Dr Jeffrey Kloha and Textual Criticism – A Post Convention Report

Two Overtures to the 2016 synodical convention of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod presented questions concerning a paper by Dr. Jeffrey Kloha about ongoing revisions of the Greek New Testament. Overture 4-23 was titled, “To Settle Professor Jeffrey Kloha Controversy,” and Overture 4-24 was titled, “To Request Public Clarification of Kloha Paper.”

The questions or controversy erupted on the internet when a preliminary and provisional draft of the paper for academic discussion was disseminated without permission.

The overtures were written before publication earlier this year of the final version of the paper as a chapter in the book, Listening to the Word of God: Exegetical Approaches, Achim Behrens and Jorg Christian Salzmann, eds., Marion Salzmann, trans. (Göttingen, Niedersachs Edition Ruprecht 2016), titled “Theological and Hermeneutical Reflections on the Ongoing Revisions of the Novum Testamentum Graece.”

Prior to the convention and prior to the floor committee’s meetings on the two overtures, I wrote a three-part series of articles about the overtures, about the content of the final, published version of the paper, and about my conclusions and issues regarding the paper. (See Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.)

The two overtures were assigned to Floor Committee 4, “Life Together.” Like all floor committees, Committee 4 met before the convention to consider overtures assigned to it. As a result of its consideration, the committee placed both overtures about Dr. Kloha’s paper into Resolution 4-07, titled “To Respectfully Decline Overtures.” Original Today’s Business, p. 68. This meant that unless something more happened, those overtures would not be reported to the floor of the convention.

The day before the opening of the convention, the floor committees held open meetings where practically anyone could speak to any matter assigned to them. Committee 4 held its open meeting from 8:30 to 10:00 a.m. Even a person who is not a member of an LCMS congregation and who publicly opposes Dr. Kloha attended.

The room was more than large enough for those who attended. The location was well advertised and the location was easy to find. The committee was seated at a table at the front. The doors were standing open. People could and did walk in and out as they pleased. The chair recognized anyone who raised their hand to speak. There was no announced time limit for each person to speak. Various committee members responded to questions and comments. When any person who already had spoken raised his or her hand again, the chair called on that person to speak again. I never detected anything suggesting or creating an atmosphere of limiting debate, comments, or questions. The interaction between commenters and the committee was engaging. Committee members asked some commenters follow-up questions, and noted recommendations commenters made. Even with strong opinions on differing sides of the Kloha overtures, throughout the discussion, all participants were kindly and respectful to one another in a manner well-fitting to a meeting of a committee called, “Life Together.”

There were a few who either wanted the two resolutions taken off the declined overtures resolution and reported to the floor, or some other action by which Dr. Kloha would be called upon “to explain himself.”

In contrast to my sense of satisfaction with the committee’s procedure and tone was my disappointment with something about most – but not all – of those who spoke against Dr. Kloha: they had not read his final, published paper!

Several things made it plain that they had not read it. One of their complaints was that the paper is not available. (It was, but that was their complaint.) They spoke about historical-critical method and higher criticism, even though Dr. Kloha’s paper is in no way promoting either of those. They made other statements that gave away a lack of information about the content of the paper. Several said they had not seen the final paper.

Part way through the hearing, and after most of the negative things about his paper had been said, Dr. Kloha entered the room. The chair recognized and introduced him. He made himself available to answer questions either to the meeting or to individuals afterwards. Following the meeting, he engaged with numerous people. He continued this type of engagement throughout the convention.

The main points of discussion in the open meeting were:

  • The unavailability of the paper.
  • That Dr. Kloha should explain himself
  • Who said the Magnificat, Mary or Elizabeth

Let’s look at each of these in turn.

My sense of the discussion was that the issue of availability was laid to rest. The publication of the book containing the paper as a chapter was mentioned, and everyone could see that Dr. Kloha was carrying a copy of the book. The committee recognized that it would be helpful for the whole convention to know that the paper is published. In the original version of Resolution 4-07, the committee stated the reason for declining the two overtures as, “Already addressed by President of Synod and President of Concordia Seminary.” The committee amended the resolution to add to the reason for declining the Kloha overtures, saying, “and by publication of the author’s fully revised paper.” Resolution 4-07A, Monday’s Today’s Business, Issue 3, p. 352.

Sure, you’ve got to pay $38 for the book. It’s an academic book. That is not a high price for an academic book. It is as available as any academic book. It can be bought through Amazon and other common outlets.

As to explaining himself, Dr. Kloha has been doing that for more than two and a half years since internet outbreak of the controversy in November 2013.

First, he continued engaging in the normal academic process by which his paper was revised and refined as a result of his constantly explaining himself within the academic world. A list presentations he gave to district pastors’ conferences, theological professors’ conferences, theological symposia, and a lay conference is in the footnote.[1].

Second, he published the final version of the paper, in which he fully explains himself.

Third, he responded to the congregations who submitted the overtures. Overture 4-24 was submitted by Grace Lutheran Church of San Mateo, California. On May 2, 2016, Dr. Kloha wrote to the voters’ assembly of that congregation. He provided the congregation gratis with a copy of the book. He provided a print copy of a piece he wrote that responded to a Newsweek article on the topic. His piece was published by the LCMS Reporter online in January, 2015: “Commentary on ‘News’week on the Bible.” He provided a copy of an essay that he delivered on the topic at the Lutheran Concerns Association conference in Ft. Wayne, Indiana in January, 2015.

Overture 4-23 was submitted by Salem Lutheran Church of Taylorsville, North Caroline. On May 3, 2016, Dr. Kloha wrote to the voters’ assembly of that congregation. The letter is 7 pages and addresses overture 4-23 point by point. He provided an internet link to a list of dozens of presentations he had given, both to pastors’ conferences and to lay conferences, numerous essays and reviews he had published, and widely distributed Bible study video projects in which he had participated that all confess the inspiration and sole authority of the Scriptures. He provided his curriculum vitae and the same materials that he provided to Grace Lutheran Church.

Fourth, Dr. Kloha responded to the invitation of Lutheran Concerns Association and wrote a paper specifically for their conference to address their concerns. Manuscripts and Misquoting, Inspiration and Apologetics,” 2015 Lutheran Concerns Association Annual Conference, Ft. Wayne, IN, Jan. 19, 2015.

Fifth, he met with the president of the synod, the president of the seminary, and the first vice president of the synod. When the article was fully revised, they determined that it contained no false teaching. They reported that conclusion to the regents. The report to the regents was published.

Sixth, on May 4, 2016, Dr. Kloha wrote to the secretary of the synod, with copies to the president of Concordia Seminary, the president of the LCMS, the first vice president of the LCMS, the chairman of the board of regents, the president of the Missouri district, and the office of secretary of the synod. He enclosed all the same materials as he provided to the two congregations along with copies of his letters to the congregations.

