EEC - why I hesitate

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This post has 41 Replies | 4 Followers

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Mike Childs | Forum Activity | Posted: Tue, Mar 15 2011 9:18 PM

            I apologize if this offends anyone.  I am not trying to attack any theological position.  This is only my own opinion, and I am the expert on my own opinion.

            I am very tempted to buy the EEC.  However, I have to be careful because with my budget to chose to buy one resource this big is to chose not to buy many other resources.  So I am looking very carefully at the EEC.  And one thing keeps me for buying - so far.

            I am troubled by the narrowness of the scholarship represented here.  By that I do not mean that it is evangelical, and there are no "bad" scholars in the set.  I mean that EEC is overwhelmingly dispensational.  Dispensational theology is an important part of evangelical Christianity, but it is not the only part.  It should be represented, but not totally dominate.  I think the value of this set commentaries would be increased if it represented a broader selection of evangelical scholarship. 

            For example, in the New Testament alone the books of Matthew, John, Romans, Galatians, Thessalonians, Hebrews, 1Peter, 2 Peter, Epistles of John, and Revelation are all by scholars with a direct connection (education from) Dallas Theological Seminary.  (By the way, Dallas is one of the world's great seminaries.  This is not a put down.  However, Dallas only teaches dispensational theology.)  In addition, numerous other of the New Testament volumes are also dispensational in theology.  You will find pretty much the same in the Old Testament volumes.

            I note that Daniel, Revelation, Thessalonians, and virtually all prophecy are by Dallas scholars.  Maybe it should be called the DDC - Dallas Dispensational Commentary.  Of course, that is pretty much what the Bible Knowledge Commentary is, and I have benefited from it.   I use it often, but I don't want just a bigger Bible Knowledge Commentary.

            For this to be successful, I think you need more Calvinist Covenant theology and more (much more) evangelical Wesleyan theology. 

            In fairness, the EEC does have a volume by the great Wesleyan scholar John Oswalt.  In my opinion he is the finest Wesleyan scholar in the world.  But it is pretty much Oswalt and a bunch of guys from Dallas.  Okay, there are some Calvinists, too.  Is Oswalt the only Wesleyan?

            If I were a Dallas Dispensational guy, I would jump on this offer.  However, I am an evangelical Wesleyan.  I don't want my theology to dominate either.  I would just like a more balanced representation.

            If you don't think dispensational theology (or anyone's theology) will effect interpretation, then I have to disagree with you.  I think this flaw will keep this set from being recongized as a really great set of commentaries.  Of course, some scholars are yet to be named, and one can hope for more balance.  Speaking of leaps of faith.

 

 

"In all cases, the Church is to be judged by the Scripture, not the Scripture by the Church," John Wesley

Posts 222
Justin Cofer | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 15 2011 9:34 PM

I really don't see a problem with it.  If anything, there is a  LACK of that particular brand of theology in technical works.  How many dispensationalists in NICOT/NICNT?  Zero.  WBC?  Zero.  Baker's exegetical commentaries?  Zero.  Pillar commentaries? Zero.  NIGNT? Zero.  I'm glad the EEC will solve that.

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Mike Childs | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 15 2011 10:06 PM

Justin, you may have a point there.  The sets you named are all sets that  I would consider great sets.  I really hadn't realized there were zero dispensationalists in all of them.   (Shows how our bias blinds us,doesn't it?) However, none of those sets are dominated by one school.

There may be a need for a dispensational theology exegetical commentary.  I hope the EEC is a big success because I love Logos and I love Bible study.

It is just that I may not be the one who needs (or can afford) this one.  But I would covet that volume by Oswalt, and a few of the others.  Eventually, I hope the volumes are sold individually.  Then again I may not even be here in 2016 when Oswalt's volume comes out.

Of course, there are a number of 100% dispensational commentaries already available in Logos format - J. Vernon McGee, the John F. Walvoord Commentaries, Thomas Constable's Expository Notes, Bible Knowledge Commentary, John MacArthur (at least in eschatology), Just to name a few, and there are more.

