ANSWER TO JACOB PRASCH'S REBUTTAL
OF MIDRASH: THE CAMEL'S NOSE
Jacob Prash has responded to the article I wrote entitled
MIDRASH: THE CAMEL'S NOSE. As you will see, he doesn't actually answer to
any of my objections to his presentation of MIDRASH. His
"rebuttal" therefore, does not actually answer to any of our concerns,
nor does he seem to really care what we think, or what kind of agenda he
represents. It does seem to be his habit to treat contradiction with
contempt, and to hold those who disagree with him in derision.
"I find it difficult to respond to the “Camel’s Nose”
Richard Engstrom has published against me for two reasons:
i) He repeatedly attributes things to me I either never said
myself warned against, and then attacks me for
lack of integrity rivals his lack of logic.)"
I quoted directly from Prasch's article, which I still have on
file, and will gladly send it to anyone who wants to read it for
themselves. I did not attribute anything to Prasch but what he
wrote. Furthermore, I plainly declared that Mr. Prasch has declared
himself to be an opponent of the Hebrew Roots Movement. Nonetheless, his
tactic of demeaning the Protestant hermeneutic in order to promote MIDRASH, is
what makes MIDRASH, the Camel's Nose of the Hebrew Roots Movement, despite his
protest to the contrary.
"ii) It is a waste of time trying to constructively dialogue
people who have a cultic mentality on theological points. Be
Jehovah’s Witness, a Mormon, a Moonie or, as in
an allegedly rehabilitated Branhamite, one must first
the unbiblical nature of their presuppositions before
dialogue is possible. Therefore, I only invest time in
rebuttal so as not to be falsely accused of ‘dodging
issues.’ In other words, what I write here is for
readers and not for Engstrom." (underline, mine)
actually consider the possibility that anyone who disagrees with him can be
anything but stupid, Prasch resorts to the same kind of slander and innuendo
that I objected to in his article. A few weeks before he wrote this, he
retracted his false accusation that we are or were Branhamites, but here he is
again, pushing the same falsehood. Resorting to name-calling is a typical
tactic of those who know that they haven't got a leg to stand on.
As you will see from his
"rebuttal", he can write quite a lot and STILL dodge the
When Engstrom initially asked me if I thought his little
group “living in isolation from the rest of the world,”
to a complete understanding of all God's deeds
only the KJV, I replied, No, because the priority is on
original languages, not a sixteenth century English translation. (underline, mine)
What I actually asked:
"1. Can a group of
sincere, literate, English speaking people in isolation from the rest of the
world, come to a COMPLETE understanding of ALL that God deeds to us through the
Bible, if all they have in their possession is a KJV without notes (without
Midrash, without Eidersheim, without
I merely argued for the need to give exegetical priority to
original text and context, a view which Engstrom does
The fact that in his “Camel’s Nose” paper
distorted my statement by reporting only that I had said
without giving my reasons, shows that he believes it
acceptable to distort the facts in pursuit of the greater
Prasch's original full answer:
1. The Word of God was given in Hebrew, Greek, and
Aramaic - not Elizabethan English. I accept the infallibility of the original
manuscripts in the original languages, and not the infallibility of any
translation, be it KJV or otherwise. Literacy in English is not a major factor,
scripture demonstrates the importance of bringing out the original meaning in
the original languages (eg. Neh. 8:8 where after the captivity most people no
longer knew Hebrew so the original Hebrew meaning had to be explained). Hence,
because I believe in the priority of the original languages (I have more faith
in the bible than I do in translations of it) my answer to your first
question is no.
No matter how you slice it, his answer was
NO! He denies that YOU, dear reader, can come to a COMPLETE understanding
of ALL that God deeds to us through the Bible, if all you have in your
possession is a KJV without notes (without Midrash, without Eidersheim, without
Josephus). You be the judge. Did I misrepresent his answer or not?
