AR-talk Digest: 4 Jun 2004, Issue 1255

> Christian alternative medicine targeting kids
> Resource: Articles on Catholicism and Politics
> The Origin of Mind
> Greek and Greek lexicons

From: "Robert Velarde" <>
Date: Thu, 3 Jun 2004 11:38:45 -0600
Subject: FYI: Christian alternative medicine targeting kids

I think I am going to be sick. Charisma now seems to be targeting children with alternative medicine absurdities with books by Don Colbert, M.D., author of the series of "Bible Cure" books. The infiltration of this stuff in the church is growing. "Angels and ministers of grace defend us." -Hamlet
<> or <>
Where Have ALL the Kids Gone?
When all the kids from Miss Mulpit's Sunday school class disappear, mild-mannered physician Don Colbert calls for help from his friend Detective Doodad, also known as the Toxic Detective. Together he and the Bible Cure doctor find the missing kids and rescue them from health villains and monsters. Young readers and their parents will discover God's biblical health principles in this great adventure story with fun, colorful characters and illustrations.
There is a small Adobe PDF sample of the book available for download, but it does not include much text.

Robert Velarde

Date: Fri, 4 Jun 2004 06:27:33 EDT
Subject: Re: [AR-talk] FYI: Christian alternative medicine targeting kids

In a message dated 6/3/2004 1:39:10 PM Eastern Standard Time, writes:

> Young readers and their parents will discover God's biblical
> health principles in this great adventure story with fun,
> colorful characters and illustrations

What are "God's biblical health principles" as Colbert describes them in this book (and by default, his work)?


Rev. Rafael Martinez
Director, Spiritwatch Ministries

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the
strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Psalms 27:1

Date: Fri, 04 Jun 2004 10:19:19 -0600
From: Robert Velarde <>
Subject: Re: [AR-talk] FYI: Christian alternative medicine targeting kids

On 6/4/04 4:27 AM, "" <> wrote:
> What are "God's biblical health principles" as Colbert describes
> them in this book (and by default, his work)?

My comments on Don Colbert here are limited to his other works, not the children's book I mentioned. Among other things, Colbert promotes "detoxification." For more on the general principles involved in this process see <>.

Colbert's books that appear to support "detoxification" include _Toxic Relief_, _What You Don't Know May Be Killing You_, etc.

Colbert is also author of a series of "Bible Cure" books such as The Bible Cure for ... ADD, Allergies, Arthritis, Asthma, Autoimmune Diseases, Back Pain, Cancer, Candida and Yeast Infections, Chronic Fatigue, Flu and Sinus Infections, Diabetes, Memory Loss, Thyroid Disorders, etc.

On his web site <>, Colbert has a listing of "Preferred Products" at <>. This list includes The Chi Machine, a device that claims to "oxygenate blood" (see <>).
For the page for The Chi Machine see <>. It also claims to "eliminate the body toxins"--a recurring theme in Colbert's works. Quackwatch <> is planning to post an article on The Chi Machine, but it is not up yet.

Like a lot of people promoting things like detoxification, he probably means well and there is probably some good information mixed in his works. But his overarching approach, so far as I can discern, is flawed. However, more research into his work should be done and specific examples brought to light. I have seen enough of this kind of stuff over the years to be wary of Colbert and his approach.

Robert Velarde

Date: Fri, 04 Jun 2004 12:33:41 -0600
From: Robert Velarde <>
Subject: Re: [AR-talk] FYI: Christian alternative medicine targeting kids

On 6/4/04 4:27 AM, "" <> wrote:
> What are "God's biblical health principles" as Colbert describes
> them in this book (and by default, his work)?

This is a follow-up to my previous post. I wanted to address the question above more directly but it slipped past me. Colbert may indeed hold to an acceptable view of God and biblical health principles, but the healing modalities he seems to favor are in my assessment unacceptable. My concern with his book for children is that he is also promoting his detoxification ideas, as is hinted at by the presence of the character "Toxic Detective." Also, his association with a device called "The Chi Machine" bothers me, since "chi" refers to energy-based healing techniques. Maybe the device moves into this area, maybe it does not, but the reference to "chi" is disconcerting. In any event, I just wanted to offer the above as an addendum to my post.

Robert Velarde


Date: Thu, 3 Jun 2004 13:30:16 -0700 (PDT)
From: Bill Kesatie <>
Subject: Resource: Articles on Catholicism and Politics

Catholics try to reconcile faith and political choices
by Gregory Korte
The Cincinnati Enquirer
"The 2004 presidential election has led Bosco and a generation of Catholics to grapple - each in their own way -- with how to keep their faith when they enter the voting booth. In e-mails and interviews, more than three dozen Catholic voters spoke to the Enquirer about the candidates, the role of religion in voting and the current controversy over Kerry's standing in the church.
"Not surprisingly, the issue of abortion came up in almost every interview."
Catholics Speak Out on Politics and Religion
"The Cincinnati Enquirer asked local Catholics for their opinions on their faith and their politics. Here are some of their responses:"
Pilarczyk deflects sacrament issue:
Archbishop awaits study before he'll deny Communion
By Gregory Korte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

"At least four American bishops said they would deny Communion to politicians who support abortion rights. So far, Cincinnati Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk is not among them.