Seventh, there have been many who have written to Dr. Kloha. I first wrote to Dr. Kloha on December 5, 2013, and he answered me the same day. He shouldn’t have to explain himself to me, but he did. At the convention, readers of my previous articles talked to me about Dr. Kloha responding to them.

UPDATE: Eighth, as reported in the comments by one of the members of Committee 4, Dr. Kloha made himself available to the May 2016 floor committee hearing.

Following the open committee meeting, my meeting Dr. Kloha in person at the convention, and talking with many delegates about the paper, the matter of the Magnificat, Mary, and Elizabeth was the sole remaining problem that needed to be explored. That is something people kept mentioning. It has a symbolic character. Lay people feel that we own the Magnificat, partly because we use it liturgically. It raises a reaction almost like flag burning does.

The question is, why is it said that perhaps Elizabeth spoke or sang the Magnificat? Is it for reasons of historical critical method? Does it arise from higher criticism? Are we standing below the text or are we standing above it?

Before leaving the convention, I spoke with someone who had put that exact question to Dr. Kloha. Dr. Kloha answered the question directly, and emailed to the questioner documents about the question. That made it easy for me to ask for those same documents. After reading the information, I conclude that in this matter, Dr. Kloha is standing below the text. The issue arises from the text. It is not being put upon the text.

The question of whether Luke 1:46 reads Μαριάµ or Ἐλισάβετ is presented in the manuscripts and early church evidence themselves.

Let’s see if I can make this plain. The following is not the case:

All manuscripts and early church quotations of or discussion about the text say that Mary is the one who said the Magnificat, but for historical or other reasons outside the text, an argument is made that the text must be mistaken, and a nontextual argument is made for saying it was Elizabeth.

That would be standing above the text. We can’t tolerate that.

Instead, this is the case:

Some manuscripts themselves say Elizabeth, and some early church writings that quote or discuss the verse say Elizabeth. So the reason for someone making an argument that it could have been Elizabeth is the text, or early church evidence of the text where the verse is quoted or discussed.

That is not standing above the text. That addresses an issue of what the text itself originally said.

For my part, I am sure Mary is the one, and the manuscripts and early church writings to the contrary are mistaken. But see, that right there is the matter about which textual criticism concerns itself. There are manuscript mistakes. When the manuscripts themselves disagree, and when early church quotations or discussions of the text at a point of manuscript disagreement also disagree, we’re not rebelling against Scripture. We’re just trying to find out which manuscript version is Scripture and which one is the mistake.

We shouldn’t be too put off by the word criticism in the phrase “textual criticism.” We should not lump it in with other things that have that word in their names, like historical critical method or higher criticism. Unlike those things, in textual criticism, the basis of the criticism is the manuscripts themselves and early church evidence. The basis of criticism is not something outside the Bible that would be used to criticize the Bible. Textual criticism done rightly honors the Word of God by taking care to know what the Word says.

Having said that, I continue to view textual criticism as something on which we must maintain a steady, vigilant watch. It is something that needs to be done, but it would be easy to do it badly. The picture that comes to mind is walking the edge of a razor blade. The edge is so thin and sharp that it would be easy to slice off on the wrong side of the blade. But, this paper by Dr. Kloha doesn’t do that, and it is about high time he gained wide acceptance of this fact.

Let’s keep watching what Dr. Kloha says, since textual criticism is a tricky area, but when we have concerns, let’s treat him like a brother.


[1] “Text and Authority: Theological and Hermeneutical Reflections on the Ongoing Revisions of the Novum Testamentum Graece,” Day of Exegetical Reflection, Concordia Seminary, May 8, 2014.

“Text and Authority: Theological and Hermeneutical Reflections on the Ongoing Revisions of the Novum Testamentum Graece,” LCMS Theology Professors Conference, Concordia University, St. Paul, May 27-29, 2014.

“The Text of the New Testament.” New England and Atlantic Districts Fall Pastoral Conference, Hartford, CN, October 27-28, 2014.

“Manuscripts and Misquoting, Inspiration and Apologetics,” 2015 Lutheran Concerns Association Annual Conference, Ft. Wayne, IN, Jan. 19, 2015.

“Manuscripts and Texts of the New Testament: A Case Study on the Textual Tradition of 1 Corinthians 14:34–35,” 30th Annual Symposium on Exegetical Theology, Concordia Theological Seminary, Ft. Wayne, IN, Jan. 20-21, 2015.

“Text and Authority: The Origins and Reliability of the New Testament,” Minnesota South District Pastors Conference, Mankato, MN, Oct. 26, 2015.

About T. R. Halvorson

T. R. Halvorson was born in Sidney, Montana on July 14, 1953, baptized at Pella Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sidney, Montana on November 8, 1953, and confirmed at First Lutheran Church in Williston, North Dakota in 1968. He and his wife, Marilyn, are members of Trinity Lutheran Church (LCMS) in Sidney, Montana. They have three sons and six grandchildren. T. R. farms at Wildrose, North Dakota, and is Deputy County Attorney in Sidney, Montana. He has been a computer programmer; and an author, conference speaker, instructor, and consultant to industry in online legal information. He is among the authors of the religion column in the Sidney Herald at Sidney, Montana. He is the Editor of LutheranCatechism.com.


Dr Jeffrey Kloha and Textual Criticism – A Post Convention Report — 48 Comments

  1. I commend to you, In Search of the Biblical Order written by Gioacchino Michael Cascione. He does a pretty good job discussing texts and variant texts.

    I am pleased to know that Dr. Kloha’s research didn’t arrived at an inconvenient, untidy conclusion which could have rocked the foundations of the LCMS. Before this latest installment, this issue reminded me of a Paul Maier novel I remember reading once. I’m so glad that Dr. Kloha’s research didn’t unearthed yet another academic reason for skeptics to consider the Bible an amorphous work subject to the vagaries of human language. Once it is thought that the text is plastic, there will be no end to maleficent hermeneutics. Thank you, T.R., for your comprehensive treatment and for illuminating this subject so well.

  2. It has come to my attention that for some readers, the statement at the end of the article, “Let’s keep watching what Dr. Kloha says, since textual criticism is a tricky area,” is taken to mean that I think something is wrong with Dr. Kloha. The sentence itself gives the reason for watching, in the clause, “since textual criticism is a tricky area.” That expressly assigns the reason for watching to the nature textual criticism, not to Dr. Kloha. I don’t know why a reader would reject the expressed reason and resort instead to some other suspicious imagined reason. Dr. Kloha just happens to be the person who writes about textual criticism who became the subject of the convention overtures that the four articles in this series are about, so the statement mentions him. But there was no intention to imply that there is anything wrong with Dr. Kloha, and I think we should watch what all people who write about textual criticism say about it, just because of the nature of the enterprise and the importance of Scripture.

