
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

First, they don't censor the broadcast. I actually heard this message about Jezabel and they exposed the apostate church. But I do understand that truth hurts. Christ didnt like the religious pharasies of that day nor the religious people today who put religion above Christ.

So you think there isnt anything seriously wrong with the Catholic Church?
I thought we confess our sins to Christ, not man who calls himself "father" or pray to dead people like Mary or the like?
They may claim they have Christ and I'm sure they may but is it pure or a mixture? Can you mix righteousness with unrighteousness? Getting upset at Lee for hating the things of the enemy, which God hates as well (anger is neutral) is silly and petty. No one is perfect, the key is getting the gems from each member of Christ and build one another in Chirst.
  Reply With Quote
Old 12-22-2015, 03:05 PM   #73
Freedom
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 1,445
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
First, they don't censor the broadcast. I actually heard this message about Jezabel and they exposed the apostate church. But I do understand that truth hurts. Christ didnt like the religious pharasies of that day nor the religious people today who put religion above Christ.

So you think there isnt anything seriously wrong with the Catholic Church?
I thought we confess our sins to Christ, not man who calls himself "father" or pray to dead people like Mary or the like?
They may claim they have Christ and I'm sure they may but is it pure or a mixture? Can you mix righteousness with unrighteousness? Getting upset at Lee for hating the things of the enemy, which God hates as well (anger is neutral) is silly and petty. No one is perfect, the key is getting the gems from each member of Christ and build one another in Chirst.
I haven't listened to the broadcasts, so I don't know what they have or haven't said. I have always noticed the tendency of LC members to be unforthcoming about many of the unspoken teachings and practices. There is a goal to present a "milder" view of the LC to outsiders, until they are deemed "ready" for the real deal. When I was in college, we were always told to not bring "new ones" to a Lord's table meeting right away. We were told that we had to wait until they were "ready". Maybe the brothers felt that the home meetings were less likely to scare them away. Anyways, I think you get the point.

Regardless of how the LC has been presented to outsiders, the actions of leaders is purely hypocritical. In the Life-Study of Revelation, WL stated that "Christendom has become an organ of Satan." With this in mind, consider the sheer hypocrisy of LC leaders working together with Hank Hanegraaff of the CRI to "affirm" the teachings of WL and the local churches. This whole process was done through an organization that is part of "Christendom". LC leaders have also gained membership to the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association. As others have pointed out numerous times, all these activities are part of the LC "building a bridge" to the Christianity that they so harshly criticized in the past.

So explain this to me: if LC leaders indeed believe what WL said, why have they involved themselves with these organizations? The only viable explanation would be that they have been using such organizations as a platform to gain legitimacy, all the while, still attacking and criticizing Christians behind the doors of their meeting halls. Had there been a sincere change of heart regarding their relationship with other Christians, then they should have thrown out and rejected all of the attacks that WL made in his ministry.

Regarding the Catholic Church, I don't affirm their teachings, but the way that WL spoke about them was unwarranted.
Freedom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-22-2015, 07:59 PM   #74
HERn
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 717
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
I thought we confess our sins to Christ, not man who calls himself "father" or pray to dead people like Mary or the like? .
Don't know for sure, but I would bet that some of the super blended brothers have prayed to WL. They are already worried about what they will say to him in the resurrection. It's not too big of a step for them to pray to him now.
__________________
Christ cares for all His sheep in whatever group.
HERn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-22-2015, 08:28 PM   #75
OBW
Member
 
OBW's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: DFW area
Posts: 3,953
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
So you think there isnt anything seriously wrong with the Catholic Church?
I thought we confess our sins to Christ, not man . . .
The thing that bugs me about the complaints are that there are probably a couple of truly problem practices and then a lot of things that are just not our way and we label it all "bad."

The one I mention is one of the latter. Scripture clearly tells us to confess our sins one to another. And no matter how you want to nuance it, the scripture also makes reference to man forgiving sins. Maybe not like the priest is believed to do it.

But is that according to the true RCC doctrine, or the dogma of the people?