Engstrom has misled his readers in the following areas:
the first section of his paper Engstrom says that
Roots Movement is the latest attempt to judaize
myself warned in print against this element within
Roots Movement. It is dishonest of him to tar me
same brush. Engstrom also fails to distinguish between
biblical teaching about the Hebrew Root (Greek: reza
singular) in Romans 11:18 and the unscriptural nonsense
today that I and MORIEL have written against. In
two, Engstrom appears to be bent on deception.
Jacob wrote in his article,
"Something went wrong in the early Church; it got away from its
Jewish roots. And as more Gentiles became Christians,
something that Paul (in Romans 11) warned should not happen, happened. People
lost sight of the root." [bold & underline, mine]
To which I replied in my article:
First of all, it is impossible for ANY student of the
Bible to miss the significance of our "Jewish roots". This is absurd.
The entire Old Testament constitutes Hebrew History, and I would be willing to
bet that most Christians are more familiar with Jewish History than they are of
the history of their own nation. and the New Testament has always said that we
who are saved, now belong to the commonwealth of Israel.
You will notice that Prasch uses the plural: roots, in his
article, and therefore it is utterly absurd to try and construct a case against
me on these grounds. Furthermore, if he wants to escape the caricature of
someone who is working in harmony with the Hebrew Roots Movement, all he has to
do is to drop this MIDRASH business. The fact remains that MIDRASH, as a
system of Biblical interpretation, can be traced to extra-biblical
Judaism. Apart from two incidental uses of this Hebrew word in the Old
Testament and some treatment of the subject by Lightfoot and Bullinger, there is
no tradition of MIDRASH established in historic Christian scholarship.
(b) Engstrom mixes “The Law and Prophets” being
until John with “Midrash.”
is a ridiculous mixture of two unrelated things. To
model of hermeneutic used by Paul after Jesus fulfilled
because the Law is fulfilled, is simply stupid. (underline, mine)
I want you to
1. That Jacob Prasch clearly identifies MIDRASH in terms of
being an HERMENEUTIC PRINCIPLE, which he also ascribes to Jesus and Paul.
None of these things is asserted in the Bible. The law and the prophets
were until John (Luke 16:16): MIDRASH was contrived by the Jews from the law and
the prophets. Did I miss something?
2. I will stipulate that MIDRASH is an hermeneutic principle
used by the Rabbi's of Jesus' day, BUT it is also undistinguished from the other
traditions of the Jews that Jesus condemned. It was, in fact, an
hermeneutic that was applied to the Law and the Prophets, and it was never
mentioned in the Bible, either by way of definition or as something that ought
to be retained as a part of the Gospel. The entire supposed justification
for the MIDRASH is taken from 2 occurrences of this word in the Old
3. Jacob Prasch presents MIDRASH to us as an essential but
heretofore absent or suppressed element in Protestant hermeneutics, which is
needed to correct our understanding of the Bible, which understanding Prasch
implies has been flawed, almost from the beginning by an Hellenistic rather than
an Hebraic world-view.
Hence my assertion in MIDRASH: THE CAMEL'S
"First, we are just being asked to acknowledge
the "possible" superiority of the Jewish system of interpretation
(MIDRASH) in contrast to the so-called "obvious" flaws in the
Protestant system of Biblical interpretation."
(c) Engstrom, making supposed reference to the
School of Synoptic Research, says “They lied to you and
tell you the New Testament was originally written in Hebrew.”
is aware that I have challenged this position.
efforts to link me to something I have opposed is deceitful.
Engstrom then goes on with an attack on keeping
warned on our tapes against any legislating of holy
observance, on the basis of Romans 14:4 and
2:16-18 (hence, more deceit by Engstrom). However the
Testament does use the Hebrew holidays and their typology
teaching tools for the church (1 Corinthians 5:6-8,
4:7-9). Is Engstrom’s problem with me, with Jews, or with
I wrote in my article:
"Although he claims to be an outspoken opponent of the
Hebrew Roots Movement, per se, it is his stated agenda to reintroduce into
Christendom the Midrashic system of Biblical interpretation. Why? Because he
judges the Protestant system to be deficient and fundamentally
"I have no evidence that Mr. Prasch is
conspiratorially working with any segment of the Hebrew Roots movement, so it
could be that he is just an unwitting tool of those Judaizers and they will not
be content with Christ's "one new man" (Eph.2:15), unless that man is
Jewish in culture, tradition and religion."