  3. Dear T.R.,

    Thanks for another excellent article. You gave a good explanation of the Mary/Elizabeth textual problem. Those of us who missed the convention or couldn’t attend those committee meetings have been wondering what happened in Milwaukee.

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  4. Mr. Halverson: I do not mean to detract from the importance of your posting by agreeing with it and praising it, but I think it is the right thing to do. By this I freely admit that I am not qualified to judge Dr. Kloha’s work directly, but your explanation of the events appears to me to be objective, dispassionate and helpful in understanding the issues. Thank you.
    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  5. Thank you for addressing this here. Dr. Kloha made himself available for the May floor committee meeting and several of us read the final book copy before that weekend as well. This is well done, and your comments at the open hearing were helpful and they are helpful here as well. As I recall it was actually after open hearings that lead us to make the additional note in the explanation to decline. As a member of committee 4, thank you for these comments.

  6. So the professor writes a paper and it goes public, but “unpublished”, with statements that are contrary to an orthodox understanding of God’s Word preserved for us in the Holy Bible. But now it is “published”, but we have to purchase a book to find out what the final version is? Sounds like a marketing scam.

    I would not be comfortable saying “Never mind”, until I’ve seen the text of his paper.

    Finally, there is very little serious textual evidence for the attributing the Magnificat to Elizabeth.

  7. @Rev. Loren Zell #7

    it goes public

    Which it?

    How does it go public? By whom? Where? Under what circumstances?

    but “unpublished”

    Why the scare quotes? What are you insinuating?

    with statements that are contrary to an orthodox understanding of God’s Word

    Which statements are those? How are they contrary to orthodoxy?

    But now it is “published”

    Why the scare quotes? When an academic paper is published as a chapter in an academic book, isn’t that published? Isn’t that normal?

    but we have to purchase a book to find out what the final version is

    What is so unusual about having to buy a book? When you write a book, will you just give it away?

    Have you tried interlibrary loan?

    I would not be comfortable saying “Never mind”, until I’ve seen the text of his paper.

    Me either, so I read the chapter.

    Finally, there is very little serious textual evidence for the attributing the Magnificat to Elizabeth.

    How does that differ from what Dr. Kloha says?

  8. St. Paul’s Lutheran Church (LC–MS), Des Peres, MO US and KFUO Radio St. Louis, MO US will be broadcasting Dr. Kloha’s ongoing Sunday morning Bible classes (currently covering Mark) starting this Sunday August 7 at 9:30 AM US CDT (14:30 universal/GMT). KFUO broadcasts on AM 850 in St. Louis, MO US with a range of about 100 miles in all directions, and globally at KFUO.ORG.

    Live streams are here:

    Listeners may interact here with comments and questions:

  9. Dear BJS Bloggers,

    T.R. has given a very fair hearing of Dr. Kloha’s paper and ideas, and in this post, an excellent overview of what happened at the convention in this regard. Except he is missing one little detail . . .

    I was sorting through my 2016 convention documents this week and skimming the pages of stuff I had not read, when I came across an unnumbered resolution. Maybe you all know about this, but for those that don’t, if you are interested in this topic of textual criticism, you need to know.

    This would be in Today’s Business, Tuesday, Issue 4, pages 438-439 (see http://www.lcms.org/Document.fdoc?src=lcm&id=4228 ). Action on it is reported in the Minutes, page 22 (see https://www.lcms.org/Document.fdoc?src=lcm&id=4259 ).

    The resolution is titled “To Preserve the Authority and Clarity of the New Testament Scriptures.” It did not name Dr. Kloha or his writings, or even make a veiled reference to such. The issue was strictly modern text criticism. Action was to REFER to the President of Synod. That is neither a POSTPONE nor TABLE action, so he has to do something about the resolution.

    The author of the resolution is LC-MS layman and 2016 delegate, Dr. E. Christian Kopff; someone I recognize from the Lutheranism and Classics Conference, where he spoke on a topic in Classics at the 2012 conference, “On Virgil and Augustine in Luther’s De Servo Arbitrio” (see James A. Kellerman and Carl P.E. Springer, eds., Ad Fontes Witebergenses (Fort Wayne: Lutheran Legacy, 2014), 39-52). I don’t know him personally.

    Dr. Kopff has a Wikipedia entry here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._Christian_Kopff

    He also has an academic web-page here: http://www.colorado.edu/honors/echristiankopff

    I also remembered seeing Dr. Kopff’s name as an Editorial Advisor for Modern Age: A Quarterly Review (see: http://www.modernagejournal.com ), published by the conservative Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI). ISI has been a leader over the years in attempting to preserve the Western tradition and conservative values in our public and private universities. So I think that Kopff’s interests are friendly to ours.

    Where this goes from here, I don’t know, but I think the intent of the resolution from Dr. Kopff was to defend our Lutheran position on the clarity of Scripture in light of the challenges or problems posed by the 28th edition of the Nestle-Aland text.

    I hope that the synod does something along these lines, and I commend Dr. Kopff for his leadership in this matter.

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  10. The following statement is attributed to Kloha in this “unpublished” paper, and is quoted in Hale’s book, Confessing the Scriptural Christ Against Modern Idolatry. Page 282. In a discussion about 1 Corinthians 14: 34-35 Kloha is quoted as writting,

    “Past use of the text within the LCMS has been in the propositional style exegesis, where the text presents divinely-inspired propositional statements devoid of historical setting, context or pragmatics”: Of course, the critical scholar will attempt to bridge the historical gap-to speak holier words than the Holy Spirit. Scripture is merely as an uninspired, human word will never say anything definite. “Scripture is not a legal text from which we extract value.”

    So my question is, first, is this a correct quote? If it it correct, has it been repudiated by Kloha in his final “published” version.

    I’m sure some will disagree, but calling a work “unpublished” is not a license to corrupt the Word of God.

  11. @Rev. Loren Zell #12

    I got home from the county fair late last night and saw your comment. Your quotation, and especially the placement of the quotations marks, so that quoting Kloha is being turned on and off and on and off, seemed choppy, like either you had mistyped, or someone was trying to collage together a criticism of Kloha.

    As it happened, I had Philip Hale’s book that you cite on my night stand, as I have been reading it, but hadn’t gotten to page 282 yet. So I turned to page 282 and sure enough, your placement of quotation marks is true to Hale, but then leaves a question about why Hale is making such choppy quotations. At the late hour, I decided I would not do a good job on that question, and that it would be better to leave this until morning light.

    Hale purports to quote two sentences from Kloha. He only footnotes the second sentence. So I have no way of knowing whether both quotations come from the same source and therefore are two Kloha sentences that actually are part of a single discussion with a whole purport, or whether the choppiness is not only a slicing and dicing of one paper, but slicing, dicing, and reconstituting from two different papers that perhaps are not even on the same subject.

    The one paper Hale cites is “Text and Authority,” p. 18.