In any case, in the only RCC mass I ever attended, the priest clearly stated that the forgiveness of sins is only through the once for all sacrifice of Christ. So maybe we are busy acting like initial salvation is all that there is, therefore the other items are irrelevant. That would be a Lee position for sure. His "full gospel" was far from full. More like gutted.
__________________
Mike
I once thought I was. . . . but I may have been mistaken — Edge (with apologies)
OBW is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-22-2015, 08:40 PM   #76
Unregistered
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

hi to another Unregistered.
'Christ didnt like the religious pharasies of that day nor the religious people today who put religion above Christ. '
Put 'NeeLeeWee religion above Christ'. Truth hurts.
Put 'Economy of God doctrine above God'. Truth hurts.
Jesus heals.
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28.
  Reply With Quote
Old 12-22-2015, 08:42 PM   #77
aron
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Wedemark, Lower Saxony
Posts: 4,368
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
Scripture clearly tells us to confess our sins one to another. And no matter how you want to nuance it, the scripture also makes reference to man forgiving sins. Maybe not like the priest is believed to do it.
The few times I tried to "confess my sins" to the LC brethren they were clearly uncomfortable, listening to my imperfections. They weren't programmed to deal with human imperfection. Just call on the Lord, three times loudly, and it will all go away.
__________________
"Freedom is free. It's slavery that's so horribly expensive" - Colonel Templeton, ret., of the 12th Scottish Highlanders, the 'Black Fusiliers'
aron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-23-2015, 12:10 PM   #78
Freedom
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 1,445
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
hi to another Unregistered.
'Christ didnt like the religious pharasies of that day nor the religious people today who put religion above Christ. '
Put 'NeeLeeWee religion above Christ'. Truth hurts.
Put 'Economy of God doctrine above God'. Truth hurts.
Jesus heals.
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28.
There are also some striking parallels between the LC and the RCC, such as the notion of papal infallibility. We all know who the LC 'paper pope' is. Not surprisingly, he is deemed to be infallible and anyone who thinks otherwise can expect to be excommunicated.

So I hope the other unregistered poster can explain to us why the LC is so much better than the RCC.
Freedom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-23-2015, 01:03 PM   #79
Terry
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Renton, Washington
Posts: 3,199
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Freedom View Post
I have always noticed the tendency of LC members to be unforthcoming about many of the unspoken teachings and practices. There is a goal to present a "milder" view of the LC to outsiders, until they are deemed "ready" for the real deal. When I was in college, we were always told to not bring "new ones" to a Lord's table meeting right away. We were told that we had to wait until they were "ready". Maybe the brothers felt that the home meetings were less likely to scare them away. Anyways, I think you get the point.
Milder? Watered down and diluted work too. In the home meetings you weren't likely to hear non-LSM Christianity besmirched.
I have heard much of the same. Not to bring "new ones" to a table meeting right away. There is a process of indoctrination to prepare a new one with the culture of LTM. Otherwise the brothers do not want to be asked the questions new ones will be asking.
__________________
"Even a neutral has a right to take account of facts, even a neutral cannot be asked to close his mind or close his conscience."- Franklin D. Roosevelt
Terry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2016, 08:22 PM   #80
testallthings
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 297
Default Re: LSM’s Ignorance of the Synoptic Problem - Tomes

“Every book of the Bible is impregnated with the marks of its writer”—W. Nee

Watchman Nee and therefore each expressed the unique characteristics of its (sole) human author. He says,23 “In studying the Bible, we find that every writer has his special characteristics. The Gospel of Matthew is different from the Gospel of Mark, and the Gospel of Mark is different from the Gospel of Luke...Moreover, we can observe that every writer uses idiomatic expressions which are distinctly his own. Luke was a doctor...he freely used medical terms. The other three writers...only described these ailments in general terms...Every Gospel has distinctive terminologies and themes...All these are unique characteristics of the writers. Every book of the Bible is impregnated with the marks of its writer, yet every book remains very much the word of God.” Plus he states,24 “each writer used his own special terminology, and his writing contained his own feelings, thoughts, and human elements.” W. Nee emphasizes the imprint of the unique author’s characteristics, “his own feelings, thoughts, and human elements,” on his writing. Thus, “every book...is impregnated with the marks of its [own] writer.” Clearly W. Nee did not contemplate one author incorporating another’s writing so that one gospel could be “impregnated with the marks” of several writers. In that case (we ask) wouldn’t it also contain the “feelings, thoughts, and human elements” of other writers? Watchman Nee implicitly ruled out this possibility as a viable option.