I still insist that MIDRASH is just the Camel's Nose of the
Hebrew Roots Movement, and the more egregious errors of the Jerusalem School of
Synoptic Research are only different in matter of degree. I acknowledged
Prasch's outspoken opposition to the more extreme elements of the Hebrew Roots
Movement, but while he is speaking against them in our hearing, he is also
helping to push their agenda by intimating that without his MIDRASH, we shall be
deprived of a right understanding of Scripture.
On Prasch's Moriel website is found the following
and Jacob Prasch are pleased to endorse the following ministries,
others, as Christ-centered, doctrinally sound, and warmly deserving of
prayers and support."
Directly linked is
Messengers of Messiah, an aggressive Hebrew Roots Movement
organization. Some questions must be answered. Like how is it that one who
claims to be so vehemently opposed to the HRM, has no problem with recommending
outspoken proponents of the very thing he claims to oppose?
2. Engstrom goes on about Midrash, both misunderstanding
distorting things I have written by taking them out
seems to argue that Paul was not a rabbi because
was not asigned him by the New Testament.
that a rabbinic disciple of Gamaliel was not a rabbi
The New Testament plainly shows Paul to have been
as was Jesus.
The gospels, written in and for a Jewish culture,
“rabbi” from Aramaic, directly calling Jesus “rabbi.”
Epistles, written in a Hellenistic setting, use the
The only reason why Prasch needs for us to recognize the
appellation of Rabbi in connection to Jesus and Paul is that
he needs this to add some legitimacy to his MIDRASH. He cannot find the
writers of the New Testament calling Jesus and Paul, Rabbi, so he surmises on
the basis of Paul's education under Gamaliel, and the fact that some in Israel
CALLED Jesus, Rabbi, that this title should be attributed to them, and by
intimation, the Jewish traditions of midrashic interpretation as well.
(b) Displaying gross ignorance of the matters he seeks
elaborate upon, for some undiscernable reason
introduces the subject of the Septuagint (a
Jewish text) in identification with the Alexandrian school
hermeneutics in the early church.
that he is making a public fool of himself by
something Pre-Christian with a school of theology
nearly four centuries later in the same location, I am unable
for these ramblings.
There were two primary schools of hermeneutics in
Patristic era - the Antiochan (identified with the
Fathers) and the Alexandrian (associated with
Origen, but with seminal influences in Philo, and later
gnosticized by Valentinus and Basilides).
Since Engstrom plainly has no idea of what he is
about, I cannot comment further on what he means. A
containing such ignorance would be laughed out of
Quote from Prasch's article:
"Midrash makes heavy use of allegory and typology to
illustrate and illuminate doctrine, but never as a basis for doctrine. It sees
multiple meanings in Bible texts found in strata, but this is very different in
certain fundamental respects from the gnostic and Alexandrian uses of figurative
interpretation associated with Philo and Origen, reflecting more of Hebraic,
rather than Helenistic philosophical world-view and view of
Prasch lumps together the Alexandrian and gnostic schools of
thought, puts them into a bag called, "Hellenistic philosophical
world-view," and contrasts these with the "more correct" Hebraic
view of things. In doing this, he underhandedly casts historic orthodoxy
as fundamentally captive to the errors that have long since been denounced,
while intimating that the only solution to the problem is a return to a
pre-Christian hermeneutic, specifically, his MIDRASH. I say, his MIDRASH,
because he also distinguishes between something called bad and good MIDRASH, a
distinction which, though it might be clear to him is certainly unclear to most
(c) Engstrom asserts that rabbinic hermeneutics
repudiated by Jesus.