    If you have both Hale and “Text and Authority,” you could have done the work yourself to answer the questions you are asking me, to see whether Hale’s quotations are accurate, but instead you have criticized Kloha in your first comment posted here, and now come forward with this second comment as evidence for the criticism.

    The footnote superscript appears after the second purported quotation. The first quotation does occur in the second sentence on page 18. Query, does the second quotation, where the footnote superscript is located, appear anywhere on page 18, or on the page before or after page 18? Since you are making criticism, and since you brought forward this evidence in support of your criticism, you have the burden of proof to show:

    A. where that quotation came from, and

    B. what its connection to the other quotation might be.

    You must do this to address the question you pose, or else the whole exercise was pointless ab initio.

    With what we do find on pages 17 and 18, however, I can refute Hale’s claim in two ways.

    First, Kloha sets clear markers that flag a change from one subject to another in this paper. On page 17, he deals with the textual criticism question. He reports that even NA has removed conjecture questioning the text of 1 Cor. 14:34-35 from the critical apparatus, and that in Kloha’s approach of dealing with text in a Lutheran way as homologoumena or antilegomena, these verses must be treated as homologoumena. Therefore any claim by Hale that Kloha is applying higher criticism or historical critical method or even textual criticism to invalidate the Word of God in these two verses is patently false.

    Having dealt with the textual criticism issue about those two verses, then, in the first sentence on Hale’s cited page 18, Kloha flags a change of subject from textual criticism to interpretation of an unquestioned text. He says, “This [the resolution of the textual criticism question], however, does not resolve the interpretive issues that the text presents.” So now he is talking about a text he does not question, and is discussing its interpretation. Any attempt to use what he says about the interpretation to show that for reasons of textual criticism or higher criticism or historical critical method he is standing over the text and denying that the text is as witnessed in the manuscripts is a blatant misapplication of what he is saying.

    Second, even if we could find where that other quotation comes from (where the superscript is located), and even if it were part of a single discussion of a whole matter, the two quotations do not support Hale’s interspersed characterizations.

    Quotation 1 – “”Past use of the text within the LCMS has been in the propositional style exegesis, where the text presents divinely-inspired propositional statements devoid of historical setting, context or pragmatics.”

    Quotation 2 – “Scripture is not a legal text from which we extract value.”

    From those two thread bare pieces of evidence, one without a cited source, how do you get to Hale’s conclusions that he intersperses between the two quotations?

    Conclusion 1 – “Of course, the critical scholar will attempt to bridge the historical gap-to speak holier words than the Holy Spirit.”

    Conclusion 2 – “Scripture is merely as an uninspired, human word will never say anything definite.”

    Please, how do you get to those two conclusions about Kloha from the two quotations?

    Let me clarify, the reason I have Hale on my nightstand is because I accept the reviews about how good a book his is, and to the point that I had read before your comments here, I have seen why Hale’s is a hailed book. But in this one paragraph, it looks like he was in a hurry and did not set down everything he is relying on for his conclusions, because patently, the conclusions do not follow from the two quotations – not even close. He must have more that was left out of the passage you cite, or if he doesn’t, then I am going to say he is just wrong, and quite badly when he characterizes Kloha as supporting the positon that “Scripture is merely as an uninspired, human word will never say anything definite.” Kloha is prolific, and has many, many, many times said just the opposite. And, “Of course, the critical scholar will attempt to bridge the historical gap-to speak holier words than the Holy Spirit,” is exactly what Kloha is NOT doing in the cited passage of “Text and Authority,” because he reports that the two verses are unquestioned and in his approach would be treated as homologoumena.

    Why have I had to write 1200 words about your question that you could have checked yourself?

    I gleefully admit that I never should have been the person to write the three articles about Overtures 4-23 and 4-24. But at the time of research and writing, it appeared that we lay delegates were going to have to vote on the two overtures, and no one was helping by writing on the published paper. Everything available was obsolete information and disordered information (disordered in ways similar to how that paragraph of Hale’s is disordered). So for the sake of my own voting on so profoundly important a matter, I undertook the duties of a delegate to read, study, mark, and inwardly digest the matter on which I apparently was going to have to vote, and then for whatever good it might do other lay delegates, offered the articles for publication. This work should have been done by a theologian or pastor possessing the proper qualifications. The only qualification I have for doing this work is that I actually do the work. If you think my conclusions are wrong, that is fine, but roll up your sleeves and sweat out the labor to establish your position.

  12. Thanks for your response. After rereading the text from Hale’s book, I admit myself to being confused as to what was from Kloha’s book, and what was text from Hale. So I wrote to Hale, asking about the formatting. My last email shared my thoughts that I didn’t care for the structure of some of the book, taking fragments and in some cases just phrases from Kloha’s and others book. IMHO, to be fair to Kloha, at least an entire sentence or several sentences should be quoted and footnoted, with page numbers.

    Therefore, I have to withdraw any criticism of Kloha until such time that I have time and opportunity to review his writing for myself. Thank you for your kind and well written response.

  13. Dear Mr. Halvorson,
    First of all, my thanks and appreciation to you for taking the time and effort to work through this issue–particularly as a layman. There’s no question that this topic and the related issues push all involved to the limits of thought and understanding. Nevertheless, permit me to offer a humble critique of your observations. While I in no way doubt that the three points you address comprised the substance of what was discussed in committee, namely: (1) The unavailability of the paper (2) that Dr. Kloha should explain himself and (3) who said the magnificat, please allow me to mention that while these issues may have been those of the resolutions and discussion, that the larger picture of the debate is actually a bit more involved. For my part, your analysis left me wishing that you had addressed this larger picture more thoroughly before offering your imprimatur. In making this point, I would reference both J.W. Montgomery’s analysis of Dr. Kloha’s writings (appeared 22 Feb. 2016 in CN) and his response to the revised edition (appeared 14 Mar. 2016 in CN) as well as Rev. Hale’s recent book. In mentioning these, I might point out that the actual debate goes well beyond the question of Mary or Elizabeth and the status (published, unpublished, etc.) of the paper/publication. It actually extends into significant presuppositional issues and questions of what is meant by various theological terminology (e.g. inspiration, authority and the nature of Holy Scripture). It is only by addressing these issues that any sort of clarity in this debate will be achieved. In other words, it isn’t really about Elizabeth or Mary per se (as you mentioned), though certainly this is an important matter, but more what presuppositions and methodology would drive one to say one or the other. Perhaps it’s this disconnect with respect to the basis by which to judge the debate that is the cause for the division over the Kloha paper. After all, men of good intentions (one must always presume) have taken widely disparate positions varying from approval to significant alarm. Thank you for your consideration.
    In Christ,
    Brandt Klawitter

  14. I am glad people are talking about this issue. It is gravely important. However, meaningful theological dialogue must include more than just who was nice and who should be nicer. The Bible and the Gospel must actually be dealt with.

