Reviewing the Reviewers Part 2

It is time “to take the gloves off” and tackle the nonsense expressed by some reviewers on Amazon of my first book, The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge. Consider the following negative review:

Unnecessary bulk added, April 30, 2001


Gary F. Zeolla “Director of Darkness to Light ministry and of Fitness for One and of All”

This review is from: The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge (Hardcover)

The original “Treasury” was a very helpful volume. But I would not recommended this “New Treasury.” It is a very bulky volume that adds much unnecessary and unreliable information, such as theological notes from an Arminian perspective. The original Treasury just gives the cross-references without bias comments.
If you want help with Bible study, get the original “Treasury.” I used it extensively in developing my book “Scripture Workbook: For Personal Bible Study and Teaching the Bible.” The cross-references in the original “Treasury” were a great aid in finding the thousands of verses I reference in my book.

Well, my book, The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, is clearly a more bulky volume than the original Treasury of Scripture Knowledge.

This is so because:

(1) The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge uses much larger type uniformly throughout the book. The original Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, typeset by hand in the early nineteenth century, uses variable type size, all of it small, and some of it, such as in the Psalms, where references are crammed into three columns on a page, very small and hard to read.

I think readers today would prefer the larger size type which of course requires more pages, which accounts for most of the “unnecessary bulk added” that Mr. Gary F. Zeolla complains of.

(2) Now The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge which I produced has far more cross references than the original Treasury of Scripture Knowledge does.

I think people who actually study the Bible using cross reference Bible study very much appreciate having more cross references available everywhere throughout the volume. That, too, accounts for more of the “unnecessary bulk added” that Mr. Gary F. Zeolla complains about.

(3) The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge has seven indexes; the original Treasury of Scripture Knowledge has no indexes.

I think people who study the Bible for themselves very much appreciate those indexes to the subjects, the topics, prayer, proverbs, names, figures of speech, Strong numbers to Hebrew words, and Strong numbers to Greek words.

If Mr. Gary F. Zeolla had taken the proper time to investigate those indexes he would have possibly learned that I placed more index entries which support his Calvinistic views than he likely can find in any other published reference source. I was very careful to provide a very balanced approach to subjects upon which good Bible-believing Christians may differ. I quite often gave more support to the “underdog,” or less popular viewpoint in my notes, since most Christian book publishers refuse to publish the contrary or minority view, and often Christian bookstores refuse to carry books that defend the minority view. Truth is not determined by a majority vote, so quite often it turns out that the minority view is more correct than the majority view. It was my intention to provide in my standard Bible reference work a resource that permits anyone to learn the Biblical evidence behind each of several views about many Bible doctrines. My subject index provides the balance by indexing both or several sides of many doctrinal issues.

The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge “adds much unnecessary and unreliable information, such as theological notes from an Arminian perspective,” Mr. Gary F. Zeolla complains.

That strikes me as very odd indeed. At the time I was typing up The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, my application for church membership in a local church I had attended nearly five years was rejected. I was told by the pastor to go find a church that believed what I did. His church was staunchly Arminian. He accused me of being a Calvinist, based, as I recall, upon the fact that I graduated from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina, which he said was a Calvinistic school. The pastor may have seen my bookshelves filled with sets of works by Calvinists, sets published by Jay Greene’s Sovereign Grace Publishers, with a distinctive dark green cloth binding. The pastor was no doubt aware that I had recently been an active elder in the Presbyterian Church.

I think Mr. Gary F. Zeolla has much to learn, as do we all. I challenge anyone anywhere to refute the substance, that is, content, of any theological note I have written for The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge. My notes are thoroughly grounded in Scripture. No one has yet refuted a position I have taken.

I hardly think I have entered any “unreliable information” in the notes I have provided in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge.

As for “Arminianism,” that is often shorthand used by Calvinists for any view that does not support their false doctrine of unconditional eternal security for the elect–more popularly but incorrectly known as “Once Saved, Always Saved.” Most Calvinists have no idea of what “Arminianism” is. They need to read and re-read Roger E. Olson’s scholarly yet highly readable volume, Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities before they make themselves look more foolish than they are before saying any more about it.

You cannot properly interpret the Scripture if you ignore or contradict the grammar of Scripture. I am a retired English teacher. I took my college work in both undergraduate and graduate school with an emphasis in English grammar and linguistics. I pay attention to grammar. I studied Greek for only two years at Bob Jones University, but I have continued to study Greek ever since then on my own. That means I have been studying Greek to a greater or lesser extent since 1958 until now.

Greek grammar totally refutes the assertions of Calvinists at every turn. No Calvinist has properly exegeted John 3:16. They cannot do so. They dare not do so. John 3:16 refutes their position. Calvinists ignore the subjunctive mood, a mood used in Greek to express the presence of a contingency. A contingency means that a promise is valid only for those who continue to meet the requirements set forth in context. At John 3:16 we read “For God so loved the world.” “World” is stated by respected grammarians to be a “monadic construction,” which in plain English means, the “world” is a whole, and it is the only one of its kind. Therefore, Calvinists are seriously in error when they jump from John 3:16 to other texts in John or elsewhere to try to prove God did not love the whole world, but only the world of the elect.

John 3:16 further states that “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth.” The English word “believeth” is a present tense verb. The Greek underlying this translation is also present tense. Present tense in Greek is not just reference to time, but also to the kind of action specified, and this fact grammarians call “aspect.” In John 3:16 the kind of belief specified is belief that continues. It is NOT a one-time “act of faith,” but a continuing belief.

John 3:16 further states, “that whosoever believeth in him should not perish.” The “should” in English translation would better be translated “may not perish,” the “may” identifying the subjunctive mood that specifies there is a contingency involved named in the context. The “may” does not express doubt. It points to the fact that the kind of belief that results in “eternal life” is continuing belief.

The Bible teaches the eternal security of the believer, not the unbeliever!

Moral of the story: We as Christians must use greater care in how we judge the work of others, especially when we write reviews that stay on public display like on Amazon. Now, as the author, I could have asked that Amazon remove Mr. Zeolla’s negative comment. I did not do so, and do not intend to do so. I did have Amazon remove one review that was totally biased and so factually incorrect that it reflected poorly on the reviewer and the credibility of the reviewing process.

We need to be careful to not judge according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment (John 7:24). Nicodemus counseled, “Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth?” (John 7:51).

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