"Pilarczyk is in Boston this week for a summit of Catholic and Orthodox leaders and did not respond to requests for interviews. But while in Rome last month for his ad limina visit - a tradition in which a bishop gives a five-year report on his diocese - Pilarczyk spoke to the National Catholic Reporter.

"In the interview, Pilarczyk wrestled with the issue but ultimately left it up to a special task force of American bishops headed by Theodore Cardinal McCarrick of Washington."

Bill Kesatie

Date: Thu, 03 Jun 2004 21:42:03 -0400
From: Jeff Downs <>
Subject: REQ: The Mind
I was asked the following:
What would be the easiest way to access the following topic?
The Origin of Mind
Any help?
Jeff Downs

Date: Fri, 04 Jun 2004 05:24:31 -0700
From: "Carl Mosser" <>
Subject: Greek and Greek lexicons writes:

>based on Hellenistic Greek, "especially in the "mystery cults," in spite
>of their acknowledgment that the New Testament is not written in
>Hellenistic but Koine Greek.
>Have Bauer, Arndt, & Gingrich overly complicated their lexicon by looking
>to a more ancient form of Greek instead of dealing with the New Testament
>in the context of Koine Greek?

I think your comments reflect a little confusion about the nature of the Greek language. The most basic way to break the Greek language down is pre-classical, classical, hellenistic, Byzantine & modern. Pre-classical Greek is not a type of Greek per se, but several distinct but related dialects--Ionic, Doric, Mycean, etc. Some dialectical elements persist into the classical period, but here we see something of a pan-hellenic standardization of the language. Hellenistic Greek refers to the kind of Greek widely employed after the conquests of Alexander the Great up through the rise of the Byzantine empire. Greek culture was brought to Egypt, the Near East, Mesopotamia, etc. and many non-Greeks began speaking the language for purposes of trade, government administration and social mobility. This "hellenistic Greek" is the Greek of early Christianity and the New Testament. Koine Greek simply means "common Greek." It should be understood as synonymous with hellenistic Greek or simply the everyday version of it.

The conquests of Alexander and the establishment of the Greek empires (most famously, the Ptolemaic and Seleucid) had a noticeable impact on the Greek language analogous to what happens with English spoken by immigrant communities in North America and Britain. When adopted by non-native speakers, certain grammatical structures are employed more often, others less; certain types of words get used more than they are in the "proper" language; some words get "misused" or the meanings of formerly distinct words become synonymous. For example, many native Chinese speakers have difficulty with English pronouns and will sometimes use "she" to refer to males or will develop a tendency to avoid gendered pronouns; Korean speakers often have difficulty with the definite article and overuse it. Similarly, in hellenistic Greek prepositions are used much more frequently than in classical Greek to express the nuances of "in, by, to, on, of," etc. In classical Greek the inflected endings of the words were usually sufficient for the task. Because Greek culture was so widespread and imposed on so many non-Greek speaking peoples, soon the "improper" tendencies of these people's Greek simply became part of the language. Depending on the native language of an area, the tendencies of Hellenistic Greek could vary. However, by the beginning of the first-century Rome had conquered most of the Greek east, bringing under one administration the Greek colonies of Italy and the Mediterranean, Macedonia, Achaia, Mesopotamia, Seleucid Anatolia, Ptolemaic Egypt and Palestine. Greek became the international language of commerce and usually of administration also. The pax Romana allowed commerce and travel on an unprecedented scale. As a result the language tendencies of the various regions cross-fertilized with one another and a degree of standardization resulted.

Because the New Testament was written in hellenistic/koine Greek and neither classical Greek nor some special "Holy Spirit Greek," it is important to see how the language functioned in a variety of texts. As Ed mentioned, the papyri are quite important for this and most of the great papyri finds occurred after Thayer composed his lexicon. Older lexicons like Thayer's are heavily dependent on the LXX and classical Greek. The LXX is obviously important because it was the Scripture that was read and heard. But in older works of scholarship it is classical Greek categories that predominate and serve as the grid through which both the LXX and NT are read. Depending on Thayer's lexicon is kind of like giving someone whose first language is Korean an English dictionary based primarily on
the KJV, Shakespeare and Donne to interpret the New York Times or this email. It can be useful, but it can also be problematic.

> How can I be sure that they are not looking for the definition
> they like in all the wrong places and then reading it into the verse?

I think that is actually more of a worry for an older work like Thayer's. Even though he cites numerous biblical passages, the underlying lexical meanings and his understanding of the syntax is largely derived from classical Greek. He does take into account obvious differences between classical Greek and that of the NT, but not sufficiently. The basic worry you express here is one that really can't be eliminated regardless of what lexicon is used. Lexicons are fallible tools. In many instances the experts will always have differences of opinion. Lexicography is not an exact science because languages are too dynamic for that kind of analysis. The best one can do is (1) try to get a feel for the semantic range of a word--that is, for the various ways in which a word could be used, (2) see what contextual and grammatical factors may affect the usage of a word, (3) see what makes best sense of the context and argument of a passage. Unfortunately, that entails that one must study Greek to responsibly speak about what the original means. Reference works can be helpful, but as long as one is entirely dependent on them there is only so much that can be done. One can judiciously appeal to reference works, but one should also be careful about pressing points too far.