Engstrom exhibits gross ignorance. The Mishnah
texts demonstrate an identical hermeneutic
between Jesus and the other rabbis of his day
Sanders, “Christ and Palestinian Judaism”).
It would be obvious to any seminary graduate that
is way out of his league in making such blatantly
There are two forms of Midrash in the classic Second
Period and early post-Second Temple Period expression
‘Haggadic’ (interpretation of narrative, poetry,
etc.) and ‘Halachic’ (the legalistic material based on
and law keeping). It was not the former Jesus castigated,
Unless someone were seminary trained they would not
I have no problem with the fact that Engstrom is
seminary trained, but I do have a problem with his
that he knows what he is talking about when he most
I was recently
scolded by one of Mr. Prasch's friends for accusing him of being an advocate of
the same kind of priest-craft that we have rejected in the traditions of the
Roman Catholic Church. But here, he gives himself away. It is not
enough that I have 25 years of serious Bible study behind me; it is not enough
that I have also read thousands of pages of Church history and early Christian
writings. No, unless I have been initiated into Mr. Prasch's particular
arcanities, he will not afford me the right to disagree with him.
And now he regards my education and knowledge of the Truth to
be deficient because I haven't also studied the Mishnah and Qumran texts.
He calls me stupid because I didn't know that Jesus denounced
"Halachic" Midrash and not his "Haggadic"
No. this is all still about our first
objection in which Mr. Prasch denies that a literate English-speaking person can
ever adequately understand his Bible without a veritable mountain of
extra-biblical knowledge, and even knowledge that has been, for 1900 years,
outside of orthodox Christian scholarship.
(d) Engstrom says he finds it astounding that I
“prophecy as pattern” as a new concept.
is ludicrous. I have never said such a thing; I
defend what I did not say. What I did say is that
Qumran we know that this is centrally how the Jewish mind
Jesus’ day understood prophecy, that the New
handling of prophecy fits this pattern, and that it
those who for years (eg. Harry Ironside) argued
could have multiple fulfillment.
I also never used pattern to deny literal fulfillment
Engstrom falsely suggests. For those interested, I am not
one presenting such views (see “Prophecy As Pattern
Luke” by Dr. Darryl Bock - Professor - Dallas Seminary,
I. Howard Marshall). There are mainstream
theologians in agreement with my position. It is again a
Engstrom babbling on about issues outside his knowledge.
Quote from Prasch's
"Midrash interprets prophecy as a cyclical pattern of historical
recapitulation (prophecies having multiple fulfillment), with an ultimate
fulfillment associated with the eschaton, which is the final focal point of the
prediction, but pattern the Jewish idea of prophecy is not prediction, but
All you have to do is to read Prasch's
article for yourself. You will see that, over and over again, Prasch
describes MIDRASH as superior to the hermeneutic of historic Protestant
orthodoxy. If he does not SAY that "prophecy as pattern" is a
new concept, he does intimate that the view of prophecy according to his MIDRASH
is inherently superior, and therefore NEW to US. Does he outright deny the
predictive nature of Prophecy? No, and neither did I say that he
did, BUT, from the above quotes you can see that he clearly diminishes the
predictive aspect of prophecy. Did he mean to do this or was he just
reckless in his expression? He will have to answer for
He accuses me of babbling on about issues outside my
knowedge. My scope of knowledge centers upon what the Bible says. I
find no recommendation of a Jewish MIDRASH in my Bible. Do you? Are
you awed by his list of "experts"? Are you now convinced that
you need Prasch and his "experts" to tell you what the Bible
Engstrom then assails my view of Protestant Exegesis on
somehow substitutes grammatical-historical
for literal grammatical exegesis.
not comprehend his point. The humanist scholarship
rise to the Reformation’s hermeneutics studied
scriptures in a literal sense as both literature and
hence “grammatical-historical” exegesis, with a stress on
literal meaning in both cases. If Engstrom has a point (which
he has not made it very well.