    “The committee’s procedure and tone” is irrelevant to the truth of God’s Word. The complainers “spoke about historical-critical method and higher criticism, even though Dr. Kloha’s paper is in no way promoting either of those.” That’s quote an authoritative statement, but Kloha’s actual teaching is not brought up. Just like the complainers, I cannot tell if Kloha’s many essays, or even his mentor’s (James Voelz) hermeneutics textbook, have been read. Who are we to trust?

    I suggest a radical procedure: trust no one fully except God alone. You should not put your trust in great scholars, or elected officials—even the president of the LCMS. They are sinners, like myself. Their authority will not give you a certain faith, a divine confidence in any matter, especially death itself.

    What is fascinating is that Dr. Kloha did not retract anything in the finished essay. He avoids the language of “plastic” now but repents of nothing. But what does even the finished essay teach? It not easy to understand, since it is quite philosophical, but we prefer to rely on the judgment of independent scholars today in the LCMS, rather than actually study and judge on the basis of Holy Scripture. Few think for themselves or feel qualified to to critique professors. But all men are sinners. Christ alone is always holy and correct when he speaks.

    Saying Kloha does not “stand above the text” does not make sense. One of his errors is saying that there is no single, original text. He claims there were drafts of biblical books, in the same way we write. Therefore, we cannot be sure of what was originally written. It is not merely textual critical opinions, but the nature and inspiration of Scripture that is at stake. John Warwick Montgomery has written extensively on this issue from the textual side. I contend that between Kloha and Montgomery one must be wrong and should repent. But most pastors can barely read a blog post, so they can’t be bothered to study such deep matters. But it was the laymen of the LCMS who held our synod’s course during Seminex. I’m afraid that would not be the case today.

    I suggest all read “Walther’s Evening Lectures on Inspiration.” They are available for free online (translated by Dr. Thomas Manteufel). Then read a few Kloha essays. There is a vast theological difference, though it cannot be summed up in a one-word simplification.

    I agree that we should treat Kloha like a brother, but I also demand Christ and His words be treated better than that. His words, written and formed in human letters are God’s Words and are the way in which our Lord comes to us today. They alone rule the Church and give the confidence to say regarding doctrinal matters: “This is most certainly true.” Amen.

  15. Since there is some confusion:
    “Citing one source multiple times in one paragraph. If a single paragraph of your paper contains several references from the same author, it is permissible to use one number after the last quotation, paraphrase, or summary to indicate the source for all of the material used in that paragraph.”

    So what is in quotes is a quotation. What is not quoted is not in quotation marks. If a quote is not footnoted, go to the next footnote that references a source, because it is implied that all previously uncited quotes are from the same source. If the quotes are from different pages, more than one page should be cited at that final reference.

    Hope that clarifies things.

  16. @Rev. Klawitter #15

    I make no claim to having written generally about Dr Kloha. All four of these articles say that I wrote in the context of two overtures.

    I wrote because the convention was coming and help was not appearing. Perhaps you might have been able to help.

  17. @Philip Hale #16

    The reason for speaking about the committee procedure is that there were complaints that the Synod was sweeping this matter under the rug in closed, secret procedures. Not sure how you got the idea that the purpose was something else.

  18. Dear Pastor Hale,

    In your comment #16, you state about Dr. Kloha: One of his errors is saying that there is no single, original text. He claims there were drafts of biblical books, in the same way we write. Therefore, we cannot be sure of what was originally written..

    I am only working from memory here since I am working on the computer at home on a weekend. Also I have only read Dr. Kloha’s original “Text and Authority” and the final version edited by Behrens/Salzmann and published by Ruprecht this year.

    I have not read his other writings, since I don’t have access to a theological library or academic library here in Evansville; and my congregation greatly reduced my book allowance when the Obamacare legislation cut into my compensation package.

    What I remember Dr. Kloha complaining about the Nestle-Aland 28th edition is that it gave up the idea of a single, original text. You attribute to Dr. Kloha the error that he was rejecting. Maybe he changed his mind about this in some other writing, but in his “Text and Authority” essay (both versions) this was clear enough–he rejects the idea you attribute to him.

    As to there being “multiple drafts,” I am not sure what you mean there. I don’t have a problem with the idea that, e.g., Paul told Silas to make 20 copies of his letter to the Galatians, so that all of the congregations in that province—it is a province after all, not a city–would have a copy. This is a possibility that is not outside the historical and Scriptural facts we know.

    Did you ever notice that Paul’s other letters were written to provincial capitals? Thus we could assume that from those capitals, the letters were copied as soon as they were received and distributed to other churches in the province–or Paul and his team made the copies themselves.

    Would Silas intentionally make variant copies? No. Was the Holy Spirit guiding the copyist Silas? The Scriptures don’t say. The Holy Spirit’s work was always with the “prophets and apostles.” So the apostles get the attribute of inerrancy; the copyists not necessarily. There is no Scripture passage that states “All copies of Scripture are, and always will be, identical in every jot and tittle.”

    As to your statement “We can’t know what was original written,” that again is the claim of Nestle Aland 28th edition, and Dr. Kloha disagrees with that, as far as I have seen.

    Again, for the readers who have not seen what this actually entails, I suggest you look at this list on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_major_textual_variants_in_the_New_Testament

    As you can see from this list, the most significant textual variants are not doctrinally or historically significant, so it is a gross overstatement and fundamentally false to state: “We can’t know what was original written.” Dr. Kloha does not say that, at least in the essays I’ve read.

    As to the statement that might be made by someone in this field, “We can’t know for sure which textual variant is the original one,” well, that is why there is a discipline called textual criticism. If there was absolute certainty in this particular matter, there would be no such discipline.

    I think that T. R. is doing an excellent job with this series, by the way! 🙂

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  19. Dr. Noland certainly describes Dr. Kloha’s position on “original text” accurately. In fact, Kloha points out that the previous edition of Nestle-Aland attempted to provide an “original text”, whereas the new edition has changed purpose and seeks, not the original text, but the “Ausgangstext” (as described by Kloha and presumably by Nestle-Aland). Kloha refers to this change and the modified goal of the new edition as “problematic”.

    Dr. Kloha does provide some thoughtful commentary on precisely how the original text would be defined if we knew what happened when it was written, and this might be worthy of criticism, but first one has to be correct about what Kloha actually says. To me, the issue here (in connection with defining the “original text”, rather than, through textual criticism, determining what the original said) is that we don’t know exactly how the Holy Spirit’s inspiration worked through the writers’ of the inspired Scriptures.

    But this is a different matter from the main point of discussion, which is to try to obtain a text which is as consistent with what the writers’ actually wrote (or dictated) as possibleings of the inspired text, and the implications of the fact that in some places there is controversy over what exactly was original written.