>How is the not-so-scholarly going to choose between what seems
> to be thorough (Thayer) and what seems to be contradictory (Bauer, etc.)?

I think the Bauer lexicon is a good one, albeit not perfect. I would also recommend Louw & Nida's lexicon based on semantic domains. It does not try to list every biblical passage where a word occurs and derive meaning from that. Rather, behind the lexicon is a lot of linguistics research to establish the attested semantic domains for the Greek words used in the NT. The lexicon itself lists the words according to semantic domain rather than a simple head word with all the definitions under it. Thus, for example, logos is listed under 10 different domains: statement, speech, gospel, treatise, Word, account, reason, event, appearance, accusation. When you look the word up you are able to readily see what other words can be used in similar ways. It also helps one to catch some of the nuances of a word being used in a particular way. The Louw & Nida was designed for Bible translators whose specialty is the target language they are translating into, not Hebrew and Greek. It includes handy indices for the Greek words, the domains, Scripture references, etc. All in all, it is very accessible to the person who does not have a solid grasp of Greek.

I would also second Ed's recommendation of Colin Brown's NIDNTT. It is not really a lexicon, but it addresses many of the kinds of theological issues that lay people and pastors are really wanting to learn from the Greek text.

> Is there another lay-friendly lexicon (like Thayer's) which resolves
> some of the problems you have with Thayer's antiquity and
> siimplicity?

I would try Louw & Nida. For basic meanings of Greek words, you might pick up the United Bible Society's Greek-English dictionary. They print it in the back of the UBS 4 Greek New Testament, but it is also available as a separate volume. The revised edition of Bauer released a couple of years ago is also a little easier to use than the old one. But like I said, Colin Brown's NIDNTT will probably give you more of the kind of information that will be useful to you.

Since we are on the topic of the original languages, I would like to highlight something and recommend a book to members of the list. The point to be highlighted is this: insight into the meaning of Greek words is not a magic key that will unlock the meaning of the NT (or Hebrew for the OT). Many pastors and apologists who have not studied Greek feel compelled to cite the meaning of Greek words to bolster their points, but very often this is done in a way that treats the Greek language as if it is different from every other language on earth. Many times a passage with word X is interpreted as if every attested meaning for X can be read into the passage. Other times a lexicon is consulted and the person reads into a passage whatever "definition" of X that suits his/her fancy. Another common mistake that people who have studied Greek make is to over-analyze the grammer--as if being able to diagram a passage and parse all the verbs will magically unlock its meaning.

In most cases consulting a number of the fine English translations we have will be quite sufficient to understand the basic range of meanings that are possible. Of course, there are sometimes cases where English just cannot capture the nuance of the Greek or where the English translationsare ambiguous (and we should remember that sometimes the Greek is ambiguous!). In trying to capture nuances, we should do so in a way analogous to how we would do that in a modern situation. Imagine that you know Spanish and you see the newspaper translate a statement made by the President of Mexico. You see that the translation is accurate but that it fails to capture something of the original Spanish. In trying to convey that to non-Spanish speakers no one would read into a particular word every dictionary definition, nor would they plug in whatever definition suits their fancy, nor would they give a detailed analysis of his syntax. Rather, they would try to explain the various ways in which the word can be used in similar contexts and fit what was said in the context of the speech. So we should do with the NT. We should begin our treatment of biblical texts in the original languages in much the same way that we would treat any other languages. Only if this fails do we need to employ sophisticated lexicography and analysis of syntax--and even then we must
be linguistically sensitive and careful not to treat the language in an artificial manner.

As for books, I would commend to the members of the list D.A. Carson's helpful little book _Exegetical Fallacies_. If one reads this book andperiodically looks back at it, it will save one from making a lot of mistakes. He reminds his readers of some good common-sense things to keep in mind when interpreting scripture and appealing to the original languages, whether one knows Greek or not.

Carl Mosser
St. Mary's College
University of St. Andrews
St. Andrews, KY16 9JU
Scotland, United Kingdom
From: Tom Jones <>
Date: Fri, 4 Jun 2004 12:21:41 -0400
Subject: Re: [AR-talk] Greek and Greek lexicons

On Jun 4, 2004, at 8:24 AM, Carl Mosser wrote:
> As for books, I would commend to the members of
> the list D.A. Carson's...


Your comments have been very helpful. Really appreciate your patience with me and the clarification of my understanding about some of these issues. I know that taking the time to deal with this is a tough choice when one is busy. Thanks.

Tom Jones
Christian Research & Counsel
3500 12th Ave N
"Belief beyond proof is faith. Belief in spite of proof is folly."

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