From letters I have received, thanking me
for writing on this subject, I conclude that I have made my point quite
clearly. If Jacob wants to pretend ignorance of the difference between
Literal-grammatical and Historical-grammatical interpretation, it is only to
suggest that if he doesn't know it, it is not worth knowing. Nonetheless,
I am quite certain that he does know the difference, but being caught for
dishonesty, he now claims to misunderstand.
(b) Engstrom, in an outright lie, states that I argue
should resort to the traditions of the Pharisees.
defend statements I have never made and
believed. Engstrom’s statement is completely
Quote from Prasch's article:
"The clearest set of guidelines in Midrash are the
Seven Midroth attributed to Rabbi Hillel, the founder of the Pharisaic
School of Hillel, where Rabbi Shaul (St. Paul) was educated as a
rabbi by Rabbi Gamaliel, the grandson of Hillel." [underline,
Prasch insists that Jesus and Paul were Rabbis in the
tradition of the Pharisees, like Gamaliel, and insists that their interpretation
of Scripture was based upon the MIDRASH, which he recommends as different and
superior to what we have known and learned from the Bible itself. In other
words, he IS recommending that we return to the traditions of the
(c) Engstrom goes on to defend Augustine of Hippo as a
revered man and takes issue with my view of him.
first of all contradicts himself in that he affirms
criticism of Augustine’s Manicheanism to be correct.
Augustine was the one who first preached that the
could use violence to convert people (making himself
forefather of the Inquisitions and countless episodes
violence and war carried out in the name of Christianity).
Influenced by Ambrose and Cyprian, Augustine argued
sprinkling babies because the church was composed of
and unsaved, so we should pronounce
Christian as it was the religion of the Empire (making himself
forefather of nominalism, instead of biblical ecclesia).
Augustine established the doctrine of Post Millenialism
Christendom became the religion of the state (making
the forefather of ‘Kingdom Now’ Theology).
There is no
doubt that had I been a contemporary of Augustine that we would have been at war
over some of his doctrines, which I definitely consider to be heretical.
Jacob Prasch however, would make it necessary to reject EVERYTHING that
Augustine wrote, for his errors in some of the things he wrote. Does this
mean that I should reject everything that Jacob Prasch writes because he has
errors of his own? Here again is another example of the way Prasch tries
to undermine historical Christian Scholarship in order to insert his MIDRASH: he
intimates that by receiving anything they had to say that we are also buying in
on their errors.
In addressing his specific question, Engstrom once
demonstrates his ignorance. In the Greek metaphysical
theology and spirituality were dualistic. The Greeks
instance had the concept of the “Logos” (which the
called the “dvar” or “Mamre”), but because the Jews were
dualists they had an incarnational Christology — “The
I guess our New Testament is seriously flawed after all?
The apostle John saw fit to use the word "Logos". Is Prasch now
suggesting that the use of this word is based upon the false conception of
Dualism? Or is he suggesting that our New Testament which came to us
written in Greek is a perversion of earlier "authentic" texts that
were written in Hebrew or Aramaic, which is the same thing that is being
asserted by the Jerusalem School of Synoptic Research, and other HRM
Greek dualism saw God as impassible, thus could not come
with a God becoming a man as the Jews could at
accommodate, despite Pharisaic resistance to it (hear
on “The Metatron”).
John 1 was, in part, a Judeo-Christian polemic against
dualism. This dualism evolved into gnosticism, of
Manicheanism was a form. In this dualistic thought,
spiritual was good, but what was physical was the domain of
God (a view which partially underlay Paul’s discourse
with the Epicureans and Stoics — Acts 17).
This Greek dualism gave rise to various heretical
infiltrating the early church, including Docetism as well
It was Augustine, influenced by the Alexandrian School
importing gnostic models into the Latin West from the
East, that gave a warped exegetical credence to
packaging of Manichianism as a Christian belief. He used
Hellenistic, as opposed to Judaic, hermeneutic model in
treatment of 1 Corinthians 7:32-34.