  20. Wow, there was some serious “corruption” in that last sentence in my previous post above, due to the fact that my scribe did not take down what I said correctly … I think I intended to say,

    the main point of the discussion is to try to obtain a text which is as consistent as possible with what the writers’ actually wrote (or dictated)in the inspired text


    An avocation of mine is studying World War II. I started noticing this way of footnoting become predominant in new books about a decade ago, and several books at the beginning of the footnotes had an explanatory paragraph introducing, explaining, and defending this new procedure — it doesn’t “clutter” and “interrupt” the text. Often they don’t use any quotation marks at all, and generally there are no reference numbers. Just a listing at the end giving a range of pages in the book with books referenced and/or quoted for those pages. I find it imprecise. I have the feeling the main purpose is to prevent charges of plagiarism and/or lawsuits, after several high-profile cases. To cover their bases, basically every book consulted and any that might contributed to the text is listed.

  22. I am at a disadvantage because I do not have access to the papers in question, and for many pastors such as myself the cost of the book is indeed prohibitive. So I have only second-hand sources regarding this issue.

    One question that I would appreciate being answered by those who have access to the first-hand sources is whether Dr. Kloha actually advocates for the alternate reading “Elizabeth” in Luke 1:46 to be preferred over the traditionally accepted “Mary.” One gets that impression from the title of his essay, “Elizabeth’s Magnificat” (without a question mark). [http://booksandjournals.brillonline.com/content/books/b9789004273931_011].

    Likewise, the publisher of an unofficial newspaper has stated, “Kloha insists Elizabeth and not Mary spoke the Magnificat.” [http://www.trinitynewhaven.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Letter-to-Member-of-Trinity-3-24-16.pdf]

    Is that a correct characterization of Dr. Kloha’s position? Admittedly I have not been able to intensely study this matter, but it’s been frustrating that what I have read and the conversations I have had seem to circumvent this basic question. Is he simply exploring the issues surrounding the alternate reading “Elizabeth” or is he actually advocating that it be preferred over “Mary”?

  23. Or, is the next edition of Nestle-Aland going to come out with “Elizabeth” instead of Mary?

    [Encouraged by such meetings of scholars as Kloha attended?]
    Just speculating…but “editors” of Greek lexicons are …who?

    And prospective purchasers?

  24. It is questionable whether or not there were enough new manuscript and other relevant discoveries to warrant production of new editions beyond NA27 and UBS4. I still use NA26 and UBS3 from my college days 35 years ago. In fact, the actual Greek text of NA26 is exactly the same as NA27, likewise for UBS3 and UBS4. The only differences in these editions are in the apparatus, with all the changes from NA26 to NA27 and UBS3 to UBS4 in the apparatus, not the actual Greek text.

    Having worked in marketing, I suspect that actually is the primary driver behind the change in translating philosophy: $$$. It results in a text different enough that many will feel compelled to buy it — though not me!

    It reminds of the “unity candle” craze. It deflates couples’ romantic notions when I inform them who created this tradition out of nowhere about 30-40 years ago: a coalition of candlemakers, churchware manufacturers (for the holders), and florists (who often retail the candles).

    Likewise the sudden trend of blue rather than purple paraments for Advent, introduced by a coalition of parament manufacturers, allowing them to sell nearly every liturgical church already fitted out with purple, white, red, and green paraments a whole new set.

    For the time being you can still pick up remainders here and there — at a hefty premium — but with NA27 and UBS4 apparently out of production it would present a quandary for teaching. The Majority Text is lookin’ better all the time.

  25. The reasons for NA28 are manyfold. First, new evidences from recently discovered papyrusses and others texts are included.

    Second, and most significantly, the Nestle-Aland is adjusted to the text of Editio Critica Maior (which is the upcoming resource for any text-critical work on the NT, since it documents all readings of all manuscripts in full, whereas the NA only has a (albeit a large) selection in a very abbreviated manner). At the moment this only affects the Catholic Letters, since there are no further volumes of the ECM, but in the future the text of NA and ECM will be the same. The NA28 has text changes in the apparatus *and* the text itself (30 to be precise) in the Catholic Letters.

    Third, a minor difference is the dispensation with the distinction of primary witnesses of first and second order.

  26. @Rev. Kevin Vogts #27

    Likewise the sudden trend of blue rather than purple paraments for Advent, introduced by a coalition of parament manufacturers, allowing them to sell nearly every liturgical church already fitted out with purple, white, red, and green paraments a whole new set.

    It’s “rose” paraments now… ;

    [Purple and pink candles were explained to me as “RC”.
    Since Vatican II? Who required Lutherans to follow V. II?]

    I’ll go with the $$$.
    Is there any entity that isn’t “fixing what ain’t broke” for $$$, and, seemingly [e.g., movies] lack of imagination?

  27. Though I do not feel it necessary to have NA28 or UBS5 and have not purchased either, based upon reviews and critiques I have read over the past several years I am skeptical of the methodology of the Editio Critica Maior, upon which they are based, for determining the so-called “ausgangstext” or reconstructed original of the textual tradition.

    One thorough review that was referred to me by a fellow pastor and which I have found helpful is available online, “Editio Critica Maior: An Introduction and Assessment” by Peter M. Head in the “Tyndale Bulletin” Vol. 61, No. 1 (2010), pp. 131-152. [http://www.tyndalehouse.com/Bulletin/61=2010/8%20Head.pdf]

    A few of his comments I find especially pertinent to this discussion:

    “It is striking that in these two places (Jude 5; 2 Pet. 3:10), reflecting probably the two most difficult textual problems in the Catholic Epistles, the ECM offers us a-text [preferred text] based on extremely limited textual evidence, without any indication of doubt . . .” (p. 141)

    “A striking example . . . is 1 Peter 4:16 . . . It is notable that the earliest manuscript support for the ECM a-text [preferred text] is ninth-century. . . whereas . . . the NA27 text . . . has supporting manuscript evidence datable to the Third, Fourth, and Fifth Centuries, alongside impressive early versional support in the Old Latin, Coptic and Syriac (among others). The decision of the ECM . . . rests on an assessment that this is the more difficult reading . . . On the other hand it remains controversial because of the absence of this reading among any pre-ninth-century witness . . .” (p. 144)

    “It is not easy to discern any general tendency among these variants . . . unless it is that [their methodology] emboldens editors to go against the bulk of the manuscript evidence at significant moments.” (p. 145)

    “Perhaps the most striking of the ECM editorial decision is at 2 Peter 3:10, where the ECM text . . . is not found in a single Greek witness, this is really a Greek text conjectured on the basis of some versional evidence. . . This is likely to be a point where many critics will suggest that it would be better to follow a reading attested in the Greek manuscript tradition than to follow a conjecture . . .” (p. 146)

    Perhaps the following illustration itself will be controversial, but for my part I would liken the ECM/NA28/UBS5 preference in many instances for much later, patently inferior readings — and even the actual creation of new conjectured Greek text not found in any Greek manuscript! — to the global warming advocates whose computer-based models trump actual reality. In the same way, the computer-generated “Coherence Based Genealogical Method” of the ECM trumps the actual Greek manuscripts. And just as temperature records have been “adjusted” to fit the global warming computer models, conjectured Greek text not found in any Greek manuscript is created anew to fit the ECM editors’ computer-generated speculations.

