Response to D. A. Carson

My friend Scott pointed me to this paper by Greg Welty that I thought some of my blogger friends would be interested in. I had seen it a number of years ago, but did not get around to reading it. It’s a bit tedious because of it’s size and because it is in outline form.
Essentially Welty is reviewing
D.A. Carson’s (and Fred Zaspel by default) understanding of the Gk. word “pleroo” in Matthew 5.
Welty is a professor at
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He studied at Westminster Seminary in California and Oxford where he is currently doing his PhD. You can read some of his other papers online here. It’s nice to see that he’s a Van Tilian in the Frame trajectory.


Filed under articles, don carson, greg welty, john frame, new covenant theology

2 responses to “Response to D. A. Carson

  1. JLF

    Of course he’d say that, he studied at Westminster :). J/K.

    Like many covenant theologians, he’s grasping at straws, picking at minor wording issues, that are ultimately non-biblical categories. Thus, his arguments is based on Carson’s one sentence, that Jesus fulfilled the OT Laws with his teaching, and OT Prophecies with his person. So Welty argues that this use of pleroo (“laws fulfilling laws”) is not used in Matthew.

    Well… fine. I don’t think Carson was ever saying that. It doesn’t harm his argument, because Carson wouldn’t separate Jesus’ teaching from his person except superficially (the quote is a case in point), where it is useful for breaking down what he is saying. What Welty has done is, he has taken offense at a sentence and argued that this sentence is pivotal in Carson’s understanding of covenantal relationships and defeated it. But I don’t think Carson was ever saying that.

    This argument fails to take into account Carson’s whole theology of fulfillment. If he really wanted to damage to Carson’s argument, he would have to deal with him on a passage like Mt 11:13, because that’s where Carson really develops his theology of the whole OT functioning prophetically.

    Of course, covenant guys like to stick with 5:17-20, because that’s where they’ve been stuck for so long.

    How come Welty didn’t deal with Carson’s rejection of the covenantal system’s importing the “moral law” because of the language Matthew uses in 5:17-20? Because he doesn’t have an answer for Carson’s actual arguments, just his wording. To say that in the NT “the very concept” of moral teaching being fulfilled and advanced is ludicrous and ignorant of much scholarly work that has been done before (just for example, Goppelt’s Typos.

    Just some initial thoughts… haven’t processed the whole thing yet.

  2. JLF

    Why is it that so many guys coming from this perspective assume that people who disagree with them simply have not read anything else on the issue? Why would Welty argue at length that the first half of the antitheses are not “biblical”? Carson himself acknowledges that and affirms the same biblical authority as Welty. This article is too arrogantly written to be of any use. I seriously wonder if Welty ever read Carson’s work on this passage with an open mind, or if he knew the critique he’d write before he ever read Carson.

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