I do honestly think that for this venture to be successful a very large per centage of sales will need to come from Logos customers with a dispensational theological leaning.  Dallas Theological is a very popular seminary, and they can be a big help in promoting the EEC to this market.  To me the problem is not that SOME of the commentaries are dispensational.  It is that the overwhelming majority of the commentaries are dispensational.  I don't think there should a quota or "perfect balance."

If the commentaries were overwhelmingly by scholars from Asbury Theological Seminary, I would jump on it, but I bet the dispensationalists among us would hesitate.  The same is true if the majority of writers came from any particular school.  It narrows the market.

And I am still considering buying the EEC myself.  Your comments are helpful.

"In all cases, the Church is to be judged by the Scripture, not the Scripture by the Church," John Wesley

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Rich DeRuiter | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 15 2011 10:13 PM

Michael Childs:

  If I were a Dallas Dispensational guy, I would jump on this offer.  However, I am an evangelical Wesleyan.  I don't want my theology to dominate either.  I would just like a more balanced representation.

            If you don't think dispensational theology (or anyone's theology) will effect interpretation, then I have to disagree with you.  I think this flaw will keep this set from being recongized as a really great set of commentaries.  Of course, some scholars are yet to be named, and one can hope for more balance.  Speaking of leaps of faith.

Michael, as a Covenantal/Reformed guy, I also hesitate at the point you're making. That said, I sometimes find some of the fine Reformed commentaries I have (e.g., Baker New Testament) to be a bit narrowly Reformed/Covenantal. By that I mean, sometimes they too easily dismiss, pass over, or just ignore some things that deserve a bit more discussion (IMHO). Not that I'm  looking for 'balance' (whatever that means), but sometimes scholars from different traditions bring in a different flavor to their interpretation, and certainly to what they choose to comment on.

On the other hand, as much as I disagree with dispensationalism, the best dispensational Bible scholars are Bible scholars first, and dispensational second (I'd say the same for the best Calvinist scholars). This is even more true in the commentary genre, in my experience. If this were a systematic theology, a series on eschatology, or such, I'd drop it in a minute. But I've been blessed by scholars of many traditions. And while I'd certainly disagree with how dispensationalists handle certain passages, there's a lot I'm sure we would agree on completely (though it would be interesting to interact with them on those passages too). And since I have a rather large collection of commentaries already, I'm confident I'll be able to sort out the dispensational-specific interpretations with the 'competition.'

Still, there's no way around the fact that this is a pretty big leap of faith. At the same time, it's also a pretty big opportunity personally (to get a really great deal on a set of potentially world-class commentaries) and also as part of a community of Logos users who may well be helping to set the model for the future of Biblical scholarship. This is what I mean by that second statement: if the Bible research book world is going digital, I want it to go the way Logos is going, not just for me, but because Logos has the best model for building a large library that is highly usable for scholarly research. This is just the beginning. Today DTS, tomorrow CTS (Calvin Theological Seminary). Wink If this works (and I realize it's a huge risk), it could open up a model that will prove valuable for the foreseeable future.

 Help links: WIKI;  Logos 6 FAQ. (Phil. 2:14, NIV)

Posts 493
Michael Anda | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 15 2011 10:25 PM

What is dispensationalism?

 

 

 

Posts 2867
Mike Childs | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 15 2011 10:31 PM

This could quickly get into a theological argument.  That would be out of bounds for the forum.

I am not a dispensationalist, but here is a good simple explanation by John MacArthur.  I think he considers himself a dispensationalist, and I greatly respect him.

http://www.biblebb.com/files/macqa/sf-04.htm

"In all cases, the Church is to be judged by the Scripture, not the Scripture by the Church," John Wesley

Posts 493
Michael Anda | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 15 2011 11:50 PM

Gracias

 

 

 

Posts 579
Jim VanSchoonhoven | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 16 2011 1:03 AM

Charles Ryrie is a dispensationalist he says:.