    All this also explains how it could be possible to prefer “Elizabeth” over “Mary” in Luke 1:46, even though all the Greek manuscripts and virtually all other manuscripts in other languages consistently have “Mary,” with only a few Latin manuscripts and a couple of comments by some church fathers having “Elizabeth,” which is easily explained as a simple transcription error.

    I for my part don’t want editors of the Greek New Testament “embolden[ed] . . . to go against the bulk of the manuscript evidence.”

  28. @Rev. Kevin Vogts #30

    Thanks for providing some important substantive material to think about.

    And just as temperature records have been “adjusted” to fit the global warming computer models, conjectured Greek text not found in any Greek manuscript is created anew to fit the ECM editors’ computer-generated speculations.

    Where could a person read more about that in particular?

  29. @Rev. Kevin Vogts #25

    Dear Pastor Vogts,
    In the revised essay in Behrens/Salzmann, Dr Kloha states that the human author of the Magnificat “may well have been Elizabeth.” I accept correction if my memory is in error here.

    Dear BJS Bloggers,
    I think those were carefully chosen words, based on Dr Kloha’s extensive and competent research. As T.R. notes, we should describe such possible attribution in a way that coheres with the existing historical data, i.e., the facts. It is clear that some members of the old Latin church (pre-vulgate) and the Armenian church thought Elizabeth was the author—these manuscripts were for use, not to decorate a scholar’s library. But the preponderance of evidence points to Mary.

    As to the reasons for Nestle-Åland edition 28, the introduction explains that it is due to new sources becoming available (primarily papyrus MS) and a new method called the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method (CBGM). I have read some of the cited essays on CBGM and, frankly, don’t see how it is better than previous methods. I still think that antiquity (older is better) and geographical non-proximity (independent sources) are the best criteria for choosing between textual variants. But that is my view; maybe not others.

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  30. >>Where could a person read more about that in particular?

    In the article referenced, beginning at the last paragraph on this page:


    So far this is the only instance of conjectured new Greek text being created by the editors of the Editio Critica Maior. However, they specifically published the Catholic Epistles first because they have the smallest number of extant manuscripts and least thorny textual issues.

    This extraordinary creation by the editors at 2 Peter 3:10 of entirely new Greek not found in any ancient Greek manuscript is a huge red flag signaling that that procedure — creating new text not found in any ancient Greek manuscript, in order to fit what their computer-generated “Coherence Based Genealogical Method” says SHOULD be there — is fair game when they delve into the much more complicated and theologically more significant variants in the Gospels and other books of the New Testament.

    As Dr. Head says in the article linked above, “it would be better to follow a reading attested in the Greek manuscript tradition than to follow a conjecture, however neatly the genealogical coherence can be mapped.” (p. 146)

  31. I wonder if someone can answer a technical question for me.

    There are several references in this blog (and I have seen it elsewhere) to the “Catholic” epistles. I know these are James, I & II Peter, I, I, III John, Jude. It is my understanding that these are the epistles that are addressed to the church as a whole and not to a particular person. I have also seen them called “general” epistles.

    This blog (and elsewhere) uses a capital “C” on “catholic”? Why? Do they have something to do with the Roman church? Shouldn’t they be referred to as “catholic” (small “c”) epistles?

    Thanks for your help.

    Blessings in Christ Jesus,
    Ginny Valleau

  32. Dear Ginny,

    You are correct to observe that persons usually should use the upper case “Catholic” to refer to the Roman Catholic church and lower case “catholic” in the ecclesiastical sense of the “church in general.” But the rules for capitalization are determined by a journal’s or publisher’s stylesheet. This is a blog, so you will see contradictory uses.

    For a sample stylesheet, go to: http://www.logia.org/s/2014-LOGIA-Style-Guide.pdf This is the one I use, since I edit articles for LOGIA. Capitalization rules are at the end, ca. p. 8-12. LOGIA editors review and revise the stylesheet every year on a per need basis. It is similar to the one CPH uses, I think. LCMS has its own stylesheet for its writers.

    You are correct in noting that the epistles you list are called “catholic” because they were not addressed to specific churches or individuals. Some debate whether II John or III John should be included in the list (on this, see Oxford Dict. of the Christian Church [OCD], any edition; article is on page 255 of 2nd ed.).

    I hope this helps a bit.

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  33. @Martin R. Noland #36

    Thanks, Dr. Noland, this clarifies things. Maybe someone will add the correct capitalization (catholic epistles) to the Logia style sheet.

    I don’t have a copy of the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church; I could use it to help sort out all the terms used in textual criticism.


  34. The Society of Biblical Literature publishes the SBL Handbook of Style [ http://www.sbl-site.org/publications/SBLHandbookofStyle.aspx ] as a supplement specifically for biblical studies to the Chicago Manual of Style. This is the definitive style guide for matters related to biblical studies.

    The SBL Handbook of Style lists “Catholic Epistles” as a technical term in biblical studies, and indicates that both words in this term should be capitalized.

    Generally, a theological journal such as Logia would follow the SBL Handbook of Style in referencing matters related to biblical studies.

  35. Dear Pastor Vogts,

    Capitalization may be off topic for this post, but maybe not, since the changing of literary conventions may have led to some textual variants by copyists who were trying to “correct” a text according to the literary convention he was taught at school.

    In any event, LOGIA follows its own stylesheet cited above, which states: Alexander, Patrick H. et al, eds. The SBL Handbook of Style: for Ancient Near Eastern, Biblical, and Early Christian Studies. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 1999. LOGIA follows SBL’s abbreviations for books of the Bible (no periods!), its transliterations for Hebrew, and generally follows its rules for capitalization of biblical and theological words. So you are correct in how “Catholic Epistles” should be treated. But LOGIA also has its own Capitalization list pages 8-12.

    Generally the rule of thumb at LOGIA has been to follow broader academic trends, e.g., SBL, to avoid excessive capitalization. So if you don’t know, look it up in the stylesheet.

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  36. All,

    Thank you T.R. for your attempt at being very even-handed and careful about this situation. I assume by this time you are aware that in the new Christian News John “Wardog” Montgomery has a response to this post, saying that your post shows “remarkable theological naivete”.

    Others can look at Dr. Montgomery’s article as well, but he makes the claim that Kloha’s approach “substitutes ecclesiology for bibliology and reduces to Schwarmerei.”

