Interesting statements by Marvin Wilson

In light of recent interest and discussions of Marvin Wilson and “block logic” I have been looking around for some info on Dr. Wilson. I have his book Our Father Abraham. Before getting to the interesting statements I found here are a couple examples of block logic that Wilson gives in this book.

The prophets teach that God is both wrathful and merciful (Isa. 45:7; Hab. 3:2). The New Testament refers to Jesus as the “Lamb of God” and the “Lion of the tribe of Judah” (John 1:29, 36; Rev. 5:5).

Then he goes on to state:

Consideration of certain forms of block logic may give one the impression that divine sovereignty and human responsibility are incompatible. The Hebrews, however, sense no violation of their freedom as they accomplish God’s purposes.

First, I don’t think the examples in the first quotation should cause anyone to look for a solution for any contradictions. Second, divine sovereignty and human responsibility are not incompatible. Just because one may think they are does not automatically mean one should look to block logic for an explanation. I don’t see any real proof of why block logic is really the way the past Hebrew mind thought. It’s basically a way to escape what one sees as an unresolvable tension and/or contradiction in Scripture.

I can’t help but wonder if this mysterious mindset has simply disappeared. Or what changed folks in the early church that made them turn away from this mindset? I don’t find this mindset as something inherently taught in Scripture, rather it’s a way to assume one’s position and then “explain” Scripture. Someone recently tried to use this ‘block logic’ as a way to get around the biblical view of election in Romans 9. I digress.

Now to the questionable statements made by Marvin Wilson. One is from 1999 and the other from 2002. In 1999, during a question and answer with Dr. Wilson in the title of the article is a quote that reads:

“It’s not the job of Christians to convert Jews. That’s in God’s hands,” said Dr Marvin Wilson, Professor of Biblical Studies at Gordon College, Hamilton, Massachusetts.

Maybe the Apostles missed something? I don’t think so.

A very disturbing quote from the same article speaks for itself.

Question: Do you believe there is one religious truth or are there many truths? Are Jews going to go to Hell if they don’t accept Jesus?

Dr Wilson: Who knows who is going to Heaven and who to Hell? We must all be faithful to our own religion and let God decide.

But God has decided and spoken to us through Scripture. To quote something I read once (I forget where). No Jesus, know hell. Know Jesus, no hell.

Then, in a 2002 Christianity Today article entitled Vatican: Jews do not wait in vain for Messiah it is stated:

Wilson, professor of biblical and theological studies at Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts, says evangelicals need to hear the Jewish Scriptures “as a word meant for Israel, not just the word that gets validated for us because we can spiritualize it or Christolocize it, validating it by some kind of New Testament connection.”

I am not exactly sure what “Christolocize” means, but I hope Wilson doesn’t mean that Christ is not the center of Scripture and God’s revelation. An “interesting” statement, nonetheless.

SDG,
Mark

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tagged as in apologetics,heresy,theology

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Doug Walker November 16, 2011 at 1:13 am

Mark,

Thank you for this post. Although there are several things that I !THINK! are wrong with your post, I will only focus on two aspects.

Firstly, I’m concerned that you don’t understand what Dr. Wilson meant by block logic. Wilson compares block logic with the Hellenic way of thinking, that all things can be understood by humans. He defines block logic as an approach to scripture that believes it is okay to not “piece together” paradoxes in the Bible. Modern anxiety and influences of Greek thought have pushed many Christian thinkers to attempt to explain away the contradictions of scripture (Please don’t deny there are contradictions!). It seems you may even be influenced by this Hellenistic way of thinking as you describe being okay with paradox in scripture as “escape.”

Secondly, when Wilson said “It’s not the job of Christians to convert Jews. That’s in God’s hands,” the implication is that if the duty of evangelizing to Jews is in God’s hand, it is not in our hands. Therefore, we do not have control over the issue as God does. His point is that many Christians will forcefully proselytize to Jews and rather than praying for God’s deliverance for His people. We will often try to take the Great Commission into our own hands and instead of seeing Jews as humans created and loved by God. Initially, most evangelical Christians see them as mislead people.

Thank You. I would love to hear your objections.

2 Chris Price January 6, 2012 at 5:37 pm

could you please direct me to where I could find or reference the original quotes?

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