A concise definition of a dispensation is this: A dispensation is a distinguishable economy in the outworking of God’s purpose.

In simple terms God sometimes deals differently with man than at others, some examples, before the fall and after the fall.  A dispensation refers to a ruling order and is not talking about time although they occur in time.

For the most part Dispensationalist would say the more you read the scriptures using the same rules of interpretation that you would for any other book the more likely you will end up being a dispensationalist.  When the scriptures are addressing Israel, God is talking to Israel and some of those things apply to Israel, and may or may not apply to the Body of Chirst.   For example salvation has always been by grace through faith, but everyone has not always been told to keep the Sabbath day.

Logos has a number of books that deal with dispensationalism if you want more information.

In Christ,

Jim VanSchoonhoven

 

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Jack Caviness | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 16 2011 4:30 AM

Michael Childs:
EEC is overwhelmingly dispensational. 

Thank you for this analysis. I had decided to bypass this set because of the long-range delivery, since I am already past three-score-and-ten. However, I may reconsider based on your analysis. My grandson will need good resources.

Posts 13413
Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 16 2011 4:47 AM

I hadn't realised the set was so dispensational. That is a worry. Like you say, I don't want to knock dispensationalism, but particularly in prophetic literature my own view could be so different from that of the commentators to make it very difficult for me to benefit greatly from their insights. It looks like the set is going to be a great set for dispensationals, but is it going to be a great set for the rest of us?

Having said that, if it's a genuine exegetical commentary that focusses on the text, and doesn't interpret the text through a narrow theological lens, then it could see be helpful. Fee's NICNT commentary on Corinthians is useful, even though his theological bent (Arminian Pentecostal) is also quite different from mine. It does grate sometimes, and I disagree entirely with some of what he says particularly in chapter 14, but it doesn't get in the way.

So it all depends on how it's written, and at the moment none of us know. I really do think Logos should release some samples before the pre-pub closes.

(MacArthur sometimes denies being dispensational, incidentally, and claims to be pre-mill. I think that's because he's unhappy with all that's called dispensationalism, so he only takes on some [actually most] dispensational beliefs]. More info here, or here)

Posts 232
Joel Madasu | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 16 2011 5:01 AM

Wow... 

Isn't it interesting that 'most' people (Christians) today are fighting for/against the positions they hold, like if God is going to ask, what position are you, come to the left, and what are you, to the right, and you, in the middle? Please don't be offended, I am just saying this in general. And I read books by different authors, but doesn't necessarily follow many. Anyways... thanks for sharing this!

Posts 2071
Kenneth Neighoff | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 16 2011 5:12 AM

Jack Caviness:

I had decided to bypass this set because of the long-range delivery, since I am already past three-score-and-ten. However, I may reconsider based on your analysis. My grandson will need good resources.

 

Jack,

 

I do not like the long-range delivery either, but that just seems to be the norm when it comes to commentary sets.  I bought my first volume of WBC when I was in seminary, nearly 25 years ago, and set it up on an automatic delivery schedule with the publisher. As of today, there are still some volumes from the original series that have not been published and many have been revised and updated. I may or may not live to see the set complete, but I have enjoyed my times of reading and study from the volumes in WBC that I have received.

Posts 222
Justin Cofer | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 16 2011 5:46 AM

The only technical dispensational commentary I'm aware of is this one by Robert Thomas.  Thomas is scheduled for Thessalonians in the EEC. 

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Edwin Bowden | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 16 2011 6:03 AM

Kenneth Neighoff:

I do not like the long-range delivery either, but that just seems to be the norm when it comes to commentary sets.  I bought my first volume of WBC when I was in seminary, nearly 25 years ago, and set it up on an automatic delivery schedule with the publisher. As of today, there are still some volumes from the original series that have not been published and many have been revised and updated. I may or may not live to see the set complete, but I have enjoyed my times of reading and study from the volumes in WBC that I have received.