A non-dualistic Judaic approach, as seen in John 1,
prevented this “doctrine of demons,” as Paul called it
Engstrom does not understand the basic differences
the dualistic and non-dualistic approaches to
that distinguished the Hellenistic and Hebraic models.
he may choose to respect the progenitor of so much
has been fundamentally unbiblical in the church up
very day, others retain the right, on the basis of
irrefutable facts, to form a different opinion.
Tactic: When you cannot answer to
the issues - change the subject, or try to bury your opponent in tons of
(d) Engstrom wishes to know why we need a ‘new’ system
biblical interpretation in order to be rescued from the
heresies of the Manicheans.
Midrash predates western Protestant exegetical methods
millenia and was used by the Lord and the Apostles.
A better question would be, Why do we need the
of biblical interpretation the Reformers copied from
Once again, Prasch suggests that Protestant orthodoxy is
different and inferior to historical Judaic Scriptural interpretation. He
furthermore suggests that the Reformers copied their system of Biblical
interpretation from the Medieval humanists - lackies, one and all,
Prasch's often repeated assertion that Jesus and His apostles
used MIDRASH in their interpretation of Scripture he expects you to be
believe, just because he said so. I challenge him to prove it!
He cannot prove it any more than some of our so-called scientists can prove that
they found a rock on earth that came from Mars. He hopes to add legitimacy
to his MIDRASH by asserting a connection to Jesus and the Apostles, which you
can NOT FIND in your Bible - NO NOT ANYWHERE!
(e) Engstrom argues for a radical dichotomy between
ignoramus! As Roland Bainton, the definitive
historian on Luther and Erasmus said, “Erasmus layed the
Luther hatched it.” I am indeed familiar with Luther's
of The Human Will,” I studied it at Cambridge.
What Engstrom does not seem to realize is that the
developed progressively. Luther’s "Babylonian Captivity Of
Church" drew directly from the seminal influences of
“Praise Of Folly” and “Julius Exclusis.”
Luther’s bible was directly inspired by Erasmus’
Testament (as the ‘KJV only’ crowd are always pointing
derived from the same composite of Byzantian
manuscripts later called “Textus Receptus”).
In the Counter-Reformation, the papacy plainly saw a
effect relationship between Erasmus and the Reformers.
No scholar has ever rejected the seminal influence
on Luther and the Reformers. Again Engstrom
proclaiming only his ignorance.
No one denies Erasmus's valuable contribution in his
translation of the New Testament. Just because Luther acknowledged
Erasmus's expertise in his textual scholarship does not mean that they were in
any agreement at all in their theology and doctrine, and they were not. To
characterize Luther as Erasmus's hand-puppet is absurd. If Erasmus had
had his way, there would have been no Protestant reformation at all, but just a
readjustment within Romanism that left everything more or less intact, including
the doctrines which made it necessary to defect from the RCC in the first
(f) Engstrom wrongly claims that I said Midrash cannot
argument, Engstrom simply reverts to out and
I have never said that Midrash cannot be explained.
of R.N. Longenecker's “Jewish Exegesis In
Apostolic Church” or the works of Jacob Nuesner. What I
however, is that if one has no background in Hebrew
rabbinics, it is easier to demonstrate Midrash than explain
Engstrom is a liar.
What I actually wrote:
"Can't explain it? Neither can anyone else, apparently.
After doing a brief survey on the subject, I found that some call it just a
collection of homiletics. Jacob Prasch calls it an hermeneutic principle, which
is the "scholars'" term for, "principles of interpretation".