I strongly disagree on this point with Dr. Nigel Tomes. Quoting from the same section he quotes, but including a little more,
“If one reads the New Testament carefully, it is clear that Paul frequently used words that Peter never used. John used some words that Matthew never used. Some words are found only in Luke's writings, while others are found only in Mark's writings.”

This point is so obvious. Some words were used only by certain writers. How can a writer use all the words that are different from those another one has used?

“In studying the Bible, we find that every writer has his special characteristics. The Gospel of Matthew is different from the Gospel of Mark, and the Gospel of Mark is different from the Gospel of Luke or the Gospel of John. Paul's Epistles were written in one style, while Peter's Epistles were written in another style.”

Here W.N. is talking about style, not words. Anyone can see that Matthew's style is different from Luke's style.

“Moreover, we can observe that every writer uses idiomatic expressions which are distinctly his own.”

Idiomatic expressions. Strange words, but let W.N. define what he means.

“ Luke was a doctor. In describing sicknesses, he freely used medical terms. The other three writers of the Gospels only described these ailments in general terms. The book of Acts was written by Luke as well, and we find the same free use of medical terminology. Every Gospel has distinctive terminologies and themes. For example, Mark is unique in its use of the word immediately, Matthew, in the use of the phrase the kingdom of the heavens, and Luke, in the use of the phrase the kingdom of God. All these are unique characteristics of the writers. Every book of the Bible is impregnated with the marks of its writer, yet every book remains very much the word of God.”

(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 3) Vol. 53: The Ministry of God's Word, Chapter 2, Section 3)

It is very clear, at least to me, that W.N. did not say that the Gospels were written independently. He just said that their styles were different because the authors, humanly speaking, were different, and so they had some words that is hard to find in other writers. Isn't that true that we can tell if what we are reading sounds like Paul, Mark, Luke or John. We can tell it because of their way of writing.

Let's come to the second quote.

“Plus he states,24 'each writer used his own special terminology, and his writing contained his own feelings, thoughts, and human elements.'”

Just two paragraphs later W.N. affirms,

“The Old Testament contains thirty-nine books. Historically speaking, the book of Job was probably written first. But Moses' Pentateuch is placed at the beginning of the Bible. It is a wonderful thing that all of the writers of the Bible who came after Moses did not write independently; they built upon the writings that were before them. Moses wrote the Pentateuch without reference to the writings of others. But Joshua's writings were based on Moses' Pentateuch. In other words, Joshua's ministry of God's word was not an independent one; his service as a minister was based on his knowledge of the Pentateuch. Following Joshua, other writers, such as the authors of the books of Samuel, also based their writings on Moses' books. This means that other than Moses, who was divinely called in the beginning to write his five books, all subsequent ministers of God's word functioned upon the basis of the preceding words of God. The remaining books of the Old Testament were written with earlier writings as their basis. Although subsequent writers wrote differently, they all based their word on preceding words. All of the ministers of God's word after Moses speak on the basis of the divine word that precedes them. God's Word is one whole entity, and no writer can take his own course. Those who come later always speak on the basis of the word of those who preceded them.” (The emphasis is mine).

(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 3) Vol. 53: The Ministry of God's Word, Chapter 6, Section 1)

Watchman Nee, when he spoke this words, was certainly not referring to the Synoptic Problem. I don't think it would have interested him that much. But in any case he did not “implicitly assumed each of the Gospels were written independently”, as any one can conclude by reading a larger section of the words quoted by Dr. Nigel Tomes.
testallthings is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 10:47 PM.


3.8.9