The difference between WBC and EEC is that you didn't have to prepay for it 25 years ago and wait for the series to be produced sight unseen.

Posts 2071
Kenneth Neighoff | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 16 2011 6:19 AM

I understand the difference between WBC and EEC and the prepay issue. 

I was just addressing the issue of how I benefited from the WBC, even before the series was complete.

Posts 2867
Mike Childs | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 16 2011 7:09 AM

Justin,

I think you make a great argument for this set.  You have brought to my attention the need for a technical dispensational commentary.  Dispensationalism is a large part of evangelical Christianity, and it is a huge market.  That may help make the set a financial success.

I would think that the EEC will become the foremost dispensational commentary set.  Anyone of that persuasion would be foolish to ignore it. 

Ofcourse, it is unfair to label the EEC a totally dispensational commentary.  It does have some representation from other theological perspectives included.  That is part of what confuses me.  If you are going to be inclusive of the various evangelical scholarship, then why let one perspective - one school - be so dominate?

I am not convinced it is broad enough to win wide support beyond dispensationalism.  None of the widely respected evangelical sets (NICOT / NICNT, Word, or even the far less evangelical ICC) are so dominated by just one school.  These are just my opinions on the matter, and I was once wrong about something, but I forgot what.  Wink

I will continue to pray and consider this purchase between now and the end of March when the price goes up.

"In all cases, the Church is to be judged by the Scripture, not the Scripture by the Church," John Wesley

Posts 222
Justin Cofer | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 16 2011 7:16 AM

I'd hate to talk somebody into something that they potentially won't like, but I'm pretty sure you can lock in the low price now, but still be able to cancel it without obligation until the first one comes out in June I believe.  And Logos has a 30 day guarantee.  I'm sure if you disliked the first one, Logos would give you your money back.

 

Anyhow, Harold Hoehner is another dispensationalist who contributed a detailed exegetical commentary in Ephesians. I can't wait for that one to get in Logos.  If the EEC is at that level, I'm sure it will be a success.

 

 

 

 

Posts 1228
Ron | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 16 2011 7:32 AM

Justin Cofer:

I really don't see a problem with it.  If anything, there is a  LACK of that particular brand of theology in technical works.  How many dispensationalists in NICOT/NICNT?  Zero.  WBC?  Zero.  Baker's exegetical commentaries?  Zero.  Pillar commentaries? Zero.  NIGNT? Zero.  I'm glad the EEC will solve that.

I agree completely and made this same point several months ago in one of the EEC threads.  While there isn't a lack of dispensational resources in general, I'm not aware of any scholarly/academic/technical/exegetical sets that are dispensational.  EBC probably comes closest, but it isn't really the same caliber as an NICOT/NICNT.

Posts 82
Joe | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 16 2011 8:52 AM

Richard DeRuiter:
the best dispensational Bible scholars are Bible scholars first, and dispensational second (I'd say the same for the best Calvinist scholars). This is even more true in the commentary genre, in my experience.

 

IMHO, I would tend to agree.  Dispensationalism is not as critical is one's hermeneutic (there's some overlap, I know, but not in all areas) but there's a high view of scripture among these scholars which I can respect and that's why I think this series has a lot to offer.  Yes, there's a risk, but I think the risk is mitigated because (1) Logos is a reliable company and (2) the series has great potential.  Again, it would be good to see at least a few pages and even better if logos would offer (A) a more attractive pre-pub price for 'venture capitalists' and (B) "do-it-your-way" payment plan.  Big Smile

Posts 119
Ross Durham | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 16 2011 9:32 AM

Good discussion.  However, I am disappointed that we users have had to ferret out all these issues and Logos has not been straightforward and upfront on the series' perspective.  There has been plenty of time to be transparent and clear.  When asking to prepay $700 (from my perspective a "hugh amount of money") I don't think such information and clarity is too much to ask.  And really should we have to ask?

Ross

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