So let's get down to the nub on this matter: Mr. Prasch asserts that historical
Christian Biblical interpretation has been flawed, almost from the beginning,
because we didn't stick with the Jewish methods of interpretation that Jesus
denounced. He says that Jesus Christ, Himself, and Paul, used the midrashic
system of biblical interpretation, which he asserts to be superior to the
grammatical-historical system, while ignoring the fact that it is the
literal-grammatical system of interpretation that defines historic Protestant
Here and again, Prasch implies that before you can really
learn MIDRASH, you must first learn Hebrew and rabbinics. All of this is
evasive, and it is PRIEST-CRAFT in the classic sense. Prasch is proposing
that we NEED some knowledge that we can only learn from PEOPLE LIKE HIM, or else
our ability to rightly understand the Bible is distinctly crippled. I
vehemently reject the notion that a comprehensive understanding of the Bible is
in any way out of reach for anyone who has a Bible and perhaps, a common
ordinary dictionary. Spiritual blindness is a moral problem, not an intellectual
(g) Engstrom states that those looking for multiple meanings
Scripture are in all probability trying to avoid the obvious.
asserts that the Reformational assertion of there
one application of a Scripture is reactive against
Catholicism and Midrash.
Midrash the simple or “peshet” interpretation must
established before the “pesher” or deeper level can
addressed. Engstrom clearly knows nothing of the Midrash
Moreover, in none of the Reformation writings was there
a mention of Midrash. He again does not have a clue
is talking about.
What I actually wrote:
"The Reformation assertion that "there are many
applications of a Scripture but only one interpretation," is indeed
reactive against the errors of Romanism, but is also just as reactive against
the Midrashic hermeneutic. I have read with my own eyes the proposition by
rabbis that there are at least 40 interpretations of every Scripture and as many
as 75 different interpretations. Anyone who spends their time looking for 40
interpretations of a verse of Scripture, is, in all probability, only trying to
avoid the obvious."
The first significant Christian figure to address Midrash
Puritan scholar John Lightfoot at a much later point.
approved of Midrash (as did the Puritan fathers generally)
a three part Midrashic Commentary on the
Testament as a Christian Exposition. (I am not the
believer to urge the church ro revert to its Hebraic root
of hermeneutic - the Puritans were, but Engstrom
know that either).
In absurdity of absurdities Engstrom contradicts himself
states: “Anyone who spends their time looking for
interpretations of a verse of scripture is in all probability
trying to avoid the obvious.” Then he affirms my example
and admits, “I never read or heard anyone propose
riches of scripture are confined to a single sense”
contradicts both his previous statement and his earlier
a single meaning).
We do not simply have a case of Engstrom not agreeing
we have Engstrom disagreeing with Engstrom. If he
seem to lie so compulsively, I could write him off
compassion as a confused man.
Engstrom then immediately proceeds to sanction
midrashic exposition of John 1 - 3! Any intellegent reader
that, in setting out to disagree with me, Engstrom
endorsing my use of Midrash.
I have NO
OBJECTION to Prasch, or anyone using MIDRASH to explore the depths of
Scripture. WHAT I OBJECT TO is the unrelenting suggestions and innuendoes
of Jacob Prasch that the fundamentals of literal-grammatical interpretation,
which are the foundations of Protestant orthodoxy, ought to be discounted and
replaced by the historical traditions of Judaic MIDRASH. How he can deny
that his presentation of this matter is NOT in substantial harmony with the
agenda of the HRM people is beyond my comprehension.
PLEASE NOTICE Prasch's admission that MIDRASH was not even a
subject of consideration until just a couple hundred years ago. For 1600
years, MIDRASH was completely absent from Christian Scholarship; the Holy
Spirit, sent by God to lead us into all Truth, did not see fit to make the
MIDRASH a part of our Christian heritage. Even Lightfoot's Midrashic
Commentary on the New Testament was left to gather dust as little more than a
curiosity, until the Hebrew Roots people found a way to use it as a "foot
in the door."
(h) Engstrom concludes this section by falsely stating that
the Reformers with the secular humanists of today.
again, Engstrom is nothing more than an unmitigated
clarified the differences between the Christian humanists
16th century and the later secular humanists of today.
obvious that Engstrom has a simple philosophy: “If
argue - lie.”
What I actually
"Humanists" were certainly guilty of Mr. Prasch's charge, but by
inferring that the Reformers were no different than the secular
Humanists, this well informed and usually astute scholar is bearing false
witness. He knows that the common conception of what a Humanist is today, has
little in common with what it meant to be a Humanist in the sixteenth century.