    Responding to Paul McCain’s expressed concerns about what he had written in a blog post from Reformation Day of 2012, Kloha said the following:

    The comment raises issues about how we express the authority of the Scriptures in light of the differences in the manuscripts. I hope that we as Lutherans can have some helpful conversations about the way that we express this (though I’d doubt that an internet forum is the best place for that to happen)…I suspect that we’ll be better served if we reinvestigate the way that our early fathers viewed the authority of the text, because they were dealing with a similar phenomenon of text that we now have: Rather than the seemingly fixed, immutable, printed text known to the post-Reformation and Modernist church, we today have a transient transmission of the text, much like the Reformation and early church had.

    From: http://concordiatheology.org/2012/10/a-new-edition-of-the-greek-new-testament/

    “…we today have a transient transmission of the text, much like the Reformation and early church had.”

    …a big claim.

    My pastor has written a paper that was given at this conference: http://www.theacl.org/

    …showing that this was, most definitely, not the case. In short, not plastic then, not plastic now. You can contact my pastor specifically to get his paper at [email protected] or read my summary at the Just and Sinner blog: “Is Martin Luther’s Sola Scriptura Our Sola Scriptura?” (note the last link in the article as well, which will lead you to another one featuring the whole conclusion of my pastor’s article).

    The problem, I think, is this “reasoned” or “thoroughgoing eclecticism”. How/why does Dr. Kloha arrive at his decision to think it was Elizabeth – and does he have any concerns about the impression that this gives? Should he? If not, why not?

    Really now – why in the world, unless one was a member of the Armenian church, convert to this viewpoint? Now that it is “out there” (and let’s be honest – this would have gotten “out there” eventually had it not happened in 2013) inquiring minds want to know! And yet – think about the “optics” of this for your typical layperson (definitely don’t think or should try to explain this to my kids, age 14 and under….)… Maybe some opinions are better not publicly taught – even among one’s fellow academics?

    Twl #22

    “…the main point of the discussion is to try to obtain a text which is as consistent as possible with what the writers’ actually wrote (or dictated) in the inspired text.”

    I guess my question is this: are the kinds of methods being put forth about how to do this by our LCMS profs something that we should have some concern about?

    What about the importance of the church being thought of primarily as the receiver and preserver of God’s word – not it’s corrupter? Just like Jesus and His apostles received the various manifestations of the Old Testament as God’s word in their day (in spite of the problems He identified with the Church’s leadership!), should not we as well? Does not God preserve His word through His Church? Especially, when God’s Spirit inspires the leaders of His Church to put their best persons on the job and officially promulgate Bibles, should our default reaction be skeptical? – “They are just conserving and consolidating their power and keeping us down… authority is constructed, contextual, and saturated with unsavory privilege!” On the contrary, should not this, like few other things, should make us cry out with vigor, “Thanks be to God!”



  37. @Nathan Rinne #40

    Pastor Rinne,

    Thank you for the kindly approach and tone of your comments, and for supplementing the discussion here with those quotes and the link to a source.

    Obviously, Dr. Montgomery needs no endorsement from me. The church owes him so much for more of his works than can be counted.

    Precisely because of his stature, he needs a better outlet than a publication whose standard operating procedure has become, how shall we say, misappropriating the writings of others without the permission of either the authors or publishers. As brilliant as Dr. Montgomery’s light is, the publication context and association tend to dim the light somewhat.

    I have not seen that issue of that publication, but yes, people have told me some things about it.

    The Mary vs. Elizabeth issue keeps being a common point of disagreement. I’ve said I am sure it was Mary, not Elizabeth.

    Please try to hold in mind that all four articles in this series are about the two overtures to the synodical convention. In turn, those overtures have a focus. I have made no claim to have written generally about textual criticism, manuscript transmission, or Dr. Kloha. My claims are circumscribed by the topic of the overtures. Whenever I do see Dr. Montgomery’s article, then I will see whether he treated my articles within their purport, or misread them past their purport.

    Some forum for a public discussion between Dr. Montgomery and Dr. Kloha could do the church much good. I wonder what is the prospect of that happening.

  38. T.R.

    As always, thank you T.R. for your demeanor.

    “Some forum for a public discussion between Dr. Montgomery and Dr. Kloha could do the church much good. I wonder what is the prospect of that happening.”

    I think that this would be good. I think that having such a moderated discussion/debate could only be good for the church. I get the impression that our viewpoint is not widely held, however.

    One reason why Dr. Montgomery may be resorting to CN is that other venues are not so friendly to him. One paper that he submitted to numerous conservative Lutheran journal was not accepted by any of them but was picked up by an evangelical journal – and CN.

    BTW, I am not a pastor. Just a theologically informed layperson. : )


  39. We’re still not getting real here, with respectful concern and detailed discussion about style guides (“The nice thing about standards is that you have so many to choose from”) – when it’s clear that the author and paper have substance and integrity; and rejecting certain news venues because they are distasteful. “Respectable” sources simply withhold information. They’re the perfect, calm, comforting companion to your cozy S?UX trip.

    No, you have to get your hands dirty with unfiltered sources and think for yourselves.

  40. @mbw #44


    That’s your word for theft?

    the author and paper have substance and integrity

    You are not making plain which author or which paper you are talking about.

    unfiltered sources

    You mean, like reading Dr. Kloha’s paper itself?

    think for yourselves

    Which person here had someone do their thinking for them?

  41. T.R.,

    Ah – it looks like the “evangelical journal” that Dr. Montgomery did publish his more recent response to Kloha’s work was in the journal that he himself edits:


    And I mentioned that this paper was offered to other journals. Checked back up on that…. according to the Feb. 26th issue of Christian News, Dr. Montgomery had tried to get this paper published in CTQ (Concordia Ft. Wayne’s journal) as well as the WELS and ELS journal. In retrospect, one wonders why he did not try getting it published in CJ (Concordia St. Louis’ journal) since that is the seminary where Dr. Kloha is at. If the WELS or ELS journal had published it, this might look bad – like they were attacking Misssouri. If Ft. Wayne had published it, it would look like they were trying to take on St. Louis… On the other hand, had he submitted it to CJ would they have really been interested? We’ll never know any of this now…

    Maybe I am missing something here. Probably am. : )

    Ah yes – Montgomery also responded to Kloha’s new essay (the updated one in the book) in the Mar. 14th CN) – saying it didn’t really change anything.


  42. Just a small clarification as the Kloha-Montgomery debate approaches: regarding Luke 1:46, the textual contest is not simply between whether the original text said “And Mary said,” or, “And Elizabeth said.” An alternative is what has been advocated by Dr. Kloha: that the original text only said, “KAI EIPEN” which would mean, “and said,” which, following a statement by Elizabeth, would imply that Elizabeth was the speaker, but not name her as such in that particular verse.

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