Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 29, 1951
NUMBER 30, PAGE 12-13b

Comments On "More About Fallacious Arguments"

Vaughn D. Shofner, Fort Worth, Texas

Par. 1: Adverse Criticism. I offered "adverse criticism" only in the sense of opposing. Not being acquainted with brother Winborn, I could hardly be hostile.

Par. 2: Why not sent to Firm Foundation? I learned several years ago, by actual experience, that the Firm Foundation would not print but one side of an argument. If this is printed (and it is being sent to this paper) by the Firm Foundation, it will be the first success of such an attempt by this writer.

Par. 3: Concerning Rom. 1:16. Since "'the' is often supplied in the English when it has no counterpart in the Greek," and in view of the fact that there is no other way unto salvation but by "the glad tidings of the Christ: for power of God it is unto salvation to every one that believes, both to Jew first and to Greek" (Interlinear Greek New Testament); and since the English does have the definite article "the" with which to express that fact, therefore it is used in the translation, and correctly. How else could it be expressed in English? as "a" power?

Par. 5: To whom have they so proved? Do you know of anyone who accepts sprinkling and pouring for baptism? Do you know of anyone who thinks baptism is not essential to salvation? Do you suppose they consider these doctrines proved true? You didn't really think they had "so proved to brother Shofner," did you? This isn't sarcasm, is it?

Par. 7: Value of the guess. Will brother Winborn "guess" that every generation has not seen such in the church? Is there no modernism in the church? Your guess is as good as mine. We're dealing with principles, not personalities. I am not implying that you are anything but a brother, and for that reason I spoke of you as such. The principle of your teaching is the thing with which I dealt, and the fact that it was in another paper was my reason for withholding your name.

Par. 9: Faith and disposition. Brother Winborn, did I state that belief was a result of "disposition"? It was used, brother Winborn, in the sense of inclination. Our inclination to believe a thing is "the result of evidence." I do not believe it to be fallacious to base an argument on "the" of Rom. 1:16, as evidence denies it, hence I am not inclined to believe, have no inclination. "Catch"?

Par. 10: Punctuation. If it is "according to Hoyle" I apologize for failure to punctuate by your specifications. Are quotation marks never used except to mark actual quotations? "If a word or phrase is intended to be awkward, whimsical, or humorous, it may be quoted." "If technical or trade words are likely to be unfamiliar to the reader, quote them." "A word or phrase is usually quoted if the expression 'so-called' or 'what is termed' can be mentally supplied." "In most writings, quote slang or coined words, or any phrases which might cheapen the text if it is not known that the writer is aware of them." To supply this list and many others with each article just wouldn't be acceptable, brother Winborn. People are able to read "what's writ" for themselves.

Par. 11: Proved. Because you did not prove the gospel to be but "a power" of God unto salvation is the very reason I used quotation marks in writing the word "proved." Neither can you deny a "self-evident" truth, but if a word does not exist in Greek and does in English; and if such English word is needed to convey the true teaching of the Greek in the translating, then it has a place there. If you cannot base an argument on "the" of Rom. 1:16, then in English it is but "a" power; and if it is but "a" power, or "power" with no definite qualification, there just must be other powers unto salvation. So, if your argument is true you have PROVED that the gospel of Rom. 1:16 is but "a power." I'm contending, brother Winborn, that the gospel of Christ is "The" power of God unto salvation in any language, and that we are fortunate enough to have a definite article in the English language with which to make it known. Therefore, you cannot refer to Christ's gospel with reference to salvation correctly, unless you refer to it as "the" power.

Par. 12: The New Birth. "Familiar passages all" I did not intend to familiarize you with them, brother Winborn. I pointed them out as making known how to be saved, and that requires "the" power of God, brother Winborn. Since such passages supply the needed knowledge unto salvation, and since the gospel of Christ is "the power of God unto salvation," why should you assert that they "have nothing to do with the statement," "obviously any argument based on 'the' in Rom. 1:16 is fallacious"? These passages of the new birth supply knowledge of the very essence of the gospel of Christ, "the power of God unto salvation," and unless there is some other power they do have something to do with your statement.

Par. 14: Finding a power. I, along with Paul, "am not ashamed of THE gospel of Christ, for it is THE power of God unto salvation." Now if I didn't think "the" belonged in this verse any more than "a," I'd search for another power in order to be consistent with my stand.

Par. 16: Greek definite article. No they could not have used "a," brother Winborn, because the English DOES HAVE "the," and had they used "a" in the translation it would have admitted of more powers unto salvation, and there "ain't" no other power unto salvation, brother!

Par. 17: Defense of the word "the." Brother Shofner would rush to the defense of "the" in Rom. 1:17 if the use of "a" violated the context and tenor of the New Testament teaching relative to the subject. And regarding an argument being based on something that does not exist: "the" does exist in the English, and it is impossible to speak of the power of God unto salvation, in English, in Rom. 1:16 without the use of "the." Otherwise it would be but "a" power.

Par. 18: Defining "gospel." Defining "gospel" would not give "a" power of God unto salvation.

Par. 19: Teaching brother Winborn. I did not intend to try to teach you primarily, brother Winborn, but I did try to turn others from the inevitable result of your teaching.

Par. 20: About lessons and logic. I am very limited, brother Winborn, just an erring, mortal man, and I doubt not that I need lessons in logic, clarity of expression and ethics, but as to the Christianity of the heart from which the "so-called" errors and mistakes of the writing came, please, brother, let's leave that to the Lord's judgment. And I'm proud, brother, of your "pride," but I'll challenge every move that casts even a shadow of doubt toward "the gospel of Christ, the power of God unto salvation."

In closing, I call some other men to say a few words on my behalf. I leave it to you and the readers as to their need of "lessons in logic, clarity of expression" and "ability to teach." Here are their words! "The language of the passage quoted, considered in connection with the circumstances of its utterance, seems to me to be exclusive; that is, to exclude every other power than the one specifically included. This is certainly true, provided the translation is right. Every authority known to me seems to agree that the Greek, dunamis gar theou estin, should be rendered, 'for it is the power of God.'

"If this be the true reading, and I believe it has not been questioned, it follows that the gospel is not simply a power, but it is THE power of God for salvation. That is, it is the only, or at least the chief power. I have examined Clarke, Wesley, Macknight, Bengel, Olshauesen, Chalmers, Bible Union, Anderson, and the King's version, and find that they all concur in the translation as above." (Lard's Quarterly, Vol. 4, p. 884).


Glen W. Lundy, 678 N. First Ave., Upland, California, Nov. 11: "Interest and attendance is very encouraging. A larger work program is being planned by the officers and full cooperation of every member make the outlook bright. One of our young men obeyed the Gospel last week and others seem nearly persuaded. We have retained Glen W. Lundy, formerly with the Grants Pass Church of Christ, Grants Pass, Oregon. He began his work here in September. When you are in this vicinity visit us. If you have friends here please inform us that we might visit them. Address the elders of this congregation or the minister."