By failing to make the distinction between social-political Humanism and
contemporary Religious Humanism, Mr. Prasch appears to being playing to the
prejudice of his audience in order to make the Reformers appear all the more
unreliable and trivial."
"The Reformation was born out of something called
Humanism. (Note: the first Humanists were not secular, they were
Christians.) The best of the Humanists were men like Thomas A Kempis, John
Colet, and Jacques Lefèvre. But the greatest of them all was Erasmus of
Rotterdam. Luther, Calvin, Zwingli and most of the other Reformers got their
ideas from Erasmus." (underline, mine)
Yes, technically, Prasch did make a faint distinction between
secular and Christian humanists, but even as I have painted the Camel's Nose on
top of the word MIDRASH so that it will stick, Prasch by his use of the term
hopes to paint the Reformers with the label of humanist, which today has clear
and derogatory implications. He will probably deny it but having had correspondence with this fox
in the past, I am becoming familiar with his tactics.
4. Richard Engstrom states that Midrash is not important
states that it does not matter what Hosea (or,
the other divinely inspired authors of the
the nonsense thinking that the liberal higher
theologians use to discredit orthodoxy. The bible is fully
of God and fully the Word of Man. It is an
logos in itself (The WORD). Like Christ Himself, Scripture
fully human and fully divine.
The authors the Holy Spirit inspired were intelligent men
the imprint of their character, emphasis,
understanding on what they wrote under direct
inspiration. They did not write blindly like a mystic.
John wrote that we are in the last hour - but we weren't in
the last hour, 1900 years ago, were we? Isaiah thought that he was
prophesying about the birth of his own son when he prophesied: "Therefore
the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive,
and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel," but he wasn't
prophesying about his own son, was he?
It is clear that the inspiration of the Holy Spirit of the
writers of the Scriptures was overriding their present considerations: the gift
is greater than the man. As it is written:
(2 Pet 1:21) For the prophecy came not in old time by
the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy
So too, the interpreters of the Bible (such as Matthew,
interpreted Hosea 11:2) used a method of exegesis found
Dead Sea scrolls and early Midrashim, which was fully
character with the culture in which God inspired Matthew
The case for Matthew using a Midrashic pesher
conservative scholars have argued for) is a firm
apologetic to liberal attacks (such as James Barr of Oxford)
uses of the Old Testament in the New.
And now, Matthew is just an interpreter of the Bible? I
guess SO! Who can ever argue with Mr. Prasch's experts, and especially someone
Even W. Kaiser and those scholars not leaning towards
midrashic view of apostolic exegesis (although he is
to come around a bit) would not agree with such
irresponsible statement as that made by Engstrom.
Ooooooooooo! More experts!
MIDRASH, connected as it is to the other
Pre and Post-Christian writings of the Jews, such as the Talmud, Mishnah,
Kabbalah, etc., is being foisted upon us as JUST THAT PART of dead and apostate
Judaism, which ought to be received as a remedial solution to our
"flawed" system of biblical interpretation.
Jacob Prasch, who claims to be
specifically against the more egregious errors of the Hebrew Roots Movement,
nonetheless has become one of the foremost proponents of the
His presentation of MIDRASH is saturated with denigrations of
our historic Christian Scholars, many of whom are responsible for the
establishment of Christian orthodoxy. He suggests that their (and our)
literal-grammatical system of biblical interpretation is, and has been,
fundamentally flawed. He does this by attempting to tar them all with the
same brush, making people like Luther, part and parcel with men like Origen,
whose errors in biblical interpretation have long since been
He tries to get rid of people like me, by calling us names, or
denying us the right to contradict him because we do not have "the
MIDRASH is just the Camel's Nose of the Hebrew Roots Movement,
and if Mr. Prasch does not relent from his campaign to displace historic
Christian Scholarship with his MIDRASH, he shall not be able to escape being
identified as just another JUDAIZER, just like those in the Hebrew Roots
"us" 1 John 4:6
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