Luke 23:39-43, Gregory Boyd and James White

Comment from Richard

Greetings Yahya:

”Do you know where he mentioned Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses can go to Heaven?”

In the video Boyd implies that a JW or Mormon can go to heaven,he doesn’t say it directly,by using the example of the thief on the cross who got saved.

A.The passage is:

Luke 23:39-43

”One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, “Are you not the Messiah?Save yourself and us!”

But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.”

Then he said, “Lord, remember me when you come into YOUR kingdom.”

He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

1.The thief says Jesus is LORD,presumably he accepts Jesus as the MESSIAH

2.Then he says YOUR kingdom,meaning he believes the Messiah has authority in paradise

3.In paradise people are divine beings,so at the MOST,at most,the thief accepted that Jesus was divine(while still on earth,but NOT Yahweh Incarnate)(as the JWs and Mormons believe)

or was only human,but on dying would become a spiritual being,and have divine authority in heaven.

B.The counter-argument is that BEFORE this Jesus in Luke,in the original Greek,orders God to forgive those who are killing him:

Luke 23:34:

”Jesus said, “Father, forgive them(an order), for they do not know what they are doing.” ”

Who can order God to do something,except he himself? But the problem with this argument is that there is HIGH probability(I am sure Greg Boyd knows this,which is WHY he uses the thief on the cross example) that,according to scholars,it is an interpolation,it was never in the original.

C.One who believes it is an interpolation is James White,the Calvinist:

In his >b>2013 article ”From the Lips of Jesus or a Scribal Hand?“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing””

In his conclusion James White says:

”My Conclusion

In my estimation, given the judgment of the weight of both the external and internal support [internal support was not covered in this blog post], it is reasonable to place about a 75-90% degree of probability that the longer reading is a scribal insertion early into the transmission history.

The attestation among text-types and the diverse early geographical witnesses and their genealogical weight strengthens the probability of the shorter reading being primary.

Whereas the longer reading is attested primarily early on in only the Western text………………….Concerning the argument that this reading was excised early because of anti-Judaic bias, in this particular variant, it is not a sufficiently cogent reason as explained.

Up until the second century, the shorter reading was read widely. It was until sometime during the second century, probably the middle to the late part, that the longer reading was added and from then eventually found its way into all the text-types and the majority textual history thereafter.”

Here is the gist of what White wrote before the conclusion

”A few years ago I wrote a paper entitled, “Luke 23:34a: From the Lips of Jesus or a Scribal Hand?”

I argued that this saying of Jesus on the cross has significant textual doubt to its originality. It was sometime during the second century, probably the middle to the late part, that this saying was added, probably to a gospel harmony, and

from then on it eventually found its way into all the text-types and the majority textual history thereafter.”

The article also says:

”For Jacobus H. Petzer, the documentary evidence for an insertion into the textual tradition is noted,

Analyzing this evidence shows that the short reading [i.e., omission] has in fact a wide basis of diverse evidence in its favour:

The text is absent from almost all the earliest Alexandrian witnesses, notable P75, B and the Sahidic version,

as well as some of the later Alexandrian or Egyptian witnesses, such as the Bohairic version and the minuscule 579.

It is absent from some Western witnesses, notably the early Latin witnesses a and d, as well as Codex Bezae.

It is furthermore omitted in the early Syriac tradition through its absence in the Synaitic Syriac version and the Syriac commentary of Cyril.

Finally, it is even omitted in some of the early sources of the Byzantine text, such as W. [2]”

And also:

”Petzer notes that the material evidence for the long reading is early, but qualifies it,

“All these witnesses, however, belong to the same text-type. The evidence is thus genealogically limited. The pattern is more or less the same in the third century, with the reading occurring in Origen, Hipolytus of Rome, the Latin manuscripts c and e, which represent the earlier African form of the Vetus Latina, as well as the Curetonian Syriac version. All this evidence belongs to the Western texts with Origen the only exception.[6]

In contrast, the diversity of the documentary evidence gives substantial weight to the shorter reading and thereby would strongly suggest a secondary origin of the longer reading. But the external documentary evidence cannot be considered definitive without an honest evaluation of internal considerations, which can be complex, yet extremely significant to the conundrum of this variant. But internal consideration is for another day, however, I did argue in my paper that there was likely a scribal numerical motivation for this interpolation.


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